We Belong

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The first two weeks of school are in the books and it already feels like we've been doing this forever. Not in a bad way, just... summer break is an abberation and this is who we really are. I think we could probably take an entire year off and still come back feeling like we'd never been gone! Like coming home or catching up with an old friend, the re-adjustment time is just surprisingly short. This is where we belong!

School-wide we're all studying the Age of Explorations, reading Treasure Island, and learning about astronomy, botany, and geology right now. (Well, high school science is a little different, but still.) 

I always and forever love school-wide topics! For one thing they always showcase how amazingly creative all of the teachers are, coming up with such a vast array of ways to teach the same ideas. I'm extra lucky because I get to read all of the lesson plans and see the different approaches and interpretations, PLUS I have children in three different classes so I get to hear the lessons retold on the way home or at dinner time. With much animated debate, some nights! Siblings discussing, arguing, and corroborating new information over a meal is kind of the best thing ever, I'm just saying.

For another thing they give a level of connection between the younger and older students. Which is something I have always adored about Flint...they're all in the same building, pre-k babies to high school seniors. AND they interact and support each other all the time, inside the classroom and out. For example, we've jumped right into football and volleyball season, and cheered our teams on with the world's most adorable cheer squad!

See how perfect big kids and little kids are together? This, this forever! It's awfully good to be back home, y'all.

Behind the Scenes

Monday, September 4, 2017

School starts tomorrow! We've had our annual back to school pool party and picnic, our teacher inservice week, our lesson planning and rearranging and supply shopping binges. We've also had some next-level type chaos, like more than the standard Flint chaos even. Are you sick yet of hearing me wax eloquent about our "beautiful village" and how much I "adore this tribe" and all of these "amazing people"Because I am SO going there again right now!

The school had its entire roof replaced during the month of August (which, speaking as one of the teachers who has had a leaky classroom, yay for that!) except...I know this is shocking...it didn't get finished exactly on schedule.
And then it rained. A lot. And a lot of that rain found its way inside where it created even more mess than the existing roof-replacing mess.

I can't show you what it looked like last Monday because I was too busy wandering around saying things like, "This is...fine! We'll be fine!" and, "I'm not freaking out, you're freaking out!" to take pictures. This is barely even a sliver of a tiny fraction of what they're dealing with Houston right now, I know. My heart breaks for them even more, just having had this little glimpse of how exhausting and wretched this kind of thing is. 

Tuesday it was starting to look better, but still not close to what you want the week before school begins. Actually my pictures don't even begin to capture the kind of mess we were dealing with, but here's a peek:

Under that massive tarp? All the books and curriculum and supplies for every class. Protect the books at all costs!

But it was good enough for us to find a reasonably dry room and get started with our inservice meetings.

These people? They are teachers to the core. Dust, insulation, epoxy fumes, dozens of workers stomping overhead, no AC, books and supplies buried beneath tarps, sopping wet carpets? Bring it on, as long as there's coffee. They still made their classrooms beautiful and created wonderful lessons and they still laughed and supported each other. I am proud down in my bones of them all, and so, so grateful that these are the people that are influencing my children.
Are we going to be ready for students tomorrow? Definitely. Never, ever underestimate the power of teachers! I want you to know that they all but killed themselves to get everything perfect for the kids. AND they'll be smiling and looking gorgeous when they greet you tomorrow morning, genuinely thrilled to start their classes. Because they are rock stars and that's just what they do.

See you tomorrow!

Memories Made

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

We're not quite in back-to-school mode here yet, since we don't start until after Labor Day, but we're getting awfully close. Teacher in-service starts next week, so this is really the last week of summer vacation for my kids...next week they'll be at the school having all kinds of fun with the other teacher kids during meetings and getting put to work cleaning classrooms and organizing new supplies. It's a time-honored tradition! Aaron is busy with football and I'm busy bouncing between getting everything at home and everything at school ready for the school year. You know it's getting close to September when he routinely jumps up at three in the morning to write down a new offense that just occured to him, mercifully jolting me out of a stress dream that it's the first day of school and the printer won't work and somehow there are TOO MANY CHAIRS crowding various classrooms. 

I've been half-heartedly trying for days now to put together a summer recap type post here, with an obvious lack of success. I have made some useful discoveries in the process, though.

1. Taking a blog hiatus for the summer was ill-advised because we did about a thousand bloggable things.
2. Which means that every time I try to put together a summer recap it gets crazy long and out of hand almost instantly.
3. But these are also reasons why taking a blog hiatus for the summer was fairly necessary, because we were super busy all the time. Except when we weren't, and then we were at the pool. I don't know if you've ever taken four small children swimming, but there's not really much writing time involved.
4. In spite of my many reservations about the summer being too busy and scheduled, it was far and away amazing. The kids had so many rich, exciting adventures, and made so many memories, most of which involved our Flint tribe. It was priceless, really.
5. Having a long summer vacation means we can be busy and scheduled, AND still get our fill of lazy pajamas-to-swimming-suits-to-pajama days. 
6. I took a lot of pictures. Like, a lot. I'm not even sorry. 

JUNE: highlights included musical theatre camp at Theatre3, cheer camp, and getting spend lots of time playing and swimming and hanging out with friends! I was nervous about driving to Dallas every day, and about doing costumes for a theatre program outside of Flint, but it was so much fun! 

JULY: was basically ALL highlights! Fourth of July, Treasure Island theatre camp,a visit from our besties, Frontier camp, Astronomy camp, Construction camp, Flight camp, AND Lainey's birthday! I also squeezed in a trip to Austin for the Circe conference, and a sweet little trip to California with Aaron that was our birthday present! I'm fairly sure we could not possibly have squeezed any more fun into July! We weren't totally sure what to expect with the summer camp program, but it turned out better than I would have dreamed. I'm already brainstorming themes for next summer!

AUGUST: highlights include a little roadtrip up to Beaver's Bend so we could spend time at the lake with old friends and family, a much-anticipated day at Six Flags, and a WHOLE lot of hanging out at the pool.

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