Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back to school 2012

Emily and Marcy had their first day of school today.  Marcy was a full-fledged new student at St Monica though she knows Leah Schwarz and John and several girls from preschool (but none of these in her class).  She was happy to have her new friend Allison in her class.  She's pretty confident about school and new social situations so she had no problem heading off.  Emily got lucky to have Anna in every single one of her class except PE.  What were the chances of that?  Plus, Sarah Schwarz is in several classes and other girls that she knew from her previous stint in 1st and 2nd grade.  Overall, both were happy with their day and very happy that homework only consisted of me filling out forms.  (They have heard homework horror stories and AIS certainly didn't prepare them for massive amounts.)

Happy (?) 4th and 7th grader on the way to school
(neither is very excited about uniforms again)

Olivia is the lucky last to head off to school.  She gets the extra long summer since classes don't begin until  next Mon.  She did have Soph orientation on Mon and Transfer Student orientation tomorrow but only for a couple hours so we don't count that.  Stay tuned for Olivia's first day of school next week.

Check out how much they've grown since they started school in 2010.  I never posted in 2011 - that was my "dry" period for blogging.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Officially a Horned Frog

We dropped Madeline off at TCU last week.  With a car load full of stuff I thought there was no way everything would fit in her room.  But, we lofted her bed (so nice those beds come with a kit now, no more home made, questionable safety loft beds) and with her dresser and desk beneath and a big built-in armoire she has plenty of space.  It was easier leaving her at college since at Hockaday I left her behind to go halfway around the world and not see her for 2-3 months at a time.  In fact we left her on Tues and I saw her again on Sun since I had to take her the books we ordered from Amazon.  And we'll see her again on Labor Day weekend when Grandma and Pop come for a visit.  And then we'll see her again for parents weekend at the end of Sept.  It's so nice that she stayed close to home and that we are actually living at home!

First day of college photo!

Outside of her new dorm, Colby

The loft setup

Bye Madeline!

The loft setup by Sunday's visit

Cousin Camp

Since Frank was driving to Houston before our cruise and I was driving from Houston back to Dallas after the cruise, we decided to do a cousin swap.  Marcy went to stay with Molly and the Thompsons and then Molly came to stay with Marcy and the Mounts.  It was like summer camp (sort of.)  In Houston Marcy got to go swimming and create an in-home day spa and go bowling for the very first time ever (how sad that she is almost 10 and I never took her bowling!)  In Dallas, Molly got to go swimming and build a planter and go to Gatti Town. And of course they played!

Marcy and Molly and their planters with plants of choice
Unfortunately, Molly left hers here.  I think the cactuses are still alive

Emily and Anna acting extra silly with their
prize mustaches from Gatti Town

 A whole bunch of cousins having fun

When it was time to go home we decided to meet Samantha and family in Centerville, Texas to make the cousin swap.  It was halfway for both of us (obviously, what else could halfway mean?) and we had lunch at Woody's Smokehouse - a gas station barbeque that was outstanding.  The Rehagens came along so it was a big family lunch and then we bought up all kinds of bread and jerky and jelly and kolaches.  Mmmmm.

We'll have to do Cousin Camp again sometime.  But, the other cousins are going to be jealous if we let Marcy and Molly have all the fun!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

On Board Entertainment

The stops on our cruise were lots of fun but we also enjoyed our 3 days at sea.  The kids swam and went to kids club activities and ran around the boat and ate ice cream and went to shows.  The adults drank beer and played cards and played blackjack and did trivia contests and ate lots of food.

Waiting to sail

Game show contestant Maddie
"I have no idea!!"

2nd place medal!

Dress dinner

Dancing at dinner

Towel animals
Marcy, John and Brian attended towel folding class

Ship Scavenger Hunt:
Emily and random cruisers doing
See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil - 3 pts

Six person pyramid - 5 pts

Group Hug - 6 pts

Marcy proposes to an employee - 10 pts
He said "yes"!

No Problem, Mon!

Last stop on the cruise - Jamaica.  We decided on beach and shopping.  We found a pretty nice beach on a recommendation from someone at Chevron.  I think I just zoned out because I have few photos and don't remember exactly what we did at the beach.  I do know we did do some shopping but very quickly and with specific items in mind.  There was no other way to do it because the vendors just hounded us all day long and followed us around where ever we went.

And, now for the only photos...

Close Encounter of the Sting Ray Kind

Stop #2 on the cruise was Grand Cayman.  We decided on a Sting Ray City tour - a sand bar about 30 min off the coast where sting rays have learned to come and be fed and entertain tourists.  (I highly recommend Moby Dick Tours if you ever want to do this in Cayman.  They were very no nonsense and genuine.)  Long, long ago Frank and I took almost the same cruise for our honeymoon.  We signed up for this tour and our boat died halfway out.  We bobbed in the ocean for about 45 min before another boat came to get us and then only to take us back to shore.  I only remember feeling really ill so I wasn't really excited about seeing the sting rays.  But, it turned out to be a great choice.

First we stopped on the Grand Cayman Reef for some snorkeling.  Everyone had a great time paddling around and seeing all kinds of fish and coral.

Next we got up and close with the sting rays.  The tour guides have names for alot of them that they see on a regular basis and everyone was picking their favorites.  We got to feed them squid until they were so full they wouldn't eat anymore.  Almost everyone got 7 (or more) years of good luck by kissing 1 (or more) sting rays.  And some got to try holding a sting ray.  No one got stung despite Emily and Hannah worries about being that close to a sting ray.

Can you believe how blue this water is?  It's like being in a swimming pool.  We didn't have time for anything after the tour but I would have liked to check out the beach to see if it's as nice as what we saw at sting ray city.

A bunch of hot air in Cozumel

First stop on our cruise was Cozumel.  We decided on a full beach day and chose Paradise Beach on a recommendation and because it had alot of fun for the kids.  There were tons of blow up toys on the water, like a trampoline, slides, an iceberg to climb, and a 4-way see-saw.  There were also plenty of lounge chairs and umbrellas for the less active among us!  We were just about the first people on the beach and spent the whole day relaxing and playing.

Olivia and Hannah sliding

Emily, Anna, and Brian bouncing

Hannah summiting
Marcy hanging

You can't tell in this photo but all these pretty girls got their hair wrapped.  Two weeks later and the wraps are still in.  But, they'll have to come out for the start of school - against uniform code!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fun in New Orleans

Our Caribbean cruise last week left from New Orleans so we drove in early to give us one full day in the city.  We had the bonus of being able to meet up with the Kuuskraas and Magness's, friends from Almaty who "summer" in the NO area.

Fun at the New Orleans Zoo

Petting an alligator

In a tree

In a tube

In a net

At the spray park
(Dallas Zoo needs one of these!)

Good Food!

Long line for Sno-Balls but worth it
(I recommend Limeade!)

At the New Orleans Zephyrs game

Mmmm...Pulled Nutria!?!
(How could they eat that?)

Emily wins a free pizza for being loud - no contest!

Ryan catches a free t-shirt
(notice the mascot - a nutria)

Marcy catches a ball from a player

It was a long busy day but everyone had fun.  Emily and Marcy and I got to see our friends, Madeline and Olivia and friends got to hang out at the French Quarter with Frank and Chris, Frank and Chris got to avoid a visit to the zoo, we ate too much, we got free stuff at the game including a LSU head baseball coach bobblehead, Sarah got a visit to Franky & Johnny's, and we were all tired out and ready to get on the cruise to relax.