Summer Week 8

Not every summer week can be awesome.  Some have to be ordinary.

Day 52 Sink  

I washed the dishes today y’all.
Small victories.

 

 

 

Day 53  Free Paid For Childcare

Moms and dads:  In case you need permission for some reason, I want you to know that in my humble opinion, it’s perfectly fine to use your gym membership for childcare.  Drop those kids off, grab a table and a friend, and get some work done.  Or read a book.  Or stare into space for two quiet hours….whatever the heck you want to do.  You’ve already paid for it, and the kids are getting exercise.  No guilt necessary.  I lost track of how many times Rachel and I met for work dates at the gym this week.  I’m so thankful for the Kidz Gym at our local Y.

Day 54  PLC

For my non teacher friends, PLC stands for Professional Learning Community.  Usually PLCs are groups of teachers that meet together weekly to analyze assessment data, learn together, plan, etc.  Ruth and I joke that we are each other’s PLC.  Monday through Thursday we run and mostly talk math.  On this day, Emily joined us and wasn’t lost as we talked closed and open sets of numbers and integer operations.  This screenshot shows how we add items to our daily PLC agenda.

 

Day 55  Algebra

I’ve started my second class of the summer.  By looking through the pictures on my phone from this day, it appears homework is all I did.  Here’s a model I drew that I thought was particularly cool.  I used it to demonstrate this generalization:  If the number being subtracted is reduced by a certain amount, the difference will be greater by that same amount. (If a–b=c, then a–(b-x)=c+x OR a-(b-x)=(a-b)+x)

Day 56 Daughters & Sons

After book club the kids easily talked us into eating dinner out.  We checked out Daughters & Sons on Fifth St. for the first time.  The price was very reasonable, we got popcorn while we waited, and the pizza was yummy.  Oh, and ice cream sandwiches.  We’ll definitely be back.

Day 57 Girls Night

These people are my tribe.  Or at least part of my tribe.  Every once in a while, the stars align and we get to hang out….without kids.  And it’s wonderful.  This night’s fun included all the junk food we could collectively round up from our houses, conversations that remind each of us that we’re not alone, and a slow game of Ticket to Ride.  I’m thankful for them.

Day 58  Fishing

 

 

 

 

 

After church we had a birthday lunch with Papa, then he took the kids fishing.  Papa put the worms on the hooks, and then Jay took the fish they caught off the hooks. Nana and I were the encouragers.  Both kids caught 2 or 3 fish, and then Chica pulled up the biggest surprise….a turtle!

Tonight we also bribed the kids with Mr. Goodies to clean their rooms.  I wanted to go anyway, but I might as well get some work out of it, amiright?

Summer Week 7

Day 45 Happy Birthday

 

 

 

 

 

The great thing about Jay having a summer birthday is that we often get to visit him at work on his special day.  After I picked up Bubba from Bible School, we headed to the Dollar Store for balloons.  Bubba was also sure that his daddy needed Gatorade, Juicy Fruit gum, and some water guns.  Then we went across town to get an OMG from the Muse, and back to U of L (can’t get used to that!) to deliver everything.

Inside I kinda laughed at the choice of water guns, but it turns out they came in handy.  That afternoon it unexpectedly poured, and the top was down on the Jeep.  Womp womp.  Jay and Bubba ended up using the water guns to suck a bunch of the water out of the floorboards.  Win.

Day 46 Summer Pizza

Bubba has strong feelings about pizza these days.  His pizza of choice has sauce, pepperonis, and bacon….no cheese.  This is what he ordered Monday night at Rivermont Pizza, and like always, he didn’t eat it all.  So check out what I did with his leftovers the next day at lunch!  I added cheese, tomatoes from Nana’s garden, and basil from ours.  This was a welcomed, yummy break from my geometry test.

Day 47 Math & Treats

 

 

 

 

 

A college friend brought two of her three girls to town for a visit.  After a while of talking math and building together, we went to Mrs. Joy’s for some treats.  This time Bubba and I got a powdered doughnut and a slice of Nutella cheesecake.  I noticed that his little personality was a little different without the shadow of big sister…maybe a bit more joyful and brave.  He was especially fun this day.

Day 48 Camp Pickup

 

 

 

 

It was so good to see Chica after a week at camp.  She spotted us coming down the hill and waved and smiled like she was so excited to see us.  It was fun watching her interact with her new camp friends.  Each camper was given an award by her counselors, and they chose the wisdom award for her.  Her cabin also won the spirit award, and she got an extra snack and drink from the snack bar.  Do you know what that girl did?  She gave the candy she got to Bubba and the drink to Jay.  I think their camp theme of “God, Others, Me” sunk in!

Day 49 VBS

Bubba enjoyed his few hours at VBS each day this week.  One of the teachers for his class was his papa’s college roommate.  So Bubba decided to call up Papa and invite him to the end of the week VBS celebration so they could see each other.  Once we knew Papa was coming, I reminded Bubba that this now meant he would have to sing and do the motions when he was on stage….you can’t invite people to watch and then just stand there.

So he did it!  This most terrible, far away picture will be enough to remind me of his goofiness.  Every time there was a little bit of an instrumental break in the song, he broke out in the Floss, much to the amusement of those around him.

I forgot to take pictures, but we also got invited to a friend’s house to swim in her pool that afternoon.  Moms of littles: the pool situation gets so much better as your kids get older.  Promise.

Day 50 Angie Thomas

Last week’s Saturday morning run was awful, but this week totally made up for it.  I finished almost 9 miles, didn’t get stung by anything, and didn’t see any skunks…only got a whiff of one!  My route took me to the top of the monogram…a view that just never gets old for me.

 

Photo Credit: Jess Hensley Harshbarger

After a trip to Riverside Runners and an afternoon nap, I headed to Richmond for a Chesterfield County Library event to hear Angie Thomas talk about her book and the influence of hip hop music.  She was real, funny, inspiring, and challenging.  Now I’m really looking forward to The Hate U Give movie coming out soon, and also her second novel.  I think my biggest takeaway from her talk was to focus on the what, not the how.  She talked about how people get so caught up in the way in which rappers deliver their message, not stopping to hear the actual message they are trying to communicate.  It’s the same with students.  I want to learn to focus on their what and not so much on the how.  

Oh…and I got to enjoy ice cream with Mom before heading home.  Yay!

Day 51 Fishtail & Reset

I learned a new thing!  NO part of me wants long hair.  Most parts of me don’t even want Chica to have long hair because she doesn’t want to take care of it.  But she’s determined to keep letting it grow, and I must admit I’m enjoying trying new things these days.

I was excited to go to church this morning.  Most Sundays this summer I’ve either been teaching in the two year old class or out of town, so it has been a while since I’ve sat with my kids in the service.  Well, they were a hot mess today, arguing with each other and me from the moment we sat down.  I pulled a teacher move on them: hard reset.  As the music was starting, we left our stuff on our seats, and I marched their grumpy butts all the way out the door and into the parking lot.  I reminded them that we’re not actually here for them to practice your bulletin origami or airplanes, we’re here to worship.  In retrospect I probably wasn’t as calm and loving as I could have been, but it mostly worked I guess.  Take-two in the sanctuary at least didn’t involve any fighting.

Since this morning I’ve been reflecting on how I need a reset too.  I’ve decided to take some time off from serving in the twos class to help get us all back into the habit of worshiping together joyfully.  I’ll miss seeing my little people regularly, but I’m feeling peace about taking a break for my family.

Summer Week 6

We had four days in a row of classes this week to make up for last week’s holiday.  I had to be creative in order to post about something other than homework….it feels like that’s all I did!

Day 38 Dog Sitting

Most of my friends know that I’m anti-pet, but I make an exception for this one.  Bailey’s mom went out of town for the day, and I was happy to take him out while she was gone.  Bubba was thrilled to get a few snuggles in with his best bud.

Day 39  Team Shirts

This week the kids are both attending basketball camp at LCA.  Wednesday is team spirit day, so they were encouraged to wear their team colors and whatever else they had to represent their team.  I had class until 7:00 and more work to do after that, so they were completely on their own to make it happen.  I came home to this.  Chica had finished her Kentucky Wildcats logo and was working on a UNC design for Bubba.  We have a fair amount of sibling grumbling in our house, but sometimes they are just so stinkin’ sweet to each other.

Day 40  Embarrassed

I struggle to think of a time that Chica has ever expressed feeling embarrassed.  She’s too much in her own world to worry about how others perceive her.  But that Bubba is a different story.  Even in Pre-K he would refuse to wear shorts to school because he was “embarrassed”.  They couldn’t be at more opposite ends of the spectrum in this way.  Well, I should have seen it coming, but Bubba was “embarrassed” to wear his homemade paper logo to basketball camp.  I struggled to get him to walk in the building, but he finally did with his lunchbox covering up her artwork.  I didn’t want to let him take it off because Chica had worked so hard on it, but I could tell he was legit fearful of what might happen if he wore it into the gym.  I let him take it off but warned him he was on his own to deal with the wrath of his disappointed sister.  She turned out to be pretty gracious.

I didn’t think to snap a picture of them in their jerseys before we left the house.  Every single picture on my phone from this day is some sort of math problem.  But since I’ve made it this far in the summer with a picture every day, here’s a screenshot of my favorite problem I solved.  We had to work out the surface area of this trunk using what we know about cylinders and rectangular prisms.

Day 41 Camp Champs

 

 

 

 

 

I took the afternoon off and enjoyed a slow lunch at Food Truck Thursday with Patsy.  If you haven’t tried Calle Cruz Miami, you’re missing out!  I was so relaxed after our afternoon of chatting in the shade that I almost forgot I was supposed to go early to basketball for their awards ceremony.  Bubba’s team ended up winning Camp Champs for his division, and he hasn’t stopped talking about it yet.  While the basketballs they got were cool, I was most impressed with the personal notes that both kids got from their student coaches.  Chica was especially pleased at the positive things her coaches pointed out about her week.  I was worried about this whole experience for my never played basketball, hates to lose, avoids all competition kid.  However, she ended up thoroughly enjoying it, and I think the students working with them deserve the credit.

Day 42 Triangles

 

 

 

 

 

This was by far my favorite book club meeting yet.  I wrote all about it in this thread, and then the author replied, so just go read it!  And if you’re not on Twitter and you’re a teacher, this is my not-so-sneaky attempt at getting you to join.  You need teacher Twitter in your life.

Day 43 Birthday & Sleepover

 

 

 

 

We knew we wouldn’t be able to all celebrate Jay’s birthday on his actual day this coming week because of everyone’s schedules.  So we (and by we I mean mostly Nana & Papa) planned a Saturday morning breakfast to celebrate.  Be jealous of this menu:  biscuits, sausage gravy, chipped beef gravy, scrambled eggs, bacon, watermelon, mimosas, and red velvet cupcakes.

We then hurried home and spent a frantic hour as a family trying to recover our house from about three weeks of neglect.  Nothing like a friend coming over to get butts moving.  Chica didn’t know until she arrived that her friend was joining her next week at camp.  Her mom usually keeps her kids in the dark about plans so she doesn’t get 1,000,001 questions, so I didn’t tell Chica ahead of time for fear of it slipping out too soon.  What a fun surprise!

Day 44 Camp & Flat Tire

   

 

 

 

I dropped Chica off this afternoon for her second year of overnight camp.  Last year I was a mess.  This year there were no tears.  Both girls were instantly at ease, and “stone-cold-Tracy” had no worries or sadness….just excitement for the awesome week I know they will have.

Being the little brother has its perks on days like this.  He got invited to spend the night at Nana & Papa’s, and he finally got to go fishing.  Look at that face!

Jay and I spent our kid-free night on the trail.  Things were going great until the 2 mile mark when his back tire went completely flat and he had to walk his bike the whole way back.  We ended up redeeming the night by taking the super long way home with the top down in the Jeep.  Ahhhhh, summer.

Summer Week 5

I’m way behind, y’all.  I gave up on daily chores for the kids after 6 days in, but I’m still not giving up on my pic-a-day idea.  So here’s what I can remember from the last week and a half!

Day 29 Homework

 

 

 

I spent the morning riding the trails at New London again.  It’s sort of refreshing to be so new at something that you experience noticeable growth every time you try again.  Most days I feel like I’m stuck at the same speed when I run, but it’s obvious that I’m getting faster on the bike.  I’m guessing most of that, though, is from the fear subsiding and not really from gaining much fitness.  I’ll take it anyways.

I spent the rest of the day working on homework.  I chose these pictures to remind myself that I really do enjoy the work that I’m doing.  Sure, a few more days at the pool with no deadlines would be great, but I know all of this will be worth it when I eventually step into a full-time role helping teachers teach math better.

Day 30 Carcassonne
After the morning teaching two year old Sunday School, the kids and I headed to Richmond for our yearly staycation at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  Chica snapped this picture when we were teaching them how to play Carcassonne.  Bubba pouted through this first game because Grandpa stole his great big ol’ city, but he came back to beat us by one point in the rematch.

Day 31  Bike Riding
On Monday morning Grandma, Bubba, and I left the other two sleeping while we went to Rockwood Park.  They played Pokemon while I ran….and I also happened upon a bunch of RVA rocks.

Later we rode bikes around Grandma’s lake in order to check out the July 4th parade route.   I still pinch myself every time we go out on a bike ride now.  No baby seat, no buggy, no trailer, no training wheels, (almost) no fighting….it’s pretty great.

 

Day 32  Bowling

 

 

 

 

It was crazy hot in Richmond in the beginning of the week, so bowling was at the top of our list of indoor fun things to do.

I chose the second and third pictures here to remind me of Chica’s growth lately.  At one point she got upset during bowling thanks to a brief argument with Bubba and being pretty far behind in points.  She pouted for a short while and then articulated, “I don’t want you to cheer for me unless I look excited”.  In other words, our attempt to encourage her even when she had a mediocre turn was just annoying to her.  That seemed like reasonable request, so we honored it.  And guess what?  She recovered.  Almost instantly.  There was so much joy in the moment I snapped that second picture.  Can you see that Bubba was doing a celebration dance?  🙂  I’m so proud of her for figuring out what she needed and communicating that to us so clearly.  #progress

She nearly lost it again trying to spend her arcade tickets at the junk counter.  Mom-math-teacher was expecting her to do her own mental subtraction to see how much she had left, but she was feeling frantic and refused to think through it.  I tried really hard to stay calm and remind her there was no rush, and she eventually got there….without the phone or paper & pencil.  On another day her overly emotional response would have escalated to the point of me choosing to throw the tickets away and making her walk out without anything.  This time we recovered together, and it didn’t have to come to that.  *Mental note….we need to work on thinking about adding up for subtraction!

Day 33  Independence Day

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve decided it’s more fun to be in a parade than to watch one.  In preparation for my parents’ neighborhood parade, we went to the Dollar Tree and bought every tacky red-white-&-blue decoration imaginable for Jay’s Jeep.  I think the results were pretty awesome.  

I spent the afternoon trying to convince everyone that going to watch fireworks at the fairgrounds would be worth enduring the mobs of people, traffic, and heat.  I was right.  Also, I haven’t figured out any good way to photograph fireworks with an iPhone, but glow sticks look pretty cool!

Day 34 Rock Climbing

In case you missed it, a few months ago I wrote about the disaster that was rock climbing on Chica’s overnight field trip.  She has asked repeatedly since then if we could give it another try, and our RVA Stay-cay seemed like a good time to go.  As anticipated, she got a little weepy when both Bubba and I got higher than her, but she so held it together.  I’m proud of her for trying again!  Bubba actually got stuck at the top and had to be “rescued” on his last climb.  We had lunch at Bottom’s Up after climbing, and Grandma wowed the kids with stories about the time the restaurant was flooded.


Day 35  Bonus Beach Day

 

 

 

 

 

The plan was to go to Kings Dominion on Friday, but the weather forecast just stunk, so we postponed it one day.  Instead we visited Yorktown Beach, a place Grandma had taken them before, but I had never been.  Sand and water without the fear of kids getting swept away by the ocean current is my jam, as Chica would say.

Day 36  Kings Dominion

 

 

 

 

 

Our annual trip to Kings Dominion is easily the most anticipated day of the summer.  However, this trip was super extra special because the kids got to spend the day with their cousin who we haven’t seen in a long time.  They picked up right where they left off and had all the fun.  We were there when the park opened and didn’t leave until it closed!

Day 37 Back to Reality

The transition back to Mom’s rules after a week of Grandma’s rules was a little hard for Bubba this time.  He was convinced I should let him eat the melty Peppermint Patty he found in my van at 10:00 am on the way home, but I was determined that was a no-go.  He preceded to moan and whine like he might die of starvation, even after having two other snacks.  So in desperation (and with quite a bit of sarcasm), I handed him an entire English cucumber that Grandma sent home with us.  “Here.  If you’re really starving, chew on this.”  And he did.  He ate the entire thing, and we’ve been laughing about it ever since.

That night we drove to Nana’s house for dinner with the top down.  Yep….I’m that person wearing a hoodie in the middle of the summer.

We had a great time in Richmond, but man, it was also good to be home!