Thursday, September 26, 2013


Will's very first spelling test (or test of any kind, for that matter): 


And yes, those are super hard words for a first grader to spell.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The County Fair

The second annual Brazos County Fair arrived at the perfect time: fresh from reading Charlotte's Web this summer (which takes place primarily at Zuckerman's Farm and the county fair), Hallie believed our county fair would provide her an opportunity to ride the Ferris Wheel, eat cotton candy, and most importantly, meet Wilbur and Charlotte. And though she refused to ride the Ferris Wheel, skipped the cotton candy, and "couldn't find" Wilbur and Charlotte, Hallie still enjoyed herself. As did the rest of us.
Admiring her balloon flower bracelet.
Plugging his ears while his plastic bubble was inflated.
Waiting his turn in the pool.
Splashing around.
Face splat. 
Last year only Hallie would feed the goats. This year only Will would feed the goats.
Though he was still nervous around the animals, he did his best to be
brave...for me, I think, because he knew I wanted to feed the animals.
I loved this dude.
Yep, a little nervous.
But getting the hang of it!
I'm fairly certain she believed he was actually driving.
Sweet kiddos.
Close-up of my handsome boy.
The view from the top of the Ferris Wheel.
Gazing out over the fair and the vastness beyond.

Happy girl on the Merry-Go-Round.
Enjoying a painfully slow train ride.
Pretty girl.
This picture brings tears to my eyes.
The rodeo begins! (What do you mean your county fair doesn't end
every evening with a rodeo? Everything in Texas ends with a rodeo.)  
Calf roping.
I still haven't quite mastered rodeo photography.
Our wheel on the way in.
Our wheel on the way out.
I shouldn't enjoy the county fair - it's always unbearably hot (early September in Texas? 100+ degrees outside, even at 8pm at night), the cost of admission isn't cheap, the rides are downright expensive, and the food is awful - but I can't help wanting to go and then actually having a good time. I bet it's because I really love the people who come along with me.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

First Day of the Last Year of Preschool

Hallie's last first day of preschool went exactly as I expected it would: she woke, with and as brightly as the sun, attempted to dress herself but ended up tangled in her back-to-school ensemble, and had her first meltdown before 6:45am. She pulled herself together though, and ended up completely ready - backpack on, lunchbox in hand - to walk out the door at 7:45am, close to an hour before she and I had to leave.

When we arrived at school, Hallie, just as her brother had done the week before, walked right into the building and her classroom like she owned the place. I watched from the doorway as she hung up her backpack, stowed her lunchbox in her cubby, and placed her water bottle in the water bottle tub. She moved her "Hallie" tongue depressor from "Home" to "School", waved to me, and found a table top project to work on while she waited for the rest of her classmates to arrive.

It's both beautiful and painful to watch my independent and confident children find their way in the world.

Hallie loves her teachers, Ms. Candice and Ms. Fran. (Will had Ms. Fran as one of his teachers two years ago.) She loves singing songs, reading books, talking about the weather and the calendar, snack time, centers, art projects, recess, Chapel, and Creative Movement. She does not love eating her yogurt at lunch, but if that's the only negative she can come up with, I think we're doing pretty well.

This is her and our last year of preschool - it's going to be great!
These besties coordinated their outfits nicely on the first day of school!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

First Day of First Grade

Will's first day of first grade went exactly as I expected it would: he woke up early, ready to tackle the day, and then got dressed, made his bed, made and ate his breakfast, brushed his teeth, let me take his picture, walked to school with his daddy, and cruised into the school building and his classroom like he owned the place. I can only hope that first days of school continue to go this well as he gets older.

Thus far, Will prefers first grade over kindergarten; he colors less, he's allowed to check out more and a wider variety of books from the school library, he's allowed to play basketball at recess, he has two teachers instead of one (though he and I both loved his kindergarten teacher), and best of all, his classroom has three computers instead of two. First grade is clearly the winner.

I'm excited to see what the year will hold for Will. I saw tremendous growth - academically, socially, athletically, musically...across the board, really - in Will throughout his kindergarten year, and I have no doubt that first grade will be a year of growth as well. I have a feeling, however, that the growth we see this year will be in the less measurable and often overlooked areas of hard work, perseverance, emotional control, physical control, and empathy. At least I hope we see growth in these areas...

Here's to another great year as a Rock Prairie 'Rangler!
Will's also learning how to be a gentleman.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Let Them Take Flight

Will loves paper airplanes, so it works out well that Tom is pretty good at folding paper airplanes.

A few months ago, Will received two paper airplane books (with pages that are designed to be torn out and folded into various but specific paper airplanes) as gifts. Since then he and Tom have been folding up a storm.
About half of the airplanes I found laying around the house.

We decided to pack up all of the airplanes they'd folded and take them to the TAMU Engineering Building - which hosts a beautiful and spacious three-story atrium perfect for paper airplane flying - to give them a whirl.

It was immediately apparent that many before us had thrown paper airplanes from the third-floor landing.
An Aggie's airplane, stuck on the window ledge.
Tom's first throw.
Will's first throw (which looked more like a pitch).
Hallie's first throw (which looked more like a drop).
And then we lost one.
It least it looked pretty on the window ledge.
Sorting through the options.
The view from the lobby. See the square conference
room that juts out below where Tom and Will are
standing? Hallie managed to get two airplanes stuck
on top of that room. They'll probably never be retrieved.
She loved dropping the planes over the edge.
Looks like Aggies use whatever they can find as paper airplanes.
("Robotics 601")

When all was said and done, we lost five planes that day - the two Hallie somehow flew onto the conference room, and three more on the second and third floor window ledges. I love that Tom can see the planes that he and Will made - in their "permanent" resting places - as he walks down the hallways at work.