Tuesday, August 26, 2008

1st Day of Kindergarten

I wonder at what age you stop wishing your life away . . . "Mommy, do I go to Kindergarten today?" and start wondering where your life has gone . . . "My goodness! Is today already the day you start Kindergarten?!" I don't actually remember when that mindset changed for me. . . .
"Why are you crying Mommy?" is what I heard from Emily as we walked back home from dropping my four year old son off at school this morning. Today was Ryan's first day of Kindergarten. I awoke this morning, after a very restless night, with the anticipation of putting Ryan on the school bus to go to school. His excitement has been off the charts for several days. We live close enough to the school to walk there, but with our work schedules we are going to have to depend on bus transportation on some days and besides, he couldn't wait to ride the school bus!! We were told several weeks ago that we would be riding one bus only to find out this past Saturday that we would actually be riding a different bus and being picked up at a completely different time. Though disappointed with this change, we were at the bus stop this morning at 7:24 am to board the bus at 7:30. Mike (who had to work this morning) calls my cell phone at 8:10 to tell me he just passed (in his patrol car) the bus Ryan is supposed to be on and the driver is pulling into the school parking lot. Ryan is still standing beside me and was never picked up! We jumped into our neighbors van and quickly made our way over to the school along with our entire neighborhood. After saying good-bye and seeing our children saftely into the school door (they don't allow you to bring your child into the school itself--makes for an easier transition into the classroom), we all headed for the office. Once we talked to the bus driver and the school administration, I was made aware of the fact that Ryan would be arriving at home this afternoon at 3:09--on his bus. The mix up was made by the transportation company and is hopefully completely straightened out now, but since I took today off work I will not get to see him get on the bus for several more weeks.

The neighbor we rode to school with has a little girl that is in Ryan's class along with two older children (the two girls are in the above picture with him). On our way out of the office door, Lydia and Emily in tow, my neighbor hands me a visitor sticker and we make our way down the hall. We pass Ryan's class quickly so to not be seen, but peeked in and saw him sitting with his class on the rug in front of his teacher. I made it past with no problem and started walking home . . . it hit me. With all the craziness of the morning it had not dawned on me that my baby was going to Kindergarten. Where has the time gone? Lydia and Emily were a little confused as to why I was crying, but I assured them that Mommy was fine. Another neighbor passed me on the street--after having dropped off her children--and rolled her window down--she is Russian and speaks very broken english--and asked me if I would like a ride. I thanked her while bushing away tears. She looked at me and asked "Kindergarten?" Amazing how the "language of Mommy" is the same no matter what your nationality.

I am happy to announce that he arrived safely, at his bus stop, this afternoon and was smiling as he crossed the road. Since I was convinced that he would get on the wrong bus when leaving school, I became a little nervous when other children were getting off the bus and he was not. He was the last little guy to get off the bus at his bus stop (very back of the picture--you can click on the pictures to enlarge them). Turns out the bus driver was calling out the names of the children that were to get off at this stop . . . and when your last name is Washington . . . you are not first to do anything:). He spent a half hour telling me about his day, what he did and the friends he made. When asked if he was ready to go back tomorrow . . . "YES!" The bus driver told us she would be back tomorrow morning at 8:06 am (the time we originally had and wanted). Can't believe we both survived it!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Our County Fair

On Thursday, we took the kids at the Preschool to the county fair. We took 10 two year olds, 10 three year olds, and about 15 to 17 four year olds and school agers. It was great!! We saw cows, chickens, rabbits, sheep, goats, and turkeys. My two year olds were able to pet a cow, baby goat, and a sheep. They were so excited!! Mike was off work that day and was able to come along with Lydia and Emily and ride the bus with them and everything!! Ryan was along on the trip as well, but was with his class. They rode in a different vehicle and they did some other things that my guys and the three year olds did not do. After seeing all the animals, we went to the little circus that was inside the fairgrounds. The kids loved it!! Especially watching the motorcycles driving in the "globe of death." After this great fair time we all parked ourselves on some picnic tables, under a shelter, and ate our packed lunches. It was great!! As you can see, we made Mike our balloon transporter.That evening, we decided to go back as a family. One of the perks of being a police officer in Rockingham County, is that you and your family get into the fair free of charge. We decided we should not pass up this opportunity. Upon arriving we had dinner. Eating at the fair, quite a big deal!! In venturing over to the rides, we ran into my friend Rabia and her family. Her daughter, Frances, and Ryan rode the motorcycles together while Lydia and Emily hitched a ride on another one. After riding the motorcycles and the cars we were out of ride money:) (buying tickets for three kids to ride . . . takes a lot-we stop after two rides per child). Luckily, we still have children that enjoy the "free rides" as well. The kids love sitting on the tractors just as much as the rides that cost money! Frances and her little brother, Henry, joined us at the tractors as well. While hanging out on the tractors, we ran into my parents. They were walking around checking things out. After meeting up with them, Rabia and her family left to get some dinner and we visited the livestock animals as well as the petting zoo. After eating ice cream and stealing a peek at the tractor pull, we headed out of the fair. All three kids fell asleep before making it home. No one made it to bed before 10:00 pm. It was a great day and night!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Visiting with close friends

Good friends are often hard to come by. When you find that good friend, you need to hang on to them. Becky (Ross) Settle and I have been friends since we were in High School. Back when the New Kids on the Block were quite popular! She and her family moved into our neighborhood and we met on the bus (I think that is where we met anyway:)). Instantly we became friends. She was a year behind me in school, but it really did not seem to matter. Upon graduating from High School, we remained friends during college and after college as well. She is now married with two boys. Lucas is 5 and is starting Kindergarten this year and Mason is 3. With Ryan 4 and starting Kindergarten and Lydia and Emily 2 and almost 3, our kids have a lot in common and enjoy spending time together. This, along with our great friendship, has enabled us to be friends in our adult life as well. Unfortunately, Becky lives in Mechanicsville and we live in McGaheysville . . . 2 hours away from each other. Soooooo as a result, every so often we visit one another.

This past Friday Ryan, Lydia, Emily and I went to Mechanicsville. Mike had to work this weekend so he was not able to go. Becky's husband visited his dad this weekend to help him with some yard work, etc. so it was just us girls and the kids. Saturday morning we took the kids to the public pool that is close to their house. We arrived at 10:30 and stayed until 3:30. The kids were wiped out and NO ONE had, had a nap. After the pool visit, they played together outside and after dinner we walked to a nearby school (where Lucas will be going to Kindergarten) and played on the playground. This was very nice since when they come to our house we walk to our playground (McGaheysville Elem. School--where Ryan will be starting Kindergarten) as well. After some very small meltdowns by Lydia and Emily, everyone passed out cold at about 8:30 Saturday night. Becky and I sat down and watched Michael Phelps win his 8th gold metal!!! That was awesome! I keep telling Becky that she needs to move back to Harrisonburg and she keeps telling me we need to move to Richmond. I seriously doubt either thing will happen, but it would be so great if it did! The only thing that would make our families perfect . . . . Becky and Stuart just need to have a little girl:).

I know by the time we left this morning (Sunday) our welcome was probably almost worn out:). Our family visits are very special as well as the time Becky and I get to spend catching up. She has always been a very special friend and I hope our friendship lasts until our children are gown and married and we are old and gray. Maybe our grand kids will play together one day too.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Campin with the fam

This past weekend Mike, the kids and I went camping with my parents, my brother, his wife and my niece, Adella. We had a great time going to Natural Bridge Campground in Natural Bridge Virginia and spending some quality time with the family. The Natural Bridge Campground has a pool, playground, mini golf and a beach area with a swimming lake. My parents have been camping in their motor home for several years. Traveling across the country and staying at various campgrounds along the way. They were able to turn their motor home around to face ours so we could have our joint campsite. It was great! The kids had such a great time playing together and playing with their cousin, Adella. Mike made his campfire and we all sat around talking each night after the kids went to bed. It was a super time, and the weather was perfect! Can't wait to do it again.

We spent a great deal of time in the swimming lake. I have attached a movie clip of Ryan jumping from the dock/pier area in the middle of the lake. This pier was approximately 5 feet out of the water and the bottom of the lake was nowhere in sight. Mike jumped off several times and attempted to swim to the bottom and touch it. He was not successful. We had NO IDEA Ryan would actually jump when he said he would like to go out on the "deck." If either Mike or myself had bet money on whether or not he would do it . . . we would have lost:). We were so very proud of him!!! Ryan also finally figured out how to swing by himself! He had never really gotten the whole "pumping" thing with swinging. While there . . . figured it out! I think he is almost 5 for sure!!

I think this camping thing is going to turn out to be a really great memory maker for our kids! Both mornings they would wake up before Mike and I would. Ryan would get up and then wake up his sisters. They would all climb to the bed above the cab (Ryan's bed) and would play up there. Mike and I would hear them laughing and playing and pretending while up in the "cool bed" that is Ryan's:). It was great!! I hope one day my kids are blogging about their great memories of their childhood!