The look on my daughter’s face when I told her that I was able to change her dr appointment (again) so she could attend the fable festival for her writing class at our tutorial, was one I don’t want to forget.

It was one of those times when I didn’t realize how big of a deal it was to her.  But, when I told her I was able to switch her appointment, her face lit up.  She instantly grabbed the Aesop’s Fables book to look for a costume she could put together.  We were able to put together a pretty good butterfly costume so she could dress up as the Butterfly and the Rose.

We just scanned down the table of contents for characters that we thought we could pull off…. “don’t we have a lion costume?”  “too small”  hmmmm wanna be a rabbit, we could make ears and attach them to a headband?”  “a butterfly?” We remembered wings in the costume bin, I had some paint in the cabinet… then we went for pink and sparkly…. we remembered the silk flower she had given me years before (because it was a flower that would never die) which was in a vase on my dresser… and we had a fable costume.


Then we read the actual fable.

And it did not seem at all appropriate for a fourth grader to read aloud in class. Nor did I even agree with the moral it presented. 

So, we opted for dressing like one fable (the butterfly and the rose) but reading the fable she had rewritten for her writing class. 

She even wanted to bring a snack…. all on less than 24 hours notice… but a trip to Safeway and a scan of the internet helped us find a butterfly snack, which the girls totally put together on their own.  (snack food in a sandwich bag separated in the middle with a rubber band and attached a pipe cleaner on top for antennae).  It really was all her doing.  It was her thing. 

And we almost missed it.  In the scurry of life and in my not wanting to embarrass myself by calling the dr twice in a week to reschedule her appointment, I almost had her miss the party.  And on one hand, it’s just a one hour party… costume, snacks and fables…. not a life changer.  But, on the other hand, it’s these parties and projects that are one of the very reasons we attend a tutorial.  I want them to have these fun moments at school.  I want school to be more than just following the tasks on the assignment sheet.  I want the creativity to flow and the memories to be made.  

And I know for a fact that the fable party probably wouldn’t have mattered so much to all of my kids.  But, it did matter to her.  And I thoroughly enjoyed watching her prepare for it.  I am grateful for our tutorial for many reasons….and this years fantastic, fabulous fable festival for fourth graders was one of them.


Sometimes when Scott tells me he has to go on travel for work, part of me wishes I could just crawl in his suitcase and tag along.  So when Scott came home and told me he was going to be traveling to Florida for a week and suggested that maybe we come, I was thrilled! 
I had to do some finagling with our schedule…. move an eye doctor appointment, get someone to trade meal train dates with me and brace the girls for the fact that they would need to miss a week of practice (this of course was met with GREAT weeping and gnashing of teeth, b/c these girls love gymnastics practice more than just about anything on earth)…. but I was able to work it all out.  And then I had about 36 hours to pack our family of 6 for a week away. 
And, my incredibly wonderful and loving and selfless husband took a day of vacation so he could drive his family of 6 down the entire east coast instead of just waking up on a work day and hopping a plane…. just so that while he spent 4 days working on a business trip, we could spend 4 days in a hotel right on the Atlantic Ocean.

Seriously, Scott is THE BEST, EVER! 
In actuality, he got to spend a few hours on the beach with us on Tuesday morning and another few hours on the beach/pool with us on Friday evening…
Check out the size of those waves!
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…. other than that, he woke before the sun came up and got back to the hotel as it was setting. We did join him for late dinners 3 of the evenings, and the kids and I really enjoyed eating out all week, but I felt bad for him when he would peek out at the waves before leaving in the morning and upon returning at night.  Meanwhile the kids and my schedule looked like this.
Sleep in
Play board games
Go to beach/pool
Come back and make sandwiches in the room for lunch
Do schoolwork
Go back to beach/pool
Come back for late afternoon snack/more school work
(Yup, she even practiced her violin while we were away….)
Go out to eat dinner with Dad
and go to bed…..
Friday evening was the PERFECT ending to the week.  He got back to the hotel in time to boogie board for a bit before dark, then we all went swimming in the pool, which we had to ourselves!  And ended with some time in the hot tub and then we went out for a late dinner at Friendly’s! 
Literally the cherry on top of a wonderful week away.
Saturday we took a leisurely stroll along the beach, packed up and hit the road around 12:45. 
When we got in the van we weren’t sure if we were going to try to drive all the way home or just go until we got tired. 
We pulled into our driveway around 2:45am.
The kids were TOTAL champs.  They got out of the van TWICE!  TWICE!!  Once in Ga for a quick potty break while we got some Starbucks for mom and Dad, and again in SC for a very, very late dinner at Chipotle… which we ordered to go and ate in the van.  They were amazing!  I think they love road trips as much as their crazy parents do.
And I loved having a week away from my normal life to just enjoy the kids.  I felt bad for Scott as he had to spend the week working, but for me it was a true break.  And I really enjoyed the time with the kids.  I don’t take enough time to just play with them and it was nice to have some undistracted time to do just that. I was also so glad that instead of a week of not seeing Scott, we got to spend time with him every single evening!  And instead of it being a hard week of flying solo with homeschool, doing all the driving to and from practices, and making meals…. I actually had a break….no cooking and  goodness I even had housekeeping make my bed for me!  What a treat! And the ocean.  Oh how I loved being right on the ocean.  Looking out at it all day long.  Listening to the waves pound the shore.  It was beautiful.  Besides our honeymoon to St Lucia, we’ve never done a beach vacation…. a true, stay in a hotel, right on the ocean for a week, vacation…. what a treat! 
A few of my favorite memories from the week, were….
1. This rainbow! 
an entire FULL rainbow over the Atlantic!  Right outside our window.  I couldn’t even fit it all in the camera.  (though I did get it on video).  The kids LOVED it!  My oldest said it was his first time ever seeing a full rainbow.  The colors right at the water were so bright and clear, my 9 year old said, “Oh my, that is vivid!  That is what vivid means.  I have now seen vivid.”  (vivid was a vocab word of hers a few weeks ago… I love that she drew that connection).
It was so funny b/c at first we just saw a little glimpse of the rainbow in the sky and I called the kids over, then each time we looked it just kept growing, till it was a full arch, and then you could even see a faint second rainbow.  A FULL DOUBLE RAINBOW over the ocean!
On another day we actually saw a second rainbow, though it wasn’t as vivid.
2. Every Single Moring my five year old would walk over to the blinds and peer out at the ocean as if to see if it was still there, then he’d go to the bathroom, and crawl back in bed for an hour or so.  I loved how much he was in love with the view of the ocean.  He always chose to do his school work either on the balcony or beside the sliding glass window. 
One time when we were looking out over the ocean he said, “Mom, I think I can even see Kansas out there.” bahahahaha……. looks like we still have some geography to work on.  Smile
What a wonderfully fun week!

Our tutorial was off on Monday and we decided to have Scott take off as well and have a family fun day.  We toyed with the idea of camping trip, but instead opted to stay home and go on outings Sat, Sun, and Monday.  It was a really nice weekend. We found a hike only an hour away.  It was PERFECT! 

IMG_3376We slept in, took care of a few things around the house and hit the road a little after 11. We got to the trail head and enjoyed a picnic lunch along the water.  Then we hit the trail! 


As we walked we ended up splitting off into three groups.  Our oldest and our third child took the lead.  My 9 year old and I took the middle and Scott and the youngest were in the rear.IMG_3532

It was super cute to watch them walk side by side. 


I love the fact that she grabs my hand to hold.  She said to be, “So, is it too early to start talking about my birthday?”  My response:  “too soon to talk about your February birthday? No way!” 


Meanwhile I could hear the non stop chattering behind us of my 5 year old.  A few hours in, Scott called up and said, “Guess what.  He is officially out of words.”  None of us thought that was possible.


We found logs to cross, rocks to climb, water to wade in and all in all it was 5.1 miles of bliss.


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I hope it was the first of more local day hikes.  It was a truly wonderful day.  . 

Since the Steelers don’t play until Monday night this week, and it was forecasted to be a beautiful afternoon, we declared today to be Pumpkin Day!    Thanks to a trip to Trader Joe’s last night we had pumpkin cinnamon rolls for breakfast before church and pumpkin ravioli for lunch.  (the cinnamon rolls were a bigger hit with the kiddos).  Then we crossed the Bay Bridge for some pumpkin patch fun on the Eastern Shore.


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Our local fire station had an open house this morning and we took the kids.


I always appreciate the demo they do where they have a fireman get into his full uniform and mask so that the kids know in the even of a fire to go towards them, not hide away from them.

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In addition to climbing on the trucks and sitting inside they had several educational experiences for them.  


They had a fire prevention truck and a 9-1-1 practice station.  They seem like little things, but I felt like it was good practice and review for even my older kids and I was grateful for the opportunity.  IMG_3188

They also really enjoyed trying on the gear.  Shhhh….. I think even the big kids enjoyed that part too. 





Who knows maybe we have a future fireperson in the circus fam?