Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The first day of Kindergarten!

Can you believe this day is here? That Brantley can be old enough to join the ranks of  "real" school?  Well, he is and today was the day. The first day of kindergarten.

I watched (through Facebook posts and comments) many of our friends send their children off to kindergarten last week.  We commiserated and wondered how our kids could possibly be old enough.  Weren't they just in diapers last week?  Didn't they just toddle in and say, "Mama" or "Dada"?  I got teary reading other parents' posts!  And I was thankful.

I am so thankful that Brantley has a wonderful school like BDS to go to.  With his kindergarten class next door to his K4 class.  Teachers that greet Brantley by name in the morning, teachers he hasn't had yet.  Having kindergarten teacher who is a friend of ours.  And being a teacher at his school, being able to peep in his classroom any time I want (I have to restrain myself, I don't peep in often), running into him in the hall, hearing , "Mommy!!" when I walk outside and he's on the playground.  Dropping in for lunch with him when my schedule allows.  Short of homeschooling, our situation is the next best thing.

So this morning was more exciting than teary.  Although upon waking up and remembering it's the first day of school, Brantley said, "I wish everyday was Saturday!"

We got out of the house, and on the way without any major stress or strife (except he did NOT want his photo taken this morning).  A quick stop in my classroom to drop off my stuff and we headed down.  Brantley unpacked his bag like a pro and got to playing.  A few friends later and I wasn't even there.
Yes, he looks pained.  This was the best we could get this morning. And no, we didn't color coordinate on purpose

Sir Grump-a-lot on his way out.  He cheered up almost immediately out the door, but I caught the proof that sometimes he DOES look like me! 

Let's hit the road!

Unpacking in his class

Playing with the marble run

Buddies, right before flopping on the bean bag chairs to read.

Sitting with class during the school-wide assembly before the picnic

Slipping down to my room to do my own first day stuff, it was soon time to have our school wide picnic.  Daddy joined us and we visited with old and new friends.  The kids ran and played on the grounds, and then went home for a half day.

All in all, a good day. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

We should have named him Snoopy

It's been one month today since Brady came to  our "forever" home.  I used to say "forever" home in a sneery, touchy feely voice, but now we can see the difference it can make in a little animal's life.  And what a difference in ours!
Ok, weird eyes. One reflecting the blue in the wall, and he has green eyes instead of red!

We must admit, we mulled getting another dog for a long time.  For those of you who didn't know us, way back when, we had another dog, Ruby.  Brantley had Ruby when we got married, and was my first dog. She was a beautiful black lab, sweet tempered and the type of dog that makes you wonder if you got your good dog and the next one is going to be nuts.  Thus the thinking, and thinking, and thinking.

What finally swayed us?  Little B.  He is just a boy who needs a dog. So now we are a month in.  And what a month it's been.

When we found Brady in the shelter, he was mellow.  As a matter of fact, we wondered if he would perk up enough to be fun for Brant, a playmate. Big Brantley assured me Brady would relax, but perking up was yet to be seen.

So how has Brady relaxed?  Has he perked up?  After one month he HAS!  And he has made his way into our hearts.

Here are some things we've learned about Brady and his "doginality" over the last month:
      -every time he comes into the house he paces until he's taken roll for our family
      -he actually does bury his bones
      -he's a chewer (still puppy you know!) and Brant has learned to keep his toys picked up!
      -if he had a doghouse, he'd be on top of it.  We regularly find him on top of our patio table if we leave the            
       seats pulled out.  We should have named him Snoopy.
      -his favorite place, other than his kennel, is in our chair on the back porch.
      -he thinks he can boss the cats!
      -somewhere between 8 and 10 each night, he gets a wild hair and takes off running around the yard,    
        playful, and crazy!
     -he's never been fed from the table, and therefore, doesn't beg.  Yet.
     -he's got allergies, and takes half a Clariten regularly.
     -Grass makes his feet itch.
     -he puts himself to bed when I put Brant to bed.
     -he adores his stuffed turtle that little B picked out for him.
     -when he wants to be petted or play, he puts a paw on you.  Sometimes two. Ok, he tends to jump on  
      you. But we are working on it. Really.
    -he doesn't like Milk Bones. Or the treats from the pet store. I think we finally found something he likes  
     today though.
    -he loves Brant's fuzzy red carpet in his room.
    -he's not scared of thunderstorms, but don't roll anything towards him, carry a stick or start a car. Poor  
      baby.  What kind of life did he have before?
    -unlike Ruby, he DOES NOT like to have a bath outside with the hose. DOES NOT.  Thus the first time
     we saw his wild hair.
    -he climbs into his basket, on top of his kennel, to get out his toys that I picked up

What will the next month bring? More fun most likely, but more love to be sure!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

We belong in a ZOO!

Oh yes we did. We went to the zoo again, this time all of us.  We headed out earlyish, planning to do only North America (as we usually start in Africa and are too tired to see all the animals there at the end).  Packing a lunch, we headed out!
The garden themed playground is always a stop when we go. This time Grandma played along. 

Spider Grandma!

Brant stopped for just a second to get his picture taken.
Most of the animals we saw were behind glass, such as the snakes, bobcats, and such so the photo opportunities weren't that great. But we got to see the polar bears this time! We chose to view him from the underwater area, as he frolicked with a plastic toy rocking horse.

We stayed the longest here, as polar bears are Brant's favorite.

Just around the corner were the sea lions.  While usually quite active and entertaining, today they weren't.  But Brant did try his hand at "lifting" a baby sea lion.  It weighed 44 pounds!

Heading down to the marsh area, we discovered a side of the walk we don't usually do.  There was some interesting art work, like this marble sculpture of eggs, not actual size, but all proportional. 

Leaning on a horned owl egg

Heading down to the boardwalk

Caught him unawares with this one. He's wearing his Godzilla shirt Grandma brought him from Japan.

A Grandma requested photo...a swallowtail.

The cattail gate scuplture

Hanging out around the Gator Walk

This little guy was teeny tiny. He was swimming on the non-gator side of the  waterway.  He was so cute I had to take a photo!

Hi little kitty.  

That cougar was HUGE.  I mean while he looked like a giant Bailey, Rusty or Tucker, the fact that his paws were as big as saucers made me think he wouldn't purr if scratched under his chin!
The ice cream shop at the zoo wasn't open, so we decided to stop at Homeland Creamery for ice cream on the way home.  Yummy!!

First Fall Soccer practice!

It's that time of the year again! Fall soccer started last night!  Coach Shaun and I are coaching again, and this season we only have 5 returning players.  We lost a few to flag football and several aged up, so it made for an interesting first practice with 5 new players.  But Brant seemed glad to be back on the field and to see his friends again!  Here's to the U6 Gibsonville Phillies! (Coach Shaun picked the name...wonder how he came up with that one?!)

Warming up before practice

Getting ready for a shot on goal

Taking another shot
With soccer starting, you know what else is right around the corner.  School.  This year it's Kindergarten.  More on that later. I go back to work next Tuesday, Brant follows on the 30th.  Fun, real life again (read sarcasm and depression).

Thirsty Thursday at the 'Hoppers

Last week we were offered tickets to the Greensboro Grasshoppers, the Marlin's single A team.   It's always a great evening out, the food is great, the game entertaining and the stadium more than comfortable.  The day was doubly rewarding because it was Thirsty Thursday! 

Mom came along, being just two days back from Japan, we wondered if she would be able to stay awake!  But Brant had no problem keeping her up!  The Hoppers were playing the Blue Claws (the Phillies single A team) so the boys geared up in Phils gear.  It was a fun night, if the game didn't entertain you, the people watching sure would!!

Yummo, ballpark dinner

Buddies,  someone didn't realize how much he had missed Grandma!

Little B took this, not bad!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A summertime field trip

Guess where we went today!?  We loaded up and headed over to Homeland Creamery, in Julian, not too far from where we live.  We've been trying to get over there for quite a bit, and finally made it!  We figured it'd be a good way to keep us occupied (the smallest one in particular).

We started with a hayride that took us through the different fields.  The guide explained some of the breeds, why they were chosen and why they kept them grouped the way they did.  All through this Brant added to our commentary telling us about "Mr. Webb's cows in Delaware."

Little Brant took these next two photos himself.

The adorable baby calf

The turkeys.  Only time I like them is on the Thanksgiving table

Of course, a photo request of the John Deere equipment

And the silliness comes out when we are waiting...he kinda looks like the cows with their tongues out!
On the ride we saw
The field of Mommy-to-be cows

Enjoying the hayride
After the hayride we got to do a variety of things around the farm:
Like feed the adorable baby cow his breakfast!

Try his hand at "milking"

And see the milking room.  The lady in the center was our guide.  I wish the rest of the group had been as good as little B at listening!!

This was an older operation, but it works.  Homeland Creamery isn't "Certified" organic, because to be so the government requires your land to lay fallow for 7 years to ensure there are no pesticides.  They are uncertified organic, meaning they use no pesticides on the food for the cows, and don't add hormones.

Of course, the final activity, ice cream samples!  We had birthday cake ice cream.  Brant 's comment, "My spoon tastes like wood!"  Laughing we realized he'd never had one of those little paddle spoons.

So we couldn't leave without something to bring home for Grandma, who was flying home while we were there. We brought home a gallon of homemade blueberry ice cream!  Yummy!

You know it's summertime when...

Look what little B and I found around half of a tree in our yard.  They said it's a big year for the cicadas...but this is crazy!

Hope these don't creep you out too much.  They kind of look like a little alien invading force.  As a kid I remember running around getting them off trees and being kind of creeped out when they "clung" to you.  I'm glad Brant shares my creeped/cool opinion of these little guys, cause it just wouldn't be summertime without 'em!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

An adventure for the boys

Today was the final day of my conference, and boy do I wish I could have gone with the boys!  On my way out of town I dropped them off at the train station, and off they went to Raleigh.  I was going to meet them a little later and we were going to Marbles together.

Here are the photos from their trip (which only cost them 13.50 total to ride!).  They visited the State Capital building, the NC Museum of Natural History and the NC Museum of History. And not that we are cheap, but there is no admission costs for the museums.  If I hadn't joined the boys, the whole day would have only $20!   Now that's affordable family fun!

  The boys had a picnic lunch in the nice courtyard in the museum area, then walked down to Marbles, where I met them and we had an afternoon of hands-on fun. Of course, like any trip to Marbles, we followed up with an early dinner at Tir na Nog pub, across the street.

All aboard!  You can see the old depot across the street where the caboose is 

Chillin' on the train

The Raleigh station, the Carolinian train.  The final destination, New York City!

Whew, it was a sunny day!

A Civil war naval cannon outside the Capital building

The state World War II memorial

The waterfall inside the Museum of Natural History

Checking out the habitats

Daddy said Brant had the most fun on the escalators.

Don't you love it when a nice person takes a photo for you!

Looking down on the dinos

Oh Pteronadons!!   We are great fans of Dinosaur Train!

On to Marbles!  We've posted many blogs about this great place, and today was no disappointment.  They even had an added attraction, Spin Art!!  

Making the marble run

It didn't take long for us to end up in the construction section.  Daddy helped Brant saw.....

and drill.
 The Pirate Ship is probably the most unique part, with pirate clothes, a hammock swing, and mops to swab the deck!  Check out our little pirate then....and now!
Brant and a new friend took turns tossing the anchor away. Brant would bellow, "Anchors Away!" every time he threw it.

On the research sub

Then back to the pirate ship!!  "Steering us to pirate land!"

Arrgh, there be pirates here!

Then back to the sub!!

Driving the research sub, in his flippers! 

Playing in the outside hydropower exhibit.  Whew, it was hot out there.

So THAT's why!!  Brant finds a train table wherever we go!

Bus driver Brantley in a city bus, volunteered to drive us to dinner!
Quite a good day, but we are all pooped out on the couch now!  What will our NEXT adventure be?