Monday, September 8, 2014

Balloon festival and new flute

On Saturday, Grand Rapids held its first annual balloon festival. It was.... Well, the last half hour was awesome.

See, according to the website, there was going to be stuff going on all day. We decided to skip the 6:00 am launch and show up at 3:30ish, because there were going to be lots of balloons set up, and we could walk around and see them close up and talk to the pilots. And then, at 6:00, they'd be getting ready to launch, and then launch at 7:00, and ... Yay! Sounds fun!

The reality, however, was that when we got there, there was a long line for the one balloon, which you could walk into to see what it's like inside. Also, there were lots of carnival games and a couple of bouncy toys, and it was all very loud (rather than the peaceful experience we'd kind of envisioned). We lined up and walked through the balloon, which was really cool. Both Katrina and Houston said, "It's bigger on the inside!" (Solid Doctor Who reference there. Well done, kids!) Once we were finished with our (very rushed along) walk-through, and the kids had played the carnival games (free, but also geared for younger kids), there was nothing else to do for a long time. Apparently what happened is that it had poured the night before, so the field was really muddy and they couldn't set up their balloons out there.

And THEN, it was windy and the wind was blowing the wrong direction, so they couldn't launch the balloons either. They finally started setting up a couple of balloons at about 7:30, and when the wind died down a bit half an hour later, they set up the rest. At about 8:30, as the sun was setting, they did a "glow," which meant that the balloons stayed on the ground, but they blasted the fires, so the balloons glowed from the inside. It was beautiful.

Next year, we all decided, we'll go at 7:00ish.

* * * * *

Today was the first Monday of school, which meant that it was the first day that Katrina had band, which meant that Katrina got her flute today. She's super-excited. I'm not entirely sure what they actually DID in band today, because she hasn't actually learned how to put it together yet. (That didn't stop her from putting it together - with my encouragement - as soon as she got home. How hard is it to put a flute together, after all?)

So Katrina had her flute out and practiced blowing into it, and Houston brought his sax out and tried to figure out how to play Doctor Who songs, and it was very loud in here for a while. Happy, but loud.

* * * * *

I know some people can't see my web albums when i do the slide show thing, so instead i'll just say that if you want to see pictures from the past few days, here's the link: Sept. 6-8. :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Yesterday was the first day of school. All three kids were excited to go and see all of their friends and meet their teachers. They bounced out of bed and were ready to leave the house 15 minutes later.

Today was the second day of school. The boys mostly bounced out of bed and were ready to go on time. Katrina dragged herself out of bed, complained of not feeling well, and moved extremely slowly. I was all, "You're probably just tired!" until i touched her forehead and noticed that she was pretty hot. Temperature taken, fever established, and she is missing a day of school for the first time in about 4 years. Her method of being sick: Lay on the couch sleeping. Open eyes, chirp, "I feel much better!" When i suggest that she should maybe try sleeping longer, fall asleep immediately. Repeat.

Anyhow. Yesterday! First day! All three kids had great first days. Katrina's best friend is in her class for the first time ever. Zane and Houston don't have good friends in their classes, but Zane is certain that he'll make friends with all the kids he doesn't know, and Houston has math class with all of his friends. Houston and Katrina got home and cheerfully did their homework immediately. Zane immediately did his homework with tears and frustration. (Mostly because i kept making him erase his 5's and re-write them the right way. He's learning the five times table. There are fives literally ALL OVER the page. Just LOOK AT THEM so you don't write them backwards!)

I've mentioned before (well, on my old blog) that Houston seems to carry some sort of curse on teachers. Every single teacher he's had, except one, has quit or retired or moved to another grade. This year, for the very first time, Katrina was set to have a teacher that he'd had in 4th grade, who then moved up to 5th grade before Katrina could have her for 4th. And...she quit to go be the principal at another school. So Katrina has a new teacher, who seems very nice, but right now we are both really disappointed. Meanwhile, Houston was set to have his first ever male teachers, and both of them quit. His homeroom teacher is going to Africa with the Peace Corp (can't really hold that against him!), and i have no idea what happened to the other one. So! New teachers for him too!

Zane, on the other hand, has the same teacher Houston had for 3rd grade. (She's all proud of herself for being the only Houston-teacher left standing in the school.) This is the teacher that, when i would do lunches in Houston's room, Zane would hide under the desk for as long as she was in the room. He was terrified of her. She tried really hard to win him over all year, but he would not be won over. She was the only person he was really afraid of. So we were all surprised when, when i asked him which teacher he really wanted for 3rd grade, he said he wanted her. When we went to the "Meet the Teachers" event, he ran up to her and said, "I'm not afraid of you anymore!" and then ran off. She and i just looked at each other, shrugged, and laughed. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

The past couple of years, the kids' school has done school pictures a couple of weeks before school starts. At first i was all, "What?! That's weird!" but after the first year, i realized that i really like it, because then i get to bring them, make sure their hair isn't sticking up all over, and make them smile at least somewhat normally. And then afterwards, we come home and i take pictures of them by our house.

This year, it was raining on picture day. We happened to arrive at the school in a short break in the rain, so the kids weren't all drenched-looking in their pictures, but afterwards it was pouring. As we were driving home, i commented, "I guess i won't be taking pictures of you guys this year," and Houston immediately said, "WHAT? You should still take pictures! In fact, you should take pictures of us IN THE RAIN! That would be awesome!"

And so we did.