Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Last Thursday, Friday and Saturday I packed up a majority of my students, and headed for Florida. The annual Manatee fieldtrip is one of my favorites - this year was great too. We didn't see as many manatee because it was a lot warmer, but my students are amazing, and showed such absolute trust in me that was very heartwarming. I did get an underwater digital camera for Christmas (thanks Brian) and was CHARGED UP to use it, but only saw a few. Most of my pics are of my students which I can't share, but I managed a few natural wildlife all the same.
The kids became very adept at identifying a few fish - mullet (above) the loved because we read the book Hoot before we went and they tried to catch a few like Mullet Fingers does in the story.
This is a sheepshead - once I gave them the name they quit saying zebrafish.
Then of course, the amazing manatee. Not too many because of warmer temperatures and scuba divers (they don't like a sound that scuba gear makes, and we watched them leave an area VERY quickly when the divers showed up).
This one below, wanted us to rub his belly. This onewas wonderful because it hung around for a LONG time and allowed a bunch of the kids to experience it.
We also snorkeled Rainbow River- no manatee, but tremendously gorgeous scenery. We saw turtles, birds, fish of all sizes, and of course the bubbling sand.

I will try to post some video I (or my colleague) took, but I can't have any with students in it, and quite honestly, mine are very jerky because I was swimming students on both arms, whenever they got scared their little hands would start to shake (my arm) and it was hard to take a lot of decent anything.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

And Then the Ice Melted

Enough for us to get out of the neighborhood anyway. Today was Day 4 of no school due to snow. I had already scheduled a cadette meeting for today, because of cookie paperwork needing to go home, so we met at the bowling alley. We SOOOOOOOOOOOOO needed to get out of the house, and these girls just love hanging out. We made them play without the bumpers (don't you think they are old enough?) so there were a ton of gutter balls, but they had a great time making fun of each other. While the big girls played on their two lanes......
the younger siblings (Blondie, Cheesie and T) played on their own lane. Cheesie and T had a lot of trash talking going on. Things like "OOOOH take that strike," and "You are going DOWWWWNNNN." Blondie had a spill on the slick floor, but eventually popped back in to play. T won the first game (much to Cheesie's horror) and Blondie blew out the second game. I was glad to have something silly and active to do with all these kids.

Part way through bowling my Brownie coleader called me and asked if the girls (and any other cadettes) could meet at the council office for a photoshoot for the local newspaper. Cookie sales start Friday, so they were doing an article about it, and since the article mentioned the soldiers, and the VA hospital (earlier posts) and the girls participated they thought it would make sense to have the girls there. The photographer stood on a stool and shot a ton of pictures and we were finished fairly quickly.
Blondie said it was the BEST DAY EVER. I must admit I enjoyed it too.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Brian's portraits

Brian took Blondie and Cheesie out into the yard and created these portraits. I think they are gorgeous. He photoshopped them into black and white too, but these were my favorites.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Wow! South Carolina has had 2 significant snowfalls (day after Christmas and today) in one winter (3 times in one year - last February T-Rex was sledding in a cast).
This white stuff may actually be around tomorrow too because its supposed to be freezing rain tonight. EVERYTHING is closed down because our city has only about 4 trucks for sanding and clearing roads. I was laughing at the newspaper photo in the state that showed the very depleted milk shelf at the grocery store. Everyone runs out to stock up as if we're going to be inside for a week.

The kids (and our dog Maggie) have been in and out all day, playing with 3 other houses of neighborhood kids. They built a big fort (or two) and have been having snowball fights all day. Big Al's thumb is bruised, and moving minimally so we'll have to keep an eye on that, but otherwise they have had a great time. Apparently they pulled out all of the yard equipment (hence the leaf rake) to gather all of the snow.
Oh sure, make the youngest one shovel the snow.

I hope my rakes aren't destroyed so we can get all of the leaves hiding under the beautiful snow.
Maggie spent a lot of time supervising the girls, while the little dog Tate spent the day curled up next to me inside. Maggie can't stand for the girls to be outside without her keeping an eye on them.

They also spent time catching snowflakes.

The kids are crossing their fingers for at least a 2 hour delay tomorrow so we'll have to wait and watch the news later tonight.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Last night we had a family gathering at our house for New Years since my family was sick for Christmas. My Uncle Tom and his wife Amy, and their daughter CJ came, along with my mom, sister and niece, and Big Al's friend "K". Around about 11 Brian remembered to pull out the camera and started taking pictures.

CJ and Tom - drinking slushies
CJ and Cheesie reading a book.
Blondie and Cheesie did a great job keeping up with CJ, although at one point I heard Blondie tell Cheesie, "Your turn" so apparently they were tag teaming. It's tough keeping track of a two year old when you have so many cool things to play with.

About 5 years ago on the 4th of July Big Al was burned by a firework. She wasn't shooting them off, but watching them, when one tipped over and shot into her leg. It was incredibly traumatic, and with all of our kids illnesses, it is the one that Brian and I feel responsible for. Since then we generally don't do ANY fireworks, but Brian held on to some sparklers and pulled those out. For the record the kids did these one at a time and with pretty intense supervision. I stayed inside because I couldn't stand to watch.

T-Rex and her sparkler.Cheesie

CJ with hers..... her Dad was standing RIGHT THERE.

Big Al and "K"joining the fun. Blondie participated too, but Brian didn't have his camera out at that point.Blondie had waited all night for the Times Square festivities to be on TV, apparently that is a big tradition for her. She slept on the floor until after the Carolina bowl game (tragic) and popped awake once I told her we were switching the channel.

Nearing midnight, CJ was waaaaayyyyyy past tired, and on full throttle, but having a good time. A fun night with my great family.