Monday, August 22, 2011

We Survived!

The first day of school came and went and it was an emotional roller coaster! Kaitlyn started 2nd grade, but knew she would be fine. She had several of her old friends in her class. Preston, however, worried us a little. He can be so shy and hesitant to try anything new. Even though he kept saying he didn't want to go to 'big school', we tried our best to make it sound as exciting as possible.

They both woke up to their alarms (the first time for Preston) and eagerly got ready for school. Here are their school bags. Preston used this backpack for Pre-K, but it looks brand new still. So, we didn't buy another one. The iCarly image on Kaitlyn's messenger bag from last year completely came off. So, she asked for just a cute tote bag. I got this at Sam Moon for $10.

They picked out their first day of school outfits from Target. Still smiling!

Handsome Kindergartner!

Beautiful 2nd grader!

Here's the school!

I took this picture of the kids on one of the benches in front of the school. Right after I took it, a photographer from the Keller Citizen newspaper came up to us and said she took a picture of me taking a picture of the kids. Then, she got our names. Soooo, we might be in our local paper!

We took Preston to class first. He picked out his cubby for his back pack.

Then, he found his name on the table and sat down. All of the chairs have a denim cover with pockets for their supplies. Preston is still smiling. And then...

Complete meltdown. I started saying my good-byes to Preston and started tearing up. He already had red eyes and his 'whiney lip'. Craig and Kaitlyn said good-bye and then he started crying. We explained how much fun he was going to have and we needed to take Kaitlyn to her class, blah, blah, blah, nothing helped. We tried just walking out the door, but he would chase after us. I waited in the hall with Kaitlyn and Craig took him back inside. I don't even know how many times Craig tried to walk out, but Preston would get up crying and running after him! But we were not alone. There were several boys in his class doing the exact same thing. I guess we all raised Mama's Boys!!! Finally, a Teacher's Aide came in and took care of Preston for us.

We walked Kaitlyn to class and dropping her off took about 2 seconds. She walked right in and already had her designated desk with her friends. I took a picture and this is her "Mom, get out of here already" look. So different from her brother!

We went to the Cheers and Tears breakfast afterwards and talked with other parents. Then, it was off to reality. Craig went to work and I had a dentist appointment. I also worked on some surprises for the kids.

I got this placesetting idea from Pinterest. So, I thought it would be fun to make for this special day. I printed out this week's special menu on notebook paper and stapled it to construction paper.

I got a large sheet of construction paper and placed the menu in the middle. I added Kaitlyn and Preston's name to the top right corner. I also made a special pocket out of notebook paper for our silverware. They each got a new water bottle as well.

I also made pink lemonade and baked Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars. So yummy!!!

I picked them up from school and they had so much to tell me. Even Preston!!! They also loved coming home to their new cups and treats.

I'm praying for a much easier day tomorrow!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A New Book

I always think of Life's Journey as a series of books. Each book may contain tons of chapters, some happy, some sad. And some of the books may end surprisingly, with a cliffhanger.

I feel as though we are starting a whole new book right now. The last book has come to an end and life is in the midst of clutter until the new book begins.

How does the new book start? So far, it is very bittersweet. There is a sadness that has been floating around our house. But there's also an eager anticipation for the great things that are to come.

Chapter 1 starts tomorrow with the First Day of School. How will the kids do? Will they immediately make new friends? What will Mommy and Daddy do now that both kids are in school?

So many questions to be answered, so many answers to be questioned.

With the beginning of each book is a dedication. Of course, this book is dedicated to God. The One who has guided us through our series so far. The One who has heard our cries of pain when our journey has seemed at a standstill. But God doesn't have writer's block. It just simply wasn't the time to finish that chapter yet. He is also the One who has heard our cries of joy when a chapter was completed in just the perfect way it was intended.

So with this new book, dedicated to God, we bittersweetly anticipate what stories will unfold, what chapters will begin and end, and what new characters may be introduced.

Happy Reading!

'Twas The Night Before School Starts-Repost

'Twas The Night Before School Starts

'Twas the night before school starts, when all through our home
Excitement was abuzz, in not just one person alone.
New clothes were laid out for the new day ahead
Everyone's anxious as bedtime stories were read.

Kisses were given and prayers were said
As children fell asleep snuggled up in their beds.
Mommy and Daddy were the last to lay down
So tired they were, they didn't make a sound.

When before they knew it, off went the alarm
The kids had to be risen from their beds that were so warm.
The sun shone brightly through the windows in their room,
Is this day really here? It seem to come too soon.

The children were dressed and ready for school,
Backpacks were ready and lunches packed full.
Parents walked their kids to class the first day
The kids were fine, would the parents be okay?

The teacher happily greeted them all,
Parents started sniffling as they stood in the hall.
The kids waved good-bye and blew them a kiss,
Did they really know how much they'd be missed?

As parents slowly returned to their car,
They knew their child wouldn't be far.
So they gathered their courage and began to drive away,
The whole time thanking God for giving them this day.

By Desiree Kelley

Friday, August 19, 2011

It's A Whole New School

Literally. We are so proud that our kids will be attending a brand new school. I think everyone was really worried that the school wouldn't be finished in time for the first day, but it will be done. There is still some landscaping that needs to be worked on and I'm sure some smaller projects around the school need to be finished, but overall, the kids will walk into a new school.

Tuesday, we were able to tour the school and just get to know the layout. We were blown away but all the little details that were put into this school.

Here is the cafetorium with the stage on one side. There is a door in the back of the stage that leads to the choir room. There is also a whole wall of floor to ceiling windows.

Here is one side of the gym. It's just your average gym with basketball hoops.

But on one side are two garage doors that can open all the way up. I wish I had that in my house going to the backyard!

The Library/Media Center is two-stories. Two-stories!!! It's the only library in our school district that is designed like that. There will also be iPad's and iPod Touches available for students and teachers to use.

Here's the top floor of the library. As you can tell, a lot needs to be done.

All the hallways are designed the same way. The 3rd and 4th graders are downstairs and the Kinder, 1st, and 2nd graders are upstairs. The hallways are very wide and have 'learning centers' There are dry-erase boards on the walls in the hallway and built in benches. This can be used in case a class wants to do an activity in the hallway or if the teachers want to combine their classes for a lesson. Great idea!!!

This little amphitheater is in the Kindergarten hallway. The teachers can bring their class here for different lessons and projects. Love it!

Last night, was Meet the Teacher. So far, Preston is excited about seeing his new class, meeting his new teacher, and most importantly, getting new school supplies! He already found the teacher's reading chair.

Here's a view from his classroom. I would be daydreaming all day! Every class has large windows on one side. The counters are low and hold the students cubbies underneath. Some of the teachers turned the counters into window seats with a reading area. Smart idea!

Then, we went to Kaitlyn's class. Every class is designed just a little differently. Some classrooms are completely square, others have an angled wall. It's pretty neat. This is Kaitlyn's 'desk'. It's not your normal looking square desk with a shelf underneath. Their desks are triangular shaped and do not have a shelf underneath.

This is the view from Kaitlyn's classroom. It looks onto the field and playground. She's super excited that several of her old classmates will be attending this school as well and will be in her class.

There are soooo many other cool features about this school and we are so excited that we get to be part of this school's history. I will be completely involved in the PTA (I'm on 3 committees) and helping the teachers. With the school being brand new, I'm sure there will be a lot of kinks to work out. For now, we are eagerly (and sadly) anticipating the first day of school on Monday.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Baked Ham and Cheese Croissants

It's been awhile since I've posted a recipe, so here's a super easy one.

When our schedules are hectic, we have sandwich nights and I'm always looking for new variations on a cold cut sandwich. I found this recipe on the site Eat Cake For Dinner. It was so quick and easy to make and we all enjoyed it. I served the sandwiches with a Caesar Salad mix and it was perfect!

Baked Ham and Cheese Croissants
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 Tbsp honey dijon mustard
6 large croissants
monterrey or colby jack cheese, sliced
3/4 lb. sliced deli ham (I got smokehouse ham, thinly sliced, from the deli)

Combine cream cheese and honey dijon mustard. Slice the croissants in half horizontally. Spread top half with cream cheese mixture. Layer the bottom half with ham (I used 3 slices of ham per sandwich, but you can choose your amount) and top with a slice or two of cheese. Cover the sandwich with top layer and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until slightly golden and crispy and cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Staycation: Part 2

After experiencing a very difficult evening with the loss of our beloved dog, we knew we had to stay distracted and keep our spirits lifted. Thankfully, we had a fun day planned for Wednesday.

Craig and I didn't tell the kids what we were going to do. We wanted to keep everything a surprise. We drove to Dallas for an early dinner and ate at the famous Hard Rock Cafe. The last time Craig and I went to one of these restaurants was on our honeymoon in San Diego in 1999!!!

When we pulled up, the kids loved the guitar on the outside of the building.

Unfortunately, the air was out in the building but it was still somewhat cooler than being outside. Here are the sliders that I ordered. Yummy!

We walked around the restaurant after we ate to look at all the memorabilia. Here's Tom Petty's guitar.

This is Billy Gibbon's guitar from ZZ Top. Yes, it's really fuzzy.

This is a guitar from the Christian rock group Pantera.

And my favorite, Elvis memorabilia. The hat was worn when Elvis played in Houston. The outfit is from one of his movies.

Just down the street was the American Airlines Center where we were taking the kids to see the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus!!! They still had no clue what we were doing until we went inside the building.

The Ringling Bros. was one of the most exciting shows we've seen in a really long time. It was over 2 hours long but kept our attention the entire time! There was even a 1 hour pre-show where you could meet some of the circus stars.

It's hard to tell, but those are 3 ladies folded on top of each other. They were the contortionists of the show.

Preston loved this part. All those flashes you see in the cage are actually motorcycles. At one point, there were 7 motorcycles in there at the same time.

Motorcyclist on a high wire with a girl sitting underneath him. Pretty cool.

The tigers were in this cage with their tamer. Some of the tigers seemed very unhappy to be there.

The hit of the show was the elephants. They were pretty awesome.

Has anyone seen the movie or read the book Water for Elephants? Yeah, that story was in the back of my mind the entire time we were at the circus! lol

We got home late that night but so enjoyed our day!

Thursday, was pretty low key again except I had a great lunch with one of my closest friends. Love times like that!

Friday, we had another movie to watch as part of our Summer Movie Camp at Harkins Theaters. Cats & Dogs was playing, and well, we thought it was a boring movie. :/

We took the kids to lunch, I had a voice lesson, and then on to my in-laws house for dinner. Our niece was visiting from California and we usually only get to see her once a year. It was nice to see her outside our annual Kelley holiday "Thanks-Christmas-giving."

Saturday was super busy. I had a long rehearsal all morning and then some of my family came in town. We went to one of the bigger malls in the area (I now remember why I like to avoid malls) and spent all afternoon there and then had dinner. We got home about 8 pm and were so tired! But our weekend wasn't over.

Sunday was back to church. We started a campaign called "iServe" to try to recruit volunteers to serve in different ministries in our church. Our first focus was the preschool area since I needed 5 volunteers. The campaign was mentioned during announcements and then our wonderful evangelist that was visiting just happened to mention our "vibrant Children's Ministries" as well. As a result, we immediately had 4 people sign up to help! God is good and I know we will still get one more person.

We ate a very quick lunch with my family and friends and then off to see Laurie Berkner!!! If you have a preschooler, then you more than likely know Laurie Berkner. She sings such catchy preschool songs that even adults sing with her. She also appears on Jack's Big Music Show on Disney. I play A LOT of her songs in my music classes and every age loves it! Even my elementary classes were requesting her songs!

One of my sweet friends was able to get us free tickets and parking passes to a suite at the concert. Here is a picture of the suite. It was all pink!

We also had snacks in the suite.

Laurie Berkner and her band are singing "Rocketship Run".

Kaitlyn is posing with her friend that came with us.

Preston's being silly with his friend.

It was a fabulous concert and such a blessing that we were able to get free tickets.

So, even though we stayed home, it was a very eventful week, but still relaxing. We are already back to reality and hopefully planning a big family vacation next year.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Staycation: Part 1

After a very long couple of weeks, we were ready for a much needed vacation. However, we did manage to stay so busy every day, that our Staycation requires 2 posts!

Saturday morning, we headed to Abilene by 9 am for my niece and nephew's joint bday party. Yes, we were completely exhausted from VBS, but we didn't want to miss the festivities.

As soon as we arrived, Craig and the kids changed into swimsuits and joined the fun on the water slide.

The other guys chilled in the pool.

My mom and sister made this cute Hello Kitty cookies.

The kids sat around the coffee table to eat lunch.

First, my niece blew out her candles on her Hello Kitty cake. Then, my nephew blew out the candles on his Green Lantern cake. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get his picture blowing out the candles.

The next morning, we went with my family to the Salvation Army church that they are currently attending. My sister led Praise and Worship and somehow I got coerced into playing piano as well. We had a big brisket lunch, played games, then headed back home.

Monday was our designated "Pajama Day". We took it easy and just enjoyed relaxing. Preston was so tired that he voluntarily laid down on the couch around 11 am and took a 30 minute nap!

On Tuesday, we made a trip to the Planetarium. The kids had never been and it's very inexpensive, so we thought we'd try it. We arrived a little early before our showing so we went into the gift shop. The Planetarium is connected to the large Ft. Worth Museum of Science and History and IMAX theater. Inside the gift shop was a gigantic dinosaur with a slide going through it. It was pretty cool!

Here comes Preston!

And here comes Kaitlyn!

Finally, it was time to go see our show "The Texas Night Sky". These props were hanging in the lobby.

The kids wanted to pose with the dinosaur statues on the way out.

Of course, later that day was when things turned very somber and we made the decision to put our dog to sleep. You can read that blog post here.

As sad as we were, we knew we had a busy week ahead to keep our spirits lifted. Stay tuned...