Friday, June 27, 2008

A Camping We Will Go

We decided on the spur of the moment to take off for a short camping trip as soon as my classes were done on Wednesday. We chose to try out the new state park at Lake Fort Smith. It's only been open for about six weeks, and we figured it'd be pretty nice since it's brand new.

We got a pretty late start on Wednesday even though I got out of class really early. We were having Direct TV installed (We're getting rid of Dish Network because of the MANY problems we've had). The guy came at 3:00, and we thought he'd take about an hour. He was here until 7:00! We didn't get to our campsite until almost 8:00. Fortunately, it was still plenty light outside, we had a pull-through spot that was easy to get into, and the kids had snacked off and on all evening, so no one was dying for dinner.

The park is really nice. The campsites are large, pretty level, and equipped with cable (and we think internet). We didn't take tv or computer, so we're not sure if that part really worked. The bathrooms were very new and clean (I didn't even wear flip flops in the shower; it looked like nobody have even used the shower.) The swimming pool was nice, and it had a neat water spraying area - like the aquatic park - for kids. There aren't really any trails there yet, but the park ranger said they'd be putting in about 15 miles of trail over the next year. The Ozark Highlands Trail terminates at Lake Fort Smith, so we were able to walk on part of that. (Jacob would really like to hike the entire thing - - maybe he has a cousin who will take him someday :)

It was so nice to just get away from everything. I didn't even wear a watch, so I really had no idea what time, day it was - - nothing I had to accomplish. The kids played together pretty well. The boys played dominoes and a card game (Hannah tried to play but was mostly in the way). I can tell that they'll be lots of fun with games once they get just a little older. The boys also had a blast riding their bikes. I loved that when we first got there, I could tell them both to get on their bikes and go riding so that they weren't under foot while we tried to set up the trailer.

Hannah had only one major fit - -when we tried to hike back from the visitor center. She wanted to be carried, and I refused. She screamed for the whole 15 minutes back (I swear, it seemed like an hour!). I made her take a nap when we got back, even though it was only 10:00 a.m. She slept for close to two hours. Fortunately, she seemed to learn the lesson that screaming wasn't going to get her a free ride.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

School's Out!

Summer break is here! Yes, I realize that public school has been out for a while, but I've still been in class each and every day. Today was my last day of class for summer school! Yeah! I finished 6 hours in just 13 days. All in all, it wasn't bad. I feel like I learned a whole lot, and most of the work I had to do (the lesson plan part) is stuff that I will be able to use in my social studies or reading classes next year. I'm now half-way done with classwork towards my degree. Just six more classes to go.
We are leaving to go on a short camping trip in just a little bit. We're going to go to the new state park at Lake Fort Smith. It's just been open for about a month; the park has been closed for years and years while they built a new dam. The kids are excited about going. We haven't camped since our trip to Florida during spring break. It will be nice to get out and be away from tv and computer. I have a couple of books I'm wanting to read.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Play Ball!

Samuel's last baseball game was this week. His team made it all the way to the championship game. Samuel was so excited! J.R. Ball vs. Tune Concrete. (Samuel played for Tune Concrete last year and pointed out that he has uniforms for either team.) The game started off badly - - Samuel's team didn't score at all and the other team got their 8-run limit. We gradually caught up throughout the game, which was a total of 5 innings. We lost, with the final score 18 to 16. Samuel still got a trophy and didn't seem upset at all to lose. He is a very happy, go lucky kid and just has so much fun playing.

Tomorrow, John is taking him to a baseball clinic put on by the Naturals, our new minor league team. He'll get to play at Arvest Ballpark which is new, huge, and really nice. He's also supposed to get tickets to the Naturals game tomorrow night. It's free, so we figured it was worth taking him up there.

I'm almost done with my classes -- just three more days. It really hasn't been bad. Just really fast. I'll be half way done with my degree, and I'll be certified in GT before the start of next school year (Fall '09).

Monday, June 16, 2008

Keep an Eye on Summer

It doesn't seem much like summer has come yet. I had only two days off between teaching school and going to school (and one of those was spent getting a second root canal and a temporary crown). My classes are almost half over now, and they're much more demanding than I had anticipated. I don't know why I thought six graduate hours in just 13 days would be a piece of cake. Nothing is actually all that difficult, it's just a lot of assignments all together and such little time to get them done. I have been learning a lot and have gotten several really good ideas to use at school next year.
John took the kids to Branson last Wednesday and spent several days there without me. It was a good time for me to work on class stuff without the interruption of family. Ann and I also had some great sister time. We ate out each night (David was in India, and Lisa is still in Germany, so she was alone too) and watched movies until late. Of course, I tried to work at the same time and did get some done. I would have been more effective if I'd just done school work, but it was so fun to just do some girl stuff.

I drove to Branson when my class got out on Friday afternoon. I met John, the kids, and my parents at Branson Landing. We ate some dinner, walked around a bit and then headed back to the condo. We spent all day Saturday at Silver Dollar City. The kids had already been once during the week, so we had a pretty leisurely day doing the things they really wanted to do again or the few things they hadn't gotten to do. Hannah is now big enough to ride lots of rides. She could ride all the little kiddie rides in the Grand Exposition and could also ride the big swings and the swinging pirate ship. We also got her onto Fire in the Hole (that may not happen again for some time). Jacob is the dare devil of the group. He rode this twirly thing all by himself because the round and round things make me and John both sick. He was in line with John to ride WildFire but wasn't tall enough. He actually seemed kinda sad. Oh well - next year.

Here are some pics from our weekend.
The kids after playing Pirate mini-golf
Hannah waving from the butterflies
Jacob riding solo on the ElectroSpinner
Samuel and Hannah listening to the teacher comment on their work
Watch out, Tiger!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Taking a "Bite" Out of Summer

Well, it's finally happened. Samuel has joined the ranks of kids who have lost teeth. He has been waiting for months for his loose tooth to be loose enough to come out. And, of course, I wasn't here when it happened. I have been gone for every lost tooth so far! I had taken Jacob to a birthday party at Locomotion. John called me on my cell to tell me that Samuel's tooth had come out. Evidently, Samuel was attempting to open a bag with his teeth (something I think his Granddaddy taught him!) and pulled his tooth out in the process.

I spent a lot of time on my teeth again this week. To celebrate the first day of summer vacation, I went back to the dentist for an early morning appointment. I thought I was just getting a temporary crown put on, but found out that I was getting another root canal! Actually, the dentist had to finish the original root canal - - I didn't know he wasn't done. I wasn't super thrilled, but it wasn't nearly as bad as the first time around. I have to go back in two weeks to get the permanent crown put on. Until then, I still can't eat on the left side of my mouth - something I haven't done in about six weeks now. I will say that I like my dentist; he's pretty new, and I wasn't happy that I've had to start seeing him instead of the dentist I've used for years (who is basically retiring even though he's not old enough - - must be nice). Anyway, my dentist called me at home - himself - after each root canal to check on me and see how I was doing. That's pretty impressive. Not many people do that for themselves if they have a nurse, secretary, or assistant who will do it for them. Also, I highly recommend taking an Ipod to any long dentist appointment. It definitely helps for long appointments!

I start graduate classes tomorrow. It will definitely take a big bite out of my summer vacation. I'll be going 9-4:00 every day for three weeks. That sounds pretty bad, but I do get six hours out of the way pretty quickly. Both classes are GT classes with the same professor I've had all this past school year. She's very nice, very laid back, and pretty easy to please. I'm hopeful that it will be painless as far as the amount of work expected outside of class. John will be keeping all of the kiddos. I've been trying to figure out different things to occupy their time so that they'll be easier to watch, not whiny, fighting with each other, etc. One thing they'll be doing is going to Branson for part of the week. My parents will be in a condo there all week. John is planning to take the kids on Wednesday, and then I'll drive up after class on Friday (if I'm brave enough, maybe I'll ditch early!). I get a couple of nights all to myself. Hmm . . . . what ever will I do??