The new schools; thumbs up!

Holly gets off her bus each day and says, “Well, I had another great day!”  She loves her new school and her new teacher.  She tells me that this is the nicest school because she gets three recesses (last year, only two).  She also says that she loves math and science.  She has already made a friend in her class and apparently they have loads of fun chasing the boys at recess.  Sigh.
hollysept17Linlee also gets off of her bus happy each afternoon.  Her teacher emailed me the sweetest note telling me how well Linlee is doing in her new class and how happy she is to have her.  What a relief!  There is always an extra bit of worry with Linlee because she simply can’t tell me what happens at school.  So far, I think it’s going really well.linleemouseLinlee is obsessed with this little mouse.  I don’t mean it casually either, I mean it quite literally.  I found the mouse in our garage when packing up.  I don’t know what possessed me, but I set it on the dashboard of my minivan.  Linlee has been ecstatic ever since.  She and Holly named the mouse Flash and Linlee talks it about it all of the time.  She will actually go out to the van, climb in the front, and spend time with the mouse.  She has even brought it cheese.  She has been begging me to take a picture of it, so I did.

Who’s a good girl?!

penny_sept04Not this dog!  penny_sept03However, Penny has done surprisingly well with the move.  Our last house was full of gates leftover from Holly’s toddler years, so we used them for Penny as well.  We’ve put zero gates up in the new house.  We were on edge to begin with, waiting to see what she’d ruin first, but so far, nothing.  On a rare occasion, she enters the room with a stolen stuffed animal in her mouth, but even so, we haven’t found one shredded to pieces yet.  We implemented a new “no dogs on the couch” rule with our new furniture.  Surprisingly, she has adjusted just fine.  Where she used to have to sleep in her crate, she now has the freedom to choose her sleeping spot – which appears to be on the bed between Rob and myself.  Oy.  No accidents in the new house.  She still steals food off the counters, but she did that before as well.  Honestly, both Rob and I are extremely pleased with her transition.  We anticipated much worse.  Maybe this naughty puppy is growing up.penny_sept02

Darn plums!

When I first found out that our front yard boasted a fruit tree, I was beyond charmed.  Today, not so much.  I’ve been extremely busy getting the girls ready for school the last few weeks.  I’ve never been so behind before, but the move absorbed my attention for about six weeks, so there you have it.  While dashing around for school shoes, school clothes, school supplies, and last minute doctor’s appointments, I was not paying attention to our yard.  This happened while I was not looking:plums01Oh my god, all that fruit is going to rot in my front yard!  So I hauled the girls outside for some plum cleanup time.  Linlee was a fabulous little worker bee.  Holly was a nightmare.plums02plums03Above, happy little worker bee.plums04Above, unhappy non-worker bee.plums05Now a crying non-worker bee because picking up plums is the worst thing that could ever happen to a girl.  Gah.  Actually, it was miserable work (many of the plums were mushy and my back was aching from the constant bending over).  We didn’t get close to finished.  Meanwhile the tree was actually pelting us with plums as we worked.  It was kind of funny.  What do people with fruit trees do about this problem?  Next year I can keep a better eye on the tree and have us go out there nightly before the tree drops masses to the ground, but gee whiz.

First Day of School 2016

sixthgrade01 Our middle schooler; sixth grade!sixthgrade02firstgrade03And our first grader!firstgrade01Both girls were happy and excited for school this morning.  I worked myself into a frazzled state of nerves and anxiously waited for them all day to get home and tell me that they’d had a good time at their new schools.  They did.  Phew!  This school year is officially off to a great start!

Last hurrah!

Tomorrow the girls start at their new schools.  I think they are ready, but I’m feeling nervous.  As excited as I am for them to be heading back to school (it’s been a tough summer), I can’t wait for tomorrow to be over so that they can come home and tell me about their day.  Oh, I hope they have good reports!dq01This is Holly trying to will her ice cream into being ready.  Ha ha.dq02She chose a pumpkin pie blizzard.  Here comes fall!dq03Linlee sticks with classic strawberry.

And then this stinker…annoyingdogI have mere inches between my open dishwasher and the island and this is where Penny decided to hang out while I cleaned up after dinner.  Honestly!

Little Linlee Bee

This summer we went to a birthday party for a little girl who had been in one of Linlee’s autism classes.  She is a year ahead of Linlee, so she’d already completed her first year of middle school.  I listened in horror as her mother described how it had been for her daughter; not good.  I strongly feel that the school did not accommodate this child’s special needs.  (They did away with their autism program and pretty much left the special ed kids to fend for themselves in general ed.)  This little girl spent much of her sixth grade year crying.  We were in the same school district and this year, it was going to be Linlee’s turn.  I was beside myself with panic.  If there was ever a motivation to buckle down and find a house in a different school district, middle school was it.  I’d already done the research and knew that the district next to us was much, much better on every level.  And if we found a house in this district, it would still be close enough that we wouldn’t have to leave our friends or favorite services in the area.  So that’s what we did.  We found a house, moved and enrolled the girls in this school district.  I just came from my first meeting with the new middle school special ed department and I am on a high.  Linlee is not going to spend this year in tears.  She is going to be very well looked after as she continues her education.  I am so relieved.  We definitely made the right choice in uprooting the girls and moving them.  Next Tuesday I get to meet Holly’s first grade teacher.  Can’t wait!Linleebee02Linlee continues to call her school a “hive” and the students the “bees.”  Even though I wasn’t thrilled with her program last year, Linlee did have a very good teacher who gave her Betty Bee as a gift.  How sweet was that!

Quick Visit from Family

We missed the vacation with my mom’s family this summer because of our move.  However, they all graciously stopped by the new house on their way home from a week on Orcas Island.  It was fabulous to see everybody.family01The group saying hello to cousin Megan and little Nate in Canada (on the computer).family02family03family04family05Penny was embarrassingly obnoxious, particularly to our two dog visitors.  Sorry Tess and Billy Goat!

Shady Trees and Shaved Ice

shadytree3Holly and best friend, Zoey, picking plums from our plum tree.shadytreeAnd sitting in the shade.shadytree2I love our front yard!

We’ve had a brief reprieve from the heat, but more is on the way.  During one of the super hot days, the girls were keen to visit a local Hawaiian shaved ice shop.shavedice3Refreshing!shavedice1shavedice2Linlee chose strawberry ice cream instead (her standard treat).  I realize that she also looks like she is in pain, but that is her smile, I promise.

Fire pit!

firepitWe have one now.  Aren’t those chairs too cute for words?  I’m actually looking forward to using it as we head into fall.  I like the idea of sitting around a crackling fire in the dusky evening when there is a nip in the air.

In the nick of time!

The Seattle area is having a heat wave – bleh!  But we are sitting pretty in an air conditioned house for the first time ever.  Yahoo!  Or rather, I’m in the house while the girls are outside in the pool.  Now that we have a big, flat yard, we can even get a bigger pool for them next summer.pool01pool02PennygrassPenny’s transition to the new house is going “okay.”  She’s pretty freaked out.  The first night she slept by front door, poor thing.  She wanted to go home!  The next day she would not let Rob out of her sight.  She’d get really frantic if he went into the garage or out front without her.  She is doing better today and starting to settle in.  Unfortunately she has also discovered the joy of digging in dirt & mulch in her new yard.  This is going to be a problem we’ll have to solve.  She’s already dragging the muck inside the house.  Oy.  (Our other yard had only grass and gravel paths, so she never dug.)PennylandingI thought this was kind of sweet.  We did not have a landing on our other staircase; it was a straight shot upwards.  Penny found this to be a nice little spot for a nap.