Swimming with the fishes (part 1)

Every year at the boys’ school, they spend time outside of the school building doing cool stuff and learning and whatnot. For instance, a month at the zoo in first and third grades,  a couple of weeks at an art museum in second grade, a few weeks at the French Quarter in fourth grade, and now in fifth grade, four weeks (spread throughout the year) at the aquarium. And in the final week, they get to snorkel in the giant tank! HOW COOL IS THAT?!?!? I mean, when I went to elementary school, we went to like, the state capitol building. And that’s only because we lived in the state capital. Snooze.

(And yes, they go to public school, so you can’t say it’s because we spend a ton of money on tuition.)

The tank is full of piranha and sharks and other dangerous and deadly creatures, which just adds to the excitement. Naw, just kidding. But it’s got a big coral reef and a tunnel you can walk through, which gave us a good view of the snorkelers from below, and plenty of smiling stingrays (but not the kind that kill you, presumably. And if they do, don’t tell me until the other two have their snorkeling trips later this year.)

Before the kids got in – just what the lower part of the tank looks like. LOOK IT’S MISTER RAY, THE TEACHER!
I love this picture of Linus floating.

Okay, now just a bunch more.

Some video – sadly, I didn’t get anything of Linus and his pal flossing underwater. SORRY.

And yes, you will get two see two more identical posts in the coming months. Complete with unidentifiable children that I will assure you are mine, even though I’m not 100% sure because in wetsuits and masks, all kids basically look the same.

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Winner winner poulet dinner!

The boys’ school had their annual winter fair this weekend, and for the first time in 8 years, I won a raffle basket!

See, each class picks a theme and puts together a basket, and each class tries to outdo the others for the best basket. My co-room parent for Linus’s class is Jill, and she’s a real pro at this. Way at the beginning of the year she said, “let’s do scratch-off lottery tickets” and I said OKAY because it’s easy and fun, and well, let me get to the point, I put all three of the raffle tickets I bought in the bucket for our “basket” (really it was a frame) and I WON!

(Probably it took me 8 years to win because I’m cheap and only buy a few raffle tickets.)

Anyway, it was EXTREMELY exciting when they called my name as the winner. I screamed and jumped up and down and generally displayed some glee.

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I texted Jill immediately to tell her I won, and I told her I’d video myself scratching off the tickets so she could see what I won. (I also promised her dinner if I won big. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but let’s just say my winnings would probably cover a nice meal from Popeyes.)

First day of 5th grade!

Yes, you read that right.

FIFTH grade.

Thank goodness they don’t go to an elementary school because if they were going off to a middle school next year I’d probably be freaking out a lot more. But as it is, they’ll be staying at the same school so it’ll be less traumatic for everyone. (Also maybe less exciting though they will get lockers next year at least.)

Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is, when they started at their school, they looked like THIS:

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and today they look like this:

 

Holy cow.

This year the bus picks them up in the neighborhood, which is exciting. There will be some kinks to work out, just like there were last year. It was 40 minutes late picking them up, for instance.

OF COURSE I brought my camera!

Well, it’s just as well the bus finally arrived because yesterday my van broke down. Hooray. So this was how I spent the latter part of my morning. Yippee.

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Now go and pity-buy some grocery bag dispensers or tote bags, why don’t you?

Last day of Fourth grade!

I cannot believe how fast this year went. I mean, this year really went by in a flash. Even the boys thought so. I think partially because they rode the bus and partially because third grade went at a snail’s pace because of whooping cough. But I am already predicting that fifth grade is going to go by even faster because my sabbatical starts in December, so by the time that’s done in March the year will be practically over and OMG MY BABIES ARE ALMOST IN MIDDLE SCHOOL.

First day:
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Last day:

Okay, they don’t look that different, except for their hair.

At the bus stop with the girls:

Mary Catherine was excited on the first day about the bus, today was my turn to show my excitement:

Our golden steed, driven by our knight in shining armor, Mr. C…

On to fifth (!!!) grade!

First day of fourth grade!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!!!

I know I use the line from my favorite Christmas song a lot (first time I see Honeycrisp apples in the store, for instance) but in this case, it is so true. Because not only was today the first day of school after a summer with very little camp and a lot of boys staying home rotting their brains while I worked, but it is also the first day of RIDING THE BUS!

 

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Brand spanking new school shoes

 

YES! No more driving them to/from school! (Granted, we carpooled, so it was normally only one 90 minute round trip a day, not two, but still.) The bus stop is 10 minutes away, and because they get dropped off early and picked up late, I can now fit my entire work day in when the boys are at school! No more coming home at 8:45 and leaving at 3:15. Now I can get home at 7:30 and leave at 4:30. Amazing!

Now, you can see that my standards are falling very rapidly. Since we have to leave for the bus stop just before 7am, I didn’t have time to get my nice camera out, so cell phone photos it is.

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Yes, there have been some hair changes. They all got haircuts, and Linus wanted to go blond, and Oliver wanted to go ginger. Linus’s isn’t too dramatic, and Oliver’s looks pink from the front because the purple from before isn’t going anywhere. But it looks better than I expected when he told me he wanted orange hair like Andrew from the Great British Baking Show:

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So anyway, we headed to the bus stop where there was a crowd of kids from their school, with more ecstatic parents. The principal even showed up!

Of course I have (not great) photos of the boys getting on the school bus for the very first time…

(But you can see the color of Ollie’s hair better there.)

I think Mary Catherine summed our excitement about the bus best in the following photo:

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March 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 2016

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March 10 – Watching the LPO play “The Ants Go Marching 2 by 2” or whatever it’s called.

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March 11 – School was cancelled on Friday because of weather that never happened here, luckily. I took Miles and Oliver to IHOP for dinner because they wanted to get out of the house and eat their weight in carbs. I love when they giggle together instead of fight.

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March 12 – It’s hard to show in photos the scale of Saturday’s Easter Egg hunt. I remember the first one we put on – it was just in a field that we prayed wouldn’t be used by someone else, with a few hundred eggs that we scattered around. Four years later, we sold 1000 tickets, had more than enough eggs for everyone, and we had dozens of food vendors and activities for the kids. Amazing. And it didn’t rain! A real miracle. Because the whole team went out and bought rain boots if they didn’t have any already.

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March 13 – The scale was a bit smaller at the neighborhood egg hunt on Sunday. But it was really cute and the weather was gorgeous. The fourth triplet here is their friend Ethan.

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March 14 – There’s this big vacant lot that’s usually littered with trash that I walk Ziggy by every day, and suddenly Spring has sprung because it had exploded in these purple wildflowers. As you can see, my attempts to get a nice picture of Ziggy with the flowers in the background was a giant fail. He’s about as cooperative for photos as the boys are.

 

 

Sports!

I chaperoned a field trip at school today. We went to Audubon Park where the 2nd and 5th graders go to take part in a Saints Junior Training Camp thingy something like that. There were seven stations where they did something similar to what football players do in training. I guess. Can you tell we’re not a huge football family? I asked Oliver if he knew who Drew Brees was today. He just looked at me blankly.

Anyway, I made a little video (it’s only 37 seconds long) of some of what he did today.

He had a blast, and most importantly, got to drink a ton of Gatorade for free (they were one of the sponsors.)

Last day of first grade.

Yesterday was the last day of first grade. When I went to pick up the kids, Oliver and Millie’s teacher was walking them to the car, crying with Millie. One of the hard parts about going to a school where the teachers are coming from a foreign country is that they can’t stay forever. So I wasn’t able to get a picture with the boys with each of their teachers, but it’s okay. I’ll survive without having every single aspect of their lives documented.

Last day (standing the same order in both pics):

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and first day:

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Want to see more last days? Here you go.