Thursday, September 29, 2011

making friends

Audrie all dressed up (and posing) for her ballet class this weekend.


So we've lived here three months and are finally starting to establish some real friendships with other families in our neighborhood. It's so nice to have other people (aside from our dear friends Jason and Sam) to spend time with. 

Audrie actually had her first friend over to our apartment the other day and she was so excited about it. She and Corrina played dress up and giggled for a solid two hours. (And I got to sit and chat with Corrina's mom, too.) It was fun to have someone new in our home.

 Hunter is another friend Audrie has made at the park. His mom, April, will often text us to see if we want to get together at the park and play. (This is the boy whose dad is starring in Rent on Broadway.) A really sweet family! We're so glad to have made friends with them.
 This is Jessica and Audrie goofing off on the playground by our apartment. Jessica is in first grade but she and Audrie get along so great! They chase each other non-stop and have a great time playing together.
And actually any time we go to a park, both Audrie and Annie find new kids to play with almost immediately. These are not shy girls that's for sure!

Audrie got her first birthday party invitation the other day, so we're very excited about that! I told Jamie we had to hold off on being the first to RSVP so we wouldn't look so desperate. Ha! We're just excited to be making friends here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

we missed you daddy!!

Jamie got back Monday afternoon from a 4 day much needed 'vacation' from us girls. :)  We sure did miss him though! So glad to have him back.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


So I'm pretty determined about whenever I have any free time I make it a priority to get OUT in this city and do fun stuff with the girls. As physically exhausting as that is sometimes it would be more painful for me to live in this town and not take advantage of it. 

Also before we left Arkansas a neighbor friend of ours gave us a packet of cards "52 Adventures to do with your kids in NYC" and these cards are the BEST thing ever. Audrie loves looking through them and 'deciding' what we are going to do each weekend. 

The card she picked last Saturday was the "American Museum of Natural History".

 So off we went. This choice was great because they open at 10am and it was one block off the subway stop (about a 20 minute trip).

 This museum was SOOO awesome! I was in awe every time we turned a new corner in this place. Audrie was freaking out about how cool the dinosaurs were.
 They had room after room of huge dinosaur exhibits. It was really fantastic.

 Annie was entertained, too, and had that long finger out pointing at every thing she saw.

We spent about an hour with the dinosaurs (and both girls never got tired of it). Then spent another hour checking out the other exhibits. We could have spent all day there.

This huge life size blue whale was hanging from the ceiling in the aquatic atrium. And the elephant pictured below was two stories tall. Amazing! 

 It was getting close to naptime (and I was worn out from chasing Audrie from one exhibit to the next) so we got back on the subway and headed home. (I asked a nice man on the subway to take our photo. This was after he asked me if Audrie and Annie were twins. Ummm... not sure if he understood that twins have to be the same age...??)

 This Saturday I decided to take the girls to the Children's Museum of Manhattan (a hands-on learning museum). I saw online that this was the last weekend that the Curious George exhibit would be there. So we took the subway downtown and walked a few blocks over to check it out.
 And oh wow this place was kiddie heaven!!! I thought it was awesome, too. Except one small important detail. You need one adult per kid for this place! Both Audrie and Annie were SO thrilled about touching all the cool exhibits, but they kept running off in a sprint of excitement. I honestly lost Audrie twice for a few seconds and about had a stroke each time. Finally I had to take turns carrying one of them on my hip while I chased the other. I totally recommend this place! But next time I will make sure Jamie can go with us.
 This museum is four stories and each floor featured different children's characters. And every few feet there were tons of choices of hands-on stuff to mess with.
 Audrie and Annie both loved the kitchen/cooking section in Dora's house. They spent awhile there baking some fake cookies.
 Here is Annie at the doctor's office. She kept hitting random people in the leg with the rubber knee mallet thingy. But she did it with a cute smile so that made it ok.
 Audrie made a friend at the huge lite-brite. They played together for a while. I'm sure it was their polka-dot attire that drew them together. :)
 I loved the bicycled powered tv! We totally need this in our apartment.
 Oh then Audrie found a microphone that would playback your singing. It was a little too tall for her but you know she didn't let that stop her. I eventually had to pry her away!
These two museums were a big hit. I can't wait to see what card from the deck Audrie chooses next. (I also love to use the website because each week it features kid's stuff that is happening around nyc.) I see that it is starting to post stuff about Halloween festivities for toddlers, so I'll be looking forward to what we do for that. I think Audrie is going to be Cinderella for Halloween and Annie is going to be "Gus-Gus" the mouse (from Cinderella)!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

dress up!

Kim mailed the girls a package of goodies the other day and included some awesome dress up clothes. Audrie was so excited she couldn't decide whether to be a pirate or a princess first. So she chose both...
 And of course made up a random song about pirate princesses!

 Annie joined in on the fun. Cutey!
 Audrie snapped a few pics of me, too.
These girls are too much fun! Thanks, Kim. for the goodies.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

oh help us

Are they texting each other about how lame their parents are...??

Monday, September 19, 2011

Wimbledon 2026 Champion - by Jamie

In an effort to stay active through the winter we enrolled Audrie in a group tennis class that meets once a week. It started last week and this girl has the perfect combination of Serena Williams' power, Roger Federer's touch, and Maria Sharapova's good looks...
Who am I kidding, she can barely get the ball over the net but she does look adorable trying!

 There is one teacher in the class and three kids. They use kid sized everything (racquet, net, tennis balls).
 Here she is holding her racquet like a stop sign. She listened to her teacher so well.
 Annie watched...I'm imagining the next tennis superstar sister combo.
 Annie got so excited when a stray ball came her way.
 Look at that follow through...and she's stepping into the ball!! I'm already researching father-daughter doubles tournaments!
I don't know if she will have any interest in tennis and it won't bother me if she doesn't...but it can't hurt to start early!

Friday, September 16, 2011


 Annie reached a huge milestone in a little girl's life... first pigtails!
 Such a big day for our sweet Annie.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

my classroom

 I thought I'd share some photos of where I spend all my time. I leave our apartment about 6:15am in the morning and get home at 5:30pm, so it's a long day. Every day I'm making progress with my students and I continue to receive little 'gifts' from God along the way. Today right before my recess duty it started to rain and I was dreading indoor recess. But about two minutes before it was time to go outside- the rain stopped, the sun came out, and we got to go outside for recess. Ironically enough just as we were lining up to go back in... it started raining again! Thank you, Lord, for that thirty minutes of timely sunshine!! 

So here is a photo of the ramp leading up to my classroom door. I teach in a red trailer with bars on the windows. Home sweet home.
The kids don't have lockers so they hang their backpacks, coats, and umbrellas on these coat hooks along the wall as they come in.
 I have 32 students in each of my classes, so it's a tight squeeze but I make it work. (I ordered the chair packs for the backs of the chairs and I love that the students have clipboards, paper, and pencil in each one- really cuts down on transitions in the lessons.)
 Here are the curtains I sewed for the windows (and hearts the students decorated as part of a song writing project we are doing).
 There is not enough room for a teacher's desk in the room, so here is my little station for my laptop (we do have projectors in our rooms) and my walkie talkie so I can contact the office (no intercom here).
 It feels nice to have my piano in the room (I ordered the exact same piano I had at my old school so I could be familiar with all the settings).

 I really should have taken a 'before' photo because all that was in this classroom when I started summer training was the chairs. That's it. Just an empty room... "go!".
 Our school is big on "Tiger Values" and all the student's take Latin one hour a day so here is a bulletin board I designed using both of those elements.
 Here is my 'time out' corner. I thought I'd make it all 'zen-like' in hopes of calming the troubled student. Little did I know I would need 30 time out corners...! :)
 And I have a cute little classroom library in my room. I've never had one before so it was fun ordering the books. We are all required to have at least 90 books in our classrooms of various reading levels.
 I still have a few more decorating things I want to do in my classroom, but for now I like it.
I wouldn't say the job is getting easier, but I'm finding ways to deal with how hard it is- if that makes sense. Today after I walked my dismissal group down to the city bus stop (at 4:30pm) I went back into my classroom and just started laughing. Because I was just so exhausted and had such a ridiculously tough day that all I could do was laugh at myself. I'm sure it was a bit of delirium but it was better than crying.

The next two weeks I only have to work three days each week (due to some random holidays) so I'm really excited about spending time with Jamie and the girls!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

tennis, corn dogs, and cupcakes

We've almost been here two months now and there have definitely been some hard moments of homesickness. To help remind us of the adventure we are on we try to get out into "the city" a few times a week.

Jamie and I went to the tennis US Open the other night and had a blast! (Thanks to Jason and Sam for babysitting.)

Also last week we took the girls to the Shake Shack which is famous for their one-day-a-year (Labor Day) corndogs. 
 In front of the Shake Shack there were some street musicians that the girls really loved watching.
 They even let Annie join them on maracas. I think she could make a few bucks with this!
 Here is a photo I tried to snap of the four of us waiting in line to order our food.
 The corndogs were crazy amazing! (And the cheese fries were delicious, too.)
 Audrie drank all my chocolate shake. She did 'share' a few sips with me. :)
 Yesterday Jamie had to run some errands so I took the girls downtown to a famous cupcake shop.
 Audrie's favorite thing to watch on tv lately is Cupcake Wars on the Food Network, so I knew she would be thrilled about going here!

 Both the girls were very impressed with all the choices of yummy cupcakes.
 All of them have icing in the center, too. LOTS of sugar!
 Just what Audrie needed. :)
 The girls had an M&M cupcake, I got Rocky Road, and we took a Grasshopper chocolate mint cupcake home to Jamie.
 As we were leaving I asked a lady to snap our picture and she didn't really get us in the photo, but I thought I'd share it anyways.
I also had something kind of crazy happen. When we got off the subway downtown I was digging in my wallet for some cash because I wanted to buy the girls a bottle of water. I knew I only had a 5 dollar bill so I got it out. Right then there was a homeless man sitting there and I really felt the urge to give him my five bucks. But I really didn't want to because I was thinking 'how will I get the girls some water if I give away my only cash?'. But I went ahead and gave him my money. He thanked me and I walked away not really happy about it because I was thinking he would probably buy drugs with his panhandling.
Later at the cupcake place I totally forgot to ask for a bottle of water with my order, but when I left they were nice enough to give me two free cups of water (and in nyc it's rare that any place gives you something for free!). Ok, stay with me... then as the girls and I were walking back to the subway (on a completely different street) I saw that same homeless guy walking down the sidewalk our way. He looked up and saw me. He smiled really big and held up a sack from a local bagel shop. He said "I just ate breakfast thanks to you! God bless you and your sweet girls." Oh my gosh, I had cry a little as I told him you're welcome. It was such a blessing to me. I couldn't believe I was so grouchy over a stupid five dollars. It was an awesome little reminder that even something so trivial- God can turn into a learning moment.