Sunday, September 16, 2007


Ross' class finished up Charlotte's Web this week by hosting an all-school county fair. It was great fun! Children were encouraged to enter items into different categories to be judged. Tessa and Ross did very well.

In photography, Ross received a first place ribbon for his photograph from the top of the St. Augustine lighthouse. Kelly framed it with some seashells that he had collected on the trip to Florida. Tessa received a second place ribbon for her photograph of a jellyfish at Ripley's Aquarium.

In the art category, Tessa received a first place ribbon for her watercolor and colored pencil collage. You can click on any photo to see it larger.

Tessa also received a first place ribbon for her tooth fairy pillow made from her old jeans. There is a snap pocket on the back to put her teeth in when she loses them.

Tessa's fairy in a canoe craft received a second place ribbon.

Ross' batman car received a third place ribbon and his planet painting an honorable mention.

But his cookies brought home another first place ribbon!

Tessa and her friends (enjoying free-dress day) checked out the exhibits.

Then they checked out the pig! It's name was Wilbur!

Kelly was in charge of carnival games and did a great job. There was a cake walk, pitch a penny, knock the cans over, fishpond, beanbag toss, football throw, and guess how many pieces of gum were in a jar. It rained for the first time in months. Yes, we needed it, but really! Anyway, games were moved indoors, and Travis manned the football throw!

Monday, September 10, 2007


Most everyone knows that I am an addict. I admit it--I am a book and curriculum junkie. I don't think there is a twelve-step program for people like me, but if there is, don't tell me or my family about it. I can live with my condition and don't even mind that my daughter is developing her own addiction for books as well!

While vacationing in Boston this summer, the kids asked if we could go into the Barnes & Noble after dinner one night. Since it was just a few minutes after 6 p.m., we had a little time before having to head back to the hotel. We all thought it was a grand idea.

I should mention here that we had been training the boys to be gentlemen the entire trip. They practiced opening the doors for the ladies at every stop. Nate--the littlest one--jumped out in front when we got to the store and opened the door wide for all to enter. We thought it was odd that there were not many lights on in the store, and it did seem strangely quiet; but in we went to shop. The buzzing in the background should have been our first clue that something was amiss. Now, don't get me wrong; the buzzing wasn't a loud, alarming sound--just kind of annoying, if you know what I mean.

I think Kelly was the first to mention that perhaps the store was not really open. After all, we didn't see any employees in the dim light. I kind of thought it would be rude to leave without at least browsing a bit and giving the employees a chance to come out from the back or from wherever they were. And if the store was really closed, why was it that the littlest fellow among us was able to open the big door???

We eventually put two and two together and figured out that the annoying buzz was, in fact, an alarm of some sort and that the store really wasn't open and that perhaps we should leave--which we did. As we exited through the door we entered, I noticed that the deadbolt lock had been turned, but it had not engaged. Just as I engaged it on the outside, the police showed up.

Two uniformed policemen came running around the corner and caught the two women and five children trying to leave the scene of the crime. Quite funny actually. I mean, really, of all the places to supposedly break into, we chose a book store! I'm kind of proud of the fact! After some explaining and the officers writing down my personal information for their report, we talked at length about the Red Sox. Their strong Boston accents really were amusing, and I kind of felt like I was hanging out with two characters from Cheers! Unfortunately, it never crossed our minds to get a picture with them. If only my friend, Renee, had been there. She surely would have remembered!              

The Great Kayak Rescue

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Tessa who wanted to try her hand at kayaking. The only problem was that she was born into a family that was directionally-challenged with an oar--although she was unaware of this fact at the time. Being the brave child that she was, she confidently climbed into the contraption and even graciously took along a guest--who, for reasons that will soon be apparent, will be referred to as A.A. Again I mention that without any prior experience, Tessa set off on her short excursion. It was not long before she realized that her bravery and spirit of adventure could not make up for the lack of patience on the part of her weary passenger. After two or three or possibly four spins in a circle, the wee one became quite agitated. Perhaps fearing not ever actually reaching the distant shore or being too dizzy to walk if she did, A.A. commenced with her being-attacked-by-killer-bees scream. That sure got the attention of the relaxing parents on shore.

Almost immediately, more experienced kayakers from the surrounding areas began to row toward Tessa and A.A. It's doubtful that they truly believed that a rescue was needed or warranted; but even on the open seas, ears have their limits.

Since this is a once-upon-a-time story, it seems fitting to say that the knights in shining life vests, Chase and Seth, arrived none too soon. A.A. literally jumped shipped, abandoning the kind-hearted Tessa who so willingly let her join her on her maiden voyage.

I suppose the humiliation of the whole event left poor Tessa disheartened--or maybe she, too, was feeling a bit lightheaded from spinning so many times in a circle. Either way, she was the next to abandon ship.

Let me remind you that all this action took place in the matter of mere minutes. Speed and dexterity were demonstrated by these Knights of the Cornerstone. The parents soon realized that they could sit back and relax again since Chase and Seth had everything under control. At least they thought they did. Just how were they to get the abandoned kayak back to shore?

Seemingly out of nowhere, Aidan appeared on the scene. He quickly assessed the situation and did what any knight-in-training would do--he volunteered to row the vessel to shore. I'm sure the thought of actually rescuing somebody held greater appeal, but he did what needed to be done.

Relief rushed over the faces of the onlookers as the mission was completed, and all were safe and snug in their respective kayaks.

Although feeling a great sense of gratitude from not only being rescued from a spinning kayak, but also having been delivered from the high-pitched screams of A.A., Tessa seemed to enjoy the ride back to shore. An astute observer, however, could see the tears of disappointment in her eyes.

Tessa's spirits rallied, and she was eventually able to complete several successful jaunts across the lake. So I suppose one might say, "And she rowed happily ever after!"

While some parents prayed and others wrung their hands during the rescue attempt, one mom thought it important to record these events with her digital camera. Interesting.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Labor Day Fun on the Lake

Unidentified Floating Object

Travis and Kenzie

Abby and Tessa