Monthly Archives: May 2014

Carter’s preschool music program

Raine and I went to Carter’s music program at St Philip’s on the 27th and it was hilarious, as usual! Raine loved seeing all her old teachers, classmates (they were all in pre-K this year), and friends.

Here is Carter waiting for the younger classes to finish.


The three-year-old class all lined up with their teachers Ms Lenise and Ms Melissa.


Carter made a best friend this year — Kaden. He is the tall boy in the red school shirt, third from the left. Carter also liked to play with Morgan, the little girl in a plaid skirt and rain boots, and Brody, the little guy on the right holding Ms Melissa’s hand.



Here is the video:

In case you were wondering what they are singing in the first song, here are the lyrics (the video starts part way through the verse):

Monday, Monday, reach and run day
Tuesday, Tuesday, tap your shoes day
Wednesday, Wednesday, stretch and bend day
Thursday, Thursday, twist and turn day
Friday, Friday, jump up high day
Saturday, Saturday, pat your body day
Sunday, Sunday, that’s the one day
We can rest and do nothing at all

Now clap, clap, clap for the weekly rap
Count to seven and do it again
(Repeat first verse)

Now clap, clap, clap for the weekly rap
Count to seven and pick up speed !
(Repeat first verse with faster tempo)

Now clap, clap, clap, for the weekly rap
Count to seven and that’s the end

Natural Bridge Caverns

Saturday, the sixth day of our vacation, we left San Antonio and drove north to the Natural Bridge Caverns — an extremely commercialized, easily accessible cave with some amazing formations. The cavern gets its name from this “natural bridge” over the entrance.


There was a concrete path with handrails throughout the cave as well as lights on each formation, trash cans, and benches. It was hard to imagine what this would have looked like in its natural state because of all the conveniences, but the formations were untouched. We reached a depth of 180 ft during our 1/2 mile hike.


The rooms of the cavern were enormous and the formations stretched from the ceiling to the floor. Those people on the far side of this photo give it a little perspective.



The photos don’t even begin to capture how incredibly other-worldly the formations are.




After we resurfaced, Raine wanted to climb on the canopy. Carter didn’t want to, so we ventured over to the gift shop to try the fudge!


After a week of fun and sun, we finally made it back home to sleep in our own beds! This was a vacation that I’m sure we will do again sometime.

South Padre Island vacation – day 5

Friday was check-out day. The kids sure slept hard that night!


We had one last swim in the pool before we packed up our stuff and said goodbye to the beach. (This was the view from our bedroom window.)


We left the island and headed toward San Antonio. Along the way we stopped at a fruit stand to get some Mexican vanilla and fresh-from-the-border produce. We also stopped . . . well, some things are better left in the rear-view mirror.



We checked into our hotel in San Antonio and then walked down to the riverwalk for dinner.


Here is a clip from the mariachi band that serenaded us:



We walked by the Alamo on our way back to the hotel, but the kids were more interested in the street performer dressed up like Batman across the street!


South Padre Island vacation – day 4

Thursday, we started the day with a swim in the condo pool.



Carter loved that he could swim the entire width of the pool. He is really getting to be a good little swimmer. He can come up for a breath and then keep on swimming.


After lunch we headed to the boat docks for a dolphin tour. We played on the KOA playground while we waited.


A little snack while waiting to board the boat.


Our boat was called the Osprey.


First thing we saw out in the bay was the US Coast Guard and their enormous gun!


It was an eco-tour, so they drug a net to see what they could find as we crossed the bay.


They pulled up a couple different types of rays, including this sting ray. The deckhand removed the barb and then let the kids touch it.


There were a number of sea stars in the net. Raine wanted to hold or touch everything she could.


Carter, on the other hand, didn’t want to hold anything.


Some of the other things we saw included a sea cucumber, a squid, a crab, a sea anemone, a catfish, and a number of other fish. We learned all sorts of interesting facts — we saw the catfish shred an aluminum can with its flipper, that was pretty cool!

A flock of brown pelicans.


When it was time to see dolphins, we made our way back up to the front of the boat.


Soon enough, we started to see them.



This is a short video of a couple dolphins as well as Raine helping the deckhand throw back the sea life found in our net. (I wish I could say that no animals were harmed in the making of this eco-tour, but as you already saw by the sea star and will see in this video, that simply was NOT the case. There were a number of seagulls following the boat, waiting for anything that was too stunned to swim away!)


A nice view of the beach on the ocean side of the island.


El Cristo de los Pescadores (“Christ of the fishermen”) statue.


That afternoon, we walked down to eat gelato at a little shop about a block from our condo. Then for dinner we headed to the Shrimp Haus. Those fresh gulf shrimp were yummy!



The view from our table.





South Padre Island vacation – day 3

The second day of our vacation we visited Sea Turtle Inc and the Birding and Nature Center.



There were a number of tanks with injured sea turtles. One even had a prosthetic flipper because it had lost three of its four flippers and could only swim in circles. This one had an infection in what they believe is a boat propeller wound.




Gerry the Atlantic Green isn’t injured, but has been so socialized with humans that he can’t be released. He played peek-a-boo with the kids for twenty minutes or more. Carter couldn’t get enough of him.




After the sea turtles, we went next door to the Birding and Nature Center. We walked the boardwalks and saw all sorts of birds.



Raine really wanted to see an osprey while we were on the island so we asked the staff if they knew of any and they pointed it out for us.






Here is a look at part of the boardwalk from the top of the tower.


After exhausting the kids with all that walking, we headed over to Black Beard’s for a fishy lunch and ice cream sandwiches.



Later in the afternoon, we went north to beach access #5 where cars are allowed onto the beach. We continued north between the sand dunes and the surf until we found a good spot to hunt for sea shells. It was a fun drive, but we decided that the beach was nicer down by our condo; we returned home and swam in the ocean until dinnertime.

South Padre Island vacation – days 1-2

With Raine out of school so early in May, we decided it would be the perfect time to take a vacation. Sunday afternoon, May 18, we drove down to San Marcos where we spent the night before continuing our drive to South Padre Island on Monday. The total drive time was 8.5 hours but with all the stops we made along the way it took us most of Monday to get there.

Tuesday, we spent the day at the beach, swimming in the ocean waves, boogie boarding, building sand castles, sand-skating (that’s what Raine called it when the tide sucked all the sand out from under your feet as the water receded) and sea-shell hunting. The water was warm — perfect for enjoying those nice gulf-coast waves!








See! I really was there too!

It took a while, but we finally finished our sandcastle:


Just teasing! There were sand sculptures like this all over the island. This one was the largest and was located in front of the tourism office.

Carter really wanted to stop at this gift shop so he could stand in the mouth of the shark.


On the island, we stayed in a nice condo about a half-block from the beach. We loved it! For less than the price of a hotel room we had a full kitchen, two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, washer and dryer, pool, and a closet full of beach toys. (For future reference, this is the link to it.)


Mother’s Day 2014

I love mother’s day gifts that illustrate what my kids are REALLY thinking. In primary, the kids colored flowers and wrote what they really think about their mother.

This is Carter’s flower — the translation is below.

My mom makes the best: cookies
My favorite thing to do with my mom is: play swords
My mom loves me because: I have a super hero towel
(As I was reading this one I said, “Carty, you don’t have a super hero towel.” His reply came as he batted his best puppy-dog eyes, “No, but I want one.”)

Raine made this flower.

My mom makes the best: bred (bread)
My favorite thing to do with my mom is: play
My mom is good at: cooking
My mom is as beautiful as: a flower
My mom teaches me: the bible
My mom loves me because: I help hr (her)
I love my mom because: she is the best

This was her note on the back:

I love you mom becos (because) you mack (make) the best bred (bread) and becos you let us watch moovy’s (movies)
Your the best

There are no photos to post because I’m the only one who ever takes them and I didn’t bother pulling out the camera. But here is a lovely drawing of me and Raine that she drew in her card for me!


And here is my mother’s day gift. It is a stretched canvas modge-podged with hand prints and captions.


Don’t tell DJ, but I actually asked his second counselor’s wife if her husband had helped him make it (he is very artistic). She said that she was pretty sure her husband didn’t have anything to do with it. It just seemed so unlike DJ to be so crafty. I don’t even own a bottle of modge podge after all!

Camping with friends (and chiggers)

After Raine’s last day of school on Friday the 9th, we met up with the Browns, Gordons, and Ottesons at Cedar Hill State Park to camp. We roasted hot dogs for dinner and then toasted marshmallows for some yummy s’mores.


Raine developed a love of roly poly bugs, and there were plenty to play with.


Carter found a friend to play football with him.


Daddy cooked pancakes . . .


. . . maybe “cooked” isn’t the most appropriate word to describe what he did to the pancake batter!


Then we went swimming in the lake.


Later that evening, after we were all home and bathed, we started itching. B-A-D! We soon realized that we had been eaten alive by chiggers. This was our first encounter with the little buggers and they are much, much worse than we ever realized. I won’t get into the graphic details, but suffice it to say that they really make you miserable!

Raine’s last day of kindergarten

Friday, May 9 was Raine’s last day of school. It was a half-day and all they did was play!


Mrs. Stapleton painted their faces (or arms).



Raine and Payton

Raine and Brielle

A quick note about Carty: Thursday, Carter came down with a fever and was sent home early from school. Soon after waking up from a nap, he started complaining about a sore throat. We looked in his mouth and it was nasty — bright red with white spots. Suspecting strep throat, I called the nurse to see if he needed to be seen that night or if we could wait until the next morning. She said that he could probably wait until the next morning but to get him in first thing. So we pumped him full of pain killers and drug him to graduation. He was a real trooper and sat quietly through the whole thing. Friday morning I got him in to see the nurse practitioner at 8:30 for a strep test. Much to my surprise, it came back negative. However, it turned out that he had a raging ear infection, his first. Poor little guy!

In order to have a record of Raine’s creative hand writing and art skills, I scanned some of her recent school work:


Raine forgot to do half of this one (hence the purple marks). That isn’t terribly uncommon. She gets so excited to move onto the next thing that she misses tasks!









Notice the frowny faces? Raine says that they are sad because someone stepped on their ant house.



Raine’s Kindergarten Graduation


Raine’s kindergarten class has been working hard on their play for graduation — memorizing lines, learning choreography, and practicing songs. The much-anticipated event finally arrived on Thursday.

But first, Raine came home with a second honor eagle award! The award is only presented six times during the year, recognizing a student who exemplifies the five R’s of behavior (respect, responsibility, relationships, righteousness, and reliability). Receiving it twice in the same year is quite a statement about Raine’s character!


That evening Raine put on her costume and we headed back to the school for the ceremony.


The play was titled “Under the Sea” and was about a snorkeler who was looking for the pearl of wisdom. It was full of fun songs, all adorably choreographed, and plenty of excited kindergartners!


My favorite was the “chicken heart” song. (Unfortunately, our videographer, aka Daddy, failed to hit the record button on that one, so we only have still shots. When I get the DVD from the professional videographer, I will try to upload it.)


Raine was Cindy Snapper, in the Temple Fishing School. Here she is during her scene. I’m pretty proud of how well her and Zoe’s costumes turned out. Zoe’s mom and I worked on them together — she cut out all the scales and I sewed them to the shirts.


Below is a seven minute video showcasing snippets from a few of their songs as well as Raine’s lines in the play. Here are the lyrics to all the songs (as remembered by Raine). They are such precious lyrics and brought the sweetest spirit to the program.

While the kids changed out of their costumes, we watched a slideshow of photos from all the activities they did during the year. It was fun to see just how much Raine has matured during kindergarten . . . and how many teeth she has lost!

The kids came back in wearing their caps and gowns and received their diplomas.


Next, Mrs. Boegner handed out six achievement medals — for bible, conduct, numbers, math, writing, and reading. Raine received the medal for conduct — no surprise there!


She also received the medal for reading. We were really surprised by that. Raine is a fantastic reader, but we didn’t realize that she was the best reader in her class!


She was very proud of her two medals.


Each student received a certificate recognizing a trait that they share with a bible character. Raine received the Priscilla award for being a “teacher by example.”


Raine’s teacher, Mrs. Boegner, received the teacher of the year award. She is a fantastic teacher and Raine really loved her. Mrs. Boegner knew how to make her feel important and made Raine always want to do her best.


We picked up a very happy Raine back in her classroom where we took some photos and turned in her robe.




I’ll be honest, when I first learned about kindergarten graduation I rolled my eyes with a dismissive “Seriously!? Why do kids have to ‘graduate‘ from EVERYTHING! She’s still going to be at the same school next year!” But in the end, I was very glad they held it. The play was so polished and well done and it was such fun to see Raine receive awards for her hard work this year. It really started off her academic career in the best possible way. She loves school and has all the confidence in the world that she can succeed at anything she tries. We walked out of there full of joy and pride and so thankful for the wonderful teachers Raine had this year!