Thursday, August 28, 2014

The County Fair

Fair season has come into full swing around here. You hear the old ladies at the Boomerang Diner chatting themselves up about what quilt/jelly/doilie project they'll be taking up to the fair this weekend, and the "farm kids" getting their animals groomed and sheared and washed up for the big show. 
This year was the first year that the Castros have taken part in all this fair business. I figured we wanted to move back to the midwest, so we'd better embrace it, right?;)

Emma entered two crafts of hers. She's a natural artist, no matter what medium. I had her convinced to enter a photo or two - she has the "eye" - but when she learned that crafts were all a-go, she jumped ship and picked a couple things off her shelves. Her photog momma wept a bit inside, but hey, she's going all independent now, and that's what I've worked all these years for, so GO, grasshopper, GO!

Evan was a little more ambitious. He wanted to "show" an animal. And amongst the ADHD chigi, the deaf/blind pug, the so-obese-someone-may-call-PETA cat, and the baby turtle, he chose the obvious. 
And that's how Buckbeak was chosen to accompany Evan in his maiden voyage into the county fair show ring.

The dapper showman + his turtle.

"Don't be nervous, Buckbeak!"


Final paperwork

Number 4!
 The first round was the parading around the ring, letting the judges see the animals. I have to say, Buckbeak was by far the best at staying close to her owner. She didn't even need a leash!
;)

After that, the judges narrowed it down to the top 5 animals - and Buckbeak + Evan were IN!


A couple of animals were interviewed and given ribbons and the next was our awesome duo! 


Evan got to answer some questions about Buckbeak. She is a "boxer turtle", she's 3 months old, and she'll get a little bigger.


They won 3rd Place!!

(and did you know you win MONEY at the fair?!?! I had no idea...)
(city folks just don't get it)
 Afterwards, we saw the miniature trains...

and checked in on Emma's crafts, which BOTH won ribbons!!!

Doll snack cart - 5th place


We are SOOO proud of little county fair kids! :)
We can't wait until next year!
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Friday, August 22, 2014

First Day of School - 2014

The einsteins have made it though their first week of school! 
It was a little different this year, with Em moving up into middle school, but it has worked itself out perfectly.



Em was nervous about a new school and a new locker that has a combination to remember and walking up the stairs and down and across the building and back and A lunch or B and what team would she be on and what if, WHAT IF! her bestie wasn't on the same team and they NEVER got to see each other ever again?!? 
But I assured her it would be great. She's always gotten the *VERY* best teachers and they all love her and she makes friends even when she knows no one in the room. The week before school began, she got her team - the same one as bestie. She got her locker and schedule, and everything seemed to be just as she wanted. By the end of the week, she had that locker combo memorized and her schedule permanently affixed in her mind. She was so ready. So prepared. So....big. 

Her school begins 30 minutes after Evan's, so we all made the trek down the hill together. 



We dropped the baby off at his bright new kindergarten classroom. He had gotten in class with his two best friends! This was going to be a great year. 

New cubby!
 We've known Mrs. Sweeden for years. Her daughter grew up with Em. :)

He was excited to sit down and play with his friends, so we headed out to meet up with a couple "big kids" for the walk to middle school (right next door). 


First Day of School Ussie

We walked them to the front of the school and watched them go in, spreading their little wings out and remembering that momma & daddy bird were right there, in case she needed us. 
She didn't.
She didn't even look back.
And that was okay.
It was hard, but it's how it should be. 

Hubby + I walked back to his bike reminiscing all about the first days of school of the past. 


Then it was off to work!

and I walked the rest of the way home disguising the tears under happy heart sunglasses, on this annual day of missing them so much that maybe I SHOULD think about homeschooling... 


It was a sad walk. And, I got hit on by the old man mowing the school grounds to top it off. 
Fabulous.
I sank into the recliner at home, letting tears fall. Tears of pride and sadness and happiness and excitement, and I (like I also do every year), thought about my friends who were meeting for breakfast to celebrate the first day of school, and who I (as I do every year), decline their kind offers to join, because I'm an ugly crier, and I tend to not so much "celebrate" this day. And like I do every year, I re-think my declination and, once again, decide my decision was right. 
But, as luck would have it, a friend called in a I-can-totally-tell-you're-crying-even-though-you-say-you-aren't voice and asked if we could go get coffee, and I said YES! because, a boo-hoo breakfast is WAY more up my alley. 
 and we talked about how big our girls were, and how much Evan has grown, and remember whens and what's to comes. 
And I felt better.

And after the long pickup line, I got my baby einstein back, and he said he loved his new class and new teacher and he had a GREAT day! And they even got to play on the BIG KID playground! Whaaaaat?!? Fabulous. 

And so we walked over to wait for Em and talked all about the new friends in his class and the new art class and the red chairs that you sit in to "take a break". 



And when Em came out, she said her day was "PERFECT!", and the smile across my face matched hers, and we walked back up the hill hearing all about how her team is the best, and her teachers are the best, and Mr. F is *just* like Uncle B and her homeroom teacher is funny, and she had plenty of time to go to her locker and her classes, and she saw all her friends, even the ones that we're on her team, and NO HOMEWORK UNTIL FRIDAY! and this was the BEST year of school YET!

and I hid my heart-shaped tears of happiness behind my heart-shaped glasses again, whispering prayers of thanksgiving for answered grace and faith. 

This is going to be a great year. 


Happy New Year, Peanut + Punkin. 
We are SO very proud of you.
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Saturday, August 9, 2014

August.


//August//

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// FUN x 2.

An amusement park was on the checklist for the summer, so when the grandparents invited us to meet them at Frontier City for a day with the cousins, we jumped at it! We hadn't been there in the summer since they opened the water park area, so the kids were anxious to try it out right off the bat. 





After the water park, we spent the rest of the day on the rides. It was SO. MUCH. FUN. 

The two Johns at the Two Johns Saloon
 This was one of the two rides I passed on. 
The GoPro video of the kids on this one was to DIE for. I mean, absolute cheek-hurting-laughing to watch. 






It's always so humbling to go to places like this with little ones. The excitement and fun that they have is unparalleled, and it's contagious and fun. I love my nephews and niece something fierce, and to see them having so much fun with their cousins is absolute bliss. 
//
The next week, before Niecey flew back home, the kids all cashed in their ChoreMonster points for a trip to White Water Bay. It was a Tuesday, and after the local schools had already headed back to school for the fall, so it wasn't quite as busy as it normally is in the summers when we go, which was nice, because the longest line we waited in was probably 5 minutes. 
//i love them.
 //gavin.
 //Ems

 //Ev + Eth


 Last year, Evan was really hesitant to go on ANY of the rides here. At the end of the day, I finally convinced him to go down one, and he loved it. I was crossing my fingers that he'd remember that when we arrived this year. 
He totally did. 
In fact, he went on EVERY ride there was. Even the ones that had no innertubes and spit you out in a big, deep, pool. Without a momma. Without a MOMMA!!



 He told a very, very, nervous Ethan that he would wait for him at the end of the slide and help him swim to the edge of the pool.
And he did.
Isn't he the sweetest?

It was the best yet!
Little man has definitely grown up. 
He's a risk-taker. 
He's got self-confidence and trust.

And I'm so proud of this kid. 
SO proud. 
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