Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Preschool Orientation!

Today we headed over to Gracie's preschool! I can't believe that my baby girl is starting school already! Where have the last 3 years gone?

Anyways, Gracie will be attending the Park District's "Great Adventures" program. She is enrolled in a 3-year old program. She will go on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 2 1/2 hours. We have been talking it up and she is getting a little nervous but excited too. Sometimes I think she may be too young but I think the experience will be good for her. She will be able to make new friends, read lots of books, make lots of crafts, and learn lots of new songs. It will be good for her both socially and emotionally. It will also give her a break from always being with her brother and sister who need a lot of attention too.

Today the parents were to come. Chcuk, my mom, and myself went. I walked her into the room, got her settled and went next door to the parent meeting. They gave usa bag that she can deocrate that will be her school bag. They went over rules for drop-off and pick-up, which Chuck and my mom will do since I unfortunately will be at work. They went over the calendar. It looks like each week they will focus on a new letter by reading books and making crafts according to that letter. A few times throughout the year, Gracie will be able to bring in treats for her class. Of course healthy ones, with no peanuts. She does have 16 kids in her class including another Grace! Parents are able to volunteer and help at parties! So just because I work, will not keep me from helping out and being involved. That's what sick days are for! Her class will put on a Holiday program too! Can't wait for that.
I did ok with this. I think I wanted to cry when Gracie got book orders already! I sent these home with my students so it really is like she is in school!
It makes me sad that she is old enough already for this but I am excited for her and I know she will have lots of fun! Good luck Gracie! Thursday will be her first day by herself. Hopefully is goes just as well as today! I love you Grace! Mommy and Daddy are super proud of you!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

20 Years Ago.........

I will never forget this day.
I will never forget how hot it was.
I will never forget how we were swimming an hour before.
I will never forget the green color that was in the sky as we drove home.
I will never forget the hail that was the size of softballs.
I will never forget the sound of something hitting my house as I started running.
I will never forget hearing the words “get into the basement.”
I will never forget running down the basement stairs.
I will never forget stopping at the bottom and looking up at family and friends that were still stuck at the top.
I will never forget the look on their faces.
I will never forget the image of the basement walls cracking and blowing away.
I will never forget watching the basement door blow away.
I will never forget the screaming for everyone to get downstairs.
I will never forget the cut that was bleeding on my mom’s face.
I will never forget hugging my cat who was thankfully in my arms.
I will never forget running to the corner of the basement.
I will never forget watching rubble tumble and filling the basement stairway seconds later.
I will never forget how it was raining in the basement.
I will never forget the sunlight that started peering in the cracks in the basement ceiling.
I will never forget the sound of my mom yelling for help.
I will never forget how neighbors helped pull us out through a window.
I will never forget how I turned to look at my house and saw across the street.
I will never forget how the basketball pole looked as it bent towards the ground.
I will never forget going to a neighbor’s house and crying with other neighbors.
I will never forget how worried I was about my dad and not knowing where he was.
I will never forget the sight of him running down the street because he couldn’t drive to get to us.
I will never forget sitting in the dark at my uncles house.
I will never forget how I felt when I was told that St. Mary’s, my school and church had been hit.
I will never forget hearing the news that Sr. Mary, the principal and my music teacher, Ms. Sanchez had died.
I will never forget hearing the news that my neighbor, Howard, was dead.
I will never forget that my dad slept in his truck that night in the driveway of what was once our house.
I will never forget that people were out looting and they called the National Guard.
I will never forget driving to Jewel at midnight to get a litter box and cat food for my cat.
I will never forget driving to my grandparent’s house because we had no where to live.
I will never forget staring the news for days.
I will never forget how generous and concerned my family was.
I will never forget the sounds of the machines as they bulldozed what was left.
I will never forget the smell of the huge piles of burning rubble.
I will never forget what the steeple of my church looked like.
I will never forget the image of a piece of hay that was impaled in a tree.
I will never forget how they found my mom’s wedding ring by combing through the carpet.
I will never forget how my baptism gown was still in my closet with tissue paper folded over the top of it yet the lid to the box was gone.
I will never forget the wooden cross that still stood hanging on the wall of my parent’s bedroom.
I will never forget seeing the snowman we found and how we made him hold the American flag.
I will never forget going through belongings that were salvaged and cleaning them off.
I will never forget living in a rental house and sleeping in the bathtub during storms because there was no basement.
I will never forget sharing a school with another school.
I will never forget going to school in trailers for 2 years.
I will never forget being bused to the old Joliet Catholic for high school.
I will never forget when we moved back into the new high school.
I will never forget moving back into my house after it was rebuilt.
I will never forget the feeling I get in my stomach when I hear those sirens go off.
I will never forget the people that showed up to help.
I will never forget how this once small community pulled together.
I will never forget to thank God for letting us survive this force of nature.
I will never forget anything about that day 20 years ago.
I will never forget the sights, sounds, and smells from that day.
I will never forget August 28, 1990.

Here is my driveway looking into what's left of our garage and living room.

My bedroom with some clothes still hanging in the closet.

The side of our house. My bedroom and my parents. Look at the cross still hanging on the wall.

Our family van rolled off the driveway and into my sister's room.

Our family room.

What's left of the backyard.

The kitchen. Notice some dishes still sitting in the cabinets.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Boating Baby!

Today we were lucky enough to be invited by Chuck's friend Rob, and his wife Erica, to go on their boat! We were excited. We don't really know anyone with a boat and Gracie has never been on a boat either. Plus, the weather was beautiful so thanks to Grandma, who watched the babies, we headed to go sailing. Gracie was a little unsure at first but as soon as we put a life jacket on her, she got excited!

We cruised down the river, sometimes at a fast speed, but it was fun!

Daddy even had fun wearing his life jacket. Being that he can't swim, we docked at a little beach to go for a quick dip.

Gracie met a new friend too. His name was Ethan. They had fun playing in the water and drawing in the sand. Thanks for inviting us to boat Rob and Erica.

The Weiss' meet the Elvis'

This weekend the Weiss' were able to go and Elvis! Actually a few them.
Elvis was in this building. The Rialto.

We went and saw a show called "The Kings of Rock 'n' Roll."

It's a show, much like an Elvis concert, with 3 awesome Elvis impersonators taking you through the many years of Elvis from the '50's through the '70's.

"Hound Dog"

"Suspicous Minds"

"If I Can Dream"


"I Can't Help Fallling in Love"

And then after the show, we got to meet them.

We had so much fun that we were "all shook up"

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Twins at 9 Months!

These are the real 9 month pictures of my darling babies. It's crazy to think that the next pictures they have taken, they will be one! (tear) Anyways, they are always, courtesy of Jessica Jill Photography.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My 2nd Home

Well, starting tomorrow, this will be my 2nd home.

Another school year already. It's hard to believe that this will be my 10th year teaching. I have been teaching 3rd grade the entire time. And next Tuesday, I will meet 31, yes 31, new students.
You know that lots of people think that being a teacher is easy but it's not. Sure we may work only 1o months a year, but we probably we work harder than most during those 10 months. We are not only teachers, but nurses, secretaries, lawyers, judges, police, decorators, detectives, and much more.
Another something people may not know is that most of the stuff you see in the picture is money from MY pocket. Sure the district gives you some money towards your classroom every year but that money gose towards tape, pencils, staples, erasers, markers, stickers, and rubber bands. One good thing is that when I started teaching, I worked at The Chalkboard, a teacher store, and got a discount. Now I really don't buy anything anymore because I have so much. I wonder how much this is all worth??

Teaching is hard. You are given a group of students each year, all with varying learning styles, backgrounds, and reading at different levels. You are supposed to teach them reading, writing, spelling, science, social studies, math, grammar, and you work hard to get them to pass the state tests in spring. Don't get me started on the state tests. In order to do all that, you have to do lesson plans, go to meetings, have conferences, grade papers, do experiments, and so on. And I thought being a mom was hard.
So, here we go....another year. Another group.
Am I ready? Well my classroom is. Am I? We will see.
Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blackberry Farms

With summer winding down, we decided to take another trip today and head to a place called Blackberry Farms. I haven't been there since I was little so I don't really remember what it's like. After we rewoke Evie up, we headed there.

Gracie and the twins were super excited and we all couldn't wait to see what this was going to be like.

It actually is pretty small but that's good when you have 3 small children. The grounds are really nice with lots of pretty flowers, old buildings, and little streams and ponds.

We found this cute place for a photo opportunity.

Since Blackberry Farms is part of the the Aurora Park District, we had to pay nonresident fees. It still was pretty cheap and worth it because you can ride the merry-go-round as many times as you want!
Here is Gracie the first time.
And the second time. I'm sure we would have ridden it all day but we had to draw the line.

And youy can also ride the train as many times as you want too. They also have hayrack rides but we didn't go on that. Maybe next time.

We had fun walking around and walking across all the bridges.

When we saw the barn, we were excited to see all the farm animals.

We were disappointed though as they didn't have that many. We were hoping to see more since it is a "farm." And Gracie was really excited about going to a farm.
We did see some goats.

And Gracie got to pet a bunny.

They also had sheep, hens, ducks, and chickens and ponies for pony rides but no real cows. They has this one that you could milk though.

And what's cool is that they have all these old buildings with people dressed up in them doing what they did back in the day. They had an old school house, a blacksmith, a pottery place, pioneer houses, and a weaving house.

They also have little museums too with all kinds of antiques. They have a carriage shop, an old farm, and this place with and old street with all the old stores. We stopped at the saloon to hear the piano play.

Overall it was a great day. The place is not huge so it's great for when you don't want to spend the whole day out. I think we will go back again in the future.