Wednesday, June 29, 2016

And So It Begins

It's done!

 My first year of influencing 28 little lives is complete, and all 29 of us survived. I would call that a success.  

I cannot believe that is is really over, but what a good feeling it was to walk out of that classroom and know that I would not be waking up at 6:30 the next day (or the next 73 days after that) unless I want to lie in bed and think Awww yeah. I can go back to sleep if I want to.  

(Sorry for the terrible quality of that class photo. I could not get technology to work with me so I ended up taking a picture of a picture...don't judge me Joseph.)

I guess I also had to say goodbye to these girls until autumn as well. They really made my first year of teaching so fantastic and the year would not have been the same if I had not gotten to work with all of them.  They have already influenced me as a teacher and as a person so much. 


  That night I had one final party with my roommates which included Lori's delicious cooking, a squirt gun fight, games, and a scary movie in a tent in the park next door. (Two thumbs up to Danny, Curtis, and Mark who handled our surprise water attack very well.) Yes, the summer feeling had arrived. So, naturally, it was time for me to go.  (Not featured here are Mark and Lori. It was too difficult to get us all into one photo.) 

The first day of summer found me on the road to AR (not Arizona) with Sarah, Johnny, Max, and Hazel by 8 am.  Okay, maybe 8:30.  The trip was long but it is long no matter who is in the car with you. Having two people who struggle being in the car that long can make the trip an adventure but Max, Hazel, and I put up with them admirably. :)

 Pulling into the driveway is one of my favorite feelings.  Driving through the evening and accidentally smooshing fireflies on the windshield is not one of my favorite feelings. 

4 days at home was definitely not enough, but it was all I had.  I spent most of my time knocking things off my to do list before leaving for Florida, but there was some time to play.  For example, going to the lake and getting an awesome tan line from putting sunscreen on myself. 
     All too soon though the time to relax in AR was over and it was time to buckle down and...go relax in Florida.  :)  (I know, I know. My life is so hard.)  

{Can we just take a minute to appreciate the fact that Mom said the thing she was looking forward to the most about this whole vacation was having everyone home safe again after.  Is that not the most mom thing you have ever heard in your life? Anyone who knows my mom will be nodding there heads in a 'yup, that sounds like Lori' kind of way and anyone who doesn't know her...well now you do. :)  }

  The best things about being together are also the craziest things. Like having 7 grand kids under the age of 6 together.  You can imagine how crazy that is.  Papa sure realized how crazy it is.

A family vacation at the condo would not be complete without multiple trips to the pool, sometimes multiple in one day. This vacation was a bit different from usual because we went to Florida instead of Branson. You know what that means.  The beach! Disney World! Crazy happenings in Orlando! Going to the Orlando temple.

The beach was a sandy, hot mess. Literally. But it was an excellent mess.  The kind that make you want to go back again and again even when you end up with sand everywhere.  I do love the ocean, but there is something to be said for the lakes in Arkansas where I am not scared of sharks or alligators or crocodiles getting me. 

     Disney World was fun and the kids were troopers through the heat and humidity.  It was fun to see the kids so excited about things and being able to ride rides together.  And then, of course, there was the chance to take our family photo in matching Disney shirts (that I have to give all the credit to Emily for making) and Mickey Mouse ears.

We got Japanese food one afternoon because Joseph has been craving it, and it made me excited to think that I'd actually be in Japan in just a few days and eating this all the time!

     Everybody just look at this food. Doesn't it look delicious? I could happily eat like this every day of my life.

And look at this family (it's not complete.) Don't you wish you were here?

  I also had the chance to go to the Orlando temple with some of the family so that was a really special experience, which was also kind of sad because it marked the end of my parent's time in Orlando.   

     They left for Arkansas the next morning, but it was almost a relief because so many crazy things had been happening in Orlando lately.  The rest of us had one more day before we all headed out too. Mom had the right idea though, it was a relief to have everyone safely home and out of Orlando.  With shootings and alligator attacks, I had never been so grateful for Mtn. Home AR.

    I would have been a lot sadder with this vacation coming to a close if it didn't mean that I would be on my way to Japan. Sarah was a champ and took me to the airport to start my 30 hour journey at 4 am. But that is another story for which you will have to wait for the next blog.  

                                                                                                                2 weeks of summer down, 7 to go.