College Day

As the follow-up to Career Day, the kids had College Day at school! We got a note home saying the kids should wear a shirt for the college their parents attended – which works here in The Cove since the parents are all college graduates. This mama had two thoughts: Wearing Auburn shirts in Bama territory is sometimes awkward (see photo evidence below) and our kids say they’re not going to Auburn anyway! (We shall see about that.) Anyway, I got on Amazon and ordered shirts for the schools they say they’re going to attend. Hey, everything is possible… dream big or go home!

Michael says Harvard is his back-up plan. Ha! 🙂

Leah’s friend Ainsley brought University of South Carolina pom-poms to supplement her college-of-choice shirt.

This is Michael’s class. Let me summarize:

michaels class college day

The big blue chunk represents the kids who wore Alabama shirts. I would have made that part of the pie chart crimson red for Bama but I just like blue better. 🙂

After the photo, the teacher put Mississippi State jerseys on all the kids who hadn’t worn a school shirt! Ha!

Career Day

This week, our school had its annual Career Day! The kids dressed up to reflect their future careers and the school had various professionals come and talk about their jobs.

Guess who is planning to be a chef?

Leah the chef! She is already a skilled cook and baker.

You’ll be shocked to know Michael plans to be a paleontologist.

He wanted me to show that his backpack is covered in dinosaurs.

Michael says this outfit looks like “someone who just retired from a church”. 🙂

Annnnnnnd, Mommy forgot to pack a change of clothes for cross country/running club practice so Little Man had to run in khakis! Ooops! 😦

Back to school: 5th and 2nd

Tuesday was officially the first day of school which means we officially have a 5th grader and a 2nd grader!!!This is the last year they’ll be in school together until they’re both in high school. Yikes. Enough stats… Here are some cute back-to-school pictures!


Leah is very excited to have a rolling backpack from PBteen, thus it’s in every photo of her. One of the best things about 5th grade is that the kids all get “jobs”. Leah is hoping to be a news anchor on the school’s [closed broadcast] TV channel. Other jobs include safety patrol, reading buddies, and lunchroom helpers (opening milk cartons for the kindergarteners, etc.). The 5th grade also changes classes and they have a 50s themed school dance in the Spring. The other big event for 5th grade is an end-of-the-year video on puberty which the kids all pretend to be horrified about. Ha!

Michael is ready for 2nd grade with his dinosaur backpack and several dinosaur tees to wear to school. This year will be busy for him – all the kids in his class are 95th percentile or higher nationally in reading and math. His teacher said she’s going to teach them 3rd grade math and have them reading a lot of “chapter books”. Michael has finally decided he likes reading now that he can read Harry Potter. 🙂

Off they went…

And 7 hours later, they were back…

Bryan and I have wrestled for years about public vs. private school. For now, we feel good about the education they’re getting in the K-8 public school here in The Cove. Our school system has been in turmoil administratively for several years, but the kids are shielded from it. Our teachers really do a wonderful job – and frankly, their jobs are made easier by classrooms full of children whose parents are all college educated.

Here’s Leah showing us how the screen rotates on her new ThinkPad. Our school system went digital several years ago and they give a laptop to every child in 3rd-12th grade. The little kids (K-2nd) each get an iPad that has to stay at school.

OK, off to check on the status of homework!

Bring it!

Folks, we are already back in school! I know! It’s crazy – this is the middle of summer and I was just beginning to enjoy the laziness of it all. The good news is both kids got the teachers they wanted! Here we are at “meet the teacher day” on Monday at school…

I made them “dress up” to meet the teacher since they won’t dress up for school.

Michael got Mrs. S who is the favorite of the 2nd grade teachers because she has class guinea pigs and she rewards good behavior with gummi bears. This is her 30th year to teach 2nd grade!

Izzy and Chloe – the class guinea pigs!

Michael was super excited to find that the book he didn’t have time to finish last Spring is still in the library and his page is still dog-eared! Ha!

Leah ran into her friend Ann Catherine in the hallway. I love these two together!

Leah got the teacher she really wanted – who is amazing and also happens to be an Auburn alum!

This is Ms. L’s first year to teach 5th grade, so fingers crossed. She strikes me as really intelligent and very organized – and Leah thinks she is sweet and cool – so I think it will be a great year.

Here is Leah with her teacher from last year, Ms. W! (And yes, Leah is that much taller than her 4th grade teacher!)

Here are the kids with our school secretary who is a special friend from school and church.

We are ready!!!

Here are the kids having lunch with friends to celebrate the start of a new school year…

Samford Hall


Samford Hall

Is this photo not gorgeous? Instagram is amazing. This is an iconic shot of Auburn University’s campus and the Georgian revival architecture. This is where I want my babies to go to college!!!

I ❤ Auburn

It’s a wrap…

It’s a wrap, folks! School is over and this little guy could not be happier to call it done!

Leah, on the other hand, is among the 0.00001% of children heartbroken to step off the bus on the last day of school because she loved 4th grade and Miss W so much!!! (Thus no photo.)

Last week, my parents and I attended special program in Michael’s class. The kids have been studying American history all year and wrapped up by researching and presenting interesting facts on famous American landmarks. Michael got the Smithsonian which was perfect since he’s visited the Smithsonian Natural History Museum and could share his own photos.  


Michael and his buddy Wyatt…


And Michael with his teacher who retired after 35 years in the classroom. It’s amazing how much Michael learned in one semester in her class. We are proud of his hard work — and her hard work, too!


Michael’s buddies Ben and Alex.


It’s always reassuring to know adults in our community can complete 1st grade assignments with such competence <insert eye roll> but I was proud of Michael for doing the work. I have a theory that kids are as competent as they are allowed to be — call me in 20 years to discuss this further.



The kids sang several patriotic songs for the parents and grandparents. It was sweet. I was impressed that Ms. O had this group of 23 little people completely wrangled. 


Both kids wrapped up another year of German…


Mrs. Gabi taught them so much this year!!

We wrapped to the school year with a German dinner together with classmates and their parents last night.

Summer may now begin!!!

PTA Arts Night

Last week, the kids both participated in their school’s PTA Arts Night. I was so proud of their hard work!

First, the art teacher had displayed work by each of the classes as well as featuring a few exceptional pieces…

Here’s Michael showing his work.

Leah’s self portrait

Leah began taking guitar lessons in January and performed a solo in April! I was amazed and so so so proud of her for getting up there in front of the parents and students. She played The Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby.

Next, Leah performed with the Drama Club…

Michael and I watched all the performances.

Here is Leah acting out having a broken leg in the Drama Club’s performance of “How to Care for a Broken Leg”.

Lastly, Leah performed with the 4th and 5th grade choir. They sang a medley of Earth Day themed songs. One song, “Don’t Forget the Little Children” brought tears to Michael’s eyes. It was precious. (He is sitting here with me telling me to erase that sentence!)

The 4th grade Book Fair

We are careening into the last 9 weeks of school and then… summer! I am ready! Leah has had a great year in the 4th grade with all kinds of fun projects – the latest being a Book Fair! Each child got to pick a favorite book to showcase for their classmates and parents. It was quite an event! Leah chose an American Girl book called “Julie” that is set in 1974 in San Francisco. As part of the assignment, she wrote about social change in the 1970s and things children enjoyed doing “back then” like roller skating. It’s funny to me that it seems soooo long ago to her as my mom’s childhood of the 1940s seems to me!

Leah’s display.

Ainsley and Leah in the school library.

Suffice to say, Michael was nonplussed.

Speaking of public school…

One thing I really like about our public school is that the kids can take a lot of “enrichment” classes. Their core curriculum includes art, music, PE and a technology class where they’re learning fundamentals of programming. After school, they can have classes in Mandarin, Spanish, German, violin, viola, cello, piano, guitar, acting… And they can join clubs for science, math, robotics and chess competition. I can’t even remember what all is offered — it’s a lot!

This is Leah’s 4th year of German and Michael’s 2nd. Leah is also taking drama and… as of today… guitar lessons!!!


The schools debate…

Maybe it’s because I grew up in a college town where “everyone” had parents with PhDs and so the community valued education and reinforced it at every turn, but my value system goes something like this: God/love and education. Education is the answer for essentially every problem. If love can’t fix it, then education can. Our educational experiences are pervasive to every aspect of our lives for all time.

Georgia shirts? The AU v UA rivalry in our state drives me crazy, so I buy the kids other college team shirts. Plus, Uga is cute.


At 14, I would say, “No one is ever going to ask me to f(x) or tell them our state bird! Why do I have to learn this?” But isn’t it crazy how often you really do have to know all that stuff?!? True story: I was asked Alabama’s state bird during the interview for my first real job… which had nothing at all to do with a high tech company in Texas. I said yellowhammer and they hired me. (Not necessarily because I recalled Alabama’s state bird, but still.)

Leah is very serious at school and never talks.

Frau Gabi explains German compound words…

Michael doesn’t talk at school, either. Can you even imagine?!?

I had dinner recently with a group of moms who are near and dear to me. One home schools, one private schools and one public schools like us. The private school and home school moms pointed across the table to us and said, “To be clear: We love our children more than you love yours.” We all roared with laughter! It’s absurd when you say it out loud, but a lot of moms feel that judgment. Parents invest a lot of energy in this topic of education so it can be sensitive when we don’t choose the same things. A little validation would be nice.

This stinker fakes illness every morning to see if he can stay home and play. Attempts: 106. Successes: 0.

Guess who makes good grades and never moves her clip?

Long story for another venue, but we put Michael in a private school for one semester and then transferred him back to our community school. Suffice to say, I don’t recommend bouncing your kid around, but as with all mistakes, the sooner corrected, the better. It was such a good school in so many ways, but it wasn’t a good fit for Michael’s specific talents and interests. Here’s what I learned: The “right” answer is different for every child – and – parents have to make concessions no matter what they choose to do.

Public school lunches would be one major concession! The dreaded rib-a-cue is neither rib nor barbecue, according to Leah. Ha!

1st and 4th grade