Tuesday, September 30, 2008

First day of school

Ok, ok, I know that it is only preschool but that doesn't mean that it is any easier to send your little ones off for a full day of school.  Surprisingly there were no tears from anyone, I was worried about Abbie crying and not wanting to stay-- I was planning 100% on my own emotional meltdown (I wore sunglasses to hide the tears)--but everything happened so quickly that there was no time to be a sappy mom.  It was kind of sad to not have a true first day of school experience, where all of the kids are a little apprehensive and everyone is wearing their best outfits; where moms are trying not to cry as they try to encourage their children to stop crying. 

Yesterday we went on a family outing to Target with a mission to buy lunch boxes for the kids because here in Texas the kids eat lunch at school since preschool is from 9 AM until 1PM--an amazing hour and a half longer than Bracken's class in Virginia!  Anyway, at first I wanted to sneakily choose the kids lunch boxes on my own so that I didn't have to deal with whatever hideous ones they chose for themselves, but then I remembered something that my Aunt Christena always says about letting her kids choose their own clothes on picture day (she let them choose everyday but a parent letting a child choose on picture day was a completely novel idea to me), she says that she lets them choose for themselves because it bolsters their self esteem to allow them to make such important decisions for themselves.  She also says that she then has proof of their heinous taste and what she had to suffer through in order to allow them to become their own person.  My personal favorite picture in the hallway of amazingly beautiful pictures in their home is of her youngest, Nicole, on a preschool picture day when I was living with them.   For those of you who don't know Nicole, she is an extremely smart little girl who was not keen on everyone while she was growing up and was more likely to be found scowling than smiling.  She did not want her mom to brush her hair that morning, so Christena didn't, and Nicole chose to wear a white sleeveless shirt and a shark tooth necklace (Crocodile Hunter style).  The awesome outfit combined with the wild flaming red hair and scowl made for a fabulous picture, which Christena and I got a huge laugh at when it was sent home in her backpack weeks later.  

Anyway, that was a huge deviation from my lunch box story, but it's always what I think of when I try to allow my kids to become their own people.  Luckily Abbie chose a darling pink lunch box with a cupcake and polka dots on it, and Bracken chose a black one with a silver Transformers insignia.  I was overcome with relief that Abbie did not choose the Camp Rock or High School Musical ones--which would ordinarily be her top picks--but since she is not yet even three and a half I am trying to reinforce the Disney princess obsession and avoid Disney teen dramas.  She will have plenty of time to obsess over such things in her tween years.  As is she already squeals and shrieks (Beatlemania style) when she sees anything Hannah Montana.  I guess Abbie must just think that Hannah Montana is a super cool babe and that is the root of her excitement because she doesn't even know that it's a TV show, or that Mylie Cyrus (sp?) is a singer.

The kids carried their lunch boxes around the entire afternoon yesterday, Bracken even tied his to his shorts using his church belt.  It was excellent.  Abbie will only drink water from her lunch box water bottle.  I had a swig and it tasted like drinking melted plastic but she doesn't seem to mind.  

After school their teachers each gave solid reviews that the kids had enjoyed their time and had acted as though they had been there all year.  Bracken has been waiting anxiously for school to start but I thought surely after an hour or so Abbie would have had enough, thankfully that was not the case.  Abbie said that there are two girls in her class named Brooke and that "that is very silly because that is only for mommy's).  Bracken said that he made a friend (not multiple, a friend) who showed him around and played with him on the playground.  They pretended to be storm troopers but Bracken can't remember his name (and doesn't know what a "storm trooper" is).  

All in all it was a success, unfortunately though we learned that Bracken was one shot short of a full set of immunizations so we had to track someone down willing to shoot him with the Hep A vaccine before the next school day.  Luckily they are very accommodating here in Texas and you can get a shot, or any host of other medical needs met, at the grocery store before buying your weeks groceries.  Convenient!  

They are growing up too fast but provide quite the entertainment in the process.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Austin, Texas...Home Sweet Home

Note:  Clearly I have done this wrong--I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to adding pictures to my blog (these are pictures from my iphone that are in a weird order and have no real connection to the entry below)---but I do not have the time or patience to re-do the pictures for this post so the following are the captions for the above pictures: 1. Abbie making me make "heart cakes" as a bribe for her to stop trying to unpack boxes herself 2. a scorpion that I killed on my kitchen floor when Justin was nowhere to be found and I did NOT want it to escape (Jessie googled it, not poisonous) 3. Abbie riding to the front porch on Tate's bike 4. the kids eating lunch on the back patio 4. our bikes, etc. cluttering up the driveway 5. Bracken being asked for the zillionth time NOT to climb the retaining wall

They claim this is Texas---we are in the capitol after all---but I have yet to see big hair, cowboy boots, a 10-gallon hat, or even to hear a howdy!!  There have been a few "y'all's" (although I think at least one has escaped from my own mouth), after hearing from Allie all that Rachael has had to say about Texas in her blog I have decided that I am in the wrong part of the state for immersing myself in the true Texas experience...or at least the one that Hollywood has portrayed.  Maybe I should head north to Dallas and crash with Rachael so that I can really take advantage of what makes this state unique.

Perhaps it is because Austin is the melting pot of the state and the natives are hiding elsewhere. On my street there are two families from Louisiana, one and a half from California (the other half--her husband--is from Maine),  and one from Canada.  There is one family from Texas, and they are truly the loveliest people, but I cannot believe that we have not encountered more Texans.  So far I have been stopped at the grocery store by a man who saw my car and asked if that was a Loudoun County decal on the front windshield (he is a Leesburg native who would rather be back home but is here for the sake of being close to his grandkids), greeted as family by a delivery man who just moved here from Richmond, and served food at Rudy's by a girl who recently relocated from Fairfax.  So, it seems that Virginians are jumping ship but there are no locals to be found...go figure.

Those who know me know that I am the queen of unreturned phone calls, unreturned e-mails, and am basically horrible at keeping in touch.  I LOVE my friends and love to talk to them and to know what is going on in their lives, but for some reason (four small reasons actually) I can never make the time to catch up.  My sisters hear from me more frequently because I feel less guilty about the screaming in the background with them for some reason but they too have made a request for an Allen family blog.  So, the deal that I have made with myself is that when there is time (ha) I will create new posts but I will not beat up on myself (as I do with journal writing) when time passes and I haven't had time to record every tiny thing we have done or every hilarious anecdote about the kids.  We'll see how well I do!

The brief update since the move is:  We miss Virginia, we did move into the house we have been trying to buy though we still haven't closed on it,  we love the house, love the area, and love the neighborhood, our kids are starting preschool this week (hooray), it hasn't rained once since we got here, it is NOT hotter than Virginia but we will definitely miss the fall back east,  Justin is loving his commute to down the hall, I am not loving living without a refrigerator (long story), but all in all things are great for the Allen's!

I now have an iphone (my husband could restrain himself no longer) so my sisters and Dad have been getting multiple pictures a day of my kids which I will try and extract from my phone and put on this blog...if that's possible from my phone.

We love and miss all those we left behind and hope to hear from all of you soon!!