Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Roxy is our friends'/neighbors' two year old rottweiler who they brought home when she was about six weeks old. Roxy and Maya were puppies together. When Maya was two and Roxy was new to the world also, they both got a kick out of chasing each other around and playing together. It was a win-win situation because they would tire each other out before bedtime. Shayne and Maya still love to play with Roxy. Here are some pictures taken earlier this month when Roxy went swimming in the baby pool with the kids.

First Day of First Grade

Yesterday Shayne had his first day of first grade. So as of this afternoon, he is officially two days into it and seems to really like it so far. He has some friends from last year in his class and has made some new ones too. We're off to a good start!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Last Day of Summer

That's right, I said last day of summer. That may sound weird to a lot of you, especially considering the fact that we live in the Arizona Desert, but it is the summer break I am referring to, not the actual summer season. I work in a district that has a "modified year-round schedule" which I love, because we have 2 weeks off in October, 2 weeks off at Christmas, 2 weeks off in the spring, then a 7 week summer break. This summer break really flew by! We had a great time and we all feel well-rested and happy. Today we had a water-balloon fight and went to the pool to celebrate (or mourn) my last day of break.
Tomorrow I start my new position, "Media/Technology Specialist". Essentially, I will teach all the classes for a half hour (K-3) or 45 minutes (4-6) per week in the computer lab. We try to incorporate technology objectives with what they are already learning in class. I am also in charge of overseeing the library, making sure all of the technology in our building is working the way it should (computers, network, printers, voicemail, etc.), producing our Friday news podcast and keeping up our school website. It is a lot of responsibility, but I am interested in these things, so it is making it fun. It does feel strange that for the first time in 10 years I will not have my own class, but that will also give me a little bit more freedom which I think will be nice. I feel more excited and energized to start the year than I have in awhile.
Then, next Monday, Shayne starts first grade. He has always been very social and comfortable with a high-level of activity, so I'm sure he'll like it. Maya starts half-day preschool three days a week on August 11th. She will be with the same teachers she was with last year, who are absolutely wonderful. Anyway, I'll let you know how it all goes. If I don't post for a few weeks, you'll know why!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The National Zoo

One of our favorite things to do when we visit Maryland is to go to the National Zoo. We got to go last Monday with my Mom and Alison and her kids. Here are some photos:

Drew, Shayne and Maya watching the waterfall

Sydney, Maya and Shayne riding the bear

Drew and Shayne

Maya in her new zoo hat

Shayne playing inside the huge olive at the pizza play area

Maya on the huge olive

Sydney, Maya, Shayne and Drew

Shayne inside the dinosaur skull, looking fierce

The lions and tigers were more active than I have ever seen them

The lion scratching

I always enjoy seeing all the beautiful flowers at the zoo also. We had a fun day!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Beach

We recently returned from spending a week at the beach in North Carolina. We stayed in a house on the beach in the Outer Banks by the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. We were with my Mom and Dad, Dale and Tammy and their kids, Alison and Andy and their kids, Steve and Wendy and Tom and Sarah and their kids. Shayne and Maya were in heaven playing with all of their cousins in the sand and ocean. The beach was absolutely beautiful and the weather was great. We had a wonderful time! You should be able to click on any of the images below to enlarge them. Here are a few:

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which was within walking distance of where we stayed

The Water

Maya was a natural in the water. She loved playing in the waves on her own and going out deeper in the ocean with Mom or Dad.

Shayne spent hours each day swimming and boogie boarding in the waves. He had a great time and caught lots of rides!

Maya venturing into the deep with Dad

The Land

Shayne pretending to be a menacing character

Shayne building in the sand below an ominous looking cloud

Maya industriously carrying water to her sand castle

Shayne building "The Grand Canyon"

Maya filling her bucket

Dad and kids working as a team on the Grand Canyon project

Cousins playing in the sand (from left to right: Shayne, Maya, Alex, Greg, David and Melissa)

In the Evening

Shayne sitting on what was left of a nearby peer that we walked to a few times in the evenings

The view from where Shayne was sitting in the previous photo toward the house we stayed in. There were hardly any people on the beach and it was absolutely beautiful!


We walked to a turtle pond one evening and Grandpa caught a turtle so that the kids could get a closer look.

Sand crabs were everywhere, especially in the evenings. The kids had fun watching them dart in and out of their holes.

This was a very interesting sight! While my Dad was walking down the beach, he found this shark, which was about 5 and a half feet long, washed up on the shore. Soon after, a bunch of us went down to check it out. It was pretty crazy seeing something like that in the wild, even if it was dead.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Flight

Since I haven't been posting much while on vacation, I am going to start with the trip out and go from there. We had a fairly good flight from AZ to MD. It was the first flight since Shayne was born that didn't include a stroller and a carseat, so that was nice. Each of the three of us (Rick came out 2 days later) just had our own backpacks and everyone walked themselves onto the plane. (I am accustomed to being a rather pathetic looking sight, trying to carry a little one and several bags at once down a narrow airplane aisle while herding, or more accurately, attempting to herd, a toddler or pre-schooler in front of me, so it was a welcome change.) Maya and Shayne loved the take-off, and enjoyed all of the Phoenix valley getting smaller and smaller.
The only notable complication took place at baggage claim in Baltimore. About 4 1/2 hours after boarding the plane in PHX, we landed at BWI at about 10:30 Arizona time (neither of them slept at all on the flight, so both were exhausted at this point), and Maya was expecting to "get off the plane and see Grandma". When we got to the end of a long walkway which opened up into a room with hundreds of people waiting for bags, and then had to wait about 20 minutes for ours, she had a pretty wicked meltdown...Luckily I won't be seeing any of those people anytime soon...Anyway, she was quickly pacified when we saw Grandma a few minutes later and got into her car. All in all a successful flight. Here are some pictures we took right before take-off:

Thursday, July 3, 2008

In Maryland

We made it to Maryland late yesterday night (or early this morning, depending on which time zone...) Overall it was a good trip, all things considered. Rick joins us tomorrow. We will post some pictures soon. We are off to North Carolina early Saturday. More later...