Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Riley's 10th Birthday

 Riley turned 10 this year, on August 30. He's officially double digits! I can hardly believe it.

He didn't want a big party, opting instead to have two small celebrations with his friends. We invited the Krewe over after school the Friday before his birthday, and everyone had such a fun time. They played inside and out for almost 5 hours.

Grandma and Grandpa came over the next day to give Riley his birthday presents. He loved the little ceramic turtle and LEGO set he got from them. Oh, and there was more ice cream.

On the morning of his birthday, Riley was surprised with balloons and signs on the landing when he came downstairs. After his birthday breakfast, he Zoomed with QP and James, who sent his gift all the way from France. (Everything they sent had a doubles theme in honoring of him finally being double digits. So cute.) Then he had his two best guy friends, Arav and Finn, over that afternoon. They played LEGOs and the Switch, ran around outside, and celebrated with cookies and, yes, more ice cream.

We went to dinner at Nola and Nopsi's house the night of his birthday, and the celebration continued. More cards, gifts, signs, and even more ice cream. Nopsi also presented me with an incredible surprise gift: a series of sketches that he did of the birthday boy. So very special.

Happy Happy Birthday, my sweet Riley-bean. I love you all the time!

Monday, November 9, 2020

School Days: First Days of 5th Grade {Riley} and 2nd Grade {Rory} and Teaching {Me!}

The return to school in August didn't look quite the same as it usually does, for many reasons, most of which were because of COVID. The students are restricted to their own homeroom groups and are not allowed to intermix with any other students while on campus. This means that the teachers switch classes while the students stay in their homerooms all day long. It also means that instead of middle school being grouped mainly by gender, they're now grouped by regulars and honors.

In addition, all staff members and students in grades 3 and up are required to wear a mask while on campus. Everyone has to pass a temperature check every morning. Lunch takes place in each classroom, not in the cafeteria. Outside recess is allowed, but students are limited to a square of roped-in/barricaded space with only their homeroom group.

Band and choir are not currently allowed, so they are running a 7-period schedule as opposed to the normal 8. Weekly mass is still occurring, but only one grade level is attending in person, while the rest of the school watches a livestream.

Things are quite different.

Another major thing is that I got a job on campus this year! Because class sizes are restricted to 25 people max, Mrs. Jayme agreed to teach a third first grade class, and I took over library and computer from her. My first day was in-service in the gym on August 6. Such a crazy year to go back to work full-time.

Meanwhile, Riley's first day of 5th grade (MIDDLE SCHOOL!) was Wednesday, August 12. They had half a day of orientation, so they could be introduced to all things middle school. They were introduced to their schedules, and they set up their lockers and their personal chromebooks, which are a required supply for middle school. (Riley was so very excited to get his own computer.) He had a great day being back with all of his friends and his new teachers in his new classroom. Riley is in the 5th Honors homeroom this year with Mrs. Englander, who teaches math.

The whole school had a half day on Thursday, August 13; this was Rory's first official day of 2nd grade. This will be such a fun year for him; Ms. Paulin and Mrs. Rucker are so awesome. He is in Ms. Paulin's homeroom, just like Riley was. (Sadly, Brennan and Colin are not in his class. Again.)

We have been doing fairly well so far with in-person learning. Students and teachers have been out here and there because of contact with a COVID-positive person, and one class had to quarantine completely in the first quarter and one whole grade in the second quarter. Overall, though, not too bad.

Fingers crossed it continues.....this is school in 2020!

Friday, November 6, 2020

White Sands Lake

After a very long summer not doing much of anything, Dana and I decided to bite the bullet and take the kids on a fun day trip. We drove to White Sands Lake in Franklinton, LA. I had heard good things about it from other friends but just never had a chance to go. We made it happen this year though, and I'm so glad we did.

White Sands Lake is a day beach with fresh clear water, inflatables, floating mats, covered picnic areas, and lots of space. The four kids were so ecstatic to be together on a hot summer day. They played for almost 6 straight hours.

Such a nice break from reality for a day!

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