Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fun in The Sun

When I was a little girl, my parents would pack us up every year to spend a week or two at the beach. Some of our favorite vacations included cousins and aunts and uncles, as well.  My siblings and I have decided to continue the tradition and we all vacation together. It's a fantastic fun filled week with 3 generations sharing one roof. (I'll admit, it's hectic, busy and often not quiet, but still zen in it's own way.) One of the secrets to success is to make sure you have a house big enough to accommodate everyone.

As the resident preschool teacher, I have assumed the role of planning activities to keep the kids busy and have been given the honorary title, "Auntie Ayn, Activities Director". Many of the fun things we do are spontaneous or thought up by the children, but I do plan a few activities for those times when parents need a little break from the beach or the littlest ones need a nap.This year, some of the crafts I brought included decorating pre-made kites to fly afterward, decorating water bottle holders, flashlights, visors and backpacks.

(And apparently there was a manicure activity, as evidenced by this picture!)


We played lots of volleyball, frisbee, catch and kickball. (Our kickball games usually commence at dusk after dinner so my pictures did not come out.)

We did playdough, painting and even some cupcake decorating.

We played on the beach, made sandcastles and jumped the waves.

We watched the fireworks on the Fourth of July and the Dads even set off a few of our own. (The picture makes it look like the kids are right on top of the fireworks, but they are actually a VERY safe distance away.)

One of the highlights of the trip is our scavenger hunt. We hid clues up and down the beach and the kids must find the and decipher them to determine where to go next. There is a treasure chest with lots of goodies in the end!

At the end of our childhood vacations, we would always have to pose for the infamous "FAMILY PORTRAIT". It, too, was a family tradition, so we repeat it, and laugh and joke about how this was torture when we were small.

My daughters, my husband and myself. Our first real family picture in years!

Me and my siblings.

I LOVE my small family! 
I can't wait for next year so we can all be together again. I love seeing how the children have grown and how much they connect when they are together. These are the true blessings in life!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdom....Life's Little Pleasures

Wednesday's Wisdom is another one of those chain emails that we all get from time to time, but the message is something that bears repeating.

Don't forget to stop and enjoy the little pleasures in life. They are the things that we build our memories on.

The Simple Pleasures Of Life

Think about them one at a time BEFORE going on to the next one...
Especially, the thought at the end.


The beach.


A hot shower.

Getting mail.

Sweet dreams.

Hot chocolate.

A bubble bath.

Falling in love.

A special glance.

Swinging on swings.

A good conversation.

Watching the sunrise.

Laughing at yourself.

Road trips with friends.

Playing with a new puppy.

Running through sprinklers.

Laughing at an inside joke.

No lines at the supermarket.

Making chocolate chip cookies.

Taking a drive on a pretty road.

Laughing so hard your face hurts.

Knowing that somebody misses you.

Hot towels fresh out of the dryer.

Having someone play with your hair.

Making eye contact with a cute stranger.

Your first kiss .

Hearing your favorite song on the radio.

Laughing for absolutely no reason at all.

Midnight phone calls that last for hours.

Holding hands with someone you care about.

Lying in bed listening to the rain outside.

Having someone tell you that you're beautiful.

Having your friends send you home-made cookies.

Chocolate milkshake. (or vanilla or strawberry!)

Getting a hug from someone you care about deeply.

Making new friends or spending time with old ones.

Finding a 20 dollar bill in your coat from last winter.

Accidentally overhearing someone say something nice about you.

Waking up and realizing you still have a few hours left to sleep.

Knowing you've done the right thing, no matter what other people think.

Getting out of bed every morning and being grateful for another beautiful day.

Running into an old friend and realizing that some things (good or bad) never change.

Watching the expression on someone's face as they open a much desired present from you.

Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

Happy Wednesday! Don't forget to try to find a little gratitude for the simple things in life each day!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Just A Little Postcard

As part of our Kindergarten transition plan, I send each student from last year's
class a postcard with an encouraging note wishing them well as they embark on their new Kindergarten adventure. Many of the students in my class are participating in our Summer Camp program, so I see them when I am in the building. Yesterday, several of the friends rushed up to hug me and thank me for the postcard they got in the mail. It's easy to forget how much a simple little piece of mail addressed directly to them can impact a child. They were so excited!

Then one little friend (one of my more dramatic friends) approached me with a frown and the saddest puppy dog eyes I'd seen since the last time I'd seen her disappointed.

"Mrs. Ayn, I didn't get a postcard. I don't know why I didn't, since all the other little children in your class got one, but there was nothing in MY mailbox for me!"

I told her that I had indeed mailed her a card, so she should continue to check her mail for a few days, because she should be getting something soon.

Today, she came running up to me and gave me a big hug, "It came! It came! I finally got the postcard and guess what, Mrs Ayn? It was from you!"

I was so glad she got it. I know that this particular student will probably save it (for many, many moons) and carry it around with her for a while. Since she can read, I suspect she'll read it over and over to herself and to anyone who will listen. For now, it will be one of her greatest treasures.

For me, this was a great reminder that it's the little things I do that will make an impact on my class this year. I need to take the time to take that extra step for my kids, whenever I can.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wednesday's Wisdom....At the Beach!

As I am at the beach this week, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite beach quotes:

"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea." - e.e. cummings

"It is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea---whether it is to sail or to watch it---we are going back from whence we came." - John F. Kennedy

"At the beach, life is different. Time doesn't move hour to hour but mood to moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides and follow the sun." - Unknown

"The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea.” - Isak Dinesen

We have gone to Folly Beach, SC, (one of the beaches in Charleston) since I was a child. For the past three years, we've not been able to find a house large enough to accommodate our brood, so we have moved our vacations to Topsail Island, NC. We like it here, too, but my heart will always be in Folly! Pat Conroy often sets his books in the Charleston area, so I had to include this one:

"Charleston has a landscape that encourages intimacy and partisanship. I have heard it said that an inoculation to the sights and smells of the Carolina lowcountry is an almost irreversible antidote to the charms of other landscapes, other alien geographies. You can be moved profoundly by other vistas, by other oceans, by soaring mountain ranges, but you can never be seduced. You can even forsake the lowcountry, renounce it for other climates, but you can never completely escape the sensuous, semitropical pull of Charleston and her marshes."
~ Pat Conroy (The Lords of Discipline)

Thanks for stopping by!

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