To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Merry Christmas From The Lowe Family

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Merry Christmas from the Lowe family! We've had an eventful 2009. Here are some highlights!

This year, Mary Beth danced in the 24th annual production of The Roar of Love here in Augusta. She was a cute pony! In addition to ballet, she takes tennis lessons and studies piano with mommy. The poor kid rarely has a chance to get to the piano to practice, though. Mommy keeps it busy with other students all afternoon!

We turned our backyard deck into a screened porch and added a patio this year. When the weather's nice, we love having our morning coffee there.

Laura's parents celebrated their 50th Anniversary this year! Mary Beth made them a big card that said, "Happy 50th Annibersary!" (sic) They framed it!

Mary Beth turned 7 this year and started 1st grade. Hard to believe! To celebrate, Daddy built her a very impressive swing set. It took 3 weekends, but he did it all by himself.

Laura continues to teach piano privately. Her studio is now operating at capacity with a waiting list, and she is on the board of the local chapter of Music Teachers Nat'l Assoc. She played a concert at St. John United Methodist as part of Augusta's Westobou Arts Festival in September. In October, she signed on as organist at Aldersgate United Methodist.

Kevin passed the licensing exams for his job last summer after nearly two years of classes and studying. He's now a senior reactor operator. Unfortunately, he is doing shift work, and that combined with a long commute means we don't see much of him during the week. But, at least when he's home, he's not studying anymore!

We hope that you all had a happy time during Christmas, and we wish you all the best in 2010!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Our "New Family Tradition"

MB's kindergarten teacher introduced Elf on the Shelf to her class last year. It's a story book with a little elf who is supposedly Santa's scout. He appears in your house every morning in a new location, watches to make sure you're behaving, then flies back to the north pole at night to give Santa a report. Every day, I heard about "Zippy's" new location in the classroom. I almost went out and bought the kit for us, until I saw the price tag. Best price I could find was around $40. Hmmm...I figured I could find my own little vintage elf for a few dollars, and we already knew the story, so no need for the book. But, I was busy, and it never occurred to MB that we could have our own elf at home. Until this year...

I drive the morning carpool. This morning, our extra passenger said, "Where was YOUR elf this morning?" Then she proceeded to to tell us all about finding her elf in her house. MB listened to all of this, then said with the saddest tone you can imagine, "I want an elf at my house!"

"Oh, honey," I said. "Mama's already spent a lot of money this Christmas. I don't think I can buy that elf."

Our little friend had an answer for that. "Oh, you don't have to buy him! You just have to call Santa and ask him to send you one. All mommies and daddies have Santa's phone number!"


A faux vintage elf and a new storybook appeared in our house today. Okay, I admit that it's really cute and MB loves it. But, they could have sold that elf with a pamphlet for $5.

Bah humbug.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

More Pictures

Friday, October 30, 2009

'Twas the Night Before Halloween

What a busy day! MB's new school has a huge halloween carnival, so we spent the morning having fun there. Afterwards, my piano students had a costume party, and then we headed down the street for a neighborhood party. Whew, I'm pooped. And, there's more tomorrow!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Munchkin Goes to a New School

After much consideration, we have made a decision to move the munchkin from public to private school. While we liked our old 1st grade teacher very much and think she does a good job under the circumstances she was given, we are unhappy with the degree to which state standards and standardized test performance control everything in public school. We want a richer, broader, more challenging and creative school experience for our bright child. So far, we're very happy with the decision even if it is taking a huge chunk of our income. Fortunately, another child in our neighborhood is making the change, too, so having a friend eases the transition for both of them.

My first inkling that I wasn't going to be happy with public school came at first-grade orientation. The first words spoken were, "Now, we want you to all know that we're all going to be teaching your children the same standards..." and for the rest of the evening, the only things I heard that didn't have to do with state standards were the directions for where to drive up for the car line. By the end of the meeting, I was ready to stand up and say, "I've heard all night about how you plan to teach the standards. Would you mind spending some time now talking about how you plan to teach my child?"

We like many things at the new school. They are able to devote time to things that wouldn't be evaluated on a standardized test - chess, Spanish, and handwriting. They do a great job of teaching the children to present themselves well and communicate effectively, both aurally and in written form.

I never thought we'd be the private school type of parents. But then, I didn't realize just how much public education had changed even since I was a public school teacher. We're very happy with the new situation.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Labor of Love

It took three weekends. He routed all of the edges to make them smooth. Had a few setbacks. Injured a finger. But, he finished. One tired daddy, and one happy girl.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mary Beth's BIG birthday present!

The last swingset was a kit from Wal*art. The wood rotted inside of the vinyl cladding and turned the swingset into a kid death trap. But, the new one is going to be awesome!

We got the plans here. We didn't realize how much bigger this structure would be than the last one until we stood up the fort. It's huge! Mary Beth is beside herself.

Monday, August 10, 2009

First Grade!

Today was the first day of first grade! We met our new teacher last Thursday, and we both liked her very much. There's one little boy in Mary Beth's class that was in last year's class, and one little girl that we knew from Pre-K. Our teacher's room theme is dogs, so that made Mary Beth very happy! This was also Mary Beth's first day to ride the bus. It stops right across from our house, so she doesn't have far to walk, and we have lots of neighborhood friends who ride. Here's the neighborhood gang waiting for the bus to arrive.Today, I took Bella for a walk right after the bus came, so Mary Beth got to see me and wave as they passed me twice while picking up other children in the neighborhood. Mary Beth will take ballet again this year, and she's also signed up for a tennis class. We're looking forward to a good year!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Summer Fun

Sprinkler dancing

Long car trips with a best friend

Sand castles

Water sliding with Daddy

Picnic in the park. Cigars optional.

Glow sticks and fireworks

Beach walks at sunset

Late nights watching the stars

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Last summer, we were the new kids on the block. I had a very lonely little girl moping around the house. What a difference a year makes! This summer, hardly a day goes by without at least one or two extra children hanging out at my house, and sometimes, the entire neighborhood gang. I've had to come up with a "secret code" to let them know when I'm teaching piano and they shouldn't come and knock on the door to see if Mary Beth can play. I hang out a special door hanger to let them know I have a student!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kindergarten Graduation

That's my baby - front and center in the green gingham dress with the ribbon tie. She lost another front tooth, learned to ride her bike without training wheels, and graduated from kindergarten all in the space of about 2 weeks. Suddenly, she's changing from a little girl into a big one - all at once.

At the graduation ceremony, they sang songs for us and presented a video of photos the teacher had taken during the year. We were very happy that Kevin got to come - he managed to leave work a little early that day and surprised Mary Beth. The night before, she had begged him to come and told him he should "sneak away from work." She was so excited when she saw him walk in!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Easter morning started bright and early for the Lowe family since mommy and Mary Beth needed to be at church by 8:00. The Easter bunny had left some candy and a single egg in Mary Beth's basket. Inside the egg was a message to tell her where to find the next egg. After a pre-dawn hunt through the yard, it led her inside to a basket in the closet...

where she found the tennis racket she's been wanting! Wow, the Easter Bunny knows everything!

Take a good look at the dress. She won't be wearing it again. At Sunday School, she somehow stepped on the overlay skirt and pulled it right out of the waistband. I don't think it's fixable. It sure was pretty.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mary Beth's Winning Story

Mary Beth's story "My Dog Bella" was selected out of all of the kindergarten students at her elementary school to compete in a district writing contest. Here it is, with all of her spelling and punctuation intact. The teacher encourages them to express themselves naturally, spelling the best they can. Of course, she'll eventually learn to spell all of these words!

My Dog Bella

I have a dog named Bella and she is a fun dog. She is a gold dog and she is a orange dog. She can sit and she can laye down. Wenevr I get the lesh, I put it on Bella she gose crasee. The wethr is gedenge warmr and Bella is sdardng to shed. My name is Mary Beth and that is my dog Bella.

Update in March of 2010: In light of our new experiences at a new school, I am so sorry I did not protest the fact that they let these and other spelling errors stand in the munchkin's writing. Even though my common sense warning bells were ringing, I allowed myself to believe that the experts at the school knew what was best. I think it was a great idea to allow her to write the story initially without for concern for spelling - but only as a rough draft. There should have been a revision process to correct the spelling and encourage the habit of always presenting your best work. Because the teacher allowed this "phonetic spelling," I didn't correct it at home either when she wrote in her journal for fun. All of that constant reinforcement of spelling words like "weather" as "wethr" and "whenever" as "whenevr" meant that in first grade she had to unlearn a bad habit and then relearn how to spell words that end in "-er," among other things. How inefficient. Why allow this spelling in kindergarten and then suddenly do a 180-degree turn in first grade and put a red mark on every misspelled word? It was very confusing to the munchkin when she got those red marks in first grade after having been praised for her writing in kindergarten. Chalk this up as another reason we're happy to be out of public school.

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