Friday, March 8, 2013

St. Mary's Carnival

 October in our area tends to have a lot of fall festivities.  Must be because the weather is so fantastic.  Or it could be the huge amount of churches in the greater Orlando metropolitan area.  We had planned to walk down the the Annunciation's fall festival the weekend previous, but just ran out of time with general around the house business and football season stuff. 

Daniel and I woke up early one Sunday morning and went out to the Maitland Farmer's Market together to walk and get veggies. 

On our way home, we drove by St. Mary's and noticed they had a carnival, too.  We went home to pick the big kids up and the 4 of us went to hang out at the carnival. 

See that man?  Yeah, well, he tells Megan that for $2 she can keep playing until she wins.  So, 15 minutes later, she's still throwing dull darts at balloons. 

And then she wins this fuzzy little thing that I can only guess is worth about a nickel.  But she had fun, so it was worth it. 

They all spotted the big slide and decided to go for it....

And then a tame little roller coaster. 

The festival was fun.  We got to watch Flamenco Dancers, and see some really cool artwork, too.  It wasn't too expensive, with most of the rides costing about $1 per child.  I bought a strip of tickets for $20 and ended up giving the last little bit away, since we were ready to head home for lunch. 

Later that night I went into work, and a friend was excited to give me a lychee fruit.  I had never had one before and they were talking about it a few weeks ago.  So I was made to eat it right there to see if I liked it.  Pardon the 4x4 used for a napkin, I may or may not have been eating at the nurses' station. It was really good and I brought a few more home for the kids to try.  We love trying new foods. 

Keith bought me a new sticker for the minivan.  Isn't it cute?  I'm a big New England Patriots fan and the fact that the kids will swim for Patriot Aquatics this summer and cheer/play for Pop Warner Patriots this fall, makes it a multi-purpose sticker. 

Best fund-raiser designated Friday each month, the kids are allowed to pay 50 cents to wear a hat to school.  The funds for this go towards 5th grade activities such as their graduation.  I love that the kids' school is a Title One school, which means that there are a large amount of children on the free/reduced lunch program.  Now, I could talk all day about how the food on the program is crap, but I'll save that for another day.  What Title One means to us is that even with the additional services necessary at the school to offset the high needs of some of the school population, the FCE has been able to continue some of the more extravagant extra curricular stuff by creatively raising funds.  In public school, no child is left out of activities due to an inability to pay.  I often wondered how it worked for some families (like us) that were barely scraping by when the kids were in private school and field trips were costly (Build-A-Bear, Wet-N-Wild, etc).  Now that we don't have private school tuition to pay and field trips average about $10 per child (if that), we have taken to sending in double the amount to "sponsor" another student to attend - while this money really goes into a pool to offset the expense for the deficit created when families with hardships cannot afford the field trip, our kids know that we are helping someone else anonymously.  I think it's huge for character building for the children to know at an early age that we are supposed to share our blessings with others. 

Anyway, back to the picture above.  Daniel loves to wear his "Jesus is my boss" hat to school for Hat Fridays.  At first I was a little worried because I wasn't sure if there were going to be any problems.  However, the hat seems to be warmly embraced, and I know from talking to many of the teachers and staff that there are quite a few people that love to see him come in with his bright yellow Jesus hat on.  

We are finding that the kids are coming home with such a broad knowledge base of other children's belief systems.  Daniel recently told me all about one of his friends that won't be participating in some of the classroom parties because this friend is a Jehovah's Witness.  I'm very pleased with how the school handled this young child's conviction and how it was educated to the classroom in a positive way.  I think teaching inclusion and diversity (in all areas) is such an important step in bully-proofing the school.  Gosh, I know a few adults that could benefit from learning about other religions, cultures and lifestyles. 

Just a few pictures to wrap it up:

My sweet boy looking for fish in the spot that Keith and I were married in 14 years ago. 

Riding the carousel together.  I love this age of independence. 

Keith and I laughed about this one...seems the mountain of laundry at our house exploded when we had sick kids in October.  We were in constant wash/dry/fold mode and never really got to put-away mode for a few days. 

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