Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A New Look

Last night my friend Emily came over to cut Julee's hair. Julee was really nervous about cutting her hair since she has had the same style pretty much her whole life. On the other hand she had decided that she wanted a change. Of course, the one thing you can't do when it comes to Julee's hair is lose all the thick curly locks that she has. Emily gave her the cutest new layered cut and Julee looks FABULOUS!

Alexis wanted to get in on the 'new look' action so this morning she
put her hair in pony tails and struck a pose!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Saturday Night Treat

The other night Rick, Alexis, and I (Julee was off having fun at a Stake Youth Activity) had the opportunity to participate in an impromptu service project. On our way home, we were treated to a fun fireworks show that happened to be taking place. We found a place to pull over to watch the show, which was one of the better hometown fireworks shows we have ever seen. We were close enough that you could hear the booms and smell the smoke. Alexis thought being so close to the fireworks was the "greatest experience of her life". The energy in the car was so exciting! Even Rick and I were oohing and aahing. It was the perfect way to end the evening. Not only were we treated to a great fireworks show, but it was a great teaching moment with Alexis. Service brings blessings - even if the blessing is a brief family moment watching fireworks that we would have never seen just hanging out at home! I was bummed that I didn't have the camera with me, but I was able to get some pictures on my cell phone.

1st Day of School

The 1st day of school was actually last Wednesday! Julee and Alexis had a great first few days and are off to an awesome start! More details to follow as the year progresses.....

Julee off to her 1st day of junior high

Alexis heads to 3rd grade

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Before the First Day

Tomorrow is the much anticipated first day of school. Preparing for the big day over the past couple of weeks has brought anxiety, excitement, apprehension, and wonder into the Dunklee home. And I'm only referring to myself. Sometime last week, I came across a letter (here is the link so as to give full credit to the actual author) that a mother wrote to her 2 little boys before they went to school. Mushy and sentimental are not regular themes on this blog, but today I just have to go there. It's kind of long, but this mom was able to capture many of my own thoughts and feelings as Julee's and Alexis' mom. I am so blessed to get to be the mom of such amazing daughters of our Heavenly Father!

Dear Children,
Today is the first day of school. We've laid out your brand-new shirt and sneakers, and loaded your backpack with scissors, shiny spiral notebooks and unsharpened No. 2 pencils. You lunch box is filled with goodies, and I apologize now that it won't last. In a week my thrifty ways will set in, and you'll be lucky to get a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with an apple. But I hope for now that you enjoy the exotic fruit leather, cheese sticks and fancy crayon water bottle that you begged me to get.

We've had a summer of play and exploration, and now it's time to slide behind that desk, lift your elbows and begin to work. I hope you find a different way of exploring, through numbers that seem to stretch forever and the power that comes from manipulating them to create digital files, skyscrapers and airplanes. When you crack open the pages of a new book, I hope you fall into the story and find yourself in a land of cupboards and Indians, inside a magnificent candy factory, soaring high in the air atop a giant peach, or listening to the musical melody of a cricket in a New York subway station. When you get beyond the creep and strain of new reading, you will find that printed words will paint pictures in your head, sometimes delicate, or frightening, or heart-wrenchingly sad.

I hope that when you step into school, amid the bustle of children and the swirl of new experience, that you will keep a firm grip on the things we've tried to teach you at home: That you are a child of God, an example of the believers, a missionary in the making. You will hear things that sound wrong, or just plain dirty, and you will walk away, or stand up for yourself. You will come to us, your parents, with questions, and we will give you truth in a safe and loving environment.

And though most people are inherently good, there will still be bullies, kids and sometimes adults who are just plain mean, who seek to tear others down. On days when you find yourself in pieces, we will always be there to listen, to hug, to love, to bind you back together and send you back into the battlefield a little wiser and a little tougher.

My greatest desire in sending you to school is that you will grasp learning as tightly as you grasped the edges of tables when you were learning to walk. You will come to see that education is more than just getting the answers right on a test or checking off the latest homework assignment. It is a gift from God to expand your mind and fulfill the measure of your creation. Learning and knowledge are power -- not in a way that robs others but in a way that enhances the life of all who are around you. As you learn, you become more capable to help others, improve the future and grow the church. Focused study will teach you that the world is a vast and aching place, with a fabulous array of cultures, customs and traditions.

You will learn from history, from the tragedy of war and the sacrifices of brave men and women. You will learn from technology, that great allure of moving images and constant stream of front-line products. You will learn from the arts, the motion of dance, the swells of an orchestra, the self-exploration of painting and the captivating quality of theater.

Life, my dear little boys, is a glorious, soaring, painful thing. The hardest part as a parent is throwing you into the current, as gently as I can, and watching you get swept away. I keep you tethered close, and pull you in for reminders of love, to check your grounding and your direction. But when I send you off to school you are nearly on your own. When we kneel by the bed this night, on the eve of the first day of school, I remind you of your constant companion, the Holy Ghost, who is with you. Don't move so fast or shout so loudly that you cannot hear. He whispers and he guides. He'll do his best to guide you home at the end of this life of learning. It is a grand adventure. I hope you enjoy the ride.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Night

Here's a peek into what the girls are up to at 10:30 on Friday night. As you can see, normal bedtimes are non-existent on the weekends.

Julee is just hanging out in her room - as usual.

Alexis is creating a masterpiece - gotta love those headphones!
As for Rick, he is at the computer and I am getting ready to figure out how many millions of dollars we spent school shopping today!