Still Catching Up...

I wish I could devote more time to blogging these days, but the best I can do is to post when I can.

Stay tuned...

Monday, August 30, 2010

What did you do at school today?

It was finally here - the first day of school! The Tumbleweed was so excited she got right up, devoured breakfast, and got dressed & ready to go in record time (with a little extra time to dance around her room to the music on her alarm clock)! We were out at the bus stop extra early for pictures (of course!) and the Eagle even stayed to watch her get on the bus for the first time.

The bus picked her up on it's return trip, so she doesn't have to cross. The route listed her as crossing, so I am glad the bus driver noticed and switched it. When she stopped she said we were a day early - they had the Tumbleweed down as a kindergartener. We assured her that she was going to first grade and off she went with a big smile and a wave.

The Dandelion and I should have planned more to do today, because I spend most of the morning wondering what she was doing :) The Dandelion fully enjoyed having free reign in the playrooom and was so busy doing stuff he basically ignored me for a good 3 hours! It seemed like the longest morning ever, but it was very peaceful.

Finally it was time to go to pick her up! Thankfully I have a talkative little girl and got the full run-down of her day over the course of the afternoon and evening...

8:00 - Bus ride was fun, "the bus goes faster than your car!" She also mentioned that tomorrow when all the kindergarteners start that they (the 1st-3rd graders) "have to sit in the back for the rest of the year!" and leave 5 seats open in the front for kindergarteners. I do hope she can sit near the kindergarteners she knows when they start tomorrow!

8:45 - At school, "we all lined up and went to our class"

[There was a bit of a gap here, but there was something about taking out the picture of themselves that they had to bring and coloring rainbow balloons. And she read one page of a book. She also appears to have eaten her entire snack.]

Recess (somewhere around 11:30) - she did the circle monkey bars "with no help" and saw one of her friends in another class. Then she got to try jump roping with two teachers holding the rope. She only got two jumps this way, but "one boy did 16! Maybe he could be in my TV show!"

Lunch (after recess) - "we came in like 3rd graders" (I have no idea what this means, but she said it more than once) She had lunch with two kids from her class and they "didn't really talk". [She seemed to have a lot of lunch left, so I wonder what she was doing if she didn't talk!]

Art Class! - "The best part of the day!" She was excited about her project and stressed to me that she would bring it home after it dries. She also mentioned that she had to go potty really bad during art class :)

2:00 - Using the Smart Board. "You can write on it with your finger and use markers that don't even have any ink!" She said she got to write on it herself and they did a letter matching game and a "what's your favorite color" game.

I picked her up, happy as can be, just before 3:00 so we could race over to gymnastics. She told me that there were 21 kids in her class (10 girls and 11 boys), she listed lots of their names, and made sure to tell me that she "left her pencil box at school until June!" She also said that someone asked if there was any homework today, to which the teacher replied "Not on the first day, that would be sad."

I am so glad she had a great time! I was impressed that she made it through an hour and a half of gymnastics after such a busy day. I do think she is going to be pretty wiped out by the end of such an exciting week, so things could get interesting!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


On Friday we had the opportunity to tour the elementary school where the Tumbleweed will be starting first grade. We have both been eagerly anticipating this day, almost as much as the first day of school!

We did a practice run with our morning school routine before heading to the school. The Tumbleweed did well with her first time waking to an alarm clock and followed the schedule very well. I am hopeful that it always goes smoothly, but I imagine it won't take long before we forget to lay out clothes the night before or run out of the favorite lunch item creating a bottleneck in the plan. Here is the sign I made to hang by her bedroom door to help us all stay on track.

Once we got over to the school, we got a tour from our MOMS Club friends and her 1st and 3rd grader who both went to the school last year. She got to see her classroom and sit at her desk! We saw the library, lunchroom, gym, music & art rooms and of course the playground. On our way out, another friend who has the same teacher arrived so we headed back into the school with them. While peeking in the closed classroom door, her teacher spotted us and came over to meet us. I must say, I feel much better having had a chance to speak with the teacher before sending her on her way the first day :)

As I write this on the eve of her first day of elementary school, I am really wishing that I was Samantha Stevens and could twitch my nose and make myself a fly on the wall in her classroom tomorrow. I wonder if she will get lost or know right where to go. I wonder if she will be outgoing and make friends or be shy. I wonder if she will be quiet in class or get in trouble for talking out of turn. I wonder if she will listen to instructions or daydream. I wonder if she will speak up if she needs something or wait for someone to offer help. I wonder if she will feel out of place or fit right in.

It is so hard to know what your child will do when you are not there. Sometimes I look at her and she seems so grown up, and other times I think she seems so young! I hope she is the confident leader that I know her to be elsewhere, but it is so hard to tell what her "place" will be in her class. One thing I do know, it will be a long 7 hours from the time she gets on the bus until I see her again wondering what she is doing at every moment!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Skip To My Lou

While we were road-tripping this summer, the kids watched some Kidsongs DVDs in the car. They were a big hit with both kids. The Dandelion like them because there was a boy in the show with his name. The Tumbleweed's favorite video was "Skip to my Lou", which has inspired her to practice her jump roping "so I can be on TV". And I mean seriously practicing her jump roping (at one point asking if she could take jump roping lessons). Over the past week we had several rainy days and she must have spent over an hour each of the days out in the Eagle's empty garage bay practicing. She has gotten pretty good, especially since she has a pretty lousy $1 princess jump rope.

At the end of the week she decided that she had not learned enough tricks to be a jumproper on TV, but she knew all the words to the song so she could be the singer. From there, she developed a whole production strategy. She drew up a flier with the additional cast members that she would need (3 bike riders, 5 jump ropers, 4 hula hoopers and 2 runners) and asked me to make 14 copies. She has it all planned out. Her 14 friends will meet us at the park, where she will borrow the Eagle's video camera and film the whole thing and "send it in to the TV people". She sure is driven when she wants to be!

In addition to the jump roping, the kids have also been riding the Dandelion's scooter and bike in the garage on the rainy days. The Eagle & I decided that if they were going to play in the garage so much it might make sense for the Tumbleweed to have her own scooter (she had passed on her small scooter to a younger friend in the spring) since the garage is a bit small for her to ride her bike in. So today we presented her with the option to give up her "little girl" vanity and ten toys of her choosing for the upcoming MOMS Club Toy Swap and in exchange we would get her a scooter. It took a little thinking, but she did decide to go for the scooter.

Mission: Organization - Phase 4, cont.

Mud Room

Many of our organizing goals have been centered around making life easier "by the time the kids go back to school". So since it is now officially "Back-to-School" I thought it was a good time to reveal our "Mud Room Drop Zone". This is the area that we frequently "dumped" things as we came in the door from the car (it was also home to the pantry).

It is now set up to house the kids things...

There are two units, one for each kid. Starting at the top, we have hung up some artwork that was laying around the basement. Next is a little information center with an inbox for important paperwork and a mini bulletin board to post calendars and notices. The kids each have 6 cubbies. We are still working on officially assigning these spaces, some are for extra totebags we pack in for little trips, but I have found it helpful when I unload the car to put each kids' things in bins and when they fill I ask them to take them upstairs and put their things away. On the left side they each have two hooks for coats and on the right one larger hook for their school bag, and on the bottom shoes.

We have been working with these cubbies for over a month now, and I must say, the first couple weeks were a little discouraging as the kids seemed to feel the need to empty the bins several times a day and leave everything on the floor. After a while the novelty wore off and they learned that they would have to clean up what ever they dumped out. I think I am really going to like having all of their school things in one place!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Filling In

Our busy schedule was complicated this week with us having to fit in the Tumbleweed's first trip to the dentist to have cavities filled. She was a real trooper and accepted everything that came her way quite well. No tears or refusing to do what she was asked. I was quite impressed.

She is determined to not have to go back for any more anytime soon and has been really good about brushing her teeth, flossing and using a fluoride rinse ever since she was told she had a cavity.


The Dandelion had has first week of pre-school (or PRE-Schlool as he says it) this week. Getting all of the paperwork in place to leave an Epi-Pen at the school was no small feat and I was exhausted by the time I had all of the changes of clothes labeled and instructions/forms filled out the night before.

The first day was an hour and a half of orientation, where the Tumbleweed and I stayed at the school. He was pretty cool with that and even asked when we were leaving at one point. The Tumbleweed and I left him there for a few minutes and he didn't even seem to notice. He played well with the other kids and enjoyed painting at the easel (the Tumbleweed's favorite activity when she was in Preschool I too). He made 3 paintings "of Dinoco McQueen" (they only had blue & white paint out)! He didn't quite understand why they had to keep the paintings at school, but that seemed like a good reason to go back on Thursday...

Thursday was the first drop-off day, and he did pretty well initially. I half expected him to cling to my leg and not let us go. Instead he did say that he wanted us to stay, but then he just pouted while a teacher tried to distract him and he wasn't crying when I left.

The Tumbleweed and I headed out for "Girls Day" and went to Dunkin Donuts. We haven't been able to go to Dunkin since the Dandelion was diagnosed with the peanut allergy, since he can no longer have the treats he used to get there. She was thrilled to say the least. After that we went and got her back-to-school hair cut, trimming about 6 inches off! It was lots of fun to spend girly time with her.

When we arrived at school for pick-up I got a huge running hug from the Dandelion. I checked in with the teacher who said he did have a little trouble adjusting & following directions at the beginning and went off to play by himself. She said when they went over he was crying and said "I miss my Mommy" :(. He did tell me when we got in the car that he had been sad at school because he missed me, but then he "played and got happy and went in the Zone!" (The Zone is the indoor playground at school).

All in all, not bad... we shall see how week two goes.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

With a Beak

With all of the school supplies in the house, it is no surprise that the Dandelion has taken an interest in pencils lately. He likes to carry them around, put them over his ears and stick them in the spirals of notebooks. He claims he has to write notes, but rarely actually writes marks on paper with them (usually when presented with paper he asks for markers).

Despite not actually using them to write, he does know the difference between a pencil that writes and one that has not yet been sharpened, as he pointed out when he said, "This one doesn't have a beak on it. Can you put a beak on it?" It was so cute that I even sharpened the pencil by hand instead of going upstairs to get the battery operated sharpener.

The Tumbleweed has corrected him enough times now that he usually calls is a "tiP", with an extra emphasis on the "puh" at the end. But the week of "beak" was really cute :)

And all of this reminds me of my favorite movie quote, perfect for this time of year...

"Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address." - Joe Fox (Tom Hanks), You've Got Mail

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Fairy Godmother's Ball

This past weekend was my sister's wedding. We spent a long weekend "back home" visiting with family and celebrating her special day. All but 2 of my 14 cousins were there, and the kids enjoyed seeing their 2nd cousins who are all close in age (three going into 1st grade and two starting preschool).

As usual, there were last minute things to do --- like getting my dress altered. My mom had a wonderful friend who was able to come alter my dress right at my parents' house! She also hemmed the Dandelion's pants with him on her lap studying how the sewing machine worked!

The kids were a bit of disaster at the rehearsal - both falling asleep in the car on the 10 minute ride from my grandma's lake house. Waking them up probably wasn't worth it, but it seemed important at the time to try. Oh well.

On the wedding day, the Eagle followed the limo around during pictures and got the kids in their clothes each time. We did let the kids go on a short limo ride to the ceremony, which they thought was totally awesome. I am pleased to say that the kids made it down the aisle and completed their jobs of flower girl and ring bearer with minimal disruption and we brought enough distractions/food that neither had to be removed during the ceremony. Hooray! The setting was beautiful, the weather cooperated and the bride & groom were stunning. Congrats to the happy couple!

At the reception, I got to enjoy eating at the head table with no kids. Apparently the price of the seat was a short speech, which I survived but not without a few tears :) Once the music got going, both kids had a blast dancing the night away. The Dandelion had his own little breakdancing moves that we hilarious to watch and he had a blast doing "cool tricks like Jack". We had to institute a "No Handstands on the Dance Floor" rule for the Tumbleweed so she didn't kick anyone, but once she got over that she was skipping around the dance floor and trying to mimic all the moves everyone else was doing.

We had a great time!

*The Tumbleweed wore the same dress in my sister-in-law's wedding - 3 years ago! We never made one alteration she just grew a few inches....

Monday, August 16, 2010

Just Barely

It was a big weekend for the Dandelion! He is finally tall enough to do all the rides at StoryLand and most of the rides at Attitash (potty training kept him off the waterslides, and you have to be 4 years old to rock climb). Fortunately they only measure in shoes or he would not have reached a whopping 36 1/2" LOL!

He was so excited to bounce on the EuroBungy Trampoline, fly down the Alpine Slide, ride the Polar Coaster (twice) and get drenched on the water rides. He was not as thrilled to wait in the lines, but now that he can go on some rides I think he is starting to understand why people wait in lines (at least I really hope he is!)

The Tumbleweed also reached new heights this weekend making it to the top of the rock wall (although she is still eagerly anticipating her 6th birthday so she can climb the rock wall at the Y).

She also did her first back flip (actually 8 - she counted!) on the EuroBungy Trampoline. After watching that, I must confess that I am starting to develop new gymnastics fears. I never could understand all the flinching parents who couldn't watch their kids in the gym, but it is a bit more difficult to watch her attempt something new than it was for me attempting tricks myself or coaching other people's kids. Very strange!

It was a jam-packed couple of days, but we managed to do a lot of fun stuff and even find a few letterboxes!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mission: Organization - Phase 4


It has taken lots of time and effort, but I finally have a true "before and after" to share. When we first set out on our organizing mission, we wanted to get the basement in order. Over the last two months we have sorted, cleared and rearranged our basement space and in the process it has also taken us to other parts of the house. So, even thought there are still a few finishing touches to put on the basement (sorry, no basement reveal just yet), I can share the progress we made in the living room during our latest organizing night.

I must admit, I didn't officially take a before picture. I know, but I realized it after we had already finished most of the organizing. After much searching, I was able to dig up an old (May 2008) picture that I think illustrates the problem pretty well (every other picture I have of the living room was carefully angled to not include the "problem areas").

So, now you see why there are no pictures. Want to see what it looks like right now?


This is the former computer desk converted into a homework desk for the soon-to-be first grader to do her homework.

I don't know if the pictures do it justice, because I have seen the transformation in person, but the whole family thinks it looks pretty awesome.

Back to finishing the basement...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mission: Organization - Phase 3

System Reset

Last night was our third appointment with our organizer. Before she came we were supposed to sort through the boxes of paperwork that had come from our desks, the mail pile, old files and from the numerous boxes of old paperwork that were in the basement. Supposed to. This was a bigger task than either of us had thought. We put lots of hours of work into sorting & shredding, but we did not entirely complete our homework.

But, that did not stop us from getting lots done during her visit. To begin with we cleared the remaining surfaces, and sorted the "left over" items into a few categories, including: items to return to stores/friends and keepsakes. As it turns out, there were lots of little things in our desks & files that could really be categorized as "keepsakes" that we aren't ready to part with and derive some enjoyment from, but that didn't really need to take up our "everyday space". By putting these items in a designated box, we are able to hold on to a manageable amount and keep our everyday space clear of things we do not use on a regular basis.

Once the surface clearing was done, we now had room to set up our new "Mail Center". After much discussion, it was decided that the mail center should be in the new office space, which is nearby the door we regularly enter and just before the stairs. This is to be the "landing zone" for all things paper that come in the house. We re-purposed some furniture that was in the space and stole the bulletin board from the Tumbleweed's room for the main set up. On the bulletin board we have space for important "action items" and envelopes for the little things (like coupons & Box Tops) that often get lost in a pile. We also have paper trays for bills and "To Do". And, most importantly the trash can, paper recycling bin and shredder are all within reach as the mail is sorted.

Our Mail Center

Shared Office Supplies

After we had set up a mail center, we tackled the other big reason our paperwork gets out of hand - the filing system. Our files were so outdated and stuffed that there was no where to put the new stuff, which was causing it to pile up. We started with a clean slate and emptied everything, and only added back in the items we currently need. Additionally, we now have a monthly filing system for past 'action items', paid bills and receipts. This should keep the mail area clear of "old" stuff, and eliminate the piles that usually appear on my desk.

It feels pretty good to have a such clear spaces then I look around! There are still several boxes of items that need to be sorted and/or returned to their homes upstairs. And there is still some reshuffling of the items that belong with my desk/computer but are still upstairs near it's former location. But even though we still have some homework, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Monday, August 2, 2010

An Update Update

Returning to blogosphere from a vacation is challenging. There is so much to report, so many cute stories to tell, so many pictures to share, but life is continuing and it is hard to go back and recap a (very busy) week's worth of stuff. I have sat down to write a recap of various sections of our trip to Lake Placid for the IronMan race a half dozen times and it is just not flowing right now.

So, rather than get hung up on trying to complete that before I report on current events, I am just going to say --- you'll have to stay tuned and look for pre-dated updates around July 26th. I'll get to them, but maybe only little by little. We have lots going on as we approach the new school year: my sister's wedding, races, organizing and lots more fun in the sun.