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...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

First Class Field Trip & Other Preschool News

Today was the Dandelion's first school field trip. They took a tour of the grocery store down the street. In order to make the groups manageable, the kids were split into four groups so only a portion of he Dandelion's classmates went with us today. Since they were mostly the youngest kids, it was a bit of a challenge keeping them from running off when they weren't strapped into carts!

The tour started with the floral department, where they took them into the back room and through the produce refrigerator. From there we headed to the pizza kitchen where the kids got to put the cheese on a pizza.

After that we headed to the lobster tank where the kids got to touch Larry the Lobster. The Dandelion was quite excited to see the lobsters but didn't want to touch it at all.

From there we headed over to the bakery, which was what I was afraid of. The Dandelion cannot eat things made in a bakery because they have peanuts/nuts so I generally steer clear of it, and today we were invited into the actual bakery. Fortunately the Dandelion was quite interested in the book of fancy cakes outside the bakery and didn't even notice that the other kids got to try squeezing frosting and that everyone got a sugar cookie to eat. Frankly, I couldn't have imagined it going any better.

The kids finished up by going back to pick up the cooked pizza and then got balloons from the floral department. The Dandelion (and his classmates) were thrilled to have balloons with their favorite characters!

So overall, the trip was fun. Actually, the class has had a lot of "special" activities so far this year. In addition to the grocery store trip, they have had a mini-golf fundraiser and a grandparents' snack day. The Dandelion was very excited when Papa came to his school for the day!

In other preschool news...

I am thrilled to report that there are weekly newsletters being sent home with what they are doing in class. This was one thing I missed most about being at other schools. I am too hands on to accept sending my kids "into a black hole" for school. I did not handle it well last year, and I am not doing too well with the whole going to school on a bus and staying there for 6.5 hours without me.

On the other hand, I am not so thrilled to report that the Dandelion has been struggling with drop-offs over the past week. He gets very clingy from the time we pull into the parking lot at school until I pry him off to get out the door. So far he doesn't really cry or scream about it, but he does put on his best pouty face and begs and pleads for me to stay at school with him. So it seems he does want to be there, he just wants me to be there too. However, the teachers have said that he seems to do it for show because as soon as I leave he acts completely normal, interacting with the teachers and other kids in the class. I do hope it blows over soon though, because I still feel bad leaving.

Additionally, he seems to be getting comfortable with people at school - from his teachers and classmates to the gymnastics teachers and the director, he does a great job of saying "hi" or "bye" with their name. He was also super excited about his first "homework", which wasn't actually homework. It was really his first handwriting worksheet. He was so proud of it. He came home and showed all of us his letter "S" paper. He seems so grown up these days!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Nate the Great and other favorite books

The Tumbleweed has been on quite the reading kick lately. Between having library class at school every week and the school running a book fair, there have been plenty of new books around to capture her imagination. These days she is plowing through short chapter books, usually Junie B Jones or the Fairies books. We are working on branching out, but when left to her own devices she seems to gravitate to the same things. I have been impressed with how much her comprehension seems to have improved since school started. She is much better at answering questions about the book after she has read it. Yay - to her not grumbling & complaining when I ask "What was the book about?". Now she can even list the "characters" and tell me the "setting" and "plot"!

This weekend she picked up the book she got from Aunt Kasey for her birthday -- Nate the Great and the Big Sniff. Aunt Kasey picked this one because she and her dog Rufus were featured in a story in the "Extra Activities" section of the recent editions of the book. She seemed to really enjoy the book, and was eager to tell about what she read (although she still needs to work on her summarizing skills). Thanks Aunt Kasey!

Now we just have to work on not staying up too late reading on school nights! Hmmm... I wonder where she gets that from?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Apple Picking Minus One

The Tumbleweed has been struggling with going to school some mornings because she wants to stay home and "do fun things". I guess I can't blame her. It was kind of strange today when the Dandelion and I went off on a field trip with the MOMS Club and she didn't get to come with us. On one hand it was nice to have the quality time with him (and to have only one kid to chase around), but it did feel like we were missing someone. And of course when the Dandelion recapped the event for us during dinner I got a "See, I told you that all the fun stuff happens while I am at school" from the Tumbleweed.

I guess I better get used to it, because there are still almost two full years before the Dandelion is in school all day, and there are going to be lots of activities between now and then. Hopefully the Tumbleweed starts to accept it too.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mission: Organization - Sidetracked


As any homeowner can tell you, home improvement projects really take on a life of their own. Our basement organization project is no different. We started out on our organization journey three months ago determined to "clear the clutter". The basement is really coming along and is nearly complete, but along the way we have gotten a little sidetracked and organized a few other areas of the house. This includes the kids craft cabinet, our bedroom and, as previously mentioned, our living room. With momentum on our side, I decided to tackle our three hall closets. So while the kids were both at school, our organizer came by to help me sort & purge. By the time the Eagle came home from work, I had three surprises ready and waiting. (My apologies that there are no "before" pictures, I had the closets halfway emptied before I remembered!)

Closet #1 - Cleaning Supplies
This closet had previously held much of my office supplies, which had already been given a new home in the basement. We had already started putting the brooms & vacuum in it, but now it is all of the cleaning supplies.

Closet #2 - Bedroom Linens
This closet was holding a whole bunch of stuff that we moved in with and never really unpacked. We hardly ever had a reason to open it, yet it is a prime location. We relocated items that needed to be stored and donated the ones we no longer needed and - voila! - we had space for all of our sheets & blankets!

Closet #3 - Bathroom Linens
This had been our "linen closet". It was crammed with all of the sheets, towels, kitchen linens and other miscellaneous items. It was so full that things had started being shoved in wherever they fit, rather than being put away where they belonged. With the sheets & blankets in their new home, there was plenty of space for the towels!

We are close to wrapping up the basement project, so check back for the big reveal!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Book Fair Flashback

This morning I volunteered at the Tumbleweed's school book fair. This is her first year at public school, and therefore my two hours of the book fair was the most time I have spent in the building so far. I didn't see her while I was there since the Dandelion's school hours did not overlap her library time, but I did get help out with a class of 2nd graders and a class of 3rd graders.

Being at the school brought back so many memories from my own childhood, particularly of attending my elementary school book fair (which is not the same school that the Tumbleweed attends). If you had asked me a week ago, "was there a stage at your school when you were in first grade?", I don't think I would have known the answer. But today memories suddenly came rushing back and I had a flashback to the school book fair which I now recall being held on the stage of the gymnasium, behind the closed curtains. Crazy.

I came home that afternoon, with the Dandelion napping and the Tumbleweed still at school, and dug out my memorabilia boxes from school. I was hunting for something specific, and I found it. It was my 1st grade journal from Mrs. Whitbourne's class. In it were mentions of my favorite class (art), field trips we took (grocery store, post office and a rained out trip to the zoo), a drawing of my sister & I in our Halloween costumes (a witch and Cheer Bear), and some of my favorite toys (My Little Pony & Cabbage Patch Kids). What an awesome time capsule it was.

I found a few other gems in the boxes, but tucked them all back away before the kids could get into anything. It is fun to take a trip down memory lane from time to time. I wonder what memories going to the school open house this week will bring back...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hawk Hill - 4 Years Later

When we first moved her four years ago we stuck pretty close to home. We had a one and a half year old, who didn't go to school yet and had very few activities. We didn't know our way around the neighboring towns. We hadn't found all of the local attractions. But that didn't mean we didn't do anything. We invited our friends out to visit and went apple picking at the orchard down the road.

Four years later, we are much busier driving all over town (and to the neighboring towns) for sports, activities and school. But just as we did our first fall, we supported our local orchard. The kids went apple picking with Papa. As always the train play structure was a big hit and they want to stop every day to play. The Tumbleweed is a bit bigger than she was four years ago.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Go Red Team!

The fall soccer season kicked-off this week. The Eagle is coaching both kids this year --- which means coaching 2 teams. And they were both assigned red jerseys. Madness!

The Tumbleweed's U6 team had the first game of the season on Friday night. She is on a team with a bunch of her friends again this year and they were all super excited to play. And they played awesome, the 5 five year olds each scored a goal! They don't really keep score, but if they did the red team would have won handily. Lots of fun, and funny moments, a perfect way to start the season.

The Dandelion finally got to take the field on Saturday morning for the U4 clinic & game. He has several little buddies on the team and they were absolutely adorable following along during warm-up and learning not to touch the ball with their hands. After 30 minutes of "practice", the kids lined up for a game.

Shin Guard Check!

The Dandelion kept his head in the game pretty well! He had a couple turns with the ball and took it straight upfield. Straight from where he started just happened to be five feet to the left of the un-manned goal, but that's okay :)

I'd say soccer weekend #1 was a success - and it was also the first fall season that hasn't started out with a rain-out. Fingers crossed for the rest of the season!

Friday, September 3, 2010

One is the Loneliest Number

With the Tumbleweed in school all day, the Dandelion has had some adjusting to do. Last year she was in school every afternoon and he hardly seemed to notice, although that was partially because for much of the year he napped during a portion of her school time. This year is different. She is gone for 7 1/2 hours.

On the first day she had school he seemed to really enjoy it. He pulled out lots of different toys, "made" me imaginary things, invited me to play trains with him (so I would build a fancy track), and came and visited me, but only for a few minutes, while I was doing something. Then off he went to do something else. He liked the freedom.

Fast forward to today - just 5 days later - and he was a different kid. By 9:30 he was demanding that I take him to playgroup at a local center (something we haven't done since June). After much discussion about playgroups not starting yet, he stomped away yelling. I found him upstairs a short while later hiding under a "tent". When I asked him what he was doing he said "Waiting for my friends to come to my birthday party" To which I responded, "you are?" and he replied, "Yeah, but I don't have any friends." :( I felt so bad for him. And at the same time I was amazed at his ability to verbalize his feelings. *big hugs*

So I guess the moral of the week is, when your kids are used to being busy, playing with each other and seeing their friends a lot, don't change too much at once. Perhaps I should have made more plans to get out with friends his friends this week, rather than enjoying the peace & quiet of not having both kids home fighting over things all day. Not to worry, the Dandelion and I have plenty planned for next week!