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...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Day - Freezing & Frying

It was a chilly Thanksgiving morning but not chilly enough to keep the runners home. Conveniently, this year was the inaugural running of the Thanksgiving Day Pilgrim 5K which started within walking distance of my father-in-law's house. The Tumbleweed ran alongside the Eagle & her two grandfathers and finished just ahead of them in 36:39. And she was super excited to get a medal at the finish line!

Once the runners were back, everyone got to work preparing Thanksgiving dinner. The kitchen was bustling, but not because someone was cooking a turkey. This year we had two deep fried turkeys. They were very good!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

No more ponytails

These days I rarely get to the hair salon, so my hair had gotten pretty long. After taking a few preliminary measurements at home, I decided to get it cut short and donate the hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.

While the kids went with the Eagle for the afternoon, I headed to the salon for a haircut. Being a particularly slow Sunday, it was just me and the stylist in the salon. She divided the hair into two ponytails (since it had some layering) and cut off two ponytails 10-10.5" long.

My hair is now shorter than it has ever been. I am adjusting. And waiting for it to grow back.

Santa Time!

Yes, we have become the family that plans a trip to see Santa before Thanksgiving. Actually, it ha varied from year to year, but now that the Tumbleweed is in school all day I can't go on a not-so-busy weekday morning anymore. And since we are all impatient, I figured earlier in the season before all the crowds were out would be better.

After writing lists, the kids and I were off to the mall. Our first stop was Macy's, to put our letters to Santa into the big red mailbox. The Macy's Believe Campaign will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish for each letter. And, the kids loved the "Santa Mail" mailbox and even suggested waiting for the elf to come get the mail.

Once we mailed our letters, we went to get in line for Santa. It was 15 minutes before Santa was to arrive and we were about 6th or 7th in line. Despite a good position in line, we did happen to be behind several families with crying toddlers so it took longer than I thought it would. Once we were there, the kids were awesome and for once, I didn't have to "make" anyone sit with Santa. I love this little moment that I captured between the Dandelion and Santa during this dialog:

Santa: "What would you like for Christmas?"
Dandelion: "A Pillow Pet"
Santa: "I see. A Pillow Pet"
Dandelion: "Yeah, a brown dog Pillow Pet"

On their Santa lists this year:

Dandelion: a Brown Dog Pillow Pet, a race car, a race car hat
Tumbleweed: a unicorn Pillow Pet, a Zooble treehouse, a Skwinke *

*Update: A few days after our visit with Santa, the Tumbleweed decided that she wanted to ask for an American Girl doll and wrote a revised letter Santa. She "really hopes he gets in time for the elves to make one!"

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Preschool Harvest Dinner

The Dandelion's school held their first Harvest Dinner for the students and their families this week. While I am glad we went, it was a bit difficult. They had not really planned for the number of people who came, so it was beyond crowded. Thankfully we got their early (we had to wait around for nearly an hour after the Tumbleweed's gymnastics practice), because otherwise I don't think I would have even gone in!

They had lots of wonderful food, however the Dandelion was in a particularly picky mood and didn't want to eat anything except the desserts. And speaking of desserts, there were several desserts that did not follow the no peanut rules, and several that I couldn't tell. Once again, I pointed it out to the director who helped me by looking up some of the food ingredients online. We sat on the floor in a corner and tried to get the kids to eat, but it was a lost cause.

Finally the food was cleaned up and it was time for songs. The Dandelion didn't fully participate (it was 7:15 and nearly bedtime at this point) but he did sing a few of the songs.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pee Wee Basketball

When the letter about the town basketball sign-ups came home in her backpack, the Tumbleweed didn't even hesitate. "I can play, right?" she said. So after some discussion, we decided to give up the Saturday mornings that we got back at the end of soccer season and signed her up to play basketball.

After her first practice, she didn't want to leave! She came right home and got out her basketball and went to work on her dribbling. For nearly three hours! Needless to say, she was much better by lunchtime :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bus Book

I have just finished reading "The Read-Aloud Handbook" by Jim Trelease. It is an awesome book full of book recommendations to read to kids of all ages but, more importantly, it is a guide to teaching your children a love of reading.

As I have been reading, we have tried some of the advice and have had good success. The first thing I tried was reading stories at dinner. The kids loved hearing stories during while they ate! It had an interesting effect too --- the Dandelion ate his food without arguing. Wow. The reading did make it a little more difficult for me to eat (I was reading) and the Tumbleweed was so into the books she had to be reminded to eat her food a couple times, but any time the Dandelion eats his dinner is worth noting. After four stories they were mostly done with their food, but ran off to find more books for me to read and sat back down at the table. Wow. So now I have put together a book basket for the kitchen (and one for the bathroom) and the kids are enjoying the choosing our "dinner books".

A little further into the book the author talks about the importance of Sustained Silent Reading (reading to yourself) and the importance of not substituting it for bedtime stories with kids who can read. This was something that has started to happen in our house. The Tumbleweed is now able to read and, to save some time, I had been letting her "read for a half hour" instead of me reading to her or with her. So now we have gone back to more adult-read stories for her at bedtime and found a new time for her to read to herself --- while she waits for the bus. She has a "Bus Book" that is sitting by the stairs that she can read while she waits and she has gotten ready rather quickly each morning so she will have time to read. Wow.

Up next: we are hosting a Book Club Playgroup with our school-age MOMS Club friends. The kids will each be recommending their favorite book and, hopefully, inspiring their friends to try some new books! If you'd like to recommend a book for kids of any age, leave it in the comment section and I will include it on our Must Read Book List. I highly recommend The Read-Aloud Handbook for parents & educators this Christmas!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Daisy Scouts

The Tumbleweed was super excited her first Daisy Girl Scout meeting. We went to the local Girl Scout shop the day before to pick out her uniform. She looked at all of the patches in amazement. "I want to earn that one, and that one, and that one..." she said pointing to different designs. I explained to her that she would have plenty of opportunities to earn patches, but that we couldn't just buy them.

When the meeting finally rolled around, she was so excited to go! I am pretty sure she thought they were going to be selling cookies (because that is the only time we have encountered girl scouts before). Once she was there and saw all of the crafts, she made herself at home. She was also excited to see some familiar faces in the group.

Since the meeting she has been diligently working on memorizing the Girl Scout oath - the first step to earning her first patch ;)