Sunday, October 13, 2013

Fall Fun with Grandma & Grandpa

Eric and I were invited to a Halloween party over the weekend.  We went as "sushi" and ended up having a fun date night.
 While we were on our date, my parents took the girls on their own special date to a corn maze.  The girls had a blast!  First they shucked corn.


 They had a little dinner,


 went on a hayride,


 saw some farm animals,


 took another spin on the hayride,

 milked a cow,


 and ran and ran in the corn maze!





 Grandma and Grandpa made a strong effort to get the obligatory sibling picture next to the scarecrow.

 After some more picture posing,






 the night ended with cupcakes and

 climbing on giant tires! 


Wheeee!  What a fun night!

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Amelia's Latest Antics

This ball of fire started two year old preschool at the end of August!  Amelia loves preschool, and she adores Ms. Lisa.  Ms. Lisa is known as "MY Ms. Lisa" around here.  Amelia has had to be put in her place at school for showing possession over "HER Ms. Lisa" during class.  Amelia has grown up so much over the summer, and she is so ready to learn!  She is a little sponge in Ms. Lisa's room, and she also gives Ms. Lisa a little run for her money (just like she does to us at home!)  Ms. Lisa and I are working together to discipline her decisions NOT her quirky, enthusiastic personality.  It is a fine line, but Ms. Lisa is helping ME squash poor behavior while allowing her boisterous personality to shine.


 This turkey will eat on the porch year round if she could.
 Long days of keeping up with Big Sister's schedule caught up to her.  Car cat naps have become the norm these days.
 Amelia waiting on Big Sister to finish homework.  She is so lonely and pitiful without her best friend, "Na-yennne Grace"!
 While Madeline is at dance class on Tuesdays, sometimes I have a legit errand to do.  Sometimes we wander around strip malls.  On this day, we wandered ourselves into Shoe Carnival with no purpose except to play telephone with high heels.  Luckily, the store was dead, and our misbehavior was not frowned upon by anyone!
 "Mommy!  You need dis high heel!"  Of course every stay at home mom needs a glitter gold high heel, Amelia!!!  I usually don't condone such nonsense in a store, but this shoe store experience was ridiculous.  Let's just hope her taste in shoe style changes with age!
 Little Sister and I make the best of our "jus Mommy and Ahhh-mee-ya days"!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Kindergarten or Bust!

Madeline has started Kindergarten!  Over the summer, Madeline was anxiously awaiting to start her big year - squeals of delight when we got a postcard from the principal and the arrival of her new backpack!


 
We met her teacher, Mrs. Close over the summer as well.  Mrs. Close is a seasoned teacher and has been working with her assistant, Mrs. Metro, for 10 years.  Mrs. Metro is also a certified teacher.  Two certified teachers with 25 kindergartners?  YES, please!  Eric and I were very impressed with them.  Mrs. Close runs a "tight" ship, but she has that tender, calm aura about her that meshes well with Madeline's personality.  Mrs. Close is a nice blend of some "old school gotta know this in life" & the latest teaching tools type of woman.  As a former teacher, I appreciate that she sticks with some timeless strategies that work, but she is also willing to jump on board with the newest materials & strategies.  Again, a nice blend that only a seasoned teacher can pull off well.  As hard as I try to put my teacher brain in storage when I'm talking with Mrs. Close about Madeline, it always jumps forward with a question or a thought.  Luckily, I know Mrs. Close is on Madeline's side, so we have a lovely working relationship to make the best out of Madeline's school year. 
 
Madeline had a fantastic first few days of school despite her casted arm.  Her teacher, her new friends, the principal, and the Kindergarten guidance counselor were all very helpful to her.  Madeline was definitely the epitome of a confused, floundering Kindergarten student those first few days.  The entire day overwhelmed her - from the fast paced on a schedule class to eating lunch in 25 minutes (those first few days Madeline literally came home with one bite out of her sandwich and ALL of her lunch!) to the morning and afternoon carpool line to doing homework to getting up at 6:30 AM!  My favorite line from her first day of school was, "Mommy!  It's so dark!  Are you sure it's not still nighttime?"
First day of school with her Doctor's Care sling and loose ace bandage wrappings that sent my girl to the nurse's office on Day 1 of Kindergarten
Kindergarten took a few weeks to settle into a good routine, a nice balance of down time before homework time, working with Amelia's separation anxiety, and Mommy working out all the kinks to prevent as many meltdowns as possible.  We made it, and this Mama like all Mamas out there got this house running as close to a well-oiled machine as possible.
First day of school with her Daddy
Madeline is doing well in Kindergarten.  First and foremost, she LOVES IT!  Her teacher told me at our conference, "Madeline has a smile on her face from the minute I see her in the morning to the minute she leaves to go home.  We love her sweet nature."  I'm proud of her for her constant willingness to go with the flow, learn new things, try new things, and remain tolerant of the "noisy kids in my class that don't want to learn".  Madeline's immaturity is showing in her basic skills.  Homework takes longer than ten minutes, and I'm having to work with her more than I anticipated.  I am also learning that Madeline has a lazy bone - she will "think" when she really wants me to give her a hint.  Guess what?!  No hints from Mom especially on something she's supposed to figure out herself.  We've had a few "homework meltdowns" simply because Madeline doesn't want to think for herself.  She's figured out I'm guiding her in the homework.  I will not do it for her.  I will not tell her how to do it.  I force her to think for herself.  Initially, this upset her and caused much frustration.  I pull out all of my strategies to help her, but I want her to understand that learning comes from hard work, making mistakes, and learning from them.  Madeline has figured that out about Mom during homework time, so things run more smoothly now.  Slowly but surely, things are clicking, and Madeline is sounding out words, reading!!!, and spelling!!! on her own.  It's pretty awesome.  
The giant, bright yellow car sign that hung in my giant silver Armada that Madeline was completely oblivious to the first few days of school. :)
All in all, Kindergarten has been what we expected - a few bumps, lots of smiles, and some fantastic stories in the car on the way home.  Madeline has made new friends, loves all parts of her day, and is learning like crazy.  She's always going to be "young", and hopefully that will work itself out with a little bit of maturity.  So far, Kindergarten has forced the maturity thing.  It's forced me to "let go" a little bit which is a good thing.  Eric and I are excited to see the growth - emotionally, socially, and intellectually.  We're off to a great start, and it's just the beginning of the year!

After her first day of school - I had to dismiss her early to take her to the orthopedic doctor.  Hot pink cast for this girl!