Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kids in training

We're training for the one-mile Thanksgiving Turkey Trot! So far Gene can run maybe 1/4 mile without stopping, and Lucy half that. Jane won't actually compete, but she's enjoying the practice...Gene gets his stopwatch out and times how long certain stretches take, and Lucy runs for a bit and then gets "bored" (her favorite word these days). She's not motivated in the same way Gene is, but I'm doing my best to keep it fun and without pressure. Our training is self-motivating: the first day we just tried to run/jog as far as we could. I recorded where each child stopped running. Then each day everyone tried to run at least a LITTLE farther than they ran previously before stopping to walk. If they beat their goal, they can have a chocolate chip when we get home.

After two days, it's been a success. We'll see where they are in a month!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Another week...

*Gene's birthday was last Thursday, and he had a "kid party" Friday afternoon, and a "family party" Sunday afternoon. The kid party went completely as planned- he planned the whole thing, and handed me the schedule of events the day before...down to what time each activity would start, and how many minutes it would last. He had three friends play a football game, and they had a blast! They were actually all interested, and played together for more than an hour. Then they wolfed down their dinner so they could go play more. I was hoping Gene would be happy with how it turned out, and I don't think it could have gone better!

*Saturday night was the "Monster Mash" at school. I brought Gene and Janie (Lucy had a cold) and it was an alright party. Tons of decorations (as in, parents spent all Friday evening and all day Saturday decorating the school), food, gross things to feel, science experiments, and little activities...Gene and Jane didn't seem to have a stellar time, but they were certainly interested in everything.

*I have a LOT of pictures to post, but it's too late now and I'm going to postpone those until another night. Also a lot of funny kid quotes, but those too shall wait.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wednesday, Oct 20

*One more day until Gene's birthday...he is not as excited about IT as Lucy is about HER birthday which is in another two weeks. She is a lover of all things "birthday"- cake, ice cream, balloons, presents, friends... And having her birthday come last out of all three of the kids just makes her anticipation grow even more. She and Jane went out with B to buy a present for Gene (Brendan knows exactly what he's getting), and she said, "How about a balloon holder! You know, you tie a string onto it and then it keeps the balloon from flying to the ceiling." Would Gene like it? He would probably just give her a funny look. Lucy is known around our house as the Queen of Random.

*There were conferences at school today...Jane didn't have class, and spent various parts of the day with Grandma Patti, Great Grandma Rose and Great Grandpa Gene, and Grandma Hendricks. She had a great day! Gene and Lucy spent their day doing different activities around the school with substitute teachers, while their teachers met with parents all day. A creative way to keep kids in school at that time! Lucy told us they "just roamed around the halls" all day!

*Gene is really into math right now, and is happily working on addition and subtraction problems in his head (with the help of some fingers, sometimes) whenever he's at home. His teacher gave me a Montessori math activity to borrow for awhile, and I think he'll love it. I'm going to wrap it up and "give" it to him for his birthday:)

Monday, October 18, 2010

New Blog Format

So...this summer I was taking pictures, and then posting the pictures with short explanations...and that was that. Now, things are a little different. I no longer take many pictures throughout our day at home, because we aren't home as much. I have a different camera now, that doesn't fit in my pocket very easily, so I don't carry it around as I used to do. And, even when we are home, the kids don't do anything very interesting- most of our home time is spent changing clothes, putting away lunchboxes and backpacks, practicing spelling words...then it's dinner and bedtime.

That being said, I do still want to post and keep everyone updated on our life. I think I'll try the "seven quick takes" style and just post a few random thoughts/happenings every time I have a chance. There won't be a single topic for each post, just some random things. That's what my brain can handle this year! I won't have a specific number of thoughts, either- just as many as I can think of or have time for.

Here's what I've got today:

-Jane has a LOT of energy today after school. Usually she heads right up to take a bath, but today she asked if she could walk down the sidewalk a bit and come back. Then she started jumping off our wall, about 20 times. Then we had to go in, and she got out a stool and started jumping off, about another 20 times. Now she's finally settled down...:)

-We are getting overwhelmed with birthday party invitations! Being in school now, each of my kids has the potential to be invited to 15-25 birthday parties, depending on the number of children in their class. And it seems like all children's parties now include ALL class members. Gene had two parties this past weekend, Lucy has skipped one and has another coming up at the end of the month. Jane has one in early November. The other funny thing is, since they are including so many kids, not a single party takes place at the birthday child's home. We've been invited to a bowling alley, the Hands On Museum, two jumping/bounce houses, and Jungle Java. They are not the personal, intimate parties that I remember from my childhood, where we invited only our close friends (or our parents close friends) and had a simple house party. Now, we have Gene and Lucy's birthdays coming up very soon, and we can't compete at all! Gene is having a few boys over to play a football game (he was very insistent) and we'll have a family party as well. I'm not sure what we'll do for Lucy yet, but something small as well.

-Halloween is coming up...Lucy will be Little Red Riding Hood (with a red cape made by Grandma Patti), Jane will be a pumpkin (she wanted to be a pumpkin, and we happened to see a costume in her size at Goodwill one there we go). Gene wants to be a Revolutionary War soldier, and is all excited about it, but now I think that costume is going to be tricky...we're going to try to convince him to be Johnny Appleseed...we'll see.

-We made applesauce all day on Saturday (after a birthday party, actually) and came up with close to 50 quarts. Enough to last the year, hopefully.

-I haven't been out to my garden since September, except to pull up a few green onions. I should declare it a disaster zone, if I could ever get out there to assess the damage the weeds are doing. I was pretty good all summer, but school started and I've been swamped with other work. So much for a "weedless garden"...(I've based the last 3 years' gardens on a book called Weedless Gardening...really works, if you have the time!)

Okay, that's all for now. Gotta put some stuff away and wash all the apple gunk off my kitchen floor before we pick up Gene and Lucy.

Monday, October 11, 2010

7 Quick Takes

I feel like I should post, but it's late and I can't think of a here goes some randomness...

1. Gene has been rather shy in class about asking questions, and I'm trying to deal with that on the parent side of things. I'm not going to be a hovering helicopter-parent and talk to his teachers for him, but I also don't want to allow him to miss out on things because he doesn't ask for in point: he has been keeping his sweatshirt on all day in school, and I noticed that it was still on when I would pick him up, on really nice afternoons when everyone else had short sleeves. I asked him why he didn't take it off...and it came out that he didn't know how to hang it up (they use hangers in the class). Just ask, dude. There are no other great examples, just vague feelings I'm getting that he could really do himself a favor if he gets over his fear of initiating conversation with his teachers (who are a bit outgoing, but very friendly). I, the maker of all types of charts, posted a "Ask a Teacher for Help" chart on his wall. If he asks for help, and writes down what he asked for, he can have some extra Wii time if he asks 10 times. He has two so far, and a third is posted but it says, "I asked for help but I can't remember what it was for." Doesn't count, but nice try...

2. Jane has been sick since before her birthday in early September, with at least 3 separate colds, I think. The first one was accompanied by a fever. The third with an ear infection. Now she has been on antibiotics for a few days, and she seemed to be better since the weekend. But this afternoon her nose started running again. And she is (still?) coughing once in a while. I don't know if this is the beginning of round #4 or what...?

3. Lucy is the slowest kid in the world after school. She took a full hour this afternoon to change into playclothes, show me her papers from school, and put away her backpack and lunchbox. Seriously! I try to make her hurry it up a little, so she can have some playtime before dinner, but she doesn't see the point in that. She seems to need her "playtime" while completing these simple tasks. Maybe I should just let her...and just have her try to finish before dinner?

4. Our dishwasher has been leaking on and off for the last few months, but this evening there was a growing puddle on the floor and we finally had to operate on it. By "we" I mean my wonderful husband! We cleaned out the steam vent, and then just pretended to do other stuff, but basically we're just praying we won't need to replace it anytime soon.

5. Had a great weekend on a church retreat...usually I stay up really late talking to friends on these retreats, but not this one. I actually went to bed early (9:30 one night!) and slept in as long as I could. It was great. I wanted to catch up on sleep, but also to come home and not be completely sleep-deprived. A gift to my family, right?

6. I am really enjoyed my job as a preschool/kindergarten teacher. But now I'm reaching a point I know every student-teacher reaches at one time or another: I want to be the one in charge! I want to be the head-teacher, and make the decisions in the classroom. I see a number of small changes that would make a big difference in the classroom, but I can only speak up so much. I don't want to offend, and it's not my classroom after all. I am just there to learn, and to help out if needed. The tricky thing is, I have to make a good impression, and keep it, if I want any chance of being offered a job for next year. But if I go along with all their ideas and don't speak up, and then am offered a job, will it be a big shock if I run my classroom differently? Oh well...who knows what will happen next year, anyway?!

7. How many birthday parties are we obligated to go to, having three kids in a private school, and seemingly every child in all three classes intending to invite their whole class to a party? The girls have each gotten one invite, and Gene two. That makes 4, and it's only been a month of school. Each party took (or will take) place somewhere other than the birthday child's the Hands On Museum, a bowling alley, Jungle Java, and a bounce house. I have met (in person) 2 of the birthday children. What are we supposed to give as gifts?? How many more invitations will be coming? This is crazy! And then I am planning parties for Gene and Lucy coming up, and we are definitely not planning a full-class outing somewhere expensive! Gene may have 3 (count them, 3!) boy friends over to play football...his idea, and he's very excited! Not sure about Lucy yet, but she'll probably have about the same number of girl friends for some low-key activity. Maybe an art project... Why don't other people have birthday parties like that anymore??

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's working!!

Jane and I are home today, since she is still sick with a runny nose and cough. We call it a "kleenex day". However, regarding kleenexes, it is always the parent telling the child to get one in our family. The kids like to pretend their shirt is an okay place to wipe boogers. Gross.

So, our big accomplishment of this sick day is the Kleenex Chart. (I realize I have become a chart person, but I can't help it- they usually work...) Jane can put a sticker on a piece of paper taped up to the piano (call it a "chart") every time she gets a kleenex without prompting. If I see her wiping anything on her shirt, I will make her get a kleenex, but no sticker.

A few minutes ago, in the middle of a movie, she jumped up and said, "Mama, I have to get a kleenex."


Monday, October 4, 2010

First month of school

After the first month of school, I have learned the following...

-all of my "home time" during the week is consumed with either preparing, cleaning up, or thinking about FOOD. Breakfast in the morning, then clean-up. Come home and make dinner. Clean up. Plan and make lunches and snacks for the next day (5 lunches, 2 snacks for Lucy, 1 snack for Gene) and fill waterbottles. Then it's about bedtime, and I'm not kidding.

-the kids REALLY like cereal in the morning. It used to be just a Saturday morning treat, and I would cook something on the weekday mornings. Now it is just fast, and that's what counts. No one dawdles coming down to breakfast though, and they are all smiles in the morning. Granted, we are eating extremely healthy cereal...did you know kids could like Kashi's Go Lean Crunch? We also indulge in granola, Granola Raisin Bran, and Frosted Mini Wheats. They all like them all.

-it takes us exactly one hour from when the kids wake up until we can be in the car. Half of that time is spent eating the above-mentioned cereal. Apparently, healthy cereal requires a lot more chewing time...

-the kids are all into "art" these days. Lucy is a self-proclaimed artist, and the other two are aspiring artists, I think. Gene spends a lot of his free time coloring (with marker) some snake-like creations that he has drawn...he fills them in with stripes. True to his nature, once he gets interested in something, it becomes a full-time passion. We couldn't get him to touch markers, or any other artistic medium, for his first 6 years. Now he is drawing striped snakey things, and loving it...he probably does 1 or 2 a day, and has at least 15-20 by now!

-Jane is potty-trained now! Maybe a couple accidents since school started, but I proclaim her done. Finally! That was a long 1.5 years... She is also a master of the public restroom now. She can operate a stall door (both lock and unlock it) and is not (as) bothered by the loud flushing noise of some toilets. She can wash and dry her hands by herself, as long as there is a stool. She is proud of herself, I think.

That's all for now...too tired after packing all those lunches. Bed is calling...

There are a TON of good quotes from the kids, who have not said many funny things in the last year (at least it doesn't seem like it) but all of a sudden are spouting them right and left. Is something in the water?

Here's a small sample, but more later...

Lucy, sitting in the front seat of the car, tells Gene and a friend (who are being noisy in the back) to be quiet because they are "making my head fall off!"

Lucy, speaking to Jane...actually, arguing over who gets to be the waiter in their pretend restaurant. And Lucy was determined to outsmart Jane when she said, "Jane, there are two types of waiters. One is the waiter who waits for food. The other is the waiter who brings food."

And my favorite from Jane...I was wrestling with Gene a bit, and pretended to vacuum him while at the same time vacuuming up some crumbs. We do this often with the kids, and they generally like to be "swept" or "vacuumed". But this time Jane didn't see the humor in the situation. She came over with a very worried look on her face and said, "Mama, will you please not vacuum Geno? He's my favorite brother."