Friday, August 29, 2014

Bumps in the Road

Bump

This week didn't run as smoothly for the kids as last week. Nothing earth shattering, just not smooth. Isaac mistakenly went to the wrong class, but everybody has to do that once. He also took a spill off of his bike. You know how they say most accidents happen close to home? Yup, it was just up the block. He really enjoys ridding his bike to school. The independence has already done him good, I see him trying things on his own and taking responsibility more. When he came home Thursday he was obviously attempting to break the sound barrier (which is fine on an empty bike trail), but when he exited the trail into our neighborhood he didn't slow down. He went down the incline to fast, kicked the pedal backward to hard and derailed his bike chain. His bike flipped over, he tore his pants and skinned his knee.

He was shaken up, his pants are unsalvageable and his chain needed to be reattached, but otherwise he's fine. If Mike and I weren't 100% confident in his ability to get to and from school he wouldn't be ridding his bike. We know he can do this safely on his own. He's blessed to live so close to his school and have a bike trail from our neighborhood that runs part of the way to school. We live in a great neighborhood that's always abuzz with families walking to and from the elementary school and even though I don't know everyone's names, I know we all look out for each other's kids.

Once Isaac was cleaned up with Neosoporin on his scraps we had a serious talk about bike safety. I told him to think of it this way "You can drive 70mph down the highway for miles and miles, but when you hit the exit ramp if you don't slow your car down to 40mph you can hurt or kill someone or yourself." He fixed and tested his bike chain this morning by himself (and was beaming with pride). We discussed bike safety again this morning (with Mike this time) and made a concrete plan for where to meet us if it's raining to hard to bike home. I think that overturned bike and scrapped knee were a good reality check. I'm certainly proud of him for not giving up on ever ridding a bike again (as he would have in his younger days), but viewing it instead as a learning experience. I told him "It was caused by your bad decision, which is great news because it means you can prevent it from ever happening again." I don't think he realized how grown up he's becoming until he got a chance to dust himself off from that spill.

Playground

Miss Roo's week wasn't all sunshine and roses either. She was out of sorts most mornings this week. A fire drill during nap earlier in the week (thanks guys!) brought us the night of 100 meltdowns and threw off her schedule. She's been cranky, mean and not herself. Thursday morning was by far the worst. She refused to get up. Then she didn't want to get dressed and then her breakfast was all wrong. There were tears over the way I did her hair and not letting her bring toys to school. When we were ready to get in the car I had to enlist Mike to carry her kicking and complaining to her car seat because she wanted to play on the computer before school (that has NEVER been allowed for either kid). We chatted on the way to school and I tried all my usual tricks: made sure she had her listening ears on, asked her to throw bad attitude away, talked to her about all the fun things she was going to do, and even sang a song. When we got to school she had a fit in the parking lot (so embarrassing). I was sure she would get to her classroom and be all smiles (it had never failed before). Instead she had to be coaxed into the room for several minutes at which time she laid down on the floor and did her best Gandalf impression.

I hugged her and encouraged her to make good choices. I was completely certain that my leaving would inspire better behavior. For the most part she did alright from what I hear, but she had a bad note at the end of the day. It said "She had a lot of trouble cleaning up." That was a surprise because obviously she knows the drill and is usually a great helper. Then one of her friends told me she was crying during outside time. Riley claimed that she "missed Mommy." At the end of the school day on the playground? Nope, don't think so. One of her other friends chimed in that "It was because she said a bad word." The teacher in the room at the time wasn't the same teacher who had been on the playground with her, but she had heard about it. Roo and her buddy were trading silly insults "cheese buggers", etc and Roo apparently called out "ass". I imagine that it got quite a reaction from her friend and she repeated it to the delight/horror of her classmates. She was taken aside by the teacher who addressed how inappropriate the language was at which point Roo cried because she was afraid the teacher would tell me what she said.

Having gotten to the bottom of things I am certain she was overtired all day. I'm a little stunned that she used that word at all, but she was very rational about it on the way home. I suggested silly things to call our friends like "cotton headed ninny muggins" or "silly gilly gumble" and reminded her that no game that hurts someone's feelings is a good idea. That even if she didn't mean to hurt someone's feelings that's not a nice word and it isn't allowed at school. She chimed in saying "Yeah, no potty words at school." I explained that no one is allowed to use language like that at school not the parents, not the teachers, nobody. Then I asked her if she's ever heard a princess say that word. She hadn't and we agreed if princesses don't say it Roo shouldn't either.

Just like with her brother I wanted her to recognize her poor choices and then learn and move on. We didn't dwell on it after that conversation and I made a point of getting her to bed early that night. This morning she was herself again. Bubbly and reasonable (for an almost 5yr old). She promised to help clean up and only use nice words at school today.

To my independent, problem solving children: these are just bumps in the road, they won't be the last. I'm proud of you.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Kindergarten Have We Got A Spot...Or Not?!?

The Waiting Place...
...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No

Waiting Place

You may remember me mentioning in this summer wrap up that enrollment for the 2015/2016 school year kindergarten class started in the beginning of August. I fired off my application that same afternoon. After a week or two enrollment closed and I inquired when we would hear something. I was told I'd hear by mid-September. So, I kept waiting. Today I got the news that Miss Roo is on the wait list for a spot in her current school's kindergarten class. So....we keep waiting I suppose.

It's anticlimactic to wait only to be told to wait some more for sure. That's the way the cookie crumbles. What makes me sad is that during these first weeks of school I am forced to think about splitting up these kids. It breaks my heart. I love Riley's class so much and so does she. It's traumatic to consider. It's been so hard on everyone losing both the PreK and the VPK teachers, but at least the kids were still together. It's the only reason some of parents didn't follow our beloved teachers to their new campus. We wanted the kids to stay together.

I understand most children leave their preschool friends behind to go to kindergarten, but it's a big transition. Being on the wait list isn't the worst news, but being in limbo isn't anyone's first choice. Mike keeps telling me not to worry, she'll get a spot or she won't. I'm just sad to leave the kids, parents and some of the staff behind. Growing up is one thing, but this feels like a break-up. We're parting ways with so many people we care about.

It's still up in the air,
And very confuzled
We'll just have to see where
When all is un-muddled and un-fuzzled
The wubulous kindergarten journey of Miss Roo unfolds
And the places she'll go...to school.

Monday, August 25, 2014

I Forgot to Shiver My Timbers!!

Pirates & Princesses Party
Pirate & Princess Oh My

I decided for this event since Riley has an amazing pirate costume that I would be a princess. I originally intended to wear my Halloween costume, but it needs some alterations. So, I did what any absolutely insane person who loves costumes would do...I put on my wedding dress. I borrowed Roo's crown to complete the ensemble. I love how we matched! It took some engineering to drive in, but I adore that dress and I was happy for an excuse to put it back on.

It was a wonderful afternoon of treasure hunting, dress up clothes, pirate-y snacks and sillyness!

Pirate Event at the Library
Arr

One day of pirating is never enough, so the next day after a lunch of pirate shaped macaroni and cheese we set sail for pirate fun at the library! We met a silly pirate captain, who thought Riley was "a bonny lass" and learned that the best treasure is inside books (of course!). They read us How I Became A Pirate which not surprisingly Roo had heard before. I quite enjoyed it. We sang pirate songs, made a treasure chest necklace, ate an adorable pirate snack and played pirate games! Roo's favorite games were popping bubbles with a sword and walking the plank!

Pirate Lunch Sword & Bubbles

Friday, August 22, 2014

Week One: Done!

Roo Home Roo School
Isaac Home

Overall, it was a good week. Isaac has lots of friends at school already. He's enjoying riding his bike very much. I think he's still getting used to the schedule, but he's hanging in there. The paperwork did come in a flood on Tuesday and Wednesday. His classes all sound interesting. He has eight classes on a block schedule, four each day alternating. I'm so glad he changed his elective to art. They started with a graffiti project, how fun is that? All my communications with teachers so far have been very positive. Way to start the year off on the right foot, buddy!

Roo Cashier Monsters & Goglins

Riley had a good week too. She's lucky to have a lot of her old friends in her class. She comes home with fresh stacks of drawings everyday. Don't you just love her two-headed monster and goblin? My lunch notes are a huge hit! Her favorites were: "(picture of an Orange)you glad it's lunch time?" and "You make me hoppy (with a picture of a bunny)." Oh the puns! I'm sorry I hadn't discovered these when Isaac was little he would have been a fan too. I used to write him little poems, but Miss Roo isn't really reading yet so these are perfect.

It was a hard week for me. I was emotional about how gosh darn independent both kids are. On top of which for the first time ever I was having an issue with Roo's school. I tied myself in knots over it, before I finally said something. I was assured that my feedback was appreciated and my concern would be addressed. I feel confident things will get better or at least change. I had become so accustomed over the last school year and the summer to everything running so smoothly, I felt almost betrayed. I didn't want to believe this could happen. It was disorienting, but not altogether shocking with so much change. I'm so glad I spoke up. Now the weight is off my shoulders.

Miss Roo was completely unaware of any of my distress. She is happy as a calm.

A-N-T Friends

Monday, August 18, 2014

First Day of School

Lunchbox Lunch

It's here! The first day of school is here. Hurray! Lunch packed, new clothes and smiles are on. Time for pictures! Now they're ready for VPK and sixth grade!

Both Kids

Mike rode his bike with Isaac in the morning, but Isaac rode back home on his own. He reported that the day was "Great!" They spent most of their day in homeroom doing icebreakers. Later in the day they went to gym and someone got elbowed in the eye when someone else spiked a beach ball, volleyball style. It was a big to-do and his group had to sit out after that. He must have gleefully recounted that tale ten times. He got to see a lot of his friends and was relieved that they didn't have a rope in the gym. I told him that I think that's just in the movies because I've never seen one. Have any of you been made to climb a rope at gym? One odd thing, he came home completely empty handed not a single solitary piece of paperwork. I bet I get buried in forms tomorrow.

My poor dog always has a rough time on the first day of school, but she wasn't the only one. It wasn't easy for me waiting for 4:00 to hear about Isaac's day. Speaking of waiting, I was anxious to pick up Miss Roo as well! She hadn't batted an eyelash when I dropped her off in the morning. She helped me put all of her things away and then skipped merrily off to the art center. She drew me an amazing alligator swimming over curly seaweed! When I was ready to go she had to be reminded to say goodbye. I did get two goodbye hugs at that point though.

Apple Earrings

When I got home there was a post on Facebook from Riley's teacher from last year who was wearing the apple earrings we gave her in honor of her "original twelve" and wishing them a great first day of VPK. That's when I cried for the first time today. She was the absolute best and we miss her very much. Later in the day she got the flowers I sent her. When she thanked me she said "I promised myself I wouldn't cry today...and then these showed up." So, we're even.

A for Apple Note

When I went to get Riley she was very busy playing. I started packing up her things and heard the teacher tell her twice it was time to go before she looked up. Mrs L had to promise that the toy cash register would be there in the morning before she would agree to leave. Roo was also paperwork-less, she brought home some drawings she'd done that morning though. There was a note on the white board by the door to let us know what they'd done that day. When I asked her how the day went she said "We didn't sing any songs, but we played on the playground!" She also told me she had a new Greek teacher. The preschool's director reported that Roo "was making sure our new Greek teacher knew everything that they learned last year. :)" in an email later that day. Miss Roo told her grandma on the phone that her teachers "were very nice, so nice she could love them."

Isaac Riley

For fun I had the kids fill out these sheets when they got home. I thought they both did a great job. I adore all the enthusiasm. Miss Roo insisted on writing a lot of her answers herself. My favorite Roo responses: Favorite Food: Broccoli, Favorite Subject: Bugs, Activity: Pinball (WHAT?!?) and the best I think...(Roo Wrote) VPK is Awesome.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Summer, Stick A Fork In It

June2014 JUNE

July2014 JULY

August2014 AUGUST

Click any collage to enlarge

Summer Wrap Up Video Questions:
1. What was the most educational thing you did this summer?
2. What was the worst thing about summer vacation?
3. What was the very best thing about summer vacation?
4. What was the best thing you ate?
5. What was the worst thing you ate?
6. What was your favorite activity/project?
7. What was your favorite trip?
8. What did you do that was unexpected?
9. Is there anything you didn't get a chance to do that you wish you had?
10. Are you ready to go back to school?
11. What is the most exciting thing about starting middle school?

**Full Disclosure: We filmed this on the night before school started. It took at least six takes due to Riley's video bombing , the dog, technical issues, etc. So, I apologize before you view it for my sharp tone mid way through I was completely exhausted. Otherwise, enjoy our summer memories!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

So Long, Summer Camp!

Miss Roo

Monday: Dragons

Knight Accessories Armor

Some cardboard, masking tape, a few glittery brads, and sliver spray paint later, Lady Riley! Much thanks to big brother for lending her the sword and shield.

Knight Riley Dragons

The cutest knight in all the land!

Tuesday: Princesses & Pirates

Arr Pirate Fairy

Riley went as Zarina the pirate fairy. I had this costume in the closet for Christmas, but I had to let her have it when I heard they were having a pirate day. Can you blame me? The adorable was off the charts.

Wednesday: Circus, but she stayed home to see Rio 2

Movies

Thursday: Superheros!

Cape Pieces

For superhero day we decided Riley should be Princess Presto from Super Why. I re-purposed her Princess Sofia dress and shoes. Riley made me promise not to anything I couldn't undo (I wouldn't have of course). I printed tiny Princess Prestos to cover the Sofias on the dress and shoes. I made some green accents with ribbon and safety pins. I used fabric glue to attach green sequins to her purple star wand. She already had a cardboard Princess Presto crown from a cereal box. Mike drew the Super Why logo on a spare purple curtain to make her cape. It turned into a bigger project than I imagined, but she looked amazing.

Wands Up Princess Presto
Super Reader

Friday: Favorite Character

Princess Belle Carriage
Flower

Riley went as Princess Belle. She had a lovely last day.

Bye

In order for Riley to continue to continue on to kindergarten at her school she has to be drawn in their lottery. I've know that was the procedure since we enrolled in PreK3. When I got home I had an email informing me that the application process for kindergarten for the 2015/2016 had begun. I was stunned! Needless to say I submitted her application lickety-split. Unfortunately, along with the dose of suspense turning in her application brought there was certainly a dose of reality for me. When did she get so grown up?

Isaac

Rio 2 Carriage

Wednesday was a big day this week. I kept Riley home from school and we all went to see Rio 2. It was the last free kids movie of the summer. I told the kids that they had to earn the movie and if they where super listeners we'd get snacks at the movie. My children have never been to the concession stand with their parents before so this was huge. During summer kids movies they have a special deal, the kids get popcorn, fruit snacks and a small drink. The trays have little dinosaurs on them! They felt so special having their own popcorn to season as they pleased. Isaac dumped the nacho cheese seasoning on. I also smuggled in a small candy bar for each of them. As we were leaving the kids were given free Guardian of the Galaxy comic books, it made Isaac's day! After nap that same day I took them out for free root bear floats too.

Week Nine Video Wrap Up

Weekly Wrap Up Questions
1. What did you learn that you didn't know before?
2. What was the worst part of your week?
3. What was the best part of your week?
4. What was your favorite meal?
5. What was the weather mostly like?
6. What was your favorite activity/project?
7. How many books did you read?
8. What were they called?
9. Which book was your favorite?
10. Where are some places you went this week?