So Big, and Yet So Small – The First Day of Kindergarten

Yesterday morning, when I went in to wake Miss up for her first full day of kindergarten away from home, I stood and gazed at her for a second before rousing her. I brushed her hair back from her sleeping face, and as I looked at her in profile, I saw her, right then, as a two-year-old. In sleep, her big-girl face took on the baby-like qualities from when she was smaller, and it almost took my breath.

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^ In the upper left-hand corner of that photo is Miss at about 18 months.

I almost didn’t want to wake her. I wanted to just stand and look at her. She looked so little and so big, at the same time.

I wasn’t sure how I would feel about today. I knew it would be hard/weird to send her to somewhere else for a full day. I knew it would feel strange to know that my little girl is big enough for kindergarten, even though next week she’ll be back home with me, and we’ll be doing school at home most of the time. I knew I would be nervous and excited for her.

She was certainly excited.

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So, did I cry when I dropped her off?

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No. I didn’t. I felt the throat tightening, eyes burning feeling for just a moment when she first started to walk away with her class. But it passed pretty quickly.

However, it was certainly a strange, and in some ways difficult, day. I kept feeling like a part of me was missing. At lunch, sitting with just my two youngers, I noticed how odd it felt to not have Miss there. That was the hardest part. That’s when I almost cried.

Sis: (to Lass) “You be Pincess Pesto, and I be Affa Pig, and Mama, you be Supa Why!”

Me: “Okay! Too bad your sister isn’t here. She could be Wonder Red.”

Sis: (looking sadly at Miss’s seat) “We need to go get her!!”

That moment, that little-sister-missing-big-sister moment, is when I started laugh-crying, as I said something like, “We can’t yet. She’s at school.” I almost spiraled into all-out bawling, feeling acutely the void left by Miss’s absence right then. But I pulled it together and rallied with more Super Why! pretending. It helps when you know all the words. . .

For most of the day, I kept looking at the clock and wondering where Miss was and what she was doing right then. “11:07, I wonder if she’s having lunch yet?”  Super Friend kindly texted me a photo of her grinning from ear to ear on the playground at recess and let me know that she seemed fine at lunch.

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By 1pm I was checking my watch every five minutes or so, to see if it was time to go get her yet. I missed her.

At pick up, I realized how much fun she had had, and how grown up it made her feel to have had a full day at school, away from Mom and sisters.

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She and her sisters played with other kids on the playground for a bit after dismissal. Miss kept following Sis around, helping her on the relatively large play structure. She came to me and told me that I didn’t have to watch Sis, because she would take care of it.

The whole day, I was struck over and over by the juxtaposition of so grown up with so teeny tiny. She was acting so responsibly, and so big with her little sister. Yet the older kids careening around her dwarfed her.

Her uniform clothes were so grown up.

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But in them, she looked so teeny tiny.

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I guess that’s one of the tough things about the start of kindergarten. Our little ones are so big and so small at the same time. This makes it hard to let go. At least for me.

I must say, I am quite relieved she will be back at home with me next week. I think I’ll be able to handle this for one and a half days per week.

7QT, Theme Thursday, All in One

Linking with Jen and Cari today.

1.

Cari’s Theme Thursday this week was “Google Image Search.” Easy – type your own name into Google Images and share the first image of you that comes up. Except that I am kind of crazy paranoid about keeping myself and my family somewhat anonymous on the internet. I don’t use my last name here on the blog, I don’t use my kids’ real names, etc. Add that to the fact that my last name is super generic (think Jones), and I end up with a Google image search in which not one of the photos that shows up is of me. Not. One. I would have done a screen shot of the images that did show up, but I have no idea how to do that, so here are a few samples.

^^ Not me (that’s Amy Grant in case you couldn’t tell)

^^ Also not me (that’s Amy Lee from Evanescence)

^^ Yeah, not me either (Amy Smart?)

Anyway, you get the idea. There were tons of photos that came up of people who actually do have the same name as me, but I didn’t want to put some random person’s pic on here without her permission, so these are a few of the celebs that came up.

Apparently, as far as the internet is concerned, I don’t really exist. I’m cool with that.

To see other people’s actual pictures of themselves from Google image searches, check out Cari’s Theme Thursday link here.

2.

We started homeschooling this past week. This is earlier than I wanted to, but Miss will be starting her part-time kindergarten next week, and for the first week she’s going to go for three full days so she can get into the classroom groove and get to know the other kids. I wanted her to get a foundation of school at home before doing that, so I began before I was entirely prepared.

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It’s been a little crazy. I’m not in a groove yet. I haven’t gotten things worked out so that I can work with Miss and keep the others occupied and still be able to do a little bit of one-on-one work with Lass. I don’t know what the heck I’m doing.

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^^ She doesn’t use a binkie, she just found that and decided it was nice to chew on ^^

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I will say that, though it has been a little crazy, I’m pleased overall with how the week went. Miss is begging for more of her reading lessons. The girls learned some fun stuff, like what onomatopoeia and personalization are (thanks, FIAR). They had fun coming up with examples of these. We did some cool art. We went on our first field trip.

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3.

The field trip was to a place called Bookworm Gardens. All of the different areas at these gardens are based on different children’s books. They even have little cubbies all around the gardens with the books in them, laminated, so you can read them while you explore.

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^^ Goldilocks and the Three Bears

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^^ Little House on the Prairie

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^^ Horton Hatches the Egg

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You get the idea.

I thought it wouldn’t be crowded, since school groups aren’t taking field trips yet. I failed to realize that, since most schools haven’t even started yet, the summer daycare programs are ending, and they’re taking field trips. The place was packed.

We had plenty of fun anyway.

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4.

In addition to having to prepare for doing my own schooling with the girls at home, I’ve had to get Miss’s stuff ready for her part-time Kindergarten too.

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Which means a lot of labeling. Her teacher wants everything labeled. Each crayon. Each marker. Each colored pencil. That’s a lot of labeling. Super Friend did this last year, and she recommended her handy dandy label maker machine.

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Which really is quite handy dandy. Except the labels aren’t quite as sticky as they’d need to be to stay on curved objects, like crayons and markers. I stayed up late Sunday night and got all of the items labeled. When I went to show Miss her stuff the next day, I found that on the 108 crayons, 20 skinny markers, and 10 colored pencils, the labels didn’t stay.

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I panicked for a moment, and then resorted to the obvious solution. Scotch tape.

DSC_0170I went back and taped over every one of those suckers.

When I took Miss to meet her teacher and drop off her supplies in her classroom she said to her teacher, “My Mom was really smart, because she put my name on all of my things.”

Worth it.

5.

Speaking of taking her to meet her teacher, the open house for her school was on Thursday. She got her school pictures taken.

IMG_3498She looks so grown up, and so tiny, at the same time. Look at her little feet dangling. I could cry.

6. 

We had a birthday party today.

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A little girl who really loves animals is turning four tomorrow.

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Naturally, we had her party at the zoo.

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We had just enough time to play on the playground for a bit and see all the animals before it started to pour. Between them running out from under the covered areas to get wet on purpose, jumping in puddles, and needing to make a mad dash through the rain to the car, we had some wet kids when it was all over.

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I suspect the rain and puddles were one of the highlights of the party for them.

7.

After much deliberation, prayer, and checking (and rechecking) with my husband to be sure he’s okay with it, I have decided to become a sponsor for the RCIA program at my parish this year. The first class is September 8th. I can’t wait.

For more quick takes (probably much quicker than these!), check out Conversion Diary.

Going to Catholic School?

I met with the principal at the local Catholic school today. Next fall Miss will be starting kindergarten. But since I homeschool my kids, you might wonder why I would bother to meet with a school principal.

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I had started thinking about beginning the process of taking my girls to after school religious education classes in order for them to prepare for their first communions and confirmations. And then I thought about the descriptions I had heard from people who went through religious ed after school like that (none were good). And I began to wonder if there was some way I could have my girls do it differently.

I have a sister-in-law who homeschools her oldest son part time and sends him to public school part time. He’s in first grade. They love the arrangement they have.

Super Friend’s kids go to the Catholic school here in town. I have heard wonderful things about the school from her and everyone else I know whose children attend there.

I put all of these thoughts together, and I couldn’t help but wonder if I might be able to work something out where I could send Miss (and later her sisters) to the Catholic school part time, and still maintain our homeschooling for the rest. I figured I could still have her home with me most of the time, still be able to technically be a homeschooling family so that we aren’t subject to the attendance rules of the schools and could continue to travel as much as we want, and yet be able to derive many of the benefits available with a traditional school system.

My mind was swimming with the possibilities. I envisioned being able to send her to school for religion classes and then not have to send her to them after-school. Maybe letting her take art and music classes in school. I mulled this over in my head for quite a while, and finally I just called up the principal of the school and asked her if we could do it.

Guess what she said? “That sounds wonderful. Let me check into it.”

So she met with the people that needed to be met with. She sent me a schedule for the kindergarten class to look over. And today we met to see if we could come up with something that might work.

It. was. fabulous. The principal was absolutely open to all of my ideas and completely willing to work with me. She was open to trying to enable Miss to attend not only religion classes but the school mass on Thursday mornings, music, gym, computers, and art. I also asked that she be able to participate in some free periods like recess and “free choice,” so that she’d have a chance to play and interact and make friends with the other kids.

I am so thrilled with how the meeting went. As it looks now we will probably send Miss to school maybe for about a day and a half per week. She’ll be able to perform in the school concerts. She should be able to go on field trips. She’ll be able to have plenty of time playing and learning with other kids her age, but still be home with me most of the time. I’ll be in charge of the majority of her schooling. I’ll get some help in teaching her religion. And we will still be able to travel whenever we want and do all the other things that homeschooling enables us to do.

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I haven’t talked to Miss about it, but I think she will be very excited about the possibility of spending some time at school outside our home. And I think it will be a great experience for her. I really think it will be the best of both worlds.

Preschool Dropout

Yesterday was Miss’s last day of preschool.

Recently, my husband and I decided that we would take her out of preschool and just start our homeschooling journey with her now. It was a little hard to make the decision to take her out, but only because I really love her school. It’s such a wonderful little place and her teachers are fantastic. When my husband and I decided in May that we will be homeschooling our girls, I thought that I would want to keep Miss in Preschool until the time for her to start Kindergarten (and send Lass and Sis when they got old enough). My reasoning for this was that she enjoys school and could have some good experiences in a fun learning environment that is more under my control than regular school would be beyond the preschool years. I could choose to send her only two mornings a week. I could choose the days she goes (LOVE this about her school). I could take her out of school to travel whenever necessary.

Additionally, her school is small, with mixed age groups and a really wonderful environment. It’s a mix of Montessori and traditional preschool styles that I think is really great. And I know of at least one instance when the owner of the school, after trying really hard to help a disruptive child, decided that the child could no longer attend because of the disruptions to the other kids. It’s not that I loved the idea that a child was asked to leave her school, but I was super glad that it was an option for her teachers to remove a child who was causing problems, when attempts at correcting the issues were unsuccessful. That would never happen in many other school settings.

I have always felt comfortable with and confident about Miss’s preschool, and at the time it seemed like the right thing to send her back at the start of this school year.

Problem is, her school is about 25 minutes from our house, and this fall juggling the younger two girls while getting her to school just seemed like more than I wanted to do. Sis’s schedule tends to get screwed up on school days. I never had as much time to run errands and get things done while Miss was at school as I thought I would.

Plus, I just want her home with me.

So I decided she would be done with school at the end of October. I talked with her about this, and she was fine with it. Her last day was the school’s Halloween party. It was a fun way to close out her preschool experience. All of us girls were in attendance.

Miss was super excited to show Lass her school.

I love seeing how much their relationship has grown just since last school year. The last time I had Lass at Miss’s school she seemed so much younger than the kids there. This time she fit right in.

They are the best of friends. I can’t wait to see how they grow together now that we’ll be starting “preschool” at our house.

And speaking of growing, our littlest ballerina is getting ready to move.

I’m so not ready for mobility.

Her first Halloween was lots of fun. She snuggled right in to go Trick or Treating with her big sisters. Or as Lass says, “Trick or Tricking”

It was pretty chilly last night, so we kept asking them if they wanted their hoods up. Miss said, “Nope. I like to feel the breeze in my hair.”

They were a little bit shy at the first house we visited.

But after that they were such funny, outgoing little trick or treaters. They actually stepped right into the second house on our route!

We did a quick sweep of our little neighborhood and rushed home to get into jammies and hit the road.

We’re at the Farm for the next week and a half for deer hunting.

It will be our first week of home preschool, and we’re going freestyle.

Tonight we watched five deer out the window. We talked all about does vs. bucks and had a cool experience when Miss banged on the window and the buck on the lawn looked right up at her. She was excited when I explained that he had heard her and was trying to figure out what the noise was. We watched him run off a few minutes later.

I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to actually get a preschool curriculum or just go with some of the things that are easily available online, some of the stuff that Miss did at her school, and lots of playing. I’m leaning towards the latter. I’m a little bit nervous about “doing it right,” but I think we’ll be okay.

I’m excited about having my oldest girl home with me full time again.

 

Preschool Couture

One of my favorite times of the day is when Miss chooses the clothes she is going to wear.  It is so fun to see what she picks, and to hear her describe why she has made her choices.  Today was the first day of school, and she excitedly picked out her “school tights, skirt, and topping” last night before bed.  She really couldn’t wait to wear these tights.

As an aside, I really need to get over my compulsion to buy things one size up so that they will last her longer. These tights look ridiculous they’re so big. Note to self: I have three girls. The clothes will get worn plenty. Stop being a cheapskate.

It has been fairly recently that she has gotten into choosing her own outfits, and I have really enjoyed some of the other ensembles she has put together.  She is developing her own sense of style.  I love letting her run with it and be creative.

The one below was one of my favorites.  She pulled out the shorts and then said she needed to find a shirt that also had flowers on it so they would match.  Then she chose a leopard-print bow for her hair.

I laugh at myself sometimes, because though I know it is probably very obvious, I still feel the need to tell people that she picked out her own clothes when she is dressed this way.  Partly because I don’t want anyone to think I dress my adorable child in mismatched clothes, but mostly because I feel proud of her independence and style and like to draw attention to how she expresses herself.

And I love to see how she is working on learning how to match clothes.  For the outfit below, she first picked out the skirt and then had initially chosen a light blue and green top to wear with it.  She held them up together and said, “No, these don’t match.  I need a brown shirt to go with this skirt.”  And she found one. ( The goggles were part of a game she and Lass were playing where they were “hunting trees.”  As in the trees that pulled at Snow White’s dress as she was running through the forest after being told by the huntsman that the queen wanted to kill her.  I think).

I love this stuff.  My girl has definite ideas about how she wants to express herself through her clothing.  She wants to wear skirts and dresses and still loves her tights.  It can be difficult in the few instances where I really need her to wear something particular.  Like when we went to the visitation before my husband’s grandmother’s funeral and I had to purchase all new clothing for myself and the three girls in a hurry (we were out of town and had no nice clothes to wear).  I bought Miss a blue outfit I thought she would love, with a flow-y, ruffly shirt and capri leggings, in blue, her favorite color.  She put on the shirt and was so excited, until she realized it didn’t quite cover her rear end.  She pulled on it and danced around trying to get it to cover her tush.  She said, “It’s not long enough, Momma.”  She thought it was a dress.  Then I told her excitedly that it was a shirt with some beautiful blue pants that went with it.  She didn’t fall for that.  She wanted nothing to do with pants.  She kind of threw a fit about the pants.  We had no other option.  She wore the pants.

Sometimes the definite ideas of my preschooler can be tricky.  But most of the time, they make me proud and they make me smile.  Sometimes they make me laugh and sometimes nearly scream.  Almost always they make me excited to see where they will lead.  How this strong little personality will evolve.  I love that part.

 

The Preschooler

I’m playing catch-up a bit tonight.  We are at the Farm, and due to traveling and then visiting with family, I have not had a chance to post about Miss’s preschool graduation party until tonight.  Of course, she didn’t graduate from preschool, but a three or four of the other kids in her school did, so there was a little party last Thursday to celebrate the end of the school year and say farewell to those kids heading off to Kindergarten next year.  I love that her school is a mixed age school and that it is so small, so that she sees her older classmates taking this step to Kindergarten and yet doesn’t lose too many of her friends from the past year.
The party was lots of fun.  Miss spent almost the entire time intently focused on making a necklace for herself.

Once she finished it (you can see how long it is in the photos below!!) she went over to the face painting area.  She was a little unsure about the face painting at first.  She is my cautious girl, and she wanted to think this one over a bit.

She eventually sat down and allowed one of her teachers to paint a flower on her cheek.  A blue flower of course.  I love that her teacher knew that blue is her favorite color and commented on it to her (Miss wears a blue shirt to school almost every day).

Though she didn’t graduate from preschool to Kindergarten, she did get a certificate for completing her first year of school.  I am so proud of how far she has come in this past year.  She has learned so much and really gained in confidence.  My girl who used to cry every time I dropped her off at school now doesn’t want to leave when I come to pick her up.  Every day she says, “Mama, I had so much fun at school today.”

When we got home Miss proudly showed off her necklace and face paint (which took three days to wash off, by the way).

Then we had our own little party with some treasures from the Target dollar aisle (have I mentioned how much I love the Target dollar aisle?) and some new sunglasses purchased for our trip to the Farm.

I have so many great photos already from the past weekend of the girls with their cousins at the Farm.  I will post them very soon.  ‘Night.

What is Valentine’s Day?

When I was much, much younger, I thought Valentine’s Day was a sweet, romantic day for flowers and gifts and professions of undying love.  Then I grew up a little bit, and I decided that Valentine’s Day was kind of a silly, overly-commercialized “holiday” that was nothing more than a way for card companies and jewelers to make lots of money, and that one should really try to show love every day, not just on Valentine’s.  Then I grew up a little bit more, and I revised my opinion of this holiday a bit.  I now think of Valentine’s Day as a nice enough day.  There’s nothing wrong with a day that encourages people to show their love for one another.  I don’t think it’s necessary to show that love through expensive gifts, but showing love?  That’s cool.  I still think it’s much more important to show how much the special people in your life mean to you every day.  An “I love you” and a kiss before leaving for work, or the store, or the basement.  A kiss before bed every night.  “I love you” and holding hands or giving a kiss for no reason at all but to remind someone they are essential to your world.  That’s the good stuff.
Now that I have kids, Valentines Day has become something even more.  It has become yet another way to have some fun with my girls.

I like home made gifts for days like Valentine’s Day.  I make stuff with my girls for this holiday.  To me it’s a great way to have fun together and it helps to neutralize the messages out there that your man must buy you big diamonds or a trip to Aruba to show that he really loves you on Valentine’s Day.  Not that my girls see or hear these messages now, but someday I’m sure they will. So we’re starting early to make a point of showing love through special gestures and thoughtful, simple gifts, rather than flashy stuff.

We made little heart-shaped crayons for Miss to give to her friends at school, like the ones shown on my friend’s blog here, but smaller.  They were inexpensive and pretty easy to do.  The hardest part was getting the paper off the crayons (even soaking them in warm water didn’t work for many of them).  The girls loved breaking the crayons up and putting them into the molds.  Miss specially chose which crayon each of her friends would receive and she was very excited to go to school yesterday and give these special gifts to the other kids.  Mission accomplished.

Miss had a great time at her school party, as did I.

She made another craft at her party, a potpourri ball.  She also gave me another school-made gift that is made with paper hearts, her thumb prints, glitter, and her attempt to write her name, all laminated into one big beautiful work of art that currently hangs in a place of honor on our sliding glass door.  She was so proud and excited to give these gifts to me that she had made.

When we got home, she and Lass had fun going through her box of Valentines from the other kids in her class.

Then we made special Valentines to give to Daddy, which they excitedly ran to give him when he got home from work last night.  And as we do every day, we gave lots of hugs and kisses and “I love yous” and “You’re my wonderful girls,” etc.  Just because that’s what we do.  I always want my girls to know that, on Valentine’s or any other day, showing your love for someone, and thus the genuineness of their expressions of love for you, is always about what you do, day to day, not how much you spend or how grand your gestures on one day of the year.  A happy life is made up of lots of small moments, not just the few big ones that tend to get lots of attention.

And speaking of showing your love through the things you do, last night I attempted to make paleo-friendly brownies for Miss to take to school today.  Since her birthday is on Saturday and she won’t be back to school before then, I wanted to send her with a special birthday treat to share with her friends at school today.  She requested brownies.  I wanted to make them myself and make them relatively healthy, though still a “treat.”  I had the best of intentions.  Unfortunately, last night I had a bit of a mom failure, because the brownies just didn’t taste that good.  They turned out how I think they’re supposed to.  They’re edible, and not horrible.  But they don’t taste like brownies.  And if I’m going to send my child to school with a treat to share with her friends for her birthday, I’m going to make sure it’s yummy, for pete’s sake.  So, I made a run to the grocery store last night, when I otherwise would have been composing this Valentine’s Day blog post, and grabbed some grocery-store-bakery-made mini cupcakes.  They’re good, and I think they were a hit with the kids.  So even though I totally flopped in my Mother-of-the-Year-all-natural-gluten-free-super-delicious-brownie attempt, the late night trip to the grocery store saved the day.  I feel like a dolt and it sucked to make a run to the grocery store at 9pm, but that’s okay.  And that’s why my Valentine’s Day post is a day late.  Hope you had a Happy Valentine’s Day.  We did.

“Do You Have a Baby in Your Butt?”

Yesterday I volunteered to help at Miss’s school because one of her teachers had to be out for a funeral.  It was a really fun experience.  I loved getting to watch her in her space and get to know some of the kids she goes to school with.  I was quite a novelty to many of the kids, who got a kick out of my big belly and kept asking about the baby, poking my belly, etc.  One little girl was especially sweet.  She sat next to me every time the class sat down to listen to a story, sing songs, or do other learning activities all together (weather, calendar, etc.).  She hugged me.  She said she loved me.  She was that super sweet and lovey little girl that every preschool class probably has at least one of.  Then it happened.  After looking at and asking me several questions about my belly, she asked a different question.  “Do you have a baby in your butt?”  Um.  No.  But thanks so much Sweet Little Girl.  Thanks a million times for asking me that.  Man.  Kids say the darnedest things.  

I really wanted to take some photos of Miss at school, but I was afraid my big camera would be disruptive and wasn’t really even sure about sneaking some with my phone.  I was supposed to be helping after all.  So, these photos aren’t from school, but I still love them.  It amazes me how quickly my big girl’s (and my little girl’s, for that matter) skills are increasing.  Miss is getting very good at coloring in the lines and can draw a wicked smiley face now.

It was wonderful to have a special day with her at her school yesterday.

Membership Has its Privileges

For months now, I have been saying that I want to rejoin the YMCA.  My husband and I were members when we first moved here, because we lived in a rental house and didn’t have a good place to exercise at home.  When we bought our current house, we set up a nice garage gym area and let our Y membership lapse.  Miss was too tiny to do any activities there and we could exercise at home, so we let it go. BUT, now Miss is bigger.  She’s old enough to start getting into some of the little classes they have at the Y and I really need to keep up with swimming lessons for both of the girls. There are so many good activities for families at the Y.  Plus, there isn’t a whole lot else to do indoors in our town during the winter.  So, this week I finally got myself in gear and went to the Y to renew our family membership.  We started taking advantage of it yesterday by going to “Wiggles and Giggles.”  Our Y has an indoor soccer field, and they open it up twice a week in the mornings for little ones to come and play.  They pull out ride-on toys, balls, big mats, and various other things for the kids to enjoy.  Not to mention there’s lots of room to run.  The girls had a blast.

 (Quick snack break)

I’m so glad we joined.  The girls ran and danced and got to blow off some steam.  And we met some other moms and kids there, so I got to visit with some grown ups.  
And speaking of visiting with grown ups, my husband and I had a great date night last night.  We went to a new sushi place, and it was pretty good.  Of course the best part was just being able to hang out and chat with my hubby.  Before dinner we went to Miss’s school and met with her teachers for our little parent-teacher conference.

It was great to hear all about what she has been doing in school and to see how thorough they are in their assessments of her.  And it was pretty cool to hear someone else describe her spot-on and know how much time and attention she must get there for them to be able to really “get” her so well.  I loved when they told me how much she likes to sing at the top of her lungs and to shake it when they dance.

No one needs to tell me how much my girls love to dance and that they’ve got some moves.

Miss got new ballet shoes yesterday.  The ones I got her for her Halloween costume had cut into her little heels and one shoe had totally split on the side from being worn so much, so I told her she couldn’t wear those anymore.  She was so upset and asked repeatedly for them for several days.  When I pulled out the new shoes yesterday, I was relieved to find that she loves these just as much even though they’re a different style.  She immediately asked, “Momma, can you play some music so I can ballet dance?”

So I did.  What better for ballet than The Cure??  

I got a question in a comment about organizing photos, related to my last post about taking at least one photo a day.  Unfortunately, I’m not really great about organizing my photos.  Mostly I just dump them into iPhoto.  I do “flag” my favorites when I’m going through and editing them, which is how I select the pics I’m going to upload to a blog post or use for something else.  Just in the past few days with the start of this new project I have begun putting photos into folders by month, so I will have a little bit better organization of them that way.  I also have set a goal to start deleting photos a little bit more so I won’t have such an overwhelming mass of pictures.  And few years ago I set a goal to make photo books for each of my girls for each year of their lives.  Unfortunately, I’ve only completed Miss’s first year book.  So making the rest of the books needs to become a priority, and I’m hoping to get my photos more organized that way too.  I will make folders for each girl, each year in my iPhoto in addition to making the books.  That’s it.  I don’t have a great system yet.  Anyone else have a good way of organizing digital photos?

Christmas-ing

Oh, we are a-Christmas-ing at our house this week.  Lots of carols and shopping and wrapping.  We even did a bit of crafting, making ornaments out of bread.  We started by using cookie cutters to cut shapes out of the bread.

Lass mostly just wanted to eat it.

After we got them cut out I used a straw to make holes in them for hanging and we left them to dry out/get stale over night.

Then we painted and glittered them (I mixed some glue into the paint).  Yes, I hate glitter.  But it is a necessary part of holiday crafting with little girls, in my opinion.  So, we braved the glitter.  Lass hasn’t done painting with a brush yet (unless you count her painting/eating endeavor with the pumpkins at Halloween), so I was just going to let her go to town with crayons and a piece of poster board.

But she saw Big Sister with the paint and was not about to settle for boring old crayons.

She did a great job.  She did immediately try to put the brush in her mouth, but refrained when I told her no.  Perhaps that’s why it wasn’t long before she got tired of painting and wanted to get down.

This girl, on the other hand, was all about focus.  She painted and glittered ornaments for her babysitters, her two teachers, and her Daddy, carefully choosing the shape, paint color, glitter color, and  hanging ribbon color for each recipient.

There are only a few left that haven’t yet been given out or put on our tree.  I think they turned out pretty cute, though I’m not sure how well they’ll hold up.  The one Miss gave to her Daddy is already in the trash after Lass tried to eat it and broke off the top of the ornament where the string hole was cut.  They are made from bread, after all…

Today was Miss’s holiday party at her school.  She got to play a game where she tossed a big jingle bell into a bucket to win a present.  This is her shy smile after achieving her objective.

She decorated cookies to set out for Santa.

And she filled a bag with reindeer food (which looked like a mixture of oatmeal, glitter, and maybe some flour, with a few jingle bells and cinnamon sticks thrown in).  We will be taking this to the Farm tomorrow night.

The girls had lots of fun playing with the Christmas tree tonight.  You might have noticed that Lass has a new hairdo by the way.

The barrette just wasn’t always working that well, even when she did keep it in her hair.

So we’re all about the spouting pony look these days.  It works much better and is so stinking cute.  You wouldn’t believe the number of comments this thing gets when we go out in public.

I did a little experimenting with my fun new-ish camera lens to try to achieve a new photography effect I have recently learned about.  It’s called “bokeh” and is basically “the aesthetic quality of the blur,” or something like that.  Look at how the Christmas lights are twinkly and out of focus behind the girls.  That’s what I was going for.

I love Holiday bokeh!

Miss has been in one or the other of her two tights/leotard combinations since we got back from Kentucky for almost every moment of the day.  It is like pulling teeth to get her to put clothes on to go to the store or to school.  She had on that adorable Matilda Jane top at her school party today, and asked to change back into this as soon as we arrived home.  She got back on the ballerina kick when my Auntie got her a magnetic wooden “paper doll” ballerina for Christmas.  The first night we got home from Kentucky she asked to put on her ballerina costume.  I let her put on the shoes and tutu, since it was almost time for bed (thinking these would be easier to get into and out of when it was time for jammies).  She ended up sleeping in those anyway, and has slept in some sort of ballerina get up every night since.  And she dances the part too.  It’s awesome.
Tomorrow will bring lots more Christmas-ing, with tons of shopping, wrapping, caroling and then packing and traveling to the Farm, where the Christmas-ing will continue through the weekend.  So I’d better get some sleep!