Thursday, August 26, 2010

The ties that bind

Grammy generously bought the kids tennis shoes for kindergarten. Caden wanted something superhero and Ethan was looking for anything Toy Story related.  Addison and Grammy were determined to get on the fad bandwagon of Twinkle Toe Shoes.  They found them.   If you don't know what Twinkle Toes shoes are it's Dorothy's ruby red slippers on crack:  Rhinestones, foil, glitter, and blinking colored strobe lights that could be used to find a kid in the thickest fog.  The boys' shoes were velcro but Addison's had shoe laces.  A few weeks before school started I worked with her a bit on learning to tie her own shoes.  She did okay for her first time.
Then a couple days before school started, Aaron announced that they had to learn to tie their shoes before school started or they couldn't go to kindergarten.  "'We' aren't even working on it!" is what he said. 
I explained to him that you didn't have  to learn to tie your shoes before kindergarten started like when we were 5 and that we, meaning Addison and I, were working on it.  The second time we practiced, she got it. 
She was so proud!  She's been tying her shoes every day before school. 
She does need Mom to tighten them up but I am so proud of her for learning this.
One down, three kids to go!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Kindergarten Trio

Today was the first (half) day of kindergarten for the kids.  I surprised them with a little gift bag of a new shirt to wear today, cool ice pack for lunches, backpack charms, and a swirly straw and fun fizzy drinks.
The backpacks were filled with:
3 sets of Crayola water color paints
6 boxes of Crayola crayons
3 boxes of Crayola washable markers
3 packs of dry erase markers
3 erasers
3 plastic school boxes
24 glue sticks
6 bottles of white glue
3 pairs of scissors
3 2” 3-ring binders
3 back packs
2 boxes of sandwich Ziploc bags
1 box of gallon Ziploc bags
3 pairs of gym shoes
6 boxes of Kleenex

They were ready.  Even cooperated for the photos.
Ethan:  no crying going into school today .... I hope this is the new daily trend for him.

Caden didn't seem as nervous as he usually is for new things.
Addison was typically excited!  She even tied her own {twinkle toes} shoes today.

Reese wants to go to school too!  She only has three more years until kindergarten.
I walked them in to sit in their class lines in the gym.  This is the point where the tears started to well up for Mommy.  I was really surprised by this because I didn't think it would be emotional for me at all.  I had to gain composure or I was going to be a total mess in front of the entire elementary school.
Here's a glimpse at all three of them ... Ethan is in the background sucking his thumb, he was a bit nervous once we got to school.
He did fine though (I think).  They said they liked it and each earned some Toto Treats (school wide reward system).  They didn't have much to say but told me that they liked their teachers!  When Daddy got home there was a lots of talk about Long Johns (the donut ones) which was mentioned in some assembly today .... I think it had to do with bus safety and the morning breakfast program but all they remember is the Long John part then they asked me what Long Johns are. 
I think they are ready to go back tomorrow for a full day.
I know I am ready .... I got an entire closet cleaned out in 3 short hours today and tomorrow I am painting an entire room! I love school!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Down on My Knees

I’m not a worrier. Really I don’t see the point … things work out the way they are supposed to work out is kind of how I look at it. It’s just added stress and I don’t need more of that in my life. However, the worry is starting to set in about kindergarten and Ethan.
Maybe it’s more than worry …. Could be panic. Sure, he’s been going to preschool at the same school for 2 years. Completely full time last year. He had the same teacher and aide both of those years. Now he has a brand new teacher, a male teacher. I think a male teacher would be good for him …. But the “new” thing is a little scary for me. Every teacher has to be new once. As a matter of fact I’ve been a new teacher several times: new school, or new grades several times. I keep saying I hope this isn’t Ethan’s teacher’s first and last year!
My concerns are long. Will he listen? Will he stay with the class or wander off and get lost? Will he be able to keep up? Will he throw fits at school? Will he learn to write his name, his alphabet, his numbers, colors, to read …. I think they learn to read in kindergarten now!? Will he hoard all the toys and small game pieces? Will he just zone out and lay down and suck his thumb when he should be paying attention? Will he be lost because there isn’t an aide in his room this year? This is where I start to hyperventilate a little and the tears well up. Kindergarten is the BIG TIME ….. This is the real deal. This is where attitudes about school are decided and can affect an entire lifetime of learning.
Then as a breathe into a paper bag …. I think about how much he has changed this summer. He is a lot different. He is asking questions more …. His favorite is “what does that mean?” sometimes he’s serious when he asks that, sometimes he does it as a joke. He’s playing more imaginatively than ever.
I find him setting up toys and I hear him talking for them and playing out scenes. He is being more interactive with his siblings too, playing games and “house” sometimes with him being the initiator. He can almost dress himself all the way. He seldom throws a huge fit. He argues less about things and gives in much quicker when he’s being defiant. He can buckle the top part of his carseat …. We’re working on the bottom part now.
He has written some of the letters in his name all by himself. He's learning to follow multi-step directions.
He’s getting pretty good at using scissors. He doesn’t run off in stores any more. He will listen to Aaron and me when we tell him to look at our eyes. He asks for things rather just taking, like apples and snacks. He’s growing up and maturing.
I think some of his delay is due to lack of maturity and part is from his extreme stubbornness. I will keep working with him and talking to him and watching him …. I talk to him almost everyday about doing his best in kindergarten. But there’s only so much a mom can do.
I have to sit back and let him do the rest. It's a bit reminiscent of the NICU after he stabilized ... it was his job to eat and grow.  He did on his own terms ... just like potty training FIVE and a half years later.  All I could do was sit back and watch him grow ... and pray.
He has several teachers helping him: speech, a hearing aide itinerant, and new this year: a special ed teacher and an occupational therapist. He has a lot of people pulling for him …. Still his mom is worried and down on her knees praying that he works hard and is a successful kindergartner … I think I’ll be on my knees a lot this school year and if you have a minute feel free to say a little prayer for my boy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Our Version of Hoarders

Have you seen those shows about the hoarding people?  There are a few.  I don't watch them on a regular basis but I've seen an episode here and there.  If not, it's people and their STUFF that is about ready or already has exploded outside their home.  Their houses are just packed and usually they are walking on their stuff to move around.  These people usually seem "normal" to the the outside world, are clean, dress nice, have friends, and hold jobs, then enter their home and it's a bizarre scene, thus exploiting them on TV.  It amazes me how exhausting it would be to live like that with stacks of things in every room, barely having room to eat or sleep or even walk.

Tonight I decided I would clean up the kids' room.  Pull out the beds, vacuum behind them, pick up stuff that falls under the beds, etc.  Tonight I realized one of our very own family members might be a future hoarder "star":  Addison.  She has stuff stashed everywhere. 

She collects bags, suitcases, and containers then fills them with random things:  lip gloss, yo-yos, play coins, sand shovels, bits of paper, candy, used straws, pet shop figures, an ignition switch (yes, I found an ignition switch with the key in there),  markers, socks, folded up blankets, etc, etc, etc .... Some things are hers, some things are community owned like markers and crayons and toys, and some things aren't hers at all like the ignition switch which I believe somehow she snuck home from Dad's house.  Am I surprised?  No, not really. 

I have issues with stuff sometimes.  I am doing lots better lately.  Trying not to save every single thing because someday I might need it or want it.  I've been taking at least a garbage bag a week to Goodwill.  Of course, it probably is genetic.  Dad was a hoarder.  He saved EVERYTHING and then some.  He loved to shop for clothes at Goodwill.  We found a couple of rooms of Goodwill clothes when we were cleaning out the house .... most he never wore ... tags were still on them.  That was just one of his hoarding tendencies.  I don't fall for the whole "people who hoard are depressed or have issues" deal.  Some people who hoard are depressed or have things wrong just like some people who are neat and uncluttered can be depressed and have issues.  Some people who hoard just like stuff or think they are going to need it again. 

Tonight as I was going through Addison's closet with her and discussing why she was putting things here, there and everywhere .... I think I realized she just needs her own space a bit more.  Sharing a room with 3 other people and not having some of your very own space to put your stuff is probably a big part of her problem.  A problem I need to get a handle on so it doesn't get worse.  So I need to get moving on getting the boys moved out of the 4 person bedroom and downstairs to their room and creating some space just for her and Reese.  I'm sure all the kids need this a bit.  

Of course she comes by it naturally, but an ignition switch???????  Even I wouldn't save that.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Creative Juices

Last week, I found some motivation and some time to scrapbook.  I wondered if I'd really ever want to do it again.  After Dad died, I just really had no desire to do much creative stuff.  So after about 4 months, I was a bit rusty.  So I do what I always do when I'm stumped:  copy somebody else.  Here's the original .... I really don't know who's page this is .... I think it's a Lisa page meaning Lisa Day or Lisa Truesdell or Lisa Dickinson ... boy, do I really a lot of scrapbookers' blogs whose name is Lisa?

Then I invited my friend, Brenda, over and we spent an afternoon cutting and pasting.  I copied a layout from Lynn.  I couldn't find her original on her blog but I pretty much did it exactly the way she did.

Just like riding a bike ... copying other people's work that is.  I am ready to do some more "fun stuff" around here too.  I think I am going to paint a room or two.  We're getting ready to split up the kids into 2 bedrooms so some decorating and redecorating will be going on.  I never finished any of the quilts from when I redid their room last year.  I have all the fabric and some things started and I have lots of ideas, just been short on time with all these kids running around here so in a couple weeks when the big ones go back to school, I'm going to be busy with painting and sewing, I'm so looking forward to it.  After all, I've found lots of ideas for their rooms to copy, I'm really good at that!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Super Party

Our Super Hero party was almost 2 weeks ago .... I thought it was fun. It was simple and I loved that we had it outdoors. Since ALL my children and my hubby have birthdays in November, outdoor parties aren't usually an option but we planned to do their party in the summer. I had so much fun making the decor. Really it was no stress at all. I had all my ideas compiled and I have come to the realization in life that sometimes you just have to drop some stuff off a list and it doesn't matter. I also simplified other people's projects to make them easier, less time consuming, cheaper and it didn't matter one little bit.

Backyard Bar-B-Que, red, blue, and yellow decor, a borrowed bounce house and popcorn machine from the grandparents, a personalized cape and mask for each superhero and a simple obstacle course and it was hit with all 10 kids (all cousins to my kids).
The kids decorated their capes and masks with felt star stickers.

Our obstacle course was small because our yard is small.  I just used stuff we had around the house.

The barbell offered up some fun photo ops.
It was really heavy!

Jackson really got into his inner superhero.

The kids and I made the pinata.  It really was homemade looking but I liked that about it. 
Unfortunately the part where it the twine attached wasn't as strong as it should be.  Then we played pinata ball.
Which worked and everyone got a turn.

Most of our superheroes ... I think they had a good time!
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Friday, August 6, 2010

Our Summer so far ....

I've been doing my best to keep the FUN in our summer to go along with all the WORK we have been doing at Dad's farm.  Our Summer To Do List is getting completed.
We've ate some yummy sweet corn from Aunt Ashley and our friend Paul.
She asked me "Do I have a little butter on my face?"  Ummmmm .....yeah.

I've been enjoying cooking with fresh tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, and cucumber .... generously given to us by friends and family .... I've made about 5 batches of my homemade salsa that I LOVE!
I'm for sure having a garden next year!
The kids have spent a lot of time on the sand pile at Grandpa's.  We used the sand to fill some dangerous "holes". 
We've been doing some artwork at home.

We went to Oneida Days and watched a parade and entered the kids tractor pull.
Addison won in her weight class.  She was so happy with her prize. 
Caden lost his first and second tooth a few days apart.
Potty training is going well .... we're almost there.

We had a fun cookout with our farm friends, Paul and Trudy.

We went to our first baseball game ... where we have never been so hot! 

Visits to Paul and Trudy's farm is always fun .... "Look, Ma, I found an egg!"

We've had some large fires at the farm.
Collecting metal is what we mainly do there right now.
We've had a lot of fun swimming at different pools.
And at home.
Our pool is still holding up ... believe it or not.  Next year I think we need a little larger one.
Our superhero party was a fun event ..... more to come on this later.  I have LOTS of SUPER photos from this party.

Hope your summer is as fun and busy as ours!