Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Earth Day 2013

Spring is in full bloom around here. It's time to till the garden and get some things growing. In the spirit of the warmer weather, I've been urging Devin to think about a shorter haircut.  Although her hair is very thick and beautiful, it's a nightmare to care for.   And, I was WAY over the screaming and fighting about her hair. photo IMG_4512_zps1b6543b1.jpg

Luckily, two of her friends at school had major cuts recently.  This seemed to inspire and give her confidence, that a "summer cut" would be ok.

So, it turned out more than ok.  She was thrilled!
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This weekend, her school celebrated Earth Day with bounce houses, face painting and tie-dying.  She had so much fun...bounced and played with her friends for 3.5 hours.

This is Devin with one of her "BFF's."  These two are so funny together.  "S" is a year older and a grade up from Devin, but they get along very well.
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Dev loves to climb trees & the ones at school are perfect!
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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Almost Seven

Every time I remember I need to blog, something gets in the way.  And, I don't want to give up this record of her early childhood.  So, I'm going to try and blog once a week or more to get back in the swing of things.  Honestly, she's changing & growing so much...it's hard to keep up.

She's just a few weeks away from being 7 years old!  She's 50" tall & 57 lbs, which puts her in the 80th percentile for both.  (Meaning she's taller than most kids her age)  She loves school, piano, gymnastics, her friends and many other varied things.  We spent a huge amount of time this winter being sick & are very (very) happy Spring has sprung.

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Here's a sample of her cursive writing.  (Which continues to interest her)

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Devin was SO excited to see her cousins and especially to meet the newest member of the family.

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She's generally NOT one for babies, but this one is very hard to resist!

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This age is wonderful.  She's so independent, but still needs "mama" sometimes.  She knows what she likes, but is willing to try new things.  We are witness to a full-on obsession with piano and gymnastics.  Her tenacity is paying off, as she will practice piano for several hours a day on weekends.  Same thing with gymnastics.  She does handstands and backbends all day.  It's exhausting to watch.

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Mostly, we just sit back and watch her grow and be happy.  And, savor every moment of this age.  It hit me this morning that in just five years, we'll have a 12 year old on our hands.

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Monday, February 25, 2013

One Flu Over the Cuckoo's Nest

I can't believe I haven't posted since the 1st of the year.  What a bad mommy blog this is.  Oh well:)  I've been incredibly busy doing a few things, mainly caring for this almost 7 year old who's been sick (off and on) for nearly 3 weeks.  Also, her school's annual benefit was Friday night and I was the Chair of the event.  All of this, while working some and playing tennis most everyday.

This poor thing has been put through the ringer this winter.  And, I suppose we were due.  She only missed a day of school in the Fall, while others were out sick.  But, we're getting pay back for sure.  She missed an entire week of school with the flu, Type B.  It was awful to watch, she felt miserable.  There was a 48 hour period, where I basically never left her side.  She just needed to be held and encouraged to stay hydrated.  Tylenol and Motrin were amazing at giving her just enough relief to drink and eat a little.  Her fever was as high as 103.7, she was a hot mess.  

After 3 days of school, she sprouted a new (and high) fever with terrible congestion and runny nose.  A quick trip back to the Dr. said no flu or strep, just another nasty virus.  Thankfully, her school is off this week and we needed this break.  We're purposefully laying low, avoiding crowds and trying to rebuild her immune system.



I rarely see Flickers and this small one was trying to stay warm on one our coldest days.  Poor thing.  He couldn't figure out our squirrel proof feeder:(


The school's benefit was a big success, raising over $16,000.  In a crazy twist, I won the "Split the Cash" raffle we held.  Our Director tumbled the thing around and around and slowly said my name!!!
Trust me, we can really use the $2000.00.  My poor Mazda wagon needed about that much to get her back in shape.  It all works out I guess!!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Christmas Catch Up

It was a very busy couple of weeks to say the least.  But, we all stayed healthy and enjoyed the nearly 2 week break from our regular schedule.  My friend Debbie loves to buy Dev clothes & found this at the Target/Neiman Marcus display.  She wore it for the school's Holiday Performance, which was quite a treat.  The elementary class sang, "All I Want For Christmas."  Very fitting, since most are missing at least their two front teeth!  They also played the violin for two songs and performed a skit.


I made so many sugar cookies this season.  Like, I was officially OVER baking and icing cookies by Christmas Day.  But, these turned out really cute for one of my tennis Christmas parties.

I think officially, we had 2.6" of snow last week.  It was a perfect snow.  It stuck to everything and we had lots of fun playing in the white stuff.

I nearly died rolling these snowballs, the snow was so wet and heavy.

I was so proud, until she immediately wanted to knock it over.  I couldn't believe it & tried to persuade her to keep our devil snow person for a couple of days.  But, she literally begged...and I wasn't about to ruin this kind of fun.



Then, we decided to use the rare stretch of time Matt had off work to install 800 square feet of hardwood flooring.  It was an unbelievable amount of work.  Very, very hard work.  We started before Christmas Day, ripping up the carpet and padding in strips.  There were 100's of staples and nails to remove.  Our goal was to get everything prepped by Christmas Eve.  So, I suppose it was a Holiday to remember....the Christmas tree on bare plywood.

We had a lovely Christmas morning.  About 45 seconds after the last gift was opened, Matt started taking decorations off the tree.  And, that signaled the start of our very big project.

She was actually a very good helper & extremely patient while we worked all day on the floor.  My Mom helped a lot by entertaining Devin for a few hours most days and cooking some meals.  Our house was absolutely upside down, as we needed most of the 1st floor somewhere else.  There was a point when the kitchen looked like an episode of "Hoarders."  Every inch of counter space had stuff stacked high.

We hauled in 47 boxes of Acacia wood.

This is the prep work.  No wonder our legs, backs, knees and just about everything else hurt.


Devin took a spa break:)


Baxter took a plastic wrapping break.

The finished product!


We were so proud of ourselves.  Many spots took several hours to figure out & I would watch the time just clicking away.  The right tools were also essential.  Our friends, lent us the pneumatic staple guns and compressor.  We had the saws, drills and nail guns.  And, my Mom bought us two more saws/tools that helped tremendously for the door jambs and fireplace.  So, we didn't end up spending a whole lot more than we budgeted for.  For once.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tenacious "D"

At Thanksgiving, Matt's parents brought a box of some of his childhood memories for us. I fell in love with this little guy & based our Christmas decorations this year around him. Photobucket

After about a week of searching, I stumbled on the perfect ornaments at Target.  They have a whole line of felted objects, in the perfect colors.  I'm calling it, "A Minimalist Peruvian Felt Christmas."  We HATE HATE HATE taking down Christmas, so we're decorating just enough to make it look festive.


Last Friday, Dev's school took a field trip to the local ice skating rink.  It's only a few miles from home and school, but we've just never taken the time to visit.  (Even though Santa brought Dev her own pink skates last year)  Somehow, the skates still fit a year later and we were ready to give them a whirl.

I wasn't sure how she would like it.


She didn't like it...she LOVED it.  After about an hour of nearly constant falling, she started to get the hang of it.  The falls were brutal to watch.  She would lose her balance and land hard on the ice.  She did this again and again and again, for two straight hours.  No breaks.  I will fully admit to being a major "helicopter parent" during the morning.  I kept asking her if she was ok, if she wanted a break, maybe just a sip of water.  After awhile, I just let her go and gave up trying.

One teacher told me she saw Devin take a very hard fall and skated over to check on her.  She asked if Dev was ok.  Guess who yelled, "I'M FINE!!!!  Stop asking me!!!!"  Then she looked up and saw it was Miss Katie and said, "Oh.  I thought you were my Mom."

It's interesting to see this little tenacious streak in her.  And, I love the fact that she's willing to try new things...really try them and immerse herself in the experience.  We've seen similar interest and commitment for swimming/diving, writing cursive, doing a handstand and tennis.  Her newest obsession is music, specifically the piano.  We bought a new keyboard and she plays it for about an hour each day.  (Formal piano lessons start in January)  She's so excited, as they have a piano at school and the lessons will be during the regular school day.


The skating instructors were excellent and taught the children how to fall properly.


They found holding on to each other was helpful.  (This is Dev and one of her best friends)


When we got back to school for lunch, I could see the look on her face.  The pain was setting in.  I was just about to leave school for tennis, when she begged me to take her home.  One look at her knees, plus she was soaking wet and cold....we went straight home:)

The next day was brutal.  She hobbled around like an old lady...no handstands, no jumping, content to watch movies and work on art all day.

I'm happy to report a full recovery after a day of rest.  And, she's resumed her daily schedule of non-stop movement.


Monday, December 3, 2012

A November Catch up

Tis the season to neglect my blog.  Everyday, I try to carve out a few minutes to download pictures and get a post up.  But, it's been pretty busy around these parts.  So, this is a catch up/catch all moment.

I continue to feel great, with no nausea and tons of energy.  Having my appetite back is like a whole new world, after spending more than a year feeling mostly awful.  So, I decided to let November be a "splurge" month and I fully enjoyed every minute.  But, the calendar tells me it's now December and the scale tells me it's time to start tracking my calories again.  I lost over 40 pounds after having Devin with Weight Watchers, but now I use "Livestrong MyPlate" app on the iphone.  It's free and is an easy way to track my food and exercise.  I lost about 20 more pounds, not eating and so now my goal is maintenance.  Which, in my experience, has been fairly challenging:)

It seems hard for me to write anything without bragging on Montessori.  The JCPS (local public school system) test scores came back lower than ever a few weeks ago.  Several of our "resides" schools were way below the acceptable level.  (I'm talking scores of 50-60% overall)  It's a shame there's such a broken system here, with so much evidence-based science proving there are OTHER options.  There are several cities in the US, with similar socio-economic problems, that found great success with the Montessori method.  (Nice job Milwaukee)

I love this video.  No words of explanation are needed in the short clip.  It looks SO much like the classroom's at Dev's school and how the children behave.  As a frequent substitute, it's actually a very interesting and "easy" job.  The children know exactly what and when to do things, because they decide!  Notice the children making their own choices of work, but still seeking guidance from the teacher in the background.  I also notice the careful and methodical way of treating classroom materials.
What's really crazy is seeing just how advanced some children are in the Early Childhood (3-6 years) class.  Most of the 3 year olds have no trouble getting their own snack, sitting an enjoying a conversation with a peer and cleaning up after themselves.  Which includes washing their own dishes and wiping the table/sweeping crumbs.  There are many 4-5 year olds reading and writing, counting in the thousands...it's astounding.    I truly enjoy watching the children's confidence grow as they mature and become comfortable in the classroom.


Devin continues to thrive in every way possible.  She's only missed a day of school for a mild cold and low fever.  Although her Elementary class is much more focused on academics than the Early Childhood, I'm so glad to see some basic practical life lessons.  Dev's teacher asked for any silver we needed polishing, so I sent my Great Grandmother's whole set!  The children did a great job and we used the silver for the first time in many years at Thanksgiving.


The obsession continues with gymnastics.  She pretty much practices handstands and cartwheels at any opportunity.  That includes 7:00 am, before school & most every afternoon.  She's been asking and asking to return to gymnastics lessons, but I'm not adding anything else to her after school time.  Chess and violin are both done during regular school time and we add tennis to Thursday afternoons.  That's enough for all of us...so gymnastics may have to wait until summer.  (We'll see....as I like to say to her)


There's nothing quite like a group of 1st grade girls, I've decided.  The social aspects of school are getting more complicated, as this is a new and important focus of life for the 6-7 year old.  For the most part, they get along well.  We've had a few hurt feelings, "secrets about me," and some general infighting.  She did NOT enjoy a field trip they took about a month ago.  I purposefully chose to not attend, so she could start to navigate these social outings without me.  I heard bits and pieces about the drama, but she got through it:)

The Outdoor Classroom received some new additions during the past few weeks.  These are some 1st graders enjoying the new chalkboard for the 1st time.


Just before Thanksgiving, MSL hosted a Fall Bake & Craft Sale.  I was in charge and freaking out that we wouldn't have enough items to sell on that Friday.  I was wrong.  Families brought cakes, muffins, cookies, pies, handmade scrubs and many other delicious treats.  The sale made right around $900.00!  As usual, I worried for nothing as we had WAY more food than we could sell.


Devin's class has a spelling quiz each Friday and they are asked to write a sentence they hear on the back.  This still makes me smile...

This is how fishermen make money in the off season.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Jump, Jump!

This weekend, the weather forecasters made it very clear we should get out and enjoy the sun and warmth. They were right, as it's 43 degrees and pouring rain this Monday morning. So, we took their advice and had a blast outside! Photobucket