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.