Friday, February 27, 2009

the end of an era


Up until our move to K*, we've always been in wards that were, due to the large student population, in a stage of constant change. I was used to callings and visiting teaching routes being constantly changed and rearranged. Friends moved in and out. The only constant one could count on as change...

This ward has been different. My attention was drawn to this fact when my visiting teaching companion was changed on Sunday. It took me off guard. I realized I've had the same companion for three years. Three years! I think I feel roots...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

feeding ducks



Little Preston has become quite profficient at most animals sounds... cow, horse, dog, cat, goat, sheep (thanks to an old mcdonald farm given us by gramps).

His favorite? What does a duck say? Big smile... QUACK QUACK

With bread in tow we set out on our quest to find some real ducks to serenade him... we weren't disappointed.






Friday, February 20, 2009

awcool


Every time Preston sees a motorcycle, bus or big truck he excitedly exclaims...

"Awcool!"

We love our little guy!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

preparations...


plane ticket... check
race registration... check
hotel... check
mother-in-law coming to watch kids (you are a saint!!! thank you so much!)... check
training... well under way

Friday, February 13, 2009

the kindergarten debate


Soooo, I've been a little bit preoccupied.

The life changing decision of my preoccupation is made, and Doug and I feel an amazing, wonderful clarity and peace with our decision not to send Sophia to Kindergarten next year. I say it's life changing because it affects everything regarding Sophia's future, things like, who she will be friends with and when she will go to college.

I think I've always known (or wanted) to postpone her kindergarten start. Doug was more open minded about it, which is why we did four year old pre-school this year. In case she was ready. But as we've talked to her teachers and watched her at home, it's clear to us that she is not ready to start full day kindergarten in August.

Texas is wholly converted to a full day kindergarten. While it is fine for some children, I think parent's reaction is this is delaying starting school for some children they might otherwise send to a half day program. It's fine. But I don't think Sophia will be the lone older child in her grade. I think she will be joined with many other six year olds as she starts kindergarten in one year.

Sophia has a late August birthday. She is in preschool with kids who are almost a year older than her. Most of them have fall birthdays. Her teachers (whom I adore) and who adore Sophia, told me that, bless her heart, but she has a hard time keeping up with the other kids. She has to work so much harder to do what they do with little effort. There have been times when she's completely laid down on the floor or the desk from exhaustion (and she only goes to school 3 hours a day, 3 days a week). If we send her to school she will always be playing catch up. I don't want to put her in that situation.

She's also a bit of a perfectionist. So, combine that with less developed fine motor skills (because of her age--can't help it) and she's not picking up the concepts as quickly as the others, we have a little girl who is still working on her capitol letters on a page, while the other kids fly through the upper and lower cases letters and are onto the next thing. We also have a little girl who is the last one to finish up a task at center time, and, now this breaks my heart, is become aware that she is the last one, and it's making her nervous. So now we're talking about her self esteem too.

Academically she knows about half of her letters and a few numbers. So her retention just isn't where it should be for her to have a strong start in school. We want her to have confidence in herself and in her ability to learn. She just needs more time before she's thrown into 8 hours a day, with 20 kids and one teacher. She will get left in the dust. She will slip between the cracks.

After we officially made the decision I've just had so many more confirming feelings that we're doing the absolute best thing for her and her confidence and success as a student and sweet little girl.

Soooo, with that decision out of the way, our next hurdle to leap is what program do we put her in next year. Now I realize that this decision is not as large of life impacting as whether or not to delay a kindergarten start. But I feel like I am putting a lot more effort, energy and stress into this dilemma.

Our choices are:

pre-k -- at her current school -- 4 days a week, 5 hours a day, 12 students: 2 teachers

*I'm not so sure I want her gone that long every day
* I love the school and would love stay
*Great student teacher ratio
* Curriculum wise I worry about putting her into a program that will build on material she's not yet mastered, however the pre-k teacher assures me that she gets kids at all levels and she is able to work with them at their own level and ability one on one. She things another 4's program would not stimulate Sophia in the spring semester, after the growth and development that will surely occur in the fall semester as she gets older. But will this program push her too much?

another four year old pre-school -- 4 days a week, 3 hours 15 minutes a day, 16 students: 2 teachers

* Bigger class size (will she get lost in this crowd and get the one on one attention she needs?), but better hours, I'd love to have her home earlier every *Curriculum wise I thought they were a little too advanced for what Sophia needed this year, which is why I didn't enroll her here last year. But it might be just what she needs this year. But based on what the pre-k teacher said at Sophia's school, she wasn't too impressed with where the kids she's gotten from that school are at.

home school & joy-school --
*this is what I would LOVE to do. If I'm going to have her home another year, let's have her home! Let's enjoy being a kid. Let's spend some good mommy time learning and growing and doing fun projects together.
*I enjoy having her around and I feel like once they get into school, you kind of loose them
*but could I do it without going crazy? Would she learn from me? Would she learn what she needs to learn before starting school? Will I do her a disservice by not preparing her properly?
*she enjoys school.
*her preschool teachers gave me a mouthful about their opinions on home school. It was good for me to hear another side of it, because I am seriously influenced by Lindy and Jennifer's blogs about their positive experience with home school. I've felt kind of guilty for not jumping in and homeschooling like the grass roots mama that I am in my core encourages me to do. It was good to hear some concrete reasons as to why public school is not a bad place to be. But this is probably a blog post for another day. The point is, I didn't place too much validity in what they were saying, because they were speaking on a global standpoint about kids who are home schooled their whole lives, not kids who are home schooled and who do a joy school for one year

I'm at a loss about what to do next. Pre-K opens to the public Feb. 25... Doug and I need to decide what to do before that.... The sooner the better for me and my peace of mind! Any thoughts? Insights?

rainbow water





Who can be scared at night with Rainbow Water to keep me company?

valentines day tea party

Sophia and I thought it would be fun to invite a few of her friends over for a Valentines Day tea party. We both love all this girly girl stuff!




The girls outside enjoying their delightful morning brunch of heart shaped pumpkin muffins, popcorn, heart shaped rice krispy treats, yogurt and granola and apple juice.


Upon their arrival the girls promptly climbed the stairs where they played in the game room, then they headed outside to play in the back yard.
After getting some fresh air they came in and asked if they could make butterfly wings they could wear. They spent the next hour coloring, taping, and fitting themselves with butterfly wings. It was so cute and so creative of them! Who need elaborate, fancy parties?
Here's to loving and enjoying the simple pleasures of life!


My flying butterflies.

The imagination station. Thanks for your help Eliza!

hooded towels


All of my kids love their hooded towels.
Preston is no exception.
Daddy flies them around for special delivery in them after a bath.
Preston cruised around in his all morning the other day.
He even took a nap in his (diapered, of course).
Maybe he felt like a superhero, complete with a cape and a feeling of absolute freedom.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Meet Rex


Not to be outdone by his sister, Porter decided to use some of his long saved birthday money to make a trip to build-a-bear. It was burning a hole in his pocket anyways.

My kids are so unlike me, in their decisiveness. Porter knew just which one he wanted, as soon as he saw it. There was no second guessing himself or long decision making sighs. He also knew exactly what accessories he wanted, a skateboard, knee pads and a helmet.

I also love how both of my kids picked animals that fit their personalities so well. Porter would not, however, go through the mumbo jumbo of kissing his dino's heart, or rubbing it on his tummy to combat hunger, or on his brain to share brain cells.

He did agree to make a wish on the heart before it was sewn into his dino.

He also named the dino. First he wanted to name him Rexi, but as I was asking him how he wanted to spell that, he decided that Rex was much more masculine. I had to agree.

When we got home Porter refused to pose for a picture too, do you think he's getting older or what? I'm still trying to sneak a shot of his toothless smile...

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

three ring circus

After sacrament meeting today, the mission president, who lives in our ward boundaries and actually knows Doug's non-member dad from UT (it's a small world), and who sat behind me, came up to me and Doug. And said, as he laughed, something along the lines of... Watching your family during sacrament meeting brought back many memories. Dad sitting up on the stand, nice and peaceful, feeling the spirit, relaxed, listening to the speakers... While Mom is running a regular three ring circus in the back. Was he referring to the baby crying , while Sophia's trying to shake the very loud baby rattle for him or if she's not doing that, she's standing on the seat, trying to loudly page her friend Madison who is several rows in front of us, Porter was flying his transformer around, high and low... I told Porter he could read books or color during the sacrament, and then left him alone while I exited with Sophia and the baby... The mission president commented on how Porter really pulled it together in the end, by being so well behaved while I was gone.

I think three ring circus was an accurate description. looking for a place to sit, carrying so much, with Doug chatting nonchallantly with people on the stand. :)