Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lil Monkey indeed

Today was sneak preview day at Max and Weston's preschool. They got to meet their teachers and the other students who will be in their classes, and they got to stay for a short time without parents, while we all went to the parent meeting down the hall. They both seemed to love the experience and are looking forward to the real deal next week. The irony is not lost on me that Max was placed in the "Lil Monkeys" class. And more ironic still is that today was the preview day, because today held every single reason I signed Max up for the program in the first place. I will only tell you of his three greatest crimes of the day:

  • In the middle of Grammar class, Max got away from me. I thought he was playing quietly in his room (that should have been my first clue) until I heard an unnatural banging sound coming from downstairs. I caught him with a full-grown (NOT a toy) hammer--which he stealthily and amazingly swiped from the top of the dryer--trying to beat in my bedroom door.
  • At one point today that little sneak got into my closet with a forbidden pencil and wrote all over my new step stool chair. This was discovered later in the day by my horrified oldest child, who knows first-hand what a terrible offense this is.
  • And the straw that just almost broke the camel's back: I came into Jeff's office to to discuss something with him briefly and was not out of the room more than 10 minutes. When I re-entered the scene, I found no less than a third, and maybe even more like half, of the keys plucked off the keyboard of my laptop and strewn all over the kitchen floor, rendering it completely useless.
You will all kindly remember to say a special prayer for Miss Brittney and Miss Debbie come Thursday.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Just me and my little man

Weston and I don't have the opportunity to go out and do something by ourselves very often. So, I was kind of glad it worked out that Max's nap time fell during story time today. It was really nice to have some one-on-one time with Weston, especially in light of the fact that he is going away to preschool next week, and I may never see him again! (The previous statement may have been inadvertently dramatized in accordance with the mother's overactive emotions). We really did have a lovely time.

This story time at Barnes & Noble is one of the only out-of-house activities we have ever participated in that really gets Weston out of his shell. He absolutely loves it. He dances. He sings. He interacts with other kids. He listens to the story and volunteers answers to questions asked by the story teller. He eagerly attacks the craft and is always so proud of what he puts together. And he always asks if we can come again. So, it was nice that on this, his last story time (since he'll be in preschool [sob] on story time days in the future), just he and I got to go. I didn't have to worry about chasing Max around or keeping him quiet. I could just enjoy Weston, enjoying story time. And then afterward, Weston and I went on a special date (to the Starbucks inside the Barnes & Noble), where we had turkey and cheese sandwiches (with melted cheese), chips and a little M &M blond brownie for dessert. Weston felt very big and told me he was glad that we got to go on a special date. I was really glad we got to go on this special date, too!

*Click on that first picture so you can really get a good look at Weston's face and see how much he is enjoying himself.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Prior planning prevents poor performance

Weston became interested in learning to read this morning. He came to me with a book in his hand and asked if I could teach him to read. Of course, I said I would. I then told him that the book he had picked might be a little hard to start with and suggested some that had just a few words on each page. He picked out three such books and immediately laid out his plan. He told me one would be for morning time, one for noon time and one for evening time. Then he proceeded to ask when was morning time. I told him it was now, so he promptly sat me down and told me which book was for morning time. We worked through the title together and then tried sounding out several of the words in the book. He loved it. He then carried all three of his books around with him for the rest of the morning, periodically asking when was noon time and explaining to anyone who asked, what his plan was. Around 11:30 he asked again, and I told him it was pretty close to noon and we could read then if he wanted. But, he was determined to wait until it actually was noon. So, we read the second book in much the same way as we read the first. Again, he carried the books around with him for the remainder of the afternoon, asking from time to time when evening time would be. We read his last book right after dinner. And then he carefully gathered them up to take upstairs with him so they would be ready to read again (in the same order) tomorrow. What can I say, he's a man with a plan. He was so proud of himself, of his plan and of his teacher. And I'm so proud of him.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

Can't believe it's already been eleven years! It just keeps getting better!

Friday, August 21, 2009

First homeschooling, now this:

Vegetarianism. If I start using cloth diapers, you'll really know something is amiss. (No offense intended for my cloth-diapering buddies). We haven't really given up meat, but it just so happened that none of our meals contained meat this week. And, frankly, we didn't miss it that much. We had some fabulous meals, without a chicken or a cow or a pig in sight. (There were turkey sandwiches one day for lunch, but it makes a better story if I say we had a completely meat-free week). Our fare included red beans, pasta salad with roasted red peppers and feta cheese, polenta, portobello pizzas, kale and potato gratin and penne pasta with mushrooms and roasted red pepper/eggplant spread. We will not likely make vegetarianism a new lifestyle choice, but we have enjoyed the experiment and will certainly incorporate these types of foods into the menu more often. If you are a veggiephobe or a die-hard carnivore, you should consider trying an experiment like this for yourself. You might just be surprised how much you enjoy it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Not for sale, but definitely up for short-term lease

One breaking and entering, food-sneaking, mess-making, possession-destroying, banshee-yelling, fast-running, furniture-climbing, sink-sitting, couch-diving, lipstick-eating, object-throwing, intense-crying, purse-emptying, pantry-raiding, noise-making, rule-breaking, chair-moving, goods-stealing, potty-splashing, shift key-removing, warning-ignoring, risk-taking, door-opening, opinion-having, book-tearing, trash-digging, sibling-terrorizing, glass-smudging, carpet-staining, super-cute little boy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Second Grade

Well, we survived our homeschool adventure last year, so we have decided to jump in for another round this year. Today was our first day, and we were all really excited. Here's the line-up of classes for this year: Math, Spelling, Grammar (or "English" as Ruth prefers to call it), History of the Middle Ages, Earth Science/Astronomy, Portuguese, Music, Writing and Reading. Ruth will also have some special classes on Fridays with other homeschool kids and other teachers. The "Super Friday" classes for this semester are Passport Through History, Chimes and Math Counts. Please stay tuned for snippets of our school year and see how much fun second grade can be.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Baby no more

Max moved into a big-boy bed tonight. I won't lie to you. I cried. Perhaps the tears were spurred by moving him into the new bed on the very day we bought Weston his new backpack and lunchbox for preschool. A mother's heart can only take so much, after all. But, I suspect there would have been tears regardless. And if my friend lamenting her son's return to college is any indication, it never gets easier. Our kids are made for growing up. And our job is to see that they do. But what a mixed bag of emotions all this growing up is. On the one hand we thrill to our children's every accomplishment and step towards independence. But on the other, we build our scrapbooks with all care and diligence because we need to hold on. We need to be needed, and we can see the writing on the wall showing that we will not always be. Yes, a big-boy bed is an exciting step. (Not to mention a whole lot safer). But, for this mommy, it's hard to see the baby days slip much too quickly away. Although, in that huge bed, he does look a bit like a baby, doesn't he?!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Eventful week, so far

We made the 10-hour drive back from the Davis Mountains on Monday in around 12 hours, after stopping for playtime and work emergencies along the way. Upon arriving in Kingwood (a.k.a "the plastic bag," a moniker given to reflect the impossibly hot and humid living conditions), we went directly to a homeschool event, where we were able to meet other homeschool families and find out what kinds of activities and programs are offered for homeschoolers in our area--of which, there are many. At that event, I put my name in a drawing. I found out the next morning that I actually won! I never win anything, so I was really pumped! And what I won was a big basket of school supplies, which is one of my favorite things ever, not to mention pretty useful for our upcoming school year. I have eaten Mexican food twice this week and have plans to do it again on Friday with some of my girlfriends. I have eaten Thai food once and cheap fast food once, as well. I have also gone out for ice cream and a Sonic Diet Vanilla Dr. Pepper. I've taken my kids to storytime. I have given the washer and dryer a workout like they have never known before. I have sorted through a mountain of mail, which included a wedding invitation for a dear family friend and a picture ticket for a traffic violation Jeff committed downtown about a month ago and thought he got away with. I have also paid more than a few bills. I have gone through my inbox and caught up on all the goings-on (that I care about) of cyberspace. I have hosted a Bible study in my home and have swept up more Nerds candies than you can imagine. I have talked on the phone (for business and pleasure) and opened some presents. And I have celebrated a teeny, tiny birthday. I have also made the official school schedule for our upcoming school year and have begun preparing lessons for history and grammar. I have bought the big kids new school shoes and have watched them try them out in the middle of the street on which we live. I have made plans to attend a couple of big events in the lives of a couple of different family members in the next few months. And I have watched some adorable kids sing "I'm a Long, Tall Texan" on You Tube. I finished a novel, started looking through my September Real Simple magazine and have had more than a handful of sessions in my massage chair. I have downloaded pictures from our trip on to my computer and have looked at the pictures of the kids from Nana Camp. I may have even squeezed in a nap or two. And it's only Wednesday. Can't wait to see what else this eventful week brings. I'm sure our neighbors are hoping to see a mowing of our lawn come up on the list.

Monday, August 10, 2009