Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Real First Day

I was allowed to take pictures today, because it was really and truly, no more joking around, The First Day of Kindergarten. I have thought about and anticipated and worried about this day for years. I wish I were exaggerating. Put together my planning tendencies along with my anxiety and my indecisiveness? You start thinking about kindergarten on a regular basis when your child is about 2 and a half.

From our back-to-school dinner last night at the make-your-own-pizza place.

But for all the anticipating and preparation, today I was just ready to get ON with it. We've made our decision. She's excited, I'm excited, we're all excited, let's just do it. My throat was a little lumpy, but I didn't cry. Believe me, I've shed plenty of tears over this - I've had two and a half years to do it.

This morning she took a shower and picked out her clothes all by herself (advantage of PM kindergarten: having time to do this). I tried to talk her into wearing something more...special, but she was really proud of herself and her outfit, so I let it go. At the end of the day, she felt good about herself, so that's what matters, right?

They were wild all morning. I was just trying to make it to 12:30 without major injuries (we had two minor ones).

Brian and I were discussing that our favorite part of the neighborhood school so far is feeling like part of a community. As we're walking to and from school, we see other families walking, and so far, we've discovered 3 other kindergartners within a few blocks of our house that I didn't know were there. Not that we're all going to be best buds, but I love neighborhoods and feeling connected to those who live close by.

Right after I took this picture, my camera battery died. Backup battery? Also dead. So Brian took the rest with his cell phone, and I was shocked how well they turned out.
Katy was telling me how excited she was. So sweet!

They lined up outside and then blew kisses and waved goodbye.

Her friend Benji, who is in her class, and his sister Avery.
Brian took today off, so I went to pick her up by myself while the boys were asleep. (That's going to be a new schedule adjustment). She seemed happy, but as usual, it was hard to get much information out of her as to what she did for 2 and a half hours. She did tell me some of the rules, that they went to gym, and that she sat at a table with a girl named "Wen." (Gwen? or could be Nguyen?) Brian said, "You would love to have a video camera strapped to her head that you could review when you got home, wouldn't you?"

Ummmm...yes, isn't that the point?

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Lake

Since we weren't able to go to The Lake with our friends last year, I'm so glad we made it right this August. It's a annual day trip that we all look forward to.

I've mentioned before how much I love these friends. There are some big changes coming soon, mostly good, but some bittersweet. First of all, our good friends Beth and Jason, who currently live about 20 minutes away, are moving to a new house practically across the street from us. Well, ok, it takes 4 minutes to get there. But still. We're going to be like NEIGHBORS. I'm SO excited.

But jumping into the moving trend, our friends Brett and Abigail are taking a very exciting opportunity and following it to Colorado. I'm happy for them to take this adventure together, but I'm going to miss them like crazy! Ab is my texting buddy. On any given day, I can text her some random update of something funny/bizarre/serious has happened, and she will most likely respond right away with some type of hilarious/supportive response. And vice versa. (Did I just call myself hilarious?) I like to laugh, and we definitely like to point out the funny parts of this motherhood gig. Anyway, I won't get all sappy just yet, but it's a good thing that they have texting out in Colorado.

I totally failed to take a group photo, but maybe it's just as well since Beth and Jason didn't make it (moving, remodeling, blah, blah, blah :). And I didn't even manage to get individuals of everyone who was there. Photo fail.



Taco bar!

Miss Peep (ask her dad)

"Mr. Brett", "Mr. J.T." & "Dad"

Ab, taking kid duty on the boat.

Fussy McGrumpypants ("There's dirt in the water! Eww! And leaves! Yuck! It's so yucky! I want a boat ride! I don't want to go swimming! I want to go to the beach!")
Dave and Kate are not only fabulous hosts, they humor kids with a canoe ride when the speed boat has a hiccup.

Never. Stops. Moving.

Two dads, hours of jumping

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pseudo-First Day

Our district does a gentle start for kindergarten. For the first week of school, each kindergartner is assigned one day to come in, in a group of 5ish kids, and get to know the classroom, teacher, etc. They also do an assessment to see what kids know coming in. I really like this set up. I like the idea that the teacher gets to know my kiddo before she becomes a face in a sea of 5 year olds. And Katy gets more familiar and comfortable before the big day.

The only downfall that I see is that I've been feeling a bit torn - was today the first day? Or is it next week? Which day do I take the official Back To School picture? Katy decided for me, I guess, when I got out the camera and she said, "Why are you taking pictures? Next week is the first day!" Okay, next week it is. (stalling, stalling...)

How did she get to be so grown-up? (Also, love hand-me-downs.)

Holy backpack! (Oh, my, she is so little!)

First walk of many. I hope they continue to enjoy it.

She was so excited, and really had a good time. She told me the night before that she LOVES school. And she looked in the mirror and said, "I look like a kindergartner!"

Next week...another first day!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Draw

I've been pondering as we visit each set of grandparents over the summer how their homes are all so different. Each one really has a unique draw: one thing that the kids eagerly anticipate. (Besides the grandparents themselves, of course. The kids would visit their grandparents in a cardboard box.)

At Grammy and Papa John's, it's the pool, for obvious reasons.

At Grandpa and Grandma Sue's, it's Scout, the dog. (Oh, it's a video of Katy's first steps! Sweet baby girl...)

And at Oma and Opa's, it's The TOYS. My mom loves to shop, and every time we visit, she has purchased several new items for the kids to play with at her house. She has almost as many toys as we do. It makes Oma's house seem like a playland.

Road mat from IKEA. Brian and I had a date strolling around IKEA - very entertaining.

Loves 100 piece puzzles! Oma had 4 new ones for her.

Hit of the weekend: garbage truck by Melissa and Doug. It required a decent amount of assembly, but David played with it for HOURS.

It even witheld the weight of a toddler who thinks everything with wheels is a riding toy.

LOVE LOVE LOVE these puzzles.

Luke's favorite posture at the moment. He CAN walk across the room unassisted, but he'll stand up and put his arm in the air and squak until someone grabs it and follows him wherever he goes. He's becoming much more demanding and verbal about it.

We went swimming at the Y, and Katy was thrilled to wear her new bathing suit.

For the first time with the kids, we went downtown (Pittsburgh) to ride The Incline. I explained it to David as a cross between a train and an elevator. He was in heaven.

Still beautiful, even on cloudy days.

Incline veterans.

Next we ate a picnic lunch on the river. Bonus: the fire engines were emptying their tanks (?) into the water, which was pretty.

Feeding ducks is the best, isn't it? (Side note: this picture gives me the willies. That's THE RIVER she's teetering on.)

Taking a break to read an e-book.

Another Draw: piano lessons from Oma on the baby grand! Katy is really interested right now. We aren't going to pursue lessons, yet, though. Too many new things on the horizon.
Thanks for a great trip, Mom and Greg!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Trucks, Butterflies, and Swimming

Since we aren't taking a vacation this summer, we're trying to do as much fun stuff in town as we can. Brian's been taking some "staycation" days and we're trying to cram as much fun as possible into the warm season. We've also done a couple of special outings with each kid on his/her own. (Except for Luke, who really prefers to stay home anyway)

Brian took David to a truck event in which he was able to realize his dream: climbing into and out of and pretending to drive every kind of vehicle imaginable. The pictures speak for themselves.

We had touted this as a "boy trip" for our family, so when they got there, David said, "I'm going to tell Mommy that there are girls here."

The only thing better than driving a big rig is doing it with your BFF Frank and his cutie sister.

A hot day for trucks.

Brian said the horns were blowing NON-STOP.

A fork-lift!

In keeping with gender stereotypes, I took Katy to see the butterflies at the local conservatory. She's been very interested in butterflies lately and has a great library book from National Geographic right now. She was thrilled with this outing, and equally thrilled when we got sundaes from McDonald's afterward and went shopping for a clearance bathing suit. I love a girly day!

She tried really hard to find all the different types!

And she REALLY wanted one to land on her.

You weren't supposed to touch them, but she tried to get as close as possible just in case one accidently decided to rest on her finger. It only happened for a moment.

Finally, I can't finish up summer without mentioning how much we have loved our neighborhood pool this year! I have always wanted to get into the habit of going consistently throughout the summer (2 times a week or so), but have never made it happen in the past. This year we have and it's been great family time in the evenings. I love running into other families that we know and the kids are making great progress in learning to swim. Luke is a NUT in the water. He just crawls until his face is under water and you rescue him. He's wild and he loves it.

The big kids are in lessons this week, so I was able to take the camera and get a few shots. They moved Katy up a level and I'm a nervous wreck! She's by far the smallest and least-developed swimmer. She's the only one who can't touch and clings to the wall the whole time. But she's swimming several body lengths under water and learning to dive and tread and I think she's doing great. It's just anxiety-provoking for me. (what isn't?)

The goggles mostly stay on David's forehead.

So proud of himself - and what an improvement from spring!

She's a serious swimmer now.

Countless trips down the slide!

Three weeks until kindergarten, four until preschool...let the countdown begin.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Walking yet?

Yesterday I wrote this post and got hung up trying to upload the video, so I tabled it:

Everyone has wanted to know - for the last 4 or 5 months now - is Luke walking yet? This child has been crawling - WELL - for a solid 7 months at this point. He started pulling up to stand in late February. It's AUGUST. The child is STILL not walking.

He takes steps, sometimes four or five at a time, but only when he isn't thinking about it, and he much prefers crawling. And believe me, I fully realize that it is completely typical for a 13 month old not to be walking yet, but most kids don't crawl for seven months. He is just perfectly content to get where he is going crawling. He fights you to get down on his knees so he can get a move on!!

This video that Brian took really captures Luke right now. He's the sweetest, and I love how much he's trying to talk. But try to get him to take steps? Nope!

Well, what a difference a day makes! Because look what Little Mister finally decided to do:

I tried ALL day to capture it, I have 5 failed attempts on my camera in fact. But Brian got it on the first try. I love that he's in the trash can. If you have toddlers, you know about the magnetic force that draws them to the trash. Yuck.