Saturday, August 25, 2012

Update on a crazy week

We've been busy this week, and my head is spinning with details. My mom was here during the week for a business trip (we're hoping to have exciting news to share about that sometime soon). Then my cousin Abby came with her boys for a visit. And today Brian's friend Joey arrived for a few days. This is during our first full week of school, several orientations and start-up meetings, and washing David's bedding every morning after a failed attempt to get rid of nighttime Pull-ups.

Some more highlights from the week:

I came home one night and Brian had made a track with every piece that we own. Isn't this impressive? I cannot make a track to save my life.


This is becoming a very common scene at night lately. Katy is still struggling with anxiety at night.

Our friends JT and Adrienne had a beautiful baby girl. We got to see her when she was less than 24 hours old. It's amazing to watch two people become a family of three.

Emma Lynne...isn't she beautiful?

Katy is still enjoying school, which I am realizing is a big accomplishment. I have had a few friends whose kids have had rough beginnings, so I am so relieved that things are going well. She is tired after a long day, and there are parts that she doesn't like ("It's too hot at recess. Parts of the day are boring."). But overall I have a good impression of her teacher and we're off to a good start.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

First Day of First Grade!

Yesterday was Katy's first day of first grade. Of course kindergarten was a big step last year, but this felt like another large leap. Instead of 2.5 hours, she's gone 6.5 hours (it seems so LONG during the day). She's eating lunch at school. She's having at least one daily recess, some days two. It just feels like a bigger deal all the way around.

When the class assignments were handed out last week, I was a little disappointed, not as much about the teacher, but because it seemed that all the kids that we know outside of school were all in other classes. We went in for meet-the-teacher and I scanned the nametags around the room and it was true, we only know a couple of the kids, and not very well. But I'm sure we'll get to know other people, so it will be fine. Her teacher seems really nice and well organized and I have a good impression so far.

Katy was having some anxiety (surprise, surprise) leading up to the first day, asking lots of legitimate questions ("Will I be working ALL day? How often will we have assemblies? Will I have lunch and recess with other first grade classrooms? Will I have my own desk?"). But the bigger kids on our street helped to get her excited and when the morning came, she was ready to go.

Her backpack was so heavy with all the supplies and her lunch!

David doesn't start for a few weeks, but for the sake of record.  (And wait...does he look...taller than Katy?!?)
We went to pick her up (mass chaos! We just stand outside and wait for the kid to walk out the door? There are tons of walkers and car riders so it is just plain chaos), and the first thing she said was that she was tired and hot. They were supposed to have gym but the teacher wasn't there so they had extra recess instead. She had a good day. Her favorite part was lunch. She didn't really play or sit with anyone she knew. She likes her teacher. It took "three quarters" of the day to put their supplies away and they only had "one quarter" of the day left. The principal gets over the loud speaker and "announces things." The teacher has a "screen where she can show you how to do work and you can see her hand really big on the board." (old fashioned overhead? or something more sophisticated? I know they use smartboards but I don't really know what those's been awhile.)

We were walking down the street with the 3 other families on our court who have kids at that school. One of the little girls asked if she could come over and play, and I told her we were going inside for a few minutes to talk about school, but then we would come out. Once we got inside, Katy said, "Now I understand why last year the big kids didn't want to play with me as soon as they got home from school. I am tired and I just want to go home!"

All in all it was a good start to the year. I still have some things that I don't understand yet (how drop off and pick up work, how to add money to her "debit card" in case she forgets her lunch, when they have specials), but I know those answers will come with time. I'm impressed that the teacher was able to move 26  new six year olds through the whole day without losing her mind. The rest will follow.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Tour of Pennsylvania

(I realize that these summer posts tend to be a bit scrapbook-like, so if that's not what you're into - my apologies. For those who are interested, here we go...)

We're back from Pennsylvania - we got lots of quality time with lots of family and had a really great time. We were spoiled everywhere we went. While we were in Pittsburgh, Brian and I even got to have an overnight away - our first night away from the kids in 3 years! We saw Spiderman in 3D and ate 2 meals out and stayed in a nice hotel and did some leisurely shopping. Divine.

First stop: Oma and Opa's house!

My mom and I were going to get a pedicure and Katy wiggled her way into the car with us.

She wears blue sparkles better than I ever could.

Oma gave lots of piano lessons - Katy learned a duet and David can played Twinkle Twinkle! Slowly and deliberately, but still. So proud of himself!

The boys discovered that Oma's steep driveway is great for launching vehicles.

They also have some great trees for little climbers.

Nice and low to the ground.

Katy loves the butterfly bush.

Next, a quick visit with an old friend:

En route to Philly, we stopped at a park to meet up with one of my college roommates, Dawn. She had her first kiddo, Logan, the same week that Luke was born. It was so fun to meet him and compare notes. There's always something special about having a friend with a child the same age as yours. 

Isn't he the cutest? Check out those curls!! He and Luke were cautious friends, as is the case with all 2 year olds.

Our final stop: Cousins' house in Philly!

Because of the distance, we don't make it to their place every year, but it is well worth the trip for lots of cousin time and casual hang time with Mark and Kelly.

Cheering for Kimmy at her soccer game. (He scraped his nose at Oma's house).

Practicing blowing bubbles.

David and Carrie gettin' giddy.

Leah shows David around the neighborhood bounce place.

Uncle Mark, always the good sport, gets Luke down the slides.

We went to a 4H fair, and I didn't get decent pictures to do it justice. But the kids got a kick out of this pig getting a bath.

Carrie and Katy were cover-up twins. Usually this is because we get their hand-me-downs, but this one was a coincidence.

At the city pool, this sister team is preparing for synchronized diving in the next Olympics.

Kimmy was such a great cousin, especially with the boys. She looked after them and took them outside, made sure they stayed safe, entertained them, and they adored her. She did it all with a smile on her face - she'd be a great babysitter!

We love these kiddos! I wish we could see them more often, but that just makes it all the more sweeter when we get an extended time like this. Miss you guys!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Wrapping Up Summer

Yep, it's barely August, but our school district starts EARLY (August 15th), so I feel like we are already in summer closing mode. We had another squeeze-the-life-out-of-summer week. We've finished up our summer bucket list. All we have left is a big trip to visit family in PA. When we get back, it's all last minute stuff to get ready for 1st grade (and preschool a few weeks later).


Katy had a really good time at Girl Scout camp, and we both overcame some anxiety in the process. (I was most fearful of a big storm coming through while they were there with only a park shelter to stand under). But they cooked over a fire and went creeking and played games and made crafts and had a really good time. And I SO appreciate the hard work that my co-leader (and others) put into the week to make it happen for those girls. It wasn't easy, to say the least.


Over the weekend, my Dad and Sue watched the kids so Brian and I could attend a wedding. They got a groupon to take the kids to a very cool place called Entertrainment Junction. It's a train museum that is aimed at children. The kids had a blast (tons and tons of model trains, a train-themed play area, outdoor train ride, etc), and the best part was that Brian and I dropped them all off and went to IKEA for 3 hours. We only spent $24 on random little things, but it was just really fun to wander around aimlessly. I don't have pictures from the train place, but maybe I'll get some posted when Sue sends them.


When I was growing up, a family lived next door to us with a son and a daughter who were a few years younger than I. When I was in elementary school, Ronna (the mom) kept me in the summers, and when my sister was born she watched her for a season. Once I was old enough, I watched their kids after school. The path between our houses was well worn, and I have such warm memories of my times with them. They always treated Melanie and I like we were one of their children. And also, they are GOOFY. So many fun times and laughs at their house.

So their daughter Miranda got married this weekend. Both of our families moved out of the old neighborhood when I was in college, so I have only seen them at weddings, showers, and graduations since then. I was so glad that we were able to attend, and it seems like Miranda has found a great partner for life. I laughed so much during the reception, because this family knows how to have a good time, and there were so many funny and entertaining parts.

Ronna is a faithful blog reader (hi, Ronna!), and she and my mom share a goofy vibe. (The bridal party were all wearing these flashing glasses during their choreographed introductions)

Me and the beautiful bride - her smile lit up the church!

When we got back from that little jaunt, we had a family outing to ride go-carts. The kids have been earning cotton balls in a jar for keeping their toys picked up (if the floor is clean at bedtime, they each get one), and they finally filled the jar, so they picked their reward. We picked this place that was farther away because it said that it had "rookie" go karts that our (shortie) kids were tall enough to drive. But as it turned out, I could walk faster than the rookie carts moved (not even an exaggeration).

David still like them.

So after that let-down, I asked the guy if they were tall enough to be passengers in the faster karts. And sure enough, they barely made the cut. Daddy and Aunt Mel took the opportunity for a race (declared it a tie).

Listen to the rules, folks.

Brian said David talked the entire time, but he couldn't hear a word he said. I'd pay cash money to be able to hear it.

Cautious Aunt Mel...said she was hitting the brakes on turns!


Finally, I took the big kids to the skating rink to meet some friends. There's a really cheap (and sketchy) rink that has $1 family night. Katy has been loving skating since she got rollerblades for her birthday. They usually allow scooters on the rink, but it was too crowded that night, which was unfortunate for David, who thought the skating was too fast.

He sat with mom for most of the night. Eventually he went out with me (I was in regular shoes, of course) and did 2.5 laps.

Katy loved it and never wanted to leave. She insisted on all this safety gear.

We've had a good summer. And even though the school year is approaching more quickly than I thought, we'll be ready for it. We've had lots of fun and lots of down time and the structure will be nice in a couple of weeks.