Sunday, September 21, 2008

Back to school (after four days out)

The kids go back to school tomorrow after having been out since last Wednesday!

It's been a nice vacation for us and we've spent some great family time together.

Last Thursday was parent-teacher conference day at the school and I had all five of the kids. We walked/biked to the school for the conference that morning. Last Friday was my girls' dentist appointments. That evening my husband and I took the kids to see "Space Chimps" at the dollar theater. Yesterday our kids spent the afternoon at their auntie's house while my husband and I did a few errands by ourselves. Today one of our nieces spent the day with us.

The girls aren't quite ready to go back after their four-day break and I've enjoyed them being around. We'll get back into our routine tomorrow, getting up early and walking to school.

Starting tomorrow I'll have two more kids for a while in the afternoon, along with my three, of course, and my two nieces. A friend of mine had to change her work schedule because of her husband's job change and she's now working later in the afternoons. I'll be picking their kids up after school since their kids go to the same school as my kids. So that will make a grand total of seven kids in the afternoon ... my three, my two nieces, and my friend's two kids!

My friend's kids will go home around 5 p.m. and then my nieces go home after supper. It should be very interesting getting things coordinated!

The way we do things after school now is get snacks right away and then I sit down with each of the girls and go through their folders and look at their homework assignments. They get their homework done and then they go play outside, do arts and crafts, watch PBS, read, etc.

Back to school tomorrow ...

(That's me getting my mind ready)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Treat night!

Since the girls have excellent grades at school so far and since they did so well at the dentist yesterday, we took them out for a treat last night.

We went up to the dollar movie theater and saw "Space Chimps" again! (We saw it last Saturday night there as well.) There were three movies showing that are appropriate for children (Kit Kittrell, rated G, and Kung Fu Panda, rated PG are the other two) but the Space Chimps starting time was first.

We loved it last night just like we loved it last weekend.

I'd like to take them to see the other two movies while they are still in the dollar movie theater.

Speaking of movies, "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" comes out in November! We loved "Madagascar" and went to see it twice (I think) in the dollar movies. We bought it on DVD too and watch it often. I can't wait for the second one to come to the dollar movies.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Back to the dentist!

The girls went back to the dentist today for their fillings and caps, and they both did wonderfully. They went on Monday for cleanings and exams and were scheduled for the actual work today. I knew my older daughter needed her caps replaced on two top teeth (the ones behind the vampire teeth, the caps fell off some time ago) but I didn't think they'd need as many fillings as they did! But the fillings were all in baby teeth so I guess we get another chance to keep their teeth healthy.

The girls saw two different dentists but one was wrapping up while the other was just getting started. It didn't take very long, though. We spent more time waiting than anything else. The older girl got her two caps replaced and two or three fillings done. The younger girl got six (yes I said six) fillings done. I joked and said I didn't even know she had six teeth! They were both very good and did only a minimal amount of whimpering in the chair and complaining after they were finished. Both dentists bragged on how good they did; the older girl's dental assistant said my daughter was the Patient of the Day.

I didn't stay with them during the procedures, mostly because of waiting with the other one. When we took the first one into the room the dentist wanted me to take the other girl out because she didn't want her to see the procedures. I went ahead and left but mainly because the second girl was going to have to go into another room anyway. When the second one got in the chair the first one was finished and she looked rather pitiful so I went with her and helped her get her toys out of the dispenser.

They were back to normal in no time and eating a couple of hours afterward.

The baby stayed with his aunt and two cousins while we were gone since I figured we'd be there all afternoon and it would be hard to keep him occupied and distracted from all the fascinating dental equipment.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Parent-teacher conference

The girls got excellent reports during the parent-teacher conference today. They received their first mid-term grades today, with lots of As and several 100s. We are proud of them and are going to treat them to something special this weekend.

This school district has changed up how they do the parent-teacher conference every year we have been here. The first year they dismissed school an hour early every day for an entire week and scheduled conferences for the rest of the afternoon. Last year they didn't let school out early at all. They just started the conferences as soon as school was dismissed at regular time each day for a week. This year they let school out for an entire day, and scheduled conferences all day long on that one day.

That left me with five kids for the day today. Since we're in a walking mood, we walked/skated/biked to school for the conferences with my two girls' teachers. (The other two girls' mother did phone conferences with their teachers.) While we were there the kids gave out hugs and played inside my daughter's first grade classroom and outside.

Both of the girls' teachers said the girls are doing very well and showed me their mid-term grades to prove it.

My nine-year-old daughter has all As as usual, and even a 100 in spelling so far. She has an A in math, which she normally does, but this is the subject she struggles with. She will be able to keep these grades up and be on the all A honor roll for the first grading period. Her grades will probably go down a couple of points or so as the year goes on and the subject matter gets harder. Besides math the thing she has to work on across the board is paying attention to what she is doing. Sometimes she misses questions, not because she didn't know the answer, but because she didn't see it or didn't pay attention to the directions. We always have to work on that with her.

My six-year-old daughter has a very impressive 106 in math and 100s in social studies and spelling. She has As in reading and handwriting, although I'd like to see the handwriting point grade come up. There is some room for improvement in the language arts grade, but it will be very simple to help her. In fact, I've already seen some improvement in her skills this very day. They are working on sentence structure right now. My daughter has a precious thought pattern but needs to work on constructing her sentences properly. Here's all that means for now: a capital letter at the beginning of the sentence and no other capital letters in the sentence, spaces between the words, and a period at the end of the sentence. (See, I said that was simple!) She did beautifully on copying some phrases tonight. The wording she was copying was in all capital letters, and with two or three reminders she was able to properly copy the phrases, even changing the all capital letters to uppercase and lowercase on her own. Ir was very proud of her. We'll continue to work on writing each day and she'll have that grade up to an A in no time. That will help her handwriting grade too.

Their behavior in school is excellent as well. Their school has a points system. Each child starts out with five points and for certain infractions they lose a point. Throughout the school year my girls usually get three, four, or five "fours," which I think is very good. Nobody's perfect. My older daughter did get two fours in one week last year, and I got on her case pretty hard about that.

There are rewards at the school for honor roll and good behavior, and we usually have rewards at home too. My husband and sister-in-law gave them a nice party once last year. We are looking forward to a nice treat this weekend for all the good mid-term grades we got today!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Walking to school (and back home)

The girls kept bugging me about letting them walk to school so finally I gave in, halfway at least. The baby and I have been walking them to school this week, and then going back up to the school in the afternoons to walk them back home.

They want to do it on their own but I just can't agree to that right now.

It's about a five block walk, but it's not straight blocks. There are lots of turns and the street at the end of our street is a busy one (with double yellow lines). There is another really busy street near the school but there is a crossing guard there, so that's nothing to worry about. They can make it on their own but it's the other people you have to worry about, along with the distance. For now I'll just walk them there and back, or at least until it gets too cold.

It takes 12-15 minutes to make the walk
. It doesn't seem like it should take that long but it does. We walk at a rather quick pace in the mornings but we take our time getting home. That could take almost as long as 20 minutes! We all really enjoy it.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Teacher's pet

My fourth grade daughter is the teacher's pet this week! Everyone gets to take a turn at being teacher's pet. For an entire week, the teacher's pet leads the line, delivers notes and papers to the office, and any and everything else the teacher needs her (or him) to do.

The teacher's pet puts together a bulletin board about herself (or himself) on Monday morning so that everyone gets to know her (or him) well. The teacher's pet brings photos, awards, certificates, etc. for the board.

We looked through old (and not so old) photos last night and found a lot of good ones to send to school. Here's one of the adorable old photos we found, taken the day she turned one. They loved looking at the old photos so we'll do it again tonight!

She also took her behavior awards from kindergarten and first grade at her old school.

The teacher's pet can also bring a pet to school. The only pet my daughter has is her little brother, so he is going to school to be her pet for a while on Wednesday.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

My girls are now mistresses of the domestic arts. Here is the nine-year-old at the sewing machine for the first time today and the six-year-old at the sink.

New mistresses of the domestic arts

My girls are now mistresses of the domestic arts. Sewing and washing dishes, anyway.

The younger child is actually an old pro at washing the dishes. Nobody gets dishes cleaner than she does. That's probably because she's naturally slow and thorough with everything she does.

My older daughter really surprised me at the sewing machine today. I was stitching around some old towels on the sewing machine at my mom's house today. She wanted to help me and since it ws just kitchen towels I figured it couldn't hurt. I started her off and showed her how to do it, and she took off! After one towel she didn't even need me to stand there anymore. I was very impressed!

Friday, September 05, 2008

First "big boy" haircut

My 16-month-old son got his first "big boy" haircut yesterday!

It wasn't something I was planning on doing, though. It was a "have-to" thing.

Here's what happened (the long version): He was asleep when it was time for the girls to go to school yesterday morning and his dad was home, so I left the two of them together and took the girls to school. As soon as I walked back in the door I noticed my son's hair looked lopsided, but didn't think much of it because he's got crazy hair and it was getting to be time for a haircut.

Upon closer examination a few minutes later I realized his hair had been cut! It was taken out almost down to the scalp in a V-shape on the top of his head. I immediately blamed it on my six-year-old daughter. She is always messing with his head and she has cut her own hair two times before. I decided to leave it until after school because I wanted her to see it and I wanted a full confession. I did look for clumps of hair and a pair of scissors; I found two locks on the floor in my bedroom but didn't find a pair of scissors that I thought had been used.

When the girls got home from school I asked my daughter if she had anything to say about her brother's hair. She looked at him and said, "It's been cut!" I knew by the tone of her voice that she had not done it! That left only him and maybe his five-year-old cousin, but I thought it had been done that morning and she had not seen him that morning. I called my husband to see if he knew anything about it and he didn't. He did tell me though, that the baby had gotten up out of the bed and came down the stairs on his own that morning. (He had done the same thing after naptime before I knew he had done it that morning.)

He had cut it himself! He had gotten up out of the bed, gave himself a haircut, and then come downstairs, all fresh and groomed for the new day!

I had to cut the rest of his hair, and I had to cut it very short. I dreaded doing it. He has had a couple of good trims and a few snips, but not a big haircut. I sat him up on the ledge of the sink with his feet in the sink and the water on. I knew he would play in the water and let me cut his hair. He did. I felt like I was hacking it off with a knife but I did manage to get it looking halfway decent. I see now why little boys wear their hair kind of long sometimes. They are too little to be still long enough to get a good cut. Plus it's cuter longer when they are little.

It's too short. I don't like it. I miss his curls. But it's hair, and it grows quickly.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The words of a child

My six-year-old first grader wrote me this note at school the other day:

My baby Brothr SLOBS on my stoF I bo not no wy Bot He DOS AND He is my LiDOL Brothr

to: Mothr From ****

(She wrote this pretty much as one word but I put the word spaces in there.)

Translation: My baby brother slobbers on my stuff I do not know why but he does and he is my little brother.

Today for homework she had to write her spelling words and then write a sentence using each word. I helped her with ideas for sentences on the first three words and then she did the rest completely on her own.

blot: my mohtr blotid spiLt melc
My mother blotted spilled milk.

plot: I hAV A GrDiN plot
I have a garden plot.

clap: if you claP AND my Brohtr is SLiPiNG you wiL wAk him
If you clap and my brother is sleeping you will wake him. (So cute because her sister loves to clap and make other unecessary repetitive noises.)

flap: flaP yor wiNGS AND fli uwa
Flap your wings and fly away.

slip: YOU WiL SLiP on wet flow
You will slip on the wet floor.

glad: I AM GLAD YOU r her
I am glad you are here.

(Again I put the word spaces in for her.)

I just think her thought pattern is so cute.
Long weekend over

Our long anniversary weekend is over and everyone is back to school and work. I kind of miss everyone but on the other hand I'm so glad to get back to normal and I'm loving this quiet.

It's a rainy day today as we're getting the tail end of Hurricane Gustav. It's breezy and raining steadily but not too hard. I think I'll hurry up and get my work done so I can sit on the couch with the baby and enjoy the weather.