Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ty's Reading

 Finishing Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets last January
Today I got to work in Ty's first grade class for the first time. The teacher had me doing reading assessments. The kids would read as much of a story as they could in one minute, and I would mark the words they didn't know or read incorrectly. Then I subtracted the number incorrect from the number correct to give them a total score.

Many of the kids were below 10 or in the teens range. A small handful were in the 20's and one girl got a 64.

When I tested Ty, he got 214, with no errors.

I was worried that the teacher might think I had fudged the numbers, but I flipped through her student assessment book and noticed she had previously assessed Ty. He had scored a 214 with her, too.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ashlynn is 11!

Ashlynn turned 11 which meant... I had to decorate (even though she said she didn't want a party.)
 I took her and Lauren to get their nails done.
 They both got a french manicure with gel polish, hoping it would last longer (it's already chipped...)
 I love their cute little feet!

 Then we went to BJ's for lunch and strawberry beignets!
 At 11, Ashlynn is still her sparkly self, although I'm starting to see her mellowing a little and getting a little more moody (wonder where she gets that from?)
 She was with me when I bought the wrapping paper and I asked for her approval (did you know that aqua is the new pink for Ash?). She said she liked the paper, but I had to "decorate it fancy!" Of course.
 The day of her actual birthday was the real treat. The whole family got together at Nana and Papas house for dinner, gifts and cake. Auntie Mae Mae and new Uncle Kevin were even able to be here. Thanks for planning your vacation around Ashlynn's birthday!
 Ashlynn was in her usual spunky mood on this day because she loves a big get together.
 It was Nana and Kevin's birthday in the month of August, so we celebrated those, as well.
 This year, Ashlynn was into anything sock monkey. If you slap a sock monkey on it, she's happy. But the big gift of the day was the... wait for it...
 The mermaid tail! This thing is awesome! it has a rubber flipper in the tail so you can actually swim with it! She immediately pulled it on, then we had to carry her around everywhere!
 Her sock monkey PJ bottoms that Auntie Nessa skillfully re-purposed. She's pretty talented!
 The kids were all pretty excited to see Auntie Mae Mae.
 The four layer banana cake that Ashlynn insisted on. I'm more of a "buy a really nice cake at the bakery" type of mom.I'm not really a fan of frosting cakes, but she wanted this recipe, so, after only a few mental breakdowns, we had a Banana cake!
 Then the kids and Aunts and Uncles played games in the back yard. The kids love Nana and Papa's backyard. At one point I heard Ashlynn, with her tail on, shout, "I'll be the mermaid referee!!" and it took me back to when she was a squeaky little-er girl.

Thanks for hosting a great night, Mom and Dad. And I think we did Ashlynn's birthday justice!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Actual First Day Pictures

 The first day of school has come and gone, and with it the excitement and glamor that accompanies that first day, where everything is new, you know there's no homework (at least for the kids) and mom most certainly has a special snack waiting for you when you get home.
 Enter day five.  The glamor has worn off. We are all tired and out of sorts. We miss sleeping in and not having a schedule. It's hard to adjust to being on time, answering to teachers and rules and navigating the social waters that are par for the course in school.
 Don't get me wrong. They are all pleased with their teachers and classes. They are happy being with their friends and excited to come home and tell mom all about the exciting events of their day. But they we are all a little off. On Monday Ty had a throwback to his crazy toddler days, where he screamed and cried for a half an hour while destroying his room and everything in his path. (Don't worry. We hugged it out and then he cleaned it up.)
 Ashlynn is aware that she struggles with adjusting during the beginning of the school year, so she is trying (with minimal effort) to put on a happy face, but underneath it all, she's suffering. She always struggles with being in the lowest math group, but yesterday, after being placed there again, without any of her friends, she received a welcome relief when her friends returned from the advanced math group claiming she was lucky she didn't  have to endure what they just did for the past hour ("Yoooou are sooo luckee-yah! Our math teacher is sooo strict-ah! I'm serious-ah!" Please read that in a Dramatic 6th Grade Girls Voice with a hint of Valley Girl).  I know she will rise above it all soon and be fine. (In case you are thinking Briggs has spared us the drama, I have to interject. He walked in the door crying yesterday because "ASHLYNN YELLED AT ME IN THE PICK UP LINE!! IT'S NOT FAIR!!")
At the end of the day, I know this phase will pass, but it takes time. And right now since I'm having a hard time adjusting to all of the rigors that a new schedule brings, I'm not really wanting to be patient. In answer to the most popular question of what I'm doing with all of my "Free Time": The same thing I've been doing - cooking, cleaning, laundry, meal planning, grocery shopping, signing a bazillion agendas daily (really just 3, but still...). I just get to do it in peace and quiet, until chaos reigns at 2:30!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Midnight Visitor

 The beloved Cowboy Blankie

Last night, a bloody little ghost burst into our room and woke us up.

I should probably explain.

Ty has started getting bloody noses, just like Ashlynn. Although, unlike Ashlynn, Ty doesn't quite know how to deal with them. He doesn't get scared, but he doesn't react fast enough. He thinks his nose is just running, so he keeps wiping and wiping until he's completely covered in blood. THEN he notices he's bleeding.

So that's what happened to him in the middle of the night. The only problem is he's really scared of the dark. Normally when he gets scared at night he throws his blanket over his head, like a flannel force field, and trots down the hall to our bedroom, or to the bathroom, depending on his mission.

So when he burst into our room last night, he was draped with his red cowboy blankie, covered in blood and dripping all over the carpet.

We finally got him, the hallway, and all of his bedding cleaned up and tucked back into bed, but not before teaching him to pinch off his nose the next time it happens!

Friday, August 17, 2012

What We Did This Summer While Waiting for 3:00

 This summer, I made a deal with the kids. If they had their rooms and the loft clean by 3:00, they could play video games until Brian came home. Needless to say, their rooms and the loft were REALLY clean this summer. But until 3:00, if we weren't out exploring or doing other chores I had assigned them, they had to figure out how to entertain themselves, just like kids from the "Olden Days". So here's a little selection of some chosen activities.
 The first picture is a fort they made in the kitchen. They came running to get me and shouted, "Mom! we caught a bear!" When I peeked inside the mass of chairs, blankets and table cloths (table cloths? really?) I found little man in his laundry hamper...excuse me, his cage. Please note the blue striped pajamas. Ty's PJ's were his summer uniform. Despite the heat here in Sacramento, when we would come home from the pool, Ty would run upstairs to get comfy, and come down in his PJ's. Or just stay in them all day, never actually getting dressed for the day.

 Aunty Lisa got us "Ticket to Ride" which quickly became a favorite.

 Briggs helped me make cookies for the Missionaries one day.

 Brightly colored washi tape from Target entertained them all one afternoon.
 When I found these "ingredients" on my bed, I asked Ty, "What are these things?!" Ty's response, accompanied by a devious giggle was, "I'm making something!" Basically he dangled the underwear from the end of the light saber over Ashlynn's head to make her squeal.
 Another fort, this time equipped with the air mattress in the loft.
 They used a light saber to prop up the blanket like a tent (that light saber came in handy this summer!) I let them sleep in this one that night (all except Briggs, that is. He couldn't hack it, so he slept next to the fort. Which is still pretty cool...) Oh... and I let them eat ginormous lollipops and watch movies on my ipad, cause I'm a cool mom like that.
 We tried to learn our states and capitals this summer by listening to some catchy songs (Sacramento, California! Sacramento California! Phoenix, Arizoooh-na! Phoenix, Arizoooh-na!) So one morning drawing all of the states kept them busy. Then, of course, they put on a play for me where they lip synced the song while alternately holding up the corresponding states . Nerds...
 This would be Ty in my nightstand. We were reading a book, where a six year old boy rode in a dumbwaiter. After explaining what a dumbwaiter was (Cool!) and that it was about the size of my nightstand, the PJ clad six year old had to see if he could fit. He did. Sort of.
 I say this drawing gets 5 stars, just like my Goodreads app!
 Ty's compulsion to craft got the better of him on this day and I had to make some modge podge for him.
This is a board game the boys made, then made me play. Actually, they didn't do a bad job. You blindly pulled a colored scrap out of the aforementioned modge podged tub. Then you found the message card of the corresponding color, which gave you instructions.  Basically lose a turn, move forward so many spaces or move back so many spaces, but with more creativity. The black one read "Payed your tithing. Move ahead 3 spaces" Funny boys.This of course, is only a smattering of the things that kept us busy (and made messes) this summer!

The Sum Total of Ty

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Brian's First Day of School Note

I love that Brian put this note in each of the kids lunches for the day!

Teaser for the day… Bring home the right answer and win a daddy prize!

A farmer in California owns a beautiful pear tree. He supplies fruit to a nearby grocery store. The store owner has called the farmer to see how much fruit is available for him to purchase. The farmer knows that the main trunk has 24 branches. Each branch has 12 boughs and each bough has 6 twigs. Since each twig bears one piece of fruit, how many plums will the farmer be able to sell?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Last Day of Summer

This picture is a perfect representation of my kids personalities: Ashlynn and Ty - all the way at the top! Briggs, cautiously sticking close to the ground.

For the last day of summer, by friend Natalie gave me the idea of going to the school for "first day of school" pictures before the craziness of the actual first day of school.

We've had a really fun and full summer. We got out in May, so we got a full three months. Which has been heavenly!
Because I knew we had plenty of time to be lazy and have fun and take adventures, I never felt a hovering sense of anxiety that the summer was slipping away from me, like the feeling you get on the last day of a vacation, where you know you have to go home and do laundry and face reality.
It ruins the last day of vacation. Summer can be the same way for me. Mid July, when you feel like you are just hitting your stride, all of the sudden, you start seeing back to school supplies and fall clothing, things you don't want to be thinking about. And the inflatable pools, and goggles and sand toys that you need NOW are relegated to the clearance section, or worse, gone.
This year we made a summer to-do list, and boy did we hit it hard! We did so many things, and then some! It was nice not to have strollers or nap time. I feel like we filled up every nook and cranny of summer in the best possible way. Lots of adventures and play time, but a perfect amount of laziness.
The other day I caught myself thinking about some projects and tasks I needed to complete, and thought I would wait until the kids were in school to start them. That's when I knew I was ready for school to start. Then the kids admitted that they were ready to go back and see their friends, as well. Ashlynn actually confessed that she was ready for school so that she could "Start Being More Productive". (Whatever! If that's what she was craving I could have certainly helped her out!)
Today while we were walking around the school taking pictures, the kids started getting giddy and excited. Then Ashlynn and Ty saw their teachers from last year and ran to greet them with squeals and big hugs (they all had really awesome teachers.) We even got a peek at Ashlynn's teacher who is new to the school! (We totally followed him to the classroom to make sure it was, in fact, him!)
This year will mark the one and only year where all three of the kids will be at the same school on the same schedule. I've mentioned this so many times the kids are starting to repeat it (the grocery store clerk knows, the home teachers know, and that guy down the street who has the dog with the two bad knees knows...)
Then the question that inevitably follows is, "And what is Mom going to do all day?" Uhhh...EVERYTHING I HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO DO FOR THE LAST 11 YEARS!!
Actually, I will probably do exactly what I've been doing now (laundry, meal planning and shopping, exercise, cleaning, errands - all the really fun stuff) I just get to do it without playing a non-stop game of 20 questions. Which sounds great!
But honestly, I'm going to miss the kids and the fun we've had this summer. When they are toddlers, it seems like time is standing still. When they get the age mine are now, time is flying by. Everyone always said that to me, but I never believed them, because I was sleep deprived.
I would definitely say this  time of year is bitter sweet for me. Here's hoping it's more sweet than bitter!