Monday, November 18, 2013

What time of year is your favorite?

I am so grateful to live in a place where I can enjoy the change in seasons.   By the end of one, I'm usually ready for the next.  
I love the winter mostly for the holidays that we get to look forward to, decorate for, share with family and celebrate.  And while I don't like the cold for long, I love a white Christmas and think the snow holds it's own beauty.  There's nothing like hot cocoa on a cold night or sitting down by the fire to read a good book either right!? 
I love spring where we get to see things green up and get to watch the earth around us bloom and grow.  And I love to see all the baby animals running all over the place (don't you just love little lambs in the spring?). 
I love summer for all the flowers and late summer nights you get to enjoy outside.  I crave summer food like popsicles, fresh fruit pie or fruit pizza and BBQ dinners - YUM!  I love to feel the warmth of the sun and playing in the water on a hot day. 
But I think overall, the season I've always liked  just a bit more than the rest is fall.  I love the taste of freshly canned fruit (especially after working so hard to get it all done!) and can never wait to sit down with my pumpkin roll and apple cider. There's something about the food of each season that adds to it isn't there?!  I also love the smell of a crisp fall day and pulling out my sweaters to wear on just such a day.  And while this fall has proven very difficult for me and my family (more of which I'm sure I'll blog about when I have the time and courage/strength), we have found joy in the simple things and been grateful for the season where we can enjoy fun such as this:
Doesn't that look fun!?  Vanna worked really hard to help me rake up all our leaves and was having a ball!
Vanna wanted to be buried - this is the majority of our leaves from just one of our three trees!
Rosie joined in too!
Cash was good at mostly piddling around while we worked at gathering leaves.  He found it most entertaining to throw the leaves up in the air and often make a bigger mess than we began with - silly boy - someone should teach him to work harder!  Ha Ha Ha!
And after the work was done, Rosie decided we all needed to finish off our popsicles.  It was a perfectly warm day to work outside.  I really do like the falls here because they seem to hang on a little longer than in Southeast Idaho where I grew up (where it turns cold a little earlier).  I'll have to post about our Halloween too - which is always a fun fall holiday we enjoy with the kids - there's so much catching up I need to do - ahhh! :) Anyway - what season is your favorite?

Other random pictures from this fall that make me smile:
Try as I might, I have the hardest time convincing Rosie that it's a no-no and unsafe to be on the counter.  She likes to get up there to scribble all over in my planner (probably because she always sees me writing in it :)

She also loves to  get in my closet and wear my shoes - particularly my heels which she is surprisingly good at walking in because her feet are small enough to tuck themselves down into the flat toe part.  Here she is doing this first thing in the morning in her pajamas and pulling a funny face.

This was so funny - ever hear of "sleeping with one eye open"?  I thought Cash was pretending to be asleep here but he wasn't!  I mean, who falls asleep like this?!  In an effort to try and explain his appearance: I had my baskets of laundry sitting on my bed for me to fold and put away later that day and while Cash was having quiet time in my room (I have to separate the kids or quiet time would never work :) he must have been messing around with the clothes and then he fell asleep.  He's wearing one of my shirts over his own and for some strange reason, he has a pair of his underwear over his head! :)

Just a cute very messy face from Rosie.  She's really good at saying "cheese" and posing for the camera (like she is here).   

Vanna has learned to give Rosie a piggy-back ride.  It sure makes me nervous.  While Vanna is really gentle with her I worry that she'll stumble or that Rosie will let go of her tight grip around her neck/shoulders.  Both the girls love it though so I just take and deep breath and try not to worry too much.

Rosie's first bubble bath.  Maybe that's terrible to say seeing that she's nearly two years old.  We've just gotten out the habit and whenever we did for the older kids, she was already in bed.  Well, she is no longer deprived.  Do you think she liked it!? :)

A friend of ours breeds Mini Australian Shepherds and often lets me know when she has puppies so that I can bring the kids over to play with them.  She thinks it helps in training her pups to be around kids and my kids love it as you can imagine.  Aren't they adorable?  Between the two batches, there were 11 puppies so they were everywhere and always snuggling up with you - they were so, so much fun!  It's always such a treat for us to do that and it gives our puppy fix until next time. :)

First Day of School - 2013

I've got a little friend over to play with Rosie for a couple hours and I thought that maybe while she was entertained I might be able to catch up a bit on my blogging as I watch them.  So here's my mad effort to post as many things as I can in that amount of time without feeling like I'm neglecting her.  Ready, set, here I go...
Cash and Vanna started school on August 21st this year.  We went to the school the day before walk around and help Vanna get familiar with it and to drop off supplies and meet the kids' teachers. 
Cash's first grade teacher is Mrs. Fitzsimonds.  This is her first year teaching at Payette Primary but I think she said it's her 17th year teaching overall.  We have really enjoyed her.  She is very nice and Cash seems to do very well in her class.  I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by how much quicker these kids learn things than I remember doing at their age but I am.  Cash is working on his addition and subtraction and even short story problems. 
Cash's doing very well with his reading as well although he didn't always feel like he was.  This was because he goes to a higher level reading group throughout the day but within that group are two reading levels and he is in the lower level of that group.  When school first started, he kept coming home saying he hated his reading group and that he never had time to get anything done, that his teacher went too fast, etc.  I gave it some time knowing that Cash can over exaggerate things sometimes and hoping that it might work itself out.  I became concerned though when this continued for a couple weeks.  I decided to finally talk to his reading group teacher about it when I had to practically shove him out of the van crying one morning because he was anxious to go to school - not wanting to go to reading group.   This was just not like him and I wanted to do whatever we needed to in order for him to enjoy school and in order for him to be and feel successful in his efforts. 
His reading group teacher, Mrs. Tuning, expressed to me the she felt he was in the right group ( I worried that maybe he wasn't able to keep up because he wasn't quite placed at the right reading level) and that the kids weren't expected to be able to finish all they were given in class, etc.  We decided that she would send home anything he didn't get done in class for him to work on at home where he could feel like he was finishing his work and where he wasn't being rushed at all.  I think he would see other kids in that higher level maybe finishing things before him and felt behind.  He is such a perfectionist and while sometimes this is great (you should see his amazing handwriting!) sometimes it hurts him too because if he doesn't get everything just right and perfect the first time (whether it's in school or sports or a game)  he gets disappointed in himself and I hate to see him disappointed in himself - he really does such a good job!  Whew - things were a little rough at first but now things are running more smoothly and he's learning and progressing and I think he feels successful!  He even  got the Student of the Month award in his class and was honored at their monthly school assembly.  We're very proud of him!

 Vanna has been so excited for Kindergarten!  I think she feels like she's catching up with Cash now that she's starting school too.  I was a bit worried about how she'd handle the schedule because the Kindergarten program is all day everyday this year.  Their school got a grant this year that provides for Kindergarteners to enjoy half the day with more of the academic education and then the other half of the day is filled with enrichment activities that allows for more art and music, additional emphasis on math, science and reading, regular field trips every month, etc.  I'm actually really excited that she can be involved in such a good program that I think will ultimately provide her with a much better education than she could have gotten before.  
So Vanna's regular Kindergarten teacher is Mrs. Warzyn who we love.  Cash had her last year and she is one the best teachers at the school I think - she's taught there for about 30 years so she is very experienced and knows what she's doing. I just love her personality and sense of humor too.  She does great with the kids.   And Vanna's enrichment teacher is Mrs. Perryman.  Vanna thinks it's great that she (her teacher) has such long hair that "goes clear to her butt" in Vanna's words.  She tells me she never wants to cut her hair again because she wants to have hair like Rapunzel and like her teacher.  We'll see how that goes.
Vanna got all spruced up for her first day with lip gloss and everything! :)
Rosie wanted to join in on the fun - she was a hoot too, she started dancing and getting all excited because the older kids were so excited for their first day of school!

Vanna was quite the poser and hip thrower for all her pictures that day!
Since this is the first year for each of the kids to go to school all day - one of the most exciting thing about them starting school was that they got to pick out lunch boxes and take cold lunch sometimes.  They thought it was great to get school lunches too.  Everyday when I'd pick them up from school, for the longest time their responses to my, "How was school?" were all about what they had for lunch that day and recess.  We've ventured in responses now to include their friends, what projects they're working on, what they had for snacks that day, what they did in PE, etc. :)

And this is how Vanna looked about 5 minutes after getting home on that first day.  She was worn out.  My kids have always been good nappers, in fact, Cash just out-grew his about this last summer.  And Vanna took naps all the way up to Kindergarten so I was interested to see how it would all play out once school started.  We have a pretty good schedule though:  the kids get up at 7am each morning to shower and get ready for school; then by about 7:30 we're ready for breakfast and by 8am they have their last minute things to do (brush teeth, make beds, etc.) and then we're off for school by 8:15.    The kids get out of school at 2:45 so I go pick them up and once we get home we first dump sand out of their shoes outside (their playground is one made of sand - ahhhh!); wash hands; have a snack; then have a bit of quiet time where Cash and Rosie read books and Vanna takes a short nap.  Then after dinner and homework and practices, etc., the kids are ready for bedtime stories and bed at 8pm.  By then we're all kind of wiped out and I have to admit, I thoroughly enjoy that time after they go to bed before I go to bed myself.  It's a much needed break and the whirlwind it seems each afternoon and evening brings!

The first couple days after school started, Rosie and I hardly knew what to do with ourselves.  But I'll tell you what - I've really come to enjoy the one on one time our new  schedule gives us.  She's my little side-kick and goes with me everywhere, whether it running errands or volunteering in the kids' classes each week.  In fact, she's kind of become the class mascot and luckily she's really good while we're there so the teachers and kids love her - it's been fun.  I think I'd forgotten how much easier it is to get things done with just one munchkin around. 

Anyway, we're settled into things now and school seems to be going well.  It's so fun to see the kids learning and growing up