Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First Day of Preschool!


Last week, Kirsa and Ingrid had their first day of preschool! Kirsa attends on Tuesday and Thursday mornings for 2 hours each time; Ingrid and I attend a parent/toddler class for one hour on Tuesday mornings. Ingrid did not seem to be feeling herself that morning, but she still had fun. Today (a week later) was much better, and I think soon we will get our traditional beginning of the year pics out on the front steps of the school.


Kirsa was very excited, and pranced right in to school. She got busy playing as soon as the teacher opened the door, and hardly seemed to notice when I left. She said she didn't cry (but some kids did) and that she had fun. She missed Thursday due to our trip to Montana at the end of the week, but today she had even more fun. I saw her at the end, participating in the song, even doing the actions, and happily shouting "Goodbye!" to everyone when it was time for her to go home. She looked SO much like the perfect 3 year old preschooler!


Kirsa's class seems to have around 10 kids in it. Rumor had it that 17 had signed up, but there don't appear to be quite that many at this point, anyway. Each day they have some playtime, circle time, outside time, craft, and a snack. (We have to pack the snack each time). She brings her snack in her backpack, and skips right in to her classroom by herself to hang it up in a cubby and start school.


Upstairs, Ingrid's class has four kids, plus two moms have little babies who join us. The kids work on playing together somewhat nicely. We have circle time, play time, and craft time in her class. At the end, we have 1 hour before we need to pick up Kirsa. We will use this time to go home to play / fold laundry, or run errands, or play on the newly redone playground at the preschool.


That's it for the first day/week of preschool! Next up will be posts about our quick trip to Montana over Labor Day weekend!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Goodbye, Pastor!


Although we've known for a year now that our Pastor would be retiring this month, it was still very sad to say goodbye today! He has been our Pastor since we moved here over six years ago. We have enjoyed having him and his wife over to dinner and seeing them at numerous church functions, and of course at church every Sunday. We wish them well in retirement and hope to see them again someday!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Beginning of the School Year


The camera has been taking a bit of a rest since school started for Elijah, while we all adjust to the new routine. He is loving first grade so far, and appears to be doing well at school - making friends, getting his work done, and keeping his behavior up too. He likes the hot lunches (I suspect he's really hungry at lunchtime - he has breakfast around 6:30am and then doesn't eat again until lunch at 11am). He loves the playground. He says the work is "easy" and that his class is fun.

Elijah especially loves the "specials" - Technology, Art, Music, PE, and Library. He gets a separate teacher for each of these, and I am glad he does, to get that experience with many different instructors. He seems to be learning a lot in these classes. I'm not sure yet how much he's learning in his regular classroom - the work he is bringing home so far is all stuff he's mastered quite some time ago (such as writing all his numbers to 120, adding numbers that add up to 10, etc), but we will see how that goes as the year goes on. He has homework on the weekends, but none during the week, which presumably is because he finishes all his work in class each day.

He likes Kids Adventures (the school daycare - he attends before school for about 30 minutes once or twice a week when Chris has to be to work early) and the bus too. The bus is mostly filled with older kids (since his school is a K-8 school, kids up through 8th grade ride his bus), and from what I can tell, it's a pretty chaotic experience - according to Elijah, they are allowed to crawl under the seats, eat on the bus, sit on the "tippy tops" of the seats when the bus is parked, and I have seen them hanging out the windows when they pull into the parking lot. Still not sure what to think about all that... but he seems to like it, anyway. (I did teach him about crossing in front of the bus and getting right onto the sidewalk when he gets out in the parking lot - either the bus driver forgot to teach them that or Elijah forgot to do it).


At home, the girls and I have listened to a LOT of the "Frozen" soundtrack, and adjusted to getting up from naps a little early every day to pick Elijah up at the bus stop. I have started homeschool preschool, which I scope/sequence/scheduled myself, with Kirsa, three days a week. It takes about 30-60 minutes each morning, and consists of a Bible lesson, songs and fingerplays, learning with some worksheets and workbooks, crafts or other similar activities (playdoh, stamps, etc), and a story. She is also working on learning her name and phone number.

Next week, preschool officially begins, and Kirsa will attend for two mornings a week, two hours each time. Ingrid and I will attend the parent/tot school for one hour a week. We visited Kirsa's class during the Open House last week. I'm interested to see how this goes for her, and hoping she loves it and that the teacher is experienced and can keep the chaos of a classroom of 3-year-olds to a level where they can all still function and learn.


Ingrid is making gains in her physical therapy - we've had three sessions now. Overall she mostly hates it, because she hates to do anything that anyone wants her to do, even if it's easy for her. However, once we push through the first time, she complies easily for all the practice throughout the week, for the most part.


So, coming up - preschool begins for both girls, physical therapy continues for Ingrid, and we have other fun adventures coming up that we'll be sharing soon as well! We are looking forward to this fall, and there are a lot of big changes coming up for everyone in our family.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

6.5 Years Old!


Elijah is 6.5 years old today! My goodness, I'm not even sure how that's possible. You are an absolutely delightful, helpful, independent first grader, Elijah!


Eating: Elijah is still a great eater. He will eat just about anything, and cleans his plate almost every night. He does not like spicy foods and soup is not his favorite either. He says his favorite foods are grilled cheese with tomato soup, and medisterpolse (sausage). He can pour up his own cereal and milk for breakfast and so is completely independent for that now, and he loads his dishes into the dishwasher when he is done. He drinks milk with meals and water the rest of the time. At school, he is eating mostly hot lunch right now.


Sleeping: This all seems finally worked out and completely under his control. We do not notice any issues with sleeping anymore. Even while sharing a room with him in hotels and at grandparents' houses this summer, he was able to stay quiet (as long as a parent was in the room supervising if Kirsa was there also) and put himself to sleep in a short period of time. At home, once it's "lights-out" time, we never hear another thing. He does not seem to get up in the night to go to the bathroom anymore either. I don't hear anything from him until it's time to get up for the day. He doesn't seem to have bad dreams or need anything in the night. His bedtime is 7:00pm now. He hasn't taken a nap in years. :)


Skills:

Elijah is now an amazing first grader in public school. There isn't much to say on his schedule because he is gone so much, but on days at home, he plays in the morning and has quiet time in the afternoon. On school afternoons, he plays outside for an hour when he gets home at 3:00 (we pick him up at the bus stop about a mile away). Then he does his homework and piano lesson/practice. After dinner and a bath, he reads for 20 minutes and does 10 minutes of math activities. Then he is free to play in his room, and we come in to read stories and say goodnights. (Right now I am reading Farmer Boy to him, which was his choice for the next read-aloud). He turns his lights off and puts himself to bed at bedtime.

Elijah can do everything that a typical first grader can do, and more besides. His math and reading skills are out of this world. He is creative, patient, and fun. When he is not, it's usually because he's exhausted, and benefits from some more down time and a slightly earlier bedtime. He is very good at turning his attitude around most of the time now.

He is patient with Ingrid and sometimes patient with Kirsa, although he likes to treat her like they are the same age and should share the same responsibilities and abilities. He loves to push Ingrid's stroller when we go on walks, and runs with it like Daddy used to run with him in the stroller.

He loves to play with stuffed animals and blankies and cars, build roads and bridges, draw stoplights, make up games and play board games, and run around wildly outside!

I'm not sure what else to say. He's a pretty incredible kid and I am amazed daily by his independence, responsibility, and abilities!


Happy six and a half years old Elijah! What a joyful, delightful, charming, energetic, amazing boy you are - we love you so much!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Elijah's first day of 1st Grade!


Elijah's first day of 1st grade, and first day of full-days-full-weeks public school, is today! He said that he "only got seven hours of sleep because there was something busy in his brain last night". :) Daddy is dropping him off today, and will most days, except Wednesdays, which are a late-start day. I cannot WAIT to pick him up from the bus stop this afternoon and find out how the day was! Cannot believe my little boy has grown up so much, and that his years of babyhood and childhood home with Mommy are really and truly over.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Elijah's Summer 2014 Book List


I kept track of the books that Elijah read to himself this summer (we didn't listen to every word but did sometimes quiz him on comprehension to make sure he was reading well) since he has started to like and read chapter books! We also just finished more read-alouds: On the Banks of Plum Creek, and The Family Under the Bridge. In addition, we read The Complete Brambly Hedge, which was an utterly darling book, and we have read a few American Legends from a collection as well (Paul Revere, Paul Bunyan, Old Yeller, Pollyanna, John Henry, and Casey Jones) just so the kids are a little familiar with those stories.

Now Elijah is ready to start 1st grade! I can't promise I will always keep track of the books he reads... but it was fun to track it with him this summer!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

3.5 Years Old!


Kirsa is 3.5 years old! What a lovely, darling, stubborn girl you are, sweetheart! We love you so much, you are our cuddlebug and such a joy to have flitting about our lives every day. Kirsa has made a lot of changes in the past six months, and every day I see a little more "four years old" in her than the day before.


Eating: Kirsa is a great eater. She will try anything, and she almost always cleans her plate and is ready for dessert. She drinks 2% milk and water all day. She probably averages around 12-20oz of milk a day. She eats three meals and two snacks every day, and usually has dessert after dinner as well.


Sleeping: Still my amazing little sleeper. She loves to go to bed and is so quiet. She is not napping every day anymore, probably because our bedtimes are still quite early due to Ingrid and Elijah needing those earlier bedtimes as well. She naps about 2-3 days a week; if she is sick, she naps every day. She sleeps about 11-13 hours at night. I think she still needs about 13 hours in a 24 hour period.


Schedule:

7:00 Wake up. I have no idea what time she typically wakes for the day, but I would guess around 6:45am on average, possibly 6:30.
Dress, breakfast, play, roomtime
8:30 Story time and snack
Outside
9:30 or 10:00 Play inside with siblings
10:45 Walk
11:15 Lunch
A little roomtime while I put Ingrid down first
12:00 Nap
3:00 Up
Snack, outside
4:00 play inside, may watch a 30 minute DVD some days
5:00 Dinner
Bath, pajamas, roomtime, stories, potty
6-6:45pm Bedtime, depending on naps and how tired she seems


Skills:

Kirsa is a walking, talking, jumping, dancing, independent little gal. For the most part, she is loads of fun and has a great sense of humor. You can see that she is beginning to understand so much more about the world around her. She can answer more questions with thoughtful, interesting, appropriate answers. She loves to be goofy, and she loves to dance.

She can still be quite shy with others, except for Mommy, Elijah, and Ingrid. She can even be shy with Daddy if she hasn't seen much of him in a few days. I think she would love to sing, but she seems too inhibited to do that unless she's convinced no one is in earshot.

She gets very, very ashamed when she is disciplined, and sometimes even when redirected. This leads to her being pretty obstinate and throwing big tantrums. She is doing better with timeouts when she takes herself to the timeout, rather than being taken there by me. Typically we see the most tantrums, though, when she is just tired and needs to go to bed early.

Kirsa gets along pretty well with Elijah and Ingrid but, like a typical middle child, can tend to fight with either one of them. She and Elijah in particular can have times where they get along wonderfully, and times where they're trying to kill each other. She is silly with Ingrid and sometimes a bit overly smothering, which can drive Ingrid a little crazy.

Kirsa is very excited for preschool to begin in a few weeks. She's especially excited for the toys that will be in the classroom. I am excited that she seems ready, although I think she will have a more normal transition with some tougher days and some easy days. We will see! I think that attending Sunday School this year helped her immensely with her readiness for preschool!

She is obsessed with all things beautiful and girly and soft and sugary: butterflies, dragonflies, ladybugs, ballerinas, Pinkalicious, Fancy Nancy, the Velveteen Rabbit, flowers, dolls, soft blankets, dancing, fairies, Tinkerbell, cupcakes, cakes, frosting, candy, and most of all.... pink pink pink!


It is so much fun to watch Kirsa grow, develop, and change. Two years ago, she was just learning to walk. One year ago, she was terribly shy and inhibited around others. That has all changed so much. It's like watching a butterfly emerge so slowly, with beautiful wings just peeking out at the world!

Happy 3.5 years, KirsaBelle! We love you so, so much, darling sweet girl!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Goodbye, Friend!


Since we moved to Denver, Andrea has been one of my sweetest, best, most supportive, fun and wonderful friends! I am sad that they are moving away but excited for their new adventures. Maybe someday we will live closer again!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mt. Sherman: Elijah's First 14er


On Saturday, Daddy and Elijah drove up into the mountains to hike Mt. Sherman - Elijah's first 14er. They got up very early and were out the door by 5:30am. The hike was just over 5 miles round trip and 2100 vertical feet. I think they hiked up in about 3 hours and down in 2 hours, give or take.


There were a few abandoned mines along the way, where they stopped briefly to check things out.


The ridge was very windy and cold, and Chris said Elijah was a bit nervous up there. But they kept trucking along the loose rock to the top, with Chris taking video and photos on his phone.


At the coldest points, Elijah was wearing Chris' sweatshirt in addition to his own layers, with Chris' extra socks on his hands as gloves.


They reached the summit (14,036') around 10:30am, and it was warmer up there. They ate lunch, took pictures, called Mommy, and relaxed before heading back down. Elijah said he could "see a thousand miles from the top of the mountain."


They got home about 2:45pm - dusty and sweaty and tired, but very proud of their big hike!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Trip to MN - Part 4 - Tuesday and Wednesday


Tuesday morning, we drove a few minutes over to Great Grandma Violet's house to visit her for the morning. The kids enjoyed running around her beautiful yard, eating cookies and drinking lemonade and looking at the lake. Chris and I enjoyed hearing her stories and chatting together.


Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday, Chris and I left the kids with the grandparents and Uncle Daniel, and drove to Sioux Falls for a bit of a getaway. Although not many pictures were taken, I hear the kids had a great time, and kept the adults quite busy, especially with trips to the nearby park!


We got back Wednesday night in time to put Elijah and Kirsa to bed. Thursday morning, we got up very early, and were all on the road by 6:22am. The kids were entirely vacationed-out and ready to get home, but we still had a pretty pleasant trip back. Now we are back, and the mountain of laundry has been washed, dried, and put away. It's time to look forward to school starting for Elijah in less than 2 weeks, and preschool for the girls shortly after that! But it was a wonderful midsummer vacation to Minnesota and we are so glad we got to go!

Trip to MN - Part 3 - Great Grandma, and back to Fairmont


Monday morning, we left New Prague and headed to Mankato to visit Great Grandma Polly. We spent about an hour at her house, reading books and playing games and chatting.


Then we went out for a lovely lunch at Red Lobster. The kids were not-so-well-behaved this time, but we made it through anyway! Then back to Fairmont. Ingrid got a short nap in the car on the way back, and we arrived too late to put her down for a "real" nap.


So instead, we decided to walk, in about 900% humidity, to the local ice cream stand, about a mile away. Someone let the kids each get a chocolate ice cream cone, and they turned into chocolate monsters. Daddy had helped Kirsa lick hers down to a manageable size, but Elijah had melted ice cream dripping from his elbows as he ate!


Monday evening was just spent playing and relaxing at Grandpa and Grandma's!