Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Glimpse of the Advent 2017

Advent season! (Original idea credit and continued sponsorship: Beebee). Dec. 5th brought to you by holiday llama PJs and the "Robot Dab."

Our advent has a few gifts (PJs, new Xmas books, fancy holiday dress, a new beanie for sledding), some holiday activities/events (writing Santa a letter, family holiday movie night, Christmas Ships, Zoo Lights, Annie play), and several activities for others or acts of kindness (making teachers button tree ornaments, shopping for Toys for Tots, baking cookies for local fire station, putting together homeless bags, bean soup mix for neighbors, donations to Heifer International). This is the first year she's been a bit of a 'Gimme Pig,' so we'll see if the advent exacerbates the greed and instant gratification or remedies it. 

But also, she can be so funny. 

She has been playing with some old nativity set a lot since we got out the Xmas decorations. A bunch of wise men and lambs were scattered all over our coffee table, so I started to clean up while she’s in the bath. I had to get a new plastic baggie because she ripped the other one, and I realized not all the pieces were there. 

Me, shouting to her from the living room to the bathroom: “Hey Bean, where's baby Jesus?”

Her, shouting back nonchalantly: “I dunno."

Me, kind of annoyed: “Seriously? You lost baby Jesus?”

Her, shrugging: “I think he just got stolen by the bads or something.”

Monday, October 23, 2017

(67 Months) - 5;7

Felt Birdy kick - and I caught it on video!! - posted at the end of the blog

Playing with a baby rocker: “I'm the teenage mom.” (Every parent's dream, amiright?!?)

Meltdowns - tired from school?? Sassafras attitude. "Boring." "Ugh." "Fine."

“I do love you, even though sometimes I'm mean to you.”

Checked out Barbie book. Alex talked to her about the problems - jealous mean girl tears a dress, two boys fighting to get married to a certain girl, love spells - only redeeming factor is Ken is kidnapped and the girls save him

Playing Soccer Shots on Mondays after school.

First sleepover! - Mila's 6th bday. BuildABear. Hair paint. BFF necklaces. Up too late. Cake AND ice cream. Moana and popcorn. And a nap the next day (when Daddy was in Corvallis for his alumni soccer reunion).

Juicy fart overheard from Francie eating bfast. "That didn't even come out of my butt. It came out of my 'gina!"

Maintains a penchant for dressing up. Elsa. Wonder Woman. Dorothy from Wizard of Oz. A princess/queen/fairy. In any kind of "fancy" or nice clothes.

Still enjoying more screen time and than we'd like, movies like Sleeping Beauty, Annie, Eloise, and Curious George's headless man Halloween movie. But I'm pregnant and tired and when it's rainy or a weekend night, I am easily swayed to eat dinner in front of a kid movie and then go to bed myself just after my 5 year old.

Thursday evening, F sitting in my lap drawing in her notebook, me picking my nails and kissing on her, Alex playing the guitar.
Mama: I think it's pouring out.
Alex: I hope our basement isn't flooding.
F: Uh oh … But daddy we're in luck.
Alex: What's that?
F: No more snail tracks!

Francie told us a story from Art4Life (aftercare) …
We have fairies at our school!
But a boy and his friends were destroying the fairies and their houses.
So I asked him if he lost all his teeth yet.
He said no.
I told him that he wouldn't get any gold coins because he basically just killed the tooth fairy.

Talking about weasels and moles, "I really like gross creatures.”

Came to work with me at Waterhouse on Friday, October 13 and mastered (Montessori) therapy with Lorraine. My heart swelled and I took a million videos, in case one day I really do start an evidenced-based intergenerational preschool/memory care program.

Pretending to ‘fight war’ or be Wonder Woman or something:
“Guns and swords don't make you strong you know ... What most makes you strong is your love.”

“Can I show you my best wind sound?
And I can whistle. Listen to me whistle.
"Can I show you my best cheetah prey walk?”

Counts by 10s. Can count to 100. Learning to read - books like Biscuit and Elephant/Piggie. Upper and lower case letter writing practice. Can spell some easy 3-letter words like cat, pig, dog, etc.

Eclectic sense of style. One day she wears the pilgrim looking dress that was once the bane of my existence with clogs, the next day a rhinestone “love Vegas” tee with a sparkly pink dressup skirt.

First play date at a house have never been to, in fact, I have never even seen the outside of or could locate in an emergency. With Owen, from school, but also from daycare.


Typical schedule:
Mama has to wake Francie up between 6:30 and 7 a.m. to get dressed and make/eat breakfast. Sack lunch is usually prepared by Mama the night before.
Moana song alarm goes off at 7:38 to remind us to brush teeth and put on shoes/jacket.
Walk to school- first alarm at 7:50 a.m., second/final alarm to start school at 8 a.m. She likes to show me where she's sitting and what her "morning work" is each day.
Kindergarten class with Ms. Thomas 8-2:05.
Soccer Shots until 3:15 on Mondays.
Parent Pickup at 2:05 on Wednesdays and Fridays, when she likes to stay and play at the playground either at school or the church/preschool across the street.
Art4Life aftercare until 530ish on Tuesdays/Thursdays.
Goes to bed around 8ish, although we often aim for earlier, starting bath around 6:30, PJ's, brush teeth and hair, read books, do a meditation on my phone, and Mama still lays with her until she's asleep every night.
Carries her pink Nike backpack with space patches and a reusable lunch sack and walks to school everyday; likes to carry an umbrella in the rain.
Sometimes we walk to school with neighbors Stella or Riley or Milo or the Longbine twins, we often walk home with Mackenzie or Riley/Marley.
Favorite parts of kindergarten include recess; “specials” like library, computers, dance, PE, art class; special jobs like being line leader, caboose, lunch tub carrier.
Friends (so far that we know of): Owen (from VHFLC daycare) Mackenzie, Juniper.
“Sometimes I play pirates with Osama, Awab, Orion.”
Wants to have hot school lunch, but I still haven't registered her in the PPS school lunch system.
In the morning she says she's too tired to want to do Soccer Shots or Art4Life, but every time I pick her up I have a hard time pulling her away from playing outside or just with friends.

Photos from the month ...

Quickie weekend in PDX with the Thorners and Cliftons. 
Stroller Bike Gang = Grant, Caroline, Kennedy, Francie, Peter, Evan

Francie showing Peter how to play "family."

Children's Museum fun.

BuildABear at Washington Square, courtesy of Morgan for Mila's 6th birthday party.

First official sleepover/slumber party!

Meanwhile, Alex had his own slumber party with his fellow old man teammates at OSU for a reunion weekend. Looking good, guys!

Somehow they finagled getting onto the field for the football game.

Francie came home from her slumber party with pink dyed hair and an Elsa BuildABear.

And then she cuddled and napped in my arms!

I LOVE watching her learn to read/write, and her independent attempts at spelling such as this "Beanstalk" drawing.

Our latest family portrait, that black blob in my belly is Birdy.

She likes to sneak into my weekly pregnancy photos (about 22 or 23 weeks here).

Post flu-shot cake pop, crown and all.

Daddy cuddles.

The harvest.

I swear we went into Baker and Spice for just a slice of crumb cake. But this pregnant fatty was easily convinced by my Sugar Monster to just buy a whole cake instead.

Ms. Thomas's kinder class artwork.

More kinder artwork.

Take your daughter to work day - Francie with Lorraine and Alex.

My sweet girl.

So good at Montessori!

Kruger's at Sauvie Island.

Mama and the Bean.

The (pumpkin) thinker.

With Laura.

Obligatory family pumpkin patch pic.

The tradition with Laura and Garret continues ...

Alex photo-bombed me with his school pics from this year, about a dozen hidden all over the house.

I feel like there's a statement to be made here ...

Lucky girl got to read with Daddy in our bed.

Francie feeling Birdy's first kicks (short video):

 Francie feeling Birdy's first kicks (longer video):

Saturday, September 30, 2017

(66 Months) - 5;6

5 Years + 6 Months has brought us lots of changes, as is typical for September in general - back to school for Alex, back to work for me, too, and the start of Big Kid School! Francie is now a public school kinder, with Ms. Thomas at Maplewood, just a short walk away. Our routine now includes 5 days/week of punctual 8 a.m. attendance and 2:05 pickup, with 2 days/week of aftercare with Art4Life at Maplewood. Francie also learned to tie her shoes and to sleep without nighttime pullups, both Summer 2017 goals met just in time. We've had our fair share of growing pains this month - all of us - but nothing atypical. Per usual, quotes, anecdotes, and photos from the last month follow below ...

We stayed home for the great American solar eclipse, and Beebee joined us for a midday picnic to April Hill Park with dozens of our Maplewood neighbors. Although Francie liked playing with the other kids or eating snacks the best, she did don her eclipse glasses and marvel at the near-total eclipse experience. “It's like the skinniest banana in the world!" When we arrived home from the park, she apparently was inspired to wear her astronaut costume and we nailed an awesome photo of her gazing skyward. "I'm back at earth, mom. I saw all the planets, except the sun. Ugh, too hot. I came back to earth because it's cooler here. I only stayed there for like one week, and then came back to earth. Can we play UNO now?"

She is certainly her mother's daughter, the asker of frequent questions: "What's a your favorite shape?" "How high can you count?"

Chats up everyone in public - "How old is your dog?" to the unnamed neighbor walking by; "How does this move?" to the Target cashier; "How old do you think I am? I just started kindergarten!" to anyone who will listen.

I hear F’s pitter-patter on the wood floors before she enters our room. I can feel her presence next to my side of the bed and she touches my elbow gently. I open one eye a sliver and smile at her. “Can you get up now?” She asks sweetly. I shake my head and she walks away quietly to play in her room. I hear her with her “vehicles” creating some kind of emergency scene.

We used one of those fancy bed-wetting alarms that we borrowed from Hubbard's. She wore it strapped to her undies for probably 10 days or so, and it went off a handful of times, and she's been independent either staying dry through the night, or waking up to pee, ever since!

We did a few different kinds of exercise together this month, a Beachbody video here or there, where she insisted on us both just wearing only sports bras. We also hit up Gabriel Park a bunch for me to walk/run loops and her to ride her Big Kid purple bike - she made it 3 laps one time (which is ~3.5 miles!). Once she said to me, "I don't like to sweat. It's like snot coming out of my head."

Francie, playing pretend iPhone with an Uno card: "Guess how many emails I have."
Me: "How many?"
F: "125."
Me: "Wow, you have a lot to do."
F: "Yeah.  Good thing I don't have any kids!"

“I only want boobs and a baby so I can squirt milk at you guys … and have a milk gun.”

She's been toying with jokes now for a couple years, but she FINALLY made up a good one!
"What does a coyote say when he gets a shot at the doctor."
"I dunno, what?"
"Owwwwwww, ow owwwwww."

Before starting kindergarten, she had a short assessment with one of the teachers, I'm assuming to gauge levels of alphabet and counting and writing in order to organize the three kinder classes fairly.
"How did it go?" I asked her. "What kinds of questions did the teacher ask you?"
"Uhhhhh, just stuff I already know," she shrugged, a combination of bored by the question and overconfident in her own performance.
And later she says: "I told her I wanted to learn to read so I could read to my baby sibling." My heart exploded.

She scratched herself on the bike and asked for a Mama Kiss. Then said, “why do mama kisses always make kids feel better?”
I leaned in to kiss her cheeks and tell her, “because mama kisses are magic.”
She pauses and asks,”but what IS magic?!?”
I pause to think for a minute. “Love, I guess. Love and kindness are the ways to make real magic happen.”
And she bikes off …

"Happy First Day of School!" I said to her from laying in my bed. "How about a first day of kindergarten cuddle."
Instead, the cogs in her brain already turning, she tells me: "Soooo, my preschool had six kids, but my kindergarten will have 25 kids! That means I need to learn to (she holds up one finger) get out of pull-ups, (holds up a second finger) tie my own shoes, aaaand (holds up three fingers) wipe my own butt!"

F: Can we pleeeeease have frozen yogurt.
Mama: No sweetie, not tonight.
F: But I looooove it.
Mama: I know. I love ice cream. Desserts are really yummy aren't they. But too much sugar isn't good for our bodies.
F: Or our teeth.
Mama: You're right. But also, I don't want you to be addicted to sugar like I am.
F: I think I already am addicted to sugar. Because I want it allllllll the time.

Lots of love and cuddles on the couch after work one Saturday.
Me: "I just love you so much. You're my best! How will I ever be able to love another kid like I love you? Is it even possible?!?"
Her: Don't worry. Your love will just get bigger! Right now, my love fills the whole room. When Birdy is here my love will fill the whole house!"

Attended Melissa and Ken's wedding outside Palo Alto, and Francie was THE dancing queen, barely leaving the dance floor. Except for cake, of course.

She decided she wanted to cut her hair short. After several threats about having to cut her hair unless she lets us brush it daily, she finally just said she wanted to chop it short like Stella's next door. I was worried she'd regret not having long princess hair, and so far she's loved it! From a parenting perspective, it saves a little bit of time and one whole discussion/nag/threat/argument each day!

"I went to the circus," she tells anyone who will listen. Beebee took us on a family outing to Cirque du Soleil, where Francie simultaneously loved the acrobatics, wiggled in her seat, ate enough popcorn to feed two adults, and asked frequently when it would be over.

We all attended Back to School Night together, where Francie showed us all around Ms. Thomas's room, including a science experiment, an "I hope" art project (where she said "I hope I learn how to read so I can read to my friends"), and a few class projects including info about each of the students. Ms Thomas mentioned on two occasions that Francie "has a lot of spirit" and that she "doesn't lack confidence."

Very slowly, she is officially learning to read. This month she's enjoyed learning to both sound-out and memorize those easy-peasy Biscuit books - and it makes my heart sing to think about the world she'll gain access to when she masters literacy!

F: I took someone to the office today during recess. They tripped.
Me: Oh yeah?
F: And you know what? I told Modesty I was really good at it because you're a speech language pathologist.
Me: Good at what?
F: Going to the office and helping people.

(sparkling cider, dudes)

"Circus" - as in Cirque du Soleil. I love it!

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