Sunday, October 30, 2011

Annual Family Fall Photo: Bengstons Pumpkin Farm

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Parent-Teacher Conferences: Brag Post

Okay, you were warned in the title.  This post will mostly be me bragging about our oldest daughters.  I'm so proud of them, I have to share.  So, is that bragging or sharing my pride?  Either way, here goes...

According to her report card and her teacher, she exceeds in the following:
  • Reading: She can read up to 144 words per minute.  Most children her age will excel at 60 words. 
  • Math: She passes with pefect scores on all of her timed-tests, will finish her in-school math work quickly and correctly
  • Writing: She is getting better at adding details and exploring the use of adjectives
  • Spelling: She gets 100% on her weekly tests each week
What to work on:
  • Taking her time.  She speeds through things, and while they are correct, her handwriting is sloppy.  This also takes away from detailed story-writing.  Last year she really took her time, wanting things to be as perfect as possible.  This year, she wants to get done as quickly as possible.
  • She is friendly and social, and has a lot of friends
  • She listens and is a good student
  • She does get caught playing during learning time.  She tends to bring these little toys to school that are keychains that hook to her backpack and then will play with them at her desk or during rug/story time.

According to her report card and teacher, she excels in:
  • Spelling
  • Writing: Her journalling has improved since the beginning of school.
  • Math and counting
What to work on:
  • Handwriting, although her teacher told us her handwriting is one of the neatest in the class.  Handwriting is "graded" on a 1, 2, or 3 scale, 3 being the best.  Kate tends to get 2's on her handwriting, but her teacher told me that is just because there is room for improvement, not that it's bad.
  • According to Mrs. Krippelz, "Katie is such a delight to have in class."  Katie is a great listener, very quiet, and follows instructions.  She does her work, has friends, shows compassion and empathy.
  • She plays school a lot during indoor recess versus playing games with friends, but she (the teacher) said that Kate is always surrounded by others and is very social.

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Ready for the Weather Change


Someone just needs shoes and a jacket...

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Joe's Surprise Visit

Joe called us, well, Peter, a couple weeks ago asking what we were doing the next week.  He was coming for an impromtu visit, and it worked well with our schedule.  We kept telling the girls we were going to have a houseguest, but wouldn't tell them who, or even the gender.  When they went to the basement on Tuesday morning and saw Uncle Joe, or Uncle Smart-Stuff as they now call him, they were so excited.  Since the girls were in school most of the time, we just hung out at home with Rowe and Charlie.  He also did some babysitting while Peter was at work and I needed to see a client.


Thursday, Joe's last day, the girls had a short day at they too advantage and went to Haunted Trails.  They played some games, rode some rides, and played lazer tag.

Thanks for a wonderful visit, Uncle Joe!  We can't wait to see you at Christmas!
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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Whoa! Busy Month!

So, once again, I'm behind on my blogging, and I promise I will catch up.  I also promise to include a lot of pictures and minimal words (that's for you, Wesley).  But, to quickly recap our past 6 weeks (one in September and all of October):
  • Trip to Canton, MI to visit Wesley, Leann, and Izzy for Isabel's Baptism
  • Nana comes in for a visit and we have Cozzo's wedding
  • Donna and Matt's wedding
  • Uncle Joe comes in for a surprise visit from California
  • Trip to Frankenmuth, MI for our annual fall family fun with GAP, Grammie, Poppy, Wesley, Leann, Izzy, and Uncle Brian
  • Uncle Brian comes in for a visit from California
  • Halloween...and the four day celebration with school parties, malls, trunk-or-treats, and the actual Halloween day/night.
I'm thinking November will be a calm month, although we do have Thanksgiving and Charlie's FIRST birthday to celebrate!  And then, it's December, with it's holiday-filled fun and school break.  So, mabe January will be calm?

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Most Powerful Tool

You know what is amazing?  Watching your children learn.  I have always loved watching babies figure things out, learning techniques; observing those proud "ah-ha" moments.  Recently, Charlie has figured out how to overcome all of our baracades in the family room to keep him from stairs, electrical cords, and bathrooms.  It is awesome, just wonderful to see his joy in this accomplishment (I have a video of one of these moments). 

Well, I really thought that this excitment (of watching your child learn) would be gone by the time the kids were in school.  Yes, they are obviously still learning, but it's different.  For one, I'm not there.  They are taught in a school by a teacher, so I don't really get to see these moments often now.  Tonight was different.  Katie is learning to read and it's wonderful!  She feels so powerful!  I just love it.

I honestly think one of the most powerful tools and empowering abilities is to be able to read.  Without this, you may feel lost, alienated, and well, just without so much information, knowledge, and entertainment.

Katie has been reading various books (aloud to us) assigned to her by her teacher every night. Most are very simple books and she rarely struggles with a word.  Tonight, we went to a book fair at the school and Uncle Joe bought the girls about 20 chapter books.  (THANKS, UNCLE JOE).  Katie is beginning her first chapter book.  I have read her several chapter books (small ones) over the past 15 months or so, but this is the first she is reading.  It took about 20 minutes, but Kate read 3 pages aloud all by herself, sounding out difficult words like magical, librarian, adventure, and ancient.  I am so proud of her.  To understand what she is reading, she will slowly read every word and then when she gets to the end of the sentence she'll reread it fluently. 

Way to go, Katie! Soon, you will have your own reading light and read yourself to sleep like Delaney, Mom, and Daddy!  We are so proud of your hard work and determination.
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Socialization of Kids

It's wonderful having school-aged children for several reasons. One is that the house is somewhat less-choatic when they are gone from around 8:30am until after 4pm.  I can do fun "little kid" things with Rowe and Charlie. I definitely get grocery shopping done then! And, they meet other kids their age and make friends of their own (vs. our friends' kids).  However, of course, there is a downside to the socializaton of children...learning from other children.  Yeah.  When Delaney and Katie went to preschool, they came home with a few new things I didn't care for.  I can't honestly remember what they were now, but I do recall at the time getting annoyed and frustrated with things they would say, attitudes they picked up from peers, etc.

Once they started elementary school, all filters were gone.  We never use the words stupid or shut up in our home.  I find them to be rude, mean, and just completely uncalled for.  I'd rather my kid say shit or damnit.  Truly.  When you call someone stupid or tell someone to shut up, it's just hurtful.  But, if they are frustrated and say damnit, well, to me, it's not toward someone and it's not hurtful but more frustration.  Anyway...come Grand Prairie (or any school-public or private), my kids had a whole new vocabulary.  We try to monitor their language, reminding them what is inappropriate, mean, hurtful, etc.  One thing I hear often in our house this year is: Meaner, meaner, fu-fu-feaner.  Yeah, doesn't make sense, but they say that to one another when their feelings are hurt or when they feel left out.  Also, and I cannot stand this one, is Stupid Head.  UGH!  I've never heard them say it, but I've been the ears of the tattler for many occasions. And, the best's one of the lovely things that Rowena has adopted.  So, the other day when I didn't do what she wanted, I heard: "Mommy, you stupie ead."  Great.  Delaney started screaming at Rowe the other day because Rowe kept repeating that over and over again, calling Delaney "Stupie 'ead."  I just smiled and reminded her that she must be a wonderful teacher.  She huffed and walked away.  But, it's true...peers and siblings are wonderful teachers...for both the positive and negative sides to the socialization of kids.
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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cozzo's Wedding

Since my camera has bit the dust, I rarely bring a camera with me and take pictures (except when going somewhere with the kids).  So, unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures at Jeff's wedding.

Jeff and Dena celebrated their marriage on Sunday, October 2, 2011.  We had so much fun at the rehearsal and wedding.  It was in Joliet at the Patrick Haley Mansion.  It was gorgeous and the weather was perfect--super sunny and somewhat hot.  The ceremony was outside with a small, intimate bridal party (three attendants each).  Peter was one of the groomsmen.  Inside we had tasty food, awesome beverages--including "The Coz" which was a grape-type of martini with a grape in the bottom of the glass.  It was so tasty, I decided to limit myself to two.  I mean, it was a Sunday after all, I work on Mondays, and taking care of four kids hungover...not so fun!

These are the photos (I stole from Facebook) from the day.

The ceremony

 The beautiful bride

 The bridal party
 The EIU gang: Me, Katie, Nicole, Deanna, Heather, Rich, Jeff (aka, the groom), Dennis, Dolly, Peter, and Lane
 The Ladies: Me, Dolly, Katie, Heather, Nicole, and Deanna
 The Happy Couple!

We are so very happy for you!  Now, have a few kids! ;)
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Sleepy Boy

I took Delaney and Katie to the bus stop the other day and came in to get Charlie and Rowe for a morning outing, and this is how I found Charlie (with Peter right near by).

Tired little guy!


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Dollinger Pumpkin Farm with the Sylvester Twins

On Wednesday, October 5th, it was a gorgeous morning, so we packed up for a couple hours and met the Sylvester Twins at Dollinger Pumpkin Farm.  We didn't stay very long, but long enough to get the kids out for a bit and get some fresh air.

This pumpkin patch happens to be one of the very rare FREE ones.  They have a fun playplace, although our Littles didn't spend too much time there...

Rowe was a little sad the bunnies didn't have any food or water.  However, the bunnies weren't there either.
 Ah, the classic, "I'm this tall this fall..." pictures

Then, the classic "sit your kids amongst the pumpkins" photo(s)


Henderson Babies sandwiched between the Sylvester Twins

 Henry and Morgan educational piece 
And Rowena taking this opportunity to be a teacher:

Henry pays for his education in kisses...then Rowe is hooked, and chases him for more

I guess she just needed one more hug.

 Looking at the goats


Playing in the Teepee

 Trying to get a picture of Rowe and Charlie in front of the cute farm sign...

 Yeah, that didn't work.

Julie and the twins                                                                          Me with Rowe and Charlie

Lots of pictures for just an hour, huh?  And, yes, I do have a husband and two other children.  But PJ has been working, and Delaney and Kate are in school.  I did these fun things with them when they were young and weren't in school, and on days off we still do fun things.  I just need to take more pictures of those events, I guess.

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