Thursday, August 28, 2008

Future Olympians? Probably Not

The girls are loving gymnastics, and they are getting better. But they're definitely not the most coordinated girls in their class (like their mom). They do have very good rhythm and they love music, so I think I passed on some good stuff too, but I sure hope they don't have their hearts set on college cheerleading! Cartwheels? Not so much. But here are a couple of pics on the balance beam. They're pretty good at that.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Just a little mud-slinging

It's been raining, and raining, and raining. The girls got off the bus today and started splashing through the puddles on the way home. I asked them to stop playing in the puddles in their good clothes, so of course you know what they heard..."put on some play clothes and THEN splash in the mud!" Well, it did look like fun, so I let them enjoy it until the mud-slinging got out of hand.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sarah's love affair

Sarah LOVES her teacher. Yesterday we went to the Dollar Tree, just for an outing, and Sarah wanted to buy a present for her teacher. She got her a little glass paperweight with an etched butterfly in it. She wrapped it carefully and took it to school with her today. I remember feeling the same way about my first grade teacher, Mrs. Towey - I loved her and I learned so much from her. I remember more about my first grade year than I do about any other year. Mr. Funny Bunny readers. A file box filled with ideas for stories. The reading corner. Visiting Mrs. Towey at her house, because she lived down the street and I liked to go say hi.
I'm happy that Sarah has the same relationship with her new teacher. And I definitely know why she feels this way - Mrs. K is really awesome.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sarah, the Pharmaceutical Rep

This morning the girls played in Perry's office and got some of his supplies out of the closet. Sarah asked what he used them for, and Perry said he gave them to doctors to tell them about the medicine he sells.
Later, on the couch, Sarah gave me one of the pamphlets and said, "Tell the doctor if your migraine medicine doesn’t work, and he’ll give you some margarita medicine. It should work on everything and make you feel better."
I just had to post that before I forgot. And no, I don't drink a lot of margaritas!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Abby's Favorite Olympic Sport

What a wet, gray day, thanks to tropical storm Fay. It looks like we'll have quite a few days of this. We ventured out to rent a couple of movies, but that was our only outing this morning. After we all took a long, rainy day nap, we turned on the Olympics and found rhythmic gymnastics. I really didn't think this was still a sport, but I was wrong. The girls really liked it; in fact Abby loved it. They found appropriate attire and spent the next hour performing with ribbons. We watched the "pink girl" (who won the gold) five times.They even found medals and reenacted the medal ceremony, with both of them winning gold. Here are a few pics. Notice that Sarah taped her hands and wrists like the gymnasts do.

We had a birthday party at 6pm for one of Sarah's new classmates. It was supposed to be a swimming party, but the weather didn't cooperate, so it was at his house. It was good to get to know some of the other moms and kids, and everyone had fun despite the change in plans.

Emma Faith

We've been seeing some really cute pics of Emma Faith lately (Holly & Tim's baby). She is just precious and we can't wait to see her next month! Here's a preview:

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Foreign Language

A friend of mine told me that the kindergarten teachers are doing assessments this week. I really had no idea what that meant, so I emailed Abby's teacher to see if I could get some insight into the process. She told me that they were doing MMI and DIBELS this week. OK, that's great, but what does that mean? I've quickly realized that school is a whole new world, and one that I know very little about. I'm not the type to just let things happen - I have to understand the what and the why. So I've been doing some research and trying to decipher all these new acronyms. I've got DIBELS figured out; in fact there's an official website and you can even see the exact questions they ask the kids. The MMI is still a mystery, but I'm sure my sister can help me. I know it's a math assessment, and I think it stands for Mobile Math Initiative, but I don't know what types of questions are asked.

Maybe I shouldn't concern myself with things like this. I asked the girls if they were asked any questions about letters or reading or math, and Abby said "no" while Sarah said "I think so but I don't remember what the questions were about." So obviously they weren't concerned by the process. And, I know we'll be faced with assessments and standardized tests for the next 13 years. But I want to understand what's going on in the classroom. Am I the only one who has the need to know?

A funny Abby story: After dinner, she asked if we could have movie night. I really wasn't up for it - I was willing to watch a short TV show, but I didn't want an hour and a half movie. So as I paused, thinking of a compromise, she said "I really want to watch 27 Dresses." I almost choked on my tea. Where did she come up with this?! A few months ago, Perry rented this for me, and the girls knew I wanted to see it and knew that it wasn't a kid movie. But why did she remember it? So funny. Then she asked if she could watch it when she's a teenager. Too cute.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A New Day

Sorry about the frustrated post last night. It was just one of those days. Today has been much, much better. Everyone slept well last night (well, Abby was up to her usual tricks, but there were no bad dreams), our morning routine went smoothly, and we even managed to get out of the house early! My hike was great - it wasn't too hot, and I was able to get to know some of my new friends a lot better. We had a nice, relaxing family afternoon with no planned activities, and got the girls tucked into bed by 7. So maybe Wednesdays are just going to be the worst day of the week, the day when the go go go catches up with us. Thursdays will be the day we catch our breath, and then, it's Finally Friday!
Perry and I have had some good conversations about Sarah the past couple of days, and we have some thoughts about how to help her adjust and also how to manage her Type A personality. I like Lane's idea about some kid-friendly meditation/relaxation ideas for Abby, to help her settle down at night. We'll have to work on that.
Sarah watched a Radio Disney concert video this afternoon in the basement. She was dancing away, loving life, and it was so refreshing to see! She asked if we could get a disco ball to put in the basement! Perry laughed, but I love that idea! How fun!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Does it get any easier?

I was really hoping that we'd be settling into our new routine by now, but honestly this week seems worse than last week! Abby continues to stay up for an hour after we say goodnight, flipping through books. And then at 5:30am, like clockwork, I hear her flipping pages again, and soon moving to the playroom, all of which disturbs Sarah, me, and sometimes even Perry. So she's tired, and Sarah's tired, and they're both cranky, and I'm just OVER it! To make matters worse, Sarah isn't sleeping well. She had a bad dream a couple of nights ago - her first as far as I know. It's a bad feeling to wake up at 4am to someone tapping you on the shoulder! She seems anxious and overwhelmed, and I hate to see this at such a young age! Why can't we just pass along our good traits to our kids, and leave all of our baggage out of it?
I'm going to buy some black-out fabric to re-line their curtains, hoping that will somehow help Abby reset her internal clock. But I'm not sure yet what to do for Sarah. And as for me, well, tomorrow I'm going hiking. That should help.

Monday, August 18, 2008


We took Sarah to a pediatric neurologist today. My gut told me that she's OK, she just gets headaches and that's life. But she's only 5, and I didn't get my first migraine until I was 19, and it just worries me and makes me sad that she's getting them already. So our pediatrician suggested we go talk to an expert, just to be sure, and also to get some treatment advice. Based on Sarah's responses to his questions, and a brief exam, his official diagnosis is that she's getting headaches (lately she complains about a headache almost every day), possibly due to her personality (yes...Type A like her mom), possibly due to certain triggers in her diet (one possible culprit is aged cheeses - I've never heard this one before but we do eat a lot of cheese around here and we generally avoid most of the other triggers he mentioned), and probably just because some people are prone to headaches. He also diagnosed her with migraines, but since she only gets them once a month, or even less, he gave us some treatment ideas but not much advice on how to avoid them. I'll continue to keep a journal to keep track of them, but most likely this is just going to be something she'll have to learn to cope with. Still, I'm glad we saw him - we can check in with him over the years, and he's on top of the latest headache research. I really liked that he wasn't overly aggressive - he didn't want to do any MRIs or scans, he didn't want to start either of us on daily medication, and he had several "alternative" suggestions (other than prescription drugs) that might help.
Although we weren't there to talk about my migraines, he was interested in my history and he did suggest that I add Vitamin B2 supplements to my diet to see if that cuts down on the frequency of mine. 300mg, for those of you who also get migraines. For children, the dose is 100mg, but it's only available in pills, and Sarah won't swallow a pill yet, and evidently they taste horrible.
After our appointment, we went by the library to kill a little time before the girls' first ballet/tap class. They had fun. There are only 5 girls in their class so they'll be getting plenty of one-on-one attention!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Roller Skating

We went to cousin Clay's 6th birthday party tonight at the roller rink. What fun! Once we tightened the wheels on the girls' skates, they did great. We had the whole rink to ourselves which was so awesome - just a bunch of little kids, and their parents, skating and falling, skating and falling. They also had these really neat little scooter things that the kids could ride, and that kept everyone entertained. I was even able to skate by myself for a bit and get some much-needed exercise. I think it always amazes Perry that I can skate, because I'm not the most coordinated person in the world, but my days of living on the beach forced me to learn some (very basic) skating skills! Sorry to disappoint you, though...there are no pictures of me on skates!

But I do have this adorable picture of Lanie and her grandpa Bill. Lanie is really getting big - it's amazing how fast they grow! And of course, a pic of the birthday boy. Happy Birthday, Clay!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Hole in the Ceiling / James Knocks Poke

Sarah told me about their science experiment today. I'm sure I'll miss some steps, but I think it went like this:
"We took a jar and put some water in it, then we put some tablets in the water, kind of like the tablets that turned the water a color, but bigger, and these didn't change colors, and then you put the lid on, and then the bubbles start, and get really really big, and the pressure builds up (yes, she did say this!), and then the top blew off and hit the ceiling and made a hole in the ceiling!"
Abby's eyes were so big after this story, and she said, "Wow - I really want to see that hole before the men come to board it up!" I'm guessing (hoping) that the hole wasn't that big!
I wish: a) that my kindergarten teacher had been this cool, and b) that someone had a video of this event. I would love to see the kids faces! I asked if the teacher was upset or laughing, because I wanted to know if this was the intended result. Sarah said that Mrs. K just said, "That's cool!"
Updated after an email from Debbie: the tablet was Alka Seltzer, and the "jar" was a film canister. Why didn't I think of that? So I'm guessing it's just a tiny hole!

On another note, we've been learning Presidents after dinner each night. Debbie and I found these cool Presidents flashcards at the Dollar Spot at Target, and they have pictures on the front and tons of facts about each President. So we're talking about one each night, and trying to remember them. Some are easier than others. We always get #4, James Madison, but we struggled with #5 until we came up with the rhyme "there are two Jameses in a row, the second one is James Monroe" . Then we know that #6 is the son of #2, so that helps. Tonight we got to #11 - James Knox Polk. This is a hard one to remember - 3 names, 2 of which are very unusual. So Abby decided to knock on the table for "knocks"/Knox and poke me with her finger for "poke"/Polk (it's close!) I thought that was pretty ingenious - and I'll bet we remember it tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Only 4 days - and look what they've learned!

Sarah's teacher is one of two state finalists for a Presidential Science award. So needless to say, her class does a lot of science projects. Sarah loves it. Yesterday they did an "experiment" (her new word) where they dissolved colored ice cubes and color tablets in water. (Sarah's teacher emailed this picture to me from school - what an amazing teacher!) Today she played "sink or float" with crayons. She is really loving school and especially her teacher. Yea!
Abby doesn't share much about school, at least not compared to Sarah. She sings songs that she learned, and yesterday she told us a story about "Hermie the Worm" that she learned in the library, but her discussions with us haven't focused on academics. But tonight at bedtime, she sang a song about "a,e,i,o,u, and sometimes the letter y". I asked what those were, and she said vowels. Then she explained how they make sounds in words, and she was even able to tell me when "y" is a vowel and when it isn't. I was impressed.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Family Hike

We all went to Oak Mountain State Park again yesterday. My plan for the day was to stay home and hang out, watch the Olympics, and just enjoy some downtime. But, by 9am, it was apparent that my plan wasn't going to work. Everyone was cranky and we needed to get out. So P suggested OMSP, and I agreed immediately. The weather has cooled off considerably since the big Thursday storm, plus it was a little overcast, so I thought it was a great plan, and the girls agreed.

We decided to try to find the waterfall, Peavine Falls. We drove all the way up to the top of the mountain, had a snack overlooking a part of the city that we didn't recognize, and then found the trail.

It was an awesome hike. The girls collected lots of treasures along the way: changing leaves, moss-covered bark, berries, pine straw, etc. I collected treasures with my camera: flowers, berries, spider webs, mushrooms, and some unidentified pod-looking things (ideas, anyone?).

We hiked up a hill and down a big rocky hill and through the woods, over rocks and under branches and over a bridge (but oops - back again - wrong way) and finally gave up when we realized that the stream we'd been following was now dry. No chance of a waterfall this time. Oh well, it was absolutely beautiful and great exercise too, and we'd all had fun.

On the hike back, Abby took control of Bailey (she's the dog-master) while Sarah and I were very diligent trash collectors. I can't begin to tell you how much it bothers me to see litter on our hikes. Not just cigarette butts, although there are tons of those, but beer cans and soda cans and water bottles and snack wrappers, etc. etc. etc. We filled a grocery sack and could have gotten more but Daddy was tired of waiting for us while we tried to get every cig butt off the trail.

Hiking these trails reminds me of LA. I loved hiking the hills of Santa Monica and Mulholland. Just last week I found a great pic of Gayle and Simone on a hike with me, and I miss those days! I think I need to find some local hiking gals.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Thurs/Fri Update

I wanted to update yesterday when S&A got home, but I had an awful migraine yesterday and it got much worse as the day progressed. By the time I got them into bed, I had to take some drugs and crawl into bed myself. Fortunately I'm all better today, so I'll attempt to summarize both days (while watching the Olympics - so forgive me if I ramble a bit).

Yesterday was a great first day for the girls. They both had fun, and said the best part was riding the bus home! For me, that was the worst part, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. Unfortunately, we had a severe thunderstorm roll through here around 2:30 yesterday, complete with the loud warning beeps on the Weather Channel, so I was a nervous wreck about them being on the bus. The rains let up around 3:00, and the bus showed up at our street at 3:25 (not 3:07 as posted, but it was the first day and they had probably waited for the storms to subside). S&A were literally beaming when they climbed off - what a thrill for them!

While they were at school, I ran some errands and then met 12 of my girlfriends from my "pre-kindergarten" group at CPK for lunch. These ladies are such a blessing to me. I'm so amazed at how quickly I was able to plug into a support group here, a group of ladies with children about to enter kindergarten at S&A's school, women to cry with, laugh with, call for advice, etc. We had fun, and only a couple of us cried.

Last night before bed, I asked the girls to pick out clothes for school. Sarah said, "We have kindergarten AGAIN tomorrow?" Fortunately we have the weekend off now - I'm afraid next week will be very long for all of us!

Sarah is much better about telling us what happened during the day; Abby told me she got to go to a center in the loft and that was her best part of the day, and she had ice cream on the playground and chocolate milk at lunch. That's all I got from her! Sarah said there are 9 "females" and 8 "males" in her class (new words for her), a boy in her class was sent to the principal's office for jumping on another boy (on the second day? yikes!), she described a very involved game they played in the gym yesterday with lots of jungle animals and spitting praying mantises (is that the plural of mantis? anyway, they used straws and cottonballs to "spit"), and much more. she's funny - thoughts of her day just pop into her head so I get little snippets here and there.

We made pizzas for dinner tonight and then watched a little bit of the opening ceremonies before putting the girls to bed. I'm recording it all for them - they're very interested in China and excited about seeing gymnastics, but Abby is sad because ballet isn't an Olympic sport too.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

And They're Off...

Before we left, Sarah said she was nervous but more excited than nervous. Waiting in the carpool line, she said she was very nervous but a little excited. By the time we got to the front of the line, she was all nervous and not at all excited. But she got out of the car and walked in like a big girl, never once looking back. Abby? Excited - very, very excited.

I made it home before I cried.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Magic Confetti

We had a good "last day". We went to see Debbie's room, and the girls played "teacher". They taught us how to draw and read and the first five Presidents, but the funniest part was that they were both trying to teach at the same time. Debbie and I had a hard time keeping up!

Gymnastics classes start next week, so we decided on a shopping trip to Academy for our outing today. I was looking for something without the shiny, sequin look, but I lost the battle. Sarah looks like she's ready for the Olympics, with red white and blue shiny leotards, and Abby got the shiniest pink and purple outfits she could find. I decided to pick my battles, and this wasn't one of them!

The girls entertained each other this afternoon (and kept me laughing, despite my migraine). They hid Easter eggs (what? don't you play with Easter eggs in August?) and then cooked with them, then brought out a bunch of animals to play class, and later we played a hot game of Trouble. Sarah won, but only because I was nice and didn't send her home if I had another move! After the game, Abby meditated (complete with sound effects). I'm really not sure where she learned this!

Tonight they took a bath, read books, said their prayers, and then sprinkled their Magic Confetti under their pillow, which is supposed to help them sleep and be well-rested for school. I wish I had some of that!
Goodnight, my sweet baby girls. Tomorrow...KINDERGARTEN!

Monday, August 4, 2008

One Step Closer

Sarah started the day by drawing a picture. There were two little girls in a big school, and they were both nervous. Between them was a big kid. I asked if they were nervous because of the big building or the big kid, and she said both. So I explained that the big kids were nice and very helpful to the kindergarteners; they will help in the classroom and getting around the school. That seemed to make her feel a little better. Then she added a big playground to the picture, with a little girl at the top of the slide and a teacher at the bottom. She said the teacher would catch her at the bottom. She signed her name and decided to take it to her teacher today.
Meet the Teacher went well. Abby walked right in, met her teacher, and then started playing with other kids. Sarah met her teacher and then sat down to look at the paperwork and help me sort through everything we needed to do: fill out forms, find her cubby, get her picture taken, sort her supplies. So different! I was so proud of them both. I know that Sarah was nervous, but she handled it really well.
When we got home, I asked Sarah how she was feeling. Was she still nervous? Was she excited? Did she think it would be fun? She said she wasn't nervous anymore and she thought it was going to be really fun.
Perry and I went to the parent meeting tonight (thanks, Sue & Bill, for keeping all FIVE kids!) - I went to Sarah's room and Perry went to Abby's. I had a list of questions for Perry to take with him, and evidently he entertained all the moms in the room with his list "prepared by his wife". Too funny. But he took good notes and I feel prepared.
When we got home tonight, Abby was asking a lot of questions about her room and her teacher. She actually sounded a little nervous. I hope I'm wrong about that, because I can handle Sarah's nerves, but I can't handle Abby if she decides she doesn't want to go!

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Tomorrow we go to Meet the Teacher, and I'm really excited. We found out their teachers last week and I think we've got two really great ones. Their classes are right across from each other, so that's really great, too.
Abby is very excited, but Sarah is feeling a bit nervous. When I ask what exactly worries her, she says it's the size of the school. "It's so big, and there are so many kids." I know she'll be fine - we know 3 girls in her class and her teacher looks really sweet. But I feel for her, and I'm sorry she's scared. I hope tomorrow she'll be brave and bold, with no tears.
Surprisingly, I'm not feeling weepy. Maybe Thursday will be harder than I think, but I'm hoping my excitement will quell any first-day sadness. If anyone has any tips for keeping my sanity that first day, please let me know! My sister says that I absolutely cannot come home to an empty, quiet house that day. I'm sure she's right, so I've got to make a plan.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


We went bowling this morning. I had actually intended to send P with the girls, while I stayed home to unpack from our trip, wash clothes, and enjoy some solitude. But Sarah was very persuasive - she said she really wanted us to go bowling as a family, before school started. She said I could do all those things tomorrow. And she was right, so I went.

We are not good bowlers. I'm actually a terrible bowler, but really none of us is any good. Abby won with an 84, but she and Sarah had bumpers and that really would have helped me! Oh well, it was a fun outing. But expensive - since when does it cost a family of four $40 for one hour of bowling? That's outrageous! We won't be going again anytime soon-

Middle Earth

We spent some time at Grandmother and Grandfather's "farm" this week (Middle Earth). It was a short visit but we packed a lot in. I got some great pics so I'll try to put in as many as I can.

On Wednesday, we walked through one of the gardens looking at all the butterflies, and we walked the labyrinth. Here's a picture of Abby, who was determined to make it to the middle! After cooling off in the house for awhile, the girls explored the greenhouses and the yurt with Grandmother, then fed the chickens and collected the eggs with Grandfather. Before dinner, we went on a hayride and then ate dinner out back on the screened porch so we could watch the hummingbirds and even see the deer come up close to check us out. It had been a long day, so we got ready for bed early, and Abby checked out the fairy tree before saying goodnight.

Thursday we built a fairy house out in the woods, and spent a lot of time collecting twigs, feathers, rocks, bark, berries, and flowers to decorate it. Sarah helped Grandmother collect vegetables in the garden.

It really was a great visit. It's a magical place, especially for Abby. She really believes that fairies live in those woods, and sometimes when we see the butterflies we wonder if they might actually be fairies. I hope it takes her a long time to outgrow this magical phase!