Saturday, June 24, 2017

First Half of 2017

It was the first half of 2017, but the 2nd half and end of kindergarten for the girls, and the end of an era with Jake, who is no longer wearing pullups/diapers. I'm relieved, but I really do miss that "swishing" sound a diaper makes when a little one is running.

So, an update on each kid starting with the oldest. Catherine had a great end to the year. We had lots of struggles with her reading. She HATED it. Lots of tears and crying and running away and compromises. But, we found that she likes reading science nonfiction and suddenly everything turned around. She completed the 8 books she needed to read to get a free book at B&N this summer by reading hard books or long books. I told her she could choose something shorter but she said "no" and we are so proud. In fact, to finish up she read 3 books in one sitting, and they were long ones! She doesn't hate reading anymore because she says she's good at it now and it makes us smile. Her math skills are a different story. She really likes math (and science, of course) and knows a lot of her addition facts already. She loves to do her math workbook and flash cards and math racing game. Though, that last one is probably because of the racing. We introduced her to Mario Kart and the girl is a natural. Sometimes she even beats Dave and he swears he's not letting her win! In December she lost her first tooth and it was quite an event. Her teacher brought her to my class and all the 8th graders congratulated her. It was very sweet. Her teacher really just wanted me to take responsibility for the tooth ;-)

Our budding scientist!

Samantha had a wonderful year! She was in the advanced reading group and read out loud in front of everyone at kindergarten graduation (which was a bigger deal than it needed to be, but it was cute). When she read she was the clearest and loudest of the 3 kids and I almost cried. It was so interesting to see them that day. Catherine walked down the aisle giggling and looking at us and smiling. Sam walked down so seriously and wouldn't even turn around when my dad tugged on her hair when she sat in front of us. The exact opposite of what I would have thought would happen, and it was nice to see that side of Sam. They still surprise me. Sam reads so much and I'm so surprised at how quick she is and how well she uses context clues and the first syllable of a word to guess what it is. She's right most of the time and the words are HARD! Chapter books are not a problem for her on her own. She still sings most of the day and Cat just smiles and rolls her eyes, which is an improvement. Sam can't wait to join Jr. Choir next year.

This picture captures Sam's spirit perfectly!

We gave gymnastics a break and did soccer for a while. Cat is once again a natural. Her teacher encourages her to beat the boys in races at school, which she does, and her PE teachers calls her the road runner because she's so fast you can't see her legs. I think she will be good at almost every sport she tries, except maybe mini golf. She gets frustrated and goes too fast and wants a hole in one every time. She plays mini golf like John MacEnroe played tennis. It's not pretty. But on the soccer field she has real vision. She can see where the ball is going and knows her angles on the field to cut off the player, something most kids this age can't do. She's great at defense! On offense we just need her to look up more often to see where she's going before she dribbles right over the end line. Sam was not as adept, but she loved to play goalie and was good at it. She also got better and better every time and had some really good shots and throw ins on her last game, which was her best over all. She was distracted a lot, because she was working on losing her first tooth, still is in fact, and a finger in her mouth wiggling it most of the time. Of course, she made lots of friends with kids and adults alike. Everyone is still her friend, no matter what. Our sunny, positive Samantha. We were so proud of both of them.

Throw in by Sam!

Jake amazes us all the time with his skills. He knows all his shapes, letters, numbers, colors, can count to 10, and his fine motor skills are better than some kids I see in PreK at the end of the year. He'll start school in January and he is so EXCITED about it. He would start sooner, but he's not quite ready yet to sit still and follow instruction for that long a period of time, which is fine, he did just turn 3 last month. He's also starting to sing and he loves to play sports and tackle people. He's built like a tank and we are working on "being gentle". He plays Mario Kart, too, and every now and then he doesn't finish last. I guess he's learning how not to be a sore loser, which is a good skill. He is just 1.5lbs shy of Catherine's weight and he's getting really good at riding his tricycle.

Celebrating the end of the school year at a baseball game. Jake got to see fireworks for the first time and there were 2 home runs to make the bull's eyes light up.

Birthday fun! The girls had an all-girl rainbow paint party and have had the painting bug ever since. Jake's new favorite show is Mickey and the Roadster Racers so that's what kind of cake he had.

Fun family time visiting Clark cousins in Arkansas. Our first trip across the Mississippi. Hannah and the girls bonded, and Jake loved hanging out with Samuel. They had a blast and keep asking when we can get together again. Soon, we hope.

This summer we're working on more reading and writing and math skills and Jake is working on cutting, pasting, and tracing to get him used to sitting at a task for more than 3-5 minutes. Cat is also working to learn how to play piano on her keyboard with a primer book we got to help us. I think Sam wants to learn, too, which will help her singing when she can read music. Today Dave was sighing when Jake once again asked him to take him potty and I started giggling. Cat asked why and I told her that life in this house can be hard sometimes, but I love it. She said "yeah, I really like it too". That sums it up around here.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fall 2016

Look at those 3 faces!! We had a quick but fun-filled fall. It amazed us how fast it went by. At first it was a very quick start to the school year. The girls are in Kindergarten and wearing uniforms to school. They love their teachers and had excellent report cards for the first quarter. We are so proud of the progress they are making.

And then we were buying pumpkins! Admittedly, it was a hot day in October, but still, pumpkins all f a sudden. We got 2 regular ones to carve (see my latest efforts below, I was pretty proud of myself!), Jake got a gourd, and then 2 large white ones that each weighed over 40 pounds. 

Cat was Ariel the mermaid princess, Jake was the BB8 droid from Star Wars, and Sam was the Queen of Hearts from Alice and Wonderland. We had a ton of fun at the Halloween carnival, especially Jake, and then we went trick-or-treating at a few houses in our neighborhood. Just enough candy, not too much ;-)


And then there was a hurricane! The wind was not nearly so bad, and though it rained a LOT, it stayed away from our house. Dave and the kids went down to the creek to see how high it was and stomped through ankle-deep water to the bridge into the woods.

Oh Jake! We love this little boy so much, despite all the trouble he gets in to. He knows how to make 'the sad face' and stick out his lower lip and say awwww and then pretend to be all upset with his head down in his hands. It is all an act and we all know it, including the girls, who can't help but laugh at him. He now knows all his letters, colors, and numbers and counts pretty well. He thinks he can read because he likes to point to words on the page as you read them and repeat them. His new favorite thing to do is play basketball. He kept trying to go outside and play so we got him an indoor hoop that hangs down from a door. He also is working on his potty skills, but we have to be careful. He likes his underwear so much he thinks they should be 'outerwear' and he doesn't want to wear pants. We walk fine lines around here sometimes.

Samantha is still our little positive cheerleader. She is doing great in school and has been put into a small advanced reading group. She still sings any chance she gets and always wants to do pretend games, especially if it involves princesses or school. Princesses at school is the best!  We're working on getting her to understand that there is a difference between helping and getting into other people's business, which is hard for a lot of people. She just really wants everyone to be happy because she usually is.

Catherine loves school this year! She enjoys talking about what she's learning and gets excited to show us her work. She's doing very well, too, and is right on track. We just wish she would show us how much she knows like she does at school with her teachers. We're still trying to get her to be more confident at home. Her artwork is amazing and her reading and writing are really coming along because she now wants to put words and stories to what she draws. Her other new hobby has been fixing hair and learning to braid and experiment with clips. It's been interesting around here.

And now my favorite season is coming up, Christmas season. We've already started decorating and took one trip to see Santa already. More to come with lights and presents and the Santa Train and fun times with family.