Thursday, September 18, 2008

Princess Alice

(continued from post below "Princess Maya"...)

Maya and I thought we'd start teaching Alice a thing or two about dressing up. I think she'll be ready to join in the fun (as soon as she stops eating the feathers!)

Princess Maya

I should have done this photo shoot 6 months ago at the peak of Maya's obsession with dressing up. I love this girly-girl stage! It seems like between about 18 months and 3 years old they just can't get enough of dress ups. Maya is our accessory girl so even if she doesn't dress up in full garb she usually has the perfect shoes and a neclace, braclet or hat.

The other day I told her we were going to play dress-up and I would take pictures of her. She was so excited. It was fun to see my little shy girl get into posing. Hayley could pose all day for a camera but I rarely see that side of Maya. She got tired after 5 or 6 outfit changes...if we had made it all the way through the dress-up closet we would have been there all day. Our dress up collection is kind of like that magically multiplying stuffed animal box. But with 3 girls and many little friends that like to dress up too, we love it!

Here's my little princess Maya:

Monday, September 8, 2008

Money doesn't grow on trees!

If you read my post about my house not being a daycare you'll laugh at this new change in our life!

Somehow in the past year our grocery and gas bills have almost doubled--guess we're feeling the strain of a crazy inflated economy! I'm sure many of you know what I'm talking about. Ryan and I were both feeling the need to supplement our income a little so that we can meet financial goals that we have. We've both been blessed with perfect opportunities and are so grateful for such easy ways to make a little extra money right now with minimal impact to our family.

I am taking care of a 6 year old neighborhood girl before and after school. Her name is Jasmine. She arrives just before 6am. She rests while I exercise then we all get ready for school and I take her and Hayley to the same school together. What's one more body in the morning chaos anyways?!? She comes home with Hayley at 3:30 and we play and do homework. Her mom picks her up just before dinner. It couldn't be more perfect. I still get daytimes with just my 2 at home and we still get evenings with our family. To top it off I wouldn't have done it if Jasmine wasn't such an angel. She's so mature and well mannered. She and Hayley get along great and she's good with Maya and Alice. Thankgoodness for blessings!

Ryan is turtoring 2 high school boys. (Tutoring pays really great in the DC area if any of you need a side job!) He's teaching spanish to one of them (he's a homeschooled kid). The other boy he tutors in chemistry and algebra. Ryan is such a natural teacher and seems to actually be enjoying his new side-show! We're also grateful that as long as he heads into work early, he can get home for dinner and time with the family most nights!

Anyways, that's our solution to grow more money on our tree! What's yours?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Reporting in: First week of school

We survived the first week of school!

What an adjustment this has been for the whole family! I find my day suddenly revolving around a school schedule. I've been trying to tweak Alice's nap times so that I can drop off and pick up. Hayley isn't taking the school bus...Call me over-protective but I know the kids in our neighborhood and don't trust the older ones. So for now she'll get the chauffeur service!

I chose this week to send Maya through withdrawal...we made a new rule: no blankie and binki during the daytime. It was a rough couple of days. But we're on day #6 and she's pretty much accepted it. I know I left it until she was really old but it wasn't a battle I was willing to fight during the time that Alice was born and her newborn days. Anyways, she'll be binki-free before she's 3--hurray! I love that she talks lots more and plays more now that she doesn't spend half of her day in a zombie-like state with that plastic thing in her mouth!

Hayley loves her teachers and is suddenly very concerned about who her best friends are and who plays with whom. It's funny to me how aware she suddenly is of boys vs. girls. I don't think she has learned the name of one boy in her class but knows lots of the girls. I keep challenging her to learn the name of the little boy that she sits next and her response is a frustrated, "Mom, I'm just not interested!" I guess I should be happy, I'm sure things will be different in a few short years!

In interviewing Hayley, this is the report:
-The best thing at school was earning enough colors to complete her rainbow and thus earn a prize from the treasure chest. (Mom was impressed that it wasn't candy. She chose a cute little stuffed frog and named her Frogalina!)
-The most surprising thing about school was seeing some friends she knew--Scout and Bethany. (I'm not sure why this was surprising since she knew they would be there!)
-The scariest thing about school was that she thought the boys might tease her. (What I thought she would answer to that: she was terrified that she would misbehave and have to "change her color" from green to yellow then orange then red. It's a warning system they have set up for bad behavior. When they get to red a note goes home to mom and dad. She cried a couple time because she was so scared she would do something wrong and have to change her color. My sweet little sensitive thing!)

We're figuring out what helps to decompress and get to a socially acceptable level behavior after a full day of school. It's a big leap and emotions have run high this week. It has definitely felt like a full-time job last week just to keep everyone functioning and happy.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Starting School

Hayley started her first day of kindergarten today!

Wow, when did the years slip away?!? I had no idea how big of a deal this would be in my life. I feel like I just tore a piece of my heart out and watched it walk down a big school hallway! I know that everything that I'm feeling sounds dramatic and over-the-top, but you girls know that no amount of reasoning erases those emotions so here's what I'm thinking about today:

  • She's still so little
  • Will she eat all of her lunch?
  • Did I send enough food?
  • Will she remember to go potty before it's too late?
  • Will she be able to get her snap done up on her pants?
  • Will she feel as scared as me?
  • What if she needs a hug?
  • What if she falls down and gets hurt on the playground?
  • Did I teach her everything she needs to know to be on her own?
  • What about all those times I "failed" as a mom...I wonder if my chance to influence is over as a mom. It's hard to suddenly welcome so many other adults and kids into her circle of influence when I've been the only one 99% of the time.
  • Regrets! I remember all the times that I wasn't such a great mom. Wish I could re-do the last 5 years...I promise I'd be a better mom the second time around. Hind-sight is 20/20. I understand her so much more than I did a few years ago.
  • Is some punk kid going to say something mean?
  • What bad words will she hear today?
  • What if she misses me today?
  • What if she doesn't miss me today?

On the up-side, I'm so excited for her. The truth is she's my little independent, brave girl and is so excited about today. Anytime she starts to worry or feel nervous she gives herself pep-talks..."I know I can do it, I know I can!" She has more faith than any kid I know. It'll be sad when she finds out that you can't kneel down in the middle of the classroom to say a prayer because you can't figure out a problem. She loves to meet and make new friends and will be sweet and empathetic to any other kids that are scared.

She's my Hayley-bug and I can't wait to see her in 4 hours and 20 minutes!
This was her kindergarten orientation evening. It was fun to go see her classroom. Her teacher is Ms. Kellogg. She's a neighbor of ours and we feel so lucky to have her as Hayley's teacher! I love her fun-loving personality. When Ryan and I went and observed teachers at the school last year we were so impressed with how her kids respected her and she respected them. We also loved how the kids were leading their own learning through play.

Hayley was so excited to go meet kids in her class. She chose her clothes and told me how to do her hair. She even took 4 pencils to give to her 4 new best friends. She managed to give away two of them to girls that she met. One of the girls even gave her a pencil. She had the girls write their names down in a notebook she had taken. (She has a terrible time remembering names!) We practiced their names all weekend so now she has them memorized.

Getting ready for the first day of school!

Outside the school.

All the kindergarteners and parents went into the gym to gather into classes. Then we waved goodbye as she marched down the hall to her classroom!

I think I just realized that I'm starting school today too...and it won't end for many many years!