Thursday, May 26, 2016

Words of Wisdom

These aren't MY words of wisdom, sadly...

Megan was asked by her kindergarten teacher if she would be willing to read the Words of Wisdom at Jumpstart (the all school morning assembly), and Megan said she would love to.  In fact, Megan came home from school that day and declared it the "BEST DAY EVER!" because she was so excited about getting to read in front of the whole school.  Well, today was her day to read and she did an excellent job.

I didn't take a video of Megan reading during the assembly because the kids in the audience were being extremely loud, but I did take one of her practicing in the morning.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Spring Break in Glenview

Haha, I just found this post that I had written over a year ago about last year's spring break, but I guess I forgot to hit publish.  So here's a recap of spring break 2015 a year later!  This was the first time the girls had been to the Thorne rooms; Amelia tells all her friends who are going to Chicago that they should go to the Art Institute so that they can see the Thorne rooms.  It's her favorite thing to do in Chicago, I think.  In fact, she was just talking about it with her friend Kiersten yesterday in the car.

Our spring break didn't go exactly as planned due to all the kids being sick, but we managed to have some fun anyway.  We were planning to head down to Glenview on Tuesday, but had to delay our trip until Wednesday because Megan and Nathaniel were sick over the weekend.  On Thursday, Mom took the girls and I downtown to the Art Institute, while Dad watched Nathaniel.  Mom had given Amelia a chapter book about the Thorne Rooms called The 68 Rooms, and Amelia enjoyed it so much that she was really excited about going to see them.  We went to see the Thorne rooms first thing, and both girls were enamored with them.  We spent at least an hour looking at all of them, then went back and looked at our favorites again.  Here were Amelia's favorites:

I'm sure she could tell you all about them, but I don't remember exactly which rooms they were, so you will just have to look at the picture.  Just like the main character Ruthie in the book she read, Amelia was hoping that she would find a magic key that she could use to shrink down and get inside the rooms.  Dad gave her a magic pill to take before she went to see the rooms, too, and she believed that it would make her shrink down.  She was so excited!  Sadly, the pill didn't work, and she didn't find a magic key, but she enjoyed looking at the rooms anyway.  Megan did too, although she wasn't quite as obsessed as Amelia.  I believe Megan liked the Eiffel tower room best:

The girls had a map that listed a few of the highlights of the museum, so we went looking for some of them.  We saw the Chagall windows (Amelia is dancing in front of the window representing dance):

I liked this Klee, and thought it was something that we could try doing at home over the summer:

Amelia thought this piece was funny, and she decided that she could make something like it at home.  It was titled something like "Wood with Number 1"

We spent a while in the Modern Art wing, and the girls looked at this painting for a while:

Amelia said she thought the painting made more sense upside down.  We all saw different things in it, it was quite interesting.  We walked quickly through the Impressionist wing, because the girls were getting really tired of looking at art.  They did like seeing Monet's haystacks, and Amelia noticed that she had done a waterlily bridge picture in art class, just like this Monet:

Then we went outside and walked over to the Bean.  The girls loved it!

What else did we do in Glenview?  The girls dyed Easter eggs with Grandma:

We got to watch the house next door getting demolished, which the kids thought was really exciting.  Nathaniel was thrilled to get to see big trucks working:

And we celebrated Easter with the Weidners, the Hayes, and Grace.

Easter was lovely until Amelia threw up at the dinner table.  She made it home without throwing up again, thankfully.  She wrote in her spring break journal that she threw up because she ate too much, but I'm pretty sure it was just the same virus that Megan and Nathaniel had had the weekend before.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Miscellaneous Happenings

The girls' school had a few fun spirit days last month.  Here are Amelia and Megan on Dress as Your Favorite Animal day.  They had a fight the night before over who got to wear the leopard print leotard, and Amelia won, as she usually does.  Megan was happy enough to be an all black cat with a black tail, though.

And here they are on Crazy Mismatch Day:

Megan is trying to look cross-eyed in the last photo; she's just learned how to do it, and she delights in showing off to me.  The girls spent quite a while the night before picking out the perfect things that didn't match in any way.  They are each wearing two different shoes and socks, too.  It reminds me of some of the outfits that Amelia used to pick out in preschool, thinking that her outfit actually did go together.

Nathaniel recently showed some interest in coloring, but not with crayons, markers or colored pencils.  No, that would be too washable.  Instead, he wanted to color with my brand-new (from a garage sale) package of multicolored Sharpies.  He picked out red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple, and told me that he colored a rainbow.  I hung his picture on the magnet display board, and he is very proud of it; he'll point it out and say "Color rainbow!"  He did all the coloring with his left hand, although he usually uses his right hand for eating, so I don't know if that means anything.

Nathaniel likes to ask the girls if they will read him books at bedtime.  He will ask "Mia read books?"  or "Megan read books?"  I think he has figured out that he gets more books that way, because each girl will read him a few books, and then usually I will read him one last book.  He likes to ask Amelia the most, but Megan is the most excited about reading to him.

We have had a few lovely days this spring, and the kids have played outside as much as possible.  Nathaniel especially loves finding ants.  One day there was a huge pile of ants on our sidewalk, and he and Megan spent quite a while watching the ants.  Nathaniel also tried to pick them up on his finger, but I think he ended up "pushing" most of them.

The girls were playing "hair salon" and decorating my hair one night when Nathaniel asked if they would put a barrette in his hair, too.  So they did a hair salon for him, too.  He was excited about it, both because of all the bows and because of all the attention his sisters paid him.

The girls had a sleepover a few weeks ago; each girl had one friend spend the night.  It worked out nicely that way, because then Amelia wasn't being too bossy to the little girls, and Megan wasn't tagging along and being annoying to the bigger girls.  They played outside for a while, then made pizza for dinner, then started watching the movie Isabelle the American Girl.

Amelia's friend got a little lonesome for her family (it was her first non-family sleepover) and so we turned the movie off and played hide-and-seek for over an hour.  They had a blast, especially when I played with them.  They found some very creative hiding places including inside the laundry hamper and underneath the guest bed.  Amelia and her friend slept on the floor of the living room, and Megan and her friend slept on the floor in the girls' room.  It took them a loooooong time to fall asleep, and they were up early.  Everyone seemed happy, though, and I made them shaped chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast.  Then Megan's friend announced that she wanted to go home, so I called her mom to come pick her up.  But it turned out she only wanted to go home to use her own bathroom, and then she wanted to come back, so they got to play hide-and-seek again while my friend and I ate our own pancakes.  It was fun.  :)

I am trying to teach Megan how to ride a bike with no training wheels.  It is not going well.

Right before I took this picture, she threw her bike down and kicked it because she was so mad at having to try to ride it.  I've even been really nice and held on the entire time so she hasn't crashed or anything.  She just has a bad attitude about it.

I'd wait another year, except that it would be really nice to be able to ride our bikes this year, since Nathaniel still fits in the little front seat that I have for him.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Hootie Hustle

The girls' school had their fun run on Wednesday, called the Hootie Hustle.  Thankfully, the schedule had second grade and kindergarten running back to back, so Nathaniel and I went for two hours to watch both of the girls run.  Amelia had run 27 laps last year, and so she set her goal as 30 laps this year.  She ended up running 33 laps, so she was very proud of herself.

The organizers made sure to take a class photo after the race, so I snuck over and took one, too.  That's the principal, Mr. Briggs, in the pink shirt behind the class, and Amelia's teacher, Mrs. Lutz, in the black shirt on the right side.

Here's Amelia with her good friend Kiersten after the race:

I was a little concerned about Megan running laps, because her allergies have been bothering her since she was in Glen Carbon last weekend, and she's been coughing more than normal.  We've been giving her Zyrtec every day, and I brought her inhaler along just in case.  I suspected that she would run a few laps, start coughing, and then give up, but she surprised me.  I was helping mark laps for all the kids, and after nine laps, Megan came up to me coughing, saying that she was having a hard time.  So I pulled her aside, gave her her albuterol inhaler, and let her rest for a minute.  After that, she wanted to get back to running, so she took off and didn't stop until they called time.  She ended up running 29 laps!  She had wanted to get 30 laps, and was very disappointed that she was so close, but I told her that having to stop for her inhaler cost her a lap, so really, she would have had 30.  I think that made her feel a little better.

I did see Megan walking a couple times, especially after she stopped to get a drink of water.  One time I got this photo of her walking and chatting with one of her friends.  It was cute.

 Megan's teacher had all the kids sign each other's shirts in Sharpie, which I thought was a fun idea.  Here's Megan and her best friend Maddie after the race:

And they took a class photo of Megan's class, too, with Mr. Briggs and their teacher, Ms. McKeith.

Thanks to both sets of grandparents who pledged money to the girls for their school! 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Dandelion Photos

Mom asked if I was going to get photos of my kids in the dandelions this year, and I definitely wanted to.  This year was harder than normal because the girls are going through a bad attitude stage and they made picture taking very challenging.

I took Nathaniel for a bike ride while the girls were in school two weeks ago, and we stopped at this patch of dandelions near the girls' school to get a few photos.  Nathaniel liked picking the flowers, but then he got mad that we couldn't play at the school park where the first graders were having recess.

I got these two photos of Megan after school one day, but then she ran off to talk to a teacher who was walking to his car, and she flat out refused to come back to take any more pictures.  The second photo pretty accurately reflects Megan's general attitude nowadays.

And Amelia was crying because she didn't want to take pictures either.  I completely snapped and sent them outside to play when we got home, telling them I didn't want to see them until dinner time.  Amelia wrote me this apology note in chalk on the driveway:

We tried to go to the park the next day, but Megan had a crying temper tantrum about riding her scooter, so we turned around and went home instead.  The two girls had a few fairly major consequences, and because of all these behavior issues, Megan is going to bed at 7pm every night for the rest of the school year, while Amelia gets to stay up later for quiet reading time.  It has made a positive difference in her morning routine (plus, I bribe her with ipad time once she has done all her morning jobs) and her general attitude throughout the day has been better this week.
I managed to get a few photos of Amelia during Megan's soccer practice last week; we talked about it in advance and I explained to her why these photos were important to me, and she cooperated nicely.  Once she decided to cooperate, I took a whole bunch of photos in under two minutes, and then I let her go play at the park. 

I don't ask my kids to pose for photos very often (anymore), and I wish they would realize that it's much easier to just smile nicely for one minute and then run off and play.  Here are some outtakes:

This is the fifth year I've taken dandelion photos in Wisconsin, and it's fun to look back and see how the kids have grown up.   Here's May 4, 2015May 21, 2014, May 13, 2013, and April 14, 2012.  This year, I'd say peak dandelion season was April 24th through May 1st, so spring is definitely earlier than normal.