First Day of School!

Hmmmm, seems like I’m forgetting something……  Oh yeah, the last three months!! Hopefully I’ll get a summer re-cap up, but I’m not making any promises :) If I do, I’ll probably backdate them so they stay in order.

So, just like that, summer is over and it’s time to hit the books. Robert went to fill out a form at Meet the Teacher last week and couldn’t remember how to write his numbers. Oopsie. We worked on literacy activities that were sent home for the summer, so there’s been lots of reading and a small amount of writing done, but math kinda slipped off the radar. Oh well, can’t win ’em all.

You’ll notice someone has on a superhero shirt.  I found it (and his shorts) at the resale shop and he actually liked it! I guess he’s decided to lift the ban on superheroes. Neither of them needed too many clothes, so I just picked up a few t-shirts and shorts at the resale shop to replace ones they’ve outgrown. I think Clara’s had a growth spurt this summer. I did splurge on a new first day of school dress for her. She doesn’t wear dresses to school much anymore, but she loved this one that’s covered in owls, so I relented. About half of her wardrobe is covered in owls now.

Much to their chagrin, both of their backpacks and lunchboxes were still good, so we didn’t have to go out and replace them. I bought them LL Bean backpacks to hopefully last, and they have held up really well. Clara got hers at the beginning of 2nd grade and it still looks new. I told her she could choose a new one for junior high next year. I will probably let Robert upgrade sooner though. I’m not sure I can convince him to keep his dinosaur bones one through 5th grade :)

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They both got back to school haircuts and Robert went with a shorter ‘do than usual. I’ve always hesitated because of his cowlicks, but I finally just said “what the heck” and had the girl go short. I think it’s cute. He likes spiking it up in the front with gel and was a bit obsessed with it and didn’t want it to get messed up those first few days.

They both said they wanted to ride the bus this morning, so I didn’t argue. I was going back and forth about driving them myself. I wasn’t too worried about getting him to his new class; I really just wanted to chat with my friends and some of the office and library staff and maybe meet some new parents. I really didn’t want to mess with the nightmarish traffic and parking at the school though, so I just sent them on their merry little way.

And now I can go run errands without bringing along whining, fidgety, pestering kids! Woohooo! Freedom!

My Defense

I just have to write this down because it’s too good to forget :)

This morning before school, Robert came in to the kitchen and sat at my feet, which was a little weird. I was mostly ignoring him while going over a permission slip for Clara, but then he started rubbing my bare legs a bit which was even more weird. He asked, “Why are your legs so prickly?” I looked down and smiled, not saying anything at first. He never looked up and I noticed that he was in deep thought as he continued to rub my legs and scrutinize them closely like some kind of science experiment. Then he said, “Is it for defense maybe? Like a weapon?”

 

January

The year is in full swing and as usual, I’m having a hard time getting a handle on everything :) We’ve had a busy month so far but not much has been “blog-worthy” and I’ve taken zero pictures so I’ll just do a little re-cap.

The day after Christmas, Chris slipped in mud and was able to catch himself before falling. In doing so, he twisted his knee and was in a lot of pain for a couple of weeks. When the pain didn’t subside, he got into his doctor who also specializes in sports medicine. He thinks it’s a really bad sprain, but he did mention that his quadriceps are really weak, probably because of genetics, and that causes the knee cap to continually be pulled to the side, causing a lot of wear. He will probably need surgery on that knee as well. We’re now wondering if that contributed to the wear on his other knee that he had surgery on. It’s doing better now and he has exercises to do to try and strengthen his quadriceps so hopefully surgery is far, far away.

The next day we visited Bammel for church and to see old friends. It was fun catching up with a few people. We had lunch with the DeCarlos and got to meet their newest little one, Ryan.

Clara had her oral surgery at the end of December. She was the perfect patient as always and went right in without a bit of hesitation. She looked a little nervous this time since she knew what to expect but she put on a brave face. The surgery went really well and thankfully there was no damage done to her permanent teeth and he was able to extract the ankylosed tooth without taking out her molar. I’m really glad because she would have been left with only one molar to chew with on that side for the next few years :) She recovered very quickly and only needed pain meds for the first two days. Much different from her surgery last year where she was still needing it a week later.

We headed up to The Woodlands on New Years Day to hang out with the Couringtons. It was a relaxing afternoon of chatting, games and pizza and was way over due.

We re-entered reality the next week when the kids went back to school and Chris to work. It’s so sad when Christmas break ends. Later that week, Danielle and the kids came to hang out for the day. Justin had an appointment near us, so I watched a couple of the kids during his appointments and then they had lunch with us and played until the kids got home from school. They stayed through dinner so they could avoid rush hour traffic. If the state of the upstairs at the end of the night was any indication, the kids had a grand time playing all afternoon.

Clara’s extra-curriculars started back up the week after. She had extra choir practice and auditions for a special performance that took place last week. Their choir was invited to perform during the school board meeting and because of limited space, only 25 could go. They learned two new songs just for this performance.

They rode together on the bus to the meeting but parents could attend as well. Oh my goodness the place was packed! They had another elementary choir performing too. The public portion of the meeting was supposed to start at 6:30, but the closed portion went long so it didn’t start until 7:30! It was 8:00 before they performed and then we all skedaddled out of there as fast as we could. We couldn’t just take them from the meeting though; we had to meet the bus back at the school. I picked up a friends’ kids too because her hubby was running late and her four other kids were asleep so by the time we got home it was close to 9:00. Clara had been at the school since 7:25 am. She had choir before school and then Read Deed Run right after school, so I brought her choir clothes to change into and a quick dinner to eat on the playground before she was off to the school board meeting. So glad those kind of days are few and far between.

And then on Thursday she had a pep squad performance at the high school. It was a town pep rally where they introduced all of the spring sports. It was kinda fun. The junior high cheerleaders were there, along with mascots from all three schools, the high school cheerleaders and dancers and Clara was enthralled with every bit of it. She was in her element. Their routine was a little rough though. Because of the MLK holiday, they only had one practice where they learned their routine. I guess they didn’t do too bad considering.

Robert was supposed to appear on the school’s video announcements today. The assistant principal is awarding a dog tag to him. When kindergarteners learn their 100 sight words, they make a big deal about it and take their picture to put on the wall. He’s known them for several months now so I guess they just now tested them. He said he’s the first kindergartner this year to learn them all. Proud mommy over here :)

I just started reading Magic Tree House books to him. He really fought me on it at first for some reason, but after only a couple of chapters of book one, he was hooked. I’ve read the first three to him and when we have to stop, he begs and pleads for me to keep reading. I told him that if he practices his reading that he’ll be able to read them at his own pace very soon, so hopefully that lights a fire under him. I don’t think he will be quite as big of a bookworm as Clara, but he is most definitely interested. I just hope his interest doesn’t wane.

I was in the work room a couple of weeks ago and Robert’s teacher came in to make some copies. I told her that that morning Robert had asked me which half of the world we lived in. I told him that we lived in the northern hemisphere. He said, “That’s the good half, right?” I told him I wasn’t sure what he meant and that there wasn’t a good or bad one. He said, “No, it’s the good one because the people on the bottom half have to be upside down.” :)

She got a kick out that and made a mental note to clear some things up in class. She said that they had just been discussing numbers in class and the conversation moved to the kids debating which number was the biggest. Several kids said it was infinity and then Robert said, “No, it’s a googol.” I guess they went back and forth for a while with one boy in particular not willing to give in. Sure enough, his teacher went and googled it and was shocked to see that the biggest named number is a googol. Ha! She was just amazed at this conversation taking place in her kindergarten class. (It’s actually a googolplex but mathematical stuff makes my head hurt, so I won’t try to explain.)

Robert was pretty proud when I asked him about it and it was nice to talk to him about the fact that even adults learn new things all the time. You never stop learning and even kids have valuable things to teach others. Chris was pretty proud too. The math and science stuff is all him. I told him I knew how he felt. He was probably feeling about like I did when Clara took the AR test for Little Women in K or 1st and only missed one question. My little bookworm.

Speaking of bookworm, their school does a reading program to promote the Texas Bluebonnet award nominees. There are 20 nominees and if the kids read at least five, they are invited to a popcorn party with a special guest (last year it was a magician) and they get to vote on their favorite. Well, I mentioned to Clara that it would be cool to read all 20. She took it and ran and set the goal to read all 20. About half of them were shorter picture books, poetry or graphic novels, but the rest were chapter books. The deadline was last Friday and she wasn’t going to finish because the school and public libraries both didn’t have the books in that she needed. I had put them on hold and they weren’t available a week later. She was so set on reaching her goal that we went to the bookstore and purchased the final two. Come Thursday she wasn’t finished with the last one so I asked the library asst. if she could go ahead and turn in the paper saying she read them all and then finish it this weekend.

She knows Clara so she said yes and said that Clara was the only one to read all of them this year. It wasn’t easy; it really forced her out of her regular genre (which is why I threw the suggestion out there). There was a sci-fi and a couple of scary ones but she’s discovered new authors and loved almost every fiction book she read and plans to read the entire series of most of them. There is one problem. The one she didn’t finish? She still hasn’t finished it. She is terrified to read it :) The book is The Night Gardener. She showed me one page and the main character is asleep in her room having a nightmare. She wakes, feeling uneasy and sees a muddy footprint on the floor by her bed and feels a leaf in her hair and more leaves on the floor from an open window. Yikes! I told her not to read it right before bed. Ha! I may end up having to finish reading it with her. During daylight hours of course.

Well, I guess that really wasn’t a “short” re-cap, now was it? I hope everyone’s new year is going great!

Winter Wonderland

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been saying that we just need to get through Sunday without anyone getting sick. I knew last week would be a hectic one but that after Sunday things would slow down considerably.

I forgot to mention that Clara had a choir performance last Monday night at the high school. The elementary choir performed one song with the 6th grade choir. We were sitting pretty far back, so I didn’t take any photos of their performance. I’m trying to learn to be ok with not taking pictures of everything. I usually can’t get very good ones of things like this anyway, so I’d prefer to just sit back and enjoy the show rather than get worked up about not getting the perfect shot. So I took one of her in front of the Christmas tree in the Performing Arts Center on the way out. Seeing the junior high girls in their long black dresses and performing with them only confirmed that she wants to continue in choir once she gets to junior high.

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On Wednesday night, Linda had set up a dinner date for all of us with some of their old friends that live about 20 minutes away from us. They were neighbors in Salem, Oregon and Chris and their son Chad were best friends during elementary school. They hadn’t seen each other in about 30 years, so it was a fun dinner and they all enjoyed catching up.

The kids’ Winter Wonderland event took place on Thursday night. I spent the afternoon helping set up for the event and Dan and Linda were nice enough to meet the kids at home after school so I could continue to help without dealing with picking them up and figuring out how to get them ready and back up to school. I helped during the whole event, but I did pull myself away and watched each of the four performances that the kids were in. Clara performed with the pep squad, choir and 4th and 5th grade and Robert performed with the kindergartners.

I left my camera in my purse and was running around so much that I kept forgetting to bring it in to the gym with me. Linda got all of these pictures, which was a feat. She, unlike most everyone else, tried hard not to be disruptive and stand in the way of others to get a few shots. Others weren’t quite so considerate.

They all sang so well. Clara was part of a quartet chosen to sing the first verse of one of their songs in choir. Initially it was supposed to be a solo, but I think the choir director was afraid to narrow it down any further in case of illness :)

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She changed into her pretty holiday dress for her grade level performance. I mainly wanted her to change so she wouldn’t be in her choir shirt for a picture with Santa, but she decided she didn’t need to sit in Santa’s lap this year :( Several of the kids played the bells and recorders to accompany the singers and the Orff ensemble also performed with them. I can’t get over how good all the kids sounded. Our music teacher does an outstanding job.

 

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During one of the breaks between performances, Robert got to sit in Santa’s lap. He asked for legos. Nothing specific this year, just legos. He actually wanted to ask for a Ninjago set that he saw in a catalog. I told him that Santa probably wasn’t too keen on gifting him with a $200 set that’s for ages 14 and up, so he begrudgingly decided on just plain ‘ol legos.

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Robert did fantastic. He sang his little heart out and did all the movements. Look at all of those 5 and 6 year olds doing (basically) the same thing at the same time. She’s a master educator I tell you. Robert kept checking out his neighbor’s moves the entire time. I don’t know if he wanted to make sure she was doing what she was supposed to or make sure he was doing the right thing, but he just stood there smiling at her the bulk of the time :) He loved being in front of the crowd just like his big ‘sis.

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The pep squad was the first performance of the night at 6:00 and 4th and 5th grade was the last, so it was 8:00 before they were done. There was only a few minutes between all the performances before one of them had to go line up for their next one, so it didn’t leave much time for getting food. Chris took everyone to Smash Burger and then picked up a to-go order and brought it back up to the school for me as I was helping finish up around 9:00 :) Meanwhile, Dan and Linda went home and made sure the kids got straight to bed. So it may have been a chaotic, tiring day, but I’m just thrilled that both kids stayed well this year and could attend their Christmas program. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas without a kid performance or two thrown somewhere in the mix.

Robert’s Birthday

Sorry I’m late in posting pictures from Robert’s birthday last Monday. It’s been a long week. He got to pick dinner and an activity and decided on Main Event for dinner and video games. I brought cupcakes and the few gifts he had to open and Kelly joined in on the fun. He wore his birthday crown that he got at school all night.

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At 6, all the boy still wants is cars. Clara got him a couple of color change ones and we got him the Moscow racers series, so they’re covered in snow.

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He had a wonderful time and was really good at a lot of the games. He especially loved beating me at the tank game. He kept his eyes pealed for my tank to destroy and did a pretty good job I must say.

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It was late and they had school the next morning, but we let him go spend his Toys R Us gift card he got from Bia and Pawpaw anyway. I figured if we waited we would officially be in holiday season and I didn’t want to pass through those doors come December. He chose a car playmat (that we thought would fit under his bed, but did not), a carbon Lightning McQueen and a Ninjago guy that spins in the air. We told him he had to carry all of his stuff himself :) That was pretty cute. He only almost knocked over a couple of displays as he headed for the checkout.

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It was a great, low-key birthday and by the look on his face in these pictures, I’d say he was pleased. I was a little worried when he woke up two days earlier and informed me that he would like a Minecraft birthday party. Thing is, he’s not real social and doesn’t have many friends so he wasn’t at all interested in a party when I asked him a couple of months ago. I reminded him that he and Clara chose to ride the Polar Express instead of having birthday parties this year and he was completely devastated. It took quite a while to convince him that this wasn’t going to be the worst birthday ever. He was also sad because his birthday was “short” this year. Meaning he had school that day :) I kept asking him why he wanted a party so bad and he couldn’t seem to tell me. Eventually I asked if it was because he wanted lots of friends to bring him presents. With the biggest sad face and through tears he just nodded his head ‘yes’.

I’m afraid I have to put the blame on myself for that one. I had no idea what he wanted since he still only likes cars so I took him to Target to look at the toys the night before. I was going to use his giftcard  beforehand to buy what he liked so he would have several gifts to open. I guess that got him thinking about all the toys he would be missing out on by not having a big party. I’ve already told him, “Next year you are having a birthday party, whether you like it or not!”

A Bed Fit for a 6 Year Old

A few weeks ago Chris and I decided to get Robert a bed for his birthday. Clara got her bunk beds for her 6th birthday, so I  thought now would be a good time for Robert to get one too. As I was searching for the perfect bed, I came across a video for an IKEA hack for their kids loft bed. We made some changes to what that guy did (his had a slide), but we did keep the hidden door to the secret hideout element.

We were a little late in figuring out what all we needed to complete the project and I figured we wouldn’t get around to it because Chris had a trip to Rio scheduled for last week. He was set on building it though, so I picked up all the IKEA parts about a week ago. Chris got back from Rio at 6 a.m. this Saturday and then he and Kelly spent all day yesterday building it to surprise Robert. A friend from church was supposed to keep the kids after church but they ended up getting sick so we didn’t have the whole afternoon uninterrupted as we had hoped. I took the kids to lunch and the used book store after church and then to see The Peanuts Movie and then I really didn’t want to figure out something else to do with them, so we came home before it was completed. It was far enough along for Robert to see it and decide that he loved it.

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I covered the plain white panels in checkered flag contact paper. The toy storage doubles as his stairs up to his bed and the book that’s sitting on the shelf will eventually be rigged to unlock the door when you pull on it. But shhhhh, that’s a secret.

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There’s still a few details Chris has to complete but in the meantime, these two are already putting the hideout to good use.

 

What’s JJ?

Continuing on with Robert’s new found sports knowledge, he asked me yesterday if I knew what JJ Watt was? I said I did and then asked him if he knew and where he heard about him? Turns out his school friends were talking about JJ. I asked him who he was and he said very confidently, “A baseball player.” So evidently baseball = all sports played with a ball.

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We went out to eat tonight and Robert was distracted by some sportsing event going on on the television. He was smiling and laughing at the game and then proceeded to ask, “Why are those baseball players running into each other?” I glanced at the tv and said, “Because they’re not baseball players, they’re football players.” :)

A Day to Remember

Chris and a couple of co-workers drove to Austin to watch some vintage car races at Circuit of the Americas yesterday. They took along one lucky little boy. He had been anxiously awaiting the day for a week or so. When I went to wake him for school on Thursday, he popped up out of bed and with a smile on his face said, “Today me and Daddy go to the races!!” It broke my heart to inform him that he in fact had to get ready for school and race day was several days away. He argued with me for a bit because he misunderstood something Chris had said the night before. He took me downstairs to confirm with Daddy that it was race day, so he was a bit heartbroken to hear the bad news straight from the horse’s mouth.

He continued to count down the days and Sunday FINALLY came. They left the house at 6:00 a.m. and met Grandpa there. Robert apparently never complained about the cold or the noise or about being tired from all the walking they did. Chris was a little concerned that he wouldn’t make it all day, but he said he did great. It was about the second to the last race when he was starting to get a little bored and asked to play video games. Not too bad. Chris’ friend Kelly took these pictures because Chris is a baby when I request that he take some pictures when I’m not there :)

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They walked around to look at the cars and chat with the drivers and Robert was in heaven. I know this to be true because he talked non-stop about his adventure when they got home last night. Chris said he was incredibly polite, careful and respectful around the cars and as such, several drivers offered to let him sit in their cars without him even having to ask. They buckled him in, put in the steering wheel and closed the door for him so he was on cloud nine.

One driver gave him a collectible card with info about the car and driver. He felt as if he’d hit the jackpot and walked around with it very carefully with both hands so as not to lose it. A second driver gave him one and said he could ask any driver for their card and that was it, he had died and gone to heaven. He walked up to drivers all by himself, waited patiently for them to finish talking and then requested their card without any assistance. He ended up sitting in five cars and getting about ten cards. Chris got several compliments on how well behaved Robert was. Proud mama right here :)

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I love the ones with only his eyes peeking over the steering wheel.

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These boys and their cars. Robert still pretty much only plays with cars and is all he wants for Christmas and birthday yet again. I don’t get it, but cars sure mean an awful lot to them (and Grandpa). I’m so thankful Robert has a daddy to share his passion with him. I’ve got a couple of really great guys right here :)