Thursday, May 26, 2011

Her first "Graduation"

Actually, we missed her "graduation" as it was our ultimately busy day. Family baptism, golf event, Norwex party, graduation, baseball game. The fact that they called her ceremony a promotion one, because they were moving to the 3 day a week classes, not onto Kindergarten next year, kind of was lost on me. Hopefully next year it won't conflict with so many things. She had a spring concert less than a month ago, so by making that, I felt as though we were really not missing much. They took these pictures of the kids in a graduation cap a few days ago, and passed them out at the ceremony, so we got ours today. At her spring conference, I got pictures from the beginning of the year, and so I figure it was time for me to reflect on her past school year.

I have always thought that 3-4 year old preschool isn't exactly necessary. I like it because it gives me a break. This was the first year where it was actually true because when Trevor started his preschool, I had Gwen 4 weeks into the program. So not a whole lot of alone time for me. Regardless, there has been a tremendous amount of growth out of this little girl over the past year. She had a very small class size - only 10 other kids in class with her, her teacher and one helper adult. Even before class started, we filled out a questionnaire explaining what we hoped our kids would get out of the school year. I knew that she needed to work on socializing or "sharing" and her small motor skills, like cutting and writing her name. In both of these areas, I believe because of the small class size, she has made huge strides. We both can read her own writing of her name, she is getting very accurate with her cutting, and when she has playdates, she does take some possessiveness of her toys, but really does a good job of wanting and playing with her playmate instead of hoarding her toys.

I have a lot of hope that next year, possibly with an even smaller class size, she will get most of her letters down and get her cutting skills honed. I'm not sure how much I will have or want to use the childcare, but we are going to already get a few more days before Trevor is done with school. She can do some of the VBS camps with her friends, but I'm not planning on sending her for an entire week for something that lasts 5 hours for a week straight.

We have hit a big fear of bugs lately. Not only do bees break out the horrific screams, which I really would be ok with, if that was the only thing. But even gnats and small, harmless flying bugs are bringing about the screams. I am trying to get her to take ownership and know that she can get rid of these bugs by using a cloth and killing them. If it is inside, she is usually pretty ok with doing it, but not outdoors. I'm also going to try bug spray. I have been bringing a bottle of it to baseball games, being prepared for whenever the mosquitoes come out. Haven't had to use it yet, but I think we will shortly. Anyway, it might be a mental thing for Gwen to think that if she has the bug spray on, bugs won't bite her, or hopefully land on her. I'll have to try it out and see how that one goes. Until then, we are just trying to get organized for the summer.

However; technically, Gwen's summer vacation has started! Bring on the hot weather!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Piano Recital

One of the first school year ending events is Trevor's first piano recital. He takes lessons through a company where the teachers actually come to your house weekly for a half hour. We have been doing this since January, so almost 5 months worth of lessons and he has come a long way!

The recital itself was nice in that there were a variety of students, all taught by the same teacher. Trevor's teacher majored in Cello, but because of his music background teaches violin, piano, bass, and guitar as well. So there were a lot of different songs, and some of the same songs across different instruments. The concert lasted about an hour and 15 minutes with 25 students. Trevor played his two pieces very well and started the entire concert off.

It was a very good experience for him as he has never done a solo act at a performance and while I would never call him stage fright, that was what he explained when he was done. He said he had major stage fright when he was on stage, but as best as I understand it, I believe it was just his term for butterflies. You could not tell one bit that he was nervous or timid to be up on stage. I was able to video his performance, and he slipped on the keys once, and the look on his face was priceless. It was a more, "I cannot believe I messed up Yankee Doodle. I have played this piece a hundred times. I don't even need the sheet music, and I messed up." His teacher prepared him and (I'm sure) all other students to, if you mess up, just fudge through it and act like nothing happened. He recovered awesomely, and played his second piece wonderfully, with no slipped keys.

One other note, his teacher noted in his bio as I was reading it that he likes to find the type of music each student likes and use that kind of music as much as possible. It was very evident in the recital. Although I'm sure he was quite limited by the earlier level students, the choice of music did vary at the end. A violinist played a song from "Wicked" and the closing number was an electric guitar, and the teacher on cello rocking out to "Rock me like a Hurricane". And the teacher was really rocking out.

We get a two week break until the next big events: Dance recital and baseball tournament. As long as warmer weather comes with it, I will be happy. OH and less rain please???

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Darn bugs. I can't remember if I have mentioned Gwen's fear of all things "bugs" or bug related. She has a slightly similar fear of dogs, but does at least warm up to them once she is around them for a while. She also is able to rationalize the dog fear a little bit too. She asks me if the dogs we see will jump up on her, and knows that the dogs are really just over excited when she comes in the door. She climbs as high up my shoulder as she can when we walk in the door and gradually calms down within a few minutes or so.

Bugs, are unfortunately a different story. To the best of my knowledge she has maybe only been bitten by an ant in her croc last fall or late summer. No other stings/bites/etc. But perhaps some of it has resulted from stories from other people or books, movies, etc. Regardless, if something even resembling a bug is around, including but not limited to spiders, ants, flies, bees, caterpillars, and BUTTERFLIES, Gwen screams in fear. She cannot get over something inside her head that makes her think that butterflies have a face and can bite her. That is how she explains it to me anyway.

Strangely enough, her preschool class's last unit is on insects. I have warned her teacher that she hates bugs, but it seems to have been ok so far. I think it is because they don't have any live bugs in the room, so she should be ok in the class. However, the past week has gotten pretty tough and it is probably only going to get worse. It has been tough to get her to go outside because she has seen a lot of bees (or yellow jackets or wasps) randomly. Today we were blowing bubbles until a bee was flying around and then went inside a piece of the retaining wall in the backyard. That killed all fun to be had on what would have been a beautiful day to be outside.

Then this evening, as is sometimes the case, Gwen was freaking out when she was going to bed. There was a small spider on her wall. It is so hard to be patient and calm when dealing with her screaming at what to me isn't rational.

So anyway, we will be dealing with trying to not let our fears determine our schedule. I just hope we don't ever have to deal with a true "sting" or I don't think this fear will go away any time soon.

A Big Night

With all the things coming up, it is hard not to get lost in the details of the little things. Last night was Trevor's first exhibition game of his baseball career. This is his first year where the teams must keep score, keep outs, and keep track of their batting order and such. There is no walks, but the hitters can only have 7 pitches or three swinging strikes. I know there was a lot of nerves, across the team. From the kids worrying if they could get a hit or not, to the coaches style of pitching, and the head coach making sure that it ran as smoothly as it could.

Thankfully the weather was a bit warmer than it had been, although not quite warm enough to my liking. And I quickly learned that it is a pretty quick game, inning wise although I would guess that it depends on the skill levels of the teams. It took our team once around the batting order before everyone was settled down enough to get some hits. I will say that the team when they were in the field was awesome. It was hard for kids their age to stay awake enough on every pitch but I will say that there was one double-play and if it hadn't been for the other team's coach, their players didn't get more than a double.

Trevor got a hit, and really I thought it was a good goal for him to have when playing. I was proud of him for not flipping out when he didn't get a hit, but I think he also took his cues from the other players on the team. One of the best players on the team didn't get a hit at all, and he was very good at not beating himself up about it.

The team has one more exhibition game on Wednesday before the games really "count". In the end, they lost 5 to 4, but getting more time and experience is something that this team really could use. I hope to say that they will win a good chunk of their games so that the kids do enjoy playing and they learn a lot.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A change is coming

Of course...the weather can't remain nice for more than one day. The one day it was nice and hot, our air conditioner was not working. Unfortunately, it is bad news for the house, because the house cannot cool down by itself once it is heated up. I believe it got up to 84 degrees, although to me it was nice. Russ was gone on business so he didn't have to deal with it.

This weekend was one of the few where we didn't have any plans. Saturday wasn't really fun as it was cold and rainy all day. But today was very nice. I knew that compared to last year I gained a lot of confidence that the kids could behave themselves while I took care of things outside. I was able to clean the gutters and plant some flowers with the kids entertaining themselves, for the most part. It does make me a little sad to think that there won't even be that many opportunities to do that this year, with how busy our calendar has become. But it does make me think that if I do need to take care of some work outside, it won't be horrible to try to have to keep an eye on Gwen constantly. I am slowly gaining my freedom back!

My other big change is my love of cleaning. Dyson + Norwex is a very good combination. Except for the organization part of cleaning, our 3 season porch is becoming presentable again! And, with Gwen being able to eat at a normal chair, we all have our seats at the table. If I could sing Norwex's praises more I would, but I feel like through all my facebook posting I become sounding like a broken record! I am amazed at how wicked clean our windows look, and I do have a new fear of how many birds are going to die this year by flying into the windows.

The only downside that I am experiencing right now is that I haven't been able to get out golfing yet this year with my usual 9 hole league. It doesn't look like it is going to happen this Tuesday, but possibly next week. I knew that my PTA meetings were going to conflict with them, but there have been and will be 3 other conflicts this year. Oh well. If we can get good weather for it in the future, I guess I can wait.

So for all you people looking to get more green with your cleaning, or anyone looking to simplify your cleaning by only using WATER in addition to your norwex cloths, I am a big supporter of the stuff. I LOVE my Norwex!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The crazy month of May

I guess with the addition of Gwen into preschool this year, that means that the whole family could possibly have something going on at any point during the year. For whatever reason, all four of us have come together in some sort of almost "crossing of the streams" way during the month of May. Our yearly summer kick-off season has always started with the Kentucky Derby. This year, we were able to attend a bridal shower for a cousin being married in June. Gwen was all amped up to go, and while I know Trevor doesn't like to miss out on a party, he has come to understand that boys are not invited to these things called showers. It made it much easier to take when he knew that all the boys were going to be around and possibly playing some sort of sporting activity.

Meanwhile my minivan, or mommy-mobile, was overflowing with girlie girls during the four hours we were in the car to get to and from the shower. It was an awesome time by all, capped off by the last hour in the car, all three little girls fell asleep in their respective seats. That meant they were all good to go for the race time and directly afterwards to play games outdoors. Contrary to every weather report I could find the day and evening were perfect and almost warm with no rain whatsoever during the time we were at the lake. Unfortunately, I have come to rely on the weather forecast and even guess at a chillier than forecasted temperature. So I didn't pack any cooler clothes for myself or the kids. I packed hooded sweatshirts and long pants. Luckily I packed Trevor's Twins t-shirt because I knew he would wear that over a long sleeved shirt. He is the one that often gets very overheated.

So we got back in time for the horse drawing and watching the running of the race. There were 19 horses this year and 20 people at our party. That meant that we would be drawing horses twice and the two youngest kids didn't get two horses. It changes from year-to-year depending on how many people come to the party. As luck would have it, Gwen drew the same horse on both of her drawings and was the sole winner. She was as excited as she could be, trying to understand it all. Unfortunately, this prolonged my mom's, my own, and my brother's (and has Dave won yet too?) winning drought. I guess a point could be made for all kids, like Trevor and all younger than him except Gwen, but unless you have endured the heartbreaking loss well into your adult life, I sort of don't feel your pain. Trevor had a little hiccup with his dealing with and understanding this little game that we play. He was very excited to know which horse was his, and the horse that he had was up front at the beginning of the race. Unfortunately, it did not win, so come end of the race, he was very upset. It was short lived, but apparent he didn't like that he hasn't won yet, and here comes his sister to win and grab all the attention. Had it been someone else, I'm sure he would have been slightly upset because his horse was in front at the start of the race, but I wonder if he thought she was going to throw it back in his face and tease him about it, since that is a current phase between the both of them right now.

Anyway, so as is per usual at the cabin, we had another late night of dominoes. We were able to get out to the local restaurant for their Mother's Day lunch/dinner. They don't do brunch-type foods so it was a special lunchtime dinner meal. I got a really nice school project from Trevor and hand made cards from the kids. I would have liked to have been given the gift of sleep by the both of them Sunday morning, but I'll take happy, healthy, creative kids any day. Gwen slept the entire highway ride home until I opened her door in the garage. I didn't even have to turn on the DVD player. I have been finding that when I ride in my car alone, I enjoy silence. I don't turn on the radio anymore. Peace and quiet seem to be my friends right now.

I will be quickly signing off here in order to catch up on some of my sleep. I hope soon we can stay in the 70's for a long stretch of time and I can get and stay organized with all the events coming up. It is bound to be a busy May for our family!