Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Dance, 9/18/18

Dakota had her second dance class last night. Her class this year is at least twice the size as last year and it's harder to get videos/photos without anyone else in them. They begin each class with a ballet lesson, then move to jazz and end their class with tap. In between each shoe change they practice a skill in's a shot of Dakota doing this weeks ballet skill. 

I also caught a couple shots of her trying out her jazz skill. They were supposed to do a deep lunge and as they came up do a high kick. She was a little confused but seemed to get it at the end.

I don't know if I missed the tap skill or if they didn't do it because they were short on time but either way, I didn't get any photo's. 

Her class begins at 5:!5 this year which means we don't eat dinner until nearly 7 o'clock which is painfully late for her. I gave her a big snack right after school but she was telling me how hungry she was at each water break. I'm thinking I'll have to make her a small dinner before her class and have a snack in the car for afterwards...we are a work in progress...

Gymnastics, Week 2

We've got another week of gymnastics behind us already. When I reminded the kids on Monday that we'd be going to gymnastics that evening Harper acted surprised and wondered aloud why he was going again. I reassured him that it would be very similar to what he'd done the week before and while I prepared for an argument he surprised me with a positive attitude. (phew)

There are only 6 boys in his class so it's nice and small. I don't know why he tells me he doesn't like it because the whole time he's out there he's smiling and laughing and having a great time. He's one of the youngest/smallest in his class but he does his best and is definitely learning. He's funny too because every time he catches my eye he gives me a thumbs up or an OK sign and a smile. If he happens to walk in front of the plexi glass in which I'm sitting behind he waves and smiles every single time.

Dakota's class this week did an evaluation of their skills. According to what the teacher wrote for her, she's still in the right class. She's made some improvements but it's still relatively new so she's good in this beginners group. I have no idea why her class did an evaluation and Harper's didn't but I guess they probably know what they're doing. :) 

Harper's Birthday Album, 7th and 8th Birthday Pages

I've been doing a little bit of scrapbooking this week and I got caught up on Harper's birthday album. I was only two years behind, which sounds way worse than it was, but it is all caught up to date now.

Here's a look at his 7th birthday celebration:

And here's his 8th birthday which was only just over a month ago but feels like a lifetime...

The best part about finishing this up was Harper's enthusiasm to look through his album as soon as I told him it was ready:

Girl Scout Cookies and Boy Scout Popcorn Sales

It is Girl Scout cookie and Boy Scout popcorn season around here. Since both my kids are in scouts that means we are busy knocking on doors and doing our part to raise money for our troops. Both troops are raising money for activities they'd like to try and/or attend.

This weekend I took Dakota walking around our neighborhood to sell some cookies and we were able to sell quite a bit. We decided to start a bit away from our house and make our way back but when people noticed what we were doing they were waving us down to put in their orders! People just love their girl scout cookies!! One of our neighbors left a note on the door asking us to come back so that she could place another order and when Tony came in from selling popcorn with Harper last night he informed me that another neighbor also wanted to add to their order. Cookie sales began on 9/15 and as of last night we have 88 orders. Not too shabby. The cookies offered this year are: Thin Mints, Caramel deLites, Peanut Butter Patties, Girl Scout S'mores, Lemonades, Peanut Butter Sandwich, Shortbread, Thanks-A-Lot and Caramel Chocolate Chip. They are all $4 a box with the exception of the new gluten free caramel chocolate chip which is $5.

*If you're interested in placing an order for cookies click here and the cookies will be shipped directly to your house! Dakota will earn the money if you use the above link.

As I mentioned, Harper and Tony walked over to the houses on either side of us with the popcorn slip and they were able to make a few sales. Harper will be working a booth this Sunday as well and he'll get credit for whatever they sell that day too. Tony has copies of both the popcorn and cookie order forms at work and stuff seems to sell like wildfire there. We don't really have to walk the kids around for orders but since it is for their benefit I think it's a good idea to let them do some of the work.

*If you're interested in placing an order for popcorn, click here. Spend $90 and shipping is free! Harper will get credit for any sales using that link.

A Bag of Ice

Landon came home from work the other night with this bag of ice. It may not seem like much but it sure made me happy! He knows I love the ice they use at Chick-fil-A and he thought to bring it home for me which was a super sweet gesture. 

When kids are young they're always telling you that they love you, hugging them isn't embarrassing and they even write notes and/or draw pictures to show their love but as they get older, it just kind of stops. I love you's are harder to come by, hugging is occasional and the letters/pictures are long gone...but then, when you least expect it, a bag of ice turns up. 

Landon and I have certainly had our rough patches in life and I'd say a good majority of his junior year of high school was a rough patch for us. There were a lot of things going on in his life (and mine) that made things difficult and we butt heads like nobody's business. He is so like me in a hard headed, difficult way that it's hard to imagine we'd be anything other than enemies. 

 Surprisingly, despite our head butting, we can also get along quite well. We share the same humor  and we share funny video's and meme's almost daily. There are many nights he can be found sitting on the floor of my craft room while I'm working on something, chatting about life. It's awesome. Most of the time our talking is light-hearted but there are times when we talk about things that mean more. Things like his future, the possibilities of tomorrow or the trials of living day to day. 

Recently Landon mentioned joining the military when he graduated high school and I have to admit that it took a lot to remain composed. It isn't that I think the military would be bad for him or that I'm afraid (although I am) but it's more about him being far away from home. From me. It's about me missing out on his growth and life. It was hard when Zoe went to college but she wasn't really that far, and even now she only lives about 30 minutes away which means we still get to see her relatively often and aren't ever too far if she needs us. But the military could mean he's very far away from home for very long periods of time and that kills me. Of course, because I'm not the most selfish person in the world, I will support his decision, whatever it is. It won't be easy but since when was motherhood ever easy? He's got a little time to think but really, this school year will be over before we know it and decisions of one sort or another will have to be made. 

For now, I'm going to savor this little bag of ice. I'll savor the craft room chats, the occasional surprise hug, the silly meme's, inappropriate (sometimes really bad) music and the moments he spends goofing around with his siblings. I know these days are fleeting and precious and making the most of them is all I can do, one perfect ice nugget at a time. 

*After bringing up the military thing in the evening we only talked about it for a minute or two and that night I hardly slept. The very next morning, first thing, he brought it up again. He told me he'd looked up some info on basic training and such and asked if he'd be without his cellphone for the entire time he was in basic. I said I did believe he'd be without it. He had a look on his face, one of slight panic and said "So, I'd be cut off from everyone for like 2 months!?" to which I replied, yes. He asked what would happen if something bad happened like someone died, how would he know? I told him I figured we'd be able to get a message to him if something tragic happened but otherwise he'd be in his own little bubble for awhile. Now, while I'm not a huge fan of his going into the military, I do hope that being "cut off" for a few months wouldn't be the deciding factor for him not to join. I hope he'll think about this seriously and thoroughly and with his future in mind...

Summer's Retreat

I know there are parts of the country where it has already snowed and other parts where it is still blazing hot but here, in Maryland, I'm beginning to notice some subtle signs of fall and that shit rings my bell. What is there to love about fall, you ask? Well, I would say, what isn't to love?

Here's a short list of some of my favorites:

  • fuzzy socks
  • orange/red/gold color combo's 
  • fall festivals
  • sweaters and jeans
  • tall boots
  • homemade soups
  • Halloween
  • birthday date night
  • leaves changing colors
Just writing that little list makes me happy! The very first thing I noticed changing was the tree in my front yard. Sure the grass is a bit burnt from some hot summer days we've had but I see yellow leaves littering the yard and I know autumn is on it's way in. 

Harper has been a leaf admirer for as long as he could use his little hands to gather them and this leaf was the first this season to catch his eye. He picked it up on the way to the bus and as the bus pulled up he handed it to me and said "isn't this one pretty, mom?" Yes, baby boy, it sure is. 

And then there's this little squirt wearing this dress with all the right colors and the boots that are perfect for stomping and dragging through leaves. 

I tried to get her picture while we were outside but cooperation wasn't on the menu but as soon as we entered the garage (with the beautiful recycle bins as our backdrop) she struck a pose with the fan she made at school and I snapped a picture anyways. 

Four more days until it's officially fall and I'm thinking maybe it's time to make a fall bucket list...

Back Pack Papers

The kids have been busy at school and the seemingly endless school papers are beginning to make their way home each day. I always try to keep a few things from the beginning/middle and end of each school year to keep up with progress and I've got a few things to keep from these first days already. (These are mostly all done by Dakota because they still do these cute things in first grade whereas they don't so much when the kids get older.)

This first week was a piece of cake. On the first week we...met our new teacher and learned class rules. Also sorted fruit loops by color and made friends. 

Name: Dakota (I noticed she spelled her name wrong here and on one of the papers above.)
Birthday: July
Subject: Math
Color: Purple
Food: Macaroni
Animal: Dolphin

Don't be mad, Zoe. She just counted who lives in the house. :)

Kindergarten favorite food: macaroni and cheese. First grade favorite food: fettuccine alfredo.

In Kindergarten I talked more. In first grade, I was shy. 

*This paper breaks my heart a little because I know she's been struggling to make friends in her class this year. It's weird but all of her closest friends from last year ended up in different classes and she ended up kind of by herself. It seems like the girls in the class this year were friends last year and it has created a bit of a challenge for Dakota to find a way in. I'm hoping with time she'll make a good friend in her class but it has certainly led to a bumpy start. She cried every morning last week when it was time to get on the bus and I ended up calling her counselor at school to check up on her, which she did. Her conclusion was that Dakota hadn't made a connection with any of the girls in her class and was having some anxiety about that which of course makes me want to go there tell those little girls what an awesome friend they're missing out on. :) Mama bear mode in full effect, right? I'm doing my best to be patient and to help her through this but I have to admit, it's tough. 

And finally, a paper from my cutie Harper. Tony and I were both impressed with what he wrote, seems pretty decent for a third grader!

My first day of school was...Wow. My first day of school was better than I expected. We did a activity called math about me. It helped me learn about math and it was fun. Another thing that was (fun) was a teacher quiz. It helped us learn about Mrs. Zak. It was very exciting. The first day of third grade was the best day of third grade.

While I'm really glad Harper had a great first day of school, I really hope it isn't his "best" day of third grade or it is really going to make for a long year! So far, he has really enjoyed being back at school and has a happy and positive attitude about everything involved; such his personality! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Back To Dance

We've been back to school and back to gymnastics and last Tuesday was back to dance. Dakota did such an amazing job last year in dance that I knew I wanted her to do it again this year. She really learned a lot last year and it was great watching her dance on stage in her recital. This year she's in the Primary Combo II class which is similar to what she did last year except this years class is 90 minutes instead of 60 and she'll get to dance in two numbers at recital time...which also means two costumes. 

As we entered the dance studio I heard a few little voices yell out "Dakota!!" and then there were a bunch of little girls hugging and excitedly talking about school and dance and how they couldn't wait to see what they were going to do in class. It was awesome and made Dakota feel so happy and ready to get in there. I hope she enjoys this year of dance as much as I do watching her!

Tooth #2

Dakota lost her second tooth a couple weeks ago while we were over at Mema's house for dinner. The kids were all sitting at a table together and mid way through dinner Dakota came over to show me that her tooth was super wiggly and she said it was hurting a little. I told her that it'd most likely fall out with another bite of dinner but before sitting back down to finish eating she stopped to show Mema. 

Mema asked Dakota if she could wiggle it and she barely touched it and out it popped! Dakota and Mema were both pretty surprised! Dakota's mouth did feel much better though and she went back to eating her dinner!

So, right now, I have one kiddo missing both bottom teeth and one missing both top teeth! They're quite a pair!


Dakota enjoyed gymnastics quite a bit this past summer and asked if she could keep going for the fall. I knew she'd be doing dance on Tuesday nights already but since they kind of go hand in hand I didn't think doing both would be such a bad idea. So, I went ahead and signed her up. 

While watching Dakota at gymnastics I noticed an all boys class and immediately thought about signing Harper up. After a lot of thought I went ahead and signed him up too. He hasn't ever enjoyed any of the team sports we've put him in (soccer, t-ball) but I thought he might like this since it's more individual. He wasn't excited about going but I told him they basically did an obstacle course for an hour and that idea did appeal to him as he loves that type of challenge. 

Dakota felt right at home as we went in despite being with a whole new group of kids and funnily, Harper seemed eager to get in there too. They both followed the teachers over to start warming up and both seemed to really enjoy their hour on the floor. 

When we left I asked them to give me a rating 1-10 of how much they did or didn't like it. Dakota said she loved it and gave it a 10 while Harper said it was just OK and gave it a 5. I'm hoping that by the end of the nine week session he'll give it a few more points! 

Back To School Night

We had barely gotten back to school when our school held it's back to school night. In the past (before Governor Hogan changed the law saying our schools had to begin after Labor Day) our back to school nights were a few weeks into the school year. This year though, it was on the third day of school and I nearly overlooked it thinking it wouldn't be for a bit longer.

Fortunately I remembered before it was too late and Tony, the kids and I headed to the elementary school to see their class rooms and meet their teachers. After a brief welcome from the principal and a brief introduction of all of the staff by the vice principal we were herded out of the cafeteria to find our kids' classrooms. Since we passed the third grade hallway first, we stopped in Harper's room to hear all about third grade and get a look at his room.

His teacher seems very well put together and we loved her room. It was arranged really nicely and even had a small cozy couch for the kids to sit on. There were positive messages all around that made the room feel very welcoming. Harper had written us a little letter and left it on his desk for us to find and I just love when the kids do this! When we flipped the paper over there was room for us to leave him a note in return!

His letter reads:  Third grade is the best. Mrs. Zak shakes her maraca so we will come to the carper and at the carpet we do our community circle. I'm so happy I got Mrs. Zak. Love, Harper

After hearing all about what to expect in third grade we headed down to the first grade area. Dakota is beginning her year with a long term sub as the teacher she was assigned recently had a baby and will be out until December sometime. I was assured that Dakota was going to be in good hands with her sub but upon walking into her room, I wasn't so sure. Since we stopped in Harper's room first we only caught the tail end of her spiel about what to expect in first grade and I couldn't help but notice the lack of color and charm that Harper's room had had. The room was a bit of a mess, honestly, and when we found Dakota's desk we also saw that her supply kit was sitting on the floor next to it opened and askew. Now, this was the third day of school and I was a little upset to see that the supplies I had purchased were just lying in a box on the floor.

I was going to ask the teacher what was going on with that when she walked over and introduced herself. We kind of looked at the box and she said that she had asked the kids to use the labels they got with their supplies to label all of their materials and that some of the kids, Dakota included, hadn't finished. But, as soon as they had everything labeled she was going to sort through it and take care of things. I didn't love it that things were in such disarray but sympathized with her knowing that it couldn't be easy getting all the kids and their supplies handled. I'm a mom, I get it. After talking about the supply box she went on to let us know how great she thought Dakota was and told me that Dakota was extremely smart. She said that Dakota gives terrific feedback when asked questions and thinks outside the box when answering. She said she's very helpful and a good listener...all this on day three has me thinking this will be a good year for her! :)

Dakota too had a little note for us on her desk. Kind of a funny note since this was left for us to find IN her classroom, but cute nonetheless.

Dance, 9/18/18

Dakota had her second dance class last night. Her class this year is at least twice the size as last year and it's harder to get videos...