Saturday, August 30, 2008

They're Cute

I love it when I capture my children in their natural state.

Here they are in the backyard, with May holding the dog leash and Irene being the doggie. Janie is skirting imagined Killer Beetles. Love it.

Chris said, "If we only had a typewriter stand."

Which really made me laugh!!!!!

When I was in about 4th grade and my sister was in about 1st grade, I tied one end of my jumprope to my Mother's extremely rickity typewriter table, and the other end of the jumprope to my bike. I then convinced my little sister to ride on the typewriter stand while I rode the bike fast and furious around and around our home's cul-de-sac. I had GREAT FUN! My sister was (I believe) scared stiff. My Mother opened her bedroom window and yelled at me to stop. When we went in the house, my Mother hugged my sister tight and gave me a good talking to.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

One Shiny Quarter

May had big news after school today. She flashed me her new and improved smile and told me that she had to visit the school nurse late in the day and get a new necklace with a very special "locket."

I think I foresee ONE SHINY QUARTER in her future. Hee! At least, that is what MY Tooth Fairy left me as a kid (sometimes it was one shiny DIME).

May's Tooth Fairy appears to have a good savings account at ready and toy stash in her pink feather bag, or whatever Tooth Fairys haul their loot in these days.

The tooth that came out first has been replaced by the adult tooth. There is no replacement tooth in sight (yet) for the tooth that came out today (they are both the bottom front teeth).

Monday, August 25, 2008

End of a short addiction

For the last 17 days, it feels like I have done little more than watch the Olympics and do the things that MUST be done in my daily life. I have broken our House Rule that states "Keep Balance" in life. I have been happily out of balance!

We have done a lot of things that we rarely do ... like eat in front of the TV every night for 17 nights! LOL! Or even watch TV for 17 nights in a row. Wow.

I don't regret a minute of it. I am so PROUD of the country of my children's births! China really REALLY did the Olympics well. SO WELL. From the opening ceremony to the closing ceremony and everything in-between ... so wonderful! I am not going to get into the political side of things here (but do watch for a coming post dedicated to Politics and Religion! GASP!) as I want to remember the many, MANY positives of China's hosting of these Olympic games.

I spoke with clients on the phone today. I felt a great sense of joy, peace, and optimism with regard to being a real estate broker. Something I have not felt for a while. Watch for a future post about real estate and the economy and how they relate to having a clean car. LOL!

I vacuumed away the big Cos Balls (globs of dog hair from Cosmos The Dog) that had been shifting around the kitchen floor for 17 days. May and I did allllllllllllllllllll the dishes. I washed 4 loads of laundry.

I ran replacement clothes to school for Irene (don't ask) and smiled ear-to-ear to see her teacher completely at ease (even joyful! As a Kindergarten teacher should be!) with her new class size (they have added a morning class and split Irene's class - leaving a far more manageable size of 17 Kindergarteners in Irene's class) and completed a volunteer project for May's teacher. I gazed at Jane's teachers with the true sense of appreciation that I feel for them. I hope all of my children's teachers know how MUCH I value them!! I felt very present in the moments of today.

I even made baby steps toward my better personal health, after having one heck of a cold for the past 3 or 4 days. Amazing what restored health can do for one's energy level!!


Tonight, I cooked a healthy dinner. My family gathered around the kitchen table. I felt so happy to be back to normal! I started our conversation with, "Hello, my name is Mommy, I shake you warmly by the hand." Hee! (Charley and the Chocolate Factory reference) Our dinner table ritual of each person telling the Best Part and Worst Part of their day fell back into place with ease.

The girls went to bed nicely tonight, and everyone fell back into proper places. No harm done.

Balance is restored.

But, I just have to take this moment to post some pictures taken from the TV (hi, Jerri!) that I took during the Olympics closing ceremony. Goodbye, again, My China. May and I agreed today how very much we miss China and how much we would like to go back.

One day ... one day.

Look! Up in the air!

As I was rushing around to get May out the door to school this morning, I heard a familiar sound outside. Janie (who came to us at 2 years and 3 months of age and scared to death of airplanes in the sky above her, and would RUN in the house if she saw one for the first year she was home) told me she saw an airplane outside. I could hear it, and I asked her if it had two wings ... er ... FOUR wings ... um ... nevermind, I'll just come see! It sounded like a bi-plane to me, and I have had lots of experience with them in a previous life.

Sure enough, it was a bi AND another single engine, flying really close together. I watched them for a while, as they made many passes over our house, and then had to continue getting May out the door. I asked Chris to please take some photos of the planes, and here they are. Very fun!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Zai jian

Zai jian, Beijing.

Wo ai ni.

(Goodbye, Beijing, I love you.)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Run, Forrest, Run!

Today marked the start of the Fall Cross-Country season for the running team. This is May's 4th year and Irene's 1st year.

The club is a great organization that is not school sponsored, and is offered throughout our local area for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade. Each team is named for their elementary school and they have team t-shirts with a common logo, but a unique shirt color.

Every kid who finishes is a winner. Everyone yells for everyone! And, we allllll scream for the kid who gets the hitch in his (or her) side and hobbles in dead last, in tears and wiping their nose on their team shirt. YEA!!!!!

Being played in the Fall (cross country) and Spring (track) seasons, there is a strong possibility for snowy or rainy and COLD meets! Each series (XC and track) has three meets. Some end after the sun sets. Yes, it gets cold. We go anyway! It is FUN!!!!! (And fun is good)

Sooooooo ... all last year, Irene (and Jane and myself) went to the meets to cheer May (and everyone else) on. Irene learned that she could go this year, once she was a Kindergartner.

Now - mind you, we went to the MEETS. Not to the PRACTICES.

The practices are held two mornings a week, at 7:30am. Chris is on the coaching team, and so he gets there a little early to help set up cones, get shirts ready for new members, check the roster, fluff his pom-pons, and shine his whistle. No, that can't be right. OK. So, I have no clue what he does. I am at home, drinking coffee and planning my own day. But, I digress ...

So. This morning, Chris gets May and Irene up and they get all ready.

Off they go to PRACTICE. Irene has her heart SET on racing and winning and BEING FIRST. First, I tell you. FIRST. Nothing less will do. Imagine her dismay when they ran drills and sprints, or whatever the heck they did. No first place.

She sat down and CRIED. She WAILED. She even cried that she WANTED MOMMY!! LOL! (uh-huh, like that is ever true)

After practice, May got re-dressed (picture day today) and Chris and Irene came home (Irene has PM Kindergarten, which you already know).

I sat Irene down and explained about a meet vs. practice. We ran through the days of the week (thankfully, I know the song and so does she) and she came to realize (I think) that on Tues and Thurs mornings, she will practice running. The RACE (meet) will come later. After many practices. I do think she gets it.

Here are some pictures of our three runners. Aren't they cute as all get-out??

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

School bus time

Janie cannot ride the bus either to or from school while in Preschool. She needs to be signed in and out by Mom or Dad (or another authorized person). This is fine!

Irene can ride the bus home, but not to school.

May can ride the bus both to and from school.

May could take or leave the bus. She really enjoys the time in the car with Mom or Dad. So, she just wants the freedom to control the method for transportation. Last year, this worked fine. She could come and go via car or bus without issue. But, the school seems to be much more organized and strict about being consistent about being either a Car Rider OR a Bus Rider this year.

Irene was SO EXCITED about taking the bus this year! She was THRILLED to be able to ride the bus home with May. And, May was excited about teaching Irene the ropes about the bus.

So, on Tuesday, August 12, they both agreed to ride the bus home.

Irene knew that May would be with her. And, so she was at a low level of anxiety. But, when her teacher took the kids to line up for the bus, May was nowhere to be seen. Irene got worried, and by the time she boarded the bus to wait for May, she was full-out crying. :-( In retrospect, I really should have asked the art teacher (who also coaches the running club, which Chris assists, and helps guide the kids onto the buses) to pull Irene aside to wait for May, and THEN have them board the bus together. Poor Irene was promised she would ride WITH May, and there she sat -- no May.

Well, of course, May's class soon arrived and May got on the bus and joined her sister. May told me later that Irene was really crying with LOTS of tears and May had no Kleenex to wipe her tears. She made a special point of putting a little travel pouch of Kleenex in her backpack when she got home. How sweet is that??

Janie and I headed out of the Preschool (they release 10 minutes before the release of May and Irene's classes) and I asked Jane, "Irene and May will ride the bus home today. Should we sneak over and make sure they make it onto the bus and follow the bus home in our car, or should we trust and go home?" She said, "Trust and go home!" I need to trust more in life, in general. So, off we went!

Jane and I drove to the bus stop so I could take photos of May and Irene getting off the bus when it arrived. We stood right where the bus dropped off last year. However, when the bus arrived, it was across the side street from where we were! Oh well. Best laid plans.

So, here are some photos of May and Irene "near" the bus, and walking home up the street.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back to school - Jane

August 6th saw my sweet little Janie off to her THIRD year of Preschool! She misses the birthday deadline for Kindergarten by just 3 days. At first, I considered testing her into Kindergarten for this year. She would easily pass the academic testing/assessment. But, then we decided that it was actually for the good that she would be in a different grade than Irene. It makes sense.

The class is afternoons, Monday through Thursday. Jane's class has the same main teacher as last year (she is GREAT!!) and one of the assistants returned for the very first part of the year. The second assistant was a teacher who had subbed a lot last year, and so was well known to Jane. The assistant from last year has since left for a new job, and they are trying out different teachers for the third spot. Not sure what will happen.

Janie LOVES her school ("I have my OWN class, Mama. WITHOUT IRENE!!!") So, splitting them into the two grades turns out to be a great decision.

At Assessment yesterday, Jane's teacher watched her breeze through everything. She said, "What will I teach you this year?" LOL! Seriously. Janie is always working on her self-confidence and on speaking up for herself. So, she may fly through the academic stuff, but being in Preschool is of huge value to her for so many other reasons!

Next year, for Kindergarten, she will surely need a full-day class, though!

Here are some photos of Janie in her current favorite dress, modified with a shirt underneath it in order to meet school dress code. She did not want a new backpack this year, preferring her beloved Dora backpack from last year. She likes familiar things. Sweet girl.

Back to school - Irene

Irene had her first day of school a little later than her two sisters did. They started on August 6 (Wed) and she started on August 11 (Mon). I really enjoyed having her all to myself for those few days.

Irene is in afternoon Kindergarten this year. Her teacher is new, and I have to say that the first few days she had a type of "deer in headlights" approach. LOL! She has 27 Kindergarteners, many of whom appear to never have had school before. There are lots of sweet little boys who are very attached to their Mommies and cry and cry and cry - not wanting to be in school. It is heart-breaking.

My kid? She is more toward "Don't let the door hit ya on the way out, Mom!" LOL! :-)

The first day, she asked me if she could wear her "party dress." Sure! Of course! What Kindergartener would be properly dressed on the first day without a fancy dress of raw silk, complete with multiple button-in slips?? This dress reminds me of the fancy dresses I had as a child.

She had her new Hello Kitty (we call her Kitty Chan in our house) backpack and most of her supplies. May helped her back them. Hee. Close enough.

She was SO HAPPY after school, having LOVED her first day! She was also COMPLETELY EXHAUSTED from the stress of it.

This is her first year "on her own" without a sister to cover for her. Remember - she has only been with us for a year now. She is still mimicking and agreeing, as she continues to learn English. This is work for her! She SHINES academically, knowing all her ABCs, counting, shapes, sequencing, letter sounds, etc. But, the common exchanges in English are what she works on. She gets better and better, and will one day have seemless understanding with both receptive and expressive language. Time. It will bre great for Irene and Jane to be in different grades and each be able to shine on their own, and have their own space and place.

Here are some photos of Irene on her first day - heading off to school, standing by her classroom door, standing near the front door, with her friend the school nurse, in line, in class and after school. She is one amazing kid!! I am so proud of her! I had not anticipated being teary about her heading off to school. But, even the thought of how far she has come and how hard she works, and how she does it without ME just makes me teary.