Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Crazy Day at School

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I remember last year, one of the boys told me, "[classmate] writes her name in cursive."  They were impressed.  But hey, she had an older sister to teach her, and her name is only four letters long.  The other night Christian showed me he could write his whole name in cursive.   For some reason, I think he's starting to like cursive, even though he dislikes writing in general. 

Then last night, Ehren came home with his name written in cursive on both of his math worksheets.

I like it!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Anna Hits the Slopes

Please, Dad, please.  Will you take me skiing?  When, Dad, when?

Even though her brothers didn't get to ski until they turned seven, Dad finally agreed to take Anna skiing for a few hours on her day off school. 

Lucky for Dad, Anna's a good student.

Lucky for Anna, Dad used to be a ski instructor.


Here we go!

This is the life, baby!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Midterm Update

While school takes effort for Ehren and Christian, they both brought home a glowing mid-term report this week with mostly A's and a couple of B's. 

I was hoping that would be the case since they've continued to have many perfect spelling tests and have been scoring 97-99% on recent timed 100 Math Facts tests.

Their teacher works hard to devise creative, engaging learning opportunities for the class.  She recently brought her two dogs, Rocky and Lexis, to class as subjects for a descriptive writing exercise.  Since then, every Friday, two students are selected to bring home a stuffed animal version of Rocky or Lexis for the weekend.  They write in a class journal about their weekend with their stuffed animal sidekick.  Writing is definitely the big challenge of second grade.

Next up, they have to power through writing their first big report on a historical figure and giving a presentation to their class.  Ehren chose George Washington, and Christian chose Thomas Jefferson.  They have finished reading the book they chose about their historical figure and have found one alternative source of information from the Internet.  They need to find one more.  At school, they're taking notes and preparing their reports.  The final presentation is coming up in less than a month.  More on this to come, but in the meantime, wish them luck!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How to Turn Eight

Here's how you turn eight in our house.  First, schedule your birthday on a holiday, so there is no school.  Next, wake up and play a game of Battleship with your brother. 

Then devour some giant, heart-shaped cinnamon rolls. 

After breakfast, send your little sister away for a couple of hours with dad. 

Later, rejoin Dad and Anna to see the matinee showing of Star Wars: Episode I in 3D.

Return to share a family dinner featuring baked salmon, quinoa salad, caesar salad, hot bread and virgin frozen strawberry mojitos with both sets of Grandparents.  Blow out the candles on your {wilted} Thing One and Thing Two cupcakes (hmmm, the flaming blue cotton candy hair melted into the frosting).

Open your presents, including things like grippy nerf footballs, joke books, Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, a new game called "Tilt," and money.  Finally, just before bed, check out the shark and beach cupcakes you get to take to school the next day.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Words Come Second

Just as I was working on this post, my friend at The Fragile X Files shared this Temple Grandin quote on her blog:

I can remember the frustration of not being able to talk. I knew what I wanted to say, but I could not get the words out, so I would just scream.

A couple of weeks ago, Christian had a particularly rough day.  He had several color changes at school (color changes are given when rules are broken).   Normally, when I ask the boys how they got their color changes, they are reluctant to give me the details.  They often say, "I just don't know.  I just can't remember."   Sometimes, I think it's true and their minds are all-a-jumble; sometimes, I think they don't want to admit their mistakes; and sometimes, I think it's just too much work for them to put the whole situation into words. 

Surprisingly, on this day, when I asked Christian about how he got his color changes, he just spilled out tons of information.  In particular, he was upset with himself about a color change he got at recess.  He explained that a classmate was in his way, and he pushed her out of the way.   He told me he knew he should have asked her to move, but he just moved her out of the way instead.  I know this was not mean-spirited.  It's just that it takes a lot of effort for him to operate with words.  He knows he should, but I speculate that he often finds it frustrating and inefficient.

The next day I was a recess volunteer at school.  I was retelling Christian's story to the teacher on recess duty with me.  She said, "Oh, I was out here when he got the color change!" She told me that Christian's unhappy classmate came up to her and said, "Christian hit me."  Christian didn't defend or explain himself {again, too many words; too much effort}, so that was the end of it.  He got a color change.

I'm not saying Christian was right to push the girl out of his way, but this is just one example of the frustration and misunderstandings that happen everyday when words don't come easily.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Aspiring Cheerleader

This is what happens when Anna goes to a school pepfest.

She comes home and tries to recruit her brothers to do cheers with her.  No matter what sports we put this girl in (and she seems to be pretty athletic), she loves the girly stuff like dance and cheerleading.  She didn't get it from me!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Stone Soup

Here's our little actress performing in her first play, Stone Soup.  While Anna enjoyed her role as a villager (which is another way of saying she was in the chorus), she was a little disappointed she wasn't one of the kids who got to walk up and drop something into the soup pot.  But hey, when there are almost fifty kids in a play with no speaking parts, there are a lot of villagers.

Clearly I hadn't yet joined Pinterest when I was working on her costume because it didn't win any awards for creativity, but it was very, ahem, bourgeois. Her scarf is a hand-me-down receiving blanket we've had for years.  When it's not part of a villager costume, Anna uses it as a blanket for her dolls.  Her apron is one that her great-aunt Lois sewed in home-ec class back in the fifties or sixties.  I retrieved it from the old dress-up bin in my parents' basement.  Everything else originated from her dresser.

We loved your play last night, Anna!  Good job.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chinese Architecture In Legos

Christian brought me this Lego house he made.  He said, "It's kind of strange, but I made it.  It was tricky to make."  With the roof design and the red and yellow colors, it looked just like a miniature display of Chinese architecture.

Step inside.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Girl Knows Her Eighties

In the van the other day, I was flipping through radio stations when I hit an old eighties song, Heaven is a Place on Earth by Belinda Carlisle.  I admit it:  The kids and I were having a little fun rocking out to this song.  At the end, Anna says, "Mom, that song sounds just like Pippi Longstocking!" 

I had to stop and think for a minute, and then I remembered that we've watched The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking on Netflix a few times.  I asked my friend Google, and sure enough, that movie came out in 1988, around the same time as the song Heaven is a Place on Earth.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Like Father, Like Son

Often when I ask the boys, What are you doing?
I get this answer:  Fine.

Tonight I asked Dan, How are you doing?
He answered: Nothing.

Disclaimer:  Computers, television, or video games may or may not have been involved in the incidents detailed above.