Friday, August 30, 2013

Quick 5

This week has been brought to you by happy days, screaming nights and Pop Secret Homestyle Microwave Popcorn.

1.  We not only survived our first full week of school.  We nailed it.  We've got it down - the waking up routine, the getting to school routine, the morning without Alaina routine, and the get home and have lunch routine.  Everyone acts like we've been doing this our whole lives, even Joya.  I'm so thankful that God made me a morning person so I can enjoy these early morning things.  And that my children are also morning people, so there is no urging anyone to get moving or get out of bed.  It's just who we are.  When I first realized that I was going to have to park the car and take Alaina into school every morning, I was a little bummed.  Mostly because of the hassle of getting the other girls out and walking from wherever I can find a parking spot during the crazy drop-off time.  But we've dealt with it, and I love watching Alaina at that time in the morning. Her classroom is right inside the front door, next to the lobby and front desk, so I don't have to sign in or anything.  The girls can sit on the couch or chairs if they're available.  Alaina has made friends and it's so cute to watch them greet each other in the morning.  Then about 5 minutes before the start of school, us parents have an unspoken agreement or whatever to have them line up in front of their door.  We gently push them toward the door and they line up, a girls line and a boys line.  Then Mrs. Galloway opens the door and greets them in her soft voice.  She is wonderful at capturing their attention and already has them trained well to respond to her.  Then she ushers them inside and I usher Joya outside, much to her dismay.  It's a lovely morning ritual, and I'll miss it when she's old enough to go through the carpool lane.

2.  The one thing I did NOT plan for regarding school is all the finished schoolwork that Alaina brings home.  My Counter of Doom is already overflowing with our regular stuff; where am I supposed to put her finished work?  And how long is appropriate to keep it before I throw it away?  I suppose I'm going to have to invest in a big plastic tub for her stuff.  Maybe I'll put it all in there and when it gets full I'll let her choose her five favorite things to keep.
3.  Bria has had a rough week, sleep wise.  The first part of the week consisted of her rolling over in the middle of the night, then screaming because she didn't want to be on her tummy.  That woke her up several times at night.  Which then she thought was a good idea, so after she stopped rolling over she's decided to wake up a couple of times at night anyway.  Which has triggered sleep training.  I never had to sleep train the other girls, but I do with Bria.  So last night when she woke up at 2:45 I let her cry.  She cried for an hour.  But then went to sleep.  As lame as the hour was, with Lee and I just laying there awake, I am quite pleased with how it all went.  Hopefully we won't have too many more nights of that.  Everything I've ever read and even her doctor has said that this is the way to go, and that it will only last a few nights.  So, one night down.  We can do this.

4.  In other Bria news, she had her six-month check up last week.  She is 16 lbs 15 oz, and super tall.  She's in the 95% for height and still in the 90% for head circumference.  She is SO WIGGLY that it's getting harder to hold her for very long.  So, in addition to sleep training, we're going to do our best teaching her to sit up on her own.  I'd love to be able to put her on the floor with some toys, rather than having to drag out one of the apparatuses we have for her.  She'll be happier too.

5.  Joya's big news came as a bit of surprise to me.  She has still been using her paci at naps and at night, and I've made it my plan to let her have it until she's three, and then I'll make the Big Trade.  In order to give her fair notice I took her to Kohl's yesterday, where she picked out one of their $5 stuffed Curious George dolls.  I told her that she was going to trade her paci for George soon.  She decided that she would do it right then...but then lost her nerve at nap time.  So I put Curious George high up in the closet and told her it was okay, but when she was done with her paci for good she could have George back.  Well, at bedtime she asked for the George and said she didn't want her paci.  So I put the pacis away and gave her George, kissed her goodnight and put her to bed.  Her resolve wavered a bit, but she did end up falling asleep.  Then at 9:30 she woke up crying for the paci.  I told her that she could do this, and to just hug George and go back to sleep.  She woke up again around 2:45, asking for the paci.  This time there were no tears, though.  She said she didn't want George anymore.  I said no way, that she was doing great.  Then she asked for Grammy.  I told her to go back to sleep.  And she did!  So this morning I threw the pacis away.  We are done with those, about six weeks sooner than I thought.  But I'm so proud of her.  Hopefully tonight will go a bit smoother, but all in all she's doing great.

Hooray for the long weekend!  It might be filled with little sleep for me, but it will be good in the long run.  I can do this.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Quick 5

Holy Week of Change, Batman.

1.  Alaina's first day of Kindergarten has come and gone.  It was a completely tear-free day.  She didn't cry.  Mom didn't cry.  And most surprisingly of all, Joya didn't cry.  We all thought that Joya would be the inconsolable one.  Lee mentioned how he thought our parenting style could be labelled "A Journey to Independence" and that was most evident in Alaina's first day.  She was ready.  We were prepared to send her.  And so it went smoothly.  She said she was a little shy as I got her settled at her spot at the table, and I told her that was okay.  That it's always a good idea to sit back and watch for awhile before jumping into things.  So that's what she did.
 2.  Alaina went in for testing the day before the first day of school.  Apparently her teacher was very impressed with everything she already knows.  Alaina 100% deserves the credit for that.  I've never once sat down with her to teach her anything; she just remembers things she learns from PBS Kids and things like that.  Her teacher also said that there were quite a few other kids who tested at that level, which is good news, since that means the teacher can teach to that level rather than having Alaina too far ahead of the rest of the kids and in danger of getting bored or being unchallenged.  I'm so proud of her, and also curious to see how Joya and Bria will to turn out along academic lines.  I don't want to hold them to her standard, but I also don't want to expect too little of them.

 3.  Alaina has to wear uniforms to school, which basically consist of a solid colored polo and  khaki or navy pants/shorts/skooters.  She thinks it's awesome that she wears polos like Daddy, and instructs him on which color to wear to match her if she can.  Which meant that on Wednesday they both got to wear red polos.
Lee's First Selfie
4.  As with most things in her life probably, Bria's big day this week was overshadowed by her big sister's first day of school.  Bria turned six months old on Tuesday.  Six months!  My first thought about that was "Well, that wasn't so bad!"  Bria is celebrating turning six months old by dropping her dinner time nap.  She now refuses to take a nap at that time of day, but isn't really handling the lack of sleep very well.  I remember this phase with the other girls; it takes about two weeks for her disposition to improve.  She also has decided that she will NOT sit contentedly in the swing anymore.  Which is sad for me.  She has spent hours and hours and hours of the last six months chillin' in there.  Now I have to figure out other places to put her.

5.  Six months old also means food time!  Bria's been getting used to rice cereal this week, and she finally enjoys having mushy stuff in her mouth.  Which means that I will be adding Making Baby Food to my list of things to do throughout the week.  I think I'll start her on sweet potato.  Or butternut squash.  I can't decide.
First taste!

6. In other news, we had a wicked storm last night.  It has really been the first and only storm of the summer.  And it was CRAZY.  Apparently Alaina's school experienced some flood damage, so today is a Flood Day (instead of a Snow Day.)  Classes were cancelled so a crew could get in a clean and dry the place out.  Alaina wasn't exactly happy about the unexpected day off.  "School is NOT boring, Mom!"  Oh, that she could feel this way about school every day for the next 13 years.

(Did you like how I snuck that bonus one in?  That was for you, Dad.)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Quick 5

As I contemplate the fact that our summer is coming to a close, I've reached one conclusion: I have not had enough corn on the cob.  I haven't had ANY, in fact.   That might be a travesty.

1.  I'm trying my best to make the most of these last summer days, these last days before I have a child in school and it's not just us all the time.  I'm probably failing miserably, since that's not really a homebody's strength.  But we did get to the park.  Maybe I'll be more creative as the girls get older and I don't have to worry about naps or nursing.
Alaina's Senior Picture pose.  Maybe this one will be easy to recreate when she's actually a senior.
2.  My grandparents came for a short visit last weekend.  They needed to meet the newest babies (Bria and Elisabeth) and the babies needed to meet their GiGi and PaPa.   (Where was Alaina?  Doing one of her favorite things to do at Grammy's:  watching Daddy and Apple Ben play video games.)

3.  I'd like to introduce you to Bria's new best friend: the Owl.  The Owl lives in her crib and keeps her entertained while she's falling asleep or waking up.  I'm considering that this may not be a healthy relationship, though.  Last night the Owl and Bria had an hour and a half long squealing/chatting fest...from 9:45 to 11:15.  Momma can't sleep when the baby is squealing in her bed, even if the squeals are happy.  I feel like the Owl should know better, but maybe I'm expecting too much from the both of them.

4. This week we had Alaina doing something new: tearing paper into shapes.  It was hard.  She was getting really upset about not getting it right the first time.  So Lee tried to teach her about learning and practicing.

Lee: Do you know what it means to practice?
Alaina: Yeah, to train to do something.
Lee:  That's right.  What do some people train to do?
Alaina: Kung fu?

She could have chosen playing guitar, like Daddy always does, but no, she chose kung fu.  We'll credit Uncle Josh with that influence.

5.  We went to Meet Your Teacher night on Thursday and met Alaina's teacher, Mrs. Galloway.  She is just what I would have hoped for in Alaina's kindergarten teacher: gentle, friendly, and genuinely seems to like these little people.  She told me how at the beginning of the year she'll put toys out each morning when they first come to class to help them get used to the classroom and each other, and then she'll slowly wean those away.  She's prepared for any separation anxiety induced tears, and she's not afraid of them.  It looked to me like there are 20 kids in her class, although that IS full day and half day combined.  I'm interested to know how many there are of each, but that won't matter unless the class gets too big.  Then they'll separate them.  One adjustment I'll have to make is during the drop off portion of each morning.  There IS a carpool lane, but they don't recommend that for kindergartners, since the teachers don't escort them to the classroom.  And the drop off point is almost exactly on the other side of the building from Alaina's classroom.  Which means I'll have to park the car and unload the troops to take her in.  It's not THAT big a deal, I suppose.  I'll just need to plan for 5 more minutes in the morning for arrival time.  Which means that in order to get everyone dressed, fed and out the door on time, my new normal will be getting up at 5:30.  Good thing I'm a morning person, eh?

Next week is a big week for us.  Exciting, scary, life-changing.  I think we're ready.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Quick 5

Well, we didn't get the 1 to 2 inches of rain that they were saying we would get this week.  I feel cheated.

1.  Alaina is enrolled, registered, uniformed and supplied for kindergarten.  We went to registration this week where she had her very first school picture taken.  And she was irrationally nervous about it.  I had to handle a few crying sessions about it.  I still don't really know what the problem was; something about not knowing what the photographer was going to look like.  But when it came down to it, she did great.  Her smile was a little forced, but her picture definitely looks like her.  I'm so excited to start the traditional School Picture Wall. 

2.  Sometimes Alaina also gets nervous about school in general.  She keeps saying she'll be too shy to be around her friends at school. Then we went to the park yesterday, and a herd of daycare-type kids showed up.  Before they even got to the playground equipment, Alaina was shouting, "Hi kids!  Do you want to play choo-choo train?  Do you like my shirt?  I took my school picture today!"  Yeah, right...shy.

3.  The Great Tribulation that is potty training has taken a turn I never saw coming.  Joya is 99% reliably dry these days, even at night (which is amazing, since it took Alaina until this year to be ready for that.)  But I've noticed that while she is dry, she also refuses to go potty often.  Which means she holds it for hours on end.  Sometimes I remember and make her go, sometimes I realize that she hasn't gone in three hours or so.  I hope I'm not damaging her physically or anything.

4.  What's Bria up to these days?  Passing toys from hand to hand, which is a milestone, and finding her feet.  She likes to grab her feet, but hasn't figured out how to put them in her mouth yet.  She's also starting to get really offended if we leave her laying down or reclined for too long.  She thinks she needs to sit up like a big girl; never mind that she hasn't mastered that skill yet.  Enter: Bumbo.

5.  And here are my lovely ladies:

Happy weekend, all!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Quick 5

There's nothing like the horror of realizing that you forgot to put a pull-up on your freshly potty-trained toddler last night before bed, and the relief that she actually stayed dry the whole night. 

1.  It was haircut week at our house.  I talked Alaina into cutting her hair into this cute bob, although she always says she likes it long.  But she also doesn't like me putting her hair up, so it just gets all tangly.  Where's the balance of respecting what she likes, yet making things like hair combing better?  I think she likes it.  All she says about it is that she feels too shy to show it to her friends.  Whatever that means.  As far as Joya goes, the stylist did exactly what I asked...just below her ears.  At first I regretted it because I thought it might be too short, but I really like it now.  Next time, though, I'll probably go more chin length for her.
2.  Along the hair lines, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that we did NOT destroy Joya's curls with that first hair cut.  Her hair began to curl again, the longer it got.  However, curls mean tangles and are much harder to comb, hence the hair cut.  I did learn, though, that the whole crying during hair combing time might just be a Thing, and not really out of pain.  I think this for two reasons: 1.) When the stylist combed her hair before it was cut, Joya did NOT cry.  Her face was completely impassive.  And 2.) lately when I go to comb Joya's hair, she starts fussing as soon as I say it's time to comb her hair, way before I even touch it.   So now, while I do my best to be gentle, I am no longer moved by her tears.

3.  We finally had the perfect situation to introduce Bria to the backyard swing set: cloudy, not-too-hot, and she's old enough.  She liked it.  She also liked chewing on the straps.  She will have so much fun on that swing set in her life; she just doesn't know it yet.

4.  Each afternoon, when Alaina and Joya play in the backyard, I inevitably hear them start to yell, "Oh NEIGHBOR BOYS!!"  Then the neighbor boys (who are around 5 and 7, I believe) climb up onto their play set and look over the fence to chat.   I told Alaina that she should probably learn their names, as it isn't really polite just to call them Neighbor Boys.  But that's my social butterfly for you.

5.  We got all the information for school registration.  I've paid the fees and we've gotten about 85% of the supplies Alaina needs.  We've gotten most of the stuff for her uniforms, and they look great. The beginning of the school year is so exciting, and I'm excited for Alaina to experience it.  Next week we go in for registration and school pictures, the following week we have Meet Your Teacher/Ice Cream Social night, then school starts on the 20th.  I hadn't anticipated Joya's reaction to the whole thing, although I should have after the sadness she experienced about not getting to go to VBS.  She asks every day if she can go to school too, and I keep telling her that she can go with me to drop Alaina off at school, but that she'll come home with me and Bria.  It's not really what she wants to hear.  It's so sweet to see that she and Alaina really are good buddies, and I wonder if she and Bria will have a relationship close to that.  I know that usually the younger sister looks to the bigger sister, but hopefully Joya and Bria will get along and enjoy each other too.

Welcome to the world, Elisabeth Grace!