Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Student Led Parent Teacher Conferences

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Did you ever have back to school night?  Do you remember how incredibly excited you were whenever back to school night rolled around?  Your WHOLE family got to come to your school and see what you were doing.  I can't be the only one out there who felt this way as a kid.  Back to School Nights were  seriously the highlight of my elementary school years.  I STILL remember (with fondness bordering on giddiness) guiding my parents around my classroom, showing them all the cool stuff I was working on, and just beaming with pride as my teacher told my parents what a great student I was.

Well, around here they call them Student-Led Parent Teacher Conferences, but it's still just as exciting.  Addison got to show us all sorts of stuff she was working on.

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The night of parent teacher conference, which also happened to be the 100th day of school, Addison's teacher had the students write 100 words.  If they completed all 100 words, their paper got cut into these curly cues and hung from the ceiling.
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The kids have been learning about volcanoes, and got to "make" one in class. 

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The highlight of the evening was watching it erupt.
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I missed the first eruption and asked Addison to put in some more baking soda.  Addison looked questioningly at her teacher who gave her the go ahead (apparently they were only supposed to do it one time).  As Bart was helping her put the funnel in, part of the volcano broke off.  I gasped and held my breath waiting for Addison to start crying (she does that from time to time when something she's worked hard on breaks...and she had been telling me about this volcano for days), but she didn't, she just once again looked at her teacher, who said, "Don't worry, that's fine, it's just the demo one."  Then she was fine.  I was pretty impressed, I thought for sure there would be tears.

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It wasn't until I asked if Addison needed to get her volcano from the bucket to take home that I realized, it wasn't her volcano that broke at all, it was the Demo volcano for everyone to use!  The lack of tears made sense, but I felt even worse!   We had broken the volcano everyone else would be using that night. Oops!

Fortunately Addison's teacher really didn't mind.  She is such a wonderful teacher, I'm so glad Addison is in her class.

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Before we left Addison's teacher asked her what the molten rock was called when it was inside the volcano.
Addison excitedly replied, "Magma!"

"And what is it called outside of the volcano?"

And with that Addison earned the right to take home her own "Lava" so that she could make her volcano erupt at home.

More on that in the next blog post...

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Kids Really Do Come Different

 A Can of play-doh surrounded by play-doh tools and a child in the background.

Having two kids the exact same age has taught me that kids really do just come different.  I think any parent with more than one child probably knows this, but when the kids are at the exact same stage developmentally, it really is exaggerated. 

For example (and I could list a million), Lilly is a night owl and Maya is a morning person.  It's funny, more than once at night, coming from the twins bedroom I'll hear Lilly say (in a very perky, playful voice) "Maya, are you awake?"  To which a groggy, sleep-filled voice responds, "Lilly, I'm tired! Go to sleep!"  Don't get me wrong, Maya has taken part in her share of after-bedtime exploits....this in particular comes to mind...but for the most part, Maya is asleep well before Lilly.

As you can imagine, Maya also wakes up before Lilly.  Poor Addison is very aware of this.  Lately Maya has been going into Addison's room probably 15-20 minutes before I wake them up in the morning to ask her sister if it's time to get up, if they can play, or if Addison can help her with some problem she's having (such as no more toilet paper on the roll).  Addison, being the saint-of-a-child that she is always helps her sister when needed, or gently sends her back to bed.  But 15-20 minutes before a wake up call is that awful time when you just can't really get back into a deep sleep, especially if you've gotten out of bed.  On a regular basis lately, when I come to get the older girls up, I'm met with a groan from Addison with an exclamation of, "Why Maya, Why???"  Poor kid.  I am going to have a talk with Maya about not walking her sisters up before it's light outside.

Usually Naps are no exception to the late-to-fall-asleep and early-to-get-up pattern that the twins fall into, but this day was an exception.

A Child playing with Play-Doh

Hannah woke up well before I expected the twins to wake up, and asked if she could play with her play-doh that she got for Christmas.  Now, my husband is a ceramic artist.  I try to encourage 3D play whenever possible.  But I have to say, I am SICK of this play-doh.   Part of the problem is that the table where they play with it (and really the only place to play with it in the house) is in this awkward place that is mostly on hardwood floor, but partially on carpet.  Which means play-doh ALWAYS gets on the carpet, and is seriously a huge pain in the rear-end to clean up.  Especially when I'm feeling like this

But, like I said, I didn't expect the twins to be up for a while, and Hannah isn't too bad about keeping it clean, so I said yes.  Unfortunately, as soon as she had actually pulled everything out and started playing, I saw a hesitant Lilly peeking through the railing on the stairs.  I couldn't tell Hannah she had to clean it up now.  She had just barely gotten it out.  So I accepted the fact that I would have to do some serious clean up and told Lilly she could play too...wondering why on earth she woke up before Maya.

I also figured I had better take some pictures because I really wasn't sure that the play-doh would ever come out again.

Two Children playing with Play-doh
A Child putting playdoh into a cookie cutter

A Child Holding a broken heart made out of Play-Doh

Two children playing with playdoh, one looking suspiciously at the camera.

In the end it wasn't so bad.  And I realized just how genius the idea of getting the twins brooms for their birthday was.  By the time Maya came up, the play-doh was put away, but when I told them to grab the brooms and sweep up the mess, even she was excited to join in.  The play-doh may see another day after all. 

And as I later pondered the discrepancy in the sleep-wake pattern on this particular day, I realized that, most likely, the reason Lilly was so hesitant to come up stairs was that she hadn't fallen asleep at all, but rather saw her sister quietly exit her bedroom, and moments later, followed suit. 

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

The Winter Blues

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Does anybody else get super depressed every January?  Okay, I suppose I really shouldn't say super depressed, that's trivializing what people with severe depression go through.  But man, for me, January is just a downer of a month.  It gets light late and dark early.  It's cold, so you don't want to be outside for very long, which means you're stuck inside....which invariably leads to my house being a mess.  And frankly, my motivation to do anything about it seems to have vanished with the Holidays. It's a miracle my family stays fed and clothed in the winter.  Needless to say, I'm not very happy with the groundhog.

I have found a little help in pod casts though.  I only let myself listen to them when I'm exercising or cleaning....and sometimes cooking.  I use them as a little reward to help motivate me to do things I don't have any desire whatsoever to do.  It's been working pretty well this month.  My house has stayed cleaner than it has at this time in years past...although I don't remember the last time I vacuumed downstairs.  And I have been at the gym every single day that Hannah has pre-school.

That being said, there is much room for improvement.  Sigh.  At least I know that winter doesn't last forever.  If you have any tips for overcoming the winter blues, please feel free to share!