Sunday, August 30, 2009

I Enjoy Being A Girl!

Dear Future Son(s),

Do not read too much into this post years from now when you stumble across it. Of course, I am really looking forward to having sons. Of course, I can't wait to do boy things. Of course, if I had had a son first, I would be loving the fact that I would be doing all kinds of boy things right now. But, right now, I'm enjoying having a girly girl in my house.


I really
enjoy being a girl. Although I am not too "girly" in a lot of ways (not a big crier, like watching football, dislike most "rom-coms" and prefer guy flicks, don't usually wear lipstick, never watched Friends, own and enjoy shooting guns, have gotten into the occasional fist fight when it was necessary), I am still girly. I love make-up and am rarely without at least a little of it on my face. I fix my hair every. single. day. before leaving the house. I wore white kid gloves on a regular basis growing up. I wear a lot of pink. I don't like to sweat. I don't really like to be dirty.

So, I am really enjoying having a girl! And Katie Anne is such a girl. Not an annoying, cloying girl, but a nice healthy mix of girly, feminine, sweet, fluffy, I-can-still-get-you-in-the-guard-and "bring the pain"-when-necessary girl.

I keep my make-up in a little clear Sterlite container in the cabinet in the bathroom. Guess who has her own box full of make-up just like Mommy? That's right, Katie Anne. And it isn't fake make-up ... oh, no. We got too smart for that at about 18 months. So, her box is filled with tightly-sealed Merle Norman samples and rejected-by-Mommy Bare Minerals products. Almost every morning, she sits down in the bathroom and puts on her make-up while I do mine. In these pictures, she's wearing her pajama top and my old ballet practice skirt ... an outfit of her own design.

Opening her mouth when she applies make-up, just like a big girl.

A little "eye polish" as she calls it ... these are actually wrinkle gel packs.

Getting out a cotton ball for her toner.

Cleaning her face with it.

Even Mommy doesn't escape unscathed... here, Katie Anne applies "sunscreen" to my legs while I'm fixing my hair.

Is this too much, you say? Am I making her too focused on her appearance- insecure or vain? Perhaps she shouldn't be seeing her mommy primping in front of the mirror and copy that behavior, you declare. Well, go back up and watch the video at the top of this post! I am so glad I had a girl so I can shop with her, put on make-up together, and eventually do things like pedicures together. We Enjoy Being Girls!

My Latest Creation - Chore Chart

When I was shopping for back-to-school supplies in teacher catalogs, I kept running across hanging chore charts for kids. My favorite is the one from One Step Ahead, but here are some more options.

I thought this would be a fun idea for Katie Anne. She loves to help with chores like cleaning, unloading the dishwasher, putting away groceries, or helping with laundry. So, I thought it would be fun to get organized with this type of thing and set up a reward system as well.

Also, pooping in the potty is still very hit or miss (no pun intended). She's been 100% trained on peeing for months, but pooping is another story. She'll go for several days with no accidents, including at school, and we'll think we're totally in the clear ... and then go for several days where every poop means a complete clothing change. We've tried positive reinforcement for the desired outcome such as rewards like lollipops or extra playtime on her Dora video game ... negative reinforcements such as timeouts, spankings, making her wash out her panties, or Dora watching restriction ... emotional ploys like being "so sad and disappointed" when she poops in her panties ... basically ignoring the negative aspect of it and just saying "Oh, well -accidents happen!". No change in behavior - Pavlov's dogs she ain't. So, I thought the chore chart might serve as an additional potty training tool as well.

I didn't want to pay $29.95 plus shipping, so I thought I'd make the chore chart myself. I used posterboard, construction paper (which I diecut at the Teacher Resource Center), and sparkly pink paper from Hobby Lobby. I created the background for the chart, including three pockets to hold the rewards, stars, and chores.

I made up a bunch of chore cards (some which she can already do easily, like brushing her teeth or helping with laundry, and others we'd like to work towards, like making her bed or setting the table) and reward cards on Excel. I printed them out and laminated them at the TRC as well. Then, I used little Velcro dots that I found on sale for $1 a package at Big Lots to create the actual chart.

Estimated project cost:
Posterboard: $0.49
Construction Paper: free at TRC
Sparkly paper: $0.50 per sheet x 3 sheets = $1.50
Velcro dots: $1.00 x 3 packs = $3.00

Total: $4.99, plus tax

So, that's not too bad for a chore chart!
Here's the finished product!
(She hasn't really earned that many stars yet... I just wanted to show it with some stars on there.)

We put it to use this morning. I let Katie Anne pick the first four chores she wanted to work on...

Notice that pooping in the potty is not on her list. Sigh. Well, that's okay, because I want her to get the concept of the chart, and that probably will be easier to do if she's successful the first go round.

Every time she completes the "chore", she'll put one star in that row. Once she's earned five stars for that chore, she's done earning stars for that one and will have to concentrate on the others. Once she's filled the entire chart (20 stars), she can have her reward! (This isn't our original idea... at first, we just thought any time that she completed the chore, she'd get a star, and we wouldn't worry about rows. However, upon reflection, we realized that she could brush her teeth 20 times and fill the chart, easily circumventing the "poop in potty" card. So, we changed our idea to mean that you have to do each of the chores five times each to fill the chart.) We are not worrying about days of the week or anything. So, she should fill her "brush my teeth" row in 2.5 days, and then the others might take a little longer based on opportunity to do the chores and, of course, her willingness to do them.

She got her first star this morning for brushing her teeth. She was very excited to put the star on the chart herself! She's already thinking long and hard about what her first reward will be ... so far, she's alternating between going out for icecream or going to the playground.
Here's hoping that we get lots of chores done - and potty success - from our new chore chart!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Workin' on the Weekend

This morning, I headed into the Teacher Resource Center for a little Saturday overtime work. Just an hour and a half or so of diecutting, printing, laminating...

You know, a few sight words...

New nametags for September...

Number cards for a center next week...

Pages for a class book on rules...

Number mats for another math center next week...

And a little border never hurts either...
And, the place was packed. Every table had at least two teachers working at it, and I had to wait in line for the 4" number die cuts and the laminator. This was on a Saturday morning, when no one had to be there. No one was getting paid, or even earning kudos from the boss, because no one in administration will ever know we were there. Hmmm... Those who can, do - Those who can't, teach? Yeah, right.

Now, off to watch some Tivo'ed Project Runway... while Saunders and I cut out laminated stuff. :)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Go Mighty Hurricanes!

It takes a little more to be a Cane!
Cartersville - 14
Cass - 6

Tonight, we went to the first CHS football game of the season, which just happened to be the most anticipated rivalry game of the season - the Cartersville vs. Cass game! This game pits the city school system against the county school system, and it has been a big grudge match for years and years.

Because this is the most crowded game of the season, we arrived an hour before game time. Luckily, my dad arrived about five minutes before us and saved some seats, because the stadium was almost full - even at that early hour!

I saw lots and lots of my former students (fourth grade ones - the first graders from last year are too young to walk around the track at games, hopefully). Can you believe that my first class of fourth graders are sophomores now!? I can't! I love seeing my former students, hearing what they're doing, and getting big hugs from them. I've got twelve former students on the varsity football team and four on the varsity cheerleading squad!

Katie Anne with my four former students:
Caroline, Carey, Anna, and Erin!
I love this picture!
Those were my babies before I had my own baby -
how did they get so grown up?

Keeping a two-year-old entertained in a crowded football stadium for an hour before the game (and during the game, because I thought football wouldn't be too exciting for a toddler) was something I was prepared for... I had a big bag full of crayons, Barbies, Little People, finger puppets, fruit snacks, Goldfish, and more! Turns out, we really didn't need it - for one, it was WAY too packed to do much playing. Two, Katie Anne was pretty interested in the action. All she really needed was two hot dogs, one strawberry snowcone, her blankie, and she was set.

Intently watching the first driving of the game...
here, she is in mid-yell- "Go Canes!"

Katie Anne loved the pregame show, the band, the cheerleaders, and even the game. She wanted to know what was going on, so I told her the boys in the purple shirts were trying to run the ball this way, and the boys in the white shirts were trying to stop them. Katie Anne's very familiar with the "tackling" concept thanks to Daddy, so she yelled out, "TACKLE!" whenever anyone took another player down. She greatly enjoyed penalty flags being thrown - she got that idea down pretty fast. Whenever she saw the yellow flags go flying, she'd yell out, "Oops, the Canes made a mistake!" Unfortunately for the Canes, she was right ... Saunders thinks they had over 100 yards in penalities! It looks like it will be a long season! Fortunately, they were able to pull out the win over the Colonels 14-6.

Our little cheerleader!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

(almost wordless ... Katie Anne sets up an early morning doggy tea party before school)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sing, Sing, a Song

Sing, sing a song-
Make it simple
To last your whole life long!
Don't worry that its not good enough
For anyone else to hear.
Just sing, sing a song!

I realized a few days ago that I've really fallen off the video wagon. I haven't made any videos of Katie Anne in quite some time. In fact, I took our nice video camera to Florida this year, and then didn't make a single video the whole week we were on vacation! Yikes! Of course, I've got about 10,000 pictures to make up for it, but still ... I need to do better on the videos.

So, when we were driving around after buying Hoppy yesterday, Katie Anne was in a musical mood, singing tons of songs. When we got home, I sat her up at the kitchen table and tried to catch a few on video.

Video #1: In this first one, Katie Anne sings Itsy Bitsy Spider. (You'll also hear Saunders leaving me a voicemail on my cell phone.) I love how she completely enunciates the words - you'll see what I mean when you watch it. Also, she wants to sing Mr. Sun at the end, which must be a song they sing at school because I don't know it. And, apparently, she might not either. :)

Video #2: In this second one, Katie Anne sings a song that Saunders taught her called Peanut Butter. It is so funny! We love to hear her sing this one. This is what she was singing in the car, and this is what I was trying to get on tape. I love the George McFly laugh at the end, too.

In case you can't get it all, the words are:
Peanut sat on a railroad track
And his heart was all a-flutter.
Down the track came a choo-choo train,
Uh-oh! Peanut Butter!

Monday, August 24, 2009

How to Get Cute Pictures of a Toddler

Take pictures at a 10:1 ratio. That's my main tip.

Are you wondering how to get cute pictures of a toddler?
(Assuming you think I take cute ones of Katie Anne ... and I do, so there's no arguing that.)

As Katie Anne showed with Hoppy, you've got to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince, and you've got to take a lot of silly and strange pictures to catch a good one. I take about 10 pictures of Katie Anne for every one I actually use on the blog or in her scrapbook. When she was a baby, people used to ask how I got all these great pictures of her looking at the camera and smiling. I would say, "You should see the 400 that I took that week of the back or side of her head!"

Or, the ones like this...

I have noticed that professional photographers just snap-snap-snap away, while most amateur photographers try to pose for the perfect one or two shots. So, I take a page from the pros' book and just shoot. I love to use the continuous setting on my camera. I also set up the camera to take a shot every ten seconds while we're crafting or whatever, and then I just leave it alone on the table while we work. Deleting is free!

There is quite a bit of charm in the silly ones, though. So, I got the idea this afternoon for a little photo illustration of the process I go through to get a few smiling-into-the-camera pictures!

Mom, seriously ... we're done here.
"Go, go -yes, I think go. The joyfulness is over."
(Who can place that quote?)

Hoppy (or Froggy) the Frog!

You may remember that, last May, I brought home Shark (a beta fish formerly named "Jack the Pirate Fish"). Katie Anne got to keep Shark in her room, and she got quite attached to him being there. I think she really enjoyed having a little pet of "her own". Who knows where she gets this? Definitely not from me. :)

Well, Shark returned to school last week, and her little fish bowl has sat empty on her dresser, waiting for another friend. Today, I was able to leave work at a semi-decent time (4:00 has now become decent), and Chloe was in need of rabbit food, so I thought we'd stop by Land and Sea to see what they had. Land and Sea is a local pet store owned by the mom of a former fourth grade student of mine, and I like to patronize the store whenever I can.

There were lots of cute animals there - tons of birds, gerbils, lizards, and a sweetie pie rabbit - and lots of fish. Katie Anne was really drawn to the African clawed frogs, and that sounded like a good idea to me. I'd almost gotten her a frog while we were in Florida this summer... I thought that would be a fun Shark replacement. I've had African dwarf frogs before, but they're small and can be hard to find in the bowl/tank. This clawed frog was big and bold, and she could easily see him swimming around. So, bag him up - he's ours!

She can't quite decide on a name for him. Her first idea when we were driving home was ... Car. Um, no. I gave her lots of froggish suggestions like Hoppy, Froggy, Ribbit, Leap, Jumper, Skippy, Pickle (his back kind of looks pickle-ish to me), and she seemed to decide on Hoppy. Then, when we got home, she said that she liked Froggy better - and that's what she calls him in the video. But, when Saunders got home, she introduced him as Hoppy again. Hoppy is what he's been all evening. So, I'm not exactly sure of his name. I liked Pickle!

Sooooo excited about getting the frog into the bowl!
Splash - there he goes!
Whoa!Showing Hoppy (or Froggy) a sweet smile.Cheesy frog-lover grin.Lots of kisses for our new friend! (Don't worry - the outside of the bowl was really clean.)
Welcome to our home, Hoppy-Froggy!
And, here's a video of Katie Anne feeding Hoppy his first meal ...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Braves Game

Today, Saunders and I went to a Braves game! Carlton's company offered him some tickets for today's game against the Marlins, and he asked me, Saunders, Greg, and Jillian to join him and Trisha. We had such a good time!

This was the first time we've ever attended a Braves game together, which tells you how long its been since we've been to a game... I don't think I've been to a Braves game since 1994! We ate a big lunch of stadium food - hot dogs, chips, drinks, peanuts, and cotton candy! The game was very exciting with a three-run homer in the first inning, a tie through the middle, and the Braves pulling out the win in the bottom of the eighth! The weather was perfect, and our seats were really good - in the shade just to the third base side of home plate.

Here's a slideshow of the fun today ... I chose this song in honor of my love of all the hip-hop music selections played before each batter approached the plate. Enjoy!
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Braves Game
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox slideshow

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Deals & Steals!

Today, we had a girls' shopping day with my mom, Jillian, me, and Katie Anne hitting the mall. First, we went to Macy's, where Jillian and I found some great shoe sales. I got a pair of flats and two pairs of sandals that are approved according to the new dress code at work. I got all three for $34.72, including tax!

Pair #1: Hue flats - originally $18, I paid $6.75

Pair #2: Bandolino wedges - originally $59, I paid $14.75

Pair #3 (my favorite): Rampage sandals - originally $45, I paid $11.25
Katie Anne found me a white pair of gladiators a lot like pair #3 that I really wanted, and Jillian found me a pair of very cool silver sandals that would've been excellent with black pants, but as is the way with clearance sometimes ... the Macy's clerk couldn't find the other half of the pair in the back. Boo hoo! A deal lost to the monster of disarray.

Also, crazy story - when Jillian and I were checking out, there was this lady in front of us buying two pairs of shoes. One were Jessica Simpson boots and I don't know what the other was, but she was going on and on to Jillian and I about the boots and how great they were. Then, she said, "Of course, neither pair that I got is on sale. Isn't that the way it always is? You find what you love, and it isn't on sale." Jillian and I just stared at each other ... in a shoe department with probably 1,000 pairs of shoes on major sale, this lady buys the two that are full price? Craziness. Her bill was $157 and change.

Then, we rolled on. My mom and Katie Anne went to The Disney Store, where they bought Katie Anne a fun Minnie Mouse tableware set.
While they were in there, Jillian and I stopped into Crazy Eight, which is a new store/clothing line by Gymboree. Whoa - super KA deals here!
I got everything pictured here... 13 shirts (4 short sleeve in fall colors and 9 long sleeve for fall or winter) plus four hairbow sets for only $78! The hairbows cost $11.98 for 8 hairbows, coming out at just $1.49 per bow. The shirts averaged $5.08 per shirt! That's cheaper than Walmart! I was so excited about these sales.

Then, we made a JC Penney stop. My parapro Gina had given me a coupon for JC Penney that was $10 off a $25 purchase. By this point, it was almost lunch time, so I didn't have a ton of time to shop, but I still managed to find these four cute new shirts on the 75% off rack while my mom occupied Katie Anne at a new playground in the mall.

Guess how much I paid for all four shirts!?! $15 and change! Unbelievable, right? The purple and pink sleeveless each cost $2.99, and the black sleeveless and polka dot tops both cost $4.49. I didn't even intend to get the pink sleeveless one... I had just brought it to the register because the purple one didn't have a price tag. However, the purple, black, and polka dot shirts didn't add up to $25, so I couldn't use my coupon. So, I threw in the pink one, and just like that, my $23 bill dropped to $15! Add a shirt, save $10! That's nuts, right? The polka dot one originally retailed for $30 by itself. I couldn't believe I got four shirts for $15... that's $3.75 per shirt, including tax!

Then, Jillian went home while my mom, KA, and I hit up Costco. I got another one of her favorite jackets (this time in hot pink) to wear as a daycare coat this winter, and I got Saunders a Braves shirt to wear to the game tomorrow - only $15.99 for the Carter's coat and $6.97 for the Braves shirt! Deals & steals today, folks!