Saturday, July 31, 2010

Katie Anne's First Day of School

On Monday, Katie Anne started back to "school" at her daycare.  We'd been building up the idea of going back for about two weeks, and she was on the fence about it.  In a way, she was really excited about seeing her friends and playing on the playground.  On the other hand, she was not looking forward to leaving me and our summer routine to go back to school.  The night before school started, she picked out her Jessie shirt to wear, packed her backpack with extra clothes, and laid her school nap blanket out so she wouldn't forget it.  She was excited about school but nervous at the same time.

So, on Monday morning, she went back and forth between excitement and tears as we got ready for the day.  One of the funniest things about the morning was when I woke her up, she asked me (as she does almost every day), "What are we gonna do today?"  When I told her she was going back to school, she started crying and saying, "No!  This isn't happening!  This isn't happening to me!"  We don't know where she got that line, but Saunders and I secretly found it hilarious because she kept saying throughout the morning, "This isn't happening to me!" in her highly dramatic fashion.

Once she got up and got going, the excitement won out over the nerves, and she was ready for school.  Saunders was taking her, and that was a change for us - I've always taken her on the first day of school - but I knew I just couldn't handle the stress of a tearful drop-off.  So, I snapped a few pictures of her before the two of them left the house.  Katie Anne, in typical model fashion, was more than happy to strike a few poses in her back-to-school outfit!
She knew she was being silly - when Saunders asked her why she kept tilting her head and twisting like that, she said, "Because that is sooo cute, Daddy!"  Then, she busted out laughing:
Getting her backpack on:
"Daddy, let's GO!"
This is the last picture I took ... as she was saying, "Mommy, no more pictures."

The drop-off was a little rough - Saunders had to go through the heart wrenching "Don't leave me, Daddy!" experience - but overall she's really done much better this year with getting used to being at school instead of at home.  Her teacher, Mrs. Lakin, has been really impressed with her work this week and has had nothing but positive things to say about her work and behavior at pick-up every day.  According to Mrs. Lakin, Katie Anne is doing a great job on listening, following directions, and doing her work.  We are very proud of some of the big girl stuff she's been doing at school!
She's been tracing lots of numbers and letters:
Her coloring-inside-the-lines has gotten much better since last spring:
On Friday, the class did a little picture addition worksheet, and Mrs. Lakin just bragged and bragged on Katie Anne when I picked her up.  She said that she'd listened so carefully while the directions were read aloud and colored exactly what she was supposed to when it was time to work.  Mrs. Lakin said she's one of the most attentive kids in the class!  We're very proud of her hard work:

It is hard for me to believe that this is her last back to school day at a daycare ... next year, she'll be going to work with me in the mornings and attending pre-K!  She's growing up so fast!

Back to School for Mommy

This week, I went back to work to get my classroom ready for school.  The school was not open to all teachers, but luckily my boss let me work this week and get my classroom unpacked while I had help.  My parents, Jillian, and Saunders's parents came to help me this week, and we got lots and lots of things done.  Here are some pictures of the project...
Our first look at the classroom last weekend:
Work day 1 ... Furniture moving day:
Work Day 2 ... Making progress:
Work Day 3 ... Beginning to look like a real classroom:

The classroom is 99% ready for school to begin!  Now that pre-planning has officially started (my first "real" day of work was Friday), I can focus on planning and getting ready for my long-term sub instead getting the room ready.  I really like the arrangement in my new classroom - I actually think I like it better than the way my old classroom was arranged.  I'll take a final picture or two before school starts next week!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Big Sister Surprises!

One of the last items on my to-do list before I went back to work was to finish up my "big sister surprise" project.  Earlier this summer, I started to think about a big sister present for Katie Anne.  I considered getting her a big present, like a Baby Alive, to open after Baby Saunders is born.  However, I was afraid the fun would wear off fast with one big item.  Instead of getting her one big item, I decided to get her lots of little inexpensive things.  I remember one of my mom's friends sending Greg a package full of small wrapped gifts after he had surgery as a kid, and he loved picking out one thing to open each day.  I thought it might be exciting for her to have small things to open during those first few days at home with Baby Saunders.  Hopefully, these will all be things that she can play with independently while I'm busy with the baby, too. 

I've been keeping my eyes open for fun but inexpensive little items all summer long to wrap up for her.  I've gotten lots of fun things like puzzles, a Polly Pocket doll set, books, coloring sets, little toys, etc.  Here's part of her big sister surprise collection:

I picked up a fun roll of wrapping paper at Big Lots for $1, and today I wrapped everything up!

I hid the basket of goodies upstairs, and we'll bring it down when we get home from the hospital.  Hopefully our new big sister will love all her surprises!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fashion Diva!

Katie Anne rocks the self-designed, three-year-old version of the 80's punk headband look.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Katie Anne's Gymnastics Class

Tonight is Katie Anne's last class of summer gymnastics.  She's spent each Monday night this summer at the gym, and she has absolutely loved it!  We've really been impressed with what she has learned and what she can do - she's really great at gymnastics!  Since she enjoys it so much and it is a great way for her to run around, stretch, and get some energy out, we've signed her up for fall gymnastics, too.  She'll take next week off, and then start back - at a new, bigger gym - on August 9.  She is very excited about continuing to take gymnastics classes and going to the "yellow gym" in a few weeks!
My camera doesn't take pictures in the gym, so my mom took some pictures with her super camera of Katie Anne doing all her gymnastics things in class!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Back to School Time!

Well folks, today is it ... it is the unofficial last day of summer for me and Katie Anne.  I say unofficial because, technically, I do not have to report for pre-planning until this Friday.  However, the unfortunate timing of our school being painted and having to move classrooms while also being 9 months pregnant as of tomorrow means ... I've got a TON of work to do at school at a time when I'm not exactly an efficient or effective physical laborer.  So, I'm considering tomorrow my first day of work.  Luckily, I've got lots of helper bees lined up to come in next week and do the real work of setting up the room since I can't exactly move furniture and hang off ladders at this stage in the game.  My mom, dad, sister-in-law Jillian, and in-laws have all graciously volunteered to assist with this project!  We made a stop by the school yesterday to get a preview of the damage:
 You may say, "What?!" but ... it really doesn't look that bad to me.  There are a lot of rooms that I walked by that looked like bombs had been exploded in there - I think some of the recycled boxes from the lunchroom did not fare well.  Luckily, I'm so anal-retentive that I could barely use the recycled, slightly damp boxes that formerly housed frozen hamburger patties to pack away my precious school supplies ... and the lovely, matching Home Depot boxes (which cost a little money, but seem to be totally worth it) have held up very nicely during the prisoner-work-force moving process.  I'm sure it will be a lot of work, but I was very careful about packing my boxes in a very organized way, and it looks like all my furniture made the move without being damaged, so I think it won't be too impossible to unpack it all.  I'm also setting my decorating bar low ... we'll do the best we can to establish cuteness in the room, but the first goals to reach will be practical - furniture placement, box unpacking, etc.

Katie Anne's going back to school tomorrow as well.  I've really been trying to amp up the excitement about her return to school while also emphasizing that her stay there will be incredibly short - she's going to be home with me during my maternity leave.  So, she'll probably only be at school for (at most) 3 weeks.  We went to Target and I let her shop for a new backpack.  She spent a lot of time trying on different choices, but ultimately you know who won.  Who could resist a sparkly Dora backpack that also has a rolling handle?  She calls it her Dora suitcase backpack, and she loves it.
We also went to her school on Friday to pick up a blanket we'd forgotten, to remind her about how awesome the playground is, and to remind the staff that she'll be back on Monday morning.  Everyone was very excited to see Katie Anne, and I think that helped her be more excited about going back.  Keep your fingers crossed that tomorrow morning - and the rest of the mornings until Baby Saunders arrives - go smoothly for Daddy at drop-off time ... because I'm totally chickening out and making him take her from the very beginning this year.  :)  Last year, it took her about a month to make the back to school transition, and I just don't think I can handle the drama in my current hormonally-fragile emotional state!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Classic Childhood Fun

Yesterday, while the LeafGuard gutter people were installing our new gutters (hooray!!!) and KA and I were trapped inside the house, she got to experience a classic childhood form of entertainment for the very first time ...
Building a living room fort!
Greg and I used to build some crazy-good forts from dining room chairs, couch cushions, sheets, etc... but for Katie Anne's first fort, I decided to keep it simple.  We went with the classic coffee table/couch edge design:
Once we got the fort all set up, she wasn't exactly sure what to do inside the fort ... so I told her that one of the best fort activities was flashlight reading!  
She was all about that, so we gathered up a few of her library books and her new pink and white flashlight, and in she went (with Peach, of course).  
 She stayed in her fort, reading to Peach, for almost 30 minutes ... only crawling out for a watered-down apple juice refill and a few Ritz crackers.
Living room forts = classic childhood fun times!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Magna Doodles = Awesome

Do you know what I love?
Magna Doodles.
They are awesome.
They are highly superior to Aqua Doodles.
In short, Magna Doodles. are. awesome.
Want me to tell you why?
Sure you do.
Okay, here goes...
1. Small enough to slip in your purse.
2. Require no batteries or anything else to work.
3. Little "pen" is attached to Magna Doodle with string ... no losing it.
4. Semi-creative.
5. Kid can do the whole process by herself.
6. Silent ... ahh ...
7. Mess-free ... ahh ... 

I could probably keep going, but I'll stop.
Guess who else loves Magna Doodles?
Right- Katie Anne.
The Magna Doodle goes around the world with us, and she's gotten really good at drawing both pictures and letters on it.  Lately, the Magna Doodle has become our go-to toy in the car, which is awesome (see reasons 1-7 above).
Here's some of Katie Anne's Magna Doodle artwork from a few days ago.

Katie Anne with a picture of Daddy:

Katie Anne with a picture of Mommy:
(I realize KA looks a little high in this picture ... but it's a great drawing of me ... my hair looks so thick and full ... so there.)

Katie Anne loves to write letters on her Magna Doodle, too.  Lately, she's really been into writing the letters O, H, and i a lot.  I think she might have a future as a Special Ed. teacher ... OHI is the abbreviation for "Other Health Impaired".

Or, perhaps she's diagnosing me ... my palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis does qualify under OHI!  

Regardless of her intentions, the Magna Doodle is still awesome.  I am very thankful for the person who invented Magna Doodles!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Another Good Use for a Pampered Chef Spoon

*And no, we've never spanked Katie Anne with a wooden spoon.  Daddy made the grave mistake of telling Katie Anne that VJ used to spank him with a wooden spoon ... and KA thought that was a great idea.*

Linen Closet Goal Revisit

Remember when I made my New Year's Resolutions, most of which involved cleaning out the hidden corners of my house?  Well, of course I did not know I was pregnant when I said all that!  However, I've tried to keep up with the list (if not necessarily the timing) and this week I completed the April project of organizing the linen closet.

Remember the "before" shot?

And now ... your moment of zen.


So far, I've completed the ...
*February project: Cleaning out kitchen/reorganizing laundry room
*April project: Cleaning out/reorganizing linen closet

I'm about halfway through the ...
*March project: Putting KA's artwork into albums
*July project: Cleaning out/reorganizing my purse closet

My mom completed the ...
*November project for me: Reorganizing the gift wrapping closet

So, that puts me at least somewhere close to being halfway through with the goals I had in mind in January.  Not too bad for a pregnant girl!