Friday, September 30, 2011

We're Going to be Friends

This song always makes me smile, and think back to when the girls were real little and Tom first played it for me. Now that they are in KINDERGARTEN (and still loving it) I smile watching them have fun talking about their school and classmates, I smile watching them wake up and experience one adventure after another (or when they tell me about the adventures I'm not with them for) -- and it makes me so so SOOOOO happy seeing what great buddies they are to each other .......

These two keep my heart FULL of love.
They make me so happy.

I wake up to this (even though they each have their own beds) ....

.... and watch them play together like this .....

Even though my job is much more time-consuming and much more challenging than I had hoped it would be (it's a very long day and the schedule is more for 1st graders rather than Kindergarteners, while my class really needs preschool -- a group of my students actually cheered when I said it was time to go home yesterday), it's all worth it to see Zoe and Ella loving life and being so happy.  I am a lucky, happy (yet tired) mom.

And for the record, I think I might have cheered the loudest when I said it was time to get ready to go home : )

Monday, September 12, 2011

First Day of Kindergarten ~

Ella and Zoe have had three days of Kindergarten (today will be Day Four).  They LOVE it.  I am so thankful and so happy, happy, happy.  

Even though we were running late, a few quick First Day of Kindergarten Pics were priority ('First Day Dresses' by Des and Pete -- thanks again, love you guys!).

They couldn't wait to get to school and were so excited Tom and I could both bring them on their first day (we were too).

Because we were late (just a few minutes), the girls got down to business right away.
Ella chose the salad for lunch (cracked me up) .....

Zoe chose chicken nuggets ....

And then they started their big day, and Tom and I left for ours.

It was VERY weird for me, thinking of them throughout the day, all the things they were doing that I wasn't a part of.  But because of their amazing teacher and how great their school is, I had no feelings of worry or concern.  Plus, just thinking about all the fun adventures they have to look forward to is THE BEST!!

I have so many thoughts about all of these new changes but because of my new changes (that are completely overwhelming right now) I don't have a lot of time.  But bottom line, Zoe and Ella had a great first day and the start of their Kindergarten year has been super.  They were very tired by the time they got home (their first day of being in school all day AND a little time at Friendship Connection after school), but they also had their first ballet class of the season too.  By the time we got home it was after 7pm and I'm pretty sure they were both asleep before I shut their bedroom door : )

Listening to their stories about the day has been very amusing and interesting.  Their teacher has a couple of boys that are 'spitfires', according to the girls (ha).  One apparently was sent out of the room 3x (not sure if this was an exaggeration but they both shared the info so I'm thinking it happened), but he did NOT have to go to the principal's office.  We talked a little about it but I didn't want to make too big of a deal out of it so I tried to keep it short.  To end our conversation Ella said, 'he'll learn' and Zoe said 'it is his job'.  I almost died.  Love those two.

It's also very interesting and entertaining to hear their different perspectives about the same situations, and to see how they pretty much keep each other in line.  To Ella, being told she needs to be quiet means ALL DAY she can't talk, but fortunately Zoe reminded her that was only during Learning and Listening Times, and when Ella couldn't remember where the bathroom pass is kept Zoe told her it was because she wasn't listening.  But then when Zoe tried to act like she ate her nachos meat and it was too spicy (and that the teaching assistant even agreed), Ella told her it was not spicy and that Zoe saying it was meant she didn't even try it.  Oh to be a twin and have your best friend in class with you all day long .....

The sweetness of these two being together always makes me smile too.  Zoe told Ella she can see her during nap time and that makes her happy.  Ella said she'd look on Monday for Zoe.  They both told me they sit across from each other at lunch so they can chat but sit right next to each other on the alphabet rug, and they like that.  And when Zoe cried at Friendship Connection Ella held her hand until her teacher helped Zoe feel better.  

I also LOVE how confident the girls are getting, but are still polite and respectful.  One of the 'spitfires' tried to get Zoe to hit someone and she told him no, she wouldn't do that -- then turned away from him and played with other friends.  When a little girl made a mad face at Ella, Ella told Tom she just smiled at her anyways, then kept making her art.  Later they played together and had fun.  And when another one of the spitfires scribbled on someone's paper and said Zoe did it, she very concisely said she did not, that she saw him do it and told the teacher.  These are BIG deals to me.  So reassuring and so good to hear.  Now, I wish there weren't any spitfires in the girls' class, but at this point I'm not concerned because I know they are in the best of hands with Mrs. Olson, Mrs. Joyer and that their principal, Mr. Charest, knows what he's doing too.

Two other funnies that made Tom and me laugh:
*On Friday morning I told the girls they had music class that day.  Ella was SO excited and told me she always wanted to go to music class.  Then she paused, thought for a second and said 'but I thought we need to go to Kindergarten again.'.
*Tom did the girls' hair yesterday and it turned out quite cute.  I made a comment about what a great job he did with their hair.  Zoe gave me a big smile and nodded her head, Ella said 'he IS a man.' and Zoe said 'yes he is'.  I'm glad they got that straight.

As for me, I'm in trouble.  Now that I'm working full-time Tom I are sharing more of the household responsibilities (which is great).  However, my housekeeper (Tom) and I don't agree with when our floors need to be vacuumed or what clean really means.  There really is a difference between 'boy clean' and 'girl clean'.  It's all about baby steps I guess, letting go, prioritizing ..... Right?

On the school front for me, I still LOVE the Kindergarten Team I am so fortunate to work with and my new school too, but I have never felt so unprepared for the first day with students (which is today).  It will be great to have this week done, even getting through the first hour this morning will be great : )

And that is all for now folks, I am off to it .....
Happy Monday!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Getting Ready for the First Day of KINDERGARTEN!!

The length of Zoe and Ella's 'Countdown to Kindergarten' chain links got shorter each day .....

Ella made a drawing of a clock for Mrs. Olson and wrote 'Time flies when you're having fun in Kindergarten!' (totally her idea, I helped with the writing) ....

Zoe colored a picture of the parrot in the movie Rio, for Mrs. Olson ....

We had cake with a 'K' for dessert ....

.... and we put together Mrs. Olson's First Day of Kindergarten Flowers ....

The morning of the first day both girls ate their eggs full of love .....

 ..... and got ready for their FIRST day of KINDERGARTEN!!!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Jump Party ~

Since getting their trampoline for their birthday, Ella and Zoe have wanted to have some of their preschool friends over for a 'Jump Party'.  It took most of the summer but it finally happened toward the end of August.  And because we waited so long we also turned it into a 'Preschool Friends Starting Kindergarten Jump Party'.

We made brownies stamped with the letter K (for Kindergarten) ....

.... and the girls put together little treat bags too:

It looked like rain all morning but stayed clear while the kids jumped on the trampoline, blew bubbles, played ball, created with chalk, painted in the tree house, went sliding into the pool, had shape sandwiches, veggies, cheetos, lemonade and K brownies for lunch, went swinging on the pony swing and just played like only little kids know how to play ....

It was ANOTHER good time ....
.... even though we only used the pinata for decoration : ) 

And today is the FIRST day of KINDERGARTEN for Ella and Zoe.
Now really, how did we get to this point?

Both girls are very excited and ready to start, though a little nervous (and I think Tom and I are as ready as we'll ever be).  It's interesting to me how Zoe is more comfortable with all the school stuff at this point than Ella -- these two continue to keep us guessing : )  Ella has also been having a tough time with me being at work.  She's made many comments over the past week to me, and she cried when she stayed with my parents (she told my mom that it's been a long time since she saw me).  She also told me she thought there should be two of me so one could go to my school and work and one could stay home and play with her and Zoe.  The other day she and Zoe expressed some concerns to me about things Tom does and wanted me to talk with him for them.  It was SO funny (and we wound up talking as a family together, which was also super funny).  Zoe wanted me to tell him he only needs to remind her to eat ONE time, that more than one doesn't make her eat more, and that he could use his manners more too.  When she said that Ella responded with 'now THAT would be something'.  I had to work really hard not to laugh.  Out of all fairness I asked them if there was anything they'd like me to work on too.  Zoe said no but Ella told me I could stop working.  Those sorts of comments have been hard, and make me sad too -- and so do the times when she acts like a cat when I get home at the end of the day and won't look at me or hug me for a while -- but I know once she gets into her school routine and is busy with all her school fun, it will all be good : )

Now it's time to get the two new kindergarteners up and ready for some action ......  let the FUN begin!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

lemonade stand

A few weeks ago Ella and Zoe had their FIRST Lemonade Stand.
SUPER fun!!

They helped make the lemonade and chocolate chip cookies (with extra vanilla and extra love as our special ingredients), and they helped paint the menu and big sign too, after I wrote them in pencil.

Ella thought it would be nice to offer 'art' too, so she created colorful smiley faces and Zoe created little smiley hearts:

Our first customers were neighbors, and then friends who don't live near by started arriving in their cars : )  The girls did a great job saying hi to everyone, taking orders, pouring lemonade, passing out the treats, remembering to use their manners; and in between customers they played with their friends and sidewalk chalk on the driveway.

The BEST PART was when Mrs. Charly showed up.  Zoe and Ella couldn't believe that their preschool teacher was at our house -- her appearance made their day : )  Later they told me they should have brought her in our house and showed her their bedroom : )  I just love how amazing teachers like Mrs. Charly know and understand how important those little things are to young children, and I hope she knows how much Tom and I appreciate each 'little' thing she has done and continues to do for our girls.

When it was time to close the stand the girls played in the backyard with a few friends, while Tom and I had cocktails with their parents, and a few of our favorite neighbors continued their visiting on our front step ....  These are the sorts of things that make me so happy : )

Another bonus, Ella and Zoe actually made quite a bit of money to cover the cost of supplies and some.  Wow!!  

Good Times, for sure!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

starting kindergarten ....

.... and we hit the jackpot with EVERYTHING about Ella and Zoe's new school.

It's all SO good.

Mrs. Olson is already living up to the greatness we've heard about her (and school hasn't even started yet).  Earlier this past week these arrived in the mail ....

.... two hand-written, individualized postcards (couldn't even read them out loud without getting choked up) ....

.... and at 'Meet the Teacher Night' she actually hooted with laughter when she read the note on the little treat we put together for her:

Ella and Zoe thought the play on words was SO funny and were sure Mrs. Olson would really like it, so her reaction put HUGE smiles on their faces : )

Seeing all of the teachers names written in chalk on the sidewalk outside the front door was so welcoming (and super cute too) .....

.... and after checking out their new classroom (love it), saying hi to their Friendship Connection program director (great guy, his daughter is in the girls' class too) and seeing the Friendship Connection space (which is very nice, they are not going to want to leave when I arrive to pick them up) there was some time to play on the playground before getting big hugs from Mrs. Olson (which of course I didn't get any pictures of).  

After all that the girls rode their bikes in the school parade around the neighborhood, welcoming in the new school year (SUPER neat idea).

It was SOOOOO cool -- a police car and fire engine led the parade, followed by the school's band, and then the students and their families (Kindergarteners-6th graders) walking, biking, scootering, even unicycling -- while neighbors waved and cheered from their front yards.  I've never been a part of anything like it, what a fun way to kick off the school year.

Getting ready for the parade to start, wearing royal and blue (the school colors), with Elise (who helped decorate their helmets) ~

Chatting with old pal Bella, before the parade started ~

And they're off!!

Chatting with Bella some more ..... 

.... and still chatting with Bella ....

Then dinner at Snuffy's to cap off a great evening ~

Thursday morning the girls had their Kindergarten Orientation.  The girls dropped off their school supplies and spent time in their classroom with Mrs. Olson and their classmates while Tom and I were with other parents and other school staff, getting all the information we needed.  It was a great hour for ALL of us, and made all of us even more excited for school to start this coming up Wednesday.

Before we left the house, messenger bags full of school supplies and smiles on their sweet faces:

Before the program began:

Sitting with Mrs. Olson and their classmates, listening to Mr. Charest (their principal) welcome the new class of 2025!!

Dancing a 'School is Cool' dance at the end of their class time:

Mrs. Olson and the girls ~

We're looking forward to a great year in Kindergarten -- and are so thrilled to be part of such an amazing school community.

With Ella and Zoe's school stuff, it's all good : )