Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Fabulous First Grader

First Grade. Impossible. And yet, it's true. Little M is a great big fabulous first grader.

Not surprisingly, she took the first day right in stride. New school, new teacher, new friends and a handful of old ones. Such an adaptable girl. At the door, after getting directions to her class (we'd been there the day before, but you know me and directions), she said, "I know where I'm going", and insisted on going by herself. *sigh*

And her mom did okay, too. That's despite the mess of traffic and construction at the school, and multiple misdirections, both at open house and upon our arrival the morning of the first day as to just which door exactly we were supposed to go to. And the situation was even more confusing at the end of the day, as cars followed instructions to line up for pick-up quite unfortunately in the same place the buses were supposed to come in. I think the phrase, "someone should lose their job over this" was probably fairly appropriate. Made me very glad I stuck to my guns and *gasp* parked my car in the neighborhood and walked to the school building to meet my sweet girl in person, rather than sitting in my idling car for who knows how long waiting in the pick-up line (wherever it's supposed to be!) or following the strong recommendation to put her on a stiflingly hot school bus. Unfortunately, next week she'll start riding the bus on Fridays only, as I will have a long class in Tulsa this semester. The temperatures are supposed to be much cooler by then. Let's cross our fingers.

So, the day went off better than I expected, and meeting her at the building with a nice cold bottle of pink lemonade topped it off nicely, as did the smore I left in the car to melt for her in anticipation of her being starving. After all, they don't get snacks in first grade! My inquiries into how her day went and what she did were even answered with happy chattering instead of the usual "I don't know". Looks like we're off to a great start!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Summer Vacation

To my great relief, and perhaps some small surprise, we pulled off a last-minute Colorado vacation with huge success. As the school year loomed closer and closer the thought of letting the summer pass with no trip whatsoever became unbearable, so we quickly reviewed our options and set off on a Colorado adventure of camping, fishing and canoeing, with some short family visits tucked in.

Our first stop was Loveland where we grilled at a nice little park, and then went boating on Horsetooth Reservoir with my sister Cindy, niece Tiffany, and her new husband, Gary. Great start to our end-of-summer fun!

After that we went over to Golden and took a nice walk along Clear Creek with my brother, Matt, Mysti, and my niece Shayla. Matt pointed out all the best fishing spots, and Madison worked hard at being just like her awesome Cousin Shayla. She may have even been convinced that the Jonas Brothers are NOT cool, after all.

Next was a quick visit with Grandma MaryAnn, then on to the mountains. We found the perfect spot at Peak One campsite, outside Frisco. Restrooms close by, right on the lake, good spot to put the tent in some trees. The area has been pretty hard-hit by beetle kill, and they've done a lot of work clearing out the dead stuff. Madison claims to love fishing, and the action was good enough to supply the first night's delicious fresh trout dinner. Of course, her idea of fishing is having her dad do everything except reel in the fish while she plays in the water and sand, then gets the excitement of bringing in the prize. Brilliant! We went canoeing the second day, which was super fun.

After two nights of camping, we packed up and headed on to Leadville for a hotel room, showers, and some touring of Jay's childhood memories. On the way there, we tried to ride the gondola in Vail, but were stormed out. A nice train ride up the mountain, and somewhat underwhelming tour of an old mine finished off that leg of our adventure, then back through Vail to make another, more successful stab at the gondola ride. Gorgeous views from the top!

A last chunk of quality time with Grandma Mary Ann and a lovely drive around Indian and Elkhorn Mtns rounded out our whirlwind trip. It was quite possibly the smoothest and most relaxing, yet fun-filled trip ever. Perhaps we should do these last minute things more often!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Safari Zoological Park

Yesterday, in an effort to squeeze as much fun as possible into the last few weeks of summer vacation, we headed north to the Safari Zoological Park in Caney, KS. It's one of those places I've been meaning to take M, but never seemed to do, and was proud of myself for finally getting it off the list and on the schedule. As much as she loves critters and creatures, I was hoping she'd really enjoy it. And she did!

Of course, the alligators, tigers, bears, leopards and other fantastic animals couldn't quite compare with the thrill of the pond full of regular ol' turtles (even the beautiful white tiger getting hand-fed a whole chicken couldn't compete), but luckily the turtles were at the end and made a wonderful capstone to the tour. I asked M what her favorite thing BESIDES the turtles was, and she emphatically said it was the Lemurs. We were allowed to put our hands up to the cages and they would hold our hands. They have the coolest little padded fingers.

The owners are super nice, and I enjoyed talking with them and hearing their future plans. Jay and I had been to the Safari years ago, but it's really changed since then, and it sounds like more improvements are on the way. I can't wait for the new tree houses to be built for overnight stays. Can you imagine how the place must come to life at night? Sign me up!

And now M wants to have a zoo when she grows up.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Back to the Blog!

Okay, so it's been over a year since I last blogged. What's up with that? Well, I think facebook may have distracted me a little... but that's no excuse. So it's time to get back to the blog!

The past year has been full of great stuff. Since my last post, Little M has had two birthday parties, lost 5 more teeth, and graduated from kindergarten. She's gone from princesses and ponies to... well, more princesses and ponies. But also Star Wars and plenty of other fun stuff. Of course she's still crazy about bunnies and all sorts of other little critters. This summer she's made lots of new friends in our back yard, including Mr. Frog and Crickety, The Staghorn Beetle. She has a very tender heart for creatures, and was devastated when a boy stomped on a bug on the school playground. It was great consolation that she got to take home the butterfly cocoons on the last day of school, since they hadn't emerged yet. She was so excited when they emerged, one by one, and then had a great time releasing them in our backyard.

Let's see. She's also reading very well, and actually enjoys it, to my great delight. To see her sitting quietly absorbed in a chapter book is one of my favorite things. Her latest reads are the Magic Tree House books. Very cool. She's definitely her mom's daughter in her love of books. Of course, she's got plenty of her dad going on. She's adding and subtracting like crazy, and has a pretty good start on the basics of fractions. Is it just me, or are kids smarter now than they used to be? I didn't know how to do any of that when I got out of kindergarten. I wasn't writing awesome stories about pretty poodles (she'll tell you that's an alliteration). I don't think I could even write my full name.

But don't let all the reading and writing and arithmetic fool you. She's still the active, almost never stops moving bundle of energy. Yay! And I think we've talked her into taking soccer this Fall (I told her they have snacks), so we'll get to see some of that energy at work on the field. Can't wait!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Disney Magic!

Okay, so I'm finally posting about our Disney World trip. First, I'll say WHEW! What a trip! Totally exhausting, but totally fun and worth it. It rained much of the time, so we were pretty soggy, but it kept us from being too hot, and the lines were shorter! Luckily, our little coyote is pretty durable, so slogging through the rain wasn't a big deal.

I think we chose the perfect time to take M for her first DW visit. Young enough to feel the "magic", and old enough to remember it. Hopefully. My favorite part was watching her with the characters. She was so enchanted with them, especially the princesses. She knew they were just people in costume, but she was delighted all the same. She was very quiet, shy and sweet with them. She looked, listened, hugged... and didn't say a word! Just looked at them adoringly and gave them her sweet smile. So cute! Surprising to us, Eeyore turned out to be one of her favorites. We had no idea.

She was big enough for most of the rides, and was quite brave. Her favorite was Splash Mountain, but she liked all of them. She even liked the Tower of Terror! I wouldn't have expected her to do as well as she did on that one. It basically "free-fall" drops you several stories, brings you back up, and drops you again several times.

One of the biggest hits of all the parks was the "wildlife". There were bunnies and ducks wandering around here and there, and she got very excited about them. "Mom! Dad! Look! A DUCK!!!" Hm. I guess it's the simple things in life. Also, she was particularly impressed with the jello at dinner. Yep. The jello.

Another big hit was getting to play on the various playgrounds scattered around the parks. One was a "Honey, I shrunk the kids" playground, where you could climb around a big net "spiderweb", and go through ant tunnels. Definitely a nice break from all the walking and standing in line.

On Day 4 of our DW trip, M lost her very first tooth. Much excitement! The one next to it is also loose, and should be out soon. We thought it would be gone by her birthday, but it's still hanging in there... just barely and mostly sideways. :o)

The last few days of our vacation we stayed with Jay's Uncle Tom and Aunt Nancy in Titusville (near Cape Canaveral), and got to see some of the area. M was REALLY excited about the beach. She collected "sea treasures", played in the sand, and splashed in the waves. We saw alligators, wild pigs, an armadillo, manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, and lots of crazy birds. Unfortunately, we weren't there during a shuttle launch. I think M would have liked that. Well, there's always next year...

Here are the links to our vacation pictures:

Day 1 - Epcot

Day 2 - Disney Hollywood Studios

Day 3 - Magic Kingdom

Day 4 - Animal Kingdom

Day 5 - Epcot - Too rainy. Didn't take the camera out. But we had fun. Trust us!

Day 6 - Magic Kingdom

Day 7 - Magic Kingdom

Day 8 - Beach

Day 9 - Beach

Monday, June 01, 2009

Like Mother, Like Daughter.

M: I wish I could just start my whole life over!

G: Why? Are you dissatisfied with something in your life?

M: Yes.

G: Well, what would you go back and change?

M: I just wish I didn't ever get these stitches! It's in my head and I can't stop thinking about it.

*sigh* My little girl is a worrier and obsessor... just like her mom. How will I teach her not to dwell in the past? Perhaps we can learn together to be present in the now and not worry about what's already happened.

And yes, I'm quite behind in my blog. I've got tons to post from the last few months, including pics from Disney World... stay tuned.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

They grow up so fast... so pay attention!

I finally got around to getting the online album of M's pictures for 2008 put together. What a year it's been! And while I was looking back at the little girl she used to be, and how much she's grown, it occurred to me that she's already a quarter of the way through her childhood. Oh!!! This can't be! It's all going by way too fast. How do we slow this train down? I actually enrolled her last week for Kindergarten in the Fall. Kindergarten! Full day, everyday, public school Kindergarten. She could even ride the bus if I were of a mind to let her. Which I'm not. I'm pretty sure I'm not ready for her to be ready for that.

So, I'm reminding myself again to be present each day, and pay attention to each moment, and not let the day-to-day distract me from the wonder that is all around me every day, in my growing, learning, ever-changing child.

Her latest big thing is that she's reading. She still doesn't quite admit to it, but she is definitely reading. Full sentences, full paragraphs, whole pages... reading! She is completely underwhelmed by it as far as I can tell, but I am super excited! I made her promise to still let me read to her every day, even though she can read on her own. I think she was a bit concerned that we'd stop that, for some reason.

And now it's Spring Break, and we're off to OKC to visit some friends and their brand new baby, which will remind me even more how quickly they grow from "little bitty brand new life" to "big girl almost heading off to kindergarten". *sigh*

If you'd like to check out M's 2008 album, you can see it here.