Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sean is eating!! And Maggie has too much homework.

As we all know, Sean has never really took a bottle of EBM (expressed breast milk) very well. Every day I pump, bring the bottle to daycare, only to dump it out at the end of the day after Sean, maybe takes 1/2 an ounce. A few times in October he drank an entire bottle and promptly grew a bunch. Well, it looks like we are hitting a growth spurt again. Sean actually drank 4 oz Monday and Tuesday, and 6 oz today. Woo hoo! He also ate an entire jar of baby food each day. Yay Sean! Oh... and Maggie fed him half a jar of baby food at dinner tonight also. I think Sean would have eaten more, but I wanted him to nurse later so I wouldn't let him have the whole jar. He is happily sleeping now with a nice full belly. :)

Maggie had early release from Kindergarten today. Nancy picked her up from school and took her to the Southwest Museum in Mesa. I have never been, but it has dinosaurs, fossils, native american artifacts, and panning for "real gold", as Maggie puts it. She came home with all sorts of new facts about how a dinosaurs brain is smaller than her brain and why the native american made baskets. I think she really had a great time. I'm glad because the past couple of days have been hard for her. Finally, a good day.

Sooooo...math homework has started in Kindergarten for Maggie. Every day she comes home with a worksheet, adding 1 + 2, and such. Its much too abstract for her, and I don't see how she is supposed to do it alone. I've been helping her use nuts to represent the problems so she can count them up. This takes us anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes. Plus she has 10 minutes of reading homework also. Argh!!! I HATE HOMEWORK!!! So far, Maggie is ok with it. But I feel it is too much and have said so to the teacher. She said homework is mandated by the district. Guess I need to put my complaint in there. Maggie is in full day Kindergarten. Not half-day like most places. Can't she do this at school? WHat the heck!?

As you can tell, I am completely against homework for young kids. Homework has been shown to make NO difference in a childs success in school up to grade 5. If Maggie doesn't do her homework, she will miss recess. And as research, and common sense, clearly shows, a student NEEDS physical activity in order to focus. At Maggie's school, PE is already only once a week, and they have only one recess, 45 minutes long. So a kid who misses recess is basically going to turn into a sloth. I could go on for days...but probably no one is reading this now...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Frisbees, Rain, and Emergency Parking Brakes

Glen has been busy at a frisbee golf tournament this weekend. He played 2 rounds yesterday (8-4pm) and is working on another 2 today. The tournament is in Fountain Hills, about 40 minutes away. I packed up the kids and drove out to the Fountain Hills disc golf park yesterday to meet Glen for lunch. It was a nice day, a bit windy. Maggie had fun playing with some girls age 4 and 7 whose dad was also in the tournament, and I chatted with the mom. We remembered to bring some duck bread and Maggie had Cormarants literally eating out of her hands. Had a nice picnic with Glen on his hour break around noon. We finally left the park around 2:30 pm. Maggie was "sweaty hot" from running around the playground so we stopped at a McDonalds to grab a milkshake before getting on the freeway to go home. I put the emergency parking break on because we were parked on an incredibly steep incline. After McDonalds, I packed the kids in the car, Sean fell immediately asleep and I started up the car. And couldn't get the emergency break to release. I remembered this had happened to Glen once and he kid of reached down there and did something to get it to release. I couldn't figure it out though. So I called Glen, hoping I wasn't interrupting anyones putt. But he had turned his cell phone off!! So I called AAA. They said they would send a tow truck, but couldn;t service the car, so they were no help. At this point I tried calling Glen again, but my cell phone battery had died. (Why can't I ever remember to charge that thing??) So I took the kids over to a nearby Circle K to find a payphone, which they don't have. So We trek back to McDonalds and I let Maggie play on the playground there some more while I was thinking what to do. We weren't that far from the frisbee golf park, but too far to walk with 2 kids. I was thinking maybe I could find someone in McDonalds to call a taxi cab for me. THen we could wait for Glen at the park and he could come and fix the car. THat would put as at the park for another 2 hours probably 3 would pass before we'd get home, and Sean was on his last diaper. :( I finally decided just to ask someone at McDonalds to help me so picked out a guy wearing a John Deer cap and he came out and tried to release the parking break. He flagged down another guy and that guy couldn;t figure it out either. Now its a matter of pride for them to fix this thing because they didn't want to leave me in the parking lot with a sleeping baby on my shoulder and a broken car. (Maggie is still having fun on the McDonalds playground. Its and outside one and our car was next to it so she could come over to the fence and check on the progress every once in awhile). Finally, a guy in a jeep was able to fix it. He reattached something or other and had it working in about 30 seconds. Yay!! So we made it home around 4 pm, about 45 minutes before Glen got home. Glen felt bad about my car problems because he said he should have fixed it when it had done that to him a few weeks ago. And also he felt bad about turning off his cell. (He promised he wouldn't do that again)

So today is Sunday, and Glen is back out in Fountain Hills finishing up the tournament. Its been raining nonstop, so I decided not to take the kids out there again. Plus, my throat hurts and I think I'm getting sick. Nancy called this morning and asked if she could take Maggie until dinner time because Tesla was over at her house and needed something to do. (I think she took pity on me with Glen being occupoed this weekend) I happily obliged so now its just Sean and me napping the morning away. Oh...and we did get groceries, and didn't use the parking break. ;)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Wildlife World Zoo

We spent the afternoon exploring a new zoo. Well, new to us anyway. Its way out in Litchfield Park (45-60 minute drive) and much smaller than the Phoenix zoo. However, they had rides, much to Maggie's delight. Here is a picture of Glen and Maggie viewing the animals from the Sky Cab. She is yelling to me that she saw kangaroos. (i'm zoomed in quite a bit...they are up high and a ways away.)

We also saw some animals that Phoenix Zoo doesn't have, like this albino alligator.

Sean and Glen hanging out while Maggie is on the playground,

Me and Sean watching a wildlife encounter.

Sean rode in the stroller a bit today. He had fun, but still prefers the carrier for naps. We had fun but probably wont go more than once a year. Its pretty far away and not too shady. Phoenix zoo makes this operation look kinda rinky-dink. Lots of chain-link fence for animal enclosures. But the sky cab, train, and boat ride makes it worth it from Maggie's perspective. :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Oy Vay! The Teething!!!!

Poor little munzie!!! He seems to be teething ALL the time, but no teeth are popping through! He is constantly gnawing on me, frozen washrags, and just about any item in his reach -- his favorite being the remote. Drool is all over the place. Constantly fussy and is waking up at night more than usual. Poor baby! When will the teeth pop through and he can get some relief??

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sugar and Spice...

...and everything nice...thats what little girls are made of. I told Maggie that after Sean was nibbling on her, and she had told me that she tasted good to Sean. :) Then I asked her what little boys are made of. She said "milk and beans". :lol

We made sidewalk chalk "paint" today out of equal parts cornstarch and water and some food coloring. Maggie had fun painting it on the driveway. And when it dried, it really looked like sidewalk chalk.

Had a lazy Sunday. Took a walk to the pyramid. Maggie rode her bike, Sean rode in the ergo baby carrier. Our house was cut off from the rest of the town because of a marathon. Roads were closed all around us. This often happens as its nice for the runners to run around Papago Park and then down Scottsdale Road. It makes it hard to do the grocery shopping though. I had to wait until 4:30 before the barricades on Scottsdale rode were down so I could get to Safeway. And Sunday afternoon is NOT a fun time to shop. The store is crowded with college students who shop in packs, block the aisles, and don't know where anything is. It makes it hard to get in and get out quickly. its Sean's turn for a video clip....

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

First call from Yavapai...

Maggie and another little boy were fighting over a pencil today and the boy took it and stabbed her with it. There is a big scratch on her eyebrow. Thank goodness it didn't get her eye! Yipes!!! Everyone is treating the incident as if it was all this little boy's fault, and Maggie is some sort of innocent victim. Obviously what he did was wrong, but I'm sure Maggie did her share to provoke it. She can be pretty stubborn.

News from Sean's world...Sean is now 7 months old and he has successfully eaten mashed pears, sweet potatoes, and avocado. I really don't want to feed him because I feel it marks the end of his little baby era. Now we move into big baby era...then next thing you know its toddlerhood! I'm not ready for little baby era to be over yet!! :( I'm sure I could put it off another month or two if I wasn't working, but I worry about Sean never eating at daycare. Perhaps he will eat this stuff there even though he still refuses the bottle.

I'm a bit nervous about tomorrow. I usually pick up Sean at 12:30 and immediately nurse him as he refuses to drink from a bottle. But tomorrow I won't be there until after 2pm. I'm taking a bunch of kids to a math competition. Sean has had a bit of baby food, so I'll send some of that with him. Hopefully he won't be too starved and grumpy, or sleep deprived when I pick him up. (He hasn't been napping well lately either.) Wish us luck!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Yipes! School is Starting!!!

And we aren't ready! Glen is frantically grading finals, I am frantically putting together lessons and activities for my new astronomy 2 class, and Maggie isn't ready to go back to Kindergarten, and I am guessing Sean isn't ready for daycare either. Waaaaah! No matter how long vacation is, its never long enough.

We haven't been too impressed with Maggie's school. Its seems worksheet and homework heavy, both things I would expect in the middle and upper grades, but NOT Kindy! So we have been looking around for schools for next year. We ignorantly missed open enrollment cut-off dates last time around, and were wait-listed, so we are busy getting in applications early this year. First choice is Villa Montessori. Open enrollment lottery is February 11th. Pros: Its on the way to work, its free for K-8th, it goes from Toddler to 8th Grade, beautiful campus and a good vibe. Cons: Huuuuuuge wait list. Probably won't get in. Toddler care is an arm and a leg, and maybe the other leg too.

Second place is Montessori Academy. Open Enrollment is the first week of March. Pros: Its right down the street from home, its free for K-8th, and we actually have a chance to get in!! Sean can attend at age 2, which is when Maggie woul be starting 2nd grade, at the same price as the preschool he is currently at. Cons: The school is less than pretty from the outside. Its a hodge podge of houses connected by a paved, or sandy, outdoors. Not a lot of plantings, no grass except in the toddler though age 5 yard. The inside is great though.

Third place is Khalsa Montessori. Open Enrollment is in July? Did I read that right? Crazy! We haven't been able to tour this one yet, so all I know about it is through there website. We hope to set-up a tour in about 2 weeks. Apparent Pros: close location to Xavier although far from our home, which could be a pain when Maggie has school, but Glen and I don't. Free for k-8th, and has a toddler program for Sean. Apparent Cons: Toddler and Pre-primary classes are in a different location than the elementary school (that means 2 drop offs ans pickups), open enrollment on lottery method (which we don't have good luck with) which means there is probably a large waitlist and we won't get in. After our tour, this may change either up or down in the rankings.

Down at the bottom of the list is Hopi Elementary, another public school in our district that is closer to Xavier and has afterschool care, Children's House Montessori, which is a private school (bad since we don't want to pay) and northwest of Xavier (toooooo far) but does have a guaranteed spot for Maggie, and finally, sticking with her current school, Yavapai, which we don't like because of the hours, size, curriculum woes, and location. We really need Maggie to be in school until 3:30 or 4pm so Glen can pick her up so I don't have to rush all around, as next year Sean and I will probably still be on the early release plan, although not as early as this year. He will be in the 1-2 year old room next year, and they have a scheduled naptime from 12-ish to 2:30-ish. Since the earliest I can leave is 12:30, when Sean is napping, I plan to let him nap stay at Xavier until 2:30, and then pick him up. At Maggies current school, the bus drops her off at 2:30, soooo....thats not going to work. Also, Glen and I will always be working during her fall and spring breaks (1 week each semester) and its hard to find someplace for Maggie to go during that time.

Well...I'm sure this isn't very interesting, but writing it all down helped me to sort it all through my brain...