Friday, January 08, 2010

Now is the Moon's Eyebrow

I may have previously mentioned, that one Christmas tradition my parents did for us during our childhood was to place a book at the end of our bed (wrapped) so that we could open it first thing in the morning (and I do mean first thing). This was the book I got in 1988. I loved it then and I love it now. The whole book is based on bizarre nonsensical (some are rather poetic, some are just gloriously silly) questions like, "What is the difference between reality and a idea? Reality is what a person thinks who cannot remember." or "What is the difference between the moon and a needle and thread? The needle and thread are older." Each question and answer is accompanied by a whimsical illustration.

Ra Ra Ra...Smile!

Sophia and I are hanging out this afternoon with new batteries in her camera. She's mostly interested in how the camera operates right now. I just taught her how to delete the pictures. Here are some that missed the axe:

Fiona had to write in the conduct book again. This time it was for throwing paper airplanes in the classroom while her teacher was out. She places a lot of the blame on C--C had all the planes in his desk, and he started it, etc etc (different C, but still a boy), but knows what she did was wrong and can't really answer why she did it--she just gets this bemused expression on her face. SIGH. In fact, it didn't even end up on her homework sheet that I sign because she came up to me in the classroom as I was leaving. I was there volunteering, saying my goodbyes to her teacher and Fiona marched up and launched into her conduct book story. Her teacher looked amused. We're going in Wednesday for a PT conference to--I'm sure talk about her behavior, which honestly seems mostly good, except when it's not--but also to revisit testing for the GT program.

Sophia came home from school ravenous despite just having eaten most of her lunch (I usually pick her up right after lunch). She ate a bowl of my granola! I don't think she's ever eaten my granola. She ate a whole bowl of that WITH yogurt. She hasn't eaten yogurt in ages.

It was cold enough this morning (upper 20s!) that I caught myself looking for my snow boots. Yeah, those are long gone. I know this is NOT really cold, but since we have crappy windows the cold just blasts through. People have trash bags and sheets all over their yards (to protect plants from freezing). Looks great.

I got hooked on some new (to me) songs over the Christmas break and here is one that Sophia also likes immensely. She calls it the "Ra Ra Ra" song.

Right now Sophia is reading The Pigeon Wants a Puppy out loud. I mean out LOUD. With inflections. I'll try to catch it later on video; it's entertaining.

One of Fiona's new favorite songs now is this (thanks, Alex!):

I should point out they don't watch the video, only hear the song.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Bad Boy Influence

I guess I have acclimated to winter in Texas because it's about 46F right now and it feels COLD. However, the sun is brightly shining, so it's not so bad. We're supposed to get a hard freeze Thursday night and Friday night, so that will kill off anything that survived in the garden from the last freeze. Hopefully, this means fewer mosquitoes next summer. Sophia came home exclaiming that her teacher said we were getting snow tomorrow. There doesn't seem to be anything like that in the forecast, however. This is not a problem for me.

Fiona got off the bus yesterday looking happy and then very serious as she said, "Can I show you something before we go inside?". Then she shows me the page I have to sign every day that has her homework assignment and things to remember for the next day. Her teacher said that Fiona had been acting very silly in class today and was influenced by C (a new boy)--please talk to her. First of all, I was relieved it wasn't something worse. Fiona acting very silly in class is a problem we've had to address off and on during the years and it is gradually getting better. So we did talk about it. She said, "But MOM! I'ts C's fault! C is so silly and he makes me laugh so hard! I can not help it." She has been talking about C for a while now. She loves people who make her laugh. Hopefully, today goes better. She did say that when I met her at the bus stop, I looked so happy and "smiley" that she felt "really bad" about telling me her bad news (when she is silly or talkative or not following directions, etc, she gets written up in the "conduct book"). She is very forthcoming about the conduct book. She never hides it. It's quite remarkable. I'm not sure if it's the age or her personality or both. She's not going to sit next to C in groups and will keep the silliness to recess. She asked me if she and C could still be friends. Oh, Fiona.

On that note, though, our school (or at least her teachers) don't have any scheduled parent/teacher conferences during the year. I'm going to schedule one (for both girls) just to make sure I really know what's going on. The work that comes home looks good and Sophia is improving with reading and writing and Fiona's grades are great. I would like to try to get Fiona in the gifted/talented program, but it's a little tricky. Her teacher thinks she is more "high achieving" than gifted/talented, but said she would watch her during the year. The books that Fiona reads at school are easier than the ones she reads at home. All the other subjects seem pretty much at her level and she excels in those subjects. It's possible I don't really know what the gifted/talented program is really about. They test kids for the program in kindergarten. Obviously, we missed that since we just moved here. If it's just a matter of testing her, then I don't see why we shouldn't.

I don't have any pictures from today, so here, completely out of context, are pictures from last Halloween, which we had a lot of fun with.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Books and Hips

Sophia survived her day at school and Fiona got off to school without a hitch (but will be glad when school has regular hours tomorrow). I just have to make sure we do violin practice this afternoon! Bonus points if we can practice a little more before bedtime.

Fiona has started reading The Chronicles of Narnia and has already finished The Magician's Nephew. The strictly-reading-about-dinosaurs phase has ended (or maybe it has just been added on to, because her auntie Alex got her a huge encyclopedia on dinosaurs) and we are back to fiction! She read a cool version of the Frog Princess on our way up to Denton, and finished two of her three Christmas books (still working on The Saturdays). Travels of Thelonious was a HUGE hit (I knew it would be, and that was the book at the end of the bed). She also loved the Moomintroll book, and is asking for more. Actually, she's asking for more of both. Happily, we have a birthday coming up. Oh yeah, the slumber party. Groan. Now if she would only read The Hobbit, which she got for Christmas last year. I don't know what I was thinking then. I should have waited a couple of years on that one. What I should do is read it TO her.

Oh, and the "book at the end of the bed" is a Christmas tradition I got from my parents. Every Christmas morning, there is a book wrapped at the end of the bed signed by the parents with the date. In my case, it was always this amazing book. Sometimes I got cookbooks! I still have most, maybe all, of those books.

Here is Fiona with the head of some LEGO dinosaur. I forgot that the eyes light up. She did the Stegosaurus last. She was slightly annoyed with the construction saying that the feet were incorrect. She has taken to spouting out random facts--but I have no idea if they are really facts. For instance, while we were waiting for the bus, there were 3 large black birds in our pine trees and the neighbors' trees. Fiona said they were crows (maybe they were). Then she went on to tell me that crows and owls are enemies and said something about the crows pecking the owls in the morning (???). She seemed uncertain about that last part when I asked her to clarify, but was adamant that crows and owls are enemies. (Speaking of owls, we love Owly, which you can probably get at the library. Props to Triana for introducing us!)

Did I mention Sophia has started sucking her thumb again? It's even worse than ever. She tells me how much she likes it, especially when she goes to bed. Exasperating as it is, I can also really, really understand, because I did the same thing and I did it for a long time (until I was seven). It was so comforting! It's hell on the teeth, though. I was at least hoping it would help her cope better with situations she feels uncertain of (drop off at school, talking to people, being asked questions, being around new kids...) but I am not sure that it is helping. Maybe I just can't see it.

I feel a strong urge to nap now, and maybe I should take it so I can be ready for encouraging Fiona to practice. That can be so draining. Especially if we HAVEN'T been practicing; then she gets really frustrated during practice (and then I get really frustrated). She really has come a long way since we started in July. Maybe it would help her to see me practice the piano, which is something I should really do (and it's enjoyable once I'm there...sort of like exercise). Then it's either dinner prep time or yoga time! I should prep dinner first. I've been biking, but I think my thighs would like a respite today.

Two amusing things: As Fiona was watching Ellen Aim open yet another MOVIE present at Christmas, she asked why Ellen didn't get any real presents. She said this with a look of stern disapproval on her face (mixed with bewilderment).

Ellen also appeared one evening wearing this shirt, which I love and probably need at least two of. Both girls loved the shirt as well. Sophia stared at the cut out in the top of the shirt and said, "I can see your HIPS". Sobo remarked to Ellen dryly, "I don't think she means your hips".

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Happy New Year!

I spent the last two weeks in little D (otherwise known as Denton, the Home of Happiness). The kids had big fun with their grandparents and both aunties (on my side of the family). I actually went out on New Year's Eve to see ODIS with Alex and Ellen Aim. It was fabulous. I even danced in public (shudder).

The kids had a great first Christmas in Texas (We even got snow on Christmas Eve! Snow that didn't melt right away! Actual, big fluffy flakes! That hasn't happened since the early 1900s).

I also got to see a movie! We saw Sherlock Holmes, which was pretty silly, but a lot of fun. Favorite line: "You do realize what you're drinking is meant for eye surgery?" Also something about a package. This was a theater with wine, which helped. We may or may not have high fived during a few of the lines. It was that kind of movie.

Now it's a new year and tomorrow the kids go back to school. Fiona's school starts two hours later than usual, which will make things extra awkward tomorrow. I am not even 100% sure Sophia HAS school tomorrow. I guess I will find that out soon enough. She missed the last two days of school because she had a slight fever, but mostly because she was just obviously not feeling well. She has already asked me today if I will "pick her up early". This means I would pick her up at noon. She used to go all day, but they have this crazy long rest time at the school (from about 11:30 to about 2:30) and it totally screws up her bedtime. So I pick her up at noon when I can (I can't on Wednesdays and Thursdays). Honestly, I am sort of tempted to just take her out of school this year except that she IS picking up reading and writing and interacting with other kids. I miss last year when she would NOT want to come home with me and wanted to play a little longer. It was occasionally exasperating, of course, but by FAR preferable to going out of resignation. Sophia is also going through this DARLING phase of testing limits (the sequel and top volume version) and being absolutely defiant. Tell her she can't do something? "I am going to do it anyway!" She literally laughs at any discipline. I honestly have grey hairs coming in now. I've stopped counting them.

I have been a terrible parent in terms of Fiona's violin practice (I do it with her and I just haven't on this "vacation"). Hopefully, Wednesday's lesson is not too painful (I go with her, which is why Sophia has a long day at school Wednesday). Fiona's birthday is coming up (2/2!) and she will be eight. Eight! She is pushing hard for a slumber party. She wants a handful of girls (about 5, I think) and I want ONE. Still not sure what to do about that. She did attend her first slumber party last fall and it went extremely well, but the mother certainly did not get any sleep (neither did the girls, of course). I've been volunteering in Fiona's class (one of them, anyway...she has two teachers) on Thursdays in the early afternoon. I love doing this, because then I get to meet the other kids in her class. I still feel lost at Sophia's school, but it is getting a little better because she's been invited to a few birthday parties.

Now that it's time to get back into some sort of schedule, I'm actually making some loose "resolutions", which I don't usually do (if I want to do something, I just do it). Maybe making it a more formal declaration will help. I'm back to exercising, which is fun to do with Sophia there because she will really bust out some great dance moves. That girl can dance. I am going to try to write something every day. Hopefully, here. Facebook does not count. But if not here, somewhere. I am also going to venture into Houston once a week (probably that Wednesday) because I am tired of the weak produce at HEB. HEB can be great, but this one near our house is so-so. It's sort of like Shaw's produce at our former home. Pretty good, but the co-op had fresher. I think it's worth the trip to Whole Foods or Central Market for fresh produce. Oh, and maybe some cheese.