Crisp Autumn Eve 3 Column from TCBOTB

Friday, May 13, 2011

My ALMOST Preschool Grads ..... (sniff sniff)

Yep.... 1 week left and my little boys will be Pre-School Graduates. Chris keeps thinking that we/they are making a bigger deal out of this than it should be (unnghhh....guys....) but I guarantee I will be shedding a few tears at this event. Next Thursday is the boys' last day of their Pre-School (ECFE) Plus program where they will go through a graduation ceremony. They made graduation hats and the whole class made shirts that have 18 little bee thumb prints on the front with the saying "We'll always BEE friends" and they all signed the backs of all the shirts - with MUCH help from the parents. We all (parents) decided we would have our children wear their little "bee friends" shirts for graduation so this should be pretty cute. I hope we all stay in touch as this was SUCH a fun bunch of kids and adults and I have SO enjoyed their company and getting to know them. I'll be sad when I don't get to see them weekly anymore. We've already had a couple PNO (Parents Night Out) and hopefully will plan some more up in the future... but for now we have a "Graduation BBQ" that is already on the books that I am looking forward to, as well as a commitment from many to continue to get together on Tuesday mornings at area parks. Add that to the "Fresh Air Friday" get togethers also at local parks and we'll be nice and busy with play dates this summer - YAY!.

Gosh - it feels like forever since my last post...... I know it must be quite some time as I have a TON of pictures to load up. I don't even think I can recall all that has happened since then but I will just do a quick overall summary. Mainly we've just enjoyed the nice weather (for the most part) and have been getting outside as much as we can. We've had a couple play dates over here (with the Williams family), at parks and at friends' houses (Thank you Gangls and Brenneys).... but my kids can't get enough of being outside which is great. I cannot wait til we get the yard done (just some re-seeding and weed control) and finally get that swing set up for them. We've gone back and forth on what model(s) we want and now Chris has got us on the "Rainbow Systems" track as he thinks they are larger (last longer) and more durable. So once we priced out what we wanted new (WHOA!) we decided to look online on for some gently used sets and have found quite a few reasonably priced sets. Now just to pick one and be done with it. I'm so sick of always having to play out on our driveway and worrying about passing cars etc. Will be nice to just hang out in the shade of our backyard. We're also looking into hiring Mosquito Squad for their seasonal (6x) spraying to keep the mosquitoes and ticks at bay. And just the other day I put together our new patio set so we're ready to use that sometime soon. We got the kids a little play picnic table from Little Tikes and used that for the first time for lunch a couple days ago too. The kiddos really got into that and enjoyed eating outside so I think that will be a regular occurrence on nice days. Speaking of outside, the boys are happy to be reunited with their 'Gator and are all hyped up as we finally decided to remove the pin that deterred them from going into 2nd gear.... so now they are really buzzing around at full throttle. Evie loves getting rides on the Gator from her brothers .... begs them to stop when they are buzzing around or drags them over to it for a ride when no one is manning it.

Some new things with the boys..... they now get special stickers on their sticker charts (not just a potty chart anymore) for brushing their teeth each morning. So now they have a routine each morning of getting up, going potty, washing their hands and then brushing their teeth. They do those all by themselves with little prodding. They get pretty excited for the sparkly moon/star stickers they get for doing their teeth and know they have to brush their top teeth, then their bottom teeth, then their smile (the front specifically) then their tongue. Then they know to take off their PJs and put them in the hamper and put on their clothes that are laid out for them.... MacKay has one side of the dresser and Oscar has the other. They do very well with their undies, pants and shoes. But struggle a little with their shirts (getting them on right) and socks. It'll all come though. I also have them help me make the bed ... which will eventually turn into me helping THEM make the bed (then drop the "me" completely out of it). Just basically trying to give them more chores or responsibilities around the house. They also get special insect stickers if they clean up the house (the areas they have messed up) before lunch, dinner and bed. That one needs a little more coaxing... but I've started to back off in pointing out every little thing that needs to be taken care of and am telling them that they need to be able to see what needs to be cleaned up themselves... and they usually do, the problem is when they get distracted from what they should be focusing on.... then again, they ARE only 3.5 yrs old. I have to keep reminding myself of that... both in that I can't expect too much, but also in that I need to stop doing certain things for them. Both boys are also being empowered to wash themselves in the shower as well.... in the hopes that eventually this "nighttime bath routine" time can be cut by having them bathe themselves. Currently one of us is in there with them, usually all three of them at the same time while the other waits outside to help with drying off and redressing etc. I can't wait til we can just tell them to go shower up on their own. So for now we give them a puff that is all lathered up and let them go to town - of course we follow up with doing a quite once over when they are done. They are also learning more about manners..... chewing with their mouths closed and not talking with a mouthful of food, asking nicely for things, sharing and not teasing (this is a challenge as they have mastered the art of teasing now - even Evie is a pro), ..... though the big one we're focusing on lately is telling the truth. So often they lie about the dumbest things.... so I figured this was about the time to nip that in the bud and explain that. So for now on I've been somewhat rewarding telling the truth.... whereas before if, say, Oscar were to come tattling that MacKay hit him (which is probably a pretty truthful statement on most occasions), I would ask MacKay if he did that and if he admitted to it (or if I was pretty certain it happened) he got 3 min on the naughty bench. Now, if I am unsure and ask and they tell the truth they just need to go apologize and I thank them for telling the truth BUT remind them of whatever rule they broke ( hitting, no taking things away... etc). It seems to be working most of the time and I think they get the concept of "truth" but they don't really get the word or concept of "lying." Again, like most things.... It'll come. Individually, MacKay is a brute lately - always tackling Oscar for a toy or just no apparent reason other than just to wrestle around. He's relentless and upon letting Oscar back up (who is usually whining) he will go right back and attack him again. Oscar's new thing is how proud he is that he can say YELLOW... or should I say YeOW-LOW! They were both saying Lellow, so I tried to correct them by telling them to say the word "Yell" and then "O." Oscar grasped that and now loves to come up to you and say "I have to tell you something Mommy...... this [holding something yellow] color is YeOW-LOW!" all proud of himself. He even told Miss Michele at school yesterday because his shirt was yellow. They both still crack me up daily with the things they say. Just the other day I was growing increasingly frustrated with the two of them as they weren't listening and I was constantly having to repeat myself (which makes me feel like I am barking orders constantly which I hate) and get on them for things they new better on. I finally got their attention and told them we were going to have to go inside due to their behavior in my best "Love & Logic" voice: "I would love to let you play outside again when you can show me I can trust you to play nicely and listen to me." They hummed and hawed and cried the whole way into the house and as they were taking off their shoes Oscar said to me "Mommy..... you need to be happy. Cuz when you are happy you are a good Mommy. When you are angry you are mean!" That made me feel so horrible to hear that he thought I was angry and mean ... but then I had to remind myself that THAT is how he interpreted how that went down. So minutes later after I composed myself I talked with him about how I wasn't angry... I was disappointed that I have to repeat myself and that they don't listen to me. That I don't want to have to yell or repeat myself. AND more specifically I reminded them that THEY made the choice not to listen which resulted in having to come inside..... not that I was mean. I think they really got it cuz they both, in their own way of saying it promised that they would listen outside and gave me big hugs. I really gotta get more into this Love & Logic stuff..... it really seems to do the trick in most cases.

Anyway... onto Evie. She's still the little Diva who refuses to say Yes.... but says EVERYTHING ELSE. She is a little chatterbox and wants to try say EVERY word that you say. She's saying more 2 and 3 word sentences now. She's seeing the boys doing all these new empowering things (dressing self, brushing teeth, getting ready, cleaning up) and she wants to be part of it. It's great... but SO time consuming. She always wants to dress herself, specifically putting on socks which she can't seem to do... but gives it a good go for about 5 minutes. She won't let me help or even near her "Do [Go] Mommy.... DO!" .... so I have to resort to eventually distracting her with putting on her shirt (something she can do) or helping pull up her pants etc. She wants to clip herself into her booster chair for meals ..... again, I cannot be within reach nor help so I just have to wait until she actually gets it (which takes forever) or when she finally asks for "Hewp" [Help]. for the past few months she's been pulling off her shoes (and sometimes her socks too) when we were on long car rides to the cities or visiting family etc. But recently she's started doing this EVERY time she gets in the car. Not even 2 minutes into a car ride and her feet are completely stripped down. It's so frustrating, I don't know why I even bother putting shoes on her..... other than the fact that she has a new fascination with "Wok Wok Wok" [Walking] and doesn't want to be carried anymore. So I've been trying to use that as leverage - when she pulls her shoes and socks off (which is every time) and then demands to "Wok" I just simply tell her "No, you can't walk if you take your shoes and socks off." I've been tempted to just let her walk on that cold hard rocky asphalt parking lot with no shoes on just to drive the point home but I'm too worried that it will backfire on me and she'll just love it up being shoeless and then demand to be so all the time. She's headstrong, that one. But man is she a good cleaner. She's better than the boys at seeing what needs to be put away and actually putting it away. She knows where everything goes and makes sure everything is in its place .... all the while singing the "Clean Up" song - "Kween Up Kween Up." She's a little singer .... still loves Twinkle Twinkle and now makes up songs regularly. I love to just lie in bed in the mornings and listen to her before I get up. She will just lie in there singing gibberish for the longest time. It's a great way to start the day just listening to her....

Well I could go on .... you know I could, but I would rather just stop trying to wrack my brain for more details to report and instead share with you a ton more pictures. Enjoy....

Fun outside during a play date with the Williams boys: MacKay with his rear glued to the 'Gator, Oscar refusing to accept the fact that he's grown too big for the Little People motorized cars, Evie loving being in the presence of a "BayBEEE" (rocking Tucker in his car seat), Jackson & Wyatt loving our ERTL vintage car transporter truck.... & Evie giving me her pouty face when I told her "No" about something, which was completely entertaining to Shawna as only recently had she even seen Evie cry.

Lastly, this picture just reads "Watch it buddy.... that's my sister you're getting fresh with!" I could totally see another picture exactly like this in about 14 years. Evie gets a lot of attention and affection from her buddies Jack & Wyatt ..... and that day is going to come when MacKay & Oscar will be a little protective of her (at least I hope that is the case). I love MacKay sitting there wielding the bat.....

MacKay and Oscar have really dug back into playing their Leapsters... mostly because they are now playing with some actual cartridge games. They started out with (and love) their Digging for Dinosaurs game, but Cars and Toy Story 3 are big hits too. Love Oscar sporting the shark goggles they got for Easter

Evie wanting in on the shark goggles too.

Just a couple pictures of the picnic/patio sets we got and can't wait to get our money's worth out of them this summer. Lunch out on the deck EVERY sunny day ..... and family dinners out on the patio.

The boys with their new baseball gloves.... complete with Velcro glove and felt baseball :)

The handmade cards that the kids made for their teachers. Evie wouldn't partake in an exercise at ECFE the other week to paint her feet and make a Mother's Day card for Gma [the punchline being "I walk all over you Gma"] so I took it home to see if I could get her to do it later. I got all the kids to let me put their footprints on it and they loved doing it so much that it inspired me to make "Hands Down" cards for their teachers with their hand prints. The night before the boys were going to give them to their teachers I realized I would never see these works of art again that they worked so hard on (their hand prints, cutting them out themselves and writing their names) so I HAD to take pictures of them for posterity. Sharing cuz I am so proud of how well they did on them.

Silly kids posing for Mommy [MacKay making "monkey cheeks" (holding his breath) while wearing his shark goggles]

Hoglund Picnic #1 - granted it wasn't the most nutritious meal (PBJs, blueberries and Cheetos) but they did a good job with the promise of getting more Cheetos for clean plates. Evie was more enthralled by the cheesy residue the Cheetos left on her fingers.

Come back again VERY soon as next week I will have updates and pictures of the boys' trip to the water park - their last [and very delayed] reward for potty training.... a trip to a farm...... AND the boys' graduation!

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