Saturday, November 29, 2008

Locks and Dam Park

Since today was possibly the last nice day we will have for a while, the kids and I headed down to Locks and Dam Park on the Ohio river. I took all these pictures on my camera phone, so they aren't great, but surprisingly, they aren't that bad!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Not too surprisingly, my little artists were very excited about decorating for Thanksgiving.

We made a paper chain... it's about 16 feet long!

Hannah hung these, so that's why they are a bit crooked. Hannah drew the one on notebook paper. It's her version of a 'trace-your-hand-turkey'. The other is Elijah's. He colored, I cut it out, and he glued it to the construction paper.

Hannah's version of the same turkey.

Hannah made this turkey out of some left over strips from the paper chain. I thought it was pretty ingenius myself, and if you look closely you can tell that she wrote all of our names on it.

Another Elijah turkey that I helped cut out (he did some, and I had to do some rescue work) and glue.

Hannah made this turkey by cutting out pieces of tissue paper and gluing them together. No pattern or anything. She did a much better job than I would have!

This was taken before the big meal. Leah woke up from a short nap, so I sat her next to sleeping Pete. She went back to sleep for over an hour!! I guess she would nap a whole lot better if she had a warm body to snuggle with...

We had a yummy meal, but I didn't take any pictures. Hannah and I made real cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, turkey (just a roast, not a whole bird), dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, candied sweet potatoes, and crecent rolls.

After dinner we watched A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and played Blockus and Yahtzee. It was a really good day!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Looking at schools

On January 15 one of two things will happen. Either Hannah will receive her first school rejection letter, or she will be accepted for one of six coveted spots in Montessori 1st grade. We are really, REALLY hoping for the latter. However, since there are only SIX spots and about 25 kindergartners, the odds are not in our favor. How, pray tell, does the school decide which children are chosen for Mr. R's (the absolute coolest, most innovative teacher I've ever met) class? Here's what the school says,
" The teachers have concluded, after several meetings, that evaluation of students' personal characteristics is necessary in matching children's individual learning styles to appropriate environments. We do not imply that a child's intelligence or mastery of works in the preprimary classroom affects his or her placement in the elementary program, but rather that certain personal characteristics seem to allow a child to thrive in the elementary class. These personal characteristics are as follows:
-Self-motivated worker
-Age appropriate maturity/self-control
-Actively seeks challenging work
-Responds well to direction/redirection
-Gets along well with peers
It was also decided that volunteerism, especially from those who go "above and beyond the call of duty", cannot be overlooked...
Lastly, if all else is equal the date of your child's initial registration will be used to determine a child's enrollment into the elementary class."

Because of all this, I have started looking at other schooling options for Hannah. The public schools here are significantly better than Oklahoma, but I don't feel like that is a good fit for Hannah. There are not a lot of private school options here either. We have two good options, E'ville Day School and E'ville Christian School. Hannah and I will be touring ECS next week to see what it's like. So, wish Hannah luck so she can keep going to Montessori, then we can start this process all over again for 4th grade.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Montessori pictures of both kids

Hannah working on numbers with Ms Beth

Sorting color tablets

Working on the cubed chain. Each bar has 10 beads, each square has 10 bars (10 squared), and each cube has 10 squares (10 cubed). The kids are getting ready to put labels on all the 10's up to 1000.

Here they are labeling the 100's.

Counting pumpkins

Sorting tassles by type.

Elijah and his friends have created their own 'circle time' where they have discussions and raise their hands to talk.

Working on a craft during the Diwali celebration.

Working on a leaf shape puzzle.

This is called a geoboard. Elijah is creating designs with rubberbands.

Friday, November 21, 2008

School Pictures

These were taken on Hannah's 6th birthday. Wow, doesn't she look stunning!?

back row: Ms. Beth, Brody, Anika, Darby, Michelle, Madeleine, Seamus, Weston, Ms. Christa
middle row: Ryan, Zach, Connor, Jesse, Carac, Jack, Colton, Braxton, Walker
front row: Hannah, Cooper, Sloane, Daniela, Deki, Lane, Izaak

This picture captures Elijah perfectly (when he's in a good mood, of course!)

back row: Ms. Kris, Madelyn , Eva, Connor, Jenna, Naomi, Calvin, Max, Ms. Sarah
3rd row: Laith, Neha, Joey, Angela, Huda, J'masin, Ella, Gabe
2nd row: Evan, Ashton, Kesang, Elyse, Alex, Katie, Tyler
front row: Cicily, Elijah, Landon, Petra

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Leah's Eating Habits

Here's what Leah "ate" for lunch today: about 10 Cheerios, she chewed and spit out one bite of ground beef, she played with a spoonful of sweet potatoes (not sure if any were consumed), and she fingerpainted with a teaspoon of chocolate pudding. She eats a lot more if she's mooching from someone else, i.e. Hannah fed her several bites of bagel this morning. She DOES still nurse 20 times (or more) in a 24 hour period. The other two didn't get interested in really eating until they were 18 months, so I figure it will be another two months for Leah...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hannah's story


Daniela and Hannah and Walker
went to the school today is someone
one birthday the teacher said it is Hannah
birthday and Daniela and Walker

Dog and girls go to the park
and play fetch dogs friends

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Even More Allergy Testing

Because of Hannah's lip swelling incident, we scheduled an appointment with the allergist to test for an allergy to bee stings, or as he called it a venom test. When I explained the situation to him, he thought it was more likely that Hannah was allergic to the pollen in the beeswax. That seemed like a reasonable suggestion, so he Hannah for five different venoms and about 24 pollens. It was fairly traumatic for her, but we did get to watch a REALLY cool salt water aquarium with coral and anemones while we waited for the results. Everything came back negative, so it seems pretty likely that her lips were swelling because of the impetiego that hadn't quite surfaced at that point. I'm thinking I spent that $145 dollars on an Epi-pen that we didn't really need. Oh well, better safe than sorry, and it doesn't expire until February 2010... I don't think I'll be sending it to school with her next year.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pie Night!!!

I read about the wonderful idea of Pie Night last week, and I decided to try to figure out a way to incorporate it into our lives. We already had a game night planned, so I informed our guests that it was now game night/PIE NIGHT. Everyone was just as excited as I was!! I wish I'd thought to take pictures of all the pies and guests, but we were just having too much fun :)

I got a call a mere three hours before pie night from Vanessa telling me "something horrible" had happened. She'd made a quiche for a new mom, and her one and only pie pan had not been returned yet. How could she make a pie without a pie pan? I had already filled my two pie pans, or I would have shared! Thankfully, Vanessa's mom is a GENIUS and suggested that she make a tart on a flat crust. It was AMAZING!!! Apples with plum sauce on the yummiest crust ever was a nice surprise.

Jean wanted to make a banana cream pie, but her husband vetoed that because he prefers chocolate. I believe she said it's the only flavor in his mind [sounds a lot like Pete's opinion about chocolate chip cookies... Any other cookie COULD have been a chocolate chip cookie.] She brought a scrumptious and very rich chocolate pie. It was very yummy!

I made my staple, a pumpkin pie, but I wanted to make a second pie as well (and even a third, but I only have two pie pans!). I decided that I would make the banana cream pie (pictured above sans cream). I let Pete choose between coconut cream and banana cream and he chose the later. After reading a few recipes, I concocted my own and it turned out quite nicely.

I know that I sampled all of the pies, and found them all to be quite delectable. I proclaim Pie Night was a success! The games were fun too. We played Apples to Apples which I'd never played before, and Taboo. The guys weren't so great at Taboo, so it wasn't nearly as fun as the first game. The seven kids ran around like hooligans and appeared to have a grand time as well.
On another note, I realized tonight that my kids really like country music... I've never really cared for that genre, but growing up in Oklahoma and going to college at O-State I've heard my fair share. So, I was letting the kids listen to YouTube videos and here are the songs they really liked: Dolly Parton - Wherever Forever of Love (not a song I was familiar with but it was linked to Hannah's favorite Put a Little Love in Your Heart), Lee Greenwood -I'm Proud to be an American, Tim McGraw - Live Like You Were Dying, and Joe Diffie - John Deere Green. I must be getting old because all these songs made me a little teary eyed... another reason not to listen to country music, it just takes too much out of me emotionally, lol.
Hannah's lips are now 100% better!! She will be getting an allergy test for bee stings on Monday, so that ought to be fun.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Leah's 15 month stats

So, forget the fact that she'll be 16 months in less than a week... Leah had her well baby check up today. She's 19 lbs 12 oz (still hasn't hit the magic 20 lbs!) and she's 30 inches long. She's in about the 5th %tile for weight and 50th for height. The nurse and doctor both asked how she was doing with solid food, and I laughed. I told them that she's really good at throwing it on the floor, chewing it up and spitting it out, and she is fantastic at eating whatever she finds on the ground!

Leah is really walking these days. She can toddle around the house quite well now, but crawling is still so much faster that she uses that mode of transportation a lot too. She recently learned how to crawl down the stairs, and she does that fairly safely.

An Irrational Fear of Tigger

Elijah is terrified of Tigger these days. It's weird and almost comical at the same time. It all started when he freaked out over a Tigger like this a few years back. He was about Leah's age at the time. We also had a Tigger like this, that didn't elicit quite the same amount of fear in the beginning. Hokey Pokey Elmo didn't elicit warm fuzzy feelings from Elijah either. So, when I was pregnant with Leah, I packed up a bunch of stuffed animals into storage containers and put them in the closet. The offending singing, dancing, mechanical cartoon characters were among those in storage. Then one day a few months ago, we were watching home movies of Hannah dancing with Hokey Pokey Elmo. Elijah thought they were funny, so I unpacked him and the Tiggers. Around Halloween Elijah started having nightmares about Tigger... So, last week I gave away all the offending Tiggers and Elmo. However, I kept one large stuffed Tigger that I got in high school, but I tucked it away on a high closet shelf. Tonight, Elijah spied that Tigger and totally freaked out! He may never forgive me for not getting rid of ALL the Tiggers.

Friday, November 7, 2008

As the Lips Heal

This horrifying picture is from this morning, and as terrible as her lips look this is a VAST improvement! If you have children who insist on licking their lips until they are chapped, please show them this picture so they can see just what might happen. BLAH!!!

I kept Hannah home again today, and it has been SO wonderful!! I just love having her home with me :) Today we did some school work so she wouldn't get bored, and we had a grand ol' time! I'm hopeful that by Monday her lips will be healed enough that she can go to school. I'll just stop in when I pick up Elijah at half-day and put on her antibiotic ointment.


My favorite current Elijah-ism is "non't". As in "I non't want to do that!!" [it rhymes with don't]

For Sonic (yk, America's Favorite Drive-in) he says "sonyit"

This morning, he came to tell me it was time to get out of bed. Leah had a really rough night, so I told him to be quiet and not wake her. In fact I threatened him if he did. As I was putting in my contacts, he came into the bathroom and said, "I'm nervous. I'm nervous because Leah is still sleeping." I told him that I didn't think he quite understood the meaning of the word nervous.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Elijah's Progress Report - Fall 2008

Self-direction - Elijah loves to work. He is drawn to works that end with a product [something to bring home] and he improves his process with each repetition.

Organizational skills - Elijah is careful to follow the lesson; getting things right is very important to him. If he is given a correction, he will consciously remind himself of it the next time he chooses that activity.

Concentration - Elijah is able to concentrate on his work for long periods of time. If he is interrupted, he easily picks up where he left off.

Self-esteem - Elijah is prone to "melting down" quickly to a disappointment; he is recovering much quicker now. Overall he is cheerful, friendly, and outgoing.

Self-control - Elijah struggles at times to control his impulse to speak out at circle time and can become impatient waiting for a turn at a favorite or new work.

Social skills- Elijah gets along well with all the children, particularly within his peer group. He can bring out the best in the other 3 year olds.

Motor skills - Elijah enjoys a challenge when it comes to fine motor activities. His determination to do things independently helps him to overcome initial difficulties with an activity.

Creative Expression - Art activities are intensely interesting and satisfying for Elijah!

Science/Geography - Elijah in interested in the geography activities and consistently identifies several continents. He is an active participant in our group discussions at circle time.

Sensorial mathematics - Elijah can count quantities to numerals fairly accurately, with errors occurring after 6 if at all, i.e. he may count 8 spindles into the 7 compartment. As his interest increases in this area, he will begin counting larger quantities and refining his ability to count and read teens and tens.

Language literacy - Elijah consistently recognizes [the letter sounds] a, m, s, t, b, r, f, & p and can identify them at the beginning of spoken words. His skill is well above average, and I expect his interest to wax and wane, which is age appropriate.

Summary - Elijah's enthusiasm is contagious. He has nearly mastered the classroom ground rules and enjoys full freedom within the boundaries of acceptable behavior. His mornings are well-rounded with a variety of works.

Hannah's Progress Report - Kindergarten Fall 2008

Motor Skills - Hannah's fine motor skills are greatly improving. Many works she chooses involve small things that require more precise movements. Her handwriting is looking fantastic!

Creative Expression - Hannah enjoys all aspects of art: drawing, singing, and dancing! She loves being the class "DJ" and chooses each day to play one of the children's new favorite songs, "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" by Dolly Parton!

Science/Geography - Hannah is more into science experiments than the lessons offered on the shelf at this time. As the year progresses, more complex science lessons will be available to challenge her.

Sensorial Mathematics - Hannah's interest in numbers has exploded this year! Counting to 100 is becoming easier for her each time she chooses a bead chain and works with the golden beads. At this moment, she gets to 99 and wants to say 'one thousand' rather than 'one hundred', but she does know the difference in the quantities.

Language Literacy - Hannah's interest in language is still quite strong and enjoys writing the words after spelling them with the moveable alphabet. She's labeling her own map which is also great! She still confuses "b" and "d" and relies on forming the letters with her left and right hands to help her decipher which way each letter is formed.

Self-direction - This year I have made sure to only put one of each thing on the shelf to discourage Daniela from following Hannah around as much. She has taken Seamus under her wing and he enjoys her company and direction in math. She enjoys working with Walker who is more on her level developmentally than the other children in the class. She is a very sweet girl who loves to help out and accepts directions well.

Organizational skills - Hannah's doing wonderfully in this area which helps her in executing the big works she thrives upon.

Concentration - Again, Hannah has certainly stepped up this year and has really blossomed into a great role model in this area!

Self-Esteem - Hannah is a happy girl with a great sense of humor. I can always count on Hannah to take care of herself as well as others who need help!

Self-control - She is a role model and I am lucky to have her in class!

Social skills- Hannah gets along with everyone and has plenty of friends. She is a model of a peaceful, happy child! We recently played a game called the compliment web. During circle, I held the end strand of a piece of yarn and tossed the ball to another person and paid him a compliment. When it was Hannah's turn, I asked her to choose someone that might not get many compliments. She must have read my mind because she tossed it to the boy who has the most behavioral issues in class. She sat for a long time trying to think of something nice to say, and finally said, "I like it when you don't hit people". I couldn't have said it better myself!

Community awareness - Hannah has learned that certain jobs need to be carried out in order for our classroom to run effectively. She enjoys assisting adults and relishes the opportunity to do so. She's a big kid this year and has certainly shown the younger kids how it's done!

Update on Hannah's lips

Hannah definitely has impetigo. When that became apparent to me last night, I started putting Neosporin on her lips. The did look a tiny bit better this morning. I called the doctor and asked for a prescription for her, and he called one in for us. I picked that up this evening and applied the first dose.

The kids were out of school for parent teacher conferences (I'll post their progress reports in a bit), and we had a fantastic day. The weather was perfect, mid-70's and sunny!! We played outside for much of the day.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A bit of a rant

Hannah is a lip licker. It has become a bit of a problem since the weather turned cold (okay, now it's warm again, but it WAS cold), and her lips have gotten quite chapped. I was having her put some chapstick on her lips when she complained, but I decided to get her some lovely natural lip balm that I just adore. I especially like the chocolate mint flavor... it smells like Girl Scout cookies!! Her lips kept getting more and more chapped and even looked like she might have impetigo around her mouth. On Saturday night I decided I would put some Vaseline on and around her lips. The idea of putting petroleum on my kids' skin is pretty abhorrent, but I was getting desperate and I thought it might do the trick. However, when Hannah woke up her lips were HUGE. She looked like she'd had collagen injections! I should have taken a picture, but it was too horrifying. I decided it looked like an allergic reaction, and I immediately blamed the nasty Vaseline. I gave her some Claritin and Motrin hoping that one of them would reduce the swelling. After a couple of hours her lips were back to their normal size, but they were still pitifully chapped, cracked, and red. I had Hannah stop using the regular chapstick, I tossed the vaseline, and I started applying the beeswax lip balm liberally and often. By bedtime, her lips were starting to swell again. When she woke this morning, once again they were huge. That's when I decided a trip to the doctor was necessary. By golly, I was going to do SOMETHING about my poor baby's lips!! Then I had another thought. What if she was allergic to the beeswax? Beeswax has bee saliva and goodness knows what else in it. My friend's little girl started having a reaction to beeswax after being stung by a bee, so it's not unheard of. So, we stopped using the lip balm too. I bought some coconut oil to put on her lips, but stopped after the second swelling incident. Now we are swabbing her lips with olive oil (EVOO for you Rachel Ray fans) because that's something I'm quite sure she's NOT allergic to.

Off to the doctor we went, and he agreed that she was having an allergic reaction. He checked her breathing and tongue/throat for swelling and all that was fine. However, he decided that she needed to have an Rx for an epi-pen. I asked for a referral (back) to the allergist for a bee sting test, and we got that appointment set up for two weeks from now. Here's where the rant starts...

I went to pick up the epi-pen at Walgreens after dinner. The little girl at the counter said, "are you going to pay with cash?". I told her "sure". Then she rang it up on the cash register, and I nearly choked. ONE HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!! I smiled and said, "Did you get my insurance card?" Her response?? "Oh, they don't pay anything on that." WHAT!!! ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME???? They won't pay for medicine that will save someone from a life threatening allergic reaction?!?! So, I put it on the credit card, 'cause I don't carry $145 cash on me... I'm truly stunned. That epinephrin better have a 2018 expiration date!