Friday, August 26, 2011

Another first day... 24 cute 5 and 6 year olds can be glad it's Friday, though not looking forward to the hours I'll be putting in this weekend. Not sure how I can be so far behind in only 2 weeks. Hmmm....
Well, this little miss had her first day of pre-school

....cannot believe my baby is going to pre-school. She loved it, of course. She is the typical baby of the family social butterfly. Of course she loves anything with other kids and not at home. This was the same little one who would wake up for her naps with her purse on her arm, saying, "Ready to go. Let's go!"
We're are enjoying Florida weather and humid. Lovely combination. Good thing I'm in an air conditioned classroom all day. I crank it to poor kiddos have begun bringing sweaters! They are cold! But hey, if the teacher isn't happy, then no one is happy! Sorry, kiddos. I think Cooper is the only one who hasn't asked me to "turn up the heater". Love their little sayings. Like the hand sanitizer lotion is just called "hanitizer". I think it's perfect! I almost want to make my own and sell it with that name. :-)

Anyway, my blog surfing has been limited to only first grade blogs for ideas, ideas, and more ideas, but here are a few other things I've found in the last few weeks to share:

Photo Walls ideas

An art project I want to do with my kiddos

Need ideas about planning a photo session? Cuteness!

Kids and Chores....something I am struggling with...the best way to set up chores. the boys have certain daily and weekly things, but I want them to do "more"...not for me, but so they can be independent and take care of themselves someday. Spencer asked if he could be excused from cleaning out the dishwasher on his birthday...he's NOT a big fan of that chore! Who is?
Have a good weekend!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

First Day!!!!!

The boys on their first day of school:

*Spencer, Grade 3. Loves his teacher, Mrs. Peterson (I love her, too!)....She reminds me of MY favorite teacher ever, Mrs. Bruno (who I was *lucky* to work next door to for 3 years)...he was nervous, but excited

*Cooper, Grade 1...he loves his teacher and he's ME! He was a little nervous, but happy. Sadly, he didn't get any of his friends in our class (I was super bummed), but he can make new ones (and still plays with his other ones...on the same soccer team with one of his best friends, Jack)

Here's a good year, my sweet boys!

Kendall starts pre-school next Tuesday....yikes! She's still in "summer mode"-enjoying lazy days, pool days with daddy, dates with both Grandmas...

Summer Reading-How'd I do?

So, I read a lot this summer...loved every minute of it! The kids did the Summer Reading Program at the library and got their free books from the summer program at Barnes & Noble. So, we all read! Here was my list from the beginning of the summer:
(From June)
I am excited to plan my are some of the books I plan to read this summer:

1. Some classics: reread Jane Eyre and read Middlemarch ***Read Jane Eyre, but did not read Middlemarch...yet!
2. some other more contemporary classics I missed: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn ***Didn't get to this one yet
3. Parenting books: I am currently rereading 12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know and I'd like to read Growing Grateful Kids. I plan to read 50 Things Every Gentleman Should Know to my boys and have the journal about it ***Not sounding so good, but didn't finish 12 Simple Secrets, neve bought the Grateful Kids book, and didn't have the boys journal the 50 Things, but want to do that this year
4. Some interesting reads: Tolstoy and the Purple Chair, The Paris Wife, Summer Rental ***Still on library wait list for the first 2, but read Summer Rental-total beach read
5. Bossypants-heard so many friends loved it! ***Still on library wait list
6. Finally read Water for Elephants...finally ***Someone borrowed, need to get it back!
7. and whatever else comes up on my on hold list at the library...make sure you friend me on to see what I end up reading this summer
8. I am currently reading The Unexpected Circumnavigation right now for my new reading group: From Left to Write. ***Read, it was OK...needs a major editing job

But I did read: About 28 books and some of my favs were:
In Stitches-very funny read about a young Korean boy growing up in Michigan and going to Med School (true story!)
I, Mona Lisa (historical fiction about who was the Mona Lisa....soooo good!)
Cate of the Lost Colony (ever wonder what happened to lost people of Roanoke Island??)
Sarah's Key-heartbreaking, but excellent
No More I'm Done- Great teaching resource for writer's workshop-LOVE it!
360 Degrees Longitude-one family's trip around the world in a year, so interesting to read their descriptions of other cultures!
The Wilder Life-story of a woman searching for more information on her fav series: Little House on the Prairie (learned a lot from this one!)

What about you??? What did you read? I am a bit comes the reading focus is on my kids when I'm at home and doing lesson plans after they go to bed, in place of my reading time...but hopefully will be back to reading soon!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Photography and Music

OK, a few things to share...
First, Joe and I (and Monica and Allen) went up to Sacramento and saw the most amazing performance by AWOLNATION! The concert rocked, Aaron, the singer and guitar during the show, was a great performer, and the fans went crazy! We had so much fun singing along and getting our dance on! Whoo-hoo! If they come near you, go check them out for a fun time. Here's a link to his Youtube video of my fav song: Burn It Down.

Second, I wanted to share about a photography resource that I really have found useful...Kristen Duke's book: Say No To Auto. I love it! I bought the download version and printed it out in 4 x 6 size, stuck it on a ring, and now it goes with me in my camera bag wherever I go. Easy to understand (even for me, who is still learning what the technical terms mean: f-stop, aperture, etc.). Worth it! And now she has revised it, making it even more helpful. Go check it out!

More coming...the end of summer wrap up...yes, come Monday, I will be spending my days with 24 precious first graders (including my own-Cooper!). I hope I have made my room cozy and comfy for them. Those first grade blogs I have been perusing have been so helpful! Happy Weekend!

Monday, August 08, 2011

In Stitches: Culture Shock

Anthony Youn's memoir In Stitches gives readers a look into the training of a medical doctor who discovers his passion is plastic surgery. As a member of From Left to Write book club, I received a copy of this book for review. You can read other members postsinspired by In Stitches by Anthony Youn, M.D. on book club day, August 9 at From Left to Write.

First off, I have to say that I really enjoyed this book! It was a fun read! I couldn't help but think of myself in junior high when I read about his experiences growing as a Korean boy in white Michigan...I moved to diverse California in the 6th grade, coming from an all white, southern Illinois town of about 9,000. Can you say culture shock? My friends all told me that California was about to fall off North America (Most Californians have never heard this rumor!), so I was terrified about that. My Dad even told me they only ate fish in CA-and I hated fish! Once I started school, I was definitely out of place. What was cool in my small town wasn't so cool here. So many languages, so many nationalities! My new CA friends would tease me about my "accent"-I guess I said "pool" and "cool" with two syllables! When I think back to those days, I realize I was a very naive, sheltered child. Luckily, I think my own children are a lot more savvy!

But I did adapt, and now I wouldn't live in any other state. I think the diversity adds a lot to our state-traditions, cultures, food! I love reading about other cultures, and here I am right in the middle of it all. I read somewhere that America is not a "melting pot", but instead a "salad"-all different traditions and ways of life mixed in together. I like that imagery. As a parent, I've had fun incorporating new traditions for my kids that I have learned about, as well as following traditions from my own family (we are a mix of Hungarians and German, and my husband's family is mostly Italian).
What about you?

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Where did summer go???

I remember in June, the whole summer stretched out ahead of me. I had lists of things I wanted to do, make, play, read...and 2 days I am back to work. I admit, I really love my job, BUT I love my kids more, and I'm sad that it's back to work. The last 2 weeks have been busy busy busy! We headed to the beach house for some family time with Joe's family. Aquarium

, The Mystery Spot,

beach, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (tip: go on Mon or Tues after 3 for $1 rides!).

Then it was home and my family time!

My sisters both were in town...and LILY...and we had a little get together/shower for Jenny & Lily. It was fun!

If you live in the same town as your siblings, enjoy it. I really wish my sisters lived closer to me here...