Monday, October 27, 2014

A Book by Kailey

Kailey has been writing books at school.  I remember spending endless hours writing books as a child, and I love that she is getting into the writing process.  I also love her phonetic spelling, although, it does take some translating!  Here's her latest creation.

It says "By Kailey.  Mad at sool.  Mad in 2014.  Fro Kis.  The Sekerit Feres." 
Translation: By Kailey.  Made at school.  Made in 2014.  For kids.  The Secret Fairies.

It says: Wous a pon a tim. Dewus three fairys.  Not gist odune fairys.  Da wrol sekit fairys."
Translation:  Once upon a time there were three fairies.  Not just ordinary fairies.  They were secret fairies.

Unfortunately, that is as far as she got in her story -- but, I'm hooked!  I love the spelling of ordinary. 

If she finishes the story, I'll post more!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Alden loves eating.  Loves it.  I feel like I probably should have started him on solids long before he turned 6 months.  He has taken to eating with such gusto, lunging at each bite and banging his little fists between bites, demanding more.  He is hilarious to watch.  So far we've tried bananas (LOVES them), avocados (likes them just fine -- especially if mixed with milk and rice cereal), pears (meh - he wasn't that into them), yogurt (loves it), sweet potatoes (seriously loves these), butternut squash (likes it), broccoli (HATES this... you could tell he felt tricked.  He SCREAMED.  But, later we mixed it with rice cereal and milk and he choked it down... a boy has to eat, after all), oatmeal (the baby kind -- he likes it), rice cereal (likes it). 

Alden will eat a whole banana and a bowl of baby oatmeal for breakfast and still nurse from both sides (about 7 - 8 ounces of milk).  For lunch he'll have half an avocado, yogurt and rice cereal and another 5 - 6 ounces of milk.  He usually nurses in-between breakfast and lunch, too.  I mean, he LOVES eating.

Which may explain why he is in 12 - 18 month clothing already.  He's far from fat.  In fact, he's only about 70th percentile for weight.  But, he is tall.  99th percentile for height.  And, all that food seems to make him just grow and grow. 

Feeding him is so satisfying because he loves it so.  It's adorable to watch.  And, really, not that messy anymore.  He is serious about getting everything into his mouth.  We have let him play with his food a few times, and that made quite a mess.  But, he loved fingerpainting with his avocado and it was fun to watch (less fun to clean up).

I'm hoping that Alden continues to love food as he gets older.  Kai has become quite the picky eater, and it's so irritating.  All she ever wants is noodles, sushi, pizza, shredded bbq chicken, or ham/cheese sandwiches.  She's still pretty good about fruit.  She really doesn't eat many veggies -- except soy beans.  She loves those.  And corn and peas.  And sometimes artichokes (for the butter, of course).  We still make her try everything we're eating -- but, whenever I do something different, it's such a hassle listening to her whine and complain.  I'm hoping she outgrows this phase. 

Actually, I should say, the last few days have been better.  Recently, I went with Kai on her class field trip to the pumpkin patch.  There was a little show that they watched while there that re-enacted the three little pigs and focused on the 5 food groups and how important it is to get something from each of the five every day (dairy, grains, protein, fruit and vegetables).  After that, Kai was complaining one night about food and refusing to eat.  Eric threw his hands up and said, "Kai, if you don't eat you're going to DIE."  He actually freaked her out, and she started taking bites.  And then she started asking questions and I reminded her of the play and how important it is to get all the food groups every day.  We talked about what was on her plate (the casserole had protein, grains and dairy and there was a veggie).  We talked about what she had for lunch and breakfast (grains and fruit).  She started to get into thinking about what she was putting in her body.  This morning, she scrambled her eggs (she scrambles her own eggs -- how awesome is that!) and then had a banana and gorilla munch.  After eating, she said, "I got protein, fruit and grains -- pretty good!" 

So, hopefully we're turning a corner with her and food and she'll start expanding her repertoire.  Now that we are settling in, I'm back to meal planning and we've been eating at home a lot and eating together.  Kai has also been cooking with me, and that helps to keep her engaged and interested in what we are eating.  I think all the chaos with our moves set us back in the eating department because we started taking so many shortcuts with meals (eating out, fridge night, using easy stand-bys like mac and cheese or ramen).  Kai got used to being able to mostly just eat the things she really likes -- but, now I'm focusing in a bit more on nutrition, cooking, and preparing meals as a family.  Feels good to be getting back to the basics -- and feels good to have both kids eating healthy most of the time. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Finding the Fun

About a month ago, we were in Portland and Leo and Soren met Alden for the first time.  Being the baby that he is, Alden squirmed around and was passed from adult to adult.  Leo and Soren didn't have much to do with him.  Later on, Amy texted that she had asked the boys what they thought of Alden and they said, "he's boring like any baby" but that "when he gets older, he'll be fun!"

We shared the twins' assessment of Alden with Kailey.  She didn't really say much at the time, but about a week later, she was playing with Alden while he bounced in his bouncy chair and they were both cracking each other up.  Afterwards, Kai said, "I found the fun in Alden!  Leo and Soren didn't find it... but, it's there!"

What a great way to put it -- she found the fun!

Here they are finding the fun together:

Best Week Ever

Kailey is having a great 1st grade year so far.  A lot of that is because her teacher, Ms. Peters, gives the students so many opportunities to shine every week.  And, recently, Kailey seems to have grabbed all the opportunities in one super stellar week. 

On the first day, Monday, we got a note from Ms. Peters at the end of the day.  It said:

"I wanted to let you know that Kailey had an amazing day today!  Not only was she the mystery student and got o pick from the pink basket, so also moved her pin on our behavior chart above Super Student on to me, earning herself two stars!  I am so proud of her."

The behavior chart is a stroke of genius.  Every day the kids start out in the green zone, "ready to learn".  Then, throughout the day they can move their clothes pin up or down the chart, depending on behavior.  Above the green, there are three levels -- ending in "super student".  If you end the day in the super student zone, you get a star on your pin.  After 5 stars, then the student enters the "hall of fame" and gets to choose a prize out of the mystery basket.  All the students remain in the hall of fame, and then get a new clothes pin to start collecting stars again.  In a single day, if the student is  already on super student and does something else worthy of moving your pin, then he/she gets to pin to the teacher and that earns the student two stars at the end of the day.  That's what happened to Kai on Monday.  The result was, after Monday, Kai had 3 stars on her clothes pin.  Two more to go to be in the Hall of Fame.

Also on Monday, Kai was the mystery student.  The mystery student is selected each day, but no one knows who it is.  If the student is good all day and moves up the chart, then at the end of the day the mystery student is revealed and that student gets to pick a prize.  If the student is not so good, then there is no announcement of the mystery student.  The kids love the element of surprise and it encourages them to each stay on track in the hopes of being the day's mystery student. 

Kai came home that Monday on cloud 9.  Two stars PLUS mystery student.  She was primed for an amazing week.  The next two days, Kai was on her very best behavior and shot up to super student both days.  That meant, on Wednesday she had her 5 stars and entered the hall of fame -- she was the first student in her class to make it to the hall of fame and to get to see what was in the elusive basket of prizes that had been tucked away over Ms. Peters' desk.  Kai choose a couple of fake tattoos (what is the fascination with tattoos?)

But, the week was not over.  That Friday was an all school assembly.  Actually, there were two all school assemblies.  At the beginning of the day, the students came together to hear the speeches of the students running for student council.  I stayed for the speeches -- they were adorable.  Then, at the end of the day, they reassembled to hear the winners and also for the monthly Paws Lottery drawing.  Throughout the day, teachers and administrators can hand out "paws tickets" to kids that they see going above and beyond.  For example, paws tickets are handed out for cleaning up a mess they didn't make or helping another student in need.  The paws tickets all go into a bucket and once a month there is a paws lottery drawing.  They draw six names from the lower grades and six from the upper grades.  That Friday, Kai was one of the lotto winners -- earning her yet ANOTHER prize (this time some lip gloss). 

It was quite a week for her.  At the end of the day Friday, I asked Kai who she voted for President of the school.  I had told her that morning to vote for Hyden because he's our neighbor.  Like the good voter she is, Kai ignored me.  Instead, she listened to the speeches and selected the candidate that appealed to her the most.  Kai told me, "I voted for MIchael because he said he would start a club just  for little kids and that he was going to let us pick our own lunch.  I'd pick cake, cupcakes and nachos."  First lesson in politics, win over your constituents with pandering and food. 

It was an amazing week -- and further evidence that we have found a superb school where Kai is really being given the chance to thrive. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A Few of Her Favorite Things

So, of course, I haven't found time to actually interview Kai on her favorite things.  These days just run together.  I feel like we are never going to be unpacked and settled here.  It's weird living amongst so many boxes and empty rooms.  And, trying to juggle work, unpacking, baby care, regular life activities -- I just never think to ask Kai questions when I'm near my computer (and she's gone a huge chunk of every day at school).  So, I'm going to fill this out based on my own observations of her and - if I ever get around to it - will update it based on her own answers.  Should be fun to compare my own thinking with her answers at some point!

Book: Calvin and Hobbes -- Kailey and Eric read Calvin and Hobbes every night lately.  She references the jokes as we go about our day.  I also LOVED Calvin and Hobbes growing up -- so, it's fun to see her getting such pleasure out of my favorite comic strip.  She's a bit young to get all the humor, but she gets a lot of it.  I think she feels a bit of affinity towards Calvin!

Color: Kai has told me she likes ALL the colors EXCEPT brown, black, grey and white.  Basically, she likes color. That said, she still really gravitates towards pink and purple.  She loves anything pink or purple.  Elsa and the movie Frozen have her also loving the blues lately -- especially icy blues. 

Real Animal: Kailey LOVES animals. She stops to pet every dog we pass.  While we were in Denver the other day, a dog lunged at her and growled (she approached him from behind and tried to pet him, I think he was caught off guard and freaked).  It really scared Kailey -- but, it hasn't deterred her from going up to every dog we see to pet them.  She loves cats too.  She has started asking for a puppy or a kitten -- and, now that we're in this new house and settling down a bit, I would imagine we will accommodate that request sometime in the near(ish) future. 

 Stuffed Animal: Kai has never really gotten attached to any of her stuffed animals.  She plays with them sometimes and likes them all well enough.  But, she isn't that into any particular stuffed animal.

Subject at School: This category for Alden was "hold" -- but, that doesn't really apply when the person is six and a half!  So, let's talk about what Kai is liking at school.  She LOVES math bags.  She has requested that I volunteer during math bags.  She also loves science, cooking club, and jazzerettes.  This morning while driving to school, Kai declared, "I LOVE Courtyard!"  Basically, she seems to be really into school this year.  Woo hoo!

Song: Let It Go.  Here, Alden and Kai are in complete agreement.  We still have Frozen on constant loop in the car.  I am so sick of Frozen.

Outfit: Dresses.  Long, frilly, flowy dresses.  Kai almost never wears pants -- doesn't matter the activity.  She can run, climb, ride, play and wrestle in any dress.  She adores her dresses and most have about 30 of them.  It's insane.

 Activities: Make-believe.  Kai is still really into make-believe.  Most anything sets off her imagination.  She likes to play chef while she is cooking.  Waiter while she sets the table.  She is constantly talking while she goes about her day, making up stories in her head.  Kailey is also really enjoying cooking lately.  She scrambles her own eggs every morning.  She knows how to make coffee for me and Eric.  She loves making pancakes with Eric on the weekend.  Kai really enjoys being outdoors -- she likes riding her bike, running around the yard, monitoring the plants that she and Eric have ben growing (basil, flowers, wheat, and an apple tree).  Kai continues to be a very active kid and likes to be on the go all the time!

Toys: As with stuffed animals, Kai has never had a favorite toy.  Her favorite type of toy is crafts -- she loves to make things.  Her craft desk, which is stuffed to the gills with paper, glue, glitter, yarn, rubber bands, pipe cleaners, clay, and any other variety of crafty thing, is probably her favorite "toy".  She spends a ton of time at her desk creating all sorts of things.  If I tell her she cannot have something (like a new purse), she'll say, "that's OK -- I can just MAKE it" and then she'll run out of her desk and create a purse using paper and staples.  She draws all the time and her drawings have gotten really good.  She makes tons of rubber band bracelets and right now is really into braiding.  The girls loves to create.

This is so fun to do -- writing in categories like this really makes me think about the kids and consider what they are up to these days.  It also helps me to recall stories about them.  I will definitely try to do "favorite things" posts at least once a year!