Monday, August 30, 2010

Curriculum Night

Last week Autumns school did Curriculum Night- A Day In The Life Of Your Student. I was really excited to go because it's hard to get answers out of Autumn when I ask her what she did at school, so I really looked forward to seeing exactly what her day consisted of. Luckily my mom was in town that week and she is great at taking photos, so she took pics of Autumn in her classroom while I paid attention to what her teacher was saying. Students didn't have to go, in fact most parents didn't bring them but I wanted to see Autumn in her classroom and see what she likes and does. For security purposes, on school days, parents drop off and pick up the kids under a ramada outside so I haven't seen her in her classroom since Meet The Teacher night. It keeps parents and random adults from entering the school, for which I am grateful.

I am glad my mom got to see Autumn in her school environment too. She showed us where she sat on the Circle Mat and we saw where her assigned table was. Their day at Preschool is so structured and sounds so fun. While it's highly educational for Autumn, the way in which her teacher presents the material is a lot of fun and these students don't realize how much they're learning. I was glad to hear about all the individualized attention the students get. The teacher has two aids which helps gives the students a lot of attention. I also thought about how the kids might get bored with their classroom and the toys after awhile but every 6 weeks they change out the stations and toys keeping the classroom fun and helping the kids to continually learn new things.

This teacher has fought for this program and makes sure it is treated just as fairly as the rest of the school. I think any parent with a kid in public school has worried about funding and the quality of education since we know education has taken a huge cut. (Plus our small town has 2 charter schools, resulting in fewer kids attending public schools which severly hurts the public schools funding.) The parents school supplies list was probably as long as the Kindergardeners and 1st graders, but the teacher has tons of resources, since she has been doing this for 4 years here and 2 years previously in NY, and there are 2 other schools with the same program out here so if she doesn't have access to something the schools trade materials. They participate in Field Day like the rest of the grades, they take Field Trips, and do Meet The Teacher and Curriculum Night like the rest of the school. This teacher is perfect for this program.

Here is Autumn in her classroom-

Showing off their hats:
She has a play kitchen at home but this was clearly one of her favorite stations in the class:
Playing with a doll house:
Here is Autumns Teacher:
On the way out of the school we stopped to take a quick pic:
I can already see how much she has learned in just the few short weeks she has attended preschool. Everyday when I pick her up her teacher tells me how great she did that day. Which during the teachers presentation she noted that if she tells parents their kid had a rough day it's usually because they had problems trasitioning from one activity to another. Like when they have to clean up stations to do crafts or something. So I am glad Autumn has had nothing but great days at school because it means she is listening and doing the things she asked.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pregnancy Post

A few people have asked for a pregnancy update/post- so here it is.

I am 22 weeks pregnant. My due date is Dec. 23rd, and the gender for the baby hasn't been confirmed yet, but at my last ultrasound when I was 20 weeks the dr. guessed a girl because he couldn't see anything, but the baby really wasn't cooperating all that well and the dr. was having a hard time getting a good visual.

We found out I was pregnant a few days after our trip to Texas back in April. We waited to tell anyone until I was 12 weeks- we waited until my first dr. appt which my dr. waits till 10 weeks, but I scheduled the appt for when I was 11 weeks only to go in and find out that I was 12 weeks along. My parents and Drew's parents knew when I was 6 weeks, but everyone was gracious to keep it a secret until our first appt.

When we got to the dr. office and weighed in I was excited to see that I was down 9 lbs. What a great way to start the first appt. I had used websites online to estimate the due date and we were figured Dec. 27th, until the dr. corrected us that it was Dec. 31st. We weren't exactly thrilled with any due date at or around a holiday (this pregnancy wasn't planned, and was a huge surprise) but figured Dec. 31st wouldn't be so bad. Weston was born 2 days late so maybe this baby would have the same results putting it farther from Christmas. During the ultrasound my dr did all the measurements and he concluded that I was actually one week further along than we thought and moved my due date up to Dec. 23rd. I actually teared up for a min. Remembering how chaotic Christmas was for us last year when we moved into our house 3 days before Christmas, and how I just felt overwhelmed and like I threw Christmas together in a couple of days. Now- with a baby due 2 days before Christmas I worried that my kids might not get as great a Christmas as I would like again. (My thoughts and ideas on this have changed- but I am telling you my first initial reaction.)

My first 2 pregnancies were exciting and somewhat planned, both times it was like- "If it happens it happens. And we got pregant right away." Plus both pregnancies were fantastic and I felt great. This time around we had decided to wait, and wanted to start trying around Weston's 2nd birthday, and well to our surprise this baby is coming a couple of weeks before his 2nd birthday. Even when we started telling family and friends I would cry when making our announcement because even with an ultrasound and seeing the reality of what was going on it hadn't sunk in and still wasn't what I wanted.

Don't judge me for having those thoughts. I was feeling hundreds of emotions, excited about the thought of having another member join our family but feeling inadequate of being able to deal with 3 very young kids. Not having this in my plans, and seeing my husband try to be excited and make me feel better. Then came the not feeling well and not eating much for 4 weeks (resulting in the 9 lbs. lost at the first appt.). It wasn't until I was 19 weeks and my sister in law had a baby shower and watching her pull out all of these infant/baby clothes that I started to get excited. Plus at my last appt. to see I am now down a total of 12 lbs. since getting pregnant I have come to terms with everything. We are planning for a baby girl but I am not pulling out all of Autumns old clothes/stuff and shopping for new girl things until Sept. 3rd when the ultrasound can confirm whether it's a girl or a boy. We have had an inkling that it's been a girl for awhile now (but I thought Weston was a girl so I can't go off my gut feeling). We have a name picked out for either gender and are starting to get excited and make plans for our new arrival. Drew can feel the baby kick, my appetite is back (for the most part) and I am starting to feel like myself again. Even though it's Aug. we have already made plans for one last family trip in Nov. as a family of 4, and our Christmas plans have been made.

I am very excited now and can't wait to hold a teeny tiny baby in my arms. I always thought the toddler years were my favorite, but until I had one (and now have 2)  I have come to realize the newborn stage (as exhausting, sleep deprived, and hard as they are) is my favorite favorite stage. Weston was the perfect newborn and so I have high hopes that this baby will be just as easy and fun.

My newborn Autumn:
My newborn Weston:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Celebrating Autumn's 1st Week!

Autumn had a wonderful first week of school. She really enjoys going and wants to go everyday, which I wish she could. I enjoy seeing the crafts she does, doing her homework with her (which is stuff I remember doing in Kindergarten...I will post about that later), reading the newsletters, and hearing everyday how she "played w/friends." Preschool has really been good for her and a big blessing for us all.
This picture is for my mom- I have had a hard time finding Autumn shoes to that go really well with her uniform and meet all the regulations for what type of shoe/sandals they are allowed to wear. So I bought these, and when I got home I started thinking they looked more like boy shoes. But when she wears skirts or shorts these shoes really do look best. Best part is, Weston can wear them too when she outgrows them, which will be soon- she has the chubbiest feet and these shoes are for narrow feet. Notice how far the laces are spread? I could barely tie them.
To celebrate on Sun. night finishing her first week we did a special dessert- BEIGNETS! A friend of mine was going to New Orleans for work and I asked her to pick me up a box of mix from Cafe Du Monde. This was a year ago and we just got around to making them. We picked a great time to wait! Plus we have enough mix left over to make them again when my parents come.

First- I made the dough- rolled it out- cut them out.
Fried them up in a pan!
After frying them up- drain them on a paper towel.
I like mine w/just powdered sugar.
Drew likes the way Tiana does it on Princess and the Frog w/honey and powdered sugar. (He has never been to N.O. so he only knows what he sees- but I had never had them that way.) Which I tried- and really enjoyed too!
The only picture I got of anyone eating any was Weston. He and Autumn got his plain and dipped it in honey. We were too busy eating and enjoying them to stop and take pictures. They are best warm!
It really made me want some chocolate milk in a small glass, and made me miss always getting together w/family members when we would visit N.O. Three of the biggest things I remember always doing when we went was getting snowcones, po-boys, and eating beignets. Yum! This treat was a big hit- I made 20 and they all got eaten that night. No judging!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Autumn's Big Day!

Yesterday was Autumn's first day of school. I will admit it was harder on me than it was for her. I have been so ready and anxious to get her out of the house and the day comes and I cry off and on the whole time she is gone. It was a whole flood of emotions that overcame me. Realizing how much trust I am having to put into her and her teachers now (because any of you who know Autumn and me-know that I have to hover over her when I take her out...she is fast, not the most obedient, and very busy- she is very easy to lose track of if you take your eyes off her) was just one big thing that kept coming to my mind. Also that she is growing up, she is only 3 but she is attending preschool which means she is gone from home 3 days a week and is now making friends and learning new things that I haven't taught her. I missed her and thought about her a ton. Wondering what she was doing and if she was cooperating.

She was really excited to go to school on that first day. After meeting her teacher and exploring her classroom on Fri. night I think she finally understood what I was talking about all summer when I told her about school. Her classroom is very fun and it was so hard to drag her (and Weston) away from it on Meet The Teacher Night.

Here she is at home right before we left for her first day:
Yesterday on our way to the school she kept saying, "Going to play w/ friends." Which made me excited that she was excited to go and play and learn. She seemed really tired after I picked her up yesterday (she goes from 12-230, right when her nap is) so I couldn't tell if she had fun or not, but today when she put her bookbag on a few minutes after being up I figured she was excited to go back. Today as I dropped her off we walked up with another mom and her 4 year old and the little girl and Autumn started talking, and Autumn turned to me and said, "My friend." This girl isn't in her class but it was nice to see her getting comfortable enough to interact with someone else.

I am so proud of Autumn, and that she didn't miss me or cry when I left her yesterday or today (how could a kid cry when the drop off spot is next to the playground? They are totally distracted!). She is always standing next to an adult, I can tell she isn't completely comfortable in wandering off or pushing her boundaries yet. Which is comforting, although when all the kids are on the playground and she is the only one still standing by the school with a teacher I wish she would just run and go play, but I know she is waiting for a nudge from the teacher to make it okay to go play.

Like in this picture, we had just gotten to school, signed in and put on their name tags and she finds an adult to stand next to: (and today when I dropped her off, as I drove past her she was standing at the tables next to an adult while all the kids ran around and played around them.)

She did a great job on her craft at school and did her homework last night. (Homework is optional but encouraged...Autumn doesn't go to a traditional preschool, it's a state funded preschool for kids with delays in all sorts of areas. Autumn is specifically getting Cognitive Therapy and Adaptive Behavior Therapy. There are kids of all races, and all disabilities- behavioral, speech, developmentally, and physically. So the homework is to help the kids remember what they learn at school and have the parents take a more active role at home to reiterate what they are learning about that week in school.) And Autumn loves to learn so I shouldn't have been surprised that she wanted to do more schooly things after dinner so we pulled out her "homework."

Here she is doing it:
She had to make a collage of things she likes, and things that represent her, she put stickers of the Disney Princesses, cats, dogs, fish, dinosaurs, and then she and I cut out stuff from a magazine and she glued it on, a ball, the words princess, play, and preschool; Toy Story, Mac and Cheese, Mickey, sandwich, hot dogs, and McDonald's arches.

I really see Autumn shining in a classroom setting, for me she may not be the most cooperative, but for others they just rant and rave over how good she is and how she listens...obviously most kids are better for other people but for Autumn it's like a totally different person exists when the parents aren't around, a better person. So I can see her really excelling and learning a lot at school.

So happy for school yesterday:

After we picked up Autumn from school we went to celebrate and got ice cream cones, it was a good day.
 I am so proud of her and can't wait to see (and hear about) all the things she learns.