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The last two weeks were the most stressful of my entire life.  I said they were the worst weeks of my life while they were happening, and I don't think that is a fair statement, but it was definitely the most stressful two weeks of my life thus far.  School was utter insanity.  If I told you what I had to do it would sound like no big deal... but to actually do it was crazy.  On top of that, Madelyn was really sick.  I ended up taking her to the doctor on Wednesday (she'd been sick since like Sunday).  She had fluid on one side of her lungs, which bothered the doctor.  So, she is on steroids and antibiotics.  Today is the last day we have to force that crap down her throat.  She doesn't mind the steroids, but she hates the antibiotics. 

Yesterday we went to Pancake Day, which Madelyn looks forward to every year.  Then, we went to Literacy in the Park in Bowling Green.  Brod Bagert was there.  The kids got a free book and we got them autographed.  They got to meet Freddie and Frieda Falcon.  We got free lunch and activities for the kids.  It was fun.  It would have been better if Madelyn wasn't such a grouch.  She was seriously cranky and throwing a fit about everything, which is not typical for her.  She didn't want to participate much.  The only thing she REALLY seemed to enjoy was the free cookie and drawing a picture for Dr. R.  She was even mad that Dr. R. kept her picture to publish it on a website for her.  She was a grumpy grump!

Carter had fun though.  He and I wanted in line for Brod's signature.  He knew that someone was signing the book, so he would hand it to anyone who looked important (volunteers).  Then he would remind people, "You have ta wait your turn."  It was cute.  He really liked Freddie and Frieda and this random giant elephant that was roaming around.  I don't get the elephant, but whatever.  He also enjoyed the puppet area and he also REALLY wanted a stuffed Falcon from the bookstore's booth.  It was like $20 and we need another stuffed animal like I need a hole in my head, so we passed on that.

Carter has a good sense of humor and he makes me laugh all the time.  I was cracking up at him and his cuteness all day yesterday.  Of course now I can't remember what he said or did that was making me laugh.

Madelyn is funny too, in a sassy 4 going on 14 sort of way.  Yesterday I told her I had a problem.  She asked what the problem was.  I said, "Well, I really want to wear my big comfy jammies, but the problem is that daddy hates them."  She said, "Just do it."  I said, "Yeah, I should do what makes me happy, shouldn't I?"  She said, "Yeah... just annoy him."

Madelyn played this fishing game at the lit in the park thing.  She had to catch three fish to make a sentence.  She was able to read the three words, even though one of the words was swimming.  (I covered "ming" and asked her what the word was and then uncovered it and asked her to read the whole word.)  She can also tell time on the hour and half hour now.  Sometimes she gets confused on the little hand versus the big hand, but she usually does well.  Clocks with second hands also confuse her a bit.

Alright, well I think that is about all I have to say at the moment.  I had so much caffeine last week that I think my body is trying to adjust and I have a vicious headache today, even though I've had two cups of coffee.  I'm trying to wean myself off of caffeine a little bit.  I'm having WAY to much of it lately.

Next week I'm in the kindergarten class, then a week off for spring break, then three more weeks (I'll be teaching four units during those three weeks), then the semester is over.  Conveniently, Josh's job is also over after those three weeks too...

It's been a while.

I don't even remember what I have posted about on here since it has been so long.  I post on my other blog sometimes, but only a few people can read it... but as I've said many times before, most of what I post here is for myself to remember anyway.

The kids are great.  I mean, they really are great kids!  They get along really well.  Carter is clearly learning so much from Madelyn.  He plays along with her little games and she plays along with his.  They sort of remind me of Derek and I as kids.  I can remember basically acting out a whole story with Little People and Derek just sitting there listening and playing along as I told him.  Carter does the same thing with Madelyn.  He does contribute though.  He is so cute to listen to.  The only time they really fight is when Carter takes a toy that belongs to Madelyn. There are certain toys she just does not like to share.  Carter is pretty easy going and will share anything with Madelyn (for the most part), but there is the occasional tantrum when Carter takes one of Madelyn's favorite toys.

I saw Carter pretend to read for the first time last week.  It seriously melted my heart.  Any time Carter shows an interest in books I get very excited.   Madelyn has loved books since she was itty bitty.  Carter, not so much.  I remember feeling so sad for Madelyn when it would be time for her beloved bedtime stories after Carter was born.  I never made it through the book.  She never complained.  Sure, she was barely two, but she was pretty mature for her age... and even though she never threw a fit, I still felt bad.

Anyway, I remember how happy I was the first time Carter sat through an entire book on my lap.  He used to love Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?  My kids are big Dr. Seuss fans.  The book Carter picked up to "read" was Green Eggs and Ham.  I actually haven't read that one much.  I like it, but I think it is long and it is obviously redundant, so it bores me quickly.  I was reading the books Madelyn brought home from school with her and Carter picked up that book and was flipping through the pages super quickly saying, "Sam-I-Am, Sam-I-Am, Do not like it Sam-I-Am!  Not in a house.  Not in a box..."  I ran to get my video camera because it was SO cute, but I was too slow.

I also love when he grabs my cheeks to talk to me.  He makes his voice quiet and low and says things like... "Mommy... I wuv you... k?"  Yesterday he was making me laugh all day... of course I can't remember what he was saying now.  One thing was, "Mommy, what are you doing?"  I replied, "homework."  He said, "I don't like homework."  :)  I don't either... but I don't tell him that!   He asks a lot of questions like his sister and his sentences are getting longer and he has to be very precises with each word.  A lot of times he'll just take role call or just point out things in the room.  "This is my Buzz Lightyear.  This is Madelyn's book bag.  That is a banana."  He makes the cutest little faces and he is just adorable.  I must tell him he is cute a lot because yesterday Madelyn asked me who was cuter, her or Carter.  Of course I think they are both absolutely perfect. :)

Madelyn is reading like crazy.  I mean... words I don't even know if she's ever seen before, she can read.  It's pretty amazing.  Yesterday I printed off the 220 Dolch sight words.  I made a game out of seeing if she knew them throughout the course of the day.   She loved it!  She missed a  few words that I know she would get if she read them in context, like "said."  She read it as "sad."  Anyway, she knew 151 of them.  I didn't count it if she didn't read it pretty much automatically... and I know she knows more if she read them in a book.  These are words from pre-primer up to third grade sight words.

She brought home five new books from school last week.  I think I had to help her with three words.  One word was "newspapers," and apparently she didn't even know what a newspaper was.  We don't get any newspapers, but I feel bad that my 4 year old has not been exposed to them.  I also had to help her with the word don't.  I don't think she's learned much about contractions yet, and she read it as "do not," which would not actually be counted against her for a meaning change if she was being assessed on her reading.  I can't remember what other word i helped her with.  Oh I think it was "pond."  She read it as "pool."

The one book stressed her out at first.  It had two sentences per page.  She said she couldn't do it or that she was done.  This is what she does if she thinks it is too hard.  I told her I knew she could read it and that if she just touched the words she would do it no problem... and she did.  Yesterday I asked her to read them again.  I looked at the back of that book and it says it is for grade 1.  I told her it was no wonder it made her nervous... she's a preschool reading first grader books!

Yesterday we were talking about what she wanted to be when she grows up.  Her answer is always the same.  She wants to be a mommy.  I asked her who she was going to marry.  She was like, "What?!  I'm not getting married!"  I said, "Well you should be married if you want to be a mommy!"  She said,  "Umm... I'll marry daddy."  I told her that he was already taken.  She said, "Ok, I'll marry Carter."  I told her that was against the law.  She said, "What does that mean?  Against the law?"  I told her that the police wouldn't let her do that... she had to pick someone else.  She said, "Ok... I'll marry Jacob."  :)

One of her best friends at school just got a new baby brother, so she is back on the "girl baby" kick.  I told her yesterday that she was my very favorite daughter.  She gave me a huge hug and kiss and said, "...but I still want a girl baby!"  :)

I love them to pieces. :)
First of all, what was with the ad before I could post? 

Anyway... how is everyone?  Things are pretty good here.  I really think I'm mostly posting this for myself at this point.

What has happened since I last posted?  Well Josh is losing his job.  They are closing his warehouse.  I'm not too upset about it anymore.  I have a feeling things will work out of the best.  In fact, we've already had a bit of good financial news in relation to our second mortgage.  Our rate was lowered, which lowered our monthly payment significantly, and it also lowered our principle balance.

This semester has been kind of crazy, but since last week I've just had a very laid back attitude about it.  I don't really care about my grades at this point.  Just get me through this and on with the rest of my life.

The kids are doing pretty good.  Since I've been back at school, Madelyn has had an attitude.  She has thrown tantrums and even gave us the silent treatment the other day because we didn't give her what she wanted.  If she doesn't get what she wants she throws a fit.  It's getting kind of old.  She also makes these little faces when she is throwing her fit.  She scrunches her face all up and just makes this mean face.

In better news, she is doing great academically.  We are trying to decide if we want to have her tested for early admission to kindergarten.  I'm still leaning toward "no," but I sort of want to do the testing and decide from there... but I feel like that is kind of pointless if I don't actually want to send her early.  I'm very wishy-washy!  She brought home 5 books from school yesterday.  Two of them we had read before her teacher went on maternity leave in November, so of couse she read those easily.  She got a book called Circus, which she initially read as "Circle."  The other two books she read easily as well though.  She was like, "Mommy, these books are too easy.  Why did my teacher give me books that were too easy?"  Then she would say, "Why doesn't it say..." and she would tell me how they could have improved on their sentence structure.  They are the very easy pre-primer books, so I had to explain to her that they were made for kids just learning to read, so they couldn't make them as complicated as some of the other books that we read together.  

When trying to decide if we should test her for early admission or not, I was looking at the checklist they have you fill out.  I asked her to do several of the things on the list that I didn't know if she could do.  She was able to do most of the things.  They were things like telling which of two numbers was bigger and things like that.  She can't do everything on the list (some of the things were pretty hard and/or very random - tie shoes, repeat back 6 random digits?) but almost everything.

Carter is just getting over being sick.  All he wanted to do while he was sick was snuggle with me.  I loved it, actually.  I feel bad that I enjoyed him being sick, but it was nice to just snuggle.  He was feeling much better yesterday.  I could tell because he was pretty crazy!

He is getting much more interested in books.  He loves Dora.  He LOVES Buzz Lightyear.  He still likes Cars, but Toy Story is his favorite.  He and Madelyn have been playing together really well.  He is starting to tell stories with his little people and cars like Madelyn does.  The other day he told me that Thomas the train was coming.  I asked him what he was going to do and he said, "Bite you!" 

He's just silly and growing up so fast.  They both are.

Well it's a snow day today for Madelyn and my first class was canceled.  I think I'm going to go make pancakes for breakfast! :)
Wow!  Have I really not posted in nearly two months?  That's kind of sad! 

At the moment, Carter is flying a helicopter beside me on the couch.  Madelyn is laying on the floor watching Sid the Science Kid.  The past week has been a little rough with her especially.  We got the kids a new bed last weekend.  It has been more than a week since she's been asleep before 10!  It is a combination of things, really.  I thought it would resolve itself when she was back to school, but so far it hasn't.  Therefore she has been very defiant and difficult (I mean... for her anyway).  She's also been moving VERY slowly whenever I'm trying to get her ready or do something time sensitive.

I've tried sending Carter up to bed first, as their new bed is a bunk bed and they keep each other up.  I've tried to let her fall asleep in my bed.  I thought maybe she wasn't tired enough, although her little purply-red eyelids beg to differ.  Yesterday Josh played out in the snow with them for a good hour and she still fought sleep until after 10.  I thought they were asleep and went up to check on them and saw her and Carter snuggling in the playroom, watching Nick Jr.  We gate that room at night so they can't do exactly what they did, but they knocked the gate down.

Its enough to almost make me ready to go back to school next week, not that I have much of a choice in the matter.  The kids do seem to behave differently when I've been at their beckon call 24/7.  For the first couple weeks, Carter was SO clingy to me.  We went over to Teresa's house one day and he said, "Mommy go too?"  I know he was afraid we were going to drop them off and leave.  We went to my dad's and he wouldn't go to my dad or Edie, which was very unlike him.  It's definitely good for the kids for me to be out of the house some... of course for the next year I'm going to be out of the house a LOT.

Anyway, we had great holidays, and I hope everyone else did as well.  The kids got way too much stuff!  That is what inspired us to get the bunk bed and put them back in the same room, therefore making room for a playroom.  We kept the extra queen bed so that aunts and uncles can stay here when they visit, if they want to.  Of course they have to sleep among the toys, but that is to be expected in a house with kids.  In the process of creating a toy room I organized the toys pretty well, which made a huge difference.  Also, just distributing the toys throughout the house has made a huge difference.  They don't have many toys in their bedroom.  Madelyn has some dolls in there and then they have their books, and that's it.

It's just more of the same in other areas of the kid's lives.  Madelyn's drawings are getting better and more detailed.  She is drawing houses and buildings and sunshines and rainbows.  Her people have fingers now (not the right amount of fingers, but fingers!) and some times rollerskates and knee/elbow pads.  She is able to write her letters smaller (for the most part).  She is learning to sound out words to write them.  Yesterday we were doing words with the -all family.  She is very hesitant to try to spell things herself though.  I'm trying to encourage that because she always wants us to tell her how to spell things.  Last semester I talked to one of my teachers about how I can encourage it, because inventive spelling is such a great thing for kids to be able to do.  She said some kids just do not like it because they know it isn't right.  While Madelyn doesn't actually know what a vowel is, she seems to know that they go between other letters in words.  Yesterday, "ball" was the first -all word she wrote.  She first wrote "bll," which is a stage of inventive spelling.  Young kids often only hear the beginning and ending sound of words.  She asked if it was right and I said it was really close but it was missing one letter.  She said, "Is it an a?"  I told her it was and asked her where she thought it went.  She said, "In the middle before the L!"

We got a Biscuit book for Christmas.  It has probably 10 Biscuit books in it.  She read the first book almost all by herself the first time we opened it.  After I've read some of the others once or twice she can basically read them herself too.  So she is doing great.  She's just amazing.  I have no idea how she is able to read some things as well as she can.  Oh and she loves the snow, by the way.  Last year she still wasn't much of a fan.  Carter, of course, loves the snow because Madelyn does.  He tries to be exactly like her.  Some days Madelyn tries to be like him too, which is kind of annoying.  She'll say things like he does and this drives me a little nutso.

In the past couple of months Carter's vocabulary has really grown a lot.  I understand almost everything he says, and he almost always talks in complete sentences.  Occasionally I'll not understand what he says correctly, but Madelyn (or Josh) almost always knows, even if I don't.  A week or so ago, I poured him a bowl of cereal and it made a mound that was higher in the middle. He said, "It looks like a pile!" At first I thought he said it looked like a pillow but Josh knew what he said. I said, "Wow! It does look like a pile." He makes his toys talk to each other and plays pretend and follows semi-complex directions.  He's not a baby anymore.  He cannot WAIT to go to preschool.  Ever time he comes with me to take Madelyn he tries to stay.  One of Madelyn's teachers just loves him too.  She asked me yesterday if he is going to come to the school when he's old enough.  I told her he most likely will, but that he has another year before he's old enough.  So, when Madelyn has moved on to kindergarten, Carter will be ready to start preschool.  Aren't they lucky?  They have the potential to get 4 years with our family. :)  The teacher said that it was nice it worked out that way for my sanity.  I told her it was probably better for their sanity than my own. Some days the kids get along really well.  Other days, not so much.

Carter is definitely understanding more colors and recognizing more letters.  If you ask him to identify a letter, everything is D. But... I know he has a general idea because he'll tell me a keyword that we've told him starts with that letter. For example, if he sees and M he'll say, "D for Mommy!" If he sees a B he'll say, "D for Ball." "D for Daddy." "D for Carter," and so on. He also is identifying more colors. Red was a new one for him yesterday. So now he gets red, blue, and green more often than not.  With colors and letters though, if you ask him "which one is ___" he can usually get it right.  It's just when you ask him to actually tell you the answer that he may or may not give the correct answer.

Ok well I think this is long enough.  Back to school for me on Monday for what will be the longest, hardest semester of my college career (well, at least my undergrad career!).


We don't have too much going on around here at the moment that is out of the ordinary. Oh! Well Teresa did get married this past weekend, so that is exciting! It went well and Teresa looked very pretty. Becca and Eric came up for the wedding and we got to spend some time with them, so that was nice. Unfortunately we stayed up WAY too late on Saturday night and I got up way too early. It made for a rough start to the week.

My group at the preschool on campus had to teach on Monday also. It went pretty well and I was so busy that I didn't realize how tired I was from the weekend. I actually heard the head teacher complimenting me to the other head teacher, but I didn't stick around to hear the whole conversation. The day did get mildly crazy, just because the kids clearly knew that their normal teacher was not around. This one little boy is ADORABLE, but he is definitely going to be the class clown. He was just being obnoxious during the story I read, just to see what I would do about it. He was saying stuff like, "boo," or just making a random comment about almost every page. I just ignored him and he eventually stopped.

I thought I was going to take some pictures of a newborn on Thursday, but they want to wait until she is a little more awake and alert. I'm a little bummed because I was looking forward to doing some of the cute, sleepy, crunched up newborn pics, because I've never done them before. She'll be 3 weeks old when we do the pictures, and I think that is sort of a hard age because they can't do a lot yet. Oh well. I'm excited to snuggle her anyway. Hopefully my cold will be completely gone by then.

We're also excited to see Molly next week! More on that later.

The kids are doing well. Carter has been a little grouchy and whiny lately. On Saturday he was sucking on his fingers a lot, which he has been doing off and on lately. I have no idea what that is about. He's had all of his teeth for months and I don't think they get any more until they are like 5, so it can't be that. I hope he is good next week! I don't even have a guess as to why he has been a bit naughty. On a better note, he seems to be figuring out colors even more. He really seems to know green and blue and some of the other colors he'll get right periodically. He just doesn't have the attention span for me and my teacher-ways like his sister did at that age. He just wants to go, go, go... which is ok too. He'll figure it all out at his own pace.

I was laughing the other day at how different the kids are. Madelyn figured out so many things without specifically teaching them to her, like recognizing letters, numbers, and words. I've never really had to teach her how to sound out words or strategies to figure out new words. I've never had to say, "look at the rest of the words in the sentence to see if you can figure it out," but I've noticed that she does that anyway. I guess yesterday I did kind of help her do that when we read a book for the first time. The title of the book is "I Love My New Toy." She read "I Love My" and got stuck on "New." I asked her to read "Toy" and she did, then I said, "Now try the whole thing again," and she got it. This is typically something I see her do on her own though. I see her eyes scan the page to read what is coming so she can look for clues to the word she's stuck on. Sometimes I will need to separating the sounds of a word, and she is able to put those sounds together and figure it out. She is even using the right tones of voice if she can tell that she is reading a question or something that should be said with enthusiasm.

What I have had to teach her is things like opening doors, unlocking things, opening the fridge, turning on the water, turning on lights. These are all things that she never cared enough about to teach herself. I mean, she was probably close to 2 before she learned to open the door at the bottom of the stairs, which is the easiest door to open because of the style of handle it has. Even things like walking or pedaling a bike, we really had to work with her on. Carter, on the other hand, has been right on top of all of these things. Maybe it is because he is a boy, or because he is the second child, or just because he is the kind of kid that figures the physical stuff out himself, but that kid has been opening doors since he was MAYBE 1. He locks and unlocks the doors leading outside (thankfully he doesn't try to go out without our help), he can turn faucets, he pushes the step stool around so he can reach what he wants, which are all things Madelyn always just waited patiently for help with. Even now, when we go places, Madelyn wants to ride in the wagon or stroller or shopping cart, while Carter begs, "I wanna walk!" Maybe he'll also be the kind that figures out all of that book knowledge himself too, but it is too soon to tell. It is just so interesting to me how different they can be as they both strive for their own kind of independence.

A little about my little guy.

I had a few things to say about Carter today.  He's growing up so darn fast!  He has started playing with his cars in a similar way to Madelyn.  He personifies them and they have little conversations with one another.  You can't really understand what he is saying because he mumbles, but you can tell that his play has changed.  It is becoming more meaningful than just doing something. 

His favorite question is "why."  Everything is "Why mommy?"  He also likes to ask where people went.  It's like a game.  "Where'd daddy go?  Where'd mommy go."  He'll ask even if you're standing right then, then he thinks it's hilarious when you pretend to look for that person (including looking for yourself).

He is understanding more and more.  The other morning he woke up and I said, "Hey buddy!  How's your cold?"  He shook his head and said, "I not sick."  I've caught him a few times correcting himself when he uses the wrong words or word orders.  He often says things like, "Madelyn blanket me."  That can be translated to, "Madelyn has my blanket."  So he is starting to correct himself when he says things like that.

He's very clingy to me lately.  I think my being gone so much with school is taking a bit of a toll on him.  I'm trying to make our time together more meaningful so that when I have things I need to get done, he is ok with giving me a little space.  Yesterday we painted pictures for (soon-to-be) Grandpa Dave.  We painted our hands and made handprints.  Both kids really loved that.  Carter did great.  I was afraid he was going to just start smearing it around, but after watching Madelyn, he knew what to do.  He did really well painting a picture too.  We've come a long way from the little guy who'd try to taste test the paint.

He is beginning to understand his colors and letters.  He seems to know the colors green and blue.  I'd say he knows blue the most.  He also seems to recognize the letters B, C, and D.  It's hit or miss though... but he gets them right often enough to know it isn't coincidence.

Today in the tub I asked him if he was going to get out.  He said, "No, I play boat."  I said, "Oh you are going to play with the boat?  What color is the boat?"  He said, "Boo!"  "Oh, it's a blue boat?  Where is the green boat?"  Carter pointed and said, "Right there.  Behind me."  And it was. :)

He heard a doorbell and got excited.  "Someone's here!"  I said, "That was on Blue's Clues."  He looked disappointed when he said, "Oh."

Madelyn is funny translating things he says.  She'll ask me why he says things sometimes.  I just like that she can understand him nearly as well as I can.  Last night she slept in his room and I spent some time just listening to them on the monitor.  I couldn't understand Carter quite as well without being able to see the context of what he was saying, but they are just cute to listen to.  Madelyn was saying, "That doesn't look very comfortable, Carter.  Ok now close your eyes and go to sleep."

Madelyn is still really into writing.  She wanted to write Becca's first and last name a couple of days ago.  She didn't know how to make a B when she started and now she is a pro.  There are just a handful of letters left for her to learn to write... well, if you consider her ability to make either the capital or lowercase letter.  

She has some really great ideas for a 3 year old and she is really good at finding reasonable explanations for the things she wants.  Yesterday she was in the tub and she said she wanted to watch Signing Time.  I said, "You can't watch Signing Time when you're in the bathtub."  She said, "I wish they made waterproof TVs."  I thought that was a pretty cool idea for a little girl.  I don't have other examples at the top of my head, but even her teacher has mentioned how hard it is to tell her no sometimes because she has such reasonable arguments. 

Ok I need to end this here.  Much to do!

Oct. 24th, 2009

Madelyn and I just did some of my homework.  She had to dictate a story to me.  After we finished, she wanted to write her own story.  She titled it "tltma."  She said, "There!  Did I spell it right?"  I said, "Well what does it say?"  She said, "The Little Mermaid!"  You might be thinking, "wow, that kid's not too bright!"  Actually, that is awesome for a 3 year old.  It is called inventive spelling and it is the first step in learning how to sound out words to write.  In the beginning they just hear the very distinct sounds, particularly the beginning and ending sounds.  Then they start applying what they know about phonics and the English language to their spelling.  I think it is pretty awesome and fun to see how they think.

I took her to school with me again yesterday.  She sat there really quietly and did great.  She was getting hungry toward the end of class (we were going to get some lunch after) but that was in the last 3 or 4 minutes.  She brought her little whiteboard and practiced writing/drawing.  She LOVES to write and draw.    She loves writing everyone's names.  She just drew a picture of me playing hopscotch. 

Anyway, she kept trying to write words that we were saying or talking about during class.  She wrote "hat" (we were doing word pairs and hat was one of the words) and the word "closd" (closed - it is a type of word sort).  She's getting really good at writing!  I can't believe how quickly she makes progress.  She'll be writing sentences by kindergarten.

Carter is talking so much more clearly now.  He says things like, "I like this song!"  Or this morning, I found dominoes in the feet of his jammies when I changed his morning diaper.  After I zipped him back up he said, "there's another one stuck in there" or something that translated along those lines.  I felt and didn't feel anything and he kept saying it.  I finally realized he was right.

He's STILL talking about "APPLE PICKIN'!"  He's eaten too many apples though, if you catch my drift!  

Well Madelyn and I are going to make cookies and she wants me to play in her house while Carter naps... 

Oct. 20th, 2009

This past weekend we went to the pumpkin patch/apple picking with Brooke and her family.  We had fun.  It was a little cold, but not too bad.  Brooke and I made an apple pie when we got back to her house.  It was pretty good, especially for our first try!  The kids had a lot of fun playing together.

We're taking it easy this morning.  I should be writing a paper, but I haven't even started.  Madelyn is writing on her whiteboard and Carter is playing with cars.  Their favorite activities.

Madelyn is all about writing EVERYTHING lately.  She tries to spell things on her own a little bit.  She likes writing names.  A few days ago she asked how to spell Viviana.  She said, "I know there is a B in it."  I said, "A B?"  She said, "Yeah!  Vibiana."  :)  I thought that was cute.  She can write just about every letter now.  There are some letters she can only do in upper case and some she can only do in lower case though. 

We are sending 4 of the 10 books back to school that she was practicing.  She knows those books pretty well.  Hopefully she takes her time when/if her teacher reads them with her.  She almost knows them too well and she barely looks at the words.

On Sunday, she pulled out a set of sight word flash cards.  She took them out of the package and just started reading them.  The cards are double sided, but she could read at least one of the two words on almost every card.

She has some words she says that I think are super cute that I keep trying to remember to write about.  For example, the drain in the tub is the "dream."  Sunscreen is "sun scream."  I can't think of the other ones I wanted to write down.

Her vocabulary is really growing.  The other day she came downstairs and was looking for something.  She said, "I'm trying to find that template I brought home from grandma's."  She was looking for a locket that has a little template in it for cutting out your own picture to place in it... so I'm not sure if someone referred to it as a template or if she really meant locket.  Even if she really meant locket, I have no idea where she's even heard the word template to confuse the two.

Just about every day though, she says something that surprises me.  Carter hurt himself this morning, and as always he said, "Madelyn hurt me!"  She said, "Ohhh... blame ME!" 

Carter is doing good too.  He is in a tantrum stage (oh terrible twos!).  He and Madelyn have been fighting a lot again in the last couple days, which is pretty annoying.  He has also been throwing tantrums at bedtime.  He screams like CRAZY when we put him in his room.  Last night I tried letting him sleep in Madelyn's room but he just played until like 9:15 and then I decided I'd had enough.

I keep thinking he is beginning to know some of his letters and then he'll say something off the wall when I ask him one.  He does at least know that something IS a letter.  He may not guess the right letter, but he is getting the idea of letters.  Same goes for colors.  He'll get one right randomly and I'll think, "He's got it!" and then he'll just go back to saying random color names.

Carter LOVES school buses!  He loves anything with wheels!  He plays with his cars all the time.  

Madelyn was trying to teach him how to say October today.  It was pretty cute/funny.  She was breaking it down for him.  "No Carter, say Oc-to-ber!"  She tries to teach him a lot of things.

His favorite movie is cars.  His favorite character is Mack.  He recites the lines from the movie all the time. 

Ok I'm out of time.  :)

Our conference brag.

Warning: braggy post ahead.

We had Madelyn's first parent/teacher conference today. Her teacher is pregnant and due in about a month, so she wanted to do them a little earlier than usual.  I had taken Madelyn to school with me today and we were running a little late, so Josh dropped me off and then took the kids to Marsha's briefly and came back about 5 minutes late.  Her teacher and I were talking babies in the mean time.  She is naming her little girl Madison (and had debated between that and Madelyn) and she said it was funny to find out Madelyn's brother's name is Carter, because that was their boy name choice.  :)

Anyway, her teacher had shown me Madelyn's progress chart a couple weeks ago when I was observing another group of kids at Maddie's school. She was showing me how they assess kids at the beginning of the year. Basically it is a kindergarten readiness checklist. It is all the things they want kids to know before they enter kindergarten. So they assess them at the beginning of the year to see what they need to work on and then they assess them at the end of the year to see their progress.

Madelyn is one of only 3 kids in the program who will not be old enough to go to kindergarten next year. She has already met all of the end-of-preschool goals on the checklist. The only exceptions are that Madelyn is not able to copy all of the shapes (meaning her teacher draws a triangle and she draws a triangle on her paper) and she had a little trouble with the zipping assessment.  Madelyn could zip at the end of the spring but she hasn't really had to practice over the summer (no jackets) so I'm sure she'll have that one figured out in no time.  She also has learned to draw a couple shapes in just this past week.

So her teacher said she'll be moving on to some enrichment activities with her. I noticed she did come home with some worksheets on Thursday that the kids I was with that morning didn't do (like tracing numbers from 1-20). She said the they will focus on fine motor skills and pre-reading skills with her throughout the year, but she'll still do what the other kids are doing too.  She does need to work on her fine motor skills, but she is quickly improving.  When she first started school she only knew how to write a small handful of letters.  Today I went through her little dry-erase book and she had been practicing every letter, capital and small.  She can't do them all freehand, but she has made huge improvements in the last month and a half alone.  She is still pretty shaky on some of them, especially when tracing.  She does better when she writes them herself than when she traces them.

Her teacher said it has been a long time since she has seen a little girl as smart as she is for her age. She is going to start sending home reading books for her. She said she will send about 4 home at a time and would like us to work on one book a week.  She went through all the steps of how to read it to her.  She said to then put it away for a week, and if when we pull it back out she can still read it, then we'll know she really knows it - rather than having memorized it.  It was kind of funny because we're pretty sure she could read the first book she showed us without us even pre-reading it for her.  The only thing she might need to work on is pointing to the words herself, rather than us pointing for her.

I had asked a couple weeks ago if Madelyn ever acted shy in school.  I told them how when we took Madelyn to the doctor she got really bashful.  They had to give her an eye exam and they were asking her if she knew some shapes.  I told them she could do the letter chart and Madelyn was so mumbly that I don't think they believed she knew her letters.  Her teacher said she is VERY outspoken and doesn't give off-the-wall answers like some kids that age tend to.  They always seem surprised that I come in knowing as much about what she's been doing at school.  Apparently most kids don't tell what they did all day.  Of course I have the advantage of knowing what their routine is from being in there, so I kind of know the kinds of questions to ask.

I asked today if she is ever whiny at school. I said she isn't usually at home but when she first started school she would come home and stomp off or throw a little tantrum when she didn't get her way. She said, "Well she does like to get her way, but all preschoolers do... but she is not whiny at all. She is friends with all the kids and she likes to help them learn. She really is a model child, and I'm not just saying that because I work with you."  She has called her a "model child" a couple times now.

She also said she is amazed at how quickly she picks up on and learns things. She said she'll show her how to do something once and she just gets it.  She is also impressed with Madelyn's desire to learn.  I'm pretty impressed with that too.  Since she started school she wants to be learning constantly.  She asks really good questions now.  She likes to practice the things she learns at school.  She just always wants to be learning something new.

The teacher sent us home with a sheet of 30 words to start a word wall for her. She said to hang them up as she learns them. I brought them home and she knew 25 or more of them already.

Like I said, I took her to a class at my university today. They used her as a model for one of the assessments we have to do on concepts of print. She did really well and really had fun.  She was a little mumbly like she was at the doctor though.  Of course there were about 15 college students, a professor, and a TA staring at her while she preformed for them.   Concepts of print are things like knowing what the cover of the book is, the difference between a word and a letter, the difference between print and pictures, where you start reading, that you go from left to right, etc.  Madelyn did really well though.  She did have some issues with the question asking the end of the story is.  She pointed to the back cover.  My professor said that is a common answer, especially when there is a picture on the back of the book.  She also had a little trouble when she asked Madelyn to point to the words as she read.  She started out doing really well but then she was distracted by the pictures.  I'm pretty sure she could have done it if it wasn't a book that was new to her.  Afterwords, my teacher invited her up to her office and let her pick out a book to take home.  She thought she was hot stuff being a big kid in college. ;)  Of course she probably thinks I'm a liar because I told her we don't have toys at my school and my teacher was well prepared for Madelyn's visit.  She had several games for us to play involving toys.  That is definitely my favorite class though.  The teacher reminds me of Annetta from Kroger.  She really makes her class fun.

Anyway... I know bragging is annoying, but I'm just so proud so I needed to post. I kind of didn't know what to say during the meeting because I am so used to trying to not make a big deal out of Madelyn's accomplishments to people. I mean a lot of times I find myself  acting like she can't do things she can if it might make someone feel bad.  For example, I said something to a friend one day about something Madelyn did in school and she seemed so shocked because it wasn't something her little guy is doing in school yet that I hurried and made up an excuse about it and how it wasn't a big deal.  It was just nice to hear how well she is doing from someone who isn't biased.

I asked her teacher if she thought she was going to get bored with two years of preschool.  Actually, now that I think about it, she might have thought I meant would she get bored with preschool this year.  Anyway, she said she didn't think so because she would just keep finding way to challenge her.  I really don't want to start Madelyn in kindergarten early.  For one thing, she is still petite.  She looks so much younger than some of the older kids at preschool.  For another, I'd feel like I was rushing her out of her childhood.  Also, I would rather her not have to start kindergarten until I'm done with school, although that isn't actually a huge deal.  Mostly it is the idea that I would feel like I'm losing a whole year of her childhood.  But at the same time, while this teacher is happy to continue to challenge Madelyn, I worry that she is going to get bored somewhere along the way, if that makes sense.  If by the time she's done with preschool, she's at a 1st grade level... won't she be bored in kindergarten?  Maybe not.  I guess time will tell.  Hopefully she'll just have a string of great teachers that are happy to work with her at her level, whatever that may be.

Ok my braggy post is over now.  :)

Carter moments today...

Me: Carter Andrew, who wrote on my couch?
Carter: Ummm... Daddy did!
Me: Daddy did not write on my couch. Who did it?
Carter: Ummm... No, David! (A book we read)
Me: Carter, you wrote on the couch. What do you say?
Carter: Sowee Mommy. Sowee Ma-lyn Fry

He is clearly used to apologizing to his sister.

He followed the apology by wrapping his arms around my neck, laying his head on my shoulder and saying, "I love you mommy."

Earlier he grabbed my cheeks in his hand and said, "Mommy, look at me.  Look at me.  Kiss me.  I wuv you."  Followed by a big hug. :)

Tonight I was putting his jammies on him and he said, "Pee-pee Ma-lyn's potty."  So I let him sit on the potty.  He sat for a minute and got up and said, "all done."  Then he went back into his room and a few seconds later ran BACK into Madelyn's room.  I should have let him sit on the potty again but I grabbed him and put his diaper on him.  He yelled, "I'M PEEING!!"  I felt his diaper and he did, indeed pee.  I said, "Why didn't you do that on the potty?"  He said, "Ugh-cause... I don't like it!"  Hah!

Anyway... in other exciting news, Molly, my new niece, will be here any time now.   Hopefully Emily is about ready to start pushing now.  I talked to her at 5:30 and she was at 7 cm and said she'd be going about 1 cm per hour.  She was feeling comfortable with her epidural.  I can't wait to meet Molly... well or at least see pictures since it will be a few months before I meet her.  :o/

I forgot to mention that tomorrow we have Madelyn's first parent/teacher conference.  I found out today that she is one of only 3 typical students who won't be moving on to kindergarten next year because of their age.  I'm anxious for the conference.  Madelyn definitely has progress to make in some areas, but I have no idea what she is going to do with two years of preschool.  I don't feel like it was a mistake to send her this year, by any means.  She is learning SO much and she loves it.  She definitely seems (looks) younger than the kids who will be moving onto kindergarten next year... we'll just have to see how it plays out, I guess.