Friday, October 31, 2008

Josephine and Maureen both dressed up as princesses (again!) and I dressed Veronica up as a fairy :)

For whatever reason, Maureen didn't want her picture taken, hence the pouting face :(
Michael's first bowl on his very own pottery wheel. He was proud... it's not as easy to do it with a kick wheel as it is the electronic ones.

Some of Michael's paintings in his studio at school.
Pumpkin carving time!

Maureen has begged us for a "Blues Clues" cake since Josephine had her birthday last month. So we got one from Walmart, and she was very excited to have the kind of cake she wanted. She eats cake like I used to do - basically, eat the frosting only!
Michael loves this picture of Maureen (me too!).

I can't believe she's really three years old! I forgot to mention a couple cute things she said lately... she woke up from a nap once and said she was "squeezing herself real hard" meaning she was stretching long and hard. Another day, she was eating raviolis and said "there are pillows in my bowl!" I remember watching a show called "Kids say the darndest things" with Bill Cosby... there are times when I think she could have been on that show!
The balloons cost a grand total of $5.00 - thanks to the local dollar store! They have a great selection of balloons for HALF or less than half the cost as a party supply store. We didn't have any pictures of her opening her presents, we did a "fine" quality video instead. We got her a Disney magic wand horse (that walks, whinnies, bows his head and twirls his tail) and a "Snap n' Style" fisherprice princess doll. My parents got her a Disney Sleeping Beauty doll w/ magic fairies- the doll lights up and plays music (Thank you!). Josephine and Maureen have been playing w/ the Disney toys almost nonstop since last week! Even Veronica loves to play with them, when she gets a chance.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Thank you, everyone, for voting! We will be putting the results to use tomorrow :)

Here are a few pictures from the past couple days... yesterday I played "beauty parlor" with them (almost 2 hours from start to finish!) I'm not much for glitz and glam and stuff like that, so I did my best. The girls had a great time - I did hair, a little make-up (not even noticeable in the pictures!) and fingernails. I even pretended to do Veronica's nails and make-up, and she seemed very interested while I was doing it to her :)

A couple of the pictures are from this morning after Church... I love getting the girls dressed up in pretty dresses.

Last Tuesday (Oct. 21) was Michael's and my 8th Anniversary! We dated for two years before that, so we've been "together" for a grand total of 10 years. I can't believe it!!! We celebrated by getting a red velvet cake and watching part of a movie (baby woke up!). We still haven't finished watching it!

Tomorrow, we'll be celebrating Maureen's 3rd birthday. Michael will be at school all day on Tuesday (when her real birthday is) and it will be easier to celebrate tomorrow. I'll post pictures from that when I get a chance. I can't believe she's going to be 3!!!

Finally, I wanted to mention Josephine's teeth... remember her bottom two loose teeth? Well, they haven't come out yet. I took a good look at them yesterday, and noticed that her permanent teeth are actually coming in BEHIND her baby teeth. I initially freaked out, but then after searching on the internet, I found that it's actually not very rare and even has the nickname "shark teeth!" From what I read, it seems as thought the permanent teeth grow that way when there's not enough room where the baby teeth were/are, or the baby teeth are taking to long to fall out... I'm going to call the dentist tomorrow morning to see what we should do (or not do) about it.

She didn't want me to take her picture :(

I tried my best at curling her pigtails. I wasn't sure what to do with her hair, it's still not very long, but it is growing faster now.

Josephine playing 2 of her recital pieces (on Dec. 20th) - we still have some details to work on, but she's still doing really well!

Here's the other 2 recital pieces... for a total of 4. Normally, 2 is enough, but I have such a small number of students doing the recital, I'm letting each of them do up to 4 if they want.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

EVERYONE, please take my two polls (on the left of the page). They're both for Josephine's school - one is a mock election, using toys, to vote for who will be the leader of the playroom :) (In social studies we're studying different types of leaders and about elections). the other will contribute to a bar graph in a math lesson.

Thank you!

Monday, October 20, 2008

A couple cute things I wanted to write before I forgot... both about Maureen.

The last few times she's gone #1 on the potty, she's said "Look, Mommy! Bubbles!"
Also, before going, she says "I'm hiding my pee-pee," meaning, I'm holding in my pee so I don't pee my pants before making it to the bathroom. I've tried explaining to her she should say I'm holding in my pee, but she tells me she doesn't like it that way :)

Earlier tonight, before bedtime and after stories, we said some prayers... including the Guardian Angel prayer. After Josephine and Maureen recited the prayer after me, I explained to Maureen simply that it's a prayer we say to ask our angel to protect us and keep us safe... and that Mommy, Daddy, Josephine, Veronica and her each have a guardian angel. Then she chimes in "and Inky (our cat) too!" I smiled and said "Yes!" because I didn't feel like explaining to an almost 3 yo that animals don't have guardian angels, only humans do. Anyway, I thought that was cute.

OK - I promised a detailed update on Josephine. We completed our first quarter of 2nd grade last friday - yay!!! She's doing really well in all subjects. I struggle to get her attention in some subjects, mostly math, but she's doing better. I've tried to find ways to make math more fun - online math games, fun (free) down-loadable math pages, and a "school zone Math Basics" book from Walmart for $3.97. I love the "School Zone" products. The books are great for fun supplements and something to keep little brains thinking over the summertime.

Josephine is turning into a bookworm at times, too... when I find a book that sparks her interest, she's actually preferring to read over playing! I'd never thought I'd see that from her. She's always enjoyed reading, but it wasn't a favorite thing to do or anything. However, the past few weeks, she's been reading a lot more, and I think she's enjoying it more...

She has 3 loose teeth! To me, that seems like a bridge or transition into being a "big kid." Her bottom front tooth is very loose, and will probably fall out over the next few days, or couple weeks at the most.

Her behavior has improved overall the past couple months - she's become more helpful, thoughtful, and more mature (in some ways!). She's becoming more goofy and sneaky, too :) I still have problems with her "listening the FIRST time." Maureen listens better "the first time" than Josephine does! I think it's just Josephine's personality- she's very strong-willed and stubborn at times. She has gotten better about cooperating when it comes to cleaning and picking up - she doesn't whine as much as she used to, and has gotten pretty good at putting things where they belong and picking up the right way (when I'm supervising, anyway!). I am learning that focusing on the girls' positive behavior and praising them for any little thing they do "right" is almost more effective than punishing them/yelling at them for negative behavior.... but that's a whole other discussion that would probably take too long!

Finally, she has returned to practicing piano regularly (5-7 days/week) and getting weekly lessons from me. We had a break of about 4 months where she sort of lost interest, or was apprehensive about playing out of her new level 1 books (she complained that it was too hard, even though I knew they weren't. She just got frustrated with any little mistake she made and wanted to give up so easily! Anyway, I didn't push it, and basically let her take a break from it. Now that we've gone back to it, she's doing great! I have become a little more strict with her practice routine - she practices every day (mon-fri) around the same time... and can't watch TV or get on the computer later in the day unless she's practiced that day. She's stuck to her end of the deal and has actually enjoyed the end results. She's already almost perfected her recital pieces (in December). I will have to video tape her doing her songs whenever I get the chance.

Whew! That was long. I won't be doing that again for a while! That makes ME tired.
I thought I'd try my luck at taping Veronica saying the letters that she knows... I was pretty lucky - she said 4 out of 5 correctly! You may have to turn up the volume to hear her. This is actually the first time I have sat down with her to go over letter names... She's learned them mostly from our "Fridge Phonics" by Leap Frog, listening to me teach Josephine and Maureen, and probably from looking at all her books every day!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Here's some more of Maureen's crafts. She's doing great with her preschool - she's retained the letter sounds that she's learned, and is learning some of the lowercase letters, too. She is also doing well with the little bit of religion that we do -she's becoming more aware of who God, Jesus and Mary are, even at her young age! She participates in prayers, and says the Sign of the Cross, and even reminds me sometimes, if I forget to say Grace before meals.

I've limited the amount of work I'm doing w/ her... I am very consistent about doing the "Little Saints" preschool program (which includes a LOT of me reading library books to her, crafts, singing songs and learning games), and pretty consistent about doing a page or two a week in her religion book and "Teach your child to read in a 100 easy lessons." All the other books I had planned on doing with her happen only when time and her attention span allows. I'm not pushing it with her! Whatever doesn't get used this year, it'll get used next year when she's older (in Pre-Kindergarten). My approach is much different with her than Josephine, and I can totally see a difference w/ her cooperation level AND how much she enjoys doing her "schoolwork"... I think she also sees me doing schoolwork with Josephine all the time and just wants to do the same thing as her big sister. On another note... Maureen is doing FANTASTIC with her potty training. I had tried potty training her a couple times off and on over the past few months, and after a couple days went back to diapers. It's a done deal, this time. Since we've started this final attempt, she's had no more than 5 accidents. I'm so thrilled!

Veronica (almost 16 mo) also continues to amaze me with how much she learns just about every day! She's a sponge for information. She's learned how to say so many new words and new sign language over the past few weeks, it's too much to list anymore! She has even learned to recognize and say a couple uppercase letters of the alphabet - A & B! She knows and can say the names and corresponding sounds of many animals... the cutest one is when she says "Bear.... ARRRR." She kind of sounds like a pirate, though she's just trying to growl like a bear. She knows and can say parts of your face: eyes, nose, mouth, teeth, chin, ears, hair... and continues to favor "reading" books, in her spare time, over playing with toys :) She's been a bit fussy the past week or so... she has 4 molars coming in all at once. I'll be glad when they're finally in, so she can have more options when it comes to mealtime!

I've run out of steam to write any more! I'll write a detailed post about Josephine next time!

Monday, October 13, 2008

I'm completely amazed every time I watch "17 and counting..." on TLC. The Duggar family has 17 children and is pregnant w/ their 18th, and they homeschool! The whole family is so well-mannered and happy, and the parents are so calm and organized, it's mind-blowing. Anyhow, here's their home website if you're interested in looking at pictures or something...

You might have to copy and paste it. I don't think it will show up as a link...

Well, I don't have any pictures today. I'm off to fold laundry! Michael is working extra hard these days... He has midterm exams this week. Say your prayers that he finds a full-time job (for the Fall of 09) sometime over the next several months.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Go get 'em, cowgirl!

Michael asked me to pose for a picture, holding his dinner plate w/ a goofy smile, so I did... I actually sort of liked the picture, so I picked this one to show my new glasses. I like these glasses
SO much better than my old ones, plus the prescription is more accurate, so I can see more clearly, too.

I liked this picture of Josephine... it shows off her big, pretty eyes!

Well, I'm tired again, no surprise! I stayed up way too late (again!) last night, watching my favorite channel, "discovery health." I'm addicted to that channel!

A couple days ago, I counted how many weeks there are from now until Christmas... In order to finish the 1st and 2nd quarters of Josephine's school before Christmas, I'll have to double 2 weeks worth of work into one... Starting tomorrow will be week 8 for Josephine... the last week of each quarter is just review for tests, so I'm going to try to do week 8 plus squeeze week 9 of review and tests, so that we can be on track. I guess I started one week too late this year... but I'm determined not to get behind like we did last year after our Christmas break! I've already looked through week 9's lesson plans, and it looks like it won't be too much more work to put it together w/ week 8. Anyhow, wish me luck!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Hello!!! I'm not writing anything tonight, other than to say here's a lot of pictures. Our visit last weekend was great! Thank you everyone for your gifts and for making Josephine's 6th birthday a great one! I'm off to bed, I have to play piano for Church tomorrow morning - I should've been in bed a long time ago!