Sunday, September 27, 2009


I know, it looks like the spine-chilling signature of a serial killer. The thing the cops uncover written with blood on the inside of a cabinet door while the crime scene unit is searching the mangled, unrecognizable body for any evidence. Someone opens the cabinet and there it is! Then the lead detective says "Just like at the last two. We've got a psycho on our hands" and exchanges a knowing glance with his smoking hot chick partner and the opening credits roll. It looks like that, but it's really an unprompted example of Kate's new sentence writing prowess! We had no idea she was capable of this yet, so finding this scrawled on the playroom wall was thrilling. As I'd hoped, Sarah wants in on that action and has voluntarily begun writing letters. I wish she wouldn't write them on the furniture, but still, she does a solid S, a good C and yesterday managed to eek out a flawless A.

I took this blurry, bad photo with my phone because we still don't have our camera lenses, thus rendering our camera unusable (ahem, if you promised to ship them to us 3 weeks ago and still haven't, you know who you are...there will be a distinct lack of photos of the kids doing adorable things until we can use our camera again. Just sayin'.)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Update on the Traffic

I mentioned in my previous post on the journey that is kindergarten that Kate's class uses a traffic light system to control the kids' behavior. End the day on green and you get a green smiley face on your behavior report. If you're kind of awful you get one of these :| in yellow. I've never seen red, I assume it's frowny, which is confusing since Mr Yuck was green. And since I'm easily confused.

Anyway, the system was terrorizing poor Kate, who couldn't figure out what the rules were. Sometimes she is kind of awful, it's true, but she clearly honestly didn't understand what the hell was going on. She got several yellow faces. She'd been doing really well for nearly 2 straight weeks when I picked her up from school on Wednesday. "Another green face!" I exclaimed in the same tone I use with Lola for "good dog!" I can't help it. I've tried. Kate nodded vigorously, grinning from ear to ear. "You really seem to have this thing figured out now, don't you?" I continued.

As she clamored into the car and battled the seat belt she nodded again. "Well," she began, pulling, untwisting, pulling, twisting, pulling and untwisting again the seatbelt, "I didn't want you to be angry with me..." Click.

"Oh Kate!" I said, feeling terrible while thinking of her having nightmares about that stupid traffic light face thing I hate "I wasn't mad at you, I know you didn't really understand the rules. Now that you do you're doing really well and that's great!" We went on with our evening, forgetting all about green, yellow and red faces.

The next day she returned home with a yellow face. "Oh my" I said "what happened?" Kate shrugged it off. "Well, you don't have to be mad it's just a yellow face, it doesn't matter." I realized at once - I'd made a huge mistake. I spent the next 10 minutes attempting to explain all about the difference between doing your best and not trying at all. She seemed to be ignoring me. I kept attempting to catch her eye as I spoke to her, she kept coloring. Finally I stopped. "Listen Kate, if I see this sort of thing again I will be angry, got it?" I am such a jerk. She still didn't look up at me but nodded slowly. Today? Green face. We do what we must.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Daily Grind

Kindergarten marches on for young Kate. She has days when she wants to go to school, like the other day when school was closed due to flooding and she whined that she would miss her friends and the other kind of days, like the ones on which she complains that school is boring because she can't wear princess dresses there.

She had a rough start with the system for keeping kids in line that they use, a behavioral traffic light. She just didn't really understand the rules and what was causing her to move from green to yellow and she was so stressed about it she was actually having nightmares that she was put on red. In the past 2 weeks she seems to have wrangled the issue and has been getting green for the day so often now that she hardly sees fit to mention it. I'm glad for her sudden recovery on this topic, but I still think the system is dumb.

She has homework every week. Am I the only one who remembers no such thing from kindergarten? The work is easy and like all homework is intended to reiterate what they learned in school that week, but it's a pain in my neck, frankly. She's up at 6:30 AM (oh, that's now, I should really go get those two pixies out of bed...) at school from 8 until 4, which I think is a lot for a 5-year-old, then we bring her home between 5:30 and 6. The girls go to bed between 7:30 and 8:00. In that brief time after school we must have dinner, do homework, have a kitchen dance party, bathe, read stories and still be calm enough to sleep at bedtime. Just as I did when I was in high school, I feel the best thing to jettison from this hectic schedule would be the homework. Of course now I'm a responsible adult with an understanding of homework's purpose and a nagging need for my child to keep up with her class, so we do our homework.

Meanwhile, school is only 180 days of the year and when there's no school there's no after-care either so we have to figure out what to do with Kate for an entire day any time there's no school. Kate, it seems, is doing just fine in her adjustment to school. I am not. How do people manage this?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Vacation Interlude

We've been gone. We took off on the evening of the 2nd and flew to Williamsburg to see the VA peeps. Kate got her wish to take a horse and buggy ride in Ye Olde Williamsburg. We hit the beach in Yorktown, which is much, much nicer than it was 18 years ago, when I last saw it. Apparently, sometimes good things come from being mowed over by a major storm.

We spent a day in Richmond, dragging the kids around VCU. A mere 18 years after I began college, I can finally afford the sweatshirts, so we got the kids each one. It was extra cute to see my little offspring run through the house of Shafer Street Playhouse (cool historic pic) and leap up on the stage, without any instruction, and begin dancing and playing together up there. In all my days spent laboring on sets, wardrobe, blocking and classes in that space I never once imagined my own kids would frolic on it. It was the best performance I've seen there yet.

We bid the Williamsburg crew a fond adieu and headed northwest to see the Provost and associates group. There we attended a large lawn party, showed the girls where we got married, went to the fire tower (of course), visited Luray caverns (or, as Kate explained it to my mom 'we went to a shop that had a cave in the basement!') and played with lots and lots of 3-D sidewalk chalk.

Finally, we set out for Washington DC to impose upon friends, have lunch with our neighbors Rusty and Jennifer (fancy meeting them there!) and show the girls the Museum of Natural History, the White House, the Washington Monument and, just before flying out, the new Air & Space Museum (my favorite). My recommendation, if you wish to expose your 3 and 5-year-olds to the wonderment and fun of DC and enjoy yourself as well is this - don't. Kate and Sarah were tired and cranky and cold and hungry and simply unable to move at any given moment. We spent a lot of time commenting on the great weather and how much fun we'd be having if we could've ditched the kids. I'm sure they learned a lot.

Where are all the pictures from the mountains? Good question. First, the camera stopped working due to what appeared to be a bad connection between the lens and the SLR. Then Chris came to the rescue with a ton of old lenses he'd gotten from his dad and was more than willing to share with Jeremiah and vacation was saved. For a day. Then, we left those lenses in the back of Margie's car when we headed to the mountains. The only one we had was the fixed telephoto which I really don't get, but Jeremiah managed to take a few at Keith & Ellen's big blowout Labor Day Throw Down. The rest of the week we took a few shots on my phone (see facebook) and we took some photos with my dad's camera (still on his camera) and with a little disposable in DC (some day we'll develop those but who knows if we'll ever scan them.) There were all manner of lovely shots involving adorable children. I wish I could share them here.

We had a great time but were very glad we elected to return home on Friday because we have needed this weekend to recover. Tomorrow, I must head to the airport and fly to Florida for a conference. At Disney. About claims management software. I'll be sure to take lots of photos there...