Kissin Cousins are so much fun!

Joey and I had the best day with Mary and Elsa this past Saturday.  We headed out on an adventure to Fairytale Town where the story books come to life as I told Joey and had a really awesome day.  The kids played really well together, Mary and I got in some good girl time together, and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect.  We checked out the animals – the three little pigs, Peter Cottan Tail and all his friends, Eyeore the mini-donkey, and Daisy the cow; played at the playground inside Fairytale town, and went down countless slides.  My favorite was Owls house in Poohland – it was super fast though I think the kids enjoyed the Old Woman who lived in a Shoe slide best as they went down it the most.  We caught a quick lunch of corn dogs and snowcones, applesauce puree and snacks that we’d brought from home.

Joey and I had never been to Fairytale Town before although we’d been by it several times over the years when we were venturing out to the Sacramento Zoo or Funland.  I loved how they had a little of this story and a little of that story so that it kept the kids interested.  By far our favorite part of the park had to be the Crooked Mile.  We all went through it a couple of times, then Mary, Elsa and Joey did it a couple of more times (I was pooped), and then Joey ran through it all by himself.  I wish I had a 10th of that kids energy sometimes.  It’s a fun elevated trail that widens and narrows and winds around and around the foliage and trees.  A lot of fun and you don’t even realize you’re putting in a mile… if it truly is a mile which I’m doubting.  If it is though, I told Mary we need to build one in our backyards because you don’t even realize your walking very far because it’s so much fun and the kids just love it.

When we were done there we walked back to the car, stopping by the lake with the pine cone fountains in it so that Joey could take some pictures of the swans and ducks.  Just as we were almost back to Mary’s van we realized we’d lost the car keys somewhere between Fairytale town and the car.  While Mary went back to see if she could spot them or if someone had turned them in either at Fairytale Town or the Zoo I kept the kids entertained.  We had a mini picnic of snacks – goldfish with cranberries and raisins, orange slices, chocolate chip teddy bear cookies and some water.  Then we played tag, did the Freeze song, made friends with a little boy named Gabriel, played sword fights with sticks and finally began building fairy forts out of twigs, sticks, leaves and the construction paper hats the kids had made while at Fairytale town.  It was a ton of fun and by the time Mary got back, we were in great spirits but not so much Mary – she’d not had any luck in finding the keys.  So while we waited for Eric to be our knight in shining armor and bring us another key for the van, we built more forts perfecting our technique each time and watched the kids play.

Even with losing the keys I’d have to say it was one of my best days as I really enjoyed spending time with my sister-in-law and niece.  I love watching Joey and Elsa play together and observing how they interact as more time goes by.  When we get together Elsa always has her heart on her sleeve when it comes to Joey, adoration clearly expressed in her every comment and behavior while he always starts out with a “it’s no biggie” attitude towards her at first (which if I’m honest usually breaks my heart as I want them to grow up as close as bothers and sisters do) but then by the end of their time together it seems he can’t get enough of her attention, wanting to do everything with her from tag to playing Hide-n-Seek to just sitting next to one another sharing a snack.  Each time it makes me realize that I really need to make it a

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priority to get these to little ones together.  This time Mary and I agreed that we’d try to get them together each Tuesday afternoon since that seems to be a time that they both are usually home and free and can get together either at her house or ours, or just out in nature taking walks or riding bikes.  Plus we’re really going to try to do more adventures together on the weekends in the coming months.  It makes me realize too, that I also need to be doing more of these things with his cousin Gracie too.

 

A, B, C and 1, 2, 3

Larry and I have our first parent teacher conference coming up next Thursday and I am nervous.  I know he’s been learning in school and practicing while he’s there but I haven’t been as diligent as I should be in making him practice at home and neither has Larry.  Together we’ve devised a foolproof plan, at least I think we have.  Joey is a Wii addict, in particular he’s in love with the game Skylander, and we’ve decided to use that as a motivation for learning.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it has about a gazillion characters that you have to buy separately to give you, the player, the opportunity to experience and use different forms of weapons or enter different realms within the game.  Don’t ask me anything else as that’s about the full extent of my knowledge of this game (lol).  And to make things a little more difficult for Larry and I,  this is one hot game and so these characters sell out about as fast as they hit the shelves.

Larry has taken to purchasing the 3 or 4 packs of different characters as he comes across them and then we take them out of the packages and set them up on the top shelf of our cat tree where Joey can see them, but not get to them.  Well lets face it he could if he really wanted to but he knows he’d get in big trouble for doing it and that I would probably then throw them in the trash so he just adores them from afar until the big day – FRIDAY.  That’s right, each Friday if he’s done his tracing practice Monday through Friday then he gets to pick out one of the new characters to play the game with when Daddy gets home from work.  Now I don’t even have to ask him to do his letters or numbers or try to cajole him into it as it’s the last thing we talk about each night and pretty much the first thing he wants to do in the morning.  I’ve found several great sights that provide his name as well as the normal alphabet and numbers.  I’m trying to have him do 2-3 pages a day – Joey, Joseph and then a letter or number.  We’ve been focussing on A’s and B’s and I’m so happy to report that it is actually helping.

Today in anticipation of picking his guy out as soon as Daddy walks in the door he asked me for his practice sheets and only needed help one time.  He even self corrected when he made the line across his capital “A” to long.  Made me so proud.  I know most of the credit goes to his two wonderful teachers – Mrs. Ethorne and Mrs. Meyers, but still I’m as proud as can be.

If he keeps up, who knows by the end of summer he might just be able to write them all and can go to Kindergarten with his friend Garrett who’s a year older.  Right now I’m on the fence and leaning in the direction of keeping him home another year.  Yes part of it’s selfishness but I also want to make sure that he’s well prepared to enter the elementary world both educationally and socially.  Daddy of course thinks he’s ready to go now and that that is what school is for – to teach them.  When I look around at my friends children and hear the stories of their 1st graders having 2-4 hours of homework a night I can’t even imagine, makes my heart race I tell ya.  And I think it’s a tad extreme.  They’re children for goodness sake, let them be kids, afterall they’re going to have to work hard for the rest of their lives so why do they have to start putting in hours of work when they’re only 5?  I don’t get it, I really don’t.  We didn’t have to do that kind of homework when I was that age and I think I turned out just fine, so did my sister, and all my friends, and my hubby too.  The more I look at the way our public school system is working the more I’m considering alternative education – home school, private, charter, etc.  I like the idea of education being a part of their everyday experiences.  At the same time, I want Joey to have the school experiences I did – the field trips, the opportunity to make lifetime friends, and to few things from others perspectives.  How do I make sure he has all this and a childhood of fun at the same time?  It’s a question without an answer at this moment in time, but I’m searching and I’m sure that together, Larry and I, will make the best decisions for our boy.

Our Portrait

Been busy the last few weeks – nothing special mind you, just the norm but it’s all made me crazy tired.  Larry, Joey, and I finally had some family photo’s taken (our first since he was born).  Joey did so good, followed the photog’s instructions and had fun with it and I couldn’t have been prouder.  They’re were a whole lot of tantrum’s going on around us from newborns to I’d say kindergarten age and there was my boy, listening really well and just minding his own business, people watching with me.  He’s fascinated with babies lately and what they do, how they play, etc. and in this environment there was a lot to look at.  I loved seeing all the littles dressed up in the finery, especially the ones that were getting special photo’s done for Valentines Day.

Anyway, this one’s my favorite of the bunch.  Can you tell we love our boy?!  We do this to him at night, our kiss sandwich, and it always makes him giggle like mad.  So glad he held it together on this day with no giggle outbursts in sight otherwise it would have turned out a very different image in the end.