Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mas futbol

The other soccer star in our family. ;) These coaches deserve a ton of credit, by the way. Teaching a bunch of 2 year olds to play soccer is kind of like herding cats.

The kids' latest music recommendations

Somehow it's happened. My kids have discovered pop music, through no fault of mine. *cough*Tom*cough* They've both taken a liking to that "Call Me, Maybe" song, which I'm neither going to embed nor link to here. Anyway, from watching that video on YouTube and clicking sidebar links to other videos, they've discovered the band Owl City, which I find myself kind of digging. Here are three videos of theirs (equally beloved by the kids, but posted here in order of my personal preference).

It's not all pop music around here just yet. (Whew.) Soren's also enamored of Orthodox Jewish rapper Matisyahu, particularly this track.

And we've been hearing quite a bit lately of this one from The Dandy Warhols. (They particularly love the "woo-oo-ooooo"s.)

I introduced them to the soundtrack of the first X-Files movie a month or so ago, and now anytime we're in the car, Eleri begs to hear this on a continuous loop. So I can't say I disapprove entirely of her taste in music. ;)

Anyhow. That's what we've been listening to around here these days.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

Backstory to a tweet

When we watched the Olympics last month, Soren was straight-up fascinated by Oscar Pistorius. ("When do I get to have awesome legs like those?!")

While I was at Zumba earlier this evening, Tom & the kids watched some Paralympic coverage we still had stored on the TiVo. Among the events presented was the 400m race that Pistorius won. It sparked the following conversation.

Tom: Do you remember watching that man run in the other Olympics?
S: But how did he be in the regular Olympics too?
T: Well, he practiced and practiced until he was basically the fastest man in South Africa.
S: But when can I be the fastest man in North America?!

All plaintive-like. Silly boy.

A brief musical interlude

In the car this morning at drop-off time.

(Psst. I also uploaded a couple of additional videos to the kids' YouTube page.)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Two Weeks In

Tomorrow's the end of Soren's second week back at school. He seems to be enjoying himself so far. He's brought home a book from the classroom's lending library almost every day. If prodded, he's full of stories about the various lessons he's been getting. (At the Montessori school they're first given "lessons" on the various types of "work," sometimes as a group but usually one-on-one with a teacher. After they've been shown how to do the "work" they're free to do it on their own as they please. I'm not using quotes out of sarcasm; those are the specific terms they use to talk about what the kids do in the classroom.)

No big surprise, he's been doing lots of typical Montessori stuff. They're really big on their specialized toys and tools and such, which frankly seems a little silly sometimes, but whatever works. There are a lot of practical skills lessons taught as well. Last week Soren proudly informed me he'd had a lesson on watering the classroom plants, and now he knows to look for colored sticks in the pots to see which ones need watering on any given day. He was also excited about washing tables and pouring/scooping oats. The kids are allowed to go to the snack table when they're hungry; there's one special "everybody eats together" snack time per week, but the rest of the time it's up to them if/when to eat. Soren tells me how he takes one serving of snack, then uses the "crumber" to clean up after himself, then hangs the "crumber" back up on the wall.

Every day this week he's been super jazzed about getting to play The Sound Game. Today he came home saying he'd gotten to play The Sound Game using the sandpaper letters. Yesterday he worked with the Movable Alphabet set, which had him rather flummoxed ("I used the mobile alphabet, Mommy, except the letters were in another language, called Cursive!"). Today was, I think, the first time he's gotten to save work overnight. If they're working on something (in this case, lining counting blocks up on a rug on the floor to count to 100), and they don't finish by the time the school day is over, they're allowed to put their name tag on the rug and leave their work out overnight to continue the next morning.

It's kind of hard sometimes to talk about "the Montessori way" without sounding like a total pompous jerk, but I really do appreciate how much credit the kids are given for what they're capable of. And I don't just mean academically (although that too). They're expected to behave civilly, and they seem to rise to that expectation. I also totally dig that they're given the freedom to find what appeals to them and learn in a way that keeps them engaged and interested.

So, yeah! It's going well so far, and I'm glad. I'm also waiting patiently (read: not patiently at all) for all the responsibility and initiative and cleaning up after oneself to kick in at home. I suspect that holding my breath for that one is ill-advised. ;)

Wordless Wednesday Catch-up (two weeks' worth)

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Back to School

I did take some pictures with my "real" camera too, but for now, here are some from my iPod.

Hey! It's finally here! The first day of preschool! Yaaaaaaaaay!

I'm not the only one who's happy about it.

Unlike last year, I managed to actually get us out the door and off to school on time for the first day. We were even a little early! The kids played on the playground briefly, and then we headed inside when the doors opened.

The first week, only the new kids get to come to school, which I think is a pretty smart way to do it in a program when you've got 3, 4, 5 and 6 year-olds all in one class. Lots of returning students, in other words. Soren's class has, I think, 8 new kids (out of 25) this year, so it was a nice, small group today. Lots of opportunity for close attention from the teachers as they get accustomed to the routines and such.

We went inside, and Soren put his spare clothes away in his bin, set his backpack in its place, got a carpet square (to sit upon) and a book, and sat down to read on the floor with the other kids while they waited for everyone to get in and settled.

El ran over and gave him a big hug & kiss, and then we left. We had paperwork to turn in upstairs, errands to run, chores to do at home. The three hours flew by.

We picked Soren up after school and went out to Silver Diner for lunch. I always forget, somehow, that I really should not ever take my kids to restaurants by myself. I mean, they're not as bad as they could be, but they're certainly not as calm and well behaved as would be ideal in such a situation. I was trying to be all, "Yay! Back to school! Let's celebrate!" and it turned into, "Seriously. We haven't even ordered yet, so if you don't stop wrestling in the booth right now we are just going to leave." Sigh. But we made it through, and lunch was tasty.

They look so angelic, I know. Don't be fooled. That window behind them? Eleri had to be forcibly removed from the sill. Twice.

Soren was amazed and delighted to discover he could order off the breakfast menu if he wanted to. He indulged his Nate the Great obsession by ordering pancakes (Nate is a biiiiiig fan of pancakes and eats them at least once in every book). So that was very exciting. I tried to get him to tell me about his day, but I didn't get much from him. He seems to have enjoyed himself though.

After lunch, we met A and his mom & baby brother at the mall so the kids could run around a bit at the play area. It was nastily humid today, so we opted for some indoor fun. They ran and played for a good 90 minutes before we headed home.

Tomorrow we do it all again! Well, most of it! Yay for 5 days-a-week preschool!

Oh, but first, one "first day" photo out-take, because as much as these little goofballs infuriate me at times, I do try to remember how much they make me laugh, too.