Monday, September 19, 2011

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Well, this new season has brought about a lot of new adventures/challenges for our little family...mostly, Zoe actually...she started a new school year at the same place she went last year and it didn't take long for us to notice that she was not enjoying her new room as much this year.  As a matter of fact, she seemed to be pretty miserable.  For a while, I think Nathan and I sort of silently observed what was going on, waiting for the moment to come, like it did last year, when it clicked for her and she could settle in and start having fun.  But, that moment didn't seem to be coming, and Nathan and I both expressed our less than glowing opinions to each other about her new teacher, and realized it might make sense to look elsewhere.  Neither one of us thinks the school is a "bad" school, just didn't seem to suit Zoe and we didn't want to be spending money on (non-required) preschool if she wasn't even enjoying it.  So, with the encouragement and a referral from my friend Jessica, we checked out her daughter (and Zoe's BFF) Sierra's school, Children's House Preschool, and it all fell into place.  She started there practically right away, and all 3 of us are totally relieved and excited about it.  She's learning so much already and coming home with the BEST projects...the first day I picked her up, she showed me the project of the day: "The Life Cycle of a Butterfly" and explained to me how it starts as an egg on a leaf, then hatches into a caterpillar, then builds a "chrysalis" (yes, she used that word) around itself and then hatches into a butterfly.  She and I were both smiling ear to ear all the way home as she said over and over: "Mommy, I had SO much fun!  Everyone there is SO nice!!".  Her teachers even told me that she told them she didn't like her old school.  While it's completely possible she picked up the vibe from me, I was careful never to actually say she didn't like it around or to her so that was interesting to me.  Anyway--yay!

She's also taking her first ballet class at our local rec center after a few months of taking gymnastics there (which she LOVED).  She's been completely pumped about it ever since she decided to give it a try for the next session and actually ran down the hallway to get to the classroom on the first day.  We went into the studio together, sat down and met her teacher and then, as the parents were shooed out of the room, a look of sheer panic entered Zoe's face.  Something made her change her mind really quickly about this new class and she couldn't seem to stay in the room without me.  This was surprising to me because she's ALWAYS bounded right into gymnastics without a hint of trepidation, so I was caught a little off guard when she ran BACK down the hallway, this time all the way to the front door.  I finally convinced her to go back to the studio, but I had to go in with her.  I tried to sneak out at one point and she followed me right out.  She kind of miserably went in and out of the room the whole time, torn between REALLY wanting to try the class but not being able to be in the room by herself.   We were both at a loss for words, honestly.  She didn't know how to explain how she was feeling and I wasn't able to find my "supportive parent" footing and gave her a mix of tough love and coddling as we watched the class from outside the room through a window.  After that day, I did a little reading and talked to a few of the great parents in my life and found my footing.  By the time we went back to the second class this morning, we were both a little more prepared for the experience.  She and I talked about how I would stay in the class with her for the first half and then go outside.  If she was having fun, she could stay and if she wasn't she could go out in the hallway with me again and watch through the window for the second half.  So, we got there early and talked to the teacher for a bit, and she let us hang out in the studio by ourselves before the rest of the class got there.  Then I stayed in the class for about 15 minutes, waved goodbye to a smiling, waving Zoe and hung out in the hallway with Owen until the end of class.  She came out smiling and jumping, showing me her plies and stretches.  Phew!

On the home front, Owen continues to charm us all with his smiling and overall cheery disposition...except when he decides he is frustrated and lets out the most ear piercing screeches you've ever heard.  It's made me start dreading riding on a plane by myself with the two of them in April.  I've always had really good luck with air travel and our kids' behavior but something tells me I'm going to get a round of payback in a few months.  If you happen to be traveling East at the end of April and can help it, do NOT book a flight with Southwest.  You don't want to take any chances and end up on a plane with us. If you forget or have no choice, and DO have that misfortune I recommend going out and buying the best ear plugs you can find, regardless of price.  Please, PLEASE wish me luck.

I don't know if I've mentioned it here before, but we have a small rat problem on our patio.  We aren't infested by any means, but once in a while we see one scurry across our patio on their way to our neighbor's shed.  The university has tried their best to deter them but they just keep coming back, unfortunately.  We haven't seen one in a while so thought maybe they'd found somewhere else to be.  The other day though, I was hanging laundry and letting Owen crawl around when I noticed he was looking closely at something on his hands.  Upon closer inspection, I realized it was rat poop!  (I know this because I looked it up online.  A word of advice:  unless you absolutely have to, never do a Google search for "rat poop, images".  It's even more disgusting than you'd expect.)  We are working towards getting our neighbor's shed torn down, but in the meantime Zoe came up with a brilliant plan after finding some more poop out there this morning.  She made a "No Pooping" sign and hung it on our patio door "So, when the rats come to our door, they'll see the sign and say 'Oh!  We can't poop here!'"  Thank goodness I have her in times like these.

Lastly, after our shaving cream experiment last week, I finally felt inspired to try making marbled paper with shaving cream.  I've seen it on tons of blogs but used this as a guideline.  It was really easy and fun and super easy to clean up!  We have to replenish Nathan's shaving cream by now for sure, but I'd say it's a price worth paying...
Smoothed out a layer of shaving cream on some wax paper...

Randomly squirted on blobs of liquid water color paints...

Used a paintbrush to swirl it around...


..until we liked the look of it...

Pressed the paper onto it....

Peeled it away...

..and scraped off the shaving cream with a ruler!


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