September 26, 2011

What Free Time?

I always laugh a little when people find out my daughters are in full day kindergarten. One of their first questions is "What do you do with all that free time?" What free time? Don't get me wrong... I had visions of having some "me time," too, but it's not happening.
I work part-time, so my hours certainly vary. Now that my daughters are in full day school I've been able to change my work availability and work a decent amount of hours. My days typically consist of dropping my girls at school, going to work and then back to school to pick them up. I'm OK with that. It's a pay check.
On the days that I'm not scheduled to work, I'm running errands, namely going to the grocery store. If I'm lucky I can fit in a 3.5 mile walk. Other days, I'm wading through the laundry piles or trying to vacuum, clean, etc.
So, no, I still don't really have a lot of free time, but many days I manage to shower without anyone else in the house, (which means I'm not worrying about whether anyone is fighting downstairs). I consider that a victory!

September 21, 2011

Every Tooth Has a Story

I don't remember having lots of stories to tell about losing teeth. They fell out. The Tooth Fairy visited. The end. Roo, on the other hand, has had a story about every tooth she has lost so far.
Her first tooth fell out on the fourth of July. That in itself seemed like a fun story since we were visiting family and they got to mark the milestone with us. But it gets better. She was eating watermelon and thought she had a seed in her mouth. She found the seed and threw it on the floor. Unfortunately, the "seed" was her tooth. It took several minutes, but we managed to find it.
Her second tooth also came out while she was eating. This time, however, we never found it. Why? Because she swallowed it. She and I wrote a letter to the Tooth Fairy, explaining what happened. If your mom or dad signs the letter, then the Tooth Fairy knows you truly did lose it.
The other night Roo lost her third tooth. She had asked me a few days before if I thought it was loose. It seemed like it might be loose, but didn't appear to be ready to come out any time soon. Wrong! She was brushing her teeth and when she "spit," a ton of blood filled the sink. It took me a minute to realize what had happened, since, again, the tooth didn't seem too loose. But where was the tooth? She swore she didn't swallow it. I figured when she spit, it went down the sink. She claimed it came out of her mouth when I wiped toothpaste off her chin. Sure enough... tooth in the tissue I used to wipe her chin. 
Roo has great stories to tell about each loose tooth. I wonder if these tales will continue with the next teeth that come out. And in case you're wondering, the lost tooth count is Roo: 3, Sisters: 0. Needless to say, they're ready for some loose tooth stories of their own!

September 20, 2011

The Drop Off Lane

We're nearly a month into the school year. You would think by now parents would have the drop off routine down pat. Wrong! The drop off is ridiculous. Nearly every parent thinks his or her time is more important than the person in the front of the line.
In theory, parents are not supposed to get out of their car in the drop off lane. Unfortunately, teachers have not been outside recently to help with the process. I don't have a problem with parents getting out of their car to help a child. Those of us with bigger vehicles know it can be difficult for a child to climb out while loaded down with a backpack and lunch box. When no teachers are outside, I wait to pull up to the very front of the line, get out, get all my girls out, say bye and get in my SUV and drive away. Then you have the parents who start unloading in the middle of the line, talk to their kids or a passing parent, heck, maybe even take their child by the hand and walk them to the school. No. NO. NO! If you're going to walk your child to the door, you need to park in the parking lot. It's a process, people!
Oh, and let's not forget the parents who drive into the parking lot and try to zip to the front of the line, bypassing all of us patiently waiting to unload. Yeah, I have to admit that when I have the chance I purposely make it so they have no room to pull in. It's the power of the SUV. I have to be to work, too, show some patience.
My biggest beef is the parents who peel into the parking lot. Seriously. It's a school full of young children. Slow down or it's going to be a disaster.
Now I'll step off my soap box! (for today)

September 19, 2011

Where Does the Time Go?

My babies are six! How did they get so old? Their big day was yesterday and we all had a blast, despite a few snafus.
We started the day bright and early... 7am. I'm pretty sure they were up before then, but the night before I told them not to wake us up until the sun was up. I'm surprised they held off as long as they did. After opening gifts, Hubby made pancakes. I had to cut everyone off after two because I knew there would be plenty of cake and cupcakes to come.
Hubby picked up the cake for yesterday's party and the cupcakes for school. (Yes, I'm that mom, the one who sends in store bought cupcakes. I don't have the time to make 45 cupcakes!) Hubby came home with one box of cupcakes. I ordered two. I frantically called the bakery. The woman who answered tried to tell me I only ordered one box. I told her to look at the form again. She told me I filled the form out wrong. I told her a bakery employee filled it out. She said she would have the second box ready in about 10 minutes. Crisis averted, except for the fact that Hubby had to drive back to the store.
We celebrated with a small cookout in the backyard and only invited two families with children, plus our neighbors and my in-laws. At the last minute one family wasn't able to attend, but the other family we invited has triplets, so there were still plenty of kids to help us celebrate!
By the end of the night we were all exhausted. Two of  my girls were asleep within minutes of being tucked in. The other two were out soon after that. 
This morning they played a few rounds of their new game Hungry Hungry Hippo and then headed to school with 45 pink Toy Story cupcakes. All in all, it was a great 6th birthday!

September 14, 2011

Kindergarten Kids = Salespeople?

When I picked up my daughters from school yesterday, one of them came rushing up, asking me if she could sell her toys to win prizes. Huh? The whole school had just come out of an assembly for a fundraiser. All the kids are being asked to sell crap (let's face it, that's what it is) and the more crap you sell the more prizes you win. (These prizes could also fall in the "crap" category as I think they're pretty much things from the dollar store).
I get that our schools are underfunded and do what they have to do to bring in money. But I hate that my nearly-six-year-olds had to sit through a sales pitch that involved being shown "fantastic" toys and prizes they can win.... if only they do their part.
I don't need what the school is selling, so why should I ask my neighbors, friends and family to cough up money for these items. Fortunately, there is an option that allows you to simply make a donation to the school. Each $10 donation counts toward a "prize" item. We'll go that route, I guess. Wouldn't it be easier to just institute an additional "fee" per family instead of asking our kids to go door to door?

September 07, 2011

The Unexpected Perk of All Day Kindergarten

First off, this is probably going to be my only post this week. I'm calling this my "Ridiculously Crazy Busy Week." I typically work anywhere from 9 to 20 hours a week. This week, due to inventory, I'm working 30 hours. I'm not complaining because I cannot wait to see this pay check. BUT... I have little time for anything other than work and the girls' homework this week.
Anyhoo, now that you know why I'm MIA this week, I have to tell you about this great little perk of all day kindergarten. My girls are so hungry at dinner that they will eat almost anything I put in front of them. I've used this as a chance to experiment and get them to eat new foods.
It all dawned on me last week when I just could not fill them up. They ate and ate and ate and still wanted more when they were done with dinner. I talked to Hubby and told him the first thing I wanted to try was grilled chicken. Even my picky eater declared it "delicious." I will confess, though, that none of them were too gungho about the baked zucchini I served with the chicken.
A few nights later I did a toned-down version of stir fry. I baked chicken nuggets, steamed some carrots, cooked some rice and threw it all together. Definitely a hit. (Although cleaning up the rice that spilled on the floor was no fun). Hubby has an excellent homemade teriyaki sauce, which I would like to incorporate the next time I make this dish.
The other night we made homemade "chicken nuggets" from scratch. The girls had a lot of fun helping coat the chicken (dipping the pieces in egg and then throwing them in a bag of crumbs) and are eager to do it again.
Kindergarten may be wearing out all of us, but I'm glad it's helping my daughters expand their palette. 

September 01, 2011

The After School Scramble

People always say things to me along the lines of "I can't imagine what school mornings are like in your house." They're really not bad. My girls can dress themselves. They pick out their outfits the night before. They need some help with brushing their hair, but that's OK. I've even reached the point where I can let them tell me what they want for breakfast (within reason) and they can each have something different. I even have time to check my email before we leave the house. It's what happens after school that leaves my head spinning.
I won't rant about the pick up lane at school. It's stressful. It's chaotic. Any parent who picks up their child from school knows what I'm dealing with. Depending on the chaos of the day it can take me anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes to get home. And then the real fun begins. 
Our school district has a policy that every grade, including kindergarten, has to have at least 15 minutes of homework a night. Our two kindergarten teachers send home their packets on Monday with specific things (thank goodness they send home the same things) to work on every night. The packets are due Friday. For a family with one child, this homework should truly only take 15-20 minutes (I keep track of the time). Times four... at least an hour. Phew! I can't really do the homework as a group because a lot of it is "Tell me what letter this is" or "What sound does this letter make." Sue Sue would shout all the (correct) answers before her sisters if given a chance. Couple the homework with our required reading log (which I try to do one on one, even though I'm sure the teachers expect me to read one book to all four) and we have a lot to do. Fortunately, Hubby is often home before the girls and I get home, so he's a great partner. We can split the work, so it's a little less painful. (I like doing homework as soon as we get home because everyone is still in "school mode" and they haven't realized how tired they might be).
Then it's time for dinner. After that, it's a shower or a bath. It has been in the high 90's ever since the first day of school. They have three recesses a day, plus gym class three times a week. Trust me... they need to be bathed/showered every day! Then, if they're lucky, they have 45 minutes to an hour to veg in front of the TV before bed.
Today is the first day that I'll head directly from the morning drop off to work and then from work directly to the pickup. We'll see who is the most exhausted tonight!