Monday, March 26, 2012

Fun with Grandma and Uncle Matt

Andy and his brother, Mitch, went to Phoenix last week for spring training so my Mom and brother decided to come to visit us.  Mom flew in on Tuesday night and she and Andy traded car keys at the airport.  He took the same plane back to Phoenix and she drove his vehicle to our house.  I let the kids stay up until she got to the house.  Her flight was a little late and the kids were tired, but they were very excited to see Grandma.  The kids went to daycare during the mornings and Mom picked them up after lunch.  That allowed them to stay in their routine of going to school every day.  As an added bonus for us, Mom painted out basement in the mornings.  Thank you, Mom!  Matt came on Thursday night.  The kid stayed home on Friday to play all day with Grandma and Matt. 

The weather was beautiful the entire time and the kids had a lot of fun with all of the attention from Grandma and Matt. 

They played outside.

They baked a cake for Grandma's birthday.

They played outside some more.  They rode their bikes to the park (Kayley's first time!) and went fishing with Matt.

They rode their bikes at Bicycle Safety Town.  This was also a first for Kayley.  She had so much fun that she had a little meltdown when it was time to leave.  And, yes, we plan to buy them new helmets this year!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring Fever

Spring is definitely here and we are very excited!  Andy went golfing yesterday and the kids and I went to the park with a friend of mine and her daughter.  My friend moved to Illinois from California so we were joking that yesterday's spring day was like a winter day in Arizona and California, but we weren't complaining too much.  The kids had a lot of fun and then played in the backyard after their naps.  They played outside today for several hours too.

straight from their bikes to the playset

This morning, the kids got dressed (for the record, they picked out their own clothes) and decided to play pirates. I asked Drew why he didn't wear the eye patch over his eye and he said it was because he couldn't see when it was over his eye. :-)

Andy has been hard at work in our basement when he has the time. Between work, owning the bar and everything we have going on at home, he doesn't have a lot of time left for the basement. He usually heads down there around 9:30pm or 10pm each night. The poor guy barely sleeps. I took Kayley to gymnastics last week and he wanted to paint so he brought Drew down to "help" and Drew loved it!  Andy told him that was the only time he was allowed to paint on our walls.  Someone should tell Kayley that...I found two walls in the playroom colored by her this week.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Homeschooling (or teaching for that matter) is NOT for me!

I have a whole new respect for teachers.  I come from a family full of teachers and always admired them for devoting their lives to help children grow into productive adults, but I never really thought about whether it would be that hard to teach.  I recently learned that I am not a good teacher.  It is HARD! 

Kayley's teachers had mentioned that she could use a little extra work on her shapes and letters so I bought her another preschool workbook.  We tried before, but she had zero interest.  I thought we would try again now that she is a little older.  Drew really wanted one too so we got him the kindergarten one.

Kayley was very excited when I brought home the preschool workbook and she wanted to do it right away.  Good sign, I thought!  We started with tracing lines.  Most of the time she used her right hand, but sometimes she used her left hand.  I also had to help her hold the pen correctly, but she seemed to pick up on that pretty quickly.

Then we moved on to shapes.  I don't know exactly where a 3 1/2 year old should be with shapes, but Kayley definitely struggles with rectangle, triangle and sometimes diamond. Anytime she doesn't know what a shape is, her guess is octagon.  I told her that there were not any octagons on the page.  She clearly knew circle, oval and square.  She seemed to get diamond pretty quickly after we started.  We focused most of our time on rectangle and triangle and when I was convinced she had it down, we started from the top of the page with circle.  She got circle, square, oval, diamond and looked at the triangle and hesitated and then said octagon.  Ughh.  We had just spent over 10 minutes on triangle and rectangle!  I told her there are no octagons on the page and to try again and then she giggled and said, "I don't know!" with a big smile on her face.  I told her triangle and then she said, "oh yeah!"  Then I pointed to the rectangle and she said octagon.  I smiled, trying to hide my complete frustration, and just told her no and repeated that there were no octagons on the page and to try again.  Then she said, "I don't know!" and ran off to play with her babies. 

After 15 minutes with her, I was so frustrated!  All I could think was, "How do you not get this?  Shapes are easy!"  Clearly, I am a terrible teacher!  I didn't let her know I was frustrated, but I was secretly relieved when she ran off to play with her babies so I could take a break!  I have very little patience and that isn't a good quality for a mom of young children!  And we haven't even started on letters, which she also struggles with.

I am not overly concerned and I don't think Kayley is way behind the other kids in her class at this point, but the question of whether she would have learning disabilities has been there since the day she was born because of her premature birth.  A lot of people think I worry too much, and I probably do, but I want to catch it early if she is having trouble so we can give her as much help as she needs.  And if she needs that help, maybe Andy will be a better teacher!  In the meantime, I will happily play babies with her.  Together, we can feed four babies, burp them and get them to sleep in no time!

Hard at work tracing a circle

Also hard at work.

I walked into the living room yesterday to find
Drew tutoring Kayley on her shapes.  She doesn't
seem too interested in Drew's teaching either.