Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The New Gallery

In the old house, I had a clear view of the gallery (meaning enough space to take a full-length photograph). In this house, we decided to use the exposed side of the refrigerator as the gallery, and the hallway is too narrow to get a full-length shot. This is as good as it will get ...

The top two are from Xander's class. His new teachers are capitalizing on his love of letters, and helping him make them during art time. The other one is practice with scissors and glue. The bottom two are Connor's, one free expression and one practicing his colors. He's not big on lines, not yet anyway.

The top two are Xander's again - more letters. The bottom three are Connor's in-school worksheets. Note how neat that bottom left one is. It doesn't even look like my son. I won't tell you there's an identical page underneath of it that doesn't even distinguish shapes (that whole not wanting to stay inside the lines thing) and a note from the teacher telling him to follow directions. Clearly he can do it when he wants to (or when the teacher wants him to)!

Seeing Double

Double Trouble, originally uploaded by cheryl.

It was going to happen sooner or later.

Today was just one of those days, another busy one in the middle of a busy week. I spent the morning trying to get Sawyer to help with his take-home art project (you know, the one that was actually due yesterday and we just didn't think about - that one). He was not interested. Not at all. I sat him down at the table with me, had him help with the glue (which he kept trying to taste). Then I let him sprinkle the star confetti (that I was making with construction paper and a star hole punch) over the glue. It was everywhere. And then he was done.

That was my morning. So apparently I was a little distracted at car line this morning with the twins. It seems I put the wrong backpacks on the twins (they are similar styles but different colors, one light brown and one light grey). I thought Mrs. D called one of the boys by the wrong name when she mentioned one of them carrying a book, but didn't think much about it. Normally that would have been my first clue to check the backpacks, because I have done it before and caught myself.

Not today. In they went, wearing the wrong ones. And into the wrong classrooms they were directed. Sawyer went into Ms. B's class and Xander went into Mrs. R's class. Of course, it didn't take them long to notice the mix up and they were put into the appropriate places. But there it was. Identical twins, one taken for the other.

It doesn't happen often, not for those of us who know them best, but sometimes they fool us for a minute. Just think what it will be like when they get older ... and sneakier!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Squeeze Play

Sliding into Home, originally uploaded by cheryl.

Fall ball is less competitive, I'll give them that. But it's no less time consuming. The good news is Connor is still enjoying it. The bad news is that he's having a hard time fitting baseball (and everything else) in these days.

Tonight, he went to bed in tears simply because he hadn't had a chance to play games today (meaning computer games)! He got up early (way, way too early if you ask him), went to school, left school, climbed in Mommy's truck, went out to eat with Grandma and Grandpa (who were in town to watch his game tonight), went home and had about 20 minutes to play (in his case, watch cartoons while he lounged on the couch) and then it was time to get ready to go again.

Tonight was t-ball game night. He had to change into his uniform, put on his cleats, and get his gear together. He did get to pack his stuff in his new bat bag from Grandma and Grandpa, which he really liked. Then we walked (he rode his bike) up to the park and the baseball fields. The twins screamed as we passed the park without stopping (per their usual, of course). Connor had to be called back from the playground, too, because his team was already on the field practicing. The game lasted an hour or so (each team bats all the way through the lineup two times and takes the field two times). We stopped at the park for a little while on the way home, maybe 30 minutes. Then it was walk back home, rest for just a minute and start the bath and bed routine.

Grandma tried to squeeze in a little homework tonight, but Connor was tired. We'll have to work harder on days when there's no baseball going on (and no extra company in town visiting - but that's a special occasion worth enjoying)!

In kindergarten, you get a weekly homework packet. You practice sight words, read poems and do some grammar and comprehension activities. Every night. You also log minutes in a reading log.

We always joke that Connor has a hard life, but it was usually said with sarcasm when he was off doing something fun. The fun might be over for a while.

Big boy school is hard core, and it starts too early and lasts way too long (if you ask him, anyway). Fall t-ball means two practices and a game every single week for two months. It's a lot for a little guy who's used to having plenty of free time. And traveling. Just yesterday he asked me when he could go back to the lake and stay for "a lot of nights" again. I told him not for a while, not with big boy school. Every morning it's like waking the dead to get him up, and he's been getting to bed by 8:30 at the latest on school nights, which is big departure from his summer bed time.

Let's just say the newness and excitement of big boy school might be wearing off. Or perhaps his expectations of what big boy school would be is clashing a little with the reality of it all. It's definitely one of the two.

Because tonight, he may or may not have told me, in four succinct words, that big boy school sucks. It was hard to tell as he was mumbling into the pillow before he fell dead asleep. In a matter of seconds. Poor little guy. He's one tired little boy these days!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First Game

To the Dugout!, originally uploaded by cheryl.

Tonight was Connor's first official t-ball game.

The season started on Sunday with his first practice, where he got to meet his coaches and teammates and practice a few basic fundamentals of the game. Last night was something they call "clinic," where the players were split out into small groups and several coaches and assistants worked with them at different stations - one for fielding, one for throwing and catching, and one in the batting cages.

Clinic was an adventure. He started out with the right group, but somehow got mixed in with a group of older kids and spent most of the night playing way out of his league. He was with the group of 7 to 9 year-olds who had two to three years of playing experience. He was definitely small and not as skilled, but he held his own. One of the other parents even commented on his throw, even after I told him he was in the wrong age group.

Tonight was the first game. The players got their uniforms - black league t-shirts and matching black hats. Who knew the BlueJays were black, but apparently they are. There is a BlueJay mascot on the hat, at least!

We were the home team, so they took the field first. Connor was put on third for the first round. I'm not sure how much action he actually had, as I was still entertaining and supervising the twins who were not at all thrilled to be there for the third time in four nights. Have they mentioned how much baseball sucks? They're not fans, not at all. Even with snacks.

Connor also got to take a turn batting (and even had his very own bat today thanks to Uncle Brian and Cousin Austin). He managed to tell the coach he was a lefty (he's been hesitant to speak up in early practices, but we keep reminding him that he hits better from the left and today he finally set himself up that way). It took him a minute to run once he hit the ball off the tee. He seemed to think it was batting practice, and stood there waiting to hit again!

In t-ball, they all rotate positions and everyone gets to bat. They don't keep score and they hardly call outs, though there were a few when the kids managed to throw someone out at a base. Connor scored one run that I saw, but I'm not sure about the second time at bat. He played third base first and then in the outfield (meaning on the edge of the grass) between second and third for the next go around.

All in all, he did well. He seems to really like it. He pays attention to the coaches, most of the time, and listens pretty well. He watches the game and seems to be picking up some of the fundamentals. He also still takes time to wave at people (regardless of whether the ball is in play or not) and to draw or kick in the dirt. But it's t-ball. And it's fall ball. A good way to get him started, and to see if it's something he really wants to do or just something he thinks he wants to do.

So far, he really wants to. He talks about his team and his practice and his games ALL the time. He really LOVED having his own bat today. He even asked about a backpack for his bat, like some of the other (mostly the older) kids have for their equipment. Oy. So it begins ...

Night of Firsts

First t-ball game (see above). First night of homework. First night of trying to make it all fit in.

Poor Connor is about to lose his carefree days. He starts his day being rudely awakened before dawn at 6:45 in the morning. He gets a little breakfast, if he's awake enough, or he gets something he can eat in the truck on the way. School starts promptly at 7:45. A full day of work, play, lunch and recess. Then school dismisses around 2:35 in the afternoon. It's usually at least 3:15 by the time we get home and into the house. He gets some of his talking out then.

Today was his first t-ball game at 5 o'clock, so we left the house by 4:30 to give us plenty of time. We take the twins in the double stroller and Connor rides his bike. (Yes, the field is that close, and we love it!) We also try to get there a little early so the twins can have a few minutes on the playground ("slide" and "swing" as Xander pleads, the minute he sees it). The game doesn't wrap up until just after 6. It's 6:30 or later by the time we make it home and get everyone out of shoes, to the bathroom, and Connor into his bath (he's usually a dirty mess).

Connor gets a little down time while we fix dinner. Then it's into his room for homework and story time, and then into bed for the night. We're shooting for an 8 o'clock bedtime to help with the early start to his day, but so far haven't made it any earlier than 8:30.

It's a lot to fit into a day. And the poor kid fell asleep doing homework tonight in his room.

Big kid school is rough. Long days. Homework. And barely time for dinner or baseball! He told me tonight before he fell asleep that he didn't want to go back. He said it started much too early, and he was too tired.

Clearly it's a work in progress, this new schedule of ours ...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Finding the Rhythm

School is officially in session for all the boys. Connor started a few weeks ago, and those he's home today with a lingering illness, should be back tomorrow. The twins are approaching the one week mark. We're slowly finding our rhythm in this new routine.

It's a little bit of a marathon. Connor gets dropped off around 7:30 or so (trying to avoid those tardies) and the twins get dropped off at 10:35. The twins get picked up at 1:35 and then we make our way over to Connor's school to take our place in the car line. We will wait for about 45 minutes every day. It's not going to be fun.

Connor is still having trouble with the early mornings, even with earlier bedtimes. Yesterday he resisted an afternoon nap, even though he was actually sick, and held off for several hours until he crashed. He slept from 4 yesterday afternoon until about 7:30 this morning.

The twins have always had an off sleep schedule. Sawyer is almost always up before the dawn. Today it was around 6:30. Sometimes it's earlier, sometimes it's later. But it's never much later. Xander has lost his ability to sleep in at our new house. He's usually up before anyone these days.

And we're not sure which came first anymore, but we've been working hard at finishing up the job of potty training the twins. Both still wore pull-ups at night, even after we finished day training last year. But we took Sawyer out of his shortly after we moved into this house during the summer. He was staying dry all night, and we've not really had any accidents out of him since the switch. He's even progressed to the point that he will actually take himself to the bathroom if he needs to go, which is nothing short of impressive. We'll omit the fact that he's also the reason Buster no longer gets a water dish in the sun room, because apparently that looked like a good place to potty when the need struck him, too! Minor setback, really.

Xander is another story. He likes to use the bathroom more frequently than either of his brothers, as in every hour or so, if not more often. He's been more of a challenge. He still has accidents during the day, especially if he's doing something he really likes (like the computer). He cannot pull himself away for such mundane things as the bathroom or food. Computer trumps all things, even necessities apparently. He also tends to have accidents at night (meaning he just doesn't bother to get up and go because his door has long since been unlocked - he's not our night wanderer).

So we're working with him on it. After a few weeks of changing the sheets every single day, we've gone back to the pull-ups, for now. But the good news is they've been dry the last few nights. We're just making ourselves get up with him at whatever ungodly hour he decides to stir. Sometimes it's as early as 5 or 6 a.m. We take him potty, and often put him back in bed. Unlike the others, he will lay there and rest even if he doesn't fall back asleep.

And that's where we are right now. Trying to adjust to new sleep schedules, new school schedules, fitting in a little t-ball, and working on a little potty training in between.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Not Well

Just a little before noon today I got my first call from Connor's elementary school. He wasn't feeling well and needed to be picked up. And, of course, I was standing in the middle of the store about half way done with my ridiculously large, once-a-month grocery shopping trip. Not exactly the phone call I wanted or expected this Monday morning.

Connor was sleepy this morning, I'll grant you. He was curled up into a little ball and was tougher than normal to get moving. Most of his clothes were put on with him still stretched out across his bed. But he did sit up when it was time for socks and shoes. And we eventually got him moving enough to go to the bathroom and then make his way to the kitchen for breakfast. Squeeze yogurt - two of them, at his request. And chocolate milk (after his first request for wild cherry Kool-Aid was rejected). Not a single complaint about not feeling well or not wanting to go to school.

But a few short hours later, he was apparently getting sick all over the school cafeteria. And maybe outside the classroom, too. And he's been sick again several times this afternoon. Poor kid. He keeps telling me he's hungry, and when I give him something simple like club crackers or dry cereal, that just comes right back up, too. And you can forget the medicine. He complained that his head was hurting and asked for the cherry Tylenol. It came up within minutes.

I guess I'm lucky he didn't get sick on me in the truck on the way home from his school or to and from his brothers' school. You see, I had a car full of groceries when I picked him up, and we had to rush home to put away the refrigerated and frozen stuff, then rush back to brothers' school to pick them back up. And then we came back home again where I got all of them settled and eventually put away the rest of the groceries.

At this point, his story of throwing up at school was just that. A story. Connor is good at them, and you can only believe about half of what he tells you. For the first week of school he swore up and down that they kept running out of milk and food in the cafeteria (turns out he was wanting an extra milk and they were telling him no). He also swears people throw food at him, which I'm pretty sure wouldn't be tolerated every single day even if it did actually happen at all.

So you see, I wasn't sure what to make of him being sick. When I found him in the school nurse's office, he was simply sound asleep. The nurse was tending to another sick student, so I didn't get to talk to her, just the other ladies in the front office and they weren't sure exactly what was going on. And though he was kind of pitiful, once we got to the car he kind of woke up and just started jabbering away. He was telling me about being sick, of course, but also about all the things he did over the weekend, who he saw at school today, and what he did before he got sick. He was even asking when he was going to play baseball next. He sounded fine, and I half-way suspected he was simply one very tired little boy who had finally crashed.

Clearly, he proved otherwise once we got home. He got sick three different times, all in the trash can we were keeping close by, thank goodness. Even after that part passed, he still couldn't even be roused enough to play with Aunt Kelly when she stopped by to visit, and she's one of his all-time favorite play buddies. He simply sat on the couch and quietly looked with her at the new glow-in-the-dark silly bands she had brought for him (baseball ones, even). He didn't even put them all on, like he usually does when he gets them. He just looked at them and then curled back up on the couch. And when I asked him if he wanted me to take him to bed, I got a rather pitiful "Uh-huh." That was about four o'clock, and he's been asleep ever since.

A rough start to our school week. Let's hope it's one of those quick, twenty-four hour viruses. It's too early in the year (and the baseball season) to be having tardies and absences!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Field of Dreams

Getting Ready to Run, originally uploaded by cheryl.

At long last ... Connor has finally joined the official world of t-ball. Of course, when the coach asked the kids who had played before, he also raised his hand. Playing the back yard counts, right? Connor clearly thought so.

Connor's weekend at the lake was cut a little short so that he could make it home this afternoon in time for his very first practice. Uncle Brian and cousins Austin and Kyndal brought him back home and even stayed to watch his first practice (games start at 5 o'clock, so they probably won't be able to make those with work and school). They drove their car down to the field. We packed the twins into the double stroller and Connor rode his bike. It's that close, which is really nice.

The team met on the t-ball field. He got to meet his new coach and some of the other kids on the team. Some had played before. And some, like him, were going to need a few more lessons. But he did really well. He listened to the coaches, he paid attention to what was going on (most of the time), and he didn't even complain about the hot or being thirsty or any of the other typical little kid complaints.

After an hour, the boys were done for the day. They all took turns playing a few positions in the field, and everyone got a chance to bat off of the tee. Connor had a good hit on his first swing. Then he had a few misses as he took the whole tee out several times in a row (Uncle Brian thought the tee should have been lowered a little, as Connor kind of likes the low ones). He ended with another good hit out past the pitcher.

After it was over, he came over and gave us all high fives. Then he spotted the Gatorade. He was suddenly thirsty. And then he told us he was going to the playground now. T-ball was fun, but there was a park over there calling his name.

Back Yard Fun

Identical Twins, originally uploaded by cheryl.

Two brothers. Connor was away at the lake this weekend, spending time with Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle Brian and cousins Austin and Kyndal. And that meant the twins had the whole back yard to themselves for a change.

They both wanted to swing. And swing and swing and swing. They're funny. The like the motion of getting started more than they like continuous swinging. Both of them will swing just a few times and then put their feet down to stop themselves. Xander will say "Swing? Swing?" and often throw in a "Please!" if you're not quick to respond to his first request. Sawyer will simply get up from his swing, come take your hand and then back himself back on the swing while pulling you along. This is his version of "Swing, please."

So the last few nights we've been enjoying the back yard (this one has much more shade than our old one, and it's actually really nice to play in from about 6 o'clock on right now).

Summer nights. Good times.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Weekend Warriors

School has been in session not quite two weeks, and the boys already had a three-day weekend. There was no school on Friday. And that, of course, means Connor left town on Thursday night. Surely he couldn't be expected to spend time at home!

Grandma and Grandpa from the lake are already missing their big boy. He spent a large part of his summer with them, and they were already lamenting the start of big boy school. Preschool meant only a few hours a few days a week. And it was kind of optional, since you were paying for it. So we pulled him out a day or two here and there when better opportunities (like trips to the lake or the mountains) came along. Not so much with big boy school.

So Grandma and Grandpa put in a calendar request a while back for this first long weekend. They drove up Thursday afternoon, took the family (including Uncle Brian and cousins Austin and Kyndal) out for dinner, and then headed back to the lake with the three amigos in tow. They're happily enjoying their first long weekend at the lake, going boating and riding in Grandpa's ranger and whatever other mischief they can dream up.

The twins stayed home with Daddy. Yesterday they had lunch out at Steak-n-Shake, where the milkshakes were of course the best part of the whole meal. Today they had a fun afternoon with Grammy and Pappy at the local art fair at the big city park downtown. It included things like Italian ice and more milkshakes.

Our kids have a rough life. It's hard to be them, they say.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Full Day

Three Brothers, originally uploaded by cheryl.

Very rarely do all three of them chose to do the same thing at the same time. I was lucky enough to capture it today. We spent our afternoon outside in the kiddie pool, burning off a little energy (and also keeping us away from the dreaded television all afternoon)! There aren't going to be many more days like this one, not this year. We decided to make the most of this one, packing as much as we possibly could into a fun day!

A Day at the Park

Through the Trees, originally uploaded by cheryl.

Today was an early day in our house. We all got up around 6:45 this morning, all of us except for Sawyer. Little stinker. Any other day he'd be up chattering away at the crack of dawn. Today he decided to take a little siesta and sleep in (and we paid for it tonight, when he didn't want to fall asleep until just a few minutes ago - and he's been in bed since 9 o'clock)!

Daddy got up around 6 o'clock to get Xander up and take him to the bathroom (heaven help us, we're trying to finish our potty training by tackling nights, but that's a whole other post in itself). We all rolled out about 45 minutes later. Connor did so quite unwillingly. He told me he didn't want to go to school, "not so early" anyway.

Pappy arrived bright and early with doughnuts to keep an eye on the twins since both Daddy and I had things going on this morning. I had an early morning doctor's appointment (annual exam type of thing), but I was home by a little after 9 o'clock. Pappy had already taken the boys and Buster on a stroller walk through the neighborhood. And that's impressive, for us to have accomplished that much by that time of the day. Sometimes the sleepiest ones of us are still just rolling out of bed at that point.

With quite a bit of time on our hands before Connor's school ended at 2:35, I decided to take the boys up to the local park for a little while. The heat advisories have finally been lifted, and it actually felt pretty decent outside.

The boys like the park. They like to climb the little rock climbing wall on the back of the play set, to go down the slide and to swing. They also like to run around terrorizing the other children in attempts to steal their sippy cups of juice. It's an adventure, to say the least, keeping tabs on both of them and making sure they're not pushing into smaller kids or trying to steal food and drinks out of unsuspecting hands. But they did pretty well, especially after I finally gave in and let them have the Capri Sun I had packed for the ride home. Pretty sure they were thirsty on the way back, but that's not my fault. One sugary drink per park outing, that's my limit.

We love having the park so close. It's a nice place to take them, where they can interact with other kids and learn some social rules (like not stealing food or drinks) and get away from the house for a change. And it was a good way to spend our last day of freedom before Early Start begins tomorrow!

A few more photos are here.

Summer's End

Yesterday marked the official end of summer for the twins. Early Start is a week behind the local school system here in our part of the world, so the boys don't officially start until tomorrow. But yesterday we had home visits from their teachers - all six of them!

Sawyer is going to be in the same classroom that he's been in for the last two school years. He will be with Mrs. R and Ms. J, who have been with him from the beginning. He also gets an added bonus in having Mr. K (from Xander's class last year) in his room this year as well.

Xander will be in a brand new room with a brand new teacher. The room and the teacher have been there before, but Xander was in a different classroom the last two years. We hated to move him, especially after Ms. E and Mr. K did such a great job with him, but we had to in order to participate in the autism grant program that is being piloted at the boys school this year. So yesterday we met his three new teachers. His main teacher is Ms. B, and he also has two assistants whose names I'm sure we'll learn very quickly.

We're excited for this school year and the new possibilities. We're especially excited to see how the grant program might offer additional assistance and expertise to working with kids with autism, like Sawyer and Xander. And of course, the boys will still be seeing a lot of familiar faces with their therapists Mrs. D and Mrs. C.

Unlike most kids, you can't exactly prepare our twins for things like the first day of school. You can talk about it for days or weeks, but it's not really going to sink in until they see we're driving down the street to their school and getting into the car line. That's when it will hit full force. I'm hopeful it will go well. They transitioned back in pretty easily at the start of last school year after summer break, and I'm hoping tomorrow will be more of the same.

It may take Xander a few days to stop trying to go to his old classroom, but otherwise, I think they'll find their routine in a week or so. It is only three hours, after all. And that's not much when you consider how early they've been getting up and how late they try to stay up at night. Long summer days are about to come to an end ...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Rise & Shine

Early risers, we are not.

We knew this year's school schedule would be an issue for us. Josh and I both like to sleep until at least 8 o'clock. Connor has pushed 10 o'clock all summer long, and Xander is often right there with him.

Poor Sawyer is the only one who likes to see the dawn. He's never required much sleep, no more than eight or nine hours a night. Naps have been gone for years. And it doesn't even really matter what time you put him to bed, he's still going to be up before the sun. His usual wake up time hovers around 6 o'clock, sometimes a little before and sometimes a little after, but not by much. On rare days, he'll sleep in. But it's usually only after a really hard day of playing or activity. And once he sleeps in, then he will not be ready for bed until midnight or later. It's a vicious cycle with him.

The rest of us, we like our sleep. And Connor's new school starts at 7:45 in the morning!

So far, it's been a struggle. Connor keeps snuggling under the covers when we tell him it's time to get up for school. Or he might get up and let you help him get dressed, then quickly hop right back under the covers fully dressed. Or sometimes he will just sit up in bed and take a look around, proclaim it to still be dark and therefore night time, and then plop back down in bed. Morning person, he is not.

And big kid school is apparently not as forgiving as preschool. Today Connor got his first unexcused tardy, four days into the school year. That's not a promising sign.

Daddy was running a little behind this morning. He missed his alarm and then had trouble getting Connor to eat his breakfast and get moving. They left a little later than normal. And they arrived at school a little later than they probably planned. Daddy said he was in the middle of a long car line when he pulled up to school at 7:40, with about 20 cars ahead of them and 15 or so behind them. Apparently a lot of people were running behind. Or not planning on such a long car line at that time of the morning.

Regardless, I just don't think I agree with handing out tardies already. Maybe all of those people should have been there a little sooner than five minutes before school. But, it's Monday. It's four days into a new school year, with a whole lot of new students and new parents. Is the school trying to tell me they have their end of arrival and dismissal down to perfection at this point, because I just don't think I agree.

Since I do afternoons, I can tell you dismissal is still taking a ridiculously long time. We arrive to get in line at 2:10 (and even at that time, we're still about 25 cars back from the start of the line) and it doesn't start moving at least 2:45 or later because the bus riders, van riders and the walkers are all dismissed first (and school technically dismisses at 2:35). Surely to goodness that's not going to be the normal process. If it is, the twins are going to throw a fit every single day, and I might have to join them.

I'm not saying I don't understand the importance of kids being at school on time or the logistical nightmare of dismissing that many students at one time, because I do. And anyone who knows me knows that I'm punctual to a fault and generally pretty laid back. But how about giving kids (and parents), especially for kindergartners who are used to later start times and shorter days, a little break. You know, maybe at least a full week or two to figure it all out.

Oh well, at least we're not alone. From the sound of it, a lot of people went home with tardies today.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Take Me Out to the Ball Game ...

For years, Connor has been talking about playing baseball. The last year or so that talk has gotten really intense. He wants to play with the foam bat and ball in the back yard all the time, and he wears Grandpa out at the lake wanting to play in the hottest part of the day.

Baseball is kind of a tradition on my side of the family. Grandpa played when he was growing up. Uncle Brian played from the time he was five years old until he went away to college. Cousin Austin is following in his footsteps, playing spring and fall leagues, with Uncle Brian coaching most of the time (just as Grandpa used to coach Uncle Brian in little league).

Connor has actually had a really nice baseball glove since birth, a welcome gift from our good friends Haley & David who are fans of the game (David played in college on a baseball scholarship and has even coached at the collegiate level). We might have to pick up a few other items along the way, but the glove will get him started!

Daddy was a soccer player growing up, so he's not super excited about spending hours in the hot summer sun at the dusty diamond, but so it goes. Connor is young enough to still change his mind, but we thought it was time to start letting him experiment a little. And since baseball is what we hear the most about, that's where we're going to let him start.

We decided to sign him up for the fall league. It's a little more laid-back (instructional rather than competitive), and we thought it would be a better entry level place than spring league. We also put him in the local neighborhood league instead of the league where Cousin Austin plays (which just happens to be the best, most competitive league in the city). Connor is a year or so behind a few kids when it comes to getting started, as he's almost six now, but he will still be in the t-ball league.

Today we got the call from his new coach. He's going to be BlueJay this season. Practice starts next weekend, and games will follow in late August. So it looks like our Sunday afternoons and our Wednesday nights are going to be taken up for the next few months as we let him try his hand at baseball.

So, take me out to the ball game, buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks ...

Three Amigos

Three Amigos, originally uploaded by cheryl.

Though they live just across town, we've not been very good about getting the cousins together outside of their summer visits to the lake. So we're making more of an effort lately.

Uncle Brian brought Austin and Kyndal over for dinner one day after school last week, and they all had a big time running around and playing. There was hide and seek, cops and robbers and lots of other indoor games we couldn't even follow (with lots of rules made up as they went along, and lots of quitting when the games didn't go to suit one of them).

Then the party moved outside, where everyone took a turn on the swings and then started practicing backward and forward flips on the rings. Cousin Austin tried to show the younger ones how it was done, but Aunt Cheryl had to show him first!

The kids seemed to enjoy having a chance to play together, so we'll work on getting them together more often, even if we have to squeeze it in between work and school and all of the kids activities. It's important to make time, so we're going to try!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

First Day ...

In his own words (they started the moment he climbed into the truck, and they just kept coming) ...

"They didn't have any milk at school. They had some, but then they runned all out and it was gone. No chocolate milk. Not even white milk. Mommy, I so thirsty!"

Yes, this was the first thing he told me. As he eyed my coke in the console.

"I didn't see J or B today. They're not in my class. I saw lots of other kids though. I have new friends now. But I still like J and B, too."

"I had green beans and pickles for lunch. They were sour. They were so good. I also had carrots. They were sour too, but good."

The boy doesn't like green beans, pickles or carrots. So I have no idea what he ate for lunch. And apparently he had it with no milk, if his story is to be believed.

"Can I go back tomorrow? I don't want to go back today, I'm kind of tired, but I want to go back tomorrow, okay?"

Sure, baby. It will be early again.

"Does big kid school have to start so early? I think it should start later, like my little kid school did. Do they have beds at little kid school? Because they didn't at big kid school."

Sounds like someone is a bit tired after his first day, don't you think?

"We didn't get to play in the gym today, only when it rains. It didn't rain. Do you think it's going to rain soon?"

"We played outside today. It was hot. Like 90-hundred degrees. Shew, I was hot and sweaty."

"This boy punched me in the face. It was an accident. His back pack did it, while we were coming out to get in our cars. Some girl pushed me, too."

Oh, my. Tattletale he definitely is of late. And this sounds like one we'll hear often for a while, until he gets used to the cattle-like exit system.

"Criss, cross, applesauce. That's how we sit in circle time. For art. And stuff."

"How many years I get to go to big kid school. Will there be milk tomorrow?"

And, well, you get the idea. There are lots of little tangents and he's full of information. Sometimes you have to ask the right question. And sometimes I'm pretty sure he's making the answer up as he goes along. But I think he had a good first day and will be ready to go in the morning. Perhaps not happy to be going so early again, but happy nonetheless.

School Days

Big Yawn, originally uploaded by cheryl.

Someone was a little tired this morning on his first day of kindergarten. More later once I pick him up. I'm sure he'll have lots to tell us!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Last Days of Summer

Going Under, originally uploaded by cheryl.

Last Days of Summer

Run & Jump, originally uploaded by cheryl.

Last Days of Summer

Open Up, originally uploaded by cheryl.

One last day of sun and fun.

That's all Connor has left anyway, before school starts. The twins are only a week behind him, with their school starting next Wednesday.

Grammy was nice enough to invite us out to the club pool again today, for one more last day of sun and water. We were there five hours, and the boys would have stayed longer if we had been up for it.

The good news is two of them should be ready for bed tonight. The bad news is Sawyer is already in bed, and it won't last through the night. He was up at 5 o'clock this morning, took one nap at the pool while we were on a thunder (but no rain) delay, and then fell asleep again on the way home.

The bad part of today was that the club is starting to wind down for the summer, as most of the help is high school and college students. And the snack barn was closed, which meant the only food we had from breakfast until we left was the cooler of drinks and light snacks that I packed. The boys were starved by the time we left.

And that meant yet another stop at McDonald's, the only place everyone can agree on. And to add insult to injury, the people in the drive through messed up our order. Good thing I was planning to stop and give the boys their food to eat on the way. I opened it up to find a fish fillet meal instead of a 10-piece chicken nugget meal. That wouldn't have made anyone in the truck happy, because none of us like fish! So I had to unstrap all three boys, walk in to the restaurant in my all-day swim glory (including only a swimsuit top) and get them to fix it. And they weren't even very apologetic about it. Probably not going to be stopping by that McDonald's again any time soon ...

But all in all, it was a great last day of summer vacation. The boys and I got to sleep in (all but Sawyer anyway). We had pancakes for breakfast at the house before we left, then made a full day of it at the pool. The scattered storms even held off until the afternoon, so even though we had one 30-minute delay, we didn't have to cut our day short at all.

Sun and water. Those are the best days of summer!

Monday, August 9, 2010

School Boy

School Boy, originally uploaded by cheryl.

So confident, so sure of himself. That's what I see when I look at this photo.

That's a good thing, I guess. But he's going to have to tone down that personality just a little bit for school. He can be loud and talkative (as in he never stops talking). He can be dramatic and emotional, as in stomping his feet and shouting (wonder where he ever learned that from). He can also be needy, as in "Look at me, look at me!"

Tonight was kindergarten open house at his elementary school. Josh and I took Connor while Grammy kept the twins at home. We got to meet his teacher (and some other kids and parents from his class) and also see his classroom and his school. We filled out a bunch of forms, gave them some money, and got a school lunch account set up.

He was excited and wild. He colored and looked at books, he scoped out the classroom and the rest of the school, he tried to jump higher and run faster than other kids in the classroom. He ate the candy from his goody bag when no one was looking.

And he didn't want to leave. Not even to go eat dinner at a restaurant, with just us and him. It was still an "Aw, ma-an!" moment. He wanted to know if he could come back tomorrow. We told him two more days.

Yes, he's definitely ready.

(And before you think the twins were slighted, trust me when I tell you they weren't. Grammy started the evening off with dinner from McDonald's, including milkshakes. There was lots of swinging (their favorite, now that the play set is back up and functional in the back yard), a long walk through the neighborhood, and more suckers and icees that you can imagine. They were in heaven, trust me, much more so than if we had taken them to the open house and then out to eat.)

The Countdown Begins ...

In two days, Connor will start big boy school.

He's been waiting oh-so-patiently (hear the sarcasm?) to go for what seems like years (basically even before he started preschool two years ago). But it's almost here.

Tonight is the open house at school. Grammy and Pappy are coming over to keep the twins for us so that Connor can enjoy his moment. We'll get another tour of the school (Daddy hasn't been there yet) and also get a chance to meet Connor's new kindergarten teacher. We'll also do routine stuff, like pick up our car identification passes, drop off the bags and bags of school supplies from the required list, and even pay some money for things like a kids newspaper subscription, a school t-shirt, and lunch money (optional, of course).

In some ways, it's hard to believe the day is almost here. In others, it has been a long time coming. He's talked about it so often and for so long, that we weren't sure it would ever get here.

Now, let's just hope that he's not like his cousin Jason ( actually, he's Daddy's cousin, but you get the idea). When he went to kindergarten all those years ago, he was excited to go to. After the first day, he said that was enough, he'd learned all there was to know and he wasn't going back!

I don't think that will be the case with Connor, but you never know. It will be an adjustment, getting up early and staying all day instead of just a few hours (like preschool). But with at least 12 more years after this one, he better get used to it!

Happy Birthday, Pappy!

Make a Wish, originally uploaded by cheryl.

Yesterday was Pappy's birthday, so we packed up the boys and headed over to Grammy and Pappy's for the evening. There was lots of food and drinks, cakes and (letter) candles and ice cream, and even a few presents.

The boys didn't eat much outside of bread and crackers, but what else is new. Connor put away quite a bit of spaghetti but passed on the chicken basil pasta. The boys all dug into the vanilla bean ice cream at the end. They weren't so much on the carrot cake, an adult favorite but not a hit with the under six crowd. Or Mommy for that matter. See, they get their food issues from me.

The boys spent plenty of time playing with the toys Grammy keeps over there for them and also playing out in the backyard. Grammy and Uncle Luke even had some little fireworks for Connor to play with (the ones that snap when you throw them down on the concrete). He had fun, even if they didn't last long because he kept taking handfuls and throwing them all together.

A good way to spend the evening, and hopefully a fun birthday for Pappy!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Rise & Shine

Come next week, I think we're going to have one sleepy little boy.

This summer has not been a good one in terms of keeping the boys on any kind of normal schedule. They've been living in our schedule, which doesn't always work with the rest of the world. Bedtime for the boys has been between 10 and 11 o'clock at night, and wake up time ranges anywhere from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., depending on the boy.

Sawyer is always the early one. The boy lives on an average of only 8 or 9 hours of sleep a night, with no naps. Oy. If he happens to fall asleep on any given day because of a rough few days (either activity or sleep wise), you're going to be sorry. Because that nap means he won't fall asleep until well after midnight and he will still be up by 5 a.m. Trust me, naps are not good, and I never thought I'd say that about any child of mine.

Xander is kind of a sleepyhead, but it comes in phases. He is usually the only one who's happy to be put to bud. He climbs right in and immediately starts sucking on that thumb. He's usually out first. He's often the second or third one awake, he's definitely not like his twin brother. Early isn't his style, unless he's not feeling well or he happened to fall asleep at dinner time the night before (which does happen on occasion). He's probably the only one of the boys who misses the afternoon nap.

And Connor, poor Connor, is about to enter the real world. He will do so begrudgingly. He is absolutely excited about going to big kid school. He talks about it practically every single day, asks questions about the day, what kind of backpack he can have, if he can wear his new school shoes, if his friends will be in his class, and well, you get the idea. He's curious, excited and ready. But that sleep pattern is not going to come easily. He's been a travel boy this summer. He hasn't had a regular bedtime before 10:30 all summer long. And he certainly doesn't wake up before the sun comes up. He will have to be at school before 7:45 a.m. He NEVER sees that time of day. EVER. Oy.

We've been trying this week to slowly move the boys back to a school schedule. Bedtime by 9 o'clock and then getting up when they wake up. Sawyer would do well on Connor's school schedule. Connor would prefer the twins (the 10:35 a.m. start time would fit nicely with his ideal wake-up time). Xander will like his schedule, except for the odd days when we might have to get the twins up to take Connor to school because I'm not off from work yet (I get home about 7:45 a.m. on the mornings after I work). But our attempt at a school schedule has not been going all that well.

I'll even give you an example. Two nights ago, Connor was in bed by shortly after 9 o'clock and was actually asleep very shortly after that. Sometime early that morning, he decided he was scared of something in his room and climbed into our bed for the rest of the morning. I had to nudge him awake at 9:45 in the morning. He buried his head under the covers, stretched himself back out, and proclaimed it was "too early" to be awake.

Yes, our big boy is in for a serious lifestyle adjustment. Not necessarily the school part. But the schedule. Wonder how often he's going to fall asleep at school that first week or so?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

What's For Dinner?

Eating. It's always been a challenge in our house.

From the very beginning, we had issues with all of the boys. First, it was their constant need to eat. All of them have been 95th percentile and above their entire lives. And they came into this world ready to eat. I managed about five months with Connor before we started supplementing breast milk, and only about four with the twins. I continued to breastfeed for much longer with both of them, but not exclusively because it simply wasn't enough. We started everything a little earlier than normal, from baby cereal to baby food to table food and even whole milk. They were insatiable as babies.

As they got older, the challenge changed. They still wanted a lot to eat, but only certain things. And that range was extremely narrow. Perhaps they pick that up from their mother. I'm told I was a picky eater as a child, and still have a rather limited list of things I like. If it's green, meaning a vegetable and good for you, I probably don't like it. Even if it's not green and it's a vegetable, I probably won't like it. So the apples don't fall far from the tree, apparently.

Connor, thank goodness, has outgrown his picky stage. He actually will try just about anything once, sometimes with a little persuasion and sometimes with simple childlike excitement about something new. He will also eat just about anything. He graduated to meat a long time ago, and he can actually eat me under the table sometimes. He devours a whole ribeye steak and asks for more. Bacon, he can put away 10 slices and think nothing of it. Boneless pork chops, at least two. And he even eats quite a few vegetables and fruits as well.

But the twins, they are something else. Their diet is EXTREMELY limited. And it seems to be getting worse (not better) as they get older. As far as Sawyer is concerned, anything with bread (or flour) in it is good. Bread, crackers, chips, dry cereal, whatever. He thinks it's the only thing you're supposed to eat, ever. Xander is a little more flexible. He's also a dairy addict. Milk and yogurt are his staples.

But the grand total of their acceptable foods looks something like this:

Dairy. Milk, yogurt.

Fruits. Pineapple, mandarin oranges, bananas (only Xander and only sometimes), grapes (only Xander), applesauce.

Vegetables. Green beans (mostly Xander) and corn (only Xander lately).

Meat. Chicken nuggets, hot dogs and bacon (only Sawyer on any of the meats).

Grains. Bread, plain fajitas, bagels, cereal, chips, crackers, popcorn, pizza, french fries, doughnuts.

Do you see the dilemma. That list is pretty short. Even little kid favorites like macaroni and cheese or peanut butter and jelly are not guarantees. Sawyer will sometimes put away macaroni likes it's the best thing ever. Other times he won't even touch it. Xander won't ever touch it. Peanut butter and jelly is only good about one out of every three tries.

And that's the other issue. What they'll eat one day like it's the best thing ever, a week or so later might be something they won't even touch. You never know. Until you've fixed it and they push it away.

We're working on it. I'm offering a few options, including at least one thing I know they like. I will give them as many as two cups of milk, but I'm not performing short-order cook options any more. You get what you get and you either like or wait and hope for better at the next meal. It's too hard to try to figure out what each one is going to eat at any given time, and we've let them get away with it for far too long.

Tonight was my first experiment. We had a roast with egg noodles, green beans, white corn, and yeast rolls. Each one got a plate with a little of everything.

Xander devoured his green beans and corn, asking for "more, please" as soon as those items were gone. He also ate two rolls and had two glasses of milk. He wouldn't touch the meat or the noodles, which I expected.

Connor ate everything on his plate, even though he doesn't usually like green beans. I told him to at least try one, and if he didn't like it, he didn't have to eat any more. I had purposefully only put three on his plate. He surprised us both by "liking" them tonight, and ate all three and asked for more, which he also ate. He also had seconds of everything except his roll, and he had three glasses of sweet tea. I figure if you eat well, you deserve a few extra treats, and the extra tea was his for tonight.

Sawyer was the stubborn one tonight. Bread, only bread. He ate two rolls and wouldn't touch a single thing on his plate. I did refill his milk for him, so he had two glasses of milk. But I wouldn't let him have another roll without eating something off his plate. I tried to help him with his corn and his green beans, something he eats on occasion. He was having none of it. And now he's going to bed a little more hungry than usual.

I'm sure at some point I might give in. The boys are persistent (and by that I mean really annoying) when they want a drink or a snack. Usually it's much easier to give in than it is to hold out. But I'm going to try. Especially at meal times.

One. Family. Meal. This short-order cook is retired.

Summer Time

Three Brothers, originally uploaded by cheryl.

Today marks the end of my mini-vacation, the week that I had off from work in order to switch to my new set schedule (every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night) at work. The boys and I had been trapped inside most of the week after coming home from the lake, so I was determined to turn the television and computer off for at least part of the day and do something else.

The back yard kiddie pool was our choice. Actually it was Connor's choice, but the others seemed willing. So I went outside, rinsed out the pool and started filling it up with water. With the heat and humidity of late, I had no worries about the boys jumping right in after it filled up. It wouldn't stay cold for long.

Of course, one might argue that I should have checked the weather before I started with this plan. Perhaps even bothered to look up in the sky a bit more than I did. I just thought, hmm, cloudy and overcast, that means it won't be as hot. It didn't really look like rain, not yet anyway. But my other clue should have been the Facebook posts I saw on my phone - one person a few hours to the west talking about how much she loved rain and another one talking about getting a run in before the thunderstorm. What? So as I turn off the water, I look around a little more. Yep, those are dark clouds building to the west. The wind is a bit stronger than normal. Okay, probably going to storm soon. But the boys were already dressed and dancing at the door.

So we went out. They splashed and played and had a big time. We went about 30 minutes with no worries. The rain started shortly thereafter, but the two water babies of the day didn't mind in the least. Sawyer, today's non-water baby (a whole other story in and of itself), was not happy. He came over to me and stood underneath the eave of the roof to stay dry. We managed probably about an hour total before the first crack of thunder rumbled. I gave them a few more minutes to wrap it up, and then we moved inside.

It was almost time for lunch anyway. The boys watched a few cartoons and played with their toys in the sun room while I got lunch together. They ate (or pretended to, also a whole other story) and then went back to playing. After a little while, Connor kept hinting that the rain was gone.

This time I checked. It was gone. So we got dry swimming clothes (the second set of the day) and headed back out. It went well for about 10 minutes. And then it started raining again. This time out of clear blue skies. We stayed out. There wasn't any thunder, so I cranked up the umbrella for the table, so Saw and I could stay dry while the other two happily splashed. It quit in no time and it was like it never happened.

Of course, by then Connor had gotten in trouble for spraying his brothers (not one or even two times, but the third time got him). He was sent inside to change clothes because he was done for the day. He was mad. And then he was sad. He stomped around at first, but then he started crying. I was resolved. He has to learn. Spending weeks away from home with grandparents has its consequences. And it usually means adjusting to having brothers, to having to share your things, and to not getting to do everything you want exactly when you want to do it.

He got over it. I let him come back outside with us, just not in or around the kiddie pool. He could play in the yard or sit with us at the table if he wanted. He eventually was content with that. We've also talked about the incident a few times. I always ask him what he did wrong. He generally starts with a rather pitiful "I don't know" and hides his head. But we work our way to the truth and he tells me what he did and the consequence of his action. We're working hard on that with him lately. That your actions have consequences. He doesn't always like it, but he's beginning to understand.

And that was our day. A little fun in the pool. A lesson or two. And now we're winding down so Mommy can get ready to start her work week tonight. I'm also fighting off three little boys who are determined to get the computer the minute I abandon it. Wonder who will win? (Hint, it's the sneaky little one, he always gets there first).

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Lazy Days

HOT, originally uploaded by cheryl.

That would be the temperature INSIDE the sun room today. It's normally warmer in there than the rest of the house, but not THAT warm. Usually only about five degrees above the AC setting. That's definitely not it.

It's been hot - I mean really, really HOT - in our part of the world the last few days. Temperatures are in the mid-nineties today with a heat advisory. And that means the boys and I have been spending some quality time indoors. You know, driving each other crazy.

Xander is obsessed with the computer. It's nothing new, but the obsession really does seem to be getting worse. He has long known how to turn it on and get himself online to his favorite games. But he's advanced past that. Now he can actually outsmart the system. When we simply "Log Off" and you have to retype the password to get back on, he just reboots the whole system until it comes back up with no password protection. Clearly Mommy needs to work on that. Who knew the four-year old could outsmart the system?

Sawyer is obsessed with eating and drinking. He hasn't been interested in meal times of late, just picking out the bread or chips and leaving the rest of his food. So he wants to "graze" all day long. That means the pantry has been locked for the first time in a long time on a regular basis. I am tired of screaming "no" all day long and finding dry cereal all over my house. It's his first choice, of course. Next is the loaf of bread or perhaps the doughnuts that we picked up at the grocery store earlier this week. He also likes to take the pitcher of Kool-Aid out of the refrigerator and drink it. All of it. He used to tilt it up like a big glass, which actually wasn't so bad. But here lately, he's taken to dipping his fingers into it and sucking the liquid off. Not so good. Giant mess wherever he hides to "drink" it, and also sticky hand prints all over the house.

And Connor is just Connor. He seems happy to be back home among his things, especially his toys. And all of the toys are "his" toys as far as he's concerned. So there's been a lot more screaming and crying, usually by the little brothers, the last few days than there has been all summer long. He doesn't want to share with them, is not above hitting them if they touch or in any way bother something he's been working on (whether he's actively playing with it at the moment doesn't seem to matter either), and he's even taken to hiding some toys out of his brothers' reach.

Yes, these are fun days at our house. A little too much togetherness, I think. And the heat keeps us inside, which makes the days seem even longer.

We did venture to the local park one night, but it was late (in an attempt to avoid the heat and humidity). It didn't work. The boys were hot and sweaty within minutes. Their Capri Suns were gone within seconds. And then they were just crabby, while we were there, on the way home from there, and when it was time to come inside and take their baths.

This time of year is hard on them. Late evening is the best time to get outside, but the heat is still there. And, we're in the process of slowly getting them back onto normal school routines. And that means bath and bed before the summer usual of 10 o'clock or even later. They're not exactly happy about that either.

Fun times at our house this week ...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake!

Today Aunt Kelly stopped over to visit for a little while on her day off. The boys love to see their Aunt Kelly - she's always the kind to get down in the floor and spend some quality play time on their level. Connor usually tries to keep her attention centered squarely on him, and today it worked since the twins couldn't be torn away from their computer game, but normally, all the boys get in on the action.

Aunt Kelly is also notorious for her amazing treats - whether it be toys or color books or candy or other goodies - there is almost always something. Today it was cupcakes ... big, overflowing with icing, bakery cupcakes from one of the local cupcake boutiques.

We saved them for after dinner, and the boys LOVED them ...

Xander, with cake in one hand and icing on the fingers of the other.

Connor taking a big bite with his fork.

Sawyer eating the gummy worm topping first, before digging in fingers first to his icing.

There was cake. Lots of yummy, yummy cake. And frosting. Lots of blue frosting. What more could a little boy ask for?

Standard Forms

With preschool and Early Start between them, kindergarten isn't as big of a milestone as it probably is for some kids and their parents. We've already had those moments of anxiety about dropping our babies off with strangers. We've been there, done that.

For Connor, he was nearly four as he entered a two-day a week preschool program, a grand total of six hours every week. He was also the "bye-bye, see you later!" kid who didn't blink and eye. For the twins, they started their school journey just after their third birthday, with three hours every single day. They were not quite that easy, but the transition wasn't nearly as bad as we thought it might be.

And as I was going through paperwork for Connor's entrance to "big boy" school, I was struck by the forms I was filling out. For once, how easy those forms were to go through, checking yeses on every single line. Most parents probably do. Most people probably don't even give those forms a passing thought or second glance.

But I've seen those forms before. I know what those forms are searching for, what patterns and lines it's hoping to distinguish. And I hate those forms. Because with my twins, those forms are not easy. There are few yeses and a lot of big, resounding nos being marked.

In that moment I was conflicted. I was incredibly happy that I could check yes to everything for Connor, that there is nothing to look for or worry about when it comes to his development, that school will come easily for him as so many things in his young life have. I am happy for him.

But I do not look forward to those forms next year, when his brothers will age out of Early Start and follow him to kindergarten a year later. Those forms will still be there, and they still not be easy. In fact, they will suck. Even coming in with years of early intervention and therapy, there will still be few yeses checked and many more nos. Developmental milestones will always be an issue, and school will come anything but easily to them. I hate that for them.

So I will enjoy Connor's moment today, the ease and confidence he took into his kindergarten screening and the excitement and anticipation he holds for the coming weeks. Even compared to the other incoming kindergartners, he looked calm, perfectly at-ease and ready. Some of his future classmates looked much less sure about the whole thing. I will simply enjoy his moment today, because it was a good one ...

Kindergarten Kickoff!

Today was Connor's second visit to his new school. We went earlier this year to register him for the following school year, but it's been several months and that's a really long time for a five-year old. He was excited to go again. So much so that he wanted to stay longer than the hour we were there. And he also wanted to come back again tomorrow.

Today was one of the two days you could select for the "Kindergarten Kickoff" or standard screening program that they do for incoming kindergartners. The teachers are trying to get an idea of where kids are so that they can plan activities and schedules for the school year. He aced the screening of course. We were lucky enough to have him in a really great preschool program these last two years, and he was coming in as well prepared as most kids his age. He does need work on his "pencil grip," which we knew and which the teachers reassured was a common problem for incoming kids. But when it came to core concepts, he performed well.

After the assessment, the assessment, we were taken on full tour of the school by members of the school PTA. It was the first time we had been beyond the front office. We had started our day in the media center (or library, as they were once called). That was where I filled out some additional paperwork and Connor was led away by a teacher for the assessment. So we spent some time looking around there before that segment of our day was over.

The tour started with important stuff - like a snack (fruit roll-ups for kids and cookies for adults) and the playground. Connor liked the playgound, one of our first stops, though he did comment that it was a really long way to walk (not really, but for a little boy eager to play, there is a bit of a walk). He also liked the big cafeteria with its tall ceilings and long tables (something he's never had at school before). We saw the specialty classrooms, where the kids will do art, music and dance, and even Chinese language. Our last stop of the general tour was the indoor gymnasium (for rainy day activities).

We ended our tour at the kindergarten complex. There are four classrooms in one big, open space that are separated only by bookcases and some commonly shared resources. Those teachers are brave, let me tell you. There is one classroom that is separated from the others, mostly because of a space issue it seems. That fifth classroom is a more traditional classroom setting.

The tour officially ended by turning in the last of our paperwork and by Connor getting to pick a helium balloon of his favorite color. He picked green, which is appropriate, because his brothers are extremely envious of that balloon. Xander has wrapped it up in the ceiling fan not once but twice when he managed to get it away from Connor (it was worth the trade of giving up the computer, which in Xander's world, is a really BIG deal). It's now safely tied down in Connor's bedroom.

And that was our next step on the road to kindergarten. We have another open house and meet-the-teacher night next Monday (they couldn't do classroom assignments until after all the assessments were complete). So we'll be back again next Monday night, and then he'll start on that following Wednesday.

It's hard to believe it's time. But it is. And we think he's ready. He knows he is, if you care to ask him. He's been ready since last May when preschool ended. Maybe before. It should make the transition easier for everyone. It's hard to argue with a kid who's excited to go to school!