Happy Blogoversary!!

I just realized that today is my Blogoversary! Yay me!! I'd offer some sort of contest or giveaway, but I don't think many people read my blog these days, so it wouldn't really be worthwhile. :P

If you do read my blog, I'd love for you to leave a comment sometime- it's nice to see that people are actually reading this stuff. :) I'm sure I could just check my statcounter, but I change blog templates and then forget to reinstall the code. Besides, the statcounter just gives me a general location of the person who visits the blog - it doesn't actually tell me who visited.

So pretty please, leave me some comments on some of my posts so that I know I'm being visited. :) I'll definitely return the favor when I can remember to do so.


Talking in Class

The Princess is really enjoying kindergarten. She enjoys it so much that she insists that she enjoys it WAY more than church. We're trying to help her remember that church is important in ways that school never can be, but I know that's difficult to wrap your head around when you're five-turning-six and you get to have recess every day at school. ;)

The teacher fills out a paper every day that tells us how The Princess has behaved at school. The paper has 3 faces on it - a smiley face, a "flat" face, and a frowny face. If The Princess has behaved well, she gets a smiley face. If she has received a warning from the teacher and ignores that warning, she gets a "flat" face. If she continues to misbehave and receives another warning after that, she gets a frowny face. If she gets 4 smiley faces for the week, she gets to choose a prize (dollar store toys) or a privilege (extra computer time, etc) on Friday.

The first week of school was great, and she brought home a smiley face every day. Since then, she's become more comfortable with the other kids in her class, and talking is starting to become an issue. Last week she brought home a flat face for talking, and yesterday she came home from school with another flat face (for talking during "rest time"). I know my child, and I know her tendencies, and I had a feeling that talking or hyperactivity was going to be her struggle in school.

I was actually looking through a box of old papers a few months ago, and I came across some of my old kindergarten report cards. I had an issue with talking in class, too. Which I totally don't understand, because I was so painfully shy back then that I don't remember ever talking to ANYone...

She also brought home her first progress report last week. Her teacher said that she's doing well academically (I'm worried she's going to get bored soon since she's already reading and some of the kids are still learning their ABC's and that it will exacerbate the bad behavior), and that she's getting more comfortable in class. She then said perhaps she's getting a little too comfortable, because talking in class is starting to become an issue.

Here's my question - what can I do with her at home, or how can I talk to her, to help her remember to be respectful of her teacher's requests not to talk in class? I know she'll be disappointed the first time that she gets two flat faces in a week and doesn't get to choose a prize (which will be a good lesson), but I worry that eventually the novelty of choosing a prize might wear off and she'll start to talk too much. IS there anything I can do or say to help her remember? I'd like to get this worked out now before it becomes an actual problem...

Since I've been diagnosed with ADD, and I think her dad has some ADD tendencies, I'm pretty sure she's going to have those tendencies, as well. I know they can't diagnose ADD until a child has started school, but I've been noticing some of those tendencies in her for a couple of years.

I'd love to help her find a way to deal with those tendencies at a young age before the school labels her as ADHD and insists that we medicate her. Not that I have anything against medication if it helps - it definitely keeps me sane and functioning on a daily basis. But I kind of wonder, if my teachers had realized back then that I had ADD (I guess I wasn't a "typical" case because I did well in school, but looking back at certain things like the fact that I was a "daydreamer" it seems pretty obvious), could I have learned how to cope with it rather than having to use medication? I use medication now, because it helps my house run more smoothly which allows me to be nice to my family, but I don't know that it would have been a necessity had I learned to deal with my symptoms in other ways.

I know some people suggest diet, etc as a way to "cure" ADD. But going all organic and giving my child an über-expensive multivitamin is not really an option at this point in time...


First Misunderstanding

The Princess has been excited about her first trip to the school library since last week. Yesterday was the "big day" and she was sooooo excited. She woke up extra early to wash her hair so that she would smell like coconut (her current shampoo "flavor of the week"), and put on a special dress to wear to school.

When she came home from school, the first thing I asked her was, "How was the library?" She told me that she didn't get to go to the library because she hadn't taken a hardcover book back. I was confused, and tried to get her to clarify, but she was upset and started crying. I tried to get her to explain the situation better, but all she could tell me was that the teacher didn't let her go to the library because she didn't have a hardcover book. She was getting more and more upset that I didn't understand and less and less coherent. So I told her we'd talk about it more when her dad came home from work (he's sometimes better at *calmly* asking the right questions to get clear answers from her).

When Sasquatch came home, we talked to her about the situation again. She just kept saying that she was one of 4 kids who didn't get to go to the library because she hadn't taken a book back. We verified that it wasn't the paperback "take-home" book she'd borrowed from the class (not the library) the week before. She insisted it was a hardcover book.

Finally, I had an epiphany. I realized that it was Wednesday. She hadn't been in school the Wednesday before (being a bad mommy, and knowing that all they were doing in school was writing their names over and over and over, I'd allowed us to take a "field trip" to the beach), and therefore, had been unable to go to the library. If the other kids had gone to the library that day, they all had books to return. I promised her we'd talk to her teacher today.

This morning, she reminded Sasquatch several times (both at home and in the car on the way to school) that he needed to talk to her teacher. He went in, asked about the situation, and reminded the teacher that she hadn't been in school the Wednesday before. Her teacher immediately realized the mistake, and felt awful about it. She promised that The Princess would be allowed a special trip to the library today to check out a book. So it all worked out in the end.

This parenting thing is heart wrenching sometimes! I know it was all a misunderstanding, but it broke my heart that she was denied something that she had been looking forward to for such a long time. If she had been denied the privilege due to naughtiness, I would have appreciated that she learned a life lesson. But the fact that she hadn't done anything wrong just made my heart hurt for her. It scares me to think about her growing up and all the times she's going to be hurt and I won't be able to do anything to prevent it. I know I can be here to pick her back up and try to make her feel better, but it's sooooo much harder to watch your children suffer than to go through it yourself.

I think part of it is that I remember what it was like when I was that age. Little things like trips to the library mean EVERYthing when you don't have to worry about mundane things like bills to pay. It's so easy to have your heart broken, and eventually the innocence wears away and you become a cynical grown up. I hate thinking that my little girl is starting to grow up and experience the "real world." I know she's strong and resilient, and I pray that she'll turn out well in the end, but I hate that she ever has to suffer.

I guess it gives you just a teeny tiny understanding for what our Heavenly Father feels when he watches us suffer and knows that we have to experience those things for ourself. I can't even begin to fathom the agony He felt when he watched His Son suffering on the cross and begging to have that pain taken away from him. In a small way, little experiences like these help me to understand that a little bit more and make me grateful that we have a Heavenly Father who loves *all* of us enough that he allowed His Son to suffer the ultimate pain in order to allow us all to return to Him some day. It makes me want to work harder to do what I need to be doing to earn the privilege to return some day, and to inspire my children to want to do the same.


The Princess

Here are some images of The Princess playing outside with her very favorite toy - her sand & water table. I was playing with the rented lens again. I'm so sad that it has to go back on Friday.

I know she looks mad in this first image. It's the only expression I can get other than "aloof" or cheesy grin...


Stripey Sparky

I've rented one of my dream lenses for a reception I'm photographing this weekend. I figure I need to get my money's worth, so I've been using it as much as possible since it arrived on Wednesday. Sparky was my first subject.


Fun Stuff

I recently had to dig through some old files on my computer to find a Halloween picture, and in the process I came across my "year end" slideshow files for The Princess from a couple years ago (I think this was the year she was 2 turning 3). I just wanted to share a few of the images I found.

I have a really bad habit of shooting a lot of pictures of my kids and then never having any of the images printed (or even getting as far as editing the images). My kids are probably going to think they're adopted, because there are hardly any prints of them on the walls.

Actually, there are NO prints of them on the walls at the moment, because the only thing on any wall of my house is Sasquatch's (DH's old/new nickname for the blog - a bit less generic that way) big wolf picture over the mantle. And a faerie calendar where my computer desk used to be.

I need to get better about having prints made from the thousands of pictures I take of my kids. I also need to get better about decorating my house. I guess I kind of keep hoping in the back of my mind that this isn't our permanent dwelling place, and that if I avoid decorating, there's nothing to tie me down here. I suppose the proper way to tempt Mr. Murphy would be to get my house just how I like it, so that I'll be annoyed if we end up moving.

Don't get me wrong, I love the people we've met here. We've made some amazing friends. But I still feel lonely and cooped up most of the time, and I hate being so far away from all of our family and friends. And the one car situation is pretty miserable most of the time.

Okay, enough whining. Onto the retro cuteness!

This first picture is still one of my favorites. I was out with a friend and Sasquatch was babysitting, and she managed to find my makeup stash. I was furious at the time, because she got a ton of makeup ground into the carpet, but I think it's hilarious that so much of the makeup is applied "correctly." Or at least on the correct areas of the face.

Obviously she perfected the dirty looks at an early age.

She used to run around with this tape player and pretend to take pictures of everyone and everything. It was super cute!


Tutu cute!

Don't you just love cliché titles?

Just one of Miss Sparky for today. I finally had the gumption to create a studio portrait to go along with a similar (albeit rather different - but at least they're both wearing beads) portrait of The Princess at this age. The Princess was actually about 9 months in her portrait, but since Sparky is kind of a peanut compared to her big sis, they still look pretty similar. I think I'm going to get this one printed as a 16X20 to match the other portrait, and maybe I'll actually start putting some art up on my pathetically bare walls.

If you want to get the full effect - click on the picture to view it larger. It will still look a little too red and dark (something awful happens when I post images on the web) but it will look at least a little better than the smaller image.

Isn't she a cute little monkey?


First Day of Kindergarten

Whether or not I'm ready for it, The Princess is now in Kindergarten.

She missed the cutoff by three days last year, so she's more than ready for school. She's already reading and writing (although they didn't tell us how she did on her assessment), and she's thrilled to have the social interaction.

The first (and second) day went really well. She had trouble sleeping the night before (adrenaline/nerves/baby sister who was screaming for hours), and didn't have much of an appetite for the fancy breakfast her dad made for her, but she had a lot of fun at school. And being in school all day has helped with her behavior at home, as well (knock on wood).

I was apparently a bad mommy on the first day - the temperature dropped to the 70's, and "all the other kids" had jackets while she had to fend for herself in capris and a t-shirt. I suppose the heat and humidity has already thinned her blood and she's turned into a cool weather wimp. I was LOVING the "cooler" temperatures yesterday and didn't even think of having her take a jacket. She insisted on wearing one to school today in order to be like everyone else. I guess we haven't done our job teaching her that it's okay to be different.

Here are a couple of snapshots - she's sporting the spiffy new backpack that she picked out all by herself.


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