Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hooray for School

I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am that today was the first day of school.  Months ago I was skeptical whenever anyone said that May and June are the best times to have a baby.  I didn't believe it for a second.  It may be good if you don't have any other kids, but having a newborn just as your other kids are starting summer vacation?  I don't think so.

Needless to say, it's been a long summer.  For all of us.  None of us were sad or disappointed that school started today.  Quite the contrary!

Both kids got up early, got ready, played the piano, did their reading, did their morning chores with their new chore chart (!!!), and were set and ready to go well before school started.  I made them pause and take some pictures before taking off across the street to school (not sure I'm ever going to get tired of that!).  Of course, none of the pictures turned out how I would have liked:

 And you can see 3rd grader Spencer imparting some of his school knowledge to the newbie Kinderkid.



 And then finally we walked across the street to school.
 Spencer immediately took off and found his friends. At least we're assuming that's what happened.  We didn't see a lick of him after we made him give us hugs.  And so we focused on Mea, making sure she was ready.  Thanks to Spencer's love of school, Mea didn't seem to have any qualms or fears about school whatsoever.  Here she is, standing in line, waiting to go in.  Her teacher is the one in the peach shirt, Mrs. Olsen.
 I feared that she might have a breakdown halfway through the day, and we'd get a call from the school.  It didn't happen, of course.  Instead, she ran to me at the end of the day, excited to share the events of her day.  And she's eager for tomorrow.
I couldn't have asked for an easier transition.  

While they were at school I was reflecting on my experiences in 3rd grade and Kindergarten.  Here's what I remember:
Kindergarten:
-Mrs. James was my teacher, and I only had half-day.  I'm quite sure I was in the morning Kindergarten.  I don't remember much, except that I was too afraid to ask my teacher if I could go to the bathroom, so I sent up the kid I was sitting next to to ask for me.  I have a few more fuzzy memories of this year, nothing specific.  But they are happy memories.  

3rd Grade:
-My second year in Hawaii, and not much better than my first.  I still didn't have any friends.  Mrs. Oyama was my teacher. 
-I remember sitting in class, waiting for flies to land on my legs.  I'd sit still as long as I could, with the flies tickling my legs.  When I couldn't bear it any longer, I'd finally have to move my legs, but if I sat still again, they'd always come back.  (My school was not air-conditioned, and there were no screens on the louvered windows, so flies and bugs could come and go as they pleased.)
-There was a boy that I had to sit next to who wore a windbreaker every day (in Hawaii, with no A/C??).  He was chubby and sweaty, and I absolutely HATED it when his arm would cross over onto my desk because it left a sweat mark there.  Yuck.  
-There was also a girl in my class who stole my scissors.  I knew they were my scissors because they were labeled with my name, but I saw them in her desk after they went missing from mine.  Not knowing how to deal with the situation, I stole them back when she wasn't looking.  Ironically, it would be this same girl who, in high school, would threaten to beat me up and call me a b---- for no apparent reason.  Maybe it was because I stole my scissors back from her.  Also ironic--her father was one of the local cops.  

Anyway, I'm soooooooo glad my kids love school.  And that they have a great school to go to.  And that we live right across the street.  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

3 Months!

Davin is now over 3 months old.  In some ways he's actually like a 3-month old, but because he was born a month early, we're finding that he's still quite like a typical 2-month old.  

Most babies smile sometime between 4 and 8 weeks.  Davin didn't smile until he was over 10.  But now that he's done it, he smiles a lot.  It's just hard to capture it on camera.  
 He's also focusing more on people and things.  We actually feel like he's looking at us now, instead of just gazing in our direction.
 The kids still have a lot of fun with him, and can't get enough.
 We've had to start actually strapping him into his seats because he moves and kicks so much now.
 He's chunking up nicely.
 But he's still as cute as ever.

We've also discovered this month that he's a beach boy and not a pool boy.  Both times I tried taking him to the pool were some of the worst experiences I've had since he was born.  But both times I've taken him to the beach, he's been an absolute angel.  He didn't even cry either of those car rides to the beach (rare for him!), even though the distance was almost twice as long.

We sure love this little guy!  We can't wait to see what the next month brings.

Moving Day Observations

I think I've mentioned that we were moving.  Maybe I didn't.  But we've moved!  Not far.  Almost exactly 1/2 mile north and one block over from our previous house.  Almost not worth the effort at first thought, but you may change your mind after you read the lists below.  But before I get to that, here are some moving day observations:  

1)  The closer in proximity the new house is to the old, the more annoying it is.  With short-distance moves you don't take the time to really pack your stuff--you just throw it in a box and think you'll unpack it immediately in the new, but that usually doesn't happen.  You end up taking a gazillion small trips instead of just focusing your efforts on one. And then in your new house you have no idea where anything is.  Plus, on long distance moves, you are able to take a break between the packing and unpacking stages, so it seems less of an ordeal.

2)  It's amazing how quickly moving takes when you have help.  We had 7 men from church show up, and had everything moved in 2 hours.  And then when it came time to clean the old house, I had two friends show up.  What I though would take 3 days on my own only took about 1.  Thanks, K!

3)  It's almost impossible to get anything done with a 2 (almost 3) month old baby.  Evan actually did almost all the packing and moving this time around (he can't complain too much--it was reverse when we moved from New Jersey).  But, the same friend who came and helped clean also held him while he wasn't napping so I could work continuously.

4)  I'm not sure I've ever felt "moved in" anywhere I've lived as an adult.  One of these days I'd like to have that feeling--having a place for everything, everything in its place, and knowing I never have to leave.  One of these days.  *Sigh*

Anyway, here are some of the reasons we decided it was worthwhile to move:

Old house--
-windows didn't open (Literally.  Almost all were painted shut completely.  Not a good thing for someone who grew up with windows always open)
-cracked windows that the landlord wasn't willing to fix
-on a busy street (I was afraid to let my kids play outside at all)
-too many big trees too close to the house (They were constantly dumping tree trash all over the yard.  We couldn't keep the yard clean).
-no garage or shed
-only one shower/bath (It got tricky when we had visitors).
-asbestos tile in unfinished basement with boards over windows instead of glass
-basement that leaked (not necessarily flooded) whenever there was a heavy rain storm.  There had to be mold down there.  Evan's allergies were awful whenever he went down there.
-horrible paint colors in the bedroom (mustard yellow, ocean blue, baby pink, and seafoam green) and the landlord was unwilling to let me paint them
-inconvenient access to the backyard (combined with the busy street, it made it hard to let me kids go out and play on their own)
old house
New house--
-fenced in backyard
-deck out back
-garage (2.5 car-sized, too!)
-windows that open!!
-3 bathrooms, one of which is remodeled with a very nice giant tub
-finished, remodeled basement
-garbage disposal (can't believe I went 2 years without one!)
-super large closets (for this area, anyway--this house has at least twice the amount as the last house)
-literally right across the street from Spencer and Mea's school--I can watch them play on the playground from my dining room window, and they can walk to and from school on their own
-brand-new carpet (which is better for babies when learning to crawl)
-up the street from a friend of Spencer's--he can walk there on his own
new house

There are a few disadvantages:
-no entry closet
-crappy dishwasher (but at least there's a dishwasher!)
 -I had to clean everything when we moved in (I'm talking years and years of grime, not just some dusting and vacuuming)
-the backyard is small (almost non-existent) but there's no need for one--the kids can walk right across the street and play on the school playground anytime they want

All in all, the move was definitely worth it for us!