Thursday, May 30, 2013

Writinggal Expanding has a new home

If you came here for updates on Frank, Leo, Elsa and Gus, don't worry. We're not gone. We've just moved. All of our adventures have been transported right next door to Writinggal. See ya there! 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Preschool Wrap-Up

Today was the last day of Leo's 4-year-old preschool. When Leo started school this year, he was very apprehensive. I think he thought he was the new guy. Sure, some of the Doves had been at that preschool before but all were new to the Dove class. Here he is on 9/13/12:

On the first day of school the question on the board was "Are you excited to be here?" All the kids moved their name magnet to "Yes" except Leo. He moved his to "I'm not sure." For the first few months he was always a little nervous when I dropped him off but never made a scene (unlike 3-year-old preschool)! I think the "walking in" system was great for us. The carpool sounds like a better way (and for 95% of people it probably is), but I'm so glad I walked him in and out every day, even if I did have to drag Gus along. It was better for Leo because we had that nice transition time in the classroom (rather than getting plucked out of the car) and it was better for me because I got to meet the other parents and talk to the teachers.

As the school year went on Leo got more comfortable with the place, his classmates and the teachers. He still would say "I'm scared to go to school" up until the last couple of months. But I'd remind him, "You USED to be scared. Now you seem like you're having so much fun!" About a month ago I asked him if he was still scared. He demonstrated with his hands: "I'm this much having fun (hands really far apart) and this much scared (hands totally touching)."

So while we were measuring his fear factor, the teachers took other measurements. We got a "time capsule" in his bag today.

On 9/20/12 Leo was 31 pounds and 38.5 inches tall. On 5/14/13 he was 35 pounds and 40 inches tall!

Here were his favorites on 9/20/12:
Color: The Rainbow
Food: Mac and Cheese
Animal: Bear
TV Show: Little Einsteins
Friend: John

His favorites on 5/14/13:
Color: Green
Food: Fish
Animal: Lion
TV Show: Any Animal Show
Friend: Ben S.

(Don't be sad, John! Leo still loves you! It's good he's not "hung up" on you though!)

They also had a page where he drew a person and a house back then and a person and a house now. Boy, does his house drawing look a lot better now!

In addition to the time capsule, the teachers also gave them bags with their names puffy painted on the front and thumb prints of every kid in the class on the back; there was Play Dough and a pillow case that every kid signed. There was a folder with a lot of the cute worksheets he did; all his show and tell letter strips were together on a ring; his "Adventures of Dottie the Dove" was put into a little book. And the best--a full album of photos with pictures of Leo and his Dove friends. They did this for all 14 kids. I am in awe of these teachers!

And here is our four pounds heavier, 1.5 inches taller, eight months older Leo today, on his last day of preschool.

We liked this preschool so much that we are waiting on Kindergarten and Leo is going to stay there next year and do their Pre-K class, the Wolves. Several of his Dove friends will be Wolves too.

The question on the board Tuesday was "How do you feel the day after graduation?" The choices were "Happy, Sad or I'm not sure." Leo told me he was excited and wanted to write in an extra answer so I helped him spell it.  Ms. Desiree told him she was not only happy about his handwriting (which was pretty good!) but also that he felt excited. And he explained that he wasn't excited because school was ending, but because he was going to be a Wolf. I think he will like that it will be right next door to the Doves class. He may still be a little nervous but at least he'll know he's not "the new kid" anymore.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Colorblind Leo

I'm not sure at what age kids typically start to ask about why people have different skin colors, but Leo has not seemed to notice yet. We are so prepared for it, though, that we've had a couple of false alarms lately. 

Last week Leo put his baseball cap on backyards and said: 

"I'm a back person!" 
"What?"  I asked. 
"I'm like a back person!" 
"Why do you say that, Leo?" 
"Because I have my hat on backwards so I'm a back person." 

Relieved was I because I did not think he was saying back. 

Then Saturday after t-ball Leo and Gus went to the YMCA play center while Frank and I worked out. Afterwards Leo said, "I made a friend!" And apparently this friend was a t-ball team too. Leo added, "And he was white! My friend was white!" Frank and I exchanged a look and then Frank put it together: "Oh, he was on the white t-ball team!" 

Here are a couple of recent pics of our almost politically incorrect son: 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day--Bear Style

Leo was so excited about Mother's Day. The night before, he was plotting and planning; he was almost as excited as Christmas Eve. You see, he has this Berenstain Bears book about "Mama's Day" where the cubs and Papa Bear surprise Mama Bear. Here are the Cliff's Notes:

Mama Bear marks her favorite breakfast recipe in a cook book and buys all the ingredients. Early in the morning the cubs and Papa Bear sneak into the kitchen (loudly) to make breakfast. Mama Bear hears the whole thing. They make a huge mess. They bring her breakfast and say, "Happy Mama's Day" and she says, "Mama's Day? Well I suppose it is!" Then they give her her favorite breakfast, flowers, a card and a new robe. When the baby wakes up, Mama Bear says she better go get her. Papa Bear says, "No, no. We'll take care of Honey and clean up the kitchen." And they do.

So Leo basically wanted to reenact that. Frank told him to ask me what my favorite breakfast was but he asked me what my favorite dinner was. I told him fajitas and he kept insisting to Frank--right up until the night before--that they make fajitas for me for breakfast. Frank and I had to do this whole phony dialogue right in front of him: "So mommy, what is your favorite breakfast?" "Pancakes." "But I thought you liked fajitas?" "Oh, I do! I just like them for dinner. Kinda like Leo likes pancakes for breakfast but mac and cheese for dinner."

The whole thing went down very Berenstain Bears-like: Frank and Leo got up early, banged around in the kitchen and came in to "wake me up" and surprise me. I said, "Mother's Day? Oh, I suppose it is!" and after sampling their pancakes (although fajitas would have been good!),  admiring my flowers and card (but hey, where was my robe), I pretended I heard Gus waking up. "Oh, I better go get the baby!" I said. Frank said, "No, we'll take care of him. And we'll clean up the kitchen!" And they did.

Later Leo dragged his easel into my bathroom where I was getting ready to show me this:

We tried to get a Mother's Day photo; we did ok!

Here I crouched down to be their size and they both crouched down too!

Later (after a fajita dinner!), Leo hugged me and told me, "I love you so much now."  Huh? And apparently he is sleeping with paper and a pen on his nightstand because he is planning another surprise for me for tomorrow. How lucky am I? I've got one boy who loves me "now" and another who thought the whole day was his birthday.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Hurray for May

May has always been my favorite month. It might be because I associate it with the end of school. But I also like the weather and of course now I get to celebrate Mother's Day. 

Leo has so many end-of-the-school year/Mother's Day activities that my normally somewhat quiet Tuesdays and Thursdays are packed. There's "Muffins with Mom" this week, a park field trip next week and a school carnival on the last day, May 23rd. I have loved his teachers so much that I get teary-eyed when I read the list of all this stuff, knowing it's almost the end. (The tears are also partly caused by the fact that we will have a long, hot preschool-less summer coming soon.) 

Here is his cute, sweet Dove class. I hope that Ms. Desiree (left) and Ms. Laura (right) will still be teaching the Doves class in 2015-2016 when Gus is eligible. 

And speaking of Mother's Day, Leo is constantly talking about all the surprises he has in store for me. They all seem to involve waking me up early. Here was a pre-Mother's Day gift he created, a picture of me: 

I've gone a little activity-crazy so Leo is currently doing soccer (ends this Saturday), t-ball, gymnastics and swimming.  Gus was so sad the first day of swimming because he couldn't get in the pool that I signed the two of us up for a mommy and me class. It's at the same time as Leo's big kid class. They are both doing great in the pool! I've got to get some pictures in their matching bathing suits. 

Today after swim lessons they got haircuts. Leo always looks a little younger and Gus looks a little older after. But Leo got to do a big-kid thing and play video games while they styled his hair! 

Our traditional picture of posing with the shark:

Gus spontaneously hugged him!

And check this out: Here's Gus flirting with Leo's female teammates during t-ball practice. He was saying, "I Gus." They were giggling like he was SO funny. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What a difference...

FIVE years make!

Leo's Been Here FIVE Years!

I can't believe it's only been five years since we met Leo. In some ways it seems like the time has gone by so quickly but then it's also weird to think he's only been here five years. I mean, that's like a slightly long stint in college for some people.

So here's what Leo's been up to the last five years. Or let's make it the last five months:

As you'll see from his birthday party pics, he's still seriously into pirates. But he's graduated from Jake and the Neverland Pirates to "Scary pirates." He claims he likes all things scary but then at night he asks us to check on him every minute. Really, every minute. Not every five or ten. (Good thing he's not so great at telling time).

He's also big time into art. Does he do modern? impressionist? renaissance? No, I would call Leo's art "tape art." He can do wonders with Scotch tape. He recently made a ship out of about 33 pieces of construction paper, all held together by tape. He spends his daily relax time working on these masterpieces. Luckily, I tipped off his party guests to his love for art and he got some really cool art-related presents.

Through his art and his pretend play we're seeing more and more of his creative side. He loves to get lost "making up a stories" or creating imaginary worlds in the "haunted forest" (a tree and a couple of bushes in our backyard).

We moved into this house the day before his fourth birthday and he really has come a long way since then. Last summer there were still lots of temper tantrums and now there's well, fewer than lots. We can usually get him to settle down when he starts to get worked up. But that's just Leo. Easy-going, laid-back, go-with-the-flow--all not words we would use to describe Leo! Strong-willed, smart, feisty, funny, imaginative, quirky--that's Leo.

Oh, and remember Leo's fear of jumpy/bounce houses? Gone. Replaced by a LOVE of them!

And remember his fear of Polo shirts? Still going strong. (I told you he was quirky.) 

This past weekend we celebrated Leo's five years with family, friends and a party at our local McDonald's (which just happens to be decorated in pirate-theme all year round). We also invited a pair of pirates to come entertain the kids. Leo thought they just hung out at McDonald's. He said, "I've always wanted to meet a real pirate and I didn't know if I would!"

Of course Leo missed his friends in Georgia at his party, especially John. Here they are Facetiming. Leo opened his present from John--a Dot Art paint set and books! He's already gotten started on it!

Happy FIFTH birthday, Leo! We love you!