Friday, May 30, 2014

tribute to kindergarten

School is out! Summer is in!

Annike flourished throughout this year of Kindergarten. It is shocking to think that a year ago she did not want to go anywhere without her blanket. She did not know many of her lower case letters, or any math. She has learned so much over the past year that she even initiated writing and illustrating her own "books" that she liked to take in to read to her class. Ha!

Throughout the year our budding zoologist incorporated her love of animals into any activity possible. While her classmates were painting rainbows, Annike painted sea otters diving for urchins in a kelp forest. During a popsicle stick building craft, most of the kids made a boat while Annike constructed a lizard. At least she has a clear understanding of what she likes!

Mostly, we are pleased about who she is becoming as a person and a friend, with a growing awareness of others. A few comments we have heard about her recently include that she is a cheerleader, truly rooting for her friends... that she is not competitive with the other girls, giving them sincere compliments... and her teacher says that somehow she manages to stay out of the drama that sometimes arises between girls in the classroom setting. That means more to us as her parents than any academic accomplishment.

That being said, here are a few of my favorites from the last few months. Some completed at school, some completed at home. All of them inspired by her love of learning and love of animals. I will let them speak for themselves.

Below, our tribute to kindergarten:

Kelp forest 

"Look at the elephant. He is picking up water with his trunk."

"I love all my stuffed animals."
Notice green blankee is drawn on the far left.

"The flamingo is pink and he's drinking."

Forest scene

Probably close to 20 of these books have been created over the year. All animal-themed.

Savannah Book with inside pages

Sea Life book with inside pages

Notes like these are beginning to appear around the house.
Invitation to a "pardee" (party) where we will dance and pretend to be fish.
Can't wait.

Poor baby Karsten. She loves him too.

Left for me on a post-it.

Another season, gone with the wind. Thank you, kinder years, for all that you have given our daughter. A fresh breeze blowing into a girl who will be a life long learner.

Good-bye Kindergarten. Hello 1st grade!

Aside: There have been issues with people trying to make comments on this blog. I believe I have fixed the problem. If you don't have a google account, you can leave a comment in the "anonymous" category and be sure to include your name. Thanks!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

what makes it vacation

Vacation with three little ones has been whittled down to its simplest form. No sleeping in, no fancy restaurant dinners, no expensive or involved events, no schedule to follow. Just swimming and family time. We eat P.B.J.s and mac and cheese out of the condo kitchen, take naps when we need them, and all the in-between time find us swimming in the pool or at the beach.

It is special because we are together. It is restful because we have low expectations for accomplishing anything outside of being together. It is vacation because Daddy is around ALL the time, thus greatly increasing the adult to child ratio.

Here are a few highlights from our recent trip to Kauai...

Thanks to a 3-hour time change, we made it to the beach for a lot of beautiful sunrises. Thanks to the balmy weather and deserted beach, clothing was optional (for the kids, at least.)

Our kids become better friends every time we take a trip together. It is a beautiful thing to witness and makes my heart feel full.

Annike learned to swim and snorkel on this trip. She can name every fish she saw. We were so proud of her bravery in the ocean.

Daddy enjoyed catching lizards, and Sommer enjoyed holding them.

This little guy discovered that his new favorite food is sand. If you look closely, you will see the sand goatee in the majority of his photos.

Happy Mother's Day to me!  How did I get so lucky to have these three precious kids making me cards, drawing me pictures, giving me back scratches, and whining for me to feed them on Mother's Day?

Vacations are a priceless time of memory making. We never forget how much we love each other, but it is good to be reminded how much we LIKE each other.