Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Henry's First Few Weeks of School

My senior in preschool had his curriculum night tonight. I've been waiting to do a post on Henry, because he hasn't been willing to tell me anything about school.

Here's a side by side comparison of four-year-old pictures of me, Henry, and Nick. I'll have to find one of Greg, too.

I found out a lot tonight about Henry's school, though! These were hanging in the hallway outside his classroom, holding up the artwork. Aren't they adorable?

Super Henry!

Henry said he made this picture after reading "the boom boom book." He's talking, of course about Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin, Jr.

I haven't heard much about Henry's preschool thus far. He tells me "I don't want to talk about it!" when I ask. So I was happy to go in and see what he's been up to. His teacher tells me that Henry is pretty vocal and answers questions well in class. I guess when asked for his favorite color, he not only told his favorite (green), but his grandma's favorite color (purple).

Henry has actually been sitting down and listening during circle time and story time this year. (I cheered when the teacher told me that.)

This was Henry's family apple. He had to decorate it and then add a picture of his family. The teacher hung them all on a big "family tree."

When I got home, I chatted with Henry and he did eventually start telling me some things he has done at school. (Finally!) I let him help me make dinner, and we decided to do breakfast for dinner. Henry even set the table!

I have no idea why Henry is shirtless. He must think he's a Calvin Klein model.

Nothing beats French Toast and bacon on a Wednesday night.  :)

I made him put on a shirt for dinner. I mean, we have to have standards.

Henry, by the way, can eat more French Toast than either Toni or I. I believe he ate three pieces, two before dinner and one during dinner!

Then, after bathtime, Henry and I watched the video as we worked on the lyrics to "Do You Want to Build a Snowman." He's trying to learn the whole thing.

I'm hoping Henry will start telling me what he's doing in school now. We shall see, I suppose.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Nick's Summer is Over. . .

Even though it is insanely hot outside, summer, for us, is officially over. The boys started back to school on Thursday. Here's Nick waving on his way to school Friday morning.

Yup. That's Darth Vader on his t-shirt playing basketball.

Here is Nick's first assignment from the first grade. It asks, "How do you feel on the first day of school?"

Nick is sitting at his desk crying brown tears that are reminiscent of a moustache.

Yup. He feels sad. I can't say that I blame him, though so far I think he is liking first grade just fine. Nick has recently made a few friends in the neighborhood, and he loves the freedom of riding his bike to play with them. I hope this didn't make the teacher feel too bad, though I'm sure she's heard it before. I wonder what it would look like if teachers had to fill out this paper and illustrate it. . . Perhaps our answers would be similar to Nick's? I would write simply, "I feel overheated." (My school has no air conditioning.)

Here's Nick giving the thumbs-up to first grade.

Ahh, well. Nick had a great first couple of days, no matter how sad he said he was--summer has to end sometime. I know that Nick wanted it to last longer, though. He is still wearing his Great Wolf Lodge bracelet from our trip in July!

Nick looks like such a big kid in this picture.  

Happy beginning of the school year!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Henry, the Senior Preschooler, Prepares for School

Henry is already excited about his second year of preschool. I'm not sure what to call a 2nd year preschooler, but this is his last year before Kindergarten, so I've decided to call him a Senior Preschooler.  ;)

I couldn't resist these overalls I found at the Goodwill. It's probably (sniff) the last pair of overalls Henry will wear. They only go up to 4T.

As I said yesterday, I decided to take the boys school supply shopping separately this year. Good call? I certainly think so--Henry enjoyed the one-on-one time and carrying his own basket.

Henry tried on these glasses, but the prescription "made everything look funny."

Do you see the Olaf thermos Henry is holding? He is so darned proud of that thing--he's been carrying it everywhere.

This boy is a big time Frozen fan.

Henry only needed a few school supplies (thermos, folder, markers, etc.), so we had time to choose carefully and to linger and stop for gelato afterwards.

Mmmm. Gelato helped me deal with the fact that summer is almost over.

Also on the agenda last week was a haircut and Henry's four-year-old checkup. Apparently, Henry's right at the 50th percentile.  He's growing well and was very brave during his three shots.

I think I'm going to have the stylist leave his hair longer next time. 

And. . . he's ready for his senior year of preschool. The bus will pick him up bright and early Thursday morning.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

School Supply Shopping with Nick, the First Grader

I can hardly believe that Nicholas will be going to first grade this Thursday. Really. My boy will be at school every day until 3:40 p.m. (Can you hear Greg cheering about this?)

Here's Nick's before and after haircut pictures. He went from shaggy to stylish!

This year, I decided to take the boys shopping for school supplies separately, so that each one could have a little time with me. (Also, so that Henry didn't cry because he doesn't need as many supplies as Nick.

Nick was pretending he was a spy on a secret school supply mission. Thus the "man purse," sunglasses, and serious look.

First graders really do need a ton of supplies. I ordered a bunch of stuff on Amazon, but we still spent several hours in two different stores on the hunt for very specific items. (A two-pocket folder in orange? Not at Target, that's for sure.)

Nick loved this pencil box (with chalkboard label) because it was the only one with a handle.

We had to drive up to the Meijer on the hunt for an orange folder and wide-ruled notebooks. I guess everyone bought out the ones at Target. I really like spending time with just one of my kids at a time. It's a nice change of pace. Nobody pokes anyone else, and there's no squabbling.

Success! An orange folder. 

I suppose I like school-supply shopping a little more than your average mom. Teachers get a little too excited about back-to-school supplies, and I'm no exception.

I think I was more excited about writing on his supply box with chalk than he was.

I took this opportunity to take Nick out to lunch, and I let him pick. He chose The Lucky Bamboo, an Asian restaurant near us. I think it was the pinkest restaurant I've ever seen.

Not my favorite Asian restaurant, but Nick gave the crab rangoon a thumbs-up.

Since Nick's teachers requested all plain folders, (Boo, Hiss from Nick) I got Nick moustache stickers for name labels, and I let him pick out some stickers to decorate with.

I would call it a pretty good day, though my wallet is much lighter than when I woke up this morning. Happy Back-to School!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

If you give Henry a house. . .

. . . he will populate it as he sees fit! Henry found this little dollhouse at a garage sale last weekend, and wanted to play with it tonight. We went looking for people to put in the dollhouse, and this is who we found. . .

Oh yeah. Football players, Star Wars action figures, Big Boots, and a giant insect. I never noticed until tonight that there isn't a single female anything in their toys. Since most of their toys were either gifts from other people or random things we picked up from garage sales, I'll have to add some females to their pile of people.

We kept putting the people in different places. This rather incongruous mix of people in such an unlikely location kept making Henry laugh. He especially liked Darth Vader sitting on the toilet with the storm troopers keeping watch in the bathtub.

Hans Solo must've had the munchies. 

Between Goodwill and various garage sales, I've really lucked out in the last week. My very best find was this playhouse, which I got delivered for $50. These things retail new for around $500, not including delivery.

Of course, they don't always play with their toys the way one would expect. . .

They treat their new home like a jungle gym, spy headquarters, and underground bunker. Hey, at least they're creative. Nick had his toy cash register in there yesterday, along with a laundry basket. Perhaps he wants to open up a laundromat?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Our Trip to Pittsburgh: Part I

This year, Greg surprised me with a little getaway to Pittsburgh for a combination birthday, Mother's Day, and Anniversary gift. We were able to have nearly four days and three nights away, sans kids, and other than the whole "sitting in a car for eight hours" part, we enjoyed every second.

Can you see the Duquesne Incline in the background? 

The weather was cool and rainy for much of the trip, but we still enjoyed walking around checking out the city. For a medium-sized city, we thought Pittsburgh was pretty neat. Oh, and the best part? Greg planned everything. He had all of the reservations done and surprised me with the trip on my birthday. I was impressed!

We spent a few hours walking down to Point State Park, which is where the Allegheny River and the Monongahela River meet to make the Ohio River. I loved all of the bridges.

Not my picture. We didn't take a helicopter ride. 

Isn't it gorgeous?

I really liked this fountain at the tip of the park, with rivers on either side and the one river ahead. The mountain in the background with all of the buildings reminded me somewhat of the Mediterranean coast. (Only somewhat. No sparkling blue waters here!) We were close enough to the park to walk from our hotel.

This, I believe, is a subway station.

Our hotel had the most beautiful architecture. I love older buildings, especially when they're maintained, and I'm so glad Greg picked this one out.

Nope. I didn't take this picture, though it is our hotel. Google Images.

We stayed at the Omni William Penn Hotel, and it was lovely and very old school. I loved the arches and chandeliers in the lobby.

This is right before we went out to dinner to celebrate our 7th Anniversary.

During our time in Pittsburgh, we spent a decent amount of time just sitting in the lobby, relaxing and people-watching. One afternoon I ordered a pot of Earl Grey and a slice of cheesecake. Ahh, the quiet. . .

Ahh, the relaxation. I miss that plus the comfy king-sized bed at the hotel.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Fourth of July 2015

Hey, it's only a week later, and here I am with pictures.  :)  

This year, we decided to go to the Lisle Eyes to the Skies Festival on the Fourth. Thank goodness, it didn't rain for once.

We picked out a perfect spot at the top of the hill. Nice view of the whole event, or so we thought, and just a short walk to the drink and food tents.

Barbeque. Yum.

It wasn't too hot or too cold, and we had a nice comfy spot. Grandma Toni had her comfy chair, and there was plenty of yummy carnival food, though there were astronomically long lines.

We ended up splitting the difference, food-wise. I waited in line for drinks and fries, and Greg waited for the barbeque.

The best part for the boys? Rolling down the back of the hill, then climbing back up and rolling down. (over and over again)


Henry was also really into climbing this tree at the top of the hill.

He's a decent climber, though he often needs a hand up to get started. He was loving being way up in the tree. . .


. . . at least until he saw a spider, and then he totally freaked out and wanted to come down. Henry does not like spiders. He does like balloons, though--especially Angry Birds Balloons.

The one thing I was very excited about was the balloon glow. I'd seen it before, back in 2013. The boys were not quite so into the balloon glow.

Nick did not like the noise of the balloons firing up, which I had forgotten from our 2013 visit. Henry didn't mind the noise, but he was hyper-focused on going on a ride at the carnival (which did not happen).

The balloon glow was pretty awesome, even over the whining.


Pretty soon it was time to head back to our hill for the fireworks.

I had thought ahead and bought glow bracelets from a discount store, so that we didn't get suckered into paying triple the price. The boys loved the glow bracelets, necklaces, and glasses.

When the fireworks started, we immediately realized that our "perfect" spot on the hill had trees blocking the entire fireworks show. Thankfully, the people in front and to the sides of us scooted over so we could see better. Considering this was the regular fireworks show (the giant one had been on the 3rd), we thought it was pretty decent.