Smart girl

Eve is getting rave reviews from her preschool teacher. She came home the first day calling her teacher Jeff, which surprised me, so the next morning I asked him if that’s what he told the kids to call him. I think she heard me saying it to Alan one day because I couldn’t remember his last name. Anyway, he said he introduced himself as Mr. and that’s what the rest of the kids call him, but Eve calling him by his first name seems to amuse him. He told me a story (and apparently found it so amusing he told his wife about it as well :) ) that when he was helping one of the teaching students cut up strawberries for snack Eve came over and said “Oh Jeff, I don’t like strawberries.” The student looked at him with big eyes and said “She just called you Jeff!” :) That cracked him up. When he told me the story I laughed because she loves strawberries! She’s so funny. In that conversation he kept telling me what a smart girl she is, and so verbal, and funny, and just a pleasure to have in class. Nothing new there, right? :) But I do like hearing it from others!

She loves school and was sad on Friday that she didn’t get to go again. We call it “three year old preschool” (to differentiate from the PreK Lex went to last year), so I told her three year old preschool is just three days a week. Every day she asks if it’s Tuesday yet :)

Lex brought home homework on Friday (HA!) that was a game to help the kids learn shapes (HA!) and we all had fun playing (HA!). Seriously though, Lex and Eve had fun even though they both are very good with shapes already. I could probably leave her in kindergarten and she’d be fine :)

Eve’s first day of school

Eve started preschool today. I had serious empty nest syndrome. Is that possible when your kids are three and five? Anyway, she seems to be very happy. Alan and I brought her in together this morning. She greeted the teachers (a real teacher and four high school seniors), hung up her backpack and hat, and said hello to two kids we already know. When the time came for us to leave she gave us hugs and took off to play. Easy peasy. When I picked her up she said she had fun, but didn’t really convey much of her day (and by day I mean hour and 45 minutes!) She said she likes the teacher and she had graham crackers and juice for snack. That was it. But she was happy and says she wants to go back tomorrow, so I guess that’s a good thing. Lex wanted to be late for school this morning so he could go check out her classroom. Not sure if it was curiosity or protectiveness or what. He insisted I take pictures (um, sure, no problem!) and bring the camera to the bus stop so I could show him the pictures as soon as he got off the bus. I did just that and he was happy. Eve is always happy when the bus comes and drops off Lex. Tomorrow we do it all again, this time adding in an hour (at lunch/nap time) at the gym for me. Hope that goes well!

ready for school

Eve on her first day of preschool


Her classroom

hanging up her hat

Eve knew exactly what to do when she saw a cubby with her name on it. Hat and backpack on the hook, kitty on the shelf.

playing at the sand table

Eve was excited to see the sand table full of beans! The girl next to her is a sibling of one of Lex's prek classmates, and Eve considers her a friend.

so sweet

I don't know why, but this struck me as so sweet.

Dear Google…

One happy boyWhat makes the wind? Why does it blow? These are the questions Lex asked me this evening as we read bedtime stories. One of his books mentioned “suddenly a gust of wind came” and apparently it brought with it a few questions. My answer… “That’s a very good question and I’m not sure of the answer.” Tomorrow is the first day of summer vacation and we will be hitting the Google machine to answer that question. Who needs school when you have Google and an inquisitive child?!? Oh wait, we do, otherwise he still would hide from grownups and have no friends. Ahh… school :) Seriously though, today was his last day of pre-k, which I guess makes him officially a kindergartener now?!? He woke up happy and had a good day. The teachers loved their gifts (of course!) and Lex told me at pick-up that he would miss his teachers the most. Now we are going to enjoy a summer with few plans. A trip to the country, a trip for mommy to sin city, and lots and lots of pajama days. Although… after declaring tomorrow a PJ day, Lex said that he was thinking about trying on a few new shirts for summer. Imagine that?! Keep your eyes on future photos to see if you spot new shirts :)

Parting gifts

I have been debating for awhile about end-of-year gifts for Lex’s teacher and para… educator? I don’t even know if end-of-year gifts are necessary or expected. So much to know with this school thing. Anyway, I had a few fun ideas that didn’t pan out, but when we made strawberry jam the other day it seemed like an obvious gift. Especially since Lex so eagerly helped with the strawberry crushing. Today he picked out fabric and ribbon and drew pictures on cards for his teachers. He also picked out two books he wants to put in the classroom for next year’s preschoolers. He is so sweet! I hope they like their gifts. Tomorrow is his last day!

Valentine’s “Treats” (or “why I stopped baking”)

I stopped baking awhile back. Did I mention that? After the baking bonanza that was the holiday season my gut was full, my Weight Watchers efforts floundering, and my children bored of the whole thing, so I decided to give it up. Excluding Alan’s last-minute-throw-together birthday cake, my oven hasn’t seen anything but wholesome homemade bread since January. I tell you this as a prelude to today’s crazy afternoon.

In a thoughtless moment I volunteered to bake goodies for Lex’s preschool Valentine’s Day party tomorrow. I volunteered a few weeks ago and ever since have been thinking of creative, healthy(ish) treats. I had settled on heart-shaped sugar cookies with diced, dried cranberries. I thought that would be festive and not too over the top sweet. I was happy and eager to bake. Lex has been very happy and excited about this party and in the car yesterday he asked what kind of cookies we would be baking. I told him and, in his very sweet polite voice, he said “but mom, I don’t like sugar cookies.” Crap. I had forgotten that small fact. He suggested chocolate chip cookies, I said I wanted them to be a bit healthier and he so suggested oatmeal raisin cookies. Hmmm…. ok. So I spent a quick 24hrs trying to decide how to make them tasty and festive. We decided to make bar cookies and cut them with heart cookie cutters. Eve and I bought “Cupid M&Ms” and red gummy candies (why? well, because I wanted to eat them!) at the store today. I was planning to bake the M&Ms into the cookies, but Lex said he wanted to put them on top. Ok, umm, I guess we need frosting to make the candies stick. Baking by committee… So we made Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin cookies (tasty recipe under the lid of the oatmeal container) with whole wheat flour and reduced sugar, and I made cream cheese frosting with cauliflower puree (shhh.. don’t let Lex read this!), and I let the kids decorate with candies. We had discussed nice little Xs and Os or small hearts, but they chose to PILE on the candy! Ugh.

While all of this baking was going on, Eve was trying to help, but not really very helpful, and Lex was at the table making Valentine’s Day cards. It seemed like a nice enough afternoon, until it occurred to me that they both ate a fair amount of sugar (sneaking M&Ms here and there) and NO exercise. By the end of the evening Lex was bouncing, BOUNCING around the kitchen, crashing into things, making me crazy. Eve was whining and bouncing. I was feeling ill mentally and physically (so much for WW this week!) and cranky. Fortunately I got control (of myself, anyway) and accepted the fact that their craziness was entirely my fault. We ran around the living room for awhile, did some jumping jacks, somersaults, bear walks, etc. and then went up for bath. Bath went well and things were smooth until it was time to pick out clothes for tomorrow (part of our smooth evening routine that normally goes very well).

Lex currently wears only three shirts. He has 11 (yes, we counted tonight) plus several t-shirts and sweaters/sweatshirts, but will only wear three of them. One is too small and has holes in the arms, so it will be going away soon. This evening his three shirts were all dirty. He had a complete and total meltdown! It was sweet though, for a meltdown, and he just cried and cried about how he couldn’t possibly wear any of those other eight shirts. He even went so far as to say he didn’t want to go to school tomorrow because he wanted to stay home and wait until his shirts were clean. He has been excited about his Valentine’s Day party for a week now and he decided to skip it because he didn’t want to wear a different shirt. Crazy kid! We decided to go to bed instead and discuss in the morning. Later I remembered that I have a load of laundry in the dryer, so I think I’ll let him “find” a shirt in the dryer tomorrow. I really don’t want to fight in the morning and skipping school isn’t really an option, especially since I have the party food!! He fell asleep in my arms, which was sweet, and I apologized to him for sugaring him up and not giving him an outlet to burn it off.

Whew! After all that I came downstairs to face an hour and a half of kitchen clean-up (I also made Alan some awesome, to him, chili today, so there was dinner clean-up too). Alan and I also agreed that the cookies had too much candy on them, so I removed the candy, swirled around the pink and red colors from M&Ms that “melt in your mouth” or on cookies! I had such beautiful cookie treats in my head and these are A FAR CRY from them, but hopefully kids like them. Hopefully. If not, well…. I have a sneaking suspicion that Lex may not actually eat one. He isn’t really a big cookie fan and when I offered him a cookie this evening, before they were decorated, he said “No thank you. I’ll just have one tomorrow.” I’m curious if he actually does. Especially since I made them to his specs!

Tomorrow will be devoted to the kids.

And I now remember why I quit baking.

Cookie bars

Two pans of cookie bars. I should have stopped here.

Cookie bars with frosting

Cookie bars with frosting, though clearly not enough frosting. I was expecting white frosting, but this is more vanilla colored.

Kids decorating cookies

The kids hard at work decorating the cookies.

Cookie scraps

Cookie scraps anyone?

Decorated cookies

Decorated cookies. So much for healthy!

Undecorated cookies

My undecorated version. Not pretty. I hope the kids like them!

Cookie close-ups

Cookie close-ups. I want to be a food photographer. Yes, I know I need more practice!

Sometimes it does work out

Today was Lex’s show and tell day at school. It comes around about once a month and he’s usually very excited about it. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before. They get to count kids, check the weather, lead the line, etc. in addition to doing show and tell. He loves it. Normally he decides weeks in advance what he wants to bring in. Not this time.

After being unable to decide for awhile now, the day finally came and he had to figure it out. Or throw a giant tantrum. Guess which option he chose?! Alan was home and between the two of us we spent about 45 minutes dealing with the boy. He was tired (overtired from swimming yesterday, maybe?) and just plain obstinate. I gave him choices, he cried and yelled, spent some time in his room behind a locked door, he broke the baby gate at the top of the stairs (no one was hurt!) and it was just a miserable morning for all. I have to say that Alan and I did an excellent job keeping our own tempers in check and being very calm with him. It helps when there are two parents around and only one tantruming child. I finally got him settled down enough to decide that he did want to go to school (instead of staying home and taking a nap), but did not want to do show and tell. Fine. I told him he could discuss it with his teacher and I’m sure she would be fine with it. I AM sure she would be fine with it. I also gave him some food in the car because any energy he’d obtained from the the meager breakfast he ate had surely been used up in the tantrums. He even wanted to bring his blanket in the car to help him settle himself. I let him.

When we got to school (Alan stayed home with Eve, which was nice for everyone), Lex was much calmer. I reminded him about the item I had put in his bag earlier, during the tantrums, and told him it was there in case he decided he wanted to do show and tell. He said he did not. Fine. I also told his teacher about our morning and gave her a heads up that he may not want to show anything. I left him happily playing with the other kids.

At pick-up I brought his blanket along again, just in case. Imagine my surprise, and joy, when his teacher said he had an AWESOME day! She said he eagerly did show and tell. I had packed a few of the melted crayon cakes we made the other day and she said he explained to the class how we had made them and all the steps and how much fun they were to use. He passed them around with paper and let all the kids color with them. She said he participated in all of the activities, even a finger painting activity which he usually doesn’t like, and was super well behaved. Whewh!!! I was really hoping I made the right decision about sending him to school and it seems I did. Sometimes it does work out. Now he is taking a much needed nap!

PS. They sent home a Kindergarten registration form today. Eeek!

Crystal blocks

Lex came home from school yesterday and told me that his favorite toy that day was the crystal building blocks. I asked why they were crystal and he he said, “I don’t know. They look like our blocks except they are lots of colors and you can see through them.” Hmmm… ok. I asked what he built with them and he said a house, a dog, and a person. This intrigued me because he normally builds cars and structures like towers and bridges. He’s built a house once or twice, but I’ve never seen him build a block dog or person. I was impressed.

This morning at school drop-off his teacher started telling me how great he is a copying things. A good skill, I hope! As an example, she showed be a bucket of blocks (called “Crystal Building Blocks,” of course) and said he was playing with them yesterday. She said she was admiring the house he built and then noticed that it was identical to the picture on the bucket. She showed me the picture and sure enough, there was a house, a dog and a person. He had just sat down and built everything he saw in the picture. She was super impressed :) I’ve seen him copy like that before, but I was impressed that he made a dog and a person :) He never fails to impress!

He is also getting really good at building his own ideas (without copying). His Lego vehicles are getting more advanced and yesterday afternoon he built a cool train layout. I think it’s cool anyway.

Train tracks

Train tracks

Block bridge

A block bridge. The top part is a covered bridge for cars to drive on (fitted for his largest matchbox car), but he is still thinking about how to get a road up there. I love the creative process.

Holiday playdates

Lex has requested to have two friends over for playdates during vacation.  The first came over this morning and the next will be next week.  He was so excited to see his friend and show her all of his toys.  Her mom dropped her off and left, a first in our playdate world.  She was chatty with Lex, but very quiet with the rest of us.  It was cute.  I had to nudge Lex a few times and remind him to play with his friend, but overall he was a great host.


Coloring together. The decided to share a chair, even though I arranged the chairs such that they both could reach the crayons.

I am that mom

Halloween Pumpkin Chip cookies

Halloween Pumpkin Chip cookies

At Lex’s open house last month (did I tell you about that disaster??) I volunteered to be on the “parent committee” for Lex’s class. Not sure what that meant, but I figured it could be fun. Turns out the parent committee is in charge of organizing class parties and… well, that’s all I know so far. The teacher asked me to talk to the other parents who signed up and organize a healthy Halloween snack for their class tomorrow. No costumes or games, just snack and drink. Umm… yeah, I can do that!! When talking to the other parents I politely offered to bring the snack :) Yay! A chance to bake a fun Halloween snack and give it away! My first plan was oatmeal raisin cookies with black and orange M&Ms, but I was forced to abandon that idea when I couldn’t find black and orange M&Ms. Oh well. Plan B… Google! I found a recipe for pumpkin chip cookies with butterscotch chips. Yum! I doubled the recipe (why not!) and threw in some extra cranberries I had. Plus a little nutmeg.  I actually did half with butterscotch chips and cranberries and the other half with plain chocolate chips (Lex wanted chocolate chip cookies). I think the butterscotch/cranberry version is far superior! Then I decorated them with some leftover frosting I had in the fridge. Yep, I am that mom! :) Hopefully the kids enjoy their tasty treat tomorrow.

Here is the recipe from


1 cup pumpkin
1 egg
1/2 cup any kind vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup white chocolate or butterscotch chips
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 370°F.

Note: If using butterscotch chips, try using butter rum extract or butterscotch schnapps instead of the vanilla for extra flavor.

Blend pumpkin, egg, oil and sugar. Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; gradually add to first mixture. Dissolve the baking soda in milk and add to batter. Stir in chocolate (or butterscotch) chips, nuts and vanilla.

Drop by the teaspoonful onto lightly greased baking sheets.

Bake at 370°F degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Recipe can be doubled.

Bake and freeze the extra cookies.

Workbook pages

The daycare gave me a few of the workbook pages that Lex did there recently and this one caught my eye. What I first noticed is that he wrote his last name, something I hadn’t seen before. Then the note at the bottom made me laugh. I’m pretty sure Eve would have no trouble with this assignment.

Lex's daycare assignment

Lex's daycare assignment

Along those same lines, they are doing “color days” at preschool and we got a letter home asking that he wear specific colors on specific days. I presume this is to help them learn colors. Sounds like fun, right? I got down Lex’s calendar to write the colors on the days and he sat next to me and read the letter to me. This struck me as funny, I was writing down the days they will be learning “red” and he was reading the whole letter to me, days, dates, colors, etc.

I think we will be experiencing this for much of Lex’s academic career. :)