August 28, 2014

The opposite of preschool

A has been in kindergarten for four days now, and though we get a bit more information from her each day it still feels funny to know so little about her day.

Strange as it may seem, we knew the most about her time out of the house when she was a baby in daycare. The daycare workers kept meticulous notes on each child's day, and little A came home with a sheet detailing every nap, bottle and diaper, with extra notes on her mood and the activities they'd done that day. In preschool, we got weekly notes on classroom activities, and because both preschools were co-ops, we got to be in the classroom by A's side a few times a month.

On the first day of kindergarten, A came home with a red laminated folder. Tucked in the pocket was a schedule for the week, a bullet point or two for each day of the week that we've used to prompt A when details about her day have been slow to come.

A runs for the bus every morning with a smile on her race, and she bounds off each afternoon with a happy face. We hear a lot about the bus, and about the special events of the day. A's class has been to PF (or PE as the schedule calls it), art class, music class and the library. They went on a tour of the school and saw the nurse's office. There is play time at the very end of the day. What we don't hear much about is he time in the classroom...what is she doing for all those hours away from home?

This afternoon A came home and lay down on the couch, head hanging off the seat and legs sticking up over the back. "There are too many rules in kindergarten," she said with a frown. I followed her up to her room, where she put me to work setting up a very fancy tea party in her dollhouse. "Kindergarten is lots of work and a little bit of playing," she told me as we dressed dolls and arranged furniture. "It's the opposite of preschool."

I think that might be the most accurate description of her days we've gotten so far.

Catch the Moment 365: Week 35

This week was a very, very big week in our house - A started kindergarten! It's a new beginning and a huge adventure for our girl, and it's been so good to have her come home smiling every day this week. Smiling and exhausted, to be accurate. The house is quiet without her, and I've been working hard to keep D's days filled so he doesn't miss his sister too much.

233/365: A spent her last week of summer at theatre camp, and on the last day friends and family were invited for a little performance. Not only did the kids help "write" their own show, they drew their own backdrop - A made the princess at the top!

234/365: It poured while we were at the farmers market and the kids wanted to jump in puddles after we ate breakfast...I really need to buy them rain boots!

235/365: A quiet morning on the last day before the school year started.

236/365: Kindergarten, here she comes!

237/365: Though he misses his sister very much (and is VERY angry that he doesn't get to ride the school bus with her), D is quickly discovering one advantage to being the only kid in the house during the day: all the toys are his to enjoy!

238/365: A used to do this as a toddler, and I loved seeing D get into her old "hiding" place.

239/365: Another day, another sea of bricks.

As always, thank you to our hosts: Simply Stavish, Nurse Loves Farmer, and 

August 26, 2014

A real kindergartener

Yesterday, A began her next great adventure: kindergarten.

It's been a long time coming, a change she's anticipated for years and years since she first heard mention of this kindergarten business from big girls at daycare. A change she hoped for at the start of preschool, when she hopefully asked me if it was "preschool kindergarten" and inquired whether there would be a bus (there was not).

On her last day of preschool, A ran out of her classroom and announced with pride, "I'm a real kindergartener!" Over the summer, we did a good bit of kindergarten prep, practicing name writing with lower case letters, testing out her new lunch gear, and playing school with a rotating cast of dolls and stuffed animals.

Last Friday we went to open house, where we saw her classroom for the first time and met her teacher, and we returned a few hours later with little brother in tow for the family back to school picnic. It was equal parts reassuring and panic-inducing, and A summed it up perfectly as she peeked her head out of her covers Friday night. "Kindergarten is so soon," she whispered. She worked her way through an armful of her beloved sticker books last weekend, something to keep both hands and mind busy as we waited for soon to turn into now.

On Monday morning, A woke up early. We played, she ate breakfast, and finally it was time to head to the bus stop as a family. Nervous parents with cameras circled the sidewalk as kids waved hello to familiar faces and compared backpacks. A was one of the first to spot the bus coming up our street, and as it drew closer to the curb all of the kids rushed to get in line. Not one of them turned around. We waved our goodbyes as D wailed in my arms, missing his sister and furious at being denied passage on the bus.

A was the second kid to bound off the bus in the afternoon, and she raced to us with a smile on her face. The highlight of the day alternated between riding the bus and recess, though she was also very proud to inform me that she had been to PF - you know, gymnastics class - where they used real soccer balls. (Please don't waste your time telling her it's actually called PE.)

You're a real kindergartener now, A. May it be everything you're hoping it will be.

August 21, 2014

A back-to-school makeover

For quite some time, I've joked that one day I'd need to change the name of this blog. On Monday, A starts kindergarten, and two weeks later D starts preschool two mornings a week. It's a co-op preschool, so I'll be in his classroom every few weeks but...alone time is coming. And with a blog named Home and Never Alone, that's a problem.

This afternoon, inspiration hit at the tail end of nap time. What started as testing out a new header with a brand spanking new tag line turned into accidentally redesigning my blog in less than an hour. There's much to be tweaked, but it's a start. It's fitting, really, because this is a time of work-in-progress transitions for all of us here.

Welcome to the not-really-new Home and Never Alone, soon to feature slightly more alone time.

Catch the Moment 365: Week 34

It's finally here: the last week of summer. A has spent the week at theatre camp, so D is the subject of most of this week's pictures. Next week A starts kindergarten, something she's been looking forward to for years. I'm excited for her to start this new adventure but also nervous - this will be a big change for all of us.

 226/365: This is the essence of our boy's summer: two handfuls of mulch, in his favorite spot under the climbing structure where he has his imaginary ice cream store.

227/365: Markers are serious business.

228/365: Quack quack!

229/365: First day of camp! 

230/365: Is that you, Bigfoot?

231/365: He ate every bite of frosting...and then handed the cake part back to me.

232/365: Our boy and his unwieldly loveys - not one, not two, but three 
monkey blankets are what he needs.

As always, thank you to our hosts: Simply Stavish, Nurse Loves Farmer, and 

August 19, 2014

The soundtrack of our summer: kids' music that doesn't suck

We're in our final week of summer. A is spending her mornings at a camp she's been looking forward to all summer, and all of us are getting into the swing of being out the door early in the morning again. I had grand plans to make last week activity-filled and send summer out with a grand bang wasn't what the kids wanted, so I let them take the lead. We spent lazy days in pajamas, filled afternoons with important sticker-and-crayon projects, and soaked in our last few unstructured days before A marches off to kindergarten on Monday morning.

As as been the case every summer that I've been at home with the kids, we didn't come close to crossing off the summer to do list I wrote out at the beginning of the summer. But there was one thing we did do a lot of (aside from pajama-lounging and art-project-partying): rock out at some fantastic kids' concerts. We collected a handful of new CDs at those shows, and we've been enjoying them all summer long. If you're looking for some new tunes you and your kids can enjoy together as you get back into the carpool swing of the school year, these are ones you won't want to miss.

No, that isn't a typo - WE have been enjoying these CDs, not just the kids. Like many parents, I can sing along to the full Frozen soundtrack, but it's definitely not the one I hope the kids pick when they call out their music requests from the backseat. These three bands? These are the ones I suggest when it's time to pop a different CD in as we hit the road.

The Pop Ups - Appetite for Construction

We saw The Pop Ups last summer, and they were our lone repeat concert this summer. Their new album, Appetite for Construction, is one of my very favorite kids' CDs in our car. Their songs manage to be kid-friendly without sounding like kid music.

A's favorite: Bug Out
My favorite: Glitter Everywhere

Tim and the Space Cadets! - Anthems for Adventure

If your kids watch Sprout, then you know Tim from the Good Morning Show. This was one of the most fun shows we went to this summer, and Anthems for Adventure is in heavy rotation in our car right now.

A's favorite: a tie between Blackout and Double Knot
My favorite: Blackout

Mister G - Bugs

Mister G puts on a high-energy bilingual show, and I love that his newest CD The Bossy E has a reading theme. We bought one of his older CDs over the summer, because A and D wanted to bring home songs we'd heard at the show.

A's favorite: a tie between Bugs and Cocodrilo
My favorite: Vamos a la Playa

Note: this isn't a sponsored post - just sharing some music we've enjoyed this summer and bought at the shows we attended!

August 15, 2014

Catch the Moment 365: Week 33

I had grand plans for this week, our last unscheduled week of summer. We were going to check off a laundry list of fun summer activities before A heads to camp next week and kindergarten the week after. Instead...we had a quiet week at home, with some summer fun tucked in here and there. There won't be much chance to laze around in pajamas once school starts, and if home is where my girl wanted to spend most of this week then that's where we needed to be.

 219/365: Playing on the same playground his daddy visited as a little boy.

220/365: Counting geese.

221/365: On her very first ride at the fair...I think she liked it, no?

222/365: Happy girl in the fountain.

223/365: Rainy days call for very important sticker and notebook work.

224/365: A had a lunch date with her daddy on Wednesday, so I took this boy out on his own.

225/365: This sums up how well one ukelele for two kids is working out for us. 

As always, thank you to our hosts: Simply Stavish, Nurse Loves Farmer, and