Friday, May 30, 2008

Reading and Schooling

Princess is 4 1/2 and reads fluently. She started reading just before she turned 4 and her fluency has steadily improved since then. Now she has moved beyond easy readers and will read just about anything. She reads books to herself, to her brother, to anyone who will listen. It is wonderful and amazing to listen to her. She adores reading and books and it thrills me to see my love of books and reading embodied in my little girl.

The downside to all of this? She is 100% ready for kindergarten...and yet she is not ALLOWED to go until the fall of 2009. That is more than a year away! This is ridiculous. Unfortunately we cannot find a school anywhere around here who will allow her to attend this fall.

I know kindergarten is about more than reading, but trust me, she is READY. She has two years of academic preschool under her belt and knows how to behave in a classroom setting. She does basic math problems, she uses scissors well, she does phonetic spelling. The child is more ready for kindergarten than many students in school now.

Frustrated doesn't even begin to describe my feelings at this point. To add to my frustration, we don't know where to send her to school. Our local public school is okay but not great. The local Christian school is good but expensive--plus since we're Catholic, eventually we will have to deal with things such as the portrayal of Catholics vs Martin Luther in the curriculum plus we're not too enthused about aspects of the science curriculum. The Catholic schools are an option. One school is twenty minutes away and is relatively new. We went to an open house at this school and were not very impressed by the kindergarten teacher or the curriculum. The other Catholic school is thirty minutes away and we're going on a tour there on Monday. It is a more established school and is the least expensive school of all the options. Oh, and of course we have to add in commuting costs in addition to tuition amounts.

The only other school options are so expensive that we can't even consider them. We can barely consider these options as it is. Homeschooling keeps flitting in and out of my mind, but I really don't think I'm cut out for it. I'm not social enough and fear that I would keep my children at home too much. Plus I think successful homeschoolers are 100% committed to homeschooling and that just doesn't describe me.

Ack. Where is the manual on parenting when you need it?


Princess, Handsome, and I have almost completed our first year of MOPS. One of the other preschool moms invited us to join at the beginning of the year and we have really enjoyed our time in MOPS. I have become good friends with two of the preschool moms and now all three of us will be on the steering committee for MOPS next year. My friend L and I are the new coordinators of Moppets. We had our first steering committee meeting yesterday and I am OVERWHELMED!

Moppets is the children's portion of the MOPS program. We are responsible for recruiting and training the teachers as well as developing the curriculum the children will follow in the classrooms while the mothers are at MOPS. Ack! This is a big responsibility and one that we take very seriously. I do have a bachelors degree in education (double major in developmental psychology and early childhood education) but this is very different than what I am used to doing!

I know I should have faith that God will provide...and I do. However I know that part of His plan is for me to work my tail off doing the best that I can for these children. Still, I look at the excitement and joy on my children's faces when they find out it is a MOPS day and I remember that all this work will be worthwhile.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Princess and Handsome

My babies. Princess, age 4 1/2, and her devoted younger brother, Handsome, age 2 1/2. They are the lights of my life and I am so blessed to be their mama. Yes, Princess and Handsome really are two of their nicknames and yes, Princess really does believe she is a princess. I firmly believe every 4 1/2 year old girl should believe she is a princess. For that matter, Handsome sometimes tells me that he is a princess. Hey, whatever works!

Favorite Hairstyle

My 4 year old has a new favorite hairstyle--criss-crossed braids...or "brains" as she called them up until very recently. I was sad when she spontaneously started saying braids instead of brains. Anyhow. Oh, and all hairstyles include bows. Always. Without fail. And no, we do not live in the South.
Princess has been wearing bows since she was itty bitty. We love bows in this house and I will be VERY sad when she decides she is too old/big/whatever for bows. Bows are not at all common around here.

The Great Outdoors

We've been spending a lot of time outside the past couple of weekends. My husband finished building me a raised bed out of cedar and did a great job keeping the box level while matching the slope of our backyard. Thank Heaven I married an engineer! This weekend I put our vegetable starts in it.

I have two varieties of tomato (Early Girl and Roma), lettuce, red bell peppers, strawberries, and cucumber starts. I also planted carrot seeds and lettuce seeds. I also have a couple of pumpkin starts that I need to plant somewhere else in the yard. Next year I'm hoping we can add another raised box--then I'll probably let half of this one become a strawberry bed. Cedar is so expensive though, this is all we could afford to build this year! After taking these pictures, I started adding cedar pickets around the bed to keep the bunnies and neighborhood cats out of my veggies. I still need to finish that project.

We also weeded out the bed under our front window and transplanted some of the so-called carpet roses from that bed (um, they were about two feet tall...that is WAY taller than what I was expecting when I planted them!) into the backyard. The bed has a few new plants now and is freshly mulched. It looks a million times better than it did at this time last week, that's for sure!

I also planted some pots for our front porch and our back deck. Now I'm ready for summer to come! We've had a few fleeting glimpses of warm weather, but in general we've had an unseasonably cool and wet spring. I must say, our house is looking mighty cute right now. We had it painted blue with white trim last spring (previously it was beige with green trim) and it just looks bright and festive, especially with a bright red rhodie blooming in the front yard.

New Blog!

Over the years I've kept online journals for myself and my children and even had a blog at one point--one that only a small group of friends knew about. I've been without a journaling outlet for a little while now and I find myself really missing it. So, Frills Fluff and Trucks is my new place. I'm looking forward to having an outlet for my voice again. Sometimes I get lost in mommyhood and need a place of my own.