Thursday, July 26, 2007

Today was the kids' first day of swimming lessons! J and W are signed up as well as J's best friend A. They all said they really enjoyed it. The instructor was a cool young guy who made them laugh. There are about 15 or so kids in the class. We are scheduled for 2x a week for the next 3 weeks. Yesterday was the registration day. It look so crowded, but I realized there are different age groups, different levels, and different days of the week. They worked it out to a comfortable amount of kids in each group. I love all the free stuff going on in this city! Here are some more NYC park events coming up!

Monday, July 23, 2007

We're back! Nationals was very exciting. The venue was gorgeous - the VA Beach conference center has 4 ballrooms - the Starquest comp used 2, each with a stage, dressing section, and seating all built just for the competition. There was food, photo areas, a Starquest store, plenty of room to rehearse, and a person selling glitter makeup. It was right up the road from the VA Beach boardwalk.

J's 2 solos each got Gold and her 3 group numbers got High-Gold. They tend to put the older kids on at 7:30am so not many of them are at their full-potential. I know J was still half asleep before her dance. Her vocal solo was at noon on the same day, so at least she was more awake, LOL. Her singing was beautiful. All our teachers were crying - and most of the parents, too. I actually held it together for once. She was so proud of herself. Competing with a vocal solo was something she knew she could do and worked hard for. She was so nervous, but after she was done, she couldn't wait to do it again! So the studio owner wants her to keep the song for next year's season. J is thrilled.

Here's one of the photos I bought - taken during her dance solo (they had a photoshop thingy there, too!):

We were at the convention center almost every day for different numbers and awards. The rest of the time was spent at the pool, the beach, the boardwalk, the strip, or at a restaurant. I can't even begin to tell you how much fun the kids had this week. Being with 20 friends for a whole week was heaven for them. Here are some more shots:

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Nationals has finally arrived! We leave in the morning for the 6 hr drive to Virginia Beach! I'll post again when we get back - with tons of pictures! Until then.....

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Track and Field

We went to the park this morning for the track and field summer program for 5-7y/os. I had just remembered it at 9am and W said he'd like to go. It started at 9:30, so we quickly got dressed, brushed teeth, and made it there with time to spare. There were about 30 kids there altogether separated into ages for some activities and grouped together for others. W really liked it and is looking forward to going again when we get back from VA.

He did the long jump...

...the sprint

...and the baton relay

J brought roller skates!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Creating Rhythm

When J and W saw the weekly schedule I made for K, they both wanted to have one too. K's schedule is a week's worth of assignments based on the books we already have at home. I also threw in some websites and writing assignments. She wanted to brush up before school and this is how we're doing it. When the younger 2 came to me with wanting this kind of structure, I was a bit surprised. J goes back and forth with what she wants and W usually runs far away from anything structured for him.

So I gathered up all the books, workbooks, and other resources we have and created a weekly plan for both of them. We have so much stuff, that I'm kinda glad I can put some of it to use, lol. I'm using the worldbook guideline as a foundation and we can branch off from there. And of course some Charlotte Mason stuff, too. Today was our second day using a schedule and they both loved it. W actually was very excited to start and kept asking when we could.

This week's schedule was created with their suggestions. I made a detailed list of weekly goals and assignments centered around what they think are fun activities. After 2 days of following this rhythm, I can already see an improvement in their behaviors and attitudes. W's creativity was on overdrive throughout the whole day. And J said she liked having direction. K even joined us for the readaloud this morning. :)

I'll be making a point to keep the tv off during the day and try to get into Manhattan a little more. It's been so hot this week that we just want to stay home in the air condition. When we get back from Nationals I'd like to check out the city events and fill up the calendar. The week we get back, J and W are starting free swimming lessons 3x a week. The museums have summer kid programs, too, I'd like to check out.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

This week was busy. K is still hanging at the park, going to friends' houses, or walking around shopping with friends almost every day. She's loving the independence. She's home before 5 (they all head home by dinnertime) and I always know where she is and who she's with, so I'm cool with it. She calls whenever they change locations and budgets her money very well throughout the week. It's hard for me to let go like this - especially in the city where the world is a little more dangerous. She's pretty streetwise, though. We've lived here our whole lives and instinctually just "know" who, what, and where to avoid. She'll be taking the bus to school by next year, so getting to know the terrain on her own now prepares her a bit I think.

J had lots of dance this week. She's really been at the top of her game lately and is blowing away the teachers. She does 2 toe-touch jumps in her solo and her legs fly above her hipline now. She's going to carry this solo over next year as well as learn a new one in the musical theater category. And she's still undecided about sticking with vocal for next year's comp season. Speaking of which, at the final rehearsal this week, J sang and several people cried - including the studio owner and one of the teachers. I cried too, when B told me about it after work. She picked out a pink and black Jessica Mclintock dress, black ballet flats, and matching earrings and necklace to wear for the performance. Her voice lesson went well this week and I schedule 2 for next week. J also went to her friend's house yesterday. They went to the park across the street, went in the park pool, and watched a movie back at the house. Today she went with another friend to the mall and back to her house to swim in her pool.

W has been hanging out with me mostly this week. He's been enjoying the park, the backyard, and seeing friends at the dance studio. He's been helping out at home with the cleaning and cooking. He told me early in the week that he has decided to not only eat healthy from now on, but wash his face and brush his teeth before bed every night. I bought us all new toothbrushes and he's kept to his word. He's still inventing and has more ideas on what he needs to build with. This is a fun age. He seems to have outgrown most impulsive behaviors and is becoming incredibly mature and introspective.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The lake upstate yesterday was actually very nice. We're beach people, not lake people, so I was pleasantly surprised at how not-skeevy the lake was. And it was cool, too, because the shore front has sand like a beach (imported sand, but still sand) and then trees and grass a few feet further back. So the kids can dig, get all sandy, and swim, and the adults can relax at a picnic table on the grass while barbecuing with a beer.

Other cool stuff included the handmade water slides on the shore and off the dock, the fish that swam right next to you, and the really really clean bathroom that was only like 20 feet away. Of course I had thoughts of every scary lake movie I've ever seen (Friday the 13th, Creepshow 2, Lake Placid) so I was on the alert for any dead bodies or large, black, murderous globs anywhere in sight. And of course the lake had the infamous scary "lake raft" that the kids could swim to. yikes.

There were lots of kids there, too. W played tetherball and basketball, J did some gymnastics on the sand and the grass, and K took pictures and tanned. All of them helped dig a trench and fill it so the water made a stream flowing back into the lake, and they all swam and went down the slides a ton of times. We had a big barbecue, birthday cake, and saw family we only see several times a year. It was a nice break from the busy weeks we're having.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


It's July 1st already. This year flew by. Yesterday, J went out to a big party with her friend A. They had a petting zoo, carnival ride, and tons of food and games right in their backyard. She loved it. We weren't sure she could go since I work on Saturdays, but thankfully she got a ride! K went to the park with her friends for a few hours. She was happy to meet up with a girl from her elementary school whom she hasn't seen for years. It's a nice, open park and there's places to walk to from there. I can see why it's so fun for her. B and W ran errands, went to the laundromat, and visited friends who own a deli next to the laundromat. We have a washer/dryer at home, but since I'm not getting to all the laundry during the week, B says it's just easier to have it all done at once on Saturdays. It is easier, but way more expensive, so I think I'll start carving out a couple of hours in the mornings to do a load or 2 every day.

So I'm hearing Claudia Rothman has stepped down from being the NYC homeschool coordinator. I can't say I didn't see this coming. We should really go back to being regions or districts. Or better yet - ease up on the regulations all together! So Henrietta Becoat is back in charge for a while. Whatever. I have yet to receive any response to anything I sent this year. I guess I still won't get anything.

Today we're headed upstate to BIL's house. He's having his dd's birthday party by the lake near his house. K spent about 45 minutes trying on every bathing suit she owns - twice - to pick one out for today. LOL. The rest of the week we're pretty busy. J has about 18 hours of dance and a voice lesson and we all need to go shopping at some point. We are leaving for Virginia beach in exactly 2 weeks. The kids cannot wait - none of us can.