Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Kick Off to Summer!!

K is officially a high school graduate. The ceremony was on Friday and it was beautiful. 67 kids walked across that stage to receive their diplomas. Then there was a barbecue in the schoolyard. We hung around for a bit afterwards, but then we all went out to lunch to celebrate.

Later that evening was J's big end-of-the-year dance recital. She was in 10 numbers - 5 in each act. In addition to her 5 competition group numbers, she was in the opening set, the musical theater number (as Sandy in Grease), then as a princess on stage with her baby class, and she performed her duet and her solo. J was so excited to be the one chosen to do the recital solo. And she did a beautiful job. The evening was hectic as usual, but these kids are pros at quick changes. We got it all done in under 3 hours. After the recital, we all celebrated by going out to eat (and having a few drinks, lol). What a great day that was.

Saturday was my day to relax.  On Sunday, we all drove up to Brewster to celebrate my niece's 9th birthday.  Her party was a big barbecue on the lake.  J did some paddle-boating and W spent the whole time in the water.  There were lots of kids there.  He even swam out to this wooden lake raft thing that was pretty far out in the water.  I mean real swimming - not just doggy-paddling.  W hasn't really swam since he had those free park lessons in 2007.   I had no idea he could swim that well.

A small section of Heckscher Playground - Check out the rock mountains in the background!
On Monday I took W to Central Park to meet up with 2 of his best friends.  We met in the Heckscher playground and the boys got right into a water gun war with a bunch other kids.  They made teams and ran around the playground getting soaked for over 3 hours.  W loved it.  It was so fun watching them.  I love that boys this age can just jump right into playing with each other and become friends for the whole day - and yet, never get each others names, lol.  After the water play, they ran around with light-saber swords and climbed the big rock mountains next to the playground.  I definitely have to get back there with him.  So fun.

W also started day camp yesterday!  He had been doing the camp-countdown for a couple of months and the day finally came.  I worried, as usual, but he loved it.  I dropped him off at around 7:30am and he was picked up around 6pm.  Then he went right back out to go to the playground with his friend, Matt, who lives next door.  By the time I got home from work at 10:30pm, he was asleep.  Well, at least this morning I got to see him and ask him how it was.  He mentioned cooking and outside play and crafts.  He saw some kids there from last year.  And now every Wednesday there's a trip - usually something local, like a big playground or bowling, but I did see the Bronx Zoo on the list for one of the weeks.  To me, this is so worth it.  He got right up at 6:30am on his own today to get ready.  There's nothing he loves better than a full day of fun with friends.  Oh, to be 10 years old again.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Senior Prom!

Thursday was K's senior prom.  She had been looking forward to this since like forever.  As a toddler she was obsessed with Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and always wanted to have her beautiful royal ball with her prince charming.  I have to say...she got it.

She started the planning at the beginning of the school year on the hunt for the perfect dress.  She must have looked at millions of websites, magazines, and TV shows.  Finally in March she found it.  The store had it in a different color, but she had it ordered and it arrived a few weeks later.  At the end of April we had the dress tailored and she went and found the shoes and jewelry to go with it.  Throughout May she wrote up list after list of what she needed to get done.

Two weeks before prom, she had her hair cut and highlighted.  A few days before prom she had her nails, toes, and eyebrows done - and did 10 minutes at the tanning salon.  Then on prom day, she had her hair styled into a "waterfall braid".  4 or 5 women at the salon were working on K's hair to make it look like the hair in the photo she brought.

 Then we went straight to a friend's house with 3 other girls to get her makeup professionally done.  This makeup artist has a bunch of famous clients (including a few Real Housewives).  While she was there I went and picked up the white rose boutonniere sprayed with silver glitter to match K's dress.

By 3pm we were home and she got dressed.  We took pictures outside with MIL.  Dh's aunt and MIL's best friend came over to see her.  Our first stop for pictures was at K's boyfriend's house.  He looked amazingly handsome with his tux.  K pinned the boutonniere onto his lapel and he slid the corsage onto her wrist.  We took lots of pictures with his mom and sister.  The second stop was K's best friend's house.  More pictures with both couples, the moms, some other friends.  My last stop was another friend's house.  This was where the party bus was picking up all the kids at around 6:30pm.  We got there at about 5pm.  20 kids, their dates, and lots of parents were there.  We took another million pictures.  There was a beautiful spread of food for the kids (finger sandwiches, a huge sushi platter, bowls of chips, etc) and the home had lots of "Class of 2011" gold & mylar balloons, plates, & napkins.

The prom was held in a gorgeous wedding hall out in Long Island.  K said everything was great.  She took a lot of pics too.  After the prom, they all changed into their "after-prom" clothes and the bus took the kids around Manhattan until about 4am.  She said it was so fun and one of the most perfect nights ever.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Summer Ideas

W has been losing interest in academics lately.  I figured it out to be because of math overload (with a large amount of spring fever thrown in).  I didn't realize we were hitting the numbers that hard.  It was killing his enthusiasm.  We usually start with math and it sets the tone for the rest of the morning.  If he's burnt out with it, then it affects everything else.  So I asked him to write himself out a schedule of how he'd like to do daily academics.  He wrote down just about everything we already do:  AO readings, copywork, spelling page, silent reading, etc., and he added  - ONE page of math.  Ok.  I can do that.  We have been doing a whole lesson of TT5 each day.  I scaled it down to 1/2 a lesson instead.  It worked.  He zipped through the first 13 problems (which include the 5 practice ones) and will do the other 14 problems on Monday.  So once again this shows me that it's usually best to give kids a say in how they do things.

W just finished learning 3-digit x 3-digit multiplication and is now starting units of time.  I can't help but reiterate my love for TT5 and how it gives the perfect amount of review on previous topics.  I love that the lesson is brief and to the point.  I love that he gets only a few problems (in different forms) to practice the new concept - just enough, imo, to really "get it".  I love how the rest of the problems are review - maybe 3 or 4 of them for each topic.  He's still going over radius, diameter, types of quadrilaterals, long division, decimals into fractions and vice-versa, big number subtraction, and money word problems.  He really understands it.

We are also still enjoying Seabird, Pagoo, Robin Hood, An Island Story, & This Country of Ours.  We are starting Shakespeare's A Comedy of Errors (Lamb) soon and he's certainly taking his time with A Cricket in Times Square.  I might see if he'd like to start one of the new books I got a couple of months ago for silent reading.  He likes Cricket, but not as much as he thought he would, lol.

All W's classes and homeschool group trips have come to an end.  It was a really great year.  Over the rest of the spring and summer I'd like to take B and the kids (and friends) out to some fun summer events - street fairs, festivals, outdoor theater, beaches, outdoor concerts, and even some great neighborhood walking tours.  I'd like to get back to the NY Hall of Science, too.  We haven't been there in ages.  We are all so incredibly busy (B & I both work, W has summer camp, J has dance workshop and intensives, K will be adding more work hours) that I do hope we can all make time to do things as a family.  I'm grateful for our 1 week away in Connecticut in July.  And my sister's baby girl is due in July too!  I'm already loving this summer!

Monday, June 06, 2011

New Car, Fishing, & Babies

Great week.  Wayfinders had a 6-hour adventure day on Tuesday, we bought a new car, B & W went on their annual Fishing Derby camping trip with the scouts, and Sunday was my sister's baby shower. 

Our new car is a 2012 Mazda5.  It's a "micro-minivan" that seats 6 and has a perfect amount of storage room.  It's silver and the interior is black.  I love it so much.  I'm so glad to get rid of the Nissan we had - the tires were bald, the transmission was days away from breaking down altogether, and the whole inside and outside was a mess.  Now I can drive without worry in something I think is really beautiful.  It's smaller, better gas mileage, and one of the highest rated for safety.  Yay!

The Fishing Derby this year was a lot of fun.  Now that W is a webelo scout, he got to sleep in the lean-to with his friends the first night and in a tent the second night.  No more staying in the cabin with dad.  He loved it.  The lean-to was scary, since it had cracks and it looked like it was going to rain.  He was with 3 of his best friends, so that made things a lot better.  The tent was waterproof so he was happier the 2nd night.  After the very long day of fishing and running around, the boys were out cold pretty quickly.  I was worried about it, but B said he was only nervous for about a minute.  I'm so proud of my son.

My sister's baby shower was in this beautiful yacht club right on the water.  I bit the bullet and actually got a haircut and manicure.  I planned on getting the pedicure, but chickened out.  I can't stand people touching my feet.  LOL. I'll get over it.  Pedis really make your toes look awesome.  A mani-pedi and eyebrow waxing costs only about $25.  I think I can make time for these.  Anyway, my sis got just about everything she registered for.  The baby girl is due in about 6 weeks.  This baby has enough clothes to last til winter.  I will be spoiling this kid rotten.  I love little girls. 

This week J has finals.  She's spending any free time in the school library studying.  K is still gearing up for prom and graduation. And I am sooo ready for summer to be here.