Monday, October 31, 2011

Old School Halloween

Happy Old School Halloween everyone!

circa 1981
Michelle is Raggedy Ann & Jennifer is Minny Mouse

(Thanks to my sis for sending the pictures!)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fun in our first snowfall

Almost like clockwork and just like everyone said it would, snow fell last night just in time for Halloween.  It wasn't much, two inches at best, but it was white, it stuck to the ground and later in the day we would have fun playing in it.  However, the first order of business (in addition to doing our weekly grocery shopping) was to buy a shovel.  Isn't that ironic?
 Once shovels were in hand (we bought 1 big one and 2 small ones) , Thomas couldn't get enough of it.  He shoveled our entire part of the sidewalk (with a tiny bit of help from Daddy). 
 Once Daddy pulled out the new sledding saucers however, it was all over and the shovels were thrown to the side.  We knew we needed to find a hill to test the new sleds... and to see how the Florida kiddos would do now that had their Alaskan gear on.
 So we headed over to the neighborhood sledding hill and decided to see if the kids were up for some down hill action.  Of course, by the late afternoon, you can tell the hill had been used & abused all day and the snow had worn thin in a lot of areas... but who really cared, right?  It was still slick, fast and fun!  I'm sure the faces tell it all...

 Meanwhile, baby girl & Mama were the sideline spectators (and photographer).
 Despite the cold temps (a steady 31 degrees), she remained all smiles as we watched the sledding action.
 Abby finally had enough of the hill, however she wanted nothing to do with the paparazzi.  When I asked her to smile for me, she quickly put on her pouty face and gave me a "NO."

 And as we walked back to the house, I looked down in the stroller and realized Marilyn was fast asleep.
It's hard work watching all the sledding action from the sidelines.
More snow is expected tonight.  Of course, more snow is expected through March or April.  I guess it is officially winter now.

A change in (pre)schools

Admittedly, I have not been a fan of Thomas' preschool from the beginning.  At first I thought it was because I was trying to compare it to his preschool/daycare that we had sadly left behind in Florida; I also thought that it was because it was part of the base "system."  Then I thought it was because the staff was not very professional at the orientation; the uncertainty continued as we realized that Thomas is not being challenged at school.    He is in a mixed preschool class of 3-5 year olds... the majority are 3 year olds.  He has known his alphabet, and his 1-20 numbers since he was 2.5 years old and yet these, along with some other things, are already "learned" and yet class time is spent relearning them.  He often comes home unhappy with some of the kids in his class explaining that they weren't nice, or used bad words, or this or that.  And mind you, Thomas is the kind of kid that gets along with everyone.  Days & even weeks go by when they do not go outside and play on the playground, yet stayed inside with little physical activity.  We just feel like Thomas needs more out of a school...

That brings us to today.  Listening to several recommendations from trusted sources, we visited a new preschool this last week.  I was won over quickly.  The staff & teachers were welcoming.  The preschool which is also part of a larger K-12 Christian school has many wonderful resources, is well structured, has age-based classes (ie: only 4 year olds in class), and has a curriculum that will surely challenge Thomas intellectually, and also allow him to make new friends & enjoy himself.  We were blessed to find out that they have an opening.  I'm hopeful and anxious for him to start in early December.  Instead of going 3 half days like he does now, Thomas will go 3 full days at his new preschool.  I'm not quite sure how we are going to tell him about the change, but I can tell you that I don't think he will skip much of a beat; when we visited the school, he was engaged & so interested in everything they had  going on there.  We just want to give him every opportunity now so that he has a great start to school when he enters Kindergarten next year.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sisters... especially my sister

My sister, Jennifer, sent this to me the other day and, in true Michelle colors, I cried.  My sister is my best friend.  She is the one person, other than my dear husband, that I will tell a secret to.  I will tell her what is really in my heart, what I worry about, what I stress about, how I feel about things & people, & what I love.  I ask her to edit my work, do me favors on a whim, drive to see me (when I lived in Florida), be my maid of honor, be in the delivery room for the birth of my first child, and keep my secrets until I'm ready to release them.  I know she loves me for me.  We often argued & bickered growing up, but I always knew I had her to play with & be with when there was no one else.  Mom told us that we would be great friends when we finally grew up.  She was more than right.  I love you Jennifer.

So with that said, I thought I would share some pictures of the Heck sisters.  I know they will have the same kind of love that Jennifer & I have.  But by the looks of it, they are off to a great start:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Night Leftovers (the Potty edition)

Happy Almost-Halloween Friday everyone!  Sorry about the lack of blogs this week... I knew adding my next M.Ed class to my schedule would make for less blogging time.  I will try and fit in a few extra where ever I can.
  • Anchorage Weather Report - no snow on the ground yet, however lots of frost, ice and freezing temps.  When I say "freezing," I mean 21 degrees when I'm getting in the car at 8:15am.  Brrrrrrr!
  • It's getting really old (and expensive) having two little girls in diapers.  Size 2 and size 3 respectively. 
  • Because I'm ready to have only one child in diapers now, we have begun the potty training process with Abby.  And Mommy is serious about it.  We have LOTS and LOTS of big girl undies ready and currently being used.  We have Pull-Ups for when we leave the house.  And we have diapers for night time.  And of course, we have the little potty.  Let's do this!
  • I'm quickly remembering how time consuming potty training is.  Auuughhhh!
  • Potty training is almost more time consuming that breastfeeding and pumping is.  Geeezzzzz.
  • This Mama's van has now been outfitted with snow tires and is ready for the white stuff to fly!
  • Thomas had his first parent conference this week & his teachers said that he is doing fantastic.  In fact, Ms. Michelle said that one of his biggest strengths is his curiosity & imagination and is such a joy to have in class.  *Tear*  Proud Mama moment.  More to come on preschool news later though.
  • Marilyn has pretty well gotten the hang of sitting up by herself.  We still tuck some pillows near her for the occasional tumble, but she is really strong and doing great.  Monday we get some new stats on her when she goes for her 5-month checkup. 
  • Abby had her first two speech sessions this week and has taken to them beautifully.  She will be with Ms. Amy 2x/week for the next few months.  Immediate goals are working on vowel sounds like |a| |e| |o| and adding a final consonant to the end of words such as "P" at the end of "help."  I'm hopeful we will see some great strides in the coming months.
  • I haven't had a haircut in 3 months and it shows.  My hair looks awful.  If I could wear a hat 24 hours a day, I would. 
  • I haven't had a pedicure in 3 months and it shows too.  I'm not sure there is enough lotion in the world to help bring my feet back to life at this point.  Maybe that will be my Christmas present to myself.  Alone time with my feet.
  • Days are getting shorter & Nights are getting longer.  Case in point, here is a picture taken this morning at 9:35 am when the sun finally made it over the mountains:

The First Big Cut

Yesterday, at the ripe old age of almost-27 months old, Abby just got her first haircut.
Or maybe I should say her first "real" haircut by a professional.  She has had a smattering of hair trims in her young life, but nothing at all that took away her rag-tag, sometimes morning rat-infested looking, never straight, always in her face looking hair.  The only exception to the raggy look she has been sporting is when I put her piggy tails in, but even those didn't stay in for more than a few short hours.

So... without further delay... the results:

(and believe it or not she was quite excited about it all)
(as she takes it all very seriously)
 The NEW look
(complete with side braid & bow)
 It actually kinda looks like a little bob but that is so the sides and the back can catch up to one another.
It certainly has a bit more shape now & looks a lot more girlie! Yeah!

 Thomas, on the other hand, got the worst haircut of his life.
I look up for one minute and the lady is taking the shears to his head.
Poor kid looks like he just enlisted into the military.
It's shorter than his summer haircuts in Florida ever were.
I guess he won't be getting his haircut there anymore.
Oh well...
at least he wears a hat everyday we go outside because of the cold weather.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: A-swing-N-a-jump!

Video Clip - Here is Abbigail on the "high" bar doing some swinging & then of course ended with her infamous big jump. Sometimes she swings for awhile, other times she tries and gets her feet up on the bar next to her hands (as if she might hang upside down) ... but today it seemed that she just wanted to focus on her big finale jump!
 She used to be a sideline-spectator but is now a semi-active participant in class too!

Wordless Wednesday - Gym Jumps

Video Clip - Here is Abbigail in action at gymnastics today. She is getting more and more confident each week she goes and I think this video clip really shows that. Her climbing & jumping (from big heights) are "like its nothing at all" and it seems each week she is looking for bigger and better things to try. I'm not sure if that should worry me or not at this point but I'm enjoying watching her try lots of things, sometimes with great ease & other times it takes a lot of tries, falls, cries, & then she gets back up & wants to do it all over again.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rap Star Dance

Video Clip - Not knowing I was watching (until about 1/2 through), Thomas is in full effect as a Rap Star trying to make his baby sister laugh and giggle. I would say he did a pretty good job as Marilyn seems to be his #1 fan. No, he didn't get these dance moves from me or Daddy and I know he is not watching "Yo MTV Raps". Who knows... but it was funny to catch him in the act

All at the same time

It started out with just the girls sitting together and having their picture taken...
 Then Thomas joined the photo session and while I thought I might be able to get a nice picture of my 3 children looking at me and smiling all at the same time ...
 It took a lot longer than I thought...
 ... but they were all so cute...
 That I finally decided this was probably going to be the best I was going to get.