Thursday, August 22, 2013

Starting School!

Today is Luke's first day of school, so I definitely needed to mark the day and take a minute to write.

This summer he and Aaron started going to daycare at Tot's and Tikes and I love the ladies who take care of my boys and love them for me when I can't be with them.  Luke and Aaron both adjusted well and Aaron no longer cries when he gets dropped off and has started telling them, "no!" so he is obviously comfortable there.  Luke always seems to be having a great time when we pick him up and his teachers really seem to enjoy him and tell me how great he did.  The only thing with Luke is that he started telling me he didn't like going there because he sometimes gets timeouts.  I asked his teacher about it and she said he does occasionally get a timeout but it is always for really little stuff, like once during circle time he and a bunch of kids started talking "poopy talk" so they all got timeout, but she said he always gets so sad when he gets timeout and he never does it again so she never puts him in timeout for very long because it breaks her heart to see him so sad.  (-:

I can just see it!  Poor Luke, embarrassed about getting in timeout with his head in his hands and his lips pouted out so that he won't cry.  I think he just hates getting in trouble with anyone other than me or Greg, and I understand because I was the same way.  I remember notes my teachers sent home from school about how I liked to get everything just right but how sometimes that made it take too long for me to get things done.  I was always worried I would mess something up and then be embarrassed.  Can you say, "oldest child"?  (-:

The last day of daycare his teacher asked if he was excited about school and he said, "No! I don't want to go to school!"  He has been telling me that he "won't go", etc.  I think he was anxious about getting in trouble and being somewhere that he didn't know anyone.

Fortunately last night we went to meet the teacher night at his new school and it was a huge success.  We met his new teacher, Mrs Paronto, who had great energy and engaged the kids right away, and then we started looking around the room.  By the time we had gotten half way around the room Luke pulled me down close and said, "Mom, this place is AMAZING!!!"  Praise the LORD!

Today he was excited still but on the way there he suddenly realized that I was dropping him off and not staying with him and suddenly his fears came back.  He wanted me to stay with him and when we walked in he held onto my hand and was too shy to talk except in whispers to me.  We found his seat and he wouldn't sit or wear the name tag they gave him.  It took a lot for me to get him to start to play with the shapes blocks she had sitting at his place.

Thank goodness it was the first day of kindergarten and there were lots of other parents with scared looking kids there.  Luke's chair was kind of by itself but as I looked around I suddenly realized that I knew one of the other mom's there and her little boy was sitting right behind Luke.  We said hi to each other and introduced our kids to each other.  Her little boy also looked pretty nervous.  One neat thing I share with this other mom is that our kids are almost exactly the same age and despite not knowing each other very well we have a lot in common and people who know us both always say how similar we are, we just don't share the same spaces much because we live in different towns and go to different (though both Mennonite) churches.  Actually, Luke and her son have birthdays 2 days apart and Aaron and her daughter shared a due date but Aaron came early and her daughter late so they are 10 days apart.

After we told the boys that their birthdays were only two days apart and they could be friends to each other things started looking up.  Luke asked if he could sit next to her little boy and his teacher said he could turn his chair around so they would be sitting at the same table until they needed to do an activity.  Luke still was pretty uncertain about me leaving him but I got out of there with lots of exclamations about how much fun he was going to have with his teacher and new friend and after several hugs and kisses and no tears!  (at least on his part, I got teary eyed as I left the building and the teacher said on the way out that she should have had a box of tissues out for the parents!)

Now it is almost time to go pick him up and I am hoping he will be talky and tell me all about it and be excited to go back.  I know he won't always love school, but Kindergarten should be a fun year and I am hopeful most of the time he will enjoy the project based learning style used at his school even beyond Kindergarten.  There are so many amazing teachers there and you can just see how much they love their jobs and their kids

So, in the past few months I have seen Luke grow up so much.  He has grown physically, all arms and legs and so tall now.  He is also an amazing big brother.  He has his moments, he has figured out how to get Aaron to do things he knows he will get in trouble for so that he doesn't have to do them himself :-), but he also loves to play with Aaron and helps him learn new things all the time.  Just this morning when we were talking about how we only had an hour before time for school his response was that if he only had an hour he wanted to spend it playing with Aaron.  I asked him what he wanted to play and he said he wanted to play "powers" with Aaron, and proceeded to ask Aaron if he wanted to play and get him excited and help him put on his cape, etc.  I had to pull him close and give him a big hug for that.  I used to worry that Aaron was so much younger that Luke wouldn't want to play with him but I never needed to.  From the moment Aaron was born Luke has been one of his biggest fans.  Aaron adores Luke too, so it will be interesting to see how he deals with Luke being somewhere else so much of the time.  For the first month or so he will just be there in the afternoons and Aaron will be napping during that time, but they will no longer be at the same daycare when I have to work and once Luke starts full days I think it will be a big adjustment for them both.

Anyway, I am proud of my boy and his big milestone, and I am sad that he is already so grown up and off to school. I know I am going to miss him being with me and I wish they didn't have to grow up so fast, and yet since they do, and I can't stop it, I am glad for the ways he is growing up and the people who surround him as he grows.  I'll add a few pics later but for now I am off to pick him up!


So Luke had a great first day and said they went on a bear hunt for a real bear inside the school, but didn't find it.  (-:  He said he still wished I could be there with him but he had fun and made new friends.  yay!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bartel Grandparents

Today we went to my Bartel Grandparent's house for a few hours in the afternoon.  They are moving soon so every time I go to their house now I feel like I am trying to soak it all in, just one more time!  I love their house and their beautiful yard and have so many good memories there.  My parents were married there and so were my uncle Larry and his wife Alyce, and Greg and I were married there 10.5 years ago.  This has been the only house I have ever known them in so it is going to be a big change.  As kids we spent many over nights in the bedrooms my aunts and uncles grew up in and were amazed at how Grandma could hear us whispering (they have an old intercom system).  As a teen I sometimes retreated to their house after getting back from an emotional week at camp (when I would otherwise be very grouchy and hard to live with) and they provided a buffer for me before I returned fully to normal life with my large family.  My Grandma has always made huge meals for our family and rarely accepts help with food prep.  Both my grandparents have worked hard over the years making their yard and flower beds look beautiful and be functional.  They have always had a huge vegetable garden that has supplied multiple families including mine.  They are amazing and loving people, and this house and yard are just beginning to get to be too much work for what they want to do.  They haven't slowed down on keeping it up, but just are ready for a little less to do.  Since where they are moving to will do all the yard work for them they will have a garden to work at my parent's farm instead and I know they will keep on working hard and loving well in so many other areas.

Anyway, part of my excuse to go to their house was to give my Grandma a pair of socks I had knitted for her.  I realized around Christmas time that I hadn't made socks for either of my Grandma's so I decided that was my next project and I finally completed both pairs this morning and couldn't wait to give the last pair to my Grandma!

Aaron wanted to be in the pic first of course...

They fit!

Then after trying them on Grandma took the boys to play, first down stairs and then outside so I could ask Grandpa to tell me some of his childhood memories!  I am working on a project for the boys of recording memories from their grandparents and great grandparents of their childhood memories.  As my grandma says, you get my grandpa started and he can talk all night, and I have lots more questions to ask him.  My grandma says she doesn't have any stories to tell like Grandpa but I am sure she does!  My Regier grandparents have been writing letters for me about their childhood memories and after this year is done I hope I will have lots of memories to put into a book for me and the boys and any other family members that want a copy.   

When we were done we all went outside for a little walk around the yard.

My Grandparents have had solar panels as long as I can remember, not sure if they got them when they built the house or not, but how cool is that?

As kids we always loved to play by the water, of course my boys do too.

Aaron loves airplanes and pointed this one out to me.

birthday present from Mimi and Papa!

Luke got his second b-day present from Mimi and Papa in the mail last week and it was a big hit.  Here are a few pics!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

bubble bath

After eating birthday cup cakes last night both boys were in need of a bath so I decided it would be a good night to fill the tube with bubbles.  Luke has been begging me but Aaron has never been in a bubble bath, or at least not one that he or I remember, so this was a little scary for him!  He couldn't quite decide what he thought about the whole thing.  Here is a link to a video I took of them.

Luke is still in the funny face picture phase as you can see...

Aaron didn't like that the bubbles stuck to him when he would take his hand our foot out of the water.  He kept shaking whatever limb he had out of the water but those bubbles just wouldn't come off.  Pour guy!  He was mostly ok with the bath, but we did get out after about 15 minutes instead of the usual 30!

Luke of course stayed in until all the bubbles were gone.

Birthday presents!

This is Luke opening his b-day presents this year. We tried taking a video but Aaron woke up in such a bad mood that he screamed through the entire thing and then the battery pack started going low so we gave up and just made sure we got a pic with Luke and his present from Mimi and Papa!  (-;

So far he and Aaron both have enjoyed the cupcakes we got him, we haven't tried any of the recipes in the box because we need to go to the grocery store but Luke is very anxious to get started with that, Luke has mastered most of the magic tricks already and won't let Aaron touch them.

His favorite present though, I think, is from Mimi and Papa, the Harry Potter lego board game.  We put it together yet Sunday afternoon and we have already played it 4 times, one of which Luke just played it by himself because Aaron needed me so he just took turns for all of the game pieces.  I barely beat him one time, but he is pretty darn good at it already.  I told Greg tonight that I think he will really love playing this game with Luke because it definitely involves some strategy and Luke has already got it figured out pretty well.  Luke also has his dad's competitive nature and can be quite ruthless, making moves not because he needs to make a move but because it will mess you up more!  

We are still waiting for the first Ranger Rick magazine to come in the mail and Luke is checking the box a couple times a day! He is one happy boy! 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Happy Birthday Luke!

Today my sweet baby turns 5!!!  I can't believe he is so big.  Every day he seems more and more ready for school and I can hardly believe that soon he will be spending a good chunk of every week away from me and not at my mom's house either.  I'm not sure that I am ready for that yet, but I know it is coming whether I am ready or not.

Unfortunately Greg had to work all this weekend so we planned to get up early and eat a special breakfast together and open presents before Greg went to work and we needed to go to church.  Luke and I made cup cakes together last night to take to Sunday School and I stayed up late wrapping his presents.  We ended up getting up even earlier than expected when Aaron woke up screaming at 6:30 am!  I think he was hungry, but he was too angry to eat anything for quite a while and just screamed the whole time Luke was opening his presents!  Not so great for video taping it, but my battery was dying anyway so we mostly just took a few pics.

I was really excited about Luke's presents this year.  I have found that as he gets older and has more defined interests and abilities I have more ideas for things he will enjoy.  We got him a box of recipes called Kids Kitchen that I am excited to start looking through and using with him.  He loves to help in the kitchen and he is finally old enough that he is able to do more too.  We also got him the Mellissa and Doug cupcake set, you can decorate the cupcakes with these dry erase type markers as many times as you want, and Luke has been saying for a couple of months that he wants to be a cake maker when he grows up.  His final gift from us was a magic set also from Mellissa and Doug.  He generally loves anything magical and always wants to "play powers" and when Haig was here for Christmas he was enthralled with his magic tricks and quickly got the hang of performing them.  I think that was his favorite gift from us.

From Mimi and Papa he got a Harry Potter lego board game, very cool and can't wait to try it out later today!  From Gammy and Papa he got a subscription to Ranger Rick magazine, something I grew up with and he has been pouring over old copies at my mom's house lately and wanting to read the whole thing and cut out pictures from them.

Aaron's birthday is coming up too and while I am happy with the gifts we got him I don't have this sense that he will really love them the way I do with Luke, he just isn't old enough to have really strong interests yet.  I definitely think he will enjoy them and play with them, but he plays with everything, especially anything that is Luke's or that Luke is playing with.  I might not get him presents because we have plenty of toys, but I think for Luke's sake he needs a few more of his own toys so that maybe he will leave Luke's alone a bit more.

Luke made me so proud today, really showed how much he is growing up.  After church we went to Burger King with my parents, siblings and one set of grandparents.  It is the only place that has a play area and I was sure that after getting up so early and being in church all morning both the boys would not be able to handle any other kind of restaurant, plus Luke had asked for chicken nuggets for his birthday, even wanted them for breakfast!

Luke spent very little time eating and mostly just played with the other kids there.  At one point shortly before we left I suddenly heard him crying, hard!  He came down and tears were streaming down his face and he was holding his nose.  He told me that another little boy had punched him in the nose.  I was floored. Immediately I was remembering when I was 4 and our next door neighbor boy came over to our house and punched me in the stomach just to show my little brother how strong his new wrestling wrist-bands made him.  I remembered my mom telling me how angry she had been and how she had told him, "You do NOT hit my kids!" and sent him home.  I didn't know what to do.

I kept glancing at the table where the other little boy's parents were sitting and they were either unaware or just didn't care about what had happened.  I comforted Luke but he was really upset and just wanted to curl up and cry.  I asked him more questions, did the other boy hit him on purpose? was the other boy mad at him, why was the other boy mad at him, what were they doing before the other boy hit him?  Were they wrestling before the other boy hit him?  Luke told me that the other boy had hit him on purpose and was mad at him but he didn't know why.  They had been play wrestling and then the boy just got mad and punched him.  I asked which boy it had been and he showed me, and another little girl who was either a sister or friend to the other boy came over and confirmed what Luke was saying.  The other little boy said that Luke was lying and that he hadn't done anything and that made Luke really upset but the little girl stood up for him and said that the other boy was lying.  Then the other boy said that Luke had scratched him on the face.  I don't know if Luke really did scratch him or not, he didn't have any marks on his face, but that doesn't mean that the wrestling hadn't gotten out of hand and Luke does like to pretend to be a cheetah lately.

Luke came over and sat at the table crying and still the other parents didn't seem to be paying any attention.  What do I do?  What do I do?  What do I do?  Finally I told Luke that I wanted him to tell the other little boy that he was sorry for scratching him on the face because I knew that he hadn't meant to hurt him and maybe then the other little boy would say sorry too and they could be friends again.  He was reluctant but agreed if I would go with him.  We went over to the other boy and I told him that Luke wanted to say sorry for scratching his face because it was an accident and he didn't mean to hurt him.  The other boy said OK but didn't offer an apology in return.  What do I do?  What do I do?  What do I do?  I said, "(the other boys name), can you say sorry to Luke for punching him in the nose so you guys can be friends and play together again?"  He did it!  He said sorry to my son and Luke perked up and they started to play together again after I told them both no more wrestling or hitting!  I breathed a sigh of relief.

I didn't know what to do, I wished his parents would see what was going on and discipline their son appropriately, but they didn't and I don't know why.  I didn't want to step on toes or do something that would make them feel like I was over stepping my bounds by parenting their son but I firmly felt that he needed to apologize to my son and Luke needed to know that I would not just let someone else hurt him.  I was worried that even with the way things went that Luke would feel like I hadn't stuck up for him since I asked him to apologize first.

In the car later Luke and I talked, and we talked more at home.  I told him how proud I was of him for being able to say sorry to someone who had hurt him even when the other boy wasn't saying sorry to him.  I told him that I was really sad and angry that the other boy had hurt him and not said sorry to him, but that maybe his mommy and daddy don't teach him that hitting is wrong or that you need to say sorry when you hit someone else.  I told him that I was proud of him because maybe by saying sorry like he did he could have helped teach the other little boy about what is the right thing to do.  Mostly I told him that I loved him and that I was sorry that he had been hurt. I think that he is OK now, that he understands at least somewhat why I did what I did.

Hopefully the rest of his birthday will go better again.  He and Aaron both conked out as soon as we got home and are still sleeping, so hopefully we will have happy good-natured boys again this evening.  I want to put together his lego board game so we can play it together this evening, and we got a movie for the boys and are having chip dip for supper so that should be good.  My sweet baby is growing up so fast.  I love him more each day and I am so grateful that I get to be his mom.  I hope he always knows how much he is loved and how proud we are of him.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Regier Christmas videos

Here are a few links to videos from our Regier Christmas for Becca, who always has to miss them.   Love you Sis!