Thursday, August 21, 2014

Annika's haircut

I've been taking the summer off from blogging, but this was a pretty momentous occasion, so I have to share it here.

I think Annika was about 4 when she decided she wanted to have long hair, just like her auntie T (who since then has also cut her hair shorter).  Over the past 2 years she's had it trimmed about 2-3 times each year, but other than that, we've just let it grow.  And grow, and grow.  And now it was time for a change.



She got nearly a foot of hair cut off and we are going to donate it to the Canadian Cancer Society to make into a wig for sick kids.  She really liked the idea that her hair could go to a kid out there that doesn't have hair.  I'm so proud of her - it wasn't an easy decision, but she didn't waffle at all when she was sitting in the chair, and she seems to really like her new style.  I like it too, and I like that it will mean a lot less "hair maintenance" in our house.  The long hair was pretty, but it was a lot of work for me (since she wasn't really able to care for it by herself).  And she looks so grown up now!  All ready for grade 1!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Last day of kindergarten

I'm a little late with this post - Annika's last day of kindergarten was last week Friday, June 27, but we left for an extra-long weekend at the lake right after that, so I haven't gotten around to posting until now.

This is Annika on her first day of kindergarten and her last day.  I think it's just about time to hand that red sweater down to Emmett - look how short it is on her arms!

Even though it was a little drizzly that morning, the kids still wanted to walk to school (I think they were just excited about using the umbrella because they kept using it even after the rain stopped!). 

Emmett and I went back to school later that morning for the last day of school assembly.  The whole school learned a dance to the song "Happy" and it was really neat to see everyone getting into it (except for this girl at the front left!).  Annika is in the front row, towards the right, in the purple dress.

Annika has done really well this past year.  She really liked her teachers, and even adapted well when she got a new teacher a month and a half into school (the regular kindergarten teacher was finishing up her mat leave, so there was a different teacher for the first 6 weeks of school).  She made a bunch of friends, and even a "best" friend.  She's learning to read and can read simple books by herself.  She can count up to 300 (I'm sure she'd go farther if I didn't cut her off there!), and she's good with adding and subtracting simple numbers.  She still loves doing crafts and drawing/coloring, and judging by the stack of pictures she brought home at the end of the year, she often would draw or color during "choice time" at school.  Being one of the "quieter" kids in school, I know she found it hard at times in her classroom, as it sounded like there were quite a few kids who didn't always listen or were being noisy.  Next year she'll be in a grade 1/2 split, and since there are actually three grade 1 classes (two 1/2 splits and a k/1 split), she'll only be with 3 other kids from her class this year (although her best friend will be in the same class, so that makes it better).  She also knows one of the girls from the other kindergarten class, since they happened to be on the same soccer team this year, and she will also be in that class.  So there will be lots of changes for next year, but I'm pretty confident she will be able to handle them.  But first, to enjoy the summer!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Lately... (a bit of this and that)

Lately we've been in a very busy season of life.  Swimming lessons, soccer, piano lessons, speech therapy, church commitments - it all starts adding up.  Thankfully everything is winding down now in the next few weeks, and I'm really looking forward to taking a break over the summer.

On Friday was the kids' last swimming lesson.  Neither of them passed their level, but that's okay because that's what I was expecting (it was the first time for both of them in their levels).  Plus, I had registered them for these same levels for summer lessons (1 week, 45 minutes each day), so I was actually glad neither of them passed because then I'd have to try to re-register them in a different level.  They both did really well though, and I was very proud of how hard they worked.  This was Emmett's first time doing "real" swimming lessons (without a parent in the water) and aside from a few tears on the first day, he really enjoyed it.

Yesterday Annika really got the hang of riding her bike with two wheels.  We'd been practicing for a week, but it wasn't until yesterday that it really "clicked."  She still has a few issues with steering and stopping (and starting on her own), but she's pretty much got it figured out.  Very proud of her, since it wasn't that long ago (just after we bought her new bike) that she was quite scared of riding it, even with the training wheels on. 

Father's Day this morning.  We had a pretty low-key day, as we had celebrated with my family on Friday night and with Carey's family yesterday.

Last week in church the children's feature was about Psalm 23 (as was the sermon) and it was generously promised to the kids that if they could memorize all of Psalm 23, they would receive $5.  Annika worked very hard all week, and she was so excited to receive her $5 this morning.  I was quite impressed with how quickly she was able to memorize it all (I typed it out and added a few pictures to help with word associations), so now we need to find something to work on next.  It was good practice for me too - it's been a long time since I've memorized Bible verses and even the ones I learned as a kid (like Psalm 23) have gotten a bit foggy.  It's definitely something I want us to keep doing as a family.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

2 wheels

This weekend Annika started learning to ride her bike without the training wheels. I say "started" because she's not quite there yet, but she's getting the hang of it. Just needs a little more practice and a little more confidence.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Speech therapy

I've been meaning to write about Emmett's speech therapy for a while, so here it is.

Ever since Emmett started talking (and even before that, when he wasn't talking and I thought he should be), I was a bit concerned that his speech was delayed (although my main comparison was Annika, who I think was a bit advanced, so perhaps it wasn't really a fair comparison).  He was slow to start talking and even now, although he has no shortage of words (some days it seems like he never stops talking!), he can be hard to understand if you don't know his "language".  He mispronounces many letters that most children his age can pronounce.  So, with the recommendation from our doctor, we started speech therapy with Emmett about 2 months ago.  

In just 2 months, we've seen him improve by leaps and bounds.  Sure, he still has quite a ways to go, but seeing him learn and master the sounds he's been working on is amazing.  Even his speech therapist seems a little surprised by how quickly he's progressing.  He doesn't always like practicing at home, but he loves going for his weekly sessions and seeing what games/puzzles/toys he gets to play with there.  The speech therapist is excellent with him and knows how to keep his attention and keep it fun while working.  She also knows when to push him to work a little harder at a sound, and when to back off, when he's just not ready (some sounds come later on, as kids mature).  And I can tell that he feels good about himself when he gets a pronunciation right.  Lately he's even been correcting himself from time to time- he'll mispronounce something, then he'll repeat the word with the correct pronounciation!

I know that once Emmett starts kindergarten there will be help for him in school if he's still mispronouncing sounds (Annika talks about several kids in her class that go for "speech"), however, I'm hoping by then he will have the majority of his sounds mastered (either through therapy or just by maturing and learning on his own), so it's not such a big deal for him - maybe he'll only have to work on 1 or 2 of the later-coming sounds by then, if anything.  We are very fortunate, though - the cost of the speech therapy is partially covered by our insurance, and I have the time right now to take him to appointments, so that made the decision to pursue therapy easy.  It seems to have been a good decision - good timing - given how well he's responding to it.  We'll soon be taking a break for the summer, but we will likely start up again in the fall.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

New 'dos

The kids are sporting some new styles.  Emmett finally got his hair cut today (he was looking quite overgrown and shaggy) and he even got a little blue gel (or "jell-o" as he would say) in it.  I think this will be much more comfortable for him for summer.

Annika decided not to get her hair cut when we went to the salon today, as she's decided she wants to grow out her bangs.  Sniff sniff.  Yes, I'm a little sad about it.  Her bangs were so cute.  I'm not quite ready for this - just another way my little girl is growing up.  We've been exploring a lot of new styles, though, in the past few days.  I'm thinking this summer will involve a lot of clips, bobby pins, braids and headbands.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Emmett's last day of preschool

Today was Emmett's last day of preschool (until next year). It's amazing how much he's grown over the past 8 months.

He wasn't in much of a picture-taking mood today.

He's done really well in preschool this year.  I try not to compare him with Annika and her first year of preschool, since she was almost 3 and a half when starting preschool, and he's now almost 3 and a half after completing preschool (December baby).  He still doesn't quite know all of his letters, but he can recognize and name most of them now.  He's also starting to associate letters with the sound they make (his speech therapy is helping with that - more on that in another post).  He's really good with his numbers and loves to do his "math" workbook (he recently got a set of "Cars" workbooks from book orders - ABCs, shapes/colors, math and counting).  His art skills are still rather "minimal" (he would often bring home a painting with 1 or 2 smears of paint on it and that's all) and we're working on encouraging a proper grip for holding his crayons/pencils.  He's started tracing letters and shapes, but his control of a pencil is still pretty shaky.  He knows how to spell his first name.  Socially, he interacted well with his teachers, but I don't think he interacted with the other kids much.  Whenever I asked him who he played with at school he would say "no one" (however, at Y Neighbours he had a group of buddies that he would talk about).  All in all, I'm very glad that we put him in preschool this past year (and not just because I liked my free mornings twice a week), and I think that it was very good for him.