Tuesday, January 07, 2014

My Visit to Kindergarten

This is long overdue.
On Martin Luther King Day I was lucky enough to spend time in Tristyn's class!
We didn't have school and she was making up a snow day.
I thought it would be really fun to help and observe her little class.

Did I say little?
Tristyn has a total of 30 students in her class.
Her teacher, Mrs. Cruz, is a saint.
I seriously do not know how that woman does it every single day.
Thirty 5 and 6 year olds?
In one room?
All the time?
Where's the Tylenol?

I love Tristyn's school.
The entire school is just for kindergarten.
Everything is their size.

First thing when we walked in Tristyn has some breakfast.
Sometimes she eats two breakfasts...
One at CHOA and another when she hops off the bus.
We went back to her class and she got started on her morning work.

Working on her morning work while waiting for the fire drill.

Then there was a fire drill.
I was so amazed at the quiet soldiers marching down the hall.
Mrs. Cruz was quick to drop behavior colors on those who were talking.
She means business.

Overall, I was just in awe of how swiftly the kids transitioned to different activities.
Directions were given and the children worked to follow them.
I stayed to eat lunch with Tristyn.
Mini corn dog day! My favorite.
Mini corn dog day with Tristyn and her friend Hayden.

Things I learned visiting Kindergarten:
1. You have to be OCD organized to teach kindergarten.
2. Mrs. Cruz has a song for EVERYTHING.
3. It is amazing the things Tristyn can do for herself at school, but not at home...hmmmm.
4. Watching the intellectual growth of a kindergartner from day one to the end has got be a great feeling.
5. Kindergartners aren't in tune with sarcasm. (Mrs. Cruz told the class they were going to learn about outer space and that they might even take a trip there. Pretend of course. One girl started crying because she didn't want to leave her family behind.)
6. 5 year olds fart and think nothing of it.
7. I really don't think kindergarten teachers sleep...ever.
8. Kindergarten is way too colorful for me.
9. The first years in school are important. If a child starts off their educational career with a dud of a teacher...then they will have a sour outlook on school for the rest of their life. Scratch that. Every year is important and every teacher's attitude is important. Even though I teach high school, I can still be crazy and attempt to make my class somewhat enjoyable for teenagers. Hopefully, it will keep them coming back for more. Tristyn has been blessed with four amazing preschool and kindergarten teachers...Miss Janice, Miss Linda, Mrs. Kilar and Mrs. Cruz. I know that these ladies have launched Tristyn's educational adventure on the right track.
10. Kindergarten teachers use WAY too much Comic Sans.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Kindergarten is Hard Work

Tristyn is loving Kindergarten!
Mrs. Cruz is wearing her out too!
Yesterday she fell asleep on the bus ride home.
She just loves hot lunch,
Except for the day when her walking tacos didn't walk.
And her popcorn chicken didn't have popcorn in it.

Yesterday she brought home her "Problem Solving Journal."
I thought I would share some of my favorite entries.

This is my favorite because the apple has a worm coming out and she made a word bubble for the worm saying, "yum." She spelled it all herself.
 This one just shows her personality so much. My kid with the purple icing on her cake.
 Sure the directions say, "I can draw a picture that shows 3."
But a picture of a dolphin, a wave, and her surfing is much cooler.
 Tristyn wasn't sure how many people were in her family so she left it blank. She drew (from left to right) me, Aunt Barb with her white hair, herself and then started to draw Grandma, but she ran out of time. Sorry Grandma!

This is her in a dress of course!!!

Monday, September 09, 2013

Today Show Star

http://www.today.com/moms/mom-i-got-readers-share-pics-their-kids-dressing-themselves-8C11020741

Oh yes...my kid made the Today Show website!
Why?
Look at the photo! 
Can't you tell?
It was a story about letting your kids dress themselves of course!

My kid has great fashion.
Actually, the photo I submitted was taken at the end of last school year.
Her matching abilities are getting much better.
I love how she expresses herself through her clothes.
Sometimes I shake my head.
But as long as she is happy wearing what she likes..it's ok with me.

As long as she doesn't look too ridiculous or is weather inappropriate.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

First Day of Kindergarten

I hope she has the same excitement for the start of school every single year.
People have said that sending your child to school for the first time is hard.
Tristyn has been going to school since she was 3 months old.
It has never been hard for me.
Maybe because she always loved the people taking such great care of her during the day.
From Miss Cheryl to everyone at Caring Heart Open Arms...they made dropping her off a snap for me.

But watching her wait for the big, yellow bus
With her pink Barbie backpack with matching lunchbox...
Watching her skip excitedly to climb the big stairs and find her seat...
I got a little choked up.

My little girl isn't so little anymore.
She is independent
Confident
And Whimsical.

She walked down the hall to her classroom
Holding her best friend's hand.
She waited her turn to give her teacher, Mrs. Cruz an apple.
It was her idea.
She picked it out at the store, made sure it was the right color
And packed it in her bag.
She is so caring.
I think that might become a first day tradition.

She found her name on the classroom tree
And at her seat around the red table.
She immediately sat down and got right to work.
Coloring a raccoon.

A quick hug and kiss good-bye.
No tears from Little Nug.
Only smiles and total confidence.

She's not a Little Nug anymore.

She's Big Tristyn.

It's corny to say, but she starts her educational career today.
Coloring a raccoon.
With test scores,
Standards,
ISTEPs,
Social pressures,
AP classes,
Technology upgrades
And more...
The next 13 years is where she will find herself
And secure her future.

My hopes/advice for Tristyn are these:
-Put forth your best effort and work hard at everything you do.
-But don't stress so much about letter grades.
-Always smile and be nice to others.
-Choose your friends wisely.
-Education is one thing that NO ONE can ever take away from you, so learn as much as you can.

It's really hard to think that in 13 years
I will be kissing her good-bye in her dorm room.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Summer Bucket List vs. What We Actually Did

Tristyn and I made a summer bucket list way back in May.
Here it is and the highligted ones we actually accomplished!
1) Visit South Shore Soda Shop in Goshen
2) Try Paradise Pup in Chicago
3) Go to the water park
4) Hobart Pool
5) Go to the park
6) Explore in the forest
7) Canoe/Row Boat ride
8) Railcats game
9) Drive in movie
Miles and Tristyn at the 49er Drive In in Valpo.

10) Movie night at home with popcorn
11) Visit Simone and Colette's house in Wisconsin
12) Santa's Village
13) Indiana Beach
14) Finish reading Harry Potter 1
15) Stay in a hotel
16) Children's Museum
17) Take the train to Chicago
18) Have a garage sale
19) Fair Oaks Farm
20) Go to Wendy's at night
21) Visit Wolf Park in Lafayette





22) Go to the zoo
Feeding the goats at the Michigan City Zoo.



Saying hi to the baby horse.


































Ok...so we didn't hit many things on the list.
The weather was pretty cold and rainy this summer.
And...I did have hernia surgery on June 11 that had me down for weeks.
Here is a list of OTHER things we did that weren't even on our planned list.

1) Had a birthday party at Bellaboos
2) Hernia surgery
3) Tristyn slept overnight at the Verpooten's house for 2 nights!
4) Library trips
5) McDonald's Playland
6) Helped grandma with her sump pump
7) Got stuck in a hail storm on I94
8) Tristyn saw the Snow White play with Grandma
9) St. Thomas More Festival
I think she went on this slide about 8 times.


















10) Vacation Bible School at Southlake Worship Center
11) Vacation Bible School at Bethel
12) Saw Despicable Me 2 in 3D and Monsters University at the Drive in
13) Dunes with the cousins
Jeremy, Simone, Colette and Julia standing. Austin, Tristyn and Aidan.
14) Played mini golf at Zao's Island in Valpo
She won. She had 72 and I had 54. ;)

Sitting by the little house.



































15) Lake County Fair
Miles and Tristyn got to ride a camel at the fair!


















16) Tristyn helped me with her 5th yearbook distribution
Yearbook distribution through the years.
Little Drew Verpooten and our yearbook.


17) Went to Auntie Julie's ice cream party.
Bacon peanut butter ice cream.

We also painted a lot of nails, spent the 4th of July at the Verpooten's house, bought a fish, hung out at Lake George, and ate a lot of ice cream.
Huh...I guess we did do a lot this summer!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy 5th Birthday Tristyn!

Me and the birthday girl.

We decided to have Tristyn's birthday party a tad early this year.
We also decided to have it at Bellaboo's in Lake Station.
It is this amazing place for kids!
They have themed rooms for the kids to play in that are just awesome.
Tristyn's favorite room is the face painting room.
She likes to paint her face like a tiger.
She had a couple of friends from school come like Avery and Soleah.
Cousins Austin and Adian were able to come from Illinois.
Best buddies, Miles and Drew were there of course!
And our neighbors Jacob and Vivian came along too!
She had a great time and was so tired by the end of the night!
Jumping in the ball pitt with Miles.

Concentrating on her birthday shirt.

Face painting with cousin Austin.

Eating pizza!

Her special bunny that she reaaally wanted and named Kendra.

Squirt gun party favors.

Tired party goer.

Friday, April 26, 2013

"Ca-Caw! Ca-Caw!"

It's April 26 and I can't help but wonder when the heck it's going to warm up.
When the sun is out and it's not frigid
I never see Tristyn.
She is finally old enough to ride her bike down the block.
She even crosses the street in front of the house with a watchful eye.
She has made friends like Jacob and Vivian who live next to Josephine.
She even talks to the older girl who lives down the block and can ride a two-wheeler.

The other day she came home and said she met two little girls
She asked to ride her bike around the block with them.
One girl was 5 and the other was 7 so I wasn't too worried.
I said OK...I have to cut the cord sometime.
Two minutes later the doorbell rang and it was the 5 year old.
She said, "Don't worry ma'am, we'll protect your kid from the streets."
She made it sound like we lived in the ghetto!
She meant that she would help her cross the street if they needed to.

After about 40 minutes Tristyn finally returned home.
She was so happy and proud of herself for making friends.
When I took off her coat I noticed she had dirt all over her arm.

Here is the conversation that took place after that...
M: Why do you have dirt all over your arm?
T: Oh...I fell up a hill.

I think to myself...where in the heck is there a hill?

M: I thought you were going on a bike ride?
T: Well...we did, but we went to the park to play.
M: But...you were supposed to be riding your bike.
    What if I needed to find you?
    How would I know you were at the park?
T: Well you would walk by and see our pink bikes.
M: But where did the dirt come from?
T: We went on the tracks in the forest. And I fell up a hill.
M: WHAT?
     How would I know you were in the forest?!
T: Well you would see our bikes and then follow the girl tracks.
M: What if you got hurt in the forest?
     How would I know you were hurt or where to find you?
T: I would stay still and call out to you, "Ca-Caw! Ca-Caw!" and then you will come get me.
M: WHAT?!?!?!
     NO...you are not to go in the forest without me ever again! You could get hurt or lost!
     And on and on and on....

I think she got my drift.
Until we were discussing the situation again at grandma's house.
When I told her again that I didn't want her going in there she said to me,
"Well...if I go in there and then don't tell you about it...then you won't know!"

This is going to be a long journey raising this child.