Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Why do I ned to lurn tu spel?

Ah spelling. This is becoming quite an issue in our household. It is Maggie's favorite subject, and she delights in her 100's and above that she brings home on a regular basis. For Gracie, however, spelling is not coming easily.

Each week Gracie has twenty spelling words. We started out like we did with Maggie - doing the spelling assignment on Wednesday and writing the words three times apiece on Thursday. She missed over half. The next week I tapped into her love of computer games with Spelling City - an online study aid. We saw very little improvement. The next week I upped the writing of the words to five times each, and the whining began.

"Do I HAVE to? I don't want to! Besides, Mom," she said with eyes rolling, "It's not like you use spelling in the REAL world!!!"

I had to laugh. Where, at her age, did she get this comment? And it's not like it's Trigonometry, it's SPELLING! I hate to tell you babe, but people DO use spelling in the real world.

So, I have contacted her teacher and will be meeting with her soon. In the meantime, we had Family Top Banana day at Gracie's class - like a show and tell of her family. On the form she filled out about what she likes and dislikes she put her favorite subject as PE and least favorite as Spelling. No surprise there.

This week's spelling assignment was to write a story and use ten of the twenty words in the story. It's a bit harder than most spelling assignments so we started early. Tuesday she had gotten a few sentences on the paper when I had them clear the table for dinner. I picked up the paper and read:

She had a hamburger her hamburger had ledes on it. how bid she eat it? She puke it up and dited it. wus it gob? it wus wundrfll

"What?" I thought. I called her into the kitchen and told her we needed to talk about her spelling story.

"We can't tell puking stories for spelling homework." I said.

"I didn't!!!" She protested.

"Yes, it says right here: "How did she eat it? She puked it up. . ."

"No Mom!!! She PICKED it up!!"

Ah. That makes all the difference in the world. I explained that pick is spelled with an I and no E, and that p-u-k-e does in fact, spell puke. Oh, and, yes, this is an example of spelling in the real world.

So we've got our noses to the grindstone, and are trying to find a way for Gracie to learn how to spell without making either of us crazy. If you have any suggestions, let me know!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Muddy Pumpkins

Each grade level has one field trip per year, and this year Gracie's grade went to the pumpkin patch. As always, these trips are scheduled way in advance, and you go, rain or shine on your scheduled day. Unfortunately for us, it had been raining for at least four days when our scheduled day arrived, so we were in for a mud pit of a pumpkin patch. I was really not looking forward to the trip, because last week the girls had been sick with a "flu-like" illness, which they had given to me, and I had managed to parlay into a sinus infection. Since I was only on dose two of the antibiotics for that, tromping through the mud held about as much appeal as visiting Wal-Mart the day before Thanksgiving. Still, the weather hadn't dampened the kids enthusiasm for the trip, so we packed our lunches and away we went.

I was assigned a group of three girls to usher around the pumpkin patch. First the whole group went into a nice dry nursery and got a class on what we would see at the pumpkin patch. We saw lots of pumpkins - orange, green, yellow, blue, Cinderellas, and Turbins, pumpkins with warts and pumpkins without. We also heard about what animals we could see and pet.

I didn't get any shots of the girls picking their pumpkins - the field was under water in places, and I was busy trying not to fall over instead of taking photos! By the time we wrangled the pumpkins back to the barn Gracie was covered in mud, but was happy as a lark. When we got home she said it was "the greatest field trip ever!" so I guess it was a success!

In the meantime, Maggie's grade was having pumpkin day at school - one of the few times the girls activities overlapped. They made pumpkin pie, pumpkin bars and spiced pumpkin seeds. They decorated their pumpkins and sang pumpkin carols - I got there in time to see the decorated pumpkins and hear the carols. Maggie had a fun time for pumpkin day too, although hers was much drier!

Maggie's friend Bailey and their decorated pumpkins. (Maggie decorated her pumpkin as a bird.)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Our Little Comedienne

Our sweet Maggie is turning into quite the comedienne. Here's the latest examples:

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We were having a family meeting and Maggie had made an observation about something. Jerry commented that she was "astute."

Maggie asked her daddy, "What does astute mean?"

I answered, "Wise. Observant."

Jerry looked at me and said, "I can answer that! Let me answer my own questions! I bet you were a real know-it-all in school, always answering for everyone. . ." as he put his hand in the air doing his best impersonation of a know-it-all, "ooh, ooh-oh, pick me, pick, me!!!"

Maggie looked at him with a completely serious face and said, "Yes, Catherine?"

Needless to say, she got a laugh out of him!

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I am a huge fan of the comic strip "Baby Blues" and Maggie and Gracie have taken to reading my collection books of the past strips. Maggie was trying to tell her Daddy about one of the strips during dinner, but she mispronounces the names. She pronounces the father's name (Darrell) Dare-elle. Jerry thought that was pretty funny, so I asked her to tell Jerry what the name of their neighbor was.

She said, "It's Yolanda," but she makes it rhyme with the word gondola, as in Yon-doe-la.

Jerry and I started to giggle, and she looked right a Jerry with a frown on her face and said with a rather superior air, "Well, it's a Spanish name!" Which just made me laugh harder.

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Let there be Light!

Well, I am proud to report that after over a year of using a TV tray as a bed table, with my lamp up on top of the armoire across the room, I finally got around to getting us some new bedside tables complete with lamps! I can now read a book in bed and then roll over and turn off the light! I'm so excited I could just burst. The accomplishment of this one thing may not seem very significant to most folks, but it seems to have gotten the ball rolling at our house. A lot of our rooms seem to have stuff that is there for no apparent reason. I guess we figured that as long as we were moving in the "settling in" direction, there was no reason to stop. We started going through every closet and drawer, getting rid of anything that we didn't use or love. We got quite a bit done the first weekend, but then lost steam when we got to this:
The guest bedroom closet where I keep all my crafting stuff and anything else that doesn't have a home. This picture really didn't do it justice - I had already removed a whole layer of stuff when we took this shot. I was really down about tackling this closet, because I knew whatever we came up with would be short of my 'ideal' closet. Jerry wasn't ready to give up that easily, and he quizzed me on my 'ideal' and then he really came through. Here's the finished product:

Just look at those shelves! I married the perfect guy for me - Thank You Lord!!! And that's not all. We've ordered me a desk from the Container Store, and will be installing it soon. Woo-Hoo!!! Now all I have to do is get rid of what's in the guest room at the moment. I've taken the pics and will be posting items to Craigslist next week. In the meantime, if anyone needs a dresser, mirror, nightstand or bookshelf in Broyhill Fontanta group, give me a buzz - I might be able to get you a deal!

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Barn Dance

Well, the second grade is always the first to do their program at the girl's school, but it certainly did come up fast this year! The show was called "Barn Dance" and was based on a book of that same name. Gracie was a scarecrow this year, although she declared that she looked like a farmer, not a scarecrow. I told her that was okay, since scarecrows are supposed to look like the farmer to scare the crows away.

Each student has a dance that they do with their class, and either a speaking part of musical instrument part. Gracie got to play a musical instrument again this year - the handchimes. She's getting quite good at it! We recently lost our bass bell player in our handbell choir at church - perhaps I should suggest Gracie as a replacement! Only problem is that those big bells probably outweigh her. Perhaps in a few more years!

Here's our little star:

Playing her bells

The scarecrows are waking up!

The girls were the crows - they didn't trust to boys to have the long poles

Singing the finale

This cutie pie couldn't scare a mouse!

I went to two of the three performances. At the evening performance, Maggie and I went in to get our seats. I had already scoped out the vantage points that I wanted for photos at the first performance, so I went straight to one of those seats. Maggie was not at all happy - she didn't want to sit with her (boring) mother - she was in full social butterfly mode, and was getting ready to have a teen-age-like rebellion if she didn't get to go and sit with her friends. She ended up sitting with a friend and I stayed where I was and got good pictures, so I guess everyone went home happy in the end. My only question is, what will she be like when she's an actual teenager? Scary thought!