Thursday, August 29, 2013

What Makes Reading Hard?

Without any help from us, Paige started reading when she was three. When she brought home her schoolwork today, we noticed a worksheet called "Background Survey On Reading." It's a little survey to score your confidence in reading.

There are questions like "place an X on the face that shows how you feel about reading" (Paige X'd the smiley face) and "what is your favorite book for reading by yourself?" (Magic Tree House.)

I loved Paige's answer to "What makes reading hard for you?" I'm sure some kids wrote, "It's boring" or "There are too many long words."

Not Paige.

Her response? "If the pages are ripped out."

She's right. That does make reading hard.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

And Now We Have a Kindergartner

Today Curtis became a kindergartner.

Because he goes to the afternoon class, I wasn't around for the first day drop off. Here's the report I got from Traci.

Traci: Curtis, are you nervous?

Curtis: No.

Traci: Are you excited?

Curtis: No.

Traci: Are you scared?

Curtis: No.

Traci: Do you think it will be fun?

Curtis: No.

Despite his (always) stoic exterior, it sounds like he went into the class, sat down on the rug, and got right to being a kindergartner.

(Traci then went back to car and cried a little bit.)

When I talked to him tonight, he gave me a pretty succinct review. Story time. Recess. Puzzles. And a treat consisting of both gummy bears and a cookie. Plus, he met two friends--Jordan and Jack (or Jake, he couldn't quite remember which).

Sounds like a pretty good day.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Paige Starts 2nd Grade (and It's No Big Deal)

The first day of school is hard...for parents.

I remember being nervous the day Paige went off to preschool (looking back at the photo, I can't believe how little she was). Would she be scared? Would she listen to her teacher? Would she be nice to the other kids?

Sending her off to kindergarten (on the bus!) was even harder. How would she do at lunchtime? Who would she play with at recess? Would she scared to be on the bus by herself?

Then she tested into the advanced learner program for first grade, so we sent her to a new school. How would she do with the tougher curriculum? Would she still be smart when surrounded by a bunch of other little nerds?

Of course, there was probably never a need to worry. She loves school. She's smart. She's made friends. She's a nerdy teacher's pet.

So this year, I didn't worry. I just gave her a kiss and sent her on her way. She'll be just fine.

Now Curtis on the other hand...he starts kindergarten on Wednesday. I'm nervous. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Real Navajo Tacos with a Real Navajo

When Steve, my Navajo friend, told me that he'd come to my house and teach my family how to make real Navajo tacos, I thought he was just kidding. No. He was was serious. Very serious. 

He came over--arms filled with all of the necessary supplies--and not only told us how it was done, but showed us. And we weren't allowed to just sit back and watch. We had to get in there and get our hands dirty. 

I thought the kids would act like they do when the home teachers come--stick around for 30 seconds and then disappear into the basement. Nope. Steve totally kept their attention as he walked us through the intricacies of not just kneading the dough, but thinking positive thoughts while kneading the dough. The kids were enraptured. 

We've known for some time that Paige is less of a worker and more of a manager. She didn't want to get her hands messy, so instead of doing any actual cooking, she spent at least a half hour talking with Steve about possible price points for her eventual Navajo taco stand. (Steve: "I think you could charge $2 for a piece of fry bread; $3 if you add a Shasta and an Otterpop." Paige: "Uh, yeah. But if you only charge $1, more people would want to buy it.")

Curtis, who never talks to anyone, spent the whole night chatting with Steve about the dough, and basketball, and the rules to playing HORSE. Of course, that doesn't mean he'll smile for a picture--even when he's surrounded by a mountain of fry bread that he made himself. 

It was a pretty great evening with Steve and Tami. (Before they came over, Curtis asked Traci, "Mom, who's Tom and Jerry?" Traci replied, confused, "Uh, a cartoon cat and mouse." Curtis shook his head. "No, the Tom and Jerry that are coming over tonight." The light bulb went on for Traci. "Oh, not Tom and Jerry. Steve and Tami.")

We're lucky to have such great friends.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Little Brothers are Weird

Paige spent the afternoon at one of her friends' house. 

Here's the what she told Curtis about it while we were in the van. 

"Curtis, you'd really like Amy's little brother because he's five like you. And he's really weird like you."

"But I think you're even weirder."

Curtis then smacked himself in the face. 

I guess he agreed. 

Saturday, August 03, 2013

New Job

The view from my office window

I've officially completed three weeks at my new job. Things are going pretty well so far.  A few observations:
  • The dress is much more casual than I'm used to. Shorts, flip-flops, and baseball hats abound. I walked by the CEO yesterday. He was wearing a polo shirt, shorts, and some fluorescent green basketball shoes.
  • Every afternoon at 2:00 is "stretchy stretchy" time. One of the finance ladies stands in the cubicle aisle and leads everyone in about 10 minutes of stretching. (I heard she's certified in "desk-er-cise." Now that I know that's a thing, I feel I have found my new calling.)
  • Speaking of cubicles, Marketing doesn't have them. Our desks are all out in the open. It's going to take a while to get used to everyone being able to see what I'm doing on the computer all day. 
  • There are lots of bald guys in my department, so I fit right in. 
  • I'm not at young as a I used to be. When I started at the Community College, I was a baby--just 23. When I started at Insurance, I was a 26-year-old kid. Now I'm 33. Yesterday, a 25-year-old was telling me why he likes the band Girl Talk (who I hate). "They're really indicative of our--" he looks at me and rephrases,"I mean my generation." I'm old.
I'm still missing my Insurance homies--we went to lunch on Thursday and it was hard not to go back to the office with them--but I'm hoping for the best.