Saturday, August 27, 2011

Smurfettes Soccer

Today was Lorelei's first soccer game. Her Heartland Elementary team is officially the Jaguars, but we affectionately call them the "Smurfettes," for rather obvious reasons. I want to make them all little white smurf hats and sing "La-la-lala-la-la, sing the happy song" for our theme, but alas, I'll restrain myself...
 Smurfette #10, with a flair for feathers.
 The Smurfettes showed up early to practice on-field before the other team got there. I like to teach my kids how much practice pays off.  Sadly, today did nothing to prove this point.
 We're officially not supposed to keep score (thank heaven) but unofficially, Daddy did.  It was 18-0.  Those little green monsters walloped our poor little Smurfettes.

 We had to keep things peppy from the sidelines. Here's Stacey, desperately trying to preserve good spirits with her little mascot in hand.
Thank goodness for water breaks! Lorelei's rubbing water on Gryffy to cool him off, too.
It worked out well that L had little concept of how the game is played as yet, because she was just out there to have fun.
 And I think she did.
 She even took home the game ball! (Okay, so we own the game ball.)
 This huge ball fountain provided long stretches of entertainment after the game and snacks.

 You'll smurf 'em next time, girls! Go team!

Favorite Things

On Back-To-School night, when Lorelei first met her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Lien, she gave her the year's first assignment. Lorelei handed Mrs. Lien a list of her favorite things, along with a duplicate page for Mrs. Lien to fill out and a stamped envelope with our home address. Lorelei loves getting mail. Here she is, tearing it open when it arrived the next week.
 Lorelei learned a lot about her new teacher: she likes golfing, running and being outdoors; her favorite color is blue; her favorite tradition is her family's Christmas Eve spaghetti dinner; she's a fan of Dr. Seuss; and her favorite season is the same as Lorelei's (fall), among other things.
  Lorelei loves Mrs. Lien. At dinner, she pretends that she's Mrs. Lien and makes us, Mark, Mommy and Gryffin, pretend we're her students. First she went over the name (M-O-M) of the day: "Mix it, mix it, who will it be? Mix it, Mix it, I hope it is me!"  Then we played "Poison Frog."  Then we did the ABC rhyme she learned in school. She adores being in kindergarten.
 Gryffin's a lone cowboy for a couple more weeks until he begins preschool with Mrs. Bergdall and Mrs. McNally, two teachers we are crazy about that Lorelei had at Christ Lutheran.  He's in class with a bunch of his friends--Dylan, Nolan, Rohan, Kevin, Georgia--and has already been invited to his first preschool playdate next week with Elijah.
 Here are Gryffy's FAVORITE THINGS:
COLOR: red
BOOKS: Toy Story
FOODS: pasta with broccoli with shrimp
SWEET TREATS: Lollipops & orange slices
SONGS: Baa Baa Black Sheep and Twinkle
MOVIES: Toy Story 3, Smurfs
GAMES: Monster and Hide-and-Seek
HOBBIES: Playing (pounding) the piano, playing with big sister (usually imaginative play with little toy figures), swimming
HOLIDAYS: Halloween and Christmas and Easter
TRADITION: He enjoys roasting s'mores (each week during family nights)
I AM REALLY GOOD AT: (Mommy's input): helping Mommy cook, making the bed and taking his food to the sink (unprompted), making up "mix-up" stories before bed, being kind and helpful to others, sharing, doing thoughtful things (he brings Mommy the neglected baby from Toy Story 3 everyday for a kiss, etc.)
I LOVE: friends, Daddy, Jack & Charlie (neighbors), Lorelei, Mommy, Mr. Tubbins, Grammy & BPop, Grammy Great
This boy is so thoughtful. This morning Mommy and Lorelei were laying in bed, so Gryffy went to our library cubbies and picked out Charlotte's Web so that I would have something to read (he knows Mommy loves books), then said, "I get one for you too, Lorelei," and brought her the Smurfs book. He sat beside her and read it to her as she woke up.
Lorelei, too, made the bed all by herself this morning without being asked at all.  She even pushed the trundle bed underneath, and pulled all the covers up and fluffed the pillows. She was so proud of herself, she begged me to come and see.
I am so in love with my sweet kids!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Iguanas" Club

Awanas ("Iguanas") Club is back and we have TWO clubbers now! This program is phenomenal for teaching kids virtues (built in family night lessons), helping them learn about the Bible and memorize verses, and for its wild and excessive amounts of fun (can fun be excessive?). We're really choosy about our activities, so L had to decide between this and Girl Scouts. It wasn't even a question. This is literallly her FAVORITE activity EVER! It's been "Iguanas-this, Iguanas-that" all summer long, and finally Gryffy gets to see what all the fuss is about.
 Lorelei's a Spark this year (just like Mommy was, once upon a time in her own little red vest) and Gryffin's a Cubbie. Lorelei's giving Gryffy a hug during the Sparks singing/pledge opening time and reassuring him about how much fun Awanas Club is before she joins her friends. It's just so precious how she looks after little brother. Grammy said they were holding hands in the back seat of the car today, and it was so cute it made Grammy cry. 

Including Lorelei, there are FIVE kids from her half-day kindergarten class participating (Elliese, Ethan, Tyler, Emma, who is also from church & soccer--okay, so we invited the whole class of 17), another good friend from full day who L plays sports with (Hannah), a preschool friend & returning clubber (Sammy), plus THREE more friends from church & small group (Katherine, Aleya & Brooke), even though it isn't our home church that offers it. Another half-day kindergarten classmate might come next week as well (Bella, we hope to see you!), so suffice it to say that the kid is surrounded by clubber chums. Totally surrounded. She's just so excited!
 Mommy and Daddy wanted to spend more time getting Lorelei settled and snapping some photos of our big "Spark"ling girl, but it was time to part and walk our little Cubbie down the long hall to his orientation.
The kids made crowns with their names and stickers. Daddy got to help with this craft.
 Is he not the cutest little Cubbie ever?!
 Then it was time to snap a photo for the front of his guidebook. Gryffy's just waiting patiently for his turn.
 Looks thrilled, doesn't he?
 He wasn't clinging to our leg all evening though, because soon enough, Gryffy spotted his friends, too!
 These boys have grown up together. They used to have playdates as babies while their big siblings were in preschool. You can tell how happy they are to see each other!
 And our third little musketeer, Jack, completed the boys in Gryffy's group. Gryffy and Jack know each other from church and now from the same preschool. We do small group with Jack's mom and dad, and his big sis, Katherine, is in Sparks with Lorelei, just like Jonny's big brother, Sammy.
 They were causing a wee bit of mischief during the Pledge of Allegiance. Oh, boy.
 I love how Jack's got his arm on Gryffy's back, clearly communicating something very important.
 Oh, how I wish I could see into my little Hobbit's curly head.  What ever is he pondering?
 Gryffy doesn't usually cooperate this well for bedtime prayers, but my how sweet he looks here. I'm so proud my boy's a Cubbie and my girl's a Spark now. I can't say enough about how much we love our amazing Awanas Club (and how excited Mommy and Daddy are for the built-in date night--thanks, Awanas)!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Life at Five vs. Three

Life at Five: Suzuki violin group session on Song of the Wind...

 Life at 3: Making your own musical wind beneath the sanctuary chairs.

 Life at Five: Private lessons.

 Life at Three: Couch Potato (there's some spunk in that spud, though).

 Life at Five: Half-day kindergarten...
 ...and loving it.
 Life at Three: Block schedule.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

We Have a Kindergarten Kid!

 There was a bit of Bibbity-Bobbity, Frizzle-Frazzle-Hullabaloo at the Connelly household on Kindergarten Eve, and in the morning, when our sleeping preschool princess was transformed into a beautiful kindergartener before our very eyes, she was dredged in fairy dust.  The Backpack "Frizzle" Fairy had arrived last night on her flying Magic School Bus and delivered some loot.
 She does this every year, but this is the first year the fairy's revealed her real name, or allowed herself to be pictured on the card. The clothes she left Lorelei were all sparkling, and so were Lorelei's eyes.
(Notice the sheep shirt--I didn't like how the sheep that dared to be different felt "awkward", so the Frizzle Fairy took care of it and changed the word: BRAVE. That's more like it!)
Lorelei had confessed late last night she was secretly hoping the Backpack Fairy would be bringing a stuffed animal rabbit toy she'd seen on TV, which was long after the fairy had left on her journey--I did sense some disappointment as Lorelei dug to the bottom of her new backpack, and found the bunny must have come to life (fairy magic) and escaped, or otherwise never came at all.  I told her to take it up with Santa.
 Still, there was plenty to smile about! 

 Jazz hands!
 The magic was so contagious it took our Dyson to snuff it all out.
 She loved Ms. Frizzle's letter.
 The kids did breakfast and Lorelei practiced her violin before school.
 And just as soon as we stepped outside, look who was on our driveway, waiting for the kindergarten girl! Charlie (right) is just down the hall from Lorelei's half-day class. She's thrilled. Jack's on her left, a big second grader! These kids love each other. I'm so glad we're neighbors.
 Lorelei picked out this princess backpack and has been so excited to tote it to class.
 Lorelei Lou-Who, beside the Who-Ville tree.
 I swear that tree looks like Mary Poppins here in her carousel dress and hat.
Last night, Daddy said a special blessing for Lorelei's kindergarten year before bedtime prayers, and this morning, Gryffy escorted Lorelei to class.
You'd think we belong to a Heartland cult... Heartland Community Church, Heartland School of the Violin, Heartland Elementary School--all unaffiliated. No doubt we live in Kansas.
 The kids were all swarming to get inside. It was so much fun anticipating the day ahead!
 I didn't have my camera set correctly for indoors (still learning), but I was fortunate to have Bella's mom snap a quick shot before I dropped off my girl. I didn't think I'd get choked up, but I did. I managed to hold the tears back, though. Close one!
 I'm so proud of how Lorelei shows initiative. The teacher and I didn't even have to tell her what to do when she got inside. First thing she did was find a peg for her backpack. Mrs. Lien then informed Lorelei she actually was peg #3, so here she is moving it.
 Lorelei and her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Lien. They're both new to Heartland, so I'm glad they get to share this special year together. We really liked meeting Mrs. Lien and I know she's going to be a great teacher. Lorelei went straight in with her usual confidence, and didn't even look back.  It was a tear free first morning...
...almost. Poor Buddy, he was devastated he couldn't stay in Lorelei's class and begged the whole drive home to go back. He sure loves his Lorelei.
Lorelei, I am so proud that you are my sweet little girl. You fill up my heart everyday with so much joy and happiness and love. You have such a firm sense of who you are--a daughter of the Light--and that's why you're so radiant and beautiful. I love you more than all the stars in the sky, and I'm so excited to learn of your twinkling adventures in kindergarten!  ~Fairy Dust Wishes, from Mommy