Friday, October 9, 2015

3rd Grade

3rd grade – more homework, more gymnastics, more friend issues, more responsibilities. I’d love to say Ally is dealing with all of this without any issues. But that is not quite true. She is doing well. But there is more anxiety and more worry along with all of this growing up. At her request we looked for and found a counselor for her to meet with one on one weekly. Ally really enjoys her sessions and told me she would like to do it twice a week! That’s not going to happen, but I can understand how she might want that.



Ally wanted a comfy reading spot in her room, so she used her money and bought this white faux fur butterfly chair and matching pouf. She proudly displays the blanket from Nepal that Lauren sent her on the chair.  Above she is reading on her kindle.  AS part of her homework she has to read 20 minutes minimum each night when its English week and 30 minutes for Spanish weeks. The Spanish teacher explained that the students need more work in Spanish, and get English reading all the time in every day life, so she wants more Spanish time.


Ally works hard and diligently to complete her homework each day. We made a deal that if homework becomes a battle at home then she will need to go to afterschool homework session at school. Ally dislikes staying at school for the afterschool program, so so far she comes home everyday, watches TV for 20 minutes (1 show) and gets right to work on her homework. It’s a pretty stringent schedule, school ends at 2:55 so we get home about 3:05 and she has tv until 330 then homework until 415 on Monday and Friday when she has to get ready to go to ballet or gymnastics. On gymnastics days she will continue her reading in the car. Gymnastics and ballet start at 5:00pm. On Thursdays she goes to therapy at 4:00 so she does her homework after that at 5:00pm. On Tuesdays she doesn’t have any activities so she usually works ahead in her packet and does homework until 5:00. Her school says they expect students to spend about an hour on homework each night, and that is for reading and worksheets.

It is a busy schedule and we talk about how these are her choices. She wants to do gymnastics and ballet and that as long as they are fun and enjoyable to her, then Becky and I will support her and work with her to make them work with our schedule. She is pretty tired after gymnastics. We get home about 8:20 and then she needs to eat and shower and try to get to sleep at a decent hour. We are still figuring it out but its getting more and more routine. Ally would like to add in swim lessons with her friend she did it with last year, but so far we haven’t started that back up again.



One day was an early release from school, so I hosted a movie afternoon. Ally’s friend Maya, her sister Sonya (who is 5) and her other friend Willow came over. The girls watched a neat Disney movie called The Descendants. It’s a really neat movie about the children of major disney characters. After the movie then ended up on our front porch painting. It was really great.

Sonya – who is so much younger was having a tough time playing with the big girls. Mainly because her sister was making it difficult for her. So I asked Sonya what she wanted to do – she was struggling to answer, and so Ally told me “Sonya likes to paint” and it turns out she does. So I got out the paint and before I knew it all the girls had joined in the painting fun.  I asked Ally later how she knew that about Sonya – and she said “I asked her” I was quite proud of my daughter for being so thoughtful.


3rd grade is going well academically too – Back to School Night was last week. Becky could not go because it was Back to School night at her school. The teachers has these neat water bottle for us. I learned a lot about Ally’s day at school and the class policies.

Ally earned a special lunch with teachers for turning in her homework every day for 10 days. This week she brought home a certificate for excellent class participation – in Spanish!!! I was so excited for her. And I need to always remember that she has her own schedule and comfort and timeline. But remembering back to Kindergarten and 1st grade when the teachers told us she really needed to work on that, it was fantastic to have her earn and award after 1 month of school. In Spanish class!


The schedule of her day in English class – and a picture of Ally after a shower with her hair all pulled back in a towel.

She continues to amaze me. And I love her more each and every day.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Cloey Fun

We love our dog.


Even when she likes to sleep on my shoulder while I am trying to watch TV.


We had a scare with our cat Nali recently – he seemed really sick and I had to bring him to vet. Vet says he is good, just old. almost 16 years old! The important thing is to keep him happy and comfortable. We hope to keep that up for him. The vet visit seemed to have given him some renewed energy and he has started hanging out with Ally in her room – at left he is snuggled up with her while she plays minecraft in her bed on a Saturday morning. But his favorite place is still on our bed curled up with Carl.


But not to be outdone – is Cloey in bed with Ally while she sleeps and curled up with her on the couch while she watches TV.


Cloey started up again with her dog walker and several times a week she walks with her friend Mae, a golden doodle. Mae is about 6 months old and 4 times the size of Cloey. But it looks like Cloey can hold her own.


Becky recently showed us how Cloey can do tricks- like sit on her back and crawl thru her legs. Maybe they will go on tour soon?


Cloey cuteness.


You have to click on this picture and look at Cloey’s face up close – her eyes are bulging out of her face. She was so excited to lick peanut butter off the knife.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Apple Picking with Guat Girls

This has become an annual tradition for us to get together in September and go apple picking. We were sad that Gabi could not join us due to a soccer tournament. But the other 4 had a blast.

I brought my big camera to the orchard and was pretty happy with my pictures.

Ally on hayride3 Musketeers

We met up with Rosa and Julie first. After a quick hayride and jaunt thru the orchard to look for honey crisp apples.

BeckyAlly and Rosa

We were all sad that the honey crisps were all picked. Becky grabbed two apples for us to try from a tree she could reach over the ropes.

Sharing with friendsAlly grown up

Rosa and I shared one of the honey crisps. Ally was freezing and all bundled up in her athletic-wear pants and black fleece. I swear she is starting to look more like a pre-teen every day.


3 Guat Girls4 guat girls

We met up with Roxie – and then Alice too!Apples

There were so many apples on some of the trees.

Alice ladder1McGrathsAlly Ladder

As usual the climbing the ladder to pick up high is lots of fun. Alice picked one for her mom Cheryl too. Becky was a good sport moving and footing the ladder for the girls.

Ally and RoxieBeatrices 2

Ally and Roxie are pretty tight – these girls were so happy to see each other and spend time together. Roxie’s mom Mary Beth helped Roxie on the smaller ladders.

Julie WRosa and Alice

Julie and I worked hard to get pictures of everyone. She looks great solo above, and Alice and Rosa are full of toothy grins.

girls on hayride

After we filled our bags of apples we dropped them off at our cars and took the hayride to the farm stand for cider, donuts and apple cider!

Roxie3 moms and a photo bomb

Roxie solo, and then Cheryl, Mary Beth and I were photo-bombed by someone’s caramel apple.

Alice CaramelALice Caramel2

That was Alice’s apple! Love these pictures of Alice.

Rosa 2015.09.20Whitmores

Rosa and her mom.


The girls begged to do the hedge maze. We agreed, but only the small one. They were in and out in 15 minutes.


Ally in the apple orchard. I think I love her more every day.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Class with Cloey

We signed Cloey up for a 3 week dog training class "Loose Leash Walking". Turns out a 15lb dog can pull a lot. And we often we are being the ones walked.

This class is on Saturday afternoon and Ally goes with Becky. Ally was so good the teacher asked her to come back the 2nd week!

Here are some pictures from today.

After class Cloey did the obstacle course. Ally said "Cloey did SO GOOD".

And it never gets old to watch our pug run: