Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fall Festival

Yesterday was the Fall Festival at Ally's preschool. There was a costume parade around Cambridge Common (a big park), nature activities in the playground and then pizza in the basement of the school. It was a lot of fun. They did it after school so both Becky and I were able to go.
Ally all ready for the parade in her panda costume.

The parade was kind of organized chaos. Becky was recruited as a crossing guard.

Love this pic - the school photographer took it.

Mama and Ally after the parade.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


On Wednesday evenings Ally stays with Tara (the babysitter) and Becky and I have some time together. When we got home last night we found Ally packing "to go to Suzie's house" remember yesterday I said I wished I had a picture of the last time she did this? So I grabbed the camera and took these pictures. I think Tara was slightly embarrassed to have us come home to such a mess, but at the same time seemed quite conflicted about stopping the creative play just because it created such a mess. We feel the same way sometimes. And I have to admit Ally had a small fit about cleaning up but after one timeout she agreed to help and we had it all put away in minutes.

This is what we saw when we got home - the pile above - please note the potty was packed to go.

Almost all of the toys were emptied out of her toy bin. She proceeded to empty these and then move the basket to the other side of the pile.
Here Ally is pointing at the different things she has packed.

So proud of her packing and taking a much needed drink break. Phew all that packing is hard work!

On another fun note - Ally is really into the book Pinkalicious and it turns out there was a book fair at Tara's school (she is a grad student) and Tara bought Purplicious (the sequel) to read with Ally. She even held off reading it by herself so she could experience it for the first time with Ally! They have been having fun reading together.

Weekend with Family

This past weekend we went to my parents' house for a family gathering. My younger brother Kurt, and his family (Aunt Christine and children, Kaitlin 4, Jackson 2 1/2 and Meredith 7 months) were there along with my older brother Frank. It was the first time we met Meredith and we had not since the other 3 cousins in almost a year. As usual Grandma Barbie should be nominated for Grandma of the Year - she had crafts and activities planned for the kids. Ally is so lucky to have such wonderful Grandmas as Debbie and Barbie.
Grandma Barbie with her granddaughter, Meredith Barbara

Kaitlin and Ally getting ready to decorate cookies with Grandma

The dough has be formed into round balls and then rolled in powdered sugar.

It was very messy dough. My mom made a recipe that her mom used to make. I can remember these cookies from my childhood - they are a lemon-cake cookie and we always decorated them with m-n-ms.

They were so messy we skipped a sink and got a pot of water for the girls to wash their hands in.

Hard at work decorating.

Kaitlin had to taste the dough

Ally and Kaitlin tasted the m-n-ms.
Jackson played with cars while the girls baked.

After cookies it was time for a cousins portrait! I brought matching outfits for them.

After pictures it was water painting with Grandma Barbie.

Coloring pumpkins!

Even Uncle Kurt was into the pumpkins

As the day came to an end Meredith got very hungry and I think you can tell Grandma Barbie was running out of tricks. Soon after this picture Christine came and whisked away Meredith with a bottle.

Uncle Frank bought us all a yummy dinner.

It was movie night - Toy Story 2 of course! Ally had so much fun sitting on the couch with her cousins eating popcorn and fruit (mostly watermelon).

They were so silly making faces at me as I tried to take a picture of them.

Father and Son - its like Kurt and mini-Kurt

Ally snuggled with Aunt Christine.

Grandma with 2 of her granddaughters. I love how Ally and Kaitlin are holding hands.

It really was a great weekend. We will not be getting together for the holidays so this was our family time this year. Ally has been busy packing this week after school - she told Becky recently that she was packing because she was a house near Aunt Barbie. I thought my heart would melt. Yesterday she collected her favorite things and said she was going on a trip to Gruncle and Suzie's house. I wish I took a picture of all her stuff lined up in the kitchen. She was so excited about her packing and organization. I'm just so happy that with our family so far away that she still has the opportunity to get to see them and know them.
I also got to see my friend Michelle and her family. Thanks to them for the "new to Ally" toys.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thanks Aunt Pam

We were away for the weekend but when we got back on Sunday evening there was a package for Ally from Great Aunt Pammy. Ally still has the Cinderella Halloween card from last year so we were excited to open the package!
Pez - Ally's first pez dispenser, and its a pumpkin!

I got to show her how to put the candy in.

Open the pumpkin and out pops a candy

She was hesitant at first but then so excited it was candy

A girl and her pumpkin pez.
There were other wrapped gifts in the box, but Ally was so happy with the pez she did not want to open anything else. We were shocked!
Suffice it to say Ally loves pez. She was watching Sesame Street last night after we opened the gift, I walked by her and saw she was holding the pez. I asked her how many she had eaten. She said 5 and held up 5 fingers! I told her no more, so she put away the pez and said she would show Tara (her babysitter) the pez in the morning. AHHH 5 pez - she was up until 1030PM last night. Maybe Pez is the toddler equivalent of no-doze?

Today after school Ally opened the rest of the package:
Mama and Ally with the very cute wrapped gift. (Very impressive crating skills)

It was a pumpkin bear!

Stickers too - and one says "Smell my stinky feet" Becky and I thought that was hilarious since Ally tells us to do that all the time.

This year's musical card played monster mash!
Thank-you Aunt Pam for the fun gifts.
On a different note, in case any one wondered Ally pooped on the potty for the first time ever today! I was so excited and proud of her. She was proud and excited too - we called mama at work, and Grandma Debbie & Poppy to tell them. I was trying to make a big deal out of it so Ally would be thrilled and do it again!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Outdoor Decorating

I guess Ally is taking after Becky and being all crafty-like. The other day they put together our fall decorations outside on the front porch. I keep forgetting to take an after picture.
Fun with hay

look at my big pile

I must make another big pile and fill up this container too

or maybe I should empty it

all done !

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fun at Preschool

Everyday we get an email from Ally's teachers with a brief description of the day and pictures of the students. Its really amazing to hear from adult everyday what happened at school, because we know then what to talk with Ally about - and can ask leading questions to engage her to talk about the activities of the day. I love the pictures most. Its just wonderful to be at my office and get pictures that show what Ally was doing during the day. She has wonderful teachers and seems to really like going to preschool. Ally has not yet managed to nap much at school, but hopefully that will come with time. Or maybe not, and we'll all learn to adjust.
Some pf the pictures look like a ghost is in them, because I blurred out her classmates to protect their privacy on the blog.
The school follows the Emilio Reggio philosophy of "a deep engagement with the child at every level: the design of space; the pacing and schedule of the child's day; the availability of high quality, mesmerizing materials; and, above all, the quality of a child's relationships" it sounded like a bunch of hoopla to Becky and I when we applied here last year. But the school is really an amazing place that focuses on the children and their interests with no set curriculum. From our school's mission statement: "constructivism" - the belief that children are not empty vessels waiting to be filled with adult-given knowledge but are, rather, constructors of their own understandings and experience. The teacher's role in such an environment is to facilitate, guide, observe, support, and inspire children. It really does seem that they do this. Its a cooperative preschool so parents work 1 morning a week about every 3 weeks. Since my schedule is more flexible than Becky's I do it. Its really amazing to see Ally interact with her classmates and the teachers.
In the picture above Ally is painting a large box (appliance-sized) that one of the teachers brought in. The students voted on the colors of the box and on what the box should be.

Painting wood and watching her friend paint beads.

Ally is not really into touching the clay - I keep telling her its like play dough, but she is not all that interested in the actual clay. This day they brought out paint brushes for the kids to use the water-yuck -stuff from the wet clay as paint.

Ally's clay-paint masterpiece!

The school has its own small play yard.

My beautiful Purple Fish girl!
(Her class room is called the Purple Fish Room.)
I am so happy she is wearing her winter hat in this picture. It has gotten pretty cold here for mid October, and Ally's wonderful babysitter has Ally wear a hat to school in the morning and leaves it for Ally to wear when the class goes outside. With all the publicity about flu this year, I figure wearing a hat outside and a proper coat can only help Ally stay healthy.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wedding Weekend

One of my oldest friends, Jill, got married this weekend in Saratoga. Since it was so close to my parents we stayed with them and they took care of Ally while Becky and I attended the wedding.

As usual Ally one of Ally's favorite things is reading with her grandparents. Please note that Grandpa Frank's dog Java is sitting faithfully at his side next to the chair. Ally was so excited to go see Grandma Barbie, Grandpa Frank and Java that she talked about this all day at preschool on Friday. Her teacher told me when I went to pick her up, and yesterday we ran into a parent of one of her classmates who asked Ally about her trip. I am still giggling thinking of the teachers and parent-helper listening to Ally chatter all day about going to visit them. It just makes my heart swell.

An actual nice picture of Becky and I at the wedding, without Ally!

On another note I just had to document a memory:
Becky and I have been making and eating a lot of soup recently. One night Ally was kind of fussy so she sat on Becky's lap while Becky ate the soup. We had some yummy bread that Becky dipped into the soup. Ally asked for a piece of toast, but did not want to dunk it or eat any soup. But she did eat a piece of toast.
Then last night we were out and Ally was home with her babysitter, Tara, for dinner. I had set out Elmo Soup and a bagel for Ally's dinner. When we came home there was a mangled bagel - I mean it was desecrated. Apparently Ally tore pieces of the bagel off and dunked them in her soup! Tara said it was hilarious and impressive to watch. Ally did eat some soup with a spoon, but she really enjoyed sopping up the broth with the bagel.
Becky and I are always so stunned at how much Ally (and all kids we're sure) learn by watching us.