Friday, September 30, 2011

The Series - Ally's Masterpieces

Here it is - Ally's series of pictures. Every day for a week she came home with one.

This is Ally at our house with a tree that has a regular swing and a tire swing.

Not enough time to add the swing this day.

This has Kitty and Baby's swings in it as well - but not our house or Ally's lower body!

Full body but no house

This is almost my favorite one of all - it is the last one in the series. Every day I ask her to tell me about the picture and she said on this day "I ran out of time"

Turns out that this new school thing is tougher than we thought on lots of fronts for our family. But one thing is for sure - Ally has a good time while she is there and continues to be creative!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Growing Up


Ally is growing up. She is navigating Jr Kindergarten and dealing with the transistion to her new after-school program. She is making new friends, without any help and assistance from us. She is learning Spanish, she is growing, in more ways than just size.

I won't say its been a seamless transition to her new school. But it is going well. We're all still working on getting into the rhythm and swing of a new year and new routine.
I think the hardest thing for me about Ally's new school is not knowing. In preschool we are fortunate enough to get an email almost daily with written description and pictures of what they did that day. I also picked Ally up at the end of the day in her actual classroom with her teacher, so I had a chance to see things and speak with her teacher. This year Ally attends an afterschool program in a different room with different teachers and I pick her up there. Since Lauren, her babysitter takes her to school everyday we don't get to see first hand much of her class or activities during the day.

Its also tough because Ally has had a few tough moments with crying and missing me. We've talked about it and she says she just "misses me so much" so I talked about how missing me isn't fun and crying isn't fun and that maybe she could try not to miss me so much, and try hard not to cry. Because she has fun at school, and missing me takes away from the fun. It seems to be working.

But she is 4 (not quite 5) and its hard to tell how much she takes in. All of the teachers keep reminding us that its a HUGE transition this year. And I try to remember that it has only been two weeks. And of course, Ally does have fun. She does enjoy school and her afterschool program. She has made friends, and is already asking for a playdate with one.

I pick Ally up at school everyday, and we walk home together. Sometimes a friend will join us, but I secretly like best to walk with just Ally. She holds my hand, and we talk about her day. Usually I ask lots of questions and probe to learn more about her day. Sometimes she answers with information, sometimes she says "I forget or its so confusing or I don't remember" but every little kernel of information is fun to hear. And sometimes, she volunteers stuff. Like yesterday when she told me she "did observations" I asked of what and she told me she observed the fish and 2 turtles in the class room. She kept notes and drew pictures of what she observed! She told me it was her favorite part of the day. On Wednesday she proudly reported to Becky that she "did Math today" of course (math teacher) Becky was thrilled to hear that and they talked at dinner for a few minutes about what math Ally did.

Of course the highlight of one day was that there was a dead mouse on the playground at recess! Ally told us one of the teachers put it in the trash can.

There are lots of "specials" - each day they have at least one - gym, music, art, library, computer, gardening, music and Chinese. Plus they go outside 2 times a day, eat lunch and a snack, have rest time, math time, language arts and gathering time each day. Last night Becky and I went to an Open House at school and had a meeting with the teacher and other parents. It was fun to see her classroom again and meet some other parents and hear what their kids are saying about school.

Growing up is inevitable, and someday soon she won't hold my hand the whole walk home, and then it will be not at all. So for now I'll keep enjoying where we are at right now.

Because life with Ally is pretty spectacular.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Ally's drawing and coloring skills are improving and it remains one of her favorite things to do. Here are some samples:

She wrote her name in the bottom of the bathtub with a special bath crayon.

A huge rainbow on the wall of the tub. Yes it was hard to clean, but Ally insisted on wiping it all off by herself.

A rainbow in paint - for some reason I can't get the picture rotated and I have tried about 10 times. So just turn your head!

Ally had an idea to trace Baby's body.

Above - Ally was so proud of the finished work. And Below is a close up.

Ally's chalk drawings on our front walk way - these stayed for a long time.

Dinosaurs are a huge interest right now - Ally worked on this page from her coloring book for days, making sure it was "just right". She would ask "where is the Corythosaurus paper?"

But my favorite is the series she is working on at school. That will be the next post.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

More time at the orchard

Aunt Beth came to visit this past weekend and requested that we go apple picking. So off to our favorite orchard we went. Yes this was our 3rd weekend in a row fruit picking!

Scouting for a good tress to start on.

Becky and Ally show off their pears! Yes we picked Bosc Pears!

It was so cool to see so many hanging from the trees.

Ally loved to climb the ladder to pick the ones up high. She would then hand them down to Becky who would pass them over to Beth to put in the bag. Becky did get nailed in the head with one pear, but no harm was done to her head. I think the pear was bruised.

After a while Aunt Beth climbed the ladder to reach the really high ones.

We saw a dragonfly on one of the pears.

Grandma Debbie & Poppy - Ally said it was not Power, since this one was red and Power is Green. Power, is Ally's imaginary pet dragonfly that traveled with her Debbie & Poppy's house this summer. Whenever we see a real dragonfly we wonder if its Power of a friend of Powers.

Eating our apples. And I seriously hope this is the last "Ally on mommy's shoulders while picking fruit" picture of the season.

"flying" between Aunt Beth and Mama

Becky gnawing on a caramel apple.

Between these sisters the apple was gone before Ally even finished her cider donut.

Becky and Beth went to finish picking apples while Ally and I looked at the bees making honey. We them attempted the hedge maze. We were lost in the maze for about 15 minutes and never did find the flag at the middle. Its kind of difficult to navigate a hedge maze with a four year old!

But it was fun.

On the way home from the orchard we went to the fabirc store and purchased the supplies for Ally's Halloween costume!

I am thrilled to report that Becky has completed sewing the costume and it is FABULOUS. Ally loves it, I think its AWESOME and Becky rightfully so is very proud of her work. We're not going to unveil it yet but leave a comment or send me an email with your guess.

(Beth is not allowed to guess, since she already knows.)

We are all so excited now for Halloween, I can't believe we have to wait over a month now.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Visit to Grandma Barbie (and Grandpa Frank)

Recently we went to Grandma Barbie and Grandpa Frank's house for the weekend. Lots of fun for all of us.

Ally came home with TONS of jewelry to play with. Please take note of the Velociraptor dinosaur socks on her feet!

Gotta love the fall themed cut-outs at the local store!

We attended my childhood church fall festival.

I thought this game was hilarious - you toss a roll of toilet paper into the toilet seat!

There was a bouncy house!

Then it was off to pick apples. It seems this year that every time we pick apples Ally is on my shoulders. I guess its good that I have been working out with a trainer and my muscles can handle it!

Tasting an apple with grandma and mommy!

PS - thanks Aunt Martha for Ally's cute outfit! Ally received lots of compliments on it all day long.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


This has been a gymnastics filled summer for Ally. I know I've posted about it earlier in the summer, but since we spent so much time at this gym this summer, and it was such a part of our life I wanted to write out some more about the experience. The pictures here were taken thru the plexiglass window and therefore are not that great, but Ally is the one with the short dark hair in the blue sparkly leotard.

Doing somersaults up and down the mat on the line.

stand up with hands up at the end to finish it.
hand stands next

the bar was by far Ally's favorite piece of equipment. The beam was also neat to watch, and tumbling and she progressed really well in vault practice. But the bar is what she likes best.

I was telling some friends recently that the best thing about gymnastics this summer has been watching Ally thrive. Every Monday and Wednesday for 8 weeks we went to gymnastics at 4pm and stayed until 530 or 6 (it depended on the coach) and then for 3 more weeks we went once a week. Ally was pretty tired at 315 when I would come pick her up from home (I brought her most days and Becky had some alone time.) Sometimes we had to wake Ally up from a nap and coax her into the car. Then we'd get to the gym and teachers and staff would greet her. Ally was so grumpy and non-social it was embarrassing. Until we got her changed. Ally likes to get changed at the gym, so we go right into the bathroom and change into her leotard. Its like magic. We get in there and she becomes engaging and silly - makes me read the same sign every time about healthy eating and we look at the posters of the Olympic gymnasts (yes these are posted in the bathroom). When we leave the bathroom she might be a little clingy until class starts, but then when they open the doors and announce "Stars Practice" she was off like a light. Huge smile on her face as she ran around for warm up and then they moved into stretching and other activities. No matter how hot it was or how tired she blossomed in the gym.

Her personal success in the gym has given her confidence. After each class she would be so excited and wound up - it was often hard to get her to sleep before 9PM. But that was a small price to pay for such enjoyment. She made friends, all on her own, and asked for a playdate with another girl from class.

Now that school has started Ally will attend class once a week. We tried a Thursday afternoon class, but the other 2 girls at her level were 9 years old! Not a good fit for Ally. So this week we start going to a Saturday morning class.

Gymnastics is such a confidence boost for Ally and as her mom it is really amazing to be able to facilitate that for her. I can tell her she is bright and strong and beautiful, but in gymnastics she gets to see that she is good at it, she can feel and experience her success.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fun at the toy store

Ally and I had a blast at the toy store recently. She discovered the joy of riding a bike! It was pretty cool to watch.
At first learning how to push the pedals was a challenge, and understanding that every time she made her feet go backwards the brakes engaged was tricky. But after while Ally got the hang of it.
This Pinkalicous bike with the built-in seat in the back for Baby or Kitty was her favorite. Ally did ask if we could buy it. I said maybe sometime - I just did not have the heart to buy a bike without Becky. Ally understood and agreed we could come back another time with mama.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Current Favorite Book

Ally is a budding scientist. She must get that from Becky (electrical engineer turned math teacher). Ally loves nature (so do I) snails, worms, bugs (but just not stinging bees), birds, squirrels, farm animals, zoo animals etc. Dinosaur Train is her favorite show right now and her favorite book is "See Inside Your Body" Ally calls it "Look Inside My Body". Its a lift the flap book that Becky bought her at the Museum of Science this summer. It is pretty neat - it talks about all the different parts and functions of the body. If you come visit Ally asks you to read it to her - here are our friends Paul and Charlo pouring over it with her.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Recently Ally has been very into working at her "desk" She set herself up at one of her craft carts and pulled up a chair to create a desk:

Then she asked us to work at our desks too. We had to get creative in locating desk space. Becky's is at the game shelf and mine is at a bookcase.
Fun all around.