Wednesday, April 30, 2014

(Not So) Subliminal Messages

Lately, Gigi has taken to illustrating her feelings when she feels hurt or angry at me.  Today she got into trouble and I put her in time out for four minutes, and when her time was up we talked about her behavior and she stalked off.  When she returned, she handed me this drawing.

This is me (on the right), sticking my tongue out at Gigi (on the left), who is crying.  Above is a heart, crossed out, and "xox" which is also crossed out.  NO LOVE.

I kind of like her way of communicating, but sheesh, four years old can feel really melodramatic sometimes...

Friday, April 11, 2014

Four Times Round the Sun

Yesterday Gigi made her fourth rotation around the sun - Happy fourth Birthday sweet daughter!

My whole heart is so full - fit to burst - when I think about how lucky we are that we have Gigi as our daughter.  She is so loving, clever, sneaky, gentle with younger kids, expressive, affectionate, doting, articulate, curious, assertive, judicious, lively and beautiful.  It is a joy to watch her grow up.

In the morning we started with a surprise of a donut tower for breakfast!  Four donuts, which equalled four mistakes.  Gigi only ate a half of one donut, and by the time I had finished mine, just the thought of the brownies I had made for a special birthday preschool treat that would come two hours later, free ice cream at the farm later that day, and cake and ice cream at dinner that night was enough to make my stomach hurt.  Am I getting old?  I can't consume as much sugar as I used to be able to.  Next year we will start a day of birthday celebrations with a bowl of Grape Nuts or something like that as a buffer!

At preschool my friend Guenieve made Gigi a birthday crown and the kiddos had my homemade brownies for a special birthday treat.  After a picnic lunch out on our front lawn in the sun, my mom and I took the kids to Farm Animal Days in Raleigh, hosted by the NC State University agricultural department.  It's a free family event to give kids exposure to all of the baby animals that are born on the farm in the spring and it was really fun.  We went last year, and now Orion was able to enjoy it too.  His 17-month old brain categorized every single animal as a dog, but... you know, he will sort it out.

Our friends the Liengs joined us at the Farm, and Gigi's little friend Boy Boy worked through some inner hesitations about holding her hand.  And the tractors!

Orion was a happy farm boy, wandering around, climbing up whatever he could.  We worked on stroking the animals with soft hands.  He thought the chicks were quite something.

The best thing about Farm Animal Days is that it is really hands on.  There are many University students there as volunteers, helping the kids to hold chicks, or pet the baby goats and sheep.  

And their dairy cows make a delicious ice cream.  Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry were distributed in little cups and devoured.

So glad that my mom got to come with us!  Gigi loves having her Tutu be such a regular part of our lives.  Me too.  It's amazing what can get done with another set of hands on deck.

And some classic shots of Boy Boy and Gigi in the tractor tire on the way out...

That evening, after a spaghetti dinner (per Gigi's request), we invited some friends over to help us eat our enormous cake, and had a spontaneous cake party back out in the front yard.  I super love this photo of Marcos and Gigi.  

After cake, the kids ran off to draw with sidewalk chalk and play ball in the cul-de-sac.  It was a fine day to turn four.  Happy Birthday sweet Giovanna!


Thursday, April 3, 2014


We are coming up on the final few weeks of coop preschool and my heart is already starting to mourn its end.  This has been our second year doing coop preschool with our friends, and it has been such an awesome thing for us in this chapter of our lives.  Every four weeks I get to hang out with Gigi and her buddies Ezra, Tyler and Lily on a Tuesday and a Thursday morning, and through teaching them and watching them play and interact, I have seen the kiddos grow so much this year.  They are more emotionally level, their bodies are settling, and they engage in our lessons with curiosity and eagerness to learn.  

On St. Patrick's Day we had a party, which is our tradition for pretty much every holiday that passes.  I was hosting preschool that week, so we partied at our house, and it was one of my favorite preschool days this year.  Each time we do a party all of us moms prepare something special and stay at the party to lead our part so that the entertainment doesn't all fall to one person.  During circle time I taught the kids about the history of St. Patrick's Day, traditions in Ireland, and the symbolism of the shamrock, and we read a few stories I found at the library.  Then the kids followed clues around our house on a treasure hunt which was planted by "Lucky the Leprechaun" (me), and there was a pot of gold (Rolos) at the end of the rainbow.  Then for fun I did a science experiment: the baking powder and vinegar volcano experiment, with green lava instead of red.  It was momentous.  Then for snacks I pulled out a lot of healthy foods, and Ezra's mom Guenieve had made the most beautiful shamrock cookies iced to perfection with green royal icing.  After snack, Lily's dad Nathan brought out the craft supplies and the kids designed a shamrock by gluing little balls of crumpled crepe paper onto their cut outs.  And finally, Tyler's mom Kim took us into the living room and showed us a clip of Riverdance and we all got sweaty trying our hand at hopping and kicking like Irish dancers.

And now it is time to plan for next fall, and I'm not sure what direction we will go in, with Gigi and her schooling.  We always told ourselves that the year before Kindergarten would be the year we bite the bullet and pay to have Gigi go to a "real" preschool and get used to having a real teacher, the routine of a school day and the benefits of a whole room full of socialization, but now that option is not as clear as we would have hoped.  The primary hang up (and blessing) is that with Marcos having found a job that does not require us to move away from this area, we have access to the Emerson Waldorf School which is a mere 15 minutes away.  Having grown up in the Honolulu Waldorf School and loved every second of being there, I have always hoped to provide that kind of education to my own children.  We would LOVE for Gigi to start at the Emerson Waldorf School next year, but she is currently on the waiting list, and even if she gets in, we think it might be prudent to find a good alternative and save up for a year before jumping in to a private school tuition.  So, we have a big decision to make!

But whichever way the tides take us in that decision, we will definitely miss our coop preschool.  It is definitely a highlight of my week to drop Gigi off at a friends house, knowing that she will have a fun time, learn a few things, try out new skills and play with her friends.  We have really lucked out to have this small group of dedicated moms in our lives, and we hold them dear for the love they have given our daughter!