Sunday, September 28, 2014

Always Up to Something?

When Eric was only a few months old, I was looking through baby boy clothes on a clearance rack at one of our favorite over-priced stores at the mall (I love when there's an extra 60 percent off!).

After much deliberation, I settled on a few items, including a cute Paddington Bear T-shirt, size 6-12 months. 

Somehow it wasn't until I got home from the store that I saw the back of the shirt.

I was noticing that under the picture of Paddington it said "Paddington at th" . . . so I turned the shirt over and saw the rest of the line: "e wheel."  But that wasn't all.  In large block letters the back of the shirt also said, "HE'S ALWAYS UP TO SOMETHING."  Ugh. How could I not have seen THAT?

I'm not a big fan of large sayings on shirts, and this one seemed particularly obnoxious.  But the shirt was on sale, and the front was really cute.

I hung it up in my closet to think a little more.

Then, as we all know, Eric grew.  Pretty soon his little 3-6 month T's were too short, and I started to think about what I had in the next size up. 

One day I took out the Paddington shirt, removed the tag, and committed to it.  After all, I was usually holding Eric, and the back of the shirt wouldn't really show.

But--of course--it was the first thing anyone noticed when they saw Eric in the shirt.

And people started to tease me, saying, "He's always up to something!" whenever Eric had it on.

So, now that Eric is a couple of months older, . . . let's just say the shirt is starting to fit better than ever.

It seems particularly appropriate when Eric is helping himself to Janae's sticker collection, while wearing Alaina's hairband.

or when he is hanging onto the lamp post while grabbing a magazine.

It also works quite well when he is crawling behind the rocking chair to unload our bookshelf.

Or teaching himself to walk before he is even nine months old (13 steps unassisted is his new record).

Yes, it seems little Eric is always up to something. 

I know what you're probably thinking, "Get rid of that shirt!" 

But I've already tried that. . . .


No matter what he is wearing, he is "always up to something!"


What about no shirt at all . . . just stick with sleepers?  That'll teach him to lie down and act like a baby!

But no. . . .

I guess Eric was destined for that Paddington shirt!  Like most babies his age, he is always getting into something, except during those few peaceful moments . . .

when he goes to sleep.  Probably dreaming about what to get up to next :)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Finally . . . Kindergarten!

Well, school started up again this week, and our three kids were ready.

Alaina, particularly, was REALLY excited to go, since she was starting kindergarten.  But the first day of kindergarten is not like the first day of other grades, at least not here. 

The little five year olds meet in the  gym with their parents for an orientation, then a scavenger hunt around the school.  They get to SEE the teachers and other kids, but they don't get to stay.

Then over the next few days the teachers meet individually with the children and their parents.  They get to SEE the classroom, their spot in the cloak room, their name tag at the table, etc., but they don't get to stay and do any learning.

Every day this week Alaina asked, "Do I get to go to kindergarten today?"

Finally, on Friday she got to be dropped off with her brother and sister!

Alaina looked so small and sweet waiting outside the door with her line . . . in the rain, of course!

She had a wonderful time and came out with lots of stories to share.

But as much as she is going to love kindergarten, we are sure going to miss her at home :)


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Something Like School ....

While the rest of North America has enjoyed a couple of weeks, now, of back to school, we have been waiting for a teachers' strike to be resolved.

Some might wonder what we've been doing during this extra time off.

Well, like most moms I thought I'd try to do some sort of home school with my little ones to get them back into a routine and to ensure that they didn't fall behind with their learning.

This quickly fell apart on September 3. Being a former English teacher, I created a short writing assignment for each child, then--when Eric went down for his mid-morning nap--I sat Ben, Janae, and Alaina down at the table to get them started.

One of the above-mentioned individuals ripped up the assignment, threw it on the floor and declared--at a volume that made things clear not only to me but to our entire neighborhood--that she was on home school strike. 

Although things settled as the day went on, at bedtime my little fire cracker told me she would be making her strike signs and picketing in the morning.

So . . . another week off wouldn't hurt them, would it?

Later in the week I let the children know that our home learning would recommence the following Monday, with a revised curriculum.

Fast forward through another week of job action.

A few days ago I had to take Alaina in to a health clinic, and the nurse asked my children what they had been doing during the teachers' strike.

I held my breath and waited for them to report that they had been staying in their PJs and playing all day every day, but the comments went a different direction.

Ben said, "We're doing something kind of like school, at home."
Nurse: "What kinds of things have you been learning?"

(I once again took a deep breath and braced myself for the worst.)

Ben: We've been learning times tables and playing some math games.

Then Janae: "We've mostly been doing Shakespeare."


Even I had to admit that it didn't sound too bad!  We've come a long way in two weeks :)

So, what HAVE we been doing?

A few trips to the library,

a few math games,


(not a lot of hair brushing, obviously!).

We took a field trip to a local historical site,


built with Lego,

did a lot of reading,

and, YES, a little Shakespeare.

Janae has, in fact, memorized Sonnet #18!

There was, however, no sitting at the table doing worksheets. 

It has got to the point where we have a good routine of learning, helping with chores, and free time.

And this morning we heard that REAL SCHOOL could start up again as early as Monday.

So, you might wonder, will we continue with our "something like school at home"?

Uh . . . NO.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Getting Big

Ever since Eric was born, people have called him big.  To me, though, he's just been my little baby. 
But even I am starting to admit that this little guy is getting big, or at least big-ger :)
This week Eric turned eight months, and it is amazing how much he can do.
He is now a pro at riding in shopping carts without his car seat,
feeding himself with a spoon (or two!)--his first little tooth even came through this week,
wearing shoes,
using a broom and helping Daddy,
standing--and even taking steps on his own (up to four at a time!),
and crawling really fast! 

Time to lock up the Lego, I think! 
I guess there's no way to stop him from growing up, so I might as well admit that it's a pretty cute process to watch :)
We love our big (little) guy!!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Somebody Turned 5!

Alaina has been looking forward to turning five for so long!  This year we actually made a count-down sticker chart to help her cope with the wait. 

It wasn't just turning five that was so exciting, though.

Today Alaina also started her new ballet class.  While she was gone I whipped up the pink heart cake that she requested.

Then Alaina came home and FINALLY got to open the gift she'd been wanting--and asking for every day--for the past six months :)

I don't know if I should actually admit that we bought it for her, but she really did love being able to hold the doll she'd been dreaming about!
Alaina had also been looking forward to celebrating with her grandparents and cousins, so luckily a few of them showed up :)
After the cake they cooled off in the backyard....
And the rest of the evening it's been coloring with the new dolls!

We are so grateful to have this sweet, loving little girl in our family and glad she was able to have some of her birthday wishes come true!