Saturday, May 23, 2015

Stats on Isabella + school is out for summer~

I forgot to post some photos on the last blog about Mercer's baseball season.  (photos are now correctly placed in the blog about he and his team.)  He, Todd, and a bunch of the team members went to a Braves game as a part of the league.  They got to march in a pre-game parade down on the field!  How cool is that?!

Isabella had her 2 1/2 year appointment this week.  Here are some stats:

- she is 35" tall (29%) and 25 lbs, 12.8 oz (16%).... she is still a tiny little nugget!
- her head circumference is 82%, however, at 19.5" around.

She seems to fall down a lot.  Either she's clumsy or her head is too big and it makes her wobbly.  :) 

Developmentally, she's doing well.  The questionnaire that I had to fill out asked questions about her speech, her acknowledgement of body parts / animals / herself in the mirror / and general "things."  She's on target for potty training (sort of doing it since 2 years old, but we are definitely pushing it more now / she tells us before she goes occasionally).  

The doctor thinks she is insanely active, however, as Isabella was running across the room over and over and over again yelling "watch me," running, lunging, and jumping on me.  Then she'd grab a stool, climb up to the table.  Try to hop down.  Crawl under it (eww).  Swing on the legs of the table.  It WAS kind of insane watching it!  The doctor made the comment once when Mercer was younger that he was "exhausting."  But, I don't remember him being quite this active.  

Isabella is feisty too.  Definitely living up to the "terrible twos" with her shouting NO as a regularly-occurring theme.  She tests us at every turn it seems with doing things we specifically ask her not to and watching our reaction as she does it.  Mercer went through this too, but whew... it's more tiring because we have 2 kids now and we're about 5 years older.  Also - they know how to agitate each other -- she can push his buttons.  He can push hers. 

Todd and I are worn out!  Isabella is not as independent as we thought she would be.   She can occupy herself sometimes, but lately it seems that she wants to be held and carried all the time.  If sitting, she would rather sit on you than on a chair by herself.  I know we should treasure this as - when she's a teenager - she won't even want to sit in the same room as us.  

She says some really adorable things, however.  I can't remember if I've already mentioned how she crouches down to look at earth worms, roly polys, and ants.  "Awwww, how cute!"  Doggies, kitty cats, birdies.... "I want to hug them."  She has no fear and will walk right up to hug an animal.  We're really trying to stay one step ahead of her and remind her to ask the owner, hold out her hand to let the animal sniff, etc.  

I love it when she says that she is going to be "very very quiet."  She whispers that with her finger over her mouth and tip-toes, but then whoever she's trying to sneak up on -- she yells out their name. 

Mercer used to say that the sun - when shining in his eyes - was hot and try to look away.  He got hot and bright mixed up.  Eventually he learned the difference.  Isabella says that - when the window is open in the car and the air is blowing on her that it is cold -- not windy.  She is starting to understand the difference between the two.  

She knows what an elevator is, but the other day she and I got on one and she said "we are going to ride the alligator?"  She thinks it's funny to call me Candice and Todd by his name instead of mommy and daddy.  Sometimes she'll say "mommy Candice" and "daddy Todd" -- then point to herself "baby Bella."  

I guess this cute stuff makes up for the tantrums and constant testing of our patience.  Right??  

She sings a lot.   It is the sweetest little sound.  She talks a ton.  She still flirts with men.  Major animal lover.  Loves music and dancing too.  She is full of personality!

Here are Isabella's and Mercer's class pictures.  (You can click on them to make them larger.)

Mercer's school has ended.  He is officially done with 1st grade.  whew.  There were definitely some challenges.  The biggest one:  homework!  There wasn't a ton of it, but he would get so frustrated with it sometimes that he would melt down.  Sometimes it would take him 30 minutes +/- to calm down enough to work on this homework again.  (There would - maybe - but 10 minutes worth of work.)  He is a fantastic reader... very proficient and loves to read.  Yay.  He's pretty good at math and can often figure things out in his head / blurt out the correct answer.  But writing seems to be his downfall.  He has a hard time sitting down to write sentences or answer questions on paper.  His handwriting is pretty sloppy for his level compared to his classmates and his teacher would often make him redo an exercise because of the legibility.  He has been rushing through assignments in order to get it done quickly.  He cannot focus or spend a great deal of time on something -- including the standardized tests that shows his progress over the year.  He's usually the first to finish and does not score well, unfortunately. 

As it turns out, there's a reason for the rushing, breakdowns, the resistance to write, and the handwriting:  he officially has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  Testing was done in April; Todd and I received a report and had a meeting with the doctor less than two weeks ago.  Just before school ended, we met with the assistant principal and his 1st grade teacher to discuss an educational plan for next year.  School has only been out 1 day, however, he and I are already working through some writing exercises.  (Found some cool LEGO ones that hopefully he'll be interested in.)  We'll work hard on it over the summer and maybe he'll get used to writing, as there will be a great deal more of it next year.  

I had to work at a conference last weekend, so Todd took the kids to a "Speed Stack" competition last weekend. This is where kids stack cups and breaks them down in a certain way / get them back in a single line.  He did pretty well and bought a Speed Stack shirt with his own money (pictured below on the last day of school images).  This is a little bit of an obsession of his -- in fact -- it's an obsession of most of the kids in the school.  It's loud, but the kids enjoy it~  Todd wasn't able to snap photos because he was containing the 2 year old.

Something really positive to report about his performance at school... behavior-wise, he's learning a little more self-control and to stay on task a little better.  He had so-so reports most of the year, but the past two months, he's earned a lot of green marks (green is good).  So good, in fact, that he earned 2 "Mercer fun days."  Last month, he went to Sky Zone and out to lunch with dad at Jason's Deli as a reward.  Last night, he chose for our family to go play putt-putt and have dinner at Firehouse Subs.  Both Todd and I are very proud of his good behavior and were thrilled to go out / celebrate.

Here are some fun photos from the last day of school.  There are kids who ride the bus, those who walk home (usually with a parent), those who are Car Riders, and those who stay in After School.  Mercer dabbles in all modes of transportation home.   Walking home is least common, as it's a 2 mile walk... but... I asked him to be a "Walker" yesterday (with a compromise because he balked at walking that far).  I drove to the middle school and parked... and walked the rest of the way armed with a water gun, a bucket of water for refueling, and some canisters of silly string.  Some parents brought wheelbarrows and rolling coolers full of water balloons.  When the kids were released, they got nailed~  :)  It was fun.  

He seemed to enjoy it.  So much so that we walked back to the car, raced home to get there in time before the bus arrived... and tried to nail the kids at our bus stop as they got off.  But - one of the boys' siblings came with water balloons.  They originally went after the bus-riders, but then turned to us!  (Mercer, myself, and another mom.)  Hence... no photos from that.

It was even more fun.  I think between the school and bus events then the putt-putt to celebrate a month of "green" marks... he had a GREAT last day of 1st grade!!  

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The *end* of a couple of things....

The end of (my) school and the end of little league baseball both took place last week~

NOW we can get back to a little bit of normalcy.... well.... maybe when Mercer's school ends too we can really kick back.

[This was a selfie I took on my first day of class... "Welcome to Physical Science" posted on the board.]  In looking back over the school year, it was really tough, honestly.  Between trying to figure out what I was doing lesson-wise (there were NO lesson plans for the subject I was teaching because the book was a new one for the school).... and between learning my content (I have not had chemistry since high school myself and limited physics in college)... AND between figuring out the whole "teaching thing" (classroom management / grading program on computer / lecture delivery)... I was in waaaay over my head!

This position is sort of an adjunct-style position:  I was teaching Physical Science in the classroom 2 days a week (four 8th grade classes and 1 high school class).  The pay was much lower than at a regular 5-day-a-week school, but there was a lot more flexibility.  It worked out pretty well to supplement somewhat what I was making at my green building job since I was not hired there full time..... and it gave me the opportunity to dip my toe in the water of teaching while still doing what I've done for the last decade.

I was often pulling all-nighters twice a week -- sometimes three times a week -- learning content, planning a lesson or grading.  It was not that healthy for me or that sustainable.


It was kind of fun.  
It proved to be a new challenge.
I learned A LOT about science - which I've been drawn to more and more in my career.
I survived in the end.

I think I'm going to do it again.

Everyone keeps saying that my second year will be much easier.  I need to find a way to not make it as taxing on my body and soul.... but I do want to try it out to see if, indeed, it is easier.  Also, last year, so many things were in flux job-wise... I sort of want to hang my hat in one place for a little while.  (or in this case -- two places.... the teaching at Johnson Ferry Christian Academy ( and the green building job at Sustainable Investment Group ( )

I don't know if I want to move into teaching.
I don't know if I want to stick with green building or move on.
I have another year to decide.

Also, I am secretly hoping that I can find something that is related to BOTH teaching and sustainability.  That would be ideal.

There were highs and lows throughout the year.  Many lessons that were ho-hum / not exciting.  There were times when it was probably evident that I had no clue what I was doing.  But - there were some pretty great times too.  The last week of school, for instance, consisted of students delivering a physics project to the class.  There were likely projects that I should not have allowed the students to build and bring in.  And we "went out with a bang" in the last class exploding something that should've just oozed out instead.  

No one got hurt.  In the end - that's what's important.  That.... and they had fun while learning some things.  :)


Mercer's baseball felt taxing for some reason this season.  Maybe because of school?  Maybe because he moved up to a more serious league and had extra practices and/or games each week (it was at least a 3 day a week commitment).  Also, Todd coached again... and was often running over early to set up / coming home late after breaking things down.  The games and practices during the week either conflicted with dinner OR bedtime (6:30 - 7:45 + set up / break down) OR (7:45 - 9:45 games that went well past Mercer's bedtime).  It was tough, honestly.

The season started with a draft for a position on a team and then optional practices until the season began.  The last week of the season, there were 6 games over 8 days to make up for cancellations due to rain.  THEN last minute, the league announced a playoff structure.

It just felt like too much (for me).  Todd and Mercer enjoyed themselves, however, and Mercer's game improved. He started to make a lot of contact with the ball while hitting and had a pretty decent batting average.  He needs to improve on his fielding and hustling.  The commissioner of the league asked him to play in all-stars, however, Todd and I opted not to enroll him.  (He's trying swim team this year for the first time and that is a big commitment for 6 weeks.) 

Most of these pics are from end-of-season events instead of during games and (more recently added - some pics from the Braves stadium where Mercer and his team got to march in a little league parade on the field!)

95% of my time spent at the ball field was watching Isabella.  Isabella watched about 5% of any game.  Mostly she wanted to run around the ball field looking for roly polys or playing on the play ground.  Sometimes, Todd was able to hold her while he coached from the dugout.  Sometimes she got to partake in the snacks.  She learned about $$.  Once, I bought a bottle of water from concessions for her.  She observed the exchange.  Another day, she found a dime on the ground and immediately wanted to take it to the concession operator.  I thought it was cute - she was going to give them a dime she found, but BAM - the guy gave her a piece of bubble gum.  UH OH.  From that point on, it was "over."  She pretty much went around saying that she needed money.  Sometimes older kids would offer it to her too, but I had to decline their offer!  She's a smart girl.  And friendly.  

Deadly combination (for us). 

More about her in the next post. Promise~