Saturday, November 17, 2012

Celebration of Thanks

There has been something I've dreamed about since I decided that I wanted to be a programs.  I don't remember having a lot of school programs when I was growing up.  I remember one where I played a bird and I had 1 line, "Help!  Help!"  I remember going to see my brother in something when he was in about 5th grade, but that's it.  Other than basic choir concerts, or high school theater productions, I don't remember having what I would consider a "school program."

I love the idea of school programs.  I love the idea of a bunch of kids standing on a stage in paper costumes that they made and singing songs their teacher has made up.  I love the idea of kids practicing for a long time, then finally getting to perform it for their parents.

So today, I finally got to fully experience my first elementary school program as a mom.  When the teacher sent around a note asking for volunteers, I happily responded with a willingness to arrive an hour early.  I arrived with camera in hand ready to capture each and every moment of this event.  Ella had told me her special lines and sung me a few of her favorite songs, so I was excited to get to see it all come together.


All of the kids did such a great job!  They sang loud and spoke clearly so we all could understand them.  It was so cute and I am SO happy that Ella has such a great kindergarten teacher that goes to great lengths to give the kids great experiences like this one.  This is only one of the events she has on the calendar for the year, so now I'm extra excited to see what else she has up her sleeve.

In case you don't know the true Thanksgiving story, here it is presented by Ella's kindergarten class.  Be sure to be on lookout for child #7.


In this video I almost missed Ella's big moment!  She was Turkey #1


Here is Ella telling us what she's thankful for.  It was at this point in the program where Metti and I started laughing.

We laughed so hard because Ella said she was thankful for her pets.  Just in case you're not aware, Ella doesn't have any pets.  In fact, a few weeks ago I asked her what she would like Santa to bring her and she said, "Maybe this year Santa will finally bring me a dog!"  After the program I asked her which pets she was thankful for and she said she's thankful for her fish.  Well, at least I know Ella the fish, Belle and Elvis aren't neglected.

And finally, this is Ella's favorite song from the program.  She sang it to me all afternoon.

As you can see, the show was totally awesome!  I got every song and poem on video, so there's much more to see in the photos link.  It was so much fun to be a part of it all.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Happy Fall!

Yes, I’m well aware of the fact that it has been 3 weeks  since my last post.  I’m busy…and a slacker.  I’ll just hit the highlights for you.

Halloween was awesome.  Ella was the greatest Superhero in the neighborhood and daddy dressed up as her trusty sidekick, Wonder Dad.

What has become very clear is that Ella enjoys the idea of candy much more than she actually enjoys the candy.  She loves going door to door to collect, and she loves looking at her loot when she gets home, but she hardly eats any of it.  This is both good and bad.  It’s good because she actually prefers to eat real food.  It’s bad because Ella’s mom has a major sweet tooth and just hates to see all that good candy go to waste.

We felt fortunate to be able to participate in Halloween since hurricane Sandy hit us Monday and Tuesday.  Our house fared well and the entire time we were thankful for our new roof.  We did sleep in the basement since we have a massive tree in our backyard and if it happened to fall, it would land right on Ella’s room.  And we did lose power for about 19 hours, but 9 of those were while we were sleeping, so it wasn’t too inconvenient.

When we knew the storm was coming we went straight into prep mode.  With the last storm we lost power for a few days, so we wanted to make sure we were at least prepared this time.  We went to the store and stocked up on food that didn’t have to be refrigerated and didn’t have to be cooked (AKA, we bought 3 bags of chips and a pecan pie).  Joe spent 3 days searching high and low for a generator.  Every store in the area was sold out and the only other options were driving 4 hours to southern VA, or driving an hour to MD to buy one off of Craigslist (that was WAY over priced).  We finally decided to let the chips fall where they may and just survive without one.  After all, we have a fireplace and plenty of blankets for warmth and we have several friends that have generators, so we could just move food to their houses if needed.  On Monday morning a light bulb went off in my head…BJ’s (a wholesale store down the street).  I immediately called and they just happened to have 4 generators left.  I reserved one and Joe jumped in the car to go pick it up.  Even though we weren’t without power for long, this generator was a wonderful thing to have.  We were able to plug in our refrigerator and TV and any additional items that needed charging (cell phone, kindle, etc).  If it was really needed, we could have easily added a space heater.  Thank heavens for BJ’s and thank heavens for light bulb moments!

Before Halloween and before the storm I got to volunteer at Ella’s school for Harvest Day.  As a SAHM this is something I’ve dreamed of!  This, and her first school performance.  I dressed Ella in her overalls and straw cowboy hat, and headed to school with her.  As soon as I walked in the room a little girl said, “Look, that’s Joella’s mom!”  Even though she tried to keep her composure, you could tell that Ella was really excited to have me there for a few hours.  I know that in the not to distant future she'll be mortified to be seen with me, so I'm glad that at least for now she's happy to have me at school.

School continues to go really well.  Ella is growing so much and learns more and more every day.  I feel like I only see a small glimmer of the little girl she was when she started school.  She has grown in confidence and knowledge.  Last week her aide had to be gone for 2 days and unfortunately Ella had 2 different helpers those 2 days.  At first when I heard about this I was sure Ella would be a complete wreck.  Ella doesn’t do change well and she definitely doesn’t do new helpers.  Much to my shock, she was totally fine.  She hardly batted an eye at having a new helper.  I was so proud of her!

On Monday we had our first Parent/Teacher conference.  Before we left we asked Ella what her teacher was going to tell us about her.  Ella confidently replied, “She’s going to tell you how smart I am.”  Well, that’s exactly what she did.  She showed us all of Ella’s work and how far she’s come since the beginning of the year.  She knows A LOT and is learning more and more every day.  Reading and writing sentences is becoming so easy for this kid, and she’s learning and comprehending beginning math skills.  They did an assessment on Ella and out of 102 things, she only missed 8.  The kid is a GENIUS!  She even LIKES doing homework (she must have gotten that from the Murray side)!

She is still very shy and only talks when the other person talks first.  I asked her why she isn’t more chatty in school, since she doesn’t seem to stop talking at home.  She said, “Mom, because the teacher tells us no talking.”  It’s hard to argue with that.  She’s right.  Teachers do want kids to be focused at school and not talking all the time.

Those are the highlights from the past few weeks.  Thanks for sticking with me even though I'm really inconsistent with my posting.