Tuesday, November 23, 2010

We need a sailor!

Gretchen has gotten into the spirit of giving this year.  She told me that we have to have all of the sailors over because they have nowhere to go and nothing to eat.  I told her I would consider it but that we already had quite a few people coming for Thanksgiving.  She agreed to give food to the food pantry.  This has been a theme lately that I think comes from church and the Character Counts program at school.  It's nice to know that some of those things are sinking into her brain!  On the flipside of that however, her wish list for Santa is pretty long (I let her circle whatever she wanted in the toy catalog).  I am impressed that she has stuck to the same top two items that she will request from Santa - I keep trying to tempt her with other stuff but she never sways....  I posted some new videos - see this one of her choir singing at church and  her on Halloween.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halloween and Other Scary Stories

We had a very busy October....  Gretchen's school has a parents group that hosts an annual Halloween party so almost every Tuesday we had a meeting about the party in October.  Then on Wednesday Gretchen has dance class and library story time back to back.  And.... we went to Fright Fest three times I think....  We were busy....  I'm still tired from October!  Anyhow, Gretchen was Hello Kitty for Halloween.  I found a cute winter hat and a sparkly pink jumper on eBay for the costume.  It was a step up from last year's purchased Wonder Woman costume.  Because of the school party, I also dressed up as a witch to appease the girl.  I'm not much into costumes but she really enjoyed the it so that made it fun.  We also hit the Milwaukee Zoo for their Halloween Spectacular - we didn't get much candy but Steve and I pushed the kids over the entire zoo looking for it!  Every year, Steve and I take turns trick-or-treating with Gretchen and every year, we cover a bit more ground.  This year we covered more houses than ever but our poor child was exhausted!  Steve took the boys out as well but they only made it for a few of our neighbors.  All in all, it was a lot of fun.  We are gearing up now for Thanksgiving!  Gobble, Gobble!  (of course, more pictures are here if you're interested plus a fun video of Evan and Gretchen).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Test Your Limits

Gretchen is doing okay in her new Kindergarten class.  The teachers have already noticed how hard it is to get her to write.  She is very stubborn and needs to be coached.  We are going to make her write more regularly at home but she is very stubborn.  She is also testing out the disciplinary limits at school.  They go "on deck" (which really means time out) for not listening, telling the teacher no, talking too much, etc.  For more serious infractions, they go from Green to Yellow to Red.  This week Gretchen has been on deck every day.  Last night I asked her why she can't be a good listener at school. She said "Mommy, I would but I have to do what my head tells me to." Later she told me "and sometimes, it tells me to do bad stuff". Sigh.....

Monday, August 23, 2010

1st Day of Kindergarten

Gretchen started Kindergarten today.  She's attending the same school that she has been going to for the last year since they have a full day private Kindergarten program.  It was very nice of the director to rent out a school bus today and pick up the kids at some stops in the neighborhood since they don't normally do pickup.  We waited with several other nervous young ladies but you can't tell in the picture what they might be worried about.  I have been reading books about kindergarten to Gretchen for the last month but none of them help the tears that swelled up in my eyes as I watched the bus drive away.  Sigh.....  Here are pictures from today!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Athlete in the Making?

While I was never athletic as a child, I signed up Gretchen for a little soccer this summer just to see if she would like it.  We tried sports classes before when she was younger but she just didn't get it.  The rules, the drills, etc were kind of a pretext for being there and not the actual activity.  This summer she seems to be doing better with it.  She is dribbling and listening to the coach (Coach Jo is a saint!).  I don't know if it will last since we haven't seen a game yet but I'm hoping she enjoys it.  If not, there is always dance this fall....

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Gretchen's Fifth Birthday

Gretchenpalooza is officially over - it was a beautiful day to celebrate.  We had a wonderful turnout of family and friends both from church and school.  Gretchen was in her party dress for all of 45 minutes before changing into her bathing suit.  I scarely saw her the rest of the day.  We waited to open presents until the next day because some of our friends stayed quite awhile.  She was so tired but I think she had fun!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mom and Daughter Day

Gretchen's school has field trips in the summer that the parents chaperone.  On Gretchen's birthday, they went to Lovell's Restaurant since the theme of the week was space exploration (read here for more).  Afterwards most parents take their kids home if they chaperoned.  I decided to take my little bunny to Six Flags and spend the afternoon at the water park.  We were both exhausted so when Gretchen saw a photo booth on the way out, we stopped for some silly pictures!

Happy Birthday my beautiful girl!  Hope Gretchenpalooza is all you wanted it to be!

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July

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Gretchen was mysteriously attracted to fire and scared of it!  She wore these gloves but she did it plenty of times without...  I think she enjoyed the pop its more (those little sacks of gun powder you through on the ground).

Friday, June 18, 2010

Zoo Day

Milwaukee Zoo has a great little Dinosaur exhibit that the kids really enjoyed.  Some of them move and some you can climb on...

Milwaukee Zoo June 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

PreK Graduation

It has been awhile since I posted - it seems like March was just yesterday.  To recap the last few months, Gretchen has been improving her fine motor skills in occupational therapy.  Her writing is getting better - she has written actual words!  Her PreK teachers met with me again and indicated she will be ready to go to Kindergarten in the fall.  She will have her work cut out for her but it was encouraging to hear that they saw improvement in her!

The rewards program has helped with some behavior issues we were having over the winter.  She gets to pick the rewards herself with our final approval of course.  This past weekend she wanted to camp outside since twice we camped inside.  I was asking myself how I get suckered into this stuff when Steve started dragging out the camping gear.  Gretchen started jumping up and down and getting excited about the prospect of sleeping outside.  It was a good reminder for both of us about why we go along with some of these family activities!

Last night was Gretchen's graduation from PreK.  Her daycare school puts on a program for all of the classes as they graduate to the next room.  Gretchen will be going there for private full day kindergarten so we are excited about that!  The theme of the program last night was "Under the Sea" so the kids did songs about the sea and dressed in Hawaiian beach attire.  You can check it out on Youtube if you're interested!

Gretchen has grown this year - both in leg and torso length!  She used to fit the same size as her age but now we're buying bigger because it's less likely to be too small.  It's hard for me to see her so grown up already but exciting at the same time because she can do so much more with us! 

Since this is her fifth birthday next month, we will be having a big kids party on July 11th for her with a bounce house and swimming.  We're probably not doing a big party for the boys this year but likely a summer party early August!  I'll send invites soon!

P.S.  As usual, new pictures and videos are posted to Flickr and the blog.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Annual Cubs Game

We took the girl, Steve's best friend Chris and his girlfriend plus all of their kids on our annual Cubs game in May.  We have taken Gretchen every year since she was two to the Cubs game in May (when they sell the cheap seats).  It was on the cold side again this year but it did not stop her (or me) from eating a delicious malt cup!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

My Kind of Zoo

Starting to get spring fever so we took a ride to Lincoln Park Zoo.  The boys had a hard time sitting still as did Gretchen so this picture, while not perfect, at least has everyone in it.  Spring Fever indeed!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Angel?


We had decent weather and a nice dinner at Sharon's for Easter. Gretchen and the boys were all dressed. Gretchen pressured me into a dress insisting that we go to the dinner "fancy" so I had to break out the only outfit that fits me. Sigh.... She looks good though...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


While Sean and Evan are keeping us busy, we try to make sure Gretchen doesn't lose out on quality time with us.  Steve and I both have different ways of doing it but we strive for one on one time with her when we can.  For example Steve took Gretchen skiing last month.  He did not ski at all, just watched her class.  She seemed to like it and stayed for the entire class unlike other sports classes we've done where she has wanted to leave 10 minutes before it was over. 

Steve and I also take switch off each night on who does bedtime so the kids never get used to one person all the time.  I use bedtime as a time to chat a little and goof off a little with my daughter.  One of these chats was a little argument about what she would like to be called.  I call her cutie pie, cute stuff, cutey, etc but she doesn't like it.  She wants to hear pretty which I oblige most times.  This one particular night I asked her what she would like to be called if not cute.  She paused for a moment and thought about it.  With wide eyes she looked at me and said:  exquisite.  I asked her where she learned that word but she couldn't remember.  I have yet to work that into a sentence since it doesn't flow off the tongue so easily but I'm working on it.  She is after all, my exquisite little pretty beauty..... nah, that needs work!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rewards Program

It has been a while since I updated the blog.  I totally skipped over Christmas but I did post to the boys' blog about our Christmas.  As I mentioned before, we transitioned Gretchen to a new daycare school setting in August.  They gave us an assessment of her in November that indicated she needed some fine motor help as she cannot write yet.  We ended seeing an occupational therapist to help with her writing skills.  This whole ordeal, yes ordeal, has been difficult for all of us on some level.  With the twins arriving, our lives were turned upside down and to some degree attention to some preschool skills got lost in the shuffle at our house.  Both Steve and I blame ourselves a little though we're trying not to make a big deal of it.  Another issue, in our minds at least, is that she has just recently figured out she is a lefty which is challenging for us as rightys.  I personally think Gretchen does notice how the kids are writing at school and has frustration about her abilities. 

We have had some behavior issues lately (possibly a result of her frustration) that have pushed Steve and I on to the next level of parenting.  We decided to start the rewards program to get her behavior and outbursts at school in check.  She needs to earn twenty stickers in five days to get a "prize" at the end of the week.  The prizes are of her choosing.  Week one was dinner and a ride on the merry-go-round at the mall.  The second week was a "camp in" where we set up her ladybug tent in the front room and slept there for the night (mommy was on the futon by her).  Last week it was a weekend of dressing up as Princess Leia.  This week she wants to have her hamburger hut set up for the weekend.  So far, it has really helped.  We've been reading Chick Moorman's book Parent Talk to help us adjust our expectations and language which has also been helping us with Gretchen.  Though I don't need to say it, I will say how much we love her and want her to be confident, curious and creative!

I know this is not a new path for parents but it's new for us.  We want her to be ready for kindergarten so we have been pushing activities that we know will strengthen her hands:  writing, coloring, playdough, lacing cards, necklace making, cutting, etc.  I am optimistic that she will be fine next year as long as we can keep the activities fun and constructive!  Now I understand why everyone thinks babies are easier (which they are not - just different, especially when you have twins).