Lovin' our Big Boy!

Lovin' our Big Boy!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tomorrow! Tomorrow!

The countdown is on! Just ONE more day until our Disney vacation starts. Jack is thrilled but is currently quite disappointed that he managed to get strep throat just moments before our big trip! He's been medicated for 24 hours now and we're hoping he'll be back to feeling like his old self by flight time tomorrow.

Jack and Disney. They go together like milk and cookies. It is hands down his favorite place to go on the planet. He's been there too many times to count. He had been to all 4 Disney World parks before he turned 1. With Mimi and Grandpa both working at Disney, we were spoiled to have frequent and free access to the parks. But since Mimi and Grandpa's retirement and move to TN, our trips have been much less frequent and, consequently, more sacred. We pack a lot of "Disney" into our trips now.

This will be the first time we'll take little brother Tyler to WDW. It sure will be interesting to see how a nap-needing-want-to-walk-alone-toddler will impact our usually fast paced trip. But Jack is excited to show him the ropes and wonders what Tyler's favorite ride will be. I'm sure it will be the fastest, wildest ride that he's allowed to go on!!! Our little daredevil!

I'm going to need big brother's help on the plane tomorrow. We're both hoping Tyler won't be too wild on the 1.5 hour plane ride!!!

Jack is a veteran air traveler. Has been flying to FL and various other states (CA, MA, IL to name a few) since he was a tot. He's a pro.

Does this look like the kind of toddler that will sit quietly in his Mommy's lap for nearly 2 hours?

Here is a look back at Disney with Jack. I don't have the oldest pictures on my computer, since it was before we went digital. I think I could chronicle his entire life through Disney pictures. Maybe someday that would make a good photo book. I can't wait to see what new memories we capture with both boys this trip!!!

We plan on having an awesome time at our favorite stomping grounds. Jack is ready to show Tyler the ropes of his most favorite vacation place of all time! I hope the park is ready for US!!!!

"See" ya when we get back!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Gift

Jack's teacher wrote a letter to me sharing her perspective on Jack's kindergarten year in her classroom. A wonderful teacher, I had the pleasure of being the Room Mom in her classroom. As the year was coming to an end, I asked her not to purchase anything for me as a thank you but, instead, to write me a letter as my "gift". And what a gift it is! I'm so thrilled to hear how well Jack is doing as the year comes to a close. I hope that you can share in our joy. Our little boy has come so far!!!

Dear Karen (and family),
What a joy it has been to spend this year with Jack! At times challenging, at other times humorous, at ALL times an adventure – this year has been unique (I know, they all are, but Jack had a lot to do with the “feel” of our class personality this year).
As I look back to the beginning of the year, I remember thinking that Jack was adapting remarkably to kindergarten. A full day with many transitions, eighteen other children, a new schedule to learn, a sensory onslaught in and outside of my room – WOW –he negotiated all of it in his own way.
But as I see him now, in May, I realize how anxious he must have been in September. Jack was scripting nonstop, he would get under the tables on some occasions (usually during afternoon centers), he was playing and socializing in a very parallel way, and would stay by himself during recess. He needed his Ed. Assistant most of the day to scaffold and modify our tasks (especially Writing Workshop) as well as assist with the bathroom. Often he was fearful during PE and I remember that I tracked the daily schedule chart every day because it seemed to comfort Jack.
Fast forward to May – what a metamorphosis (it’s a change, a great BIG change!) Jack is working independently with an occasional prompt or two (no need for timers or lists). His writing is phenomenal – he can get HIS OWN IDEAS on paper (quite the higher order thinking skill). He happily chooses different centers in the afternoon (he was fixated on Tubs at the beginning of the year). Jack is the center of the social universe in our class. He has many friends, plays with others during center time and outdoors, hugs them, and carries on back and forth conversations with friends and teachers. Jack shares his happy news about playing chess and having sleepovers with his grandparents, Wall-E adventures, and fun with Tyler. On our class favorites writing task, almost everyone mentioned Jack as one of their favorite friends. I love the picture of Jack with his classroom family of friends around him during his birthday party!
Classic Jack moments in Kindergarten:
That Jack voice is classic in itself!!!
Walking in the hall – he has his own pace, but he’s coming (I can hear him ☺ - zero zone shmero zone).
He predicted in November when the 100th day would fall – he was right, of course.
When I sing “Ten more minutes” (the warning that clean up time is coming in 10 minutes), he sings in the same tune “No, no, no!”
Jack comes in the door and pronounces the events of the day – “It’s a great day – it’s music day!” or “today is the 163rd day of school!”
Once I say something, Jack never forgets. I said we could change special places when all children were present. As soon as we had 100% attendance, Jack reminded me it was time to change special places.
One winter dismissal, I had a particularly frantic time getting everyone zipped, and gloves and hats on before we made our way down the hall. Halfway down the hall, Jack announced he had forgotten his backpack. We stopped so he could go get it. Then another child yelled that Jack did not have his lunch box. So he went back to get it. Then Jack said he was not zipped – so I made sure he was zipped with hood up and fastened. All you could see were his eyes. We got to the front porch and he yelled, “Mrs. Ward, we have a problem! I can’t breathe!!”
During most of the year, Jack (and many others) were fearful of our loud flushing toilet. The children had it worked out that whoever used the bathroom after Jack would just flush it for him. Just recently, Jack flushed the toilet all by himself and announced it loudly and proudly (and with some sense of surprise and shock). He has continued to flush ever since (and wants to add toilets to each day of our calendar to show his mastery!)
It has been my pleasure to walk beside Jack this year! We are all teachers; we are all learners – I have learned so much from Jack. I look forward to hearing all about his summer and his adventures in first grade. Thank you SO much for all you have given to me and to this class – you have made it a much richer experience for us all.
Much love and respect xoxoxoxo,
Mrs. W.

Here is Jack with his teacher during their class "Celebration" on Monday. Mrs. W. is sharing with the class some kind words about Jack to the class and parents, as she did with each child. He was proud to stand there with her!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ready for Wipeout: The Second Season!

Jack often stays up reading in his bed after bedtime. We don't usually say anything since he doesn't seem to stay up too late and it is kind of cute.

The other night I found him sprawled out with one arm on his Wipeout book of memories from our November trip to the set and the other arm on his "Top Secret" book. This book is a series of Power Point slides showing the obstacle order of the first 4 episodes of the upcoming season. I think he's ready for the new season to begin!

You can catch the new season on abc on Wednesdays at 8E/7C beginning in just 8 days on May 27th!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Mommy - Happy Mother's Day!

My Mom by Jack Halbert, age 7

An interview on Mom, through a son's eyes...

What is something mom always says to you? I love you so much

What makes mom happy? when I finish my homework quickly and when I'm kind to Tyler.

What makes mom sad? If I get angry

How does your mom make you laugh? She says silly things to me

What was your mom like as a child? she went to school

How old is your mom? 40

How tall is your mom? Maybe 50 inches or 13 feet.

What is her favorite thing to do? my favorite wii game is Wall-E. Your favorite game is WonderWorld Amusement Park. And Make me do my homework.

What does your mom do when you're not around? feed Tyler

If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? for being so special

What is your mom really good at? playing with me.

What is your mom not very good at? boxing on the Wii cuz you get tired.

What does your mom do for her job? making lunch and dinner

What is your mom's favorite food? spaghetti

What is your mom's favorite drink? coffee, you REALLY love coffee

What makes you proud of your mom? when you let me stay up after my bedtime

What do you and your mom do together? homework and play Wii.

How are you and your mom the same? We both have brown hair

How are you and your mom different? our hair (style) is different

How do you know your mom loves you? because you say nice words to me and kiss my boo boos and put bandaids on them.

Where is your mom's favorite place to go? Costco. But you love Disney more.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Ready for First Grade

I am so proud of my sweet graduating Kindergartener.

I remember, back in August, sitting in Jack's classroom at Open House as I read the writings of the previous year's Kindergarten students. There, neatly penned on a paper titled "Why You Will Love Kindergarten!" was a paragraph, written by a Kindergartener to my child, sharing some of his/her thoughts about why Mrs. Ward's class was so much fun. While the writing was undoubtedly that of a 5-6 year old, the composition was impressive. Capital letters, appropriate punctuation, lowercase letters, and properly structured sentences. I know, in that moment, that I held my breath and sighed. Kindergarten was going to be HARD. Jack could barely write his first and last name in ALL CAPITALS after a summer of Kindergarten readiness training. "Well", I thought, "we'll just have to make accommodations for his work. It will be ok. He'll do his best."

This week Jack prepared his "sloppy copy" of his Why You Will Love Kindergarten paragraph each nite for homework. He was quick to decide that he would share about afternoon centers and how you get to choose where you want to go. With some very slight suggestion on how not to get too caught up on what happens when there are too many people in a center and you have to take your second choice, his paragraph took form. One sentence on one night, two the next, and this evening he rewrote his final draft on the official yellow page...and at last the culmination of his effort produced this, which I proudly call A WORK OF ART!!!

It says:
Why You Will Love Kindergarten! by Jack Halbert

At afternoon centers, you can go to lots of centers. You can choose like: blocks, tubs, be a teacher, shelf games, computer center, sand/water table. My favrite center is be a teacher.

It literally brought me to tears tonite as I looked on, so proudly, as he wrote each word, along with his choice of punctuation, meticulously, in what Mrs. Ward calls their "best 1st grade handwriting." I'm proud of the thought involved, his ability to create appropriately structured sentences, his ease with punctuation (he had no help at all on this one) and the ease at which he wrote 35 words in one sitting with no complaint or resistance. It has been an amazing year and I am so thankful to his teacher for being a loving, nurturing guide and instructor who has fostered such a wonderful spirit of learning and quiet confidence in our boy. What a remarkable journey Kindergarten has been.

I faced Elementary school this time last year with great trepidation. Jack was unwilling and I was unsure. However, I'm happy to say that I, along with Jack, look forward to first grade for the adventure that it will be!