Saturday, May 10, 2008

almost Houstonians

Another week has come & gone and I guess we're getting closer to considering ourselves true "Houstonians." Not there quite yet, but getting closer I guess.

After seeing how quickly the gas was guzzled as I explored this large city, I decided to stick a little closer to home this week. After all, there will be plenty of time to explore. I was happier to see that the gas gauge didn't move quite so quickly when I stuck around a little closer.

I received a great package on Monday. My wonderful friend from Aiken sent me a birthday package of "Christie Cookie Company" cookies (based out of Nashville). They were SOOOO good and NOT SHARED with the girls at all! Yumm! I think it was a PERFECT birthday present for a pregnant woman!

One thing that made me VERY happy on Tuesday is that I found a FANTASTIC library within 5-10 minutes of the apartment! I had found one earlier that was a little ways away and had me getting on the interstate (which I like to avoid if I can) plus it was kind of small & unimpressive. I just knew there had to be a better one closer. I looked online and called to inquire about one that was just down the road and was told that they have a children's library, so off Katie & I went to check it out.

It is great! Katie immediately took to the little coloring table they have readily available for the children, plus they have puzzles, computers, and of course lots of books! On Wednesday, we went back for 'preschool story time' where Katie enjoyed listening to the 2 books + doing a craft. Once Gracie found out that we'd found a good library, she was anxious to go, so on Thursday afternoon we went back where both girls got to enjoy "Kool Kid Kraft" night. When I showed Gracie all the chapter books and how they were organized by series, she said, "Ah, book Heaven!" I knew she would love it. Needless to say, I am THRILLED to have found this great resource-and SO close to home!!!!!

On Wednesday, we met Chris to eat before church. We actually got there way before he did because he got a little lost. He knew pretty much where the place was; he just wasn't sure how to get there without having to get on the interstate. It's taking us a little time to figure out our way around this place, but eventually I know we will. Once we were done, it took very little time to get to church which was nice. This particular Wednesday they were having a singing night outside in the courtyard. The weather was actually really nice and not too sticky. There are really pretty trees surrounding this church building, so it was a nice setting. The funny thing is that during church I kept hearing this weird sound and people kept turning around and smiling. I finally turned around and saw a PEACOCK on top of the church building! I eventually saw 3 of them, although I heard someone say there were 5 of them! I don't know where in the world they came from. It's not like we were surrounded by farm land or anything!

One thing that was nice on Thursday when we were at the library is that there was a lady from church there with her little 4 year old boy. She remembered me, I remembered her because we had talked for awhile the night before, and Katie remembered her little boy's name. So that was nice to see her interact with him since I've been missing that for her. The lady was telling me a little about their VBS they'll be having this summer + they participate in LTC which would start for Gracie next school year, so she was telling me about that. I think Gracie would really enjoy something like that, so if we stay at that church that should be something to look forward to.

Gracie had gotten a little upset at school on Thursday apparently. Almost as soon as she got in the car, she told me that she had cried at school! This is VERY uncommon for her so I was immediately concerned (but glad she had told me about it!) At first, I just assumed that she had been a little "Aiken homesick." She thought maybe that was it, but didn't really seem to know exactly why she had cried. She finally said it might have been because during her Language Arts class (they switch teachers for Language Arts) she had gotten frustrated. I guess they're doing "Reader's Theater" where they're working in groups and her group had been a little disorganized. I guess one of the students wasn't cooperating and she didn't like her part (she had to pretend to be mean and tell a little boy that he couldn't play with them) and she had an idea (she wanted to apologize to the boy later at lunch during the play) but the 'director' wouldn't listen to her idea. She made the comment that she just didn't think this was something 2nd graders should be doing (referring to it being too difficult.)

So, we talked about all of this. I explained that sometimes we have to learn to work with others and if she feels strongly enough about her idea then she just needs to speak up and make herself heard (she is not the "dominant" one in many conversations). If she doesn't feel strongly enough about it then she just needs to accept that it won't be in the play. We also talked about how she wasn't really being mean but was just acting and that it was to teach a lesson. She said that the narrator says something at the end about how 2nd graders shouldn't act like that or they'd have to go to the principal's office, so I affirmed that yes, that was teaching a lesson.

I think Gracie is just so used to being able to tune out other kids and get her own work done that it was a bit of a shock to her that she couldn't just do her own work but actually had to work in a group to have a completed product. I really feel that this is a valuable skill for her to learn and I assured that it is sometimes really hard to work together with others and important to learn how to cooperate & compromise.

The next morning, we talked about it some more and I told her to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I told her to think about that when she's in Reader's Theater and that God can help her. I also told her it's okay to tell the teacher that she's having trouble and to ask for help. When I was waiting in car line to pick her up, I prayed & prayed that she'd had a good day and that things had gone better. Thankfully, when she got in the car she said that things had gone better and the teacher had come to work with their group. She was happy again! Thank goodness for the resiliency of children and for God who protected her from having a bad day! I'll be honest that she seems to feel that there is a little more to this Texas school thing than there was to school in SC. She made the comment something about not thinking they would be doing all they were doing. She had wonderful teachers in SC teachers, but SC in general is just not known for being too "advanced" in education. Not that TX is "top of the line," but it definitely seems to be a little more challenging which is actually really okay with us. (I'm NOT trying to knock SC-just making an observation.) She's doing great, but it's just keeping her on her toes a little more. We assured her that she'll be better off for it in the long run which she was okay with. I'm really glad she is going ahead and "getting her feet wet" for these last few weeks so that next year she'll already be used to it.

I had sent a little money to school with her on Friday because they were having "Spirit Cart" where they could buy "stuff." I had told her not to give any money to anyone else or buy anything for anyone else. Not that I want to be stingy, but I just don't think that's a good idea to start supplying money to all the other kids to buy their "stuff." Sure enough, she said one other little girl asked for some money and then later asked her to buy her something. Gracie told her that her mommy said she couldn't and the little twerp said, "Your mom won't know." Thankfully, Gracie assured her that yes, I would know and didn't let her have the money or buy her anything. I was proud of her for following my rule and for telling me about the situation. I reminded Gracie that even if I wouldn't know, God always knows! I'm thankful for her obedience and hope it continues throughout her life. I know-I know-she will have (and does have!) her moments, but for the most part, she is a very obedient child. Now Katie on the other hand............(hee hee)

After we picked her up, we drove by Sonic to get something to drink (it was REALLY hot the last few days) and drove around to find a playground. Most of the playgrounds around here are inside neighborhoods and not "public," but I found one that we've used a couple of times. It is technically a neighborhood playground, but the 2 times we've been there there haven't been any other kids there so we've gone ahead and used it.

We didn't stay too long because it was truly so hot! We went home and waited for Chris to get home. While waiting, Katie fell asleep on the couch which I thought was funny because I wasn't going to make her take a nap but poor thing was exhausted! Once he got home, he & Gracie went swimming where she is showing more bravery. You can tell from the picture that she actually made a little bit of a splash when she jumped in! Katie didn't want to swim (she is not getting very brave) so she just hung out with me. We then went to find some barbecue to eat for dinner and came back home to watch a movie together: "Firehouse Dog."

This morning, Chris left to go to work for a little bit (hopefully this won't become a habit!) while I slept in and the girls played. Once I got up, we did a little laundry and picked up some then I worked on a cross stitch until Chris got home. We ate lunch then he took them outside to practice riding their bikes. Katie still has her training wheels but is really fast peddling around the parking lot! Gracie did GREAT practicing riding her bike without the training wheels-really great! We are so proud of her! It's good to finally have a good, flat place to practice without much traffic. It was still really hot today, so we didn't stay out too long. Katie & Chris took a little nap then he and the girls went out to swim. I went out to watch but met them coming back in already. Chris gave them a bath, we ate dinner, then we went to the grocery. We're now watching "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" together. Well, actually-Chris isn't in the room. I'm not sure where he escaped to. Katie keeps coming in & out-she doesn't sit still for movies too much, but at least Gracie & I are watching it!

Tomorrow will consist of a Mother's Day omelette, church, then lunch somewhere although I haven't decided where I'd like to be taken yet. Katie keeps saying, "I'm not going to tell you what you're getting for Mother's Day!"


elizabeth said...

Glad you are feeling more at home. I thought about you this week. There was an article in Southern Living about a family from Aiken, SC. They had a beautiful garden.

Kimberly said...

I am glad you guys are getting adjusted to Houston. I just love your stories about motherhood and am taking notes! You really are one of my favorite mothers that inspire me. I hope you had a great MOther's Day!!