Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Kindergarten Prep

We've been in the midst of open houses for kindergarten, gosh, can you believe it? Kindergarten! Seemed like it would take a life time to get to this point. It makes me sad and happy at the same time. I'm sad to see the boys leave my constant side but excited for them to have a new experience. I know they will just love school so much (at least for the first couple years, right?).

Aside from the Spanish immersion program we are looking at a couple different charter schools in the area. Because there is the possibility we won't get into Spanish Immersion we thought we'd see what else is out there. I love to idea of different approaches to learning since the traditional ways that are taught at most schools don't always work for everyone and aren't necessarily the best way to learn. I've watched a lot of documentaries about U.S. schools and the common theme is over worked and stressed out kids under mounds of homework. Children are seriously getting physically ill because of the pressure from school work. I really don't think young children should have any homework at all. My friend has her son at one of the charter schools we are looking at (it's a Waldorf school) and the kids there do get homework but guess what it is? They tell the parents to give the kids chores to do everyday! They also have a policy of no screen time on school days (I'm stealing that one for sure). Also the kids aren't taught to read until the second grade, crazy right!? Apparently this isn't a new method and other countries who've been implementing these types of teaching practices actually out perform American kids!

Sadly, I think the charter schools will be harder to get into than the immersion program because admission is based on a lottery system (with hundreds of kids applying for very few spots, one school only has 30 for kindergarten). So the probability that all three boys would all get into one school is slim and I don't hardly want them in different classes let alone different schools. The Spanish immersion program is also lottery based but we have much better chances at getting in since the boys would be considered native speakers (they want at least half the class to be native speakers). Last year they had 24 spots for native speakers and 26 kids applied. So knowing my luck I'll get two in and one boy won't get in, ha! No but seriously I'm really expecting that to happen. I feel worse for the non native speakers trying to get into the program because last year 109 kids applied for 24 spots!

It's really interesting why they started immersion programs in the first place and you'd be surprised to know that it wasn't to create bilingual people. They started it to close the "success" gap between children who's first language was not English and children who's first language was English. Apparently kids who speak English will start school and of course do great where as kids who don't speak English really struggle not only in the beginning but throughout their entire k-12 experience (not to mention into adulthood as well). However if these children are placed in immersion programs they will do just as well as their English counterparts. A beautifully symbiotic relationship! Both types of kids will do great and they will learn a new language at the same time, isn't that awesome?

Before learning this I was starting to feel a little self entitled and grumbling to myself that my boys really need to get into this program. But now after learning all this I would honestly be ok if they didn't get in. I mean I still really want them to but in the end I don't think my kids are the "target native speakers" that the immersion programs are looking to help. They speak English very well and would do great in an English only setting just as they would in a Spanish only setting. Anyways, applications are accepted later this month and we find out in April whether or not we got in, so we'll see I guess : )

Buddies est. 2010
Check out this Fire truck that Thomas built all by himself!
I'm really impressed : )
Ok so he may have gone a little over board on the bumper : )
I love the hose detail and the realistic driver in the back.
And did you notice the color/pattern symmetry on both sides!
Thomas worked on this for like two days finding the right colored pieces and making it as realistic as possible with the help of nobody at all!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

5 years 4 months!

Even though it's only been about 2 months since our last vacation, I'm feeling like we really need a vacation! With the exception of two snow days it's been a very warm winter; however, it's been the wettest winter since I've lived in Portland. That coupled with being sick so often this winter I'm really starting to feel cabin fever. January isn't even over yet and I'm already day dreaming about summer plans...camping, the beach, visiting family in Cali. It all sounds so good! I need to snap out of it or better yet, the rain needs to cease a bit and we need to stop getting sick every other week!
CET are 5 years and 4 months old!
Silly Eli
more silliness
Loving their kitty baby : )

Monday, January 25, 2016


The boys love to draw as is evident by the fact that we never have paper in this house. I buy a big stack and within a week it's gone. Thomas is especially good at it and many times figures out how to draw something and his brothers learn to draw it from him. I can only hope they've inherited their dads artistic talents but I guess time will tell. For now I try to take pictures of the stuff they draw so that in the future I can see their progression. Here are some samples of their work : )

The Titanic, drawn with 4 smoke stacks as in real life.
I love Caleb's dinosaurs
Grumpy cat?
Police double propeller helicopter
Another great dinosaur : )
Toy rocket ship ready to launch (I think by Eli)
The Titanic, drawn with underwater propellers like in real life.
Love the claws on this dinosaur
A tiny submarine
Still love drawing trains.
And check out the Titanic in the background, it's sinking : )
Thomas not only draws a side view but he also draws the front view

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Sickening

Sorry for the lack of updating, we've all fallen ill to the sickening (possibly the flu). I don't ever remember feeling this terrible before. At one point I questioned whether or not I was dying. Caleb started first one morning and the other two plus myself started the next day. It was two days of really high fevers, which I should add my boys hardly ever get fevers. I also got fevers and I too almost never get fevers. Those two days were spent under the covers watching tv for the boys. I spent it in the dark with my eyes closed listening to NPR because that's all I could stand to do. That was a couple days ago and we still aren't 100% but at least we aren't ravished by fevers anymore, ugh!

We went through this much of a brand new bottle of children's Tylenol in two days.
Our last bottle lasted us over two years!
I'm used to at most 101 not 103!
At what point do children start convulsing?!
Caleb getting ready for a haircut two days before the sickening struck him.
Looking so handsome : )
Caleb drew this adorable portrait of Phil and I.
I love the way he drew my hair!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Little Reader

A couple of weeks ago I was working with the boys like I like to do twice a week (our little home school lessons if you will). We've been working hard with blending two letters (for example: ma, me, mi, mo, mu) and let me tell you it's been quite the challenge! Although it's most likely because I'm heading into this blindly and I'm figuring this out all on my own (can you believe there is no Hooked on Phonics in Spanish, sheesh!). Thank goodness for the internet and Pinterest, I would have never gone past letter sounds, ha! Anyways, so like I said a couple of weeks ago we were having a lesson and I was showing the boys flash cards of site words we've been learning. Eli knew them so well this time around that I got the idea to lay some flash cards out into sentences and you wouldn't believe it but Eli was able to read them! Right after I tried it with his brothers and while they know the words (like if I just showed them the flash card they can tell me what it says or they'll attempt to sound it out) when they see multiple words in a sentence, like I had them, they just get overwhelmed and can't read it. So anyway I'm very proud of Eli. Thomas is not too far behind while Caleb still needs some more leg work because he's struggling a bit more. My boys, like most identicals, always catch up to each other so I know the other two will get there too!

 Here is when I first tested him out (technically his second time reading this, so I could record it, ha!):


I still remember the first book I was able to read. It was a book I made in kindergarten about ladybugs (my thumbprints were the ladybugs) and I remember being so proud of myself. So that's were I got the idea to have to boys make their own simple books with words they are familiar with. Here is Eli reading his first book which he made himself :


Monday, January 4, 2016

Snow Day!

We woke up Sunday morning to a layer of snow on the ground and it was still coming down steadily. It's so beautiful when it snows so I took a quick picture of Thomas with the snowy background as proof. Then we all started getting ready for our meeting. The boys had all their clothes picked out and Phil was getting out of the shower when he announced that he had just gotten a message saying that our meeting was cancelled due to the snow. It was now officially a snow day! So we all got our snow gear on and headed outside.
Mr T is the only one that wanted the lions mane on his jacket : )
Kisses for my boys!
With papi ready for our walk in the snow!
They found a "mountain"
We thought we'd be too cold but we made it to the bluff and played a while here.
Overlooking the bluff.
Finally convinced them to try out making snow angels.
Then couldn't get them to stop making snow angels.
When we got home I was very ready to go inside and warm up but the boys stayed out and did some sledding for like another 45minutes!
Later at home... this is not Caleb, it's Puss In Boots!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Bizarre Happenings (5 yrs 3 mo!)

CET are 63 months old!
Another cute one 
You may have to click on this pic to see it better but don't you just love the psycho kitty Thomas drew for me, haha!
We were at Costco today and we came upon a digital scale in one of the aisles and I was curious to see what the boys weigh because the last couple of months I can't seem to fill those little bellies. If you remember just three months ago at their 5 year check up all three boys weighed exactly the same 33.1 lbs. Assuming the display scale was accurate, Caleb weighs a whopping 37.1 lbs (can you believe he gained 4 lbs in three months!), Thomas is 36.5 lbs (so he gained a lot too, almost 3.5 lbs), and Eli is 34.9 lbs (he gained of almost 2 lbs). This is pretty impressive considering the boys only gained about 2-4 lbs from age 4 to 5 (C&T 2 lbs and E 4 lbs), oh what 3 months can do!

As I mentioned before the boys have been bottomless pits lately (not something I'm used to at all!). So in an effort to curb their hunger I stocked up on yogurt and string cheese. I figured the protein would help keep them full for longer. Well something bizarre happened that has made me change my game plan when it comes to satisfying their hunger. At one point I noticed that Eli's arm pits smelled really bad. It was just as bad as any man's arm pits if he doesn't wear deodorant! It freaked me out a bit as you can imagine so I "googled" it and come to find out this happens a lot to children that consume a lot of dairy! It's because of all the growth hormones that are given to cows to produce more milk than what's normal. These hormones apparently are similar enough to the hormones we produce naturally when we go into puberty, scary right! And in all the cases I read about, the solution was simply switching to organic dairy products. 

I immediately made the boys avoid any dairy for a couple of days and sure enough the smell went right away! The next time I went grocery shopping I did a price check on organic cheese, milk and yogurt. It is quite a bit more expensive and I'm not sure we can switch over to organic dairy completely. I'm not one to believe that children or adults for that matter, "need" to consume dairy. There are many other things that are just as nutritious that we can consume. Dairy is just so convenient because it seems to satisfy their hunger for much longer (not to mention it's delicious, sigh!). So with that in mind I've switched to boys over to organic rice milk which is what I've been drinking for years (organic milk is about $6/gal vs organic rice milk is about $3.67/gal so a big savings, yay!). I will buy them organic yogurt to have a couple times a week and not everyday like they have been eating. As for cheese I think we'll just eat it in moderation like in sandwiches, pizza or an occasional snack. Although I did see some organic cheese at Costco that wasn't terribly expensive so I may switch as soon as our current cheese stock runs out. 

My last few times at the grocery store I've bought nuts, dried fruit, and more than the usual amount of fruits and veggies to help keep these guys full. They have gone over well and it's relieving to know that we don't have to rely so much on dairy. It's crazy to think something like this can happen. You really do have to be careful what you eat these days! It's just too bad going 100% organic isn't a choice everybody can have. If we had unlimited resources we certainly would!