Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

We'll always remember this Halloween...the year with snow!!! We had quite the Nor'easter over the weekend with lots of rain, then snow, and wind. There was a lot of damage to trees around here and many power outages. We were very lucky that we didn't lose power. A lot of surrounding towns didn't even have school today. Again, so glad it wasn't us. We really don't want to start missing school so early in the season.

Gianna made this guy with her Daddy...

Pretty good for not all that much snow but it was very sticky which makes for the best snowmen!

Julia was a "sad dead bride"...her idea...

Notice the mascara tears??? My idea.


Nicholas was "Harry Potter".

He wanted to go trick or treating with his friends this year. Kind of sad for us but it's all part of growing up I guess. Danny and I still laugh about the Halloween when he was 3 or 4. He couldn't believe people were actually giving him candy!!! He was so excited that he kept falling down and spilling his candy at every single house he went too. It was hysterical!

And Gianna was a "goth witch". She added the "goth" part. She saw how much money we were spending on costumes this year that she actually said, "Mom. I'll save you some money and just wear Julia's costume from last year." She didn't want us to "go poor". So that's what she did! So thoughtful and cute!

Do you see who is checking out her costume in this picture?







The girls are going through and tasting all their candy as I'm writing this...

and are very happy with all their goodies!!!

But I think Nicholas hit the jackpot!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

A very special day

Today I surprised Julia with a trip to the American Girl doll store! I showed up at school this morning to have her dismissed. I knew she would be all nervous when they called her name for dismissal but I thought it would be fun to surprise her. She kept asking me what was going on. I told her she would know once she got in the car. (I had strapped her American Girl doll into Gianna's booster seat.) As soon as she saw her doll she was so excited!! She knew exactly where we were going! She told me she loved me, gave me a huge hug and started to cry! Of course that made me cry!

So this is the doll she wants for Christmas. Her name is Kanani. She is the doll of the year. Isn't she pretty?

When we walked into the store, there was a huge display for her...


I made a lunch reservation for us at their Bistro restaurant. It was so pretty!! Everything was pink!!! Our favorite color. They even had a chair for her doll (which was given to her by her Auntie Kerry)....

Of course she picked pink lemonade to drink. So yummy!









We both got yummy appetizers...


And typical Julia, she ate just a few bites and was full....but she did enjoy it!







Of course we had to order some dessert...



It was OH SO GOOD!!!



Then it was off to get her doll beautified!



She got her hair done and her ears pierced...



And Julia picked out these super cute glasses for her.

It was such a special day for both of us. It doesn't get any better for me than spending the day with my sweet little girl.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Full of love

Gianna brought these home from school the other day. I absolutely loved them and wanted to share...

"I love my Dad. My Dad makes us laugh. I love my Dad."

"I love my Mom. She is nice. She cuddles with me. I love her so much."

"I love my brother. My brother loves me too."

"I love my sister. My sister is really nice to me. Me and Julia laugh a lot."

"I love my cat KoKo. He is so cool. He is very soft. Me and Koko love each other so much."

"I love everyone. Everyone loves me so much. Me too."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Teaching a little one how to read

I've always been fascinated with how little ones learn how to read. I remember when Nicholas and Julia were in kindergarten, their teachers said by the end of the year they would be reading on their own. Well, that didn't quite happen with them. Nicholas couldn't read at all and Julia could read a little bit but not as well as I had hoped. So when Gianna was 3, I took matters into my own hands and decided to teach her myself. And guess what, success! By the time she was 4, she was reading on her own!!!

So here's how I did it. I started with the alphabet. I made it fun with flash cards and letter magnets. I wouldn't just stick them in her face and ask what the letter was. Instead, we played all kinds of games with them. For example, starting with the upper case letters first, I would lay the flash cards out on the floor in order from A-Z. Then I would have her close her eyes while I would take a few of them away. Then it was her turn to put them back in their correct places. We would also point to each letter while we sang the alphabet song. Then we moved on to the lower case letters. It may take a while for little ones to recognize all the letters. But if you make it a fun game, they will want to play along!

So once I knew she recognized all the upper and lower case letters and knew their order, then it was time for her to learn the sounds each letter made. A very important step! So I had her watch this video over and over again...



And she loved it! It's a super fun video with a very catchy tune. It makes it so fun and easy to learn (and gave me time to do my other mommy duties around the house)!


Next, it was time to learn some sight words. Forget sounding things out at this point. And forget sticking flash cards with words on them in front of their little faces. As I learned with my older two the hard way, that just gets them frustrated and bored. So here's what I did. I went out to my local library and picked up a few Dick and Jane books. I cannot begin to tell you how WONDERFUL these books are! The pictures are fun. The stories are fun. They use all simple sight words that repeat and repeat and repeat. Forget those ridiculous "Step into Reading" step 1 and step 2 books. I mean seriously. For example...I'm looking at one right now that is a princess Disney level 2 book. It's supposed to be "reading with help" for children in preschool and kindergarten. I'm sorry, but do most kids that age know how to read words like "leaps", "floating", "high", "prance", "whirls","royal" and "dreams"? I suppose not unless you are an official princess being raised in royalty. Those books are way too hard for little ones to read on their own. So stick with the old Dick & Jane series. They use simple, repetitive words like "up", "down", "play", "mother", "red", "funny", etc. It's the real deal.


Then we would settle down on the couch for story time. I would point to the words as I read along and Gianna would echo me. Slowly, as she started recognizing the little words like "and", "the", "me", etc., I would stop reading those words and she would read them on her own. It really built her confidence. After a while, I noticed she was learning more and more of the words. And because we had read that first book so many times, she actually started closing her eyes and reading the book. Yes, she had memorized it. So that's when it was time to pull out a new book to see how many words she had actually learned. I'm telling you...it was an amazing experience and it didn't really take all that long! Now she is in 1st grade and reading Junie B. Jones chapter books!! She can read all her instructions on her school work with no help. It makes life so much easier for her and us, that's for sure. It was definitely one of my life's biggest accomplishments.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Finally!

We've been waiting and waiting and waiting for this. It took a bribe actually. I told her that if she got her back bend, then I would buy her a Webkin. Well, now she gets her Webkin! Gianna's been doing gymnastics/acro for ages and she just flat out refused to do a back bend on her own. She is just so cautious about everything and afraid of getting hurt. Well, she just proved to herself that she CAN do things like this. I'm so proud of her!!! Next up...learning to ride her bike. Ugh. That one may take even longer.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sweet

Me: "Gianna, can I have a hug?"
Gianna: "Why? Are you all out of love?"

Sunday, October 09, 2011

This past week...

Nicholas has been mowing the lawn. I think it's fabulous! It's something he's always wanted to do. Now let's see how long it is before he starts complaining and saying he doesn't want to do it.



Gianna was watching the new movie "Spooky Buddies". She loves these movies. It's about a bunch of cute puppies and their different adventures. So she was watching it on her portable DVD player and had her little dogs lined up watching it with her. I thought it was so cute that I took this picture....

Well, she wasn't so happy about that. She's getting to the age that she's starting to get a little embarrassed about that kind of stuff. I promised her I would delete the picture. Well, sometimes Mom's have to go back on some promises. I just couldn't erase that kind of memory!


The other night I saw this...

They were watching Sponge Bob together...thus all the BIG smiles!

Today was a gloriously warm mid-October day. I can't believe how beautiful the weather has been! So we decided to head to Newport for the day. We went out for a yummy lunch and then on a harbor cruise. I'm not sure though how much the kids liked it. Julia felt a little queasy although it was really calm. You know how it goes with kids..."I'm hot!"...."I'm thirsty!"...."Is this almost over?". Ugh. Sometimes you leave the house with such high expectations of having a fun day together and then the reality is, it just doesn't always end up that way. We had a little man who decided to get a little fresh at the end of our trip and it really put a damper on the day. That little man didn't get an ice cream with the rest of us. (I will not reward bad behavior). And that same little man is now grounded for a while too. It bothers me to the core but hopefully it will pay off in the long run. Let's hope so anyway.







Like I said, it was a GLORIOUS day!





And funny how we sailed right past our house....



A girl can dream, can't she?

See our little man in action....



Friday, October 07, 2011

Salad?!?! You want SALAD???

See this little girl?



How many little girls, or boys, do you know that come home from school and ask to have a SALAD as their after school snack? I'm serious! My other two raid the cabinets for cookies, chips, granola bars, etc. But not Gianna. She looks in the fridge for salad and one day even begged me to heat up some left over steak! She loves healthy food. I just can't relate. I'm a carb queen and seriously would probably shrivel up and die if I didn't have some kind of sugar daily. And when Gianna wants something sweet she will specifically ask for something "unhealthy". She does love ice cream and chocolate chip cookies but I will bet you not more than healthy food. How can I be more like her???