Friday, September 24, 2010

Clare in Concert

Four lessons in, Clare is delighted to have learned the following classic:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

All About Danny, PreK Edition

As their initial homework assignment, Danny and his classmates were asked to first fill out a questionnaire about themselves, and then use that sheet to create a collage. The teacher was adamant that this was the student's project, thus they should do the majority of the work. As most of us know, this is really difficult to execute with a four-year-old (I know I'm not the only control freak out there). However, I did my best, and I think the result shows some nice teamwork between the two of us.

Above all, I was encouraged that Danny showed enthusiasm for the project and pride in his work. He was eager to show his poster to Wyatt yesterday during their playdate, and concerned this morning about whether or not I had remembered to put it in the car. His presentation skills leave a bit to be desired, as you'll see below (you'll need to turn up the volume to hear him decently). Then again, he's four. Good job, Dan-o!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

CKS Fun Run

Last Saturday was the annual CKS Fun Run. It was, indeed, fun, despite my being on the hook as co-chair of the event. However, I didn't really have any intention of blogging about it until I found this picture on the CKS website.

A few things strike me about this picture, aside from continued mortification that Danny selected navy socks for this athletic outing. And from how much taller than everyone else Clare appears! (She's fairly tall for her age, but this image is somewhat deceptive.) First of all, I love how relaxed and happy Clare looks. This is the girl who recently informed me that she'd never play soccer, "Because running's really not my thing." (Although she plans to tackle a half-marathon when she's my age.) Clare eagerly looked forward to the Fun Run for several days leading up to it, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't just for the pancake breakfast that followed. She was far from the fleetest of foot that day, but she proudly crossed the finish line and plans to run the event every year.

The picture also reminds me that Danny is rapidly approaching the age when he will actually be one of these CKS students. I spend a lot of time thinking about how much he has to learn this year in order to catch up to where Clare was when she started kindergarten. Then I immediately chastise myself for that thought process, because he is doing just fine right where he is, and also because I think I've forgotten how little Clare knew when she first began PreK.

Finally, this photo brings back memories of a surprisingly pleasant morning. It started early, which isn't always the preferred beginning to a Saturday, particularly for Tim. On the heels of a hectic week, though, it was great to spend some time as an entire family. It was especially nice to do so among a group of people that is quickly becoming more and more familiar, friendly, and family-like. Which, when it comes down to it, is a pretty good definition of "fun."

Friday, September 10, 2010

'Tigers Score, Then We ROAR!'

So Danny jubilantly informed me tonight, after the season opener of his fall soccer season. This year he is on the Tigers team, not to be confused with the fact that his PreK class is also named the Tigers. Consistency is a good thing, right?

At four, Danny's focus on soccer still meanders, but his general attitude toward it is positive. It always helps when buddies like Parker, Ethan and Sebe (not pictured) are on the same team. Tonight he started the game a tad lackluster, but when they traded fields at half-time and he was no longer up against the giant Amy dubbed "Hoss," a switch seemed to flip and he stayed much more engaged. He even scored a legitimate goal! He was clearly very pleased with himself for his performance, informing everyone from Clare to carpool friends after the game, "I played really good." Modesty is a separate lesson...

I was pleased to see that he genuinely delighted in his teammates' scores, unlike last year when it was more every man for himself. He also seemed more aware of the fact that the other team was scoring quite a bit, eventually spurring him to more action on the Tigers behalf. I guess this is what happens when you move from the U4 to the U6 league...or at least when you're not three anymore?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First Day of PreK

I've been eagerly awaiting this day, and this post, for approximately 25 days, or ever since Clare began school. That's a big gap in time between two kids starting school. However, as I often reflected to myself, this is the last year that will be the case. Next year, Danny will be in Kindergarten, at CKS with his big sister. Wow.

It's Danny's third year of preschool, but definitely the most momentous. PreK is serious business at his preschool, VCLC. This was the year that Clare, and all of her classmates, learned to read, write full sentences, take spelling tests. Yes. I never questioned that it was the right environment for Clare, who thrives on academics. I honestly have no idea how Danny will take to this setting, but I'm starting to think he'll do better than I might expect. He cheerfully announced to me today, and later tonight to Tim, "Ms. Kerlik makes learning fun!" What more can you ask??

Thursday, September 2, 2010

88 Keys to Happiness

When I was in second grade, I started taking piano lessons. I have no idea if it was my idea, though I suspect it was my mom's. We had a beautiful baby grand piano in our house, so it would have been a crime not to take lessons. It took me a few years before I found a teacher I liked, but eventually I became somewhat proficient over my eight years of instruction. I frustrated my teacher, who thought I had some real potential, but ultimately I prioritized my academic pursuits and dropped piano. Naturally, now it makes me sick.

I always knew I wanted Clare to try it out, especially since from a young age she showed a somewhat steady interest in the one at my parents' house and then the one my nieces use at theirs. But I wasn't quite sure how to go about it, particularly since we do not have a piano in our house. She solved the timing question for me, though, by requesting to take lessons. I liked the symmetry of her also being in second grade, so I tracked down a recommended teacher who is close, as well as a pretty cool digital piano from Costco. She was really excited about our acquiring a piano and the prospect of lessons, such that I only hope she maintains even a fraction of her enthusiasm.

So far, so good. As I write, she's practicing, having had her first lesson about an hour ago. She's such a diligent student that I think we have as much hope as anyone for her sticking with it. Of course, only time will tell, but I prefer to be optimistic!

For his part, Danny enjoyed helping me put the piano together. He is, not surprisingly, drawn to the pre-programmed buttons that play some rocking and raucous tunes. Oh boy...