First Day of School 2016-17

All three kids have been enjoying getting into the school routine. I am very fortunate that all three really enjoy school!

Parker, our extrovert has really loved getting to see his buddies again. He loves his teacher, and he has been able to reconnect with his friends from last year on the playground, and he has a few kids he knows from his Kindergarten class. We are also lucky to have quite a few great kids in our neighborhood that he enjoys playing with.

Parker was a great big brother to Mason at school, showing him the ropes and walking Mason to class.  Parker enjoys math, science, and has started reading the Magic Tree House series to us at home. He’s also very active and has enjoyed soccer, running, and playing in the woods when he gets home from school. Homework has been MUCH better this year. He enjoys most of it, and quite a bit of it he does on his iPad. Times have changed!

Mason loves school, but had a bit of a hard time transitioning into Kindergarten. I get it, it’s a big leap from preschool! He’s also more sensitive to change and unfamiliar environments. He’s a bit of an extrovert as well, but definitely has to warm up to you first or it has to be on his terms. He loved that he already knew his teacher- which was the same teacher that Parker had last year. He sits with Parker on the bus, which has helped ease his fears quite a bit. Mason does very well in school. He’s a great listener and he follows directions very well. He’s really been enjoying all things creative lately. At home, he’s been doing quite a bit of painting, crafting with paper and popsicle sticks,  you name it! Of course he still loves legos, but it’s been fun to see him use his creativity in other ways, too.

Sienna’s preschool started a few weeks after Parker and Mason’s school. She is just going 2 days, but man… she sure wishes it was more. Almost daily she asks if its a school day. So, all that to say, she pretty much loves school. Every bit of it! She’s our super social extrovert that really gets her energy by interacting with other people. She is still learning her letters and numbers. She knows her colors and shapes. Quite honestly, she could care less about all of the “school” things she should learn. She’s there to see how many people she can interact with and play with. That has been her main focus right now.  I’m okay with that. The learning of her letters and numbers will come later, I’m sure of it. I’m just thankful for her positive and encouraging attitude towards life and I’ve loved having time with her the days she’s not in school.

Mason Can Ride a Bike!

It happened so fast! Dan and I had tried to get Mason pumped up about taking off his training wheels ever since his fifth birthday in March. We finally took the plunge, but then he resisted practicing and just wanted the training wheels put back on.

One day, Mason came home and said that they were having bike day at school and you can bring your bike in to ride around with your classmates. I said to Mason “Wouldn’t it be so neat if you could ride your bike without training wheels before bike day at school?” He shrugged, and then decided he wanted to give it a try. We tried in the driveway a few times, but nothing much came of it.
I knew if he could just practice balancing then he would be a little more confident. So, that evening I searched on youtube how to teach a kid to ride a bike. I came across a video that suggested removing the pedals. So, I thought I’d give it a try. Dan took them off one weekend and he practiced just taking big long steps on his bike downhill… just to practice balancing. Then Dan left for a business trip, and I asked if he was comfortable putting the pedals back on, and he said he was, and so we did. I wasn’t prepared at all for what happened next, and neither was he. We went down to the cul-de-sac and he almost immediately started pedaling! He surprised himself after three revolutions, and stopped and just turned to look at me shocked. I told him not to move a muscle and I ran back home and grabbed my phone to video it! He did it! I was so proud!!


Pre-K Graduation, and Fun in the Sun Field Day

What a fun busy school year it has been! This was the first time that we’ve had all three kids in school at the same time and it has had its challenges for sure.  Just keeping all of their schedules and events in order has taken some organzational trial and error, but fortunately I haven’t dropped the ball on anything major this year, which is good!

Mason…. my sweet Mason graduated Pre-K, and is ready for Kindergarten in the fall. Well, I don’t know that I’d say he was fully ready. On the way to school on the last day I said, “Mason, it’s your last day of PRESCHOOL, can you believe it?”  and then he responds and says “Mom, will you be able to come with me to school, because I’m a little nervous about Kindergarten”. For realz… cue tears!  I went on to tell him that I would join him for an orientation, but then he was lucky because he has a big brother that can show him around the school.  I think that made him feel a bit better, but we’ll see once August creeps around the corner.  He’s done such a great job in PreK, and the teacher has had nothing but wonderful things to say about him during his parent-teacher conference.  He also became the Star Student last month, and we were super proud of him!IMG_0619

mason graduation

He had a really sweet graduation ceremony and end of year program. Of course, I was super emotional. My last sweet boy is leaving preschool!  I’m going to certainly be a mess when Sienna leaves since we’ll be leaving the school for good. Aaaah!  Graduation night Mason and Sienna both had sweet little singing performances with their class, and of course, Mason walked for his graduation. We enjoyed watching them and enjoying ice cream as a celebration after!

 

Mason and Sienna had their last day of school this week, and they were a lot of fun! They had a great time playing, loving on animals, celebrating with their classmates, and saying their goodbyes.

We closed out the 2015/16 Preschool school year with a bang! We’ve loved all the teachers and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience for Seinna’s first time in preschool! Mason has really enjoyed his teachers and has thrived this  year, and that makes me so proud. Another great Preschool year at Parkway!

Mason turns Five!

We had such a great time celebrating our sweet boy! We had his party at a fun indoor trampoline park called Get Air. He and some of his best buddies; Allie S., Allie C., Alex, Kai, Noah and of corse Mason and Sienna enjoyed jumping and celebrating! He told me it was the best birthday party ever, which makes me feel like we’ve done a great job. Not just with selecting the party location, but with raising a kid who is appreciative and thankful to be celebrated.  He asked for a specific Lego City set that was an arctic mining station. He really enjoyed building it with the help of his brother, and has loved playing with it! We also got him some digging supplies since he’s such an outdoorsman and loves any reason to dig and explore in the woods!

 

 

My sweet Mason

 

This new year is moving on well. We’re full force into February, and March is lurking around the corner with Mason’s birthday coming up. Mason will be five soon.  Life just keeps moving on. I can’t complain at all, but it’s hard to believe that he’ll  be a half of a decade old!  Yes, hard to believe for sure, but my baby boy is growing up so fast. I began pre-registration for Kindergarten for him last week, and he has become such a smart kid. I just can’t wait to see what the future holds for him!

I have a few things that I see in him that makes me really excited about his future.  First of all, he’s very self motivated and quite a bit of an independent thinker.  For example, our afternoons go something like this: Mason, Sienna and I get home from preschool, we eat lunch, we admittedly watch a bit of TV, and then Sienna typically takes a nap, although there are days that I let her stay up now that she’s getting older, and then that’s when I see Mason work his magic.  When I move on to catching up on chores, cleaning up lunch, and sometimes, taking a rest myself, Mason takes it upon himself to make his own little lego creations. These things are fantastic creations too. They have special features, and Mason uses adult words like hydraulics, and combustion engines, not really knowing what they really mean, but knowing they sound official.  He’ll also add things like “special blasters” to up the cool factor, of course.

Another thing that intrigues me about Mason is that he, unlike the rest of the members of the family, doesn’t really care as much for technology or screen time.  He’s not one to watch a long show, or sit on his iPad. We typically have to beg and plead on movie night for him to sit with us to watch the whole thing.  He gets bored easily watching a screen, and wants to be building, creating, letting his mind go wild to see what he can do to make pile of bricks turn into something impressive.  One thing he has use his iPad for is inspiration.  He’ll occasionally go to YouTube Kids and use the voice command to watch short clips of lego demonstration videos.  I catch him hitting pause so he can try and mimic what he’s watched with his legos.  All of this has been self directed. Another time, he found an old lego instruction book and built the entire car back, but with different colorful pieces. It took him almost an entire day to find all the pieces from a huge bin of legos that he painstakingly and carefully sifted through to located the correct size the instructions asked for. Again, an idea he came up with.

He is so bright and gifted in so many ways. It’s really been a joy to see how he’s grown. I’ve been reminding myself of these things, and trying my best to be intentional about compliments.  Of course, all kids need praise, but I feel like with Mason’s sensitive personality, he really needs us to do it often.  I’m starting to think it is his love language.  We have to be intentional about giving him the kind of attention that entails positive praise and not the negative attention that he sometimes asks for when he acts out.

In school, we’ve only gotten great reports back from his teachers, but in all honesty, at home Dan and I often struggle parenting Mason when he gets frustrated and angry over what we would see as very trivial things.  He can be sensitive at times or just plain moody.  If he doesn’t keep his moodiness in check, it escalates to full on anger rage in no time.  This is something that we have been working with him on.  As he grows and matures we are hoping that we can guide him in a way that he learns positive ways to cope with big feelings.

With all that being said, because he feels so deeply, he also loves very deeply. It’s not hard to tell that Mason really enjoys feeling secure, affirmed, and enjoys giving hugs and kisses. He’s such a sweet boy and can be very affectionate. When it comes to him making sure we know that he loves us, he does a great job.  This makes me feel like we’re doing something right in that area.

Mason tried  baseball for the first time in the fall. He said he wanted to try it, and he did okay, but he’s still learning.  He’s also learning to keep a positive attitude even when he’s not very good at something. It’s all just a trial and error as far as sports go at this age.  I don’t want to be that parent that forces our kids into doing things that they don’t want to do.  My only request is that they stay active. I think this is an important part of being a healthy kid!  This year we’ve decided to try him in swim lessons.  He’s had lessons before, but now that he can swim, it’s more working on breaths and technique. He’s been taking classes every Friday.  He’s cried a couple of times (because it’s hard work, and he misses his Mommy…, I know he’s almost FIVE, but he wears his feelings) However, he’s been doing incredibly well at swimming. He’s become super confident and I am beyond proud of his determination!

One thing I have learned as a parent is to be careful of labels. I try not to label Mason as the “sensitive one” or my “builder” of the family. He is multifaceted and still learning, growing, and changing. All we can do as parents is love and encourage him as much as we can, help him to realize his gifts and talents, and help equip him with the tools he needs to be the best he can be. I’m along this journey of mothering him, not making him fit into a predetermined mold.

All the while he’s teaching me, all of my kids are, teaching me the best way they can relate to others, and feel loved and accepted. My kids have been some of my best teachers, and I continue to learn from them!

Preschool is in Session

Mason and Sienna started preschool a few weeks ago.  This is Mason’s last year of preschool before big kid school next year! This is Sienna’s first year, and she has really enjoyed going to school, making new friends and getting lots of attention from her sweet teachers.  It’s been nice having a few hours to myself a few times a week for the first time in many years!  So far, I have been volunteering some at Parker’s school a few days a month and running a few Thursdays with a friend, so that has been great to be kid-free for.

We have enjoyed the preschool quite a bit, but the only challenge has been that it’s (I feel) not ideal for families that have multiple children attending.  They have staggered pick-up times, and that has been an adjustment having it be a 10-15 minute process each time I pick up both kids, but hopefully as everyone gets into the groove of school, it’ll get easier.  We love the teachers so far and the kids, above all, are happy and love telling me about their day.  We are thankful for that, and looking forward to a great school year for these two {Super-cute} Preschoolers!


Schools Out!

We had a great time celebrating Parker graduating Pre-k and Mason finishing up his 3 year old class. This year has been a bit more demanding with all the activities, class requirements, request for volunteering, etc. We are so excited about diving into the summer and all it’s glory! Here’s some sweet pictures from the end-of year program that Parker and Mason were apart of at Parkway. It’s hard to believe that Parker is a preschool graduate and won’t be joining his brother next year for preschool and that Sienna will be going to school two days in two year old preschool! The days are long, but the years are short for sure! I’m doing all I can to savor these precious years before they’re off to school all day long and get embarrassed by me calling out their name and giving them big kisses!

 

Daniel Parker Christiansen- Preschool Graduate 2015

Spring Photos!

I’m still learning about photography, and one of my favorite subjects to practice on is my three sweet kiddos! Here are some recent photos that I took with my Cannon 70D 28mm lens. I had the F stop at about 2.2. The F stop goes to 1.8 but I seem to get a lot of motion blur if I’m not focused enough and when I’m dealing with wiggly kiddos! My ISO is set low at about 100. I’m still learning about shutter speed, so I’m not exactly sure what that was set on. I’ve recently been “practicing” with Manual although I’m more comforable in AV mode simply because I feel I don’t know enough about shutter speed to know what I want to set it at in relation to lighting.

Nevertheless, I had a great time capturing my sweet three in their Easter attire a few days before Easter!

Parker, 5
Mason, 4
Sienna, 2

Mason’s Lego Birthday

Blogging has taken a back seat lately but I can’t forget to blog about an important milestone- Mason’s Fourth Birthday on March 11th!

Here are a few things about four year old Mason!

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1. What is your favorite thing to eat and drink?  Pineapple and Pepperoni Pizza, orange juice and water

2. What is your favorite toy and super hero? Legos, Superman and Batman

3. What is your favorite show? Matchbox Big Rig Buddies show and Leapfrog DVDs from the Library (Mason is NOT a big fan of TV or movies…it’s the weirdest thing)

4. What is your favorite thing to play with outside? The kiddie pool and the water table

5. Who is your best buddy? Gatlin (from his preschool class) and Parker and Sienna

6.  What is your favorite thing to do in school?  Play with lincoln logs

7. What is your favorite color? Red

8. What is your favorite sport? Basketball and Karate (He’s yet to play any team sports)

9. What do you want to be when you grow up? A swamp driver.  I want to take my teacher to a swamp with NO crocodiles… (ooooh kaaaay)

10. How many kids do you want to have one day?  Three kids

11. What’s your favorite thing you like to do with Mommy and Daddy? Build a HUGE HUGE lego city!

12.Where is your favorite place to go have fun? Catch Air and Cogburn Park

13. What is your favorite Music?  I love Jack Johnson and Laurie Berkner band

To say that Mason is obsessed with Legos is an understatement. The kid lives and breathes legos! He also still likes big trucks, and leapfrog (his stuffed animal he sleeps with and the educational video) but Legos take the cake for the most played with!

We really wanted to do a party at Lego Land, but it was just rediculously expensive and it had a minimum of 10 kids that had to attend that had to be paid for in full in order to fulfill the reservation.  So instead, we decided to take him to make a family trip out of Legoland and the do a small lego themed party at home.

Everyone had a great time at Legoland and there were lots of activities for everyone!  The kids loved the rides, the legos building opportunities, the 3D movie, the huge play area, the huge lego city that included a miniature version of major landmarks in and throughout Atlanta. It was so fun!

Even though Mason is very outgoing, and one of the most talkative of our kids, he also is pretty sensitive, and can get overwhelmed with a big crowd. So, we tried to keep the friends to a minimum so that he could enjoy just having a good time instead of feeling overwhelmed.

I had two lego building areas where the kids could let their imaginations run wild.  The kids had a great time with building and showing their new masterpieces to their buddies.  Then we went upstairs for a few organized activities.  Mason also loves music, so we decided to incorporate his favorite songs “Shaky Egg” (with lego filled Eggs) to sing and dance to.  Then we played the song “We Are the Dinosaurs” as we grouped them into two teams and they stomped around holding small spoons of legos to carefully dump into the bins.  The kids seemed to really have a nice time!

We looked high and low for a reasonable Lego cake, and opted to do a “Curious George” cake, minus the Curious George toy since the colors were very lego, and we added our own legos on top!  Mason loved it!

We had a really nice time celebrating with family and friends! Another year older, and another reason to celebrate!

Placemat Learning

We bought some placemats from Amazon for the kids called painless learning and they’ve worked out so great! It has given them something to do while waiting for their food and everyone is learnings! Sienna still needs more teaching and direction, but she’ll get there! Parker has learned several more site words since this video was taken and he has really enjoyed sounding them out. Once he gets all the site words well, I add a few new ones for him to practice. I try to have him understand the phonics involved instead of him just memorizing the word itself. Mason has really enjoyed learning the states, and he too knows more (mostly western) states now. It’s worked out great in our family and I certainly recommend them! They have quite a few on amazon; Counting, anatomy, science, astronomy, ect. So fun!