Sunday, September 30, 2007

Happy Autumn

It seems to me that autumn always arrived earlier in New Hampshire. I'm sure part of that had to do with living on the water. Either way, I do get to enjoy it a bit longer in New York. Most of the trees here are still green though over the course of the past week or so they have started to yellow.

You may recall our trip to the orchard last year. The boys went a couple of weekends ago and I took Tom again yesterday. Football aside, there's nothing like cider, cider doughnuts, and fresh apple pie to welcome the season.

Oh, and speaking... err, writing... of football, my nephew is back at it again. If we lived closer I would go to all his home games (and maybe an away game or two), but for now I'll just have to remember this season with the one quick game we saw last weekend.

And now it's time for some pregame. Here's to autumn.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Learning What It's Like to Parent a Kindergartner

I think we are starting to get used to the new kindergarten routine. Thomas comes home every night with new papers to review and books to read. He completes his homework assignments once a week in addition to his readers. He has learned how to spell a couple of new words and does quite well sounding words out.

Tonight was Meet the Teachers night at school, and Tom's teacher reviewed his curriculum with a class full of parents. She said what used to be first grade curriculum is now kindergarten curriculum, and it does seem that way, but what do I remember? All I know is that, after his first day, his reflection on kindergarten was that it was a lot more "work" than preschool. Of course, by the end of Day Two he was extremely excited and thrilled to go to his new school, and we have been very thankful to be able to send him there, all the while.

Last weekend his homework was to draw a picture of our house and then present it to the class on Monday, and when he did he had to recite his address and phone number. Well, we have taught Tommy a lot about numbers. He already knows his math quite well for his age, I think (having mastered the skills that his teacher said they would "even" get to by the end of the year). He knows all his letters, and we help him learn to read. We have worked on our writing. The one thing that slipped through the cracks? Blame it on the fact that we thought we were going to move, or that we had/have three phone numbers all together (including the cell numbers), or just blame it on us forgetting or just turning into lazy lumps if you want, but while we taught him the town and state we live in, and we tried to remind him of our street name and number, we completely left out our phone number. So Sunday night we made up a little jingle, and Tommy had it down pat in no time. In the morning I asked him if he remembered, and without hesitation he rattled off his entire address and phone number as though he had known it forever. I was pleased and a bit relieved. Well, for whatever reason he forgot part of it when he had to present it to the class the next day. No big deal, right? After all, he had only learned his phone number the night before, and he was able to recite it to us that same night without difficulty. Well... that night after he went to bed he called in for us, and Brian went to see what was up. As it turned out, he was all upset that he couldn't remember his phone number! He said he couldn't sleep! Geez! The pressure at age 5. I didn't know whether to think it was cute, be proud that he wanted so badly to please us, or whether I felt unbearably guilty for having made too a big deal of remembering it that he couldn't sleep at night for fear that he might forget!!! Oh, how I love my little munchkin. (How long can I call him that?) Well, of course he had it all memorized the following day and has yet to forget a single piece of information since. I sure do hope he doesn't always put so much pressure on himself though... or this could be a rough ride!

Anyway, here's to Tommy and kindergarten!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Vacation - Part II

Soon I will update you all on the adventures of Tom's first week at kindergarten, but first, before the seasons change, I hope you'll allow me to indulge in a little photographic reflection on a beautiful August afternoon at the beach:

I don't think it gets much better than that.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Our Kindergartner

Above: Day 1 - After School
(We found out in the morning that our camera batteries needed to be charged... )

Below: Day 2 (Gym Day) - Ready for School

We're so proud!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Vacation - Part I

Here are some long overdue photos from our vacation a few weeks ago. I think this time around I might post one photo (or a few related) at a time to spread it out a bit. I like to think, that way, that each memory might be savored just a little at a time.

I snapped the above picture just as the sun was starting to set in Narragansett, Rhode Island. We had spent the afternoon at a beach in Galilee, wading in knee-deep waves and watching the boats speed by. As you'll soon see, Thomas really enjoyed his first time at the beach since he was too young to recall.

After some photos and a quick stop to wash our feet on the short walk back, we enjoyed a fresh seafood dinner at a local favorite and then stopped at a couple of beaches on the way home, simply to enjoy the view. We took a leisurely stroll along a long wooden walkway bordering the second beach and watched the waves roll in. The weather was beautifully clear but for a few pink clouds hovering low over the horizon.

With the exception of the whale watch in July it had been a long time since I had enjoyed a chance to pause and appreciate that familiar salty air and soothing sound of the tide rolling in. It reminded me of family trips to the ocean when I was growing up in New Hampshire. I always loved the rich grainy feeling of the wet sand washing away underneath my toes and how the tall yellow-green grass swayed effortlessly from atop the dunes. Walking along a rocky pier or gazing out at windswept clouds and soaring seagulls, who lived in it all every day, brought a sense of quiet peace I could only associate with the sea. The imprint in my mind today is so clear that I swear I can still smell it, still hear it, still feel the breeze on my legs.