Monday, May 16, 2016

That's a Wrap: End of Preschool (Year One)

Because of her late August birthday, Macey is currently wrapping up her first year of preschool at the same age Camden was when he started his (3 years, 9 months). While we're still undecided about whether or not we'll "redshirt" Macey for kindergarten, I'm so glad we went ahead and sent her to preschool this year. She's had a great year and made some sweet new friends.
Also, although I don't love driving 20+ minutes to preschool, I'm still completely confident with our decision to switch her to Camden's old school back in November. Our neighborhood preschool was so, so convenient-- think: a 3 minute drive-- but some things are worth a little inconvenience (and a little more expense). This is one of those things. Macey has blossomed in this hands-on, play-based preschool environment.
Here's a little glimpse into Macey at 3 years, 9 months old. All answers are direct quotes from Macey.

Favorite color: "Pink"
Best friend: "Big Lainey, little Lauren, and Nan" (9-year-old neighbor friend, 4-year-old baseball friend, and of course, her grandmother.)
Favorite sport: "Soccer ball" (I keep trying to explain to them that it's actually just called soccer, but so far, both Camden and Macey refer to it as 'soccer ball'.)
Favorite food: "I like white donuts, chocolate donuts, and glazed donuts." (So basically, health food.)
Favorite thing to play: "My toy Elsa and my toy Anna."
Favorite thing to do with Daddy: "Play baseball with him."
Favorite thing to do with Mommy: "Play some important stuff." (We play some really important stuff, for sure.)
Favorite thing to do with Camden: "Watch him play Punch Out on the WiiU".
Favorite place to go: "Rainbow Room". (An indoor playground.)
Favorite trip: "A hotel where there's pools."
Favorite thing to do at school: "I like to be in the kitchen 'cause the kitchen has a pretend phone you can call your mom on." (Seriously, awww...)
What do you want to be when you grow up? "A princess." (Duh.)
Ready for a fun-filled day at school.

Sibling love.

I say it all of the time, but it's true: she's the happiest girl I know.
Macey takes time to smell the flowers-- pretty much a metaphor for the way she lives life.
With one of her aforementioned BFFs.

A tad proud of her first gymnastics trophy. 

Make no mistake: she can hold her own with the big boys.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Happiness is... {March 22}

Happiness is.... a train ride on a warm day.
Happiness is...that moment right before you enter the dark tunnel and the engineer instructs everyone to scream.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Happiness, March 15

Happiness is....
Flying a homemade (okay, school-made) kite on an 80-degree March day exactly one half-day before spring break begins.



Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The preschool switch

When I started thinking about preschools for Macey last year, I was mostly concerned with how I was going to handle the logistics of getting her to preschool and Camden to kindergarten. I had already nixed Camden's preschool (which we adored) off the list of contenders for Macey because of their location-- which is in the opposite direction of Camden's kindergarten. And so the search for convenient schools led me to a small preschool literally 3 minutes from our neighborhood. The commute was like a dream come true, so I hoped the school would be a perfect fit for Macey.
My hesitations started early on. When I toured the school with a friend, we commented to each other that the classrooms were pretty sparse; they were dark (no windows) and had very few toys. This was in stark contrast to Camden's old preschool, which was bright and happy and overflowing with toys.  But, I decided to give it a shot anyway, because that kind of convenience commute-wise is hard to come by.
Unfortunately, my reservations only grew as the school year began. Macey came home with a lot of worksheets, which she had just scribbled on because hello-- she's three. There were other things I wasn't thrilled about-- the fact that they rarely went outside to the playground, that the teachers were forbidden to help the kids in the bathroom-- but there wasn't anything awful. In fact, the teachers were very pleasant and Macey quickly made friends with a couple of little girls in the class.
Then one afternoon, I came to pick her up from school and was immediately told that she needed to learn how to get her shoes off and on by herself. As it turns out, there was a bounce house at recess that day, and the kids were not allowed to get in unless they could take their shoes off without assistance. Macey struggled with hers and got upset when she wasn't offered help. Keep in mind that, with her late August birthday, she is the youngest child in her class (the cut-off date in NC is August 31, one day after Macey's birthday). So, as I later told the director, while I totally understand and support teaching children independence and self-sufficiency, it must be done within reason. That was the day I knew I was done.
These days, Macey is attending Camden's old preschool. How'd I swing what I once thought was logistically impossible? Thankfully, my friend drives Camden to school every day, which frees up my mornings to drive Macey in the opposite direction to preschool.  I am so thankful it's worked out the way it has.
The day Macey and I set foot back in Camden's old preschool, it felt like coming home. We were welcomed so warmly, and Macey loves everything about preschool now. She's learning through play (side note: this school has a rule that no worksheets are allowed in the 3-year-old classroom because-- surprise, surprise-- they're not developmentally appropriate). Her teachers (Camden's former teachers) are two of the most genuine, amazing women I've ever met; they love their job and it shows in the way they interact with the kids.
While I initially agonized over making this change (and cried, and agonized some more), I have no doubt that it was absolutely the right decision for Macey. And I learned some valuable lessons along the way, too: don't choose a school solely based on convenience. Just don't. And that little voice in the back of your head trying to nudge you in a different direction? Stop ignoring her.

Macey's first day at her new school. She was so excited to have a tote bag like "bro" used to.

Coming home after her Thanksgiving party at school. I love the pure joy on her face. If I ever feel like questioning my decision again, all I have to do is look at this picture. 

The boy is six

I distinctly remember having the following conversation with my co-worker over lunch one day in my life BK (before kids):

Co-worker: So, you want to have kids, right?
Me: Yeah, I do. But the thing is, I like babies. I don't know if I can relate to older kids.

And then, along came my kids and I proved myself wrong. You see, I totally get that newborns are adorable. They're tiny squishes that make cute sounds and can curl up into the coziest little ball on your chest. But the newborn phase isn't my favorite, because, let's face it: it's also a little exhausting. Okay, a lot exhausting.

Toddlers are adorable little troublemakers who relish in the spotlight and laugh in the face of time-out. I like the toddler phase, as exasperating as it can be sometimes (or most of the time)

But you know what? I absolutely love the relationships I'm developing with my kids as they get older.

Last weekend, Camden turned six. No longer a baby, a toddler, or a preschooler; he's now a bonafide kid. He has his own opinions, thoughts, interests, and friends. He has an entire life outside of our little family now that he's in school all day, five days a week. And he's turning into a pretty amazing little guy.

I've known it since he was very young, but it's even more apparent as he gets older: Camden's a lot like me. He's the spitting image of his dad physically, but temperament-wise, he's all me. He's a listener more than a talker; he's observes before jumping in; he likes having a plan; and he's not a huge fan of change. But he makes friends easily, does well in school, and is kind-hearted. I'm so proud to call him my son.

Happy sixth birthday, Camden Miller. You are so loved.

Macey and I visited Camden's classroom the day before his birthday to bring in a special birthday snack. 

The following morning, on his actual birthday, Camden woke up with a sore throat and fever. After taking him to the doctor to make sure he didn't have strep, we decided to power through and let him go ahead with his party. He was a trooper.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Conversations with Macey

Macey was watching a commercial for a stuffed animal called "Puppy Surprise", where apparently, the mother dog gives birth to a litter of puppies. Macey looked at me, fascinated:

Macey: The doggies come out of their mommy?

Me: Yes. Just like you came out of your Mommy.

Macey: *Looking super confused* An animal came out of my Mommy?

Me: Not an animal. You. You used to live in my belly. So did bro. Then the doctor took you out.

Macey: *Smiling really big, like she suddenly understands* Oh! I am a puppy surprise!

Something like that, kid. Something like that.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Macey Starts Preschool

Dear Macey,

Today was your first day of preschool! You were so excited; you asked if you could bring your stuffed Olaf who sings to school with you. When I told you that you'd better save him for show and tell day, you happily agreed that he would just ride along in the car with you. Olaf sang to us the whole way to school and then you told him goodbye in the parking lot.

We ventured into your classroom where you were greeted by your teacher. You gave her a big hug and then headed in to find your chair. You sat down and started coloring right away.

In true Macey fashion, you did try to sneak away from your coloring to play with toys a couple of times, but allowed your teacher to direct you back to your seat with no problem. I predict you're going to be a leader in your classroom, even though you're the youngest.

When it was time for me to leave, I kissed you goodbye and you waved happily. I lingered outside your door for several minutes and every once in a while, you'd glance up and give me a big smile.

I'm so proud of you, Macey. I'm proud of the sweet, happy little girl you are. I love the way you approach life: with such enthusiasm and a carefree spirit. Now it's time for me to rush out the door and pick you up from school. I can't wait to give you the biggest hug ever!

I love you,