20 September 2017

September Catch-up

There hasn't been a whole lot going on in our lives other than school school school! Besides the regular schedule, which is every day for Ashton 8:30 am - 2:56 pm at Lilja Elementary in Natick and MWF for Alex 9-11:45 am at Community Nursery School in Wayland, there's all the extras. For example, last week, Monday night was the soccer meeting and equipment pickup, Wednesday night was Curriculum Night where the teachers all made presentations to their classrooms and the principal gave an address, and then Friday night was the Kindergarten picnic. Plus, I am the chair of the book fair which is in October, so I have had meetings for that and I am really looking forward to it, but it is a huge fundraiser that is turning out to be more involved than I was expecting haha. We got invited to the first class birthday party and the field trip permission slips are starting to come home, and that's just Ashton's part of things! Btw we did a retake of his first day picture once I found the sign I had made:

And also here is Alex, ready to rock CNS on his first day a couple weeks later! I think it's the shark shirt - that one is a real confidence booster ;)

Right in the middle of all the school starting shenanigans, Papa and GG came to visit us! It was wonderful. The last time we were together was (gasp) four years ago and Alex didn't even exist! But that was then and this is now :)

Papa and GG, I loved having you here! (XOXOXOXOX!)

Right after that we cruised through Labor Day Weekend, which, you know what stinks when you're in Long Island and supposed to be at the beach or in the pool? Crappy weather. And that's what we had. The boys played some baseball, fished and swam anyway.

Four cannonballs: Jason, Ashton, Chris and Alex in the corner!

And we made it to Southwick's Zoo last weekend, the largest zoo in New England. I have to say I was impressed (with the zoo, not Jason's pictures, which are what follow ;) )



(Unidentified small mammal!)

We had a really great day there! The boys read books about rhinos, lions, tigers, giraffes, monkeys, zebras, etc. all day long and seeing those animals in real life is always so much fun for them. Grandma and Grandpa took them to the Riverhead aquarium over Labor Day weekend too and she said they were losing it over the sharks and sting rays :)

Lastly, the star of the summer: our garden. Freshly planted at the beginning of June:

By August:

And the tomatoes as I type this are even taller. Most of it has been cut back by now but the amount of summer squash, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, mini eggplants, herbs, and cucumbers that this little plot spit out...whoa. Jason did an AMAZING job taking care of it, I honestly did nothing, but do get to reap the rewards by making things that look like this.

I mean...
Tomato sauce doesn't get any fresher than that.

So that's where we're at. Summer's over, our new routine has begun...stay with me!

05 September 2017


Ok this is going to be really long. I have way too much to say about this giant milestone so here we go.

First of all, I could have been doing this post a year ago. Ashton was 5 by 8/31/16 and technically eligible for Kindergarten, but it took us about four seconds to decide to wait another year. I am SO glad we did, for so many reasons. One of the surprising results of Ashton sticking around? How close he and Alex have become. They have had a lot of adventures together this past year and truly, one of the central emotions I have felt about Ashton starting school is sadness for Alex! Alex will be in preschool just MWF from 9 - 11:45 am. Ashton on the other hand will be gone from 8:15 am - 3:15 pm (school is 8:30 am - 2:56 pm) MTWThF! That's.every.day. That's 35 hours a week. That's a full time job!

So, the prep for this new gig has been insane. Sometime last January, I said "Hey Natick Public Schools, I have a student for you next year!" and thus opened the floodgates of the most incredible amount of paperwork you have ever seen. Name, address, demographics, insurances, immunizations, emergency contacts, family history, what was the birth like? I had to present a giant packet, in person, with an appointment. That was first, in April. Followed by bus registration. Then over the summer we started getting weekly e-blasts, signing up for iPass, Virtual Backpack, and the school's Facebook group(s). The playdate schedule came out, I had to bring nametags to one of them. I volunteered to do the book fair with the PTA in October. What was Ashton's daily dismissal plan? Please fill out this form. Has Ashton had a lead test? Please fill out this form. In the event of Ashton needing an Epi-Pen administration, please fill out this form. You think you want to chaperone or be a room parent? Please fill out this form. Do you want to participate in BOKS (before school fitness program)? Yes? No? Regardless, make sure Ashton has a rest mat (tri-fold only), brings in a family picture on the first day, and has a backpack and a lunchbox. The soft kind. On Tuesdays the class has PE so wear sneakers. Oh, and everything needs to be labelled. It wouldn't hurt to label your labels. Your son will need a fresh haircut and of course we recommend getting him microchipped.

Kidding (about that last part). But it's been a LOT. I've lost sleep haha. Overall I'm so impressed with the school but whoa!

So here's the breakdown of the beginning of it all. Last Wednesday, August 30, was the first day for Ashton's group. Only half the class started (the second half went Thursday so Ashton had that day off) and the schedule ran from 9-1. Before school pictures:

We gathered in the lobby at Lilja, the K'ers lined up as their teachers called them and off they went down a lonnnng hall.

And that was it! I didn't even cry? Was I shell-shocked??

At 1 pm the parents came back for pickup and we got to see their classroom. Ashton's class with Ms. K is 19 kids and they are in one of the 6 new modulars at Lilja (and the only K class in there - the other 4 are in the main school). I know they've been really in a rush with the project so the rooms aren't completely done, but this is the quick glimpse I got.

By 1:30 pm it was time to go home and Ashton was fried. He was complaining about everything including the walk to the car and started to cry over a snack. Ms. K warned us that the first days of kindergarten are a lot on children and to expect complete and utter exhaustion. Ashton was the very definition. On the plus side, he was obsessed with the idea that he could buy lunch. It was all he talked about: that there were different things every day, that there was a menu, that you could take money and go to the cafeteria and buy it. And there was PIZZA. He put his lunch money together pretty much as soon as we got home Wednesday and carried it around until Friday, which was the first full official day: drop-off line, school bus home, pizza that you could buy, the whole bit. Jason Facetimed me on Friday so I could "be there" at drop off and when I heard Alex's voice call after him: "Bye Ah-ton! BYE!" that's when I finally cried.

Friday went really well I think, he described in full detail what it was like to buy lunch, how he put his name under "Pizza" on the classroom lunch list and then the lady gave him a HUGE piece of pizza, like the biggest piece he had ever had. "I asked her, I said um excuse me, could you please cut this? But it was TOO LATE, I had to keep pushing my tray down the metal thing and she didn't hear me." The other thing was, he was sooo excited to take the bus home but it was running super late, I was literally panicking because I had no idea where he was, so I called the school and they said he was still there (it was 3:40 pm! He was supposed to be dropped off by 3:10 pm!). So I went to get him and he saw me and was like "AW! You're not the bus!" and I explained that he was going to come with me just today and he was like "THIS IS THE WORST BUS DAY EVER". (Jason's planning to drop him off in the mornings because the ride is way too long, in my opinion: 35 minutes to go 1 mile! Such a long story.)

Anyway today is Tuesday and Ashton's second full day. Jason dropped him off this morning and I have been thinking about him constantly. I need to teach him to tie his shoes. I wonder if he ate his sandwich (we tried turkey today). Lunch is at 11 am and he doesn't get out until 2:56 pm - is he starving? Plus on Friday he got a little lost, I think because his classroom doesn't have a bathroom or a nearby water fountain so he was fretting last night that he was going to "lose his way" again. The school is big when you are six.

It's tough, this Kindergarten business. There's no one watching him or helping him. He's responsible for himself and the lump in my throat hasn't quite dissolved yet. 5 full days a week seems like way too much. But Ms. K created an Instagram account (please fill out this form) and there's been no shortage of letters and emails from the school all about the first few days. We'll settle in... Alex and preschool is next!

Happy Kindergarten Ashton!!

16 August 2017

Another birthday in the books...

The other day Ashton was watching me put on makeup.

"Why are you doing that?"
"So I look a little beautiful."
"Oh. So your face is shiny? So everyone thinks it's brand new?"
"Haha. Yes."

"Oh. But you're just joking right. It's not really new."

Welcome to SIX everybody! A place where Ashton pretty much knows the truth (aside from Santa/Tooth Fairy/etc.) and doesn't blindly buy in to whatever I tell him. Bribes are usually met with counter offers and he can see through a lot of my strategies. He like, knows things now! And if he doesn't, he is voracious for information and the questions are endless. Kindergarten is going to blow his mind.

This post is divided into sections and here we go.

Age Six, Part 1: Thursday August 3rd
This was Ashton's actual birthday. We did not do much and I had warned him repeatedly that there wouldn't be any gifts until his party on Sunday (mainly because I was still waiting for Amazon to deliver his presents but also, I wasn't sure what Jason's schedule would be so I wanted to keep expectations low). He was shockingly good about it. We went to the pool around 4:30 pm when I got home from work and Jason ended surprising us all there :) So after our swim we went home and had a birthday barbecue, cupcakes, and ran some backyard races. Ashton is actually fast and it surprised me that I had to put some effort into beating him lol. Here are some minimal pictures from August 3.

Age Six, Part 2: Sunday August 6
Ashton is obsessed with treasure and jewels. He has any number of small boxes that he collects things in - stray sequins he finds, buttons, pebbles, bolts, beads, tokens, anything. It did not take me long to decide to throw a pirate themed party for him. Mind you, it was nothing like last year. This one was super small and it was a drop-off! No parents meant no one to impress with decorations ;) We did it in the afternoon so there wasn't a huge food commitment AND I hired a Jack Sparrow lookalike to entertain the kids! (They haven't seen any of the movies but easily recognized that he was a pirate.) It turned out to be a winning combination and I was practically stress-free. I ordered some swords and eye patches, carved a ship out of a watermelon, hung some balloons, and organized a treasure hunt for their favors but that was about it and it was glorious. Captain Jack was worth his weight in gold (no pun intended! HAHA). Not only did he look just like Johnny Depp, he even had the same voice and accent. He gave some swashbuckling lessons, played Simon Pirate Says, taught them about the code on the high seas, and best of all, they sat down in a circle for a Pirate Q&A and the kids could ask him any question they wanted. "Can you breathe underwater?" "Can you swim faster than a shark?" "Do you have real eyes?" and of course, because they are boys, "Where do you poop on a pirate ship?" They just kept going, it was priceless. [Captain Jack overall made quite the impression - the next night my friend texted me that he was all her kids could talk about and one of them kept pondering over and over, saying "I can't tell if Captain Jack was a real pirate or just dressed up like one. He really seemed like one but why would a pirate be so nice to kids at a party?" LOL]

It was perfect and the boys had a ball. Ashton opened his gifts after everyone left and that was a wrap on turning 6!

 Age Six, Part 3: The Good Stuff

This is my favorite part :) Let's start with the stats.

Height: 48 inches/4 feet!
Weight: 50 pounds
Shoe Size: 13
Clothes size: Really depends on the brand, mostly 6 or 7
Teeth lost: 2 (both middle lowers)
Cavities: 1 (AHHHH!!! Apparently it's very common but we need to get it filled nonetheless)
Shots: None, but blood draw for lead
Allergies: Outgrown peanut and tree nuts, still egg and sesame and he has a hard time with dogs too

Currently obsessed with: sharks, dinosaurs and fishing

New skills: he passed the deep end test at the pool at Longfellow so he can go off the diving board now! He's also really good at remotes and maneuvering remote-controlled airplanes, helicopters, cars and trucks (all of which we, uh, have)

Favorite toys: You should see the Lego things he builds. They are amazingly creative. Both Ashton and Alex will sit for hours with a big bin of loose Legos and build, build, build. He also really loves the perler fuse beads and will spend a ton of time creating patterns with those.

Books: Any of the "Who would win" series (i.e. Killer Whale vs. Great White Shark, Lion vs. Tiger, Tarantula vs. Scorpion etc. - they outline the qualities of each, describe how they would fight and then declare a theoretical winner. They are actually educational hahaha)

As a brother: Ashton is so good. If they are running and Alex trips, Ashton doubles back to help him up. If they are both trying to climb something (the fence mainly) and Alex can't quite make it, Ashton will actually push him up from below before going up himself. Ashton helps Alex with puzzles and to open things and shows him how stuff works. They hold hands when they walk around sometimes and are completely BFFs for the most part. All they do is play, for hours.

Coming up: K with Ms. K! That's Kindergarten with Ms. Kuzinevich. Ashton is so ready. One of my favorite things about him is how he soaks up information. You can literally see on his face when he is learning something new. His expression brightens or something, it's hard to explain. But it's there. Like most other kids his age he is a sponge. I can't believe in 2 weeks I will be putting him on the bus to Kindergarten. But that's a whole other post.

Foods: any dry crunchy carb will do. He likes to eat cereal without milk, crackers, granola bars, chips, pretzels etc. He basically eats all day and usually is ok with whatever I serve for dinner. Except peas, he claims they make his tongue itch. Pretty sure that's a lie but it works because like I'm going to give him peas in light of the fact he has other food allergies! What if it's not a lie? Grrrr.

Speech: Not perfect. "W"'s are often used instead of r or l but his actual vocabulary is huge. Some of the adjectives seem to come out of nowhere but pronunciation isn't great. So he'll say (playing doctor): "Yep, your heartbeep [heartbeat] is fine - not cwacked or damaged or anything, total-wy fine."

Other funny -isms:

Watching Jason shave his beard: "Hm. I guess he doesn't need it anymore."

"I love Hershey's kisses!"
"So you mean you love CHOCOLATE!"
"MOM! I like to call it Hershey's kisses."

Me: "It's bedtime right? What time is it." (7:50 pm)
Ashton "Well, it's 10:45!"
"Oh really?"
"Yes it is. I get to make up my own numbers."

"Mommy do you know what a salami is?"
"I do. It's meat that you slice up and eat."
"Mommy, NO. A salami!"
"Well, yes...the kind you put on sandwiches? Right?"
"No it's not! It's a HUGE wave that is so tall it goes over peoples heads and it puts water everywhere even in towns and cities."
"I know, yes, a salami."

"You know, when something dies like a person or a cow or something, it means they lay down under the grass."

"Why are you mad mommy?"
"What? I'm not."
"Then why do you have a not fun face?"

I wish I wrote down more. But overall no amount of words could quite capture him. In general, Ashton is busy. He's always talking, building something, collecting something, or imagining something. He's inquisitive, kind, thoughtful and jumps when he's excited and/or waiting for something to happen (Alex has started to do this too by the way). He's just so enthusiastic, about everything, and I am incredibly proud of him. His TK teacher Mrs. Cooney told me at the end of the year, "If I had a classroom full of Ashtons, life would be a dream."

And so it is :) HAPPY 6th BIRTHDAY ASHTON! We love, love, love you. xoxox