Tuesday, March 29, 2011

See Mommy Run

I think most of my Mommy friends would agree that along with motherhood comes the sacrifice of putting a lot of your own interests and hobbies on hold. So little time and so much to get done - much of which is a little mundane yet certainly necessary.

Fortunately, one thing I've managed to grasp tightly is my love for running. Long before I got married and started a family, running became an outlet for me that simply can not be replaced, and I'm thankful I have a husband who understands my need to pursue this passion. I accomplished my goal of running a full marathon just before getting married, which was so fun and rewarding that I immediately began training for the next. While my marathon days are probably long gone - the time and dedication required is not all that compatible with mothering young children - I still enjoy some shorter races from time to time.

Last week, I ran the Georgia Half Marathon, and was happy that my family was able to cheer me on from the sidelines. Yes, it would have been easier for Eric to hunker down at home instead, but it dawned on me that I really did want them to share in the experience with me, even if it meant waking up at 5:30 am to pile in the car and head downtown. Sophie and Jack are all too familiar with my running/exercise routine, and I thought it would be nice for them to gain a little more perspective on something that has been and will remain such an important piece of who I am, aside from all of the other aspects that shape my identity as their mother.

After a quick send-off in my starting corral, Eric smartly piled them into our double stroller (that they had not laid eyes on in years) in order to more easily navigate the crowd of spectators and head to the start line. They loved the stroller so much that they even asked to play with it in the driveway for the next several days, taking turns pushing each other. Funny that neither one of them would ever sit still in the stroller as babies and toddlers!

After a quick cheer at mile 9, they even got to enjoy a Krispy Kreme donut on the way back to meet me at the finish line, so all in all I think they had a good time!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Soccer Mom

I think I can officially call myself a Soccer Mom. Both Sophie and Jack took an interest in playing soccer this spring, which I'm quickly learning is no small time commitment. I think it's a great sport, and am happy they both enjoy being active, but with a practice for each of them on separate weekday evenings and a game for each on Friday night or Saturday mornings, it's a lot. Thank goodness Eric is helping with Jack's team again, which will sometimes get me and Sophie off the hook from having to always be at Jack's practices. With a couple of other after school activities going on mid-week, down-time is hard to come by right now, but I also see the importance of allowing them to figure out the types of activities they enjoy the most and will eventually pursue wholeheartedly.

Yesterday was the first game of the season and picture day for both of them, and due to the crazy timing of it all, we were hunkered down at the field for over 4 1/2 hours. Thankfully, it was a beautiful day and great to be outside and enjoy a picnic lunch between games, but we were all a bit tuckered out by the end of it. One thing is for sure - we should all be sleeping well for the next 10 weeks!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Writing, and an Ode to Jack

A continuation of sorts from the last post...

Reading and writing tend to go hand in hand, so in addition to her love of reading, Sophie likes to write, too. From the time she had just learned her letters, she loved to sit at the table and write notes, which was sometimes a painful activity for me as she would ask me how to spell each and every word. This is actually Jack's deal as of late. It took about 10 minutes to tell him how to write the word "grape" this morning. Who has this kind of time??

This year, for Valentine's day, Sophie decided to hand-write all 48 valentines to the 2 classes she was exchanging cards with. This was no easy feat, and it took up until the very last minute to finish them. But I loved the sentiment of it all.

She's moved past asking me how to spell words and prefers to do it on her own. I find it interesting to see how she writes certain words phonetically, which gives me a glimpse of how she sees certain words in her mind. Here's a menu she wrote for an impromptu family Superbowl Party we had. See what I mean about phonetic spelling?!

I have always been a good speller, so it's somewhat instinctive for me to read her writing and want to make corrections. But, her teacher reminded me that this phonetic spelling is totally normal and all part of the process, so rather than correcting all the misspelled words, it's better to allow her to focus on content, or even punctuation and capitalization.

Two days ago, I got a note from Mrs. Butler that she had submitted one of Sophie's writing samples to the school writing fair, and she had won for Kindergarten. She needed my permission to let her continue on to a statewide contest, which we are of course very excited about. The topic she had written about was Harriet Tubman, and I love the illustration she drew along with it.

But what's really hilarious to me, is the writing sample that was tucked behind this one in her folder. It was written during a free writing period during a week when Sophie was particularly struggling with the dynamics of having a younger sibling, so she decided to write about her yakety-yak brother named Jack. The picture truly depicts the exchanges the two of them have on a daily basis. And she's right - he really is a yakkety-yak! But he's sweet, and funny and he ADORES her. We love him, and I know she does too!

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Warning...this post is a bit of a brag, but I am beaming with pride as I watch Sophie thrive as a kindergartner, and just had to share this little tidbit.

Sophie continues to love to read. She has been tearing through chapter books for months now at a rapid pace, and has especially loves the Ivy and Bean, Magic Tree House and Junie B. Jones series.

If there's a down side to all this, it's that she prefers to read to herself "in her own head" as she puts it. Which means the time we spend cuddling on the bed with a good book has been somewhat limited these past few months. However, she's starting to embrace the idea of being read to at night again, and we've selected a book that will be reserved solely for that purpose. Presently, we're reading The BFG by Roald Dahl.

I've been volunteering in Sophie's classroom each week to help with a program called Accelerated Reader (AR). I get to take a group of students to the library, read a story and then help them log into computers to take a short reading comprehension quiz. I've loved this experience as it allows me to participate in Sophie's education, and also provides an opportunity to get to know some of her classmates better.

Here's where the brag comes in. The other day, her teacher informed me that Sophie's name had been announced to the school over the PA system during morning announcements as the Kindergarten student who had read the most AR books during the grading quarter. Her prize was a gift certificate to a local used book store for a new used chapter book. Given her love of reading, it didn't really come as a surprise to me. It was just nice to see her be recognized for something she excels at and enjoys so much.

These pictures below are from a recent trip to Barnes and Noble with Grammy and Grandpa Nick. They gave her a gift card for her birthday and took her to pick out a few books of her choice. My mom was a little surprised when one of the books Sophie selected was about the life of Harriet Tubman. Turns out they had been studying her in school and Sophie wanted to dig in deeper and learn more. So she just sat right down in the stacks and started to read. I have a hunch that B&N will soon be a favorite destination, especially since they have a Starbucks downstairs!