Aiming Arrows

Musings of a Mommy

Category: Growing

First Day of School 2012

Another day to celebrate a beginning.  This time it’s the first day of first grade!

My confident first grader with a wee bit of nervousness sprinkled on top I think.



What’s he doing here?  Good question.  It had something to do with his way of making himself smile well for the picture.


Wow.  These two can pester each other, but oh, their love.



You may remember Graceanna’s reaction last year when we pulled away from the school leaving Gunnar to start kindergarten.

This year was a bit different.


I’m glad we didn’t have this:

Instead, we had this:


There was no jumping for joy.

There were questions about when we could go get Gunnar and if he would play with her.

So, it wasn’t like a party but it certainly wasn’t some horror film either.



First Day of Kindergarten

Gunnar’s First Day of Kindergarten

The day we have been anticipating finally arrived!

Surprisingly, our boy was not up and dressed at the crack of dawn.  We actually had to wake him up and coax him into action.

My sweethearts.

We arrived at school and Gunnar headed straight to his classroom.

He has 2 teachers this year plus an aide who has a fabulous reputation like the teachers.  Parents can’t tell us enough good things about this group of teachers.

The first thing the class did was sing a welcome song.

Then, each child was introduced, and given a name tag.  After we saw Gunnar get his name tag we headed out.

Graceanna felt like this.

I’m pretty sure she won the award for “most tears and loudest crying” on this first day of school.   She cried, “I want Gunnar” all the way out to the car and the whole way home.

I felt more like this.

Happily, in no time, it was time for us to go get Gunnar!  The back seat fighting commenced as usual which was a bit of a comfort to me seeing that some things stay the same.  I reminded Graceanna how much she missed Brother and also told him about her many tears.  This produced immediate reconciliation and hand holding….  A different kind of comfort for me.

Gunnar’s report of the day:

1 – We went to the outside playground!

2 – I played with a new friend.  I don’t know his name, but he sits at the red table (green was also reported).  He wears a watch!

3 – I sit at the orange table.  There’s only 1 other boy at my table.  He was not nice to me.  I told him to “stop.”

I found out several other things when I questioned him:

1 – They learned classroom rules.  The only one he could remember initially was “always obey the teacher.”  He remembered another one later, “never talk when someone else is talking.”

  2 –  I really wanted to know if  the snack we packed was similar to the other kid’s snacks.  It was.

3 – I also wanted to know if his water bottle was ok.  It was not.  He said he didn’t use it because he thought it was the wrong kind when the teacher described what they should have.

Ugh!  Thinking about my baby not having any water with his snack, left me feeling like this.

Gunnar said, “It’s ok Mommy.  I took a drink when I got my snack and when I put it away.  I just left my bottle in my backpack because I didn’t think I was supposed to have it.”

That’s my boy.


Not bothered by the little things.

Ready for an adventure.

Comfortable and confident.

He had a fantastic day and is so proud to be in kindergarten.  I’m sure I will have a great day tomorrow, but the emotion of today has just about worn me out.  Let’s hope Sister has a better outlook tomorrow too.

Oh.  And, it’s a guarantee that my boy will have the right kind of water bottle tomorrow.



I can barely handle the cuteness here!

Yes, she’s in the sink.  Yes, I give her a mini bath and fix her hair in the sink.  Yes, she’s 2 1/2 years old.  I have an explanation.  Really, I do.  Maybe I’ll share it someday.

For tonight though, I’m just sharing this cutie pie sassy pants who was super excited to be finished with hair time!

While enjoying these moments of delight with Graceanna I remembered some other images from a day that is truly long gone.

Oh my.  Gunnar-bear.

Your cuteness factor just about did me in too!

Yes, he is in the sink too, but he’s only 9 months, not 2 1/2 years!

Oh and this picture really reminds me that your personality and need to explore everything orally was seen as a mere babe!
(So thankful for these pics of Gunnar snapped by my friend Carmnen.)

She’s a Big Girl!

This is what Graceanna’s bed looked like this morning.
(Minus the bumper pads.  This picture was taken when she was much younger.)

This is what her bed looks like tonight.

For the last several months Graceanna has been wanting to “seep in Gunnah’s bed.”
Tonight, she didn’t quite get her wish, but close!

Tonight she’s sleeping in the other half of Gunnar’s bunk beds.

Tonight’s she’s sleeping on the other set of Gunnar’s car and truck sheets.
(Since her new sheets have not arrived.)

Tonight she’s sleeping in her own big girl bed.

As of this writing, she has not escaped once although she has hollered at Sadie to get off.  I guess Sadie likes the new big girl bed.  Too bad she’s been loudly uninvited.



New Braids

Yesterday I spent 4 hours putting new braids in Graceanna’s hair.  Wow.  It was crazy, but here’s the result!

When I saw this image on my camera screen I was startled by how old she looks.
I normally just do about 7 braids.  This time there are 17 I think.

And this is just a little out-of-focus-bonus-pic because she is so darn cute!

Gunnar wanted his picture taken too and I was shocked at how old he looks too.
My camera must be on the fritz; my babies are not this grown!

Pumpkin Patch

Valerie and I took our 4 kiddos to a local Pumpkin Patch on Monday.  We all piled into her van and enjoyed a little time together traveling the winding, country roads.  It was beautiful.  Many of the trees are showing their deep reds and oranges.  I love this time of year.  It’s still so warm, and the air is crisp, and it seems there is an eager anticipation swirling about.  

As we were driving to the pumpkin patch on Monday, I thought about this same trip all 6 of us made two years ago.  Graceanna was only about 6 weeks old.   She was so tiny and so cuddly and already so attached to me.  I remebered her soft skin and fluffy hair and her sweet baby scent.  I revelled in the memories of those tender, fleating newborn days which already seem like a lifetime I ago.  Sometime during my trip into the memories, I realized all 4 kids had been under 3 years old.  My day dream came to a quick  end with the memories of how hard and exhausting that day had been with trying to keep 2 two year olds safe as they ran around like the crazy toddlers they were and all the while trying to meet the babies’ needs.  As tired as we were, this day produced precious memeories.  Here’s a look back at 2 years ago.

Annabeth – about 15 months – October 2008

Max – 2 and 3/4 – October 2008

Gunnar – almost 3 years old – October 2008

And, the winner of the greatest change is…….

Graceanna – about 6 weeks – October 2008


Here’s a look at our recent trip – October 11, 2008. 

Graceanna gave me this super sweet glance as we were waiting for the hay ride to start.

Oh Annabeth, I love your little pig tails!

The site of this huge pumpkin farm stopped these city kids in their tracks.

 Valerie’s kids seemed intent on finding the right pumpkin.

Graceanna was intent on getting as dirty as possible.  Oh my goodness.  She was covered in dust, and she already had a shovel full of sand in her hair. 

(By the way, when you have thick hair and tight curls, your hair will not let go of one single grain of sand.  We washed and washed for 30 minutes.  I did this last week also when she had dirt and crushed up dead leaves in her hair last week.  Ridding her hair of these things is not my favorite activity….just in case you were wondering.)

Gunnar enjoyed some dirt ball throwing and tried to pick up a huge pumpkin or two…

Then, he called it quits and took a seat on the big pumpkin.

This was our attempt at a group photo.  Nice.

On the way home I was stabbed with a terrible realization; Max & Gunnar will be kindergarteners next year and no matter if we go to traditional school or school at home, our time will be less free.  This is probably our last time to go with the 6 of us.  Boo Hoo.

(My friend Gretchen took her kids to a different pumpkin patch and captured these wonderful moments.  Oh how I wish I would put in the work to produce something similar, but I don’t see that happening.  Plus, we all know Gretchen has a little something special that just increased work on my part would not create.)

Graceanna 2nd Birthday ∙ September 3, 2010

A week ago today, on September 3rd, we celebrated Graceanna’s 2nd birthday.  Mommy, Daddy, and Brother were all so excited; we couldn’t wait for her to wake up that morning.  Gunnar greeted her with a squeeze as she sat down at her new table.

Graceanna knew exactly how to open presents.  (I remember Gunnar still not being so sure what to do with presents when he was two.)

She also knew what to do with the bows.

Later that day Grandma and Grandpa as well as Aunt, Uncle, and Cousins came to celebrate. 
Uncle Taylor wanted a picture with the birthday girl.  This was the best she would give us.

Graceanna hugged and patted Myers, her cousin who is one month older, all night.  She tried to check his diaper even though she was the one in need of a change.  I don’t think Myers loved all her mothering.

Thanksgiving for our precious girl.

Birthday Girl was ready to eat.

Graceanna’s favorite part of the night.  Grandma’s cake!

Graceanna saw her cake and was EXCITED!  I’m sick that I didn’t get her in focus, but I still love it.


She received so many presents including this super cute tea set, a shopping cart, baby bed for her dolls, and some new smocked dresses Grandma made.  It’s been so fun to see her excitement and watch her play with these new things for hours.  She sits at her table pouring tea while I cook dinner every night.  So, so cute!

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

You brought the sparkle to our lives that we didn’t even know we were missing.


Swim Lessons – Graceanna

Watching my itty bitty baby take swim lessons was amazing to me.  She could do so much and was so content in the water.  Coach Talia always talked about how she loved swimming with Graceanna.

Some bubbles to warm up. SBS Swim School requires the children to wear swim caps and it really helps to keep water out of their ears and hair out of their face.  It’s intended to make it more comfortable for the kids.  Gunnar doesn’t like to wear it which surprises me because he hates water in his ears, but I think he just gets too hot.

The ball game.  This seems to be Graceanna’s favorite.  She can really kick her legs and get herself around the pool to get the balls and put them in the bowl.

Going under.  Even at her first lesson, Graceanna knew how to hold her breath.  She had done it with me before and seem to naturally know what to do.

Swimming to the wall.  Look at her little feet and legs starting to kick.  So cute!

She knew just what to do.  Then she practiced pulling herself out of the pool.  (That’s what I love about this program.  They teach those safety skills like how to get out of the pool anywhere you fall in.)

Learning to back float.  She was so cute.  She would get herself really ridged and just kind of roll around on top of the water.  The coaches could even let go and she wouldn’t move.  This wasn’t quite real backfloating, but close.  They often sang a song or read a little book as they floated around the pool together.

Swim Lessons – Gunnar

This is Gunnar’s second summer for swim lessons.  The first 4 lessons were with Coach Karen.  (Coach Karen who owns Safety Before Skill Swim School is the one Gunnar learned from last summer as well.)  The second 4 lessons were with Coach Talia who really made Gunnar do the drills correctly even though he wanted to skip drills and do the fun stuff.

I was amazed how much better he swam after each lesson.  Coach Talia said Gunnar is a good swimmer, but not survivable.  He has not quite developed the discipline to calm himself in the water in order to backfloat (even though he can do it) or even swim to the wall.  He doesn’t have the hang of treading water.  So, basically he will end up doggy paddling and eventually sink.  Toward the end of summer (well, I guess it’s still summer, but pools have closed during the week) he was starting to calm himself enough to swim to the wall so that’s a big improvement.  I think next summer he will be do great.  He’ll have another year of emotional and physical development will help a lot.

Kick board drills and flippers to keep the knees straight when kicking.  No bicycle kicking.

This was the first time he was trying the free style.  He was so focused on what his hands and arms were to do, he automatically kept his legs straight.  (See that dark line?  That’s where the bottom drops from 3 feet to 14 feet.  The SBS Swim School rents the pool at a dive shop.)

Time for some fun – diving for rings.  Notice his straight legs again.  He seems to naturally have good technique when he’s not being lazy or goofy.

A little fun.

Then, finished off with the back float.  He can do it, he just doesn’t like it!

Our Girl at 23 Months Old

Our baby girl is so funny!  Some of my favorite things right now:

She sings the ABC song!  She’s not really pronouncing each letter and has absolutely no idea what she is singing, but it is unmistakable that she’s mimicing the ABC song which she has learned from the ABC Bear that her Neenie gave her.  My favorite line sounds like this, “now I now I now I now I.”  Many of the other lines are beginning to have actual letters though.

She says, “Blesh eww Mommy” no matter who sneezes.

She also says, “Sank eww Mommy” no matter who gives her what she’s requested.

“Moo ah” = More

“Doo ah” = Door.  She is super please when she closes doors that should be closed and opens those that should be open.

She’s determined to have a napkin at every meal to wipe her face and hands.  It kind of sounds like “a kin” with a heavy emphasis on “kin!”

She loves too push her babies through the house in her doll stroller.  She runs around with a little bounce in her step.

I ask her for a kiss many times a day because she is just so stickin’ cute!  “mmmmmmmmmmah!”

Milk (“gulk”) is by far her preference over water (I can’t even describe how she says water, but it’s cute) , but neither is her delight like the golden beverage.  “JUICE!”  She pronounces this word perfectly and with much passion.  She’s also becoming quite proficient with just the plain ole, “drink!”

She likes to talk about going “potty” and even likes sitting on the potty.  She has yet to do anything on the potty.

Her babies, Bear Bear, and her ABC bear all spend time strapped in her high chair to “eat.  Eat!”

I think she probably knows 100 words and often talks in 2 or 3 word phrases.  One word she hasn’t used at all is, “no.”  I find that very interesting.

She likes to talk on the “phone.”  And, is often being corrected for taking any phone she sees.

She loves to brush her teeth!  She runs to the bathroom multiple times per day and asks to brush her teeth.  “Teef!  Teef!  Teef!”

Tonight we found her in the sink with her tooth brush as well as her brother’s. 

She took a moment to enjoy looking at herself in pictures.

Next, she laughed at her funny faces in the mirror.

Then she looked at me.

Then Daddy could take the danger no more and removed her from the sink.