Thursday, June 7, 2012

School Year Wrap-up

The school year ended for Ella last Friday, and now she's in "camp" for the summer (same kids and same teachers but there's a summer camp curriculum instead of school year curriculum). They had some fun end of school year activities - a trip to mini-golf, ice cream day, splash pad, and a graduation for the kids who will go to kindergarten in the fall.

Looking back on the end of the school-year:

Happy Grams
Her teachers send home notes called "Happy Grams" every so often, they are really sweet, here are Ella's so far -

3/2012: Welcome to Pre-K 1 Ella! We are so excited to have you join our class. We hope you loved your first week because we sure did :).

4/2012: Today Ella correctly told us all the rules of the roost! Even though she has only been here a few weeks, she can also identify almost all of our friends (puppets)!

4/2012: Ella is so so sweet and such a great lunch helper. She always volunteers and does it with a smile on her face. Thanks for the help Ella!

5/2012: Ella correctly wrote the alphabet. She got all the letters right and in order. Way to go!

5/2012: Ella has done such a great job with her manners! She always says "yes ma'am" and "no ma'am" now! Way to go Ella! (--> this one is kind of funny because we do NOT come from a yes ma'am, no ma'am's just a cultural difference growing up in the north vs. the south - here on the other hand, they view it as basic that took some getting used to but she's gotten the hang of it.)

And her teacher's comment on her end-of year "Balanced Learning Assessment" (an 11 page document!): Isela has adjusted well and made friends quickly. She grasps new ideas readily and is maintaining grade-level achievements. She is a joy to teach, a good worker, and a great listener.

First Incident Report
Her first and only incident report so far?
Incident: Ella got a paper cut on her left ring finger. 
Action Taken: Gave her a hug and a band-aid (not needed but she insisted). 

Writings & Drawings
Here are some of my favorite of Ella's masterpieces from the last month of school

Some cute animal pictures

Her "diary of bugs" 

The Mother's Day card she made me -  so beautiful with lots of stars and flowers!

Some animal names - Cat, Frog, Dog, Lion, Tiger, Bear

The concept of division - she started by drawing 4 magnets, then a picture of her and her teacher, then had to figure out how many magnets each of them would get if they were equally divided.  

She wanted to draw a note for Steve when he got home from work one day, so she asked me how to write "Ella loves Daddy" - he's so lucky, if I got this note I'd plate it in gold!!

Ella's picture of our family :)

Lots of letters 

This one is my favorite - she had to draw a picture of something that is safe, and something that is dangerous, and then tell her teacher what she drew. Her 'safe' picture was "I'm at home with my mom and dad" (and the picture is so cute, it's the 3 of us holding hands on top of the house) Her 'dangerous' picture was "I'm running away from my mom and dad." 

At our playground after school on the last day of uniforms until the fall!

They have a ton of fun summer camp activities - field trips, splash pad, dress-up days, shows, special projects, all kinds of stuff. The only downside is that I was really used to her wearing uniforms every day and I do miss how easy it was to pick out clothes every morning!

And something really awesome that happened yesterday morning - we were talking about school and how she was excited for their snake show, where they were going to get to see snakes and touch them, and I asked her - "if you could pick right now, to go back to your old school, or stay at your school here, which would you pick?" - and she told me "stay at my new school." - I was so happy to hear that. All I want is for her to feel happy, secure, and well-adjusted and I feel like she is finally really  feeling at home in her new  school. Makes my heart happy :).

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend Beach Trip

We went to the beach for the long weekend for Memorial Day and rented a house a block from Stewart Beach, on Galveston Island. 

We went with our friends' families so we had 6 adults and 5 kids, and there were two houses on the property so we had plenty of room. It was a fantastic trip - the kids had a blast, the adults had a blast, a great weekend all around. 

So happy to be back at the beach!

The guys had the really good idea to dig a giant pit for the kids to play in to keep them contained and occupied in one area, and they loved it! (Ella still spent most of her time in the water but did get in a bunch of sand play time as well)

Adorable Hudson taking a nap in the tent

Mary and Ella played in the water for hours on end together every day

Getting ready to walk to dinner one night - they were in formation and ready to go!

Steve's friend knows the owner of one of the nice hotels down there, and he was able to let us use the pool one afternoon. While we were waiting, Ella and Jake had some fun in this mini-pool they discovered ;)

Concentrating on her sand project

Steve, Mary and Ella were in the water and Mary spotted this sea turtle floating on his back. Steve carried him in and it was obvious he was sick because he was barely moving. They encourage you to call a rescue number if you see any turtles because they are endangered, so Dara called and a Marine Biologist ended up coming to rescue the turtle! She said he was the most endangered type, called a Kemps Ridley turtle. 

Incredibly sandy after a big day at the beach

It was such a great weekend, and I am so happy that we have found friends that we can do so much with and where the kids all get along so well together. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Great Wolf Lodge with Grammy

Mom watched Ella for me when I went to Raleigh, and took Ella on a little vacation - a trip to Great Wolf Lodge! 

Ella loved it - she had two full days of the water park, enjoyed the pools, water slides, splash zones, etc - it sounds like she did every single thing that she was big enough for - Mom told me that one day they were at the park from 10am to 6pm without a break.

They had a great time together and I know Ella really enjoyed the trip. Here are a few pictures that Mom texted me - 

Watching the show (which she wanted to watch several times a day, along with seeing a few story times a day)

Showing off some of her loot 

Wearing her wolf ears and practicing her letters - she was really excited to show me her Ks later that she had worked on (K is her trickiest letter)

The last day she decided she wanted to try MagicQuest which is for bigger kids, but she had seen them with their magic wands and wanted to try it for herself

They went back to Charlotte on Wednesday afternoon and Ella got to go pick Cameron up from day care with Grammy 

I was so happy to see Ella on Wednesday night and hear all about her adventures -- while she was in the middle of these adventures she was less than interested in talking to me on the phone, so I was happy to hear all about it once I got back to her in person. I am so happy she had such a great trip, she keeps asking me when we'll go back!

Weekend in Charlotte

I went back to the office for a few days for the first time since we moved, so I took Ella with me so we could go to Charlotte the weekend prior. Erin & Josh were at a friend's wedding, so Mom was babysitting Cameron for the weekend -- which meant tons of Cameron time, it was excellent!

They were so cute together at the airport, a very happy little reunion

They are just so cute together, two adorable little peas in a pod. I am still waiting for the sweet little man to say 'Aunt Colleen', but he certainly has 'Ella' down - here is a little video I caught of him saying it

Bubbles on the patio

And here is Ella's Hair Salon, open for business! After doing her own fashionable hairdo, Ella decided to brush Cameron's hair. He LOVED it. Whenever she would stop doing it, he'd do his sign for "more, more" until she'd start brushing again - it was just so adorable.


With Josh's hat

Cameron is ALL BOY and does lots of things that just make me laugh and laugh. This video is just hysterical - his little meaty man Tarzan routine

Ella & I had lunch with Dad and Donna on Sunday; and then Sunday evening we got to see Erin & Josh before I left for Raleigh. So, it was a really good weekend and I'm so glad I got to do plenty of visiting before my few days in the office!