The Jack Man

I think it's time for an update on my little men.  They are growing up so fast, I just don't want to forget all the great things they are doing at this point in their lives.  First, Jack.  He will be four in August and is quick to correct you if you say he is three.  He is three and a half!
He has great fashion sense...this is how we played outside the other day.
The biggest new development in Jack's life is that he switched to a new classroom at school on May 20.  A few months before that, most of his friends in his last classroom (Cardinals) switched out to a new room and the same day a bunch of new, younger kids started in his class.  These are the kids he will be starting school with, since he misses the kindergarten cut-off by a few weeks, but at this age, it seems like there is a big difference developmentally between a new three year-old and an almost four year-old.  I started asking about him moving but didn't push too hard until I had his parent/teacher conference in the middle of May.  His Cardinal teachers said "Jack is doing really great.  The only feedback we have is that you need to see if he can move to the next classroom.  He's going to get really bored really soon and that's when kids tend to regress and/or act out."  SO, I talked to the administration the next day and the following week Jack became a Blue Jay.

His first couple days of transition were a little difficult for him - he had a blast once he was in the Blue Jay room those days, but it took a lot of coercing to get him to agree to go there.  Now he loves it and hasn't looked back. This classroom has weekly lessons and they do circle time and centers to reinforce what they are learning.  We love it!  They send out (almost) daily sheets describing what they learned that day, and each week it's something that I don't think Jack knew before!  For example, the first week they learned all about opposites.  I quizzed him that week and he knew ALL the opposites I asked him.  Impressive!  The last few weeks they've been learning about mixing colors (what do we get if we mix blue and yellow?) and doing lots of different fun experiments.  Each day they graph what the weather is that day (sunny or cloudy) and at the end of the week they talk about which days they had the most of and which they had the least of.  So much fun learning for our big guy!

Here's an example of a daily update we've received:
What month are we in?
What is June’s Special Letter?
What day is today? What day was yesterday? What day is tomorrow?
What is the weather?
READING: “Warthogs Paint” (a book about mixing colors) and “Mouse Paint”
-What do you think Red and yellow make when mixed together?
Let’s experiment together!! We took Yellow water and Red water and poured it into the same container and made the color Orange!
*(Book and experiment are on display by classroom door)
*anything Red and Yellow mixed together makes orange…not just colored water: we experimented with crayons, paint, and water too!

Art – Paint one hand Red, Paint one hand Yellow, Now, rub your hands together…what color did you make? ORANGE!
Science- Red water in a spray bottle and Yellow water in a spray bottle, two friends spray it into one container and make orange water!
Block Area- Marble Tower
Dramatic Play: Restaurant/Dress Up

Jack's new teachers, Miss Marcie and Miss Erin, have told me several times how happy he is all the time.  They also said he's a really quick learner; they said they like to quiz the kids on things they don't expect them to know, and Jack knew the answers to everything they asked.  Not exactly sure what the questions were, but if they were impressed, then I'm impressed.
Checking out his new snorkel gear from Grandma Clayton
Jack has a huge vocabulary these days.  It seems like weekly he surprises me with a new word or expression that I'm surprised he knows.  My favorite is "Aha!"  He also picks things up from TV.  For example, he often says "Hey! What's the big idea?" which I learned that Donald Duck says.  His pronunciation is pretty good for most words.  He still replaces most of his "Ls" with the "W" sound, but I think that's somewhat typical at this age.  He also says "cake" instead of "take."  He sometimes mixes up when to use "tell" vs "ask."  He usually says "Mom, I need to tell you a question" and often his questions are statements.  Our favorite is at night when he's in bed, he will call one of us in there.  When we get in there he says "Mom, I have two more questions to tell you."  And his "questions" are always so simple and funny, like "I love you" and "Can I wear my new shoes tomorrow?"

He is definitely a chatterbox, so when I saw this sign at The Magic House I had to take a picture.  I have no doubt that this is true of our boy:
Jack LOVES his sports.  We have mostly been focused on baseball this time of year.  He was still too young to sign up for a team - he had to be 4 by the time the session ended on July 31, so he missed it by a few weeks.  We pitch to him all the time and he is really getting good at hitting.  Sometimes the ball hits our roof! And other times he hits a line drive back at the pitcher.  Ouch!  I have a few welts and bruises to show for it.
We play catch sometimes but not nearly as often as we hit.  We need to get some more catching practice in before next spring when he joins a team.  Here's another demonstration of his hitting skills from a couple months ago:
Jack has started making up songs.  He will "sing" in a sort of rambling sentence sort of way for a good 10-15 minutes on the way home from school and then he'll ask me to sing it back to him.  Ummm....I'll say "I don't quite remember all the words, can you sing it again so I can remember them?" And he says "Well, I don't remember all the words either."  Quite a conundrum.

Our big guy has gotten really good at riding his bike.  He has a Cars bike with training wheels and he rides it REALLY fast.  Luckily he's pretty good at using the brakes too and ALWAYS wears his helmet.  Since the weather has gotten warm, we've spent a lot of time up the street at the Asher/Mincher/Scally court riding bikes with the neighbors.

Jack is still working on his manners.  He was really great at saying please and thank you for a long stretch there, but lately it has become less automatic for him.  We give him LOTS of reminders.  Often when we remind him to say thank you, he responds with "Where have my manners gone?"  I think he's heard us say that to him a few times....
Just looking like a big kid eating lunch.  I think he looks 6 years old in this picture!

The last few weeks we've been struggling with some rebellion.  It seems like EVERY time we tell him not to do something, he automatically does it one more time.  Oh man, does that irritate me!  He's been having a LOT of timeouts lately because we are so frustrated with that behavior.  Hopefully we can nip that in the bud soon and get back to our (mostly) good listener.

Overall Jack is a happy guy.  We are having a lot of fun watching him learn to things and his stories and facial expressions are keeping us well entertained!


May Highlights

I vow to some day get back to regular blog posts, but for now, monthly updates will have to do.  It doesn't seem like there is a spare moment in our days/weeks/months.  The good news is, Jason's business is thriving - he went from ~50 regular clients last year to over 70 this year.  The bad news is, that means he's VERY busy with his one-man show.  He got a new zero turn mower this month to help him move a little more quickly, but he's reaching his max as far as client-load, so it will soon be decision time for Turf Perfect management: 1. Cap the business at today's level or 2. Find some employees.

One Friday night this month, I planned a couples outing to play Demolition Ball.  For those who are unfamiliar, it is basically bumper cars meets basketball meets lacrosse.  I've played a few times before with work for team building-type events and it's always a fun time.  We ended up having about 16 of us and we had a great time!  I also forced convinced the group to play laser tag while we were there too.  That would have been more fun if not for the slew of 10 year-old boys that played with us.  They were clearly more experienced at laser tag than we were and they set up shop high on perches.  You couldn't go very far without the little snipers getting you.  Nonetheless, we had a great adult night out!!

Charlie had a little accident in May where he pinched his finger in a kids' folding chair.  It bled quite a bit from under the nail but didn't look too terrible by the next morning.  A week later though we noticed his nail was getting more and more loose and was eventually hanging on by a thread.  Yuck!  I ended up taking him to the doctor just to make sure it was OK and the doctor was very aloof: "You just need to pull it off (doing so himself)....See?  It's barely bleeding."  OK then.  So Charlie is now missing the fingernail on the middle finger of his left hand.  He's no worse for the wear except it seemed extra sensitive the first few days when he would bump it on something.  Hopefully a new one grows back soon!
Charlie and Ethan and Jack and Addi had their first baths together.  We had the Ashers over last minute one night and all the kids were in dire need of baths, so I knocked it out two at a time.  Ethan was not fond of me giving him a bath without his parents there (Melissa had dinner plans).  Jack and Addi had a good time but couldn't help but notice they have different "parts."  Might be the last bath they have together.  ;)
We participated in the Zoo Run again this year.  It was an early morning but the weather was almost perfect. We ran the whole time (5K) so that always makes me feel good.  After the run we went into the zoo for the breakfast that was included.  We went back out to the festivities for Jack to participate in the 1/4 mile kid run, but we got there just as it was starting, so I wasn't able to hand off my camera fast enough to get it adequately documented.  He did OK - he wasn't interested in running at first, but by the end he got excited to run to the finish line.  We played at the fountain for awhile afterwards with my friend Rebecca and her clan, which was nice.
Jack finishing the race (and Jason in the background letting Charlie run a few feet too)

Jack is in the navy shirt on the right

 The Pressons (Paul, Rebecca, Caroline and Graham):
Jack had his final day of soccer.  He really had a lot of fun this session, and he's asking if he can play again.  I decided to sit this next session out because it's tough to commit to every Saturday morning in the summer when Jason works many weekends.  It was getting increasingly difficult to occupy Charlie while Jack was playing soccer.

Jack is wearing the orange shirt, royal blue shorts and white soccer socks:

Day care hosted a Mother's Day Breakfast.  I was a little unsure how to eat with both boys, so I just took Charlie with me into Jack's classroom.  I wasn't the only Mom who took that approach, so I guess it was acceptable.  Charlie definitely thought he was hot stuff hanging out in Jack's classroom and he was disappointed when it was time to leave and go back to his room.
We also had our 3rd Annual Memorial Day Fish Fry.  We've started a tradition of frying the fish Jason and friends catch throughout the winter on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.  This year we had 20+ kids.  Luckily, the weather was pretty good, so we could make use of the patio.  We are meeting more and more of our neighbors, so we had a few new faces at the party this year.  It was a lot of fun!  Of course, I didn't take any pictures, but luckily Melissa snagged this one most of the kids eating dinner:
We spent a lot of time outside this month, either riding bikes with the neighbors or playing baseball and soccer.  Here are a few videos of our little athletes:
Charlie's really gotten into sports recently.  He learned to say "batter up" from his brother, but it took us a while to interpret since it comes out "E up."  He also loves to tell us to "watch" whatever he's about to do.

I got brave this month and buzzed Jack's hair.  It doesn't look too bad, if I do say so myself.  Hopefully it will keep him cooler during the summer (he has a thick mop of hair and is quite a sweaty guy), and will save us some money on haircuts!

Charlie continues to copy anything he sees Jack doing.  This is just one example...

I think that's our May in a nutshell - we're constantly going, going, going but having a lot of fun doing it!