Trading the pencil hug for a pencil kiss

I fessed up to Tatum today. I don’t have the neatest handwriting. HOWEVER, if I am writing FOR someone like a teacher or a greeting card, I do my absolute neatest work (usually) *wince.* Why she may ask? I answered this for her in the car. What you do on paper represents a bit of who you are. If you turn in a sloppy paper, you are basically saying, “I don’t care about myself, you, or my work.” Ouch. That hit home for her.

You see, she has her moments of sloppiness and she has moments where she is truly as neat as a pin with her printing. Her BFF, Charlotte, writes nearly perfectly, and this drives her to do better. I love that she picks friends that make her rise up.

Well, I thought….I need a challenge for her. Some type of incentive and practice plan. She loves to do these, and it can be fun if we make it fun.

We got out her cute little unicorn journal from Cynthia, and decided that she would write two sentences each day about her day. If she gets two smiley faces, she gets to color in a dot. She can earn only two a day. If she only earns one, she can try again to earn another.

First, how she holds the pencil has been a never-ending problem. It’s also become a bad habit. I had her demonstrate the pencil hug. We laughed a bit after we practiced the correct way. This now felt a bit funny!

And sloppy!

Let’s try the pinch with the three fingers. Make them kiss!

OK, now we are getting somewhere. She told me she couldn’t do it and needed those pencil grips. I told her she is ready to do this! C’mon, Tot. You are in 1st grade. Let’s DO THiS! After a bit of frustration, she didn’t give up. I love that about her.

She earned her smileys today.

I am all about creating good habits. If she can get the pencil kiss down, I think she’ll have no problem. She agreed and marked her dot.

As her mommy, my goal is to be her coach, her encourager, and her supporter. I want her to feel supported and in turn successful. She needs to feel like she’s capable. I can also make it fun because if we feel like we are having fun, we are more likely to retain what we learn. I’m proud of your efforts, Bumby. I love you!

Kickin it at swimmin’

Daddy got to go see her at her Lobster class on Monday. I had a colonoscopy so he had the honors of watching her kicking, stroking, and gliding through the water. She is truly our little fish.

They sent me her an update on how she is doing in the class.

She only has a few skills left, and then she is on a TEAM! I can’t believe how much she is growing and still loving it. I’m proud of her efforts and drive. Go TOT-Lobster!

Returning from Flagstaff and Decompressing

This was Tatum the minute we got home from Flagstaff.

103.5 degree temperature. YOIKEEEE!!! We decided to wait picking up Cooper until tomorrow. Luckily Monday is MLK Jr. Day, so it’s a day off school.

The whole day, she only ate apple sauce and crackers.

On Sunday evening, we talked about our trip and all the wonders of being together for our 4th HAA. Yes, I pulled out the whiteboard since you can’t take the teacher out of the girl.

These are our “Plays Of The Weekend (POW’s)” or our highlights!

A bit closer for the rest of the POW’s

Daddy and I also noticed some definite differences in Tatum.

I’m so incredibly grateful that we got to go to Flag. Sharon and Andy are so special to us and they allowed this to happen. We love you guys!

More importantly, we all got to be together. Thank you, Hay Family. I love you so very much and would do anything for you.

2nd Day of Flagstaff: Snowbody knows what is to come!

We woke up Saturday morning NOT bright and early…and there was much rejoicing. The plan was to go on a little nature walk outside with all of our warm clothes on. Playing outside now was much more enjoyable (perhaps?) because she was CLOTHED in waterproof clothing.

Daddy got his gear on as did I, and we headed out. (his jacket is quite exciting!)

Now, it was only about 25 degrees out, and to us that was freezing, but the sun was out so it wasn’t terribly unbearable.

We noticed that the names on the streets had some girl’s names. Note, Tatum Isabella Hay.

Aren’t they cute?

We also spied many icicles. The ones on this house were quite intriguing because they were going sideways.

Tatum was getting pretty winded on our walk. She was having a harder time than usual. (HMMMMMM…Little did we know….)

We got home and then headed out again for our surprise. We were going to go to a tubing park to play and ride tubes in the snow. We arrived, and guess what!??? They were all sold out. FOR THE WHOLE DAY. Ugh.
So, plan B. We figured we’d find our own hill and sled (PRAISE GOD that Doug brought a sled). Oh, and it was free!

First a little snow play.

and then the WEEEEEEEE!! Tatum went first and then we went down together. My steering was a bit off.

Back up and down again and again. Daddy had to go park the car so he only joined us for a few runs, but honestly, we were tired out! The longer “DOWN” you go the more “UP” you have to go. Yes, that’s the dirty little secret of sledding.

Again, Tatum seemed kind of off at lunch. She slowed down a bit faster than usual. We weren’t sure what was up. About two hours after lunch, she said she felt terrible. I felt her forehead and it was burning up. I didn’t need a thermometer to tell me how sick she was. We searched the house for some aspirin. Luckily they had 500mg tabs, so we cut it in 1/2 and had her chew it. Not ideal, but it worked until we’d go out and buy some Motrin. Meanwhile, we’d watch some Bugs Bunny, Tasmanian devil, Sylvester, Roadrunner, and Jetsons cartoons. That was pretty fun in itself!

The rest of the night was pretty mellow. We had a quiet dinner with, of course, Exploding Kittens. The Motrin kicked in, allowing her to play for a bit. Then, she went right to sleep.

We would head home early the next morning.

A SUPER fun day, despite this hiccup. Oh, Tot. I’m so sorry you feel yucky.

The 4th HAA! Snow and Grand Prizes

Tatum would have NO idea. See her at breakfast?

She was excited for a surprise but didn’t know what it would be. All she knew was that she had earned a grand prize with all of her piano practicing.

Little did she know that it would include a weekend away to Flagstaff.

It actually was a new LEGO set, but she would receive it the same weekend we had planned to go. My dear friends, Sharon and Andy, have a 2nd home in a luxurious community in Flag, and they offered to let us stay there. HELLO!! So, how could we turn that down? We would surprise her at school and pick her up early on Friday after her tests (we didn’t want her to miss the whole day since she had tests in the morning). We brought Coopy with us to pick her up. He was the hit of first grade and the whole school, actually.

She was so surprised! First stop, drop off Coopy at Boulder Falls for a nice weekend.

We didn’t want to bring him to the snow. Where am I going???? OH. gosh.

We love you Coopy-head.

Tatum saw the car all filled with suitcases and coats. Are we going to where it is cold??

You’ll see! Then she saw the sled in the back and that kind of gave it away.

When we arrived, we checked in with the guard and drove to the house. The homes in this neighborhood are ginormous! What a treat. We entered the house, and Tatum went right to the back porch and played in the snow. She only had her school clothes on, but she did care??

NOPE! She said she was hungry, and decide to taste it.

She was FAAAREEEEZING, and we had the next surprise she had to get ready for, so we got her all dried and warm and headed out.

We had kind of a bust at Kitt Peak Observatory in the summer, so we decided to go to Lowell Observatory and check out the sun telescope which was in operation. Also, it was so close to where we were staying.

The Rotunda museum was such a beautiful building. Tatum gave us a presentation of Saturn when we got in.

And then she noticed Charon, also known as Pluto I, which is the largest of the five known natural satellites of the dwarf planet Pluto. (BTW, The observatory is where Pluto Percival Lowell, an American astronomer who predicted the existence of a planet beyond the orbit of Neptune …this ended in the discovery of Pluto).

Here is to you, Mama!

We headed to the sun telescope presentation.

We looked in and saw a large red ball. Isn’t it beautiful and amazing! We looked at the sun!

There were a few wonderful quotes surrounding the viewing deck.

We then headed to another museum on the property.

We saw a Millionaire!

Not that kind…this kind:

A first telescope

Tatum stood on the moon!

It finally got dark, and we headed to the viewing deck again. What beautiful telescopes awaited us!

Then the Venus telescope!

And there it was….

As bright as ever!

It was phenomenal and awed us how BIG GOD is. However, we were absolutely freezing, so we headed home and guess what we did first?

Daddy and Tatum worked together.

And look at that!

We had some salads and cheers to the takeout cook!

And some Exploding Kittens game. Our new fav. Daddy is trying to trick me and get me exploded; He is pretty sneaky!

We plopped into our warm beds and looked forward to a fun-snow filled day tomorrow.

I look at improvement

We can always strive to be better. If we started out as perfect, what would be the need for God? We are to be dependent on Him, and when our weaknesses come out, it’s an opportunity to glorify God and to ask for help.

Such has been the road with Tatum this 1st grade year. Academically, she does pretty well. In fact, in reading, she is at the 3rd-4th grade level. In other areas, she is at grade level or 2nd.
What I look at is her attitude, her work habits, her character, and social skills.

First quarter, she struggled with the wiggles, following directions, listening, and sometimes she didn’t know how to handle conflict with friends. Her neatness needed work too. She had A TON OF good areas, but these weaknesses were bothersome.

As a family, we are intentional. We spend time meeting, praying, discussing how to work together to overcome. WE rely on GOD to help us, realizing that we are not alone.

Mrs. Finnman complimented Tatum on how much she has improved in just 3 months. She accomplishes things first time asked, she is polite to her classmates and to authority. She sits still in chapel and on the carpet, and she is being much neater with her work. ALSO, she is just always kind and helpful.

Her report card shows her improvements.

Tot, we love you so much. I love watching you grow and mature. Man, you are a delight to raise, and I can’t get enough of you! XXOO