Monday, January 21, 2013

A New School Year

Just like they grow up way too fast … summer also goes by way too fast.  On September 4th a new school year began again.  This was the year I was suppose to have a picture of all members of the household (except myself) heading off to school.  I would have been the only one not attending school (trust me I wasn’t feeling left out, but quite happy to send them off to do the school work).  But alas, Rob decided in the spring he was done with school and so that day never came … but regardless September 4th seen my baby head off to school


I know I’m suppose to be emotional and sad about my last one heading off to school, but to be honest I was quite happy for him.  He was getting bored at home, not stimulated enough (my fault, I really should have taken more time, but he would have gladly had me spend all day entertaining and teaching him) and was quite excited to be able to get out of the house a couple days a week.  I was also looking forward to a couple days a week to myself to be a little bit more productive on those days and accomplish some of those “extras”  It works nice when I still get to spend three days a week with just him.

In the end it didn’t quite work out the way I had imagined (shouldn’t try plan/imagine ahead, things don’t tend to go they way you figure anyways).  On my end I decided to volunteer one day every other week to help out at Kindergarten.  I am also babysitting a little 2 year old (now 3) on Tuesdays.  So that leaves me with two Thursdays a month all to myself … if nothing else comes up those days, as has happened several times.  Not that it really matters since Matthew has gotten better at entertaining himself at home again and so when he is home he’s pretty much busy on his own the majority of the time. 

Matthew came back from his first day of school and immediately declared “I had an awful day”.  Apparently school was not his idea of fun.  Sitting in a desk and keeping his mind on something was a bit of a challenge, one I expected as he’s always had a bit of a short attention span.  Well he loves to learn and is bright he tends to jump from one thing to the next.  Colouring is not one of his favourite pass times and it takes him several days to colour a picture.  He colours a bit and goes to play, comes back does a bit more, off to do others things again … sitting and colouring an entire picture in one day is way to much for him … let alone several pictures in one day.  He also likes to be confident he can do something before he tries it, when he’s ready to try something then he can usually accomplish it … if it’s a challenge he gives up.  So, having to do things when told and not when he chose was a concept he didn’t really like.  All these things were things we expected … I just didn’t expect him to come back on the first day already to declare he didn’t like school.

After the opening assembly parents are able to stop by their kids class for a few minutes.  Since Matthew has school in the church I stopped there first. 

Sitting at his desk … which was one of his disappointments for the day.  On the Kindergarten Day he had in May he sat at a desk with Thomas.  I’m sure in his head he thought he would be sitting with Thomas again, so he was not impressed that not only did he not get to sit with Thomas but he had to sit with TWO girls.

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Another thing that left him upset was the fact that I sent crayons to school when it was suppose to be pencil crayons.  I had not read the paper correctly and just assumed in kindergarten they would still be using crayons.  I guess this mistake was quite traumatizing as he felt centered out or something of that assort that he had the wrong ones.

Going on a Gingerbread Man hunt


Eating the gingerbread man cookies

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I will add that Matthew was quite excited that the next school day his seating was changed to sit beside Thomas.  Seating arrangements have changed several times since then and he’s gotten over the issue of sitting beside a girl … I think it was more the fact that things were different then he imagined and it was all too much for one day.

Unfortunately Matthew still does not like school.  After a month in school he seemed to be happier with it, having gotten used to the routine and what was expected of him.  He went through a stage of just scribbling his pictures quickly as he seen other kids that didn’t colour quite as well as he could getting away with that.  So , not wanting to be last done, he would just quickly scribble it in and be done with it.  So we also had to chat about doing your best and that there was nothing wrong with taking your time or being last.  Helping out in the class every other week gives me some insight into how he’s doing … altho I’m sure he does behave different when mom is there.  It’s not for lack of knowledge that he doesn’t like school, I am quite hoping it’s the opposite and that it’s boredom that creates a lack of interest in completing the tasks and that eventually this will settle when he’s more challenged.  He is excelling and is already reading basic stuff (Dick and Jane books which Rob and I learned to read from in Grade 1) as well as putting together basic sentence on his own (eg The cat is in the car).  Guess we’re just going to have to wait and see how the next 13 years go.

After visitng Matthew’s class I popped by the school to see Rebecca and Marietta.

Rebecca in Grade 5 … no kids in the lower level this year …. and has transitioned well into it … as far as we know, she never tells us boo or baa so we really have no idea what’s going on in her class.  Thankfully Marietta does a good job on keeping us up-to-date on the goings on at school.

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Marietta in Grade 7.


Grade 7 has definitely been a change for Marietta.  Right from the beginning she was drowning in homework and struggling to keep up.   She started September off taking Voice Lessons and Piano Lessons but was finding no time for either and so she dropped Voice Lessons, even then she couldn’t keep up with Piano but we insisted she had to focus on her piano and relax on the homework end.  This was easier said then done as she still stressed about her homework and continued to let her piano slide.   It was a rough first four months with a lot of stress and more tears then we liked.  We are thankful that this has recently changed and things are more manageable now and we hope that it will stay this way as we sure like our less stressed Marietta much better!

Growing UP

It doesn’t happen overnight … but it certainly feels like the kids grow up to fast.  Marietta spent some time one afternoon taking some pre-kindergarten pictures of our 5 year old baby.

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Day 5–Kingston to Home

We left on time Saturday morning, deciding to take the long way home through New York, just for something different.  Our trip started with taking the ferry to Wolfe Island, crossing Wolfe Island and catching the ferry on the others side to New York.  This was a little bit of a different border crossing then we were used to.  The ferry from Wolfe Island to Cape Vincent, New York was a small ferry.  I think it held 11 vehicles and you paid  to cross.  The interesting part was that when you got to the other side the ferry became the waiting line to cross the border.  There was no room to get off the ferry, so you waited your turn on the ferry … not sure how well the ferry manages to keep on schedule that way, but it must work

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We started off taking the scenic route and stopped for lunch in a small town.  After that we decided to need to make up time if we were going to get home on time.  So we hopped on the highway.  After a late afternoon snack we found ourselves in Niagara Falls, New York around supper time.  We weren’t hungry so we decided to enjoy some of the scenery before having supper and heading home and stopped to spend some time at Niagara Falls State Park.

Having only ever seen the Canadian side Niagara Falls it was nice to take a glimpse from the other side.  Now I must say that as far as seeing the actual waterfalls the view is much better from the Canadian side.  From the US side you stand behind the falls but don’t get to actually see what the falls look like.  But since we’ve seen the other side of the falls often enough we actually found we really liked this side.  We liked the is was more like a park.  On the Canadian side it’s all cement and buildings …. total toursim, nothing natural.  Now of course the States side is total tourism too …. but it’s more natural, it’s a park where you walk the paths and enjoy nature.  It was unfortunate that we didn’t have a huge amount of time, this meant we tried to take in as much as possible in a short time … it also meant it was very hard on my sprained ankle and I paid for it later.


We took the Pedestrian Bridge to Goat Island and made our way around there.


The American Falls


Geese “playing” in the rapids right near the edge of the American Falls.

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Horseshoe Falls


This picture is taken from Terrapin Point.  From here we spent some time watching tightrope walker Jay Cochrane.  This is as good of a pictures as I could get since ….


this is how far away he was from us.  He was walking across on the Canadian side of the falls between the Skylon Tower and The Hilton Fairsview Hotel, he did this daily throughout the summer.


We did manage to get ourselves all the way over to the the Three Sisters Islands, which was a really nice area.  We really couldn’t believe how open it was and easy to access the water throughout the park.


By this time it was getting late and there was no way my foot could get me back to the parking lot.  So we caught one of the last “trains” (wheeled train) back to the parking lot.


Matthew quite enjoyed this open concept train ride

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We were now getting hungry but wanted to get across the border before we ate.  This proved a bit more difficult then expected.  While we were parked right by the border and could watch the border crossing from the parking lot, getting into the line to cross the border caused to be rather confusing as roads from all directions seem to just merge in … it’s a bit of a budding system it would appear … don’t ask me how the guy at the back ever gets anywhere.  Having no patience for line ups Rob decided to carry on and cross over at the Lewiston Bridge.  This proved to take some figuring out to get on the right road but we eventually made it over the bridge … altho after a bit of a wait in which time we polished off the leftover snacks in the cooler and decided we didn’t really need to stop for supper afterall.  We ended up stopping for a bathroom break and a quick snack and then headed home . By that time it was near 11pm and the next day was Sunday but the nice thing about this type of holiday is how quickly you can unpack and clean up … especially if you separate the to-be-washed stuff and the clean stuff when you’re packing up,

Kingston Day 4–Penitentiary Museum and Outdoor Aquatic Centre

Our fourth day, Friday we headed off to the Kingston Penitentiary Museum during the morning.  We had to slow the kids down and read some of the stuff to them to explain what we were looking at from time to time.  They tend to just glance over things and not take it in.  So with a bit of reading and such they actually understood some of what they were looking at and hopefully learned a few things.  I know Rob and I did.  Amazing the different methods and things people have used to try to escape.

Here are a few examples of torture methods they used to use.   The first is a box that people were left standing in for long periods of time.  Marietta is not full grown so she still has space around her, but a full grown person would have very little space to move, making one rather uncomfortable. In the second picture Matthew is trying out this torture method altho he is faaaarrrr to small.  A persons head goes into the barrel by Rob’s hand, their hands and feet are locked up in the holes and then water is poured on them from the barrel up top.  This was a method used to get people to “talk”.

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Friday afternoons entrance to the Outdoor Aquatic Centre is free for a few hours and so we headed over there for a little bit.  I managed to take one picture before I was told that camera were not allowed on the facility …  I won’t go into my thoughts on that, all I have to say is if you have an issue with someone taking a picture of you then don’t dress like that … we live in a world of photography, be prepared and presentable at all time.

So … it was a simple water park for a reasonable rate (especially when it’s free swim time) with one waterslide, different pools with different depths, splash pads, and a lazy river (altho lazy rivers are usually slow, this was more like a whirlpool river)


This picture is taken outside of the pool area from the park area.  The flower sprinklers are outside of the pool area for park use.  Matthew got cold at the pool and wanted to go play at the park, so I took him over to the park, altho he did end up spending time in the sprinklers as well.


Since cameras are not allowed in the pool area I took this from outside the pool area … I was trying to catch the kids on the “lazy river” but it moved too fast and I missed them.


I remember hating it when the girls were younger and we would go to the park or something and someone elses kids would try to befriend my kids and play with them.   I’m not sure if I instilled that into my kids or if they were just of the same thought as they didn’t like it when other kids “bothered them” as they called it.   They had each other and I didn’t find it necessary to converse with every stranger out there, that wasn’t why I went to the park.  Now I have a kid who happily talk and play with whoever he sees and makes friends whereever he goes.  While I do try to keep him in check and not get into other kids faces, he tends to pick up on which kids are receptive (or looking for) to someone playing with them.  Guess it’s a bit different when they don’t have a “built-in” playmate

Matthew playing with a girl he met at the park.


Matthew was quite tickled about climbing this apparatus … until someone started turning it.  It was all good when it stayed still but he does not like moving things … boy he scrambled back down to the ground quickly and after that stayed away from there.


The girls had some fun on these swings after their swim.