Category Archives: School Days

Proud Mama Moment

Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing right by my girls. As a woman. As a mom. And as a working mom in particular. Am I giving my kids my best every day? We rush every morning to catch the bus and then more often than not I feel like we end the day rushed and a bit frazzled with me teetering on the edge of losing my patience.

Then there’s days like Tuesday. Where I take Rylee’s Tuesday folder out of her back-pack. We take a look at this week’s homework, any handouts the school has sent home and then she proudly goes through the previous week’s work with me. To be honest, most of it ends up in the recycle bin after she goes to bed for the night but every so often there’s a piece in there that I immediately know I want to keep forever.

That happened this week when I found this in her folder:

20140411-125348.jpgIt says “I want to be a tesher and a mom” Where tesher means teacher. The picture she drew is of herself reading to a class, and then herself pregnant.

Even though I’ve been at it for almost 6 years, I might still as a working mom from time to time. Who knows, I may never “have it down” and I might always feel like I’m struggling now and again but to me, this picture of Rylee’s shows me that she doesn’t think I’m doing too bad. In fact, she thinks I’m doing well enough that she wants to be a working mom just like me when she grows up.

Well, almost just like me…no way in hell I’d ever be able to handle being a teacher. ;)


Rylee Speak

Every kid has certain words they say funny. It’s one of those things that as a parent, you hope they never outgrow because you know when they do, they’re officially not-so-little anymore. Rylee has a few and I love each and every one of them. So much so, that I’ve found myself saying them her way. {Note: it is not nearly as cute coming from a grown adult}

Fableeus = fabulous
Hanguber = hamburger
Pateren = pattern
Redicleeus = ridiculous

But, other than these funny word mishaps, she’s a lot got something else going on…

The other day at gymnasts, Rylee had a new teacher. The introduction went like this:

Teacher: “I’m miss ___ {I never caught her name}. What’s your name?”
Rylee: Rylee
Teacher: Wylee? Nice to meet you!

The teacher then proceeded to call Rylee “Wylee” for the entire rest of the class until the very end when Rylee eventually got so irritated with the teacher she finally spelled it for her.

On the drive home, Rylee expressed her frustration with me about how the teacher kept getting it wrong. Then she said something that simultaneously made me proud and broke my heart.

“Can you teach me how to say my name right?”

Proud in the sense that she realizes she needs to work on something and is willing to do the work to make it happen. Heart broken because no parent wants to hear from their kids about their feelings being hurt particularly because of something related to their development. It really bothers Rylee that she has a hard time saying her “Rs”. Rylee is Wylee. Red is wed.

It’s not as bad as that annoying bear from sesame street, but it’s obviously bad enough that people don’t even understand what her name is.

When I was her age I had a hard time pronouncing my R’s as well. I remember being called into my school’s speech therapist’s office for a speech evaluation. I distinctly remember them asking me to say the word red. It was awful. But I also remember the follow up a couple of years later. I was fine. No intervention, or even “r” practice was needed.

So speaking from personal experience, I am confident that Rylee will grow out of it. That doesn’t mean I just want to ignore it…especially because she is so aware of it herself. Overall, Ry is a pretty confident little girl but I don’t want this to be her hang-up. I don’t want her self esteem effected because of it. It weighed on my heart and mind for the rest of the day.

That same evening she came out of her bedroom holding a pencil and a spiral notebook. She asked me how to spell “fantastic”. Not thinking much of it, I spelled the word for her without ever looking up from my dinner prep. Later when I was putting her to bed I saw the spiral notebook lying on her desk bench…


In case you can’t read it, please allow me to translate: “I am fantastic as can be. The way I am they sure do love me. I am so happy. But do you know why?”

Ha, guess I don’t need to worry too much about her confidence.

She’s going to be just fine.

To this day though I hate saying words like rural.

Kindergarten. The first Quarter.

Kindergarten is a trip you guys. From the first day at drop-off, to sitting in those tiny little chairs at parent-teacher conferences.

I was excited for conferences. I knew Rylee was doing well, but I was looking forward to hearing about her progress. So excuse my while I brag about my kid for a few minutes.

They do a questionnaire/worksheet the  first week week of school to gauge where the kids are at. Then they follow it up at the end of the first quarter to track progress, and again a few other times throughout the year. In just over two months, her progress is pretty amazing.

While she knew all of her letters to begin with, her handwriting has come a long, long way. Her teacher told us last night that she had recently been bumped up to the highest reading group…skipping one full level. It’s a little bit of a stretch for her right now, but she seems to be up for the challenge. Just recently at home, I’ve noticed that things with reading seem to be clicking a lot more, so that all makes a bit more sense now. She is writing words and sounding them out on her own. According to the new Common Core standards, she meets or exceeds all of the benchmarks.

Her math is probably the most impressive. Since they only have a 2.5 hour day, they don’t focus on it a ton in class, but her teacher sends home math-based challenge homework with her almost weekly. While there are some pretty advanced concepts, like “which digit is in the tens column”, greater than/less than and even word problems, we work through them with her and she picks it up pretty well. She can count by 2’s to 16, by 5’s to 105 and by 10’s to 100. She’s trying to figure out how to tell time, even though they’re not teaching that right now. She is exceeding the benchmarks on all of the levels. She really seems to love math.

As far as citizenship goes, she is is a joy to have in class. She comes to class each day with a smile on her face and ready for the day. She is compassionate. She knows when to raise her hand. She follows the rules. She has fun and socializes when it’s appropriate, but she focuses on work when it’s quiet time.

Right at the end of the first quarter, they did a little awards ceremony for her class. She came home with 3 out of 3 awards given that day…perfect attendance, outstanding citizenship and math excellence.

Overall, Rylee loves kindergarten. Loves. And it really shows.

She happily climbs onto the giant bus each morning.


She works really hard. I am seriously just so proud of this girl. I love her love of learning and I hope it’s something that continues for a long, long time.

My hear swelled three sizes during that parent-teacher conference {ok, maybe my head a little bit too}. Andy & I actually high-fived eachother once we were in the parking lot. Sometimes we get flack for how “strict” we are with our girls and it’s nice to know that when we’re not around the foundation we’ve worked really hard to set is sticking with her.

Yup. Kindergarten. I kinda wish we could freeze time.

New School Year Transitions

I know what you’re thinking…ugh, here she goes again…complaining about back to school.

And I’d like to tell you you’re wrong. But you’re not. You’re 100% right.

I don’t know what it is about this year, but I swear this is the worst year yet for the back to school transition. I’m having a tough time with it. Not in the “oh my baby is just starting kindergarten, she’s getting so big, where does time go, I think I’ll cry” kind of way. But more of the “holy crap how is it already 6 PM and we are just getting home and Reese only wants to be held and holy crap she’s tired and how am I going to make dinner like this and what time is Andy going to be home” kind of way.

I end every night completely exhausted and I wake up the next morning the same way.


Now we’re talking about signing Rylee up for soccer. Can I tell you a secret? I have purposefully avoided any kind of organized group activity thus far. No gymnastics. No dance. Nothing. Hardly even an official play date with friends. Not because I don’t want my girls to join organized activities, but because with all that we juggle as full-time-plus working parents and property owners, I couldn’t imagine willingly adding one.more.thing. into the mix.

But here we are.

When the flyer about soccer sign-ups was sent home with Rylee last week, I asked her about it. She said she didn’t want to play. I silently cheered and let out a sigh of relief.

But is that really it? No. It’s not.  At this point am I doing her a disservice by just accepting her meh “no” and moving on? All because I selfishly don’t want to have to figure out how soccer practices during the week and weekend games will fit into our already hectic lives? How is she going to know whether or not soccer is her thing if she never even tries it.

{Personally, I don’t think soccer will be her thing. She’s very athletic, and quite quick actually, but not particularly aggressive. I think volleyball or softball or even track will be more her style, but I suppose only time will tell.}

So I’ve made a couple of phone calls. First we’re going to see if her after school care  place is going to put together a team. They did it last year and the kids practice in the after-school hours instead of later in the evening. Of course we’d still have to fit in weekend games, but that’s much more doable. If that doesn’t work out, we’ll likely sign her up for soccer at her elementary school. That will mean evening practices and quite a little more schedule juggling.

Am I ready for all of this? No. Not in the least bit. But if it’s what’s best for Rylee and what she wants, then I guess we’ll make it work.

Looking ahead to our future? I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like once both girls are in school.

I swear I’ve heard from somewhere that it gets easier. So…when exactly is that?


Big Kid Status: Kindergarten

You know what’s weird? Having a kindergartner. I mean, it’s not weird, per say. Rylee is 5 years old. I guess it’s just more weird to think about. When Andy & I talked about having kids, all the way through giving birth to Rylee, I never really thought past the baby stage.

Now here I am, the mom of a kindergartner.

See? Weird.

Kindergarten has been met with both excitement and apprehension.

Rylee’s first day of kindergarten (and only day the entire week) was last Tuesday. It was more of an introductory “get to know your teacher/tour the school day”. Andy was able to go in to work a little late so he could be there when we dropped her off. Then I took the day off so I could pick her up and spend the rest of the day with her. Afterward, we went out to lunch then ran a few errands.


Today was her first “real” day of school. Her whole class will be there. She rode the bus.

She rode the bus.

Over the course of the last week or so whenever the bus ride was brought up she’d act shy, scared, timid, etc. We’d talk through it, calm her uneasiness and move on. Last night she was particularly nervous.

But this morning? This morning was a different story. She was ready to go early. She didn’t want to miss the bus! We were down at the end of our driveway with 10 minutes to spare. Once our neighbors were at the bus stop she hopped out of the car and sat with them. I knew she would be fine.


One of our neighbors is a first grader and she & Rylee are good friends. They already had plans to sit next to each other on the bus.

Pretty soon the bus came, she looked back and waved and climbed on board.


As we had previously planned, I followed the bus about halfway to school. When it made the turn off the main road to pickup more kids, I went to the school and waited for her.

The bus pulled in about 25 minutes later. She walked off the bus, a smile on her face. She saw me, seemed surprised, said “Oh hi mom!” gave me a hug then turned to head into school.

And just like that, we have a kindergartner, folks.