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Em had a little meltdown tonight, since the girls were acting out "Anansi and the Moss Covered Rock" as I read it to them, and I told Emily she could not ALSO be Little Bush Deer (main character #2) since she had ALREADY claimed the role of Anansi (main character #1). Since she was not prepared to compromise, I stopped reading altogether and we had to go brush teeth. Boy was she mad! But I think next time she'll be a little more ready to share! 8/5

We got out Emily's "Christmas" clay today (real clay, not playdough) and she showed Sarah and I how to make a coil pot with a flat lid. She was very proud of her role as teacher and took us step by step through the process, helping Sarah along the way. 8/6

We head out after breakfast to join Judy Jensen, her summer guests John and Donna Read, and Michael, Lukas, and Sabina at Judy's house in Bailey for the day! Em spent the first half hour of our drive reading "How Mountains Are Made" to Sarah, reading all the scientific explanations very carefully, and only needed help on a couple of words, like "lithosphere" and "tremendous." 8/7

We "played" Scrabble for the first time after dinner tonight! We all worked out words together. Em just needed a few hints to be able to hook the letters on her tray up to the letters on the board. 8/8

We join our friends the Johnsons for dinner at the White Fence Farm. Emily and Amanda have a very giggly dinner together! 8/10

I love the look on Em's face when she "gets" something. Tonight at White Fence Farm we were looking at a display of real, old-fashioned wagons, and each one had a little sign. Em read the sign for the sleigh: "Sleigh. Pulled by one horse in the winter, usually over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house." She got through it word by word, then after a second the whole meaning sunk in, she recognized the reference to the Thanksgiving song, and the look on her face when she swung around to share the joke with Bill and me was just priceless. 8/10

It's the University Park back-to-school Watermelon Social! Em wears her watermelon dress from Grandma Z, of course. There are a few games to play, but mostly we visit with friends we haven't seen all summer, meet Emily's very nice teacher Mrs. Archambault, and check out who's in which class. Em will be with Tommy, Ryan, Cara, Angelo, Claire, and Samantha, but not Amanda or Emily S. After the social we go to Beau Jo's and have deep dish pizza! 8/11

We spend the morning with Nigel and Susan at the Museum of Nature and Science. One of my favorite things was playing a computerized "natural selection" game, too complicated to describe here, but at each step I was able to explain to Em what was going on, and she noticed the patterns in each generation and could understand how it made sense that the fast & camoflaged butterflies would be caught and eaten less than the slow & bright-colored ones. We also stopped at the Children's Hospital and visited with Christine! 8/12

One last summer playdate! Emily and Lucy invited Emily and Sarah over for lunch and fun. Emily really enjoyed swinging from the rafters, literally, in their playroom/converted garage! 8/14

First day of school! Emily brings 2 bags of supplies, her new backpack, and her new lunchbox. We find her line on the blacktop and say hello to some friends we haven't seen all summer! Mrs. Archambault comes over with a little "106" flag to show them their classroom number. Just for one second, Emily wants us to come with her into the classroom, but when Daddy points out that none of the other parents are going, she recovers instantly and follows the line into school! There are just 20 kids in her class and many of them are familliar faces. It's a good day! The girls and I head out after dinner to find some back-to-school ice cream cones. 8/15

As I snuggled in bed with Em to wake her up, she said, "I wonder what my job will be today!" She was ready for the 2nd day of school!" 8/16

We watched Amanda after school today while her little sister Erin had her tonsils out. Amanda and Em took turns putting about 20 barrettes each in one another's hair, then went out to the back yard. I looked out to find them sitting side by side on the small platform, legs dangling over, whispering in each other's ears. 8/17

I brought home notebooks from the dollar table for the girls, and Em wants hers to be her "Math Journal." She wants me to write her less than/greater than problems, but I protest that they are too easy for her. Bill suggests that I give her single digit addition that adds to more than 10 (eg, 8+7=15, 9+4=13) and that was just right! 8/19

Em chose her black velvet Dora skirt with the pink chiffon ruffle at the hem to go with a blue cotton T-shirt with an orange and yellow applique. I said, "that's kind of a wild combination, Em." She said she didn't care, so I said, "People might think that you can't match clothes, not that you don't want to." And she said she didn't care! So that's what she wore today! We will get to the clothes-mattering stage soon enough! 8/22

Em has her first soccer practice of the fall! Bill is the head coach this season, with a couple other dads to help out. Emily S and Samantha are joining the team! 8/25


Sarah was so sweet during Em's "Anansi Meltdown" this evening. While Em was crying (by now because she lost her chance to act anything out, let alone both main characters) Sarah came up to me, very excited, and said, "I have a solution! Emily can read the book for lights-on time!" [That's after the girls are in bed but before their night-lights go off.] It was a very good solution (even if Em wasn't interested!) and it was very cool to see Sarah in the process of getting big enough to look out for Emily and take care of her, since Emily has been such a good example for her and taken such good care of Sarah for so long. 8/5

We head out after breakfast to join Judy Jensen, her summer guests John and Donna Read, and Michael, Lukas, and Sabina at Judy's house in Bailey for the day! Emily got very interested in a balancing game on the see-saw, trying to put the exact combinations of little rocks on one side to bring it low enough to balance the rocks on the other side. Sarah helped for a while, then wandered off--we thought. It turns out she was just looking for a really big rock to cut to the chase and bring the higher side down all at once! 8/7

Sarah has her first day of her LAST year at Fisher! The kids were all on break last week and now they are ready to leave behind the lazy days of summer school and have a more structured daily routine. Sarah's teachers will be helping her look for natural opportunities for her to use her great reading and writing skills during the day. Their first book is Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel! 8/8

Sarah played Scrabble with Emily and me tonight after dinner. I'd show her letter pairs on her tray, like "-at" or "-it," then I'd point to open letters on the board and say, "Can we make a word with this letter?" and she could say yes or no. She was also suprisingly good at reading the vertical words on the board! 8/8

We join our friends the Johnsons for dinner at the White Fence Farm. Sarah and Erin sit next to each other and have a great time visiting. During dinner I offered Sarah some cottage cheese, and she automatically said, "No, I don't like that," before she recognized what was in the bowl! She said, "Oh! I LIKE cottage cheese!" Yes, Sarah, there are a few foods that you actually eat! 8/10

We spent the morning with Nigel and Susan at the Museum of Nature and Science. Sarah got to make a crater on the moon (shoot a metal ball into some sand and watch it on super-slow replay) and liked all the dinosaur skeletons. She REALLY liked to read the interactive questions on the displays and then lift all the covers to find the answers! 8/12

Sarah was sad at bedtime because she chose to read at lights-on time and so didn't have any Leapster time. I offered to rub her back and sing a song, but she said through her tears, "No, I just need to be alone for a few minutes so I can cool down." !!!!!!!!!!!!!! 8/12

One last summer playdate! Emily and Lucy invited Emily and Sarah over for lunch and fun today. When we came to pick them up, we found Sarah on the couch, listening to Jon read Mother Goose rhymes to Lucy and Sarah, while Sarah serenaded them all with some harmonica music! 8/14

I pulled two laundry baskets full of too-small clothes out of Sarah's closet today! Now it is much easier for Sarah to find something to wear and get dressed herself! 8/14

I rarely have to clip Sarah's nails because she has inherited my bad habit of chewing them off!

After dinner we go find some back-to-school ice cream cones. Sarah chooses dark chocolate in a sprinkle cone. Because she wanted to nibble the sprinkles AND eat the ice cream, she wound up with quite a few drips on her dress! Another mom took one look at her and said, "Looks like you enjoyed your ice cream!" 8/15

After we were done with chalk and water on the patio, Sarah took the watering can out into the yard to water the grass, but "just the parts that need it." Sure enough, she only poured it out on the brown patches! 8/17

I brought home notebooks from the dollar table for the girls, and of course, Sarah wants her notebook to be a math book just like Emily's. She wants me to write math problems. I said, "Like 2+2?" and she said, "That's too easy." So I said, "Like 7+3?" and she said yes! So I wrote them out and then we worked on them together. Bill said, "Kindergarten is going to be interesting..." 8/19

Sarah played LIFE with Em and I tonight. The money, insurance, and all didn't register too much, unsurprisingly. It turned out that all her hopes were pinned on putting babies in the car, and when she didn't land on any "baby spaces" she was SO SAD! She cried! She did tell Bill that she had married him, & that was one good thing! 8/20

I braided Sarah's hair last night after her bath, and this morning when we took out the braids she said her hair was "bumpy!" 8/25

Sarah and I were sitting across from each other drawing words in the sand during Em's soccer practice today. I wrote her name, then Em's name, then MOM. Even though she was on the other side of the letters from me, she still read it as "MOM" and not "WOW." 8/29

Sarah turned off her Leapster the first time I told her it was lights-off time. I praised her for it, and she said complacently, "I'm a good listener." Then she added (honestly), "I don't always stop the whining, though!" 8/29