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    Archive for September 2009

    Foster Independence and Self Esteem will grow

    Tuesday, September 29, 2009

    Benjamin has been attending class at his school for over three weeks and yet we still only have a few details as to exactly what he is learning. Thus far we know he has: used the pink tower, sand letters, picked a sunflower, played house where he was the "daddy", used the bells, received presentations on the binomial cube and brought home a plethora of artwork.

    What does all this mean? I asked the same the question and luckily I've had the chance to attend my own classes at Benjamin's new school.

    For the past two weeks I've been attending an evening class at his school to help us become aware of his new style of learning. Tonight I sat with 12 other parents all in the same quandary. How do we embrace what he is taught here and bring it home?

    We were given an in-depth overview into the classroom and the hour by hour schedule of how classes are conducted. I learned that there are many different "areas" of the classroom and the children are encouraged to experience different activities throughout the day based on their interests. We were assured it is not a free for all and the children are given "choices" which fit into the lessons and their interests. Tonight I learned the different areas consist of:

    Practical Living
    Math (Counting)

    The Montessori materials are designed with scientific precision. Each has a definite aim. They give the child clear impressions, help the child organize his/her environment, develop his/her muscular coordination, and permit him/her to experience the joy of accomplishment.

    The entire process has been an adjustment for all of us - but in a wonderful and positive way.

    This weekend we have an all school picnic at a local orchard (I'm elated). We look forward to meeting all of his classmates that we've heard so much about.


    Monday, September 14, 2009

    I wasn't planning on posting again today, but I just finished reading the latest entry on my favorite blogger's blog and feel inspired to write about our experience so far with school.

    Dooce speaks of her daughter's first day of Kindergarten and of her fear toward introducing Leta's strange and pretty un-nutritional (not a word, I know) eating habit to the new teacher. Before reading this, I was talking with Mike about Benjamin's eating habits of late. A new feature to his schooling is that we now pack a lunch everyday for him to bring along. Mike spent weeks looking through recipes and gathering ideas of things we could pack that would be tasty enough for Benjamin to eat and nutritional enough to pass the school's request that we not pack high sugar or high fat foods. It has been interesting and enlightening to see exactly what is left behind when he brings his lunchbox home in the afternoon.

    Benjamin so far has not enjoyed eating any bread, slightly yellowed broccoli, more than 3 baby carrots, pasta salad, squishy or unsightly grapes, or cheese sticks. He has enjoyed eating the insides of a turkey sandwich, most of a pizza quesadilla, apple sauce and teddy grahams. Because of his allergies we have to stay far away from the standard lunchbox fare of peanut butter-anything and we can't pack anything that needs to be reheated, at least not until the kids get a presentation (Montessori word for lesson) on how to use the microwave.

    So keeping all of this in mind, we are very limited in our lunchbox options. And frankly, his picky eating isn't limited to school, he also hasn't been eating much of anything we make at home. A child cannot live on apple sauce and teddy grahams alone, so what are we to do? Hopefully we will find the magic combination one day!

    Autumn on the horizon

    Autumn, our favorite time of year, is just blowing in. Temperatures are still well above average, but the leaves are falling and crunching under foot. Mike is hard at work preparing himself for the Twin Cities Marathon which is in 20 days. His long run this weekend was 20 miles and he said it felt great. Benjamin and I are so very excited to spectate at the big race!

    We had a low key weekend. We started it off with a visit from Grandma Chris and Grandpa Ed who were stopping over on their way down to Chicago for the big U2 concert. They helped get Benjamin out of my hair while I made a friend's daughter her birthday cake on Friday. The cake was a success and it felt good to become acquainted (WELL acquainted) with powdered sugar again.

    The Apple of our eye

    On Sunday we visited one of our favorite fall locations: Northwoods Orchard. I know what you're thinking: But it isn't even apple season yet! Oh yes, yes it is. Believe me, Mike is on top of these things! This orchard was a bit low on varieties to pick, but Honeycrisp and Chesnut apples were available. They stopped picking the Zestar! Regents (c'mon Jessica - get your varieties right) on Saturday, but we were still able to scrounge up a few apples off of the trees. We didn't do the corn maze this time or the hayride, but we did visit their animals. It was a lovely day. Now if only the temperature would drop a few degrees so we could pull out our sweaters and light jackets.

    First day of school

    Wednesday, September 09, 2009

    First day of school
    Originally uploaded by Familie Schmitt
    Benjamin began his journey at his new school yesterday with his first official day. He is absolutely loving it and so are we!

    Practically Perfect in Everyway

    Monday, September 07, 2009

    Friday night I had a date with a lovely gentleman. He's a little on the short side, is addicted to chocolate milk and fell asleep during the car ride home. Nevertheless, it was a MAGICAL night!

    I miraculously won 2 tickets to see Mary Poppins at the Orpheum Theatre from Go City Kids who were having a contest on Twitter. I tried to get these tickets because just a couple of days earlier, Benjamin was (for some reason) asking me when we'd get to see Mary Poppins on a stage. I thought I'd try for the tickets, but was very surprised Thursday morning when I received a message saying I had won! When I eventually told Benjamin my exciting news and asked him to go on a date with me, he promptly asked me what exactly a "date" is. After explaining it to him, he said, "Oh! Like in Lady and the Tramp where they're having spaghetti!" Um. Yah, I guess.

    I had the bright idea then to take him to the Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner before the show, but unfortunately the Vikings were playing their last pre-season game at the Metrodome - just blocks from the restaurant. They had a 45 min- 1 hour wait, so we decided to skip it. Instead we dined closer to the theatre at the Rock Bottom Brewery where we had a lovely meal.

    Because the show was to begin at 8pm, I was a little concerned about bringing Benjamin along. He's not a child who stays up late very much. His bedtime is normally between 8:30pm and 9:00pm, so knowing that he would have to stay awake until 11:00pm was a little scary to me. I have to say though that he was a CHAMP. He watched the entire show intently, never complaining about being tired, not even ever yawning. Of course, after we walked to our car and I buckled him in, he was fast asleep within 5 minutes.

    The show was spectacular. It is based on the movie, so most of the scenes and songs are the same, but they've moved the story in a slightly different direction and added some new things. The performance of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious was probably one of the best musicial performances I have seen - ever. The choreography of that number is unreal, I only wish I could learn it myself. Very very cool. It was a memorable night out for both of us and an opportunity for me to share my passion for theatre with Benjamin, which I will always treasure.

    Fair in fair weather

    Wednesday, September 02, 2009

    This past week, although it is only Wednesday, has been interesting. Last weekend we traveled up to Andy and Jennifer's house on Saturday night. Andy made us homemade sushi, which was very very good. Jennifer kept Benjamin and I entertained while Mike helped Andy in the kitchen. The next day all of us but Andy (who had to work) left the house early for the Milk Run at the State Fair. Mike and I have made it a tradition to have at least one of us run this race every year. In 2007 I ran it alone, 2008 we both ran it (with Jennifer) and this year I chickened out AT THE START LINE so Mike ran it alone. I haven't been running lately and didn't want to risk injuring myself, so I skipped it. I didn't know what would hurt worse: my pride or any possible pain I would have felt from running. All I know is that it was really hard to miss out on running the race. I felt like a failure and beat myself up inside all morning. Fortunately for me though, very close to the finish line is my all time favorite fair food: creme puffs! My sorrow melted away with my first bite of that creamy goodness. Since the puffs actually are mostly made up of egg, Benjamin was able to only enjoy the whipped cream inside. Don't worry, he didn't even miss the puff!

    Mike ran the race less than a minute slower than he did last year, but he came in 11th of all the males from 30-34, which I consider to be great! He said that the hills were once again pretty tough, but the race is always fun. The four of us strolled around the fair for a while in the morning before the crowds got too bad. A little later we met up with Mike's parents and cousins who were visiting from Wisconsin. Grandma Cindy took Benjamin on the Old Mill ride, which was a favorite of the Schmitt boys when they were little. Benjamin was a rock star all day and he really enjoyed the fair. He's been asking to go back ever since we left!

    On Monday we jumped into our newest adventure with Benjamin's orientation at his new school. The first day was just a short introduction to the school that was a 15 minute visit with his teacher in the classroom. The past 2 days have been slightly longer visits (about an hour) with some of the other new children to the room and the next 2 days he will go for a 1/2 day. Next Tuesday is his first official FULL day of school. We are so pleased with our decision to send him to the Montessori school. He is really enjoying it.