Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tenley Visits Santa

This was Tenley's 5th visit to the man in the red suit and this year, more than before, she was looking forward to it and practicing all the things she was going to tell him while we were in line. I asked her what she was going to ask for first and she said that was rude because she hadn't thanked him for the nice email he sent to her. That was first on her list. Whoever it is out there who is teaching my child manners, I thank you. She is awfully cute and very, very excited to be with Santa.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Kindergarten Christmas Pageant

Mrs. Goodwin's Kindergarten class presents the cutest pageant of all. Starring Tenley and a cast of 23 other ragamuffins. Enjoy the pics and the video!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Cookies

shel and Tenley made the ever tasty and required decorated sugar cookies. They started by making the dough one night, then they rolled it out yesterday. Tenley really enjoyed rolling.

Today was decorating. Tenley concentrated very, very hard on her cookies.

She had very specific ideas of what her cookies were to look like. When they were done, Tenley was covered in powdered sugar, frosting and sprinkles.

The cookies came out great and taste yummy!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Fallbrook Gymnastics Evaluation

Tenley had her first Gymnastics Competition/Evaluation tonight in Fallbrook. This was only an evaluation so there was no first place team tonight. There were several teams involved and a couple of teams were around the same age level as Tenley. She seemed a little nervous at first but got into the spirit of things right quick.

She had a good time and came home with a medal, t-shirt and goodie bag. Next up is the competition at Disneyland in January.

Decorating the Tree

Last night we decorated our Christmas Tree. Tenley was very excited about the whole thing. She got to put the star on top and then she spent the next hour or so telling us which ornaments are her favorites. Mommy had to help with spacing because Tenley's idea of putting ornaments on the tree is to have them all in one convenient place for viewing.

This is a great age for Christmas because she is finally having fun and is really excited about all of it. I know it only lasts for a couple of years but I wish it would go on forever!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Santa's Response to Tenley

This was Santa's response to Tenley's letter. It came addressed to Tenley from 1 Candy Cane Lane, North Pole. She was so excited as we read it to her.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tenley's Letter to Santa

This year was the first year that Tenley could write a letter to Santa. Mommy helped her with the spelling but Tenley did all the work. She seemed to think that this was an open invitation to ask for anything and everything. It was really cute.

Friday, August 28, 2009

1st Day of K

Something momentous happened last Monday… Tenley started Kindergarten. Our first week has been hectic, but good.

All that money for those2 years of pre-school has paid off. Tenster trotted off to a new class of 24 kids for 6.5 hrs a day, 5 days a week without even blinking. She’s already ahead of where she needs to be, and in some cases is already at the point they want her to be at the end of the year. She comes home everyday talking about the things they did in school, and proudly shows me her sticker for daily good behavior and her worksheets with the stars and happy faces on them.

We saw her room and met her teacher, Mrs. G, on Thursday night at Back To School night. Jeff and I both really like her- and as usual, Ten’s got her snowed: she really likes Ten and thinks she’s the “sweetest thing and so polite.” Mrs. G is really kind & enthusiastic but firm with the kids, and very open with the parents.

This school is 12 miles from our house, and as a transfer student it’s our responsibility to get her there and get her there on time…or we could lose our transfer. Jeff and I made some practice runs over the summer- and of course there was no traffic- but with 3 elementary, 2 middle & 1 high school all within 5 miles of each other we expected the worst. But, oddly, no. Getting her there takes about 20-25 minutes and is a breeze. Picking her up is another story. You have to get to the school a minimum of 30 min before they let out to get a decent parking place…on Wed. I had to park 3 blocks away.
The 8am start time has presented a challenge for all of us: getting up at 6am. Nobody in this house is a morning person, and it’s a good thing I can program the coffee maker to wake up ahead of me. The only bonus is that with an early morning and all day Kindergarten, Tenley is finally going to bed at a decent time- 9pm. This is the first time since she came home that we’ve been able to consistently get her in bed before 10pm.
So, 1 week down; 40 something to go……

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Gearing up for Kindergarten

Here’s the gear! 3 weeks from yesterday, the Tenster will head off to her first day of Kindergarten! I am actually very happy about this. While a part of me thinks “Kindergarten?? Are you kidding?? She’s only a baby!!” because I’m sure that this is what she looked like yesterday,

another part knows that she’s smart and social and ready for the next challenge. I have fond memories of the excitement that came with each new school year: the joy of picking out that years lunch box, folders, notebooks & pens (this might be where my obsession with office supplies began); wanting to meet my new teacher and see my friends; getting new clothes; and the all important selection of my desk… I hope Ten will come to feel that way about it too.
I’m also happy because 2+ years of personal angst is at an end. The “Where Will Tenley Go To School” question has been a big ulcer inducer for at least that long. See, Jeff & I both went to private school and had very superior educations when we compared with kids that were our age. So initially we planned that for Ten too. But only 1 private school in our town is secular (and we were not happy with the curriculum or the school’s policies), and all the religious ones held issues too: freaky cult-like Christian, conservative proselytizing Baptist, ruler wielding nuns at the Catholics, Episcopalian that only went to 4th grade, etc . etc. etc.

That left us with public school…and a problem. The area that we live in was a nice middle class area when my parents bought the house almost 30 years ago. Now it’s a lower (way lower) middle class area. Here are some of the stats on the school that we’re districted for:
124 in Kindergarten
1022 in the school total
70.65% Latino, 19.28% White, 5.48% African American, 1.96% Asian
75% Socioeconomically disadvantaged
48% English Learners
% of Students performing at “proficient” or “advanced” on the CA Standards Test: English 39%, Math 44%, Science 28%
Only 21.2% of students in grade 5 meet the Physical Fitness Standard for the state
The school has been in PI status (requiring state and federal intervention) for 6 years.
You can see why I was having apoplexy over sending my kid there. Moving was (sadly) out of the question, so that left us with the hope of securing an inter-district transfer. 2 years of research led me to this: anyone can apply, and if a school has fewer applicants than openings in a particular grade- then all of those applicants get in. If the number of applicants exceeds the number of openings, then it goes to a computer generated lottery. Here’s the kicker: you can only pick one school and one alternate. So on May 1st I trotted over to the District offices and applied for Tenley’s transfer. Then I twiddled my thumbs and prayed until June 24th when I got the letter that we had been approved for a transfer to our 1st choice school! I was so excited I almost cried, and did jump up and down while screaming like I’d won the Showcase Showdown on The Price is Right. As a comparison, here are the stats of the school that Ten starts in 20 days:
86 in Kindergarten (which is full day K as opposed to ½ day!)
826 in the school total
50.48% White, 29.6% Latino, 8.6% African American, 8.5% Asian
17% Socioeconomically disadvantaged
7% English Learners
% of Students performing at “proficient” or “advanced” on the CA Standards Test: English 64%, Math 68%, Science 65%
31.1% of students in grade 5 meet the Physical Fitness Standard for the state
The school is not in PI. It is ranked 8th out of all schools (elementary, middle, high) in our district.
I have now breathed a sigh of relief. As a bonus, one of Ten’s friends at her pre-school also got a transfer to the same school- so now I’m praying that they’re in the same class, but we won’t find out until the 21st.
Let the learning begin!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pooh, Tenley and the Transformer

Tenley and I started reading the Winnie The Pooh stories before bedtime. She seems to be enjoying them and we are progressing a story or two per night. Tonight we read the chapter where Pooh and Piglet try to capture a Heffalump. In the story, Pooh is trying to decide what kind of trap to lay for the Heffalump and he says to Piglet that it must be a cunning trap.

At this point, Tenley pipes up and says, "Daddy, I know how Pooh could get the Heffalump?" "A Transformer could be in the trap and it would just rip the Heffalump apart!"

I said, "Tenley, Pooh doesn't have a Transformer." She jumped up, dug around in pile of animals and toys that must sleep with her and produced her Transformer. She proudly held it out and proclaimed, "Well I have one!"

Take that Pooh! If you only had your own Transformer.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Are you still here?!? You’ve been reading this blog for 5 years now, did you know that? I know that because we started the blog about a year before we actually got Tenley, and we just had our 4 Year Reunion!

This was just a small gathering of a few of the families from So Cal that were in our group- there was another reunion held up north that we unfortunately didn’t get to attend. The girls swam and played in the giant inflatable waterslide, swung on the swings and made tye-dye t-shirts! Here (thanks to Natalie) are some pictures of our beauties and their big sisters…

L-R: Maya, Katie, Carissa, Lauren, Grace, Tenley, Soshanna, Amanda, & Lila

Tenley...looking like a bad Japanese ad for popsicles ...or porn...or both...... up to her name and being adorable....

Amanda...either showing us her manicure, or giving us the hand.....

Shoshi...just lovin life......

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Yes folks, this is the end of Swim Lessons, Week I.
Ten has spent the bulk of her class time for the last two days underwater. Her choice, not the coaches: as she's sitting on the steps waiting her turn to practice a skill, the kid just holds her nose- takes a breath- and dunks under. Amazing considering that 2 weeks ago if you told her to go underwater she'd start screaming and crying.
The picture above was taken at the very end of today's class- the coaches decided to let the kids bail off the diving board into 9.5 ft of water (and the waiting arms of coach Brit). Coach Meghan was up on the board to stand behind them, bolster confidence, and give a little push. Alice was timid, and required a push but liked it so well she went back for a second time. Paige went in pretty well, but came up crying. Ditto Corbin. Mailia had to be pushed, and nailed poor Coach Brit right in the breast bone. Then came Ten. We expected Coach Meghan to block her exit and have to talk her up to it and give a little nudge...but no. Ten breezed right past her and confidently banzai'd right into the water. Jeff and I were floored. All smiles, she wanted to go again, but they were out of class time. She happily settled for ice cream in honor of a job well done.
Week II starts on Monday!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

“If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try Try Again.”

To say that Tenley didn’t succeed at the swim lessons she took in the summer of 2007 would be an understatement. We set her up for success, to be sure: it was a “parent and me” class taken with her favorite person in all the world- Daddy, it was only once a week (for 6 weeks), and they were taking it with best buddy Jaxon and his dad. Perfect recipe, right? Not so much. Ten & Jax spent 6 weeks velcroed to their dads screaming bloody murder while the other kids happily blew bubbles and learned to float. The experience was so bad, that Jeff vowed he would “never ever under any circumstances do that ever again!!”

So last year I just threw the summer activity guide away without even mentioning it….but I spent allll year telling her, “ Next year, you will take swimming lessons all summer and you will learn to swim!”

It comes down to this: Ten doesn’t like getting her head & face wet. She loves the pool, or a bath or shower- but there’s always drama if you get her head/face wet , or say try to rinse her hair.
So today, the time came for me to make good on my promise/threat. We signed up last week, and at 6:30 we tried again. I reminded her to listen to her coaches and that they would keep her safe.

She got right in. Coach Meghan said “blow bubbles”- she blew bubbles. Coach Brit took everyone down the side of the pool to kick- she went down the wall and kicked.

Then Coach Meghan said “ Ok everybody! Now we’re going to float on our faces!” I took a deep breath- the kind Ten needed to. I braced myself internally- when the screaming began, I was going to be kind but firm: she was not going to be allowed to get out. She still looked calm. Corbin, Alice and Mailia took their turns. Coach Meghan held out her hands to Tenley….
…who without a second thought went right to her, took a big breath, plugged her nose, and face planted in the water. She came up giggling. WTF? Yep. Floated on her back, on her face, dove under to get a diving wand off the bottom step, and jumped in and dog paddled back to the steps 3 times.

She got out shivering and pronounced swimming lessons “fun”, and was overjoyed to learn that she got to do it again every day for the next 4 weeks.

We’ll see if she still feels that way at the end of the week…but here’s to success!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

...And we stumble coming out of the gate

Well it's summer. Tenley's last year of pre-school is officially over, and we've moved on to the more relaxed summer session at school- which we decided to only do 3 days a week of in the name of relaxation...and saving cash. So it's on to Kindergarten in just 9 short weeks (we still have no idea which school she's going to, but that's another blog post). Mostly, I think she's ready to be there...and then we have days like today...

One of the local gymnastics gyms is hosting 3 different weeks of summer camp: $200 for 5 days, 6 hrs. a day- it's an awesome deal. Plus, this gym has a foam pit which Ten loves, and her regular gym does not. I figured this was a prime way to a) get some extra "me" time, and b) allow Ten to experience a longer day on her own without 3 teachers looking after her- something she'll need next year in K. We got Ten all psyched for a whole week of all day gymnastics- and she's asked every week since registration if this was "gymnastics camp time". We made sure she understood that Mom & Dad would not be there- that she would be there after lunch and we would not be there until mid afternoon. She was good to go.

This morning, after we put on her shiny purple rhinestone encrusted leotard but before we left the house, I showed her that in her backpack there was: a washcloth for sweat, a hairbursh with extra hairbands, her Tinkerbell waterbottle, shorts & tank top & undies...just in case (although she hasn't had an accident at school since Oct). I reminded her that she was taking her purple insulated lunch bag with salami, cheese, carrots, strawberries & a juice box in the main compartment, and 1/2 a PB&J and a granola bar in the front pocket. I reminded her that she needed to remember to go potty, tell her coach that she needed to go, and to remember to grab a handfull of TP before she climbed up on the potty, because she wouldn't be able to reach it once she was up there.

We got there, and I was relieved to see that there were at least a couple other 4 year olds in this session too. We put her lunch in the fridge. I showed her where the bathrooms were. I reminded her to put her shoes in her backpack. The coaches called class time, and my kid ran onto the floor without so much as a good-bye or a hug and kiss. I watched for about 5 min and then left.

Life was quiet and blissfull for the next 5.5 hours.

I returned to the gym right on time to find my kid on the trampoline in her tank top...and underwear. I was mortified. First, where the hell were her shorts?!? Second, an accident?? Are you kidding me?? ...and on the first day. The nice mom of the other 4 year old said "I think she just had an accdent...I tried to offer her a spare leotard, but she said no." I thanked her and explained that she had shorts, and I had no idea why they weren't on. Tenley couldn't explain that either, nor could she explain why she had waited so long to go potty, or why she hadn't put the yucky leotard in the provided ziplock. So Ten then turns to me and says, "Mommy, I know you made me a peanutbutter and jelly today, but it wasn't in my bag!" Oh sweet Jesus. The kid's brain is like a sieve. The nice mom, horrified for my child says "Oh did she not get to eat?! Does she want a snack??" I check the bag and discover that the main compartment is empty of all but a couple strawberry bits. "Tenley", I say "were you not paying attention this morning when I showed you where your sandwhich was??" as I show her again. Clearly missing the point, she looks at me earnestly and says "Can I eat it now??" The nice mom asks kindly "Oh, when did she turn 4?" I sigh- and completely embarrassed say "She's almost 5." I look at her fed and dry daughter and say hopefully "When does yours turn 5?" "Oh she just turned 4." Yep. I'm mortified. The nice lady introduces her daughters and niece and taking pity on me and my clueless child asks her 11 and 8 year olds of they'll keep an eye on Tenley and help her tomorrow.

:::sigh::: These are the moments when I wonder why, for a child as bright as Ten is, she can't hold a relevant thought in her head. I could when I was her age...but maybe that was where I benefitted from full time day care- I had always had to remember things and sort of fend for myself in a sea of other toddlers. I am rarely embarrassed by something Ten does, but I was today: I felt like we were one giant mess, the objects of shaken heads and clucked tounges, and that I had a neon sign on me that said "Clueless Unorganized Mother". I'm sure that's not really the case- I think it was just my vision through the waves of heat coming off my cheeks.

Oh well, 4 days to go, and we have nowhere to go but up.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Summer Evening Fun

Tenley decided she wanted to eat outside tonight so we grilled up some chicken, shrimp and corn and sat under the gazebo to eat. Unfortunately, between the time we decided to do this and the grilling was done, the wind kicked up and it actually got quite chilly. This was an eat fast before it gets cold meal. Tenley enjoyed herself immensely. I'm sure this won't be the last time we do this during the summer.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tenley At Playschool

Here is Tenley swinging her little head off at preschool. This is by far her favorite activity!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Russian Tenley

Tenley found my Russian hat this morning and ran around the house giggling like crazy.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Water Fun

A couple of weekends ago Tenley and I were working in what we loosely call a front yard. She got the hose and the hilarity ensued. Michelle snapped a few pics of Tenley studying the physics of water.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pie Making

Last Saturday, Tenley awoke with a frightful start from her nap. She was not totally awake but was screaming bloody murder. I was trying to comfort her while we were on the couch and she just kept sobbing. Suddenly, without any warning, she stopped crying, looked at me wide-eyed with a big grin and said "Daddy, can we make a pie?"

I was speechless. Less than a second ago she was a sobbing, snotty mess and now she wanted bake? And she wanted to bake something I had never, ever done before? I said sure! A quick trip to the store for some ingredients and we were making a mess in the kitchen. The pictures below show the very short story of the very long pie making process.

I love her crossed eyes in the this picture. She does this on purpose every now and then for pictures because she thinks she is being cute.

So this is the finished Mixed Berry-Double Crust pie from scratch. It was actually pretty tasty. Next up for the Tenley baking school will be a scratch white cake.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Things I Like...

(Tenley pretending to be asleep on the couch at Target)
Things that I like about Tenley are...

Her amazement at Helicopters and airplanes. She is so excited any time she sees them.

Her ability to crack herself up over nothing.

When she says her lovey kept her up talking all night.

When she says to me "Calm down, she's only a puppy."

Her fabulous hugs.

The funny faces she makes.

The way that she knows and says out loud that people who litter are pigs.

When she puts bubbles on her chin like a beard and says she is Col. Sanders.

And most of all...

When I come home from work and she is smiling and waving at me from the front window.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Newest Family Member

This is (Insert Name Here). Tenley says it will be Cinnamon. We are not sure yet, and are open to suggestions. She is the newest member of the family. All we needed was cat food. We ended up with another dog. For those of you keeping score, it is now 3 cats, 2 dogs, a 4-yr old and us. I believe I have gone completely insane. If I haven't then the menagerie here will drive me to the nut house soon enough I'm sure.