Saturday, April 16, 2011

Note Keeping for Children

This past week was a whirlwind!
 In a single week:

1. My students took their annual Benchmark Exams while I proctored the test, which was around 25 hours of bubble filling and essay writing.

2. We, as a 5th grade, took around 160 students to a local State Park for a sack lunch picnic and a nature walk.

3. We popped enough popcorn by microwave to fill 165 tummies during a movie/popcorn party .

4. I scooped ice cream (three scoops each!) for 165 students for an ice-cream sundae party with lots of yummy toppings. My hands were frozen and my rings were sticky! : )

5. We took our students to a "Faculty Rock Band" concert to celebrate the end of a stressful week! Lots of teachers sing or play guitar and it has become a tradition at our middle school to attend concerts. With all grades, 5-8, attending, it is a packed house!

6. We, as a 5th grade, invited parents to an awards assembly and recognized honor roll, good behavior, character awards, and reading awards for our classes. I love our awards assembly and enjoy having free range on the microphone. Surprised? Naaaa!  : )

On top of a busy week, I have been feeling pressure from the looming deadline of moving. I officialy feel like singing the 80's song, The Final Countdown.

Project 365 has been so meaningful. When I started the first of January, I knew 2011 would be a special year for our family- Harbor will turn three, we recently celebrated 10 years of marriage, and we were house hunting- I just never imagined moving across country to the Canadian border and that David would be working for an up and coming manufacturing facility so far from home. I guess this project has now taken on more meaning. I'm so thankful I've documented this year thus far and look forward to continuing this project as our life is changing before our very eyes.

Harbor and Bichon have become really sweet pals. Though Harbor William can often pester Bichon, they enjoy each other's company. I'm so thankful Harbor has learned early on the value of animal companionship and the etiquette that goes with animal care and kindness. Teaching children the value of a gentle pat early on really helps develop compassion and sympathy overall.

We have several Pottery Barn purchases, thanks to my mother, Karen. One of our favorite gifts from her is Harbor's table and chair set. Made of solid wood and painted a cheery white and granny-apple smith green, Harbor can often be found reading books, coloring paper, and most recently, building tents. With Gigi helping, his PB chairs are the perfect tent stakes. He is all boy and I love his sense of adventure.

While I'm at work developing lesson plans to match state standards, checking frameworks and student learning expectations, and analyzing data to see which students are not grasping my material, I'm so thankful Harbor is at home with Gigi. My mother has a wonderful sense of "play" and often reminds me that his play is his work. She keeps a spotless home, organized and comfortable, but still encourages play, messes, and exploration. I love learning from her example. Homes should evolve and expand as our families do, too!

Harbor attends several Christian day programs for a few hours each week, and we enjoy seeing his hard work. I have a system in place for saving and displaying his work, and hopefully, once we get settled in our new home and I am able to resituate my craft room, I can give you some pointers on how to save work, knowing what to save and what to trash, and ways to display. Yes!  Our new home does have a nice nook for crafts. Though I know it will land on the bottom of the priority list, knowing I have a place to escape to makes me very happy.

Harbor is currently 29 months old, can sing all of his ABC's, count to 20, knows all of his colors without fault, can sing a multitude of songs, and has a great grasp on reasoning skills. He has fabulous fine motor skills and is able to reason and bargain. For a late talker, which he certainly was, he is speaking well enough to hold a conversation. He speaks in 4-6 word sentences, and while he is very quiet, very laid back, and very introverted, he does talk when the mood hits him. He actually reminds me of David in so many ways. 

I joke with my close friends at work that maybe I should only have one child. As a teacher, many families tell me that their first born is nothing like their siblings, meaning, the siblings are usually more challenging. Teaching for six years, I have many sets of siblings come through my classroom doors. Harbor has been such an easy, low maintenance child. He plays independently for hours. He requires very little interaction, and although we play with him, is as happy as a peach to build blocks, read books, and make train depots alone for hours. Can lightning strike twice? Ha, ha!

My weekends consist of grading papers, packing, and painting. I've been refurbishing a few pieces of furniture for the new house. This bench was given to me by my mom and was painted a yellow with black speckle (do you remember the 80's trend of using a toothbrush to speckle color?) I plan on using this bench in Harbor's new room. With new paint and a black and white hounds tooth fabric for a seat, it will really look sweet at the foot of his twin bed. I'll be sure to post pictures when it is finished.

If you recall, I bought three identical birthday albums for less that $50.00 at a local "this and that" kind of hodge-podge shop. I have been saving Harbor's birthday memorabilia, like most mommies do, with the plan of doing "something" with them. I loved these albums because:
1. They were bright, cheery, and happy albums! The colors didn't lend themselves to either gender and would work well for both boy and girl.
2. They are premade, with pockets for cards and loose papers, four pages per year to display favorite pictures and gift lists, and lined paper to record favorite memories.
3. Each album goes to age 10, so I am guaranteed to keep all birthday "odds and ends" in the same central location.

As a side note, I also keep notes and journaling for each month of Harbor's life. When I was pregnant, I wrote a letter to Harbor for all nine months, and after he was born, I kept detailed accounts of all things "baby" as he grew. I was lucky to be able to set up a system for documentation with my mom, and since she keeps him for me, I have left the notebook with her during the day, and many notes are in both our handwriting. In fact, by the time he was a year old, my mom had filled a three-ring black binder with monthly accounts, funny stories, and memorable incidents. It is a treasure-house for my heart!

Again, I'd love to share with you my method for note keeping and not getting behind, and I hope to do that once we get established in Detroit.

For fun, here are the loose, handwritten notes I take and also the typed final copies that I plan on turning into a nice album.

I promise not to bore you with 29 months worth of text, but if you are interested in journaling for your child, here are a few examples over the last two years. But, I always start with a handwritten sloppy copy that is messy, quick, and hurried. : )

Keeping notes is not easy, especially by day and week, but I treasure them. As he has gotten older, my style of journaling has changed, and I tend to write in more "story telling" fashion vs. "factual" documentation.

I'm a bit behind in posting my 365 pictures, but rest assured, they are being taken daily.  : ) I have some gorgeous pictures to share from our anniversary! Being apart lends itself to some nice gift giving by mail! Ha!

Take care!


  1. You always have excellent ideas! I keep a journal too. I have scrapbooks and calendars going for the girls. I love capturing what makes them unique. I love that your mom writes for you during the day. That is precious.

  2. You do have such GREAT ideas, and it seems that you're SO organized in every area of your life!! Wow--thanks for sharing! I've been thinking about your busy schedule with finishing up school and the move--praying that all goes well!

  3. Looks like you are doing great. Harbor is a very lucky little boy to have such wonderful people around him and keeping such great notes of his progress. I am very happy to hear that harbor is talking very good now:) I can't beleive these boys are already 2 1/2!

  4. I feel like such a failure now, ha!

  5. Oh my girl! You HAVE been busy!! Our testing begins in 2 weeks. I don't have a fun picnic to look forward to, though.

  6. what a treasure all those journal entries will be! such a neat idea. Every time I get sick of my blog, I will look back several years and be so glad that I am "sticking with it" cause those are the only notes that I have!

  7. I love your 365 photos!! You always do such a great job of documenting and are so organized! I have good intentions but just can't seem to keep up!!

  8. girl, I truly think you have more energy than anyone else I know!

  9. I think that part of the zoo is closed right now. Bunner! They are re-building it or something. It's supposed to be 69 and a little sunny. One clear day in the middle of a bunch of yuck days! I know you will love the zoo up there. It's been years since I've been there, but I still remember the monkey house, they had the best one I've ever been too!