Sunday, September 30, 2012

One of the highlights of fall is visiting an apple orchard, and we returned to our favorite place (Minnetonka Orchards) again this year.

Of course, it's not a Minnesota event without fresh baked donuts!

The girls got donuts too, and really enjoyed them.

They spent lots of time playing in the play-train, which much to Zahra's joy had a yellow car

The kids also just loved running around outside, and the girls REALLY loved the pumpkin patch

Look at Quinn cracking Penelope up!

Quinn also got his face painted with an apple, just as he did last year. He insisted on getting the exact same design.

The absolute highlight of the trip, though, was the train ride. The girls got to go on it this year.

The picture above is the only one we got, but I promise you that the girls loved it. Moin said that it may have, in fact, been the highlight of Zahra's life.

The kids also enjoyed time in the sandbox and on the giant slide.

I promise you that we got apples too, we just didn't get any pictures of that. We'll be eating honeycrisp for the rest of the week, which is one of the best things about living in Minnesota!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Weekly picture time!

We had some photos taken by our friend Chris. He's an aspiring photographer and stay-at-home dad, so we asked him to grace us with his photography/kid-charming skills.

We've only received one photo so far, but isn't it great? As you can see by Zahra's face, she was about 3 seconds away from a meltdown here.

I'll post more when we have them.

Cute pic of the girls at the park with a couple of their buddies. Can you see that Z is pushing the other three around in that circular thing? Strong lady.

Quinn started back up with swimming today. He's in the next level up now (sunfish) and it's becoming more serious, and less play.
It was hard to get a good picture with so many kids everywhere, but you can see him in the bottom right holding onto the wall.

I got some great pictures of the girls at the park today. They were both wearing their tutu's, which made everything they did a little bit cuter.

Penelope and a stick!

They took off exploring, and were so adorably gleeful about the whole experience


Running down the hill!

What - don't your kids play right next to an overpass?

Two tutu's

A KG teacher at Quinn's school arranged for free tickets to a twins game for all the KG classes. Moin and Quinn went today, and Moin said the kids were all super-excited to see each other outside of school. AND - Quinn got to try his first cotton candy!

A couple other notes of interest:
- One of Quinn's homework assignments for the weekend is to count as high as he can and to write down the final number. Ha! He's going to do it tomorrow. Any guesses on how high he can go?
- Penelope appears to have settled on a favorite color - Red. Penelope's lack of favorite color has been a great source of stress for Quinn (orange) and Zahra (yellow) for a while now, so everyone is happy that it's settled.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

For the past few years Quinn has been quite the picky eater. He used to be one of those excruciatingly picky eaters - the kind that would make one (i.e., me) want to pull their hair out in frustration.

Over the past year he's become much better about food, but still remained picky. Interestingly, discovering his dairy allergy and taking him off dairy really helped. He was forced to broaden his horizons (no grilled cheese every day) and I think his stomach just felt better, too.

But you know what has really cured Quinn of his picky-eating? School lunches.

I know, I know, school lunches are disgusting, right? But in St. Paul they actually seem to be pretty good and reasonably healthy.

The first couple weeks of school I packed his lunch, but then he started wanting to get "hot lunch". I think because most of the other kids do as well. And would you believe he's EATING and LIKING whatever is put in front of him?

Today he asked me to read him the lunch menu for next week. This is what it is:
Monday - Cinnamon french toast, cherries and scrambled eggs; potatoes, plum and salad
Tuesday - Chicken or Veggie fajitas, brown rice, whole grain tortillas; peach and salad
Wednesday - Chicken sugaar, rice and whole grain pita; carrots, banana and salad
Thursday - Pizza on whole grain crust; broccoli, oranges and salad
Friday - Chicken tortilla bake and salad

I read him this menu and he wants to get ALL of those things! We said he could, except for the pizza (dairy). Moin said, who are you and what have you done with Quinn?

I guess eating along with all those other kids was all he needed to get over the picky eating hump. Part of me is happy that he's eating so many new foods, and part of me is offended. I've spent five years carefully presenting him with new foods (which he's ignored) and all it took was one week of seeing some random kids eating hot lunch and the pickiness was gone!

Now, if some of this adventurous eating could run off on Penelope...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A few photo updates

The girls started gymnastics this week. Can you tell they were excited?

They did great! They can both walk the balance beam, and hang from the overhead bar for at least 30 seconds. Penelope loved it so much that it took us 45 minutes to exit the building when the class was over because she was throwing such a fit about leaving. Really - 45 minutes. That girl has stamina.

Some of quinn's artwork from school this week:

The first is hard to see, but it's a picture of him holding hands with his friend Nicholas, and underneath he wrote "I like Nicholas"

The second is a card he made for me in computer class that he was SO PROUD of!

They do a different "special topics" class every day for a week. Those topics are then rotated on a six-week basis. So, last week was yoga and this week was computers.

While we're at it, here are a few other random pictures from our week.

Dinner out after family flu shots. Fun times!

Zahra at the park

The girls helping me shop at Target

And, Quinn helping Moin paint our bathroom red. Because, why not?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Photos from the week

Quinn started taking the school bus this week! Here he is waiting on his first day. He loves it.

The girls walking into ECFE. Don't they look big heading to school?

Quinn getting ready for HIS school. Love his hipster outfit.


Finally, the girls started art class this week through St. Paul Parks and Rec. Their class is called "messy fingers and toes" and so far they like it!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Quinn had his first KG test today.

I want to say, for the record, that I think it's ridiculous that any kindergartner has a test on his first week of school. But, I'm still proud of him for getting his first 100%.

I had to ask Moin and Quinn what the shape in the bottom center was. Quinn replied, "it's a trapezoid" as if that were the easiest question in the world.

Trapezoid? Kindergartners are expected to know trapezoid?

In related news, Quinn loved his fist week of school. Highlights of the week were: (a) the banana chocolate chip muffins for breakfast this AM, and (b) the class hunt for the gingerbread man today that culminated in finding the gingerbread man in the principal's office accompanied by gingerbread cookies made by the principal himself! Quinn was beside himself with excitement. He also enjoyed the Yoga classes he had all week, recess, lunch and snack. Notice any themes? :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

We've had a week of "first days" around here.

First, Quinn had his first day of Kindergarten!

He was so excited leading up to the first day that he woke up at 4:50am the day of! Overall, I think school met his expectations. According to Quinn their first day involved: doing yoga, having recess, eating snack and eating lunch. He left out all the academic lessons in his description, but I'm assuming he did that, too!

Quinn's favorite parts of school involved the food (big surprise) and the free breakfast was the biggest highlight of all.

In St. Paul, all the kids get free breakfast regardless of income level. Every child goes through the breakfast line, and takes what they would like. They do this to (a) ensure that every kid eats before schools starts, and (b) avoid marginalizing the kids who qualify for free breakfast. Everyone waits in line, and everyone is offered food. I love this.

Quinn couldn't believe his eyes when he saw all the choices.

Here he is carefully typing in his student pin to receive his food.

And with the final product!

They take it back to their desk to eat while the teacher does attendance, etc. It's a nice warm-up to the day.

Here are a few more shots of the first day.

Walking into school

Fridge in the classroom :)

A shot of the class getting settled.

So far everything is going great! Quinn came home happy and tired, and ready to go back.

The girls also had their first day back to school today. In their case "school" is early child and family education (ECFE), which is run by St. Paul Public Schools. The girls and I have been going since they were just a few months old.

In the time since my last post Penelope has decided she now loves the camera, and is providing cheshire cat grins for every picture. Zahra was a bit more nervous about her first day - she's chewing on her hand here which is what she does when she's anxious.

No anxiety from Miss P!

Zahra warmed up after just a few seconds and got right to work.

The kids are busy and learning a lot this week. Can't wait to see what else they learn in school this year!

Finally, Quinn had his first piano lesson with his new teacher this week and we're very happy with the switch. He's playing little songs now (mary had a little lamb) - not from memory either, but from reading the notes. Hopefully I'll get some video of this soon.