Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year's Resolutions

At Oma's request, I'm going to try to bring back our Blog in 2015.

I'm way out of practice but hopefully with the help of an app, I can try to be more timely in posts.

We've just come back from the US - it was our first American Christmas with the family since 2008(!) and Kevin had a great time. While he did miss somewhere to play outside, and practice football daily, he did pick up playing pool this trip due to the pool table Oma and Opa have in their new house.

The new puppy kept him entertained as did the many rounds of Sonic Go Kart played with Uncle Eric and whoever else he could talk into playing!

The most popular Christmas presents were two pair of Nike shoes, his new OSU hoodie and his football blanket and pillow made by Auntie Andrea. He used it every night we were there and it's now on his bed at home, too!

Mom got to catch up on her Mom time with Oma, drinking lots of coffee and even a few completed Cribbage games this trip.

Our 8 days flew by (as we knew they would) but we did our best to make memories - lots of family time and still a day trip to Ashland, all in long johns, to take the kids outdoor ice skating. 

Don't let the blue sky fool you - it was cold!

Even though it's not something you can buy in December in Oregon, Oma and Opa saved some fireworks from 4th of July so we'd have something to ring in the New Year . Our last full day in the U.S. finished with a bang!

All too soon, it was time to say our goodbyes at the airport. We're going to do our best to try to make it back again for Christmas 2015 - but hopefully there will be a lot of blog posts between now and then!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us - including our own Grumpy Cat who is at least patient enough to let Kevin put a Santa hat on him!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Another School Year Done

It was late this year...summer vacation. Not only the weather (we do live in the Netherlands, after all), but school went this year until July 20th. I think that's a good 6 weeks or more after I started seeing all the postings on facebook from my state-side friends.

Little Man really felt it this year, too. Group 3 is full of daily work in all subjects, much less playtime or free time then last year - these are full days, and it took the first couple of months for Little Man to hit his stride and get into the swing of ''real'' school. It only gets more intense from here.....

When I compare it to the US what strikes me about the school systems here is that while the work done at school is pretty intense, there is as yet no concept of home work. Outside of school, kids are free to play, do sports, clubs, kids. There are exercises sent home with the kids on the last day of school to keep kids from having the ''dip'' that comes from being out of school for 6 weeks, but it more about encouraging behavior such as writing free association poems, small stories, practicing time tables, etc.....all journal style rather than only doing worksheets.

He's grown so much!
As long as it took this year to roll around, and as short as it can sometimes feel,  I also overall really do like that the breaks here are spread out. It's not 3 months summer vacation (although 6 weeks can really fly by!) - but 6 weeks in Summer, a week in fall, 2 weeks at Christmas, a week between Feb and March, another week at the end of April/May and a week usually in June. I think it works out that roughly for every 6 or 7 weeks of school, there is a week free -  it seems to keep the freedom itch to a minimum, as there is pretty much always a break to look forward to.

The last report card of year was a good one. He's making leaps and bounds in all subjects - he's above the average level in all subjects, but his standout is reading - he's currently reading, at the end of group 3,  at the middle point of group 5, so he's a full year and a half ahead there.
Our nightly bedtime ritual, we read out lound to each other.
He's also done very well on the 2x per year CITO or standardized tests -  that starting from this year help determine which level of school he will go into after group 8. His one big improvement area for next year remains his attention span and listening. On one hand, I think 7 year old boy - what do you expect?! :-) And I think sometimes, alot of the people in his life (teachers and mom included) hold him up to a pretty big yardstick because of his intelligence - this is one area where is ''just'' 7 - and I have to remind myself as grown up as he can be, he really is still 7 and is allowed moments of fruit fly attention span.

Unlike a lot of kids his age, he doesn't talk about what he wants to be when he grows up - the usual firefighter or police officer isn't there, and while he LOVES football (soccer), he's also told me he isn't sure he ever wants to play in a big arena in front of ''all those people''. I love that, for now, each day is it's own adventure, and he's always busy doing, learning, being active.
1st live football match seen in a stadium (Amsterdam Arena)

What has also solidified this year is those parts and characteristics of him that are neither his father nor me, but just - Kevin. Of course, I hope at some point there will be some direction, focus and drive...and that whatever he wants to do will align to his talents and skills, but for, we're both going to take a deep breath, capture these 6 weeks of summer and not yet think about group 4 ..........