Choice Comments – from the Report Cards!

In : El Japan, Kiddo, School, Posted by on Nov.11, 2010

At Canadian Academy, the elementary school gives report cards three times a year.  For the younger grades, they use this scale:

  • Developed (Best)
  • Progressing
  • Time needed to develop
  • Not yet assessed

The girls usually are all Ps at this time of year.  Here are few exceptions:

  1. D – Takes appropriate risks to try new things.  (Tess – Like I needed to clarify that.  If that girl had an ounce more evil, she would be hard to handle.)
  2. T – Uses correct pencil grip. (Tess – She holds with all of her fingers.  I didn’t know it was possible to do that until I saw Tess do it.)
  3. D – Speaks in complete sentences (Riley – Who can sound quite like a teenager lately.)
  4. D – Demonstrates whole body dexterity (Riley – I was surprised by this because I don’t think of her as very coordinated.  I guess I need to get a clue.)

The girls both have Ds for some of their Mathematics benchmarks, but the part where they rock the report card is Reading.  Tess has almost all Ds, and Riley is developed already for every benchmark in reading!  Riley’s reading is extraordinary.  I’ve got to record it and upload a video or audio file.  That kid reads with ease!  Yay!  Tess is also gaining new sight words every day.

Here are some excerpts of the written comments by her classroom, music, art and PE teachers.

“Her risk taking skills are improving as well.” – Riley

“She enjoyed participating in the yoga class with the yoga guru.” – Riley

“Riley has become the quiet, dependable one in class.”

“Riley has strong ideas and likes but is also flexible.”

“She has a good relationship with her teachers and her classmates.” – Tess

“She asks thoughtful questions during discussions.” – Tess

“Tess is creative, flexible, and generally fun to work with.”

“Tess eagerly joins the group with a sweet tuneful voice and confident musical ideas.”

Todd and I were just talking about what a great Early Childhood Program the school has.  The girls have lovely teachers and are experiencing some amazing teaching that is also fun!

From the mouth of babes #6

In : Kiddo, Posted by on Nov.11, 2010

Since the grandmothers are asking for Christmas lists, I sat down with the girls, and I asked them what they wanted for Christmas.  This is the ONLY thing they said,




In : Kiddo, Picture Pages, Travel, Posted by on Nov.11, 2010


Now that Tony and Lindsay live in Japan we saw them in Kobe for Tess’s birthday.  We’d also decided to travel together.  Since our Fall Breaks overlapped, we all decided to head to Bangkok and Koh Samui.  We shopped and ate our way through Bangkok.  Then we relaxed for a week on the beach and by the pool.

Riley and Tess both swam without the arm floaties.  Riley swam the entire length of the pool, while Tess swam the short side.  The adults played a couple games of trivial pursuit and numerous pass and plays of Scramble.

We had a great time and really spent the time relaxing and getting tons of massages.  Here are our photos from our trip.

Tess’s fourth birthday, shredded.

In : El Japan, Kiddo, Posted by on Sep.09, 2010

Debbie and Maurizio’s giant box of presents arrived from Florida on Monday, and an ecstasy of wrapping devastation ensued:

Tess Turns Four

In : El Japan, Kiddo, Picture Pages, Posted by on Sep.09, 2010

Well, it is that time of year again.  We start school, we feel completely overwhelmed, and then we have to prepare and throw a birthday party for Tess.  Her birthday isn’t until this Thursday, but had the party this weekend.  Tony and Lindsay came down from Yokohama, so I am not sure if Tess was more excited about seeing them or having a birthday party.


We invited the whole KA class and a few KBers to the party with their siblings and parents to join us at the River for some swimming, food and fun.  Needless to say there were a ton of people!  Todd made carnitas (pulled pork) with homemade salsa, grilled veggies, with tortillas.  He also whipped up some spicy Thai peanut sauce to accompany fresh veggies.  We had grapes, blueberries and bananas as well with octopus hot dogs for the kids. Todd also baked TWO! cakes for the event: chocolate sheet cake (a Welbes family staple) and our family staple, Apples in the Middle cake with whipped cream/cream cheese icing.   Everything was super yummy.  We brought home some veggies and fruit, which is great for me, but everyone inhaled the pork and grilled veggies.


We ended the festivities with a game of Poohsticks.  The kids all received a Poohstick in their goodie bag, which everyone opened at the beginning of the party because there were water toys in it.  I’d put their names on their sticks with a label.  Then they decorated their sticks with some markers, and we were off to the bridge to test their Poohstick skills.  The only problem with my plan is that water had no current!  So Nathan, Riley’s BF’s older brother, helped to create a little current, and Jazz was our first Poohstick to make it under the bridge!  Some were lost at sea, while others got hung up on the bridge structure.

A good time was had by all.

Here are all of the photos.

From the mouth of babes #5

In : Kiddo, Posted by on Aug.08, 2010

We’ve been cleaning and unpacking for 4 straight days! Yuck. Yesterday, I asked Riley to help put some of their stuff away.

Her response, “I don’t want to work, I just want to play.”

I think we can agree with her.

End of the Summer

In : Kiddo, Picture Pages, Travel, Posted by on Aug.08, 2010

Well, the last weekend of the summer has started.  It is such a bittersweet time.  Todd and I have to go back to work, which means the end of “Mommy and Daddy Time.”  However, the girls are so excited to start school!  Riley will be entering Kindergarten (we call it KB at our school), and Tess will start KA.

Todd and I are almost over jet lag, which has been very rough this time.  The girls slept through the night last night without waking up and demanding food, my computer, or hotty milky (every thing Tess says ends with a “y”).  However, we are all waking up ridiculously early, which is great because we can get stuff done, but it is not so good as we all fall asleep before 9 at night.

Since we’ve arrived, Todd and I have been gutting the house and balconies.  Every 10 years apartment complexes get completely redone on the outside.  What that means for us is that everything will have to come off of the balconies.  Yikes!  We store a lot of crap out there, so we are in the process of applying to throw away things (which you have to do with the city when it doesn’t fit in a 45 Liter trash bag.  We are throwing away: Tessy’s crib, Riley’s twin bed, a wooden hanging stand, two chairs, an old easel, a wooden lattice screen, an old dresser, an old ottoman, and a huge suitcase that we had to bring back to Japan to carry all of our crap!  I also need to remove all of my plants and plant pots, which is less of a problem since they all died over the summer.  We are also keeping a table and 2 chairs and a pop up play house filled with balls.  I am not sure where those are going to fit in the house, but we’ll figure out something.

It will undoubtedly be a bit before I update further.  The beginning of school is never an easy, relaxing time.  Look for something in early September when we celebrate Tessy’s 4th birthday (with Auntie Lindsay and Uncle Tony!)

Todd comes back from London

Here are some more photos of Lindsay’s wedding.  I am still working on getting some photos from the photographer, and the last of the summer photos.

From the mouth of babes #4

In : Kiddo, Posted by on Aug.08, 2010

Riley and I were having a conversation, and she said, “What does ‘ohm’ mean?”

I misheard her and said, “‘Um’ means that people can’t think of what to say, so they say ‘um’ instead.”

Then she said, “No, mommy, ‘ohm’ is the sound of the universe.”

What??!! Todd and I looked at each other, and it was clear that neither one of us taught her that.

So I asked, “Riley, who taught you that?”

Her response, “The Yoga ABC video.”


From the mouth of babes #3

In : Kiddo, Posted by on Jul.07, 2010

So we dropped off Todd on Friday evening at the airport, and he headed to London with his Masters program.  Then the girls and I swung around the Beltway and headed to Victoria to visit my dad and stepmom.

The girls were great in the car.  I’d put the toys in the trunk instead of with them, so we talked a lot of the way to Victoria.  We said hello and good-bye to each city we passed.  I talked about the countryside versus the city when they freaked out and asked where were all of the people.  I explained about farming and ranching.  We talked about why people raise food and animals.  We counted USA and Texas flags.

Upon entering my dad’s property we saw two rabbits, six cows, swans, goats, and a donkey.  The girls were so excited, and when they saw the inflated pool waiting for them, they could barely keep their clothes on.

All in all, they had a great time.  Please check out my facebook profile for the few pictures that I took.

On the way home it was a quieter trip.  I was drifting down memory lane, and the girls were talking to each other.  My mind was a million miles away when I began to catch the end of the conversation that the girls were having.  It went something like this:

Tess says, “I want to take a bath in Vivi’s bathtub.”

Riley responds, “Well, Vivi has to be babysitting us, and mom has to be gone.”

Tess asks, “Where does mom have to go?”

Riley responds, “She has to go to a restaurant.”

Tess asks (to me), “Mom, are you going to a restaurant?”

I was laughing too hard to answer.  I mean, who has these conversations?  I guess this is what happens when you mix my genes (loves baths) together with Todd’s genes (hilarity).


In : Kiddo, Picture Pages, Travel, Posted by on Jul.07, 2010

The girls are headed to the Oliveros for a playdate

It seems like every time we head Stateside we are always busy beyond belief.  This summer is ending up just the same.

We originally planned to come to Houston this summer for Lindsay’s and Tony’s wedding.  However, then Todd was accepted in the University of Houston Master of Arts in Theatre.  So we’ve been in Houston since the end of June.  Todd’s program has him at school from 9-9 Monday through Thursday.  Then he is off Friday through Sunday.

The girls and I have been playing, swimming, going to dance lessons, gymnastic lessons and Riley is in a Nature Camp.

Next week Todd heads to London for his Master’s program, and then I head to my Dad’s house, and then my Mom comes.

Then we are in Houston for another 10 days.  I am looking forward to some family time relaxing and visiting with friends.

Here are some photos from the first part of our trip.  Here are the photos from the Bridal Breakfast.