Archive for the ‘Jake’ Category

The Mitten

Along with teaching all the varied tenets of Kindergarten curriculum like adding and subtracting and READING (!), Jake’s teachers also teach him the days of the week, months of the year, Presidential facts, Chinese, and in their spare time, throw together whole ENTIRE plays for the parents to rejoice and ooooh and ahhhh over.  This week we were honored to attend Jake’s play, The Mitten, where he was convincing and terrifying as… The Bear.

Program Back

Unfortunately there is no money in the school budget for professional costume designs, and so The Bear costume fell to me.  This is not my gift.  Designing, decorating, sewing… really anything related to being a good Kindergarten mom!  But, it had to be done.

So I found brown pants, a tan shirt and gloves on sale at Target and then headed off to Michael’s and was happy to find cardboard “bear mask” forms.  Bought a bunch of colored felt and went home to cut and piece together.  Luckily, my seamstress friend, Karen, said I could come over to finish the details.  She helped sew things on (fast, like lightening) and stitch the felt more permanently onto the mask.  It turned out pretty well and I was not embarrassed to compare his costume with his classmates (which was really all I was going for)!

It was a little hard to get pictures because, as luck would have it, we chose the wrong side to sit on.  So in the pictures of the whole class, you’ll find Jake on the front row, next to the last on the far left.  Brown pants/shirt/mask.

And the snowflakes begin to fall… making it hard to see the lost white mitten…

Jake’s best friend, C, is the raccoon pointing into the audience…

And then a star is born!  Jake comes to the stage with the Hedgehog (another best friend) and the eagle…

They ask for a space in the mitten because they are sooooooo cold…

The animals let one last mouse inside, but then they sneeze and the mitten breaks open scattering them every which way…

See videos below for some of the fabulous singing!  Here’s me and my wonderful boy!

The bff’s…

We had a great night and I continue to be so happy with the wonderful teachers and experience Jake is having at school this year!

And for the grandparents…  some videos of the songs & exceptional acting!

The Mitten, pt 1 from Joelle Yamada on Vimeo.

The Mitten, pt 2 from Joelle Yamada on Vimeo.

The Mitten, pt 3 from Joelle Yamada on Vimeo.

The Mitten, pt. 4 from Joelle Yamada on Vimeo.

The Mitten, pt 5 from Joelle Yamada on Vimeo.

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Shoot.  Missed posting last week.  Dang it.  Will have to make up for it with some extras this week.

So the explosion is from Jake.  It’s an explosion of learning.  It’s crazy really.  I can hardly keep up.  In fact, I am definitely not keeping up.

He can suddenly read.  He is often heard starting a sentence with the phrase, “Did you know….?”  He wants to know more about everything.  For the first time ever, I will come in and find him with a writing implement and paper just drawing or writing stuff or illustrating some story in his head.

It’s amazing to drive down the road and hear him sounding out street signs from the back seats.

It’s like magic.  A magic explosion.

He bursts into Chinese phrases at random and loves asking me if I know how to say this word or that in Chinese (generally I have no clue — that 10 months in China was TOOOOO long ago…).  He’s totally up on the current discipline issues in his classroom and I get a blow by blow each day after school.  He can play video games at levels I could only imagine.  He quoted scripture (from AWANAs) back to Brent yesterday when they were discussing why it was necessary to wear seat belts —  that it’s the law… “For whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.”

It’s fantastic.  Fantabulous.  Amazing.

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Tooth Two

I have a lot of angst around the Christmas season.  And it’s not because of the over monetization of a religious holiday.  It’s not because people buy puppies they don’t really want.  It’s not because of all the children starving around the world while we in America spend umpteen dollars on plastic toys for our already spoiled children.  Well, I mean, that stuff bugs me too, but my real problem is Santa.

And what to tell my children about him.

See, I was that kid.  You know, the one who told you Santa wasn’t real when you were 8?  The one who brought you to tears and ruined your life?  That was me.  I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to be unkind, it’s just that Mom was very deliberate in her choice NOT to teach us to believe in Santa.  She was also not unkind.  And didn’t mean to hurt us or you.  But she felt really strongly about two things:

1.  Lying.

2.  Having kids who thanked Santa instead of the moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas who worked hard to earn money to buy the gifts.

Now, I know that there are wonderful things about believing in Santa, and as an adult, Mom and I have discussed the pros and cons many times.  I think she feels she was a little extreme in the “not believing” side of things because we missed that chance each year to have our imaginations caught up with the ideas surrounding the Santa story.  But I think, on the whole, she’s still glad we always “knew.”

And unfortunately, I’ve been torn.  It wasn’t a big deal the first couple years because Jake was too young too care.  But each year comes and goes by without me deciding.  Do we believe?  Or do we not?  Instead of making up my mind, I’m ridiculously vague when questioned and often just change the subject.  It’s like I can’t bring myself to say, “No, there is no Santa,” but I also can’t get the words, “Of course that’s the REAL Santa” to come out of my mouth either.

Luckily, I’ve got 11 more months to figure it out.  Again.

Which is why it is so funny that for some reason, I’ve got NO PROBLEM at all with the tooth fairy.

In fact, she visited last night and traded Jake for his second baby tooth.  A whole dollar.

And have I mentioned being a closet dentist-wanna-be?

As the daughter of a dentist, who worked every summer of high school in Dad’s office, I always had a little part of me that wanted to follow in his footsteps.  Life led me elsewhere, but I have been tickled pink to finally pull out some teeth (other than my own).  On tooth number one, Jake didn’t know what to expect, so was very willing to let me pull it out.  This time, he was MUCH more nervous.  In fact, it took 3 days for him to agree to let me pull out the dangling tooth.  But he finally let me.  YIPPEE!!  Thrills for Mom!

Tooth #2 from Joelle Yamada on Vimeo.

What  a trooper.

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Half Birthdays and Egg Drops

At the beginning of the year, we received an email from Jake’s teachers explaining that the traditional birthday class celebrations complete with donuts or cupcakes or cake were not allowed in his class.  Instead we were asked to either gift the class with a book, to be opened by our child on his/her birthday, or we could send goodie bags with no food in them.

Well, I am a great hater of all things good-bag-esque, so obviously figured we’d do the book.  But, it was finally time for my only HUGE regret related to repeatedly getting pregnant in October…  summer birthdays.  Since the moment I was first pregnant with Jake I have worried about the fact that he’d NEVER get to have a birthday celebration in his classroom.  I was repeatedly reassured by those in the know that summer birthdays with their pool and beach parties were the best!  But I’ve remained unconvinced.

So when the email arrived, I immediately replied asking if we could do a half-birthday celebration.  His teachers graciously agreed.

We headed to Jake’s school this week with our favorite book by UK writer, Julia Donaldson, wrapped up with a bow.  Jake was called to the front and his teacher wonderfully explained that this was his HALF birthday and that he wanted to celebrate with his friends since no one would be in school in July.  They sang Happy Birthday and then he opened The Gruffalo and I was called up to read to the class.  I explained that the writer was British and that Jake had been born in England and we first bought the book there.  The kids listened with rapt attention and I think it was a hit.

This week was also Science Week at Jake’s school.  A letter was sent home inviting us to make a box for an egg drop.  Having only ever done this for Physics class in high school, I was a bit surprised.  But I made a mental note to sit down with Jake to make something before Friday.

And I forgot.  Until 8:30pm Thursday night.

So when my morning child woke at 6:30am, I hurried him through his routines and we sat down with a few minutes to spare after breakfast to construct a quick and dirty cotton-balls-in-a-ziploc-bag-around-the-egg-wrapped-in-a-blanket-and-and-sealed-into-a-small-shoe-box-egg-drop-box.  I was pretty sure it had no chance, but we’d tried.

When we arrived later in the morning for the event, we found a Cox Communication truck, complete with cherry picker on the scene.  The boxes were shuttled up and dropped down.  I had obviously missed the section of the letter that explained they could attach parachutes (i.e., plastic bags) to the boxes.  Would have been nice to know.

There were some doozies — including a penguin stuffed animal with a parachute (egg inside), a bottle that when it landed broke in half and the egg just rolled out unharmed, designs even worse than ours, and some genius boxes that lightly glided in for landings.  It was fun and Brent spent the entire time planning the perfect box.  So I’m pretty sure it won’t be done the morning of next year.  We’ll see.

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