Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First Day of Kindergarten

excited girl

T started school last Monday on Aug 20th. I still can't quite believe that she's going to a big kid school now! We were extremely lucky for her to be in a Chinese immersion program at a public school. That was our main goal and even had a backup private school plan. As much as we like the private school, it was brand new program and there isn't much structure set up yet. We've been preparing her since we got the acceptance letter back in March that when she starts kindergarten, the teacher will mostly speaks to her in Chinese (85% will be taught in Chinese only). I'm pretty sure that I was more nervous about the whole transition than she was.

I told her she could pick out a new outfit for the first day of school. So we went to the mall and she saw this outfit on in the window at H&M. She basically just pointed to it and said, that's the one. Then she tried to get me to buy up half of the store for her. Typical shopping trips with her...

C and I kept our schedule of him dropping her off and I do the pick up after. He decided that he'll do the bus thing with her since the bus near our house stops about 3 blocks from her school. We both took the day off so we took the bus with her the first day. Normally, it takes about 30 minutes to get there. With the morning commute madness, it took us an hour. Luckily, we left early and made it to school 5 minutes before it starts. They still doing the bus thing so far. Neither of them likes it, but it would've take C longer to drive her there and drive home to ride his bike in to work. Now he just takes his bike on the bus with him and rides to work from the school.

The parents were only allowed to be with the kids in the court yard, where they are lined up according to the class room assigned. There are a total of 3 kindergarten classes with 30 kids each. After the school opening gong and the principal gave a short welcoming speech, all the kids walked in their class.
starting the day
She didn't even look back at us. =P

A small breakfast was set up for the parents, but C and I decided to walk down to a cafe nearby to grab some real breakfast. I needed it to get over the shock of having a kindergartener now.

We picked her up a bit later so she could hang out at the onsite after school program a bit. Kindergarten at her school has the same hours as the rest of elementary, 9:30 - 3:30. Still a bit early for me to pick her up. T never takes nap with us on weekend, so we didn't think the new no nap schedule would be too big of an issue. After about 3 days, we realized that she really needs to be going to sleep a lot earlier. She actually fell asleep twice on the way home!

I managed to get one picture of T in front of her classroom.
T in front of her room

So far she's doing really well adjusting to the new school/friends/schedule/commute. She's not freak out about the language aspect of it (she doesn't speak any Chinese at all before this). She seems excited to tell us what new words/things she learned at school. It also sounds like she's making new friends (all girls, because boys are icky.) I'm keeping my fingers crossed that will continues.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Preschool Graduation

DSC_4464.jpg

I honestly don't want to write about this as I'm still in a state of denial. This past year at pre-school went by so fast. I still remember last year at this time she was just starting in Room 12 (pre-school room). C and I were talking about how she finally made it to the last room at the school. Since starting at this school in July 2007 when she was 4 months old, she had been through 5 rooms prior to this last one. C and I had 5 years of driving to the school everyday and now it finally comes to an end. I've been playing up the graduation as a very exciting thing for a while, knowing that she is very nervous about starting a new school. I even managed to take one of my niece with me again so she have a little more family there to support her. Friday afternoon traffic always start earlier, so I gave myself 2 hours to get from the East Bay back over. Good thing since I just have enough time to get home, change (T insisted that I put on a dress) and leave to get there on time.

The courtyard was fully decorated when we got there. Most of the seats were already taken. Not a big deal for me since I've planned on standing to take pictures anyways.
DSC_4398.jpg

DSC_4400.jpg

DSC_4401.jpg

After all of them walked in the courtyard, they first did the Pledge of Allegiance.
DSC_4412.jpg

They did a few songs after that, including the chicken dance.
DSC_4418.jpg
(I have videos but I don't have time to resize it yet.)

They called everybody's name, after receiving the diploma, each of them got to go up to the mic and let everyone know who they wanted to be when they grow up. There were the typical policeman, teacher and firefighter. I was surprise to hear truck driver and a golfer (from a girl, yay!). T said that she wanted to be a dance teacher, but already changed her mind days before. Her choice of career right now is a children's book author. Again, I have video of it and maybe I'll get that off my computer one day...

DSC_4453.jpg

All of us! (That's the real reason why I needed my niece there!)
DSC_4468.jpg

Now, I need to figure out a way to rest somehow tonight. Kindergarten starts tomorrow!!!

Weekend Trip - Petrified Forest & Fort Bragg

DSC_4348.jpg

There was only about 3 weeks left before the school year starts. We decided to take one last weekend trip before her dances classes starts on Sat again. Since we didn't make it up to Fort Bragg on our last trip, we decided to go up there this time. Hotel was actually quite hard to locate, I guess everyone else is trying to fit in their summer trips as well. The closest hotel I found was in Ukiah. We invited one of my niece along since she could keep T company on the long car rides. Our first stop was the Petrified Forest.

DSC_4355.jpg

I guess I had hoped it would be a bit bigger, but we finished the loop in about 30 minutes. We even made my niece read every single signs in there. We did all enjoy the walk though. With the walk taking such a short time, we ended up in Ukiah pretty early in the afternoon. Maybe I didn't do enough research on Ukiah, but we didn't see much to do. There was a Redwood Fair that weekend, but we decided to pass on that. What we did do was spend 2 hours trying to locate a swimsuit for T and C so they could spend some time at the hotel pool. My niece was smart enough to pack one. It is true that all you need is a nice pool while vacationing, that was really the highlight for the two girls.

The next morning we got up and ate the pretty bad free breakfast at the hotel so we could make the trek over to the ocean. The drive was pretty long and with two of us in the car prone to car sickness (my niece and I), we made it there just fine despite all the curves. We got to Fort Bragg and walked around a bit.

The girls found a pretty big tree trunk.
DSC_4366.jpg

The skunk train station. If we are up again, maybe we'll try that next time.
DSC_4368.jpg

The real reason for going up there, the glass beach. A lot of the bigger glass pieces are gone, we still see people walking away with bags of them. I've told the girls before to not take any so other people can enjoy them. They were both quite good about it. Of course, I reminded them a couple more times there when we're near people collecting a bag. =P
DSC_4379.jpg

After Fort Bragg, we stopped by Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. It was a very pleasant half mile walk or so from the parking lot to the light house. There are even a couple cottages there that you could rent to stay. Look at the lighthouse keeper's house.
DSC_4393.jpg

T was so determined to get to the lighthouse that we kinda left us behind.
DSC_4381.jpg

Overall, it was a great little vacation. I wish we have more free weekends to do these trips more often.