Sunday, May 31, 2009

School's Out For The Summer!

Let's see........where to start. It has been a busy last two weeks. It went by in a blur of activities. The girls had parties, field days, school projects and more parties. I don't remember having so many parties when I was in school.
Thursday, May 21st, Allison had a social studies project she had to present. The project involved making up a festival based on something the kids had learned about Florida. Allison choose to make a festival about the mockingbird, because it is Florida's state bird. The project required her to make a "float" from a shoe box, draw a poster to advertise the festival, write a short report about her festival and create a t-shirt about her festival. On the same day, Leah had to dress up as a book character. She chose a character from one of the magic tree house books. Below is a picture of the girls on their way to school that morning. Leah is wearing her costume and Allison is showing off her festival t-shirt.
Friday, May 22, Allison's class had to present their festival to the parents and the other classrooms. She had to take in a food to go along with her festival. She decided to take gummy worms, since her festival was about birds. I was glad she picked a "food" I did not have to prepare. In December, I had to make Anzac biscuits for her presentation on Christmas in Australia. That time they had to pick a country and make a food from that country. Here is Allison in her classroom presenting her festival to everyone.

Here is Allison with her teacher. Check out her shirt. The things we can do at home these days. We picked out a clip art from the computer and printed it onto an iron on transfer. Then, we were able to iron on the print to a shirt. It is pretty cool! An original shirt! I could see me having lots of fun with the iron ons!
Saturday, May 23rd, was supposed to be Rachel's last day of horseback riding for the year, but after a week (and 12 inches) of rain, it was raining again on Saturday morning, so she did not get to go. She decided to help her stuffed animals make a mass exodus from her room upstairs to the couch downstairs. It looked like the animals were descending from Mt. Everest and making designated stops at the base camps. First they all accumulated (and acclimated, I guess) on the landing of the staircase, then at the bottom of the stairs and finally on the couch. Here are some pictures of the epic event.

Sunday, May 24th, we all loaded up after church and went to grandpas and spent the night. It was a nice visit. Grandpa always says he is glad to have us, but I am sure he is also glad to see us go after 24 hours or so. We grilled out hamburgers and played in the pool on Monday, and for the first time in a week, we had a sunny day!

Wednesday, May 27th, Allison had to take in a food that had to relate to some topic she had discussed in science in the past year. We decided to make cookies in the shapes of the various animals found in the Indian River Lagoon. the class had a field trip to lagoon in October. We had a cookie cutter that we used to cut out the starfish, but the manatee, dolphin, jellyfish, sea turtle, fish, and stingray had to be done free hand. It made for some pretty silly looking cookies. We bought some black icing and white icing and assumed that we could mix the two to make gray. You would think that would work, wouldn't you?! Well, black and white in the baking world makes purple, so we ended up with purple stingrays, dolphins and manatees, so we just decided to go wild with the colors. No matter the look, the cookies tasted pretty good.

Allison shows off her cookies in her classroom.

Also on Wednesday, Rachel's classroom had a pizza party. Along with the food, they did songs and handed out certificates for the little ones completing preK and heading off to kindergarten. Here you can see Rachel receiving her certificate from her teacher. We had a good time celebrating and eating. After the party, we had to race home, pick up the big girls and head to Orlando to see Rachel's speech therapist. The therapist is very happy with Rachel's progress. I was hoping for moire noticeable changes, but there are subtle changes that hopefully will build into big changes in the near future.
When the girls and I got home from Orlando we ran by Target and bought Mike a birthday cake. Wednesday was his 45th birthday. For the next six months he cannot kid me about being older than him! We gave him a photo album from our trip to the Keys in April and a DVD of one of his favorite movies.

Thursday was the girls last day of school. I have to say I was glad for that day to finally get here. The teacher's had worn all of us out with all the activities they packed in the last week and a half. Allison had a friend over to spend the night and Friday we had to get up and get Allison's friend home and take Allison to the dentist. What a way to start a summer break, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Friday afternoon we cleaned out closets and the playroom to round up things for a neighborhood yard sale on Saturday morning. We got a few good things out there and actually made a little money before it was all said and done. Allison thought it was too cool to get money for getting rid of some of her stuff-I thought it was cool too, but before I knew it Allison was off to a birthday party for the afternoon and came through the door with a goodie bag full of junk from that. It is a never ending battle!

Monday, May 18, 2009

It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

Mike got the boogie board and asked Rachel if she wanted to ride. She was glad to hope on, but after a wave dumped her on the ground, she decided it was not fun at all and came to get me to tell Mike to stop.

A Day At The Beach

Monday, May 11, 2009

Recent Pictures

Family hanging out around the pool yesterday. Rachel was actually "swimming" without any floaties!! She does okay while she is swimming. When she stops to tread water, she struggles........but she can make it around the pool without assistance.

Here is a tiny soft shell turtle that Allison caught in the pond behind our house last week. I have never seen one so small. He was pretty good natured and didn't bite anybody, thank goodness.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Interesting Week

Every time I turn around, another week is over. This week just seemed to fly by. On Monday, I spent the morning at our local Down syndrome Breakfast Club. We meet once a month during the school year. I have not made it to one in a while and was glad to get a chance to visit. It turned out to be an interesting visit. We started talking about Rachel's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and school placement for the fall. I have put her in a Varying Exceptionalities(VE) kindergarten class for the fall. This means that she is in a class where all the children are, for lack of a better word, disabled. The class contains about eight kids and has a teacher and two aides. I was feeling pretty good about this until I discussed it with the moms at the breakfast. They all feel that I am doing Rachel a great disservice by placing here in the VE class. I spent the week considering all that they said and doing some research on Down syndrome and inclusion. Everything I read says that inclusion is great for children with Ds. Then I started trying to remember why I thought the VE class would be best. I realized that when I visited the classroom, I loved how protected Rachel would be in that class. The problem is that protecting her is not necessarily the best thing I can do for her. I guess I am going to try to talk to a few people and see about changing Rachel to an inclusive kindergarten class. I am not sure how much I will have to fight for that. I keep hearing what a fight it will be to get the services I will need for Rachel in the school system, but so far I have not had any problem; then I realize that I have not really asked them for anything beyond what they were recommending. Now they are recommending the VE classroom, so we will see what happens. It is going to be hard to me to fight for a choice that I find a bit scary, but I am trying to build up my courage to fight for Rachel. When she wraps her little fingers around my hand, I realize how much she must trust me, so I have to do the best I can for her!!! She is counting on me.

Wednesday I had to volunteer in Allison's classroom in the morning and after lunch Leah's classroom hosted a tea for their moms. That was interesting too. The first part of the tea was what you would expect......children reading notes they wrote to their moms, everybody drinking lemonade and eating sweet treats, the kids giving their moms a little gift they had made. The last part of the tea was spent in the science lab. Yes, the science lab. All the moms and kids went over to the lab and made one heck of a mess! The science teacher gave every kid two solo cups, some ice, some rock salt and a freeze pop. Then we had to go outside, put the freeze pop in one solo cup and cover the top with the other solo cup. Then we had to shake the cups really hard for a really long time. This was supposed to freeze the freeze pop. Supposed to......can you see this coming from a mile away, right? the kids thought this was cool for about 35 seconds. When they opened the cups and the freeze pop was not frozen, guess who got to shake after that! You know...shaking ice around in a solo cup can make hands REALLY cold; a 10 foot radius of ice and rock salt around the person shaking the solo cups; dry cracked hands sting and burn when the saltwater runs out of the cup onto your skin; a LOT of noise when 30 kids (I mean moms) are all shaking at the same time. No one managed to freeze their freeze pop, ironically. But the kids "ate" them anyway. The moms were glad when it was all over and were very glad that they did not have to clean up the mess we made!!

Thursday morning, after dropping the kids off at school, I met some neighbors for breakfast. After breakfast we went to a movie. That was a nice change of pace, but I just kept thinking of all the stuff I should be doing around the house.

Friday morning I spent some time researching inclusion on the computer. I guess if I was a really good mother, I would have done this BEFORE Rachel's IEP last week and not after! Friday afternoon, Allison all of a sudden started crying with her ear, saying it was hurting really bad. She claimed it just started out of the blue! It was 4:00pm when it first started hurting, so I quickly called the doctor and got her in immediately. Sure enough, she has a really bad ear infection. She had run a low grade fever Wednesday and Thursday, but I had sent her on to school anyway-well, I figured if she felt well enough to play after school that she was well enough to go to school. Anyway, she spent Friday evening feeling miserable with the ear ache. We had ear drops for pain, but they did not seem to make a lot of difference, and Allison refused to take something by mouth. She HATES taking medication!!!! (It took me thirty minutes to get her to take her antibiotics by mouth this morning!! She is such drama queen.)

Allison was better today. She said her ear was uncomfortable but that the pain was just about gone. Rachel went for her horseback riding this morning. Thank goodness next week is the last one for the year. It was soooo hot out there today! Leah spent the afternoon outside playing and swimming with a friend. She got a little too much sun, but thankfully not so much that it hurt. Rachel had a great time in the pool. She still cannot stay in it too long without getting too cold, but that does not stop her from begging to get in every day. Maybe I can get her swimming without support this summer. That would be great! I cannot believe summer is almost here! The girls have two and a half weeks left in this school year. Summer time here we come!!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Trouble In The Making

Here are the girls playing around outside this afternoon. It makes me dread when they turn sixteen!!

We are having a busy weekend. Jane brought her girls over yesterday afternoon, because she has to work all weekend. As soon as Jane left, I loaded up all five girls and headed to Allison's soccer game. This was Allison first ever game, and probably her last. She and Leah have not really taken to soccer this spring. They thought they wanted to play,until I signed them up for a team. Anyway......we got home about 8:15pm, sent the girls upstairs to shower and ordered pizza. Before we knew it, it was 11:00pm and the girls were still running around the house!! All except for Rachel. She almost crashed before the pizza arrived, so right after she ate, she feel asleep.

We got up this morning and got going again. We all got ready and out of the house by 9:30am to get to a birthday party for twin girls in Leah's first grade class. The party was at 10:00am, but as usual, I had to run by the store to pick up a gift before we went to the party. Nothing like procrastination! We dropped off Leah and a neighbor, who is also in Leah's class, at the party. After dropping the two party girls off, the other four girls and I headed over to the local wildlife hospital. I have been collecting gopher tortoises and taking them to the hospital for the staff to relocate. The state is building a road through our neighborhood, and they will just bury those poor things in their burrows when they build the road! I have helped to relocate five so far, and this morning we found a sixth tortoise in the road as we were heading to the party. From the wildlife hospital, we headed to Rachel's horseback riding. It is always lots of fun to have kids with you at the horse barn that are not riding, they get bored very quickly. Fortunately, it was "show" day and they were selling food and drinks, so the big girls kept relatively busy running back and forth to the concession stand.

This afternoon was free from any scheduled activities, so the girls got to just hang out around the pool and play outside. Mike came home at 4:30pm and took the nieces and Leah to the beach. Allison has been such a stinker all day that she was grounded, so Rachel and I had to stay home with Allison. I hate having to be grounded too! Rachel had gotten pretty cold in the pool earlier, so I don't think she minded not having to put on the swimsuit again. Tonight, I hope to get the girls fed to bed earlier. They want to sleep in the tent in the playroom, but that does not make for earlier sleep, so I am not so sure about that. Tomorrow we have to be up for church so I need them to go to sleep on time tonight. I have to teach this month, so I have to be on time tomorrow. Wish me luck!!