Sunday, August 30, 2009

Little Miss Independent

In the back corner of my closet is my "to give away" pile. I keep adding stuff to it until it is worth a trip to the nearby charity. I recently moved the potty seats to my closet, since Rachel is becoming such a big girl and can now use the big potties.

Just the other day, I went into the closet to get something and looked down and saw the lid to the potty in the back was up. It took a second, but then I realized that the potty had urine in it!! I have no idea when Rachel went into my closet and used the potty!! All I could do was laugh. Oh, yeah.......and be proud of her that she had taken care of business without me even knowing, even though it was in my closet. I am not sure how she got her pants back up on her own!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Three Ways to Eat a Cookie

With abandon.........


Time and Drama

The girls are already most of the way through their third week of school. I just don't remember time going by so fast when I was young!! Someone has told me that when we are young, a year seems longer simply because it is a more significant amount of our lives, and as we get older it just seems faster because a year is just a smaller percentage of the time we have lived. Sounds plausible, but it truly seems that someone has sped up time and the years are just whizzing by now. I swear sometimes, that if I close my eyes and concentrate, I can actually feel the wind on my face as time literally flies by. As proof of how fast time is going, here is a picture of Allison's eleventh birthday cake!!! I remember her first couple of birthdays around the pool in Texas......that couldn't be ten years ago, could it?!

Sunday, we went to Orlando to Seaworld's waterpark, Aquatica. Rachel stayed with the neighbor across the street, because she is too little to go on any of the waterslides. The neighbor's youngest daughter went with us. She is nine and is Leah's and Allison's best friend. We were worried we were going to get rained on, but got lucky and just had a few clouds and a little rain, but no thunder and actually, for the most part it was sunny. It was a lot of fun. It has been many years since I have done anything like that, and both Mike and I were sore the next day. We had to laugh at our old selves on the rides that had short lines, because we would actually get a little winded walking up all those flights of stairs quickly! Below are some before and after pictures.

Notice the sheer joy on Allison's face at the end of the day? After all the fun, the day was apparently ruined entirely, because she did not get to ride one more ride before we had to go. We had already ridden the ride at least four times, but it seems that was not enough. Oh, the joy of raising drama queens!!! Below are pictures of the girls on the ride home. Leah was TIRED and Allison was MAD!

I think we are just about back into our school routine. The schools are certainly back into theirs .....they have already sent home the first fundraiser. So far, the girls and I have all struggled with getting to bed on time and getting up early in the mornings, but I am staring to feel a little more normal now and not quite so tired. The girls seem to be getting used to it too. Allison and Leah seem to like their new teachers. Allison says her teacher is nice, and Leah is not complaining too much about being bored. That is a good sign and must mean the teacher is doing something interesting some of the time. Rachel seems to be liking her new teacher and classroom. She goes into the room without complaint, although she does not go directly to the table like she is supposed to do. She first has to go sit in the teacher's rocking chair and argue about having to go sit at the table.

Rachel's school had open house on Tuesday, and the teacher says that Rachel is doing great in the classroom. She says that she is participating in the activities and is following directions. Speaking of directions.......I took Rachel to a gymnastics class last Saturday. It is a class for children ages 6-12 with disabilities. It is a small class of seven little girls, five of which have Down syndrome. When we first went into the gym, I was holding Rachel's hand and trying to walk her through all the things the instructor was getting them to do. Rachel kept pulling on my hand and saying, "No, Jump!" over and over. When the class took a water break, the teacher asked me to let Rachel go back out to the gym alone. I figured that there was no way that was going to work, because Rachel would just run around everywhere, but I let her try it. To my surprise, Rachel marched out there and sat down with the rest of the girls and never once got up unless the teacher told her too! I was amazed! My little girl is growing up!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Odds and Ends

I keep sitting down to post, but something always gets in the way. I sit with lots of little things that I need to put on here and little time to do it. I am determined to get something posted today, if it is the last thing I do before I go to bed! Let's see now......where to start?

Let's just start with Allison. Today is her 11th birthday! I went to her school today and ate lunch with her and took cookies for her to hand out to her classmates. She already got her birthday present. The first of August she decided she had outgrown her Tinkerbell bedroom and wanted something different. She scoured (or shall I say, she got me to scour) the internet and found something she liked. We ordered it and it arrived August 6th. Needless to say she could not wait to put it on her bed that very day. So, now she is asking if she is getting anything else.........go figure!
The comforter is covered in flowers and peace signs. Right now, if it has a peace sign on it, Allison loves it! You cannot tell in the picture, but it actually has some green in it that matches the color already on the walls, which is a good thing.

Leah has been begging for a pet for quite some time now. Well, Allison got a hamster in February, so I can honestly say Leah has been begging for the last six months. They recently saw a tortoise in a pet store and started focusing all of their energy on that. Well, as of Sunday, Leah is now the proud owner of a African Spurred Tortoise. I am a pitiful excuse for a mother.....but I have to say in my defense he is an awfully cute little guy.
Turns out this little guy can live to be over 100 years old and will grow to weigh about 100lbs. We should just call him the "century tortoise", I suppose. I know, I know....what was I thinking?!? Apparently I was not. Anyway, we have a cute little tortoise for now, and we will have to take Leah in to see the lawyer soon to draw up her will for this tortoise!

Rachel has now been in kindergarten a week. On Monday, she started riding the bus home in the afternoons. That is really nice for me. The bus drops her off right at our driveway, and the aide from Rachel's classroom rides with her. I still take her to school in the mornings. I just need to see with my own eyes that she got there and got into her class okay.
Here Rachel is getting off the bus on her first bus ride home from school. She was more happy to see the neighbor's dog than she was to see me!
I guess that is it for the moment. I have been working on this for 2 1/2 hours (actually, most of the time I have been getting the kids their snacks and getting them started on homework) and this is as far as I can get. It appears I need to go into the other room now and do my 5th grade math homework. Glad I am already finished with my second grade and kindergarten homework! Does anybody remember the difference between associative and communicative properties? I can hardly remember how to spell them, let alone remember what they are!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Summer is Officially Over

We have checked everything off our summer list of things to do.....take Allison to horse camp-check; go to Alabama for a family reunion and to visit Daddy Hawk-check; go back to Alabama to party with friends on the lake-check; have Allison's best friend visit from Wisconsin-check; have six girlfriends visit from Texas for a girls' weekend-check. It was a very busy and fun summer. I cannot believe how many people we go to visit with over the summer!

As of Monday, though, there is nothing left to do. So......... at 7:00am Monday morning I drug two very tired little girls out of bed and sent them off to school. Allison start fifth grade. She got a teacher that is new to the school, so we really have no preconceived ideas about her. Which is nice. Leah started second grade. She got the same teacher Allison had in second grade. Allison loved her, so we are excited about that. Below are the pictures of Allison's and Leah's first day of school.

Rachel did not start school until Thursday, thank goodness, it was a long confusing path to her first day of school. In July I met with some people at the school board to discuss Rachel's kindergarten placement. I wanted to move Rachel out of the self-contained classroom she was going to be in to an inclusive classroom. They told me that in order to have Rachel in an inclusive classroom I would need to send her to a school that is different from the one she was registered to attend in April. In addition to moving Rachel, they told me I had to apply for a state scholarship to send Rachel to this other school-who knew you had to get a scholarship to attend another public school. Anyway, I filed for the scholarship and it got misfiled for some reason, so she will not qualify for the scholarship until January. We were notified of this last Friday-two days after the official day of registration. That meant that I missed the day of registration at Rachel's school, because at the time of registration, we did not know which school she would be going to. Ooops!
What all this mumbo jumbo means is that Rachel is now attending the school I initially registered her for in the spring. For now, she is in a self-contained classroom. We met with the school on Wednesday to rework Rachel's IEP, and the school promises that they are one of the best schools around for inclusion, even though, by definition they are not an inclusive school.........are you following me, here? I am not sure I understand it either. To the best of my knowledge, it means Rachel will be in a special ed classroom with five students. She will be pulled out to the regular classroom for about 1/3 of the day. In an inclusive classroom she would be in a regular classroom with 18 kids and would be pulled out for academics and therapies. I have to say I feel more comfortable having her in a small class. The school personnel say that they are really good at getting the self-contained kids out into the regular classroom whenever possible. We will see how it goes this semester and maybe for this whole year. I hate to think of changing up everything on her in the middle of the year. If things go well where she is, maybe we will just stay. If not, I will most likely move her to the inclusive school for next year. Below is a picture of Rachel on her first day of school yesterday. The teacher seems really nice and said that Rachel has had two really good days! I cannot believe that she is in kindergarten!

Below is a picture of all three girls before we left to take Rachel to her first day of kindergarten.

Friday is now here. We have made it through the first week of school. We are all dragging and I am hoping to get to bed early tonight.....even if it is not a school night!!