31 August 2006

I am pretty sure this violates some child labor law.

Since we had no rain for so long and then it rained constantly for 3 days we ended up with grass that was really long. Last night David headed out to mow and the kids wanted to play outside so I sent them out with him. hee hee

I look out the back door and this is what I see-an 8 year old mowing the yard. David helped him with the turns and supervised from a very close distance the whole time, but Cameron mowed a pretty big part of the back yard. He is now cooking up plans to mow for money. I think it will be a couple more years before I allow that, and by that time the urge to mow will have more than passed him by.

When I picked him up from school today the first thing he said was "Hey! It rained this afternoon. Do you think the grass has grown enough for me to mow it again?" Like that attitude is going to last! :) Posted by Picasa

One Down, 2 to go-

We got our first butterfly today. This morning the chrysalis was very clear and by the time we got home this afternoon the butterfly was out. When Cameron got home from school we set it free in the backyard. It was a little bit sad to see the butterfly go, but pretty amazing to think that something that was still in the chrysalis this morning was flying like a pro this afternoon.

I am expecting the other 2 tomorrow. Over the course of the afternoon they have darkened and I think they will be out tomorrow.
 Posted by Picasa

30 August 2006

Not much new

Not much has been going on around here lately- this weekend we went to a 40th birthday party and puttered around the downstairs getting rid of things that we don't use anymore. My friend Beth has a 1 year rule- if it hasn't been used in 1 year it leaves the house. I have decided to stick to that plan and have been tossing things left and right. It feels good to get rid of things that we don't need, and as a bonus my house seems bigger as well. I have also decided to follow a holiday plan and spend the next 18 weeks fully deep cleaning my house so that it is finished by Christmas. I might even get Christmas cards sent out this year..... yes, I *can* hear the laughter through the screen.

We had a scary moment at gymnastics today. Becca was swinging on the uneven bars and when the coach reached down to help her swing her feet out better she let go of the bar. She smacked her head, neck, and upper back on the mat below her. The mats were stacked a bit unevenly so that the shorter girls could get up on the bar, so she didn't fall evenly. In true Becca form she got right back up on the bar and tried again. She did cry a bit, but more because she was embarassed than anything else. I was a brave mommy and stayed on the observation deck. I fully trust her gymnastics coach and I know if she thought Becca was really hurt she would have called me down. I figure that between gymnastics and figure skating there will be plenty of times that I just need to sit back and let the coaches take care of the boo boos.

Tomorrow is meet the teacher for preschool. Our first day is next Tuesday. Becca and I had our first shop for new clothes outing today and got a few school outfits. I figure she will take her cousin Emma's place as the best dressed girl in preschool.

I went to parent information night and talked to Cameron's teacher last night. I am so impressed with her. We talked a bit about some of Cameron's struggles and she had quite a few suggestions to help him out. Right now she feels that his motor skills are good enough and that he is on target to pass math timed testing, and we are going to watch to make sure he continues to progress. If he begins to stagnate she will start the process to get him evaluated. She is also going to get a parent volunteer to work one on one with him on conversation skills and try to press him into a leadership position in the classroom. As worried as I was with school starting, I feel he is in good hands.

All in all it has been a good week. Our spider friend is no longer with us- I was reminded by my friend Wendy that spiders gave birth to 600 or so babies at a time and that just because I was calling it a he didn't make it so. The other morning it was still out on it's web and acting strange and I wasn't going to take the 600 offspring chance, so I sent David out to kill it with spray. I felt a little guilty doing it, and I was a little glum for the rest of the day, but I got over it. No butterflies yet, we still have at least 2 days. For as exciting as watching caterpillars was, this stage is dull, dull, dull. Only a few more days.

23 August 2006

Just 10-14 more days.....

and hopefully we will have 3 monarch butterflies. All 3 of our caterpillars are in chrysalis form now. I am happy to not be running all over the neighborhood looking for milkweed anymore. Last night they started hanging around the top of the container, and then this morning they were all hanging in the shape of a "j". In the course of about 2 hours they all shed their blue and yellow exoskeleton and are happy green pods! Some die while in their chrysalis, I hope that won't happen to ours.

I have learned that you can find anything on the internet. There is a site called MonarchWatch.org and it gives you the whole scoop from beginning to end! They have a Monarch garden seed packet that I may order for next year. Then we can do all of this outside! I may even try and get Cameron's school to participate as well. The kids have been so interested in the process and have loved watching the caterpillars grow and change.

I keep trying to take pictures, but they just don't turn out very well. I guess this is just one of those things I will have to remember.

22 August 2006

The sweet taste of success!

We have known for a while that Becca could do a 1 foot glide in skating- she just didn't realize it yet. Her Coach has been holding her back in group lessons, trying everything that she knows just to get her to lift one skate off the ice for 5 seconds. She needs this skill to go on to the next set of lessons so it was really standing in her way.

Today while we were getting skates on, Becca and Amy were having some kind of conversation and Becca said "I *LOVE* chocolate ice cream!" Amy told her that if she did a 1 foot glide her mom would probably buy her chocolate ice cream. I agreed figuring she wouldn't do it and it wouldn't be any big deal. Not only did she do the 1 foot glide, she did it about 10 times. She then went on to put some really good effort into her crossovers, and I think she is on her way to perfecting that skill as well.

Sometimes it frightens me what that girl can accomplish when she decides the time is right.

Oh- I realize that she is eating a hot fudge sundae in the picture- that is what she thinks chocolate ice cream is. I have tried to convince her otherwise, but I decided it just isn't worth the battle at this point. :) Posted by Picasa

21 August 2006

I forgot to update Cameron's school week-

Cameron is not impressed with 3rd grade. I hope that he feels better about it soon. I think with all of the changes it will just take him a while to adjust. I think I am going to talk to his Doctor and with the school to see if we can get him on a 504 plan. The last time he was evaluated he scored 31% deficient in OT/PT, and standard for services is 33%. Asperger's is not considered a qualifying diagnosis for services, and I think his speech has improved enough to keep him out, although if we can get him with a speech diagnosis he would be eligible for OT/PT even though he doesn't qualify for that alone.

I have been very hesitant to offically label my child, particularly if the school district is not going to provide anything beneficial to him. The problem that we seem to have at this point is entirely related to timed testing. The math standard from last year was 30 problems in 90 seconds, first sums to 20 and then subtraction with 90% correct answers. In the previous years he was able to catch up but last year he never even made it through the addition requirement. He knows the answers, he just can't write them that fast. This year math standard starts at 50 addtion in 2 1/2 minutes but I know that they will be on multiplication by the end of the first quarter. They did a practice test of addition, and in 4 mintues he completed all 50 with 100% correct, plus had time to work more complex problems that she had hand written on the board. Subtraction he was still unable to finish, but he did get 40 done wtih 100% of those correct. He did finish the other 10 after the timer turned off. You can see the same problems with his other standardized tests. It just takes him longer to write things.

Apparently you can only get an IEP if the school district is giving services, but you can get a 504 plan when the school is making some consessions to benefit the student (such as time and a half on testing and typed instead of hand written assignments)but no services are involved. He has another Doctor's appointment in a couple of weeks, and I will be contacting his teacher this week to see what she thinks is the best course of action. I just worry that if he starts off the year behind we will really be in a pickle by Christmas.

Welcome to the Wildlife Preserve

I live in the suburbs with 600 houses in my neighborhood- when did I enter a wildlife preserve? In addition to my lovely spider friend (who now has some competition- I thought I was going to see a spider throwdown the other night when a smaller spider ventured onto his web. It was very interesting to watch the way that spider protected his space.) We now have 3 monarch butterfly caterpillars living in an apple juice container on my mantle. When we were outside Friday night David pulled a weed that was growing up the side of our house. the 3 caterpillars were on the underside of the weed- which we now know is a variety of milkweed- and I just didn't have the heart to let them die. Actually they are very beautiful. They are blue and yellow striped and about 3 inches long. We think they are very close to spinning cocoons, but I am starting to wonder. Those things eat an insane amount of milkweed, and what we have is almost gone. In about an hour Saturday night one caterpillar ate a leaf that was a little longer than he was and 3 times as wide. Eric Carle knew what he was talking about when he wrote the Very Hungry Caterpillar! Hopefully there will be updates to their progress.....

When I walked Cameron to his bus this morning there were 2 wild turkeys running around in the yard across the street from me. If I had my camera I would have taken pictures of them. I have never seen wild turkeys before. Let's just say they aren't as cute as monarch butterfly caterpillars.

Last night I went to Starlight to see Rent. It was a fun hockey moms night out. We had decided to meet up at the ice rink and after the show we went back there to get our cars. There we *9* deer in the parking lot. I am a little phobic of deer since the one plowed into the side of David's car a couple of years ago, but it still was neat to see.

Rent was wonderful! We met early and took a tour of Starlight Theater. One of the fundraising directors has a son who plays hockey so we got to go on the donor tour instead of the 15 minute one. It was amazing- not to mention they fed us! We got to see all of Starlight's new construction since 2000, plus we got to go backstage and see (although we didn't get to meet) some of the cast. I even met the BMOC- Bob Rohlf! Yeah, they hit us up for money, but that was a minor detail :). The cast was fabulous and I enjoyed it much more than when I went to see it in 2002. The only thing missing was that idiot Fred Phelps. I guess he has bigger fish to fry now.

We spent most of Saturday cleaning out Becca's room. We hung her pet net and got all her stuffed animals off the floor, and cleaned out all of the baby toys. She is no longer in diapers, and I can barely get her to drink out of a sippy cup anymore. I guess I need to face the fact that she is growing up.

I have a goal of deep cleaning the living room this morning before I head off to gymnastics, so I'd better get moving!

16 August 2006

The first day!

Well, today was the day we have all been waiting for- the first day at our new school! Cameron rode the bus to school this morning and she was early! I only had to make one trip to school this morning because their lunch payment system was down and I needed to take lunch money to school. I love the layout of the new school- they have double doors and the second set of doors is locked so no one can get in without having to go through the office.

I kept myself busy while Cameron was at school with a trip to Costco and our annual first day of school lunch with friends. The day went way too fast and before I knew it I had to go pick Cameron up.

The pick up line was a nightmare! They let the kids out of school 10 minutes late and even though the principal tried to keep it organized it was still a mess. I started out about 15 cars back in line and it took almost 25 minutes to get out of the circle drive in front of the school.

Cameron really hasn't had much to say about his first day yet. Hopefully he will open up more about it by the end of the night. He has a little bit of homework, but nothing too bad.

All in all, I think it was a pretty good first day. Posted by Picasa

14 August 2006

Back to school night

Tonight was our first trip into the new elementary school. We packed and labeled all of the supplies, sharpened the pencils, and headed to school. It was really wierd to go to the new school. Ridgeview was a 2 level school, and this one is all on one level so it seems huge. It really is a beautiful school, although they haven't laid any sod yet so I hope it doesn't rain soon. We have quite a bit of playground equipment that I wasn't expecting. (the other elementary schools in the district haven't opened with anything at all) We have tether ball polls, swings, slides, and a basketball hoop.

Cameron's teacher seems very nice. I have heard really good things about her and we are excited to start a new year. There are a lot of boys that Cameron knows in his class, and a few that he had to his birthday party in June, so at least he is starting with familiar faces. He is very nervous about starting a new year, but hopefully after a couple of days he will be in the swing of things.

We've bought our spirt wear t-shirts, joined the PTA, and dropped off our supplies. I think we have done everything that we need to do to start school. Only 2 more sleeps until the first day. Posted by Picasa

11 August 2006

Gearing up for the weekend!

We went to open gym this morning, the last opportunity that Cameron will have to go for a while. We met some friends there and played for a good 2 hours. It was fun to watch the kids run and play for fun at the gym instead of following the rules for classtime. After open gym we went to lunch with Rachel and her girls, and then headed off for a back to school haircut for Cameron and some clothes shopping.

The big purchase of the day was... A denim jacket circa 1985. Cameron just had to have it. I think it might even be stonewashed! It is so funny for me to see him wearing it. He seems so big to me- I think we are about to move out of the little boy sizes. I bought size 8 shirts for him to wear this fall.

The plan for tonight was supposed to be Papa Murphy's pizza, but I think we are going to have to take some of the clothes back to Old Navy. We may have to head out to the mall- darn! Cameron and Becca will celebrate the last offical weekend of summer with a sleepover and Grandma and Grandpa D's house tomorrow and then we will have a family dinner on Sunday.

I can't believe that Monday is back to school night! Only 5 more days until school starts!!

09 August 2006

Just another day and some skating pictures.

I thought I would post a couple of pictures from skating yesterday. The first 2 are the beginning and end of Becca's backward swizzle (toes kiss, heels kiss, push with your legs) and then one with Coach Amy trying to get that ever elusive 1 foot glide! Becca told me last night that she couldn't go to group lessons because she wasn't tall enough-she is definitely one of the youngest in the class so I guess that really sticks out to her.

Today was a pretty lazy day- we went to gymnastics this afternoon and then came home and played Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders. We don't even have anything going on tonight. I think I might make a run to the grocery store all by myself for a change.

It was funny to watch Becca at gymnastics today. They were running an obstacle course where they did 3 forward rolls, crawled under a tunnel, did a cartwheel and
jumped onto a mat. I don't really think of Becca as fast, but she had the fastest time of the day at 15 seconds. The coach was trying to get the girls to beat their previous time, but I am pretty sure Becca doesn't understand what that really means. She is pretty competitive though. Most of all, she really likes to be first- first in a race, first in line- always first.

Poor Cameron is wound tight as can be with the start of school next week. He is upset and scared and his behavior has really gotten to be quite a handful. The saddest part to me is that I don't think he even understands why he feels the way he does. He seems so helpless to try and control it. Right now it is a daily struggle for him. He should really come around by labor day or so. We did run into a little boy today that is going to be in his class, so at least he is going to have a familiar face there.

I guess it is time to start dinner- spaghetti again. If I let Cameron pick he chooses it everytime. One of these days
I will get smart enough to quit asking! Posted by Picasa

08 August 2006

Good Bye Ridgeview

We made our last trip to Ridgeview today. I took tons of pictures of Cameron with his old teachers and some of the office personnel before we left. Here he is with Nick on the front of the school.

I have many wonderful memories of this school. All of the students at Cameron's new school will be former Ridgeview students, and about half of the teachers will come with us so I know that we will bring many of the wonderful Ridgeview traditions.

We have had such a wonderful experience at Ridgeview and I was lucky to have my son at such a great school. Posted by Picasa

Our last library day.

I can't believe that the summer has gone so fast. Every Tuesday the school library is open for 2 hours and we have gone almost every week this summer. Today is the last day since next Tuesday is the day before school starts. We have our backpacks and most of our supplies.

We got both of our school letters in the mail yesterday. Cameron got the teacher that I had hoped he would get, I have heard wonderful things about her. We also got a map of the new school (and from the looks of the map we will definitely need it!) and I love the way it is laid out. Cameron will be down the red hallway in the 2nd/3rd grade pod- each pod has it's own set of restrooms and a small common area with classrooms surrounding it. We get to see the school for the first time on Monday night when we meet his teacher.

Becca will have 2 teachers- with that girl it is always good to have reinforcements. We will meet her teachers on August 31 and she starts school September 5. She has a small school supply list for us to purchase, I think we will go do that this weekend. She is so excited about going to school.

We are really counting the days until school starts now. We are having a family meeting to organize our schedules and set up the school year ground rules on Sunday night. Hopefully we will have a smooth transition to the new schedule!

07 August 2006

What a weekend!

It was a quick but fun weekend at our house. For the first time ever Cameron went camping. He and David took the tent and sleeping bags and met up with Matt and the kids for a fun overnight at the Lake. They went swimming, made hot dogs and smores on the fire, and ended up sitting in the van in the air conditioning for a little while since it was so hot. Even though Cameron was scared to sleep outside he wants to go again. Maybe in September when it gets a bit cooler out.

I got to scrapbook all day long Saturday. My favorite scrapbook store has a 14 hour crop once
a quarter so Beth and I headed out for a day of fun! I didn't get much done (I never do) but we had a great time.

While I was off, Becca got to spend a fun day with Grandma and Grandpa D. They ran to the grocery store and went to Culver's for lunch. Culver's is Becca's favorite lunch place- this week. I think she likes it because her meal comes with frozen custard. Saturday night she entertained Grandma and Grandpa by dancing to the music of Spamalot and doing rocket jumps (backwards with your hands pointed to the sky) off the couch and onto the air matress on the floor. It is nice to see her jumping on someone else's furniture for a change.

Sunday we went to cousin Andrew's birthday party. He was turning 3 and is cute as can be. He got lots of neat presents and we all loved his Thomas the Tank Engine cake! After that we met up with Matt, Stephanie, and the kids at Grandma and Grandpa D's for dinner. Matt usually works on the weekends, so we have really been taking advantage of the past couple of weeks that he has been off.

Cameron is actually off playing with a friend for the afternoon and Becca is sleeping so I have a quiet house right now! YAY!! School starts a week from Wednesday- I can't believe how fast summer has gone. Cameron's new school looks almost finished and we should get the letter that tells us who his new teacher is in the next couple of days! I think the week after that we should be getting Becca's preschool letter and getting ready to go to meet the teacher night with her!

I'm off to celebrate what little time we have left of summer! Posted by Picasa

03 August 2006

Another Week, another T-bones game

This week the trip to the T-Bones was the last big fling for David's office. With the office closing, there won't be enough people left at Christmas to have a party then, so they had a big party in the summer I guess. It was so hot out and the breeze was blocked by the stadium. We decided to leave after the 4th inning because a big storm was rolling in, and about the time we got to our car the wind really started to pick up. Both of the kids are scared of lightening so it was a fun drive home!

We have a big fun day planned- swimming with Emma and Tommy, and then I think we are going to celebrate a week of no potty accidents at Libby Lu. Posted by Picasa

01 August 2006

I have turned into my mother

Not that it's a bad thing of course. I was lucky to have a mother that was my best friend for 24 years of my life. She was close to my girlfriends, and in general a wonderful person to be around. However, as a child, I would see her sacrifice everything for my brother and I. When I was a teenager I made a vow to put myself first, to put my wants before my kids wants.

Then I encountered this skating dress.

Becca loved it. And it looks sooo cute on her. It's polka dottie and fun- just like her personality. I told myself that she's growing and her dresses are starting to get a bit snug. It has room to grow and she will be able to wear it for a while. In no time at all I had plunked down most of my birthday money for it. Then of course she wanted to stay for group lessons- there went the rest of the birthday money!

Someday I will get that hall tree that I am saving up for. Posted by Picasa

Another year older

Yesterday was my birthday. I am not sure how I feel about that. It just isn't quite as exciting as it was when I was a kid, and I am not quite to the point of just being thankful to have made it another year. David took a vacation day and we got to spend time together as a family. We had birthday cake for breakfast and the kids were thrilled. That was seriously the best tradition I have ever started. David got to see Becca at gymnastics and she put on quite a show for him.

We had dinner at David's parents and I made Jerk Pork tenderloin, roasted red potatoes, and green beans with almonds. It didn't quite all go together, but the food was pretty good. It was nice that everyone could be together. After dinner the adults played Scene-It (and the girls won because WE RULE) and then had cake from Coldstone. Really, it was a pretty great day!