Monday, April 08, 2013

Whoa, hold your horses!

Yes, we are still alive! In fact, we moved to Texas summer of 2012. It's been a busy year settling into our new house, new school, new routines, etc. I did become 'one of those', by that I mean, those that stop blogging. I sure enjoyed it for a while but life is so much busier with 3 kids, a bird and a dog (our newest addition to our family).

This year, Olivia is finishing up 5th grade, Claire is finishing up 2nd grade and Nicholas is finishing up 1st grade. Olivia has been excited all year that she will go to junior high before her California BFFs! That is, until we attended information night at the junior high, she did not realize how big it was going to be at the junior high school.

While I was sad (as were the girls) to leave beautiful California, I was looking forward to the kids changing to a different school district with lots more resources. We live in a wonderful community with lots of friendly families and wonderful amenities. We live on a cul-de-sac again and the kids often play outside with neighbors.

 Nicholas struggled with the transition to 1st grade and a new school with lots more rules. The first several months of school were challenging for all of us. Fortunately we were finally able to get help and he has an IEP finally! He is getting more in class support this year with more accommodations. It is our hope we can reduce that and move to a 504 in the near future. His grades have gone up but he still struggles with reading and writing, but get this, he gets ESL support! I debated about what to put on the home language survey but ultimately, figured, what the heck, might as well write that English is his 3rd language. Well, it turns out he tested limited English proficient. Now, it could very well just be that he couldn't focus well on the questions due to his ADHD but he will get extra support through 2nd grade! Yay for our new school district! 

While this has been a good move for Nicholas, it has been hard for Claire since she is repeating 2nd grade. See, she started Kindergarten at age 4 in California where the cutoff for school is different. Although she is bright and mature for her age, we decided it would be best to 'hold her back' and repeat 2nd grade since she was still 7 and students here in 3rd grade would be 8 and 9. I'm thinking about the future too and what the age difference will mean during junior high, high school and into college. I don't think she would be ready to leave home at 17, especially as she has the most separation anxiety with me. I had hoped she would have a teacher that would challenge her this year but she has been really bored. I was disappointed the math program does not advance at the student's pace (meaning move up to higher math as students who need to learn more), however, her teacher has finally been giving her some extra work and Claire is happy to do the extra work.

 I think Olivia is having a good year, I think she has been the one to miss her friends in California the most. She is doing great in school although seems to be slacking a bit lately.

 As for me, I started selling Ava Anderson Non-Toxic ( we moved and I try to do that part time.  The kids and house and dog keep me busy most of the time.  I am looking forward to the summer when we make a few trips to spend time with friends and family.  I am looking forward to using our pool and our neighborhood pool and hanging out with the kids, making special trips to museums or the beach.

 San Jacinto Monument

 Houston Rodeo

 Exploring San Juan, Puerto Rico

 Snorkeling in Puerto Rico

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wow, where has the time gone?

We had a busy and wonderful summer. With it, there were camps, dance recitals and our trip to Texas. Everyone did really well until the last week (4th) when we all just wanted to be home. We traveled to Dallas, Austin and Houston visiting friends and family and museums. We enjoyed meeting some new friends who adopted children from Kazakhstan and our 'old' friends from childhood and college. We were on our trip from mid June to mid July so we could be back for Olivia's first overnight camp. She did great and we missed her but truthfully, it was a tad easier with just the 2 kids for that week.

I stressed all summer about Nicholas and who he would have for Kindergarten and how big would his class be. It turns out he has a wonderful, patient and understanding teacher. I was able to talk with her at length before the first day of school about Nicholas. I'm so proud of how well Nicholas is doing! The only goal he needs to work on is following directions and the teacher added 'sitting up at the carpet with feet on the ground'. He is right on target with all the academics and actually finds it easy. I am so glad we held him a year so he could mature and get used to rules, learn boundaries and work on self control. Academically he could have gone to Kindergarten last year as he is smart as a whip. As I look back, I see now that he was bored in preschool but at the same time it was good socially.

After the start of school, he is making friends. I never thought he would get along with his peers, according to his babyhouse in Kazakhstan, he didn't have friends and preferred to play alone. He has come so far in 2 years, he continues to amaze us. What a difference 2 years makes! He is still as full of energy as when we met him but he has calmed down. We have learned he is curious, he is loving and he is resilient.

At the end of summer,I was having a really rough time with Claire. I'm not sure if it was because of our unstructured schedule, being the middle child or what but things have improved especially after I signed her up for Tae Kwon Do at the same time as Nicholas. She was resistant to doing TKD but she enjoys going and I think it helps with her confidence and self esteem, issues that she always seems to struggle with. She is now in 2nd grade and is keeping up with class even though she is one of the youngest.

Olivia is doing well in school and is 9 going on 13, she has always been mature and independent. Now that she is in 4th grade her work load has increase. Fortunately we don't have to worry too much about her as long as she keeps up with all her work. She also is now taking 4 dance classes a week. She just enjoys these classes so much. She and Claire auditioned for the Nutcracker and received parts for this years production. They are excited despite all the rehearsals that are required.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

It's hard to keep up with this blog

I find so many other blogs much more interesting and I don't know if I have the heart or interest to keep this up.

I will try an update on the kids and our life. We had a wonderful spring this year. The kids have all been doing well in school (mostly the girls). Nicholas is sharp but has other issues which we haven't totally pinned down, I mean we have only known him for 2 years!

His counselor diagnosed him ADHD and an OT (occupational therapist) 'diagnosed' him with SPD (sensory processing disorder). I put that last one in quotes because it is not an official diagnosis in the diagnostic manual. He finished a social skills class called 'Dinosaur school' through the guidance clinic we go to and it was wonderful, it was based on 'The Incredible Years'. It made a huge difference for him in public situations, at home and at school. We also did a few sessions of OT which has helped us to figure out tools to help him. I have since read 'The Out of Sync Child' and similar books...great resources! To be truthful, we are missing a huge chunk of time with him and his early experiences were clearly deprived and not nurturing. We just can't put him in a box and we hope that he will not fall through the cracks in school.

Summer is here and with it, summer camps, dance rehearsals (and recitals), piano recitals and our BIG trip to Texas. I must be insane! The day after the girls' dance performance, we are hitting the road. We are driving to Texas for a 4 week vacation. You can see why I am insane, what am I thinking?! It will take us 3 days of easy driving (read 8 hours of driving while the kids ask 'how much longer' every 20 minutes) to reach Texas. Hubby will drive with us there...whew, thank goodness! He will spend part of the time with us but will have to fly back and work. He will fly back to drive with us back home.

Truly the kids are excellent travelers and it sure helps that we can have movies, games, snacks in the car. Our plan is to spend about a week in the Dallas area, then the kids and I will caravan down to Austin with friends where we will spend about 5 days. We will then return to Dallas for the 4th of July weekend, spend more time in Dallas and Fort Worth, then off to Houston for a long weekend. We will finish off the rest of our trip in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I will let you know if I survive!

After our BIG trip, the kids will start right away with VBS (Olivia), guitar camp(Claire) and summer preschool (Nicholas-3 weeks). Olivia will also be going to church camp for a week, exciting and nerve-wracking for me. Then it will just be a few more weeks till school starts.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

What's up!

I get on here dozens of times but just can't seem to find the right thing to post. I do want to update so no one thinks we fell off the face of the earth!

This week is turning out to be a beautiful spring-like week. We have been spending time outside. It's especially nice now that I recovered from a bad cold. It sucks being sick when you have 3 kiddos to take care of and shuttle around town. Thankfully hubby helped out some so I could try to rest.

Life in our house is good, occasionally there are some more difficult days, but isn't that normal? Sometimes we struggle with Claire's angst over being the middle child, we often hear "Nobody loves me" regardless of how often we tell her we love her very much. Sometimes we struggle with Olivia's need for growing independence. It's really hard to see your kid grow up and not need you as much but they need to learn some things on their own.

Lately, I've been reading "The Winter of our Disconnect...", that's right Disconnect and it's prompted me to start our own experiment. I decided the kids would not have any screen time during the school week, Monday through Thursday. This means no TV, no computer and no video games. I try not to watch TV till the kids are in bed. I have to say, it's been really nice, somehow the kids find something to do among our gazillion toys, games, art supplies, etc. They play together well and use their imagination. It even prompted the girls to become more interested in knitting (for a short time).

I can't leave out an update for Nicholas. He is doing well, some days really great and some days are more challenging. We've been seeing the dermatologist and the allergist quite a bit. He has been on a gluten free diet since the past summer due to some digestive issues, it seems he might have a gluten intolerance. We found out he is mildly allergic to many things so we had to put him on daily allergy medication and additional Benadryl when needed. He also has sensitive skin, has had eczema on his hands and his scalp. Since he has been home, we have been fighting with some warts on his hands. He had one on his palm but after continuing to put his hands in his mouth, they spread some on his hands and his face.

He recently finished his social skills class through the local child guidance clinic. He was diagnosed with ADHD so now we are working to get an IEP through the school hopefully. He is eager to learn but I can see he often has a difficult time focusing and staying on task and he is constantly on the move. We also saw an OT and it seems he could have SPD as well, that is sensory processing disorder. I'm currently reading 'The Out of Sync Child' to get some tips. I think he will do well with right kind of assistance.

Nicholas recently lost 2 teeth around the same time as Claire. He just learned to ride a 2-wheel bike and quickly caught on. He has also been able to build with Lego's really well. He can build a small set with just some prompting and some reminders to follow the instructions. It's amazing to remember how just a year and a half ago he could barely draw a scribble!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Key Largo, FL for winter holidays

We spent a couple of days in Key Largo, FL during the winter break. It was so nice to have family time together at a place that was relaxing.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Another Kaz meetup!

I forgot about meeting the Cech family for the 2nd time back in November. We met up at Fairytale Land in Sacramento. It was so nice because the girls had someone to play with too. It was so nice to talk to other parents going through similar issues. The kids all had fun and we got some great pictures.