Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thursday Thirteen 6/20/2013

1.  My daughter's acting teacher told me that she was made for acting and was pleased to learn that she was continuing on.  My daughter had to choose between cooking and acting class.  If was a difficult decision for her, as her favorite friend is in her cooking class and she REALLY likes hanging out with  him.

2.  That friend I mentioned in #1?  His name is Connor and my daughter really likes playing with him.  The first time she met him (he normally goes on a different day than she) she ran up to me and exclaimed that he was her new friend.  Later on that evening, after a meeting at the school, she cried (literally) that she was going to miss him.  Oh.  Em.  Gee.  Daaaraama!

3.  My daughter's preschool class went on a horseback riding field trip.  It was wonderful!  My daughter, with no fear, took to the horses immediately.  She really wants to go back.  I'm even considering enrolling both kids in their horseback camp coming in August!

4.  We attended a performance by the American Youth Symphony on April 28.  It was "Meet the Orchestra" performance allowing those who have never been to a concert to learn the components of the orchestra.  It was a delightful concert and one that we would attend again.

5.  My daughter's preschool had their annual fundraiser titled "Spring Fun Drum".  There was food, music, a silent auction, crafts and games open to everyone, not just the school families.  I worked the sack race and the bean bag toss.  We won a basket full of Italian goodies as well as a gorgeous hand-painted table for my daughter's elegant tea parties.  We wanted to stay longer but we had to move on to #6.

6.  After the Spring Fun Drum we made our way to my daughter's end of the year celebration for her Classical Conversation class.  It was a potluck in the park, and the weather was perfect.  Although we started halfway into the Classical Conversation year, my daughter picked up on it quickly and can't wait for the new year to start.

7.  My son had is annual IEP.  It went relatively well.  Some services have been cut, but we saw those coming and were willing to let those go.  Otherwise, he's getting what he needs and we're thankful for that.  We're thankful for the progress that he is making and that those are the reasons for the services being cut.  That's always great news!

8.  We've been up in the air about what to do education wise for both kids, considering both their special needs and the fact that my son's IEP indicated that he still needs help in areas that I can't cover.  I had been praying about it and was ready to purchase a home school curriculum for both kids when I decided to check my email.  Now, up until this point, GOD had not given me any indication what to do, which is why I was going with the plan of homeschooling both kids.  Everything was in my virtual cart; one click away from being purchased.  That is, until I saw an email letting me know that my son got into one of the schools we had applied for.  GOD works in His own timing and in His own way.  The other marvelous thing about this is that the lottery for this particular school wasn't even supposed to happen yet and we weren't supposed to get ANY news about it for at least another week.  It turned out that there was no need for a lottery and if you applied, you got in!  Praise be to GOD!

9.  On May 16 my brother graduated and is now a Doctor of Physical Therapy!  My parents and one sibling came to watch and celebrate.  We're all very proud of him.

10.  On that same day, May 16, my daughter's preschool held a Mother's Day Tea event.  It was very, very sweet.  The moms were asked to dress up in their fanciest tea attire and the kids made tea sandwiches and served us.  My daughter asked me to bring a dress for her so that she would be in appropriate tea party attire.  I didn't have any of the tea sandwiches (no Paleo menu available), but my daughter and I enjoyed a spot of tea in our pink teacups purchased just for the occasion.

11.  As this is my daughter's last year of preschool she, and other students moving on, had a Moving On Celebration and party.  It was very cute.  The kids sang a couple of songs.  The teacher said something about each individual child and then each child went over a wall to their parent as a sign of growth.  It was, of course, bittersweet.  My baby girl is growing.

12.  For Father's Day, my daughter's school held a brunch feast for all the dads.  On Father's Day, after church, we all enjoyed a nice lunch at Yard House.  It was pretty good.  My husband got to try a few different beers and we all shared a giant s'mores brownie!

13.  Last, but not least, was my son's culmination.  The week of events began with an ice cream social, an autograph party, a class party and then the culmination.  It was a very busy week, as I volunteered for a couple of events and had other errands to complete before the Friday culmination.  Whew!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Congratulations to my (always be my baby) Boy!

Today my son will graduate from the 5th grade.  By the time you read this I will be sitting in the auditorium, watching as each nervous 5th grader walks in while cameras are flashing and parents are cheering.  I will be holding back my tears, as I am now while writing this.  My daughter will ask me if my tears are tears of joy and I will reply with a yes.

I have mixed emotions about my son moving on to Middle School, as most parents, but I have a little extra to deal with because of his special needs.

First and foremost, I am so very proud of him.  Proud of the progress he's made over the years.  Proud of how much effort he puts into things, especially things he really enjoys.  Proud of the things he's accomplished when we weren't sure he would.  Cursive handwriting, for example.  Most kids with my son's syndrome struggle with it.  My son writes in cursive every chance he gets.  He still needs to practice, but he's determined to get it right.  He's a perfectionist when it comes to spelling.  He used to get upset when he got 19 out of 20 correct on a spelling test; having a full meltdown for missing that one word.  He doesn't do that anymore.  Progress.  He has his multiplication table up to 10 memorized and will continue to memorize up to 20.  He loves basketball and plays every single day in our backyard.  There is progress everywhere; strengths and weakness all over the place, but that's how we're all made.  We all strive for progress.

I am anxious.  I was planning on homeschooling both of them, but after a meeting at his school we learned that he would still require some therapy.  I can educate my children, however I cannot be a speech or occupational therapist.  We were concerned that he would miss out on those services, thus I prayed and asked God to place my son where He thought best.  The day I was ready to purchase their curriculum I received an email letting me know that my son had gotten into a new Charter school.  Thank you, Lord.  Still, I'm anxious.  Have I done enough?  Have I thoroughly prepared him for this next step; for this new adventure?  I trust that God put my son in the right place and have to remind myself that ultimately, he is in God's hands and God is enough.

I'm sad.  My son will always be my baby.  Always.  I just can't believe that he will be starting Middle School.  It's gone by way too fast.  I remember when he was in preschool and how tiny he was.  I remember him using sign language during song time.  I remember how he struggled in Kindergarten, when we didn't know he would need someone with him constantly, thus he didn't have a one on one.  He had a hard time staying focused and on task with the larger classroom despite the fact that he had been in an early intervention program (which had a preschool setting and very set schedules) since he was 18 months old and then in a special needs preschool starting at age 3.  Still, he thrived and grew and continued to make progress.  I wish time would slow just a bit, but we're all moving forward.

I will sit and watch as he makes his one minute speech, thanking all those who have been so supportive of not just him, but of us, all these years.  He was blessed with teachers who were patient and took the time to really understand him.  They saw and appreciated his positive attitude while working with his vulnerabilities.  He was given behaviorists who stepped in to guide him throughout his entire school day and to watch over him as I would if I could.  We were blessed with an IEP team that made every annual meeting easy, even though I was always armed and ready for battle.  Every year during those meetings I've been reminded that God is in our corner.

My chest will swell with pride as I choke back tears and watch him finish his speech and take a bow as he always does when he receives applause.  He will smile and get a thumbs up from us.  And as I sit and watch the rest of the culmination I will wonder where the time has gone.  I will look at my son and cherish this milestone.  I will pray, as I have every day since he was born, that God be with him, guide him and protect him.

Though life can be a rolling coaster, with its unseen curves, uphill battles and thrilling plummets, I am blessed and honored that God chose me to be his mom and that I get to come along for the ride!