Monday, September 10, 2012

The fall season.

As much as we enjoy relaxing... I don't think we really know how. Err wait... maybe we just don't give ourselves the chance. But it's okay... we like to be busy.

And that is what fall brings. School. Homework. Therapy. Sports... practices and games. From mid August through the beginning of November... we have somewhere to be

Mason plays travel baseball... which means they play year round. And Kyle coaches... so that keeps us very busy. Lucky for Mason... his sisters love to be at the baseball fields. And our fall season is in full swing.


The downfall to travel ball is that if you ever want to play another sport... you have to double up. And Mason wants to play tackle football... making our fall season a little crazy.

Football has been kind of crazy for us this year... in order to keep Mason at the ankle biter level playing with his peers, he had to lose 4-5 pounds. Enter a whole new side to parenting that you never thought you would find yourself discussing with your eight year old. But he did it... mostly by cutting out all liquids but water... and eating lots of lean meats, rather than his mac-n-cheese staple. I gotta say... I was a whole lotta proud of him for making weight... I was a whole lotta nervous for him.

And maybe I'm just a hormonal pregnant woman... and maybe it is just normal... but Mason is so grown up. Yes, he is eight. But watching him on the football field the other night just made me so emotional. Sigh. My baby.

Mason tackling his opponent.

He is so proud of himself when he tackles his opponents. His first couple seasons of tackle football... well, it took him awhile to get the nerve to actually tackle the other team. This year... he is a tackling machine. Now this momma is just praying he doesn't get hurt. We have already lost one little boy on his team this season to a broken arm... I'm so not ready for that to happen.

Payton and Nika are playing football and cheerleading, respectively, through a local Champion football league for kids with special needs. It is run by the football players and cheerleaders at a local high school... and I have to say, I was so impressed with how good they were with the kids and how they just accepted them for who they are.


Payton had so much fun hanging out with the high school kids and playing football... she won over one particular cheerleader and several of the football players. The guys kept letting her tackle them and she would lay across their backs. When they lifted their heads to try to get up... she slammed their heads back to the ground. It was pretty funny.


She ganked a headband that belonged to the cheerleader... my Rambo girl.


Nika is so the girl that likes to watch and take her environment in... especially in places that are new to her. She mostly did just that at cheerleading... until they gave her that one-on-one time that she so craves.


Her little uniform swallowed her body just about whole.


Over the summer, Payton kept asking when it was her turn to go to baseball... since we spent so much time at the baseball fields with her brother. She would lug her little pink baseball bag around the house and get so excited at the thought of being able to play... so we knew we had to sign her up to play again.


She is hilarious. And clearly I am biased... but whatever. Her thang this season is sliding into home plate... although mostly it consists of her getting to the plate and purposely plopping down on her butt.


Where does she come up with this stuff? As long as she is having fun, right?

That she is... that she is.


Love her and her zest for life... even if she gets annoyed with my camera.


Alright... night night... my shows are on. Ha.

The sky at football the other night... the storm cleared out and the sun set.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First day.


The first day of school has come and gone... and I didn't even cry. A shock, I know. Last year I was a hot mess trudging into the unknown with Payton going to kindergarten. This year, I knew exactly what to expect and it was easy peasy sending the girls to school. And poor Mason... I say girls because it is with their special needs that all my anxiety over school comes.

Nika started kindergarten.


I was talking to a friend last night and she told me she was a hot mess yesterday morning thinking not so much about Nika going to kindergarten... but rather the amazing opportunities Nika has been given in life, versus rotting away in a Russian orphanage. She said she kept thinking about where Nika would be today if we hadn't adopted her... and she is so right. It is this very thing that also sends my emotions into overdrive.

But sending her to kindergarten... I have actually been so excited for her to start and follow in her sister's footsteps. She had an amazing foundation to her education built by her equally amazing preschool teachers... and I know she can rock this. I just know it.

Her placement... Nika is in a full-day kindergarten classroom with about 24 or so typical peers. She receives push-in classroom support from her resource teacher for 30 minutes per day (typically during literacy centers and writing) and 45 minutes of pull-out support to work 1:1 on her IEP goals. She also will be getting speech and occupational therapy at school, but I have not received the specifics of that yet.

I was up at the school yesterday morning helping unload buses and I peeked in Nika's classroom before I left the school... this was within the first 10-15 minutes of the school day. Most every kid in the class was sitting in their chair coloring, while their teacher calmed a distraught child. Nika, however, was sitting on the floor right behind her chair. I had to laugh and went in to help, because I am pretty sure it is not on Nika's radar that she even has her own seat to sit in. Until she is physically shown the routine of her classroom, it will take her a minute to get comfortable. No worries here... she will get it.

A note about her day... We have been focusing on classroom routines and schedules in class.  She seems very confident, happy, and interested in participating in the classroom activities.  She enjoyed interacting with her peers on the playground at recess and was very independent at lunch.

Short term goals to work on... Getting classroom routines down, staying in her carpet seat, keeping hands to herself and stay with the class during hall movement. We have a daily behavior and goal chart that we use... more on that later.

So we will see... praying she succeeds like I know she can.

And Payton... she started 1st grade.


Payton has been so excited to start school... as in, we had to refrain from saying the word school or she would run, get her backpack and proceed to beg to go to school. She loves it and I am really excited about her placement and the support she is getting.

Her placement... Payton is in a 1st grade classroom in general education with about 24 or so typical peers. She receives push-in classroom support from her resource teacher for 40 minutes per day (typically during morning routine, literacy centers and writing) and 60 minutes of pull-out support to work 1:1 on her IEP goals. She also will be getting speech at school, but I have not received the specifics of that yet.

A couple notes about her day... Payton has had a successful first day.  She has seemed happy and eager to attempt classroom activities.  She has done a great job of demonstrating classroom routines that she learned last year, such as unpacking independently, going through the lunch line to buy milk, and being a good role model in the hallway.  We have focused on classroom routines and behavior expectations in class today.

Payton has done tremendously! We will continue to practice classroom routines, etc. but I couldn't be happier with her progress already.

If I am being honest, there is one teeny weeny thing that makes my stomach churn and that is worrying about peer relationships. While Payton is very much loved at school... and so many of the kids totally get her... some do not. And 1st grade-mean-girl-syndrome is nasty... we experienced it already at orientation. I cried the ugly cry that night... and moved on, knowing that those very people are not who we need to focus on... it is those that accept her for who she is. Here is the thing... Payton may not care, but she knows when someone is treating her differently, or purposely trying to evade her. And for this momma to watch that happen... it ain't pretty. I am trying to get a buddy program implemented at our school... if you have one at your school, could you provide suggestions on how it works?

As a whole... super excited about this year for Payton. She grew so much last year in kindergarten and I know she will this year too.

And big brother Mason... started 3rd grade.

Poor Mason still had wet hair.

I know this is so cliche, and quite possibly I say this all the time... but how have we possibly arrived at the day that Mason has started 3rd grade? It seriously boggles my mind and makes me a little sad.

I am so proud of this kid and sometimes I think I put too much pressure on him, especially when it comes to his sisters... yet he prevails every time. He has an amazing teacher this year and I am hoping that his desire to be the center of attention in class fades a bit. Ha. Right along side that... I know his compassion for others remains. And reading and writing... we are going to work hard on that to keep him on grade level.

His favorite subject at school... recess.
His least favorite subject at school... math.

This cracks me up... clearly he is not yet beyond the age where recess is the favorite. And his least favorite subject just so happens to be the one he excels in. Crazy kid.


When I look at these pictures of the kids loading the bus... my heart just swells. To most it looks like a typical picture of kids getting on a bus... but to me, this shows Mason taking his sisters under his wing. Oh how thankful I am for him to be their big brother... and to know he is there with them. Whether he is more interested in his own friends at this point... let's just pretend he is always watching out for the girls.

Happy trails...

Monday, September 3, 2012

School is here. Summer is over.

Something about starting a new school year gets me on my game. It is like a fresh start to get my crap together. School supplies have been delivered, paperwork is complete, backpacks are packed, lunches are made, outfits are laid out and the kids are tucked into bed. Let me have my moment to gloat... I am never this prepared... ever. Pretty much usually a hot mess, flying by the seat of my pants.

First day jitters are pretty much over the girls' heads... they leave that to their momma. Sigh. Mason is less than thrilled to go back to school, but is excited that his buddy from baseball is in his class... gives him something to look forward to and something to calm any nerves he might have.

Enjoying our last week of summer... Rambo joined us.

We read a little book that we got from Payton's teacher called Sweet Dreams before bed tonight...

The night before school is exciting and fun. There are always so many things to be done.

Your clothes are ready, your backpack is too. Your classroom is full of fun things you will do.

Lots of questions go through your mind, all types of thoughts of every kind.

But sometimes we all get the jitters down deep, and that makes it hard to fall fast asleep.

So I've made this magic confetti for you, full of promises for the whole year through.

On Monday night when you lay down your head, just sprinkle some under your pillow in bed.

The confetti will help you sleep through the night, and wake up in the morning fresh and bright.

I'll sprinkle the confetti under my pillow, too. Because I am so super excited to see you!

And yep, we sprinkled the confetti.


Maybe I should put some confetti under my pillow... it will make me sleep tonight, right? Praying everything goes well tomorrow... I can't believe Nika is starting kindergarten. Now I will have all day to relax get this house ready for some more babies.


The drive in. We had to drive an hour to get there and didn't get home until 1:00am, but is the drive in not a completely nostalgic thing you must share with your children? I reckon.


Gotta say... I was pretty impressed with this place, old or not. There was a huge grassy area in front of the screen for the kids to play... and there was a playground right there. We pulled in, pulled out our chairs and the kids could play.

Payton sitting on the top of the slide watching the movie.

I had to share a memory of mine with my kids that night... ahem. When my sister and I were younger, my parents told us we were going to the drive in one night. We were seriously ecstatic... like, pajamas on, pillows and blankets packed, popcorn and candy set, all piled in the car. So we drive around a bit... and we eventually drive in to our driveway, at which point our parents announce we had arrived... as they flashed the movie they had rented at us.

I'm not still bitter. Not at all.


It is hard to believe that summer is over... too many things on the summer bucket list did not get done. Clearly I had too many things on that list, because I feel like we never sat still.

Now... I'm so ready for fall and colder weather.

ps... I started feeling the babies move this week... eek!