Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Shrekin' Halloween!

This year's theme was an easy one. My kids are obsessed with Shrek. It's the first thing Mia asks when getting buckled in her car seat, "Shrek and Donkey?" hoping to be able to watch Shrek during the car ride.

The Shrek Family

Griffin--Puss 'n Boots


Morgan--Princess Fiona

Ryan--Lord Farquaad

Fairy Godmother


And the two kids that didn't want to participate in the Shrek family:

Hadley--football player

Jack--Mr. Monopoly

Trick-or-Treating fun!

California Adventure

We just got home from a fun-filled family vacation to Southern California. We were busy every day -- Sea World, Laguna Beach, Disneyland, California Adventure, and San Diego Wildlife Park. The kids (and parents) loved it and can't wait to go back!!

Sea World

Shipwreck Rapids

After the soak

Touching the bat rays at the forbidden reef

Starfish at the tide pool

The boys went on Atlantis

Leaving Sea World-- Morgan's sound asleep.

Laguna Beach
It was perfect weather and a beautiful beach. The kids could have stayed there for days and days. Jack and Ryan loved playing in the water and all the rest loved playing in the sand and feeding the sea gulls.

Disneyland is so much fun at Halloween with all the holiday decor and rides. But it also means the park gets really crowded with all the locals and tourists. We lucked out with having Morgan in our family--she got a disability pass that allowed us all to go right on the rides without having to wait. The pass requires that Morgan be on the ride in order to use it which meant Morgan went on A LOT of rides that she wasn't too excited about (the Matterhorn) but it helped the most with the rides that are so short but have the longest lines and no fast passes, like Dumbo.

Waiting at the exit line for Dumbo--Morgan & Griffin's favorite ride

Meeting Mickey Mouse!!

Morgan and Gavin enjoying the teacups!

California Adventure Park

We were so lucky to have nan and papa come join us for a few days of our vacation. Papa was very adventurous and went on all the rides with the boys. Nan was full of loves and treats for all of the kids and even went on a few of the rides!

Jack and Papa Jack

It's a Bug's life

Tower of Terror is my FAVorite ride. I laugh the entire ride!

Grizzly River Run

Pixar Parade--I had more fun watching Morgan than the parade. She kept trying to go out in the street to dance with the parade. She was dancing, singing, clapping, having the time of her life. The characters were all so cute with her and made sure to wave to her and some came over to give her high fives.

San Diego Wild Animal Park
We had just a few hours before our flight back home and made a quick trip to the park. We had time to see a few animals, feed the lorikeets, and pet some deer.

Now back to reality. Jack got the flu while we were on the trip and missed one of the days at Disneyland and now I have it. It seems everyone is getting it this year. Just a bummer it has to be over Halloween.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

October is . . .

Down syndrome awareness month (and it's also 'really busy month' at the Seal household). I have done a really crappy job of helping raise awareness this month. Hopefully I can get a few posts out before the month is over.

We met with Morgan's team a few weeks ago at her school. The special ed director from the district was amazing. I was prepared to fight and advocate for Morgan but didn't need to-- nothing to fight about. The team was incredibly positive and had only good things to say. I thanked the district lady for approving the aide for Morgan. She said it was a no-brainer. Life is inclusion. When Morgan grows up there won't be 2 separate communities--Down syndrome and typical. This is real life and she is right where she should be. Amen!

Her temporary aide, Kiersten (whom we adore!! She has a 16 year old sis with Ds and her husband has a 29 year old bro with Ds) was all tears as she thanked us for believing in Morgan and said over and over, "she is just so dang smart and I want everyone to be able to see it, like I do." Morgan will perform for her but no one else. She shuts down with her teacher and speech therapist. Her words, emotions and tears reminded me of my own. Trying to get Morgan to shine and perform in front of others instead of shutting down so everyone is able to see her amazing potential. This is the last week for Kiersten. The district hired a full-time aide for Morgan. And Morgan is not taking the transition well. I didn't think about the loss Morgan would go through when the full time aide was finally hired. Kiersten has been her best friend and security these past few months and she is starting to act out at school again and refuses to do things for the new aide. Hopefully things will improve as she gets more comfortable with the new aide.

During the meeting, her teacher and aide showed us the upcoming spelling tests for 1st grade. Mrs. D said that Morgan would be taking the regular spelling test and they were expecting her to know the words just like all the other students. I was pleased with their high expectations but also a little skeptical. We had never worked on spelling before, she's still learning how to write all the letters of the alphabet, and I just didn't know how it would work.

I couldn't stop smiling when I looked in her backpack and found her first spelling test. 16/20.
The note on the side says: " Heather and Gavin, This is the actual score Morgan got on her test. She is amazing. This is how we did her test . . . I had a small white board, I would write the word, she would read it, and then we spelled it twice together. Then I would turn the white board around and ask her to spell it again to me by herself. I wrote them just as she spelled them. She did awesome. I am so proud of her!"

So there you have it. My first grader is learning spelling just like she should be doing in first grade.

I would love ideas and comments of what has worked best for your child to learn how to spell. C'mon's time for your video!

Sunday, October 18, 2009