Thursday, May 27, 2010

Citizen of the Month


A different value was represented each month for the citizen of the month. Last year every student was the citizen of the month. They wanted to make it more meaningful this year and only one student per class would be chosen every month. Hadley was getting nervous as the months passed, wondering if she would ever be chosen. Telling me how she was so close to getting "Gratitude" but then another student said 'Thank You' two more times than she did that month. She was so happy when she found out she was the Citizen of the Month for March. The value was cooperation. I had no doubt she would be chosen as the citizen of the month. She loves school and is an excellent student and friend.

This is what her teacher said about Hadley :

"Whenever we do any group projects, she helps her group to cooperate and stay focused on the assignment. If there is ever a disagreement, Hadley helps her group solve the problem. She is a leader in our classroom. She treats everyone with kindness and respect. She always listens and follows directions. And I can always count on Hadley to always be on task and to work well with anyone. Thank you, Hadley!"

My dancing (and soccer) girl

Hadley decided to switch things up this year and try something new. She gave up ballet for jazz; gave up basketball for soccer; and gave up piano for my sanity (she gets to try again in the fall, but only if she promises a better attitude!).

She loved the change in dance. It was more mellow than the last few years of ballet. Once a week compared to two times, she got to go with 3 of her friends and a dance teacher she loved. This is a note from her teacher:

I wanted you to know that Hadley is the best one in my class. She works hard and it definitely shows in how much she's improved from the beginning of the year. She always pays attention and is the kind of student every teacher loves to have in class!


She had her dance recital last week. Her costume came with specific hair and make-up directions. Hair parted on the left in a low pony-tail. Eyes with purple eye shadow, mascara, heavy blush, and light lipstick. Hadley had so much fun with the make-up. It made me a little sad to realize how quickly she's growing up and she'll be wearing make-up, just for everyday getting ready stuff, before I know it! She loved looking at her eyes and kept saying, "I look so different!"

Brinley, Megan, Adi and Hadley

Grandma and Grandpa

"Enchanted" Dance

Dinner at Gepetto's after the recital

Hadley was excited to try soccer this year. But once it started, she was second guessing her decision. She was nervous out on the field and insecure around all of her teammates who had all played soccer for several years. Even though it wasn't her favorite thing, she played soccer all fall and improved a lot. But when the spring season rolled around, she didn't want to have a thing to do with it. She had a full blown 9 year old temper tantrum on the ride up to her first spring practice. I had to drag her out of the car, kicking and screaming, to her practice. And had to run back to the car faster than she did so she couldn't get back in. After the practice was over we talked about what it means to sign up to be on a team, how the team is depending on her and that there is no backing out until the season is over. She didn't have to sign up again but had to finish out the current season. And that her attitude would determine everything. It could be fun but it would all depend on her attitude. That was the last of the temper tantrums. She developed the confidence that she needed and became a great soccer player. And guess who asked if she could sign up for soccer again next season?

University of Learning Graduation

U of Learning is a 5th grade program at our school. The students work on earning college degrees all throughout the year. Hours of research, posters, key point presentations, oral reports, service hours. The idea is to help get the students thinking about college now and set goals to one day become a college graduate. It's a great idea! They could earn several different degrees depending on how much work they did-- Technical, Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate. Ryan never asked for any help and did everything all on his own. That might be why he only earned his Associate's Degree. Cute kid! Only 2 students earned their Ph.D --both girls. Maybe that can be Ryan's ticket to success.

Ryan and Tate--both earned their Associate's Degree

Egg Drop

It's that time of year. . . end of school year activities. Today was the annual egg drop. All of the students think of some sort of contraption to hold their raw egg with the hopes it won't break when thrown off the roof of the school. I admit that I don't enjoy this activity as much as I should and don't let my kids be as imaginative as they could be. I usually come up with some easy idea and have all of my kids do the same thing. This year's idea? Putting the egg inside a cut up swimming noodle and wrapping it with duct tape. It took about 5-10 minutes to do all three of them this morning before school, which I consider a huge success.

Ryan and his friends
Outside waiting for the egg drop to begin



Morgan's egg was the first one to be thrown off the roof. I saw yellow shoot out of Morgan's egg contraption as it hit the ground. It wasn't looking good for her egg. I gave Hadley and Ryan a little warning that their eggs may not make it based on how Morgan's egg did.

Morgan's noodle with egg yolk dripping out

Morgan doesn't usually care too much about this stuff but she was MAD! Not sure if she was mad about the egg breaking or the mess it made when she tried to pick it up. Egg yolk on her hands and in her hair. She threw the noodle and refused to hold it for the picture.

Morgan checking out the egg mess

Hadley's egg survived.

And so did Ryan's egg.

2 out of 3 isn't too bad even if Morgan would've liked 3 out of 3.

The teachers do not lightly throw the eggs off of the roof. The students love it! Eggs and watermelons!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

More alike than different

It's hard to believe that it's almost been one year since we were worried and nervous about Morgan's school placement for first grade. This school year has flown by and I feel confident we made the right decision for Morgan. It has been an amazing year! She was extremely lucky to get a teacher who was willing and excited to have a student with special needs; an aide with energy, patience and love for Morgan; and her very first best friend, Gracey.

I worried about Morgan being accepted and a part of the classroom but one of the most incredible things for me as a parent has been being able to watch friendships develop where those differences and challenges don't seem to matter to the other person. I've written about Gracey in other posts. She and Morgan are in the same first grade classroom. Gracey took an immediate interest in Morgan and they instantly became best friends. We had a scare a few weeks into the school year. Gracey moved far away from our school and we didn't think she was going to be able to keep coming to our school. I was so upset. It didn't seem fair. Morgan had finally found a friend who really cared and loved her and she was going to have to lose her. I cried and cried and cried. Not knowing what any of us (Morgan, me, aide, and teacher) would do without Gracey. The sweetest thing was that Gracey didn't care about changing schools only worried and upset about who would take care of Morgan. She knew Morgan needed her. We were so happy when they figured out a way to keep Gracey at our school.

She has been extremely helpful in the classroom. When Morgan doesn't want to do something for her teacher or aide, they know they can count on Gracey to get her to do it. But she has also been helpful out of the classroom. Things you don't think about with your other kids, but extracurricular activities are more difficult with Morgan. We have a hard time keeping track of her with the other 5 kids and usually choose to just stay home instead of going and chasing her around the entire time. Our school had a 'Family Skate Night' and we decided to go and be brave. Right when we walked inside the building, Gracey ran up to us and took Morgan's hand and asked her if she wanted to ride scooters together. "Sure!" Morgan and Gracey rode scooters the entire night. She's also helped at the school fundraiser, dinner at Sonic, playing on the playground, etc.

Riding scooters together

Gracey and Morgan at the school program

It was a school program for 3 grades (1st-3rd grade) but watching Morgan perform surrounded by her peers made it the program all about inclusion and acceptance for me. We were so proud watching her perform. It felt like our own personal victory.

It's not easy to work with Morgan. She's been known to be a tad stubborn and obstinate from time to time. We were all so lucky to get McKenna as her aide. When trying to decide between the special needs cluster classroom and full inclusion, I was told full inclusion would be better for Morgan socially but the cluster classroom would be better for her academically. I'm not so sure I agree. Morgan has done so well academically this year with McKenna. She's doing addition with manipulatives, counting by 5's and 10's, reading on an E Level (started the school year on C), taking spelling tests, writing all of her letters and numbers (she could only write the M-O-R-G-A-N at the beginning of the year).

McKenna and Morgan.
McKenna is moving back home, out of state, and won't be Morgan's aide next year. We are going to miss her so very much (such an understatement)!

Morgan brings home a new reading book each day from school. "My Messy Rooom" is the book she is currently working on.

It takes Morgan a long time to read a book. She is easily distracted by, well, anything really. I wanted to video her reading so I could remember what she was doing in first grade. I'm so impressed with the progress she has made since last year. She was able to read flash cards and beginning books. It took her almost a week to learn a new book and be able to pass it off. She is now able to read her books the day she comes home from school and take it back for a new book the next day. Here's a little sample (okay, not so little, more like 7 minutes) of her reading. I tried to edit out the distractions and pauses and it still took 7 minutes.

It may not sound like very big accomplishments to some but it is HUGE to us! We can see her progressing and that is reason enough for us to celebrate! She still has a lot of room for improvement. Socially, she still bullies any child who is smaller than she is. Behaviorally, she has a hard time controlling her excitement and yells and/or makes weird noises. Toilet training, after 15 months I'm almost ready to go back to pull ups, but I won't. Hopefully all of those things will improve with some more time too.

And the best thing about having Morgan in the neighborhood school??? Becoming a local celebrity -- both of us. We can't walk into a supermarket, library, church without some unknown child saying, " Hi Morgan!!!" or "Hi Morgan's mom!" And Morgan always knows their name and says Hi and sometimes adds, "How's school?"

Here's one last video. This was on tv a few weeks ago and I thought it was worth re-posting.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Planetarium Field Trip

I got to go with Hadley on her field trip to the Planetarium yesterday. I love going on field trips and seeing my kids interact with their school friends and teacher. And I enjoy being able to spend that time together. She is a great friend and student.

We learned all about the planets, moon phases, weather and watched a movie in the dome theater.

Pretending to walk on the moon

Standing in front of the weather map

TV weathermen

We ended the field trip with a stop at the park for lunch.
It was a wonderful morning.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Picnic at the Farm

yummy sandwiches

wagon rides

old wagons

feeding the baby goats


always able to find some sort of weapon

morgan couldn't get enough of the horses

duck pond with dad

Giving hugs to random, non-English speaking, toddlers

Cute duckling fuzz and a fiesty mama

Friday, May 14, 2010

Parents Lunch

It was 'parents lunch' for Morgan's grade at school today. We checked out Ryan and Hadley on their parent lunch day and took them OUT to lunch instead of eating the school cafeteria food. But didn't talk about doing that for Morgan. I was pleasantly surprised when we ordered teriyaki rice bowls and not only got something edible but yummy. Jamie Oliver would be so proud! Look at all that green! Broccoli, carrots, rice, fruit, jello, whole wheat bun. We got a new school district this year that promised healthier lunches and I'd say they're doing a great job!

Daddy and Morgan

Morgan with her bff--Gracey. Out on the playground

And of course we were there too. Just not as photogenic.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why I love Thursdays

My absolute favorite treat/addiction
Tapioca/Boba/Bubble Tea

with good friends

Getting Vietnamese take out

Pho Soup

BBQ Pork with egg rolls and vermicilli noodles

And then hanging out together til the late hours of the night watching Survivor (and whatever else might be on the DVR).

And repeating it every Thursday . . . really couldn't get much better!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

I love being a mom and am so lucky to have been blessed six times--each with their unique personality that they bring to our family! I've been spoiled all day today with love and all the other great things that happen on Mother's Day . . . homemade cards, a piece of gum, a book of poems written by Ryan, my first "purchased-all-on-his-own" store bought card and Skor bar from Jack, a garden of paper coupon flowers from Hadley, Griffin brought home seeds to plant in the garden from preschool, a cook book from Morgan and tulips from Gavin.

Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Utah Jazz Fans

Jack and Ryan are two lucky boys. They love the Utah Jazz and so do their grandparents. But that's not what makes them lucky. It's the season tickets my parents often share with them. Jack and Ryan get to see a lot of the season games with grandma and grandpa.

They were very excited when grandma and grandpa invited them to go to the first game of the playoffs. Grandpa is a writer for Jazzbots and was given four extra tickets and asked Jack and Ryan to come to the game with them. They didn't know where the free tickets would be until they picked them up from Will Call. Imagine their excitement when they found out their seats were in the lower bowl and even better, the Jazz won!

Monday, May 3, 2010

The newest member of our family

Introducing Flash . . .

Ryan's new dwarf hamster

Ryan's still not too sure about him. He's a lot smaller than his last hamster and seems to be more skittish. We're not sure if he's a biter but when in doubt wear really thick, gardening gloves, just in case. I love this cute face on Ryan. Trying his best to look up at the camera and smile and not let Flash fall out of his hands or bite him.