Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Kindergarten Graduation

Graduation time is in full swing, whether it be Kindergarten, 5th grade, 8th grade or High School. Many people are making their posts and typically I'm not one for all these little graduations. Don't get me wrong I like a cause for celebration and especially High School and college. I'm just not big on any of the ones preceding those. I think it's one of those things we make a bigger deal out of than need be, because after all the kids are supposed to pay attention,get good grades and move on the the next one....right? But I was feeling pretty proud of Lucas today(his last day of Kindergarten)because this was his second year of Kindergarten. Yes that's right he repeated Kindergarten. Actually my husband repeated Kindergarten as well ( for moving reasons) and it's something I always teased him for. I mean Kindergarten in our day was coloring, letters, numbers and the basics but it's a whole different ballgame nowadays.

So let me walk you to where we are today! Last year Lucas was struggling, especially with his sight words. It was wearing on him and I felt so bad. His teacher would say that he would become so frustrated and upset while trying to do his assignments. At home with his homework he would give up quickly, just guess the answers or become frustrated. Everyone has always told me he's such a smart kid and his memory.... crazy good. You know like how the kids remember everything you don't want them to from 3-4 years ago,or how they call you out on something you did lol Yes thats him, he can even give you directions to places and doesn't understand why Mommy needs directions to the airport every time we pick up Daddy lol. So why wasn't he grasping these sight words? Unfortunately it took us a whole EXTRA year of Kindergarten and many many school meetings to finally get an answer. School ended today and we officially sign off on the IEP this Friday. Honestly it should not have taken so long.

Last year they didn't even go through any of the educational assessments with him. He didn't show any of the major signs for any of the common learning disabilities. So they said he should repeat Kindergarten and it's probably related to him just not being ready for school yet; as some kids aren't and he's still young. I had come to terms with the fact he would repeat Kindergarten by around March. I knew even if he all of a sudden started learning some of the words I still didn't feel confident sending him to 1st grade, where they would tack on even more sight words. I was hopeful that since he now had a year of school under his belt and he knew the ropes that he would be more confident and pick it all up the next year. That wasn't the case.

Lucas was still performing in the lower 10% of his classmates. It was depressing to hear considering he had been doing Hooked on Phonics and going to a tutor weekly. The one thing that had improved was his math skills. Thankfully!  We went to many different meetings where they discussed this and they finally agreed to some educational assessments for reading and writing. This was decided in February. I was growing frustrated because here we are 6 months into the second year and still no difference and no one else seemed too concerned. So they had 60 days to do the tests and meet again. Fast forward to April and again he's had minor improvement. They review the results and said there was no need for an IEP. His teacher pulled me aside and said "I just want you to know as the parent you have the right to request a full psychological evaluation".I was so frustrated , there had to be some kind of reason for why he wasn't performing well. I spoke with some other speech therapists and they read through the results and said it's clear his IQ would be higher than where he's performing and again was told to request a psychological evaluation. So I sent the letter in. Fast forward another month where they call me in for a meeting to find out why I am requesting this. I stated the obvious. They told me since we keep coming back they will go ahead and do that but to remember he's still young to be classified as having a learning disability.  FINALLY last week we had a meeting and guess what they found?! He has a working memory problem which is causing him to have issues remembering these words etc. SO they did classify as a learning disability and he will finally have an IEP!

It's been a frustrating year and at first I was scared to tell everyone that he was going to be in Kindergarten again but I knew I was doing what was best for my child. After all I wouldn't want to keep pushing him forward and have him grow more and more frustrated and start to hate school. I'm not a confrontational person and having to go in there and fight for what should be done for my child wasn't easy for me. However it was worth it and as crazy as they made me feel at times I just knew there was something going on. Mission accomplished and now we get to start off at a new school in a new grade with our IEP in hand.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Celebrating National Park Week


   Last weekend to celebrate National Parks Week we went to Fort McHenry. In honor of National Parks week they have free entry which was a bonus! The other FREE entry days this year are
August 25 through 28: National Park Service Birthday
September 24: National Public Lands Day
November 11: Veteran's Day
   Now that we are on a countdown for our move to Florida we have a whole list of things we still want to see and do here in Maryland. So we spent a day out with my grandparents and my Mom. Exploring local and non local parks,monuments, and museums is something I have always loved to do. Growing up my parents took us on many vacations. We have been to Niagara Falls, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Disney and Myrtle Beach just to name a few. I have always appreciated the fact that my parents didn't leave my brother and I behind while going on these great vacations. It means so much to me to give my boys the gift of travel. There is so much that can be learned from travelling and exploring new areas.

     When we first got there it was raining so we used that time to walk through the museum part where you can see all the old artifacts and they play a movie for you. Here's some pictures of inside the museum.

      By the time we were done  inside, the rain had stopped. Next was looking around the fort. There were various videos playing in the different buildings and you were able to see where the bomb shelters were, where they slept and ate etc. It was very interesting to see what their beds looked like way back when. There was no such thing as a luxurious mattress to rest on at night.

 I love this picture of Nathan taking a snack break. My boys eat all the time so we came prepared with snacks.

 The boys were eager to take pictures which made it even better for me!

 Before we even made it through the museum we stopped in the gift shop. When we were in England we started collecting a magnet for us and a pin for Lucas from everywhere we went. During our last few years, life has been so hectic that we haven't been able to do as much sightseeing as we would like but we are so ready to get back to it! So this is actually the first pin I have collected for Nathan. In addition to the pins the boys each got to pick their own things out and since we were with my mom and grandparents they were kind of spoiled :) They each got a tshirt, Lucas got a super size pencil and a kids passport (more on that in a minute), Nathan picked out one of those light up toys where you push it and it spins around, a book and a toy cannon.  They were thrilled. 

In the pictures above you can see Lucas' obnoxiously large pencil and also the green book. That would be the kids National Parks Passport. Which looks like this if you're looking for one:
This book is really neat and has little activities for the kids to fill out. They can check off which parks they have been to, which animals they see and they even get a stamp when they visit each park! We were slightly bummed since the people at Fort McHenry never mentioned the stamp to us or the Jr Ranger program they have. Looks like we will have to make one more trip out there. However the booklet is available upon request or you can print your own here Activity Booklet Once your child completes it they get their own Jr Ranger badge. This seems like a good way to really get the kids interested and learn while having fun. We can't wait to do more of these and explore more National Parks! 

    I'm not sure whether they truly loved Fort McHenry or just loved the gift shop but neither of them wanted to leave when it was time to go. However our fun filled day didn't end there so we had to get going. Check back for a report of our trip on the Fearless with the Urban Pirates :) ARRRGH!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Snow Day!

As many of you know me and my guys LOVE Chick Fil A and rightfully so, I mean what's not to love! Not only is their food yummy ( as Nathan says) but they do SO much for the community! I don't know of any other "fast food" place that helps and gives back as much as them! We also love their playplace. It's nice to take the boys there during winter and let them get some energy out and also eat lunch, a lunch I know they are going to eat. But on top of that it's even more fun to participate in their amazing Family events.

Last week I posted on instagram about our local Chick Fil A's "Snow Day" event. It was themed after the Disney movie Frozen. Not only do we love Chick Fil A but we love Disney too so this event was a win win for us! I thought this whole event was fantastic, the boys loved it and everything was FREE! They had Anna and Olaf for meet and greet along with the Chick Fil A cow, snow themed crafts, face painting, a photobooth and each kid got a free ice cream!

Here are some pictures from the event
Lucas making his Snow Ball Launcher

Meeting Anna and Olaf


The COW!

Nathan made sure he was in the pic too lol

We can't wait to see what event they have next! Tell us what do you love about Chick Fil A? What kinds of events does yours have?

Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Goals for 2016

I decided I wanted to set some goals for the new year. I'm not usually one for the new year new me, but this year has been a year of major growth for me and I can't wait to see what 2016 has in store for us! So first a reflection of 2015. This year has tested me in every sense yet here I am on the last day of the year feeling better,stronger and happier than ever. In February we decided to take a job opportunity my husband got for Florida. The boys and I are still in Maryland and hoping to get to Florida in the next couple months. I have had my moments where it got to be tiring not having him here but at the same time I proved to myself I can do this. I feel it's made me a better Mom and made me more aware of taking the time to spend with the boys together and individually. It's also helped me grow as an individual. I have always been SO worried about what everyone else thinks of me, my marriage, my family etc this past year I have learned that it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks it only matters what I think. I can't control others feelings. I have to stop worrying about everyone elses needs and happiness and focus on my own. I'm sure others don't take my feelings and happiness into account when making decisions so why should I? Even though Zack has been 1000 miles away most of the year I feel we have all grown as a family, as parents and as husband and wife. I am a firm believer everything happens for a reason. There have been many who haven't agreed with our decision for him to move before we all do but I knew we were doing what is best for our family and it proves true even months later.

So here are my 3 goals for 2016:

Myself: Focus on my own happiness; take time for me and do what makes me happy without worrying what anyone else thinks.

Motherhood: Take time to unplug and spend time with the boys. Take them on individual dates once a month.

Marriage: Make date nights/ alone time a priority. I have realized I am way more relaxed and fun when it's just me and the hubby and it's so important to still have that side of us.

I would love to hear your goals for 2016!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Goody Bags and Cupcakes(Lego Birthday Party)

Back to our awesome lego party! I just had so much fun planning this party and my son thought it was totally awesome! So for the goody bags I found some knock off legos pictured below in the dollar section of Target. I gave each kid a half a bag.

For the bags I bought a 12 pack of plain yellow bags at Michaels and drew Lego faces on them :)
I also found Lego candies at our local cake/candy store called Stephanies Sweets so I packaged them in little bags and tied them with ribbon :)

I also added a Marshmallow pop from my previous post to each kids bag.

 I went simple with the cake/cupcakes this year and just topped them with those same candies and used blue and red liners. I still think they turned out adorable!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

4th of July wreath!

I have been really wanting to play around with some wreaths. My first wreath was a balloon happy birthday themed one a post to come on that later. This is my second one and I'm pretty proud of it :)
I saw a few online and knew that I wanted something that resembled the american flag but also something a little different. Once I saw the chevron ribbon in Michaels I knew that was it! I purchased all my supplies from Michaels; one straw wreath, one roll of blue ribbon, 3 rolls of red and white chevron ribbon, a package of white flowers, some little star decoration and a letter A. It only cost me $15! I love Michaels and there coupons :)

I left the wreath wrapped in the plastic and then started wrapping the ribbon all the way around it to cover the front and back of it. I hot glued each end of the ribbon. One roll of the blue ribbon was the perfect amount to give it the flag feel. I also hot glued the flowers on. I picked these because they resembled stars but you could also use felt stars or buttons. The final finishing touches were the little star decorations and monogram letter. I will be using this wreath for years to come. Perfect addition to our door!


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Lego Man marshmallow pops (part of Lego Birthday)

This year we ran through a lot of ideas of what to do for Lucas' birthday party. My first thought was to just do it at the bouncy place then I wouldn't have to clean up before or after the party or worry too much about decorations and food. But I love planning these parties so that part is fun for me. Then we played with the idea of renting a bounce house to put in the yard but then Lucas said Mommy why don't we just have a lego party at the house. Great idea kiddo! Instantly all the ideas I had seen on pinterest before started running through my head lol I am going to do separate posts for each project since some are very in depth :)

The first project I started was the lego man marshmallow pops. This called for lollipop sticks, large and small marshmallows and yellow candy melts :)
Before dipping them in chocolate I cut the little marshmallows in half dipped the bottom of them in the chocolate and stuck it to the top of the big marshmallow. I let that dry so it would slip and slide around and then proceeded with dipping the whole thing
 Here's a little video showing how I was dipping the marshmallows in the melted chocolate.

 And I used a strainer to stick them in while drying
Drew on them with edible pen then wrapped them up and we were all set. I set a portion out for guests but also placed one in each goody bag.