Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Catching Up

While adjusting to Life with V, H and E rocked second grade, and the beginning of third.  We were so lucky to have a kind and amazing teacher for them last year, along with the continued support of the rest of the team.  They learned so much, and were able to work through some of their challenges.  They were also really lucky to be in a class with a great group of about 10 girls who became good friends.  It was pretty much smooth sailing over the course of the year.

This year has gotten off to a good start as well. We chose to keep them together in the same class once again.  They have two teachers who are splitting one job, but both seem to be good solid teachers and the girls don’t seem to have had any problems adjusting to the unique schedule.  Our biggest disappointment at the beginning of the year was that none of their girlfriends from last year are in their class.  I might have been more sad about this than they were.  They have made a couple of new friends, but we have also had some “girl drama” that we had been lucky to avoid up until this year.  It seems to be working out ok for now, and both girls are happy at school and seem happy when they get home.  We had conferences last week and their teachers had a lot of positive things to say about their personalities and behavior at school, which is wonderful to hear of course.  Both continue to struggle with math.  It is coming along, but it certainly doesn’t come easily.  They are both great readers and enjoy reading, but sometimes have a hard time talking about, summarizing, or explaining what they have read.  This makes it tricky to know exactly how much they comprehend when they read independently.  I am certain this skill will come with time. 

E loves to write, and has many fabulous ideas and stories to tell.  The physical act of writing continues to be a barrier, and we are always working on ideas for helping her get her ideas onto paper the most efficient way possible.  She has an ipad at school, and her aide often helps as a scribe, but a lot of the time E just wants to write it herself.  She is allowed to do this much of the time, but it slows her down and even though her handwriting has greatly improved, there are still times it is hard to decipher what she has written.  E has patience and determination in abundance, as well as a natural curiosity about the world, and will work diligently to achieve her goals.  Her current project is making rubberband bracelets using a loom.  This is all the rage at school for girls her age right now, and when we saw it at the store she HAD to have it.  We bought it for her assuming she would probably not be able to do it independently, but I enjoy that kind of thing and would be more than happy to help her.  Well, she once again proved us wrong and worked at it for a day or two before she was able to start making bracelets all by herself!  She is very proud and is working with dad to launch her very own website to sell some of her creations.

H also has good ideas and likes telling stories, but she really doesn’t like to do a lot of writing.  It continues to be a struggle for her to get started and to stay focused long enough to complete many tasks.  She does not have a lot of patience for tasks that require sustained mental effort, particularly writing and math.  She continues to have infinite patience and enthusiasm for video games and pretend play.  Her passion for Pokemon has dwindled somewhat over the past couple of months, to be replaced for the moment by Harry Potter (we just finished book three) and Animal Jam.

Both girls are doing Brownies again this year, and finished up two seasons of Miracle League Baseball at the beginning of October.  H started Choi Kwang Do lessons twice a week last February and recently tested for and earned her gold senior belt.  She is doing an awesome job with that!  E continues to ride horses 1-2 times per week at two different barns, one for hippotherapy and one therapeutic riding, though they are currently on hiatus for the winter.  H went to a week long drum camp over the summer, and has taken a few drum lessons.  E has had one piano lesson with her aunt (J’s sister) and is interested in continuing as we have time and can coordinate schedules.  E went to a sign language camp over the summer and really enjoyed that as well.  She would love to take lessons or a class to learn more but I just don’t think I can cram one more activity into our lives at this point.  Not and still maintain my sanity!

There are still so many holes in the blog due to the super busy nature of our lives. 

I never talked about the horrible illness E had last March that caused her so much pain and loss of function, and brought our lives to a major standstill.

I never talked about us looking into the possibility of a second cochlear implant for E, starting the process and the necessary testing. We are still on that path with another appointment coming up soon.

I never talked about ordering and receiving E’s new pink power wheelchair, a Permobil M300, and its pros and cons. That was quite a process (and still a headache).

I never talked about going to the Abilities Expo in Chicago in June, and all the cool things we saw and the nice people we met.

I never talked about our super-fun summer vacation to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Mackinaw Island and Tahquamenon Falls.  It was our first vacation as a family of five!

I never talked about H finally hitting a growth spurt and surpassing the 40-pound mark!  I also didn’t talk about her newfound love of mac-and-cheese for breakfast…everyday.  Who knew?

I didn’t talk about J and I celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary and our 20 year anniversary of being together as a couple.

What a journey it has been!


Sara said...

Whew! So much going on. It's great to hear how well everyone is doing. I hope you get a good night's sleep soon!

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your catching up post, it's nice to see the girls are doing great :)

Michelle and Jim said...

Hi Billie,
Just want you to know that I still come back here periodically to read about your girls. I know how things get crazy busy and the time for posting just isn't there. But we still think about you all the time!
Love, Your Fellow St Joe's Micropreemies,
Eleanor and Adam Farell and Family xo

Michelle and Jim said...

Hi Billie,
Just wanted to let you know we still check back to read your blog periodically. I know it's way too busy to keep up like we used to, but we are still thinking about you and your girls.
Your Fellow St Joe's Micropreemies
Adam and Eleanor Farell and Family xo