Sunday, May 2, 2010

Science Projects, Pre K Tests, Don't Forget the Dogs!

I don’t know what the weather was like in your neck of the woods, but here, it was the perfect day weather wise. With hardly a cloud in the sky, there was just the hint of a breeze and the sun was so warm and comfortable that Bryce and I spent almost the entire day enjoying it. We went to two different outdoor playgrounds today as well as playing in our own back yard. I even filled up the small water table we have for him outside! Tomorrow morning (May 1st) we’re going to spend the morning outdoors because the forecast goes down hill fast after the lunch hour and it‘s being said it may last three days. I’ll definitely be listening to our weather radio tomorrow.

Hunter is doing so much better in school. His latest report card came back with all grades but math above 80%, but even math, at 76, was much better than the 68 recorded for the previous grading period. Math was not my subject, but Tim and I have been helping Hunter and his determination is what brought up his math grade. We are in touch with a tutor recommended by Hunter’s teacher, but as the tutor is a senior this year, he doesn’t have the time right now to start helping Hunter. With us being gone for some of the summer and the tutor taking his own vacation, the two of them won’t be able to get together until August. After talking about possibly finding someone else or just waiting until then and doing what we can with our son over the summer, Tim and I think that Hunter meeting up with the tutor in August and have a good couple weeks with him before Hunter begins 6th grade will be a good thing. So it’s all working out.

For those of you who are my FB friends, you may remember the picture I took of Hunter while at the Arrow of Light ceremony a few weeks ago. Hunter is no longer a Cub Scout. In front of the other pack members, parents and visiting representatives from the local boy scout troop, Hunter and two other boys stood straight at the front of the room as our pack leader read a prepared speech about the different arrows of light. She lit a candle for each color and each time she started, a line of that color was drawn across each of the boys’ cheeks. Right now we’re not sure if Hunter will join the boy scouts. Some of the reasons we’re still considering is the drive to a different town for the meetings. They meet more than once a week and they do many more activities, all year round. Tim has more responsibility with his job and had to miss a few meetings so far this spring. However, I did talk with a mom of a boy who is participating in his first year of boy scouts and she tells me it’s not as much parent participation as it was in cub scouts. She tells me her son is having a blast and I think that’s because he was also enjoying cub scouts. Hunter went because we wanted him to go. Having a blast isn’t how Hunter would describe the experience. Stay tuned.

As you all probably know, Hunter is an avid bookworm, just like his mom. Actually, I think he is even more of a bookworm, but, honestly, if I wasn’t going here, there and everywhere, I’d have my nose in a book more often! Hunter always has a book in his hands and they aren’t just fictional. Most of the time he is reading facts and figures, albeit the information is mostly under a weird and crazy catagory! Some of the things I have learned, thanks to him telling me every time we drive any where, are; jellyfish eat and poo using the same hole. They are teaching elephants to use a toilet in Thailand, if you like doughnuts, thank Hanson Crockett Gregory for putting a hole in them (because he couldn't get the insides to cook without burning the outside). There was a woman who slept for 47 years (in a coma) and a dog who ate 23 golf balls...and lived. Some hero's you may not know about are: Our third president, Thomas Jefferson, is to be thanked for bring to the U.S. from Italy the first macaroni machine. If you like macaroni and cheese, thank President Jefferson! Then you can thank Augustus Jackson for experimenting with ice cream and inventing all kinds of different flavors!

Hunter will be participating in a science fair at his school in May. The final judgment will be on May 10th. I’m not sure how many ideas went in and out of his noggin, but he came out with a decision and a title. Hunter’s 5th grade science project fits him perfectly. Maybe you can guess at what it might be if you think of his personality. He is going to show his classmates and those judges what happens when you don’t take care of the dishes of food that you’re too lazy to bring back to the kitchen! Called, The Moldy Investigation, Hunter has selected some foods and placed them in sandwich sized containers and tucked them into a dark corner of the pantry. Every day after school he checks on them and writes down his observations. He’s even taken a couple pictures. Out of his six subjects, the strawberries and tomatoes are already showing mold and are smelling awful. It’s only been a few days! His other choices of bread, sliced carrots, and an orange are different in texture, but the last subject, half a Twinkie, isn’t different at all! (I’m not surprised.)

Devin is still in the run for the Happiest Boy in the World award. He’s also trying for the World’s Most Annoying Brother, having been nominated and judged only by you know who. Hunter has started to put an electronic toy lock on the knob of his door again, something I thought was long ago lost in that bottomless pit that he calls a bedroom. If he wants something in there, he can usually find it. But he has to want to find it. If it’s me wanting him to find something, he almost always comes back empty handed. Dev doesn’t quiet have the steady, careful hand that’s needed to avoid activating the alarm. I’ve had to tell Devin quite a few times to stay out of Hunter’s room. During the times I don’t catch him, Dev often puts back what he takes out.

He’s been complaining about growing pains recently. Just the other night he was putting on his PJ’s in his bedroom and was saying his legs hurt. He conned me into carrying him to the couch to watch some TV before bed, then two minutes later, he was jumping off the couch, rolling and flipping across the floor. That night, though, I could hear him whimpering in his sleep and as I massaged his calf muscles, I could feel them tighten up. Poor guy. It does seem like he’s been growing over night! He’s now about 47 pounds and I a few days back I wasn’t prepared when he came running and I about broke my back catching him!

His time at pre-K is going great! I don’t think he’s complained about going once in the past two weeks. His whining would start when I announce it’s time to go and Hunter gets to continue to watch TV. We leave less than ten minutes before the bus picks Hunter up, but to hear Devin talk about it, we’re leaving Hunter behind to watch the same cartoon for all the day! Once we get there though, he enters with a smile and he leaves with a smile (after I get a great big hug). The center has a huge playground behind it, divided into fenced off areas for the different aged kids who stay there. Some kids arrive at 6 AM and are picked up at 6 PM. I’m so thankful mine aren’t in that situation!

Devin’s enrollment in Kindergarten at the school that is only a few hundred yards behind his pre-k classroom was up in the air until last week. I choose to go the open enrollment route and requested an application at a school that is about the same distance as the one Hunter is currently going to. The biggest difference between the two is this school has Kindergarten all day, every day, while the school Devin will go to next year for 1st grade, only has two full days one week and three full days the next for Kindergarten. The other difference is school size. If you don’t remember, Hunter’s first school was closed the summer he finished his Kindergarten year. That fall, the K-5 from his closed school and the K-5 from another closed school all went to one school that already had K-5 students. This school was then downsized in class level only. It became K-3 and the older building in front of it, which had been until then the STARS program (special needs kids), was designated 4th and 5th grade. Just typing this out for all of you is making me feel better about sending Dev to a different school!

Anyway, I got a call last week that Devin has been accepted for their Kindergarten program and asked that I bring him in for what they called an interview. Since this was my first typical Kindergarten experience (Hunter had already been in the school system for three years by this time) I agreed and brought Devin into the school office after a day at pre-K. The same woman who gave me the enrollment package those weeks before took Devin to a room without me and there she asked him to write his name, showed him a list of letters and numbers and to tell her which ones he recognized and ended with him drawing the shapes of his choice from a sheet she put in front of him. Although Devin is singing the ABC song and counting the steps he takes, any animals he sees and other things, I haven’t really sat him down with worksheets. I wasn’t prepared for someone to give my son homework before he even started school!

Now to Bryce. He will be three in about two weeks! That‘s my first thought about him right now, the second I have to share would be that he hasn’t broken anything yet! At this age, Hunter was attached to my hip and wouldn’t even attempt climbing any playground equipment. Devin at three would do it, but absolutely not without the help of an adult. Bryce…Now and then he’ll stop what he’s doing and come over to you for a hug or a kiss, but other than that, he goes on any and all equipment. Nothing is too big or too high for him. If he can’t do it himself, he’ll eye it from all angels and then look at me for help. Once conquered, we share a high five and then he’s off to the next adventure. He loves being outside. Having the rear of the house made up of all windows, looking down on the fenced in back yard, is the perfect set up for Bryce and I. I can come in and make a meal or clean up a bit and he is just a look out the window away.

With Bryce turning three, it means he can no longer attend the two times a week playgroup he’s been enjoying. Help Me Grow is very strict about the age cut off. Next week I’ll be meeting with the team that recently gave Bryce his speech and language impairment diagnosis to discuss objectives and goals for his IEP and which preschool he’ll be attending. The only concern Bryce is showing is a delay in expressive communication. He’s not talking in more than just a word or two. Some of you might be wondering if there is a possible autism diagnosis in his future. I say no, as Bryce is only mirroring Hunter with the lack of speech and stimulating behavior. Then again, no child with autism is the same, but each child evaluated to be on the spectrum is put there using pretty much the same check list. Where Hunter had quite a few marks on that piece of paperwork, Bryce only has two; lack of expressive speech and slight stimming behavior. When excited, Bryce shakes his hands a bit. He doesn’t flap, he shakes. It’s like, when you’re pushing your arms to lift that barbell just one more time and your muscles shake and shiver with the exertion? That’s what B’s hands look like. Hunter’s arms flapped like a bird at this age, from his elbows to his fingers and over the years that has tapered off and is mostly gone. You might be thinking it’s still the same thing and you might be right. This is my opinion comparing my two son’s together, but it is also the opinion of the same psychologist who worked with Hunter when we first moved to Ohio and who has played and evaluated Bryce in his playgroup setting. I suppose it’s another thing to stay tuned for.

Tim has been traveling a lot so far this spring. He spent a work week in Colorado Springs, a few days in southern Florida, is right now in northern Michigan and then comes home just to drive over to Sandusky the next day for four more days. This time of year is always busy for him, but he also enjoys talking with the customers and going on a ride along with the sales people. With all this time he’s on the road added to the times the boys and I travel out of the area, I do consider myself lucky that I’ve only had to call out for a rescue twice. Once I ran out of gas after dropping Hunter off at school when we still lived in Michigan and once I blew a tire while traveling back to Ohio from Michigan. Then there was this past Wednesday and the fact that my rescuer was 1,400 miles away!

Bryce and I were on our way home from playgroup with about 45 minutes to go before picking Devin up at pre-K. On a stretch of busy road, a dashboard alarm suddenly went off. My temperature gage was all the way up to the H! I pull over without any real worries about blocking the lane of traffic because cars share this road with Amish buggies, so the shoulders are paved and wide. I didn’t want to push it so I turned off the engine and called my insurance company to see if they had a number for a tow truck. Once that was done, I dialed 411 and got what I thought was the Enterprise car rental a couple towns over that Tim uses. The number I paid to be connected to ended up being their fax machine! Then I called Tim down there in sunny Florida and told him what was going on. He had me send him pictures from under my van’s hood and had me look on the pavement underneath. At that time, I didn’t see any leakage, but when the tow truck took my van, there was radiator fluid coming out. Even being that far away, my hubby came to the rescue by having a friend contact me to see if I needed a ride. By then I had been in touch with Enterprise and had learned that they couldn’t come pick me up for two hours! To make a long story short, we picked Dev up on time, got a rental car without too much hassle and my van was fixed less than 24 hours later. Even though it all worked out, I don’t want to do it ever again!

My addiction to geocaching has gotten better in my words, worse in my hubby’s. But on the other hand, he says he’s addiction to slow pitch softball is a good thing and I’m thinking when he travels an hour to get there and play, gets home past 11:00 on a week day and repeats that twice a week, soon to be three, although the third one will be closer, I’m saying, not so much! I’m thinking I need more time for my hobby. I can do it during the week, but only one or two if they are kid friendly and easy to get to. Tim has been having practice on Saturday’s and games on Sunday’s (and don't forget the weekday games)…when do I get to satisfy my need? If I have your vote, post a note on his FB page. LOL

The other members of our family, rat terrier Kit and black lab Knight, are doing great. Knight is showing some grey on his muzzle and is slowing down after a dozen or so retrieves. Kit is still a bundle of energy. She goes just about everywhere with us, even if she ends up staying in the van. She's my little vacuum cleaner; all I have to do is clean up the bigger things in my van and she hops in and sucks up the rest (cereal, french fries, chicken nuggets, etc.) That's why she's so eager to go with us, there's always something on the van floor! But she also gets to go walking with us in the woods when we go geocaching. Her I can let off the leash, not so much with Knight. He never really listened to me anyway because I'm not the one who takes him hunting. I guess play and food from me aren't high enough on his list next to hunting and Master Tim. Knight is also going deaf, so a leash free walk no longer works for Knight and I. I almost adopted a cat, even though the hubby was texting in the negative from another state. Unfortunatley it wasn't meant to be...right now.

I hope this update finds you all healthy, happy and stress free. Spring is the time for new growth and as we watch the trees bud and the flowers bloom, I'm wondering if any of you need a fresh start? Do something again, maybe start something over? Or maybe just try something new? My crazy, ahem, oldest sister Karyn is going sky diving. Over the past couple of years she has taken a look at herself, made some changes, accepted some things she couldn't change, and is just loving and appreciating life. She is one wonderful lady and I'm glad I can call her family.

Take care everyone and thanks for reading!


I finished this the morning of May 2nd and it still hasn't rained. It certainly does look nasty out there!

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