Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Start of a new school year- Venily 1st grade, Haven 4K!

My girls go to the same school now!!!!  How cool is that?!  :)

Here are some pics of my big 1st grader and big 4k-er on their first day of school!

Haven is in 4k this year, she did exceptionally well on her early admittance testing.  She has Mrs. Graham and Ms. Jill, just like Venily did.  They are phenomenal teachers, I just love them!  She goes 1/2 days, 5 days a week, in the afternoons.  So far, she loves it!!  Her teachers say she is quiet in school, but will burst out and say a whole bunch of stuff at once and then go back to being quiet again, lol.  I think she has warmed up a lot to the whole experience from the beginning of the year until now, too.  She has a lot of friends in her class!  My cousin's daughter, Ashlynn, is in her class as well, so that's been a lot of fun!  Kelli and I take turns bringing the girls to school in the afternoons and then Haven rides the bus home.  She doesn't like riding the bus very much.  I am so grateful for my grandparents, Kelli, and my mom, watching Haven in the mornings on the days that I have to work!  I don't know what I would do without them.  I am still subbing at Wheatland (I have taught both Haven's and Venily's classes on multiple occasions!).  I probably average about 3 days a week, sometimes more, sometimes less.

Haven is very smart!  She loves to read her BOB books or any other easy reader phonics books.  She has great number sense and loves to learn about things that interest her! 

Venily is in 1st grade, I can't even believe it!!  Wow, is there a change from Kindergarten to 1st!  1st grade is so academically focused and lots more homework every single night.  I am amazed at how awesome Venily does in school though!  She is a rockstar.  She has to read for 20 minutes each night, has math homework almost every night, has spelling tests each week (she has tested out of the "regular" list each time and takes a challenge list each week), and will be having her 2nd social studies test tomorrow.  

Her first s.s. test was intense!  I bet if I randomly found 100 adults and gave them the test, 95% of them would get some wrong.  It was a "maps and globes" test.  She had to know where all the continents and oceans were on a map, where Wisconsin is, that Canada is to our North, Mexico is to our South, that Washington D.C. is on the east coast, all the compass directions for various other things, what an isthmus, bay, island, and peninsula were, where the equator is, northern hemisphere, southern hemisphere are, etc, etc.  And she got a 100%!!  

Tomorrow's test is on the ancient civilization of Mesopotamia.  Say what?!  LOL!  She has to locate it on a map, know that it is what is now present day Iraq, know the meaning of the name, what 2 rivers surrounded it (Tigris and Euphrates), that they flooded and left behind rich soil for farming, that the first written language was cuneiform and that only boys from rich families learned how to read and write cuneiform, that they wrote on clay tablets, that they made ziggurats, which were high temples to honor the gods, that they believed in over 3,000 gods, that the code of Hammurabi was the first set of written laws, that the world's first story was about Gilgamesh (a half god) and that he was friends with a half man, half animal, plus a bunch MORE!  I definitely don't remember learning about things like this is 1st grade, lol!

She is so smart though!  I always have teachers coming up to me saying that they can't believe that she's a year ahead in school because she's so smart.  I am so proud of both of them! :)

Summer Recap!

I started so many posts and deleted them.  It's just so intimidating to sum up our whole summer in words or pictures!

I am going to make this VERY brief and hope to never again get this far behind!

This summer we kept very busy!  We played outside a lot, swam down at the beach and in pools, attended many library activities and presentations, and participated in lots of other activities.

Haven took beach volleyball and tumbling classes and participated in t-ball.  Venily went to summer school and went for a week to Girl Scout summer camp (of which I was able to volunteer 3 of the days).  Both girls had a blast!  Haven's classes were hilarious, especially the t-ball.  She went in not knowing a single thing or even a single term and it was kids ages 3-7, so she was one of the youngest and often times the only girl.  Venily loved her summer school class.  This is the last year where she was in a "getting ready for" class. Next summer, she gets to pick her classes and there are so many cool ones to choose from like cooking and robotics!  Camp was SOOOO much fun!!  We are already looking forward to next year.  We actually talk about it a lot and still sing all of the camp songs, lol.

Lisa also got to spend the month of July home from Colorado.   That was awesome.  The girls miss her so much.

Some super random summer pics (makes me really miss summer already!):

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Lack of updates :(

The beginning of April was the last time I posted!!  It's been over 6 months and I have so much to catch up on!  The primary reason that I stopped blogging was that I was just too overwhelmed with some hard-to-deal with things.  I didn't want to have to write about them and I couldn't pretend they weren't happening either.  I will briefly get them out of the way as I try to catch up from this last 1/2 a year!

* We took Haven out of preschool 2 months early.  Without getting into too many details, the neighbor of the preschool she was attending is now facing several felony charges and we just didn't feel safe sending her there any more.  It was a very unfortunate ending to an otherwise really great school year.  Haven, even though technically a victim, is blissfully unaware that anything ever happened.  I, however, will forever be changed from the whole ordeal.  It changed something deep down inside of me on how I perceive people and wiped away a good portion of my naivety.  I will be relieved when this chapter is officially closed from our lives for good.

* We spent several months hoping to adopt a family member, but it didn't work out in the end.  It was an incredibly emotional journey for me.  However, I feel good knowing now some of the processes involved and Jason and I are 100% committed to expanding our family through adoption!  After much research, I am fairly certain that we will be doing an international adoption and in the countries that I've narrowed down, China feels like the best fit for our family.  Specifically, I am interested in a special needs adoption with a child that has a similar heart defect as Haven.  It just feels so right to me!  Jason is not as convinced on the "special needs" part, but he will come around. :)  I hope to write more about this in the future.  I am super excited!

* Haven had her heart procedure postponed until next summer.  I was so mentally prepared for her procedure to happen in July, that it really hit me hard to have to delay it.  I hate the waiting and the worrying, but they wanted to wait until she is a little bigger since she is not having any major difficulties right now.  Everything will be bigger, which will make the process easier and it will be safer to put her under anesthesia as well.  The drawback is that she will be older and it is going to require more explanation and is now likely going to be something that she remembers.

Stay tuned for MANY more updates in the days to come!  I am going to have to skip over so much or I'll never get caught back up, but I will definitely be writing about summer, Jason's new job, Venily starting 1st grade, Haven starting 4K, Haven turning 4, the girls' joint birthday party, Venily turning 6, and more!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Haven Kindergarten Screening!!

On the morning of Haven's 3 1/2 birthday, she had her kindergarten screening appointment.  She did so amazing!!!  I don't know why I'm still surprised by these things, she's such a great kid! :)

Our district does the Dial-R test for screening and screens all the kids going into 4K or Kindergarten (if they hadn't gone to 4K) with the same test.  This was our first time testing at Wheatland since Venily had to test at Trevor/Wilmot because they didn't allow early entrance into 4K at that time.  I was really surprised at how extensive the testing was!  She was testing for over an hour and as soon as I signed her in, someone came and took her into the testing room right away and I couldn't see her the entire time!  I was super nervous.  She is nothing like Venily at this age (Venily's screening was kind of a nightmare at first) but she does get shy around people from time to time.  Luckily Mrs. Jacobs (Venily's kindergarten teacher) was involved in the testing and put me to work, lol.  I had to make some bunny things for Venily's class and bring them to the sub in her room.  I was definitely getting emotional any time I thought about Haven being in there all by herself!

The testing was set up in 8 or so different stations with Mrs. Graham (the 4K teacher), Mrs. Jacobs and Mrs. Coates (the kindergarten teachers) and various other teacher (including the speech therapist) at the stations.  Here are some of the things she had to do:

*hearing test

*large motor- skip, hop on one foot, balance on one foot, throw a ball at a target
*small motor- replicate drawings- cross, circle, etc.  Write name.  Touch each finger to thumb, cut out a semicircle, rectangle, and dinosaur shape
*count to 20+, count groups of objects, identify #'s
*identify body parts
*identify pictures (bird, bee, etc) and make up a story about them, then rapid identify the pictures
*follow directions, directional words, identify the meaning of coldest, longest, etc.
*they set up different block pyramid things and she had to replicate them with her own blocks
*she had to say various words and they listened to how she said each sound in the word

Those are just the things I remember the teacher talking about when she went over her results with me, lol!  And I really liked that they DID go over her results and what they did, they didn't do that when Venily had screening!  The teacher said she did great though, especially given that she is only 3.5!!  They evaluated her specifically to see if she would be able to be put in a year early, and she said that she definitely thinks Haven will be able to!  I think her overall score was a 98%!  I'm very happy, I couldn't imagine making her wait another year.  When I teach the 4K class now and think that Venily is SUPPOSED to be in that class this year, it just seems ridiculous, lol.

I am still surprised though that the screening does not involve identifying letters or letter sounds whatsoever.

Haven thought the whole thing was so fun!  She got cookies, juice, a pencil, magnet, and tattoo when she was done and thought it was the greatest thing ever!  I can't wait to hear "officially" that she'll be able to go to 4 year old kindergarten next year!

Haven is 3.5 Years old!!!

We love half birthdays!!! :)

Haven has been talking about her half birthday for weeks!  I can't believe that she's 3 and a half already!  

She spent the morning of March 26th at kindergarten screening (which I will post about next) and had so much fun!  She then went to preschool, came home, and made a cake to celebrate!

At 3.5 years old, she is just the sweetest, smartest, more perfect little thing!  

She is getting better and better at reading now.  Here is a video of her reading one of her books.  She rocks! :)

Her 3.5 stats (based off doctor visit 2 months ago) are:

Haven- 2/12/13- (3 years, 4 months old)

Height: 3'6" (42 inches) (99.20%)

Weight: 35lbs, 6.4oz (77.20%)

BMI: 14.11 (8.21%)

She is wearing 5's now in tops and bottoms.  11's in shoes.

Next month she has her follow up for her heart condition.  I'm not even sure what to expect from that appointment, but probably more testing and another heart ultrasound and the scheduling of her procedure in July.  Now that it's getting closer, it's starting to give me anxiety again.  I know she will do great though!

Haven also starts her next 6 week ballet class next week!  She's very excited, especially since her friend is coming with her this time! :)

Fish problems- RIP Edward, welcome Reddy!

So, while Venily was very sick, her pet fish, Edward, died.  She got him on her 2nd birthday and was quite attached.  

We found out after she was laying in bed and decided to tell her.  She cried for 45 minutes and cried herself to sleep. :(  I decided to let her pick out a new fish at the store a few days later.  She was so excited and picked out a red female Betta this time.  Unfortunately, she didn't last even 12 hours.  "Reddy" was dead the next morning we checked on her.  Jason and I didn't want to disappoint her again, but decided to tell her and she was so upset again.  Jason went out the next day and got a red male Betta.  So far, so good.  The new fish is also "Reddy" (lol).  We have our fingers crossed that this one lasts a little longer!  I'm hoping that someday we'll be able to get something a little more substantial!

March sickness

March was rough for us with sickness!  Venily ran a 104+ temp and had a sore throat, cough, and was exhausted all of the time.  I brought her to the walk-in on a Sunday and ended up being there for 5 hours! :(  Venily ended up testing positive for Influenza B and her x-rays showed some bronchitis as well.  She missed 2 days of school and was not 100% until about 2 weeks later.

Jason, unfortunately caught it as well.  He spent an entire week in bed crying.  He handled it even worse than Venily, lol!  I'm so glad that is over and Haven and I were spared!  Influenza is nothing to fool around about!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Venily- parent/teacher conference!

Yes, I'm caught up on my posts now!!

On Wednesday, we had Venily's 2nd Kindergarten parent/teacher conference.  She is doing so well, way above and beyond the average Kindergartener (and she's supposed to be in 4K this year).  She scored well above grade level on all of her MAPS and PALS tests.  She was also one of the few students who took the reading assessment to figure out reading level.  She scored between a 1st and 2nd grade level.  She has mastered all of the top 100 sight words for Kindergarten, so we have decided to have her take weekly spelling tests on the words.  She'll get her words on Monday and take her test on Friday.  She's excited about it, lol!  I am grateful that her teacher is willing to go out of her way to meet her needs, just another reason why I love Mrs. Jacobs! :)

Venily continues to do well on everything else as well.  We are now working on having her add more details to her stories and learning the value of various groups of coins.

Here is a picture of how Venily writes her name on all of her school work, it cracks me up!

And here is how she went to school today for "Doctor Seuss Character day"  (every Friday they do something different)

Doctor visits and current stats!

Both girls had visits to the doctor's in February so I have their current stats!  Venily had a suspected case of pink eye and Haven was having some chest pains that we wanted to get checked out.  I must say, even though Aurora switching over their records was a pain, I love that they give you print outs now at the end of each appointment!

Venily- 2/5/13- (5 years, 3 months old)

Height: 3'11" (47 inches)  (96.87%)

Weight: 43lbs (62.18%)

BMI: 13.69 (8.16%)

***At her 5 year appointment she was 45in, 40lbs, and at a 16% for BMI.  Crazy how much a child can grow in a few months, lol!


Haven- 2/12/13- (3 years, 4 months old)

Height: 3'6" (42 inches) (99.20%)

Weight: 35lbs, 6.4oz (77.20%)

BMI: 14.11 (8.21%)

***At her 3 year appointment she was 35lbs, 41in, and at a 12% for BMI.

Haven read her 1st book!!!!!!

About 2 weeks ago, Haven got a book sent home with her from school.  Her teacher said she read it at school and that she was supposed to read it at home and send it back the next time she went to school.  I couldn't believe how well she read it!  She's been sounding out words for a while now, but I never thought to have her try a book.  We also hadn't worked on any sight words yet.  I was so impressed on how fast she's been picking up the sight words though too!  She got a new book this week and read it equally as well.  She will be 3.5 years old at the end of this month!! :)  I'm so excited that both of the girls have inherited my love of reading!!  Haven asks all the time "Can I read my book again?"

(She did her own hair in case you were wondering... LOL!)

Valentine's Day!

I was lucky and won several different sets of custom Valentine's cards for Valentine's day!  Both girls loved their valentines and picked out which background and which picture they wanted.  Haven was extra cute bringing hers to school, she was so excited.  And they both were crazy when they got home from school that day, lol.  Venily's teacher said that the whole class was still in party mode on Friday and they were all really hyper!

Haven- 4K Registration!

I registered Haven for 4K on February 1st!  She will be taking the Kindergarten Screening on March 26th.  I'm so excited!  As with Venily, she will be testing a year early into school.  I have no doubts that she will pass with flying colors.  I am really sad though that she will be leaving her preschool because her teacher does such an amazing job teaching to each child's level.  I know that 4K will actually be a "step down" for Haven, but it will be 5 days a week and will get her used to riding the bus and going to Wheatland and will allow her to go right to Kindergarten the following year.  Plus, it's FREE, and she gets to have computers, gym, art, and music classes too.  And I get to check in on her and possibly teach her class, which will be fun.  I also fully plan to supplement her education at home, so I'm not too worried about that aspect.

Monster Jam 2013!

Who would believe my little girly 5 year old would love Monster trucks so much, lol?!  I won some tickets and Jason took Venily with Andy and Adalein.  She LOVED it!!  I was nervous because the show started at 7:30pm and Venily usually goes to bed at 8pm, but she did great!  She has been talking about monster trucks ever since and frequently draws them at school for assignments.  I got her Monster Truck books and videos from the library too.  Her favorite is "Grave Digger" and she told me she wants Grave Digger shirts, toys, socks, etc, etc, etc.  Lucky for her, I heard that the Easter bunny may be bringing her a Grave Digger t-shirt in her Easter basket! :)  

Here's one of Venily's Grave Diggers.  They had a cut out "100" and had to make it into something, lol!

Jason is 30!!

THIRTY!!!!!  I can't believe it, lol!  I am lucky I still have a little over a year left to go for me!  Jason had been planning his birthday party for at least 6 months and had a fun time taking our camper up north with his friends and hiking and camping!

Venily made his cupcakes and decorated the one for him, lol!

Snow Fun!

It's no surprise, I am not a fan of the cold, lol!  But we do get out and do some fun things every once in a while....  Haven is more like me and prefers to be indoors when it's cold out, but Venily likes to play outside!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Catching up- Soccer Stars!

In January, Haven had her first soccer class!!  And Venily had her 2nd soccer class (her first was when she was 3 and she wouldn't even go out on the floor, just clung to my legs and cried, lol).

Haven did well (especially compared to Ven at this age!).  The first class she cried quite a bit and I had to stay with her, but she still participated.  The 2nd class she cried a tiny little bit and the 3rd and 4th classes she didn't cry at all and did really well, I was impressed!  She really improved with her skills as well!

Venily did amazing!  Long gone are the days when she would freeze up around a man!  Both of their teachers were guys and it didn't phase her at all.  She was high-fiving and yelling bye to them in the parking lot, etc, lol!  She also turned out to be quite a good soccer player!  She really improved a lot over the month as well and was really into it by the end.  Jason wants to put her on an actual team, but we'll see if it fits into her very busy schedule!

Both girls still play soccer all the time, lol.  We got a soccer ball and they dribble it all around the living room and take turns pretending they're Keegan and Ed and teaching the class! :)