Friday, March 30, 2007

Some pictures as promised

Here is Reece at her preschool Egg Hunt! :)
Here is Reece's classs (along with Austin, Riley, and G's little brother!) after the hunt!
This is at today's egg hunt (notice the change in clothing... it was COLD today!). Reece is chasing baby T! Who needs to hunt eggs, huh???
Here are Riley and Reece with some of the R family's children! Unfortunately, my batteries died shortly after taking this picture! Mrs. R took a pic of the kids before the hunt, so I'll put that up as soon as she sends it to me. ::hint hint::

P. S. Austin's team won their game 12-4. Austin pitched the entire game and did a fantastic job! :)

Another day, another egg hunt!

Today was our egg hunt with our homeschooling friends! We had a fantastic time, even though it was at least 25 degrees cooler today than it was yesterday, and than it had been in the last week!

I'll post more about our wonderful day later, as we're on our way to Austin's ball game! I'll also get some pictures up, I promise! :)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Preschool Egg Hunt

I will upload pics later on, so check back this evening! For now, I just wanted to share about Reece's preschool easter egg hunt! It was such a bad morning before preschool... Thursday mornings are so hard because we don't get home until late Wednesday evening from church! This morning was unusually hard, and I was afraid the Egg Hunt would be a disaster, especially since we made it to preschool without the eggs or our part of the snack.

We dropped Reece off, ran our errands which included going back to get the eggs and snack, and made it back in time to help C's mom hide the eggs in the courtyard of the church. The kids had a wonderful time looking for the eggs. We then had a snack in the classroom, decorated cookies, and did a few crafts. Austin surprised me by offering to read aloud to the children after they cleaned up the classroom, and he surprised me even more by maintaining his composure when the children were crowding around him to see the book! Reece was obviously very proud of her brother, and kept running up to give him a kiss and hug while he was reading! There wasn't time for Riley to read, too, but Reece's teacher found her something else important to do! I can't say enough about Reece's teachers and how kind they are to our whole family! A few of the other moms also came up to Austin and to me to say what a great job he did reading the story. It was a really nice morning!

We're on our way to ballet in a few minutes, which usually isn't very nice, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed! LOL

I'll put the pictures of the egg hunt up this evening!

Monday, March 26, 2007

The neatest thing happened on the way home from the aquarium...

My mom and dad were still in town today, so we took mom down to the Georgia Aquarium! (We did look at each other several times this morning and wondered when we were ever going to learn that we just cannot schedule so much into one weekend for these chilren! They just cannot handle it!) On the way home we got lunch at our favorite Mexican place. As we were going back home, we heard helicopters flying overhead. We watched them circle several times, and then they started to descend as if they were landing. Sure enough.... they WERE landing! They landed in the parking lot of the Gwinnett Civic Center! We pulled in to get a better look:

The pilots and crew were securing the craft, and other folks had pulled in out of curiosity! A lady pulled up next to us and asked if we knew what was going on... we didn't! I saw a man going up to the helicopters, and then there were two folks standing in the parking lot and they were waved over. I took that as a sign that they were welcoming visitors and hopped out with the children, mom following behind trying to delete pics from her memory card in a hurry! (She had filled it up at the aquarium!

I walked right up and said hello and asked what was happening. Apparently, the Army has a division of helicopter pilots called the "Gladiators" and that is the name of the Gwinnett County minor league hockey team! So they are partnering together! These folks were the absolute nicest folks! The female pilot asked if we'd like to get a picture of the kids with the helicopter:

Then the kids looked inside. I had just said "Don't touch, just look" when another of the crew said, "Climb on up kids!" They were so excited:
The next thing I know, the crew is clearing stuff out of the front seat and asking if we would like to get a picture of the children in the cockpit of the helicopter! It was a dream come true for the kids. I told Reece, "Don't touch anything!" and another of the crew members said, "It's OK, she can't hurt anything. As long as she doesn't touch the yellow lever!" "Shhh!" I said. ;)
They had to get going, so we thanked them all profusely and headed back to the car! Folks were waiting for us to explain what was going on, and as I turned to explain, I noticed that the other two folks that had been in the parking lot (the ones who were waved over and I assumed that meant the public was welcome) were helping bring things into the Civic Center. These were not bystanders... they were working for the Gladiators team!

OH MY GOSH! We weren't supposed to go up to the helicopters!!!! I am truly so embarrassed! What must those folks have been thinking as the kids and I were approaching? "Who is this nutty lady and her kids, and who's the camera lady?!?!" Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?? :)

The kids won't soon forget this!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Girlhood

This is the last post of pictures from Riley's life... please scroll down to see the other posts today! We're celebrating Riley's life, as she gets ready to turn 8 years old tomorrow!

This is a picture from Riley's first tball game! She caught the baseball bug from the boys, and she really enjoyed herself! She was 6.5 years old here!

Here is Riley at her birthday last year, when she was 7!
Riley learned to ride a 2 wheeler last year, finally! :)
Here's a great shot of our girl, up in the scorekeepers area at the ballfield! This was last spring!
And here is Riley before her Christmas musical for choir! She was an indian princess doll! Choir is a new thing for this year and she absolutely loves it!


Getting to be a big girl!

Scroll down for baby, toddler, and preschool pictures of Riley! Blogger is only letting me add 5 pics per post, so I'm having to do multiple posts!

This is quite possibly my favorite picture of Riley! She is a few months past 5 in this picture, and we were visiting my mom! I'm not sure what had her so happy! :)
Riley on her 5th birthday! She and Reece look so much alike! :)
Here is Riley when she was 6, at her Kindergarten graduation (which was in my mother's backyard! LOL)
Here is Riley at her cheerleading! She was nearly 6 here!
Here is another picture of Riley when she was almost 6. She had spent the day making a paper doll of her doll Madeline, and a house for Madeline to live in! This was one of the first times I realized how gifted she is with her artistic ability!

I'll post one more set of pictures when we get home from picking up Reece from preschool! I hope you're enjoying watching Riley 'grow up'! It's amazing to look back at these pictures! Of all of my children, I feel like she's the one who has seemed to grow up without my even realizing it! I guess maybe that's a middle child thing?? Anyway, she is becoming a very lovely young lady, and she hasn't lost one bit of her spunky personality!!

Toddler and Preschooler Riley

If you haven't already, scroll down to see another post of Riley's baby pictures right below this one! Blogger is only letting me put 5 pictures per post so I'm going to have to break them up! :)

Here is Riley around her 2nd birthday! It's hard to see in the picture, but I had taken her to the beauty shop and they had braided the bangs part of her hair back and she thought she was something else!
Here she is on her 2nd birthday!
We're jumping forward a bit and Riley is nearly 3 in this picture! Here she is doing a pose after her Mommy and Me Gymnastics class!
We're jumping forward again and I cannot believe the leap she took between 3 and nearly 4 and a half. This was the first day of PreK for her, which was a misnomer for her because she was already reading!
Here is another picture of Riley at 4.5! Daddy took her to see the Nutcracker and he got all dressed up in his tuxedo and she picked out this beautiful new dress!




Baby Riley!

In honor of Riley's 8th birthday tomorrow, and because it was so much fun when I did it for Reece's birthday, here are some pictures of Riley as a baby!

In this picture she is just a few weeks old! She was my biggest baby, and she always seemed so much older than she was!

Here is Riley at Austin's 3rd birthday, so she was 8 weeks old! We have always really enjoyed dressing her up in hats!
Here is Reece at around 8 months old, before her first Halloween!
From the very beginning she was full of personality! :)
Here's Riley at 20 months old!
I'm going to put another set of pics up from her toddler-preschool years!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

I got this from Jan's blog! (And yes, I'm using words now! Honestly, do you think it's possible for me to NOT use words??? Why do you think RDI is so complicated for me??)

This is Riley at age 2... she turns 8 on Friday, and I'm waiting for my mom to send me some baby pics to put up! She was born way before we were digital!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Live from the ballfield!

(I'm going to drive you crazy now that I know how to embed these videos, huh?)

This first video is from tonight's game, Austin's is pitching in this video! He pitched 4 innings and it was a nail-biter! We ended up tying 3-3 when time ran out! In this video he strikes the batter out.




This video is Austin's first at-bat! He got a single! All in all he got 2 singles and a strikeout tonight!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Saturday, March 17, 2007

America's Pastime

Austin warming-up on dec before the game begins... he was out lead-off batter today!


Opening Day is upon us, and today's first game of the season reminds me again of why I love baseball so much! Granted, it's a great game - a true team sport where you have to work together to succeed! But for Austin, and especially for me, baseball is much more! I jokingly refer to baseball as "The Great Equalizer" and for good reason! When Austin is on the ball field, he is different. Or rather, he is NOT different --- he is just like all the other kids out there. Or maybe even better!
Yeah, I'm going to brag: Austin's a GREAT ball player! He is going to be one of the star players again this season! It's his last year in this league and he's the oldest player, missing the cutoff by 18 days. And he's been playing in this league for 5 seasons now! So it would make sense that he would be better than average! But he's also got an ability for baseball and a dad who is willing to invest the time in working to develop that ability!
So here is how Austin fared in today's game offensively:
First at bat - Hit by Pitch (didn't cry!), stole 2nd and 3rd, scored
Second at bat - Walked, stole 2nd and 3rd, scored
Third at bat - Hit a grounder for a single, then tagged out running to second
He was on fire with defense. He scooped up a grounder at shortstop and threw the runner out at first base. He pitched the third inning, striking out all 3 batters he faced, nobody even got a bat to the ball! The other team's coach called him our "Secret Weapon" which just made Austin's day! He's been walking around all day calling himself the "Secret Weapon"!
And he was a great team member, encouraging his fellow players in all positions, especially the other boys who pitched! I was so proud to hear him yelling out words of encouragement when the lead-off pitcher walked several runs in! And when a team-mate got a homerun, which helped Austin to score, Austin went over to him and congratulated him!
I do love baseball! :)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Friday reflections

Today marks the end of one of the craziest weeks of my entire life, and I'd like to reflect upon it for a moment! We ended up having an impromptu "spring break" this week because I was unable to pull things together for school after coming home from my trip and having such a full week. Next time I go (and I will definitely go!), I'll have a light week of school planned in advance! Though it was good that we had spring break this week... the kids seemed to just need me around to just hang out with them and not jump back into 'mom/teacher' mode.

We had 2 doctor appointments this week: Reece's well check and Austin's followup with the orthopedist. Reece's well check went very well, though I suspect the ped forgot that Reece is on the autism spectrum. She (the ped) came flying in through the door and bombarded Reece with tons of questions, rapid-fire. Reece held her own, though! The ped was concerned that Reece doesn't know her address or phone number, but I said, "2 years ago she wasn't even really communicating, so I'm not concerned at all! We'll get to those things over the next year!" And frankly, memorizing her phone number and address will be simple for her, so I'm truly not concerned. There are more important things in her life.

Austin's ortho appointment was also very good. His autism doc found scoliosis in his back last year at his first appointment, and we were referred to the ortho who found Austin's left leg is shorter than the right. Austin's had a big growth spurt in the last 6 months or so, so I was afraid it would be worse. Or worse yet, that the left leg had stopped growing. But the doctor found the same level of discrepancy in the two legs, and said that was reassuring. And when I asked him if Austin would stop growing now that he's starting puberty, he said that that isn't how boys work... Austin has lots of growing time left! Whew! So we don't have to go back for a year to see the ortho again! :)

Next week Reece has her follow-up with the autism doctor! Her teacher and facilitator wrote up the things Reece is still working on and the progress she has made! They did a fantastic job and it will be most helpful for her doctor and me. Speaking of Reece, she's having a rough few days... yesterday was terrible at preschool. I'm trying not to over-react, but it makes me worry that we're heading into a regression, or if the shot she got on Monday is making her regress, or if she's reacting to the crazy busy week we're having. Or maybe she's just having a bad couple of days. But when the verbal stimming comes back and the refusal to speak and behave rear their ugly heads... it really does bother me. She has been doing so well recently, and I hate to lose the progress we've made. Yesterday at the ball field she was playing and I looked up and she was walking to the street... not to the parking lot but to the main road that runs next to the ball field. Just heading straight for it. As soon as I got her attention she turned around and came back, which probably wouldn't have happened a year ago. But I had hoped we were beyond that now.

Riley turns 8 next week, and while it's not as hard as Reece turning 5, it still shocks me that she's getting so grown up already! She has changed so much in the last year, becoming less of a little girl and more of a big girl! It's hard to describe how she's changed, since you really have to know her to understand it! :)

Austin's had a rough winter, and I'm hoping that baseball season starting will help that! He made a heck of a play yesterday from the pitcher's mound, and went 2 for 2 (meaning he got up to bat 2 times and both times he got on base). As much as the ball season schedule drives me nuts, I love what it does for his self-esteem and sense of competence!

As for me, I had no idea coming back from 4 days away was going to be so difficult! I was and am so glad to be back home with my family, but I got used to setting a more relaxed pace! It's funny that can happen so quickly! Also, I had worked myself up into such a frenzy before I had left... was just so worried about what might happen... that I think I had exhausted myself that way as well. And it didn't help that the time change occured! LOL I'm not sure if I mentioned here, but I won two layout contests. This afternoon I'll post the winning layouts! :) I was so surprised I won! It really made me feel good!

So we're back to the real world next week... school will move forward! And I've got to start working on our plans for next year! I gave myself a deadline of April 15th for which approach we're taking for history and science next year, as that sort of dictates what I need to plan for. Also, I'm still debating taking Austin off the classical ed route and moving him to a more CM approach. And then I have to think about Reece and officially doing school with her next year! Oh it's alot to consider! :)

That was alot of reflecting huh? :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Why technology is the coolest thing:

Riley takes ballet in a homeschool class with one other girl. At the end of the class each time, the teacher turns out the light, turns on some praise and worship music, and they 'dance in the dark for Jesus'. During this time, Riley and L made up a little dance to a song. L asked Riley if she wanted to perform the dance during the talent show for their homeschool group, and Riley was delighted to do it!

There was but one problem: this talent show was the Friday night that I was gone at my scrapbooking retreat. My husband had agreed to take everyone and try to get some video, and Riley insisted she was OK with my not being there (she would later change her mind and it made me feel terribly guilty). The show must go on, as they say!

And this is why I love technology --- hours after missing her dancing in the talent show, I was able to watch Riley's dance on YouTube, thanks to my husband who uploaded the video. Also thanks to a wireless internet connection whose origins were a mystery! :) And now, for your watching pleasure, here are the little dancers (Riley is on the left)!


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Digital Scrapbooking

While I was at the retreat this weekend, I was able to put digitial scrapbooking software on my laptop. I am a hobbyist level scrapper with Top-Line Creations (basically it gives me 25% off my scrapbooking supplies! LOL), and this is one of our newest products! It's SOOO cool! I'll tell more about it later, but if you can't wait, check out my upline's business site at www.makingscrapbooks.com (it's the often-referred-to Jan, so you don't think this is some stranger! LOL).




I'm back!

I got back on Sunday evening, and it's been a crazy couple of days ever since! :)

I was away at a scrapbooking retreat! It was my first time being away from the children for more than overnight! I was extremely nervous before I left, but everything went smoothly! Scrapbooking was fantastic, and I got alot done! I'll try to post some pictures when I have a moment... tomorrow is looking a bit slower, so maybe I'll be able to do it then!

I had a fantastic time, but I am very glad to be home!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Away

I will be away for a few days... having some much-needed Mommy R and R! :) I'll be back next week!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Grammar woes

Back to homeschooling posts:

Grammar. Why is it that Austin cannot seem to grasp the simplest concepts in Enlish Grammar? He's almost 11, so he's beyond that age where even the folks who say "Don't start formal grammar instruction until age 10" are saying he should get it. He memorized the definitions of parts of speech and the lists of pronouns, helping verbs, prepositions. He learned those 2-3 years ago! But apply them? Ugh.

We started off the year in Rod and Staff English 4 and it was way too hard (Or so I thought). So I purchased Easy Grammar 3/4 for him. Finding the prepositional phrases was a piece of cake because he has already memorized the list. But today, we were reviewing for his verb test and he could not find the verbs in the sentences. In one sentence, he identified "she" as a verb. @@

Riley is finishing up FLL, just like Austin did at her age, and she can find verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions! I know, not supposed to compare. But this is so frustrating! Austin seems like a smart guy! He can tell you the stats on most major league baseball players. He knows the hurricane names and what category they were when they made landfall. What is so complicated about nouns and verbs?! We haven't even gotten into adjectives and adverbs yet, heaven help us!

I'm feeling like I don't know what else to try! :( Is there anything out there that will work for him?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Happy 5th birthday, Reece!

Here is a picture of Reece yesterday before her birthday party! She was so happy all day long! :) It was so nice to see her so excited! She had her birthday party at the bouncy place just like she wanted, and it couldn't have been better!



She was so social at her party, interacting with all of her friends and family! I was so happy for her and so excited! I couldn't have asked for a better day for her! She loved her presents and her cake and the balloons! :) I will have more pictures to post once my mom (the family photographer) gets them uploaded and sent to me!



This is a little video of Reece I took of to show how much she has changed in the last 2 years! She was so happy and excited yesterday, so she was a bit goofy! But you can definitely tell that she is engaged and active and happy!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Four and a half --- just six months ago!

Here is Reece at four and a half... below is her first day of preschool for this year! She was very excited to be going back to preschool!

Our vacation last fall was to DisneyWorld in Florida with my parents! My mom took the girls to the Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique, where Reece was made up to look like Sleeping Beauty! This is still, and will likely forever be, one of my favorite days. Disney went to the trouble of finding someone that was trained to work with kids who have sensory needs to do Reece's hair and makeup! It was so perfect, it brought me to tears!
This is another of my favorite pictures! This was taken at the pool at the house that we were staying at for our DisneyWorld vacation! This was also as far as Reece would get in the water! LOL! I'm hoping to help her through her fear of the water this coming summer!

Tomorrow is the big day! I hope you've enjoyed looking back at Reece as much as I have! It's been a wonderful trip down memory lane! Her birthday party is in the afternoon tomorrow, and I will try to get some pics and videos up before we leave. If not, it will either be tomorrow evening or Sunday after church! :) I still can't believe she's going to be 5 years old tomorrow, but I'm not as sad as I had been!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Reece's 4th birthday (last year)

These pictures are going to seem very familiar, since at least the first one was up on my blog one year ago! :) I absolutely adore this picture! It's like she's saying, "Talk to the hand! I'm four years old!"

Reece looooves chocolate cake batter! She's just like her mama! :)