Saturday, March 24, 2012

Happy Spring!

 Yep!  They are sitting in a huge mud puddle!  Julie
said it took about thirty minutes to persuade Kate
to join her friends in the mud.  So cute and so
funny (and so good for Kate)!  Have I mentioned
lately how much I appreciate Kate's teacher?!!!  Oh and she
washed all their clothes too!!!!
Our days continue to be so busy with play dates, Great Minds activities, church, gymnastics, fishing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, work, and school.  We are all really looking forward to Spring Break and having some lazy mornings and catching up on housework.  We love our little house but these days it's REALLY feeling little.  I can't wait to have some time to sort through toys, papers, and clothes!  It always feels better when everything is organized again!

We were so excited to find out that Kate was awarded a $1,500.00 medical grant that I had applied for!  Thank you United Healthcare!!!  The grant money can be used for more physical and occupational therapy appointments.  Our insurance, which ironically is United Healthcare, only covers 20 appointments a year, so with the grant money we'll be able to continue Kate's every other week appointments.  That should truly help!  Ideally she should be going to physical therapy once a week, but thankfully we have Julie as Kate's preschool teacher and she makes sure that all the kids get tons of exercise everyday!  That has helped so much!  We do worry about when Kate begins kindergarten though... when she doesn't get enough exercise you can really tell the difference.  Her legs are stiff and her balance is a little "off".  I'm getting ready to apply for another grant though, so hopefully we'll get a little more help to pay for the appointments that she needs once school starts in August.  Of course Kate's weekly gymnastics helps too. 

Kate's new braces are working great!  Her toe drag is much better and a pair of shoes lasts much longer!  Unfortunately we are having a little trouble with the insurance company though... the orthopedics company we used is out of network... I've written an appeal to the insurance company so we'll see what happens.  We LOVE Eastpoint Prosthetics and want to continue working with them, so hopefully the insurance company can make an exception.  Fingers crossed... If not we may just see what it costs to continue to work with them even though they are out of network.  Eastpoint Prosthetics is being super patient with the process, so that's good news! 

We were very excited to find out that Kate got into Hilburne Academy for kindergarten.  They are a smaller school that worked with me as I tried to figure out the public school selection process when I went to turn in Kate's application.  Once we found out she was in, I sent an e-mail and have been corresponding with several people to figure out how to get Kate's 504 plan in place before school starts in August.  It truly helped that we had Preschool Services already assess her back in December!  There are so many people to coordinate with, but thankfully we have time to get it all figured out.  Everyone has been so nice and helpful!  The 504 plan will give Kate accommodations such as someone to carry her lunch tray, help her up any stairs, etc.  Kate does great but when you throw in running, jumping kids, we worry that she'll be knocked over and fall down.  We also don't want Kate to get "teased" for walking slower, etc.  She's pretty spunky though and we always say, "I wouldn't mess with Kate!"  We're pretty sure she can hold her own!  Our plan is for Kate to attend public school kindergarten for a year and once Brennan graduates fifth grade from my school the two kids will switch places.  Hilburne Academy goes through eighth grade so should be a great middle school for Brennan!  Of course if Kate ends up loving Hilburne, we'll keep her there and save some money each month.  :-) 

Brennan has been busy with school and is doing well!  He is so much more responsible about homework although he left one assignment for the last minute.  He was supposed to read Harry Potter (the first book) and said he was reading at school when I asked.  When I went to his conference with his teacher she asked if he was reading it at home...  so he was busted!  We got the book and started reading it with only a week and a half to get it completed.  Of course that was on top of his daily homework, etc.  Poor kid missed some play time and TV time but we read it together and he actually ended up enjoying it!  He was really happy he did read the book when Harry Potter Day arrived!  His entire classroom was transformed into Hogwarts for the day and everyone dressed up.  It was such a fun day for everyone filled with wand making, spells, potions, and even a Quidditch match at PE time.  They also had a guy come in with owls to teach about them.  Hopefully my hesitant reader may be hooked on a series to read for awhile... I was impressed with his reading skills when we read the book together, but can't figure out how to get him to truly enjoy reading on a daily basis?!!  Oh well... I guess I should be happy he has the skills necessary, even if he doesn't love it. 

Kate continues to go on amazing field trips and learn so much at her school.  One day Kate commented that she wanted to pet a sheep, so Julie arranged it and off they went!  What a blessing that Kate has been exposed to so much during her first year in America! 

Kate was looking through some pictures on my phone this morning and came to a video of her crying that was taken in September.  We certainly don't miss those days... although now she is in a yelling mode!  I guess I'd choose yelling over the crying but I hope we can convince her (SOON!) that talking is just as effective as yelling/whining.  We keep saying she is working through all the toddler stages in one year... it's probably healthy and we do have a five year old Kate more and more often! 

A few more milestones that she's accomplished-
She can write her name now, she can jump,  she can do a somersault, she can (almost) ride her big wheel without help, she can dress herself, she knows most of her colors (although gets red and green mixed up), she can color within the lines, and she can do a 24 piece puzzle by herself!  It's so funny to teach her something because when you are teaching her or helping her the first or second time she does. not. get .it. at. all... then all of a sudden you help her a third time and she totally gets it!  She amazes us!  It's been nine months and she's learned about as much as a four year old does in that time.  I think she'll be caught up by August!

 So life has settled down although we stay quite busy!  Looking forward to spring break in one week...

Fishing at Springdale with Brennan

After holding these baby chicks at
school, Brennan was trying to convince
me that we could have chickens on our
deck!  I love this kid!

Kate singing at church.
She always looks so cute
and sings her heart out!

Kate was at a park with her
classmates and was so proud
that she could climb on this structure.
She wanted Julie to take a picture so we
could show it to Caitlyn (her PT therapist).
Caitlyn was very impressed!

I love this picture!  Back in
June we would never have let
Kate walk Zamboni for fear
that he would pull her down.
It shows how much stronger and
confident she is when walking!

Brennan helped Kate do her very first Lego
set! She did great and even knew how to
follow the directions.  I guess watching
Brennan put Lego sets together for
nine months helped!

Celebrating my dad's birthday at Golden
Corral- one of his favorite places.  It's hard
 to believe that he has been in heaven for nine years...

The kids wanted to sleep in the living room
the other night so we set up an air mattress
for them only to find them BOTH sleeping
on the hard floor in the morning!  Silly

Kate knew she was going to the farm
with Julie but insisted on wearing
her dress!  It's amazing to see her
feeding the goat when she wouldn't even
touch an animal in June!  Thanks Julie!

The perfect Easter picture!!!  Kate told everyone
about the baby bunnies!

Harry Potter Day at TRS!

Kate was Little Bo Peep
for nursery rhyme day at school.