Sunday, November 4, 2012

October 2012

For Brennan's tenth birthday we bought a thirty gallon fish tank from our neighbor.  It was a great deal and she even came over and helped us set it up.  Brennan took some of his birthday money and bought the plants for inside (which actually cost more than the actual fish tank).  The tank looks great in the kids' room and so far we've been lucky with the fish. He has about fifteen fish and we've only lost two within hours of bringing them home.  Brennan's been wanting a big fish tank since he was about two years old.  We thought it was so sweet that he asked our neighbor if she wanted to sell hers and save us some money.  He acts cool on the outside but he really does think about these things and understands that we do need to watch our finances a little. 
I can't believe our baby is ten!  I love this age too!  He still snuggles with us but can also be so independent.  He's also grown so much as a brother to Kate.  It wasn't an easy transition for him but he's grown to love his little sister.  He will often tell me what a good sister she is because she doesn't mess with his things- and then he goes on to tell me about his friends' siblings.  He can get frustrated with her (we all do when she cries and screams) but he gives her such great advice.  She absolutely adores him and we tell him he needs to use his power for good.  When she starts getting fussy, we beg him to use his magic and cheer her up.  He truly is the only one that can change her mood from happy to sad within seconds.  When he gets grumpy at her (and it wasn't her fault), he'll often feel guilty and play with her for awhile to make up for it.  I always prayed that he'd end up being a brother like my brother was to me.  I truly think my prayers are being answered- he is such a special kid!

October 14th

Grandpa Ted visited us right after Brennan's birthday
  for the weekend.  It was so nice to have him here and we enjoyed visiting, going out for dinner, going to a Leesville High School football game, and going to church together.  We decided to have Kate  baptized while he was here.  Kate felt so special and the church gave her a beautiful necklace and a special candle and certificate.  Every time Kate sees Pastor Jay now she runs and gives him a hug.  She loved getting baptized and seems to understand a little bit about what that means.  Of course any chance she can be in front of and "audience' she's happy!

Kate's baptism dress

Baptism Day

After grandpa Ted left we needed to get ready for Halloween.  We carved two pumpkins and Brennan planted all the pumpkin seeds in my flower pots.  The crazy squirrels nibbled on our pumpkins though before I could take any good pictures.  They literally ate the faces off our pumpkins- they are CRAZY!  They've also eaten holes in our garbage can!

Our little helper

Kate five years old

Brennan 10 years old


Our Bum!
The bum's sign

She only made it to four houses!
Brennan went trick or treating with some friends so Dave and I took a very tired Kate out trick or treating.  She only made it to four houses and wanted to go home.  She fell asleep in the car when we drove Brennan to his friend's house.  I think she had her princesses mixed up.  Wasn't it Sleeping Beauty that slept so much?!!!

School Days Again...

 I headed back to school on August 15th and so Kate headed back to Julie's until her school started.  Brennan took turns hanging out with Dave and hanging out with me at school during the workdays.

Kate was back with Julie just in time to join them for the two night beach trip.  She was so excited and they all had so much fun!  If she gets to go to the beach for her preschool graduation trip, I wonder what she'll expect when she graduates kindergarten??  LOL

Julie had a preschool graduation ceremony on August 18th.  It was very sweet and emotional for some of the families that have been part of Julie's preschool for so many years.  All the kids are headed off to different kindergarten classes.  The good news is that Julie is still going to watch them all when they don't have school and so they'll all be reunited at least once a month!  Julie has been such a blessing to all of us!
Brennan and I started school on August 22nd.  Kate had her staggered entry day on August 29th and loved it.  She officially started on September 4th.  We've all transitioned well- especially Brennan.  He is so happy this year and is becoming so responsible!  It's hard to believe that he is a fifth grader and this will be the last year at my school.  The Raleigh School has been such a great school for him because it is so small and nurturing.  He has really grown into such a kind and caring kid that is confident and outgoing because of his years at TRS.  Kate is going to a school called Hilburn Academy, which is a public school only a mile from our house.  They have been WONDERFUL so far and Brennan will attend the same school next year because they just added a middle school.  Hilburn reminds me a lot of The Raleigh School except it's free!  There are times when I wish Kate was at my school, but so far I love everything they are doing at her school. Financially we just couldn't afford to have both kids at my school- even with the teacher discount.  We had planned to transfer Kate to my school next year, but we may decide to keep her at Hilburn.  It would be great to have both kids at the same school!                                                                                                                                           
Kate was so excited to have a two night
sleepover with all her friends.

With all of us back to school and work we found ourselves quite busy!  I started a tutoring program along with another friend from church at a low income housing project on Tuesdays.  We also got book donations and furniture from our church and set up their freshly updated community room.  The kids are so excited about their new library and great beanbags, chairs, lamps, and desks.  They are so proud of their space and it was really fun to set up.  Every time our car pulls up, we are immediately surrounded by about ten kids wondering if they can go into the Community Room.  Tuesdays have been very popular with usually about 15- 20 kids ready to do homework, read books, color, or work on word puzzles.  We've also been able to get about three other volunteers to help us.  It has been great!
Kate is the busiest of all of us!  She has physical therapy every Monday.  I had applied for a grant to cover additional PT for Kate above the 20 sessions my insurance allows and was rewarded $1500.00.  We have to use it by January though because then my insurance will kick back in.  Kate loves going, so that makes it easy.  They have molded her feet for her third set of leg braces.  This pair will be a little smaller and are made to help fix her "pigeon feet".  She still has toe drop a little, but wow has she made progress!  Caitlyn is always amazed at Kate's improvement from week to week!
Kate goes to gymnastics on Wednesdays and loves that.  I kept her in the preschool class because she fits in a little better with her physical abilities.  Kenney's Gymnastics is so wonderful with Kate and she LOVES going so much!  The exercise is great and helps keep her muscles from stiffening.  She is so much more stable walking around and trying the different activities this year. 

On Saturdays Kate has ballet class.  We tried a class at a ballet place right down the road but they put her with the five year old class to try it (even though I said she'd do better in a younger class) and it was much too hard.  Their other classes were full and we searched for another class.  Triangle Academy of Dance in Cary offered a special needs class and they thought it would be a great fit for Kate.   They were GREAT and loved having Kate in their class but after about six weeks they thought she was strong enough to try a preschool class.  She took Dance Magic for a few more weeks but I was getting tired of the half our drive each way and so we looked for a place closer.  We tried a four year old class at Carolina Dance Academy only a mile from our house.  Ms. Eva is great and Kate fell in love with her third class.  The best news about this place is that Kate will be in a recital in June complete with the fancy outfit, stage, and big audience.  Kate LOVES to perform!  The other dance places she attended did not have a recital but each place helped her get a little stronger so she'd fit in with the four year old class. 

 Kate's favorite activities occur on Sundays.  She loves Sunday School of course and choir in the evenings.  She is so excited to be a part of the big kids' choir and wear the choir robes when they sing.  She stands up front so proudly and does a great job! 

Her favorite activity of all is her cheer leading team though! Through my research I found a team that was just starting this year and talked with them to see if Kate would be a good fit.  They were starting a special needs team in Wake Forest called the Wonder Wolves.  Stephanie is the owner of the Wake Forest Wolves competitive team and Jenn had approached her to start this new team.  The Wonder Wolves will attend five competitions and perform their routine.  They won't compete but they will be a part of all the fun and cheering.  They asked for volunteers from the  Alpha Wolves (the highest team) to help the new team learn a routine, etc.  Sixteen girls jumped at the chance to volunteer and so three alpha wolves have been matched up with one wonder wolf each Sunday for their one and a half hour practice.  It is AMAZING!  There are only five Wonder Wolves this year but I'm sure this program will grow much larger next year.  Kate loves her three helpers and they are so good with her.  The other four Wonder Wolves are all teenagers and so are all the helpers, so Kate gets plenty of attention!  Cheer leading is great exercise too!  Her first performance is December 15th.  It's going to be so much fun!

Our big kindergartner!

Kate's cheer leading uniform
 Brennan is still our fisherman and will go fishing at any opportunity!  He also enjoys his golf lessons on Tuesdays with his friends. This is their third year of lessons, although the weather didn't cooperate much last year.  Hopefully they'll be able to go a lot more often this year.  He also wanted to start drum lessons and so I found him a great teacher and he takes lessons every Monday.  He LOVES it and is doing very well.  He's also a part of our church's youth group and does activities with them once a month.  He loves to have the time to just play, fish, and build.  His creative mind is always doing some project or other!

Kate had a fussy week last week which reminded me a little of what we went through last August (2011)- eek!  We skipped gymnastics and that seemed to help a little. She loves being busy though so we'll just have to see if she can handle everything or not.  She has been back to her sweet self the last few days, so we have our fingers crossed.  She can be so LOUD and dramatic!!!  It does amaze me how a little five year old can affect every one's mood around her.  I promised I'd join her for lunch at school if she has some happy days- so happily I'll be eating with her tomorrow.  She's excited!  If that's all it takes, I'll plan on eating with her each week!

My second graders this year are cute and fun.  They do tire me out though.  I love my summer days when I can easily stay awake until 10:00 PM.  I feel bad that once again I don't have the time or energy to do everything I'd like with my kids, but as long as I have to work I'm happy I enjoy my job. 

So life is busy and most of the time happy! Dave has been so helpful and Kate has learned that she can ask both of us for help (rather than just me).  Life is good!

Kate's assigned alpha wolves
that help her each week.

Kate is getting much more
brave and they are now
able to lift her up to their
shoulders now!
Notice the tape on Kate's feet.  Caitlyn her PT will
sometimes put tape on Kate's feet to help
them  point out during the session.
Kate was playing the other day and came out of
her room with her feet taped.  I think she may
have a future as a physical therapist!
Brennan with his kindergarten
buddy at the TRS Stop Hunger
Now Event

Stop Hunger Now

Kate is getting braver!