Monday, October 25, 2010

Autumns "Report Card"

This may be boring to most of you, but today I got Autumns IEP, which is an Individualized Education Program. It's basically the students goals and performance objectives that were set at the beginning of the school year, and as the year progresses we get their progress report. It's very detailed, no check pluses or A, B grading system. It's a very thought out, percentage based evaluation. I don't always have time (nor does the teacher) to stop and discuss how Autumn's doing in specifics unless it's a parent teacher conference, and in our last one we discussed Autumns speech delay not the other areas they were working on her with too.

So while many of you may not be interested, I have loads of family not living near me who are always asking about Autumn and how school is going. I also have a few speech pathologist friends who were very informative about these programs when I was debating on getting Autumn they may also be curious about her progress. (Just a side note- Target Level of Mastery- that's where Autumn needs to be before they consider the goal achieved and then can set a new goal for her to reach. Current Level of Mastery- where she is now compared to where they want her to be by Aug. 2011.) I wanted to do this for my records too:

Goal: By Aug. 2011 Autumn will be expressively identifying 5 colors and 5 shapes
Target Level of Mastery: 90%
Current Level of Mastery: 55%
Teacher Comments: At this time, Autumn is able to receptively identify colors and shapes, but struggles w/expressively identifying them. She is able to identify 5 colors, but 2 shapes.
My comments: I know she knows rectangle, square, and triangle- she points them out all the time, and she says them, so for the teacher to say she struggles to express them is interesting, and that she only knows 2. But I am shocked she knows colors, because I always ask her what color something is and she can't ever tell me the right color, but maybe if I say, "where's the blue one," she will be able to identify it for me.
Goal: By Aug. 2011 Autumn will follow directions that require one step, two steps, and a series of unrelated sequences of action.
Target Level of Mastery: 80%
Current Level of Mastery: 25%
Teacher Comments: At this time, Autumn is able to follow directions that require one step. Autumn has a tendency to become very distracted. Directions need to be short and to the point. She is working on following more complicated directions.
My Comments: This makes me laugh. It is totally Autumn. She only hears one thing and either she can't process the rest of what you're saying or she just zones you out. We communicate the exact same with our (almost) 2 year old as we do with her. Which isn't an insult to her, she just needs things more simply explained if we want her to do something. One of Weston's strengths is his vocabulary and his ability to communicate, which isn't Autumns strong suit, but she has the upper hand on coordination...poor Weston trips just walking around. It's amazing how different their strong suits are.
Goal: By August 2011, Autumn will ask and answer a variety of questions about stories told or read aloud.
Target Level of Mastery: 80%
Current Level of Mastery: 0%
Teachers Comments: Autumn does not yet ask and answer questions related to text. Autumn displays significally delayed language skills. She will be tested for speech and language services in order to determine if she qualifies for services in order to help her better express her ideas.
My Comments: She was evaluated today for speech therapy, the teacher told me "unofficially" that she qualifies. While I understand a lot of what Autumn says I can see why others don't. This girl talks non-stop though, and she does ask questions, like "What?", "What are you doing Mom?" But yes, those are generic everyday questions she probably hears all the time. When it comes to asking questions about something specific- she doesn't do that, or when I read her a book and I ask her a question about it she doesn't respond. So while she hasn't made any progress with this goal, luckily now she gets Speech Therapy and has until Aug. to complete the goal.
Goal: Buy Aug. 2011 Autumn will count up to number 20.
Target Level of Mastery: 80%
Current Level of Mastery: 70%
Teacher Comments: At this time, Autumn is able to count up to number 14.
My comments: This is something I have been working on her with. She can count up to 20, but I think they don't count it when 16 and 17 sound just like 15, so basically she says, "13, 14, 15, 15, 15, 18, 19, 20." She thinks she is saying 16 and 17 because the pattern picks right up where it should with 18, so we are still working on it. This is an easy one to do, and she doesn't even realize when we practice counting we are doing school work. Plus she is only 10% away from completing this goal. :)
Goal: By Aug. 2011, Autumn will ask to use the restroom w/out reminding or prompting.
Target Level of Mastery: 90%
Current Level of Mastery: 30%
Teachers Comments: Autumn often remembers to use the restroom w/out reminding, but at times she becomes busy and forgets. If her teachers notice that she has not gone during class time they will remind her.
My Comments: I am so proud of Autumn and her "potty going" skills. This girl potty trained like a champ back in July. Since being potty trained (which took 2 days) she has never had an accident. We can travel 3 hours to Drews parents and she will hold it the whole way, or if we run 2 hours worth of errands she never says anything about going potty, but when we're at home she is going to the bathroom all the time. So I consider it a good thing, that while she is "busy and forgets" she doesn't have an accident. She just holds it until she makes the time to go. I realize many other kids who get busy and forget and would just relieve themselves in the middle of what ever their doing, but Autumn's never come home from school in a change of clothes, and I have never had the "joy"  (yet) of being embarrassed by my child having a potty accident when out in public. But yes, if she has to go, I would like her to go. I know holding it isn't good for you. Luckily we are at home most of the time and when we're home she is always going to the bathroom w/out me ever needing to say anything to her about it.
Goal: By Aug. 2011 Autumn will cover her mouth when coughing or sneezing.
Target Level of Mastery: 85%
Current Level of Mastery: 25%
Teachers Comments: Autumn must still be reminded to cover her hands when she is coughing or sneezing. After she coughs and sneezes she is reminded of what to do she will cover her face in order to show she understands. She is given a model in which to do so.
My Thoughts: Kids are kids, I am glad they are teaching her manners because this is something we practice at home too, but she is a kid. I am glad she shows appropriate gestures after someone shows her what she should be doing after coughing and/or sneezing.

I am proud of the progress she has made and can't wait to see her next "report card" and see what she has continued to improve upon.

Friday, October 22, 2010

MAC Farm

I love Autumn's preschool, it has been such a big blessing for us (and her!) Last week was her schools Fall Break and it was REALLY hard on her. She asked to go to school everyday and I had to find creative ways to keep her busy and happy. 

Yesterday her preschool took their first field trip of the year. It was so nice to see all the preschool students who attend this particular school. There were 4 classes all together, since there are 2 preschool teachers and they each have an a.m. class and a p.m. class. (Autumn's in a p.m. class, she goes from 12:15-2:45 three days a week.)

It wasn't until we got to the farm that I realized I didn't have my camera with me, and used my cell phone. So excuse the quality but I wanted to get pictures of Autumns first field trip with her class. I took Weston and my nephew with me and we had a great time. This isn't a traditional "farm". It's the Maricopa Agriculture Center. So it was all agriculture w/no animals. The kids were a little confused but the people who worked at this facility made it fun for the kids and really interesting. The unit that the kids had been discussing in school was on farms, so it was all related to what they have been learning about in class.

They first had us gather outside where the directors of the farm explained what we'd be doing while we were there, and explained that these bales the kids were sitting on were the farms furniture and how to treat their "furniture".
 They split us up into 3 groups, and Autumns class/group first went to an area where they learned about plants, how they grow, and what's all entailed in caring for crops. The kids each got to make their own "garden", which went back to the school and will be in their classroom until the seeds sprout and then the kids get to bring them home. They first had them put the soil in, then about 20 seeds, more soil, and then they watered their "garden" and set them near a window for sunlight.
 The second class they went to this director talked to the kids about fruits and vegetables, and incorporating them into our meals. She really made the healthy food fun for kids. At the end she offered a "healthy snack" which was a Ritz cracker w/cream cheese and broccoli on top, and it was interesting to see which kids tried it, loved it, and which wouldn't even touch it because of the green on top. Autumn loved it.
 After the second class the kids got to go eat lunch. It was fun packing a lunch, but once I was there I realized I am a total amature at packing lunches and forgot a very basic item- napkins. I had 3 kids to feed and made sure I had enough food for them, but didn't think about the clean up afterwards.
 Autumn ate really well, no surprise there.
 Weston really loved sitting out with the big kids and feeling like apart of the class.
 The kids had a sandwich, strawberries and grapes, yogurt, fruit snacks, and a Capri Sun. A treat for each of them, especially eating picnic style! This is a picture of most of our group, minus the tables that were behind me.  
After lunch they got to play, and this was probably one of the favorite areas. All 3 kids got a turn playing on a tractor.
 The kids got to pump water, old school style. These were surprisingly easy for little hands to use and get to work. 
 This was a bigger water pump, with a huge trough, which mostly the boys were interested in. Weston loved splashing in the water as it came out the pump while his cousin did all the work.
 After lunch and playtime our group went and watched a movie (and ate popcorn) about tractors and farming. For it not being animated I was impressed how well all the kids sat and watched it, even the 2 littlest kids there:

The final class the kids got to make bracelets. There were 7 different colored beads, each representing something about plants and gardening.
 Autumn showing hers off, I only remember most of the the things the colors represented. White- the seed, Blue- air, Green- the growing plant, Red- love for the crops, Yellow- sunshine, Brown- the soil -and your guess is as good as mine for the clear. 
 The final activity of the day was taking a tractor ride on a tour of the farm. The kids saw all kinds of machines, crops, tire piles, and everything an agricultural farm would have. This is most of our group:
 My nephew really enjoyed it. Farms are great for both boys and girls, but the 2 boys w/me seemed to really get into it, especially when men were out driving the tractors.
Weston really enjoyed himself too. I didn't get any pics of Autumn, she was sitting with one of her teachers, so that I could keep a better eye on these 2.
 The other class on their tractor ride.
 A few of the things we saw:
I didn't take any pictures of the cotton field, the corn field, the grass fields, with Weston on my lap and my nephew next to me who kept grabbing the guy next to him for support I didn't get to take as many pics as I would've liked. My hands were busy. But I am really glad I went, and that I took the boys with me. I debated about not going for a long time, but decided we would go- and all 3 kids, and myself, really had a good time.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I Love Crafts

I have been trying to keep myself busy doing things I enjoy, I realize with baby #3 on the way that my time won't be as "free" as it is now once he/she is here. Plus with the birthdays and holidays here, it's really easy to get creative and come up with things to decorate my home with.
First, Autumn had a birthday party to go to and I had loads of ideas from family on what to get her (I wasn't sure what 5 year old were into) so after getting a couple of things for her I wanted to make her something personal, plus I have a Cricut and love to use it. So I found a small candy jar that's been sitting in my closet since we moved here 10 months ago, made a cute new lid and filled it with her favorite candy.

I loved the way it turned out. I think her mom was happy to see something different and "special" in the gift bag.
I have crib bedding that I was planning to sell at a future garage sale because I didn't want to use the bedding again but then I thought maybe if I added some cute decor to the wall next to the crib it would help spice it up. I love what we came up with.

My mom came into town with a bunch of Cricut cartridges for me to make things with for scrapbooks, but then she had the perfect Winnie the Pooh set that I knew I could use for wall decor:
I bought some small wooden plaques, painted them, put on some characters and mod podged it. They are adorable. We attached ribbon to the tops of  each these to make hanging easier.
This rectangle plaque is bigger, about 8x11 in size and once we have a name picked out I will put it above the sleeping Pooh bear.
We have this fun little toy that the kids and everyother kid that comes over loves to play with. But my kids picked some of the pictures off of it and I had been wanting to fix it forever, but wasn't sure of a way to reapply something without having them pick it off again. So I bought the mod podge for the baby decorations and realized I had my solution now.

This was the before pic, after I had already started...
 One side I did numbers-
 The other side was alphabet letters-
When I started putting out all my Fall/Halloween decor I realized I had way more Fall decorations than Halloween specific decorations. So I was happy when a friend called and invited me and the kids over to make wooden Halloween spiders. She has older kids who were able to make the whole thing, I just let my kids paint them. But they turned out adorable.
 I hung them on a wall near the front door that lacked any home decor and I liked them but thought that wall needed a little something else too.
So I made a Halloween Banner to go with them.
 And hung it up on the wall w/them. The wall is complete now!
Then, I was just browsing a food blog- Our Best Bites (thanks Jamie!) and they had posted loads of Halloween ideas for food, snacks, and treats and then an adorable craft- that after seeing it I knew I had to make. An hour later I was done and texting my sisters and mom about it incase they wanted to make some too.

Simple, it's just Mason Jars, tissue paper, mod podge, and black paper-
Then I added some ribon to the top, and put tea lights in them. They are so fun, and best of all- I didn't spend a penny on them, it's all stuff I had lying around the house.
Drews sister is expecting her second child a couple of weeks after our baby is due so in preparing for her baby shower this weekend I made her a little something for her son (to go with the other stuff I have as well). I am very happy with the way it turned out. Luckily my sister had a Cricut cartridge with some boyish decals. Mine are all so girly.
If you can't tell, I love making crafts, and I love how little it costs me. Like the sign for my future nephew cost me a dollar and some change for the wooden plaque, and I already had the paper, ribbon, and paint, or the candy jar for Autumn's friend, it was all stuff I had at home. I can't wait for Thanksgiving and Christmas and see what all I can make!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Our "Stay-cation"

Drew was preparing for a hunting trip with his dad and was going to be gone for 4 days. So we decided to spend some quality family time together and do a small getaway the weekend before he left. We went to Flagstaff, which is 2 hours from us and just hung out, played, and enjoyed getting out of the house and the heat.

When we got to Flagstaff we checked into our hotel and let the kids run and stretch their legs. It was rainy and freezing when we got there. We unpacked and got our rooms situated and then ran to Wal-Mart, the new Tinkerbell movie had come out and we thought during our down time it would be a fun movie to watch. After Wal-Mart we went to dinner at Olive Garden (my favorite!). When we got back to the hotel we only had about half an hour before the kids needed to go to bed. Luckily Autumn had her own room and it worked out great. We had Weston in a pack in play in the main living area between the two rooms.

The next morning we enjoyed a filling breakfast compliments of the hotel. The kids really enjoyed it too!
After breakfast we decided to just drive around and see parts of Flagstaff we hadn't seen before. We found a fabulous park and let the kids play there for almost 2 hours. The weather was great and since school was in only a few kids were there.
After the park we took the kids back to the hotel where we ate lunch. The little table worked perfect for the kids, they ate left overs from the night before.
Everyone napped and then we played in the hotel room. I let the kids pick something to bring with us, Weston picked some trucks and Autumn picked a coloring book. Which was great for that down time, when we wanted to just hang out.
Late in the afternoon we went to the mall there, which is nothing spectacular, but we knew they had a play area for the kids and a few stores we would enjoy browsing through.
 On the way back to the hotel we stopped and grabbed something quick from a local restaurant and took it back to the hotel with us. After dinner we stayed at the hotel and let the kids watch their movie, run in the courtyard and play in the rooms.  
 That evening the kids slept so well. It really was a refreshing trip. On Fri. morning we got up and planned to eat breakfast and hang out in Flagstaff even after check out, but it kind of gets to the point where you're just ready to be home. The town doesn't have a TON to offer so after breakfast we packed up while the kids played and watched cartoons. We left right at check out time and headed back home.
 We were only in Flagstaff for 48 hours but 2 nights away from home and eating out alot gets to a person (well it does to me- probably because I am pregnant). We got home in time to put the kids down for naps and so the house was nice and quiet for us while we unpacked and relaxed. We are so glad we got to go up there, even though it was only for a couple of days. It was nice doing something different, and together as a family before Drew left for 4 days to go hunting.