Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Better Year

It's been awhile since I wrote an update about Fellan and his Dysgraphia and eyesight problems.  I guess I haven't been thinking about it as much because everything is going so much better this year for him in school than last year!

Last year, at the end of the year, his teacher had basically told us that public school was not the place for Fellan.  That sent us into a whole tailspin of testing, touring and applying to alternate private schools, more testing, receiving a diagnosis of Dysgraphia, and eventually MORE testing and determining that he has some vision problems.

Luckily, after all of that, this year has been so much better than last year.

Within the first week of school last fall, we met with Fellan's teacher to explain to her about his problems with Dysgraphia.  The woman who did the testing gave us a list of suggestions for his teacher - such as not forcing him to do writing work and trying to help him to focus better on his work by folding his paper over, etc. She was extremely receptive to the idea and it has shown in Fellan's confidence and enjoyment of school this year.

We've met with her a few time throughout the year, too, and every time we meet with her, she gives him glowing reports.  He still can't sit still, but she's able to redirect him most of the time and he does fine on his tests, so even though it looks like he's not paying attention, he's definitely still learning.

The most significant change we've seen in him, though, has been his reading.  About 3 months ago, it was like a light bulb went off in his head and he started devouring his Percy Jackson books.  He had been slowly, slowly reading The Lightning Thief over the previous three months, but Zoom! In about three weeks, he read the remaining 3/4 of the book!

And he was off to the races from there.  He is now starting the 5th book of the series and I'm thinking about maybe doing a family book club this summer to start reading the Harry Potter books.  None of us have ever read them, so it could be a fun thing for the whole family to do.

I'm so happy and proud to see him finally blossoming scholastically.  We knew it was in there from the beginning, we just didn't know how to get it out!  Maybe it's all the testing we had done and the occupational therapy that he's been doing.  Maybe it's the fact that the teacher is supportive of him as a person this year.  Maybe it's just that he's maturing and all of this would have happened naturally even without the extra work.  Honestly, I don't care what made the difference.  I just hope it sticks.  :)

Proud Cub Scout with the awards and belt loops he earned this year

Monday, April 23, 2012

One year older

This past weekend was my birthday.  I'm getting really old now.

The husband and Fellan went camping (which I had previously given them permission to do), so it was just the girls hanging out on my birthday day.

We went over to a friend's house and she fed us lunch and had cake for me.  I thanked her for not putting 41 candles on the cake and she said, "Oh! I told my mom you were 42!" Oy vey!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quick trip to Frederickburg

The kids got Good Friday off from school, so we packed up some stuff and headed out to Fredericksburg, TX for some hiking, biking, wine tasting, and brats.

We drove up on Thursday evening so we could get a head start on the fun on Friday morning.  Unfortunately, by the time we actually got up, had breakfast and headed out to Enchanted Rock for the hiking part of our plan, the park was full!  I had never heard of a state park being full before, but since there was a line of cars parked on the highway leading to the entrance, we decided to rearrange our schedule a little and go to the wineries first and come back in the late afternoon for our hike.

On the way to the wineries, we found some bluebonnets to force the kids to sit in and have their pictures taken.  It's a rite of passage for all children living in Texas...

Again, with the Bluebonnets?!
After taking a million pictures with the Bluebonnets, we headed on to the wineries for some wine tasting (and buying) and then made our way to have a late lunch at Alamo Springs Cafe, home of the "Best Burger in Texas".  Well, since I haven't tried all of the burgers in Texas, I can't say it was the best, but it was definitely good!  :)

We finally made it to Enchanted Rock for the second time at about 5:30 - perfect timing for a late afternoon/sunset hike!

The kids didn't let the slope and rocks slow them down at all.

Mountain Goats
It's so pretty in that part of the state that we had to stop and take several pictures on the way up, but it's really hard to capture it.


We made it to the top in about 20 minutes!  The husband and I were wheezing along behind the kids, who exclaimed something like, "That's it?! I wanted to climb more!"

We had to get them to curb their enthusiasm a little bit, though, because we got there just in time to witness a sunset marriage proposal and we didn't want them to wreck it.  (She said yes!)

We had to re-enact the same picture that we took the last time we were there...

Some of these feet seem to have grown.
And then we had a little fun with the camera angle on the way down.  ;)
The evening finished by stopping by the Altdorf Biergarten for a beer and a couple of bratwurst, but we were still so full from our late lunch that we had to split an appetizer order.  What a shame.

While we were tasting the wines that afternoon, one of the girls pouring wine for us mentioned that there was a somewhat new bourbon distillery in the area, so we made it a point to stop there for a tour on the way to mountain biking the next morning!

One of the stills - not sure if this one was "Fat Man" or "Little Boy"
And then we were off for some mountain biking at Pedernales Falls State Park.  But we kind of forgot that the terrain in the Hill Country is actually pretty hilly!  The kids had a hard time riding up the hills in the park.  Plus, it was actually a really hot day.  This picture was taken after a rather long hill.

Our family motto: Torture them early and often.
We made it back to Houston on Saturday evening and on Sunday morning, we headed off to church.

Much happier and well-rested

Thursday, April 05, 2012

The last couple of months

Well, I would like to say that I have a good reason I haven't been updating my blog lately, but I don't.  So let's just get a move on.

Since we last spoke...

The Pinewood Derby happened.  Fellan's X304 ended up sort of mid-pack for his age group and I managed to snap a picture of it coming in 2nd in one of his heats!  (it's in the closest lane to the camera)

The first heat, the X304 takes 2nd!
The X304 - "Most Lunar"

Marxo had to put together a science project.  She chose to see how much water beans absorb and if it makes a difference if they are small-, medium-, or large-sized beans.  (the medium-sized beans actually absorbed the most water)

We went to Mardi Gras and got to hang out with the extended family.

The girl-cousins are bead magnets, man!
We went skiing and dog sledding in Colorado over Spring Break.  This year, the husband's brother and family joined us, so the cousins got to spend even more time together!

Teaching them the correct way to pose with their skis for the TV cameras

Isn't it fun to have cousins?!  :)

Feeding the dogs after their run
And the Bluebonnets have run their course in Texas. (If I remember correctly, this was the weekend after we got back from Colorado. Amazing what ten degrees latitude does for the weather.)

Obligatory Texas "Kids with Bluebonnets" picture
 Now, I think that catches us up!  Until next time...  :)