Tuesday, June 16, 2015

End of School Year Wrap-up - Happy Summer!

As always SO many pictures and things going on. In chronological order - this edition:  
Mother's Day
Yard Work
School Plays
Taylor Swift Craziness
Cardiology Appointment
Jen's Baby Shower/Mother Daughter Photo Shoot  
School: Aide/AAC Stand for Walker/Spirit Week
Baseball Playoffs/MVP Award
Spring Dance Recital & Last School Dance
Penny Gets Groomed
Last Minute School Projects and Homework
8th Grade Party
Cousin Owen's Zoo Party
End of Year/Graduation

*****

Mother's Day 2015

This mother's gig is hard work. Often I feel like I'm in a hamster wheel, so we took things easy at home on Mother's Day. Steve made breakfast. I put aside all thoughts of what I ought to be doing and just enjoyed spending time with my kids. 
It was a beautiful day for May(around here). Adrian was thrilled that we brought out the badminton. 
Silliness.


Ainsley has so much fun. I love her so much, my special girl! She's been lovey lately and it's so sweet when she crawls up to give me a hug unexpectedly. It always fills me with love.

  Evie bought me flowers with her own money, Steve made dinner and I felt spoiled and relaxed. 
Mojitos on a sunny day. It was nice. 


******
Yard Work

Ugggh, it never ENDS!!!! This Memorial Day weekend while others were having fun we tried to play a bit of catch-up in the yard work department. After two days work we had a giant tarp and 22 bags full!


*****
School Plays

Adrian's grade performed Through the Looking Glass. He played Tweedle-Dum with his good buddy, who was of course Tweedle-Dee. They were awesome! Adrian delivered his lines with a ton of emotion. I'm always a bit shocked by how good an actor he is. Evie played guitar for the background music which was choreographed by the PA teacher's friend.  I took photos (for the school) from the balcony above, low light, moving subjects, at a distance....it isn't easy. Sitting down to do the edits is the worst. The 7th graders performed Alice in Wonderland first.) The 8th graders performed the next day. These plays took over our lives for awhile, but I am so proud and what an awesome thing for the kids to be able to put on their resumes. 







The 8th grader's performed A Midsummer Night's Dream. Evie played Cobweb, one of the fairies, and she was an understudy for Hermia. Which was a large part, that she then didn't get to perform since they only do one performance. 





*****
Taylor Swift 1989 Album in COOKIES

Evie'd screwed up a batch of frosting that I then turned into cookie dough, which sat in the fridge too long. Rather than let it go to waste Evie baked the entire list of 1989 songs in cookies.  Note the Taylor Swift cookie with microphone. This project took over my kitchen for a weekend but I'm a little proud even though it's a little crazy.


*****
Steve's Birthday

We'd been so busy, and there was a baseball game that night. But I got Steve some much needed clothes and we celebrated with a Reese Peanut butter Cup ice cream cake. 


*****
Dang They're Growing!

Evie and Adrian measured themselves in early May, Adrian was 1/2 inch shorter. By the end of May he was 1/2" taller. The size 16's I bought a month ago look like floods. He's 11. I'm getting worried he's going to be VERY tall. Evie's not very happy. I think she's stopped growing.


*****
Cardiology Appointment

Ainsley was seen by a cardiologist in May since we'd had a echocardiogram awhile back without an actual appointment with one. They'd found a patent foramen ovale which is not a huge deal, but Ainsley's had some problems with pain in her feet and poor blood flow as well as a heart rate on the high side so I wanted to make sure they hadn't missed anything. The doctor was called out mid appointment for a personal emergency. The nurse informed us and wanted to make sure we got all our questions answered anyway. He noted that the blood flow through her left hip is reduced and the left leg is smaller than the right which he felt it was due to the blood flow, but referred us back to orthopedics. They will determine if it is a growth plate issue, blood flow, both or what. It bummed me out to think that possibly they could have prevented this or that it could have been caused by the invasive hip surgery she had.  The leg length difference is something I've been watching for years and brought to their attention at the last orthopedic appointment. It's gotten worse and we now believe it is the reason we can't get her right leg to straighten no matter how much stretching we do with her. I was able to get her appointment with ortho bumped up in case they need to do surgery (I doubt they will but want to have the option over the summer if needed). We'll see them in early July before Ainsley goes off to camp.


*****
Jen's Baby Shower
I was asked to photograph my birth-step-sister-in-law, Jen's baby shower. I remember feeling disappointed with the photos from my own baby showers so I wanted to do it right for her. Evie and I worked as a mother daughter team. It was more fun to do it together and Jen got 180 awesome pictures to remember the special event by. It was hosted by my birth mom and sisters with an airplane theme. So cute! They did an awesome job! This is the first grandchild (on this side) since my 3, and he is going to be one spoiled little boy. 






Evie's officially taller than my sister Erica, but she's shorter than me. I suspect she's stopped growing but I'm hoping for a growth spurt over the summer.

Loved the airplane made from Harley Davidson butt talc, on a "landing pad". Very original.

Me with my birth mom Joanne and my sisters Rene and Erica.




*****
School - New AAC Stand/Aide/Spirit Week

Isn't this thing awesome?! The school got this AAC stand for her school walker so she can stop and talk to people while she walks. The aide helps her attach it with the bungie cords so it is secure. For those with a need to know it's called a Tab Grabber.


Things are going really well with Ainsley's aide. She LOVES Ainsley which is awesome! Here they are all dressed up for  Hawaiian Day during Spirit Week. Real quick can I just ask why they do this at the end of the year when we are all so busy?! I saw the note at the last second and I don't know how I found the leis in the playhouse in time for the bus. The other aides made the grass skirt for the walker. It was awesome. Although it has been good, Ainsley has been asking about her old nurse Carmela more and more. She misses her. I hope to plan a visit over the summer.

We got the bad news that Ainsley's teacher has been reassigned. In addition she is losing her PT (who worked her a lot harder than the prior PT who she will have again). I'm having some anxiety about what this will mean for Ainsley especially since the teacher is the implementer of the IEP which is in Ainsley's case 40 pages long. But the aide will return and that makes all the difference, so I'm just trying not to worry. 

*****
Baseball Play-off's MVP Award

At this age there are 4 baseball events, practice or games, every week. On top of our usual stuff, it makes for a busy season. I'd meant to invite family to the games but we've just been in survival mode. At the last minute I remembered I'd promised to let family know, so Grandpa Tom and Aunt Leah and the cousins came to watch Adrian play one of their play-off games. His team, the Met's, had been on a winning streak and were playing their rivals, but they had an off game. Adrian played really well, making a hit that evened the score a bit (though we still lost), and he even pitched for a bit and did well. He got the MVP award for the game (one is given to one player from each team at the play-off games at the end of the season). Although it was sad to lose it was awesome that Adrian got the award and we left feeling pretty happy despite really wanting to win against this team. 

 Adrian's most played position: 3rd base.









*****
Spring Dance Recital & Last School Dance

Evie's Spring dance recital was on the 5th. She was in 3 performances. It was also the night of E&A's school's final school dance. There are a number of students at her studio so it was poor planning, but we made it work, dropping Adrian off at the dance and Evie ran over before curtain call so she could spend a few minutes there with her friends. Both kids have a special person they wanted to spend time with and of course I had to stealthily snap a pic.

Pointe (Evie third from right)

Ballet Teen (Evie second from left)

Lyrical  (Evie front center)
 Then.....


This is a sign of the times isn't it? Technology lock-down.


*****
Penny Gets Groomed
Penny was unable to make her much needed early May grooming appointment because she was in heat and they turned us away. We had to wait several more weeks and thankfully I resisted the urge to do it myself. She came back looking like a new dog, which was just what she needed! We love being able to see her face! I think she's happier being able to see!


*****
Last Minute School Projects and Homework

I'm still going to complain even though I was just like this when I was young. Evie's had a bit of a problem this year getting her school work done. Every night Steve and I ask her if it's done. We see her doing work and yet each week when the missing homework reports come home there is a list for Evie and she has to work her way down the list finishing them. I was more than a bit miffed when I found out about the missing Lunar Phases Model that she neglected to tell us about. I hate the environmental impact of projects made from styrofoam balls  so we tried to come up with an alternative since the teacher asked them to be creative anyway. Evie wanted to bake a cake, which my instinct told me was a bad idea. We decided on donut holes. Steve bought the supplies and Evie got to work. It started to fall apart, there were tears and a tantrum and mom had to come to the rescue and teach her that when we don't give up we can find a way. We sent Steve back to the store for more supplies and fixed it by dipping the holes in chocolate, inserting donut holes into the cake to create a firmer base for the skewers, replaced the destroyed earth with a chocolate dipped cupcake. In the end the project turned out even better. That doesn't mean I didn't swear and lay on the guilt. And tell her the next day how unhappy I was. Several times. When she was graded she got 4 all across except a 3.5 in creativity! What the heck?! I think spending over 12 hours constructing the lunar phases from donut holes, cake and chocolate is about as freakin' creative as it gets!  Oh well, at least we learned how to dip in chocolate.



*****
8th Grade Party

Evie had to finish all the missing homework in order to attend the 8th grade party. True to form she was working until the very last possible second Friday night which stressed me out. Steve and I debated what to do. She missed the first hour as we scanned work and e-mailed her teachers before leaving. I sent Steve ahead since we were chaperones. There were extra parents who stayed so I wasn't missed for that hour and I hope that it taught Evie a lesson. She's not going to get away without doing the work so she may as well do it on time. But she's the type who has to hit her thumb with the hammer many times to learn her lessons.  The party was organized by a friend who is in our carpool, and was at the home of another friend who is also in our carpool. I'm not sure who had more fun, the kids or the chaperones. 



Their dog and Penny's BFF, Phil.




*****
Cousin Owen's Zoo Party

The next day cousin Owen celebrated his 4th birthday in the Carousel room at the Zoo. It was a beautiful day and a great opportunity for us to see the zoo after the party. So fun! Even though I'm very much OD'd on picture taking right now I couldn't resist bringing my zoom and taking some shots, so I have to share a few of my favorites.





















Such a goof! I love this silly girl!

*****
End of Year/Graduation
Yesterday was another double, Adrian's end of season baseball party AND Evie's graduation. 

Adrian and Coach Troy.

This was a lucky shot of the graduating 8th grade class, with Evie en pointe' in the slideshow. Although being school photographer was a lot of work this year it was nice to see some of my work being used for the commencement slideshow. If enough time passes this summer I might be foolish enough to sign up to do it again next year.

Evie getting the "choreographer" award. Kind of weird.

Some of Evie's art from her time at the school.

Evie's "friend". He's a nice boy which I am grateful for. They will be at different high schools next year, but there have been no tears that I've seen even though I know she will miss all her friends. With a class of 29 they've spent a lot of time together. It will surely be an adjustment going from a school of 90 to 1800 but I feel like they are grounded by their small middle school experience. I think it helped Evie become confident and find herself. The school isn't perfect but it is accepting and that is a gift during the middle school years.  During the commencement I was struck by the various talents of this group of kids and I can't wait to see what they all do in this next phase of their lives. Evie especially. High-school. It's just unbelievable! It's been great that Adrian was able to attend while Evie was there but I think he is ready for this next phase too.  Don't they look so grown up?!


I intend to enjoy the summer as I feel a period of transition coming, once again having 3 kids in 3 schools. Tomorrow is their last half day and then we're on break. We are taking a trip to Disneyworld for which I'm not at all prepared. The kids are going to camp: Ainsley is going to Camp Korey, Evie to Lang's Horse and Pony Farm, Adrian to Camp Colman. Ainsley has a few medical appointments and trach stoma and G-tube closure surgery. We are not terribly over scheduled this summer and I'm glad about that. I'm hoping to slow down and enjoy life for a bit before things get busy again. 
XOXO Happy Summer Everyone!