Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A New Ride, Homemade Gifts, More Lilacs & A Perfect Report!

WARNING! This post is VERY long!

I'm going to apologize now for jumping around with a few subjects. Even though I haven't had time to post, I have had lots to share.

First, I would like to introduce you to my new ride "Black Beauty". Isn't she pretty? I know it's probably silly but I am so excited to have her that I just had to share. You see it's been 9 years since I have had a new car. "Emmie" (short for Emerald) is nine years old and has 188,000 miles on her. She's been a great friend but is getting a little tired these days and sometimes she would rather take a nap than get me to where I need to go. That's okay, my old body knows just how she feels so I understand. No need to worry though, Emmie is staying in the family. She just got a younger sister to take on more of the responsibility. I'll keep Emmie until she goes to her eternal resting place and use her when Allison is not with me. I don't mind if she strands me on the side of the road but I don't want Allison with me when she decides to take a break.

Black Beauty or Beauty for short is a Dodge Caravan and I think she'll make a nice addition to our family. However, I was sitting at a stop sign the other day along side some store windows and saw our reflection. It's official.....I'm a MIDDLE AGED least that what I looked like! Heck, I had a hard time going from 2 doors to 4 when I bought Emmie. THIS is definitely a reality check! I guess as long as I keep a young spirit, I'll be okay. Allison loves Beauty...okay, maybe it's the DVD player she loves but we are happy. Well, most of us anyway. Curtis is having a hard time having a minivan be the family car. I guess it makes him feel old. He'll adjust.

One last thing on this subject before I move on to the next. How many of you name your vehicles? Curtis thinks I'm nuts. I have found in talking to others, I'm not the only nut that has a personal relationship with her car. There are many of us out there. I spend 2 hours in my car on work days and when Allison has Summer vacation, I'll be spending 3 hours a day in my car....why shouldn't we be on a first name basis?!?

How was your Mother's Day? Mine was great! It started out with Allison and Curtis making and serving me breakfast in bed! This was the first time EVER that I have had breakfast in bed and boy was it a treat! It was the best part of my day! It made me feel like a queen! After breakfast Allison and I headed over to my parents to surprise my Mom. My sister, Alesia, put the whole thing together and didn't want me to do anything for it but show up. She cooked steaks out on the grill, made twiced baked potatoes and green beans almondine. If you knew my sister, this was a huge accomplishment. She does not cook and being an accountant, she needs exact measurements and can't just throw things together. She has to have things precise and exact so putting this whole thing together took a lot of effort on her part. It was really sweet of her to do it for me and my Mom an I appreciate it. It's nice being pampered.

Below is what I made for my Mom and sister for Mother's Day. My sister is Allison's Godmother so we always get her a gift too. She is single with no children but spoils my daughter so I like to thank her for that when I can. The photo cubes were easy to make and they loved them. I made them almost the same for each of them except the picture at the top. Curtis helped me by cutting the wood into blocks. Thanks Honey! I love you! It's been a while since I scrapbooked so it felt really good to sit down and be creative. Once I get my Spring cleaning and decluttering done, I plan on finding the time to do more scrapbooking. I think I better start on Allison's "School Years" scrapbook since Kindergarten is almost over!

Here is a picture of the lilacs I cut from my Mom's bush on Sunday. Aren't they beautiful? They are French and so deep purple. They are starting to die so I took a quick picture to show all of you. I put them in my kitchen window this morning. The light breeze coming thru the screen is filling my house with their wonderful aroma. Speaking of the screen, can you see at the bottom where it is bent? Yes, I did that. I locked us out of the house when I went to get Allison at the bus stop last week. I had to pop the screen out and put her through the window. How embarrassing! She loved it! She couldn't wait to tell Daddy! Betrayer!

I've saved the best for last! Allison has had some trouble in Kindergarten. Not academically. Her teacher tells us she is at the top of the class in academics. It's behavioral and social. Which is understandable since she has never been in a structured environment or with other kids until Kindergarten. Mrs. X (not her real name...just trying to be protective) said she has never had anyone quite like her. Her exact words are that she is a "hard case." Allison is very independent, bull headed, strong willed and stubborn. Before you think it, I'll admit it...the apple doesn't fall far from the tree! It's so funny because she is they tiniest thing in the class but has the biggest personality. For example, if she is not done with coloring a paper, she will not stop when Mrs. X says to put the papers and crayons away so they can move on to the next subject. She wants to finish and she is determined to finish it. She tested Mrs. X every day. Mrs. X, Curtis and I have struggled on what to do. Do we hold her back? Do we let her go to 1st grade with these issues? Who knows? There has been no easy answers. All three of us have turned this over in our heads over and over again. If we hold her back, Mrs. X said she will write a whole new curriculum for her because she can't repeat the academics. She has excelled in them all and would be bored if she repeated them. But then if she is working on her own program, will she be able to feel like she is part of the group or feel that she is different? If we let her go to 1st grade before she is ready, will she have trouble in every grade or will she catch up? Well, after the first half of the year, we all pretty much put it in Allison's hands. Below is a weekly progress report that every student in every grade receives every week. I love it! There are no surprises come report card day because we know how she is doing week to week. The items are checked if she falls short in those categories. Towards the end of the first half of the year, Allison had quite a few checked each week. Never the ones that deal with academics but the ones that deal with behavior and social skills. This was very stressful for us all. I hated those weeks! This is when we put it in Allison's hands. Curtis and I told her that she could have a kitten if she brought 3 weekly progress reports home with no checks on it. This seemed impossible but it was the "carrot" that we chose to dangle in front of her. The only problem with the report is that if she misbehaved on Tuesday and we don't receive the report until the following Monday, it was too late to address the problem with Allison. Mrs. X suggested that she send a little strip of paper home each day with a mini report of how she was for the day. She already did this for 3 other students so we agreed. This seemed to work but we still needed more. Mrs. X then suggested that Allison go on a "chip program" that she used with other students. Allison would start the day with 8 chips (circles of construction paper). Throughout the day she could lose a chip if she didn't listen or did something she wasn't supposed to do. She could also earn them back for doing something good. It would be reported on her daily slip if she lost any or kept all. Mrs. X. told us that she needed us to come up with a consequence & reward chart to go along with the chip program. We did and based on the number of chips she loses for the day, there will be a consequence when she comes home or if she kept all of them, she would get a reward. Some of the consequences are a time out on her bed for 15 minutes to think about how she could have been better in school, no TV, no CD at bedtime, bedtime a half an hour early, etc.. Some of the rewards are makes something special with Mom in the kitchen, a bike ride with Dad, a trip to the playground, etc.. The chip program makes her behavior and actions measurable. Allison now has something tangible to see how she is doing and where she needs to improve. This program has been a blessing. Mrs. X has been a blessing. Allison is a totally different child in school. Mrs. X said she has completely turned around. She said that she can see that Allison really cares about how she does now and works hard to keep all of her chips. I am happy to report that the progress report that you see below is Allison's 3rd perfect report and she will be getting her kitten the week before school ends. SHE DID IT! I knew she could! She just needed to "get with the program" and learn what is expected of her in school. She also has grown up so much since the beginning of school so I'm sure that helped too. Mrs. X felt that her just turning 5 before school started may have been an issue with her too. She just wasn't mature enough to handle how her whole world changed at once and what was now expected of her in school. Hopefully this is all behind us and she'll have a great year in 1st grade next year!

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1 comment:

Jolene George said...

Your mothers day sounds wonderful and I'm glad you got some creative time in. Really pretty blocks. I'm so proud of Allison. She really worked very hard in school. That carrot/kitty was a good plan. As well as the rewards/punishments. I sure wish you lived closer so I could give her Bandit. He is a sweet kitty!


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