Fall woods

Fall woods

Saturday, August 19, 2017

More Good News

I was thinking this morning that I'm finally glad that I'm tall.  Not for me, but that it was in my genepool to give to my son since my husband's family is somewhat vertically challenged.  Thing One is about 5'10" and he needed every inch of that this week.

The high school at which he will be a freshman next year is both enormous (about 800 kids per grade) and extremely competitive in sports.  He's been trying out for the freshman soccer team all week, 14 hours total spread over six days.  Every boy trying out plays club soccer at some level and there were 50 of them vying for 22 spots, including six or seven boys who play the same position Thing One does.  It's called centerback: these are the two defenders (in standard 11v11 play) who are right in front of the goal.  For a variety of reasons, it helps to be tall if this is your position.

Thing One made the team.  I couldn't be prouder of him.  And Dad, thanks for being 6'4".  Your grandson owes you,  :)




Saturday, August 12, 2017

Really Good News

Thing Two rocked his annual appointment with the neurodevelopmental pediatrician this week.  There's definitely still work to be done, especially on the social end of things and with pragmatic language, but she used the words "academically gifted" to describe him, encouraged us to get his IQ tested, and (most amazingly) said that she will not be surprised if he no longer needs his Special Ed classification by the time he enters high school three years from now.

Seven years ago he had his first visit with her.  At that point he had essentially no expressive or receptive language at all, and consequently no social skills since his ability to communicate was rudimentary at best.  He's come so far.  I cried.



Friday, August 11, 2017

Because Apparently I Have Lost My Ever-Loving Mind

We took the kids to look at kittens today.  Yes, plural.  As in two.

Because things around here weren't already crazy enough.

We've been debating an additional dog versus kittens for a while, and the kittens make more sense logistically even though I am more of a dog person myself.  I put in an online application yesterday, we chose two kittens today, and assuming our references check out (I can't imagine that they wouldn't, but fingers are still crossed...) they will come home next week sometime.  Two males, brothers about three months old, already neutered, names still under heavy debate.  We had decided on one, a little tabby with white socks, and were trying to pick the second when one made the decision for us!  A little guy with big fluffy ears, he crawled into Thing One's lap and started purring.  That did it.

I picked up a few things at the pet store in anticipation already, including the tiniest little black skull and crossbones-patterned kitten collars with tiny gold bells attached because I absolutely could not resist them.  I also (with very mixed feelings) unearthed the plastic tub from the basement containing all of the earthly possessions of our previous cat, may the kitty gods rest her sweet soul in peace.  I like to think she would be happy that the house will have the pitter-patter of catly feet in it again.




Saturday, August 5, 2017

Stunned

For good or bad, we live in one of those states where all kids have to take a standardized test (actually, a couple of them; Language Arts and math) at the end of every school year, starting in third grade.  As you might imagine, when you have a child who has historically had very significant language-based issues, you start out with relatively low expectations for his LA test scores even though he has been working his butt off for years and improving steadily.

His third grade and fourth grade LA scores were a lot better than expected, frankly.  He got roughly the same score for both of those years, and the first year, I actually did a dance of joy in the principal's office when I saw his results!  She has a Special Ed background, so she fully understands why a parent would be ecstatic over a test result that is basically "not quite grade level but pretty close."  For a kid who had essentially no functional receptive or expressive language in preschool, for him to be even in the same ballpark as his classmates on a standardized and timed LA test by third and fourth grade is pretty damned amazing, if you ask me.

The principal sent out his fifth grade test scores the other day.  Not only does his LA test score indicate that he's performing at grade level, he scored in the 89th percentile nationally!!  Holy crap.  Just for comparative purposes, the kid was actually in a high math class in fifth grade and tested at grade level for that as well, but with a 71st percentile score.  He blew the damned LA test out of the water.  I couldn't believe it.  I gave a copy to his reading comprehension/writing tutor and told her that she should put it on her fridge as a mark of her own accomplishment as well as his!!

We aren't out of the woods yet, not by a long shot.  There's a big social component to this, and as the academic issues resolve, that piece comes more and more into focus as where all of our efforts need to be directed now.  That's a big deal and will only get bigger as he gets older.  But wow.  Just WOW.

Happy mom.



Friday, August 4, 2017

Love My Girl

My daughter had practice for the older of the two teams that she plays with on Thursday evening.  (She was born in 2007, this is a mostly 2006 team.)  At one point she was battling a much bigger 2005 girl for the ball during a scrimmage.  She didn't come out with it, but her coach watched her fighting and said to her, "You really are ferocious, aren't you??"

We jokingly call her our little savage. His comment made me laugh!!



Thursday, August 3, 2017

All's Well That Ends Well

That moment when you realize that in the mad scramble to get the kids fed and out of the house for the evening's activities, the one thing you forgot to grab was your own taekwondo uniform.  D'oh.

The sad thing: The realization that all is not lost because your 14-year-old son happens to wear the same size uniform you do and his gear bag is in the trunk!!  

The best part: The only reason his gear bag was in the trunk to begin with was because I told him to toss it in there so he could come to class with me in case his soccer practice got cancelled.  So I guess I did provide myself with a uniform for the evening after all, if only indirectly!!  Too funny.



Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Buried Treasure

On my dad's side, I've been the keeper of the family history for some time.  (Several years back, my aunt sent me all the family documents she had after a health scare, and a remote cousin of my dad's shared what he had around the same time as well.)  I have family trees on ancestry.com for both sides, but haven't had much of anything by way of documentation or pictures on my mother's side till very recently.

Every so often, I get on a genealogy kick and spend days on end updating the family tree in my spare time.  The last time I did, a month or so ago, to my great surprise I found a reference to pictures of my maternal great-grandparents, the first I'd ever seen!  Technically, notes that they had been uploaded but weren't available for public viewing.  Crossing my fingers, I sent a note to the owner asking if she could possibly share the pictures with me.  She is a second cousin once removed of mine, which I determined by consulting one of those relationship charts used by family attorneys since I can't keep that stuff straight in my head.  She very kindly emailed me the pictures and the information that she had, and together we found my great-grandfather's death certificate and filled in some missing blanks in the stories surrounding his death, including which one of my great-grandmother's brothers was the attorney that (family legend says) stole whatever money she had left from her after her husband died!

Turns out that she got those pictures from somebody else she'd encountered on ancestry.com, my mother's cousin.  I'd heard her name, but my mother hasn't seen her since both women were very young: the families weren't close.  This cousin of Mom's must be in her early 80s now but seems very sharp.  After a few email exchanges, she asked for my address, and told me that she was going through her mother's things (her mother and my grandfather were siblings) and wanted to mail me some pictures.  They arrived the other day, along with some funeral Mass cards and a wonderful newspaper clipping from 1956 about my grandfather's boatbuilding business, which included a picture of him that I've never seen before.

My grandfather died when I was six, so I don't remember him well and had only ever seen a few pictures of him.  I was in my early twenties when my grandmother passed away, and we were very close, but she was in her mid-sixties when I was born, so I just wasn't around when she was a young(er) woman.  Imagine my joy at being presented with a pile of family pictures of my grandparents when they were about the age that I am now!!


I scanned these two in immediately to share with the family.  The three girls in both pictures are my mother (the youngest) and my two aunts.  They are joined in both pictures by my grandparents, and in the picture on the left also by my great-grandmother, the victim of the intrigue after her husband's death.  It sounds like she was one hell of a strong and resilient woman, and I'm sorry I never had a chance to meet her.  I've heard a lot about her over the years.

So, in a nutshell, a website connected me with a second cousin in California who connected me to a first cousin in Michigan who sent me pictures taken sixty some-odd years ago in Pennsylvania, which I have now shared with my parents in Oregon and my aunts in Ohio and California, all without leaving my home office!!  I love technology.