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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Th-th-th-that's all folks!

I have come to the point that keeping up with this blog just seems like work.  So I have decided to make this my last post.
So here is some odds and ends that I haven't shared yet, all the way back from Halloween and up until Christmas:
E is a Hydra dragon
A sign in Country Village, Bothell

a follow up sign

Here's the three heads!

Brunch at the Space Needle for our Forever Family Day.

Yay! Finally get to open Christmas presents.

E's Hero Factory creation.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Lots of reunions, school starting, and a quick trip to Legoland.

This summer was the summer for reunions.  First came a reunion with two of my college roommates. We hadn't seen each other in years, not since Esther was two.  It was great to see Tiffany and her two kiddos and Valerie (her kids are older and would have been bored out of their minds so they weren't there).  We really missed Angie, who lives on the East Coast.
We met the roommates at a splash park.  Esther had a blast.

The three kiddos:  Joey (age 7), Esther (age 7) and Jasmine (age 5)
Then we headed to Sequim to attend my hubby's 20 year high school reunion but first we got to reconnect with our good friend, Jen, who we hadn't seen in about 4 years.  Esther and Jen's two kids really got along well.  My sister, Heidi, and her son, Bela, also came down from Alaska to attend the high school reunion.
Everett (age 4) in the foreground, Esther and Ivy (age 7) in the background

Unfortunately the outdoor adventure turned into a nightmare, when we stumbled
onto a beehive and all the kids got stung multiple times!

Everett and Ivy
my sister, Heidi, and Jennifer

my nephew, Bela
Esther started 2nd grade this year. And so far so good!!  Her teacher is very laid back and doesn't seem as strict as E's first grade teacher.  E still has her issues now and then but seems to really enjoy her teacher and classroom.  It also helps that there is bigger trouble maker in her class!
First day of 2nd grade
In the middle of September, we headed to Legoland in San Diego for a five day trip.  We stayed at the new Legoland Hotel and it was awesome.  It was right up Esther's alley.  Just walking in to Reception there was a river of Lego for kids to play in. There was sculptures completely made out of Lego and a huge castle themed play area where they had a show every night from 6-7 pm.  The rooms were themed and we got an adventure themed one (think Indiana Jones).  The elevators played disco music and there was a whoopie cushion in the floor that made amusing noises. 
Legoland itself was fun as well with lots of rides and lots of opportunities to create things.  If E had been old enough (9) she could have taken a robotics class.  She was a little disappointed that she couldn't do it this year.  We also got passes to the Legoland Aquarium right next door and although small, it had lots of cool things to see, like sharks and stingrays.

hotel lobby

play area

at the aquarium

this is the face I get now when trying to take pictures of her

Thursday, July 18, 2013

"She's a girl,"

is my new go-to phrase.  With her new haircut, no one can tell she is a girl.  I don't blame them, she does only wear boy clothes.  It doesn't bother her to be confused for a boy although she will correct them.  And she does make an adorable boy!

Daddy managed to get a kiss by E.  I think the ice cream must have slowed down her defenses.

The best way to get Tess (my dad's dog) to come to her:  laying flat on the kitchen floor.

Good shot of E's hair.  

Hanging out at Port Williams in Sequim.

Lovely all around.

Showing off her Lego crocodile she built.

At the zoo.  E loves Kimodo dragons.

Feeding the birds at the zoo.  Love Gene's expression.

My beauty.
Learning to ride without training wheels.  Still a little scared.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Afternoon activities..."science" & the Civil War.

I couldn't access Blogger for a couple of weeks because apparently my name was suspect.  Google+ had to determine if I was an actual person.  I was approved as real.  So now I can post some pictures, finally.

Esther likes to do "science" which to her means mixing a bunch of weird ingredients together.

This concoction had stewed tomatoes, flax seeds, bbq sauce, dry beans,  and soy sauce.  She always tries to get me to try her mixtures but no thanks.

Frankie and Esther love.

A Civil War toy soldier set caught E's eye the other day.  So she had a reenactment set up on the coffee table.  Of course the North won.

I think the flags were what really attracted her.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Coming clean.

(This is a really long post so grab a cup of coffee and settle in.  I'll wait.)    
      This school year has been a doozy!  It has definitely been a journey for Esther and I (yes, Gene, too, but mainly E and I).  Esther has always been strong willed and energetic, but not too much more than other kids, that is until this year. Most kids for the first week of school are on their best behavior, not my daughter!  What you see with Esther is what you get.  From the second you meet her, she is authentically true to herself...always.  While admirable, it can create problems for Esther when she has to get used to a new routine and new teachers.  So from the very start of this school year we have received lots of phone calls from her teacher and her principal due to misbehavior.  She was in the "first grade fight club" on the playground.  She was bossy to other kids in the classroom.  She spit on another child for apparently no reason.  She threatened to hit another boy for not sharing the basketball.  She grabbed a boy's hood and "strangled" him to get his attention.  She told another girl that said girl was getting fat and "getting boobs".  She grabbed a boy's crotch in music class.  I'm sure I've forgotten some infractions but you get the idea.
     As a parent I can tell you this has been hard.  And as a quiet, reserved, always-on-my-best-behavior parent this has been excruciating!   I began to doubt whether I was a good mother, and was pretty sure the school thought Gene and I were lacking in a lot of ways.
     Things at home where no better.  They say never pray for patience but it must have slipped out in my prayers at some point!  And boy was God giving me so many opportunities to practice. Esther had frequent outbursts, with a fury that was impressive. She went from calm to angry in a second flat.  She is stubborn but so am I so things would escalate quickly. Getting homework done became a nightly battle.  It was rough!  It is so hard to admit, but most of the time I didn't like Esther.  It hurts to even write that down.  I know most parents feel the same way at times but it felt like such a failure to me.  I had looked forward to adopting this sweet girl for so long and now I wasn't enjoying being around her. I was losing control of the situation and knew I needed help.
      I saw a counselor for a few sessions and it came up that Esther might have some sensory processing issues.  This wasn't the first I had heard this suggestion.  In preschool the teacher had even let me borrow a book called, "The Out-of-Sync Child".  At the time I didn't really think it fit, but was starting to come around to the idea.  The counselor gave me great suggestions on techniques for helping Esther to deal with frustrating.  She also explained that when the daughter is 6 years old, there is usually added conflict with the mom.  And lucky me, it also happens again at age 15!  Things at home began to quiet down especially after Gene took over homework time.
     The school suggested Esther attend a weekly social skills class to help her and others like her to relate better with others.  And it helped a bit.  By this time, too, the teacher and nurse suggested that Esther may have some sensory issues.  Without a diagnosis, the school could only do so much.  But they did what they could. At school she sits on an exercise ball, she has a special seat during circle time, she takes "heavy work" breaks where she goes to the nurse's office and lifts some things for fifteen minutes.
     In April of this year, Esther started seeing an occupational therapist for some of the sensory issues she has.  She has only been going for two weeks but they will work on increasing her hand strength for writing,  working with tactile sensations (like playing with messy stuff), and helping her work on self-regulating.
     As the school year has progressed, Esther has had a harder and harder time concentrating and controlling her impulses.  During E's 7 year wellness check with her pediatrician, we asked the pediatrician if it could be ADHD vs. just being "precocious". She said it is hard to tell at this age because most kids have difficulties sitting still, concentrating and impulse control.  It usually isn't diagnosed until 2nd grade or 8 years old.  But as schoolwork got more difficult, Esther was having trouble finishing it at school.  Daily notes from her teacher would say, "didn't get much done today", "had trouble controlling herself", "had difficult time sitting still".  The teacher, Gene and I felt it was becoming more and more evident that E had ADHD. So we had a consult and filled out lots of paperwork and finally got the diagnosis...
                                           ...that yes, indeed
                                           Esther has ADHD !
 She will be starting medication this weekend. It may not be the right medicine and we may go through many different ones until we find the right one for her. So it should be a fun few months, but hopefully by 2nd grade we will be on the right track.
     On a brighter note this school year it hasn't been all bad.  Esther's example of fearlessness and being herself have taught me a lot about embracing myself for who I am. Being reserved, I tend to hide behind masks or go unnoticed. I have always been afraid of people. Esther is inspiring me to let go of those fears. She is fearless of others; she always assumes everyone is her friend until she is proven wrong.  And even if proven wrong, she isn't fazed at all, their loss.  She inspires me daily!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Just a few pictures for your viewing pleasure.

An Esther creation using Hero Factory

Esther put on a puppet show for me.  

The puppets were made of paper.

It was a story involving two dragons, a cave and a gem.

Daddy being silly!