Thursday, March 30, 2017

Report Cards

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The pictures are just for fun and have nothing to do with report cards :) More details about this event on a later post!

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Today was report card day for Emmie and Ellie. In kindergarten and 1st grade they just get a "met", "progressing", or "not met". This was the first time that Emmie has really been "aware" of getting a report card. Before I've always looked at it and told her good job but it never really seemed to register with her that a report card was a big deal. Well today Emmie got in the car and the first thing she wanted to do was look at her report card. She told me she and another little girl in her class were hoping they got all As! Then I had to break it to her that she doesn't get letter grades yet. She was a little disappointed. She was really proud of her report card (she got all "mets") though and told me she wanted me to take a picture and post it on facebook...we'll see if she still feels that way in 10 years! I've been very careful not to say much to her about grades and try to just talk to her about always doing her best and focusing on her work. I love that she is now self motivated to get As!  Ellie was mostly oblivious but was very pleased with her report card full of "met".

My favorite part of the report card is the teacher comments. I love seeing what their teachers say about them.

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I'm pretty sure "class leader" translates to "bossy" but we'll go with leader! Emmie worked really hard to finish reading all her Reading Counts books and we were all so proud of her! Emmie  had a lot of frustrating days at the beginning of the school year involving math. Reading has always come so easy to Emmie and math has always been much harder. We've had to work every day on math and I'm so proud of the confidence she has gained in her math abilities. Her teacher has been wonderful at encouraging her and boosting her self esteem in math!

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*Since Ellie's is hard to read..."Ellie has grown so much in her reading fluency and comprehension. She uses a variety of reading strategies to read new and familiar stories. She recalls details and can retell stories easily. She has also become a confident writer and enjoys illustrating her journal. She is quite a mathematician too and has a natural number sense. She enjoys number games and does a good job explaining her thinking as she figures out math problems. Way to go Ellie!"*

All of Ellie's report cards have mentioned her math abilities. She clearly gets that from Paul! I was so pleased to see her teacher's comments about her reading. She really has come a long way this quarter! She finally got really motivated to read and has taken off with her reading. We had many tearful homework sessions of her not wanting to read and now she's excited about her reading homework. I'm so proud of her hard work! I also love the comment about her journal illustrations. For a kid that had NO interest in drawing for a very long time she has really become quite the little artist!

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Emmie LOVES doing Lexia, which is a reading program our school uses. She's halfway through the 2nd grade units!

I'm so proud of these kiddos and all of their hard work!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Ruthie goes to Greenville

Last week Ruthie went to Gran and Grandaddy's house on Wednesday and came home Friday. This is the first time any of the kids have gotten to go to a grandparent's house all by themselves and she was SO excited!
My mom came Wednesday and picked up Ruthie. She came mid morning so JP got some Gran time too!
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Ruthie and Gran left right after lunch and JP was SO upset that his Roo had left him.
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I finally laid him down in his bed for his nap because I couldn't get him to settle down (he wanted another Ruthie kiss) and he just laid his head on his pillow and sobbed. It was so pitiful! Fortunately, he wasn't devastated the whole time she was gone. He would have moments where he would ask about her (usually when it was time for bed or nap) and he would get sad.
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Afternoon snack...Ruthie LOVED the pineapple!

Wednesday my mom took Ruthie to church for Wednesday night dinner. Grandaddy came and met them and Ruthie also found a friend to play hide and seek with. Although since they're both about the same age it was a pretty funny game of hide and seek apparently. They were a little fuzzy on how it worked!
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Bedtime Snack
Ruthie was pretty excited about getting to pick which bed she slept in at Gran and Grandaddy's. She chose to sleep in my bed. (Normally the kids sleep in Uncle Ben's room) Apparently she was pretty cute sleeping in the queen size bed with her baby doll. Generally when we go to my parents house she's sharing a bed with at least one of her sisters so I know she loved having all that space!

Thursday they met my dad at Chick fil A for lunch (Ruthie's favorite!).
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Apparently there was a bit of a size discrepancy between Ruthie's ice cream and my dad's. But don't worry, she helped him eat his!

Also on Thursday my mom took Ruthie to get her haircut at Jelly Beans. Ruthie got a balloon and jelly beans so she thought that was fabulous!
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While she was in Greenville, my mom took Ruthie to pick out some new shoes. Ruthie LOVES her new Paw Patrol shoes and has shown them to everyone we've run into this week. She also got to pick out a treat for each of her siblings.
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My dad made it home that evening in time to hang out with Ruthie. (Quite an accomplishment during tax season...Ruthie should feel very special!) She and Grandaddy did some coloring.

Friday morning Ruthie did some painting. She made a picture for each of her siblings.

Friday for lunch Ruthie and my mom went to Grandaddy's office for lunch. Ruthie was pretty sure that someone needed to get in there and clean his office up! (He'd better watch out...if Emmie sees a mess she'll have it straightened up before she leaves!)
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After lunch my mom brought Ruthie back to Columbia. We were all so happy to see her. It was very quiet around our house without our wild girl! I will say that Ruthie was NOT so happy to be back at home. She gave quite the pouty face and when I asked her if she wanted to stay at Gran and Grandaddy's she said yes. She clearly had lots of fun!

While Ruthie was at Gran and Grandaddy's we FaceTimed with her a number of times. We all enjoyed seeing her and hearing what she was up to but it was SO good for JP. He gave the phone lots of kisses! The second time they called us he was sitting on Paul's lap and he about jumped out of his lap and bolted across the room to where the phone was. He KNEW he was going to get to see his Ruthie!
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I'm so glad that Ruthie got this special time with Gran and Grandaddy! When the big girls were little we used to go visit the grandparents a lot but now that they're in school we rarely get to go. It's also really fun for each of them to have this time where they get to be the only child! This summer the big girls are going to get to have a few days with each set of grandparents and they are beyond excited and have been busy discussing what their special time will be like. Next up though is a trip for just Ruthie to GG and Papa's house next week!

Monday, March 27, 2017

allergist appointment - 2 years of peanut allergy and some GOOD NEWS!

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Today we Ruthie had an allergist appointment. It has been 2 years since she was diagnosed and last week we had her peanut labs redrawn for the first time since her diagnosis. For the record, she was an EXCELLENT patient. She cried when they stuck her but she did such a good job holding still. I was SO proud of her.

I prayed for 2 things going into this appointment. 1) That her lab numbers would be lower and 2) (this is the big one) that her allergist would be receptive to us trying oral immunotherapy (OIT).

*A small aside for those who have never heard of oral immunotherapy. Pretty much the way it works is patients are given very small amounts of their allergen in the office. They then take this dose every day for a week (or 2 weeks depending on your allergist and what schedule you're on) at home. You then go back to the office and are "updosed". You do this every week or two for quite awhile. Some patients are able to get to the point where they can pass an oral food challenge and eat their allergen freely while others are only able to get to the point where they would be ok if they accidently took a bite of something with their allergen in it. The data I've looked at shows an 80-90% success rate which is amazing! Just to get to the point where we didn't have to super analyze every thing that she was eating and everything those around her were eating would be so wonderful.*

So first up: lab results. Our allergist uses the peanut component panel which analyzes which proteins the peanut binds to and can somewhat predict the severity of the response. Component 1,2 and 3 are the big severe ones and 2 has the most severe reactions. Anything under 0.1 is negative and numbers can be as high as up in the 80s. Two years ago when she was diagnosed Ruthie's 1 was 0.3 and her 2 was 1.75. Today her 1 was NEGATIVE and her 2 was 1.17. This is so GREAT! Trends are so important when looking at these numbers and to be trending down is such a relief. The allergist was very encouraged by her results. He had told me earlier in the appointment that we would repeat her skin test next year but after seeing her lab results he decided to do it in 3 months! So at the end of June we will go have that done. Last time her skin test measured a 9 so the allergist said if she is in the 3-4 range this time we can do an oral challenge!

All the lab results were exciting but the really exciting part of the appointment was at the end when I nervously asked our allergist about his thoughts on the new therapies such as OIT and Viaskin (the peanut patch). I haven't researched Viaskin much but I've done a LOT of OIT research. Allergists seem to either love OIT or be VERY against OIT. We knew that our doctor wasn't offering it currently (it's a newer therapy and as far as I know nobody in SC is doing it yet).I knew we would want to further explore the option no matter what our allergist said but I knew I would feel more comfortable with it if our allergist gave us the ok. Our allergist is 100% on board with these options and we agreed that we'd revisit the issue after her skin test in June...because we may not even need OIT or Viaskin! I knew from my research that OIT is currently being offered by a few doctors in the Raleigh/Durham area, 3 doctors in Atlanta, and 1 doctor in Charlotte. I didn't think anyone around here was doing Viaskin but the allergist said it's being done in Charleston! These are all really exciting options but even more exciting was our allergist said that he hopes that in the next year or two his office will be doing one of them! Depending on what our skin test looks like and what his timeline looks like will probably determine whether we wait and try to do it in Columbia or if we go somewhere else.

I can not adequately express to you the feelings I had when I left the appointment today. I definitely shed a few tears when I got in the car. To know that Ruthie's labs are trending down and to know that our allergist supports our treatment plan is a great feeling. All day I have felt like a weight has been lifted off my chest and for the first time in 2 years I can breathe a little easier. It feels like there is a light at the end of this road. There is a chance she could outgrow her allergy on her own and there is a chance that we could do OIT and desensitize her to peanut. I kept telling myself that the numbers didn't really matter because we now had this great option of doing OIT but really deep down the numbers DO matter. And it definitely DOES matter that our allergist is excited about the new opportunities for Ruthie and other allergy kids.

Also, I left with a prescription for an Auvi-q...yay! Auvi-q is the epipen that talks to you when you use it and tells you exactly what to do. I got one at a previous appointment and literally within a day or two they recalled all of them! I was so sad! But now they have fixed the problem and they are back on the market and are FREE!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Catching Up

I have gotten so far behind with my blogging so today I'm doing a BIG post stuffed full of what we've been up to!

JP had roseloa at the end of February. For 2 days he ran a 103 temp. He was so miserable and I felt so bad for him. I pretty much just held him and rocked him for 2 days. After the fever broke it took him aother 3-4 days to recover. I was so happy a week after the fever started to have snuggle time with a super giggly baby instead of a sad baby.

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Ellie had to dress up as a book character during Read Across America week. She picked Tacky the Penguin.
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Emmie and Ellie's school has a big focus on Lifeskills. Sometimes the kids get recognized for using their lifeskills. The person recognizing them fills out a Spotlight and the kid gets invited to a special breakfast. It's a HUGE deal (at least in Emmie and Ellie's book) to get a Spotlight. Emmie's teacher wrote a Spotlight for Emmie a few weeks ago. We are SO proud of her. She is an amazing helper at home and I'm glad to see that she is the same sweet helper in her classroom as well!
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These two are so funny together. They play together more and more and are slowly figuring out how to play together. The other day we were walking Franklin and they started saying "cheese" and posing. I had to stop and take their picture of course.
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I pulled out my consignment stuff the other day. I tagged the boppy and set it to the side only to turn around a few minutes later and find Franklin curled up in it happy as could be. Of course I then decided that I couldn't sell sweet puppy's favorite pillow! Four kids later and it's FINALLY his for good!
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JP is very into sitting in boxes right now. He thinks it's so funny!
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Every time I look at Emmie's picture from Alice in Wonderland I am blown away. She just exudes confidence and grace in this picture and looks so grown up.
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My mom was here the other day and so I caved and got the wagon out to pull the kiddos while we walked Franklin. Normally it's just too much to pull the wagon and walk Franklin. The kiddos were thrilled. My mom was originally going to push JP in the stroller but he wanted a wagon ride. In the end Ellie got to ride in the stroller which thrilled her. (She would be happy to by the "baby" of the family forever...I think she missed the memo that she's #2 of 4.)

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During weekend rehearsals for Alice a group of moms took our kids to the Children's Garden for lunch. Ruthie's buddy Weston was there and somewhere along the way Ruthie and Weston planned a zoo playdate together. Ruthie asked me every day for a week when we were going to the zoo with Weston so Weston's mom and I found a day that worked for both of us and took our little ones to the zoo. We had a great time and Ruthie was SO happy!
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Roo and Weston held hands for a good portion of the zoo. I thought it was cute. Paul was not as amused. I got the third degree about "this Weston character" when Paul got home that night. Lol!
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JP loved all the animals but the giraffes seemed particularly fascinating to him.
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Riding the carousel. I tried to put JP on one of the animals and as soon as I lifted him up he grabbed on to me. Apparently he's not a fan of heights...unless he has climbed up somewhere know, like the kitchen table.

Paul had the level out the other day while he was hanging a picture so he showed JP how to use it. JP was so fascinated. He's definitely a future engineer. This kiddo LOVES to build!
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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Snow Day

After weeks of warm weather we finally got some snow! We woke up this morning to big beautiful flakes falling. It looked like big hunks of cotton falling from the sky...gorgeous! It snowed all through church and kept snowing after we got home...until about noon. It never dropped below freezing so the roads were fine and it sort of stuck in our yard. There was about an inch of snow on our grill! Paul and I teach three year old Sunday School. The snow was falling was so pretty during Sunday School that I just had to take the kids out to play for a minute! They were so excited. When we got home from church the girls and JP quite pleased that it was still snowing when we got home from church and they played until it stopped snowing. This was JP's first snow and he was quite fascinated by it.
Our yard before we left for church.
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Our street when we got home. Beautiful!

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Remember, don't eat the yellow snow! The yellow snow that results when it snows on top of pollen!

Funny story, our local strawberry farm opened March 6. They were open today so I sent Paul to grab us some strawberries. I thought it was pretty funny that we had fresh strawberries on our snow day!
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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Alice in Wonderland

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This past weekend was Dance Theatre of Columbia's performance of Alice in Wonderland. This was also Emmie's first production with DTC. She has been looking forward to being old enough to be in DTC since she started dance and we were all so excited for this momentous occasion!
The week leading up to the performance we had rehearsal every night from 5 until 9/930 depending on the night. It was a VERY long week but we survived. Emmie was tired but through the week and weekend we had NO screaming meltdowns (at least not any from Emmie!). I can't tell you what a big accomplishment this was. Emmie is my kid who goes and goes and goes and then gets home and crashes and when she crashes she screams and cries and throws herself around. I was so proud of how well she handled the exhaustion and I loved being able to see how much she has matured this year! Emmie was definitely tired and there were moments where she wanted nothing more than to just lay in her bed or on the couch and not go to school or dance but she powered through!
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ready to go! That bun held up through Sunday gel for the win!
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The performance was SO good. Emmie had a small part but she performed it beautifully and we were all so proud of our little flower! When Emmie got in the car after the last performace Saturday night she said "That was SO much fun!"
Emmie with Mrs. Cari who was her dance teacher for three years. Cari is the artistic director for DTC. She's amazing!

We gave Emmie this necklace as a keepsake. She was so excited. She also got a bracelet from her teacher (which absolutely thrilled her), sunflowers from GG and Papa and an edible arrangement pineapple from Gran and Grandaddy.
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After the last performance they had a cast party. Emmie had a great time dancing and being silly with her friends. It was an exciting day but by the time we finally got home at 11:30 we were ready for bed!
Anna, Emmie, and Evelyn
The "true life" picture!
Emmie and Evelyn

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Alice in Wonderland themed cookies were the favors.

I know I say it all the time but our dance studio has some of the BEST older kids. They were so sweet to the little ones through all the rehearsals and at the cast party. They really went out of their way to make the little ones feel special! One of the older flowers gave the little flowers a rose at the end of the second performance and the girl who was Alice gave everyone this little sign. The best part? She wrote a personalized note to each girl on the back of the sign. Emmie was THRILLED!
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