Report on Wild African Dogs – Piper

Piper gave her first oral report (to people outside our family) this past week. I was a little nervous and she was a LOT nervous. But she really knew her topic and I think that helped a ton. When we got the assignment from school we talked about what she wanted to do. Then I took them to the library and had the librarian show them how to look up topics (I knew of course and had shown them but wanted someone else to show them). Then we looked up books and checked them out. We did some other surfing on the web and also on Pinterest for ideas and she came up with what she wanted to do. Overall I think she did a super fantastic amazing job.

The day of the report she decided she wanted everyone (me, Jason, Landis, Phoebe and Lela) to her presentation. I figured she was going to stand up there and say nothing at all or do a great job. She chose the later;) I was proud of all the work that she put in to the project and that she conquered her fear of talking in front of people. This is a HUGE deal for her. She is now in the 3rd grade and has never answered when roll is called, never. So this is really a huge accomplishment for her. She was very quiet and it was tremendously hard to hear her but she did it and now she knows she can.

We are back, yeah! And BOO

Well after all that illness that plagued the house we were all in need of a serious break. It turned out that everyone got sick and the two littles had a case of pneumonia.  But we rallied and got well and got ourselves a break.  It came in the form of a two week spring break!

We had a great week hanging out, swimming, going to Out of Africa and seeing old friends. Then we spent a week in California at the beach for the most relaxing vacation we have had EVER. We played in the sand, collected sea shells, swam in the pool and just enjoyed being together as a family. It was a really good time. This year has been a year of change for us and I think we are all still recovering and adjusting.
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We are looking forward to the summer and next year as we slog through the end of this year. Everyone is healthy again and relatively happy so we will power through to our next adventure.

House of Barf

Well we have had BIG fun lately with some sort of stomach bug running through the house. First it was Landis on Thursday night/Friday, followed by Phoebe on Friday night/Saturday and then Lela on Sunday night. I am HOPING that Piper already had it since she had some random vomiting two weeks ago but somehow that doesn’t seem to fit the pattern. The neighbor girls had this stomach bug last week and my girls were playing with them (not really Lela) so who knows. Piper has been playing with the neighbor girls behind us so probably she passed it along to them.

Needless to say the parental units around here are wiped out but we are quite a team. I handled the barfing and wiping and Jason handled the disposing and returning of the barf receptacle:) Jason is off to California so let’s pray that he isn’t going to suffer some bout of vomitopia whilst on his trip. I don’t see how I could avoid it but maybe the gods will spare me for my kindness (ha).

Lela is pretty upset that Piper is off to school without her but I think I will make her feel better by watching the first Harry Potter movie with her. She is reading book 3 now and she just can’t wait to see what all the characters look like in the film. We were holding off until spring break but it looks like today may be the day. Laundry for me and movie watching for her.

Landis had 3 days of fever following her vomiting and has a pretty rattling cough but we have been administering breathing treatments and that seems to be working. I was a little nervous that she might have gotten pneumonia but it looks like we dodged that bullet. She is off to a half day of school today, I am picking her up early because I don’t want her to wear herself down but I can’t let her stay home again or she may never go back, lol.

Phoebe is still asleep which is unheard of but she was up all night last night every time Lela threw up and she was super dehydrated from her day of barfing. So I will let her sleep as long as I can. A clone of myself would help right now but alas I will have to settle for me hyped up on coffee:)

Hmmm….what is happening

Well time is flying by for one thing and for the other things…..I forget:(

The big girls are liking their new school. No one yells at them and the kids are really nice. Not having been in a Montessori environment before Lela is missing some of the structure and schedule she left at DMS. If Piper is missing anything it is the dirt, trees and absolute outdoor freedom she had at DMS. Lucky for us the campus is open and we can go when we want. Just last weekend we spent an hour at DMS cuddling baby chickens and swinging on the tree swing.

Landis caught the creeping crud this week and spent a good 24 hours vomiting. Now on day 2 she is having a fever but her spirits are definitely higher than yesterday. I am seriously hoping Phoebe doesn’t get this but I am pretty sure that is hope wasted.

We have been keeping busy with violin rehearsal, harp/violin duet rehearsals, piano lessons, horseback riding lessons, 3 trips to the Zoo in one week, choir and visiting with friends. Next week Lela has her first symphony concert at the Mesa Arts Center, we are looking forward to it, I think she is going to love being on the big stage.

I am pretty certain that I need a vacation from schedules, commitments, schools and day to day life. I hear Santa Barbara calling…..

Worst day ever

Well I might be being dramatic but it was the best of days and the worst of days. Piper and Lela started at their new school. While they were being taught and entertained I was boohooing my little eyes out. I was boohooing so much I gave myself quite the migraine:(

I knew the girls were safe, I know it is a good school, I know they are going to love it so why was I so blue. By the afternoon I had had plenty of time to digest my feelings (mostly by laying in bed feeling sorry for myself). I realized I was mourning my losses. I lost anytime access to my girls (I used to pop in whenever I wanted which was a lot), spontaneous lunch dates, access to my dear friend (their teacher) and just all the things I loved about Desert Marigold. It was a hard day but by the time I picked up the girls and they told me all the wonderful things they did that day I felt better.

I am at peace with my decision to move the girls and it is looking like Landis will join them next year. It just takes some adjusting for the mom:)

Somebody had a birthday

Phoebe is 4!! A friend asked me if I was sad that Phoebe wasn’t a baby anymore. I laughed and laughed and laughed and shouted heck no! I am so glad to be moving on. Our life is so full and so fun that I can’t wait for each year to pass to see what comes next. I suppose Jason and I are really spoiled because our last two are super, duper, cuddle bugs so we get lots of hands on time with those two so I don’t miss all the baby cuddles.

This gal is super funny, plays so well all by herself, loves her sisters and can be a real ham. She has the performing gene and was super excited to get her Ukelele and “Flute” for her birthday. She also likes playing outside, princesses, puppy dogs and just life in general.

Happy Birthday Big Girl!

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So long Desert Marigold School

We have removed Piper and Lela from DMS. It was a tough choice but the right one. I have tried over the 4 years I have been there to make positive change but I finally came up against a battle that I was losing and that was negatively impacting my children. Sometimes we want something to work so badly that we can be blind to what is actually happening.

The specialty teachers have been getting more and more frustrated with the ongoing discipline challenges within the school. Two teachers quit, both music teachers, and others had started yelling, shaming and name calling. One teacher physically shoved a student, and another teacher told the entire class that they were “horrible” and “terrible.” With quiet empathic children such as mine they might as well have told them they were fat and would never amount to anything while they were at it. Those behaviors are unacceptable in my opinion. Discipline problems with children are one thing but when the adults are modeling inappropriate behavior I draw the line. My children were afraid to ask for help, or even to ask to go to the bathroom.

Ms. Falconburg remained amazing through it all and a beacon of all that is good and all that can be in a Waldorf school. We are so sad to have lost her.

The day I took them out of school for good, Piper told me her cheeks hurt from smiling but she didn’t know why she was smiling so much. As my most empathic child I think deep down she knew that the terror she had been feeling (apparently for far too long) was finally over. My heart broke a little when I looked at her sweet face but it also told me I did the right thing.

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Now that it is over I can clearly see it was the right thing to do. Chances are good we are heading to Montessori education as it is the closest thing to Waldorf. We are also making the decision to go to an independent (not for profit private school) at least for now.

I am done grieving the loss of the school and a wonderful teacher but we are all looking forward to what comes next.

Orchestra – chair test

IMG_8694So apparently every concert the Mesa Youth Orchestra has a chair test, I am sure most orchestras work this way but since this is our first experience it is all new. I of course was stressed about it all but Lela took it in stride as she usually does. Having been through the audition process, where they were tears, she knew what to expect. She came out with a smile (I was lucky to get a volunteer spot and saw her in and out) and said she did okay. She said she made a few mistakes but kept on going AND they tested her on the one song we practiced the least. We are really in it for the experience but still, the back row of an orchestra is NOT where you want to sit (at least in a children’s orchestra). Well we got the results today and she moved up 8 chairs. She is pretty pleased as her ambition was to move up 1 chair. Now that she has that experience under her belt she can see where she can go if she applies herself to the violin a little more.

Holy temper tantrum

Zowie! Landis is stretching her wings lately. If she doesn’t get her way watch out, on comes the temper tantrum complete with, “I don’t like you.” Woot! At least I have been down this road before with Lela and I know how it goes. Hold firm! Use the phrase “asked and answered” and get ready for lots of crying and hugs when it all comes to an end.

This too shall pass:)

Sir Snores A lot and joint pains

Wowza Piper is in full snoring swing! Piper has always been a snorer. Most of the time it is mild but lately it has been sir saws a log! So loud. I don’t know how Lela sleeps with it all night but I guess she is used to it. Great training for a snoring husband, lol! We have done all sort of things, nose strips, camphor on the chest, humidifiers etc, nothing stops the snoring. Finally I broke down and got a refill on a prescription for snoring. Two shots up the nostrils seems to tame the beast, or at least tone it down. I don’t want to do any major intervention because she is still growing and may grow out of it. But no way would I let her go to college with that racket! Sadly on the one sleepover she had her friends complained to their mother about it (Piper did not know). Bummer:( Nobody wants to be that person at a sleep over. Lucky for her the snoring is generally not so bad. Lately we have all had some virus that lingers (like 4 weeks) and I think that Piper still has some significant congestion going on, I still feel it so I am certain she does. I think that is the latest culprit in the snoring so hopefully it will clear up soon and we can go back to status quo.

Update on the joint pain.

Piper has been experiencing joint pain for over a year.  It started while she was in gymnastics and she complained so much I took her out of it at the end of the school year.  The complaints just kept coming and finally I took her to the pediatrician.  We decided to do some bloodwork to make sure that she didn’t have arthritis, a virus in her blood or a myriad of other things.  Jason actually had to do the blood draw appointment and from what I hear I should be bowing down to his awesomeness (it didn’t go well).  Her teacher even commented on how “mad” Piper was when she got back.  That is the bad news.  The good news is that the pain is probably good ol’ fashioned growing pains.  The other bad news is that Piper might just not tell me about her aches and pains since she knows I will do something about it and do something that she may not like.  C’est la vie, I can deal.