Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Spring Trimester

It was another learning experience this spring with Reggie.  I thought he had the school thing figured out, but his grades kept falling and fast :(.  It was shortly after Ryan rewarded him for good grades by allowing him to buy the Nintendo Switch.  He was not real happy, but it did slip out that many of his friends were in the same boat with losing privileges because of poor grades (much stricter than we are!).  At one point he had a C, 3 B's and 3 A's.  All screen time and his game systems went away, along with "homework" sessions with his friends which clearly were not helping his grades.  He had different issues in his classes and it took some time sorting out what he needed to work on, but he figured out he can't walk in PE with his friends that can't run, he had to organize better (we kept quizzing him in Spanish from pictures of the words that his friends sent because he could never find his own study sheet.  In math, he didn't know the assignment and felt bad bugging his friends because he did all the time, so he guessed and did the wrong assignment, then didn't bother to turn a quiz over, so got a 33%).  In reviewing his assignments and scores on homework, it was clear that there were a few recurring problem areas that instead of bringing his grade up, were pulling it down.  So, we talked through the importance of looking at our grades and understanding the expectation of the teacher and if we don't, then its important to speak with the teacher to better understand what they are looking for.  These are a few examples of the things we were dealing with.  It was like his brain fell out and he was a disorganized mess yet again.  He also learned that when you go on vacation and miss school, you can't make assumptions about what happened when you were gone.  I asked him several times what he missed and he kept telling me that he missed nothing, but zero's kept popping up and I made him go talk to every teacher and it turns out he had quite a few things to do.  He also learned if a teacher offers extra credit, you do it whether you think you need to or not.  There was a lot of opportunity for this and he didn't take advantage.  He is very lucky his teachers are nice!  I hope he remembers these learning experiences and chooses to make better choices next time.  It is clear that when he tries, he is highly capable, but the effort and concern about school was not there.  I did ask him if you took us out of the equation, what he would be satisfied with, all B's?  C's?  He said he did care and wanted A's, but it was really hard to tell that he cared at all.  It is easy to want A's, but a little harder to put the effort in to get them.  We ended up helping him get back on track which wasn't fun for any of us, but in the end, he pulled it out!!!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Schools out!

The last day of school was on Thursday and it was a drizzly, cool day.  I don't think we've ever had rain in June since we've lived here!  At least it wasn't too hot for field day.  The kids got out early and we headed to the Williams for a pool party.  Not the best weather, but at least the drizzle stopped and it was a bit warmer.  It was so much fun!!!  Well, except for Reggie, who has been quite the party pooper lately, especially if he doesn't have a friend there.




Reggie and Ainsley have been soaking up their friends the last few days since they won't see them all summer.  Reggie spent the day with his good buddy David and Ainsley went to Menchies with her BFF and then had a sleepover with a couple of other friends!  Khalif wasn't invited anywhere, so he got the shaft.  No time for me to have friends over here....too much packing and organizing!!!
 On a side note.....Reggie sounds very different.  He woke up one morning this week and his voice changed.  He is growing up :(.

Khalif can hang out with us!  He asked me today if there were chores he could do since he was bored :)!!!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Band

Ainsley had band this year and was assigned to play the clarinet.  She never practiced but was able to learn what she needed.  I'm guessing her knowledge of the notes from learning piano helped her a lot. Here's a video....
video

Monday, June 5, 2017

Khalif's birthday party


I decided to do his birthday party early this year since we'll be gone in July and it is a little harder to get in touch with school friends when it is summer break.  There was an auction item at our school fundraiser back in March that was a lego party and I thought it would be perfect for Khalif, so I bid and won!  My excitement soon fizzled when I told Khalif.  That isn't what he wanted to do for his birthday and maybe I could sell it.  Really????  This is what he and Reggie do for hours and hours!  I guess I should have known that I might get this reaction since it wasn't his idea and he had no control over the situation.  Selling it wasn't in the cards, so I told him we were just going to have to make it work.
When I called the place, they asked me where I wanted the party to be which was confusing because I thought they had a store, but apparently, they come to you (they also have after school programs at our school).  I knew I didn't want it at the house and I asked what they recommended and they said parks are great.  So, I found one with partial coverage over the picnic tables...you never know how hot its going to be here in June and we went with it.  We figured out what friends he wanted, although he told me that they didn't like lego's.  I met much resistance and heard many negative comments about the birthday party over the last several weeks and am very happy to have it done.  It really made it more difficult to put all that effort into something that was not appreciated.
And as it turned out, the party was amazing!  Khalif thoroughly enjoyed himself!  Probably one of the better parties we've attended or hosted.  Thank you Bricks 4Kids!  They got to build Star Wars figures/ships and they had motors, so the older kids were also interested and Reggie and David built a really cool thing that twisted and twirled.  They hooked the tie fighters and x-wings to fishing line and made them "fly" and had lightsaber battles, along with a craft.  The weather was perfect too...80 and breezy.

 He built Darth Vader


 Reggie and Khalif's half-brother
 Opening presents :)

It was a busy weekend.....Khalif''s family came to the party and then he left with them to spend the weekend there.  Reggie spent a lot of the weekend with David because Ainsley had her gymnastics show and her banquet.  Glad its Monday!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Passports

Ryan has to travel to China for work and mentioned that it might be fun if I join him.  Since the kids are enjoying new travels, I suggested we all go!  This was last month and you can't book flights without a passport, so I quickly got on the passport situation and had no idea how crazy it was going to be.  I went to the post office to pick up the paperwork and saw the group waiting to get their passports.  I got some really good information and decided to wake up nice and early on Saturday to get in line.  Everyone has to be present, so that seemed like the best day since I didn't want to take them out of school.  It opened at 10 and a nice lady in line said to get there a couple hours early to get a spot, so I got there at 7:45 and the lobby was full.  All 12 spots had already been taken, so I asked the lady in the front of the line what time she got there and she said 4 a.m.!!!!  Are you kidding me?  There are a few post offices and places that make appointments, but they were booked out way far or they never pick up the phone, so I'm not sure how you make an appointment.  There's a place in San Francisco that will allow you to do the whole process quickly, but it has to be within 2 weeks of your travel date and if you don't have a passport, you can't book your travel.  Anyway, who knew it would be so complicated???  So, Ryan bit the bullet the following Saturday and got there at 3:30 and was 3rd in line!!!  They didn't open the doors to the post office until 6 am., so he was out in the cold and I think he was really thankful that's not a regular thing.  The rest of us arrived at 9:30 and were done around 11:15.  I still wasn't sure it would come together because we were planning to go in July and if it took 6-8 to get our passports, then it would be too late to book airfare.  But, our passports came in record time, 2 1/2 weeks, so it seemed our fate was to go.  After many revisions of where we would go and for how long (Ryan has to work in 3 locations in Asia), we booked our airfare last night!  I will be taking the kids to Hawaii on July 11th on the way to Japan for 3 nights while Ryan works in Taiwan.  There was no extra flight expense for us to stop in Oahu and since I don't want to take the kids with us to Maui, this seemed like a great way for them to experience Hawaii!  We will then meet up with Ryan in Japan for 3 days and then fly to Hong Kong for another 3 night to finish the trip.  Should be memorable!!!