Thursday, September 11, 2014

First Teacher Conferences

The boys are stilling loving school, and the bus, and their class pets and... yes, everything.

We had teacher 'listening conferences' last night. It's just a quick 15 minute check in with the teachers to discuss how the first 1-2 weeks have been going on the kid's ends at home and for the teacher to talk about how the child is adapting at school, along with anything else anyone wants to discuss.
The conferences went GREAT, we couldn't be happier. When we walked in the building we met up with Jax's special-ed teacher on the way into our meeting and the first thing out of her mouth, "Wow, those boys really stole our hearts already". We felt a sense of relief going into the meetings after hearing that.

Jax's teacher said he is so smart and extremely excited about EVERYTHING. We laughed and said we appreciated the 'smart' comment since he wasn't expected to be given all his preemie issues. All we heard about were 'learning disabilities' over and over. We know he needs to wrangle in his 'excitement' a little bit though. She mentioned that she definitely sees his issues with attaining to a project that requires him to sit and use a pencil. So they are definitely going to support that and hopefully it's a different story by the end of the year, but I'm SURE it's not the last we've heard of that.
She said he follows all directions and she's had no issues with his behavior. The special-ed teacher and speech therapist discussed his meal-time and how we need the phy-ed teacher to watch his walking/running/stance issues now that we took his braces off. He's had a lot of accidents lately and we want to make sure it's not from unsupported legs versus him looking everywhere but forward when walking.

Brady's teacher and speech therapist are so happy with how he's doing as well. The teacher said she had a lot of concerns for him prior to the start of school, but she's been pleasantly surprised by his willingness to socialize, raise his hand to answer and to repeatedly try to get people to understand him. She's had Apraxic-children in the past and she said he's the most outgoing she's ever had of them. We found that interesting since Brady tends to get really shy lately when people address him. She thinks he's comfortable and excited for school, so he tries so hard. Apparently there's only been a few times where she's called on him, and she couldn't figure out what his answer was. We'll filling out a worksheet every Sunday night outlining what we did over the weekend so the teacher and therapist and can have an easier discussion with Brady each Monday. I felt so bad since this past Monday, Brady tried telling everyone that he went mini-golfing and no one could understand him. I can't even begin to imagine his frustration. But we have a plan going forward so that doesn't happen as much anymore.
We discussed how his reading and writing will go given his speech disability, and I like the plan, but bummed to hear that writing will be harder than reading since children literally 'sound out loud' when writing at this age. We'll just have to cross that bridge when it comes.

We took the boys out to dinner for pasta for their great reviews. I hope it stays this way through the year - here's to hoping!

In other news, how do you all get your kids to REMEMBER their belongings? Brady already lost a jacket on the bus and Jax brought home the wrong sweatshirt. I see last year happening all over again. Brady lost his boots, gloves, hats and even a pair of snow pants last year! I've already started to stock up on gloves and snow pants. For some reason it's really hard to find some of these items after December around here.

Here are some photos from last weekend, it was gorgeous outside! I feel like it's gone already with the temps only in the 50s this week, ugh!

Could Jax BE any happier up there?

The boys being... boys.

Santina was all about Jay after her nap.

She kept standing by him and copying him, too cute!

Some kid-fun inside the family farm at the zoo.

Brady doing a mean 'duck-lip selfie' pose :)

Rachel and the dudes.

Time to feed some goats!

Safety first Brady!

My train-car-mates!

Jason overseeing his boy's getting fresh and clean.

Mini Golf Sunday!

A morning routine before school each day - I think this will be a common scene this year! The boys started a small cold. No big deal, but Jax just needs this support each morning and night so it STAYS no big deal.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

And so it begins...

The boys are officially 'kindergarteners' and they're loving it.
The bus was late the first day, but on time the second day. I went back to school this morning since the first day wasn't a typical day for them given the fact the bus was late. I realized watching Jax get off the bus this morning that he has a VERY hard time carrying his backpack. I may have to get him a lighter one, but in the meantime, I'm trying to figure out ways to keep it light.
The boys REALLY want to have hot lunch at school versus bringing one, so it helped to not have a lunch in Jax's backpack, but I did pack his Pediasure.
I spoke to the teacher and then had a phone conversation later with the special needs department about bringing in a case tomorrow so Jax just has it there on hand. Whatever he doesn't drink at lunch, they'll have him drink after the afternoon recess. That really gives me some relief. His face is looking so gaunt to me lately, and I keep thinking about these long days for him. The therapist who called today for a quick update said Jax ate about half of a taco, some apple sauce and then half his Pediasure - which he had to finish the rest after recess.

I'd love to force Jax to only eat what I pack him so I can ensure he eats calorie-rich foods, but he is already upset at the suggestion. He wants to eats hot lunch so badly with Brady and the other kids. So, we'll let him do that for awhile and see how he does. I think the teachers already understand why I pack certain snack-choices for him - he needs every calorie!

I got the final word today that Mr Nick is approved by the district to visit Jax at lunch once a week. It should be helpful for some better skills when eating in a group like that. I just need to facilitate all of that when I come in with the Pediasure tomorrow.

Brady is doing well in class. The teacher told me today that she has been really impressed by how well she can actually understand his approximations. She said she has another child who has a profound speech issue as well without an iPad, so she plans to use Brady's iPad as an example for that child's upcoming IEP meeting. How great that Brady can somehow be helpful in another child's quality of school-life!

I've been looking forward to the end of each afternoon now to hear the boys gush about school. I hope they're always like this!

Pretty much the scene of our Labor Day Weekend cookouts, blah!

Our neighbor had planned to have the Badger game viewing outside, but we compromised!

Jax got some new slippers that he's pretty pumped about.

These would be the shoes that Jay and the boys just got. (siiiiigh)

Since the boys are such 'big boys' now, we did a toy-cleanout. It stinks to do, but feels oh-so-good once done!

The beautiful one-block walk to the bus stop. We'll see how beautiful this feels when temps drop!

Waiting for the bus.

The boys with the speech therapist and the special-needs director.

Jay helping Jax into his room.

Brady lined up for his room!

My and Brady's last official Friday-lunch-date.

Kickin' it for day TWO of school. Duck-lip Brady, lol!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Final Plans

The boys have dropped off their school supplies and toured their classrooms one last time. They're both excited to have a class pet. One was a guinea pig and the other was a smaller type of rodent. LOL, I don't know, it was in a glass tank and small.
I took Brady in his room and Jason took Jax to his. Brady was coloring his name tag that will go up by his coat hook, when suddenly Jax came bouncing back in! Apparently he colored his name tag, ran around his room and came back.
He was scanning everything so fast and each time I tried to talk to him he was way too busy to even look at me. Oh boy... I can see there is still a lot of 'focus' work to work on with him and his IEP plans will be in full effect for sure.

I spoke to the principal about Jax's feeding therapist being able to come in during lunch once a week and she wasn't sure if it was "district-legal" since he's a private therapist using 'their' facilities, but she encouraged me to contact the special-needs director to see if I could. The principal said she hopes we can get it through since it affects Jax 'medically' in the end. I made the call today and left a message, so we'll see where that goes. If we can't get it, then Jax will just have to rush to Mr Nick once a week for an early dinner.

I have Brady's PROMPT speech set up for after school for the month of September. His grant goes until then, so we're definitely going to use it. We'll have to do a few Saturdays, but that's ok.

I found out that there aren't any 'aides' for the kids getting off the bus, but there are helpers directing kids where to go. Hmmm... I asked the principal and the teacher if that was really sufficient for kindergarteners the first day and the principal said it is for some, but they'd appreciate Jason and I being there to make sure, especially given Brady's disorder.
So... we get to jump in the chaos of following the bus and helping the boys understand where to go. All children have to go into the school to hang their backpacks and then go back outside to the playground until the bell rings. They then line up in specific places. They have to all put backpacks inside first since all children have iPads and they don't want them out on the playground.

The instructions will be fine with the boys after a few practice runs, but we definitely need to help oversee for a few days.

The boys are COUNTING DOWN the days even though I keep explaining to them that their days will never be the same again and to try and enjoy the last few fleeting days!

I heard Jax asking his stuffed Fox (Foxy Mama) if she wanted to go to school with him on his first day for show and tell. I laughed listening to the conversation and thinking about Jax announcing his "pet Foxy Mama" to the class.
I requested Brady's class list from his speech therapist and we put all the names in his iPad and will record my voice saying them. They just need to snap a photo of them each under their name and he'll have better access to talking to and about his classmates then.
We're almost ready!

We've had some random/odd behaviors this past week. First, we noticed a really nasty bruise on Jax's back after his bath. It was small and almond shaped. We asked what happened and he said, "Oh... we were playing monsters on the trampoline last week and Brady bit me". UHH, what?!
They NEVER tell on each other, which is nice to a point, but come on! We asked Brady and he seemed a little confused as if he didn't remember, but he trusted Jax's statement. We had a long talk with them that teeth are weapons and they are to NEVER put their mouths, hands, feet or anything on anyone else ever.
Brady got upset realizing Jax was 'hurt', so I don't think he realized what he did, but he understood why lost some iPad time. Seriously... what will I do with these two as teenagers? They'll keep everything from me!

We also had a very FIRST happen with the boys last night. Brady came out of his room after going to bed. I know that's probably normal for most kids, but it has never ever happened with our guys, so we assumed someone was sick. Nope, Brady had tears streaming down his face that he was scared of the dark. How odd? He made me put a night light in the week prior and asked me for another one.
Has this happened to anyone else before? The boys have never had a nightlight in 6 years and now suddenly Brady is scared of the dark. Poor peanut, but random, hey?

We're hoping to have fun-filled Labor Day Weekend - hopefully some fun pics too!

The boys taking a tube-ride with friends Hayden and Cole last weekend!

The boys had their friend Kate over for dinner. She played Uno with them after so I could get some baking done!

I let the boys try to follow some Lego instructions by themselves one rainy afternoon while I got some work done. It wasn't correct, but it was kinda close!

Who wouldn't love a mini-me rubbing their head at night?

Brady coloring his name tag for his coat hook during Open House.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

So much school info

We are on summer countdown, which is a good thing and a bad thing. No one wants warm weather to be gone of course!
We are surviving our first of two weeks of working while the kids are without a sitter. Some days are better than others :)
We're having some rainy days, which oddly make it easier to have the boys inside while I work, because they really keep each other busy and aren't asking to be outside. I bribe them for silence if I need to make important calls, haha. The therapy-appointments and upcoming doctor appointments add a wrench of course too, but since it's all just a fleeting moment in time, we know this will pass. They will soon be gone all day, most days, for the rest of their childhood... wow.

Brady woke up vomiting yesterday at 4am, but was MUCH better by noon. How random and odd, but then again, that's par for the course with young kids I guess.
We had 'Registration and Forms' day at the school where we turned in all the fees, received a lot of paperwork, signed up for the first teacher conferences and created our online access for school needs. The boys will have a final Open House on Wednesday to hand in all their supplies and see their classrooms one more time before the official start of school.

We went very early on the Registration and Forms- day and were able to have real talks with a few key people without crowds. Jax re-met Miss Janet (I can't help but to think of the original Miss Janet Jackson!) who will be his lunch aide helping him eat. She and I chatted and I feel SO much better. She's prepared for any possible gags/vomits and will encourage him to eat specific amounts. She thinks he'll switch to hot lunch soon enough which I love. Any acclimation to normalcy for mealtime makes my heart sing. We also touched base with the Health Room aide and turned in Jax's inhaler and extra g-tube with paperwork. She can work a g-tube and asthma issues like a champ, so I feel good about that too.

We met and spoke with the speech therapist again and we made a plan that I'll fill Brady's iPad with things he did over the summer so the therapist can help Brady tell the class when it's his turn. We were told in advance about this activity, so that's helpful. The therapist has a tough name, so she said Brady can call her Mrs T until he can say it fully. He also got the kindergarten teacher with the easier name, so I'm thankful for that. His 4k teacher was Mrs Marino and his kinder teacher is Mrs Marina, how great for him!

I have one more anxiety-based need to settle up before the first day, and that's to know who exactly will lead the kids off the big-boy bus and show them where to go. Do they go to the playground for a bit and follow the crowd?? I need this info because I don't want to follow the bus and hover the first day. Parents aren't allowed inside the school anyway, so I'm hoping our 3rd trip to this tiny school on Wednesday to review the plans will be enough. The boys of course show ZERO anxiety and are just excited to go. I just need to know for sure everyone is covered. They'll have their bracelets on as advised, but still, I need to know who, when and where and all will be good.

I can say with great relief that Jason and I are very happy about this small elementary school they're attending. When we walked in, the principal asked our family name. We said "Lettenberger" and she said, "OH, Brady aaaaaand..." as she searched through the folders... I mean, really? Even the kindergarten teachers saw the boys and said "It's the Lettenberger boys!". How great is that with only meeting once? The boy's classrooms are connected by a small hallway with a bathroom, so they'll be closer than 4k. I think this year is going to be GREAT for them. The long days will be an adjustment, but it will be great.
I'm meeting with Jax's feeding therapist tomorrow to see if he'd be willing to go to Jax's school lunch once a week. Brady will still have his PROMPT therapy a few times a week for Sept, otherwise I'm trying to keep extra activities to a minimum until they're acclimated to the days.

So much change for our family!

The last day of t-ball. They were so proud to make every game of the season! Could Brady be cuter in this photo?

Jason and I sending some love home to our boys while out in Vegas.

The boys got a 'Wubble Bubble' (that already popped) and loved that thing.

Another coach from t-ball gave Jax a left-handed set of golf clubs. Jax is in love with the sport!

I can tell Brady is growing up. He wants very specific things for school this year. He even put on certain hats and danced in a mirror to see if he liked them. OMG. He put this backpack on and said he wants THIS one. Too bad the line was too long and I was in a hurry. I'm hoping this is still around when I actually go shopping for these things this weekend. Funny thing tho, he asked me to take a photo from behind so he could see what it will look like to others. Seriously.. he rocks.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Summer Daze

We had a great summer weekend with the boys at home. We hit up the frozen yogurt shop, went on bike rides, went to the pool, had a nice dinner and even got to the state fair!
Jax suddenly decided to be a great eater while out to dinner Saturday night. Jason poured all 8 oz of his Pediasure into a cup and when we turned around, Jax drank the whole thing! Then he proceeded to eat Ninja noodles (we were at an Asian restaurant) like they were his job. The chopsticks may have been the pushing-factor, but hey, we'll take it! He also ate his entire fortune cookie, score!

We caught the last day of the fair and had the right idea to go early Sunday morning because by the time we were leaving, it was packed.
We were pooped out by the time we got home and had a lazy Sunday late afternoon and evening home.
The boys are getting ready for their last week of our beloved part time summer-sitter because she starts school back up in a week - she's a first grade teacher. Jason and I are getting the house and everything else ready to leave on a trip to Vegas on Wednesday. I have some work to do, but it's also my birthday week, so it's going to be mostly fun :) We have a couple guest appearences throughout the few days that Jason set up, so it should be a great quick break away.
When we get home it will be go-time to get the boys ready for kindergarten with their open house (and pictures, eek!) that week and the all-time favorite of school supply shopping!
We'll be without a sitter those last two weeks, so it will be a lot of juggling, but we'll survive, I'm sure!

Getting better on their bikes!

This is just funny...

Jax just 'relaxin' as he says.

Who can resist these things at the state fair?

Brady learning about someone's science project.

Brady loving up a cow calf.

Jax always chooses the dominant one...

Who doesn't love walking corn??

Olympic mini donkeys... no idea what makes them Olympic!

Checking out a big old hog.

SO happy to be on a ride at the end of the day. Brady is actually BUSTING a move right here.