Last day of school

Tuesday, June 3, 2014




This school year was not the easiest year for us by any means.  Three weeks into the year, I had my surgery where they had to remove my ovary and fallopian tube.  The recovery time took more time than we expected.  I was out of commission for a few weeks because the recovery was the same as a c-section--so this was a challenging time for our little family since we don't have family nearby to help.  Especially having the babies to care for and trying to coordinate people who could help us get Noah to and fro school since I couldn't drive for a few weeks and Jody travels out of town often for his job.  Not the best way to begin a new school year.  But thankfully we survived that whole ordeal with the support of our dear friends, my sweet mom who came down to help and Noah's school was so understanding and did everything they could accommodate us during this difficult time.

And then we had the ongoing custody battle with CPS to gain guardianship of our foster son-- which as many of you may remember-- drug on from last fall to late this spring.  It took an emotional toll on everyone and was a daily struggle to try and keep everything running smoothly at home when we felt such a dark cloud of uncertainty hanging over our heads about possibly losing our sweet foster son.

But in addition to these challenges on the home front--we had lots of "aha" moments and challenging moments with our son with regard to his schooling this year.  Since early fall, we've been working closely with his teacher, a diagnostician and our pediatrician to identify and resolve some issues that were causing him difficulty in school.

In December, we were referred by our pediatrician to a behavior specialist and had him tested for ADHD.  It honestly came as no surprise when he was diagnosed.  We had felt for some time that this might be an issue for him and so we made the decision (after lots of prayer and discussion) to put him on ADHD medicine... bless his heart--he has struggled since early pre-school with any type of structured environment and having to sit still for extended periods of time was killer for him. So after discussing our options with the doctor, we opted to give the medicine a try.

We were nervous and apprehensive about our decision the first few weeks, but almost overnight we saw a huge change in him and now 5 months later--I can honestly say it has truly made all the difference for our son and his confidence in his studies at school soared as a result.  He feels so much better about himself -- he now gets positive marks on his behavior chart daily (whereas before the medicine it was almost a daily series of poor behavior marks) and we can tell his interaction with his peers at school has improved. His teachers (even the ladies that work at the school cafeteria) have commented to us how they feel  he's a different kid (for the better)--- he's more calm, finally able to focus for longer periods during classroom instruction and he doesn't struggle as much to complete the more tedious assignments.

In March, we had his vision checked and the eye doctor discovered he has a astigmatism in both eyes and is color blind...we-- nor--his teacher had any idea he was having difficulty seeing .  He never complained of not being able to see things and  never complained of headaches, etc.  So this was a complete surprise--however, the glasses have really helped with his reading.

And then last month--I took him to a  CALT therapist and had him tested for dyslexia--having taught early elementary for years and working as dyslexia teacher myself --I saw so many of the classic signs with our son--but I was giving him as much time to develop this year before moving forward with any formal testing.  After watching him struggle so much  this year with his reading--I knew it was finally time.  I also knew that we had reached that critical window of opportunity to get him tested and identified before it was too late and all the poor habits had formed with his language development.

As I suspected, the testing confirmed he is classic dyslexic...which further answered questions/concerns we had and pinpointed why he (and we) have had such a frustrating experience in school to date with our little guy.

So 1st grade was definitely a year of discovery and advocating for our son...and now with the medicine regulated, his new glasses and the therapy he will be receiving all summer for the dyslexia-- I'm feeling so much better about him going into 2nd grade this fall.

This past Friday was Noah's last official day as a 1st grader.  He was super stoked when he woke up that morning... all excited for his class party.  His teacher asked for all of us to sign up for breakfast items to bring and Noah  brought in Shipley donuts for the class (his favorite).

After the morning festivities...there was an end of year award ceremony.  Gavin, Taylor and I headed  to the school around 2 pm to be there to cheer little man on.



I was stressing after we walked into the chapel because this was
 right snap-dab in the middle of Taylor and Gavin's afternoon nap time-- and-- as luck would have it....
about 5 minutes after we walked into the school--they both started to get REALLY cranky. Oy!!
I just kept saying a little prayer in my heart that we could just make it through the next hour
 without one or both having total meltdown.

Thankfully, they did pretty well--there were a few times I had to roll the stroller out into
 the hallway and give them a drink or snack to keep them occupied--
but we were able to stay for the entire ceremony...whew!!



Oh my goodness...Noah was all smiles and SO EXCITED when his little class
walked into the chapel and he saw me and the kids there waiting for him.

 It was cute--he immediately ran over and gave me the biggest hug
and then gently gave both Taylor and Gavin a kiss on the cheek.

He's such a good big brother and has the sweetest little heart.



His teacher quickly situated all the kiddos in their seats in the chapel and
 then we just waited until the remaining grades arrived before they could begin.

It was cute...Noah kept peeking back to see where we were and
blowing me kisses.

I was thinking to myself.... I better enjoy this because I'm guessing by next school year-
-he won't dare blow his mama kisses in front of his friends because
well, you know--it just not cool.  ;-)



After all the awards were presented to students, faculty and parent volunteers...
the 1st graders were then each presented with a Bible that they will use at school
 next year to study as part of the curriculum
(this is a tradition Noah's school does each year for the 1st graders at the award's assembly).

Noah's school is a Lutheran-based school and while we do not actually practice the Lutheran faith
(we're members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)
-- we are so happy that Noah will be studying the Bible at his school next year and
learning more about the teachings found in the Old and New Testaments with his teacher and classmates.

Both my husband and I think it's important for our children to be exposed to other religions and
 we like the fact that at his parochial school the children can pray and talk about Jesus during their school day as part of the curriculum.



Noah's teacher came to the front of the chapel and began to call the students
to the front one-by-one to collect their new school Bible.

 They were so excited to receive their Bibles...it was really precious to watch.

 

Before leaving school, and while we were collecting Noah's things
 from his classroom, we ran into little man's--ahem-- wink---wink---"girlfriend"!!!

He's been talking about this 7th grade girl that has been helping him with
his reading at his after-school tutoring and how he thought she was pretty.

Well, as we were about to walk out of the school and head to the car, she walked up
 to Noah and hugged him and told him to have a great summer.

 Noah nudged me and whispered, "Mom...she's my girlfriend."
  I kid you not...I almost died and was fighting back the biggest laugh.

I asked her if I could take her picture with Noah really quick....


Oh my goodness...now I see why he liked his after-school tutoring
so much this spring semester.

Such a little charmer....




On the way to the car, we walked and pushed the little ones in the 
stroller down our normal little path through the pretty garden area at his school.
 Noah always loves to run over and look at the fountain. 

As we were walking to the car--I asked him how it felt to officially be a 
2nd grader and he responded, "Ummm...pretty cool...I guess." 

I just smiled as I watched him hop in the car...what a funny and happy go lucky kid he is.
I'm so proud of him and how hard he has worked this year in school.  It has not been easy for him, 
but he persevered and maintained his "I CAN" attitude that he came to this earth with.

 I pray that his positive outlook on life will continue to bless him as he 
moves forward in his schooling and works to overcome some of the challenges he faces.
 We couldn't be prouder of him and the amazing, righteous young man he is becoming.

We are all looking forward to a relaxing summer and new beginnings next fall.


2 comments:

  1. Congratulations to Noah! It sounds like he has overcome a lot of big obstacles this year. And he came out smiling. Your family has had some big crosses to bear, but it's always so obvious on the blog how it makes you all stronger. God bless your family. Happy Summer!!

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    Replies
    1. thanks, kathleen! he really had overcome a lot this year....we couldn't be prouder of him. hope you and your family have a blessed summer!!

      xo,
      jennifer

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