Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Kids Update

Evelyn has spent the majority of this month rehearsing for her new play- The Lion King.  Typically, rehearsals are twice a week... but because Evelyn was cast as Young Nala, she has three a week most weeks.  And then of course, she was finishing up Aladdin, so her acting career kept her quite busy this month!  She loves it and I love to watch her working hard with wonderful people- including her bestie Reha, and an amazing director who writes top notch notes like the one below.  I love the exposure Evelyn is having with this fantastic person.  It's a win-win, all except for the long car drives to get her there and back.  I feel terrible for poor Anna and Grant!  Dane often will stay at home if I let him!  Evelyn gave her first talk in sacrament meeting this month.  When she asked for help, I told her to text Grammy and Papa! They are the experts:)  Papa sent her an email with an outline of how to write a talk and Grammy sent her all sorts of cute ideas as to how to relate Faith (her topic) to the play Aladdin that she had just finished.  The Genie's song- "You ain't never had a friend like me" how untrue- we have the greatest friend in Jesus Christ.  The Genie may not be "in the mood to help you dude" but our Savior always is!  It was super cute.  Of course, she didn't use those ideas- but I was proud of her end result.  She talked about the ape caves and the darkness she felt traveling through-- how she ended up feeling safe because she put her trust in Uncle Jason who had done it a few times before.  In this life when we face dark times, we can put our trust in our Savior who knows the way and how to help.  

Evelyn continues to babysit a lot-- her favorite child continues to be Teddy- now 8 months old.  She loves to hold him during church- it's the highlight of her Sunday.  Along with babysitting, Evelyn enjoys sending me memes and posting selfies-- I guess this is what middle school girls do, right? The two of us have LOVED listening to the music of Hamilton and we send each other any and all clips or youtube videos that relate to Hamilton.  If you skip a few songs and listen to the clean version of the play-- it's really quite remarkable and has been a happy connection the two of us have made.  It's definitely uncharted waters... parenting a middle schooler.  Especially one who is so independent.  But i'm enjoying the challenge.

Dane has kept busy this month with all sorts of soccer tournaments and basking in the joy of finally owning a pet- our hedgehog.  Poor kid just really wants a dog.  A hedgehog will have to do for now.  Dane had soccer tryouts for a few clubs in our area.  Three coaches called and wanted him on their teams.  Including a coach he hadn't even tried out for who had seen him play at the State Cup Tournament.  I was really very proud of Dane for making the decision on his own. He wanted to stay with Arsenal and nothing Blake or I said- could persuade him otherwise.  Blake had ideas of joining a bigger club with more opportunities, but Dane was not having any of it.  Usually, Dane will sway to please Blake or I-- he's such a sweet kid and cares deeply about making the people in his life happy.  This time, he stood firm and seriously, I was proud to see that side of his personality.  So.... Arsenal it is!  Dane has been working hard in 4th grade.  He recently put together a cardboard replica of the Solana Mission.  He's read many books and is very on top of writing the book reports that follow.  He never misses an assignment and enjoys school very much it seems.  I'm so grateful!  Beyond grateful!  I love to see him happy and thriving at school.  Next week I start going in and teaching 7 habits to help prepare for middle school.  I always love to see how the kids interact with their friends.  I took a little break the first half of this year as I was getting homeschool for Evelyn up and running.  Now I'm excited to do this again for Dane's class.  So glad he wants me to!  "don't be too strict, mom!" was his only concern.  Evelyn's biggest concern was that I would teach songs to the class- ha!

Grant has had a rough month.  Honestly, the entire school year has been a bit of a struggle. He continues to have difficulty with reading and now it is abundantly clear to him that he is not catching on like the others.  He talks about this relentlessly at home.  He absolutely despises homework and any reading opportunities.  It truly breaks my heart.  I wish I could help him along, but the progress is slow.  I do have a reading curriculum that we work together on, but again, the progress is slow.
Math is a strength, however, even math is not something he wants to think about when he comes home from school!  I fear homework may be quite the uphill battle for Grant.  But maybe it'll turn around.  I hope and pray it does.  I really dislike the feeling I get every morning.  He is typically crying and sad.  I have to put his shoes and socks on because he won't budge.  It is a drain- a huge emotional drain every day to get him to school.  Probably one of the hardest things I'm dealing with right now.  Nothing makes me feel more uneasy then seeing my kids sad and worried.  And being proactive with the reading program is almost more of a stressor then anything else!  He doesn't want to practice reading about 6 hours of school!  Maybe I need to hire a tutor??  I'm a little confused at the moment.  Grant's happy place is obviously sports.  He has started basketball and loves it.  He is the leader of his team and always the quickest most aggressive player.  Soccer and basketball and baseball and football-- these things make him happy.  I love to toss the ball around with him... actually let me re-phrase that.  I don't LOVE to do this, but I do love the connection I feel with him when we are playing sports.  This is so opposite the icky feelings we both have whilst reading together.  Me nagging, him refusing.  Ugh.  Grant is such a wonderful happy kid-- so this year has been hard.  Our narrative is ALWAYS, life isn't supposed to be easy, Grant! There are hard things we need to work through.  Some things come easy like sports, some things are harder to accomplish, like learning to read.  I hope he remembers this throughout his life.  Because it's so true.

Poor little Anna has contracted pneumonia three times this winter.  We just finished up another round of antibiotics.  Man, it stinks to hear her little cough!  It's a painful type of cough and it kept her up for almost two weeks this month.  Aaaaaand it kept her mom up for almost two weeks this month.  Fun times!  Anna wants nothing more in life than to be a big kid.  She is so excited to do homework and start kindergarten.  But when we had to go to the doc for shots- oh boy! That did not go over well.  Even with the brave Evelyn going first, Anna was hysterical!  Anna's favorite thing on earth is playdates with her buddy Nora.  Now Nora's little sister Millie likes to come over and play too.  This makes Anna happy.  She loves to color, do projects with me, play independently, destroy her room.... although lately she is doing a good job of cleaning up too!  Anna loves church, loves music and dancing and gymnastics.  She loves being with Dane, Evie and Grant.  Her newest obsession is "tortalanie"  is how she says it-- tortellini.  She asks for this every day after school.  Love this little girl of mine and can't even handle the thought of her being in school all day.... in fact, I might have to homeschool her.  Seriously.  It's not that hard!  I'm thinking about it!