Monday, August 31, 2009

The BIG Day

Rachel's birthday morning found presents from Mommy and Daddy, and Hannah, and out of state family to be opened. Surprisingly she started off with the gift bag of clothes and jammies and much to my surprise she wasn't as disappointed as I thought she would be with such a gift! LOL.After presents, it was off to school! We baked cupcakes in ice cream cones to enjoy during recess and they were a hit! When Rachel taste tested one the other day when I made them, she wasn't crazy about them, but she humored me and and at least enjoyed the frosting. She was the Star of the Day in her class and got a special sticker to wear and a pencil and of course lots of 'happy birthday' wishes from her classmates!As soon as school was out, we hit the road for Disneyland. This years promotion is getting into Disneyland on your birthday free, but when you're an annual passholder there are alternatives for you. One alternative is a "Fun Card" in the amount of what a day ticket would cost. That Fun Card can be spent in the stores on merchandise and Rachel's list of 'wants' have been growing in anticipation of getting this card for months! LOL. So off we went!"It's my birthday and I'd like the Fun Card and a birthday button, please."

As you enter the turnstiles into the park, and your annual pass is scanned, your name and picture shows up on the computer screen. And in Rachel's case, today it popped up that it was her birthday. Not only did the Cast Member wish Rachel a happy birthday, but she had Rachel and I both get behind her computer screen and took this picture. It's nice to see there are still some Cast Members going out of their way to make ones visit special!It was Rachel's day, we did what Rachel wanted. Providing she obliged and made Mommy happy with the proper picture opportunities for this special day. We rode the little old firetruck down Main Street whereas she got to ring the bell off and on alerting people in the street that we were coming, we watched the Mary Poppins street show and she got called up to participate, we ran into Mickey and Goofy who were causing quite the ruckus on Main Street, we celebrated the day with a special cupcake, and of course did some shopping with her Fun Card.
She looks so big standing there!
Sporting new ears that she made and purchased with her Fun Card.

The crowds weren't too bad. But it was extremely hot. So we planned our activities so that we could be on the tram and on the freeway home before the evening traffic. We had a great few hours at The Happiest Place on Earth and Rachel's birthday afternoon was made special!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Birthday Party

Rachel's birthday party this year was an Ice Cream Party! And considering we've had several days in a row of 100+ degree heat, it was a perfect party theme!

The birthday girl could not wait for her party! She was so excited to be having a few friends over and her cousins and family. This last week and this morning just couldn't come soon enough. Because it was extremely hot outside, I needed to come up with a way to keep the few kids that were invited occupied while we waited for the rest of the party guests to arrive. So I printed off ice cream coloring sheets and they colored them! I was surprised this was a hit and the kids asked for more. Once all the kids arrived, we played 'place the cherry on the ice cream cone'. It was fun, it was simple, everyone was a winner! LOL. I learned in April with Hannah's birthday party, how I really enjoyed the short and sweet party, so the party was scheduled for two hours. So the next thing on the agenda was making ice cream sundaes!!! We had vanilla ice cream (way tooo much ice cream and will be having another evening of ice cream fellowship soon!) and all the toppings you could think of! Everyone enjoyed making their own ice cream sundaes and enjoyed eating their creations.Following the cool treat, Rachel opened up her presents. I couldn't see her facial expressions from where I was sitting, but Steven said her facial expressions and how animated she was in her gift opening was hilarious. She was especially excited to get her very own iPod shuffle from her Gramma and Papa. Now she won't have to fight over Hannah's! She also is very much looking forward to coloring and building her cardboard house from Uncle Bart. Her other presents included - lots and lots of art sets, crayons, paper, etc (she LOVES to draw and color!), an adorable Tinkerbell backpack, gift cards to Build-a-Bear, and good ole fashioned cash!After opening presents, the kids did an ice cream cone relay outside. And quickly came back in where it was cool. As Rachel's guests were leaving she thanked them not only with words, but also with a party favor - an ice cream cone filled with skittles in a cellophane bag tied with a note that said "It was sweet of you to come to my party". Those were a simple and huge hit!!

Rachel had a wonderful birthday party and was very blessed by our friends and family's generosity.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Excitement is Building

Monday is Rachel's 5th birthday. Tomorrow afternoon is her birthday party. Needless to say she's beyond excited!

For the last week, she asks every morning "is today my party?" When we told her her party was on church day, the question changed to "Is today church day?" LOL.

She was especially excited when she came into our room this morning and discovered wrapped presents sitting on the floor. They weren't there yesterday. I've already made cupcakes in ice cream cones this morning for her to take to school on Monday and she can't wait to try one.

Tomorrow afternoon cannot come quick enough for the little party girl.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Step in the Right Direction

I received a note in Rachel's cubby at school yesterday from the school speech therapist. She was requesting permission to screen Rachel for possible speech therapy! It's a step in the right direction and I didn't even have to make inquires about my request yet!! Most definitely a step in the right direction!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Seeking Speech Therapy and Thoughts About Starting School

At Rachel's craniofacial team appointment back in January, the Speech Therapist recommended speech therapy for Rachel. It wasn't bad enough to warrant going to Loma Linda weekly, but enough to seek help from the school district. Because we were in limbo about where Rachel would be going to school, we needed to wait to see where it was she'd go once accepted or denied. Once we learned she was accepted to the school Hannah is at, it was too late in the school year to seek out a speech therapy evaluation.

So, I was prepared the first day of school. I wrote a letter to the principal stating my request for an evaluation and then gave a little history on Rachel and her birth defect and how she's already had speech, etc, etc. I included a copy of the team report, highlighting the section from the speech therapist.

During Kindergarten Orientation on Tuesday, we got a chance to talk to Rachel's teacher. We briefly told her about Rachel. I wanted her to be aware of her birth defect especially because sometimes when she smiles big, you can see that her front top teeth are jacked up, in addition to her nose being a little off. I also made her a copy of the letter to the principal and the team report and let her know we were seeking a speech evaluation. She told us that she's had a cleft affected child once in recent years and the district at that time refused to evaluate him/her. But the district has a new speech therapist now and things could very well be different. If Rachel is denied speech therapy by the school, we'll seek it elsewhere, but it'd be nice if she was given it through the school.

I have to say, I'm a little nervous about Rachel and school and the other kids. Up to this point, she's really had no one ever tease her about her nose. Kindergarten could be the year it starts. Maybe not. We talked extensively to the plastic surgeon back in January about having a nose revision done before school started, but the things they would work on weren't the things we were concerned about as far as the appearance of her nose. It would have been an unnecessary surgery at this time. We need to wait for her face to grow some more before anything noticeable would be done. On an interesting note, the tooth we refer to as her 'special tooth' which is located sideways up in her gum is starting to straighten and come down! We're not sure what that means, but it has to be better than staying high up in the gum.

Other than those worries, I know she'll be a success in Kindergarten!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

First Full Day of School

This morning I took both the girls to school. Hannah went her way and I took Rachel to her class. She walked in, handed her teacher her milk money and some papers that were filled out last night and went and found her name plate on a table. I walked over hugged her, gave her a smoochie, and said have a good day and I walked out. I got a little choked up, but did good. I then walked out to find Hannah waiting for me at the fence. I then walked her over to her line and watched her teacher come and greet them and take them to their class.

I returned to the school at 11:34 to pick up Rachel. She had a good day. Made a new friend, but doesn't know his name. And then told me how one boy was mean to her and said he was going to punch her. He sounded like trouble, because he ended up not getting his STAR (positive reward) for the day. LOL.

After lunch she asked me what she's doing tomorrow. The typical question asked EVERY day of the week. And much to her surprise I told her she had school tomorrow! It'll take a while before she gets that she goes every day of the week now!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

First Day of Kindergarten

School officially started today. But tomorrow will be the BIG day for Rachel. Today we took her to her class and it was a Kindergarten Orientation and then she got to come home with us. Tomorrow will be the day that I will take her and leave her for her school day. Tomorrow will be the day I'll definitely need Kleenex walking out to the car.

Rachel was so excited. She was up at 6:20, and dressed and ready by 6:30. LOL. Let's hope it continues. After taking Hannah to her class and seeing her teacher greet the class, etc, we then walked Rachel to her class. The teacher read the class a story about going to Kindergarten and then had the kids do a little activity where they traced their name with glue and then poured glitter on it. After that little project, they were to find the teacher and get a Classroom Hunt List. A fun way to find the important things in her class - her name on the star chart, the restrooms, her cubbie, the playground, ending with the punch and cookies the PTA supplied for the Kindergarten Orientation. When Hannah started Kindergarten, she started her school year already knowing three kids in her class whom we knew from church. Rachel wasn't going to know anyone until our friends from church got their son pulled from another Kindergarten class and put into ours! We're so happy to embark on our final year of Kindergarten with our friends.
Isaiah and Rachel

After a while of playing, we needed to get home, Daddy had to start his work day! Tomorrow will be the "official first day" as Rachel will stay her full school day, 8:00-11:34.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Class Lists Posted!

We already knew who Rachel's teacher was for the upcoming school year. But I couldn't help but take a picture of her in front of the class list when we went this afternoon to see who was Hannah's teacher.

Rachel is SOOOOO excited to be starting Kindergarten tomorrow!!!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

A Fun Week

This last week was our final week of our summer break, so we made the most of the week and tried to do something every day.

On Monday, the girls played at a friends house while I had a dental appointment. We then ate lunch together and had planned on going roller skating, but the rink was closed. That's okay though, we went and got our swim suits and towels and headed back to their place for an afternoon of swimming. Not a single person from their complex was in the pool! We had the entire pool to ourselves in the 106 degree day! It was awesome!

On Tuesday afternoon, we met Uncle Bart at Disneyland and stayed into the evening. We had a great time and enjoyed spending time with Uncle Bart. The parks weren't terribly overcrowded and we managed to do a lot of fun things. We stayed into the evening and watched The Electrical Parade which brought back some of the original floats that had been missing the last seven years since coming back to the Disneyland Resort. It was definitely a great way to spend a Tuesday afternoon/evening!
Singing Karaoke and having a great time!
Midday Wednesday, we met the same friends at the house of another friends with a pool and went swimming most of the afternoon again. The pool was refreshing and the jacuzzi was great! That evening, we went to the local park where Uncle Robbie and his band were playing. The girls were excited to play and see their cousins. It was a nice evening of music and it cooled off enough and was enjoyable to be outside. On Thursday, the girls each had regular dental check ups. And then we went roller skating again. Ever since we went last week with Auntie and McKenzie and Haylee, Rachel has been asking to go again. She loved it THAT much. So today we went to the skating rink that I grew up going to. They refused to tighten Rachel's skates like the rink did last week, so Rachel was a little more wobbly than last week, but that didn't stop her....she just kept going round and round the rink. Gramma came by and watched for a while too and was impressed at how well Rachel was doing. Perhaps a future roller derby queen in the family!?!? LOL. Yesterday, was a kick back day. Hannah spent the day with Gramma, and Rachel had Mommy all to herself. We didn't do much, or anything too exciting, but I think she enjoyed having the break from Hannah and vice versa.

It's definitely been a full and fun week. Come Tuesday, things will be a little different around here...Rachel will be going to school everyday of the week!