Monday, December 26, 2011

Nights 5 & 6


Chanukah 2011 seems to have been the year of games. Erin has always been interested in having games but not in playing them. Or should I say, playing them correctly? This year we decided that rather than have a ton of crafty gifts, it was time to load her up on games. And, of course, to play them correctly.

In fact, it started out with her receiving a board game at her friends' Ethan &Katie Starr's annual Chanukah party! There is a new game out called HeadBandz which she got in the grab bag gift exchange. She really wanted it, but just how many games can one girl have!? (Apparently a lot, if you look at my friend Sandra's daughters' games!)

Erin had lost parts to her Monopoly game. That needed to be replaced. Whenever we play Scrabble, the cats walk all over the board moving tiles everywhere. Sandra took a picture of her daughter playing Scrabble where the tiles were locked into place. Oh yea! I replaced our set & got the tile locking set.

Spinagogue isn't going to work out quite the way I thought it would. She's more interested in the stop watch & timing everything than she is in spinning the dreidels tournament style. Her godsister sent her an old game that has been changed up. I loved Clue as a kid! Of course I had what is now known as Clue Classic. Erin was thrilled to receive Clue Harry Potter! And, the other gift from Kerri? Went over BIG also. Wii Harry Potter! Both Erin & Kerri are HUGE Potter fans. (Can't imagine where they got that from!)

One of the things I've really wanted is a Pandora bracelet. I found one that I liked that is pink leather. I can't wait to put my beads on it. David LOVES his new model & the movies that he received. That man can watch sci-fi from the beginning of the day till the end of time. In fact, he's already watched both movies & is trying to figure out how to get me to watch them too. Thank you so much Vivian, Corey & Kerri!!!

Last night, the 6th night, Erin got another game she's been wanting.

Mancala isn't played exactly the way she has been playing it, but even with the correct rules it's fun!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The 4th Night? A Big Hit

For months before Chanukah we kept asking Erin what she wanted for her presents.  It just makes sense to ask for a list of things.  Erin knows that she is giving us a list & she may or may not get some or all of what's on the list.  In fact we make a point of reminding her that she can ask for anything but that Chanukah is only 8 nights.  She gets her present(s) from both sets of grandparents on one night.  There is also a night that is dedicated to presents from her godsister Kerri & Kerri's parents.  David & I take care of the other nights.

This year Erin has been asking for a Wii.  We weren't really sure we could swing it so we told her that she shouldn't count on getting one.  Since we usually splurge on one big gift, I convinced David that this would work.  He is concerned about Erin (or perhaps me?) accidentally throwing the Wii controller into our tv.  I told him we could put a Wii in our front bedroom which doubles as an office, but that means buying a new tv, or that we could enforce a rule that the wristlet attached to the controller always be worn if we put it into our family room.

I put the huge box out right before lighting candles.  Erin just wanted to open her big present even though she had no clue what was inside.  I think the Wii went over really well.

This is one happy girl which makes me one happy mama.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Night 3

Last night we celebrated the 3rd night of Chanukah. Erin got a gift that is new to the market. Spinagogue is tournament dreidel playing. At first she was confused, but my smart girl figured it out. In the end, I think she's more charmed by the stopwatch that came with the game!

Last night also brough a huge surprise for me also.  Last year David surprised me with the entire Buffy the Vampire Slayer series.  This year, he gave me the entire Angel series! I have really been wanting that but didn't say anything.

He also gave me some beads for a new bracelet that I'll be getting tomorrow night. Shhh!! Don't tell anyone I know about that!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Grandparents' Night

The 2nd night of Chanukah was thanks to Erin's grandparents.  Bubbie & Zaydie (my father & stepmother) and Grandma & Grandpa (David's parents) sent her the Razor Spark scooter she's been begging to get.  Her last scooter got ruined, & she had really been asking for this one for a long time.  Erin had been hinting at this particular scooter almost daily for the last few months.

David surprised me with another gift also.  I really enjoy scrapbooking even though I haven't done more than 3 or 4 pages since school started.  A few months ago, one of the magazines I get made mention of a new book that has a gazillion suggestions for journaling & card making.  Not only did I get the book, but it's autographed by the author!!

All of this aside, my favorite part of the evening was allowing Erin to light the candles on her own.  She has been asking to help me for days, & I thought it would be fine.  When it came time to actually light them, Erin reminded me that I had said she could help me.  At the very last minute, I decided to let her light them on her own.  I've been lighting the candles since I was her age.  Now it's her turn.

ARGH!!! Blogger isn't letting me upload pictures!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The True Gift of Chanukah

The first night of Chanukah was a true gift to me!

The aroma of brisket was all around us.  I was practically drooling it smelled so good in the house! Erin was trying to figure out how to get some before her daddy woke up.  Normally, I'll take a bit to taste - just to see how it is, but this is one recipe that has never failed me.  I held off.

David woke up & wasn't feeling well.  At all.  But, man was he determined.  His job on Chanukah has always been to make the latkes.  I mean. let's face it, his latkes are yummy!  I told him the latkes could wait, but there was no way he was letting that happen after last year when we had to go without any due to his surgery.

Brisket was served.  Latkes were served.  Erin decided that she doesn't like the brisket.  Of course, she still isn't a big red meat eater so I wasn't upset.  David & I enjoyed it all while she picked at a few latkes.

Erin chose this year's chanukiah (menorah) - the one we got from his aunt when she passed away.  The candles were lit, & the presents came out.  I gave David the complete "The Godfather" series on blu ray along with a book on Photoshop for Astronomy.  He gave me the mp3 player I'd been wanting.  Then we gave Erin her gifts.  She absolutely loved them! David picked out a model for her while I picked out a new necklace - a leather "chain" with a blue guitar pick that has a Jewish star on it.  The iTunes gift card went over well also.

And then the real gift happened.

Erin always wants to buy things for us.  She loves to give gifts.  This year David & I sat her down & told her that the best gift she could ever give to us was something that she made.  She had a holiday bazaar at school at the time so we wanted her to understand that those things would really hold no value.  I told her that when my own mother passed away & I had to go through her belongings, I found many of the cards I had given to her over the years, but only the ones I had made.  In fact, I still have the necklace my brother Seth made for her when he was in, I think, 2nd grade.

Well, Erin came out of her room with a bunch of little gift wrapped items.  Oy! I had to wonder what was in all of those things held together with way too much wrapping paper & about 4 rolls of tape.  (She needs lessons on being frugal with wrapping paper & tape for sure!)  David & I opened each little package.  It seems that Erin really heard us.  She painted some ceramic trains that were in her craft area & wrote cards & letters to us.

Of all the things that were given last night, I know I will forever treasure the little note she typed on the computer. . .

Saturday, December 17, 2011

What Life Is All About These Days

School started at the end of August, & my life has been filled with learning all kinds of things.  I'm in school for medical coding & billing.  Who knew I'd need to know all about these awful diseases?  Not me.  But thanks to a wonderful teacher who knows how to push all of my buttons (& not necessarily in the right way), I'm learning & enjoying it all. I've had to do reports on sorts of diseases.  Some I know about personally.  Some I've wanted to learn about because of the children & adults in my life who inspire me.


 Hashimoto's Thyroiditis


Reactive Attachment Disorder



SO.  Now you know what I've been up to these last few months.  I graduate this coming June.  I don't know who is looking forward to my graduation more.  David has had to put up with my stubbornness & tantrums when I'm scared.  Erin has really hated not having me spend enough time with her.  Me?  I can't wait.  For a new career that will bring a paycheck.  For time with my husband so we can go back to being us.  For my daughter who really misses time with me as much as I miss time with her.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Do I Continue?

I haven't blogged in months.  Blogger doesn't seem to like me anymore.  I can't upload any pictures.  I can leave comments on only a few of my friends' blogs.  I'm very frustrated because I miss blogging.

I started to blog because I wanted Erin to have a record of what was going on in our life when she's older.  Blogging quickly became therapeutic for me.  And then Blogger quit on me.  So sad.

I'm considering moving over to another platform for blogging.  I just have to find one that is moron-proof.  So.  Do I love over to another platform & continue, or do I give it up?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Annual Checkup & Answers

In 2010 at her 8 year old checkup, Erin weighed 43.5 pounds and was 45.25 inches tall.  I've been saying that she had a growth spurt this past year.  I was right.

At today's checkup, Erin weighed 48.5 pounds & is 46.5 inches tall.  That's a pretty nice growth spurt!

As always, Dr. L was wonderful.  She spoke with Erin asking her all the usual questions.  I laughed when she asked if Erin ate well - fruit, veggies, etc.  Let's face it.  Erin thinks chicken nuggets are a way of life, & if she absolutely has to eat vegetables, she'll eat some corn.  I kept quiet (or as quiet as I can be) & listened to what Erin had to say.  Then it was my turn.

I explained to Dr. L about all the changes in our life since 2010 - my job loss, David's surgeries & his subsequent job loss.  Of course no matter how hard a parent tries to make things easier for their children, the children know something is up.  Erin is no dummy.

Right before the nurse left us in the exam room, she gave Erin one of those paper gowns to wear for her exam.  Erin didn't want to wear it & kept reminding me that she didn't have to wear it last year.  I got so upset that I took her shirt off & put the gown on.  What a mean mommy!

Wow! What an eye opener! Immediately, Erin threw a tantrum - screaming, crying & twisting her hands as if she just couldn't handle it.  Being who I am, I couldn't let her be like that.  I took the gown off & put her regular shirt on.  Holding her in my lap, calming her down, I was able to get her to tell me that the gown hurt her.  Hmmm . . .

I spoke with Dr. L about things bluntly.  I told her what happened with the paper gown, Erin's academic issues, sleep issues, texture issues & everything.  I mentioned that I had done some research on my own (which I know all doctors love to hear) & believe that Erin has markers for both Sensory Processing & Auditory Processing Disorders.  I love that Dr. L really listened to me.

In her opinion, Erin may have short term memory problems along with the possibility of SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) & APD (Auditory Processing Disorder).  She was, as always, very helpful.  I now have the names of 2 doctors that work with the school district & can assess her for short term memory problems.  I also have the name of an audiologist for an evaluation for SPD & APD.

I'll be on the phone tomorrow setting up appointments.  G-d willing we're on our way to getting Erin the help she needs.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Swim Lessons End

Today was the last day of swim lessons for Erin. 

Last night all she could do was scream & cry that she didn't want to go.  Why?  Because her swim instructor was going to make them jump off the diving board! Oh wow! I used to love that as a kid.  Then it dawned on me.  Water! Jumping into a pool that was deeper than what she's used to.  All of her fears trying to resurface.  I told her that jumping off the lowest diving board was going to be tons of fun that she would want to keep doing it over & over.  Boy did I hope that was the case!

When we got to the pool this morning, it was all I could do to keep Erin in the car until I found a parking spot.  Of course, I didn't.  She got out & went right to the waiting area.  By the time I got there, she was raring to go.  I kept my mouth shut & reminded her that this was going to be "the funnest lesson ever."

She was really nervous about jumping but went along with a positive attitude.  I was truly proud of her for attempting this even though she was visibly nervous.  And she loved it.  Absolutely, positively loved it!

After the lessons ended, I asked her swim instructor what he thought our next step should be.  Apparently, Erin's technique is very good, but he recommended that we repeat the same class so she can work on her endurance.  She needs to be able to swim the length of the entire pool back & forth.  He said that she can move on to stroke development afterwards to learn some new things. 

Considering Erin's fear of water from the time we got her until just a few years ago,  I am totally amazed.  She now loves going to the pool &/or taking showers/baths.  In fact, I'm hard pressed to keep her out of the water.  Yay for you Erin!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fathers Day 2011 Came Early

This past Tuesday, I took Erin over to Michael's to make a craft for David's Fathers Day gift.  We were meeting up with Shari & Chianna for a fun evening.  Needless to say, Erin couldn't have been more excited.  After all, what could be better than time with a friend & getting to do a craft!?

This evening, before dinner, Erin & I met Lori & Mark along with the DD over at Cecilie's Gourmet Ices for a treat.  While Erin chatted it up & played with her buddies, I got a chance to sit & talk with Lori & Mark.  I really don't get enough "grown up time" outside of the house.

Erin really enjoys time with all of her friends but I love the connection she feels deep down in her bones for her FCC buddies.  Planning little treats like yesterday & this evening are what this summer is all about!

When we got home this evening, unfortunately the weather took its toll on my asthma.  I ended up asking David to cook the dinner I had planned.  Ya just gotta love a good grilled steak accompanied by portabello mushrooms.  I didn't expect it, but Erin was even willing to try some steak! To top it off, she even liked it.  Of course, she only ate about 2 bites of steak, but I'll say "Yay!" just for the progress of her saying she'd try it.

All day long Erin has been super excited about the gifts she made for her daddy.  As we were finishing dinner, she asked if she could give David his gifts.  Anyone who really knows us, is well aware of the fact that we never (& I do mean never!) wait for the actual day to exchange our gifts.  The excitement & thrill of giving the gift is as wonderful to us as the receiving of the gift.  This bug has taken a chunk out of our girl.  Erin hates to wait for any special day to give a gift!

She brought 2 gift bags just absolutely stuffed to the gills with tissue paper to David! I think David was almost digging for gold trying to find his goodies! Oh! The look on their faces was pure joy.  Erin loved seeing her daddy open his gifts.  David was so touched by her excitement & the gifts themselves showed that Erin really gets her daddy.  Me?  I loved watching both the giving  & the receiving of these gifts.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

On This Day

On this day 8 years ago, David & I became parents. 
On this day 8 years ago, Erin became a daughter.
On this day 8 years ago, we became a family.

There aren't enough words to thank anyone &/or everyone.  But we do.

To the woman who carried this child for 9 months, thank you.
To Mrs. Yu & the nannies who care for this child while we waited to become a family, thank you.
To the people of the CCAA who decided we belong together & matched us, thank you.
To the family, friends & co-workers who encouraged David & me to become parents, thank you.

To G-d above who decided that we really didn't have to be childless & that Chun HuaXu needed parents, thank you.

And to Erin the child that we have loved since the day we decided to adopt, we thank you.  From the first moment we saw your sweet, little face we knew that we were a family meant to be. 
Thank you Erin for showing your daddy that he could be a daddy & showing him just how much of a good daddy he is.
Thank you Erin for showing me that I can step back & learn to do things in a way that isn't my way & for understanding that I needed to be shown how to be silly.
Thank you Erin for adopting us as much as we adopted you.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Learning to Listen

I've learned to listen to me. 
Not anyone else. 
I've learned to trust my own instincts when it comes to Erin. 

Since I became a mother in 2003, I've had to learn so much. 
I listened to many people. 
Do this. 
Don't do this. 
Do that.

One person decided that since I wasn't going to mother my child the way she mothered her own child, she didn't want me in her life.  I wasn't listening.  To her.  I cried about it.  For weeks.

That's how I felt.

Here we are almost 8 years later.  I'm finally learning to listen.  To Me.  No one else.

Each year in school, I was concerned about Erin's progress.  She wasn't keeping up.  Everyone told me to wait until Winter Break.  She'll catch up around Christmas they all told me.

This year I stopped listening to everyone else.  I approached Erin's teachers almost immediately with my concerns.  To a one they all listened.  To me.  This time someone was listening to what I had to say.

So now Erin reads.  But doesn't comprehend what she's reading.
So now Erin can do simple math.  But doesn't retain it.
So now Erin can write a small essay.  But doesn't always keep on track.

So now I've put my foot down.

I have 4 amazing advocates for Erin at her school.  Her 3 teachers have been with me each & every step of the way.  Her principal has listened to what I have to say.

I am so sad that I never made anyone sit up & listen & hear.
To Erin.  Who was floundering.
To Me.  Who had the degree & is the parent but was unsure.

We received the results of Erin's benchmark testing & the FCAT.
They heard me.
But more importantly they heard Erin.

If you've heard me. 
In some small way. 
Learn my lesson. 

Listen to yourself.
But most importantly.
Listen to your child.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Her Eyes Rock!

Today was the appointment to have Erin's vision checked.  I am always amazed at how Erin takes some things in stride.  I hate going to the eye doctor.  I've been seeing them since I was 2, and it hasn't changed for me.  The experience is always awful. 

When they called both Erin and me at the same time, I wanted her to go first.  My theory was that if she went first, then she wouldn't see me all stressed out.  I shouldn't have worried.  She breezed right through the exam.  David and I told him our different concerns - dyslexia (his concern) and developmental issues (my concern).  Dr. Gendall was thrilled with Erin.  According to him, she has perfect vision and her vision tracking is so good that she should be an athlete.  Good guess since she has been taking karate since she was 4 1/2 and loves to play sports!

Apparently my college education was valid.  It is his opinion that any issues are developmental due to her young age.  He recommended a doctor to have her evaluated, and I will definitely be looking into this.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Oh So Special Annie T

Annie became a very special person in our lives when Erin was about 18 months old.  She used to be a server at one of our very favorite sushi places. 

From the first time that they saw each other, both Annie & Erin have had a connection.  Back then, Erin wanted nothing to do with anyone or anything even slightly Asian.  Annie quickly set about making sure that Erin realized being Chinese was special.  When we went to the restaurant, she always took special care of Erin - drawing her famous mini-rabbit on Erin's lemonade cups, teaching her to use chopsticks, even taking her to see the koi pond that is in the restaurant!

When Erin was about 4, Annie left the restaurant & moved south.  Before she left, Annie wanted to make sure that Erin didn't forget her & gave her a gift.  Of course, you know it had to be a bunny.  Yup.  A 5 foot tall stuffed, pink rabbit.  We actually kept it until this past week when we discovered that Riker & Troi had been giving Pink Bunny (Erin named it!) a haircut. 

We even went to visit Annie once at the restaurant that she moved to.  Yes.  David drove an hour just to go see this very special person.  Anyone who knows David, knows he doesn't go anywhere unless there is a very good reason! In the middle of the day.  In the middle of a crowded restaurant.  Annie & Erin saw each other & the tone for the afternoon was set.  Yes.  This girl must have been special.

David & I always talked about how we needed to go & visit Annie, but time got away from us.  Between both of our jobs, being parents & life in general, we never made it down to visit Annie again.  It bothered us, & we lost touch for a while.

FaceB**k is so amazing that Annie & I found each other again.  Immediately she asked how Erin was doing  & wanted to see pics.  When Erin discovered that Annie was one of my FB friends, she demanded to see pics of Annie.  Since this time, Annie has gone on to a wonderful career working with the Taiwan Cultural Association.  (Sorry if I got the exact name wrong Annie.) 

Annie has continually invited all of us to the many Asian cultural events in S FL.  She insists that Erin be proud of who she is & where she came from.  That said, a few days ago Annie sent us tickets to the Taiwanese American Heritage "Chinese Diabolo & Folk Sports Performance" event that was practically around the corner from our house.  Erin asked that her buddy Chianna come to the event along with her parents. 

What a great evening!! Both Erin & Chianna were totally amazed by the kids' performance.  Heck! Shari, Myke & I were pretty amazed too!  To top it all off, Annie & Erin got to see each other after 4 years.  I don't know who was more excited!

Annie, thank you.  Thank you for being such a kind & caring person.  Thank you for helping Erin to see that being Chinese is important.  Thank you for being you!

Oh! And Annie, I finally found the chops that we got from China.  Now we have to get together again so you can translate them for me.  Let's not wait another 4 years!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Swimming Lessons

Woo hoo!! We finally did it!

Over the last few years Erin has learned to enjoy swimming.  She enjoys it so much that our neighbors think she came with their pool.  ;-)

Aside from a few lessons back when Erin & I traveled to Texas for our travel group reunion, she has never been given formal lessons.  Living where we do, that is a big no no.  Sad to say, but drowning is something we hear about almost weekly in S FL.  Whenever we have allowed Erin to go swimming, there has always been someone around who is certified in CPR.

Since Erin isn't going to camp this summer, David & I are trying to find ways to fill her days.  I've been talking with my friend Lisa about swimming lessons.  Her son & daughter take them each summer.  This time I decided that I would look into getting Erin the formal lessons she really needs to have.

With Lisa's help, I found out where our city gives the lessons & evaluates the children to see where they are at in their swimming skills.  This morning, after a world class tantrum about how she knows everything there is to know about swimming, David & I took Erin to get evaluated.  The young lady who did the evaluation was very nice & explained to Erin that there are always things to learn.

So.  Erin starts taking Swimming Fundamentals 2 on June 4th.  We couldn't find a time during the week that worked.  All of the available time slots were either at 8:00 am or at 5:00 pm.  We had told Erin that this summer she could sleep late.  8:00 am class wasn't going to let her do that.  The 5:00 pm class was going to coincide with her karate lessons.  Karate is a priority in our home.  Not knowing what to do, we turned the decision over to Erin.  She decided to take her lessons on Saturday & Sunday mornings at 11:00 am.  We're hoping she won't complain too much since she made the choice.  We'll see. 

Either way, Erin is all set to learn about proper breathing & swim strokes.  She looks good in the water & does have a good base but needs to get more of a foundation.  If she likes it, maybe we'll sign her up for another session.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Have I Really Failed Her?

Where do I start?  There is so much going on.  I feel as if I've failed Erin in some way.  Actually in many ways.  Perhaps I've been too pigheaded, stubborn or not wanted to see what was going on.  Now that I see it, all I can do is cry.

Erin has a late summer birthday - July 30th which means that she started VPK not long after she turned 4.   I thought back then that maybe it would be in her best interest to retain her, but her teacher told me not to worry because she would catch up.  When she was in Kindergarten, I noticed that she was having a hard time but again listened to her teacher.  .  Her 1st/2nd grade cluster teachers were really sweet & told me not to pressure Erin.  I didn't.  And each year, right after Winter Break, Erin did catch up

This year, 3rd grade, I have been having conferences with her teachers consistently.  We all agree that Erin is all over the place.  She can come home with A's & B's as easily as she comes home with D's & F's.  Her comprehension & retention don't seem to be catching up this year.  It breaks my heart each time she gets in my car at pickup & tells me "I tried my hardest but all I got was a ---.  I'm sorry mama."

FCAT time was awful.  Absolutely awful.  Each day she would tell me that the test was hard but that she really tried her best.  Not long after this, her teachers were showing some movies in class.  One day she came home so happy to have seen The S*und of Mus!c that she was singing all the songs.  Another day she came  home & told me that she saw a movie again.  This time when I asked her about the movie, she didn't remember anything - the name of the movie, who was in it - not even what it was about.  I was heartbroken.

The key thing here is that Erin's teachers are amazing.  They are totally on board with David & me.  I love that we are working as a team.  They are open to any & all questions & have given me some good advice.  Her homeroom teacher Mrs. W. who is also her reading teacher has been very open with me about her own experiences with her son.  Now how often have you known a teacher to be downright human!?  She has told me that if Erin is retained, it won't be the end of the world for either Erin or us because in the end, Erin will do what Erin will do.  She is all for doing the right thing & not passing her to the next grade just because that is what is expected.  All 3 teachers (Mrs. W., Mrs. C. & Mrs. C) want me to wait until the SAT test scores are in before we make any decisions.

Another area of concern is Erin's vision.  The last time she saw an eye doctor was 2 years ago.  David took her to a very highly recommended pediatric opthomologist.  This doctor was thrilled that Erin had no issues.  Then again, he is a specialist so he sees children who have problems.  At last year's annual doctor appt, Erin's eyes were only "ok."  David is worried that Erin is dyslexic because she writes the wrong letter &/or number sometimes.  It is very common for children to confuse 6/9, b/d, m/n along with some other mistakes.  This is a developmental issue.  However, David thinks there is a real problem.


Next Saturday we have an appointment for Erin to see our eye doctor.  Thankfully, Erin knows this doctor & likes him.  Of course, I'm not sure how much she's going to like him when he goes to dilate her eyes.  I know I don't like him very much when he does that to me.  We plan on asking him to see if he can find any problems which need further exploration.  If she does need glasses, I'm thankful that Erin has friends who wear glasses - not just the adults in her life.  For now she thinks they're cool.  Then again, there are so many styles from which to choose these days.

We've also decided that we are going to ask to have Erin retained in 3rd grade.  It's been so hard on her this year.  Yes.  We discussed it with Erin.  We talked about the people she knows who have repeated a grade & asked if she thought poorly of these people.  Being who she is, she said no & looked as if she wanted to make sure we hadn't lost our minds.  We told her, quite honestly, that  we believe she had a very rough time in school this year & want her to have the chance to do her absolute best before going on to 4th grade which would be even harder.  We emphasized that she had done nothing wrong but that this would be a good opportunity for her to strengthen her skills.  Imagine our shock when Erin told us she thought this was a good idea! She isn't upset in the least.  Maybe that is because somewhere, deep down, she knows she isn't ready to move on.

This coming Monday I will be calling Erin's school.  I am going to set up a conference to discuss having her retained in the 3rd grade.  I want to insure that she is retained but still has the same teachers.  They have been utterly phenomenal to work with.  I also want to speak with the ESE specialist.  David & I want to get Erin tested for learning disabilities. 

It's time.  Maybe there is nothing wrong.  But what if there is something wrong?  Good G-d.  Have I allowed her to go for so long without being aware?  Have I really been so pigheaded that I've put her in harm's way?

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mothers Day

Each year at Erin's school, the children have the opportunity to buy & decorate a cake from Publ!x. She really enjoys the whole process of decorating a cake & giving it to me. And I enjoy her joy!

After picking Erin up from school, I needed to run over to W*lmart for a few things. I asked if she wanted to tag along since I knew I'd be quick. (Of course she always forgets that to me "quick" means an hour.) While we were there, Erin decided she wanted to buy me flowers. She was so upset when she realized she didn't have any cash with her. I told her not to worry about the money, she should just pick out what she wanted. It was so darn cute watching her pick out flowers. I loved watching her decide which flowers she wanted to buy me. Turns out she picked my fave roses - yellow.

David wanted to know what I wanted for Mothers' Day. Being the simplistic person I am, I told him that I didn't want anything other than to laze around once I got home from Hebrew school.

And that is exactly what I've been doing!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Our First Easter

This year, Erin & I attended our first Easter family event ever.

Jolene invited Erin & me up to her home so we could celebrate with her family. Erin & I went up Saturday afternoon to spend the night. We went to dinner & then off to Tarjay for a quick shop. Once back at Jolene's, Erin helped out by cleaning & swiffering. My girl loves to Swiffer! Relaxation was the order of the evening once we convinced Jolene to sit down. Erin watched Tangled with Jolene while I sat & read.

Sunday morning we got up & started to get the house ready. Once Jade & Emma got home, it was all we could do to keep the 3 girls calm & inside. If you can imagine, we convinced Erin & Jade to wear their dresses all day!

Jolene's family is amazing. Her parents & sister's family have taken to Erin like ducks to water. They are just so warm & welcoming. Before we all sat down to lunch, Jolene's dad (a/k/a Poppa) started with grace. I explained to Erin that their grace is different than ours so we needed to stand their quietly & say "amen" when it was over. I'm happy to say that Erin didn't fidget even once.

And then we went about our day - eating a lovely lunch, talking with each other & laughing. What a lovely day!

*** ARGH!!! Blogger isn't allowing me to post any of the pics I took!!!***


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Passover Seder for 3

When I was growing up, my parents hosted all of the religious holiday meals in our home.  Sad to say but we had the only kosher & observant home in our family.  I always loved knowing that as a family we would put together a nice holiday evening.  Passover was probably my favorite holiday since my mother allowed me to start helping with the preparations when I was about 8 years old.  She showed me how to make charoses, & to this day I have great memories of sitting at the kitchen table with my mother & grandmother while we all did our thing.

When David & I got married, it wasn't long after that my dad moved to California so we went to David's family for the religious holidays & my family for the secular holidays.  For some reason, his family only did the Passover Seder on the first night.  It's a tradition that continues to this day, & now that we have our own beautiful daughter, we decided to change things up a bit.

Erin & I went to our niece Deena's house for the first night.  Seder was definitely interesting.  This year, we decided that Erin needed to experience her own family Seder.  I set about preparing our dinner in the hopes I wouldn't poison anyone. 

I cooked the roast chicken with potatoes & onions, which by the way were totally yummilicious.  I decided that Erin needed to take an active part in the process.  Since I started making the charoses when I was 8 years old, I knew this would be a good time for her to start.  The thing here is that I spent days looking for a new recipe.  I'm highly allergic to walnuts so I needed something that wasn't the traditional Ashkenazi charoses.  After looking up a few recipes, I took a little from here & a little from there.

The Seder didn't go as easily as I had hoped.  However, we did have one.  Hopefully next year's Seder will go better.

Seder Plate

Simple salad using heirloom tomatoes & English cucumbers from the farmers' market we went to a few days earlier.

Walnut-free charoses - not bad at all

 Roast chicken

The table

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Local Farmers' Market

This morning Erin & I went to the local farmers' market with some of our friends.  We were so looking forward to a morning in the great outdoors - sunshine, friends, fresh fruit & veggies along with other yummy treats.  We couldn't ask for a better day!

I knew that we were meeting Shari & Myke with their daughter Chianna.  I don't know who was looking forward to it more - Erin & Chianna or Shari & me.  As we were getting ready to plan, Lori & Marc came over with Katie Starr & Ethan - better known as the DD.  The day couldn't get any better as far as all of the children were concerned.

Growing up on Long Island, my parents used to take my brother & me to the Farmers Market in Bethpage.   Oh, the memories! We used to go & my parents made sure that along with our purchases, we always got cannolis to enjoy while we were walking around.  And you couldn't find a better pickle anywhere on The Island! The highlight of the night for me was the carousel.  I can still see my mom & dad walking & talking & just enjoying themselves.

Needless to say, having these memories, I was thrilled when Shari mentioned a local farmers' market here! Of course, I should have thought better & realized that in FL, it was going to be outdoors.  I'd forgotten that I adore air conditioning & went along.  I'm so glad that I did.

Erin, Chianna, Katie Starr & Ethan loved walking around.  They got to see a few cows, a pot-bellied pig & some dog breeds they hadn't seen before.  Ethan was intent on finding some baby spinach.  (If only his buddy Erin would have some interest in a green vegetable!) 

There were booths with specialty oils, sauces, jams/preserves, breads, pastries, pastas & so much more! Seeing all of the vegetables & fruit that are grown locally was cool.  I couldn't believe the size of the red onions! 

See for yourself!

Getting ready to go shop!

Ah! Some nice cool mango juice!

Elsie looks happy

Mona the Pot-Bellied Pig

No honey is as good as when it's in the honeycomb