Monday, September 24, 2012

Warp speed

I have to apologize for my slacking.  It isn't that I don't have anything to blog about (if you know me I ALWAYS have something to say) or that I don't take a zillion pictures to show you.  I think someone turned the dial to full speed ahead for our family and every time I sit down to write something there are always little fires to put out here or there.

I guess that is life with kids though.

The girls had their second week at dance class and they both interacted and danced much more.  They are beginning to teach them small bits of the routine they will work on this year and it is so darn cute to see them doing dance moves.   Now if I can get Dariya to keep her skirt around her waist instead of up around her chest we will be all set.

They are both enjoying the reading program (don't tell Dariya that her little sister is blowing her out of the water though).  Alayna amazed me the other day when she was looking at pictures on my phone and changed to the sight word app I had installed.  We never use this app because it is only the text, no voice with it.  Well my sweet little 3 year old didn't need anyone to voice the words for her.  I caught her reading each of the pre primer words all by herself.  She is loving picking out her sight words in books we look at.  I try to have her read a word every page just for fun.

Aidan is keeping busy with piano, reading and playing outside as much as possible!

We found matching outfits in our hand me downs from my sister!  SO cute!
This week is parent conferences for all the kids and Alayna's IEP conference.  Looking forward to seeing how each of them are doing this year.
Love her Shirley Temple look!

Hope you are having a great week!  Off to put out another fire!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dancing Queens

Sunday afternoon marked the girls first dance class.  They were very excited to get into their "dance clothes" and boogie the afternoon away.
This dance program is a class for kids with any kind of special need.  The classes are provided at no cost to us.  This program was started a few years ago by the sister and nephew of one of our neighbors.

As I never taken dance, nor had any inkling to sign the girls up for dance we thought we would take this opportunity to see what they think and give them some dance experience.

Their class is made up of about ten 3,4,& 5 year old boys and girls.  Each child had a volunteer (high school age dancer) that stayed with them and helped them during class.  My oh my did Dariya's girl get a workout!  Dariya wanted to be held most of the time as class is about an hour after church and runs right into their nap time.

At the end of class they "perform" what they learned that  session for the families.  Dariya has perfected the cuddle and I love that our friend Avery is watching her helper closely!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and I think this last picture of Alayna hugging Lexi, her helper says it all.

A great time was had by both girls!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Reading IS fun!!!

Being a teacher, one of my worries when Alayna was born was that she would not learn to read.

You see to me reading is everything.  It transforms your world, it takes you places, it helps you navigate life, it builds your creativity and expands your horizons of knowledge.  You need to read to do most things in life.

So for my girl to be unable to do this was a horrible idea which haunted me for a couple months.  I then ran into an older couple in the grocery store who had a 24 year old son with down syndrome.  After talking to them for a few minutes they shared with me that he wasn't able to read and that they really thought the educational system had let them down (and no I didn't ask, because this only further fueled my fear!)

Leaving there I cried all the way home.  Jason thought I was a nut (which I just might be) but, I was determined to have my children be readers, good readers, excellent readers...well you get the idea.

So, from early on Alayna and I (and Dariya as soon as she entered the picture) have worked on language skills. I used the See and Learn program with her when she was little, have worked on sight words with them, have labeled things around the house and now we have begun our journey with the Learning program.  (Both programs are free downloads on their websites).

I can proudly say my girls are beginning to read.  Alayna understands that print means something and that words are the same even in different books.  Dariya is getting there but, little sister has the "I wasn't in an orphanage for 3 1/2 years, left alone to not learn a stinkin' thing" advantage.

Learning is a journey and I always think I haven't done enough with the girls but, somedays I look back at them and realize just how far they have come and I am super proud of each of them. 

Aidan came home from school this week and was excited to be a peer model for the kindergarten class.  He is helping them review and learn their ABC's.  He commented, "Mom, I am so impressed that Alayna and Dariya both know all their letters and sounds because these kids in kindergarten still don't know them all yet."  Yay team Cannon!

For your viewing pleasure, here is Alayna reading a new book.  We read it together twice in the morning and this was her third viewing of this particular book after her nap.  Pretty good stuff girlie!

Monday, September 10, 2012

One packed weekend

This weekend was a flurry of fun activities for us.  On Saturday, Dariya and I attended the Learning Program's literacy class that we signed up for via our local DSG.

We saw this presentation last spring at the DS conference and were thrilled when our own DSG announced they were bringing the program here.   If you would like to do this program with your sweetie with ds, follow this link and sign in and you can download all the books and  information for FREE.

This first year the program is only open to 4-6 year olds so Alayna missed the age cutoff (but both girls are already reading via this program that we have been doing at home for months).

This program cost the DSG $15,000 but we were only charged $200 per student to enroll.  One more reason to Step Up for Down Syndrome and donate here so our family can continue to benefit from these types of progams.

Ok, back to the weekend.  Saturday evening we helped my neice, Rayne celebrate her 7th birthday.

Sunday we went to church, ran home fed the girls lunch and were off to meet their dance instructors for the year.  (They will start dance next Sunday, stay tuned for really cute pics!)

After the dance meet and greet we headed off for another fun DSG sponsored activity at the Weston Red Barn Farm.  We spent the beautiful sunny afternoon enjoying the farm.  We ate a huge lunch, took in the hay rides, visited and fed, or rather watched daddy feed the animals, Aidan played video games and saw many of our friends that we don't see often enough.  We couldn't convince Aidan to play booger wars or do the human hamster ball.

It was a great weekend but, I think we all need a nap now that Monday morning has rolled around.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Time to hit the books

With strep successfully stamped out and summer officially over, the girls hit the books this morning for some preschool fun.

First, we colored our pictures from church  and glued on cotton balls to make fluffy clouds then sang the song about Samuel they learned.

We reviewed our sight words that we are working on.

Then we did a quick color review...
We matched upper and lower case letters...

and reviewed numbers, counting, and one to one correspondence.

Dariya has come a long way this summer in her understanding of numbers.  She is now understanding one to one correspondence and enjoys activities counting objects, especially if it is counting goldfish for a snack haha.

These two are smart little cookies!

Another successful day laughing, learning and enjoying life.