Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Snowbabies: Falk Edition

On this most blessed of nights, I pause to thank friends and family, and mostly God, for the wondrous blessings in my life. Three of them are pictured here (and see the profile pic for the fourth!:)), and though I realize I'm biased, they are as close to perfection as I've come on this earth. Here Natalie is making snow angels for mom after 14 inches of snow blanketed Oshkosh.
Snow angels continue as Maria takes to the snow. Her favorite part of this winter's heavy snow has been that she can climb the snow bank over the fence to her friend's house, instead of using the sidewalk and walking around. Cool, huh?

Jarod's first stop during the snow play was at the swings. He carved out a place for his feet to fit under the swing, and took back to it like it was any other summer day to play outside. Simple pleasures aren't that hard to come by in your own backyard!

According to the kindergarten class of Washington Elementary School, "Mary Had a Baby"--or so they sang during their Christmas program at the Civic Auditorium. Here Maria is pictured with her friend/neighbor/classmate, Seth. Maria sure knew how to shake her booty on stage, too. She had a great time singing and dancing--she sure likes to practice at home!
Perhaps it's cliche, but Dickens still has it right: God bless us, everyone. Peace.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Merry Christmas, friends! Again, my apologies for the lack of updates.

December finds the Falk family busy as usual. Tomorrow we'll be attending the Washington Elementary School Holiday Concert at the Civic Auditorium at West High School. This will be Maria's first school concert, though her second time on the stage (she had her dance recital on the stage this summer). She has a gorgeous little dress to wear and family joining her for the festivities. We're looking forward to the holiday mood the concert should instill. Her class is singing, "Mary Had a Baby", and she has been practicing in the car for weeks!

Jarod had his school concert at the same auditorium, and he did very well. He looked handsome in his new red sweater, and he sang along with all of the songs, even joining in the movements for some of them. He seems more excited, however, about watching Maria's concert, and being part of the audience rather than the main event. He's doing very well in school, also. He scored a perfect score in his catterpillar and butterfly science unit test, and he is scoring perfect scores on his spelling tests every week. Subtraction is his tough point in school right now, so we're going to see if Santa can bring some flash cards to share with the family. Jarod was home sick from school on Friday with a fever, and I taught him to play slapjack. He kept giggling, telling the jacks they were naughty as we smacked them on the pile of cards. This is a favorite new game!

Natalie is growing by leaps and bounds, and she says the funniest things (though not always under funny circumstances). She loves to read right now, and is memorizing her favorite books, like "Pinkalicious" and "My Many Colored Days". She steals my sodas and gingerbread men, and when I find her completes the transaction with a kiss and a "Aww...I love you mommy." She may be autistic, but she's NO dummy! The good news is Natalie should access her therapy waiver slot in early January. Once she passes the county's evaluation for therapy (they have to make sure she's bad off enough to still qualify), WEAP will begin the process of assembling her team. Hopefully she will begin therapy sometime in February. That will be a tremendous change for her, but an important one at that.

Chris received a pretty perfect evaluation from hsi employer, and is pretty happy with his current job. He's looking for ways to pick up a few extra bucks working part time since my practicum time is closing in, and I'm doing the same. With all of the snow we've had, he's been borrowing the neighbor's snowblower because the baby is powerful! Our little one isn't keeping up with the snowfall and our drifts are usually taller than the blower! Chris is grateful this holiday season for generous neighbors!

And as for me, I'm keeping busy, but am enjoying the relaxed pace compared to first quarter. My student teacher is a dream--excellent with students, well prepared, and very thorough. There's little I have to do to help, and that has allowed me some time to work on my graduate class work for my final class Research and Evaluation. This week I'm prepping a presentation, and I scored an A on the last test--wasn't so sure that was going to happen, but I'm grateful it did. January 26 is the first day of my practicum, and with it only five weeks away, the butterflies are already fluttering in my tummy. I've also recently begun singing with the Lifeteen band at the Lifeteen masses 6 p.m. Sunday evenings. A friend leads the band and invited me to join, which I did. I've really enjoyed singing again, though it's intimidating. She described it as a choir, and when I realized it's usually three of us with microphones in hand, I realized there's no where to hide if I mess up!!!!! It's fun though, and it's a nice finish to the weekends.

The holidays are heading into full speed. We enjoyed Thanksgiving with my folks, and we went through the Celebration of Lights in Menomonee Park the same night. St. Nick visited and brought treats for the kids, which they loved, and we're planning a visit back to the Celebration of Lights so the kids can visit Santa. They emailed their Christmas lists to Santa, and he promptly replied, which had them pretty excited. And we hear Santa's elves have been busy making and wrapping special presents for the kids to open on Christmas morning. Next weekend I'll be taking Maria to the Paine Art Center for the Nutcracker in the Castle event along with a friend who is bringing her daughter, and afterward we'll take them to lunch. Our extended vacation this year is already planned with playdates, visits, and parties throughout the entire two weeks. We feel very blessed to have so many friends and family to share our lives with, and we hope the holidays find your family equally blessed.

God bless us every one...our families, our friends, ourselves, and our world. Peace be with us all.