Thursday, August 28, 2014

Kindergarten Orientation

Last night, Colin had his official Kindergarten orientation where he had the opportunity to meet some other kids from his class and sit at the tables with the other students.  It was nice for us that we had already been there because even after one previous visit, he already knew the names of some of the staff members (we've been practicing) and the school wasn't a surprise to him.  It made me laugh because when we walked in, he was already greeted by name and he went right up to everyone to shake hands to say hi.  

The orientation was geared more towards the parents in that the principal spoke about the school for about 30 minutes and then the teacher spoke to the parents in the classroom for the second 30 minutes.  Colin was on his best behavior and sat quietly and listened while the principal spoke.  I was also excited because there are two boys who are twins that live on our street that also attend our church and are in Colin's Sunday school class (which is interesting as it is because we don't go to church in the town that we live in) so he is already familiar with them.  While he isn't always understood, he IS trying to communicate with the staff when asked questions and while he needed a little bit of guidance from me at his table, was able to ask the other students for the crayons and for specific colors.  I really feel that as the staff and students get to know Colin a little bit better, they will be able to understand him better when he communicates with them. 

While listening to the teacher speak, I also had the opportunity to observe Colin while he sat at the table with the other students.  She had put some drawing papers on the desk with crayons and other supplies and I watched him see what the other kids were doing and then do it as well.  I was even impressed because typically he's all over the place but last night, he was more deliberate in coloring specific things.  He sat at the table the entire time and only got a little bit antsy at the end (in his defense it was already his bedtime and he hadn't had a nap after a busy day).  I think it will definitely be a change for him in terms of the demeanor of this year's teacher versus last year but just like anyone, he will need to adjust to a different personality.  She spoke about having high expectations for all of her students, which we do as well, so I am looking forward to what will *hopefully*, *fingers crossed*, be a great year for him.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mommy Anxieties

It's hard to believe that in just over a week, Colin is going to be starting Kindergarten.  We have been talking about it and preparing for it for so long now that there are some anxieties as the time nears and we get ready to send Colin to a typical classroom (yay for inclusion) for a full day with new teachers, aides, and friends all in a new school.  There will be new routines and lots of "rigor" (we all know Kindergarten just isn't what it used to be when we were in school) and what I am guaranteeing to be an adjustment period for him. 
If I look back over our whole summer, it has actually been pretty great in terms of Colin's behavior and in all of the ways he has changed.  It has been a work in progress and some areas have been easier than others, but overall his compliance to complete non-preferred tasks has been far better than it had been.  It takes some strategies to get him to do this, but we have worked through (even though it felt like we repeated ourselves 50 million times) and found some results.  

As I have watched Colin this summer, I am reminded why our decision to place him in a typical Kindergarten classroom is the best one, even before he actually gets there.  There are far too many examples of how he has modeled things Kailey says and does daily that makes me believe that when he sees his fellow peers doing things, he will model them as well.  When we met with his new teachers and the principal last week, we reminded them that he is an observer and there are many times where it seems like he's just sitting there not doing anything, but his is ALWAYS learning.  There are many times that I have been in situations with him where I have to remind myself to be patient as he sits back and watches other kids not doing anything, only to need to give it time before he follows through with the same task in the same way.  He WILL do all of the same things the other kids are doing, it just might take him a little bit longer to complete.

My anxieties start to come in now as I see all of these posts of parents sending their kids back to school and all of the great things they post that their kids have accomplished over the summer.  Potty trained! Knows how to read! Tells stories! Knows all of their upper and lower case letters! Memorized ___ sight words! While I am happy for their accomplishments, my worry starts to creep in as I wonder if I did enough to get Colin ready for this next step.  On top of that, I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of our 3rd baby and worry how much it will disrupt Colin and Kailey's lives at the wrong time (my due date is on labor day and they start school that week).  We have noticed a little bit of a dip in behavior (for BOTH) and a regression on Colin's part when it comes to the potty (wailing Mommy here) that I am sure can be attributed to the fact it's the end of the summer, we need routines again and they are anticipating change happening. While I can justify the reasons, it doesn't help with the timing of it all. 

I know that the anticipation is always the worst part of any change so I am sure once we get into it all, things will be fine.  I honestly just worry the most right now about the potty because that was one thing the school was not as open to.  Unfortunately, despite the fact Colin was pretty much schedule trained, he stopped telling me when he had to go and I have noticed an increase in accidents.  I am TRYING to keep my patience with him, but it's really hard knowing that in just over a week, he's expected to be trained and having no issues at school.  Let's hope for a quick turnaround in the next week!

I know we will get there, especially with the potty, but I honestly never thought when we started potty training Colin well over 2 years ago, we would STILL be at it...

Here's to the kickoff of the 2014-2015 school year!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Pool Water Bugs

The majority of our time in the summer is spent at the beach, but it is nice once in awhile to spend the day at family and friend's pools.  The kids love the water so much and while Colin has much confidence no matter if he is in the ocean or pool, Kailey still has some fears with the ocean and shows her confidence when in the pool.  We've had quite a few fun days recently in the pool, one of which was in Uncle Matt's pool.  

Colin has no fears in the water and loves the thrill of jumping in all by himself.   He especially loves copying what everyone else is doing!

While there are things that make him nervous, he is definitely our thrill seeker!

Kailey on the other hand is a little bit more hesitant, but still loves jumping in independently as well.

Like father...

Like son...

Last weekend, the kids spent some time in the pool at our friend's birthday party...

...and had a blast as always!

IMG 5426 from Kelli Tobin on Vimeo.
IMG 5428 from Kelli Tobin on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Getting to Know Colin

Yikes! I'm dusting off the computer to finally put up a post!  I can't believe this amount of time has gone by but we have been busy enjoying our summer and making memories!  We also have the countdown going until Tobin Baby #3 arrives (which in my countdown is hopefully sooner than later!) so we have been getting ready for his/her arrival.  However, we have had a LOT going on lately and I'm looking forward to updating you on our comings and goings!

Yesterday we had a meeting set up with the principal of Colin's new school so that she would have the opportunity to meet him and give him a tour prior to him actually attending in September.  We had emailed her after that last meeting at the end of the school year had gone so poorly to tell her that we thought this would be a good idea and we wanted her to get to know Colin and not what was written on paper.  She had been really open to the idea and had watched Colin's 5 year video that we had made.  When she had called us later this summer to set the actual date, she told us she was going to try and get Colin's teacher to attend as well.  To our pleasant surprise, the meeting yesterday included the principal, his Kindergarten teacher, and his in-class support special education teacher as well.  Prior to the meeting, I had worked on creating the booklet below because I wanted them to have as much information that we could share prior to him actually attending.  It helped to have something to work off of during the meeting yesterday and they asked a lot of productive questions about him. 


We were so proud of Colin because when he met all of the new people, he shook hands and said "nice to meet you" and answered a lot of their questions pretty independently (or at least until Kailey started answering for him).  He was extremely well behaved and was excited to see his new classroom and explore a little bit.  While he was exploring with Kailey, we were sitting at the table with the principal and teacher and going through the booklet.  At one point, the principal stopped reading to tell us that she was already impressed with his politeness and his interaction with them and I felt my insides do a little cheer.  We know that this year is definitely going to be a work in progress but I am happy that they now have a good taste of the child that Colin is and not the way he can be portrayed in IEP meetings.  We really like the principal and the way she interacted with Colin and felt more confident in the teacher at this meeting than we did at the previous one. 

We are really excited for Colin and for the opportunities he is going to have by being with his typical peers.  We are optimistic that we can have an open communication with everyone at his new school to make this work for him so that he can be successful.  Onward and upward Colin!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Fantastic Weekend with Friends

This weekend we had our annual beach weekend with our good friends, the Gallagher family.  It's always fun to get all of the kids together for an extended period of time and although it wasn't exactly the beach weekend we were anticipating, we still had fun nonetheless.  Fortunately for the first day, the weather held out and we were able to get a good amount of time on the beach while it was still nice.  
Through a good part of the afternoon it rained and a little bit during dinner (we would have loved to have eaten out on the patio that overlooks the water) but we took that considering it cleared up for a visit to the boardwalk afterwards AND it kept a lot of the crowds away. 

At the boardwalk, the kids had a lot of fun on the rides and playing games and it was nice because our kids tried some rides that they don't typically go on. 

That night was Kailey's first time on the roller coaster.  She kept telling Jorie that she was a little scared but there were no tears!

She also attempted the crazy bus ride which goes up in the air and then stays up there at one point for a minute but as you can tell from the series of pictures, she was not really a fan. 



After the rides, we got a treat and walked around for a little bit to tire them all out (which thankfully worked because bed time went pretty smoothly!).

Unfortunately, Saturday was pretty much a wash out day for the beach, but we did attempt to go bowling which was a new activity for my kids.  It turned out to be a lot of fun and it allowed the kids to play pretty independently which was really nice for both them and us. 

Seriously, there's not much cuter than kids in bowling shoes!

As it is evidenced by some of the pictures, the kids had a LOT of fun and it's nice to know we have something else to try and do in the future!



Later that afternoon, the kids watched a movie together and we spent some time at the playground before dinner.  Despite the lack of cooperation of the weather, we still had a lot of fun!

Thanks guys for another great weekend!!  And as always, thanks Jorie for the great pictures all weekend!