Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'...

Things have been rolling along at a steady pace of crazy this week. So many activities, committments, things to do and as usual, so little time. Friday night Harry had a end of the season football party. One of the coaches put it on and everyone had a great time. The Orange crush season is now officially over.
Erick returned from Dubai last Thursday. He said he really enjoyed the country. He was amazed by how much construction was going on. The city is really growing! Most of the time he wasn't feeling well and he came home with a sinus infection. Luckily he got his antibiotics and started feeling much better before he left for Paris.
On Saturday afternoon, Becca, Bella and I joined Harry's boyscout pack for its annual hayride. The weather was a bit brisk, but at 52 degrees it was the nicest day of the week. Harry as usual had fun jumping off the back of the wagon (yes it is allowed) and running behind. Much better exercise for a growing 10 year old boy than just sitting, but much harder to enjoy the pretty sights of Fall. As you can see from the pictures, everyone had a good time and Erick was able to rest and recover at home in peace.
Sunday we became couch potatoes and took a well deserved break from our busy schedules. We watched the Vikings roll down the field several times only to have fumbles and penalties destroy their chances of winning. Oh well, perhaps they can come back with fire against Green Bay next Sunday.
The rest of the week will roll along with a fall festival at Becca and Bella's school, a field trip to the apple orchard with Bella's class, and of course Halloween!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Halleluja- Well your faith was strong, but you needed proof...

Monday was Bella's annual IEP (individualized educational plan) meeting. I must say, I never really look forward to these. For those of you who don't have special needs children, an IEP meeting can best be described as a really intense school conference. At least that's how they are for me. The purpose is to set up goals and objectives that you want your child to reach during the next year and also discuss any accommodations they might need to reach those goals, such as service teachers, special equipment, etc. The hardest part comes when you review the goals made last year and see how much progress has been made. Sometimes there is great progress, sometimes not so much. It's hard for me to reflect (with 6 or 7 other people present) on the things that make my child different from the "norm". On a daily basis you work to help your child succeed the best they can, but when you see their challenges laid out so clinically on paper, it's tough. But hey, when I was in the corporate workforce, I hated reviews too.

The good news is that the IEP meeting went terrific! All of her teachers including her classroom teacher, D/HH (deaf and hard of hearing teacher), and her speech teacher saw an amazing difference in her this year compared to last year. Her focus is better, her communication is better and best news of all, her memory is better. Hooray! Hooray! I felt so validated in my decision to pursue homeopathy. Not only have I seen a difference, but others have seen a huge improvement as well! The progress was so good that we decided to reduce the D/HH teacher's support time with her. Some of that is due to me homeschooling in the morning, but it is also due to her classroom teacher's observations that she is ready to do more work with the class in the afternoon. Honestly, it was one of the best meetings I have ever had!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New Kid(s) on the Block...

Growing up, I moved around a lot. By the time I was 10 I had moved six times. My father was in retail, what can I say? I became a "pro" at being the new kid at school. Smile, be outgoing, act like you already know the routine, and never let them see you sweat (especially when it came time for lunch and the all important decision of where to sit in the lunchroom the first day!) My kids have never been the "new kids", that is until this past Monday when Harry started his new school. I have to say, I was nervous all day for him. I thought about meeting new teachers, having kids point at you and say to each other "that's the new kid" and all the challenges you face your first day. Overall he was very excited. For him, there were so many different things to experience. He had never had a lunchroom, no experience in "switching classes" for subjects, no computer lab, and he had never really had homework. I must say the homework thing is going to take awhile for all of us to get used to. So far he has had about 1 1/2 hours per night. He has had a great time so far in school and being the new kid didn't seem to bother him at all.

Erick is also experiencing a little of the "new kid" phenomenon this week as he navigates his way through the middle eastern country of Dubai. As you can see from the picture above, it is very different than life here in the good old USA. He comes home tomorrow so I will share more details later.

Friday, October 16, 2009

It's a Brand New Day...

Changes at the Rowe household continue. We have made the decision for Harry to attend a new school. He will be going to a traditional elementary school in Chaska called, Clover Ridge. It was a very tough decision and we put a lots of thought into it, but after discussing the pros and cons of the change, we felt it would provide the most structure and chance to catch up in some of the areas he needs extra guidance. He starts Monday and I am sure you will read more about the experience in future updates.

On Wednesday night, Harry and his best friend Ben went to a church lock-in where they stayed up all night. As you can see from the picture above, they were happy, yet exhausted by the end of it. They were so many activities: bingo, digital photo booth, caricature artist, games, movies, and lots of food! They also left the church for several hours and went to play lazer tag. I helped with the set up and I can attest that there was also plenty of snacks for them to munch on. More mountain dew and junk food then you have ever seen before in one room! Well, you are only 10 once right? He came home yesterday at 7:30am and slept until 2:30pm. I woke him up so he could sleep again later that night. He went to sleep last night at 8:30pm and is still sleeping (it is 9:00am).

Erick leaves today for Dubai. He was only home one day between his California trip. Next week it is off to Paris. He is fighting an illness so we hope and pray he can stay well. Yesterday when he came home he drank alot of Emergen-C. Becca and Bella are also fighting something and H1N1 is running rampant in the school so we hope we can avoid that!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

When I grow up...

Last Sunday our family day was spent at the U of MN veterinary school open house. The event had been posted on one of my homeschool event message boards that I track. Bella loves animals so I thought it would be fun to go show her what vets do. It's never too young to think about career paths, right? They had lots of events for kids. The Raptor center was open to explain about fixing bird bones that are broken and returning them to the wild. There were cool bald eagles and hawks that you could see up close, microscopes with slides of cat tongues, and a giant dried cow stomach on a counter. Speaking of cow stomachs, one of the main highlights of the day was a live cow we saw that had a hole cut into its side so you could see into its stomach. The hole had a huge plug in it and when they took out the plug, there was the cow's stomach. Personally, I skipped looking into the hole, but Erick, Harry, and Becca were fascinated. The highlight of the trip for me was the rabbit agility show. Yes, rabbit agility. Sounds crazy, I know. There was group there who were part of a rabbit agility association. They had a little obstacle course set up for the rabbits which included a teeter-totter, a tire to jump through, and other little jumps (like miniature horse jumps). Most of the rabbits seemed to be dragged along by their owners on leashes through the course, but there were two bunnies who really seemed to enjoy doing the course. We were told that the others would have done better, but they had been doing shows all day so they were tired. I'm not sure I really bought that explanation. All in all a fun and educational day.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Well the Weather Outside is Frightful...

Boy did I do a double take when I looked outside this morning. Snow. Yes you read that right! Snow on the ground on October 10. 1/4 inch of snow on the ground. Unbelievable. Apparently it's going to be a long winter...

Well, the Orange Crush made it to the Superbowl! They had the championship game this afternoon on the Chaska High School football field. Football and 28 degrees for the beginning of October. And people wonder why we don't have an outside football stadium in Minnesota. Hmmm.. Oh and did I mention there was SNOW! Anyway, the game was really fun and there was a stadium announcer for the game calling the plays and doing color commentary too. Harry was able to play center the whole game (due to illness for the starting centers). Bad news is they lost the game, but they had a lot of heart and they really did put their all into it. I am glad football is over for the year. Four days a week is a lot of time to put in.

Bella's swimming teacher told me something interesting today. She had been to a masters swim clinic during the week and she noticed that Bella kicks the same way as the best swimmer in MN. I can't remember her name, but anyway, they both kick with their toes pointed in. She said they start to teach that skill at the masters level because it helps you go faster by churning the water with your feet. For most people it is very hard to do because it feels uncomfortable. For Bella, her knees turn in naturally due to having stronger inner thigh muscles and weaker hip flexers. In physical therapy we work constantly to strengthen her outer thigh muscles and hip flexers, but I guess in swimming it is a good thing that she has strong inner thighs. Also, her teacher said she does something very well called "riding the rails". That is when you turn your body as you raise your arms out of the water in freestyle and your body is fully aligned. I hope I explained that correctly. Exciting news for Bella. I am so glad she is improving every week and she really likes it.

This coming week the kids are out of school on Thursday and Friday. Harry is going to a lock in at our church with a friend from school on Wednesday night. It is an "all-nighter" event and they get to play games, go to Grand Slam, (an indoor center with laser tag, bumper cars, batting cages, etc) and eat lots of junk. So Thursday will be a wash for Harry and he will probably sleep the whole day. Perhaps he will be recovered by Friday and we can plan something fun. Maybe sledding...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Change seems to be all around our family at the moment. On Sunday, when we went to the apple farm I was taken in by the leave colors. They are not at their peak yet, but I love to see the gradual shift from green to the palette of a sunset. Right now there are so many changes going on within our family that the shift to fall has almost become a metaphor for us Rowe's. Becca is just months away from heading off to high school, Harry just grew an inch in 2 months, and Bella continues to become more mature in her thinking and conversations. With regard to school , we are searching out the best way to meet everyone's educational needs. Harry appears to need more structure than a Montessori environment can offer at this point in his school career so we are pondering our options. Bella seems to be thriving in her half homeschool/half Montessori daily routine. Becca seems to be doing well in school, but I worry about how the transition from a small charter school to a big high school with daily homework will play out.
It is interesting to watch how change affects people differently. Sometimes, I think Erick could live a lifetime without change. He prefers the comfort of the status quo. He does, however, understand that change is an inevitable part of life and that you must embrace it. If you don't, it will still happen and you will be left behind. Becca is a lot like Erick. She likes to be prepped for changes and wants to know how any change will affect her. Bella is easy going and floats with changes as they come. She is open to new experiences. Harry and I get a little bit of a thrill from changes. Yes, they shake up your life a bit, but we find them a way to keep things interesting. As you can see from the pictures from the apple farm, the kids are not afraid to take a "leap of faith" which is really what change is all about.

Stay tuned for Rowe change updates!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fall is Here, Brr...

Well it appears that MN Fall has officially arrived. Temps have struggled to stay in the 50's this week with rain and wind as the main weather theme.
Lots of events to report this week. First, Harry has made his favorite decision of the year. Where to have a birthday party? No. What to ask for Christmas? Not yet. He has chosen his Halloween costume! Halloween has always been Harry's favorite holiday next to Christmas. This year he has decided to be a scary puppet. It's the kind of puppet that a ventriloquist would use. I think the tuxedo part of the costume reminds me of Pee wee Herman. He is excited about the costume, but he is really just biding his time until next Halloween. His grandmother has promised to make him an Elvis costume for next year and he talks about it alot!
On Thursday, Bella was very excited because she went to school for the whole day instead of homeschool. There was a field trip planned to a book center downtown with a lesson about a printing press. Whenever there is a field trip planned at school (about 1x a month) Bella will go to school all day. Well, the day didn't turn out exactly as planned. I went along as a chaperone and on the way to the book center, our bus driver clipped off a driver's car mirror which caused another car to crash into them. We had to pull over to the side of the freeway which is full of construction right now and quite a mess. As soon as the accident happened, I began to regret my decision to "just wait" until we got to the book center to go to the bathroom. I was hopeful that we would only be sidelined a few minutes, but after 45 minutes on the side of the road, I began to feel like a small child who was fearful of having an embarrassing accident! The state trooper came to take the reports of all of the drivers and proceeded to write his report on sight. Then we had to wait for the bus company to get us a new bus driver. Apparently an accident for a bus driver results in a driving suspension. The kids were very good, but as most 1-3 graders will, they started to get very bored and antsy toward the end. An hour and a half after we pulled over, we were back on the road, but we had to return to the school as we had missed our appointment for the field trip. You'll be glad to know that I was able to contain my bodily fluids all the way back to school.
Yesterday, Harry was excited because he got to buy Madden 10 for his Wii. He has been saving his money and I told him the next time he got a check from his voiceovers, he could buy it. I had to look up how to add Brett Farve to the Vikings since the game had been made before he unretired. Luckily, it was pretty easy. Erick and Harry enjoy playing football games together on the Wii, although due to Harry's inability to handle defeat well, most games end in tears.
Today, Harry's football team suffered another close loss to Eden Prairie. Before the game started, we had to sell concessions. Boy was it chilly! Luckily they had blankets for Bella and Harry as I had not dressed them with hats and mittens which they really needed.
I am hoping the weather improves for tomorrow. We are planning to go to the apple farm for our annual tradition of picking apples.