Friday, October 28, 2011

Rayburn Update

"Ni Hao" written by Lillie on her iPad

It seems I am only capable of writing 2 or 3 blog posts in a year, so here is an update on our family:

Lillie is going to be 9 in less than three months. Where did the time go?! She is in the third grade, and she's doing wonderfully. She still reads everything she can get her hands on ... today she took to school an old college textbook of my mom's. It's an anthology of children's literature. It's hardcover, thick, yellowed pages, a little light reading you know. She also loves science. She questions and examines everything. On her first quarter report card, her science teacher wrote:
Lillie is making great progress in science.  She is engaged in learning discussions and activities and she puts forth great effort to use the  science vocabulary in her communications.  Lillie makes super learning connections and she often has insightful questions for her teacher and  her peers.  Lillie moves us all to a deeper understanding about science!  Lillie works well independently, in partnership, and in a group setting.  She is able to focus on her science learning and to complete her notes with detail and accuracy.  
Funny ... her homeroom teacher wrote that she had trouble focusing and completing assignments, and seemed bored working in a group. I think science may be her "thing." :)

Harlan is having fun in first grade! His weekly behavior reports have been pretty consistently great over the past couple of months, which is AMAZING!! I think he has become more mature lately ... overall, that is ... he can still throw a doozy of a tantrum when he feels inclined. He is getting really good at reading, and he reads ahead of his grade level. A little girl in his class has decided (and he is fine with this) that they are going to get married. She has even named their children. And last week he brought home a few drawings that had "I Love You" written on them. I thought he made them for me. NOPE, this little girl gave them to him. I think it's funny (because they are 7, not 14) but her mom is not happy with her daughter's single-mindedness on getting married and having babies. It is quite amusing. (Again, because they are not teenagers... in a few years, I'll have something quite different to say if this is still going on!)

 He is trying out a new sport to see if he likes it. Recently on a walk on the University of Missouri campus, we saw some guys from the Mizzou Lacrosse team tossing a ball around, and Harlan was really intrigued. Long story short, one of the guys let him use his stick and Harlan got in on the game! The guy told me that they were all really amazed with how fast Harlan seemed to pick it up, especially for a first time playing and using a stick 2x his size! So tomorrow he is having a lacrosse lesson, and we're going to see the Mizzou team play a game! I picked up some cheap plastic lacrosse sticks ("Fiddlestix") and he has been practicing. ... with a foam golf ball, because within 10 minutes of opening the package he had thrown the rubber lacrosse ball on the roof. That's my Harlan! :)

Sophie LOVES junior kindergarten! She has all sorts of friends in there, including a boy named JT, who holds her hand on the playground and orders lunch for her in the cafeteria. (That's for real.) We are just glad that she's out of her boy-crazy phase from the beginning of school, when she only played with boys -- several boys, evidently -- and they played "bad guys" on the playground. Every night at dinner, she would tell us all about her "Bad Boyfriends." We were a little worried. She has started reading some sight words and she's figuring out how to sound out words she doesn't know.

It has come to our attention that Sophie is having some difficulty learning songs at church and school. I think she has trouble differentiating the sounds of the words from the sounds of the music, and in the words of her audiologist Michelle, "The sounds get mushed together." So I've been researching music therapy, and working closely with her piano teacher and primary presidency, to figure out the best way to teach her songs. I've also been communicating with her music teacher at school, who thinks Sophie is doing great and doesn't need any extra help. I'm hoping to go observe her music class soon to see for myself. It would be odd for her to be struggling with church songs and piano, but somehow understand music at school with no problems. Maybe he has a different teaching style that is working better. Hopefully I'll know soon enough.


The 3 bigger kiddos have all been involved in extracurricular activities lately. Lillie and Harlan have Chess Club and Running Club once a week after school. All 3 played soccer this season, and started taking piano lessons. At school they are all learning Mandarin. Lillie has the best handwriting and pronunciation in her class (according to her teacher) and the other day she and Harlan had a conversation at home! "What animal is that?" "That animal is a dog." Cool stuff!! I need to learn, too, so they don't start to have secret conversations right in front of me that I don't understand.

Suzie turned one! She is cruising all around the furniture, but she hasn't ventured out into the middle of the room yet without holding on to something. We bought her a little toy for her birthday that has a handle and wheels, so she can hold on to it and walk around. She has a lot of fun with it. She is happy almost all the time. She really enjoys the dogs and squeals, "Dah! Dah!" when she sees them. She also makes noises that sound a little like Dad, Lillie, and Hi. But she's got Mama mastered. She likes to call me Mom. :) She has the sweetest laugh and is just a little ray of cheery sunshine. Unless she isn't getting what she wants, in which case she screams and hollers at the top of her lungs. She knows how to get attention.

Suzie is always busy. Reaching for whatever is within her grasp, exploring all the places she shouldn't go, crawling treacherously close to the top of the stairs, then turning around with a mischievous grin to see if I'm watching. She is constantly on the MOVE, which makes me wonder what will happen when she's old enough to actually get around a little more, and too old to be strapped into a high chair or confined to a "Jenny Jump-Up" hanging in the doorway. I have a feeling this kiddo is gonna bring trouble. :)

Wes is working A LOT. Besides his residency, he is also working about 40 hours (or more) per week in the emergency room in Boonville. So we hardly ever see him. And when we do, he is sleeping, or changing out of scrubs into khakis, or vice versa, and rushing out the door. But we paid off a few credit cards this month! When we get a handle on our debt, and start to bring up our credit scores, he will be able to back off the moonlighting and we will be able to factor him into our daily routine again.

I'm still juggling -- kids, pottery, laundry, dishes, cleaning (that ball gets dropped a LOT), church, errands, bills, etc, etc, etc. I've been exercising consistently for a while now. I set a personal record this week of 5.33 miles in an hour on my elliptical machine! That is my main method of exercising, although I occasionally go for bike rides with friends on the MKT / Katy trail. I exercise to ward off migraines and as a "mood stabilizer." (That's my fancy way of saying I was depressed and this is helping.) Oh and there's also the bonus of being able to fit into my skinny jeans again, a nice side benefit!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Hello, family and friends! Just a quick update ... It has been a very hectic year so far! We have had a total of over 2 feet of snow descend upon us in the past month. Last week the kiddos were out of school 4 days because of the snow! We are very happy to be back in school this week. Besides the snow, we also made a whirlwind trip down to Jackson, MS, for my grandfather's funeral. Daddo was 91 years old and had lived a very happy and full life. We will miss him. The bright side of it, though, was that it brought the family together. I got to see cousins I hadn't seen in years!

Lillie is having a blast in 2nd grade, reading voraciously and learning cursive! She loves science best of all, I think. She recently celebrated her 8th birthday and was baptized! (More about why kiddos are baptized at age 8 here.) She is excited to start going to "activity days" at church every other Wednesday.

Harlan is doing great in kindergarten! His amazing teacher, Mrs. Washer, is very patient and understanding of my little man. Just in the past month or so, I have noticed a remarkable improvement in his maturity and his ability to handle his frustrations. He is growing up! He looks forward to his piano lesson every Monday after school, and he has even started composing a song of his own. He's excited to start playing soccer next month.

Sophie is silly and fun as ever! Friendly and boisterous! Her speech and listening skills are improving all the time. Even her audiologist is very impressed. She had surgery in December to put tubes in her ears, hopefully to relieve some pressure she was having that was causing her right ear to hurt when we put her processor on that side. So far it seems to be doing the trick! She will start horseback riding again next month.

Suzie is the most delightful baby you could ever meet. She is happy and calm, she only fusses when she's tired or needs a diaper change, she has got herself on a schedule, and she sucks her thumb to put herself to sleep. She smiles a lot, giggles, blows bubbles, and babbles. She loves to watch her big siblings play, and I can tell she's just so excited to be able to go and participate!

Wes is working hard at the Rehab hospital as well as moonlighting in the ER. He doesn't get much sleep. He continues to impress the attending physicians and other residents. He is presenting a poster at the AAP (Association of Academic Physiatrists) meeting in Phoenix in April. So we are all going and having a vacation! Finally Lillie will get to see the Grand Canyon!

I'm trying to keep juggling everyone and everything. People need to get their homework done, have clean clothes to wear, get around to different places on time, eat, etc ..... I've done a little pottery lately but not much. I'm hoping to do more soon.

That's about it! I'm planning to write more regular updates, so check back soon!