Thursday, June 7, 2012

Happy Graduation Day Andrew

_DSC7485 Today is my step-son's last day of high school.  Tonight he becomes a high school graduate.

It has been a long and grueling education for him.  I've only been around since he was in 6th grade.  But he started having difficulty in 5th grade.  He's a super smart kid who just didn't want to apply himself.  So year after year, semester after semester, there were report cards and progress reports and notes from the teacher that did not make a parent proud.  We all knew he was capable of doing the work if he wanted to.  And he proved that in the classes he enjoyed.  And on his standardized tests every year.

His senior year of high school was a great year for him.  His best since elementary school.

This year marked another change in him.  Last fall he signed his life away (literally) and agreed to join the US Marine Corps.  So every Tuesday night and once a month he got together with a bunch of other kids who did the same thing and did PT.  Not only was he getting physically prepared for boot camp and the Marines, but he was getting mentally prepared.  There has also been a drastic change in his attitude toward life.

Tying a TieIt has been a real pleasure and treat to watch this young man grow and develop and mature.  From an awkward 12 year-old who's voice is changing and is growing faster than the weeds in our back yard to a mature man who is ready to conquer the world.

Congratulations Andrew!  I love you.  I'm proud of you.  And I will always be in your cheering section.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Another Annie Update

She's officially 18 months old.  And she is learning a new word almost daily it seems.  I'm pleased to watch it happen.  When Audrey was learning to talk, I remember hearing about the language explosion around 18 months.  Audrey was an early talker and communicator.  She picked up new words as early as 13 months and was talking in full sentences well before 18 months, so when she hit the 18 month language explosion, there wasn't much to see.  She went from sentences to paragraphs and was able to sing songs and similar skills.  

Watching Annie develop has been different.  Borderline stressful.  She's refused to learn a lot of signs, she just does a lot of throwing, pointing and grunting.  At times Josh and I tossed around the thought that maybe she was autistic or had some other sensory disorder (her low vocabulary coupled with her sudden and almost uncatalyzed tantrums).  

But in the last couple weeks she has really picked up her communication and has surprised us.  It's been really fun to watch her figure it out and suddenly say a new word.  Even Audrey is amazed at Annie's development.

Since the last list, she has picked up the following words:

  • Audrey (Au'jee)
  • Gayl (Dale - with a really soft l sound)
  • Dora (Rora)
  • hat
  • hot
  • pizza (tee-zta)
  • shoe
  • dog (ghog)
  • woof
  • you
  • ball
  • cookie
  • poo-poo (or maybe it's boo-boo or boobie - I can't tell)
She's really grasped the concept of please and thank you.  So when she asks for something now, if she doesn't know the word, she points and says please, instead of points and grunts.  That's a refreshing development.

I'd really like her to learn how to say/sign help.  That's high on my list.

I'm really pleased with these developments.  Excited even.  It's so fun to watch her grow up.  She has held onto her infant-ness well past her infant days, but these developments really make her seem more like a toddler and less like a baby.