Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas is coming!!

Wow--two months since I last posted. There is so much to say and yet life seems to go on as normal--which is a good thing. Sorry no pictures--my computer freezes up as soon as I put my camera card into it and I know nothing about why it's happening or how to fix it. I have to wait for some one smarter than me.
Hannah has been enjoying swimming lessons and passed the first two preschool levels quite easily and will start level three (eel) in Jan. She just loves to be in the water but during lessons she does have trouble sitting still and listening when the teacher is helping the other kids--she just wants to swim all the time.
Sitting still is a problem for my little girl--it is the only thing she gets in trouble for at school and almost everyone that meets her comments on her energy level and her curiosity. I must be used to it because to me she seems like a normal 4 year old kid and I think her behavior is pretty good most of the time. Oh well--we will keep working on it.
She really enjoys her church school and I am very happy for that. It is one hour of instruction with mostly hands on learning but the kids are required to be quiet, calm, and respectful the whole hour. She does very well and just can't wait to go back so I know she likes it. Those teachers have never complained about her energy level but they seem to be the most calm people I have ever met. I think it's good for her. It is also nice for me because it is an hour of total quiet for me. It is not worth it to go back home so I take a book and sit in the church library and read for a whole hour--it is heaven.
Her first school pictures were taken in Nov and they turned out great. She has two "best" friends in school and the mother of one of the other girls arranged for them to have a friends picture of the three of them. It is so cute and will be a great keepsake to have of Hannah's first friends.
We got to see a couple great Christmas shows--Mickey's Rockin Road Show in Nov. and then we saw the Moscow ballet perform The Great Russian Nutcracker in Dec. While they are on opposite ends of the culture spectrum, we truly enjoyed both. At Mickey's show, Hannah wore jeans and a Cat in the Hat shirt, we met up with two other little friends, and the whole place was jamming the whole time with kids jumping, clapping, dancing, and singing along most of the time. She had fun.
At the ballet we both dressed up and she sat very quietly and was enthralled the whole time--that is until the very end when she quietly crawled up in my lap and fell asleep. It was about an hour past her bedtime at that point. We both enjoyed that as well and she twirled around the house in ballerina mode for days afterwards.
Thanksgiving was a big celebration for our family this year and Hannah got to meet five members of my immediate family that she hadn't met yet. 31 of us were together for two whole days and it was so fun. We had a big prime rib dinner the first day and then the traditional turkey dinner the next day. Both were so delicious.
Hannah ran with her cousins the whole time and I only saw her when she needed something or got very tired--then she would come to Mom. It was so fun for me to see her having that much fun and it was reassuring to see that she wanted me when she needed anything. It was cold and snowy the whole time and my brother's road was sheer ice so our traveling was a bit hairy but everyone made it and we had a blast.
Now my youngest brother Dan and his wife Kristin are the only ones that Hannah hasn't met in person yet. They plan to be coming through Minnesota in the spring when they move from California to Connecticut and we can't wait to see them.
My court date in Russia was in January last year and we just had our one year post placement visit. It went very well and once again Hannah charmed the socks off the social worker. She was very shy which is not like her but she seems to know when we are at visits that concern her and she gets more wary. It is nice to have that done but it hardly seems like a year is almost here.
Hannah had her early childhood screening this month and she tested "okay" for her age. That was good to hear but the screener went ahead and put through a referral for an IEP anyway because of her history. I am very glad and I hope that she qualifies for some help because I want her to have the best start possible before school. She won't get the evaluation until Jan. so we will see.
Looking at the whole school thing has been stressful for me--who knew I had so many options and that I would be touring kindergartens the way other people tour colleges. Where I grew up there was only one school and everyone went there so that was it but not so here. I am touring one of the public "choice" schools in town that teaches based on the core knowledge principles, her neighborhood school, and two of the private options in town. So many things to think about. Like --both private schools have full day kindergarten which I think is good and certainly fits my working schedule better. The public schools here only have half day kindergarten so more daycare would be needed. If she needs any of the free help the state offers she would only get it in the public school system--it is not available to the private schools. And of course, cost is a factor too. I am also keeping an open mind to holding her back a year if her testing shows she is not quite ready. I would like her to be with the same age kids but I also want her to have a good start in school. So much to think about. The private schools and the choice school have enrollment deadlines in January so I guess I will be figuring this out fairly soon.
She is growing and learning all the time and I see changes from month to month so I still think it is feasible she will be ready by Sept. One example that struck me was Yesterday she asked me if she could watch a movie. I said "How about if we paint instead, I got new paints." A couple months ago she would have just whined "No--a movie please" but yesterday she said very calmly, "I do like to paint but I really want to watch a movie now, please". I couldn't resist so she got a movie against my better judgement.
Getting ready for Christmas has been pretty fun. She loves our Christmas tree. I put up the tree and strung the lights at night after she had gone to bed. In the morning I showed her and when I turned on the lights she gasped and said, "Mom--you made that?" She was quite impressed by me at that moment. She really got into the decorating and helped me for a good 45 minutes. She was very good at hanging the ornaments and talking about each one as we hung it. At one point it seems to bother her a little when she figured out I had most of the ornaments before I had her. So I was really glad that I had bought a couple new ones that were just for her. After decorating it she wanted to call Grandma. While she talking on the phone to Grandma I hear her say, "Can you see this one?" and then she goes to the tree and holds the phone up to an ornament. So funny. She is getting the Santa thing and seems excited he will bring presents --she wants a pony and a barbie. I took her to the Mall to see Santa and she wouldn't go close. I was not going to force her so we just left. She said to me, "Mom--I want to like him. When I get bigger I will like him".
We do read the Christmas story also and she plays with the nativity and talks about Baby Jesus so we are learning the reason for Christmas also.
I think Hannah and I will have Christmas eve and Christmas morning together--just the two of us and I am looking forward to that. Our big family Christmas will be on New Year's Day.
So..Happy Holidays to you all. I will be back next year to post about our first Christmas together.