Friday, January 18, 2013

Birthday Celebrations and Some School Too

This week has been a whirlwind of birthday celebrations, school, dance, and general "things to do".

Amber's planned birthday get-together didn't happen last Friday because her friend came down with the flu Friday morning.  Both girls were sorely disappointed, but had the hope of our rescheduled celebration on Wednesday.  Instead of the original plans, Fred and I took Amber on an unexpected trip to the newly remodeled Build-A-Bear. It's the first one in the new style, with digital everything. We live where Build-A-Bear originated, so this is akin to their flagship store. After an afternoon shopping and stuffed bear building, we met up with Fred's parents for dinner, presents, and cake.

Birthday celebration number 1.
Amber's actual birthday on Saturday was much more subdued than in previous years, but also more enjoyable. We took her to lunch at our regular restaurant where she sat on the birthday saddle while our regular bartender announced her birthday. Am could barely eat for the anticipation of "the saddle". (As a note, our area has a non-smoking ordinance for all restaurants, so the bar booths are like regular booths at lunch with the bonus of the best servers in the restaurant). 

We spent the rest of the afternoon opening presents and playing with Amber's new games.  She also read some of her new book, Norse Mythology.  That evening we took her to her favorite Italian restaurant (she's usually the only child there) and she ordered from the adult menu - Chicken Marsala! 
Ready for Birthday Dinner
Reading birthday book
In the birthday saddle
Monday started dance for the semester and Amber has 7 classes per week!  I can already feel my body molding to those benches in the waiting room.  Unfortunately, her favorite classes are scheduled concurrently with her Girl Scout meetings. We decided to forego the Girl Scout meetings this semester and make whatever activities she can. At this point in her life, Amber is receiving decidedly more benefit from dance than Girl Scouts.

Tuesday we held morning classes at St. Louis Bread Company (Panera Bread for the heathens).  My car needed random little things done, mostly inspection for plate renewal, and the car shop shares a small parking lot with Bread Co.  How convenient. We sat by the fire, ate breakfast, goofed off, had math and English lessons, then retrieved my car.  Absolutely zero car stress, for once. I even renewed my plates online that afternoon.

By the time Wednesday came, Amber was wearing her body sox to contain her party excitement. I took Amber and her friend to lunch at Red Robin (have you guessed by now that we like to eat out?), then we went for the surprise activity of bowling at Brunswick Zone! During the drive the girls were trying to guess the destination.  As we got close Amber pipes up "Oh, there's Brunswick Zone. I went to a party there last year." I just looked at her in the rear view mirror and she started bouncing. I said, as dry as I could manage, "That's where we are going". The girls went a little crazy. 

We were the ONLY people there.  I kid you not. I've only ever seen that place packed, but a weekday at 1:00pm is apparently not a popular time. The girls bowled four games before their thumbs were worn out and we went home for Coldstone cupcakes and playtime.  All around a good celebration.
Bowling & Coldstone cupcake. Yum!
Unbelievably, we did actually have school this week too. Amber has been working through Writing With Skill as a formal subject now and not simply a trial. It has gone shockingly well.  I am beginning to think any subject that allows Amber to use her iPad Mini is going to be a success.

We also built electromagnets in science this week using various items as the core and varying the number of wire loops to alter the strength of the electromagnet.  My engineer dad would have loved doing this with Amber.  He and I built countless circuits together over the years and I had hoped he could do the same with Amber.  There have been so many times that I have missed my dad during the past 6 months, but few measured up to this past week.

Today we took a little detour after sensory therapy by way of my mom's house so she could join us for lunch, shopping at two different malls, and then dinner with Fred.  However, the mega shopping trip has resulted in nearly everything promised to Amber as part of this year's large birthday gift.  We are finally redecorating her room!

We have moved since she was born, so this is not the EXACT same room she's had since she was 15 months old, but dreadfully close.  Same bedding set, same storage items, same curtains, same rug, etc.  Fuschia fuzzy chair was added 2 years ago, but otherwise she has patiently borne the white & pink gingham ballerina room for too many years.  It is time for a tween / teen room designed by Amber and not an eager young mom.  Pictures of the updated room will happen eventually.  While Amber's room is normally extremely tidy (except directly after her birthday), I still dread the massive sorting and updating project. Somebody come fetch me from beneath the stuffed animal pile if I don't surface soon.

Lunch before the great shopping trip &
Amber's current bedroom
I do have one happy tidbit of school information I learned this week.  Since I last checked, Pearson, the publisher of the Stanford 10 standardized test, has once again changed their regulations.  Last school year I was able to administer the Stanford 10 test to Amber without the presence of other children, even though I am her parent.  Earlier this school year Pearson had reverted to a previous requirement making other children in the testing group necessary for parents to test their own children.  Pearson has now reversed that decision, again. 

It was explained to me that many states / school districts have regulations against parents testing their own children, so Pearson decided to reinstate their rule.  Upon further... thought, complaints received, I don't know why exactly, Pearson decided to only add a disclaimer that you must check your own reporting rules, but Pearson won't restrict parents.  Yay!!!!!  I can now test Amber again without using the online Stanford 10 or switching to the Iowa test.  One less thing to decide.

That's been our hectic, celebrating, shopping, schooling week.  It was fun, but I need a slow week soon.

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  1. What a wonderful week. I agree with your assessment of the i-pad. My daughter got one for Christmas, any subject that is i-pad based is done first. Hopping over from Weekly Wrap up

  2. I can relate to needing a slow week. I have the same issue. Love this post. It is very warm and inviting. I am new to your site, but I will check it out. Please consider adding this to my end of the week link up, Its a Wrap. -Savannah

  3. Happy belated birthday, Amber! Despite sick friends, looks like a great one!

    I still have the Body Sox on my Wish List for Amazon. My youngest has been doing really well and doesn't need much "sensory diet" these days, but I know that he would LOVE that Sox.

    Oh, my daughter is in the "same boat" with her bedroom. When we moved here 7 years ago, she had Disney Princess. At almost 11, she's not too keen on the theme! ;) So, we've decluttered her room (although it needs more) and the plan is to repaint it in the spring and get need bedding and curtains.

    Definitely sounds like a super busy week there!

  4. Wow! What an adventurous week! I was looking into a writing program for next year. Writing with Ease looks great- Do you find it hard to complete everything? I was looking at Year 4 examples online and it seemed like a lot of work for one week.

  5. I thought it was going to be a lot of work too. Amber completes the assignments in less than half an hour and she does the work correctly and thoroughly. Occasionally, the day 4 challenge exercises take slightly over 30 minutes. But that's rare. If you think it might work start out with the samples first. That's what we did.

  6. Thanks for linking up to its a Wrap last week. I have featured you today!