Sunday, March 29, 2009

Brown-Stripe Belt

Michael is consistently working his way closer and closer to a Black belt in Tae Kwon Do. A couple of weeks ago, he earned his Brown Stripe belt. This is the 10th belt that he has earned in 18th months (White, White-stripe, Gold, Gold-stripe, Green, Green-Stripe, Blue, Blue-Stripe, Brown, Brown-Stripe) and he displays them all proudly on a belt rack he got for Christmas last year (which is now too small as his next belt will put him beyond the size of his rack)

There is one major level to earn in his belt progression with new material - Red Belt. At the Red Belt level, he learns a few new techniques, but mostly he goes through the process of relearning everything he learned at all the lower belt levels and must demonstrate all of these skills and techniques in order to earn a Black Belt. His Master Instructor thinks that he'll probably earn his Black Belt around October.

One thing Michael has to his advantage is that he has a great memory. He remembers lots of things so I think it won't be difficult for him to remember all of the forms that he has learned to get to this point. A form is a sequence of moves that are put together in different orders highlighting increased knowledge and skills as they move up belt levels. I think the biggest challenge will be remembering which ones are in which forms, since he's had so many, but I have no doubt that it will all come back to him quickly. I hope he earns his Red Belt before the early summer and then he can have the summer to do the 10-week focused training that they do for Black belt. The summer is a lot less busy for us and he'll be able to focus more on it.

Congratulations Michael!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Play Ball!

After having indoor workouts all winter, and a couple of chances to get on the baseball field in the past week or so, Michael's travel baseball team, the Loudoun South Eagles 8U team, played their first game today. Our opponent was a new team in the division this season, so we didn't know what to expect.

After going ahead in the first and second innings, our bats finally starting ringing with some hits and we had some very smart base running and we finally got ahead. In the end, we won the game with a score of 16-9.

Michael did well today. There are more boys on the team this season, so more that the coach wants to rotate in and out of the field positions. Michael played 3 innings and sat 2 innings, but they bat all the way around so he got up to the plate 2 or 3 times.

Michael had two great hits - one blooper and one strong hit. Of course, he hit each of these with 2 strikes in the count - its almost like he needs pressure before he'll hit the ball!

And, he scored a run, as seen by his running to home!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Another funny video

After watching yesterday's "Danny Boy" video, I saw a couple of other really funny ones and wanted to share this one as well with you:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

This video, commemorating all that is Irish, was shared by a dear friend on Facebook today.

Warning: Do not be imbibing your Guinness whilst watching. This web site is not liable for any keyboard or computer monitor damage incurred as a result of watching this video while imbibing!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Two years

Two years ago this past Sat, March 14th, after a trip to the National Zoo with the kids in the morning and a very lethargic afternoon, I took Emma to the Emergency Room at 10pm at night where she was dignosed with a blood glucose reading of 585, large ketones and Type 1 diabetes.

She has had Type 1 diabetes for 24 months and 2 days. She was diagnosed at 25 months old. She has basically had diabetes for as many months as she didn't.

Two years later, things are pretty good for us. Yeah, we have to deal with this sucky disease (which feels even suckier on her anniversary), but she wears an insulin pump that makes her management so easy, she has her finger poked without even batting an eye and she's happy and healthy and has a great life. She goes to a fantastic in home preschool where the teacher has learned to check her and dose her for snack and lunch, which is certainly a God send for us - Emma LOVES her preschool.

I'm thankful for the advances of the past 100 years that have made it possible for her to still be here with us and to be flourishing and I look forward to the advances in the future that will hopefully mean a cure for her and all of those who live with this disease!

And this morning I got the call that insurance approved our request for the Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (CGMS) so that we can have more timely access to her glucose levels and hopefully fend off some of the highs and lows before they hit - more to come on that in the future!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Beautiful weather

After getting about 6" of snow on Monday, this week has ended with some beautiful weather. Yesterday's high got into the low to mid-70s with a lot of sun. Today was the low 70s with overcast, but still warm.

Its nice to have the cahnge in weather - I hope it lasts. Yesterday, Mike went with a bunch of parents from travel baseball and Little League baseball out to the main baseball field for the league to do some field maintenance to get ready for the season. Today a neighbor called to have Mike and Michael go play some baseball at the school down the street. Its nice to be able to have the kids outside more.

I just hope it will last. I'm still suffering from the loss of an hour last night!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Been busy

I haven't been posting much just because we've been busy. We're trying to trudge along in schoolwork although February is always a rough month. Never ask a homeschooler if they will homeschool next year during February - my answer probably would have been "send them now".

So much is up in the air in our county that I can't even think about what decision to make about next year. Our area of South Riding is potentially being sent to a different middle school due to overcrowding in our current one. I would be fine with that - taking an entire section of the neighborhood, instead of what they do now, which is just cherry picking the new people in the neighborhood and sending them to the other middle school.

There are also budget cuts that are affecting potential options for Samantha's high school algebra requirement. She's ready to take Algebra next year and needs to get the credit through the school system. She can 1) go part time just for that class, at which point I would be driving her to and from every other day (M/W/F one week and T/Th another)- not ideal; 2) go back full time and take it as part of her course selection; or 3) potentially learn it at home with me, then enroll in summer school the summer AFTER (Summer 2010) and take it AGAIN through the school system, take the SOL test through the school system and get the credit, and then start back to school full time in the fall of 2010 with a slate full of high-school credit courses.

All of this because Loudoun County won't transfer in a homeschool credit - even if the child "places out" of a course through a placement test.

And, then once Samantha starts in, its figuring out the right answer for Michael at the right time. And Emma has 1 more year of preschool before she's technically a Kindergartener, but I see little need to send her right away when I can teach her more in less time at home and still manage her diabetes a little longer myself until she can do more self-care.

So, there's a quick status of our schooling at the Stopper Academy

Sunday, March 01, 2009

For need of toilet paper

They are finally calling for a decent snowstorm tonight - now that its March, of course! I have wanted a good 8"-12" snow storm all winter to no avail. Now we are supposed to get one tonight. I hope we do.

People in Washington, DC get a little crazy when the weather gets bad here. When it starts snowing, people start driving like complete idiots on the road - and I mean idiots. There is a DJ on the local radio station who as a joke comes on when the first flakes blow, yelling "The snow is coming. Abandon your vehicles where they are and walk to safety". Yes, people have been known to abandon their vehicles on the beltway because the snow made it difficult traveling. I don't get it.

But the funniest thing is the run on milk, bread, and yes, toilet paper at the first sign of snow. Like we are going to get snowed in for so long that the 24-roll pack isn't going to be enough.

We were already stocked up on milk, bread, and of course toilet paper, so we'll happily stay AWAY from the grocery store today and enjoy the snow coming down - when it actually STARTS coming down, that is.