15 January, 2009

My little 6 year old court judge

I first have to start off by thanking all of you for your ideas and encouragement on helping Aurora with her alphabet. We are trying a few different things and she is already responding very well. I think she just needed learning to be fun again, and honestly between you and me I think her teacher is not very good. She seems to have a way of squashing all the fun out of it, and they are at school all day and very rarely get recess not even at lunch.

Well moving on if you have ever met Aurora you know within just a few minutes that she is quite the drama queen, and drama queens love being the center of attention. She is also very smart (even if she doesn't like reading). Well she had the opportunity last night to demonstrate her many talents in a way she will never forget. As many of you know my mom is currently a second year law student at Sam Boyd's School of Law at UNLV. This new semester she is taking a class in the children's court clinic. This is a very special clinic that is getting nation wide recognition. It is a special mock court that helps children get ready for their real life court appearance. Often times terrible things have happened to these children and now they are required to go in and testify against the people who may have done these things to them. I can only imagine how absolutely terrifying this experience can be. That is why the children's court clinic was established. The children go in and first learn about how a trial works. They tell the child about a story about a child who has had his bike stolen. They have the children act out the scenario with little wooden people and a model court. They teach them all about how the court works and who the different people are. They even teach them breathing exercises and how to talk to themselves if they get nervous. They then go into a real court room and get to take turns acting out the part of the judge and the witness being questioned about their bike being stolen. Law students act out the other parts.

Last night the law school put on a special fundraiser for some big wig "rich people" (as my mom put it to Aurora) to help earn more money for these special clinics. They needed some kids to demonstrate the process for the schools investors, and my mom suggested Aurora. Aurora ecstatically agreed.

We arrived an hour earlier then the investors and they went through the whole process with the kids. Here is a pic of Aurora with the court model. She is holding her favorite person from the jury.

This is during a break before going into the court room. Obviously Aurora was by far the youngest. The three others are thirteen. The one on the far left is the daughter of the professor over the kids court and the two others are her friends.

This is when Aurora acted out the part of the judge. The man was guilty no matter how good the lawyer's defense was. That's one of the lawyers in corner talking to the witness.

This is Aurora in the witness chair. The investors were in a room behind us being told all about the kids court while they began having the girls take turns doing the different jobs. They saved Aurora for the last in the witness chair so the investors would see her during the questioning. It was completely impromptu and I have to admit I was a little nervous to hear what was going to come out of her mouth. There were about 40 investors that squeezed into the small court room, but they did not mind, Aurora completely captured them! She was amazing! She did her part perfectly. From when my mom swore her in (she was the bailiff) and the lawyer having her state her name to the defendant being pronounced guilty, the audience was completely captivated. She told her story all about her purple bike with green butterflies being taken while she was in her house getting a snack. I was also captivated by her so when my mom asked if I had noticed the audience reaction I told her no. She said they swooned over every word she said. Afterwards the Professor of the clinic came to Aurora and told her "Thank you so much for making me look good!" My mom told us all the deans of the school were there too, and said "if only having a super cute and talented granddaughter could get me an A in this class." Aurora was the star of the evening and she had an absolute blast doing it!

09 January, 2009

Kindergartner help!!

SO, I am calling on all you mom's out there who have had kids in school to give me some advice. I am so frustrated right now. I just don't know what to do. Aurora is in kindergaten right now in a dual language program where she learns spanish for half the day. The problem that I am dealing with is Aurora is not advancing in her alphabet at all (I should point out it is her english alphabet)! I have been working with Aurora on learning her alphabet for over 2 years now. She started off well, but about a year ago she just did not want to do it with me anymore. I thought it was just me and she might do better with a new teacher. She went to school knowing about 20 out of 26 letters and about half of her sounds. My mom and I both noticed in October that she wasn't advancing very much, but I did not realize how bad. In November she was tested by her teachers before their track break and not only is she not advancing, but she has forgotten many of them. She does all her homework and you don't notice a difference in that accept it has become more and more sloppy and she rushes through it. Her math skills have improved and her teachers told me they think she is just better in math. Yesterday I talked to her teacher again and she told me she had to move her down to a lower group because she was not ready to move on to start reading. When you ask her about the letters, she just tells us she doesn't know and she won't try. I observed her class today which happened to be during math, and her attitude toward math is completely different. She was excited about it and finished before anyone else. Her teacher then asked her to go around and help anyone who needed it. But when it comes to her alphabet it is like pulling teeth. I am out of ideas to try, and I have to admit I am just burned out from trying to figure it out. That is when the idea came that she is burned out too. So I need some new ideas to make it fun again. Help me.

06 January, 2009

Happy Happy Happy Anniversary- 10 years WOW!

Kent and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary on January 2nd. I can't believe Kent and I have been married for TEN years. Wow, it really did go by fast. We really wanted to do something fun and cool for our tenth anniversary, but finances got in the way so we had to put away ideas like trips to Hawaii and cruises to Mexico. But we still did have a lot fun. My parents took the kids on Friday morning so we had the whole day to ourselves. We went to the temple and did a session first and then we headed to the Luxor where we rented a room. The Utes were scheduled to play their championship game at five and I promised Kent we would watch it. We watched in the hotel room and it was actually nice cuddling up to my sweetheart even though football isn't really my thing. After ten years of marriage to a huge football fan it does start to rub off on you a little, and I was excited when Utah won. After that we went out to a late dinner at my favorite restaurant, Joe's Crab shack. I think the economy is hitting everyone hard because at 9:30 on a Friday night we were the only people in the restaurant. It was cool it was like our own private restaurant just for us. We had plans to hit the strip after that, but it was eleven and we decided to head back to the hotel. One hour later we actually made it into the hotel (seriously, there is a major parking problem at the Luxor). That morning we slept in (yea, no kids) checked out at 11:00, and went out for a late breakfast at Denny's. We had a very nice time and maybe it wasn't the Bahamas but it was still pretty awesome. These last ten years have been crazy, but I wouldn't trade them for anything. And unlike some sad couples who after this long feel like their drifting away from there spouse, Kent and I have never been closer and I am very excited to see how the next ten are going to turn out.

New Years eve fun

So, this new years we did not plan very much. My parent's and most of our friends were out of town so we planned a quiet night just us and the kids. Instead of partying all night we decided to have a little fun during the afternoon. We took the girls to go hiking in Red Rock Mountains located just west of the city. The girls had a lot of fun running around and checking out animal foot prints. It reminded me of Bullfrog with the red rocks, and we even saw a little cotton tail that looked just like the ones all around our house there. I wish my camera wasn't broken! I learned I am out of shape. Kent made fun of me because we climbed up to a small overlook, and my butt was killing me the next day. Definitely time to start working out again. That night we rented Prince Caspian of Narnia for the girls. We watched it all together and ate Aurora's favorite dinner of shells and cheese (fancied up a bit for me and Kent's benefit). The girl's went to bed around ten and we stayed up and watched everything on t.v. while curled up in our nice warm bed. All in all, a very nice New Year's eve.

05 January, 2009

Sledding Christmas 2008

Christmas Break fun

So we had lots of fun this break. Unfortunately, the week before the break, a little boy I babysit broke my camera so I don't have a lot of pictures, but I will tell you about it instead. When we moved here it was right at the beginning of the summer, and as all of you who live here are aware, it is killer hot during the summer so we did not do very much. Well, we made up for it this last couple weeks.
The first weekend of the break we went to check out Lake Mead and we walked across the Hoover Dam. I wasn't sure what the kids would think, but they loved it and had a lot fun.
The Monday before Christmas we went sledding up Mt. Charleston with my brother Brandon and his daughter Lizzy, my Brother Josh, and my sister Melissa. The snow that the valley got was long gone by that time, but the mountain is 7,000 feet up and has plenty of snow (there is even a small ski resort). I thought we would drive the hour to get there, get to play in the snow for 15 min. and then the kids would be freezing and want to go home, but they had a blast. We bought three small sleds and took turns pulling the kids up a hill and dropping them. Amazingly we did not have one single catastrophe. The kids laughed and played for more then an hour. I found out that sledding isn't good when your ribs are still healing. Grandma Walton thought ahead and sent us with hot water and cocoa for hot chocolate when we were all done. Thanks to my brother I do have some pics of this.