Zach’s School History

On Thursday I was able to meet with Zach’s teacher Mrs. Money who happened to be his teacher last year.  She had only good things to say about him.  His reading is on Grade Level.

He is really good at math.

He did a great report on Peacocks which he chose to do a Power point on.  I asked him why he chose to do a Peacock and not a lion and he said it was because he wanted to know why they had beautiful feathers.

There are still things to improve on, like his Fine Motor Skills.  And recently he has taken up the habit of being restless.  We will work with him on that one:)

I am going to take you on a journey of Zach’s school history, to let you know that this positive Parent Teacher Conference is a BIG DEAL!!!!!!

He began Speech Therapy at the age of two.  He was not saying a lot of words and he worked with a lovely lady named Gayle. She worked with him for about a year.  They had a rough start, but grew to really enjoy each other:)  Her end result is that the only reason he was not speaking was because he did not want to.

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For the next two years he went into Mrs. Sherry Martin’s class twice a week for 1/2 an hour each time.  He still was needing to progress, and there was a time that she thought he had a discipline problem…That was a bad day, it actually was on Friday the 13th when that discipline talk happened:)

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The day I heard about Zach’s discipline problem was also on the day when we went to Holland, MI.

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I also taught pre-school with some of buddies when he was four, which was a lot of fun as well:)

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We left Sherry Martin’s class with a lot of fond memories, but still an IEP to take with him Young Fives.

 

Then Zach turned five, and Young Fives changed from half day to a full day.  This was a hard time for me, because I was not ready for Zach to go to school for a full day.  But I also knew that he needed something to help him with his schooling. So I decided to put him into Young Fives, and it was the best decision.  Zach was able to make some really good friends which he still talks about.  His teacher was amazing, and Zach loved going to school.  During this time he went to Speech Therapy, and almost graduated from it, the key word is almost…

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The bus came to our house to pick up Zach, I sent Timmy out because we were not doing the bus this year. I couldn’t handle any more change!

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The First Day of School for Young Fives.

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There was a huge rainstorm on Zach’s first day, I thought it was a sign from the heavens he should not go. The look on Zach’s face is so serious and a little nervous.

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This was how we walked home from school. We were quite the team!

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Timmy would sometimes walk Zach to school, Zach loved that!

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Ms. Kristy was such a wonderful teacher for Zach, we are so grateful for her!

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Then we moved to Canada and everything changed.  Zach was now six and when you are in Canada you go to Grade one, and not Kindergarten.  I thought that I could just change the whole School System, and that they would allow Zach to go to Kindergarten, because number 1, he never took Kindergarten, and number 2 he had an IEP, and was not ready for this big step.  Zach at this point did not recognize all of the letters of the alphabet, and could barely write!

On the First day of School Zach said that all the kids could write words, and he did not even know how to write an S.  I thought for sure the School Board would see that he needed Kindergarten and would let him take Kindergarten.  But the School Board was immovable.

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So, Zach and I began a year long journey to get him up to the level of First Grade.  Every day after school we would work for an hour and half on reading, writing, and arithmetic.  I would write to Mrs. Money everyday in his take home assignment sheet and ask what we needed to work on next.  She was wonderful to work with and we are grateful she is his teacher again.

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He ended up going into a reading program in January 2014 to get him up to par with his classmates because he was reading at a D+ level.  He ended up graduating from the reading program at the end of April, and Zach was in tears because he loved that class so much.  He moved from a D+ from reading to a B+ within the next report card and he continues to thrive.  Talking with Mrs. Money she said that she has never had a student who progressed that quickly in reading.

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On the first day of school for Grade one. The same nervous face!

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I wish I could take all the credit, but it is not mine to take.  Zach was the one who wanted it.  Everyday he was ready to sit down and work at what he needed to work on.  I noticed that Zach is really inspired by his peers, he sees what they are doing, and wants to be at that level.  I guess he has a little competitive streak in him, who knew!

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Not only was he working hard, but he was also so brave, he took the bus to and from school, and went to a huge school that holds Grades Junior Kindergarten to Eighth Grade.

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Zach continues to show this never give up attitude in all he does.  Just this past week in swimming, (He has been in Swimmer 2 three times and counting) they told him to jump in the deep end, tread 30 seconds, then swim to the other side of the pool.  He did it, although he did not do any of the strokes they wanted him to do, but he made it.  As I saw him struggling through the water, all I could see was his courage, strength, willingness, and grit.  And I thought, that is my Zach, he will get things done, no matter what.

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The beginning of Grade two.

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The inseparable duo!

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So when I got home from the Parent Teacher Conference this past Thursday, I was in a daze, so much can happen in a year.  He went from an IEP to no IEP.  He went from hardly knowing the alphabet to reading and being able to write.  He went from not being able to write any of the numbers to being able to solve word problems and have a gift in math.

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All I can say is three cheers for Zach HIP HIP HOORAY, HIP HIP HOORAY, HIP HIP HOORAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Family Home Evening – An evening of Triumph and Terror

Every Monday we hold Family Home Evening:  This is How it usually goes:

Grant Conducts the meeting.  Even if we are on a rotating chart, he insists on Conducting the meeting:

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Prayer is usually Mommy or Daddy because by this time during the day, the boys have felt they said enough prayers.

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The Song is always by Bennett, no matter how hard we try to get someone else to do it.  He rises to the occasion and wants us to sing Bob the Builder, Hotwheels song, or Jack and the Neverland Pirates.  The only righteous song he chooses is “I Often Go Walking”  How he conducts the song is that he runs around the room while singing.

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The Scripture is the Articles of Faith, we are trying to memorize them.  Zach is doing a great job!

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The Lesson is usually by Daddy, because Mommy is tired by this point of the day, and Daddy arrived home just an hour ago, and has a full head of steam and patience, which is super key!

We usually do not have an activity because we feel like their life is an activity and it would extend Family Home Evening another hour or so, and bedtime has already come and gone.

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WE NEVER MISS THE SNACK, EVER.  My boys think that the Snack is the only part of Family Home Evening we need to do.

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Our most successful Family Home Evening has been Fire Safety.

Our least successful Family Home Evening is…it is hard to choose.

But we keep on doing it anyway, even though most of the time it ends up like this!

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I have a Pirate for a Son

Bennett began this obsession with Pirates last Christmas.  It was love at first sight.  This is his sweet cousin.  We went to a Childrens museum with the Johnsons, and Bennett saw the skull and crossbones, and has not forgotten about the Pirates.

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He loves Jake and the Neverland Pirates, He is Jake of course.  I am Izzy, Timmy is Cubby, James is Skully, Zach is Captain Hook and Grant is Peter Pan.

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I don’t remember the last time he has called me mom, I am his Izzy.

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He carries his sword everywhere with him, and when someone else tries to be a pirate, there is trouble!

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We could play Jake and the Neverland Pirates, for a LONG TIME, and it never gets old for him.

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He sleeps in his Pirate Costume.

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Wears this amazing get up whenever he can, this is not on Halloween, this is a regular day out on the town.   I have since hid the suit:)

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He often looks through his Spy Glass.

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In order for him to receive the Bucky ship, he needed to have zero potty accidents for 10 days.  He finally achieved the beloved Bucky after two months of potty training:)

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He has been known to shout “Ahoy Matey’s” in Sacrament meeting at church.

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And reminds everyone that his name is Jake.  Beware if you call him his real name, Bennett, he will tell you his name is Jake Steel Johnson.

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I have no idea how long this stage will last.  Timmy is worried that he is going down a slippery slope because Jake loves his Skull and Crossbones.  But we shall see how long this phase will last, it has been almost a year.

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And to tell you the truth, it will be a sad day when he is done with his Pirate phase.  Because then that means he is growing up, and who wants that?

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The Six Month Miracle!

Jamesy Boy, I have a confession to make…Newborn stage is not my favorite. I have really tried to enjoy it with each gift/baby boy I have been given.DSC_0409

And if it makes you feel any better. I have enjoyed your newborn stage more than the other brothers:)

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This time it was a little more difficult for me after you were born than after your other brothers were born.

There were times I forgot to eat and started getting dizzy.  I was tired and my eye sight was going a little wild.  I was trying to protect your from your brothers, who LOVED you so much.  And my body seemed to be telling me that I was not as young as I used to be, and was starting to rebel.

There were weddings to go to, reunions to see, people to meet during those six months.  Which added to your schedule being off a little bit, but let’s be honest there was no schedule:)  And it was worth it!

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You LOVED me, but a little bit too much.  You would not really go to anyone else…

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You spit up a lot, but I never needed to worry about your weight, thank goodness for that!

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Just when I thought that this is just how life was going to be, and the suck it up and go on as a martyr.

Six months arrived, and then the magic happened,

You started to SMILE

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You let your brothers by you. (Which you are still wondering about:))
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You finally realized what all your brothers realize eventually, that you have the best dad of all time. And a lot more fun than mom…No offense taken.
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You started eating solid foods.
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You could sit up and play with toys a little bit more.
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And the biggest reason of all, you let me have a decent nights rest.
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We are starting to have a schedule, which makes all the difference in the world.
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So those who have a newborn or soon will have an angel arriving.  Take heart, remember, six months is magical:)

And then you will forget these crazy moments…

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And just remember this:
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And this:

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I had a bad day!

Bedtime at our house is a little rough.  The boys don’t want to see the day end, and Timmy and I want them to go to bed SOOOO Badly.

This is also the time when the boys announce all their hopes and dreams in an attempt to extend the inevitable bed time hour.

Zach wanted to throw snowballs in the dark.  Jump on the bed, have several bedtime snacks…there were more requests that somehow got lost in translation.  The bottom line is that there were so many unfulfilled dreams.

But I want to remind you my sweet boy that you did play out in the snow for an hour, and then at night to see the pretty Christmas lights.

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We read you lots and lots of books throughout the day.

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You ate A LOT of food including your favorite chicken with bones and mashed potatoes.

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And NO you still cannot jump on the bed!

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So Zach it is hard to remember the good things of the day, when the last hour of your day was an attempt to calm you down enough to lay down on your bed, which unfortunately did not correlate with your hopes and dreams.

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BUT I want you to always remember that you are not a bad boy just because your actions were not stellar.  Just like I am not a bad mom, when I have my MOMENTS.

The thing is Zach we are learning together, and luckily we have tomorrow to begin anew.  A fresh day that will be wonderful, and probably end in tragedy again…

Just remember the good times, because life overall is good.  There is bad sprinkled in, but do not let it ruin what was and is good.

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And please remember that Mommy and Daddy will always love there little Zachy!

Even more so because you jumped on the bed:)

Love always,

Your mommy:)

My Angel – Grant

In the midst of all the boys, there is a calm presence. His name is Grant.
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I did not know that babies could be so quiet and even tempered. This temperament has continued with him.

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He is the one I can rely on to help me with James, in fact he is always wanting to make sure that James is all right.  He is the first to tell me if James is crying.

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When I ask him to do something he follows through with it, and often reminds me of all the promises I made him. Which is so unfortunate at times.

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He loves otter pops, and has 10 during the summer days, and at least one a day in the winter.

Whenever I start a project he helps me see it to the end.  Like making sugar cookies:)  And reminds me of appointments that I need to do because he thinks I forget everything.  When I punish him, he says you will forget you said that.  And he is right!

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You love Zach with all of your heart, and you two are inseparable. When Zach was invited to a party you cried for two hours because you just wanted to be with Zach. I wonder sometimes if you think you are the same age as Zach:)

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You and Bennett are working things out, and I know one day you will be best friends!

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You are the first of my boys to actually sit down and work on a worksheet for longer than five minutes. When you were three you put together a 100 piece puzzle of Power Rangers over and over again. You continue to amaze me!

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During Dinner time you are constantly on the go and have a hard time sitting down. You do have the best moves, and you are just working off what you are eating:)

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Traditions are a BIG Deal for you. If we did something festive last year for a holiday, you make sure it happens again. Your favorite thing to do is hide the Birthday Presents for others, and make sure we do the Circle of Love (That is everyone goes around the circle and says something nice about the Birthday guy or gal).

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You are right in the middle of things calling the shots.

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Another fun thing that has happened this year is that you actually tell me how your day was at school.  This has never happened in the Johnson family before, thank you for opening up!

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Oh Grant how we need you in this family. Thank you for being a part of our family, WE LOVE YOU!