Friday, February 19, 2016

Birthday Weekend

Kai turned 12 last weekend. Hard to believe we have only one more year until he becomes a teenager.

We had a full weekend of celebration, starting on Friday evening when his grandparents and aunt and uncle visited.

An evening with family, cake, and birthday presents was great, but it was only the start of the celebration.

This year, we wanted to do something s little special. And so the next day, we started on a little staycation by driving out to Schaumburg, a suburb about 45 minutes away. We stayed at a hotel for the 3-day weekend, where Kai could use the swimming pool and we could go on some fun outings out there.

We had plans to have dinner that first night at a Brazilian steakhouse, but I had gotten sick and we figured it would be a waste to go that night. Instead, we ordered in Chicago-style deep dish pizza to our hotel room and watched a movie.

The next day, we went to a Legoland Discovery Center. Kai's getting a little on the older side for this place, but he still enjoyed seeing all of the Lego creations.

And he especially enjoyed seeing the 3D movies there.

I was feeling pretty miserable and could not wait to get back to the hotel to crash for a a couple of hours. Kai relaxed on the iPad and then my wife took him to the swimming pool again. We also had a little Valentine's celebration.

And then it was time to go to Medieval Times!

For those not familiar, Medieval Times is a live show that stages battles between knights on horseback as the audience cheers while enjoying dinner.

A snowstorm had started so we were very glad to have stayed in a hotel that was only a few minutes away. It would have been a nightmare trying to drive there from home through all that snow. We got there in plenty of time to have our celebration photo taken.

We had great seats, right in the center and up pretty close.

The show had a lot of action - I kind of liken it to a medieval WWF - and Kai really enjoyed it.

The knights and horses were very talented and they made it fun.

The food was surprisingly good, too. Here were are enjoying dragon's blood soup, which tastes just like tomato soup.

All of the food was eaten by hand; there were no utensils.

Afterward we drove back and enjoyed our final night in the hotel.

The next day, we drove home. Kai got to open the rest of his birthday presents and then Mom took him to a movie and then to Dave & Busters. I went to bed, finally getting a chance to rest.

Kai enjoyed his entire birthday weekend.

The next day, he went back to school.

And got sent home with a fever.

He got sick. My wife got sick.

It's been a long week, but we are very happy that Kai enjoyed his birthday celebration.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Wise Thoughts From a Departing Teacher

Kai's classroom had a farewell party for a staff member who was leaving to take a job in the corporate sector. She gave Kai a 3d puzzle chest as a goodbye gift, and wrote a very nice note to him...

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Progress at School

Three weeks ago, there was one more incident at school between Kai and the same boy who was involved in the previous incident that I had written about before. This last incident sent Kai to the school nurse, and afterward all parties agreed that it was time to separate the two boys into different classrooms.

Since then, Kai has had the two best weeks of school so far this school year.

He has been noticeably less stressed about going to school, and his performance in class reflects that. He has been able to focus on his classwork without distractions, and has had only relatively minor issues. His point sheet scores have been the highest since he started middle school.

The other day, though, we heard from one of the classroom staff that he was stressing out. The school would be having their first semester awards ceremony the next day, and Kai was worried that he would be the only student to not receive an award. He used inappropriate language to initially express his anxiety. The staff used the occasion to have a great discussion. They told the kids that not all students will get an award and there will be more students who do not get one than those who do. The other students suggested to Kai that he could be happy for those who get an award and try harder for the 2nd semester. We reinforced those sentiments to Kai at home.

The next day he came home from school with good news - he had received an award! - High Honors for completing all of his homework and doing well in academics. He said he was the only one in his class to receive this particular award.

And so, after several rocky months, things have taken a definite turn for the better. Keep up the good work, Kai!

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