Friday, August 24, 2018

First Day of 2nd Grade

First of all....if you haven't noticed, I haven't had the time to blog much lately. How is it possible that we are more busy with kids in school than we were when we had toddler quads? Lol! But the truth is that I'm still very much on social media, sharing ridiculous stories about my kids, and micro-blogging the quadruplet life. haha! You just have to know where to look to find our crazy stories in real time!

Pop over to Instagram, and follow our page ABeautifulRuckus! I drop the occasional giveaway over there too. 

Our Instastories are always entertaining, and you can click on some of the photos in our main feed for some quad stories as well. In fact, I recommend starting with this one about the boys asking about "cutting the fur on their legs" that I posted on Sunday! lol! 

I'll still certainly be around over here as well, but for all of the fun, in-the-moment stuff, Instagram is the place to be!

With that being said....on to today's post!

The first day of 2nd grade arrived last week, and I'm going to be the parent who admits that it came none too soon for our family. I knew we were about due when the week before school I heard:

*stomp, stomp, stomp. door SLAM*
"I need my SPACE!!!!"

yelled by one of my lovely little hooligans. She had experienced quite enough summer, and the kids close proximity to each other was starting to wear on all of them (and me. Who am I kidding? lol!)

I love my munchkins, but this family thrives on routine and stability! So back to school we gratefully go!

I have such high hopes for Caleb in 2nd grade! Usually our fall semesteris a bit rough with getting our little guy with autism acclimated to a new routine. This year he has a new main room teacher, a new resource (special needs) teacher, and a new resource para. It's a lot of new for a kiddo who needs plenty of notice for changes and as much familiarity as possible.

But as of the writing of this post, we are a full week (plus 2 days!) into the new school year, and I haven't been called one time about him. I'm trying not to count my chickens before they hatch, but I feel like this year is going to be easier on all of us as he moves through 2nd grade. Both of his teachers and his para seem to be very nice and understanding. I was especially delighted to find out that his resource teacher has a master's degree in special education with an emphasis in autism (if I'm remembering correctly). We are so very grateful for every teacher, the school administration, and the school staff who all individually look out for our Caleb. Even the school custodian has taken a special liking to Caleb and allows him to help with a few things here and there if Caleb needs a movement break.

Every special needs mom who reads this will know in her heart what I'm talking about when I say that it absolutely fills me up when people are kind, understanding, and make space for Caleb to be himself while still pushing him to meet his highest potential.

Last year was a bit of a doozy with Abby. Do you know how some people have that "fight or flight" thing when their anxiety kicks up? Well, Abby has high anxiety....and she definitely prefers the flight thing. There were a couple of times last year at school when she got spooked and ran without thinking. School staff caught her exiting the front door of the building twice. I asked her where she was planning on going once she made it out, and she had no idea. She just knew she needed to run.

As her Mom, I was like...!!!!

Our school was so great though. The school staff developed a route for her if she needed to run so that she would run to one particular teacher in a safe room. They also let the school staff nearest the front doors know when she was nervous so that they could keep an eye out for her. We were also able to get a 504 plan in place for her with her 1st grade teacher's help. All of that to say, we really felt like the school was all about getting Abby back into a place where she could successfully make it through the day...inside the building.

Why mention all of that? Because her 1st grade teacher was moved to 2nd grade this year. She requested that Abby be assigned to her 2nd grade classroom so that she could have a great year with as low anxiety as possible. I loooove her teacher. Truly the sweetest lady. And due to her foresight and willingness to take Abby (and Elijah) on again, Abby has had the smoothest start to school ever. No anxiety. None. She feels completely safe and secure knowing she is going back to the same classroom and the same teacher each day, just as she did for 1st grade. We are so grateful!

Elijah and Abby are paired together in a classroom for a third year in a row (because four different classrooms is too many!). We always ask to have these two paired together because they both have personalities that don't necessarily try to control another sibling. They are our more laid back kids which lends itself well to them maintaining their independence even while being in the same room.

Elijah also has the same teacher as he did in first grade, and we feel like we owe her a subscription to a monthly bottle of wine club. haha! Elijah is such a smart little dude, but he talks and moves non-stop. Non-stop. So many questions. So many soliloquies. So many words. All.the.time. His teacher was brilliant last year, and finally gave him a notebook to write all of this thoughts and questions in during the day, and then she would check it before dismissal to see what all he needed to say to her. Like I said, this teacher is amazing! And I definitely see that notebook coming back for a second year.

Elijah's two greatest passions right now are anything related to science and books by Roald Dahl. He absolutely loves school and can't wait to go back every day.

Ellie is paired up with Caleb again this year. Why those two together? Because they both like to be in charge and control the we know that they won't be able to control each other. Yep, that's our logic. And so far, it's working!

Ellie is a little social butterfly, but is already dealing with some mean friends at school this year. We are repeatedly reminding her that kindness is always the right choice, she doesn't have to put up with a mean friend, and that we become who we hang out with. It's hard for us not to be able to control the friend situation since we aren't there with her, but hopefully some of our advice on making good friend choices will settle into her head. She is such a kind, sweet girl, but unfortunately, I can tell that there will probably be a few hard knocks coming her way this year in the friend department. We are praying that she latches on to kind friends who will encourage and include her.

Ellie and Caleb's teacher seems to be really good, and has already been very responsive to emails that I've sent. Honestly, if there is one thing that our school does's hire really outstanding educators.

Every year is an adventure with these four! Two years ago, we moved to a new school district to try to get our kids into a better education setting. God has really blessed our family by getting us into a good spot where we have teachers, school administration, and school staff who all love our family and want to see our kids successful. We are hopeful that this year bring much growth for all 4 of them.

Want to see the kids' back to school photos through the years? I couldn't believe how much they've changed when I was clicking through previous back to school posts!

First Day of 1st Grade

First Day of Kindergarten
First Day of Preschool (2015)
First Day of Preschool (2014)
First Day of Preschool (2013)

Friday, March 9, 2018

Two Weeks Later: Happy 7th Birthday!

Two weeks to the day later....Happy birthday to our 7-year-olds!

One of my favorite things to do is to click back year-by-year and see how much the kids have grown and changed. For anyone who wants to see their age progression (and so that I can easily look back in later years), here they are at age 6, age 5, age 4, age 3, age 2, and age 1. The thing that strikes me so much in looking at their photo this year is how little "baby" they have left in their faces. Even last year, there was still some left. But this year? Ack! I think we are definitely in the kid-phase no matter how much I wish I could freeze some of those early baby days.

It just goes too fast, you know?

Their 7th birthday didn't come without drama though. Abby has been dealing with a lot of anxiety lately, and it just became too overwhelming for her on their birthday weekend. I think it was the intangible change of turning 7 and not knowing what to do with it or how to handle it that put her over the edge. It was a rough couple of days with many tears to the point where she made herself throw up, she was so nervous. Next year, I'm going to try not to play up the birthday thing so much. Maybe it will go better for her. Thankfully, once the weekend ended, she adapted to her new age (I guess?) and life is better.

For the record, Caleb was also nervous about turning 7....but only because he was afraid of doing more "chores". Keep in mind that their chores have mainly consisted of putting their dirty underwear in the laundry basket, taking their dishes to the sink after meals, and picking up their toys. He is currently one of my "responsible humans in training."

Elijah and Ellie rolled with it and thought it was grand! :)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

7th Birthday Interview: Elizabeth Grace

Little Ellie!

 Elizabeth Grace

So much personality packed into such a tiny little girl....tonight at dinner, she turned to us and announced that she was "born serious." Lol!! Serious, yes, but also an absolute riot! She has a strong sense of justice, a determination to be the best at what she tackles, and a love of reading chapter books, along with a hilarious personality that fills the room when she speaks up. Ellie's focus on always improving herself will be so helpful in her future. We know there are big things in front of her!

How old are you? "Six, and I'm going to turn seven!"
What makes you happy? "Unicorns"
What is your favorite animal? "Tigers" 
What is your favorite color? "Red"
What is your favorite thing to eat? "Pizza...Pepperoni Pizza" 
What is your least favorite thing to eat? "Spinach" 
What is your favorite thing to do? "Play on my tablet"

What is your favorite TV show? "Calico Critters" (this lady plays with toys on YouTube...and my kids love it. I don't get it...)
What is your favorite movie? "Frozen"
What are you really good at? "Playing Data Stream on my tablet" (it's a game on ABC Mouse)
What is your favorite song? "Cups" by Anna Kendrick from the Pitch Perfect soundtrack
What do you and your mom do together? "Go grocery shopping" 

What do you and your dad do together? "Trivia Crack"
What is your favorite book? "Actually....I don't have a favorite book?"

What is your favorite toy? "My stuffed animals" 
What do you want to be when you grow up? "There are a lot of things that I want to be. I haven't decided yet. I'm probably going to be a vet. If not, then probably an artist with [my friend] McKinley."

Sunday, February 18, 2018

7th Birthday Interview: Elijah James

Elijah is our Baby C! He *loves* being asked his birthday questions!

 Elijah James

Just looking at the difference between Elijah's birthday photo last year and his birthday photo this year...I realize how much he has changed and grown up on me. So many of his baby features have given way to this big boy look. I'm sure his new glasses (as of 6 months ago) are contributing to that! Elijah is a very tenderhearted kiddo who cares about what others think and if he is hitting the benchmark for everything. He worries often about his school work and making his teacher happy, so we are working hard on helping him be okay with where he is at....since he actually does quite well in school! His biggest struggle is just sitting still and knowing when to listen. He talks nonstop. Literally. Nonstop. So many questions and constant movement. It is exhausting. Our sweet boy doesn't realize it though, so Sean and I are refining our patience right now. haha! Elijah is all about science, all the time, and we love seeing his interests starting to bloom in a direction that makes him happy!

How old are you? "Six" (only for a few more days!)
What makes you happy? "Playing with Dad"
What is your favorite animal? "Monkeys, dogs, and science animals" 
What is your favorite color? "Green and orange"
What is your favorite thing to eat? "Italian pasta and Mexican food, which you should know already." 
What is your least favorite thing to eat? "Zucchini" 
What is your favorite thing to do? "Play Trivia Crack or Words with Friends with Daddy"

What is your favorite TV show? "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Jimmy Neutron" 
What is your favorite movie? "Winnie the Pooh and The Musical Too, and Cars 1, 2, and 3" 
What are you really good at? "Somersaults"
What is your favorite song? "Jack Johnson songs"
What do you and your mom do together? "Cook"
What do you and your dad do together? "Play Trivia Crack and Words with Friends" 
What is your favorite book? "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"

What is your favorite toy? "Baby Jingle, my stuffed animal, and my microscope" 
What do you want to be when you grow up? "Paleontologist"

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

7th Birthday Interview: Abigail Rose

Up 2nd....Our Abby! 

 Abigail Rose

Abby is consistently our most grateful child. It doesn't matter what the situation is or how much she wants something, she will always say "thank you" and express her genuine appreciation for what she is given even if it's not quite what she wants. It's really encouraging to talk to her on days when it feels like none of the other kids care about what we are doing for them. Parents, you know what I'm talking about here. :)  Abby works super hard in school to please her teacher and absolutely loves her friends. She feels the highs and lows of life deeply, and that comes through in dancing and in tears depending on the day and the situation. Abby is one of the most precious, loving souls and always ready to give a hug to anyone who might need one.

How old are you? "Six turning seven"
What makes you happy? "Unicorns!" 
What is your favorite animal? "Unicorns!" 
What is your favorite color? "Pink!"
What is your favorite thing to eat? "Waffles, even pancakes"
What is your least favorite thing to eat? "Spinach" (she is super picky)
What is your favorite thing to do? "Skip. Play Dragon Master. Jump Rope." (Dragon Master is a book she is reading at school)
What is your favorite TV show? "Calico Critters" (this lady plays with toys on YouTube...and my kids love it. I don't get it...)
What is your favorite movie? "Moana"
What are you really good at? "Hula Hooping!" Do you know how to hula hoop?? " I just want to say that!"
What is your favorite song? "How Far I'll Go" from Moana
What do you and your mom do together? "Eat cake together"
What do you and your dad do together? "Drink kombucha!"
What is your favorite book? "Fancy Nancy: Apples Galore" 

What is your favorite toy? "Moana barbie"
What do you want to be when you grow up? "A princess!"

Monday, February 12, 2018

7th Birthday Interview: Caleb Sean

Time for our birthday interviews! I'm a bit late getting started this year, so I'm going to have to post one every few days to get through all four kids by the time their birthday rolls around!

 Caleb Sean
Caleb is doing so well these days! While he still gets several therapies at school, he has settled into a rhythm and is transitioning from activity to activity much better than at the beginning of the school year. He reads incredibly well, although any written assignments can cause some stress and frustration as it's definitely at the bottom of his preferred activities list. One of his best talents is having a super sharp memory which means that he can recall details, sections of historical speeches, and songs weeks after he hears them. At the same time, he doesn't talk nearly as much as his brother, but when he does, it's usually pretty well thought out and direct. Thankfully he has become good at letting us know what he needs, so there isn't nearly as much guessing now when he starts to struggle (he thrives on schedules, structure, and predictable days!) As a sibling, he most certainly has an ornery streak, and has clearly spent the last few years figuring out exactly which buttons to push when it comes to his brother and sisters. He can be both the most concerned kid for another sibling's welfare and push them to the edge all in the same 5 minutes. Sometimes it's hard to keep a straight face because his sense of humor is hilarious!

How old are you? "Six" (for two more weeks!)
What makes you happy? "My BB8 headphones" (He wears headphones to block extra noise.)
What is your favorite animal? "Lions, foxes, and cats."
What is your favorite color? "All of them."
What is your favorite thing to eat? "Pancakes, waffles, mashed potatoes, tacos, burritos, hash browns, fries, chicken nuggets, and chicken tenders." 
What is your least favorite thing to eat? "Sweet potatoes and hash browns that are not in a fry shape."
What is your favorite thing to do? "Learn some good tricks and get fit."
What is your favorite TV show? "Miles from Tomorrowland and Sonic Boom."
What is your favorite movie? "Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Big Hero 6, Planes: Fire and Rescue, Cars."
What are you really good at? "Fitness tricks like stretch out."
What is your favorite song? "The Trolls Soundtrack....Hair Up."
What do you and your mom do together? "Have some fun and get a goodnight's rest"
What do you and your dad do together? "Rest and wrestle" 
What is your favorite book? "A Fancy Day in Room 1-A. It's Fancy Nancy."
What do you want to be when you grow up? "I don't know what I want to be...I just want to be a hero."
What is your favorite toy? "My puppy named 'Blue' and all my other stuffed animals."

For fun, here is Caleb dancing to the "Hair Up!" song!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Our Christmas Family Recap: So long 2017, Hello 2018!

I'm still of the old-fashioned sort to enjoy sending out Christmas greetings via snail mail. Nothing is quite like opening the mailbox to find a newsletter and a photo, in my opinion. Receiving them is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season, so I figure others might like it to? I don't know. No one has thrown the card back at me yet. haha! But because we have so many more friends than I can possibly get a card to, I thought I'd post our Christmas newsletter here as well.

We hope each of you had a very Merry Christmas and are enjoying a New Year filled with blessings!

-- Rebecca

(Special thanks to Elijah's preschool teacher, Ms. Brittany, for taking the photos in this post! When we make a friend, we try to keep them around for life!)

A Very Merry Christmas to our Friends and Family!

I’m starting to realize that maybe a Christmas newsletter is a bit old fashioned in our high-tech age, but hey…I’m okay with bucking the current trends. Christmas cards have always been a favorite part of the holiday season for me, so I’ll keep the tradition alive as long as I can!

Elijah, Abby, Ellie, and Caleb

The Kids!
The kids are 6-years-old now, and it’s hard to believe how fast the time is going. Just today, we were watching videos of them as babies, and reminiscing about the 32 bottles that we used to go through every day….and now our kids are in 1st grade!

Caleb had a few rough days this fall with adjusting to new teachers, a new schedule, and new expectations at school, but he seems to have hit his stride. Both of his teachers (regular and special needs) are such a good fit. They are patient but expect great things out of him, so they set the bar where he needs to reach for it. Even the school staff are working with Caleb this year by allowing him to go up to the front office to help with shredding paper one sheet at a time (white noise) or opening the door for visitors when he needs a break. Caleb definitely thrives on having “jobs” to do, and the whole staff seem to love and want to see him be successful. We are beyond thankful for his team at school. Caleb’s favorite things are Legos, Star Wars, Lego Star Wars, and teaching his invisible students at home how to do life. We just roll with it.

Abby has also had a bit of a rough time this fall, and was diagnosed with anxiety, social/emotional delays, and sensory integration disorder about a month ago. We are in the process of getting a 504 Educational Plan set up for her at school which will give her some accommodations to make it easier for her to function well. Thankfully, she has the best possible teacher to help her navigate life at school. Her teacher is beyond patient with her but pushes her to do hard things and give her best effort. We are very grateful for her calming, grounding influence in Abby’s life. Abby is still 110% girly girl and positively squeals with delight over dresses, glitter, unicorns, Moana, and the idea that one day she will be a princess who is a doctor. We are hoping that Prince George doesn’t mind an older woman when he comes of age.

Elijah is doing so well in school! He still gets speech therapy, but other than that he is entirely in his main classroom. Despite his speech delay, he talks non-stop. Literally, non-stop. We joke that he will be a politician, auctioneer, or motivational speaker as an adult, because he clocks so many words that it’s impossible to keep up. Little man has a lot to share with the world, that’s for sure! Elijah’s current obsession is all things science, and he is determined to be a paleontologist when he grows up (a perfect mashup of his love of dinosaurs and science). We love that he has such big aspirations! In his free time, he is always asking for paper so that he can create art and he enjoys writing his thoughts in his notebook (which we also appreciate).

Ellie is our sweet little spit-fire who is always bouncing around and making sure things happen on schedule and in the right way. She is the natural leader amongst her siblings even though she is our runt. Ellie is doing very well in school, and her teacher’s only issue with her so far has been Ellie’s tendency to socialize during the wrong part of the day. She loves her friends, loves school, loves reading chapter books, and loves pretend play.

Abby, Ellie, Rebecca, Sean, Elijah, and Caleb

The Parents!
In January, Sean switched departments at Sprint, and started a new career path in IT. He now works on…something. I’m actually still a little fuzzy on what he does, but it has something to do with supporting the website that people go through to apply for jobs at Sprint. He has been with Sprint now for 19 years, and has enjoyed the new challenge of IT. An extra bonus is that he gets to work from home two days a week, which gives us more family time since he isn’t commuting every day.

I am almost four years into teaching wellness and non-toxic solutions withYoung Living Essential Oils. Sean works the business with me on the evenings and weekends, and even the kids have gotten to the point where they pitch in and help as well! This year, we started off by winning an all-expense paid Caribbean Cruise that was charted just for Young Living members. It was amazing and most definitely one of the highlights of our married life! We also earned a promotion and were able to travel more for conferences and to teach classes. Young Living keeps us super busy, but we consider ourselves blessed to get to help thousands of people in the process. We love having this be a family affair as we get to enjoy more travel and freedom than we ever imagined possible a few short years ago. The best part of all is that our medically fragile babies have turned into very healthy 6-year-olds, and Sean and I are much healthier as well.

Each year makes us more and more grateful for the people in our lives who have helped us get to where we are today. Thank you so much for being part of the tribe of people who have prayed for our family and cheered us on as we raise our kids!

We hope your family has a very Merry Christmas!
Sean and Rebecca Ishum
Caleb, Abby, Elijah, and Ellie (age 6)

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