Friday, March 7, 2014

Mark's Birthday

Yesterday was Mark's birthday.  I am so thankful for my man!   Simply put, he's awesome.  He is loyal, intelligent, hardworking, opinionated, a spiritual leader, and can make me laugh harder than anyone else.  Not to mention he puts up with my spunk and crazy ideas!  Oh, and how could I forget?  He's got the looks to boot! :) 

We spent his special day with the kids and his parents at the most magical place on earth--Disneyland! The lines weren't too long and the weather was perfect--we had a blast.  Here are some photos from the day:

Pre-Disneyland presents.  Ruslana got him a football, baseballs,
and made him some drink coasters. 
We made it to Disneyland!
Outside of Soarin' over California 
Levi soarin' outside the ride waiting for his big sister 
Climbing in the treehouse  
Made it to the top
Levi hanging with grandma and grandpa while we climbed
Having fun with grandpa
outside of Indiana Jones
Don't worry, L got to go on some rides too.  Here he is on the Haunted House.
He didn't make a peep and was wide eyed.  To the buggy next to us,
sorry for the flash photography, I couldn't help it.        
Pirates of the Caribbean

Splash Mountain
Best. Picture. Ever. 
In case you wanted a close up, here you go.
Don't let this look fool you, she said it was
her favorite ride of the day.
Post tidal wave.
Levi was hiding behind me in the fetal position.
                                                                   Just kidding.                                                                     
Wet but happy
Isn't he ridiculously cute?
Mr. Toads Wild Ride.
What I picture reality to look like
when she starts driving
The Carousel
Heading home
What a fun way to celebrate my hubby's special day.  Happy Birthday baby, I love you!   

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ruslana: The Responsible Student

Ruslana didn't start school until she was 8 years old.  She says they told her "she couldn't talk good" so they delayed her schooling (makes a lot of sense, huh?).  Thus, she only had two years of Ukrainian schooling before she came home to America.   I thought it might take a long time for her to catch up having both a new language to learn and such minimal schooling in her past.  But boy has she proven us wrong!  This girl is as smart as a whip.  It's taken a lot of patience and perseverance, but the hard work is beginning to pay off.  It's so exciting to see her blossom.

By the end of the school year, 4th grade students are supposed to have earned 125 reading points. Reading points are gained by correctly answering reading comprehension questions following the completion of a book.  While some students, who have lived in America their whole life, currently have about 20 or 30 points, Ruslana already has 119!  She's only 6 points away from the year end goal and has several months left in the school year.  Considering she's only been learning English for 11 months, I am blown away at her reading skills, particularly her ability to comprehend what she is reading.

Math is Ruslana's favorite subject and she really enjoys and thrives in something called Accelerated Math.  She currently has 100 objectives, surpassing the class average of 65.  Keep in mind, when she first came home she was still learning addition and subtraction!

Another recent accomplishment is her score on the SRI, a comprehensive test students take 4 times a year. When she first got here, she scored a 0.  Then she took it again and got 102.  Last week she took it for the third time and got 306!  She's tripled her score in mere months.  Wow!!

Needless to say, we are proud of her.  She's been working hard and her scores are reflecting it.  I was thrilled when I learned that Ruslana was the recipient of the Responsible Student Award.  We found out before the ceremony, but we kept it a secret so that she would be surprised when her name was called. Last Wednesday was the ceremony and she was so excited when she got the award!

And like any star, her fan club was in the audience cheering her on:

She also got an additional award for having over 100 reading points (and got a sweet hat as a reward):
We are so proud of our beautiful daughter and thank God for her progress and growth over these past 11 months home.