Sorry- no pictures still. I don't think we can fix our camera. Blogging isn't as much fun without pictures.
So... for anyone interested in job charts for kids or working out an allowance system, I found a great program, called Active Allowance (www.activeallowance.com). With a free membership, you can use their templates to create "to-do lists" for kids, and I like their format. Their lists are customizable, but the idea is that there are sections for morning and evening duties (jobs, but also things like brushing teeth), and I added a section for attitude. Kids earn points by completing the tasks. We set a minimum number of points per week, and will give a small allowance for any extra points earned. I think only Hannah is interested in extra work and this point, but it helps me remember what I need the kids to do, and Hannah really likes having our expectations outlined. We're only on our second week, so it isn't quite a habit yet, but I really like it so far.
Rachel can write her name! Apparently Christian has been working with her. On Sunday, he told her the letters to spell her name and without seeing the letters (and I've never seen her write any letters but R, A, and O), she wrote her whole name! Its so exciting for me to see her meeting these milestones, especially when it seems like she has to work so much harder to reach them (and she's catching up to her age-group).
I had a question about her school. She goes to an afternoon pre-school with about 5 other girls with various degrees of hearing impairment. It is a "total communication" class, which means that they use sign language, as well as talking with the kids and using speech therapy. Every day the kids get one-on-one speech time with the teacher and get pulled out with a speech therapist twice a week. The teachers are very experienced, and I can already see Rachel growing so much. She loves going to school! They do a great storytime with sign and sound, as well as repetitive activities--things like reinforcing how to ask and answer questions, how to retell stories, skills that Rachel really needs. If only getting to and from school wasn't such a pain.... I'm nearly ready to put her on the bus, at least one way, even though it takes an hour and she will have to switch buses once. It seems like too much for a little kid, but otherwise, the other kids are in the van for two hours each day.
That's pretty much it for us. Christian has some big trips coming up, so we expect he'll be gone a lot over the next few months, off to places like Italy, Texas, China, and maybe India again. We'll see. I'm working on getting better at this semi-single parenthood.