Monday, July 21, 2008

One Last Weekend at the Beach...

Lola and I decided we wanted to take a long weekend vacation before I went back to work and she went back to summer camp. She wanted it to be just her and I and we decided to go to Hilton Head.

The day we left it was raining, and when we got to Hilton Head Island it was raining - - no, wait, let me rephrase that - - it was raining a TORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR. I have only seen rain that dense and fast twice before. It was the kind of rain that fills the streets and the water has nowhere to go within the first three minutes of the rain starting. Unbelievable.

We had made reservations in advance at the Motel 6, which I felt was ok for us since we would only be in the room to eat and sleep. Our room was equipped with a kitchen so we could save money by cooking our own meals rather than spend it at various restaurants. During the downpour we checked in, got our key and raced to the car to keep from getting too wet (this was after we tried waiting it out for ten minutes and we did get quite soaked anyway). We walked in the room and to be honest, I was a bit shocked at the level of cleanliness (or lack thereof) in the room. Ok, it was FILTHY! Lola and I looked at the bathroom and it was clean, but the kitchen didn't look too great. The carpet, I would guess, was older than I am and was totally devoid of discernible color. The color was UGH-LY. I was looking in the kitchen and picked up the coffee pot and a small brown cockroach leaped out of the water still standing in the pot and raced for cover to some invisible crack in the countertop. That did it for me. Thankfully we hadn't even brought our stuff in from the car yet so Lola and I locked the room and went back through the still heavy rain to the motel office to see if they had an upgraded room. Unfortunately, the other three rooms they showed us were just as disgusting. I wish I had the aforethought to take photographs of the room to post here. I have been to many Motel 6's in my life and the ones I went to were always plain and basic, but very clean and comfy. Was it just this particular location, or have they all gone to filth? Just curious.

Before we turned in our keys to the office and beg for a refund, we drove next door to the Red Roof Inn. WOW, a little more expensive, but we decided a two-room suite would be just fine since we were going to be eating there and who knows what the weather would be like! We called the Motel 6 HQ, explained the situation and were assured we would be refunded with no problem. Then we booked three nights at the Red Roof Inn.

Driving back to the Motel 6 to return the keys and request a refund was easy, knowing we had a clean room waiting for us next door with a king bed, coffee maker, fridge and microwave (I could make do with that for cooking meals) and a pool.

Fortunately, the remainder of the weekend had quite nice weather, but with small intermittent showers. But we got lots of sun, lots of pool time and beach time, and even did a round of miniature golf. It was quite relaxing, really. Just what we needed before I return to work and Lola begins summer camp.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Where has the summer gone???

Wow, it has been a long time since my last post. Sorry about that. Lola and I have been keeping busy with studying math, going swimming, learning more English and just having fun.

Latest update on the CRCT - after 4 weeks of studying and actually understanding most of her mathematics, we both felt she was quite equipped to re-take the test, and successfully so. As we drove to the school on the day of her test she looked at me and said "Mom, my tummy hurts. I feel sick." I just thought it was a bit of nerves about taking the test and that she would be fine once she got to the school and saw her ESOL teacher (whom she loves, and luckily the same teacher that would be giving her the re-take of the test).

She took the test, and afterward she told me she was cold and when I felt her forehead and hands she WAS cold - - and clammy. I thought that was quite odd since I had been in the building for about 30 minutes and I wasn't cold at all....

She said she was not sure how she did on the test but we were both happy it was over.

After talking with her a day or so later I learned that she was stressed so much about the test that she was experiencing sweaty palms, an upset stomach and a feeling of being smothered. I was beginning to understand. I asked her if that was the first time she ever felt that way and she said "Oh, no, Mom - - I had it all the time in Russia when I had to take a test."

Test anxiety. Eeeeek.

I never had it - - - I have no idea what it feels like. I know from reading about it that it stops even the best of students dead in their tracks. When I was in school I attacked tests with a mixture of excitement and determination, much like the feeling I have when I ride the roller coasters at Six Flags, knowing the ride will be wonderful and satisfying. Tests were a pleasant challenge to me. I guess different people channel the apprehension of test-taking in different ways. I was one of those people who jumped on it and Lola is one of those people who want to run from it.

The results of the test were recently made known to me and even though her score improved, again Lola missed I have to attend a conference at the school with her guidance counselor, her teachers and some representatives from the middle school. It will be there that her fate will be determined - - - will she go on to the 6th grade or will she be retained in the 5th grade?

How strange that I experience that same feeling of sweaty palms and upset stomach and I'm not even going to take a test!!

I only want what is best for her. She and I have discussed that re-doing the 5th grade would not be a bad thing. It may actually help her get more comfortable with what she needs to catch up on. We are taking action to assist her in fighting her fears. She is well aware of the importance of being more at ease with taking a test. She is happy to have help in Math and extra tutoring if that will help her comfort level and confidence enough not to freak when she's being tested. She is already signed up for Saturday school through the Russian-American Federation and she will be taking mathematics and Russian grammar / literature classes. In addition, she said she would be happy to go to Kumon for tutoring.

She is a wonderful child and every day I am so proud of her.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Fireworks and Six Flags

Lola and Scooter (I can't believe Scooter winked!)
July 4th we (Chris, Kimmi, Lola and I) trekked down to Lenox Square for the annual fireworks. We had a nice picnic of Subway turkey sandwiches, Sun Chips and water, as well as the game of UNO and Lola's new MP3 to make the wait less boring. We camped up on the top floor of the Atlanta Financial Center parking lot and had a wonderful view!! The fireworks began at 9:40 and it was fabulous!! It seems every year there is some new technique used to make even more spectacular patterns!

Lola and Kimmi waiting for the fireworks to begin

Last Saturday Lola and I met Boris and his parents for a fun time seeing the movie Wall-E (it is a very good movie and hilarious! It is not hard to imagine our society becoming much like the humans in the movie) then off to Fuddrucker's for hamburgers and video games. Boris has a birthday coming up at the end of this month and we have been invited to his party at Sports-a-Rama.

Lola and Boris concentrating on their driving skills at Fuddrucker's

Trying to get both kids to smile and not make goofy faces

Yesterday Lola and I went to Six Flags here in Atlanta. She had been wanting to go for quite some time and we had free tickets so yesterday was the day. The first ride we went on was the Georgia Scorcher. WOW!! I loved it, she was scared, but at the end of the ride she said "Can we go again???? I want MORE!!!" Since the wait in line was close to nothing, we went again. Before the day was over we had taken in about 10 rides. Not bad for only having been there for about 4 hours!! Next time we will spend the whole day there...

This upcoming weekend we are going to Hilton Head for a bit of relaxation before Lola goes to summer camp and I go back to work. I would so LOVE to be a mom who works from home. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.