Leigha and the Triplets

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Signing Time in Vegas!

It was a whirlwind visit, but it was absolutely amazing! Rachel Coleman, of Signing Time!, was in town for a huge Signing Time! event. In addition to Rachel, I was finally able to meet some extraordinary women that I have talked to online or on the phone, but have never met in person. I had a lot of fun hanging out for a short while on Thursday night, but my kids made it known that it was past their bedtime. Noah found the safe in the closet, which he managed to open, and was not thrilled when I told them it was time to go home and wasn't shy about showing it. I was absolutely MORTIFIED! Noah has always been my big teddy bear.

A little over a month ago I found out that Rachel graciously offered to reward my school with a performance on Friday morning. In the fall I received a $1000 grant from the Junior League of Las Vegas to purchase several sets of the entire Signing Time collection. In January, our Sign Language club sold hot chocolate to help raise money to send Alex, Leah, and Rachel to Ghana, Africa. I was completely stunned to hear that she would do two extra performances for us.

On Friday morning, Rachel had a live interview on one of our local stations and then she headed directly to our school. I was a nervous wreck. I had dreams (nightmares) that the sound system wasn't going to work, something would go wrong, etc. We had some local news show up for our first performance. I can't wait to see it when it airs! The kids LOVED the shows. I was very pleased to find that the teachers really enjoyed it.

Originally my principal was supposed to introduce Rachel, but she ended up having a huge IEP meeting that was going to be taking place over 3 hours. She said it was up to me or my Assistant Principal. I was all ready to do it, but he said he would do it. After the first show all of the girls urged me to go ahead and introduce Rachel for the second show. I wish I had just done it both shows, as I knew more about what was really going on. Tonya did get proof that I didn't wimp out of one of them!

I think the best part of the morning was when one particular student was able to shine. There is this one of the student in the Autism class that is a HUGE Signing Time fan. When he found out that I have the alphabet and number charts on my classroom walls, he would find excuses to use the restroom so he could run down to my room. I talked with his teacher and started loaning her DVDs to use as a reward with him. It's hard to tell how the students will react to loud performances, but this student was a star, literally! He was picked to help sign a song and he just beamed. This was probably the best day of his entire year. He had everyone in hysterics afterwards, as he was offering to sign autographs now that he was famous.

I had taken the day off of work so that I could focus on helping Rachel, Tonya, LeeAnn, and Lindsey out wherever needed. After the two assemblies I grabbed lunch with the girls and then headed back to the school to finish putting away the equipment and counting out the Signing Time! cards for all of the teachers. While I was gone I received a request to help teach the 2nd grade three of the songs so that they could perform them in a play. Needless to say, I was thrilled! I saw two teachers practicing a few signs in the hall.

Leigha was excited to learn that she could leave school early. I had to take her home with me so we could get the boys ready to head over and meet everyone at a park. While everyone was busy doing other things, Lindsey was a saint and taught my kids how to build forts with sticks. Normally I would cringe at the thought of my boys playing in the dirt, but they were having so much fun. It did keep them out of the sand box though. We weren't headed home anytime soon and I didn't want to hear hours of complaints about the sand in their shoes. Lindsey is not a mom yet, but she will be a GREAT mom when she does have children. My kids LOVED her! Instead of wandering off and getting into trouble (like normal), Robert kept walking around to get sticks for Lindsey.

When it was time to get the boys to sign a little, it was not as successful as I would have liked. If I had one signing in the front, the one in the back would have his fingers in his nose. It's nothing I am not used to, I think they do it just to see how frustrated Mom can get. I didn't let them win, I knew that they weren't feeling wonderful and they had been playing for an hour. Noah was breathing pretty hard and wasn't in the mood to do anything.

By the time we got dinner, we arrived at the amphitheater a little later than we had planned on, so the line was already moving in. This year we were a little bit off in the corner, so not the best view for pictures. The performance was wonderful! It was amazing to look around the field and see all of the kids and their parents signing.

I was thrilled to meet something that I have been chatting with on Signing Time! for quite awhile. Donna and her children flew in just for this event. Now that's a fan!!

My aunt was able to join us again. She was a definite trooper that day. She showed up to my school in the morning and stayed for both performances. Thankfully she was taking pictures when I wasn't. She then came back to my house and helped me take the kids to the park. I actually left her there with the kids while I ran Aaron, Rachel, and Lindsey to the amphitheater. My mom couldn't believe I left her there with the kids by herself. It wasn't like I wasn't coming back--although that was tempting!

I am a bit disappointed in myself. I tried to video some of the songs like I did the year before. It's not that easy when you are trying to keep the boys from getting to Hopkins and Rachel. I wish I had just left the video camera at home and just enjoyed the show with the boys a little more. I would see them start to wander off, out of the corner of my eye, and grab a shirt if that's all I could reach. Not my best parenting moment. Hopefully I will learn my lesson next time.

When we arrived to the theater, Noah was not doing well at all. You know it's bad when he won't eat a french fry. After about 30 minutes of lying down, he finally started to come to. The french fries and chicken nuggets started disappearing, and the smile on his face started coming back. Considering we had been outside all afternoon and evening, they really did great. Matthew was a perfect angel. Leigha liked to wander around, but never too far away. Robert was even pretty good, other than trying to go over where Leigha was. My aunt did have to take Noah away for a few minutes because he was having a meltdown because he wanted to go to the stage. They are three, this won't last forever, right!?

Thanks to Aaron, Leigha got a chance to go up and sign scared! I thought she did a pretty good job!

Unfortunately, we weren't able to stay for the meet and greet. We were all in need of some rest. I figured that we had spent all day with everyone, so it wasn't as hard to leave. However, do you think I took one picture of Rachel with my kids? No. Do you think I got pictures of Tonya, LeeAnn, and Lindsey? No. I failed in the photography area this time. I have pictures of kids from my school with Rachel- why didn't I think to grab Leigha?! You know what's better than pictures? Memories--and we all have a lot of wonderful memories from that day.

Thank you Rachel, Lindsey, LeeAnn, and Tonya for making that day wonderful. We all enjoyed the work that you put into the three shows. You all are AMAZING! I can't wait to see you guys again.

I thought I would end this post with an amazing video of Rachel, Leah, and Alex's trip to Ghana, Africa.


Stacey said...

What a great time you guys had. I felt as if I was there reading your account of the day. Your school is probably still buzzing about Rachel and crew. How terrfic for your sign language club. Great Job!!!!

Suzanne said...

OMG, Cathy, I am so jealous!

Thanks for sharing with us! It looks like you all had a great day!

And congrats, to you too!

The Dunns said...

What great fun! My "Signing Time" boys would have loved that!

You have a beautiful family. You must be an amazing mom!