Wednesday, August 16, 2017

First day of High School

Oh my goodness!  Where did the summer go?  Where has time gone in general?  My baby started High School today!  Princess Bear (PB) started high school today.  I'm so not ready for this although she seems to think she is!  We had to have an IEP meeting last week to change the track that PB is enrolled in.  Previously we had followed the advice we were given and signed PB up for a life skills program.  She wouldn't have received a diploma at the end of her four years but I wasn't hung up on that.  PB will never hold any kind of job where that will make a difference.  Then a few weeks ago PB and I met her 8th grade teacher for coffee.  She then told me that she didn't think PB was in the right program.  She thought PB should be in something called Core.  That is a diploma program but the classes are a bit slower than regular high school classes.  I called PBs new coordinator and asked for her opinion.  She thought that having a meeting with the school psychologist, the life skills teacher and her counselor would be a good idea.  At that meeting I was told that PBs reading and comprehension skills scores are 20 points higher than what you would typically see in a life skills program.  Her math and science skills are lower but it was still decided that it would be easier for her to go down to an easier level if Core didn't work for her than it would be to work into a harder level if life skills was too easy. 

We also had to write an appeal to get PB into the school she's going to.  We'd been promised that she was going to go to Richwoods with her classmates.  This group of kids have been together since they were 3 years old.  Then part way through last year they tried telling us that there was a comparable program at our home school (based on boundaries).  The school they wanted to send her to is a gang infested cesspool.  My child was not going to go there.  Our boundary waiver request was granted which is completely awesome.  There is just one significant downside.  There is no air conditioning in this school that PB is at and they don't have to follow the IEP to put it in since she could go to her home school that is air conditioned.  We bought enough small desk sized fans that PB can keep a fan in each classroom as well as a ton of cooling clothes.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that its enough.

I am the first to admit that I was a nervous wreck at just the prospect of PB starting high school.  PB was overall pretty excited.  She even picked to have her braces bands be her new school colors.  I spend a lot of the summer talking to her about choosing her friends wisely and letting her know that her fellow students can be idiots and to just ignore them.  I'm sure that the entire year won't be this smooth but today went really well!  PB graduated with 5 other kids in her schools special ed program last May.  5 of the 6 kids, PB included are in the Core program.  She has at least 1 class with every one of her classmates.  She also made a new friend.  She can't remember his name.  She thinks its Travis but she's going to find out for sure tomorrow.  Anyway this kid is her new pal.  They have 3 classes together, the same lunch period and their lockers are next to one another!  She came bopping out of school with a hug smile on her face and was excited about the whole experience.  I'm thrilled for her! Now I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this year is relatively smooth sailing! 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Graduation????

Wow!  I can't believe I haven't been on here in more than 2 months!  I know that I've mentioned before that summertime is super busy for us and this year has been no exception.  Princess Bear (PB) has Camp Creativity at Michael's on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  She has swimming lessons on Tuesday and Thursday.  Youth group on Sunday nights and Bible study on Wednesday nights.  There's also 4H and she was a crew leader at Vacation Bible school this year.  She loved that!  I volunteered in the nursery at VBS...let's just say it was interesting!

The thing is that I didn't come here to do a state of the summer address.  I wanted to share a slide show from PB's graduation and award ceremony.  So without further ado.....



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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

End of the year hussle

Why is it that the end of the school year seems so chaotic nowadays?  I remember when I was in school that the last few weeks were kind of chill and fun.  Wrapping things up and getting the school ready to be closed up for the summer.  It seems like things have been in serious crunch time with Princess Bear (PB).  Lots of end of the year testing, finishing up IEP goals,  finishing AR books so that the total number of books read for the year looks good and a few projects to boot.  

Now I will say that I had a lot of fun working with PB on her last social studies project.  It's always kind of irritated me that the kids were allowed to throw together any kind of accompanying poster for the project and it was good enough.  I'm a scrapbooker at heart so it kind of pained me to see a picture printed off, sloppily cut and slapped down.  For her last social studies project PB had to base  it off of her birthday.  Her birthday is June 11, 2003.  So she had to have her birthday on there, as well as a famous person born on her birthday and then 3 domestic things and 3 global things that happened on June 11 (2003 wasn't a prerequisite for those).  They started to research the project at school.  PB turned in a list of 5 things claiming she couldn't find another that happened on June 11.  Her teacher had supposedly read through it and ok it.  One small problem.  Two of the events weren't even for June 11th!!!! wtf!  So I helped PB do some more research and find the appropriate amount of events.  Then we got to take a trip to Michaels.  PB lives by the theory of the more it sparkles the better it is.  She decided on a gold and white theme.  We went slightly crazy buying stuff but had a grand time!  I then typed up the wording for the poster board and PB cut out the card stock that we were using as frames.  I really wish I had a picture of it.  The kid did a great job cutting and then putting everything together.  I think now that she realizes that she can have some fun on her projects that she won't go back to the print and slap on method. 

PB also had her last choir concert.  PB loves choir and has an amazing voice.  She really lets go singing when she things no one can hear her!  It's just beautiful and she obviously didn't get it from me.  Unfortunately the wonderful choir teacher from last year retired.  She was actually going to give PB lessons but wound up traveling a lot with her husband.  She did a wonderful job of incorporating the special needs kids into the Flyer Choir which is the 7th and 8th grade choir.  She gave the special needs students all the same opportunities as the other children.  They were allowed to go on the special field trips to sing in the community and they were able to enter the grade school choir competition for the entire district.  Last year PB gave serious thought to entering the district wide competition and the choir director at the time offered to meet with her after school to get ready.  Then PB decided that she just wasn't ready to get up on stage and sing by herself so she decided to wait until her 8th grade year.  Well the man that took over as the choir director this year constantly shortchanged the special needs kids.  He would only let them perform with the 5th and 6th grade choir.  That meant that they were not allowed to go on community singing trips or enter the district wide competition.  I was less that happy with the choir director all year.  Then last week at the last concert of the year he somehow decided that the 5th and 6th grade students as well as the special needs students didn't need to have their names printed in the program.  The 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade band and orchestra members were listed.  The 7th and 8th grade Flyer Choir members were listed.  The entire back side of the program was blank and could have been used to list the other kids but nope.  I saw one mom try to talk to the choir director before the concert and he blew her off and said it could be discussed after the concert.  After the concert my sister tried talking to him.  She actually started out pretty polite.  That is until he doubled down and maintained he did nothing wrong and was a complete jerk.  After that my sister unloaded on him.  I so wish I could have done it myself but since I'm still fighting to get PB into a better high school I'm trying to not rock the boat.  I did however bring up the situation to the PTA president who was horrified.  She's one of those ladies that gets things done so I'm sure it won't happen again.

There's also a book fair at the school every fall and spring and the librarian always asks me to help.  I couldn't help at the fall book fair because I was in the hospital post hysterectomy.  The librarian is a super nice lady and I love helping out.  PB and I are both book works so it gives me a chance to scope out new books for PB.  The sad part is that we have to watch the kids because inevitably some of the "fun" items like erasers, bracelets and bookmarks are always stolen.  How sad and ridiculous is that????  Working at the book fair this year I met a really awesome lady named Tracy.  Have you ever met someone and just been like this is a kindred spirit?  Since I don't have a lot of PB free time friendships are somewhat hard to maintain so it was kind of cool to meet someone that I could chill and talk to.

The fight to get PB into the high school that she had been promised for the last 3.5 years is ramping up.  The school waiver forms had to be filled out this past Friday by 4pm.  The only available option to get PB into Richwoods (the school she'd been promised) is to have her be in Junior ROTC.  Well that can't happen but I was told to still fill out the form and use the one blank space to explain the situation.  So I did that.  I also had my letters for the Director of Special Education as well as the Academic Instructional Officer (why he needs to be in the loop I have no idea but that is what I was told to do) and in addition to my letter I had letters from her pediatrician and therapist stating that it is essential for PBs mental well being that she be allowed to continue on with the same group of students she's been with since preschool.  I tried delivering the letters in person.  After waiting for more than an hour I was told that neither person was in the building and I could leave the letters.  I was so pissed off.  I damn near had a panic attack just dropping off the letters.  I was less than happy to be screwed around.  It takes more than an hour to figure out that people are out of the building?  Please. 

So that has been life around here.  Well that as well as learning that I'm allergic to a lot of stuff but that's going to be its very own post.  I'm going to sign off and watch the season finales of Scorpion and NCIS.  Night y'all!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Not dead yet

There's been more and none of the above list was in chronological order.  I can honestly say that I missed the blog and blogging as well as checking in with those whose blogs I follow.  I can also say that the break was very necessary.  My mom breaking her foot at the holidays really threw a wrench in things but we survived it quite well.  Adopting a puppy (she was 10 weeks old when we brought her home) was quite the change.  The last time we'd had a puppy I was in high school and got a puppy as my 16th birthday gift.  There is something to be said for having one dog to train the new one!  My cousins death really threw me for a loop for so many reasons.  He was 4 years younger than I am and had been healthy before this whole nightmare started.  He was incredibly full of life and the father of 3 young children.  It was so very hard to see my Aunt, Uncle and cousins go through this horrible ordeal. 

Through all of this Mason has been absolutely incredible.  The man can drive me absolutely crazy inside 3 seconds but he is always there for me.  He's even kind of talked me into moving to Colorado at some point in time.  There was no way that I could be ok with the idea of living in California and for reasons that I'm not really sure I understand he doesn't want to consider Illinois.  He really wants to go back to Colorado.  I can't say I hate the idea.  I just wish the town he wanted to go to was bigger.   I'm a city girl at heart.  I want to be close to a city and that isn't going to happen if/when this move takes place. 

I could probably babble on for awhile longer but it's 1:40am and I have an early Dr's appointment.  I just needed to get a post under the proverbial belt so I can get back into the swing of things. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Where blogs go to....what?

I gave my blog list a bit of a clean up.  It has to be done occasionally.  Maybe I've lost interest in a blog.  Perhaps the blogger isn't posting anymore.  That's the one that kind of intrigues me.  Why haven't they posted?  Are they just taking a break?  Did the get sick of blogging and just say screw it?  Did some unforeseen circumstances happen?  Did they pass away?  I know I'm weird but these are the things I ponder every single time I do a clean up to my blog list. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

What is it about birthdays?

For quite awhile I was the one who had birthdays from hell.  I have some friends that are completely convinced that it's a goal for my mom to see if she can make me cry on my birthday.  I really don't understand it but there is some validity to the idea.  Perhaps karma paid a visit.  If so it was not at all what I expected.  The whole family is still very upset about having to give Addi back to the rescue.  After I blogged last night I tried reading and watching some TV but I was too upset and had an awful headache.  I heard my mom crying in the family room and went in to talk to her.  This was around 2:30am or 3am.  We were watching TV and pondering things and generally being a mess.  Around 3:30am I heard Princess Bear (PB) wake up and a few minutes later she wondered her way into the family room.  It turned into a slumber party in the family room.  I was able to get PB back to sleep about 4:30am but I was up another hour.  I really don't do well with a significant lack of sleep.  My mom & I discussed the fact that getting up for 9am mass was a bad idea.  I turned off the alarm on my phone before I did fall out.  Unfortunately someone had set the alarm in the family room.  I did convince PB that she needed to go back to sleep.  Next thing I know it's 9:20am and my mom is waking us up so PB can go to Sunday school.  I was over before I started today.

After Sunday school we had to meet my sister, brother in law, nephews and my uncle for lunch.  It's my Mom's birthday today.  Not a "major" birthday but my mom wanted everyone together.  All in all, considering how sideways some of our family gatherings go, it was a pleasant lunch.  My sister and I got along....a complete rarity.  My uncle behaved himself....also a very odd occurrence.  I'd definitely give it a thumbs up for family get togethers.

While we were in the restaurant winter that had been making it's first gentle appearance of the year started to get feisty.  In the matter of about 4 or 5 hours today we got 4.5" of snow.  My car has been living on the street for the past 2 months.  A week before my surgery we hauled some stuff out of our attic and it wound up parked on the 1/2 of the garage I use.  It hasn't been too bad until last week.  Then it started being a very chilly prospect to start the car in the morning.  It also didn't matter since I was on a no driving restriction until this past Tuesday.  As the day went on I was getting less and less thrilled about unburying the car from 4.5" of snow.  I've never ever missed a winter in Illinois since I was born.  I should be used to it.  Quite frankly have such a significant and long Indian summer spoiled me.  I also am of the theory that it takes some time to acclimate yourself back into winter.  This afternoon we cleaned up in the garage some.  We needed to find a box of winter clothes my mom had placed somewhere and I'd already dug through the laundry and the depths of her closet to make sure it wasn't hidden somewhere in the house.  No such luck.  So off PB, my dad & I went to the garage.  My dad and PB went to the attic and loft shelf to access the attic respectively.  I was in the garage trying to hand boxes up to them and schlepping some boxes of clothes they found in the attic into the house to see if they were the clothes my mom was seeking.  There is just one small problem with this plan.  I'm still on all the restrictions from surgery.  No lifting more than 8 pounds.  Don't pick anything up off the floor and it's also pretty painful to reach up high.  Yeah...I am hurting bad tonight.  My mom got all pissed at me and started muttering about if I had hurt and/or reversed some of the work the Dr. did on my bladder.  It's never a good sign when she's talking to herself. 

One of the things that has happened throughout the day is that my mom would start thinking about Addi, get up and start crying.  PB doesn't do very well with fighting or crying.  Thankfully there was no fighting today but there was plenty of crying.  After PB went to bed my mom was talking about how much her birthday sucked. I pointed out that other than the Addi aspect and being sad it wasn't that bad.  the kids all got along at lunch, my sister and I got along and my uncle behaved.  Not a bad outcome at all.  Tonight before I went to sleep I gave her a hug, wished her a happy crappy birthday and hoped the next wouldn't suck as much.  She laughed.  I've always used humor and was glad it worked this time.  I know that being upset about Addi will get better.  I know that worrying about Addi will lessen.  Right now though this part of the journey flipping sucks. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Addi

Today (12/3/16) so did not go the way I thought it would or wanted.  Mid morning my parents were out running errands and Addi & I were chilling on the recliner watching some Duck Dynasty.  My mom called to say that our vet called.  The vet and our trainer Bob talked about some of Addi's aggression issues.  While Bob had been telling us all along that Addi was a trainable dog and we'd be able to work through her aggression issues after he consulted with our vet it was  decided that it was just not a good situation for her to stay in our house.  The big concern was if she went after Princess Bear (PB) or my nephews.  If she was willing to try to go after my Dad like she did the other day and he's 6' and 285lbs there was no reason to think she wouldn't go after a child.  The first solution Bob came up with was to relinquish her to a no kill shelter.  The shelter he had in mind was a shelter that he works with weekly.  He takes dogs from the shelter to the prison and the prisoners train the dogs.  My mom and I were OK with that solution.  We hated that she wouldn't be with us but under the idea of wanting the best thing for her could handle this solution.  There were a few calls from our vet while he was explaining what the process was.  You have to love a vet that is taking time from his precious time off to try to help a family.  I was on the phone with the vet and our house phone rang.  It was the woman who worked for the rescue we adopted Addi from and had fostered her.  Now to be honest I can't say I was a fan of this lady.  While I respect anyone that rescues dogs we had a few problems with this woman.  When we adopted Addi she came to us with a raging staph infection around her spay incision (she had been spayed 5 days before we adopted her).  Now I didn't notice the staph infection while we were at the adoption event.  I actually didn't notice it until that night.  When things settled down I was petting her and said something to my mom.  My parents had an appointment with the vet for 5 days later.  How do you not notice a staph infection on a dog near their incision site?  Weren't you caring for her incision?!!?  The next thing that gave me pause was the fact that this lady had the paperwork for Addi's microchip.  That is something we definitely needed so it could be transferred to our names.  She promised to send the information to us.  It took 3 or 4 phone calls from me and over a month before we received the paper work.  Seriously?  So I was not a big fan of this woman.  So there she is calling us telling us that we can't relinquish Addi to the no kill shelter but we have to turn her back over to the rescue.  Initially I was pissed as hell.  I didn't care for this woman or have a lot of faith or trust in her.  At first she talked to my Dad and there was no other option than to turn her back over to them.  My parents asked that I do the information call with the volunteer so I did that.  I gave the woman every little bit of info from the fact that she was terrified of storms, hated the vacuum, loved chasing bubbles, her future need for surgery and everything else.  It was a long, draining call.  The volunteer lived about a 1/2 hour away and said it would take her a bit to get ready.  We went about packing up EVERYTHING of Addi's from her shirts, jackets, all her toys, her treats, elk antler chew, pillow for her kennel, a new bubble gun so she can chase bubbles and her meds.  While we were waiting my mom sent my dad to the store to buy a new bag of her food.  We didn't want her to be any more stressed than she was already bound to be and then have to acclimate to a new food immediately.  All in all it took the woman over 2 hours to get here.  2 hours of my mom, PB and I crying because we were so upset.  2 hours of trying to get as much cuddle time as possible in with Addi.  The woman that is going to foster Addi is a trainer so Addi is going to get some really intense training.  In addition our trainer Bob agreed to continue working with Addi.  We did ask if it was at all possible that we be given the chance to readopt Addi.  The volunteer also offered to give us periodic updates on how Addi was doing.  I made copies of the paperwork so there is some record of our intentions hoping to readopt her (we wrote it on there).  I then said to hell with my surgery restrictions and picked up my 42 pound baby and placed her in the kennel for her trip.

In so many ways this is so much more painful than losing a dog to  death.  There is always going to be a part of us worrying about her.  There is a sense of failure that despite everything we did, obedience school, private trainer, etc, that we couldn't get her to work past the aggression issues.  Addi is the 8th dog I've owned in my life and the first that didn't die of old age.

I can also go into the fact that the volunteer seemed surprised when we mentioned not only a trainer but obedience school.  She was actually a bit snarky.  I suppose that there are times people adopt animals and just say screw it and give them back.  That is not something my family or I would ever do.  I suppose that some people when adopting a dog and then finding out that the dog had some health issues and needed surgery would say screw it and give her back.  Again, not something we would do.  That is part and parcel of pet ownership.  Below are some pics I took of my baby and a video of her chasing bubbles when PB broke out the bubble gun at home.


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