Archive for August, 2012

School: Week One

Well, we survived the first week of school. It was an amazingly great week; but every week, of course, includes some Goods, some Bads, and some OMGs That’s Greats. Here’s our list!

Goods

no one getting any tardies

Chloe waking up to her alarm clock every morning

no one having homework on the first day of school

Elliot enjoying football practice until 5:00 everyday

everyone having their supplies

3 of Elliot’s teachers giving him candy on Thursday

Zippy’s school still serving chicken nuggets on Wednesday

no one’s eyeglasses getting broken (always seems to happen 1st week)

Bads

Zippy’s school not offering strawberry milk this year

Elliot getting lost in the 8th grade hall a couple of times

my not getting to Zippy’s school until 3:11 everyday

Elliot having homework 4 days this week

Zippy getting a cold

Thursday’s lunch choice at Zippy’s school being Chinese food

my not allowing Zippy to use a calculator for his math homework

Zippy’s bagel sandwich not having a top on it

mom going back to bed a couple of days, avoiding the stress of 1st week

Zippy’s cafeteria making the rolls smaller than last year (sensing a theme here?)

OMG, That’s Greats

Chloe having “a good day!” all 5 days

Elliot finally finding his locker

Chloe yelling out “globe” when the teacher pulled the globe out and asked the class what it was

Elliot getting bragged on by the coach for knowing the plays

Chloe eating some bites everyday at lunch

Chloe raising her hand to answer a question in social studies

a sweet friend picking Zippy up on Friday so he didn’t have to wait on me

Chloe getting the answer right in social studies

Zippy’s teacher calling him “Elliot” (he loved it!)

the whole family looking forward to a 3-day weekend ahead!!

Some Gifts!

Don’t look now, but I’m doing a Give-Away! yay! And not just one Give-Away, but 4 Give-Aways! (Wow, this is waaaayyyyyy out of my comfort zone so bear with me!)

Last weekend I had the privilege of attending Mamas Write in Arlington, TX. It was a full day of learning and being in encouraged for Christian Mom Bloggers. What a fun day! Not only was I inspired, encouraged, and challenged, but I also left there with a big ol bag of STUFF! (They call it swag. And it’s from organizations and businesses who want to sponsor the event and/or give free products and information to the attendees.) And I’ve decided to share some of what I got with YOU!

I decided that since I’ve sorta been non-existent for the last few months and consequently YOU have probably not been hanging around Our Ordinary Days much lately and consequently there haven’t been many comments lately, that maybe some FREE stuff would encourage a few comments this week so we can get reconnected or even connect for the first time.

So without further adieu, below is a peek at the goods. (I can’t get this page to layout correctly; forgive the look of it!)

Once a-day Devotional book for women

First is a daily devotional book for women. It looks great, and I think the cover is especially pretty and peaceful. Each day of the year has a short devotional with a scripture, a thought, and a prayer. I think you could read each day’s reading in 5 minutes or less. It is published by Zondervan and uses NIV (New International Version) for all the scriptures. If you’re interested in receiving this devotional book, you can just leave me a comment telling me why you might want it (probably pretty obvious answer, I guess) or some other interesting tidbit about devotionals and you. 🙂 I know from experience that some of you are comment-shy so if you’d rather message me on Our Ordinary Days facebook page, you can do that, too! I’ll pick a winner at random on Wednesday, September 5th before bed (around 10PM Texas time).

Hug-a-Bib

Next is a baby bib. It’s different than any baby bib I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a few in my time. It’s a Hug-a-Bib! You will want to visit their website to see what’s so special about their bibs, but here are the things that stood out to me: The bib is wider and longer than most bibs. The bibs are several layers thick, including one waterproof layer to protect the baby’s shirt from wetness. But the waterproof layer isn’t a yucky exposed plastic against the baby’s shirt, it’s one of the inside layers so the bib is soft against your baby. The bibs have an extra belt-like feature to fasten around the baby’s waist, holding the bib in place — that way it doesn’t bunch up around the baby’s neck or slip around sideways or backwards. Quite clever! And talk about clever, I love the saying on this bib: “I was worth the weight.” Cute. Maybe not the best quote for an adopted baby; however, I’m guessing just having a baby around and throwing our schedules off will cause any mama to overeat. 😉 If you want this bib, just leave me a comment (or yes, you can message me on facebook) telling me about your little one and why you want the bib. Again, I’ll pick a winner on Wednesday before bed.

Attack at the Arena book

Third is a children’s book! Yay! We love to read around here. This book is from Adventures in Odyssey/The Imagination Station and is called Attack at the Arena. I’ve never read it, but I’m sure it’s great stuff. It is a level 2 book and says it is recommended for ages 7 and up and is at a 2.3 grade level. If you’re unfamiliar with Adventures in Odyssey, visit their informative website. Same instructions as above as far as leaving me a comment about why you want it or messaging me on facebook. And same plan about when/how to pick a winner.

Candace Cameron Bure: Her Story cd

Lastly, I have a cd to give away. It is Candace Cameron Bure: Her Story. In case you don’t know (I didn’t), Candace played DJ on the TV show Full House way back when. This 50 minute cd tells her story about Hollywood life, growing up, and meeting God. Looks really sweet and might be appropriate to present at a lady’s group or lady’s event. And would be especially cool for a Full House fan. For more info or to see what little grown-up DJ is up to, visit her website. You know the drill by now about commenting, messaging, and picking a winner, right?

To make the whole picking-a-winner thing easier for me, please message or comment for each of the 4 items above that you want. For example, if you want all 4, then you will need to comment/message me 4 different times. Get it? I think that will work well.

Since this is my first Give-Away ever in the history of my blog, I have no idea if I’ve covered everything or not. Forgive me ahead of time if I’ve forgotten something, but it seems pretty clear and easy-cheesy to me. Good luck to you if you want to win.

I will announce the winner next week and get your mailing information at that time. And then I’ll be right back to exposing the life of my family: the good, the bad, the hilarious, the sweet, and the ugly!

I Remember …

Last week, we had 2 Chinese exchange students stay with us for 5 nights. (That’s a story for later — we really enjoyed it!) While they were here, they slept in Zippy’s room, and Zippy slept with me. Paul slept with us the first 2 nights, but he must have tired of it because he landed himself on the couch the other 3.

One night when Zippy was having a hard time going to sleep, I went in and laid with him. After a few minutes he reached up and touched my hair. He proceeded to run his fingers through my hair for a while.

It came flooding back to me. He used to play with my hair every day. Each morning (he woke up in the wee hours of morning every single day) he would come to bed with us and would play with my hair until he was back asleep. Several times during the day when we would snuggle or hug, his fingers automatically went to my hair. He played with my hair all of the time.

But what had happened? Why had he stopped? Had he grown out of the need for that calming, sensory, love experience? No. I now remembered that I (who am a little sensory-challenged, myself) went through a time when I couldn’t stand for him to touch my hair all of the time. (Please don’t judge me! It sounds terrible, doesn’t it?!) But I entered a season in which for some reason I couldn’t stand to be touched all of the time, and I remembered myself saying things like “not right now, Zippy,” and “don’t touch my face, Zippy,” and “oh, please don’t do that right now.” And lying here with Zippy, his hands in my hair, I knew that I had forced him to stop this amazingly sweet, loving touch with me.

And I loved the feeling of his hand in my hair.

He complained that my hair is a little too short (perhaps reason enough to grow it out again!), but we both enjoyed his playing with my hair.

“I remember that you always used to play with my hair,” I finally said to my now sleepy boy.

“Me, too,” he said.

I smiled that he remembered it. Maybe we could start this little habit up again after all.

“I miss it,” a sleepy Zippy said.

“Me, too,” I said back with a heart full of deep, deep affection for my boy.

Now a week has passed, and he hasn’t played with my hair every day. But he has done it several times. I will enjoy it when he does it, and I will really, really try to endure it even when it drives my sensory-self crazy. And we’ll just see how it goes. 😉

Back to School

We had a great summer! But as they say: All Good Things Must Come to an End.

We knew the end was coming, and we played hard right up to the end. What a great summer!

But yesterday, reality struck hard in our home, and I sent my 3 playmates back to school. Elliot to 8th grade at the same junior high he attended last year; Zippy to 6th grade in the same elementary school he’s attended since he was 3 years old; and Chloe to 4th grade at a new school.

Anxieties

Zippy is always anxious for the start of a new year, and this year was no different with behaviors surfacing the last couple of weeks of summer. But when it came right down to it on the day before school started and then the morning that school started, Zippy was thrilled and singing about starting school. What a welcome change and a relief! He skipped off happily to 6th grade yesterday.

Elliot is always nervous with new things, tying his tummy up in knots and practically breaking into a sweat as we approach the location. Yesterday was no different. He was nervous. But did great and was excited to start the year.

Chloe, for really the first time ever, was beside herself anxious about school this year. She cried and screamed like she was being tortured every time someone mentioned the word school. It was so sad and totally broke my heart and took me by surprise. I decided maybe it was her age — maybe she’s just old enough that she’s getting nervous about stuff. But a friend of mine quickly pointed out the fact that Chloe has had less-than-stellar school experiences at different times in the past, and it makes complete sense for her to be apprehensive and scared to absolute death of doing it again. “Great, Mom is dropping me off at some unfamiliar place again for me to fend for myself against people that don’t understand me and can’t even communicate with me!” It’s really pitiful if you think about it.

But I’m really excited about school for her this year. I’m cautious since we’ve been really hurt and let down before. But I’m so encouraged and so hopeful that this year is going to be a good one for Chloe. We have a new team that I’m really excited about. Everyone seems really focused on doing what’s right and doing what’s best and working toward Chloe’s success. What an amazing thing a great school year for her would be!

Experiences

The end of the First Day of School stories is that all three kids had a good day! Yay!

Zippy said it was a good day. He liked all 4 of his teachers. It was the “longest day ever of school! It seemed like 16 hours!” The pizza was good. The breakfast was not: it was a bagel egg sandwich with no top … No Top!! Recess was hot. And he was glad the day was done. “One day down, and 179 more to go!” he reported.

Elliot had a great day. He said he genuinely liked all of his teachers. Even though this was his 2nd year at this school, this was his first day in the 8th grade hall and he got lost. Finally after passing a friend 3 times in the hallway, she asked him why he was going in circles — and he hadn’t even realized he was going in circles! and at the end of Day One, he still had not located his locker even though he searched for it between each class! (I probably shouldn’t laugh so hard at these things, but I do!) Some ninth graders were mean and cussed at Elliot’s group of friends at lunch, but “a lot of ninth graders cuss.” And all “the sevies” were really, really tiny. I’m guessing you, like me, have no clue what a sevie is. Sevies are 7th graders. 🙂

And Chloe, the one I was so worried about all day, also had a good day. I had asked for a report at some point during the day. I got a call at 9:45 saying that Chloe had finally picked her head up off her desk. She was using her iPad talker to find a story to tell about her summer and was doing a lot better. The end of the day chat with her teacher revealed that Chloe even ate some lunch! Crazy awesome! My girl doesn’t eat unless things are good. (Of course, she was too upset to eat breakfast before school so maybe she was simply starved.) “The kids really like her,” the teacher reported. Several girls sat with her at recess. She was motivated by a sticker chart and did some work. She didn’t cry or scream out. Wow. Sounds like an amazing day!

Hopes

And here’s hoping the good days continue!

Chloe has a challenging year ahead of her, getting used to a new school, increasing levels of curriculum, learning to play cello or violin, and communicating with new friends and teachers.

Zippy, too, has a big year ahead. Sixth grade is a big deal. He will be expected to carry more responsibility as well as a huge step in academics and curriculum.

And Elliot is taking some tough courses this year. Each of his core classes are Pre-AP and/or GT; plus his elective is Mandarin Chinese again. He will be in the drum line in the top band at school.

It’s a lot of pressure, but I’m hoping they will all 3 not just survive but thrive and shine!

It feels good so far. Hope it continues!

And how about your kids? Back in school?

Proud to be Me!

While swimming recently, Meme told Zippy that his black curly hair was pretty. “The water drops in your curls look like diamonds in the sunlight!” she told him.

He thought the compliment was pretty swell! Diamonds in my curls! That’s awesome!

A little bit later, his usually-pale but presently very-sunburned cousin came to the pool. Everyone oohed and aahed about the painful looking sunburn.

Zippy said to everyone listening, “I’m glad I have dark skin so I don’t get a sunburn that bad!” And then he added, “And I’m glad I have black curls since it looks like I have diamonds in my hair!”

It’s wonderful to feel so great in your own skin and your own hair. And hopefully on the days that it doesn’t feel so great and he wonders why his skin and hair is different than his brother’s, he will remember the diamonds!

 

Walking, Walking

Well, we’ve started getting ready for school to start. This next week we will start going to bed earlier and waking up earlier. Zipppy has started reading a book that he needs to read for the first day of school. And Chloe has ramped up her walking.

During the summer, Chloe doesn’t use her walker much. For big trips she uses her wheelchair; for smaller trips she just walks and holds our hand. So each summer we have to purposely keep Chloe’s distance walking up so she will be able to do it the first day of school.

School is physically taxing for her, and if the walking from class to class wore her out, then she’d have nothing left for her academic work.

This summer, distance walking/exercise hasn’t been our priority. (Reading and communication and self-care have been.) And over the summer, Chloe’s hips and hamstrings have gotten tighter and tighter. Her body has been working against her somewhat as her feet and legs just don’t cooperate with her for the most part right now, and I think it’s painful for her to walk most days.

But since school is only 2 weeks away, it is time to get the girl back in shape!

When we went to the mall yesterday for our first day of mall walking, I expected some complaining and some tuckerin’ out. But Chloe was a champ! She walked twice the distance I thought she’d be able to and never complained and never asked to quit.

Today was day two of mall walking and she walked even farther. Yay! I’m so proud of her!

A side note of additional victory is the fact that she is able to function in the mall! It is loud! And there is lots to take in! It didn’t seem to bother her, and she enjoyed feeling the windows and seeing the sights.

Overall, I stand amazed! She never fails to surpass my expectations! 🙂

Recovering

I’m not sure if there’s even anyone still out there …. I haven’t posted in quite a while. I’ve been in a bit of a slump — in a hole — stuck.

In a nutshell, things continued to go poorly at school for Chloe. I became more and more convinced that we needed to take advantage of our and Chloe’s rights and seek legal representation. In April we officially filed Due Process against our school district. It was a difficult decision but one we prayed about and sought council (Christian and legal) on. We were set to be in Hearing this week, in fact. But in June, we settled with the district in Mediation.

It has been a very difficult year and a half. And a very difficult process of deciding to file Due Process. But we feel 100% that we did the right thing and would do it again in a heartbeat if needed.

Chloe is receiving services that weren’t offered to her before filing Due Process — services that we believe wouldn’t have been offered outside a settlement process. We are pleased with the outcome of our settlement with the district. We are very hopeful for the coming year. We are optimistically hopeful. We are praying and crossing our fingers and working our tails off to make this year a good one for her.

Knowing from my relationships with my readers that many of you struggle with school issues regarding your student who receives special education services, I just want to point out (incase you don’t know or incase you’ve forgotten or incase you’re scared or incase you didn’t really understand) that you and your child have the right to file Due Process when the district or school system isn’t following the law regarding your child. Filing Due Process is basically suing your school system — and you as an individual on your child’s behalf can do it. Please don’t hesitate to ask me questions about it in the comments section. If you want it to remain anonymous and not be published, just let me know and I won’t post it.

So that’s the main thing … is I want you to know that Due Process is your right. And our only regret is that we didn’t do it sooner. Seriously, we should have filed at least a year earlier.

I haven’t been blogging much because there was so much going on that I really just couldn’t talk about publicly. I had to zip up my lips. Also, I was just in bad place — I was angry, sad, wronged, and overwhelmed. It is hard to think of anything worth publishing when your thoughts are drowning in anger. I was also just 100% focused on the whole goal and the plan. I didn’t have enough energy in myself to be blogging and fighting our fight, … and the fight was a whole lot more important and timely.

Also, (and it’s hard for me to say this with a straight face, but it’s true!) I haven’t had anything nice to say because I just haven’t liked people! Really. To be so upset and wronged by people just caused me to sort of shut down and “fall out-of-love with people”, so to speak. It was (is) a scary, dark place to be in — to not like people. Yuck. But here I sit typing a blog post so I must be emerging from that place! 🙂

All of that to say: of course, my children are still precious and are still doing amazing and funny things every single day that I could blog about. Our life wouldn’t be so ordinary if that wasn’t the case! And my plan is to start blogging again and trying to climb out of that yucky place back up to a smiley place — a place where I notice the simple, happy things! And if any of my friends are still out there, then we can maybe do it together! 🙂

Thanks for your patience. And I know many of you have prayed for me now and then since usually my silence signals some sort of trouble in our life. I appreciate it!

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