Thursday, September 24, 2009

Long time no see

Haven't updated in a long time, honestly with everything going on I simply forgot about my blog. Since November we've moved to San Diego, CA and now to Kittery, ME. Still trying to get everything settled and my house in order. I have the best intentions every morning of getting things done, but they just never seem to get done. Between phone calls to doctors, dealing with schools, insurance companies and all the other fun little things that distract me I'm not getting much accomplished.

The kids seem to be adjusting well to Maine and their new school. Caitlynn had her 1st Cross Country meet yesterday at Fort Foster. I thinks she did excellent but of course she won't agree. She's competitive and a perfectionist so finishing in the bottom half didn't make her happy. I wish she'd take into account that she's only in 6th grade and never done this before. It probably doesn't help that's she's a pretty small 6th grader, and it's all the 6-8th grade girls competing together. But like I said, she'll never be happy unless she's top 3. Elijah's doing well, actually making a few friends and talking about having friends over. All normal stuff for a 9 year old boy, but all stuff that he's never really had. Was so excited to see him at the meet yesterday talking to the other boys horsing around and the other kids not shunning him, hopefully this means all the therapy etc is actually helping. Hannah is her usually bubbly self and makes friends wherever she goes. She had a blast using my old Rebel XT and taking photos at the meet. She's taking a Hip Hop class at the Rec. Dept. and LOVING it, so fits her personality!

I took a morning a week or so ago to finally get out and practice my photography, more than I can say for the last 10 months or so, so that was nice. There's definitely no shortage of places to photograph here, now to just find the time. It's been so long since we've lived in the Northeast, forgot how beautiful the Fall colors are.

Tomorrow is Elijah's IEP meeting with the new school, I have a really good feeling about it. Hope it goes as well as I'm thinking it will.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

How is it March already?

I know time flies, but honestly, I can't believe it's March. So much has been going on. We finally got Elijah's IEP hammered out with the school, but I still can't get any kind of communication from them. I just have to remind myself that we only have 4 more months, then it's on to another state and another school. I was able to get Elijah enrolled in the Tricare ECHO program and he had his first session of ABA today. That went pretty well, though he was crying when his tutor had to leave because he didn't get to watch him play a computer game. He's going to get 2 hours of therapy a day 5 days a week, so 10 hours a week. They would prefer to work with him at school so they can see what goes on in his learning environment, and see him in social situations, but San Diego Unified School District doesn't want to let them in. It's really a shame, because while he is getting services through the school, it's still not enough. He really needs a part time one-to-one aid, but I was told he couldn't have one because they're in a hiring freeze. It's really sad that this solution to the situation is available but they won't let it happen.

Caitlynn is doing well in school as usual. She just had to give an oral report on Monday about Florence Nightingale, which she got an A on. I sewed her an apron this weekend to go with her costume, she looked sooooooo cute. I can't believe it, but at 10 years old Caitlynn has been asked on her first date. Her friend Connor who she walks home from school with everyday asked her to go to Baskin Robbins for ice scream. She told me he did a happy dance when she said yes, how cute. My baby is growing up, and way too fast for me. I made sure to remind her that she won't go on a "real" date until she's much older. She's so excited though, she was planning what clothes to wear, what color to paint her nails etc. She also has a new student in her class that lives in our neighborhood so now she has two friends nearby.

Hannah is having a hard time right now. It's hard to be the middle child, and the average child but that's what she is. She does a lot of things to try to get more attention, which I try really hard to give evenly to all my kids, but Hannah seems to require more than the other two. She's doing really well in school, she always aces her spelling tests and does well in all her subjects. Hannah has always been a good reader, but never really found any books that peaked her interest, until now. She has started reading Series of Unfortunate Events, and absolutely loves them. I'm very proud of her because she's finished the first book and moved on to the second. These are the longest books she's ever read and stuck with the whole way through. I'm glad we have the first seven books already. I have a feeling we'll have to buy the rest soon, but I have no problem with that, I'm just glad she's found a series of books she likes.

What else.....Dave and the kids bought Rockband2 and love to rock out together. It's so funny 'cause after dinner he'll announce that he's "getting the band back together" and they all scramble to help him set it up so they can play. We went to Legoland about a month ago, which was a blast. We ended up buying annual passes so we can go whenever we want. The kids go to school year round, so they have the month of April off of school, plenty of time to go visit Legoland. The Southard's were in town not too long ago, so we got to visit with them. We all went to Sea World and then to Dave & Busters for dinner with them and Cassie, Johnnie and Cassie's mom. It was a good day, but definitely not long enough :(

Sunday, January 04, 2009

I was doing so well...

keeping my blog updated that is, then it all went to crap lol. Things have been pretty busy here lately. My mom came out to visit for 3 weeks, which was great since we hadn't seen her since November 2006. Of course it went by way too fast as always. Dave came home from school December 8th, just in time for Hannah and Elijah's Birthday. We went out to dinner on the 10th for their actual birthday, then had a party on the 11th with their classmates. I felt bad that we hadn't lived here long enough for them to make any good friends yet. It was kind of ironic actually, usually Hannah has a ton of friends at her parties and Elijah has one or two, but that's the nature of his disability. This year Hannah only had 1 friend come and Elijah had 6. Let's see, what else has been going on...we had parent-teacher conferences right before school let out. Caitlynn and Hannah's teachers were very surprised when we told them that the Dodea school the kids transfered from was at least a full year behind this school. The girls are doing very well and catching up nicely. Caitlynn is in this special seminar class that's made up of students who scored in the 99th percentile on the achievement test. Hannah's in regular class but her teacher thinks that when she's tested she'll qualify for the cluster class, the next step down from the seminar class Caitlynn is in. It's kind of funny cause before now none of Hannah's teachers have been able to see past her silliness and desire to be the class clown, so it's nice for someone to finally see how smart Hannah really is. Unfortunately Elijah's conference wasn't nearly as pleasant. I get the feeling the teacher has no idea what to do with him. She talks about modifying things for him, like the amount of homework and then sends home 2-3 hours of work for him to do each day. I won't make any of my kids do that much homework at this age. In Junior High and High School I expect it, but not in elementary school, they need time to be kids and to decompress. And him, more than other kids, he can't handle that much work, that's what's made his anxiety (hand flapping, eye twitching) worse then ever before.

Anyway on to happier topics, while my mom was visiting she kept the kids for a week so Dave and I could spend a week in Vegas alone, is was so nice. We went and saw the Phantom of the Opera, Stomp, and The Beatles Cirque de Soleil. It was so nice getting to sleep in and just being to hand out just the two of us. We stayed in the New York New York hotel which was pretty cool, it was set up to look like NY, with a mini Statue of Liberty and other landmarks. It snowed about 5 inches one day while we were there, so it was almost like being home.

My mom had to go home on the 22nd of December, which was hard for the kids. We celebrated Christmas very low key this year. Usually we have friends over and do a big meal, but we haven't really been here long enough yet to meet anyone, so we did a small family celebration this year. On the 28th we left for Disneyland which was a blast. Now that we've been to Disneyland the only Disney park we haven't been to yet is EuroDisney. We really liked Disneyland a lot, but weren't too impressed with California Adventures, though I really liked California Screaming and Soaring over California. A lot of Disneyland was familiar to us because Tokyo Disney was patterned after it. We were in agreement that everyone's favorite rides were Space Mountain and Thunder Mountain, the standards at all Disney parks. We were hoping Elijah would like Tower of Terror better here because it didn't have the Tiki that freaked him out in Hong Kong, but he still hated it. He would only ride roller coasters with me which drove the girls crazy because they hardly got to ride anything with me. All of us except Elijah rode California Screaming and the girls said they liked it but never wanted to ride it again lol, it was their first coaster with a 360 loop. Elijah couldn't have ridden even if he wanted to because he was about an inch short of the 48" height requirement. Every time we would go into the parks he'd start freaking out that we'd make him go on one of the rides he was afraid of, no matter how many times we told him he didn't have to ride anything he didn't want to, he just couldn't get over the anxiety. He still really loves a lot of the kiddie rides that the girls aren't impressed with anymore. Yesterday afternoon we watched the High School Musical 3 street show and the girls loved it. Caitlynn was chosen to get up and dance with them, which she loved, of course I didn't have my camera. Earlier in the week we went to the Jedi Training show and Hannah was chosen to be one of the Padawans. All in all it was a great week, and I'll post some pictures when I get around to downloading them from my camera. I almost forgot, the kids actually made it to midnight on New Year Eve, which was a first for them. It was funny the girls were excited to see the fireworks at midnight, but it was so foggy that you couldn't see them, at least we'd been able to to watch them earlier that evening also.

Dave has to check into his new duty station on Monday, it's been so nice having him home for the last month. The kids don't go back to school until January 20th, not sure what we're going to do with all that time yet besides going to Balboa Park at least one day. We'll probably spend a day or two exploring the city, something we just haven't had a chance to do yet. Of course we'll be reading and working on math etc., Elijah was very upset when I told him that.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Finally Emerging...

from the sea of boxes I was drowning in. Needless to say things have been insane. I am so sick of unpacking. There's still about 8 boxes that haven't been unpacked sitting in my living room. It's mostly scrapping stuff and I just don't know where to put it. I'm seriously considering setting up a spot for myself in the garage, with the low humidity here I'd probably be ok, but do I really want to risk it? I really don't have many other options, there just isn't anywhere for me to put it all.

Last week was a pretty rough one for the kids. They all had benchmark tests to take. It was stressful for them but the girls pretty much took it all in stride. Caitlynn got a B on hers, not bad since they're covering stuff that dodea doesn't cover until 6th or 7th grade. I haven't heard what Hannah got, but I'm not too worried, she's been picking things up pretty quick since we've been here, and she's one smart cookie. Elijah on the other hand ended up not taking his test at all. He's not been sleeping well, I'm pretty sure it's the stress from school. They aren't doing anything yet to implement his IEP, and I don't think his teacher has any clue on what to do with him. Every time I suggest something or mention what I think different behaviors mean she gets a glazed look in her eye. So the day of the test he fell asleep in class 3 times and she had to wake him up, and he refused to take the test just kept insisting he didn't know how to do it. Of course I didn't hear about any of this until after school, at which time she told me he absolutely had to get it done the next day so the scores could be reported. We go home and he's working on homework complaining he's tired and wants to go to sleep, definitely not his usual behavior. I figured someone would have asked him during school if he wasn't feeling well or see if he was hot, I man how often do 8 year old boys fall asleep multiple times during the day? On the off chance I felt his forehead and he was on fire. Ends up he was sick, of course he wasn't going to do well, I keep telling her he won't speak up for himself and she needs to be proactive, but I feel like I'm talking to myself. Then I go to the office the next day to try and get the name of the head of the special ed dept, so I can try to figure out what they plan to do for him, since no one's talking to me. And the woman at the front desk who I've dealt with a few times now, she's sweet as can be, but definitely has no clue as to what's going on. I ask for the name of the special ed director and she frowns and looks at me and says well the principal is in charge of the whole school. While that may be true, I know she doesn't have time or intimate knowledge of my sons IEP. Then she says I should go talk to the I try that route again. She finally tells me to go talk to the counselor, though she doesn't know what his name is. Can you see my frustration yet? I have to say the counselor was wonderful though, he pulled Elijah's record, found that the copy of the IEP I watched the smart lady make didn't end up in his folder, though somehow the speech therapist knows what he's supposed to get. Anyway, the counselor listened to my concerns, took my number and promised to figure out what was going on for me. I figured sure it'll be just like everyone else I've talked to so far, absolutely no help. I was pleasantly surprised to hear from him 15 minutes after we got home to let me know the head of special ed was on her way out for vacation, but that she would call me next week when the kids go back to school. Hopefully that's what happens. While talking to the counselor I officially asked for a meeting to writeup a new IEP, and they have 30 days to get everything in order, hopefully they don't drag it out that long. Elijah was having trouble in Guam where they were way behind where this school is, so as you can imagine he's drowning here. And it wouldn't even bother me if it wasn't affecting his sleep and everything else. Since we left Guam he's been flapping his hands, something he never did before the last couple months, he's looking at everything funny kind of at a tilt, and totally zoning out way more than usual. This morning at Wal-mart he kept wandering off whenever I turned my back for a second because he was zoning out on the pattern of the wooden floor and following it around. He's also started saying things like his brain just won't work right, or that it's being crazy, I don't know how much of that is what he feels and how much is what he thinks other people think about him. Anyway it's breaking my heart to See him having such a hard time.

The girls are having a hard time too, but they show it in different ways. It seems like they fight more now then they ever have before. At times it's almost like they're bipolar, they go from being over the top lovey with each other to ready to pull each others hair out. This afternoon at the playground I had to give them both timeouts. Hello at 10 and almost 9 I thought we were way past the timeout stage. They had an argument and kicked each other, then 5 minutes later they were spotting each other to do walkovers and other stunts. It's all kind of surreal to me sometimes. I honestly thought the fighting would lessen up when they went back to school and weren't stuck together in a hotel room all day, and especially now that they have their own rooms and all their stuff, but I was way wrong.

I had wanted to d something fun with the kids this week while they're out of school, but I decided not to because of their behavior. Lucky for them they have a nice daddy, when I told Dave I had changed my mind he told me we should go anyway. Maybe getting away from the unpacking stress and everything else will be good for us all. On Wednesday we're going to Knotts Berry Farms, an amusement park in the area. Here's the website I think we're all going to have a lot of much needed fun.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

So far so good

So far the kids really seem to like their new school. Caitlynn didn't realize until I told her, that her entire class was a gifted class. She kept arguing with me, but we didn't go to gifted, we didn't do any gifted things etc. I had to explain to her that everyone in her class was gifted, and her teacher was a gifted teacher, so she is in gifted all day every day. Once she understood she was really excited. She came out of school on her first day with her new friend who is also Caitlyn, spelt almost exactly the same, and they sit next to each other in class. Her new friend was so excited that I had to meet her mom, it was very cute. Hannah said she plays with a bunch of kids at the playground but doesn't know any one's name. She has a male teacher who reminds me very much of Mr. Kranz in Guam who I thought was a phenomenal teacher. She really lucked out because her class is going on a field trip on Wednesday. As usual, I don't get much feedback from Elijah, but I do know he has a very organized teacher who's really on top of things. After the first day of school she came and asked Dave a few questions because he freaked out on her when she tried to do spelling with him, which is the usual response I get for at least the first 2 days of new spelling words. And the kids are supposed to use the bathroom on their own during recess, so they don't have to go during class, he didn't remember and had to go during class. Today he said he lost his class on the way to lunch but found them quick, not sure what that means. They haven't started any of his services yet, but hopefully they will soon, I believe they have 10 school days to get everything in order. Something happened this morning that almost made me cry, as we were dropping the kids off I was debating if we stayed until Elijah got into class or hoped he could do it on his own. Just as I'm about tosay something to Dave, a little boy from Elijah's class comes and says hello to him and tells us he'll show Elijah where he needs to line up to meet the teacher. How sweet is that?

I am definitely not winning any Mom of the Year awards this week. Somehow I totally screwed up the time school let out. For some reason I thought it was 2:50, but it was really 2:10. Yeah I know, not good. So we pull up to the school at 2:25 and are wondering why all the kids are out, oops. Of course I figured it out real quick. So we look for the kids at the office, nobody knows what I'm talking about, and tell us to go check their class rooms. As we're rounding the corner to Caitlynn's classroom my cellphone stars ringing, it was Caitlynn's teacher letting us know she had all the kids. Thank goodness we updated our phone number yesterday lol.