Monday, May 30, 2011

Exercise. No, seriously.

Guess what, peeps!!

Last night, DJ fixed the Wii for me :)  Now, that might be because I put it on my birthday list and he felt guilty. But I suspect it was because he accidentally stumbled across the reason it wasn't working. :-p  So, after plugging something back into something else, it works again. We'll need to chat with Ike about now pulling the console out and unplugging it, I imagine...

Anyhow, with the Wii in working order I was able to do my Walk It Out game again! So happy :)

I started a new person (ever so creatively named Stacy 2) and I'm going to add a page here for my game totals. I'm not setting any specific goals so that I don't get inundated by an immediate sense of failure when they don't happen. We have a few hectic weeks coming up and I'm not wasting time on guilt.

I need to get my GoWear Fit charged and set up an account again, then I need to buy a battery for my scale. After that, I am ready for a slimdown summer!

UPDATE: I was so excited to start my workout (and was highly motivated by a picnic with skinny people) that I walked again when I came home!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Our introductions

New blog, new names :)  I asked the kids to pick new ones and they have surprised me by picking actual people names!

My son, Ike, is 9 years old. He's this hilarious kid that cracks me up. He's thoughtful, kind, giving...unless you are his sister. ;)  He's got a gift for being social and friendly and can walk into any room and make a friend. He's always on the go and can't even sit still at the dinner table. Instead, he sort of fidgets and perches and wiggles around. We laugh because he's like a mini-DJ. In fact, his red hair and blue eyes, combined with a tall, thin frame even make him a physical mini of DJ. Like his father, he's all about sports. Playing them, watching them, playing video games of them...he knew more teams and mascots at 6 than I know now. He's also our family homebody - when given a choice, he stays home. In fact, on our last date night, instead of wanting to go somewhere, he opted to send DJ and my daughter out of the house so we could hang out here. Yes, our date was too send them on one :)  He's into movement and music and spends him time singing and dancing. He already knows the lyrics to more songs than me. As a baby, he was this happy, laid back little guy. He'd stare at ceiling fans for hours, smile and wave at everyone he met and carried a toy in each hand for the first 5 years of his life. First 2 pacifiers, then 2 balls, then 2 cars...even now he's happier when he has something to play with. He never thinks past today and completely lives in the moment.

My daughter, Ana, is 7 years old. Like her dad and brother, she has red hair and blue eyes. She's also the one that inherited DJ's and my freckles - she's got this spotted face and tons of missing teeth - looks just like a typical 7 year old that loves being outside :)  She started life as a colicky babe that needed a specialized formula in order to eat. She was known as "the Banshee" as a babe and it took us 5 years to calm her down. She was fearless as a baby - by her first birthday she was scaling everything and we'd find her on counters if we turned our backs for a second. She's the one that wants to skydive as an adult and loves roller coasters and is counting the years until she can be a goth teen and has already planned her first tattoos. At the same time, she is this loving child that takes care of her babies, makes us presents, plans parties to celebrate everyone she knows and is fiercely loyal. She's more reserved than her brother, taking a long time to warm up to people. She's as devious as Ike is guileless and her mad scientist laugh is so cute you almost forget that she's planning something sneaky. She's so like me it's scary. I can see her thinking and know exactly what she's going to do next  because it's exactly what I would do. She's so similar in appearance to me that my parents marvel at it. They've taken pictures over the years of her holding pictures of me at her current age and the similarity is scary. Except for hair and eye color, she could be my clone.

I talk about them quite a bit on my blogs. Sometimes it's just regular life but other times it's about specific things. Right now, Ike is being evaluated for ADHD and dyslexia. He struggles with reading and it impacts everything at school. He's also our most-often-operated-on family member with five surgeries under his belt. He had hypospadias correction at 13 months and then had three surgeries at 5 and 6 to correct unilateral microtia. One of those required a rib graft. Through them all, he was happy and cheerful. He had us in tears (from laughing!) during the last two because he was hilarious on anesthesia. Surgery never got him down.  Ana's most common post topic is her diabetes. She's developed Type 1 diabetes when she was 2 years old. We did MDI (multiple daily injections) for several years and switched her to an insulin pump just before her 6th birthday. Just this morning she commented, "I never forget to check my number because I've done it about a thousand times!" I agreed and told her it was way more than a thousand and it made her curious. We calculated it out and figure she's around 16,425 finger pokes so far. Further math suggests 7,665 insulin injections just in the MDI time. She's had approximately 250 site changes. I am curious what her totals will be by 90 but I'm too afraid to calculate it because I think I'd cry! As a bonus from diabetes, she also gets every crazy, weird, rare disorder that could possibly come her way. She had skin issues professionals had to work hard to diagnose; infections that sunk into her joints; mono; etc. Her and Ike are also crazy-addicted to scarlet fever, apparently opting to be so asymptomatic to strep throat that we don't know about it until the scarlet fever rash appears.

I'll talk more about myself another day. It must be a mom thing - it's always kids first ;)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Insurance is frustrating

I haven't been able to find anyone to test my son for dyslexia. No one. Well, that's probably not true...I'm sure there are docs...they just aren't on my mental health provider list (and how is dyslexia a mental health issue anyway?!?!)  I tried to find one person to do the ADHD testing and the dyslexia testing but it's apparently not meant to be. Either they weren't taking patients or wouldn't call me back or, my personal favorite, they don't actually do that testing.

Tonight, I was talking to my son about why, after four years of school he still acts surprised that every sentence has a punctuation mark at the end. I was frustrated, he was crying and it finally came out. He said, "I just don't see them, Mom! When the letters are jumping and moving, I don't see them! I'm trying to read the letters!"  Ah. The moving letters? When I asked, he explained that they jump over each other while he's looking at them and it makes them be in the wrong order.

I've been claiming phonological dyslexia for a few months and the testing was to see if it was actually there. He has mentioned moving letters twice in his life - once when watching Percy Jackson and once when I was talking to him about dyslexia and specifically asked him. In 9 years of life, that doesn't seem like a lot, you know? If my letters were moving, I would tell somebody. I would complain. I would ask why they did that. I would make sure every teacher I had knew that the stupid letters were dancing. But my son? Nope. But what if he thought they did that to everyone and he worried that he just wasn't doing as good as everyone else at figuring out the word anyway?

I called insurance again tonight. I explained that I was willing to double my search area and split the testing into two practices - one for ADHD testing and one for dyslexia testing. Total number of names: Nine. That's the total for BOTH. I'm feeling defeated before I've even begun.

The school won't test him. Few doctors even do the testing and the first group of 6 couldn't help us. He needs help and I can't seem to make it work. I think I need to check the balance in my flexible spending account because I suspect I'm going to end up paying out of pocket for this. But at least we'll have answers...and that's money well spent.

**Update** I called several offices this morning and one actually talked to me.  I was flabbergasted. Even better - they had just gotten a cancellation for tomorrow afternoon! Believe it or not, he has an appointment tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Just imagine for a moment...

...that you are an I-cup, making your bra is a serious piece of your wardrobe
...and that one day, while you are at work feel the last hook and eye unsnap.

That's exactly what happened to me today. The feeling you are overwhelmed with is panic.

Of course, I set myself up for this massive wardrobe malfunction. I have 5 hooks on the back of my bra, so this should never happen. If only I weren't such a lazy washer, though, because then the hooks wouldn't get tangled in everything else in the washer and they wouldn't bend out of shape. And if I actually sewed on the replacement hooks I bought a few months ago, it wouldn't matter. Or, if I did laundry more often, I wouldn't be forced to wear one with only 2 1/2 good hooks. But, alas, I am a lazy, distractable person and all of those 'shoulds' failed to occur.

Which is why I shouldn't have been surprised when I felt the give and instantly realized that I must have somehow previously undone 1 1/2 of those hooks throughout the day.

Very carefully, since the bo.obage (gotta watch those google search terms ;) ) is still in the cups, I stood up, walked over to the cubicles nearest me and managed to bum a few safety pins off a coworker.

Even more carefully, I headed for the restrooms, locked myself in the handicapped stall and removed my shirt. I had this theory that I would pull the bra around my body so that the back was in the front, then pin it and twist it back around. Yeah, maybe that worked at efforts were a laughable disgrace. My bo.obs were in the way, my band isn't baggy at all, I was sweaty. I then thought about removing my bra, pinning it and pulling it over my head. I quickly discarded that as unlikely because how would I ever get the band over, then under, my breasts?? I tried pinning the bra while wearing it. Not a good idea.

Finally, in a moment of desperation, I removed the bra, inspected the hooks and then, using my teeth, managed to bend enough back to make them work. Sort of. I had to do a little shoving to get some of the hooks through the eyes. But, with the 2nd hook half-hooked and the 3rd and 5th completely hooked, I re-dressed and headed back to my desk.

Where I made no sudden movements and never shifted my upper arms for the rest of the afternoon.

I think perhaps I'll actually take the time to replace the hooks on a few bras tonight...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Maybe I should clean more often

Not that I will, of course. Just that I should.

The kids are having a friend over to spend the night and both have their rooms cleaned. I realized today that the upstairs bathroom could use a quick clean, too. Once I was in there, I thought, "Since I'm cleaning the bathroom I may as well clean the bathroom!" and I sent my daughter downstairs for a trash bag while I began to sort through the drawers.

I never use the bathroom for anything more than brushing my teeth, taking a bath and going to the bathroom. That's it. I don't wear make-up, I don't have a skincare regimen that extends beyond washing my face. I don't even use shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, etc.

Among the things I found...

~Hair spray. Which I haven't used since 2005
~Kotex pads. Switched to cloth in 2004
~Ovulation predictor tests. 2003
~Purple hair dye. And bleached blond. Both unopened ;-)
~And my favorite...a Crash Test Dummies cassette. If I wanted to listen to Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm, I could. Of course, I'd need to drive to Goodwill and buy a tape player first. 1993. I kid you not.

Now, in my defense, we didn't live here in 1993 so it's been a more recent addition to my bathroom drawer. But still...

Decisions, decisions...

Am I ever in a state of calm happiness about my kids' schooling? Ever??


Nope. Not at all. Right now, I feel so much pressure to find the right place for my kids. And, of course, my children have completely different needs so finding one school is hard. How is it that so many parents send their kids to school, are happily content with the results and then watch them eventually graduate while I obsess over everything?

Here are my issues:
1. My son struggles with the basics of writing/reading. He can read. And he has acceptable fluency and comprehension levels. However, he doesn't understand punctuation. Or grammar. Or capitalization. How he manages to do the reading and comprehension when he doesn't understand the concept of a period is beyond me.  He has been taught these things multiple times but his brain simply won't retain them. We're working on it at home and he'll learn it all again and this time I'll push very regular repetition so that it eventually sticks. He may someday be the only 10th grader doing comma worksheets ;-) I feel in my heart that once he finally absorbs the basics, everything else will fall into place. He does great at every other subject but his reading is holding him back to such an extent that his teacher recommends retention. This summer will be spent on the building blocks of language - sentence structure, punctuation, capitalization, spelling - and drills in math. Adding, subtracting, multiplying...lots of flashcards in our future. I'm not concerned with him going to fourth grade and feel that this summer will help him start fourth grade with a better grasp of basics. For him, I'm looking for a smaller classroom, teachers that interact with students, more individualized learning and a willingness to communicate with parents. At the same time, I want a student body large enough to give him the social life he thrives on and the fun extras he likes to participate in.
2. My daughter, on the other hand, thrives on challenges. She gets bored easily and is a very focused, serious child. She is diligent to a fault. I need to find a school that will let her progress at her level and will give her a push when she feels unwilling to do something because it's new. She needs someone that will accept her reserved nature but encourage her to play well with others. She's creative and needs an outlet. I want a school that can handle that...and keep her safe. Because, as you know, our number one goal in life is keeping her safe. Diabetes management is a 24/7 job. There is never a time where you can slack off or take a break from it. I need her in an environment that protects her. She needs to be surrounded by people who want to help her and are willing to learn about diabetes and become experts in the care of a 7 year old that happens to be diabetic.

The solution isn't our public school. I feel like they have failed my son. The teacher complains about his focus but won't help us with assessments. The principal and teacher tell us he isn't achieving what he should but won't offer additional support. No tutoring, no one-on-one teaching, and they denied him testing. Yes, you read that correctly. I requested it in writing, twice. Denied. As long as he is learning something, he can't have a learning disability. Seriously, that is their approach. My next step is to contact the state's department of education and work through them to force the school. We decided to opt out of that and pursue testing on our own as we are looking at a likely delay of 6 months during the fight. I consider that shameful. Now, they did well with my daughter's diabetes care last fall...but she would be transitioning to my son's school this year because of the grade change. And, honestly, if they can't provide testing for a student they want to fail, do I really want them keeping my daughter alive?

(Never knew that dyslexics are often creative and imaginative thinkers? One famous example is Albert Einstein; another is Thomas Edison!)

So there we are. I've looked at open enrollment. In my quasi-rural area there are very few choices. In fact, the only one I would consider due to my son's needs is already capped on enrollment thanks to other parents in my district that thought of it first. Most of their open enrollment comes from my school. Nice, isn't it? Homeschooling again isn't an option I want to consider. If it needed to happen, I would do it...but it's not the best option for my son or I. For my daughter, it's an option but she has requested to try school again so it's not my first choice. Private schools are few and far between. Most have religious affiliations I would prefer to avoid. And let's not even talk about the costs - yikes!

Through a friend we found a non-denominational, small private school. I'm not sure I believe the true non-denominational label but I'm willing to pretend. It's more conservative and narrow-minded than I am but I'm comfortable with re-educating at home ;-) Surprisingly, it's affordable. Barely, but we would find a way. No school nurse, though. And no organized sports. Everything else is a good match.

Right now, this school is winning. But I'm not convinced. And that school nurse thing...huge.

I hate this. And we still have 10 years of school to figure out! Eek!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Welcome to my life :)

I know, I know...another blog.

It's like an addiction, isn't it?

First, I had a homeschooling blog. Loved it. I talked about my family and our schoolwork. It was such a fun record of what we'd done and gave me a place to document the cute kid things that happened. I started getting hits from Google searches and the loss of privacy made me decide to close the blog.

Then there was my frugality blog. Code names, no locations...privacy was back. I enjoyed this blog, too, but for completely different reasons. This blog was about me. As time went on and my 'follower' list grew, I found myself having to defend myself against commenters. And defending my own life to strangers was a little crazy. I decided to step away from blogging and I made it private. Couldn't bring myself to delete it, but not willing to keep it out there.

And now I'm back. I've realized that I missed having an outlet for the frustrating things, an audience for the fun things and a record of the things I used to track. So, if you are here, you probably know me personally...or I feel like you do ;) Welcome to my new blog. Welcome to my life!