Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving weekend.

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. I was super busy with the kids being home all week but we had a lot of fun.

We had a Just Dance 2 and Just Dance Kids house party. Yes, I had 2 separate parties and I will tell you that even though the game is a lot of fun, it is also a hell of a work out. I was sore for days. Now this may be proof that the game gets you moving or proof I am out of shape. I'll let you be the judge.

Yest adults and kids got their groove on. It was hysterical.

I took the kids to Airheads Trampoline Arena to bounce. It's the most overpriced activity but I got a good deal from Groupon so I took them and they had a lot of fun.

Before Bouncing...

And after. Look how sweaty she is.

And I took the girls to the zoo once Adrian went back to his Other Mother since he is apparently too cool for the zoo now.

B & D
B feeding the birds. D tried but she kept wanting to pour the nectar down their throats like they were drinking out of a cup instead of letting them drink it themselves so that didn't go over too well.

And we had Thanksgiving at my moms. She had so much food that I was almost pissed. I couldn't possibly get it all on my plate so I planned to make a second trip but was so stuffed after the first I never made it back. I did get a bag full of leftovers which I just finished off yesterday. She also rented a bouncer for the kids. What an awesome idea that was. They were so entertained. Except my kids bounced so much they couldn't eat. Oh well, more for us!

And to kick of the Christmas season I let my friends talk me into going to Toys R Us at 10pm Thanksgiving night. The line was a mile long and it was crazy, but we had fun. And since I was in the holiday spirit from the Black Friday stampede we even put up the Christmas Tree! It's the first real tree we've ever had.

And that's my weekend. Not a lot else going on. The kids are now back at school for the next 3 weeks and I am trying to get back into a routine. It only takes a week to throw me off.

Oh and don't forget about my post Help Me Help a Cause You Care About, Giveaway where I am trying to get people to help me use my own money to donate to a worthy cause.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Special Needs Kids Are Screwed at Report Card Time

So this has bothered me for a long time and with report cards having just been sent home it is bugging me again. It;s like the monster that comes home every 9 weeks to torment my family.

My daughter is special needs. She is in special classes but even though she has learning disabilities and doesn't learn like the typical child she still tries very hard. She had perfect conduct this time but her grades were pretty low (as usual).
Here is what irks me. For special needs kids they already struggle but when it comes to grades, they have a very hard time making all A's and B's so High Honor Roll and Honor Roll are practically unattainable for them. The standards and scales used to grade them are completely messed up.

After reviewing her report card regardless of academic grades we ask "Did you try your best?" and if she says yes we tell her we are proud of her. But we put also put a higher value on conduct. We always say that you can't always control what you understand but you control the way you behave. But honestly for her this isn't always true.

And as for conduct if you get teachers that don't understand that often special needs children have other issues or side effects of their condition the report cards could tell the story of a child who not only isn't learning but also has behavioral issues.
My child forgets things. It's hard for her to be prepared for class when her mind just doesn't let her remember all the things asked of her. Also she can't help shouting answers. It's not that she doesn't want to practice self control but she is on medication for impulsivness and when she experiences extreme emotions has a hard time not having mild outbursts. She can't keep her hands to herself because she has sensory issues and relies on touch to convey feelings or understand things. She wants to follow directions but her auditory processing disorder makes it hard to focus and hear what anyone says while other things are going on.
Thanks to a lot of work on my part and a new round of medications she didn't have tons of behavior indicators this time but it's the first time ever! And even if we had gotten bad marks we would have told her that it's ok and to try harder next time.  I am very proud but I am still frustrated at the lack of acknowledgement of these kids needs.

In each report card we get fliers offering freebies and discounts for kids with good grades. We basically throw these out because no matter how hard B tries she just won't have the grades to get a free ice cream or movie pass or kids meal. It's so discouraging for her.

And I HATE acting like grades aren't that important with her when my son knows that he better not bring anything below a C home. And this time when he got almost all A's we had to wait until she wasn't around before we could make a big fuss over how proud we were so B didn't feel bad. And if A has marks in conduct, of course we tell him to do better next time but usually he is is scolded and depending on the problem punished.

Having such drastic double standards is confusing for the kids and exhausting for me and James. I hate to blame the schools but they don't make this very easy on the kids or parents and I know I'm not the only parent with these issues.

Why aren't schools able to handle these kids better? Why is the grading and even FCAT process so screwed up? I wish schools would get a clue but that probably won't happen so like many parents in this situation I am looking into schools for special need children. Often these schools cost a big hunk of change. It's not fair that my special needs child can't get the same benefits from public school that every child is entitled to. She isn't severe enough to qualify for the counties special schools which are free yet she is severe enough to not get the attention and education she deserves from the regular schools. Why there is no place for these mid-line kids is beyond me.

So this Friday she will sit in a crowd with her schoolmates and watch as children on Honor Roll receive awards and kudos and accolades for their accomplishments. The one good thing is that unlike me she is good natured enough to just be happy for them and not bitter for the position she is in. Sometimes I envy her. I don't know what I would do with a heart as kind, warm and loving as hers but if everyone had one the world would be a much better place.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me

Yes, today is my birthday. I am... 29!!! This is the last year of me being in my 20s and I am not too thrilled about that but what can you do?

I didn't really tell anyone today was my birthday prior to today for a few reasons.
1. If people know it's your birthday they may try to make a big deal out of it.
2. If people know it's your birthday and they don't do anything about it you feel like crap.
3. If you tell everyone the day of your birthday that it's your birthday then they don't feel obligated to do much for you except wish you a happy birthday and you can't be mad if anyone forgot it since you didn't bring it up.

I know it's juvenile but really my husband and my mom are the only people who have never forgotten my birthday so each year it's also like a game to see who will remember on their own. My dad has birthday dyslexia and even though he called me this morning to say happy birthday he usually calls on the 7th or the 9th. I don't know why but it's always a day off.

We aren't really doing anything for my birthday. Yesterday we left the kids with my dad so we could go to Cracker Barrel (I am obsessed with their home style fried chicken on Sundays) and to see the movie RED (which was pretty good), and then did some Christmas shopping. Do I know how to party or what?

Today I will be hanging out at the house since I have no plans and will spend my first day as a 29 year old cleaning. I am a party animal!!!

That's about it. Oh, I did get a pretty cute card from B. She made it herself from her and the family. Check it out:

It is supposed to read: Happy Birthday. Love, Your kids, Boyfriend James, B, D and A.
I asked why she called daddy my boyfriend and she said she didn't know how to spell husband. I asked why she didn't just say daddy and she said she didn't want me to think it was from her Abuello (my dad).
Well, there is a bit of logic to that. LOL.

She copied this from a High School Musical birthday card she was given.  This is supposed to say:
Today is the day. The scene has been set for a blockbuster birthday so step into the spotlight, it's your day to shine. Mom. She got a lot of points for thinking of copying a card. I thought it was cute.

And the back of the card once again let's me know that it's for me (twice) and it's from my kids and boyfriend. This card is totally being scrapbooked! 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

1 year since the scariest time of my life

Last year D got sick. On Halloween night she was really bad. By the next morning we were rushing her to the hospital. The prognosis wasn't good. She had MRSA, a potentially fatal infection and she had it bad.

It was so hard for me to think that a baby I was pushing on a swing a week before was now lying in a bed in a hospital literally fighting for her life against this infection.

But after a weeks stay and surgery D was on the road to recovery and was able to come home.

There was a time that I honestly didn't think that in one year she would still be with us. It was the most terrifying thing I have ever dealt with. But thanks to the doctors at St. Josephs Hospital and God we still have her and she is happy and healthy.

We still deal with MRSA and she has outbreaks. Some have been very bad and she has needed other operations and treatments but none has been as bad as the one a year ago.

So this November I am thankful for my friends prayers, love and support and I am thankful that my family is still together and healthy and I pray we stay that way.

Monday, November 1, 2010

So much has been going on... But Happy Late Halloween!!!

I have been so busy I haven't had a chance to think, let alone blog and I think that may be why I have felt so frazzled. So let's play a quick game of catch up...

For starters B was put on some new meds. The Vyvance didn't seem to be working how it should (the side effects were no fun either). The neurologist has put her on Concerta. We are a week in and I think it's working but I thought that last time. Keep your fingers crossed that this chill pill will hit the spot.

One of my favorite kids places closed down. It was pretty sad but D and I did end up on a news interview from it which is worth a little bit of a laugh. You can check out the written story here or view the video interview here. And of course there is a discussion going on about it on momslikeme.com you can check out here.

Well I won't bore you with every detail that has popped up but I will show off the kids since Halloween just passed.

We took the crew to Zoo Boo at Lowry Park. D actually went in all the haunted houses and ...
SO DID B!!! She's not usually into being scared but she walked through all of them and even though she shrieked several times and I still have nail marks on my hand from her gripping it so tight she said she was proud of herself for doing it, and I was pretty darn proud too.

Here we have D and Daddy. She wasn't too sure about those spider webs.

 And here is D and me. Of course I couldn't get the big kids to stand still long enough for a  photo with me in it but at least there is a picture of me. I am rarely seen in photos. I am the Yeti of the Neely family. You may catch a glimpse of me but photographic proof I exist is so rare this picture may be worth something.

While we were at Zoo Boo D decided she wanted to go on a pony ride. Since she is finally big enough to go I stood in the worlds longest line with the other kids (A didn't want to ride because apparently he is too cool be we made it sound like his sister needed him so he did it... for her of course. LOL). I am allergic to ponies, and horses (and many other things) so by the time it was our turn my throat was itching, my nose was dripping, my eyes were burning and I was sneezing and making sounds I can't even describe. Well when we got up there D decided she was terrified of the same ponies she had oohed and awed over for the last 45 minutes so I had to take her out of the line. The other kids rode at least. And between you and me I think D planned the whole thing in advance that sneaky brat!

Here are the kids at the pumpkin patch. After 50 tries this was the best shot I could get of all 3.

And here is what the did with the pumpkins... with a little help from dad. B's is the biggest, A's is the medium and D's is the little one. We actually ended up forgetting to set them out. Duh!

I had to throw in a picture of D's BFF, Karli. Sure she isn't one of mine but she was so cute dressed as a "Bat Girl".

Here is D. She was a bumble bee obviously but the funny thing is after we bought the costume she decided she wanted to be Dora the Explorer. Well we couldn't take it back and even if we could I probably wouldn't have so we told her it was a "Dora Bumble Bee". After that she wore the outfit with pride. Sucker! 

A was Leftovers. We wrapped him in aluminum foil, gave him goggles out of sauce cups, a hat in the shape of a swan and a cape made out of a Chili's To Go bag. Most kids didn't get it but the adults loved it. We actually had people stop to take pictures with him.  

B was a Queen. She doesn't get too crazy or creative. Pretty much every year is a princess, queen or fairy. She is such a girly-girl but I still love her.  

We had some friends bring their kids over to trick or treat.

Here is D the Bee, Ayla as Tinkerbell and Sleeping Beuty Maggie all being lazy and getting chauffeured from house to house. They had such a good time. Once again I couldn't get the older ones to hold still long enough for a photo.  

And that brings us to today. I am trying to free up my schedule and get back to doing things I love... like blogging and crafts.