Sunday, July 05, 2009
It has been a tumultuous week as often happens when you have a houseful of kids, many of them teenagers. They know how to keep things exciting and they know how to help me to remember what it was like to be their age. That sometimes does not work to their advantage, lol.
First of all, there was the complaint of the dog bite. We had a substitute mail carrier who got out of her vehicle when my youngest daughter was walking two of the dogs. She approached Scooter, our dachshund/golden lab mix (yes, that is correct) and he jumped up in his excited way to say "Hi." She said that he bit her and we went through the issues with the post office over that. Our vet gave the dog a seal of approval and made this go away, but I have struggled over why she lied like that. My daughter said that he didn't bite her--and we know this to be the dog we can put doggy treats in his mouth without getting bitten. I understand that this is a major problem for postal employees, but my daughter witnessed this and we know this was a lie. Our regular carrier comes every day and generally comes by and gives him--and all of our dogs a doggy biscuit, I'm guessing he was anticipating her treats which even makes it more understandable that he was excited to see her. It is over for us, but I am trying to understand the entire episode.
Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about pets and my bassets have a special place in my heart. Dear Chloe has been limping and the limping started including crying as she walks. She got to visit the vet along with Scooter because I am so worried about her. It turns out to be arthritis--in particular inflammation in the upper right shoulder and joint area. She was given pain meds to take once daily, but seems to be getting worse. The guys have been carrying her outside and have been bringing drinks to her in order for her to give her front leg a rest. This is arthritis, which I understand better than many people. My poor doggy has the same problem in her leg that I have in my legs, back, shoulders, feet, etc... Please keep her in your prayers, this pain is pretty alarming, and I know she is a dog--but we love her as much as any other member in our family. She doesn't seem to understand what is going on, poor baby.
Our reading program at church has been a lot of fun for everyone involved. I realized last weekend that I may be able to use this program as part of the evidence for my renewal of my National Board Certification. I am pleased with how well the children are doing, but I am equally pleased with how well things are going for the young people I am working with. We take time daily to reflect and discuss what happened that day--what went well, what did we need to do better, how are the individual kids doing and what are their concerns and needs. They are fun to work with and are willing to try a variety of activities with the children. The one thing that is coming up frequently includes the fact that the children are enjoying what they are doing, they are feeling more confident, and that the children who come here most frequently are having more success. I am pleased to note that the two children who walked into the room and said "I can't read" are both reading a variety of things after 3 weeks and they are proud of their accomplishments. I am too.
Most of our kids are working--all but the 2 younger ones who aren't old enough to work. Put of the 6 who are working, 3 have 2 jobs right now. My kids have learned something from their father and I. My dingy dongy now 17 year old took both of his pay checks and got all of the money his brother had in his wallet at the time-$90.00-and went and bought a junker. The idea was good, but when he got it home after a bit of shenanigans, it wouldn't start and we have found out it needs a big bunch of this and that done to it. He sees nothing wrong with what he did...DUH!! I am not sure that he is ever going to understand that just because he can do something that that it makes it right. I grounded him for a number of broken rules and he was just in here begging me to let him go with one of his friends on Monday. After I explained exactly what "no" means, he begged with his criteria being that he works almost every day. I agree that that is true, but I don't see what the two things have to do with each other. He will find out if his father can explain it. Geesh.
Our town has fireworks on the 3rd--that way we are free to enjoy a show in a different part of the Quad Cities if we so choose. We spent the "wait time" having our dinner and playing a funny little game of my son's called "Apples and Apples" from when he was in college. I could easily see how it could be a drinking game, and I asked my son. He seemed surprised that his mother might know about such things. I guess he has no clue that I was young once too. I think I'm glad that I grew up.
Happy Birthday America!!
Hugs everybody, and thanks for reading all of this! Sylvia
Monday, June 22, 2009
It has been an odd weekend and I am getting over a 2 day sinus thing that I didn't need--I've been keeping the ibuprofen nearby, it is the only thing that has helped the headache and allowed me to do anything besides moan and groan. The moaning and groaning does help protect our ears from the sounds of my bickering daughters. what is the deal with that. I have 6 sons and when they have a difference of opinion ot may get a bit noisy or physical for a brief period of time, but then it simply goes away. With my daughters, it seems to go on for months and pulls in anyone like me who wants to make it go away. (The older one just walked in from a late night shopping trip with her very own air conditioner. Nice choice.) I have to go get her help because she needs it. I'll be back in a few...
Saturday, June 20, 2009
This has been an incredible couple of weeks. I am still trying to figure out summer break as it looks with a much shorter span now that we are on a year round schedule and the fact that I typically teach in the summer. This summer is both the same and different. We are providing a program for our inner city population in our church and my role is the reading fun program for 6-7 years old. We have an interesting group of kids, many who were recommended by the staff at the neighborhood school. There is a variety of maturity levels as well as reading abilities in our little group. An interesting component of this is the training that I am including for the college-aged students I am providing. We meet after each student day ends to evaluate how the day went and to reflect on the need to do things differently or to use the same activities again, etc... I think this is what true teachers do and I want these young people to make this part of their adult life. I really learned the need to reflect when I was going through my national boards--I don't always do it formally, but I do evaluate things that I invest my time and energy in. I am proud of my children who are working on reading during their summer and my helpers who are using this job experience as a learning experience along with me. There is a lot of good going on in our church's little corner of the world.
We had a super duper crazy storm this afternoon and have neighbors who have been without power for well over 6 hours now. We are generally the first to lose out in this neighborhood, so I am giving thanks right now. We have enough stress in our lives. I do have good kids--just wish that I could motivate them more to help with household duties. Three of my children--no, 4 of them now have 2 jobs for the summer and they are saving money for good things like their education expenses. I appreciate them all, even though I know their faults as well. We wouldn't be people without them.
I talked with my surgeon's staff today. They had a tough time with my insurance company yesterday because my secondary insurance approved my surgery but the primary insurance has not. Silly thing is that these are both Blue Cross plans. I really want to do this early enough in my summer break to allow the procedure to be done and my healing to occur before we get back to school on July 29 or 30 or whatever date school resumes in our district. I do not feel warm and fuzzy because my employers have not confirmed my position for the fall and because of the confusing sentiments that my year left me with. I wish my employers were the people at church who seem so pleased with the type of work and the amount of volunteer efforts I have been giving them. It is a similar type of work, but a completely more pleasant atmosphere.
The mommy who is typing here needs to sign off and go promote some little body's bedtime. He is relaxed tonight, but needs some quality sleep. I'll stop by and share more here soon. My world stays quite busy!!
Hugs to all, Sylvia
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
A lot has went on in my life since I last found my way here. June is already 1/3 of the way through and it has been a big month of ups and downs--mostly ups, I'm glad to say. My 18 year old son (#5) did graduate from high school on the 31 of May and we are all very happy. My daughter was angry with him a few days ago and shouted at him that he wouldn't have graduated if "it wasn't for all of the rest of us." There is some truth in that, but the same truth exists in some level for each of my kids in some form or another. It may have been scheduling around a series of sports meets or long drives to music contests or last minute library runs for some bizarre research paper, everybody in a family gives for the needs and successes of another. The subtle thing my daughter hasn't quite learned is that we do this willingly and shouldn't be holding it over someone's head, like she did in anger with him. I have a special ed teacher who probably gave as much to his cause as some of us here anyway. He had more than his share of lousy teachers and issues, but when he got in high school, she took care of him like she was my right arm. I know that she does that sort of thing because she is that sort of teacher, but I am so grateful that in August, I need to send her something to show my thanks. We had his party Sunday at a small local park--it was cool. comfortable and pleasant that day and just as we helped him with his accomplishment, we helped him enjoy his day. Now we are sitting on pins and needles as he awaits to confirm an appointment for his first "real" job. If he qualifies for this JTPA program, he will have a job at our church. I will be forever grateful for his first real job to be there because there are people who have known him since all 11 pounds 9 ounces of him came into the world and who will help him to do what he should and who will let me know if he needs to hear anything from me about being a good employee. This is a win-win situation, so I hope that he qualifies.
The rest of my kids are doing okay right now as well. My youngest daughter had her big "8th grade promotion" on the 2nd. It is followed by a big dance and she had fun. She is such a good kid in so many ways, unless, of course, I interrupt whatever stage of doing little to nothing and try to get her to help, lol. Her grades are fantastic and she sings like an angel--she plays the oboe and it is coming along as well. She will be 14 in August.
My oldest daughter and my now 17 year old son each have 2 jobs right now, which especially for my daughter who needs to build her bank account so that she has it for returning to college in the fall. Both of them have positions that become available at our church every summer in connection to some of the outreach that our church does. She also has a job at the local waterslide/ pool park and he has a job that he hates these days at McD's. He has refused to eat at a fast food restaurant except Subway since a few months after he started working there. I wonder if the way to get Americans off of the fast food diet, is to make everyone work in one for as long as it takes until fast food repulses them. Hmm. it might work. My oldest son has been a weekend maintenance person at a different McD's for some 6 years or so now--he has another job doing maintenance at our local commissary. He has multiple disabilities, but has worked hard at these positions for quite some time. He is a serious, loyal, responsible, and hard worker. My second oldest son obviously cannot be a substitute teacher during the summer, so he is back to building pools until his little trip and then back to school. We are praying that a position becomes available for him before then. With all of the older kids working, finding time for even a weekend trip will be impossible, so out vacation takes on a different meaning this year. It wouldn't be the first time.
As for me, my world improved considerably on Monday afternoon, when with the help of most of my family--except 2 of my sons who were at work already, we finished clearing up my classroom for the summer. The school district has never told me what my position will be next year or where it will be. The custodian in our building told me that there was nothing to do to clean my room, so I started some reorganization work that I had wanted to do. A couple of days later, he came in and told me that he had to have one of my tables--the one that held ABOUT 16 baskets of some 300 or so little trade books apiece. I looked at him and asked him the obvious about what to do with my things and he answered that he didn't know. I just sat there dumbfounded because they need the two tables in my room for the "new school" which won't open for at least a year now--This changed the nature of what I had to do. My room changed from me not needing to do anything because nobody was going to be bothered with moving out everything that is in it to me being in the middle of an organizing project and now having to find a place to put some 4800 books with nowhere to put them. I was pretty overwhelmed which has been the nature of my work this year. I got a lot of help from Mr. 2009 graduate last Wednesday evening, until 10:30 PM. I came home and finished my report cards at 4AM Thursday morning. The thing is that I never closed the Reading Center and I saw children right up through the last day--and I even saw 3 children on the last hour long, report card day. I don't quite know how to say no to children, especially to those I have a relationship with. I bought a lot of books to give my students to read during break and passed out a bunch of mechanical pencils and note pads so they would write as well. I create my own problems by taking on too much, but I try to err on the side of decent behavior. In any case, the job was finished on Monday, thanks to my husband and children and nobody else. That tells a story about my kids, they might be kids and do the sass and avoidance thing with chores, but in the big picture, they do the right thing too.
I am waiting for an update from my surgeon's office on the response from the insurance company to determine whether or not the surgery will happen. I have had some nagging shoulder pain this week, so I called my orthopedic doc for an appointment and can't get in until the 18th. I expect some x-rays, but what has always helped this lousy pain is a cortisone injection. There is a lot to go through sometimes to get what will help a medical problem, but I have friends in the UK who have a lot more to go through a great deal more. I am hoping to get what I need soon enough. Personally, I lost 2 pounds last week and I'm off to share my food trackers with the dietician this afternoon before I see my therapist. He helps me to pull the pieces together.
Right now, I am working with people at my church to create a summer reading program for the inner city kids in our church neighborhood. It is tentatively 3 weeks, possibly 4 for 6-8 year olds. We asked at the neighborhood school for recommendations of children in kindergarten going on to first grade who may need a little boost to get them more at their grade level. They referred children and gave us their waiting list as well. There are a few kids who come daily for breakfast and lunch who are in the right age group, so they have been invited as well. I will have at least 3 college aged kids to help, 2 are education majors and I am pulling a program together along with our church music director and an art teacher friend of hers to give them an experience of fun and learning. I am excited about this and I think it will really help these children to have a better coming school year. I need to touch base with one more of the "tutors" today so that I can pull the pieces together and then, yes, go over to my classroom and get into my materials and pull out things I can use with the children. This will be great fun--I will be in my element, working with children who need me and want the chance to read, without any silliness hindering the children getting the best that they can get. This is what my work is really about. We are going to have an African theme for the art and music, so I'm going to do it with the literature choices too. There are so many great things out there!!
Anyway, I have a lot to do--I have only printed off a month of trackers and technically she needs all of them since April 21. I hate to waste the paper, I may just take my laptop because the hospital has WiFi--then we can look them over and I can show her how the entire program here works. I have done a pretty good job, except for my same 2 problems--not eating enough protein and not eating enough total calories. If I track well, I always end up in this place...This alone will work together with the weight loss procedure. Take care everyone, school's out for the summer!!
Saturday, May 30, 2009
I should be getting ready for errands, but...well, I talked my daughter into going to the bank and my son into taking the girls to work and voice lessons and to pick my husband up from work. That gives me exactly an hour and 20 minutes to get ready to really run errands, so I have time to do this.
I have been really restless lately, not sleeping soundly enough and it is because my daughters pug has decided that the best place in the world to sleep and relax is on the arm of my recliner. That can make sleeping tough, especially if the little guy needs to scratch or lick or turn around in a complete 360 circle. He needs a nailectomy that I plan to see that he gets today. My kids want me to just push him to the floor or whatever, but I love doggies so much that I just cannot bear to push them away from me when one wants my attention this much. He's a cutie--you can see the funniest picture of him grinning in my photo gallery.
TOMORROW is Miles' big day!! He graduates and I am so excited--this has certainly been the most difficult trip for any of my children and I think it is because he is so complex a [erson. Everything in his life has been extreme. He was described as the nicest naughty ever as a pre-schooler. He qualified in both the school's gifted program and in their special ed programs in the same week, which certainly isn't impossible, but definitely is not often heard of. He has had his fair share of detentions in high school, but not for tardies or messing around--they have all been for READING!! He has AD/HD. Aspergers, and depression--but those diagnoses have changed several times throughout his school years, except for the AD/HD. He has always baffled the adults around him. Some of my fondest memories of him are when he was 4 and 5, he used to go on walks with me and we would talk about nature and life--he was such a goof thinker and so much fun to be with. He would find little things--a penny or a pretty rock or an interesting leaf and tell stories about them before they ended up in the spot where he found them. This is a big thing, this graduation that almost didn't happen. It was down to the second half of his second semester chemistry final...whew!! He wants to be an auto/diesel mechanic and if it involves his hands, he will do a wonderful job. Right now he is looking for work--and if he gets an application at church tomorrow, he will have a job there unless he totally messes up the interview. I'll be glad to have him with people who love him and know him for this first job experience.
I worked like a horse yesterday at school, most of the kids were on a field trip so I only had 2 reading groups to work with. I spent time sorting through things I hadn't gotten to use in my teeny tiny room and organized and cleaned and liften and did all of the things I have wanted to get around to for a while. It took a toll on me and probably contributed to my sleeping last night. I could have been working on my final report cards, but it was a great opportunity to do the big stuff. This is a school year I am looking forward to having under my belt. It has been off kilter since I was forcibly moved on day 2...My back surgery made it a doozy. I am hoping to have a year without the excessive pain in 09-10.
My youngest son is skeptical that I am rver going to get dressed and start my day--it is time to soothe his worried young self and do the right thing. It is sure a gorgeous day here today--some of the guys are out doing mowing and yard work. I'd like to go check on the tomatoes with this being the year to relocate our garden. We have to get the wildflower seeds and marigolds going too--and it is my job to get this underway. I think I love the weekends more and more as I get older, I appreciate them in a different way than I did when I was young.
Have a delightful, beautiful day. Listen to the birds sing and the pre-schoolers talk, it will put a smile o your face and give you something to think about as you do what you need to do.
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