Monday, March 31, 2008

New Shirt for Gracie

We've been wanting to buy this shirt for Gracie for a while. Finally! We got it!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Kindergarten Dilemma

Once upon a time.... we had to decide if we should send Lexie to kindergarten or not. Her birthday is in June, and with a summer birthday she will either one of the youngest kids or the oldest. Hmmm.... what should we do? Hmmmmmm...?

This is going to be a long post, because it was a long process to decide what to do. No matter what, parents cannot see into their child's future. Decisions like this are such a crap shoot. We made the wrong decision and were later able to correct it. That pretty much sums it up, read on if I peaked your interest.

Lexie is our second child. We didn't have to decide this with our first one. She is a February baby. February is easy! She fell right in the middle - no need to ponder what to do. Katie started her education as a preschooler, then advanced to kindergarten after a year of preschool. Katie attended an awesome preschool - she went to public school preschool as a "peer leader". Yes, a 4 yr old peer leader. Thumbs Up! The public school preschool program received a grant to incorporate some "peer leaders" into their special education prescool classes and Katie was selected due to her amazing nonstop vocabulary skills. The kid could talk! She was born talking and hasn't stopped. Her verbal skills were what they were looking for to inspire some of their special ed students to learn and speak more. But, Katie had a great experience too. When she entered Kindergarten, she was bored. In fact, her preschool had covered almost everything that was in the Kindergarten curriculum. She did attend two different schools for these two grades which was probably part of her Kindergarten boredom problem. Preschool was in North Dakota and Kindergarten for Katie was in South Dakota. But the decision about what year to start K was easy-breezy. She started at 5 1/2. Perfect little winter kid! She fit right in academically and socially all the way through 12th grade. She's in college now and studying to be a special education teacher - she has always wanted to be one since she was a preschool "peer leader".

OK, back to the topic at hand.... but you kind of need to know how we came to have a big decision and nothing to base it on even though we had an older child and had been through the Kindergarten thing already. Our first decision about Lexie's education was: no preschool. We weren't in the same community as when Katie was her age so she didn't have the opportunity to be a peer leader. And, it left Katie with a lot of Kindergarten boredom. So, Lexie attended daycare (I was the daycare teacher) library storytime, went to the YMCA for swim lessons, and I sent her to Safety School. Social more than academic exposure. Lexie is shy. She doesn't talk in public, only at home. She was my little barnacle, always attached. Katie always spoke for her. Her vocabulary and speech skills were amazing too but only at home. Anywhere else and she hid behind my leg and let Katie do the talking.

After putting her in preschool aged social situations where she didn't have Katie or I to hide behind, she bloomed a little more. Still shy, but she was able to do what she needed to do. We thought she was ready for Kindergarten at age 5. She'd been able to read since age three and she could do some simple addition already. But kindergarten? not in that town.

The school district strongly encouraged five year olds to stay home. If your birthday was after March, stay home another year. Wait till your child is age six, then begin kindergarten. They had all sorts of data to back up their views. This was not a school policy, but it may have well been. You know how moms talk.... I soon learned that six year olds were the preferred Kindergarten students and five year olds were moved to the margins and then retained. Especially boys! Well, here we were with a shy summer kid. Not much choice but to wait till she was age 6 and start her with the other kids her age. So, we did another year of social activities.

We put her in K at age 6. She was bored. The class spent three weeks learning how to line up, raise your hand, sit, be quiet. She complained. She was bored. "Why do I have to go there?" I figured it was just the curriculum, first grade would be better. Just like with Katie. Around the middle of the year of Kindergarten, I got a note from the teacher. Lexie was recommended for the gifted ed program which was an after school program called Odyssey of the Mind. She joined and had a great time. She was still annoyed with Kindergarten though. At one point she said there was a kid in her class named DJ and he couldn't spell his name. She just didn't like being there and listening to the teacher explain to poor little DJ how to draw the letters of his name every day.

She stayed in the OM program through the 5th grade. Her team won the state championships and competed at the world level three times. She won a $1000 college scholarship when she was in the 4th grade. We were really proud! But all the kids on her team were a grade and two grades above her. They were her favorite friends, but all ahead of her in school. They were winter babies! So Lexie was the same age minus a few months and a whole grade behind her friends. This isn't what we expected.

School remained the same for her. Boring. In second grade she was used as a buffer so the teacher could better control classroom behavior. She hated second grade. We petitioned to have her bumped up to the third grade. She could do the work, she was old enough, and she was miserable in the grade we placed her in. The school flat out refused our request. Didn't matter, she had a summer birthday. So she plugged along through her elementary years.

After 5th grade, which was the end of elementary, we moved to Southern California. She would switch from an elementary school with 450 students to a middle school with 1500 students. And Katie was finished with the 8th grade and ready for high school. She would go from a middle school of 300 students to a high school with 3800 students. Big changes for both girls!

Katie fit right in. Lexie stood a head taller than her classmates. One very nice girl invited her to her birthday party, she was turning 11. Eleven!!! Lexie had been 12 for months, and the kids in her class were eleven and just turning eleven! No wonder she was so much taller than they were. Sure, she's always been a tall kid, but put her in with kids who are a year to a year and a half younger and she was sticking up like a flagpole. She spent a week feeling like she was a square peg in a round hole. Her new peers were younger. Seemed like a lot younger.

Maybe now was our chance to change that decision we've always regretted about starting Kindergarten late. By now we had realized that our decision for K was based on what people were telling us to do, not what was in the best interest of our child. We felt bad for not thinking of her interests first and taking recommendations second. Live and learn.

So, we met with the school counselor. She looked over Lexie's file and agreed that we could consider moving her up to 7th grade, but she made no promises. Awesome! She didn't look at us like we were nuts! She looked past Lexie's June birthdate! She didn't say "June - Nope!" It felt good just knowing that her new school was going to make a decision and not base it solely on the month of her birthday. Lexie was interviewed to determine social needs. She was tested to determine academic standing. She passed her tests and passed the 6th grade after just two weeks of being in California. The counselor explained to us that ultimately it was our decision. We asked about the ages of the kids in the 6th and 7th grades and we found out that in Cali, kids begin kindergarten at age 5 or close to age 5. The cutoff date is December 1st as opposed to South Dakota where the cutoff date was officially September 1st but anything after March wasn't going to fly very far. We decided to bump her up to the 7th grade.

She did not want to participate in Odyssey of the Mind anymore. She'd already been to world three times, and she just wanted to blend in. She blended in just fine. She soon had a bunch of friends, all her own age, and some almost as tall as her! She was happy and academically she did just fine.

Like any teenage girl, she isn't as interested in her grades as she is in her hair. She doesn't always bring home grades we can brag about, but her hair looks great. Her standardized testing almost always comes back as proficient, she is just as smart as the other kids in her grade. Skipping sixth grade did not hurt her education any. She's got one more year left of high school and then she's off to college where we expect she'll do just fine and fit right in.

Like I said, we can't see into our child's future. These decisions we make for them when they are young are based on our best guesses. We rely on the professionals to guide our decisions, usually they are right. But we happened to be the parents of the one kid who didn't fit the mold. Lexie.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Follow Up

Here's the update:

Katie is better. Her stomach flu may have been food poisoning. Nobody else got it and she recovered. Yay!

Lexie is better too. She's eating again and she doesn't need her pain pills anymore. Her 2 week long spring break ends on Monday and I think she's ready to go back to school.

Gracie is over her sinus infection. She's got a new hobby. No, not skinning her knees, that's always been one of her favorite things to do. Now she likes to draw. On everything! My house has turned into Gracie's art gallery. There are drawings on nearly every wall and the floor too.

I had a lot of college stress these past 3 weeks. I have sworn to never go full time again. It's crazy. I have a lot of projects to do including research papers and tons of reading and one "creative project". I will sew something for that. There are 5 weeks left and the pressure is mounting.

Questions and comments from my blog readers:

Gracie is so cute in that dress. did you cheat and go buy her one?? Yes. I totally cheated! I cheated on Halloween too and didn't sew her a costume. I've been cheating a lot lately. I got Gracie's easter dress last year right after Easter - it was on clearance! BRU had it on the clearance rack for $8. Can't beat a deal like that. Maybe I'll make her a dress next Easter.

Now get off the computer and read poetry (wait, am I talking to you or to myself?).
I have had my fill of British poetry! Gah! Will it ever end? Oh, yes, it will in 5 weeks! Woo hooo! I thought the Victorian Era poetry was kind of strange, especially the poem where the guy strangles his lover with her hair. Creepy!

Mary, never forget that some day you will long for these times.
Thanks but.... I'm not so sure I'll ever long for green snot, puking, and tonsil surgery all at once, topped with research papers and poetry and midterm exams. I'm just not cherishing these times. I do cherish zillions of other things though. My daughters are wonderful, and I love being their mom. Couldn't have a luckier job than this! But, lately, things have not been what memories are made of. The kids are better so my blog will be happier. I promise!

popsicles.. (I'd blend up some greenbeans freeze it, and try to trick her.. But that's me.. Save it for a day, when she's cranky, and driving you crazy.) Green been popsicle.. Mmmmm....
That's a great idea! She hates veggies, and so does my Miss Gracie. I should try to trick those two! We've gone through a ton of popsicles this past week because the whole family has been enjoying them. I have to restock - good stuff! I'm never eating popsicles at your house though... scary!

Happy Birthday!!! Darling photos.
Thanks everyone who posted Birthday wishes and said nice things about the photos. Just when I was thinking to myself "wow, I can't believe she's two years old!" she laid on the floor and pitched a fit. Yup, she's terrible two!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

March Mom Madness - When will it end!!!

I'm ready for March to be done already. You should see my calendar. It's full. Too full.

This week was nuts. The kids are feeling better though, so that is nice. I'm so glad!!!! There is nothing worse than when your kids are sick and you can't do a darn thing about it. Even though my girls are older, it still breaks my heart when they are sick.

I just have one more week of college insanity to muck my way through and then it'll be my spring break. Which is another way of saying "catch-up time". This week I have another exam and a big paper to write. Luckily, I have a couple of days.

Only two more months of college. It's gonna be crazy but I might make it.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Another one down

Now my other teen is sick. She has a horrible stomach bug and she's been doing nothing but puking for hours and hours. Great. Think she's contagious?

Lexie CANNOT get the pukes. OMG. That'll kill her for sure. Not that anyone else should have it, but the kid just got her tonsils out. Can you imagine?

Poor Katie. She hasn't thrown up since I don't know when. She hates puking, so she'll do all she can not to! And she's been pretty successful for a lot of years. Till today. Her "no-hurling" streak is over. I think she went 8 years since she last puked.

No worries, Gracie is fine. She got over her cold and is down to just a clear runny nose which she wipes with her hand all over her face. No problem. But she has been keeping me busy because her new favorite thing to do is climb up on the kitchen table and yell "Ma Ma! Ma Ma! Ma Ma! May-Weee!" Followed by a hearty laugh. How many times can I say "Get down, Snotface!"?

So today I have two research papers to write. I'm sure I'll come up with some great material in between scooping the 2 yr old off the table, crushing pills for the tonsil-less one, and cleaning up puke.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Stubborn Patient

A teenager without tonsils is a challenge! She's got a notebook and a pen so she can still be as sassy as ever, but otherwise she's pretty sick.

She has all kinds of pain pills and stuff to gargle and some antibiotics too. I have to cut up her pain pills. I crushed one between two spoons and she wrote on her notebook: "I'm not going to snort it like cocaine". So now I'm cutting them into three pieces so she can swallow them down with water.

That's the only water she will drink. She won't take ice chips or juice or popsicles or anything. She's driving me insane! She also won't take her antibiotics because they are in big capsules and she can't swallow them yet. And she won't gargle with her liquid gunk either. She just swallows her pain drugs and goes back to bed. Did I mention that she's driving me insane?

My husband force fed her a chocolate bar this morning. Good choice. Where's mine? I will eat it willingly!!!

She's only comfy in my bed. hmmmm.... not sure what is up with that, but that's ok. She can lay in my bed and drool on my pillow. If she weren't so dehydrated that she could actually drool that is. So her and the dog and some stuffed animals are all snoozing in my bed. Awwww!

I stayed home from school - yup, skipping again! - on Tues, Wed and today to take care of her. Not that she needs much more than a pill cut in half, but it's my mom duty to stick around and be close. I'm sure if I drove 40 miles to class, sure as shlt, she's spike a fever. So I'm staying home and trying my best not to totally hover, but just be here if needed. I told myself I'd write papers while she's recuperating, but so far I haven't made much progress. I have two papers due Monday and one of them needs to be super amazing. Yeah, it'll be something I whip outa my butt at the last minute. Amazing Indeed!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Toxic Tonsils are Gone!

Princess Lexie had her tonsils removed this morning. The surgery went well and she did just fine. The doctor said her tonsils were pretty ugly. They were large and full of scars. He could tell they had been putting her through hell for many years. He got that right!

She's sleeping now. She got more drugs than a 90 year old. Lots of pain meds and some antibiotics. I loaded up the fridge and freezer with popsicles and jello. Got her some applesauce for when she's feeling more adventurous.

I'm so relieved it's over. I was a nervous mess but I was pretending to be calm, cool and collected. Not sure if I pulled off that charade, but I gave it a good try. I couldn't sleep last night so am exhausted now that it's all over. I'm super happy that she will be a healthier person! She deserves to be healthy since she rarely gets that chance.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Turning Two Today!

Someone cute and cuddly is turning two years old today! Here is a little photo journal style post to show you all just what the full moon brought us two years ago:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Skipping School (Again)

I'm being naughty today and playing hookie from college. I have a test tomorrow and a paper due tomorrow. The test I'm ready for (almost) but the paper - yikes! I haven't even started it!

And I have tonsillectomy paperwork to finish up. Plenty for me to do without putting in a full day of lectures too.

Baby Princess is sick. This is the real reason I'm home today. She's got a fever, cough and snot pouring out of her like she's just a snot faucet. She hates it when I come after her with a kleenex so she just wipes her nose with her hands and wipes it all over her cheeks and forehead. Then she rubs her hands together like she's applying lotion. She's a beautiful sight.

I got her some pediatric Robitussin for cold and cough. It's really working! But holding down all her flailing arms and legs and pouring a spoonful down her screaming gullet is not an easy task. I finally got wise this morning and put a spoonful in the freezer. It froze up like a little popsicle and I shoved that in her mouth. She swallowed it! The whole dose! No screaming! I'm impressed with myself for coming up with that one! I've got the next dose freezing up right now.

I should get with it and do a little research so I can whip an essay outa my wahzoo today. It would be nice to pretend I put some time and thought into it.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

March Madness - Mom style

I can't wait till March is over. It's nuts!!! I have midterms and research papers and tons of studying to do. No time for anything else at all! I should pack my bags and move into the university library for a few weeks.

My oldest princess needs to finalize her summer job prospects before she drives me insane. She thinks she'll just get hired by showing up at her convenience. It's March! So I have been very busy nagging and nagging. She has her college mid-terms too. Wish she'd study! She's making me a nervous wreck.

Middle princess gets her tonsils out in a little over a week. I'm both excited and nervous. And the aftermath won't be fun for her which means it'll be hell for the rest of us. But then she'll be healthier and we can look forward to a better school year next year. She just signed up for next year's classes. She'll be a senior!!! I'm not sure how she suddenly got to be this far along in school. I swear, she was in middle school not that long ago.

Baby princess has a birthday at the end of this week. She will be 2 yrs old. I threatened to post-pone her birthday until she seems more ready to be 2, but it's coming anyway. I'm taking her to Seaworld for her day in lieu of a party. We will have a family dinner followed by pie. Gracie gets pie on her birthday because she was born on pi day.

My neighbors are organizing a block rummage sale. So whatever Saturday they choose, and they want to do this in March... I'll drag my crap out to the driveway and partake in the neighborhood garage gutting festivities.

Easter is in March too. Yeah, cuz March isn't busy enough! I invited my brother here for Easter but if he thinks I'm cleaning my house for his visit, he's mistaken. I have too much to do to take time to clean house for my brother. I haven't seen him in years, so I might run the vacuum... or I might not.

Never a dull moment around here!!!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Friday Follow Up

The week in review: Nothing too exciting this week. I had a British Literature exam on Thursday and I think I kicked some poetic ass!!! Sweet!!! I had some bloodwork done this morning, which is the worst thing in the world to me. I'd rather get puked on. Speaking of... my baby is sick with a runny nose and fever. No puke. whew! Dodged that bullet. My dog has taken a new liking to digging in the back yard, which now looks like a mine field. I helped my husband brew another batch of home-made beer - Cherry Wheat. It's currently aging in a bucket in the bathtub. Hey, where do you keep your bucket of brew? Other than that, it's been a fairly normal week. Here are some questions and comments from the trenches:

This is my niece. I believe she is a future Girl Scout Cookie High Seller. I'm sure of it.
Living with cavemen
Your niece is super cute!!! Where does she get that adorable charm? From her mother? I don't see her as being much of a girl scout.... she doesn't seem to be the follower type. More of an individual do it her own way kinda girl. She does love cookies though.

When you wrote "ABC" I was trying to figure out who those initials stood for. I had not thought that you were actually talking about the "American Broadcasting Channel" (Or whatever they stand for?). That's crazy.
Yup, that ABC! We listed it on Craigslist and a couple of tv producers called us, came over with cash in hand and the deal was done. Sweet!

You're glasses will probably show up the day after your new ones arrive.
Living with Cavemen
Again, you spelled "your" wrong. You do that so I have something to nag about, right? That's so sweet of you, but really.... it's Y.O.U.R. Still haven't found my glasses, the charger with the extra battery stuck in it, or blue kitty. Also lost my kitchen timer. My new glasses shipped so I'm waiting for them to arrive. Hopefully soon!

I'm going to get this bumper sticker, what do you think?
I love it!!! And Jesus seemed to turn out ok.

Bossy is coming to San Diego on April 7! Are you interested?
Midterms will be over... Lemme see if I can get a sitter in the city. Sounds promising.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

My Famous Mini-Van

Here is a picture of the old girl, I know I have better pictures of her somewhere in the depths of my computer but this one will due for now. Oh, that's not my house, but that is me.

My mini-van, wait, let me clarify.... it's not really mine anymore. We sold it to ABC last summer for a whopping $2905 cash. It was a 1997 Dodge Caravan with 151,000 miles on it. And it had a salvage title too because we bought it wrecked.

My mini-van is now a TV Star! It's on a reality show Tonight!!! It airs in a couple of hours - and it already aired in the Central time zone and I suppose the east coast too. The show is called "Here Come the Newlyweds" on ABC.

Hope you get to watch my girl make her tv debut!!!

Where's My.....????

I've lost a lot of things: time, my sanity, my girlish figure, perky boobs, contact with the real world, etc. But lately, I'm losing my head.

The list of things I cannot find is growing.

First of all, I lost my glasses. I've been wearing glasses since I was 10 yrs old and I cannot ever remember misplacing my glasses to the point where they didn't show up after a few days. It's been two weeks and I totally can't find them.

I also can't find Blue Kitty. Princess Gracie's BEST friend!!! What kind of mommy loses Blue Kitty? Have you seen him? He's blue and cute and pretty quiet. Loves hugs from Miss Gracie.

Lost my camera battery charger and extra battery too. We have a Canon Digital Rebel, which has it's own "special" shaped battery. Can't just shove a 9 volt in there and call it good. So, our camera has been rendered useless without the charger.

To sum all of this up... lost my $200 glasses (I got a good deal on them), $32 blue kitty (specialty boutique item), $60 battery stuck in the $??? charger. I don't know how much the charger would be, spendy I'm sure! I wouldn't dare lose anything cheap!

I just ordered new glasses online from Global Eyeglasses for an amazing low price of $32 total. Such a good deal that now if I find my glasses I have an extra pair. With the way I've been losing things lately I think this is a great idea. Gotta have backup.

I'm going to continue to search for Blue Kitty and the battery charger. As soon as Blue Kitty turns up, she will be grounded. I have fears of finding her headless with half her stuffing pulled out. The dog is the prime suspect in this missing lovey mystery!