Friday, October 31, 2008

By the way, BOO!

So the boys are out on the town getting goodies. It's off to a slow start here--we've had all of three kids. Nic observed that no one wants to come to our house. Well, we'll see about that.

So my boys got to be what they wanted to be: G is Lightning McQueen and Nic is The Man with the Yellow Hat from Curious George. I'm room mom yet again for Nic, and was responsible for helping plan the festivities. The other room mom is better at this stuff than I am. I herded the boys to the downstairs bathroom and helped them get dressed. Nic required a full costume change. And as he was getting into his get-up, I reflected on all the grief and aggravation that went into finding the pieces of it (which culminated in a yell fest and a call to my friend to borrow her Curious George).

But it was worth it as we paraded through the gauntlet of friends, parents and relatives to hear the gasps "Look, it's the Man with the Yellow Hat!" And the complimentary comments. That was pretty cool.

I just received a packet from Nic's teacher with all of his progress, sort of a pre-report card. He's doing great at the stuff they are teaching, and not so great with the 'testing' stuff. I really in a way don't care about the testing stuff. Maybe I should. But in a way, doesn't affect him directly, since he's got an IEP. I don't know, I need to learn more about that.

We just had a flurry of kids. Including my own. Yes, my two knuckleheads just ToT'ed their own house.

I'm going to sign off for now. But I leave you a pic.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Offer on the Table

I'm moving into the next phase of my life, whether I like it or not.

I've spent a lot of the last week on the road, logging over 1, 000 miles. And that week finished with me sitting with a good friend and fellow do-gooder...who is now literally the boss of me.

The funniest thing about this is that I'm taking a big paycut. (I will not give up my writing habit and indeed, I'll still be doing that to make my monthly nut) And it was still an easy offer for me to accept.

Why? Well, I'm already doing this for free, anyway. A lot of this new job will simply continue the work I've been doing in the special needs community for the last 5 years. And in a sense, it will give me more street cred, if that's possible.

DH isn't so sure this is a good thing. But I just feel it's right. I walked away from a few opportunities early this year because they didn't feel that great, even though the money was awesome and I heard from a few quarters that I was being bullheaded.

I've always been all about the greater good, and now I get to put my money where my mouth is.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Best Time Starting Now?

I'm a strong believer in the idea of a door closing, and a window opening in its place.

When one door banged unceremoniously shut earlier this month (I knew the slam was coming, anyway), that gave me ample pause. What now, what next, what will become of us? I love freelancing for the freedom it gives me; I dislike it for its uncertainty, although I have to say I always seem to make my minimum required monthly nut.

Sometimes it is VERY minimum. But it's better than nothing, so I will take it.

Anyway, stuff going away has allowed other stuff to come into its place. Granted, it's unpaid stuff, but a lot of it is reimbursable, great experience and training, and doing what I love, which is working with children and families to help connect them to services, activities, resources, and whatever support they need.

My time at the conference was invaluable for the networking--even though I didn't accomplish what I INTENDED to, I definitely accomplished what I NEEDED to. Things are happening because I was there, talking to the right people, getting the right stuff moving in a positive direction.

My best time spent was with my co-presenter, introducing her to the local winery. She had no idea it was there, and she told me before we parted that this was the best part of her trip (best part of mine too, I picked up some good wine!)

My boys were happy to see me, and I've been cleaning up the 'bachelor pad' ahead of my second departure to Pittsburgh for an overnight training tomorrow. Gabe and I spent a good morning bonding; we will go with Nic's Scout pack to the hayride tonight, then I will leave tomorrow before first light (again).

But I'll be back Saturday.

And in the space of my being gone, two more opportunities presented themselves. I have to make some decisions about how my time will be spent. But there is some very good stuff happening here.

I keep saying stuff. Well, it is.

But it's GOOD stuff......

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sierra Cadre

I am alone.

My family is at home, and I am here at the conference. Let's see, a car caught fire in front of me on the turnpike, and my day's been at that level of excitement since. Most of my time has been spent doing work as county co-chair, and trying to get an event off the ground. Surprise, we got the space, now all we have to do is get the agency to cooperate.

Actually, I am not alone.

I had a lot of support among many parents, providers, organizers and friends the last couple of days. Many hands lifting me up. I love these people.

I miss my kids. I miss DH.

But it's been a GOOD couple of days. And another door opened today.

It leads out. I am going places.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My baby is 5 today!

Yay Gabriel! I can't believe my sweet little guy is already 5! Seems like only a couple of months since I held my cuddly little guy in my arms. But it's been 60, and I can hear him reading "A Birthday Cake for Little Bear" while Nic works on his homework.

I was up at 6 baking like a maniac, and it's been baking central here. My third item of the day is currently in the oven ( a chocolate cake that the boys helped make). Morning muffins went to G's am class, and banana bread went to his pm class. As soon as the bread was out of the oven, we were off to school.

I dropped him off, went off to my aquatics class (really the best thing ever), had an awesome workout, dropped off the bread to G's pm class, and met SIL for lunch. I love SIL, she is probably my best friend on the planet. We did a post mortem of the weekend and talked about the next few weeks of events in our households. I head up to State College early tomorrow am until Wednesday night, and I found out that I made the cut in the state training, so I will be flying to Pittsburgh Friday am and returning Saturday night.

Oh yeah, and Gabriel and I go to Baltimore for his 5 year eval on Monday.

So I will be traveling, DH will hold down the fort, and it will be an interesting week here.

Good stuff is happening.

And my kids are doing well, Gabriel had an awesome weekend and a happy day today with his friends. I love hearing his voice, and he and Nic are arguing about the interpretation of the story G's reading.

They are the best of buds. Five years ago today, Gabriel made our family wonderful. It was before, but he made a brother out of Nic, and that was the best gift of all.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

From the "You Can't Possibly be Serious" File

Okay, we just got back from the orchard. And I have to say, I am just.....gobsmacked.

Yes, we met up with friends, but as it happens, we spent more time with the 'bad' than the good. In a way, it worked out, because our good friends were having a day where they both just wanted mom and no one else. I can respect that.

However, I would have been happier had we done this outing alone. Dear son was a whining, complaining pain in the butt from start to finish. My sons actually were amazingly flexible in accommodating him--but the downside to that was that we were at their whim and mercy. And to that end, we were following them around.

We were out of the big corn maze in near record time. If I had a brain in my head, we would have gone separate ways. But no, we hung in. It wasn't awful, but I could tell my kids were not happy. And as we were waiting in line for ice cream, she actually said to me, "you know, I can take [dear son] more places than most kids with disabilities."

While she was saying this, dear son was deliberately upsetting Nic. I wordlessly moved Nic to my other side. I couldn't get our ice cream fast enough.

They left shortly thereafter, but not before mom made a parting shot about my kids.

That left my jaw on the ground. My kids were absolutely gracious about having dear son upend their outing. I furiously dialed my buddy, who was on the other side of the farm.

And our last hour was wonderful. The kids played well together, moms bonded, and life was good.

We came home, my kids attempted to play with the neighborhood kids. Points for trying.

The Days Are Just Packed

So my day began yesterday at 7:30. I dressed, jumped into the van, and headed for aquatics. I am LOVING this class. So after another kickass workout, I dressed, zipped over to the mall, picked up balloons and treat bags for Gabe's party (and eyed a Wii, in full supply at one of the game stores, so guess what I'm doing later in the week, Merry Christmas to us and I'm done shopping on one swell foop), off the Costco to get the cake, back to rendevous with my friend Carol to pick up her son Bradley to take to our party, back to our house to pick up the boys, and finally, the bowling alley).

Whew! I don't even get to catch my breath. We had 10 kids, including my two--and let's see, 5 had ASD, 1 ADHD, and another with physical issues. I'm laughing because issues or not, this bunch looked like any other bunch having a party there yesterday, except mine was (for reasons above) a smaller group!

It was fine. Gabe like the idea of the party better than the party. His classmates had a great time, and his former teacher was there as well as his current teacher (I love her, she is so good with G), and most of the other parents stuck around, so I was trying to play catch up with a couple of them while trying to keep our group together, keep the food and drink flowing, and maintain order in the preschooler bowling lane.

Love clean up, though--it was quick, minimal, and we zipped right over to soccer after.

Dad made dinner, and we had movie night, Cars. I have to say I liked it. I was surprised.

Fall cleaning right now, and then off to the orchard to do the corn maze with friends. Tomorrow will be G's birthday and I will be ready to drive up to Penn State for my conference. I'll find out whether the other training is happening for me tomorrow as well--in which case, I'll be back Wednesday, here to do haunted Hayride with Nic's cub scout pack, and flying out to Pittsburgh early Friday am to return Saturday.

Kind of hope it all works out.

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's 70 and Sunny on Planet Gabe

We just got back from a wonderful day with G's Pre-K class at the orchard. We had J, a lovely funny boy with a Cars backpack and a cheery smile as our partner. They picked their very own pumpkins, enjoyed the hayride, got lost in the corn maze (that was quite a workout, sprinting to keep up with J), sliding down the big slide at the end of the maze, lunch, playing chase, ice cream, more running, and the bus ride home.

The day is not over yet. I may be headed out of town TWICE next week--not sure. We will all head out to dinner tonight to celebrate Andy and my 15 year anniversary.

It's a good day. It's a perfect fall day.

And Gabe wants me to read to him, so I'd better get busy!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Opportunities emerge from the dust

I am not going to jinx myself by saying that my job sit is settled, but doors are opening that suggest a new career path. I'll go through those doors and see if I can find some more to open.

Gabe is the oldest child in his IU class. I found that out at back to school night. We've come full circle; he began the same class two years ago as the youngest. And old, experienced mom ended up fielding questions about K transition (because I could).

Nic had a so-so cub scout meeting last night. He'll do the year. Gabe I think will be better suited for this. In two years.

Signing Nic up for township b-ball this winter. Thinking about transitioning to township soccer next year--both boys did great playing under the lights at half time on Monday. It was a good night out.

DH and I will be married 15 years tomorrow. G turns 5 on Monday. The next little while is busy for me despite the down time, , workwise.

Everything for a reason. Hanging in there and hoping for the best.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lots of good things happening

So far Nic’s school year is going well—academically, his grades are all high As; socially, peer pressure is working in our favor. This time last year we were dealing with two hours in-class tantrums. This year, Nic is a hard worker spending nearly all of his day in his class with his peers, and his teacher is fully invested in his success.

We have the aide, but he doesn’t really need the aide. We’ll keep her because you never know. Besides, she helps redirect when needed, and while it’s not needed nearly as much as it was last year, it’s still needed.

We were shot down for the 1:1 aide in Gabriel’s regular preschool, although we have consults in place for him at his regular preschool. I think another meeting is in our immediate future. He is quieter and more passive than Nic, and I think because he isn’t an overt behavioral issue, he’ll get overlooked and slip through the cracks.

We finally figured out that those little end zone sprints, complete with a little dance to stick the landing, is how he processes information. He can’t write his name, but he can tell you in great detail the difference between a star and a comet.

We had a friend come in today, a little girl about G’s age. Mom and I discussed starting up a special ed support group for her district. Her little girl came armed with a coloring book and crayons, I guess thinking that she’d need to keep herself occupied.

After about five minutes, she came into the dining room, and deposited both on the table. I grinned at her mom and remarked that I guess she thought she didn’t need them.

Five minutes after that, she deposited her shoes on the table and whispered to her mom ‘they have a trampoline in there.’

Mom and I had a great uninterrupted conversation while our kids happily—and quietly—played in the next room. When mom and daughter left, Gabriel waved goodbye from my office window. And he stood there a long time after they left.

This is what breaks my heart; the realization and confirmation that my kids’ ostracism from neighborhood play is really affecting my little one. Much of my life and focus is on straightening out my older boy’s life situation. He sucks the air out of the room. My little one is content to take my time and attention as he needs it.

But this is my reminder; my little one needs his own space, his own friends, his own emotional nourishment. Yes, he is doing fine. But I need to help him do better.