Tuesday, January 31, 2012

And the winner is..

We picked up Finley's "Sleep over" basket yesterday that she won at last week's Winterfest here in our town.  She is so excited.

Thing is huge!  It has so many cute goodies in it.
Tonight she put the tent up in her room and put the sleeping bag inside.  Told us that is where she was sleeping tonight, but we talked her out of it.

I took a picture of Cainan with his first report card. 
 He was so excited about it.  He should be really proud of himself - we are really proud of him.  He got an amazing report and is doing so well.  Tonight - we was doing some reading!  Cainan!!  He was figuring words out in his book and he was reading. 

Arlington and I took Scooby to his first "Graduate Puppy" class tonight.  All of the dogs from our last class were there, so that was nice.  Arlington had a great time.  The teacher loved that she was there.  The class is an hour earlier than the last one, so she will be able to come each week with me.
Tomorrow is just another day.  Thankfully not nearly as busy as the last two.  And Thursday is our meeting with Finley's teacher (and hopefully a few other people).  Update after that, I promise.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Too frustrated to post

Today I am having a frustrating day with Finley's teacher, and I just want to take the evening to fume.  Nothing terrible, but I just wish her teacher would get on the same page with Mat and I and TRY.  TRY to work with us and understand Finley's indepth needs.  But yet - we sit here again - second verse, same as the first.

I will elaborate further once we have a conference with her. 

In the mean time, I will leave you with something Finley said today.

Finley:  "mommy, when I grow up, I want to live in a pink house with Mary"

Me:  "Oh!  When you get married, you want to live in a pink house?"

Finley: "NO mommy, I want to live with Mary."

Me:  "Who's Mary?"

Finley:  "My cat."

Great.  She is going to be the crazy cat lady in a pink house.  Awesome.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

2 Parties, 1 girl

Finley had two birthday parties to attend today.  Thanks to good luck, the parties did not overlap, so she could go to both.

The first party was for her best girlfriend "L".  She was excited to go to this party.  There were only 6 little girls there.  It was a "rock 'n roll" theme party - very cute.  "L's" dad even bought a fog machine which the girls thought was awesome.  Finley has a rock 'n roll theme outfit she wore.  I forgot my camera at that party - bummer.  She had a great time.  I did too - I got to talk to some of the mom's of the little girls (who are all in Finley's class at school) and catch up.

Finley did get some tattoos at the first party.  Finley is attracted to tattoos like a moth to a flame.  She went a little bit overboard:

After that party, we left to go to our neighbor "M's" 6th birthday party.  Her mom and dad Lisa and Andy have been great neighbors to us.  We have had so much fun with them.  Finley and Arlington both were invited to this party.  It was a princess party.  Arlington didn't want to dress up (she is really kind of beyond that in general) but Finley wore her fancy Belle dress.

I did take some pictures at this party.  It was great fun.  Lisa can put on a party.  I posted the pictures below - wait until you see the cake she made!  I am very jealous of her unending party talents.  She did tell me she would like to make cakes for my kids for their birthdays.  They made me do a little "yipee" inside.

It was a fun day, and Finley was exhausted by the end.  Poor Cainan - no parties for him today.  But he got some daddy time, which he likes just as much.

Tonight we ordered pizza, watched a movie as a family, and sat by the fire.  It was a great Sunday.

 Megan's dad played a grumpy old troll - and put on fake hair and a mustache:

Words we live by

God doesn't give us what we can handle.

God helps us handle what we are given.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cupcake Walk

What is a cupcake walk?  I am glad you asked.

Last night we went to a Winterfest festival here in our new town.  It is run by our local school and all profits go to the PTA to fund school activities.  It is apparently a very big deal because it was really crowded.  We had dinner there, and put our names in about 20 baskets (there were 110 in all) and then left.

But there was a "Cake Walk" and Finley wanted to do it.  Just like Junie B Jones in her books.  Except minus the fruitcake win.  But it was $1 a try, and we felt that was a bit ridiculous for a Cake Walk, so we didn't do it.  That was what Finley CAME for (as she told us) and she wanted to do the cake walk SO BADLY.
But we still felt like it wasn't worth it, so I told her that we had cake mix at home and we could do our own cake walk.  You know....to get her out the door.

It worked.  But it also backfired.  Hence the title of this post.
This afternoon, Finley and I baked cupcakes out of said cake mix, because she thought we could have a cupcake walk.  Why not.  It was a mini version of the cake walk at school and it made her happy, so I went with it.

I let her decorate the cupcakes any color and any way she wanted.  We filled some paper cups with a little bit of icing each, and added the food coloring.  Then after I iced them, I let her add the toppings.
Here is what we came up with in the end.

 Arlington and Cainan got into it as well, and our neighbor "C" was visiting so she participated as well.  We set up our living room with numbers on the floor.
Finley drew the numbers - she still gets them a little backwards sometimes.
Finley and Cainan could hardly stand waiting for the game to start - they really wanted those darn cupcakes.

We wrote numbers 1-10 on pieces of paper and put them in a bowl.
 We played music and when the music stopped, the kids stopped on a number and then I pulled a number from the bowl.  If they were on that number - they won a cupcake.
They had a good time.  Each kiddo won 4 cupcakes in the end, and that made them very happy.
No - I didn't not let them eat all 4.
Okay - so the mad idea turned out to be pretty fun.  The kids told me we should do this EVERY weekend.
Ha ha ha.

Finley DID end up winning a basket yesterday at the basket raffle.  I was shocked considering the people that were there.  And these are not your ordinary baskets - some of these baskets were worth $100s.  (One was an American Girl doll and clothes!!)  Finley won the "Sleepover basket".  She thought this meant camping.  Whatever.  We get to pick it up Monday, but it has games, activities, popcord, gift cards, breakfast supplies, sleeping bag, pillow, etc.  She was so excited.  The other two.....not so much.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Dining in the Dark

 Our next Fundraiser for Finley and our RDH12 Fund for Sight is coming up soon.  If you live in or around the Connellsville, Pennsylvania area, we hope that you will join us for this unique experience.  Details are below.  You can email us, or call us, or print out this page and mail it to us.

I have removed my parents address and phone number.  You can email us at rdh12@rdh12.org.  But if you know my parents, give them a call.  This is an event that REQUIRES reservations, so please reserve soon!  For those of you who read who received this in email form or mail form already, please respond as soon as you can to reserve your spot of choice.

Thank you so much for your support.


Benefits: Finley's Fighters and the RDH12 Fund for Sight

Place: Ted and Phyllis Kovall's home

Join us for a dinner where all of your senses are expanded and focus on the food, the taste, the sound, the company and more… because you are dining without seeing. With the complete loss of vision — and the resulting heightening of the other four senses — an evening of Dining in the Dark is an extraordinary culinary adventure. You will get a chance to see what it is like for people who are blind to eat a meal and the challenges they face.

At the beginning of the dinner, you will be brought to the dining area, and you will be served your appetizer and drinks will be poured. Mat and Jennifer will talk about their foundation and the reason they do these fundraisers, and give you a chance to settle in and relax. After that time, the lights will be turned out and you will be submersed in darkness for your main course and dessert. But don't worry – if you need to leave for any reason, we will be there to escort you out and escort you back in.

The dinner itself will probably last no more than 30-45 minutes in the dark. Just enough time for you to relax and enjoy your meal. Then the lights will be turned back on, and you will have time to readjust to the light. The evening will end with a little “thank you” gift to all of our guest, and a basket raffle drawing.

Cost is $20/person, $30/couple. Please make checks payable to the RDH12 Fund for Sight. THIS DINNER IS FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE AGE 15 AND OLDER ONLY due to the nature of the experience.

Dinner will consist of: Salad, HOMEMADE pasta and sauce, bread, water and choice of one glass of red or white wine. Dessert will be ice cream.

Breakfast will consist of: Fruit salad, Waffles with syrup and butter, sweet roll, mimosas, juice and water.

Each dining experience will have no more than 16 people in attendance. We have posted the available times/dates below. Please list your choices in order of 1,2,3,4 in case your first choice is taken. Reservations will be filled on a first come/first served basis, so get your reservation in as soon as possible. RSVP by February 19th.
February 24th – 6pm Dinner in the Dark__________________ how many people?__________

February 25th – 9am Breakfast in the Dark________________ how many people?__________

February 25th – 6pm Dinner in the Dark_________________ how many people?__________

Febraury 26th – 9am – Breakfast in the Dark_______________ how many people?__________

Thursday, January 26, 2012

No title tonight

Tonight while I was blogging, Scooby came up to join me on the couch.  He put his paw on the keys and starting pouncing on them writing all kinds of things.  He is very advanced.
Eventually he put his head down on the computer.  I tried to take his picture, but every time I lifted the camera, he moved.  Ah well.  You will have to take my word for it.

Today was a busy day.  I helped in the health office with screenings this morning.  Then Finley's teacher of the vision impaired (TVI) came by for her monthly check in with us.  Then an excavator came by to talk to us about our summer project.  Then Arlington had tennis (tomorrow's session was canceled, so she went today instead).
 The meeting with Finley's TVI was the most significant.  She told me that Finley is doing great.  She is moving right along in braille, clearing one hurdle after another.  She showed me all the words and letters she has learned to recognize both sighted and with her fingers.  She had learned to load the paper in the brailler (which may not sound like a big deal, but it is complicated - especially when you are 5).  She is doing great.

Of course we talked about what we should do next year.  As January turns into February, I feel like May will be here before we know it and we will have to decide what we are doing for Finley next year.  Finley's TVI is now leaning more toward Finley going to transitional next year.  Basically she worries about Finley's stress level.  First grade is a huge jump in learning.  There is a lot more demand and on top of the regular classroom demands that Finley has, she has the braille demands on top of them.
We see it as this - it is like you take a child in regular education and tell them now they have to spend each day ALSO learning Russian (at age 6) and needs to be proficient at it before the end of the year.  GO.  Finley has to learn all the regular education stuff PLUS another language.  Is this a huge deal?  Not really.  But it is hard for her.  Kids who are blind from the beginning only learn braille.  Finley is learning both print and braille.  And that print is getting harder and harder for her to read.

I talked with my mother - in -law for a long time today.  Not only is she a great listener and someone I trust very much, she also taught elementary for a very long time.  She taught 1st grade for a long time.  She listened to my concerns and gave me some amazing suggestions.  She suggested we visit the transitional classroom to see where they are at this time of the year, and what they are learning.  Then she also suggested visiting the first grade classroom and see what THEY are expected to do at this time of the year.  Excellent suggestion.  It may give me some good insight to see where Finley will be expected to be in regular education at this time next year to see how much of a reality it is for her.
On a lighter note, our foundation is doing some amazing things.  I will be making some announcements soon about what will be happening in the near future, and it is all fantastic.  I want to wait until everything is official, and then I will share.  But in the meantime, we are planning a Dining in the Dark event coming up on February 24th, 25th, and 26th.  Tomorrow I will post all the details!  The event will be in Connellsville, PA, so if you live around or near the area, we hope you will consider coming.

When I get down about what Finley is facing, I am rejuvenated by the work of our foundation and all the wonderful people that made the possibility for a cure possible.  I see a future for her that is very different than what it would be if we didn't fight back.  I get excited that all of this may be put behind us in the very near future, and I can go back to being a boring blogger with a normal family life.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The poofy get poofier

Today, Scooby went to the groomer.  I take him to Pet Smart right now because I can get a fabulous "puppy package" for just $14 until he is 6 months old.
They give him a bath, and make it so he can see around his hair, and generally freak him out for 4 hours at the salon, and he comes home looking very fluffy.
And smelling very good.  Today he got a bandana and spent most of the afternoon trying to chew it off.  He just doesn't understand doggie fashion.

By tomorrow he will have rolled around in our front yard (which is part moat, part ice rink due to the weather) and he will look like he did before - which is a homeless dog.  Ahhh...puppy hood.

Tonight my children decided to put on weird outfits and dance around to CDs. It was cute - slightly annoying - entertainment.

Arlington came down in one of her best dresses (aka her Christmas dress) as a costume because the one she had on earlier was making it "hard to breathe".  Yeah....that might be because it was Finley's.
Moving on.
She brought the CD player down and turned on a song and proceeded to dance around the living room.  She was dancing alone and I asked her if her brother and sister were going to get a chance.
She said - "well, this is just song one - we still have 11 more to go.  They come in around song 6".
Okay.  Stop right there.  12 songs?  Has she lost her mind?
I tell her "you get one more song.  Go".
They had a good time jumping around, and Scooby thought it was a lot of fun.  He wanted to get in on the action and dance too.  It was a bit of a circus for about 20 minutes, and then everyone got tired and found other things to do.
What a shame.  (hint:  I am being sarcastic).
Now the poofy golden-doodle puppy is resting from his traumatic day.