Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Finley turning 4 - take one

This past weekend, my parents and grandparents came in to visit and celebrate Finley's birthday.  While Finley doesn't technically turn 4 until July 5th, family will be visiting us around this time to celebrate with her.

She was in her glory.  Of course.

My parents and grandparents arrived Thursday afternoon.  On Friday she had a chance to open her presents from them.  She also opened a few other presents that she received from other family members.

She had a really great weekend.  She was spoiled rotten and got to eat all the cookies GiGi would give her without me knowing.

That sneaky GiGi.

(she got this crown from her aunt Carrie and Uncle Jonathan)

(she got her yearly scrapbook from Mary Louise)

 (pretty dress and shades from Marge and Larry)

She got to swing on the swing with her 90 year old pap-pap.  That was pretty fun to watch.

He raced her to see who could swing faster.  Amazing.  He is doing so well for 90.  He makes 90 the new 50.  He even helped with yard work.  I am a lucky girl to come from such great genes.

We spent a lot of time this weekend outdoors on the porch.

 Swinging away.

On Saturday we went to Six Flags, but I will blog about that another day this week.  Aren't you excited??

Sunday we spent the day working and then shopping.  Then we went to dinner at a cute outdoor seafood place and enjoyed watching the boats while we ate.

 (Arlington giving some belated Father's day cards out)

We sang to Finley and gave her a pure chocolate cupcake (no cake - just chocolate) filled with mini M+Ms.  She was in her glory.

The kids woke up whiny Monday morning as we said goodbye to the grandparents.  They chose Monday to be the whiniest they have been since we started vacation.

It was hot and sticky and muggy.  Then it rained.  We were stuck inside almost the whole day and it was torture.  At least Arlington had 3 hours of Bible School to help take the edge off.  The other two were not as lucky.

Finley's vision teacher came Monday morning to work with her, but Finley wasn't really in the mood.  Between the heat and a very busy weekend, she was not at her best.So her vision teacher and I talked about the upcoming meeting we have with the school this Thursday.  We also talked about how this fall will be when they introduce Finley to using a cane.  That was a little hard to hear, but I just want her to be safe.  They said the sooner they get her used to it, the better it will be for her.Plus her vision teacher and orientation and movement specialist aren't thrilled that she is going to Disney next year and would be in that environment without it.

So - we will see.  They are going to measure her at the end of the summer.

We also seem to have inherited a cat.  For the record - I am allergic to cats and don't particularly like them.

However - I don't want any animal to suffer.  It has come to our yard from the woods every day for 4 days.  It doesn't seem to be afraid of people - it likes to come right up to us.  So I think the poor little thing might be lost.

It doesn't have a collar, so I have no idea what to do.  So for now - it is staying at our house at night in our yard.  And yes - I am crazy....I started to feed it.  I couldn't help it.

I think that catches you up.  I know you are thrilled.  In the next couple of days I will update you with pictures from our Six Flags trip.  I know you will be holding your breath until that time.

Until then!!!  Enjoy summer.  We certainly are.

Monday, June 28, 2010


I am sorry I didn't blog on Saturday.  We had a very busy weekend, and I didn't have time.  I will blog on my regular Tuesday.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Monday was Arlington's official last day of first grade.  We are happy to report that they are going to allow her to continue to second grade.  Whew.  That was a close one.

Okay.  Not really.  But I wanted to see if you were paying attention.

I cannot believe she is going to be a second grader.  Where did the time go?  When did time speed up is more the question.  I can still picture her so clearly - a little baby sitting on the couch with a toothless grin.  Her little peach fuzz hair she had for almost the first full year of her life.  What a good girl she is - very first born.  She is independent, sweet, and a rule follower (most of the time.  She is still a kid after all).  She is 7 years old.  She has lived in 3 states in her short life.  She has many best friends.  But she is friends with everyone.  She never says a bad word about anyone.  She is always accepting and always kind.  We couldn't be more proud.

So she moves onward.  I can't stop it.  If I could keep my kids little for a while longer, I would.  She is going to grow up, and outgrow caring about little girl things and little girl worries.  I wish I could warn her on what is coming.

Cainan is moving onward too.  He started his enrichment class this week.  We are hopeful that this will give him the confidence he needs for Kindergarten.  He seems excited so far, although I would be lying if it hasn't been trying.  He will get there - it is just going to be a slow process.

We have seen so much more activity in Cainan.  This summer he has been running in the yard barefoot.  If you know Cainan well, you will know that this was not even in the cards for him last summer.  No way would he walk in the grass.  This year, he takes his shoes off almost the minute he gets outside and runs like crazy.  He is also running through a sprinkler and ALLOWING it to get him wet.  Amazing.  He jumps off the bed, and the couch.  And the stone wall.  And the stool.  Yeah.....that is not such a great thing.

Finley is moving onward in her own way.  Somethings good.  Somethings not.  She has been using her brailler and she is also added many new words to her sight word vocab.  Best of both worlds, I guess.  Her sight does seem slightly worse, but we won't know for sure until July 1st.  She seems to struggle more.  She is turning her whole body to see things - not just her head.  Even her OT picked up on this.

But she is still Finley.  She still screams at night that she needs a hug and kiss long after we put her to bed.  She is still the kid that gets out of bed, gathers about 1 million toys, and puts them under her pillow.  Our free bird.  I can't WAIT for elementary school to met our Finley girl. (who thinks her name is Finney).

I guess Mat and I are moving onward too.  Not in the same way the kids are.  I REFUSE to get older.  ha ha.  Take THAT age.  Do I want to turn 35 in a few days?  Uh...no.  Did I WANT to find my first gray hair last week on my head?  NO.  (and I pulled it out and my mom informed me I will now get 10 more.  AWEsome.)

But we look forward to all the fun we have planned this year.  Our first big project of 2010 (besides being an advocate for Finley) is the excavation of another part of our yard.

Yes people, we are gluten for mowing punishment.

Here is the sight BEFORE it was started
 And here it is today - nearly done.  I think in another day or two, the project will be complete.

 I am sure some of you remember what happened the first time we excavated our yard.  We about gave our neighbor a heart attack.  And rightly so.  Our plans were wrong and we had plowed 50x20 feet of his property.  Yes....it was woods.  We didn't know.  And we were forgiven.  We put it back.

 But I am sure he saw the excavation equipment last week and had a mini coronary.  Lucky for him - we weren't anywhere near his property this time.

(yes these rocks were all dug up over the last two days)

This area is in the front of our house and we want it for more flat area for the kids and also another place to park.  We will show you the finished project once we put in the plants, and the flowering trees, and grass.  I think it is going to look amazing!

And then here is the part of the yard that Mat and I cleared all by ourselves.

These rocks were there - just covered with leaves and trees.  And it looks very pretty now!

See you Saturday.  Or - if we go to 6 Flags - see you Sunday!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Braille Awareness

Yesterday was the LAST day of school for my district.  We all waved goodbye to the kids and had a nice staff party before parting ways for the next 10 weeks.  I have great co-workers.  We are all in need of a break from the kids, but we do enjoy being together.  I was sad to see my diabetic go for the last time.  He is off to middle school next year.  I am really going to miss him.

 So begins summer.  Arlington has one more day of school, and I will be going to work that day as well to clean up the office and make sure everything is in place.  I will be returning here and there an hour or so a time just because we have to put in a few extra days than the teachers.  But I won't officially be back until the 26th of August - so yay!!

Today we took the kids to a local beach/park for a Braille Awareness day.

It was offered by the National Federation for the Blind.
 We ate food, and played at the park, and played in the waves, the kids had a great time.

 We were there for a few hours.

 They gave the kids all little gift bags full of fun stuff.  They got a kick out of that.

 It was hard to see all the blind people, though.  Harder than I thought.
 I had given myself a pep talk before I went.....

 But when I saw them - struggling to get around by themselves in a unfamiliar area, I panicked a little.

 I saw a lot of people with seeing eye dogs, but more with canes.

I did see a sweet old couple - both blind - both holding hands and guiding each other around.  We spoke in line.  They were very natural, and easy to talk to.

 I said a small prayer that someday Finley finds someone to be with her like that.

 I know she is going to be fine.  That she speak up for herself.

 But this isn't what I want for her.  For anyone.  I saw a gentleman bend down and feel the ground so he could see where the grass ended and the sidewalk began.  That was tough to watch.
 But he never said a word.  He did his thing, got the information he needed, and moved on.
 I was having a hard time dealing with how frightening it would be to not be able to see were you are going.  Ever.  That you can't open your eyes and make the darkness go away.

 Anyway - it was different than I thought it would be.  I don't want people to look at Finley and see her handicap first.  I don't want them to stare at her, and pity her.

 I want them to walk up to her and have her give them her amazing smile, and strike up a conversation.


This coming week I am taking a tour of our local elementary school with the superintendent and the building committee.  Our local school is in desperate need of repairs, but we are not sure that the town feels the same.  Our building is not properly equipped for kids like Finley, so I am "sticking my nose in" and making sure that I am heard.

 So far that is going well.  We are forming a little parent committee that feels the same way I do, and we hope it makes a difference.  If nothing else - we can say that we tried.

 I will always advocate for my kids.  If I don't feel like the school is meeting Finley's needs (or Cainan or Arlington) I will go to bat for them any day.  It isn't always in my comfort zone to speak up, but I won't back down if I think something could be better.

 Tomorrow is Father's day.  Mat is the best dad in the world.  He dotes on his kids, and I am very lucky to have him.  We are celebrating with gifts and lunch where ever he wants to go (Heave help me because he loves Thai food).  And also happy Father's day to my dad, my father-in-law, and my grandfather.  All proud, strong men.  I am lucky to have them in my life.

See you on Tuesday!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The BBQ is coming around the corner

On July 17th, we are having a BBQ to help raise money for our VisionWalk and Foundation Fighting Blindness.

We are raising money on Finley's behalf. You can visit our VisionWalk page HERE

We hope that many of you will join us for the BBQ. But I have a big favor. If you can PLEASE RSVP - to give us an idea if you are coming or not - we would really appreciate it. We have gotten a ton of word of mouth "we are coming!" and several people signing up online.

But it would give us a better ability to plan for the day if we had a nice count.

So.......I am attaching to this blog the BBQ sign up. I am going to put it up once a week until the week of the BBQ. Of COURSE - walk ins are welcome. If you get up Saturday the 17th and say "hey, it looks liked a good day for a BBQ" , we would LOVE to have you. No problem.

Fill out this form right here on the blog. Right below - with the cute little tree branch and green outline. Fill it out and at the bottom of the page, click submit. It will come JUST TO ME. No one else will see your information. Totally private and secure!

But if you know now that you can come , and how many people can come, that would be a big help.

Invite your family, friends, anyone who wants to come. All are welcome. Donations of $25/person ($50/family) will get you a wonderful meal, and a Finley's Fighter's magnet. Bigger donations get you entered into a drawing for a prize.

Shirts will also be on sale that day. PLEASE walk with us. You can get paperwork on the walk the day of the BBQ. We are hoping that some of you will help us fundraise for this awesome cause on Finely's behalf. Or if you want a shirt - great! The more we get awareness out there, the better. Shirts are COST - we are not making money off the shirts - we just want everyone to show their love for Finley. You can order a shirt on our website HERE if you are not able to come to the BBQ.

Come and meet our family. We cannot wait to spend the afternoon with all of you. The BBQ is an OPEN HOUSE - come anytime between 1-4pm for a fabulous day of fun!

Rain date will be July 18th.
Come and join us!!