Wednesday, May 30, 2012


We received two letters home from school today.  One for Finley and one for Cainan.

Finley's reads:

  Now that the Gesell Developmental Screening has been completed and the Kindergarten staff and I have reviewed the results, it is out recommendation that your child not be enrolled as a member of the Transitional Class for the 2012-2013 school year.

Cainan's reads:

    Now that the  Gesell Developmental Screening has been completed and the Kindergarten staff and I have reviewed the results, it is out recommendation that your child be enrolled as a member of the Transitional class for the 2012-2013 school year.  Please indicate your acceptance or disagreement with this placement by signing and returning this form by June 13th.

That is that.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Really, Verizon?

So - we still haven't been able to figure out what is going on with our wireless internet.  And all my pictures are trapped on my laptop.  Hence - keeping me from putting them on the blog.  Sigh.  And we have such cute ones from the weekend, too.

Sorry Grammy.

So this post will be short.  Our days have been busy and long.  Today I volunteered to chaperone Arlington's class trip to the Historical society.  It was really fun.  I love history - especially local history.  It was fun to learn about our town which is going to turn 300 next year.  300!!

After that I swooped over and picked up Cainan from school for his dentist appointment.  Everything looks good.  They didn't have any worries about his gap with his cleft - his tooth seems to be fine there.  He does have quite the overbite with his bottom row of teeth, which is a bit unusual, but something they will deal with once his top is repaired.

After that, I had one hour before Arlington got off the bus which I used to clean.  Mostly clean the dogs, who, after a romp in the yard after a rain were quite muddy.

After school came homework, and then a makeup piano lesson (the last one) for Finley.  Then right from there was lacrosse practice.  The kids were troopers.  The littles and I ran around the field during Arlington's practice and I got them nice and tired.  We had a late dinner, read books, and now everyone is asleep.

Not bad.

Tomorrow the whirlwind starts again with two more dentist appointments and a half day for the kids.  Is it summer yet?

"If you are going to jump off a mountain, I won't be beside you. I'll be below going to catch you."

Monday, May 28, 2012

Where we left off

So - it has been days and days.  I miss lounging on the couch with my laptop in the evenings, watching TV and pinning things on Pinterest at the same time.......  Verizon needs to get its act together and figure out what is going on with our wireless.

So - last we spoke, Finley was going for a vision rehabilitation appointment.  Here they take a better look at her central vision, and can tell us what they think will work and will not work for her at this stage of the game.  We did get more information on exactly where she is seeing, and after reviewing, it does make sense.  I really loved the doctor.  She was patient and kind to Finley and took her time.  We talked about what her thoughts were for Finley for things to use at school.  She wanted her to have a CCTV (which allows her to enlarge things, like the board, books, etc. with a camera and TV set up), and make braille and listening libraries at least 60-70% of her learning medium.  She felt that print is just going to be harder and harder as she starts to read chapter books, so she would like to see her switch over to more braille next year, and listening when her eyes were tired.  And she said to let Finley guide us, too, in when reading print is just becoming too hard.

She did try, like everyone else, to see if any type of glasses would improve her peripheral vision, but - of course - none were found.  We did find that her left eye is worse than the right  - which is kind of new, but not surprising.  Both eyes open, she is about 20/100.  So that wasn't bad.  She has been pretty consistent over the last year.

The appointment wasn't terribly long - just a little over 2 hours, so we were home in the early afternoon.  Cainan spent the day at Kindergarten, so Finley got some alone time.  She loved that.  Mat and I had more time to discuss what was going to on with her next year, at this point, and we were going to wait and see what came of the "ranking" of students who were screened for transitional and then see what we were offered.

On Friday - I worked at Finley's and Cainan's school in the health office.  I haven't been in for awhile, so it was great to see the kids.  It was Carnival Day for the second graders, so I dealt mostly with minor injuries and very wet clothes (thanks to super soakers).  The kids had a blast.

During my work day, I had a chance to talk with the principal.  He came in to see me during a laul in traffic to my office, and wanted to know my feelings for next year.  His biggest concern were my feelings about separating Finley and Cainan by a year.  And honestly, I am the most okay with this aspect.  I would not want to push (or hold back) one of them just to keep them together.  I would regret it later if in any way reflected badly down the line.  So - I am really okay with them being separated.  They are not biological twins, so I think that helps.

Then he and I talked about Finley's supports.  He really wants to see Finley go to first grade next year and he feels with the right teacher, she will be fine.  And I MOSTLY agree.  Part of me wants to give her another year to catch up in braille, and get a little more confident.  But part of me wants to see her move on.  He was basically telling me that unless we really REALLY wanted to push for her to be in transitional, the program is so tight.  They have so many kids that really need to go.

So, after a long talk, we left it like this:  If there becomes room in transitional (say a lot of parents say no thank you) she will go to transitional.  If not, she will go to first grade.  And even then, repeating first grade, if necessary, stays on the table.  That was something he, Mat and I could agree on.

So now we wait.  We only have 17 days of school left.  I want to visit a first grade classroom.  I want to know soon who her teacher is going to be, so we can meet before the end of school.  I have a lot of wants - if this new reality is going to happen.  That way, by the time we got to her IEP next week - we have everything in place ready to go.

It is never easy being a parent.  Like the principal told me (kindly) - I am going to worry no matter where she goes.  It is true.  I worry about her more than the other two, but I want to make sure all of my kids are in a good place.  When they are out of your sight, you always worry.  But I think I will worry a little LESS if by June 7th, we have a definite plan for next year sitting in front of me.

Let's see if I get my wish.

Internet troubles

So sorry I have been missing for several days.  For some reason our internet will not cooperate, and with the holiday weekend, it is hard to get it resolved with Verizon.  I am hoping that it will be fixed in the next few days and I will be able to return soon!  Lots to tell!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

When my mind is full

I go to the garden.

All this stuff with transitional/no transitional, constant worry, busy schedules, dramatic 9 year olds.....

I go outside to relax.  I spent time in the garden this afternoon pulling weeds, checking on the flowers, seeing what has gotten taller the last couple of days. 

It does make it easier to think - outside on a beautiful day, lost in thought, soaking up some vitamin D.  And when I come back in, I find it easier to deal with the crazy.

Before I came in, I took pictures of the next round of flowers that are appearing in my yard.


Creeping Thyme:
 Pretty purple lavendar flower:

 My first peony is starting to open - I can't wait to see it!
 Hens and Chicks:
 Hens and Chicks:
 Impatiens.  Yes these are annuals, but they are about the only thing that will grow under the pine trees:
 Cute boy in the yard.  He is checking out the sprinkler:
 Another iris has opened.  This one is purple and white!  Love it:

 This is a huge group of Jack in the Puplit that appears all together:
 Geranium (perennial):
 This is a sedum that is supposed to spread and have a red flower.  This is what has come up so far.  I have a bunch of little clumps - I will be anxious to see what it does.
 My first knock out rose is about to make its appearance!!
 Chives again:
 I still have a few rhododendron that are still in the yard.  Won't be long until they are GONE:
 Not a flower, but I love this hosta.  It looks fake with its shiny leaves and white outline.  I have about 15 of them in a shady spot in my yard.
 Flower on my strawberry plant. 
 Looky looky!!  A little strawberry is making an appearance:
 My giant amount of Lambs ear.  I love this - it is very, very soft, and later this summer it will get a purple flower which is very pretty.  I found it all over the crazy yard, and put it all together.  It spreads, so I am hoping it fills in:
 Tree in my yard that is just now getting some flowers.  It is a pretty tree:
 My first day lily of the year:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Crazy Tuesday

Today started out early and ended late.  I tried to pack as many things in one day - not on purpose - as humanly possible.

I started the day with Kindergarten conferences for both Cainan and Finley.  Finley's was first (at 7:30am) and I got a great report from her teacher.  Finley has come a long way.  She is reading on grade level now, math on grade level, has gotten up to speak a few times in class, has made a lot of new friends, and is doing just great over all.  The transitional test came back as "will benefit if there is room in the class".  Hmmm.  So -the three outcomes of the test are:  "highly recommended", "recommended" and "will benefit if there is room".  Finley fell in the last category.  Basically -if you took the test, they still think your child would benefit from an extra year, but it isn't necessary (is what that last category means).  There were 42 kids who took the test, and 30 kids fell in the "highly recommended" or "recommended" sections.  Finley's teacher said that this hasn't happened in a long time.  There is only room for 23 kids in the class.  So - out of the 30 kids who REALLY need it (Finley not falling into that group), 7 can't even go.  Then there is the other 12 kids who "would benefit" that won't really even be considered until a lot (alot ) of kid's parents say "no thank you".  (I am using a lot of quotation marks - bare with me).

So - now we are back to a gray area.  For the last 6 months, we have had is drilled into our head that Transitional was the right placement for Finley next year.  The teacher had not changed her mind, even in March.  But here we are - end of May, and Finley has caught up.  She came out as a 5 year, 11 month old on the test - which is about spot on for her age.  That is what threw her into the "would benefit" category.  She has good logic, and she knows what is going on around her.  The test is for maturity.  She isn't the most mature - no.  She is the baby of our family, and she is one of the youngest in her class.  But she is more mature that a lot of kids who took the test.  It isn't an academic skills test - that isn't why they go to transitional.  It is all about maturity, and readiness to take on the rigors of first grade (and beyond).

I talked with Finley's braille teacher, and she is still in favor of the extra year.  Mostly to get her more proficient in braille.  Finley is doing great in Braille, but she just started this year, where a lot of the Braille teacher's other students started when they were 4.  (Connecticut doesn't do that - so that is why we didn't start until Finley was 5).  So that would be an added benefit to the extra year.  Her braille teacher said she will back any decision Mat and I make.

Darn it.  I wanted her to make the decision for us. 

Cainan's conference was 2nd (at 8am).  He is also doing pretty well academically.  Math - his only struggle is counting by 2's past 20.  In Reading - his struggles are the sight words.  He only knows half.  The teacher is sure that his memory problems come in to play there.  This is something we are well aware of.  His transitional test came back as "recommended".  He aged at 5 years on the dot.  Considering he turns 6 next week, his maturity level came back a whole year behind.  For us - this makes sense.  Cainan loves to play.  School work is secondary.  So - another year before he goes off to first grade to be a kid and get used to going to school full day - a plus.  Cainan is definitely going to transitional.  He needs it.  Black and white - no gray.

After that I helped my neighbor Lisa cut squares for a quilt.  It was a lot of fun.  Each class makes a quilt, the kids designing the quilt squares.  She nominated herself to put it together, so I am helping her out.  I can't wait to see the finished product.  I was supposed to go to Garden club, but due to having to pick the kids up early, I had to skip that this week.

Next came Arlington's dentist appointment.  Cainan had to go with us because of the darn half day kindergarten, but he did fine waiting.  Arlington had a great appointment - no cavities and all looked good.  She does have a crowded mouth, and an orthodontist appointment is in our future.  Braces are probably not that far off.  She has two teeth that can't decend the whole way because of the way her teeth are. 

After the dentist came a small break for lunch before I had to leave for Hartford, CT to talk to a class about Finley.  I talked to 30 special education teachers about Finley, our foundation, and what it is like being a parent of a special needs child.  It was great.  I got a lot of great questions, and had a chance to learn a lot as well.  The teacher gave me a hanging basket of plants as a thank you and asked me to return again next year. 

I was home by 9pm after all the travel, and I was glad the day was over.  I am happy to report that tomorrow proves to be a much more easy going day.  Except that Mat is traveling to NYC all day.  There is that.

Monday, May 21, 2012


My new cord for my computer arrived today.  I am so happy to have my laptop back.  I like being able to do two things at once - watch TV and work on the computer.  Bliss.

You haven't missed much.  We have been insanely busy.  Rosebud is settling in, but just like any new puppy she goes in the crate late and gets up early.  I will be looking forward to longer stretches.  She is very cute and always happy.  She gives Scooby a run for his money - yips and bites at him when Scooby gets to rough.  She is a good listener and follows us everywhere.  I think she is a keeper.

Mat's parents stayed with us until Sunday.  I was sad to see them go.  Sally was great company all week and then Ben was a huge help over the weekend.  I put them to work, and they did it gladly.  I love having them around.

Arlington got her first goal ever in Lacrosse!  We were so excited.  She wasn't sure if she should shoot at first, but she did and it went in the goal.  Yes, yes, yes.  Very exciting.

Finley is wrapping up piano. We are debating continuing next year very heavily.  She doesn't love it.  Playing is a chore for her.  And it is a chore for me because of that.  Maybe she needs a few more years.  We wanted to give her an extra-cirricular, but I don't think this is the right one.  Because she does braille daily, Kumon (reading and math extras) daily, she didn't really need another daily activity.  So - we will take the summer to think on it, and decide in August what to do.

Cainan had a t-ball game this weekend.  He seems to be really liking it.  Hard to tell with him.  He goes, he participates, he comes home.  It is cute to watch the kids at this age play.

Finley had a birthday party this past weekend and her first sleep over.  I was a little leary of the sleepover since she had never done it before, but decided to  let her go.  And I got a call at 11pm that she couldn't sleep and she was a little scared.  We talked on the phone and she didn't want to come home.  After that she went to sleep and slept all night.  She was really tired on Sunday and we laid around for a long time.

Arlington had a back to back lacrosse and softball game on Sunday.  It was about 90 degrees, but she was a trooper.  I got her a big, sugary, blue coolata from Dunkin Donuts after her games for a treat.

Tomorrow is crazy from start to finish.  I start my day with Cainan's Kindergarten conference (where we discuss transitional) followed by Finley's conference (where we discuss transitional), then Garden Club for a bit before I have to pick up Arlington and Cainan early for dentist appointments.  then I am home for about 1 hour and I am leaving for Hartford, CT.  I am speaking to a masters in special education class tomorrow about parent advocates, our foundation, and what it was like being a parent in an IEP.  So, it should be fun - can't wait.  I am meeting a friend for dinner before hand and then on to the class which lasts for 3 hours.

Sorry I don't have any pictures for today.  My camera missing, but I did forget to use it.  Hopefully tomorrow.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Sorry I have been missing for a few days.  Rosebud chewed through my computer cord to my laptop, so I am waiting for a new one.  She wasn't hurt - it wasn't plugged in.  But now I am left with no computer.  So!  I hopefully will be getting my new cord in the mail tomorrow and back to normal.

In the meantime - Finley was at her first sleepover last night!  She went to bed late, and didn't think she would make it, but she did.  I am anxious to pick her up this morning and see how she is doing.  I am sure she is going to be tired today.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Today, we picked up our new puppy.
Now, before you wonder why we went crazy and got a 3rd dog, I would like to remind those of you who don't remember, Shaggy doesn't live with us any more.  Sadly about a month ago, Shaggy got sick and he went back to the breeder.  They diagnosed him with Cushing's Disease, which is not something we could handle.  Hopefully they will get him all straightened out and re-home him to a home that doesn't have three crazy children and another dog.

Once that happened, and every day since, my children have been asking me when we were going to get another dog.  We took some time to decide if it really was something we wanted to do.  Scooby seemed to really miss Shaggy when he left - he was enjoying having the playmate.  So Mat and I talked about it, and decided that we would give it another try.
We called our breeder, and she had another litter that would be ready by the middle of May.  We were going to look at either boy or girl - just get the right fit for our family, and especially Scooby. Arlington was the most upset about the loss of Shaggy, so we promised her she could name the new dog when the time came.  And she wanted to name the dog Rosebud.

So - today was the day.  Finley (who played hooky from school to spend a little quality time with Gramma), Sally and I took a drive to see the puppies.   The little girl was the best one.  She followed us everywhere, and stuck close to us.  She was playful, but not crazy.  She was quiet.  But a little strange is how straight her hair is.  She is another goldendoodle, but she was the only one in the litter that was born with straight hair.  Not a single curl.  But, Finley hasn't had a single reaction, so we are convinced she is going to be fine.

So - it looks like we got a goldendoodle that looks like a golden retriever.  She is really pretty and really, really, small.  She is about 7 pounds.  She goes to the vet tomorrow for the weigh in.  She is almost 9 weeks old.
She is lovely.  She loves to be around us, and has been very happy.  She is quiet, and doesn't mind the kids squeezing her.  Arlington already put a bow in her hair.

Right now she is under my legs fast asleep.  she has only had one accident in the house all day.  We are hoping she has a good first night.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Arlington had a softball game this past week, and we took just a few pictures.  She loves playing softball.  This year is a step up from past years, so she needs to adjust.  Competitiveness doesn't come naturally to her, so we have to talk her through it.

Love watching her play.

My fabulous mother in law helped me spring clean the master bedroom today.  We took everything out of every drawer, and cleaned.  It looks SOOOOO good.  I am SOOOO happy I had help.  The room and the kitchen are my least favorite rooms to spring clean. 

It was a rainy day, but one of the trips outside with the dog, I noticed that my first Iris plant has bloomed.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's day to my mom, my Grammy Appolonia, my mother in law, Sally, my Grandmother in Law, Amanda, and to all those mommy friends and family of mine.

I hope everyone had a wonderful day.  Mother's day for us was like any typical day.  Cleaning, chasing kids around, driving kids to activities, cleaning up messes.  So - you know - Mother's day.

The kids made sweet projects at school to give to me.  And Mat has let me litter the front yard with many (many) plants.  So I had a great mother's day.

Sally arrived today safe and sound and we went out to dinner to celebrate mother's day.  She will be spending the week with me to keep me company while Mat is away.

Friday, May 11, 2012

I would post pictures

If I could move myself off the couch.  I am lucky I am moving my arms after two solid days of working in the yard.  I am out of shape.  Or......I am doing things I shouldn't.

Either way - the camera is in the office, and that is not a place I am walking to at the moment.

I love working in the yard.  It is great to soak up the vitamin D and watch what was a chaos of a front yard turn into a beautiful oasis.

But then I walk around the back of the house, and my smile disappears.  What.a.mess.  Weeds, leaves, poison ivy, long grass, and all kinds of chaos.  I have tried to start to work on it, but I could spend 6 or 7 hours back there and it hardly looks different.  I know it is a slow process but my goodness.

The people who lived here before us didn't put chemicals on their yard.  The did organic gardening, which is fine.  But unfortunately, it lead to out of control weeds and lots and lots of grubs which ate the grass.  I wish I would have taken pictures of the backyard before I started to even touch it.  Maybe then I would realize how much we actually have done.

So......I walk away from the back yard (after collecting about 35 more Jack in the Pulpit plants from around the edges of the woods), and go back to work in the front.  Try to figure out what will grow under pine trees (not much), and where I planted some bulbs so that I don't accidentally dig them up.  I look at how much progress we have made in the front and how I have it just about exactly how I want it.  And I forget about the back.

At least for a little while.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

And the winner is.......

 Jenelle Cummings of Connellsville High School!

Jenelle drew the winning logo for our Finley's Fighters 5K/10K race this coming August.  We had about 30 entries for the contest - all high school and junior high students, and she was the winner.

It is a perfect design.  This logo will appear on all of our race shirts, as well as many things we use to advertise during the year.

If you know Jenelle - please congratulate her on a job well done.  Registrations for the race are coming out in the mail.  Some are out and the rest are on their way, so be on the lookout.  Get them back to me as soon as you can so we can start to plan.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Jack in the Pulpit

One of my Jack in the Pulpit flowers is in full bloom.  I moved this little plant last year.  I found it getting quite a bit of sun - which it didn't like - and put it under this pine tree.  I didn't have much hope that it would regrow because I put it under a pine tree where nothing seems to want to grow.

But it did appear.  It looked grim for awhile, but overnight, there it was.  And now it is the tallest one I have. 

Jack in the Pulpit are wild flowers.  Once I saw that these were going to like being under the pine tree (they like to grow among poison ivy in the shade, so big surprise) I went on a scavenger hunt for more.  I planted a total of 5 last year under that tree and all 5 reappeared and are not far behind this one in size. 

All in all - I think I found about 60 of them.  And I saved them all.  I moved them under the 9 pine trees we have, around rocks in the shade, and was happy to have something that loved the shade and would grow in my bare garden spots.  Yippee.

I took a picture of the biggest one since it is in full bloom.  I am just amazed that these are wild flowers.  And what Mat likes about them is that I get to plant obsessively for free.  It is a win win.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Skip ahead

I want to post about our trip to Six Flags, but I need to get the pictures first!  I didn't take my camera - so my parents are making me a CD of pictures.  Then I can post some of my favorites.

Today a ton of "end of year" papers came home from the little's Kindergarten teachers.  It is hard to believe they have around 30 days of Kindergarten left.  And we have less than that to make our decision about what they are doing next year.

We received some papers from the office about placement for next year.  They wanted us to list the strengths and weaknesses of our kids and things we thought the school should know about for placement for next year.  Kind of hard to fill that out since I have no idea what we are doing next year.  If they go to transitional, this paper doesn't matter - there is only one teacher.  But we don't have our conferences with the teacher until May 22nd.  That is when we will get the results of the testing and make the decision.  This paper?  Due to the office on May 15th.  How does that make any sense.

So.....I filled it out.  I figure they will have it if 1st grade is out destination, and if not - they can just throw it away.  But it is just frustrating.  This....not knowing.  Drives me crazy.

Worse than that?  Finley is in a miserable mood this week.  I think she is overly tired from the last 3 weeks worth of company, and she is fading.  She hasn't been giving her all in Braille - which is very unlike her.  She is basically refusing to read the braille with her fingers - saying she doesn't know what it says.  I have seen this trick.  When she doesn't want to try - this is what happens.  She could be tired, or she could just be being.....Finley.  I must say that at least once a month about that girl.

We had a talk with her tonight.  Pretty stern one.  She is on punishment until she gets back on track.  She has to get a good report from her braille teacher on Thursday.  And every day after that.  She needs to come out of this funk.  She is like a limp rag in the morning - just going through the motions. 

And she is standing REALLY close to the TV.  We back her up to her usual spot, and she gets closer.  Not sure what that is about.  Is she just going through something?  Eyes are tired?  Who knows. 

This LCA thing really stinks.  Not knowing stinks.  Not being able to do anything right now stinks.  Not knowing what is going on in that little brain of hers stinks. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

RDH12 Bunco Babes

Friday night we had our first fundraiser for our Foundation here in our new town.  We had a BLAST.  I have never played bunco, and I am so glad to say I went.  It was easy, and it was so much fun.  Thank you to Maria Davis for talking me into this fundraiser and making it a success.  And thank you to Amy Kinne for getting us her church (for free might I add) to hold the fundraiser.  And thank you to all the people who brought delicious food!!

We raised $1000 for our foundation this night.  It was awesome.  And we plan to do it again in July.

Enjoy the pictures!

These cupcakes were made by a friend of mine.  She is really talented.  The boxing gloves (our signature Finley's Fighters look) are made of chocolate and they say Finley's Fighters in braille!

 This lady was our big winner.  She won $100 for getting the most Buncos!  And she turned around and gave it back to our foundation.
 In this next picture - the lady in the maroon sweater is our cupcake maker!!

 In this next picture - the lady in the green sweater is Amy - who got us the church to have our fundraiser: