Sunday, May 22, 2011

I haven't posted in awhile.  In fact, it's been so long I had to go back and read what I last posted just to refresh my memory...

So much and yet so little has happened since then.
  • My son went on his 4-day field trip to Williamsburg and Jamestown.  His entire recounting of those places covered the food that he bought.  The few other details he volunteered were about the day they spent at Busch Gardens.  He came home with his cell phone and his glasses, and this year, he didn't come home with anyone else's clothes.  Plus I didn't get any phone calls.  I'm thinking it was a pretty good trip.
  • To my way of thinking, since my son also came home with his sister's cell phone -- inadvertently packed by me in all the last-minute flurry of the going-away morning -- perhaps I should say that it was a remarkable trip.  I'm still trying to picture his face as Ke$ha starting singing from his backpack at her 6 a.m. alarm that first morning away.  His face, and the face of all the other boys in his dormitory.
  • I've spent more time on the Beltway than I want to think about.  It's 90.6 miles one way to Children's, driveway to parking lot, and about two hours to get there.  These days, I don't think so much about the $20 copay or the time on the road; I think more about the half a tank of gas I have to buy at $4/gallon.  However, until the specialists come to the boonies, I'll be going to the big city.
  • I don't think I ever introduced Daisy to this blog.  We filed the adoption paperwork on April 1st and brought her home the next day.  (It was the weekend of the Southern Maryland GiveCamp 2011, so I was a little busy.)  Daisy is a Border Collie mix (probably with some kind of sight hound), and though she's a sweetie, she does like to herd moving creatures, including humans, and she BARKS.  

  • For those of you who are confused, Milo and Daisy are not brother and sister.  Daisy is a Border Collie mix, and Milo is a Boston Terrier mix.  (Daisy is on the left.)  I love Milo and Daisy, and I miss my Otis.
  • Tonight was my last AWANA obligation.  My daughter has decided not to continue in AWANA next year, and I won't be volunteering there, either.  I'm going to miss it.  What a wonderful program it is!  I don't think it gets any better than the Word of God, and that's what AWANA is -- the straight Word of God.  Makes me wish she would continue just to keep on learning the Word.  Makes me a little sad to think that I'll be putting away our uniforms and books.
  • I've got some thinking to do about this whole 2e/STEM business.  There were a couple of events about which I didn't blog, and right now, I just want to dump the whole mess into a lawyer's lap and ask her to figure out which parts cross over the legal line and which parts are nasty but legal.  I don't understand playing games with the futures of our children, so I can't understand the motivations behind the behaviors and actions I've seen this year.  (Past years, too, but the main focus is this year.)
  • In addition to Daisy and Milo and to our assorted goldfish and Betta fish and to the two fire-bellied toads, we now have three hermit crabs:  Larry, Moe, and Curly.
  • The Girl Scout year is winding down.  We've set the date for our Flag Retirement Ceremony for the girls to earn their Junior Bronze Award, and with another practice or two, they should be ready for it.  We're spending down our cookie money at every opportunity.  And I've given notice that my troop will not be meeting next year.  (One girl will go into a Brownie troop, two are not continuing in Girl Scouts, and two will transfer into a Cadette troop.)  I'm not going to be a Girl Scout leader next year.  I'm going to miss it.
  • My son is finishing 8th grade and will go into high school next year.  My daughter is finishing 5th grade and will go into middle school next year.  No more elementary school for our family.
  • I'm not sure what I'm going to do with myself next year:  no AWANA,  no Girl Scout troop, no elementary school...  However, there are still all those trips to Children's, still the Autism Spectrum Support Group of Southern Maryland, still CACSE, still the Learning Disabilities Association of St. Mary's County, still advocating for the needs of my children.  And since I can't tell that what my friend and I said about the workload of STEM6 -- the load, not the work -- has made any bit of difference, there is still the heavy nightly homework requirement.  And let's never forget the mandatory Science Fair.
As I said, a lot yet nothing much.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ups and downs

Mother's Day:  What a day of ups and downs.  I love reading what other people are doing for Mother's Day while at home I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop:  When will the next meltdown happen?  [Note:  It happened in the middle of the next paragraph.  It's now several days later.]

The book I'm reading is dead on target, but so far (through Chapter 3), I haven't learned how to do the things they say I have to do.  (Aside:  This is a time that I can honestly say that I don't like my Kindle.  It's unwieldy to try to flip through the Kindle to see what's coming up, to see if future chapters teach the skills so that I can work my way through the current chapters with more patience.  Plus if you read ahead, it syncs to your "furthest page read.")  And now in Chapter 4, it gives some suggestions, but it also refers to the "skills" learned in earlier chapters.  No, that was knowledge learned in earlier chapters.  I'm waiting on the how.  Anyway, the book is good so far.  And my husband is reading it, too, so maybe this time, we'll be in sync!

My son leaves this week for an extended school field trip to Williamsburg and Jamestown, VA.  He'll have a good time, I'm sure.  I just wish he were street-savvier.  While I'm fairly certain that he'll behave himself, parts of the trip are "on your own," and that's not his forte when "on your own" is actually with a group of peers.  Plus he's never been to an amusement park, so what he's going to do at Busch Gardens after the Funky Physics Show is unclear to me.  He gets motion sick on a swingset...  And as usual, it'll be interesting to see how his IEP is implemented on this trip.

In other news, despite a clear mandate from "the people" at the Board of County Commissioners' public hearing on the budget a few weeks ago, the commissioners late last week refused to provide more funding for the school system.  I'm more than a little confused, more than a little angry, more than a little despairing.  I feel rudder-less.  What do we do now?  How can Jane Q. Public fight this?  I think that I'll go to tomorrow's Board of Education meeting to hear the latest version of the proposed budget as well as the superintendent's comments on this latest bit of what smells like chicanery.

To explore another day:  How the BoCC has been operating this year has many parallels with my experiences dealing with the Department of Special Education for the past decade.  Terms to consider include ethics, letter vs. spirit of the law, whitewashing, game playing with the future of our children, misdirection, and system failure.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The sting and the balm

As Mother's Day got closer each day this week, I realized that the thought of it was dragging me under.  I know this doesn't make sense; my own mother is alive and cancer-free, and my two children are relatively healthy and growing like weeds.

Then I went back and read last year's post about Mother's Day:  If I'm lucky, I might get take-out.  Pretty much all of it is still true today.  My friend is still mourning the loss of her precious first-born, though now she's also celebrating the sweet life of her second son.  The sting and the balm.  And my take on the day?  My wishes?  They're still the same.  Imagine a day without a crisis, a day where Hallmark sentiments were felt...  My post of just a few days ago reflects the difficulties.

I've also been brought down by all the Facebook status and photo changes. 
My mom Wiped my tears... Hugged me tight... Watched me succeed... Saw me fall... Cheered me on... Kept me going strong.... Moms are a promise from God that you will have a friend forever! Put this on your status if you have or had a wonderful mom you love ♥ I LOVE YOU MOM
To all my FB friends, in honor of Mother's Day I'm trying to see how many of you are willing to change your profile picture to a picture of your mother and keep it there till May 9. Here's my awesome Mom! If you will and like this idea, please repost this as your status so everyone gets the word and see how many beautiful mothers we can get on FB!
To all the unselfish moms out there who traded sleep for dark circles, salon haircuts for a ponytail, long showers for quick ones, late nights for early mornings, and designer handbags for diaper bags, and wouldn't change a thing. Let's see how many moms post this who don't care what they gave up and instead LOVE what they got in return....Post this if you love being a MOM!
I've carried a baby within my body. I've slept with a baby on my chest. I have kissed boo boos, been puked, peed, and pooped on and spent sleepless nights in a rocking chair. But I wouldn't have it any other way. My body isn't magazine perfect, but when I look into the mirror, I see a mom and there is no greater honor. Make this your status if you're proud to be a mom.
While I feel bad for my FB friends who have lost their mothers, I am sad that my own mother's mental health issues have driven such a wedge between us.  Alive?  Yes.  Mothering?  No.  Those same Hallmark feelings just aren't felt, and that's a pretty nasty way to feel.

With that comes the realization that my children have never seen modeled the traditional multigenerational Mother's Day church service followed by a family gathering or event followed by a wonderful meal at a dress-up restaurant.

Looking back towards my mother, looking forward towards my children, neither is a death, but they are still a loss.

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I've been reading this:


(My post of a few days ago explains why.)  

I told the doctor yesterday that just the introduction so far was helpful.  I'm a quarter of the way through it now, and even if it's not a perfect match, I'm hopeful that some good can come of it.  Certainly living the way we have been can't continue.

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Just a few minutes ago, my 11-year-old daughter showed me her AWANA homework that will finish her book.  Takes a little of the sting out of the above.

The assignment was to write at least one page about an answer to one of the questions in the book.  She had to include the backup verses, two more backup verses she found in the Bible, and how the answer helps her in her life.

The Holy Spirit Seals Me

     I need to know that the Holy Spirit seals me in God.  This means that once I trust Jesus as my Savior, no one can take Him away from me, so I am sealed and Jesus is in my heart.  I also will go to heaven and nobody can take that away from me, since no one can take my faith away from me.  Once you trust Jesus as your Savior, the Holy Spirit fills you and you are sealed; no one can take God out of your heart.  I have understood that by reading and memorizing some verses.
"And do not grieve
The Holy Spirit of God,
With whom you were sealed
For the day of redemption" - Ephesians 4:30
     This verse means that you should not be unhappy about being sealed by the Holy Spirit, since you can now be with God forever in heaven.  You were sealed by the Holy Spirit, so no one can take your ticket to heaven away.

     This verse helps me in life by telling me that no matter how many times I do something wrong, I am still going to be with God forever, even though I'm not perfect.  It also reminds me that God does things for a reason, and that no matter what goes wrong, God is always with you.  For example, when all the tornadoes hit Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of my favorite college football team, I was really sad, especially since it hit both the homes of many people, which devastated everyone around, and the Bryant-Denny stadium, which is my favorite team's stadium.  Then I realized the good things: 1. the storm didn't hit the college itself. 2. There were many ways to help, including on my favorite Facebook game. 3. Nothing goes perfectly all the time, and this is one of those times when even Auburn has to feel sort of bad. 4. God will always be with the people in Tuscaloosa, and they should have faith, since God will guide them to the right path.  5. God has a reason, and when you are stuck in a hole, you look at the good things and climb out.  God will always be with the people of Tuscaloosa, and will lead them to the path of rebuilding.
"I desire to do your will, O my God,
Your law is within my heart" - Psalm 40:8
     This verse means that we should let God do what He does and not challenge His actions.  We should realize that we should want God to do what he does, since God is all-powerful.  God's law is what keeps us going, and what lets us into heaven, so while we may not like some of God's doings, they are always for a reason.

     This verse helps me by reminding me that everything God does is done for a reason, so even if we do not like the immediate effect of God's action, we should be glad God has done His will.  Again I refer to the damage in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  While no one really enjoyed seeing the town in ruins, or the side ripped off of the Bryant-Denny stadium, we should all remember that God's doings are all for a reason, and we should think of what good will come out of this.  God will do what He does, and it is all for a reason, although sometimes the short-term effects are different than the long-term ones.
"But I call to God,
And the LORD saves me.
Evening, morning and noon,
I cry out in distress
And he hears my voice" - Psalm 55:16-17
     This verse means that when you pray to God for help, He will answer.  When you need God, He will be there.  God will always listen to your prayer, even if you think it is insignificant.

     Once again, I am making a reference to the disaster in Tuscaloosa.  Many people have been praying for people in Tuscaloosa, and people in Tuscaloosa may have been praying for themselves.  Some people may have thought that their prayers have not been heard, but they have been.  God listens to every single prayer, and will help.  Even if you do not think your prayers are heard, God will always listen, no matter how unimportant you think your prayer is.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dried out and cracking

We've had a pretty rough evening.  They happen from time to time -- a bit less often, or a bit more understandably, since we started with a new doctor in November -- and I can say, with true, deep feeling, that I don't like them.

When people are crying, when people are yelling, when the dogs slink out the doggie door and cower on the deck until the air is calm again, I can say that I don't much like them.

When blame flies in all directions, when logic is abandoned, when anger, not love, rules, I can say that my heart hurts, and I don't like them.

The new doctor said that I seem to be the glue that holds my family together.  (No pressure there, eh?)  I can say that tonight, the glue seems to be dried out and cracking.

So what to do?  Patch over it and clamp it all together?  Break the bonds and let the family fall apart?  Dig out the old, cracked glue and reassemble with better cement?

I don't think I have the intrinsic strength to be the glue any longer.  I don't think I can live with my family in pieces.  I don't have the formula for a better cement.  And I know for sure that I don't have a magic wand.

If you're the praying sort, I certainly wouldn't mind it if you lifted up my family.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mother's Day of a different color


Today, May 1, 2011, is International Babylost Mother's Day. This day is to recognize women all over the world as mothers. This is a day for remembrance: 
"United in grief, we find love and strength."
With love to my friend, remembering the life of Matthew.