Monday, March 31, 2008

Short Story Blues

My students just finished learning about Realism and reading Huckleberry Finn, so I asked them to write short stories in dialect that reflect the language and places that they know best. Boy, did I open a can of worms!!

First of all, I told them the stories needed to be five pages long. Normally, when I give a page requirement, the kids barely manage to eek out the minimum. If they do the paper, that is. Not this time! No, I'm getting nine, ten, eleven pages per kid. And they're ALL doing it! Which is fabulous, of course, but it makes for a LOT of reading. That, and I promised to give them feedback and a chance to revise, which means I get to read them all AGAIN.

Then there's the content. So far tonight, I have an HIV-positive teen mom, a boy who died of an alcohol overdose, a boy who ODd on cocaine, a girl whose father beats her, and some sort of diva who gets in fights at school and gets suspended (that one's still not finished). All of this is just a little more disturbing since I never know which aspects of the story are based in reality. Regardless, it's pretty darn depressing to think that this is how they see their world.

On the other hand, I'm reading some of the best writing they've ever done. I guess I have to pick my poison: be depressed over bad writing or be depressed over depressing subject matter.

Given those choices, I think I'll go read about the girl who convinces her boyfriend to quit banging but is secretly dying of AIDS.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Birthday Weekend

My husband and I did something last night that we haven't done for about six months. We had a DATE!! We dropped the kids off at my parents' and went to dinner at PF Chang's and to a movie (Meet the Browns-hilarious!). It was so nice to have a little break. And, because there was no Sunday School today, we just left the kids overnight. Of course, the dog woke us up at 7:00, but that's sure better than 6:00!

Our friend Rachel is very involved with a different Lutheran church, so this morning we went there to enjoy "Holy Humor Sunday." It was a lively service punctuated by jokes told by different members of the congregation. Rachel did both the children's and the grown-ups' sermons, and she was great!! The whole idea for this service is that there used to be a tradition of celebrating Christ's resurrection with practical jokes and humor, because the resurrection was God's greatest practical joke on the devil. Anyway, it was fun and a nice change of pace.

So now we start a new week. Nikki goes back to school tomorrow. I have stories to read, so I guess I'll end this. Happy Sunday!

Friday, March 28, 2008

One More Thing

I love it when I get to see never-before-seen pictures of Boo. :)

Birthday Boy

My husband is 39 today. Happy birthday, Babe!

We celebrated with cheesecake at work during lunch.

Tonight, he wanted to go to dinner and to see Horton Hears a Who at the mall. The kids had a great time.

Now he's sleeping on the couch, listening to his new Christian CD that Nikki bought him for his birthday and cuddling with Caleb and Gloria.

It's not Disneyland, but a good night nonetheless. :)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Better Day

Today is full of good news!

Caleb pooped on the toilet tonight!! Of course, I just had to interrupt typing this to change ANOTHER poopy diaper, but hey that was one less diaper to dunk in the toilet!

Also, I received not one, not two, but THREE phone calls from the pediatrician's office today, two from the pediatrician HIMSELF! I should be receiving a referral for hearing testing well in advance of Caleb's evaluation. I don't know why they finally decided to pay attention to me, but I'll take it!

We were also invited to participate in a speech therapy class beginning next week.

I also finished my next-to-last assignment for my EdTech class. Yeah!

So today was good. Tomorrow should be even better. :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Back to work & a new development.

Back to work today. It was good to be back. Two alumni ('04 & '05) happened to drop by at the same time for a visit. It was nice to see them and listen to them reminisce about old times. :)

On the homefront, we have an appointment for an EVALUATION now! Of course, the appointment isn't until May 8, but at least we have one! Also, I was told by the person who made the appointment that we should see an audiologist to rule out hearing issues. I told her we were trying to do just that. She looked in the computer and found that Caleb's doctor DID request a referral to an audiologist, but it was denied. Of course it was. She suggested that we have him request again. Will do! She was also horrified to find out we initially requested services four months ago. Me, too!

We start our first therapy classes next Wed. One of the teachers will be covering the last hour of classes for me so I can take him to class.

I also have to have Caleb evaluated with the local school district, in which I have little to no faith. They're on Spring Break right now, so I have another week before I have to bite off that little morsel.

I feel like we're finally making progress. Toward what, I have no idea. Gotta love this roller coaster!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Socialized Medicine

I don't know why all the conservatives in my life are so worried about the "possibility" of us moving to socialized medicine. We're already there!!!

Today I found out that Caleb has significant delays in the area of communication. I also found out that he needs to be monitored in the areas of fine motor skills and "personal/social." Fine motor skills were not a surprise (he doesn't hold a pencil normally), but personal/social was. He needs to be monitored because he is still working on learning to take turns and he can't wash his face with soap and dry it by himself (because I've never asked him to-he'd get soap in his eyes!). Whatever.

The person assessing him also informed me that this appointment was completely unrelated to the referral, but she actually knew the person who takes those referrals and she would have her call me. Of course, she didn't call me, but at least I have a phone number now.

Then the Shiley Eye Mobile paid a visit to our house this afternoon to assess Caleb's vision and hearing. Of course, the woman who referred Caleb forgot to mention that we think he's color blind, so she didn't have the equipment to assess that. Then the hearing test didn't work. She thinks he has too much wax in his ears to have it work effectively. We now have to see a doctor to have his vision and hearing checked. *Sigh*

So really, I don't know anything today I didn't know yesterday. I have a new set of phone numbers of people to harass to try to be seen. I left them all messages today. Messages that they probably won't return.

Yep, I can sure see why people don't want the health care system to change! Maybe they're all rich people who can afford doctors who return their calls. :P

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Halloween!

He is risen!!

Caleb has discovered that he loves the celebration of Christ's resurrection, which he keeps referring to as "Halloween." An honest mistake considering the sugar frenzy that characterizes both holidays.

Caleb is also very glad that Jesus isn't sad anymore. And that he's with his Daddy.

Me, too. :)

Tomorrow is Caleb's assessment. I'm nervous to finally have answers. The questionnaires they sent make me think I was underestimating the possibility that there is a problem. I had to answer "no" to an entire page of "Can your child ___?" questions.

Regardless, tomorrow there will be some answers. So that is something.

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Vacation that Wasn't

My kids' Spring Break is opposite ours. In Catholic schools, they have the good sense to understand that plopping kids back in a classroom the day after a sugar frenzy is not a good idea, so they let the kids out at noon on Maundy Thursday (or I guess they call it Holy Thursday) and then give them vacation through the week after Easter. Brilliance. Sadly, our school district is a little behind (surprise, surprise).

So my kids went to school all week while we stayed home. However, their school is twenty minutes away, so one of us had to go there and back twice a day, which takes two hours out of the day. We thought about keeping Caleb home, but without his sister we would have been his sole source of entertainment. And we're not that entertaining. And we had a lot of things to get done.

On my list of things to do: paint the downstairs, paint the railings and baseboards upstairs, clean the house (DEEP clean), finish the garage so we could park the car inside, get the handle on the van fixed, get cookie money deposited and cookie paperwork done and turned in.

What we got done: get the handle on the van fixed, among other things, to the tune of $1200, cookie stuff.

To my credit, I also did a lot of grading and planning. I did get Caleb an appointment. I got Gloria's registration renewed. Oh, and I spent all of Monday working on my assignment. Check it out here.

So one might think that we got to spend lots of quality time together. One might think we caught up on some sleep. One might think our house looked organized or that we had outfits to wear on Easter. But then one would be wrong.

I honestly cannot tell you what happened to my vacation. All I know is that it is over. That, and the NEXT time I have a vacation, I will be done with my MA!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

We Have Liftoff

Or an appointment, anyway. For Caleb's ASSESSMENT. Which I have learned is different from an EVALUATION. Apparently, one must have an ASSESSMENT before one can be referred on for an EVALUATION. Because apparently one's pediatrician is not capable of deciding whether or not one needs the EVALUATION??

Whatever. The appointment is Monday.

Of course, I'm supposed to be working on Monday. But at this point I am willing to miss an entire week of work to get something done here. I think I may have mentioned that we filled out paperwork for this appointment in DECEMBER? EARLY December!

So Monday it is! I don't know what to hope for. If they do find a problem, that's probably not good. But if they don't find a problem, I'll be annoyed that I've spent all this time pursuing this for nothing. I'm just going to pray for proper diagnosis and call it good.

And if nothing else, I get to enjoy my kids on Monday.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Good Day

What makes a great day during Spring Break?

Watching your three-year-old skip along the sidewalk, pulling his kite behind him, singing, "Wet's go fwy a kite up the high-a sky..."

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Who needs therapy??

For the record, Caleb's referral DID finally come. On Friday. Have I mentioned that I filled out the paperwork the first week in December?? Anyway, I digress.

At my parents' last night, Caleb kept saying he wanted to go to Ninevah. Like Jonah. Except it didn't sound like he was saying Ninevah. It sounded more like "Minemah." After my dad found out that he wasn't talking about an enema, we all had a good laugh.

One the way home, Nikki decided to provide some speech therapy. It went something like this:

Caleb: We're not going home. I going Minemah.
Nikki: Caleb, it's not Minemah. It's Ninevah.
Caleb: Yeah, Minemah.
Nikki: Caleb, say Ni-nuh-VAH.
Caleb: Min-uh-MAH.
Nikki: Say VAH.
Caleb: Mah.
Nikki: Say VVVVVVVV.
Caleb: MMMMMM.

So really, who needs a referral??

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Hanging by Our Fingernails

Six days until Spring Break and counting...

Nikki did well at the decathlon today and got lots of great experience. A boy on her team won third place for his subject area. I'm pretty grateful there's only one competition per year, though. It was a long day for Caleb and this evening hasn't been fun. He used up his quota of good behavior for the day while sitting quietly during the decathlon. The celebratory dinner wasn't as joyous as it would have been if he hadn't been screaming or under the table for the entire meal.

We were all up at 6:00 am today to get Nik off on time. Caleb didn't nap because we were at the decathlon. And now we're going to lose an hour of sleep tonight.

Six more days, six more days, six more days...

Friday, March 7, 2008


My dad has a techie friend who can not only purchase the replacement keyboard at cost, but can install it for me!!! How awesome is that?!

Dilemma: how does one repay a person for saving one's computer? Apparently, he doesn't accept cash.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Rising Star

We are very proud right now at the Page House. Our very own Nicole is the only sixth grader on her school's Academic Decathlon team, and she will be competing for the very first time on Saturday! So exciting!

She is also working on her Bronze Award for Girl Scouts and tonight met with our pastor to ask to involve the congregation in her project. Tomorrow she will be meeting with her principal.

I look at her and can't believe that this is the same girl who was just a lump in my abdomen twelve years ago at this time. She is amazing. Life is amazing. What a blessing to have the opportunity to stand on the sidelines and cheer her along to her future successes.


Okay, I do realize I'm the only one who cares about this drama that is unfolding with my laptop. Nonetheless, I update.

This morning I learned that "W" also doesn't work.

The colleague with the tea came by and picked the laptop up. Her techie friend removed all the keys and cleaned under them. No dice. Still no C or W.

She took it to the Apple Store and the "Genius" quoted her $750 and 7-10 business days to fix it. Cry Wolf wants $400 and 4-6 business days. I told her to bring it back and I'll deal with it over Spring Break (can you believe it's in less than two weeks?!?!?).

So I'm still typing on this clunky old keyboard I happened to save from a dead iMac (yes, the original bondi blue ones) that went to Computer Heaven this year. HOWEVER, I do realize how fortunate I am that the computer itself still works.

Oh, how I wish I had closed my computer...

Monday, March 3, 2008

Teaching an old dog new tricks!

I learned how to create my own web page tonight! I'm so excited about my new-found ability. It opens up a whole new world of ways to share information with students and family. Yeah!

The other teachers in my class keep talking about when they took EdTech 470. I don't know what that is, but when I got my credential, I tested out of the technology requirement. We didn't have E-mail at school, even through a local network, and nobody had Internet in their home or business. I'm not really that old, but having taught for so long makes me feel that way. So I was excited to "catch up" with those who earned credentials in the Current Era.

I guess this class is going to be useful after all. Who knew??

Now if I could just figure out how to type a C on this laptop...

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Coming Out of the Fog

A close friend/neighbor had a surprise birthday party for her mom yesterday and we went. It was the first social gathering we've been to since Caleb has been mobile that we were able to sit and visit without worrying about what Caleb would do, either to himself or someone else. There was even another little boy the same age who was harassing Caleb, and every time he hit him or blocked him from going down the slide, Caleb used his words.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Tata Saves the Day!

This morning I was on the phone with Scott's mom while the kids were running around me playing. They were running upstairs and downstairs, and I wasn't really paying much attention to the specifics of their play. Then I turned around and Caleb was chasing Nikki with a table knife!!!

A little background here: Caleb likes to pretend he's a pirate and has been brandishing Nikki's little tea set knives for weeks. They look like smaller versions of table knives, but don't actually have the ability to cut anything. Back to this morning...

Of course, I reacted by grabbing his hand and taking it away from him, which scared him and made him cry (like I said, in the running for Mother of the Year, but it scared me!!). He collapsed on the floor sobbing. My mother-in-law was waiting on the other line listening to the whole thing.

Fortunately, there was a fast solution to this problem. For Christmas, Caleb's Tata gave him a dress-up box full of cool costumes, including a foam sword. He exhibited absolutely no interest in this gift, so we put it with his toys downstairs knowing that eventually he would understand what a treasure it was. Today, it was worth its weight in gold. I suggested that he and Nikki go look in his dress-up box and he agreed.

Ten minutes later, Caleb reappeared in pirate gear, complete with eye patch, cape, and of course the sword. He greeted me with a hearty AARRGH!

Thank you, Tata!!!