Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Here's the turkey! Emmalyn had to decorate this turkey anyway she wanted. So, she decided on egg shells. The day the project came home she made a shopping list! She chose each color paint she needed, along with Modge Podge, and we headed to Michaels. With the help of tons of friends who saved their eggshells (THANK YOU!!), we started on this wonderful project. She painted the egg shells the colors she wanted, then painted the turkey's body black so the eggs would stand out. The turkey's egg shell body is brown and she also used some black and tan. She painted the feathers green, purple, orange, yellow, red, and blue. Of course he needed yellow feet and a yellow beak! His gobbler is red and he has a green and black eye. Each shell was painted and left overnight to dry. After the shell was dry, she used a small bowl to crack large pieces of the shell into. She used a brush to spread a little Modge Podge (that stuff dries FAST!) then placed the large shells she broke onto the Modge Podge. She used her fingers to "smash" the shell after it was in the Modge Podge. This was done a million times (okay, not really, but she felt like it!). Then, one layer of Modge Podge was put over Mr. Turkey to seal his shells! This photo does NOT do him justice..he is the neatest Turkey! I am very proud of her creativity!
She has had a long wasn't a good day for her :( So, I'm off to bed to recover from the afternoon. Busy weekend ahead as little ghosts and goblins will arrive!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Two steps

I have so much to say but not sure where to begin. First, my brain is officially drained thanks to Philosophy! This course, although very interesting, is kicking my butt! I am starting to wish I could drop out of college and get a job, but I know I would feel guilty because I really WANT to finish college. I think I'm starting to doubt my path in life.

I am frustrated at the world. People. I am frustrated at people. Our local Borders bookstore had a Halloween event on Saturday for children. Of course Emmalyn wanted to go and she was very excited about it! The other two could have done without it, but went anyway and spent the time surfing books. Emmalyn isn't your typical 8 year old. She still enjoys doing the things the "little" kids do. I was so disappointed at the event at Borders. First, Borders is known not to have a great special education selection and I have complained many times. Second, this event was the most unorganized! There were a wide range of age groups represented but Emmalyn kept getting put in the "big kid" category. So the activities she would have enjoyed, she missed out because she was a "big kid". The two hosts were delightful women who seemed to have zero patience for a large group of children and spoke too fast for Emmalyn to follow along. The entire time was spent with me explaining what these women had to say to Emmalyn. I think if you are going to host an event like this you should require RSVP's so you can be prepared for the number of children and their ages. I also think you should ask on this RSVP form if your child has a special need or may require extra "help". As much as I think people understand children with special needs, I am thrown two feet backwards after something like this. I want to make some invisible tag on Emmie that says "speak slowly please!" or "I know I'm 8 years old, but please don't treat me like an adult..I like to play and have fun too." Frustrated.

On another note, Emmalyn's spelling tests are continuing to improve. Last week she missed two, this week she made a 100% again. I'm struggling with these tests though. If Emmalyn is able to study just before the test, or even the morning of the test, she does fine. Why? Because she memorizes the words. She says them over and over until they are embedded in her working memory. She isn't making the 100% because she actually KNOWS the word and it's spelling. So many people can't understand that. Some think 100% is a 100% no matter how you get it, but I don't. The ability to know and understand the word is far more important than just knowing how to spell it. Two steps forward, three steps back...

I am so proud of Emmalyn's ability to be creative. The third graders had to complete a huge turkey project this week. The teacher sent home a paper turkey and the students were to decorate it with anything (with the exception of anything sugary and sweet-we have ants!). Emmalyn created an egg shell mosaic on her turkey! I don't want to give too many details (photo and details will be posted tomorrow) until you see it! I admire her ability to see colors and to see the world the way she does.

Until tomorrow...Gobble Gobble

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Slow as a snail

So, it was merely days ago I mentioned that I suck, right? I know. I don't feel like I have time for anything these days. It feels like the days and nights blend together and the month is speeding by without me noticing.

My husband's shift work is killing our family time. I love my family dinners, but with him getting home after 7 pm, dinner is usually on a foil covered plate in the microwave for him. I miss sitting down together at the table, of course me and the kids still do that but it's not the same, and talking about our day. We go through each kids day at school, interesting thing that happened, what they learned, etc. I do not like shift work!

The kids are okay. Carrington will be starting her Honor Band practice tomorrow at the middle school. Even though she isn't IN middle school, I'm a little freaked out that she is even going there for a practice! Yikes! With time going as fast as it is, she'll be graduating before I wink! Jensen is fine. Trying his best to stop talking in class, which is odd that he is the one getting in trouble for talking because he is the quite one. Emmie, ahh, Emmie. Academically, we are still on track. We are still working hard to get her spelling words down and her reading at grade level. Something we do have to work on is getting her to SLLLOOOWWW down. She probably knows the material she is working on, in fact, I would be willing to bet she knows the math worksheets in class. However, because of her CAPD, she doesn't want anyone to know she is different really. Not different than the other kids in the class. She wants to be finished first. She wants the teacher to be proud of her and to her, finishing first means the teacher is proud and she is "smart". But, by her rushing through her work she is also missing half the page! It's a cycle, folks.

On another note, she is working on an awesome art project that I can't wait to share. In third grade they complete a turkey. It's a pretty good size paper turkey and they are to decorate it however they choose, with whatever their choose (except sugary items because of ants). Emmie came up with the idea on how to decorate her turkey and I think it is going to look GREAT!!!! I'll share photos when it's done!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

She did it!

Last night was the School Board meeting. I admit I didn't want to go. The weather was horrible and I just wanted to climb into my pj's with a cup of tea and do homework. But, both of my daughters were presenting at the meeting. My oldest daughter is one of two Student of the Month. Carrington helped lead the Pledge, told a little about the elementary school, and introduced students. She did a great job! Emmie has been practicing her speech all week. I had to alter it twice, not by much though. One alter was taking out the word "Academics" which was proudly pronounced "Ox-a-demics" each time she read it.

As Emmie sat in her seat she was very confident. Until about two minutes before 7 pm when the School Board walked in! Emmie knows the School Board President and when she walked in the door, her nerves got the best of her! She said she didn't want to speak, she didn't want to do it. But, once Carrington got up there to talk she seemed fine. When it was her turn to speak, my heart was in my throat. Here is a child who couldn't read or remember her first grade sight words when she began second grade! It wasn't until the middle-end of second grade that she could read a basic kindergarten level 1 reader. The moment of truth...has all the work paid off? Will she stumble on words, will she forget them all together? NOPE! She did AWESOME!! There were two words she stumbled on..only TWO. But luckily Carrington was there to quickly help her. Emmie's speech was over a half of a page long. When she was finished, I had tears in my eyes and she gave me a high five! She had climbed a mountain. She had read her speech perfectly and words like "masterpieces" and "tropical paradises" rolled off her tongue like there was never a problem. This, friends, is a miracle before your own eyes!!

The kids left the meeting with Dad right after their speech. School Board meetings can get a little "nasty" so I didn't want them there. I stayed for a bit, but left before the meeting is over. Today is a new day. We nearly floated away yesterday, but the skies look a little better. Our goal now is getting Emmie to slow down when she is working in class..more on that later!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Smart cookie

The kids are tucked into bed and all is quiet in the house, except the sound of my husband clicking the Playstation buttons! Men and their toys!

It has been a few days since I last wrote and frankly I am just exhausted. Friday I was concerned about Emmie's spelling test. That morning she practiced and still missed six words. Last week was a review of the previous five weeks so I thought it would come easier. It didn't. It was literally like she had seen the words for the very first time. It was a long week. But Friday came. Apparently when she went to Learning Center to take the test, a fellow classmate had an accident and had to be taken to the nurse for new clothes. Hmm...Emmie certainly used this to her advantage as she was given a few more minutes to study the words. I tell you she's a smart cookie and this was a strategy for her. What she does is says the word over and over in her head. For example, one of her words was "second". So, during this brief study period she said, "s-e-c-o-n-d, s-e-c-o-n-d" over and over. She is really good at "crash" studying and guess what folks? She made a 100%. I am proud of her and frustrated at the same time! She isn't always going to have that few extra minutes and I wish she would have used the knowledge and confidence she had before school to take the test.

Overall, she is doing very well in school. The papers that are sent home show she is improving in her timed math facts. We were struggling in subtraction and while we still have our bad days, she is coming along nicely. Her reading is improving as well. She is at the point where she wants to read chapter books like her friends. The wonderful school librarian recommended two and we have started reading about Amanda the Pig.

I am proud of how far she has come in this short amount of time. And I realize we still have mountains to climb. I am just exhausted and wish some of those mountains would turn into molehills before my eyes!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

It's a hard knock life

Yes, I know I am a slacker. Yes, I know it's been a few days since my last post. Yes, I know you have been waiting. Thank you for reminding me. To find a moment to sit down and type is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. There is no extra time! College is HARD work folks! Whew!

Doug is back at work and shift work sucks (or as Carrington says, "inhales"). They decided to put him in the Inpatient Squadron because he is "new". Umm, he has spent more time here than most people and more time in an Inpatient Unit than most during their active duty years. But whatever. We'll deal with it.

Carrington is one of two "Student of the Month" in 6th grade and has been working on her speech to read at the Board meeting. She also had an audition today for Honor Band and she made it! She was very nervous but when it comes to playing the clarinet, she's awesome! Jensen isn't feeling well tonight. His teacher had them doing exercises on the playground and I think he pulled a small muscle in his chest. He has been complaining about it since right after school. At first, we thought it was his asthma because they had run a mile. But, even after his inhaler it's still there. We tried some motrin for the pain but he just can't get comfortable. We'll see how he feels in the morning then go from there. Poor guy!

Emmie...excuse me, Emmalyn, is doing fine. She has proclaimed that she has outgrown Emmie. We'll see how long that is going to last! Classroom work is going, as far as I know, well. I have received compliments on her behavior and her ability to assist another student with his behavior. Apparently this other student listens to Emmie *cough* Emmalyn and follows her lead. I am proud of her ability to help others without seeking praise or reward. She does it just because he is her friend and she wants to help. Homework has been blah, as usual. We really haven't doing anything exciting to supplement her work this week because she has a few paragraphs to practice. She, along with Carrington, will be presenting at the School Board meeting next week and she has to read a few paragraphs. We have been struggling with it so that has been our homework. I am having issues-but not going to discuss them yet.

Anyway, all in all it's pretty boring here right now! Boring can be good :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Oh dear!

Are these weeks flying by or is it just me? It seems like time is on fast forward! Of course there is typically a day or two that will drag on, but more seem to begin and end in record time! Here we are finishing up another Monday. Oh, and Emmie's new saying..."Oh, dear". She sounds like a little old lady..oh, dear, oh, dear.

Today Emmie had a pretty good day until homework time. Spelling words this week is a list of review words from the first five weeks. I thought..hmm..this should be easy. Wrong. It is literally like she is seeing the words for the first time again. Enter the CAPD. But that's okay, we'll do what we have to do in order to ensure she knows them by Friday. So, homework was the dreaded spelling triangles. I didn't push her much today since she struggled with the words this afternoon. But, she has been wanting to read a chapter book. I think it's because most of the students in the class are reading chapter books and she wants to fit in. Really, she is barely reading Little Bear without too much prompting. However, I thought we would give it a try. She has to read them eventually. We spent some of Saturday, after the ducky race, at Borders. While I think their special education section sucks, they have a nice children's section. It was so hard to pick a book! We settled on "Cam Jansen: The Mystery of the Stolen Diamonds". I read the first chapter to her tonight and asked her a few questions which she was unable to answer. We'll re-read chapter one tomorrow night. I know she wants to read it so bad, but I just don't think we are "there" yet.

Emmie was also asked to present her classrooms art to the School Board next week. She will have to stand up in front of a crowd, read a paragraph, and show off some of their art. I have to admit I'm nervous for a few reasons. First, Emmie has to stand up there and read a paragraph! But, we'll practice all week so my nerves aren't too bad. Second and probably the biggest worry is how they will react. You see, our district is going through something right now. The teachers are wearing their strike buttons, as I have mentioned. This week they vote on "to strike or not to strike". I have heard about these School Board meetings and been witnessed to some of the behaviors that adults should NOT have at them. I'm worried for her and how the adults will behave. It's a sad, sad world when I have to worry about how an adult will behave at a school board meeting....I should be worried about the kids. Geez. I don't like California's educational system at all!!! Anyway, say a little prayer that this is resolved quickly and without anger.

Well folks, I'm off. We are down to one car, since Doug's is in shipment, so we have to get everyone up to take him to work. I run in the morning, but he has to be at work at 6:45 am. UGH!! Early morning for ALL of us!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Feathered Friends

What a beautiful Saturday we had today! We spent the lovely day in Old Sacramento. The city hosted a Duck Race benefiting the Special Olympics. I sold little rubber ducks along with thousands of others! All together a little over 12,000 ducks were sold! Then, they were all dumped into the Sacramento River and raced from bridge to bridge! It was so much fun to watch the little yellow friends floating down the river, with a little help from the Police and Fire Water Rescue Squad :) We spent the entire day in Sacramento, but rest assured, tomorrow we'll start spelling words for the week! Sleep well :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Spelling Smelling

I just realized it was 10 pm! I have been working on this huge paper for my Philosophy class and lost track of time completely! I usually stay up pretty late, but tomorrow is a long run day so I'll be up again at 5:30 am with the hopes of at least 5 miles (although I'm secretly hoping for 6!).

Today was Spelling test day! This morning when we reviewed her words, she was struggling with two words. I really thought she would miss "clowns", for some reason she keeps forgetting the n and adding an e! So, she went to the Superwoman's class for her test. Superwoman told me that Emmie tried to get her to start with the word clowns, but she said no :) Oh, Rats! Well, I am VERY happy to tell you that Emmie made 100% on her test! She still struggled with a word or two, but Superwoman told her that a good way to figure it out is to write the word the two ways you think it's spelled and see if it looks right. YAY!!! I am not exactly sure what is working, but I'm not complaining! I wholeheartedly believe the extra multi-sensory work we have been doing at home contributes to her ability to remember the spelling of the words.

We have a busy weekend! Tomorrow is the Sacramento Duck Race benefiting the Special Olympics. I have been selling ducks and can't wait to see all of them dumped into the Sacramento River for their race! We will be in Sacramento all day tomorrow and Doug goes back to work on Sunday. YUCK! I do not like shift work!!

Enjoy the weekend friends, I'm off to bed!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A break

Today was a day full of memories, sadness, laughter, and the sobering thought that life is too short. One year ago today we lost a dear friend as her battle with brain cancer came to an end. She fought a brave fight and if you knew her, you know she was one stubborn ol' peach! It doesn't feel like a year has passed because to this day she is still so much of a part of our lives. It's hard to explain but it feels like yesterday she was sneaking chocolate kisses to my kids when I wasn't looking or giving our custodian hell on the radio at work. She was one of those people you meet and from that first hello, your life is changed. :) We love her.

Since today was a hard day, we didn't do much homework. I usually require Emmie to do more than the typical 3rd grade homework. But, for once, I have to admit I didn't push her. I did the standard spelling pre-test with her, finished reading "Houndsley and Catina" (which by the way was the most adorable story! I can't wait to find book two!), and that was it. No math practice, no activity..just took a break. I think we all needed it. I took some time for myself and went shopping. I had nothing in mind, just thinking of my dear friend it seemed like a shopping trip was the perfect way to end the day (of course if she were here it would have been a margarita after the shopping trip!). It was so nice to get out of the house and away from everyone. I just needed time.

I hope you each take a moment to tell the ones you love how important they are..even when you think they already know it. Trust me, life speeds by.