Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Hello from rainy California! One day it's sunny and warm, the next it's cold and raining! California really has only two seasons, hot and wet. That's it.

Today is Tuesday, although all day it felt like another dreaded Monday. I picked up a new Fluffy book..you all know I love that guinea pig! He's such a little smart mouth critter and I "heart" him! Emmie enjoys him too..bonus! You know, not all children's literature is created equal. Some days, she'll bring me a book to read and I dread it. It will be a book she enjoys, but it's blah to read. Other days, she'll come down the stairs with a gem of a story and I have to admit..I get a little giddy!

Today, I showed her teacher a Jan Brett poster that the wonderful author and illustrated autographed for our upcoming PTA silent auction. She read a few Jan Brett books to the class to get them excited about the auction. Mrs. Brett has a way with words, but her art is breathtaking. She really thinks of EVERY detail and her stories jump off the pages! Her teacher also enjoyed a wordless book from another fabulous illustration, Robin Glasser. The art in a book is very important to me. It helps tell a story all on it's own!

Today wasn't all peachy. I was annoyed this afternoon. A volunteer reads with the kids in the classroom for testing purposes. She told me today that Emmie did a good job reading with her and she knew all the "big" words. She also said that she reads it to Emmie a few times, then reads it together before Emmie reads it on her own. I was nice, which if you know me, you KNOW it's hard sometimes. But, I was annoyed. Emmie 101...she doesn't LEARN the words, she MEMORIZES the words. I have told her teacher this and her "Team" is aware. She is a smart cookie. If you read it to her the first time, she makes a mental note of the "hard" words. The words she thinks she isn't going to be able to pronounce. The more you read it to her or "with" her, the more she is able to memorize the word. So, when it's time for her to read it..usually, it's smooth as butta' (usually, there are times where she is still not able to memorize the word and stumbles through it). Some people think..well, at least she knew the word, who cares? NO!!!!! She still doesn't "know" the word. Because tomorrow, if you give her the same story she isn't going to know the word. She needs to LEARN the sounds that word makes, the sounds you have to put together to make that word. Often, if she reads it a second time the word because another word in her memory that begins or ends with the same letter or letter sound..or sometimes it becomes something completely different. Tonight, the word, "rule" became "glue" when she read it. Memorizing the word is not what my daughter needs and I'm frustrated that despite my attempts to explain this to people, teaching her is STILL not being done properly!!!!!

Jumping off the soapbox. Expect new photos soon...as soon as my Ark is built!

Sunday, February 21, 2010


So, I went to the conference. Nerves and all! I was actually very surprised and had a nice time. The conference began with a wonderful Key Speaker who not only has a special needs child but also works in the field of mental health. She brought a lot of great information and insight to the table and was a very delightful lady. After the speaker, we were given a short break to visit the informational tables. I have to tell you, I had NO idea there were so many resources in my own backyard! I'll tell you more about them as I plan to develop my relationship with each one I feel will be helpful. After a few minutes, we broke into two groups. My group began with the "Navigating thru Medical Systems-Tri West, DGMC, SNIAC, and North Bay". It was an interested workshop. I learned a few things about Tri-Care (our insurance company). I was disappointed with the SNIAC though. The rep made everything look good on paper, but I know that system is flawed and he seemed clueless on it. He wasn't very helpful or informative. Although, through the open forum and this one family that spoke..I had the feeling that if we wore our rank on our lapel, things might be different. After Workshop one, we broke for lunch, which was provided. During lunch was a funny little "stress and relaxation" session. The two ladies were Military Family Life Consultants and they offered advice on how to reduce your stress. It was light hearted and needed! After lunch, we went to Workshop two, which included "Navigating thru the Educational System-SCOE (our office our education), Parent Advocate, and STOMP". OMG! This workshop was great! Most of the speakers were military families or have worked with them for many years, so they actually KNEW what it was like to go into a school or to not see the same doctor twice. This was the best part of the whole conference! I even won a set of books! They are Special education law and advocacy books. One of them has been on my Borders wish list!! YAY!

I wasn't sure what to expect with the conference. But the parents were great and the speakers were good. It was informative and I learned a few things..which is always nice!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The same boat

On Saturday, our base is hosting a Special Needs Conference for the families enrolled in the EFMP program. EFMP stands for Exceptional Family Member Program and is basically a computer database program that labels the families as having a special need. Just in case we get orders to a new base, they can review our EFMP and see if the base can support the family. We all have read how that works in my previous rants about the program. It's a completely flawed system and sadly the people running it wouldn't know a special need from the man on the moon. Anyway, I'm excited about the conference. I am curious as to what the Conference has to offer, what information, what programs.

I have to tell you that I'm hesitate to go. Often, disabilities like Emmie's, get the cold shoulder because it's not something you "see". You can't look at Emmie and tell that she has a need beyond most 3rd graders. And if you spend time playing with her, chances are, you won't notice either. But if you spend time with everyday activities, around the house and doing schoolwork, you'll notice somethings different. It frustrates me that disabilities like Emmie's get swept under the rug and not taken seriously. Our insurance won't cover any additional programs for Emmie. Not even a dime for anything that will help her be successful in school, help her auditory memory skills grow, help her processors move faster, NOTHING. But let's label her as ADHD and we'll have workshops for her, we'll have support groups. I'm sure you'll hear my ADHD rant soon, don't worry, I'll warn you first.

I'm just frustrated. I am working my butt off, along with her teachers, to help keep her head above water. It would be nice to get support, nice to get validation, nice to get a "hey, we didn't know this was a problem..what can we do to help." Instead of looking at me like I'm crazy. But, I'm going to keep an open mind about the Conference. I'm going in the hopes of meeting other people who are in the same boat and can relate. I'm going with the hopes of finding a resource that will help Emmie. Reluctantly, I'm going to walk in the room and put on my pretend smile and see what happens.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Lucy's operation

Yesterday was an exciting day. A dear friend had to have surgery on her back and neck..she pulled through just fine and didn't even lose any stuffing! You see, Emmie's turtle Lucy, sprung a leak! Remember, she got her turtle for her birthday from Build a Bear and the wonderful company also performs surgery if the stitches come out. So, yesterday Lucy got dressed and we drove her to her operation. The young man working was very nice and told Emmie he would fix Lucy right up! We, of course, shopped because the poor turtle needed a new outfit. After all, she was undergoing a medical procedure! A few minutes later, the young man brought Lucy to Emmie and explained that Lucy pulled through the surgery just fine. The back surgery was a success, but she may be sore and to be careful when you squeeze her. The next surgery was tricky, but Lucy was a trooper. Emmie was so excited to have her dear friend all stitched up! We left with a new Valentines dress and black high heel shoes for Lucy. That turtle has her own dresser drawer.

We are all recovering from the traumatic event of Lucy's surgery. ha ha I swear that turtle lives better than I do!!