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Taking one day at a time...

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  • Thursday, June 30, 2011

    Independent Jack...

    Jack had his day camp field trip to the zoo and the beach yesterday. All went swimmingly well, no pun intended. He had no meltdowns at all and seemed to really enjoy himself. His aide, Dave, said everything was great. It went better than anyone thought it would.

    And just like that, Jack surprises all of us, yet again. When we think he can't, he shows us he can. If he doesn't get opportunities to show us what he can handle, how can he succeed? I'm so glad we put him in this day camp program with neurotypical kids. It's giving him the chance to discover those social rules on his own, apart from us. He's Independent Jack and he's doing a great job, so far. Having the aide is a blessing.

    Sure, there may be bumps in the road, at times. Right now, three days into camp and one seven-hour field trip under his belt already, and he's proving just how much letting go can be...fun. Way to go, Jack! My little bird is learning how to use his wings.

    Wednesday, June 29, 2011

    A Perfect Match...

    Hot weather is arriving! You know where you'll find me (in between diaper changes, of course)...my POOL!

    Jack's had two days of summer day camp, so far. The first day was a little rough, but good. Yesterday was great; he even tie-dyed his own camp shirt. Today, he's going on a field trip to the zoo and the beach. I hope he enjoys it. Last time we took him to this particular zoo, he had a meltdown in the ape house. There were just too many people and it was dark inside; he was also only three years old and couldn't quite handle it then. Now, of course, he loves being in the dark and isn't scared of people. He's just very sensitive to an abundance of noise. He's got a great one-on-one aide who seems to know what he's doing with Jack. I'm so grateful for that.

    Jack's aide, Dave, is a teacher with a special ed background. We couldn't have asked for a better match, really. This comforts me, knowing that he's in good and capable hands. Dave has several accommodations in place for Jack when he gets overstimulated. He does the following: takes him to play on the slide for a little while; lets him play the piano upstairs, away from all the noise and chaos; takes him swimming and has told me that Jack takes to the water like a fish (he's even teaching Jack how to swim and Jack is receptive); lets him run around the gym or shoot baskets; and takes him for walks in the park. All of these things are what we would do, as well. Jack is included in group of kids for as many activities that he can realistically handle and Dave seems to know when to pull him out of things for his own good. Jack is appreciative, too.

    So far, so good. I'm hoping the field trip today is a positive experience. Jack will get to see many animals, feel the sand run through his fingers, and go for a swim in Lake Michigan. Keep your fingers crossed that he has a blast! He'll be gone from 9am-4pm, so it's going to be a long day for him. Hopefully, he'll be able to get a good night's rest. He comes home exhausted from day camp, but he wakes up painfully early because he looks forward to his day. Let's hope today is a good day. I feel it will be.

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011

    Benzene...

    Many people are in their cars first thing in the morning and the last thing at night, 7 days a week.
    As I read this, it makes me feel guilty and ill. Please pass this on to as many people as possible. Guess it’s not too late to make some changes.

    Please do NOT turn on A/C as soon as you enter the car. Open the windows after you enter your car and then turn ON the AC after a couple of minutes.

    Here's why: According to research, the car dashboard, seats, air freshener emit Benzene, a Cancer causing toxin (carcinogen - take time to observe the smell of heated plastic in your car).

    In addition to causing cancer, Benzene poisons your bones, causes anemia and reduces white blood cells. Prolonged exposure will cause Leukemia, increasing the risk of cancer. Can also cause miscarriage.

    Acceptable Benzene level indoors is 50 mg per sq. ft. A car parked indoors with windows closed will contain 400-800 mg of Benzene. If parked outdoors under the sun at a temperature above 60 degrees F, the Benzene level goes up to 2000-4000 mg, 40 times the acceptable level.

    People who get into the car, keeping windows closed will inevitably inhale, in quick succession, excessive amounts of the toxin. Benzene is a toxin that affects your kidney and liver. What's worse, it is extremely difficult for your body to expel this toxic stuff.

    So friends, please open the windows and door of your car - give time for interior to air out -dispel the deadly stuff - before you enter.

    Thought: "When someone shares something of value with you and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others."

    This is what snopes.com says. It is not the air conditioning in the car but the Benzene producing agents that cause cancer. http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/benzene.asp

    Monday, June 27, 2011

    Nervous, But Hopeful...

    I am so nervous about Jack going to day camp today. I'm trying really hard to put on my poker face and not let it show and I'm doing a good job of it. However, I'm very anxious about it. For the next six weeks, he'll be at day camp from 9am-3pm every single day. It will help him with his socialization skills and prepare him for full school days in the fall. That was the reason for putting him in day camp. I hope it was a good choice. He's supposed to get a one-on-one aide (hopefully not a shared aide because he really, really needs the individual attention), so I need to make sure I touch base with him/her today and give them the 411 on my son, explaining his needs and his IEP. By law, the park district cannot discriminate against Jack because of his autism (thank you, IDEA), so the "normal" rules for the neurotypical kids cannot possibly apply to him...to a certain extent, of course.

    I'm worried that he'll get a one-on-one aide (or at worst, a shared aide) with no experience with kids on the autism spectrum or sensory processing disorder. I'm worried that they won't have the extra patience needed to handle a kid like him. I'm worried he won't have any chemistry with his aide and hate him/her and dread going to camp every day. I'm worried that he'll hate it and try to run home, not knowing where to go. I'm worried that the weekly field trips will be too much for him...and them. I'm worried he'll get kicked out for his behavior.

    Of course, these worries could all be ridiculous. Jack has been known to really pull through and surprise everyone when we least expect it. And that's the way I'm going to look at it. Whenever we think it's going to be totally overwhelming for him, he usually handles everything well and we're left with our mouths agape, wondering who this kid is. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's going to be better than we expect. It's best to be positive. Day camp might wind up keeping his mind so busy that he actually sleeps at night and doesn't wake up at insanely early hours. It also might give him so much to think about that he stops his current obsession of touching every button and knob on everything electrical and dangerous (phones, stove, microwave, etc.). Perhaps day camp will be a blessing; perhaps it will be a curse. Only time will tell, but I'm trying to stay positive about it.

    Keep your fingers crossed for my boy. Today is a big day for him.

    Sunday, June 26, 2011

    Saturday Fun At Grandma's...

    You can never go wrong with water fun at Grandma's house.


    Jack loves water more than he loves Goldfish crackers. That says a lot!


    Liv loves all kinds of water toys. She's going to test some more out in our pool today.


    Leia and Liesl love the warm water their Uncle puts in the pool for all of them.


    Saturdays are always good days for us.

    Saturday, June 25, 2011

    Say Ahhhh...

    As my luck would have it, I have another sore throat. It feels just like it did before I got that nasty sinus infection/ear infection less than two weeks ago. In fact, I just came off a ten-day round of antibiotics. Now this.

    On top of it, Hubby feels sick with what I had. I'm guessing this virus is going to make the rounds with all the children at some point.

    Aren't antibiotics supposed to knock out whatever ails you? For someone who's never on antibiotics, they should've worked, right? I'm hoping it's nothing but fatigue from everything catching up with me. If it gets worse, though, Mister Doctor will find a very angry woman waiting for him when he gets to work.

    Grrrrrr...

    Friday, June 24, 2011

    Never Un-busy...

    OMG. Friday could not have come soon enough! I am exhausted! I've had one of the busiest weeks in my life. All of June has been pretty busy for me, but this past week was a killer.

    All is well. A lot of things got done this month and a lot are on the to-do list for July. We're getting there, little by little. I'm beginning to wonder if there will ever be a time when I'm actually un-busy.

    I'm hoping this summer doesn't go by too quickly. I want to enjoy it like I did last year. If I recall correctly, last summer was the best summer of my life. I'm wondering if I can repeat that this year. What are the odds?

    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    Another Reason To Love My Job...

    I bet this guy doesn't get summers off. Heh. I'm most certainly glad I don't have HIS job. Ugh.

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Out Of The Pan...

    I'm pretty happy with what I accomplished in just a few days at work. I packed all of my belongings from my old classroom (three large full cabinets and then some), cleaned out my new classroom (which belonged to my friend who passed away), and organized it the way I like. It was no small undertaking, but it most certainly got done in a timely manner (a.k.a. lightning fast). I'm so proud at how well I tackled it, as it was so overwhelming at first.

    Now, I can concentrate on a glorious summer without having to worry about setting up my classroom in the fall. I sure feel relieved!

    I'm meeting with the park district this evening on getting Jack a one-on-one aide for day camp this summer, which just happens to start next Monday. I'm hoping they find a great fit for him, someone who is knowledgeable about the autism spectrum. I'm just pissed it's taken them so long to arrange for this meeting. Liv's first gymnastics class is Thursday morning. That evening I also have to go back for the day camp meeting at 7pm. It's a good thing we opted out of leaving for a vacation today. I would've missed both meetings and Liv's first class!

    And Friday is NOTHING! I'm really looking forward to that day. Heh. It's going to be a busy summer, but at least work is one less hat I have to wear in the summer. I'm so in the mood for some down time.

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Full-Time Mama Hat...

    I thought this day would never arrive. It is my last official day at work until September. It's been a great school year and I'm grateful that a new one will begin in the fall. I am so happy and relieved that one aspect of my life can be put aside for a little while and I can just be Mama all summer long. I can finally put my Teacher Hat away and don only my Mama Hat for a couple months. I need it as much as my kids do.

    I think I'm going to jump into my pool with my clothes on the minute I get home from work. Just remind me to put my purse down first. Heh.

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Best Narrator Ever...

    I know I wrote about this wonderful children's book not too long ago. Well, I'm adding something even better now.

    A friend of mind sent me a link to a FREE audible copy of this book, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson. And I must say that I LOVE IT! It's like "Pulp Fiction" meets Good Night Moon.

    You MUST listen to his narration of this book. It's as if he was meant to be the voice behind the words. Simply amazing!

    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    Only A Matter Of Time...

    Tomorrow is the last Monday I need to wake up for work until September. Tuesday is my last day at work, too. It's going to be a great summer! Lots to do.

    I'm excited about giving my kids some Mama time. They need it as much as I do. And Hubby could use a break. We all win once I'm home all the time.

    Today we have a graduation party to attend. It's going to be warm and rainy, I think. That's okay, though. Pretty soon, it'll be hot out all the time and our pool is going to get a workout. I'm really looking forward to summer now that it's so close.

    I can smell the chlorine in my hair already.

    Saturday, June 18, 2011

    Making Lists Again...

    Yep, I'm making lists again of things I can tackle one at a time. It's the only way I know how to do it. So much to do, so overwhelmed. So...I make lists and I knock things off one at a time.

    I'd say that's a great coping mechanism, wouldn't you?

    We've decided not to go on vacation next week, simply so we don't feel so rushed. My last day of work is Tuesday. To leave for vacation the next day and only be gone a few days is senseless. Most of our time would be spent in the car. So, I'm relieved that I don't have to rush, Hubby doesn't have to rush, and the kids don't have to pick up on that vibe. We're going to spend next week going over our To-Do lists and mapping out a plan of action for all that we want to get done in the house this summer. A list and a floor plan is a great start. And lots of pool time can't hurt, either. Heh. Liv's first gymnastics class is on Thursday; I still have to secure Jack's aide for day camp; and we just want the kids to relax and have fun while we're both home.

    I successfully cleaned out 99% of the classroom I'm moving into. On Monday and Tuesday, I can just focus on setting up my things for the fall. The hardest part is done. That takes a huge load off of my shoulders.

    Next Wednesday, I'm going to sleep late and I won't regret it one bit. I'm so ready for a break.

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    Discord Everywhere...

    There is so much discord in all parts of my life and so much that is out of sync. I don't know how much more I can take before I crack.

    Seriously. I'm at the end of my rope and it's only the beginning. And I don't think a vacation is going to help.

    Sigh.

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    Beyond Chaotic...

    My classroom materials are packed, but not because I got any help. I'm ready to move into my new classroom, but I can't until the previous occupant's things are moved out. Unfortunately, she's deceased, so I'm in limbo until her room gets cleared. She was a dear friend of mine and it's going to feel strange to be in her room. I hope her spirit can guide me.

    All of our classrooms are being moved, pretty much. So, everything is chaotic at work. Plus, everything needs to be moved, put away, and in place by next Tuesday so the custodial staff can do their summer cleaning. It's a short amount of time, but at least we'll all be where we'll be in the fall and no one has to move right before the kids come in. Absolute craziness, but it'll all be worth it. I keep telling myself that.

    I'll be so glad when it's all done. Right now, though, it's as hectic as ever and the stress is unreal.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    What's New?...

    Jack and one of his dearest friends at their Kindergarten graduation ceremony.



    Jack received a pin for perfect attendance and a medal for graduating. He was absolutely perfect during the ceremony and participated in all of the songs. He did a great job handling all the stimulation around him. He was so proud of himself.

    Afterward, we came home and they kids enjoyed some much-needed pool time.


    Liv is such a water baby. She must have mermaid blood in her veins.


    Leia played outside in the yard and didn't mind getting splashed by her older siblings.


    This is what Liesl looks like when she wakes up. Stunning.


    All in all, yesterday was a really, really good day. And I'm on the mend since the antibiotics kicked in. One week from today, I'll be on summer vacation, leaving to go to the Northwoods for a long weekend with a carload of kids, one dog, and an iPod full of children's music. All is well and it doesn't get much better than this.


    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    The Rage Inside My Head...

    I broke down and went to the doctor yesterday. I'd woken up with such horrible ear pain in the morning that I was in tears all day. The earliest the doctor could take me was 4pm, so I stuck it out at work in ridiculous pain. The noise from my students' graduation ceremony did not help at all. I was a wreck. And I couldn't go home because I was already taking today off to go to Jack's graduation. So, stuck I was.

    As it turns out, not only did I have a raging sinus infection, I also have an inner ear infection in my left ear. It's been thirty years since I had an ear infection. So, I was able to get a ten-day Rx for Augmentin and I made sure Hubby picked up lots of yogurt for me, since this particular antibiotic is not friendly to the lady area.

    I'm hoping to feel better soon. I swear this was worse than any toothache I ever had. I seriously don't know how little kids who get chronic ear infections can handle it. Granted, they probably don't get angry sinus infections along side them. Ear pain has got to be the worst pain ever, if you ask me.

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    I'll Be Glad When This Week Is Over...

    There are so many things going on this week. Let me elaborate.

    Monday - I have a 7:15am meeting with Liv's teacher about her Kindergarten Readiness Assessment. Thankfully, she agreed to meet with me early in the morning because her day lets out sooner than mine and I wouldn't have felt right about her sticking around almost two extra hours just to see me. I also have my students' graduation in the morning, as well. By the time today is over, I'm going to be exhausted on top of already being sick.

    Tuesday - I'm taking the day off for Jack's graduation ceremony from Kindergarten. I can't believe he's going to be in first grade in the fall. Sigh.

    Wednesday - Jack goes back for his last day of school and his class party. He's really going to miss all of them, especially since he'll be going to a different school in the fall. I wonder if any of his current classmates are going there, too.

    Thursday - My end-of-the-year work party is at 2:45pm not too far from where I work, but still a long drive going home in rush hour. I'm still on a fence about attending it. It depends how I feel.

    Friday - Moving day. We're all going to be in different classrooms next year, so all this week I've had to pack all of my belongings so the movers can move it all to my new room. Thank goodness movers have been hired! Having been in the same grade level and the same room for over a decade, you can imagine the shit I've accumulated over the years. It's also the last day of attendance for my students, who only have to stay a mere hour. Luckily, I can leave at noon, but I might still have to pack whatever I couldn't get around to packing.

    In addition to all of these things mentioned, I've also had to work a full day everyday except for Tuesday, which I'm taking off. And packing is a real bitch. I'll be so glad when this week is over. Of course, the following week brings more chaos, but I'm taking things a day at a time. If I think too far ahead, I just might lose my mind. Sigh.

    Sunday, June 12, 2011

    A Colorful Mess...

    Oh. Em. Gee. I can't remember the last time I was this sick. WTF? I slept ten hours Friday night, which is A LOT for me and I still didn't feel any better. In fact, I felt worse. Whatever this virus is, it's making my throat hurt terribly and my sinuses are a clogged, colorful mess of neon greens. Lucky me!

    I'm thinking about getting a mani/pedi today, just to get out of the house and get some fresh air. Plus, I want to look nice for my students' graduation tomorrow and Jack's graduation on Tuesday. If I can peel myself out of my bed and manage to take a shower, I'll consider it a good day. Everything else is gravy.

    I'm still running a low grade fever, which makes for a very weary, very touchy Eatmisery. Great times, I tell ya. Now, we just have to wait for all the kids to catch it. THAT will be a REAL blast! Not.

    Saturday, June 11, 2011

    Happy, Happy!...

    My niece, Caitlyn, and her fiance Koby are getting married today. I'm so happy for them. They are a wonderful couple and they're surrounded by lots of people who love them both. They have a beautiful son together and are a perfect match for each other.


    I love the picture above because you can almost feel their happiness just by looking at the photo.

    Best wishes and many, many happy years to Caitlyn and Koby! You guys deserve the best! We're so very happy for you!

    Hoping The Jewish Penicillin Works...

    I went home from work early yesterday because I was still running a fever. WTF? I'm 39 years old. Why am I running a fever? Gah. I rested, made homemade matzo ball soup (a.k.a. Jewish penicillin), and tried to relax as much as possible in a house with four children under six. Yeah, that worked out well.

    Today, we have a graduation party to go to later. I'm hoping that my sore throat gets, at the very least, a little better so that I can actually eat something and that the fever goes away for good.

    Tomorrow, I'm hoping for a lazy day where I don't have to do much at all. I soooooo need to get better...fast! Nothing is ever easy when I'm not at the top of my game. Sigh. Even taking a shower seems like a struggle.

    WTF? Don't people usually get sick in winter? Why the fuck am I sick now that the weather is nice? I give up.

    Friday, June 10, 2011

    Worn Out...

    It's Friday!

    And I'm sick. I came home after work yesterday and I was running a 101.2 degree fever. WTF?! I'm hoping today is a better day. I've got a lot to do at work because my students are graduating, my room has to be packed up because I'm in a different classroom next year, and frankly I'm tired. And did I mention sick? We've got a graduation party tomorrow, which is always fun to go to when Leia screams every time she sees a person.

    Ugh. I need some rest, chicken soup, and no pressing responsibilities. I'll probably get none of those things. By the time I get around to making matzo ball soup, I'll be better.

    Thursday, June 09, 2011

    Perspective...

    Today is Liv's last day of preschool. She's had the same fabulous teacher for two years in a row. I can't say enough good things about Miss Megan. She's always gone way above and beyond the call of duty. We'll miss her a lot. Now, Livie's going to be a big girl who goes to kindergarten in the fall. *Sniff, sniff, sigh* I can't believe she'll be in kindergarten in three months! And Jack will be in first grade!

    WTF? Where did all the time go? Weren't they just born? Weren't they just learning how to walk and talk and all those other milestones? How is it that the years just seem to slip through my fingers? It's bad enough that the twins will be two years old in the fall. Two years old! Unbelievable.
    The minute I became a mother, the world just seemed to move faster on me. When I was younger, I couldn't wait to grow up. Now, I just wish I could slow down the clock a lot more and really digest everything happening around me, especially my kids growing up. Every moment is precious because they're only little once and they only get one childhood.

    Instead of thinking into the future so often, I should gently remind myself to pay attention to the present much more closely than I have been. It's so easy to get lost in days that seem to blend. Perhaps a change in perspective is all I need. My kids are my life and it's a very blessed one.

    Wednesday, June 08, 2011

    Smells Like Chlorine...

    I love the smell of chlorine. I don't know why, but I've always loved that smell. Now that we have a pool, I can just walk right out the back door and smell it. I wish they had a perfume that smelled like a pool. I know that's weird, but whatever.

    I might as well just wear my swimsuit under my clothes at work because as soon as I get home, I'm going for a swim. Why not? Life's too short.

    OMG. Jack and Liv are going to LOVE having a big pool, but not as much as I will. Heh.

    Tuesday, June 07, 2011

    The Home Stretch...

    Liv's last day of school is this Thursday. Jack graduates from Kindergarten next Tuesday and has his end-of-the-year party on Wednesday, which will be his last day. My students' last full week of school is this week and their graduation is next Monday. I still work until the 21st, though. Blah. It's all good, though.

    Summer is here, especially now since the temperature gauge in my car registered 102 degrees at 4pm yesterday. Yeesh. The pool is up and running, but it's got to warm up before anyone goes in it. It's icy cold still. Of course, with the heat we've been experiencing lately, it'll warm up in just a couple days.

    I've got lots of things to look forward to this summer and I'm embracing all of it. I'm ready for the break.

    Monday, June 06, 2011

    The Perspective Of A Five-Year-Old Inside Her Classroom...

    This is Liv's perspective inside her classroom. On the left is her friend, Abigail. Next to Abigail is Yaritza. At the table is her teacher, Miss Megan, taking dictation of the stories the kids write. Across the table from Miss Megan is Liv's friend, Raygun. Standing next to the table, posing, nearest to the door is Liv, working on her own art. Notice how the numbers on the door are backwards. This is how it looks to Liv in her classroom. Notice how there's someone looking in the window of the door. That is Miss Alex, one of the classroom aides. She had to take one of the kids to the bathroom and she's coming back in. There's a sun coming in through the window across from the door and the shade is partly down, but up enough for the kids to see the sun shine into the room.


    I wanted to post this picture so I would remember exactly what Liv drew. She sat beside me while I posted this, telling me exactly what was going on in her picture. Pretty cool, huh?


    Liv is very detailed in her art and loves doing projects. She's pretty serious about her art, too. She embraces her creative soul, is serious about her projects, and is tenacious in her planning of them. You can't teach that.

    Sunday, June 05, 2011

    Family Art...

    I've seen this picture before. It's just simply...awesome! I'm glad it never happened here, although there were plenty of times when it could have. Heh.

    Saturday, June 04, 2011

    Bake Sale...

    I'm guessing that these cookies wouldn't be appropriate for a bake sale. Heh.

    Friday, June 03, 2011

    The First Etch A Sketch...

    Does anyone else see the problem here? Heh. Boy, am I glad they worked out those kinks back then!

    Thursday, June 02, 2011

    Coppertone...

    My after school program officially ended yesterday. I can finally get home at 3:30pm again, instead of almost 5pm. It will feel sooooooo good to be able to spend more time with my kids before they go to bed. While the extra money was nice to have, time with my kids is what I really need the most. Plus, Hubby really needs a break. I will be looking forward to having dinner like a normal person and not eating it in 2 minutes flat because the kids are all jockeying for my attention the minute I walk in the door.

    Summer vacation is almost here. I'm so ready for it. I hope the next three weeks go by fast because my head is already smelling the coconut scent of my suntan oil. I've never needed a break more than I do now.

    Wednesday, June 01, 2011

    Psychedelic Screen Melt...

    My brain feels like this today. Heh. I'm glad it's June 1st, though. It won't be long before I can hang up my Teacher Hat for the summer and just wear my Mama Hat. I think I need to be home with my kids as much as they need me to be home with them.


    Pretty soon, it'll be Pool Time all the time!