Thursday, October 30, 2008

Making strides

While conferences were a nightmare ( moreso due to Braeden than Iain; that kid just can't stay in his seat ), I cannot help but sit back and smile when I see Iain.

That kid has come so far since school started in September. He knows over half of his letters on sight now ( versus two in August ), a handful of numbers ( none in August ) and he's soaking up the learning process like mad.

He's still way behind, and we have a long way to go before he'll be even close to caught up, but he's a bright kid, and eager to learn. Once the data gets in there, it sticks and he runs with it.

Walking club wrapped up yesterday, until Spring. Bubba came in with a third foot on his bracelet ( every time they walk a mile / fill their punch card, they get a little plastic foot ), fourth card punched twice and grinning like a toothy jack-o-lantern.

Pretty impressive considering that they only walk one day a week for half an hour.

Being the sourpuss snot that she can be, Jennah had to point out that Harrison ( a classmate of hers ) had four feet and a fifth card.. to which I reminded her that Harrison is a full three years older and three grades higher than Iain, so he should be doing better, and that by third grade, if Iain continues to do so well, he'll have a better record than the one currently held by said althetic and entusiastic young man ( no offense to the boy intended. I rather like the kid, and his mom ).

Steal Iain's thunder be damned.

I generally let that stuff go because Iain doesn't mind, but it felt like a situation that needed some minor defending. A grateful smile confirmed that Mom's interfering was the right thing to do.

There is homework everyday now, and once Bub grasps what he needs to do, he's finished in minutes and on to the next task.
Watching that happen... seeing him recognize words and attempt to read from memory from his weekly books... it's just so cool. Three years ago we started bracing ourselves for the expense of tutors and the rigors of special education, working with him as much as he could handle without causing a sensory overload, hoping and praying that even a fraction of what we were doing would take hold, and that at some evental point, that kid would be able to function on a semi-normal level.

The other day, we were going through his sight word list, and out of the blue he pointed at a word and said "That's 'like', Momma." closed his eyed and spelled "L-I-K-E" and I almost bawled. He'd never done that before. It took a combined effort from his teachers, Chris and myself, over a school year, for him to spell and recognize his first name. Other words have never been an option before now.

I'm pretty sure that the rest of the night would've sucked on average... dinner came out wrong, and I think that kids were put in time out. But it didn't matter. Not to me.
I was too busy being on a success high. Iain was so proud of himself, but nearly as proud as I was of him.

Now that I am older and wiser ( and have spent countless hours beating my head into the wall, sobbing in frustration and pouring over books and websites looking for anwsers ), I realize that some of the things that Iain's disability has fostered within him are some of the things that make him wonderful.

Even on his worst day, that child is so full of compassion. He'll stop whatever he's doing to help someone else. Cheerfully, without complaint, and always sympathetic to the other person's situation. Being helpful makes him happy, even if it is frustrating ( for others, as well as himself ) when he has a melt down because he wants so badly to help, but the aid just isn't needed right at that moment.

His strength - both physically and mentally - is amazing. I don't think that any of us would've done as well as we have without his unyielding resilience. Some days it drives me up a wall, but others days, it's the only drive that I have.

It's doubtful that school will ever come as easily for Iain as it does for his sister. Studious and serious, Jennah is exceptional. She'll go as far as she allows herself to, and accomplish great things.
Nor will he have the charisma or the ease that comes so naturally for Braedy. Whatever is not attained through ready absorption ( Braeden has always been far above average and a very quick learner ), he'll coast through based on his charm and witty demeanor - something is already causing some issues for us, both at school and in everyday activities.

Iain is awesome in his own way. Eager and in his own time, affectionate, his smile lights up the room. It isn't easily earned, though he is always friendly, and when Iain learns to like you, it feels like a gift from God himself.
Someday he will build great things with those busy little hands, and I hope that he continues to be as kind when he's forty as he is at age six.

No mother has a favorite ( or at least they shouldn't ), but no matter how angry I get, no matter how frustrated I become, even if it's with him, I'm a sucker for that kid.

Thankfully he doesn't know it... or rather, he doesn't use it. He's too humble for that.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I can't wait to see what sort of goofball face Iain will pull when I ask him to hold still for the camera and smile. He'll be the most cockeyed pirate in the parade, and I'll love him that much more for it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wrapping up round 2 ( days 27 - 29 )

Thursday and Friday were all about the flea market.
I did last minute marketing, baking and spent several hours on overall assmebly that were not originally on my agenda, but the coordinator was left in the lurch, and without Chris and I lending a hand, she'd have been sunk ( one person cannot assemble an entire event alone ).

Add in working on our quarterly reports, and it was a busy thirty six hour run.

Most of the time that I spent on the project was my time, not on the clock.
But I didn't want to leave my co-worker in the lurch... it wasn't fair to stick her with 90% of the work just because our boss couldn't be bothered to deal with this.

But I digress a bit.
When I got to the school on Friday, I stopped in the office to give Cara the Breast Cancer Awareness / support bag that I made for her.

I got a hug!! Yay!

Cara is not a physical contact person. She's a very reserved but sweet gal. But in spite of this, I think that the whole teary eyed display that she made... well, I'm not usually a huggy person, either ( unless I'm drunk. Then watch out! ), but it made my day.
Finished and delivered just in time for it to be utililized at the BCA walk this weekend.

The first half of Saturday was spent at the flea market.
We did make a little bit of money, which was a bonus, but it alos turned out to be an opportunity to give. I expected my husband to flinch and gripe, but he just shugged and verbalized what I felt about the issue - the folks that we interacted with and sent home clothing and other things needed those things a lot more than we needed the money.

I saw parents there who I know from events, but I don't see day to day in the building, and people who I knew from way back when that didn't even realize were parents in the school ( I don't have any interaction with the middle school side of the building ), which was kind of fun.

In the end, we came home with four empty totes, and a feeling of accomplishment.
The hope for the day was to make about $30 more than we did, and we probably could have if we'd stopped giving things away and actually charged what we put on the price tags ( which wasn't very much to begin with - I'm a stickler about that. I hate the idea of ripping people off ), but it felt better to do it the way that we did.
It just means that new boots for Chris for the winter have to wait two more weeks.
So be it.

Wrapping up the evening was a bit of R'n'R for us. We met some friends for dinner. Probably shouldn't have, due to our budget being pretty tight right now, but getting together with this couple takes month of planning most of the time. Cancelling would've meant not seeing them as a couple until Christmas.
We came home, brough the sitter home, and I resolved not got get out of bed in the morning until I was done sleeping.
I usually force myself to get up and function, just to make breakfast and do some laundry.
Not today. However, it meant that breakfast was more like a late lunch ( thank heaven my daughter can manage pop tarts in a pinch! ), because it was after noon when I finally crawled out from under my blankets.
Running on four to five hours of sleep per night, all week long, caught up with me, and I crashed. Hard. I guess I needed it, though, because I don't usually sleep that long, even when I'm sick.

This sort of lumps Thursday, Friday and Saturday together, but that is truly how they were.
Lumped together and in constant motion....and now I am headed back to bed, because in spite of my super nap, my body's clock says that it's sleepy time.

I'm taking a break for a week or so before I start round three. I know that I won't have time to blog all week, and I'd hate to only half commit to the project.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Round 2, Days 24, 25 and 26

Day 23 didn't quite go how I wanted it to.
I was clipping along with getting both my chores and Chris's done, and about to strip from my cleaning srubs and slide to Wal Mart to pick up my meds, when my phone rang.
My mother in law needed her hair colored. So I spent the next couple of hours on that instead. Still a give, just not the give I was aiming to complete.

Day 24:
Turned out to be a give for me.
I've been burning the candle at both ends to an extreme, and my immune system finally took a giant crap on me. My sinuses were so back up that my face was visibly swollen, bright red and my neck, jaw and shoulder hurt.
So, I finished up a project that my boss asked me to do, and under her order, went home and went to bed ( after I picked up the prescription that I didn't get to the day before ).
I slept for nearly five hours, ended up missing our annual meeting, and was back in bed for the night for another six hours.
I hated just taking a day off and crashing, but it was needed very badly.
I still feel pretty lousy as I sit here and click away, but it's not nearly as badly as I felt on Monday.

On that note, my sojourn to Ohio proved to me just how awful living in Michigan is for my immune system.
I could breathe the entire time I was there, only sneezed ONCE ( in October that is unheard of for me! ), and didn't even snore.
I could, of course, attribute the latter to barely sleeping, but anyone who has camped out with me, be it away from home or in mine, knows I snore. Loudly.
Thus, this also fuels my theory that my sleep apnea is at least somewhat connected to my constant state of allergic misery.

As much as I NEVER, EVER, EVER want to live in Ohio, I am now staunch in my belief that I need to reside someplace else.
If I have to travel around to find somewhere that isn't too hot for Chris to endure it in the summer months, and will allow me to feel less rotten on a day to day basis, so be it.And if that someplace did turn out to be Ohio.... well, at least it isn't Maryland. I hated Maryland even more than I dislike Ohio.

Day 25:
I wrapped presents!
I am in a swap where we have to buy $15 worth of specific theme goodies. I cannot say what the theme is, because there's a chance that my recipient might read the crosspost on my Blogspot page, but I've spent my pennies well, made some goodies, and wrapped everything in coordinated paper ( now there's a hint for ya! ).
I also worked on handmade ornaments and chatted with the friend who was the recipent from Thursday ( the Vegas weekend ), and was pleased to hear what a wonderful time she had.

In between wrapping gifts and making dinner, I whipped up a Breast Cancer Awareness bag for a friend. An SCS friend loaned me an awesome BCA stamp set and ( made by My Favorite Things - check it out! ) I had it finished in no time.
I'll be making a bottle of lotion and some bath salts... throwing in a bag of sugar free candy and some trail mix and bringing that to her on Friday when I go set up for the flea market.

As part of my flea market project, I purged some scrap / craft supplies that were unopened, and retired them from my stash. As I did that, I pulled more stuff for the precshool, and put it in the bag and box in my trunk.

I made dinner, but it flopped ( something didn't taste right which leads me to believe that my baking emulsifer soured.. YUCK ), printed up some Hobby Lobby coupons and cut into my hobby budget to let Chris get some paints for his Star Wars guys.

And as a wrap up, spent a chunk of the evening tending to a sick kid. Jennah got sick on the bus, so she was miserable from the time she walked in the door, right up until bedtime ( and is still unwell ).

Day 26 ( today):
I'll be aiding at the last of our community cleanups for 2008.
We were able to remove almost SEVEN TONS OF TRASH from our neighborhood at the least Dumpster Day. Hopefully we'll be just as successful this time.
There's an evident lower volume of overall garbage everywhere that is partially contributed to the last clean up... hopefully with this one, our target area will remain clean for the rest of the year, and we can start over anew with the Spring thaw.

Around that, I'll FINALLY be taking stuff over the the preschool. I meant to tote it there on Monday, because we use their facility for the annual meeting, but as I missed it, I'll be making an extra trip today.
It will be nice to see everyone for a few minutes. I've missed that staff terribly.Initially I'd planned to give more of my time there during the school year, but it just hasn't happened that way. Too much to do in too many other directions.

Between those things and tending to a sick kid, my day will be pretty darn full.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get to tending to those things!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Round 2, Days 17 - 23

It's been a week already. Another week of not sitting still. Heck, for nearly 48 hours I didn't even have access to a computer or anything that remotely resembled internet to post if I'd wanted to.
Lets see if I can summarize my week, day by day, without this getting too lengthy.

helped a neighbor move some furniture and trimmed bushes for the senior across the street.

Worked on treat bags for the kids to bring to school for Halloween.
Had a meeting that I couldn't miss that conflicted with a something that Chris could miss, but didn't want to. Mine didn't have kid accomodations but his was "no kids" period, so they came with me, and I wrangled dinner for everyone before Chris even got home.
Trying to facilitate a meeting with three kids in tow isn't easy, but we managed, and Chris was grateful for the time away, plus he got to see some work friends who he hadn't bumped into since leaving his last conractor.

Took a trunk full of donations to the women and children's outreach center in my downtown community.
Made some holiday cards that I'll be taking to the senior apartment complex that my Aunt lives in, for the residents to use, because many of them cannot afford the extras like sending cards to family and friends at Christmas.

Was supposed to be my day off. Ha!
I had a market test at a facility that was minutes away from Chris's job site... which is also just a few minutes away from a Krispy Kreme.
Chris's absolute favorites are their original glazed donuts, so I picked up some and put them on the front seat of the car, making sure to lock the doors ( so that the watching and darn near salvating nearby fellas in hard hats didn't swipe the snacks ), and send him a text, telling him to check the car at lunch, simply saying that I left something there for him.

When I got home, I phoned a friend and chatted with her as I was prepping for a something that was later in the evening.
As we were talking, she said that due to an unforseen issue, she and her husband would be only bringing food from home and eating in their suite for their weekend in Vegas.
The trip wasn't a vacation to being with ( wedding ) and they were incurring expnses due a mooching family member.
So I did some online research and sent her some cash to get dinner, via Pay Pal.
Wouldn't cover the most expensive buffets on the strip, but it was enough that after Pay Pal deducted their fees, she and her husband would be able to duck out and grab dinner, without having enough funds left over to have to pay for the mooching family member, too ( thus, and automatic excuse to get out of her food bill, AND to get some alone time ).

My friend would NEVER, EVER, EVER dream of asking me for even a loan for such a thing ( we discuss bills and stuff, and she's just NOT a mooch anyhow ), and I was worried that she'd be upset when I did it ( I didn't tell her - she found out when after we'd hung up and she'd ran some errands, there was a funds payment email from PayPal. Had I warned her she'd have adamantly refused ), but she got over it, and promised to go out for a couple of hours and have a little fun.

Was a blur. Worked in the morning, took a couple of hours off in the afternoon to chaperone and drive for a field trip to a pumpkin patch / orchard with the boys.

Before I departed for all of that, I was talking to Marie ( for those who read this and do not know her, she's been my best friend since we were kids ) and she mentioned that her mom would need to call in sick and a day's pay to tag along with her to Ohio for the weekend.

Marie's daughter is part of the rowing crew at her high school, and they had a meet, roughly five hours from home in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio.
Marie's health isn't good... she has DVT and a slew of connected issues and has been having problems with her counts ( blood ) so she cannot be left along right now... so going without a car buddy was NOT an option.
So I talked to Ward, and in spite of an arguement ensuing from the trip, I went, and it ended up being a give for both of us. Lots of time in the car, but we've road tripped so many times that we just travel well together.
Took TONS of photos, and I love her kid like she was my own, so seeing her out there on the water was pretty darn cool.
We drove out on Friday evening, did the event on Satuday, plus drove around Columbus in between races, and had a great time.

Chris headed north to go sight in his rifle and walk the land where they planned to hunt, and I'll be spending the day "playing Ward".
It was in the plans for the weekend before I added Ohio into the mix. I get to cook, clean, fix, and run errands and do "Ward stuff" that I told him I'd cover so that he'd have the free time to get up there and do this today.
It doesn't sound like much, but if you saw the mess in my dining room and living room, you'd think otherwise. I have at least three hours worth of my own mandatory crud to get done around hadling his chores, too. PLUS the unpacking and extra laundry from the weekend.

Speaking of... I'd better get to it!I'll try to be better about posting in the coming week... life can slow down, just a little, any day now!!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Round 2, Day 16

Today's give was volunteerism.

I spent the afternoon putting up lawn signs for the Democratic dandidate for our district's House of Represenatives seat. Fifty lawn signs, based on a list and map generated by his campaign team.
It was kind of nice, actually. Everyone else worked in pairs or three in a group. I took one of the two largest lists ( the other was fifty also, and given to a team of three ) and went out on my own.
City map in hand, and armed with knowledge of the area, I was done faster than almost half of the group, and there were more of them with less addresses to cover.
Working independently and fliering for work comes in handy sometimes... plus it gave me two hours to just drive and shuffle about, and occasionally interact with residents that I don't otherwise see because they're not in our target area.

I'm honestly not even sure that I'll vote for him... when he was on the City Commission it was an an Independent, but as I was putting up signs, I saw that most of his supporting constituents also had McCain / Palin signs in their yard.

But Roy is a nice guy, I like him, and I like his son, so I did it as a favor to them both.

Before I decide whether or not I'll blacken the dot next to his name on the ballot, I need to do some additional research. Thankfully I have a bit of time to do so, and it's one of the only two things on the ballot that I am currently undecided about.

Voting preferences aside, it was worth the effort.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Days 11 - 15 ( or "where the heck did my week go??" )

I've sat down to blog three times this week, and all three times I had to get up and go do something before I was even halfway finished.

Rather than give a day by day, because that would take volumes, I'll offer up a summary.

This week I:
- Cooked food for 100+ people
- Did all of the shopping and prep work for said event
- Mailed out six random packages of stuff to six people, who I feel will better benefit from said
items than I have they'll be surprised when said packages arrive, which for me is the best
part! )
- brought a slew of clothing to a homeless shelter- took a day off from work to make holiday
ornaments, and endedup making an extra two dozen to bring to aretirement facility
- spent three hours on the phone with a friend ( and sucked up a ton of my cell minutes for the
rest of the month ) who needed some moral support and a sympathetic ear
- sent 'just because' cards to some folks.... just because.
- bought some small things for my husband, because food and toys make him happiest
- made dinner for my newly no longer a jailbird kid brother, including buying stuff to make a
sweet potato pie ( something I haven't done since the last Thanksgiving we did with my
mother.. which was in 2004 )

Add in work, school committments and family time, and that explains why I haven't been able to blog. The intent has been there, and the actions are going at full speed, but the ability to slow down and evaluate and report.... not so much.
I'd like to say that things will be slowing down in the coming weeks, but they won't. I have a seven week committment to the school district that will commence on Thursday, but at least that'll only be on Thursdays.Other than this week, anyhow. This week will have training and last minute warm up exercises before we begin.
A new week. More giving, going and doing. It's a bit frantic right now, but it still feels good.