Friday, August 30, 2013


1 down 35  to go. We just completed the first week of our new school schedule. Being a mop (mother of preschoolers) is tough biz. I can attest to that, but I never realized the energy and organization that would need to go into having kids in school. Granted, it would be easier if I didn't have to work with completely different schools, with different schedules in separate cities. One things for sure though, the days ZOOM by. Here is what our daily routine has looked like this week.

We get up at 7:00 and take SJ to school at 8:00. I have to park the car and walk her into her class.

Afterwards we usually run some errands do some laundry and have lunch.

I walk Z to the bus stop at 12:30.

We are supposed to be there by 12:42 so this gives us plenty of time to get there, especially since the bus has been late everyday, except one day which we ended up having to run to catch it. I had Ezie in the Ergo on my back when this happened. I am sure it looked comical. The driver apologized for being early. I just appreciated her waiting for us.

After we get back up to the apartment I have a couple hours where it is just me and Ezie.

At 3:00 I have to go get SJ


 Once again I have to park the car and go to the upper level of the school. No drive up service here. From there we go back to the apartment I get both kids upstairs and go back down in 20 minutes to walk to the bus stop where we wait, and wait, and wait. 

Once Z gets off we go back up to the apartment unpack our stuff.


We have tried to have outside time everyday weather permitting. Then it's back up the stairs one final time for dinner, then bath, and bed.. It goes by so fast! Everyday I say "It's already 5 o'clock?" Everyday!

So the frustrating part is that I feel like I am going up and down the stairs and buckling and unbuckling the kids all day long. For the record the bus thing is not my idea, but I tried to drive him and I can't realistically make it from SJ's school to his school in time and even if I did I would have to get Ezie and SJ out of the car and walk into the school to sign him out anyway, because that is how they do things.
The big fiasco with Z's school has certainly put a damper on everything, but I am trying to have a good attitude and make the most of it.

On the bright side I get a lot of exercise. And I like having a routine. I like getting the kids to bed earlier and getting up earlier. It feels more productive all the way around. Both Z and SJ seem to enjoy their schools a lot.
As the weeks go on I am sure it will get easier and I will figure out more efficient ways to manage our time.

Maybe you are thinking "Whoa. How do you do it all and tote around a ten month old on top of it?" I don't know. I ask myself the same thing. I don't mind though. There is all this hype about YOLO these days and that's great, but my motto is TOLO, They're Only Little Once.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Praise Reports

Needless to say things have been a bit stressful around here. It's like one big emergency after another, but I like to believe that the worst is behind us.

They say when it rains it pours, so I should not be surprised that in the middle of getting ready for school to start and dealing with various medical situation Z would break his glasses. It was in a very awkward place too. We tried apoxy, super glue, and in the privacy of our own home I was even desperate enough to use tape. Thus the funny photo I posted the other day.

Long testimony short we got an anonymous envelope  in the mail with nothing but cash inside and it was the exact amount it costed to get Z's glasses fixed just in time for school! I have no idea who this good samaritan is, but if you are reading this thank you for your generosity and for being a willing vessel. God is good.

As far as SJ, the scary episodes she was having with her internal device seem to have subsided and we saw her ENT today. He showed me her CT scans and gave a very thorough explanation of what it appears has happened. The good news is that the internal device is not misplaced, but it has shifted a little bit within the area that it was implanted. This is not anything you can see from the X-ray, but judging by her symptoms it is pretty obvious. It will heal itself by building up scar tissue that will secure the device again and she will be 100% back to her normal once the process is complete. She hardly ever touches her head there anymore, so I think it will be smooth sailing from here. We will see the Doctor again in two months just to be sure. 

Both of these things were like mountains before us along with the horrible infection I got in the middle of it all, but everyone is healthy and doing well now. Praise the Lord. Thank you for all of your prayers! 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

It All Happened In a Week

I look back at last week and I think Did all of that really just happen?

The week started out with a bang as I began to feel sore and and achey on Sunday and had a 102 degree fever through the night.

On Monday J had to work so he called up the reinforcements and my mom came right away. I went to the Doctor and got a prescription for what was diagnosed as a bad case of mastitis. 

Tuesday my mom was back because of SJ's head sensitivity which of course resulted in a trip to the hospital. She's doing much better by the way. 

Then on Thursday I had to drive to northern Kentucky to pick up Z's glasses which were broken. That is a whole other story.  Then Thursday night Z and I had our first meet the teacher. 

He is doing a pose.

Friday my dad came up to help with the kids so that I could fly out to Texas for my nieces bridal shower.

The shower was beautiful, it would be nice if I had taken a better picture. 

It's been a year since I've been back to Texas which is too long. The trip was short (one full day, that's it), but sweet. I got to spend a little bit of time with one of my best friends. We were pregnant at the same time last year, but her son is 4 months older than E (although you'd never know it by size!)

In other baby news I got to meet my great niece for the first time. 

 I also got to catch up with a family member (and friend) who was also pregnant the same time as me last year. Here we are lookin' pretty big in August 2012

And now in 2013 we're just pretty.

I flew back the next morning and I'm ready (I hope) for another busy week.  Z starts kindergarten tomorrow and his BIG spectacular superhero costume party is Saturday. I have my work cut out for me!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The First Day of School and She Didn't Even Get Through Lunch

SJ had her first day of preschool yesterday at Ohio Valley Voices. 
However, almost immediately after dropping her off I got a call from her ENT's nurse wanting to know if we could be at Children's hospital at 12:00 pm to do a CT Scan. This wasn't out of the blue. I was expecting the call I just didn't know when. I have to back up to last Friday in order to explain what we are dealing with. J and I noticed that SJ was touching the right side of her head a lot. It looked like she was experiencing some irritation or sensitivity around where her implant is. We even debated whether or not she should wear her processors. Most of the time she was fine, but we noticed it off and on all weekend. It gradually became worse to where on Monday she was up at 5:00 am crying and holding her hand on her head where her right implant is. It doesn't matter if she is wearing the external parts or not, what hurts is obviously on the inside and is not sound related. For hours she did not seem like herself. So I called her Doctor and I told them what was going on. The lady that answered the phone (bless her heart) said the Doctor could see her on November 3rd. I told her that if it were as simple as a bruise it would be gone by then, and if it were worse it would be too late! I had to call a couple times and eventually after several different conversations I got the order for a CT scan. So after I got that phone call yesterday I picked SJ up from school and we went to the hospital. 

Cincinnati Children's hospital was great (same place we went for the stitches). They rank third in the nation and they're kind of a big deal. I couldn't find a picture of the fun jungle themed CT scanner, but I did come across this pirate one that is at the Joe Dimaggio Children's hospital in Florida, which is even better. It's like a carnival ride! Who wouldn't want to go on that? 

 This morning after dropping SJ off for her second day of school they called me again, this time with the results. Everything looked fine (no shifting or visible problems with the device and nothing wrong with her brain), which is great news, but unfortunately that still leaves me with a lot of questions. Something is causing this pain. She gets random "episodes" several times a day and one time she even tried to put a bandaid over her hair where her implant is She will also go through spurts where she is content like there is nothing wrong at all, even if I touch her right implant. Her ENT set an appointment for Tuesday and I will get to speak with him directly and just hope we get to the bottom of this. I know my daughter and she is usually a TOUGH COOKIE. The most important thing for me right now is to just be a voice for her. She can't tell us exactly what is wrong, but until she indicates that it no longer bothers her I will keep pushing for some kind of answer. As always, prayers are appreciated. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

I Don't Usually Cuss But...

Okay, I don't usually cuss, but Siri thinks I do! Let me explain. there have been a few times that my words have been misinterpreted by Siri when I used voice activation. According to my phone I have a variety of swearwords and one time she even responded with "now Natalie" in her notorious robotic tone.  Another time  I was trying to search for how to boil CORN when I heard her say"searching the web for how to boil porn" Yeah, that's not what I said.

Have I mentioned how much I love this voice to text option on my new iPhone? Yes I have. I'm using it right now. I use it a lot. I use it to make my to do list throughout the day.

I recently dictated  a list on my phone of things I need to get done before the new school year starts.  One thing I had on my agenda (and I've blogged about this) is to get blackout curtains. There is a big security light right outside the kid's window so before the school year starts it is important that they get some good sleep. I bought some, but I still I needed to hang the  BLACK OUT curtains. 

I'm so conservative you guys,  I really hope this post doesn't offend anyone. It's  all humorous to me because I've never had a potty mouth, it's just not me. That's why I was shocked when I was going over my to do list and one of the items was "hang f*#$ed up curtains".  Honestly, I just giggled like a 5th grader and took a screenshot. What was really funny though was that later that night when we hung the black out curtains J came and told me I had bought two different panels. What!? I said. Then I went to the kids room to check it out. Sure enough one was long and one was short. It was then that I realized my phone was right, those really are some "effed" up curtains.

Friday, August 16, 2013

I Am Not TRYING To Be Difficult

This whole Kindergarten, First grade, homeschool, public school fiasco has been a little embarrassing. I feel like such a weirdo. I could just do what I'm told and take orders from the government on how to educate, vaccinate, and give birth to my children, but no I have to make everything so difficult. And it might look like I am trying to make things difficult or that I am trying to make a statement, but I am really not. I am to the point right now that I would like to take a break from being the maverick.

 In High School I think I was completely confident with being an individual. I didn't want to be mainstream and was looking for ways to add pizzaz and spunk to my life, like have a picnic on top of a car. I have a photo of that somewhere. Now, I don't need to do that anymore, my kids have enough individuality and spontaneity to last me a lifetime. EVERYDAY or more like every hour I am dealing with stuff like this

or this

or this

and then some.

So when I make choices like home birth or do things like homeschool my son for Kindergarten it is not because I am seeking individuality. In fact I would love more than an anything to be able to blend in a little bit.

As far as our schooling decision is concerned I was just about in tears talking to my husband and wondering why I have to make everything so difficult. I told him I was ready to be the good suburban soccer mom and not have to fight anymore. He said "Well, you can't do that." and I said "Why not?" I expected him to say something about the family I come from, or how he won't let me, but what he said struck me. He said because you have conviction. It's true. Even my faith isn't all that popular now that I'm removed from the Bible belt, but it doesn't matter because those are my convictions.

I've talked with several women about homeschooling and got some great feed back. I started looking into a supplementary homeschool program in the area (I called it "subsidized in my last blog post, I need to edit that). In the end though, it was going to cost a lot of money and take a lot more restructuring just to have some regular peer interaction for Z if I homeschooled. I could just put Zion in Kindergarten for half the day and allow him to be with other kids (for free) and then the other half of the day I can teach him and do projects with him and just forget the label of grade level. One thing I have learned from all of this homeschool research is that it is less about testing and ranking, and more about the joy of learning. I am going to apply that to Z's education for the year. So in a way I am choosing both, although for all practical purposes Z is in public school and he is a kindergartener. We are actually about to head out right now to go inside his school for the first time and pick up the welcome pack.

One little disclaimer before I go. When I say I have convictions about how I raise my children, they are personal convictions. I am in no way implying that parents that do do things the more conventional way are not fighting for their kids. I think we all have our own battles. Most parents are just striving for what is best for their families individually and it's different for everyone. Whether it's homeschool, private school, deaf school, special ed, or private school I hope you all have the best school year ever!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Will We Homeschool??? Big Last Minute Decision

There is a reason I just posted the last two blogs. Sometimes I write therapeutically or sometimes I plan on editing and posting later. Some stuff just falls through the cracks, but in this case I knew everything I am about to share would make a little more sense if you read about how and why we were sending our 5 (almost 6) year old to 1st grade instead of Kindergarten. Or how I was down to the final details of getting ready for school to start.

 I had both kids records turned in and paperwork filled out. They had all their physicals and I met with the administrative staff, it should have been all systems are go. That was until they told me there was a little problem with Z's records. It showed that he did not complete an accredited kindergarten program. I explained how he went to a learning academy and I homeschooled. I explained that he could read and write, add and subtract, and I offered to show him the youtube sensation where Z identifies the 50 states. Just kidding. I didn't, but I did talk about his academic skill level. The principal told me that he had no doubt that Z was ready, and confirmed that he is age appropriate, but it doesn't matter because that's the rule. Then he sent me the Ohio Revised Code which you can feel free to skip over, but I want people to see what I am up against here.

(3321.01 Compulsory school age - requirements for admission to kindergarten or first grade - pupil personnel services committee)
(1) As used in this chapter, "parent," "guardian," or "other person having charge or care of a child" means either parent unless the parents are separated or divorced or their marriage has been dissolved or annulled, in which case "parent" means the parent who is the residential parent and legal custodian of the child. If the child is in the legal or permanent custody of a person or government agency, "parent" means that person or government agency. When a child is a resident of a home, as defined in section 3313.64<> of the Revised Code, and the child's parent is not a resident of this state, "parent," "guardian," or "other person having charge or care of a child" means the head of the home.

A child between six and eighteen years of age is "of compulsory school age" for the purpose of sections 3321.01 to 3321.13<> of the Revised Code. A child under six years of age who has been enrolled in kindergarten also shall be considered "of compulsory school age" for the purpose of sections 3321.01 to 3321.13<> of the Revised Code unless at any time the child's parent or guardian, at the parent's or guardian's discretion and in consultation with the child's teacher and principal, formally withdraws the child from kindergarten. The compulsory school age of a child shall not commence until the beginning of the term of such schools, or other time in the school year fixed by the rules of the board of the district in which the child resides.

(2) No child shall be admitted to a kindergarten or a first grade of a public school in a district in which all children are admitted to kindergarten and the first grade in August or September unless the child is five or six years of age, respectively, by the thirtieth day of September of the year of admittance, or by the first day of a term or semester other than one beginning in August or September in school districts granting admittance at the beginning of such term or semester, unless the child has been recommended for early admittance in accordance with the district's acceleration policy adopted under section 3324.10<> of the Revised Code. A child who does not meet the age requirement for admittance to kindergarten or first grade shall be evaluated for early admittance upon referral by the child's parent or guardian, an educator employed by the district, a preschool educator who knows the child, or a pediatrician or psychologist who knows the child.

(B) As used in division (C) of this section, "successfully completed kindergarten" means that the child has completed the kindergarten requirements at one of the following:

(1) A public or chartered nonpublic school;
(2) A kindergarten class that is both of the following:
(a) Offered by a day-care provider licensed under Chapter 5104. of the Revised Code;
(b) If offered after July 1, 1991, is directly taught by a teacher who holds one of the following:
(i) A valid educator license issued under section 3319.22<> of the Revised Code;
(ii) A Montessori preprimary credential or age-appropriate diploma granted by the American Montessori society or the association Montessori internationale;
(iii) Certification determined under division (F) of this section to be equivalent to that described in division (B)(2)(b)(ii) of this section;
(iv) Certification for teachers in nontax-supported schools pursuant to section 3301.071<> of the Revised Code.

(C) Except as provided in division (A)(2) of this section, no school district shall admit to the first grade any child who has not successfully completed kindergarten.

I spent the weekend doing research and started considering pulling Z's enrollment and homeschooling him for the next year. I am not trying to make a huge issue out of nothing, but a lot of planning and forethought went into this on my end because the administration was misinformed when they suggested I registered  Z for 1st grade. There were 3 different staff members that I spoke with, and they knew he was homeschooled, we all thought we were on the same page, but apparently the guy who does enrollment thought differently. The principle and I exhausted every angle trying to figure out how to get around it and in the end they leave me no choice. Z has to be in Kindergarten, but I am not ready to settle for that and there a few reasons why.

1. It is a half day program and SJ is a full day so all three kids will be on different schedules.
2. This creates conflict with transportation and Ezie's nap routine.
3. I have worked hard to go over and above a kindergarten level curriculum with Z which means everything will be review for him.
4. Because of this, his first elementary school experience could potentially be more boring than challenging.
5. The principle and everyone that I've talked to at the school has been WONDERFUL to work with, but because it's a government program we have to do everything according to regulation rather than an individualized education opportunity. That  is where homeschooling would come in.

So in the past 4 days I have hit the ground running with research, phone calls, and emails regarding homeschooling in Ohio. There is a lot to learn, but I have been impressed with all the co-ops, support groups, and even subsidiary programs available in my own community.

It's not as simple as saying fine I'll teach him myself though. I want what is best for everyone in my family. I actually enjoy the idea of homeschooling, but everything costs money, which is a factor. I also worry about Z having ample amount of peer interaction. I have mentioned before about how extremely social and extraverted he is. Plus I really like the school he will go to and the principle did make a good case for their kindergarten curriculum. Lastly, even though Z is advanced academically sometimes he is all over the map behaviorally. AHHHHHH!

 I feel like my emotions suddenly took off through the emergency exit and now I'm just feeling alarmed. My mom gets a call from me 3 times a day hearing about how I am going to homeschool, or wait I might not. The CRAZIEST part of all of this is that it is because his birthday falls at a very awkward time. When your birthday happens around the beginning of school it complicates things. This would not be in issue whatsoever if he was born at the end of September. Ohio's cut off for Kindergarteners is that they have to be 5 by September 16th. I have blogged about this birthday thing a lot and let me tell ya, I had no idea back on September 4th of 2007 what that birthday would mean for our future.

September 4th is still one of the best days of my life though. 
I know whatever the outcome is it's going to be fine. God will direct our path and as always I am trusting his plan. Or trying to anyway. One things for sure Z is worth all this headache.

Monday, August 12, 2013

As Summer Comes To A Screeching Halt

Originally written Thrusday August 8. The next post will be up to date, but I need to get caught up first. 

Next week I have THREE meetings for the new school year that is ABOUT TO START! One is called packet pick up. I guess that means I will go to Z's school and get the packet that has all the details about his new school. Another is called Tune In where I will meet with SJ's teacher. The last one is an IEP and ETR meeting with the public school district and if you have a special needs child you know all about that tedious business. This all snuck up on me like the boogie man in the middle of the night. One day I am chillin' in my flip flops drinking lemonade and the next day my yard sale tan is peeling, 

swim lessons are over,

and my pinterest page is FULL of fall projects.

What!? When did this happen? 

Now that I realize that the summer rug has been pulled out from under me I am ready to take a deep breath and embrace the new school year routine. This weekend I will be getting some black out curtains and on Monday we'll start early to bed early to rise. Lord help me this is not an easy transition for our crew, but one week of practice will hopefully be a good enough  to ease into things.

I can't believe that both of my kids will be going to school this year! Even with preschool last year it was only a few hours a day/few days a week/not even a full school year. This is going to be a whole new ballgame. I am excited about all that is on the horizon, but feeling a little anxious at the same time.

This is really happening! Eeek.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

I Change My Mind Like I Change Diapers (Frequently)

Originally Written 6/26/13, which is important to note. I'll explain why later. 

I have talked about Z being on the bubble for when to begin Kindergarten and I have mentioned it enough to start a whole 'nother blog called "When Z Starts Kindergarten". I don't mean to obsess over it, but not only is this the first time I have a child starting school, but our situation has been unique because of all the moving we've done the past couple years. Last year when I reported on this matter I was definitely holding Z back and putting him in Kindergarten this year. Well, guess what? I changed my mind again.

Z is already registered for 1st grade. I have heard people on both sides of the fence giving me their opinion and I love all the different perspectives. Once again I don't think there is a wrong answer here. There are lots of reasons why I feel like Z should go straight to 1st grade, but how could I know that my makeshift homeschool curriculum was enough to prepare him. So I googled it. I went through countless checklist from various websites about First Grade Readiness. The criteria was diverse and intreguing. These are real excerpts from various sites

Does your child have two to five permanent or second teeth?

Can he stand on one foot with eyes closed for five to ten seconds?

What is the head/trunk/limb proportion like? Can the child reach over his head with the right arm and touch the left ear?

Can he repeat an eight- to ten-word sentence, if you say it once, as "The boy ran all the way home from the store"?

Does your child associate verbal names, written names, and standard numerals with whole numbers less than 100? 

Then there were normal things like being able to write his name or recognize basic patterns in weather. I have exhausted my research only to have it confirmed over and over that he is ready for 1st grade. I know it's not all about the checklists. As his mom I am 100% confident in our final decision and so is his school. I asked Z whether he wanted to go to Kindergarten or First grade and he answered FIRST GRADE loud and clear. Who cares if the only reason he said it is because that is the starting age for kid's camp. I'm just happy that I finally made up my mind and it feels right.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Results Are In

We are recovering from last weekend's participation in the world's longest yard sale. 

Was it a success or did it flop? 
Did I have fun? 
Did I get a ridiculous sunburn?
Was it more trouble than it's worth? 

So many questions to answer and the answer to all of them is YES! It really just depends on how you look at it. It's a half glass thing. It could be half full or half empty, but I'll go with full because the epic 127 yard sale was an adventure I don't regret. We made $300 after expenses over the course of three days and the days were not as long as I had anticipated. And what's the most important thing? We got rid of stuff! Here are the top 10 phone photos from the 3 day event

1. The Set Up
Wednesday night the minivans, buses, trucks, and trailers all came together to set up tents and tables full of STUFF! Some of the yard sales along the route are the traditional home style rummage, but a lot of places rent out spaces and it becomes more of a festival, as was the case here. 

2. The t shirts

These two gals were a couple of the many shoppers sporting their 127 yard sale shirts.

3. The travelers

I met people from all over the country including these two lovely ladies who flew in all the way from Miami Florida. They knew they would torcher themselves by the limited amount of space they would have for purchases, but it was still worth it just to be a part of the action. 

4. Fun with signage

Who could refuse a costume you know was worn by a baby that cute? 

5. My little helper

SJ lined the shoes up a dozen different ways. Notice she is barefoot here, that's because her shoes are the ones on the bottom left. Someone actually tried to buy them and she freaked out and started signing and shouting. I had to explain. 

6. The Captain
I started it. The whole yard sale thing was my idea, but J was the one to finish it. He got really pumped toward the end. He was making deals left and right. He was giving me tips on how to push a sale and my favorite was when he got a piece of artwork out of the trash from a nearby neighborhood and I sold the frame for $3. In this photo he is reconfiguring our whole space in the rain. He couldn't understand why I was so unmotivated.

7. The tailgate party

On the last day the kids mostly hung out in the back of the 4runner with the seats down. 

8. The traffic

The crowds were big and diverse. The people you meet are as eclectic as the things you find in the rummage. That's what I love about yard sales. 

9. Bloggers!

One of my favorite parts of the yard sale was getting to meet someone who I connected with through blogging. I had posted on instagram about the sale as I was getting ready. Then on the last day "Nurse Duke" showed up and we got to meet in person.

10. The aftermath

Here we are waiting in line at the local goodwill. We are probably 5 cars back with more behind us. They were sending people to a trailer in the parkinglot to unload because they did not have enough room for all of the leftovers that were coming in from the 127 yard sale! 

So that gives you a pretty good idea of what it was like. I would do it again, but now that I've tried my hand as a seller I think I am ready to experience the 127 sale as a shopper. Maybe next year.