Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Paranoid Parent or is There Really Something Going On?

I hate not knowing when to call the doctor about things. I mean strep throat, ear infections, and bladder infections become pretty easy to diagnose after a while. At least in a child that can actually tell you what's hurting. It does get a little hairy before say 2 or 3 years old.

But what do you do when there's not constantly something going on? You've got a few things that make you go hmmm, but nothing that you're sure warrants a doctor's visit.

So this is what I'm facing with Kaitlyn. She doesn't tend to be a very sickly child. Not a whole lot of sick visits. Maybe once a year or so. This winter seems to have been particularly tough on her. The bladder infection and then a month later strep. A few stomach viruses thrown in there too. But it's the things that have been going on with her for a while. She gets stomach aches what seems like a lot. I don't know at least once a week she tells me she's been to the nurses office. It's all different times of the day. I used to think it was to get out of reading, but she's gone during math even which is her favorite subject. I've talked to the nurse about her visits. He doesn't seem to think they are a lot. I mean I suppose there are kids who are probably there more with nothing really going on but are just trying to get out of doing something. I guess Kaitlyn doesn't seem to be one of those kids. But gee, the nurse will see me in the halls occasionally and ask me how Kaitlyn is. I don't even know if he realizes I have another child in the school. And he's new this year too. He seems to really know Kaitlyn though. And then she gets these stomach pains with me too and at Grandma and Grandpas. Maybe it's just a nervous stomach. Nothing ever seems to really bother her. Not much complaining going on with her. Things seem to roll off her back pretty easily. But maybe she's internalizing everything.

This morning she said her stomach hurt before I sent her to school. I tend to blow it off as oh you just ate too fast, or you're hungry (if she hasn't eaten yet). But should I be concerned about these stomach pains? Could there be something more going on? Is it just a side effect from her antibiotic she's on right now? Well, that can't be it, because she hadn't even had her medicine when she complained of the stomach pain and then why would it happen so frequently. Gosh, what if it's worse? What if it's Cancer? Okay, now I'm just being silly, it can't be something like that. But wait, she just fell asleep sitting up on the couch today. It wasn't a particularly rough day for her or anything. It was a half day at school. We went out to lunch just the two of us. Came home and did homework. She went to bed at a decent time last night. Okay, Kaitlyn how are you sleeping? Are you sleeping good at night? No, I'm waking up. Well, why what's making you wake up? I don't know I'm just waking up. Hmmm, well what does that mean? Do I call the doctor? Is this and her stomach problems related? Am I just a paranoid mom? Do I call the doctor? What do I do? I just don't know. Will the doctor think I'm crazy? Can I even get into the doctor? They book up so quickly. She can't even explain what the pains feel like in her stomach. Wait, she's looking a little pale today. Joe, does she look a little pale to you? No? Huh, so I'm seeing things. Grrr, am I just a paranoid parent or is there really something to worry about...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Best Laid Plans

So a few days ago I posted about My Upcoming Week. I thought for sure there would be no time for a blog post. And yet here I am Monday morning writing a blog post. How could it be? Well, as they say best laid plans. CJ got very sick yesterday.

Doesn't he look awful? He couldn't keep anything down yesterday. Just laid on the couch much like that. If he wasn't sleeping or whimpering he was throwing up. Poor guy.

I am happy to report that he is MUCH better today. He's not really eating, but he's keeping his drinks down and what little he does eat. However, I decided that bringing him to the school to work the book fair for 4 hours just was not fair to him, to me, or to the children at the school. Plus, truth be told I am exhausted. I ended up with a lot of extra laundry from yesterday too. So I was sure that the book fair was well manned for the day and felt secure in staying home. Okay, well I did stop in this morning to give the cash box and change and a few instructions.

So today CJ and I are just hanging out at home. Well, that is until 1 when I have to pick his sisters up. It's actually a nice break from what I thought was going to be one super crazy week. I will still be going tonight though. Joe will be home from work to stay with the kids so I can go to the book fair and hand out the fundraiser. So as they say best laid plans...

Sometimes life throws you curve balls and we have to make the best of it so that's just what I'm doing. Can't say I am too upset about staying home. I'm glad that I have trustworthy parent helpers there to fill in for me though. That helps a lot with my guilt ;).

Friday, March 26, 2010

My Upcoming Week

Okay, so I know I post on here semi-frequently by some bloggers standards anyways. I suppose this past week wasn't all bad. I think I had something like 4 posts this week. I don't anticipate too many posts if any for next week. I just won't be around to do it. Even if I do bring the laptop with me I won't even have internet access where I will be. Egads! No internet! Whatever, or wherever could I be?

Monday starts parent teacher conferences. Now normally parent teacher conferences wouldn't be a bad thing, but when you're the PTA president it means any routine you have established goes right out the window. It means that the title of Stay At Home Mom really isn't true for the week because my time will be mostly spent outside of the home. It means complete exhaustion for me.

Why you may ask would parent teacher conferences cause so much stress for the PTA president? Well, you see this is when we have our book fair. But not only that, but our spring fundraiser is in and we are handing it out. Then on top of that I still have my three children, husband, home, and dog to take care of. Then throw in a few parent teacher conferences that I have to attend into all of this and you have what can only amount to sheer exhaustion.

Here's how it will play out:
Monday Get the children up and ready for school. If my friend's kids don't spend the night to prevent the early morning drop off so they can go to a doctor's appointment then I will have to be prepared for extra children to arrive at my house at 7 a.m. Get everyone fed and to school. From 9-1 I will be at the school running the book fair. Just about every class will be coming down to "shop" the fair on Monday. I will have CJ with me who as I found out today while setting up the book fair will spend most of his time pulling the books off of the shelves, climbing the stairs in the library, and playing with the pens/pencils/erasers.

It's a half day so I will have to get my children at 1 and rush everyone home to have lunch. Give CJ a very late nap. Get the older two children to do their homework and some reading. Clean up a little if I have the energy. Figure out something for dinner. Cook dinner. Clean up after dinner. Then from 6-8 back to the school during evening conference time. Run the book fair and hand out the Avon fundraiser. Come home where hopefully Joe will have all of the children in bed. Maybe count some money and go over some PTA stuff and try to spend a little time with my husband.

Tuesday Get the kids up and off to school. Then I get to come back home. Catch up on the housework that was not done the day before. Put CJ down for a nap. Make lunch for all of the kids and myself. Get CJ up from his nap. Lug him, the lunches, and a cash box to the school. Get the girls and work the book fair from 1-3:30 and hand out fundraisers. Have Natalie's conference at 1:30. Then hopefully get to break away at 2:30 for Kaitlyn's conference. Pack everyone up and go home.

Wednesday Very similar to my Monday. Except, instead of picking up both of the girls after school I'll only pick up Kaitlyn at 1. Hopefully I'll get to bring her out to lunch just the two of us, but it might have to be with CJ too. Then at 3:30 go back to the school to pick up Natalie from drama. Come home and get her going with homework. Then cleaning, dinner, and back to the school for book fair from 6-8 again.

Thursday Since CJ and I will have missed our normal weekly Wednesday playgroup we will join the Thursday group. That will be at the grocery store. After that we will go back to the school to run the book fair until 2. Pack up the book fair and find a place for whatever Avon people didn't end up picking up. Then I will have to pick up the girls and possibly my friend's kids at 3. Bring them all home. Feel relieved that the crazy week is over and we will have a nice long weekend. Not that it will be entirely relaxing, but hopefully the weekend will be filled with lots of quality time with my family making some great Easter memories.

So if you don't hear from me much next week you now know why that is.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Potty Dance

I have watched commercials for pulls ups about the potty dance. And of course thought well that will never get my kid to use the potty. Then I noticed that my ready to potty train 2 year old was watching it. So I said well there's no harm in going to the website and downloading the song. So I did, and he LOVES it! After watching it once I got CJ to get his potty chair. And after wearing it as a hat for a few I got him to sit on it. Okay, no big deal he's sat on it before, but he flips out if he's bare naked on the potty. And well, keeping your pants on to go potty just isn't going to work. So going step by step with this and getting him accustomed to the potty chair as more than just a fun hat to wear I took his sleeper off and his diaper off and sat him on the potty. And he sat there. He did not scream. He did not get up sleeper around his ankles and try to run and fall flat on his face. He sat for a while. He watched the potty dance while sitting on the potty. He did not go potty yet, but I am pleased with his progress. I guess this Potty Dance song is going to be a huge part of his potty training. So thanks Pull Ups! I won't actually be using Pull Ups for potty training because it has been my experience that they are too close to diapers and they feel free to still go while in them, but we will be watching the Potty Dance a lot!

Note: I tried to add the video here, but could not. So if you want to see for yourself go to the Pull-Ups website

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hoping the Sickies are Winding Down

Well, a little over a month ago we made a trip to the doctor's office to confirm my mommy diagnosis of Kaitlyn having a bladder infection. Rapid test said no, but she had all of the symptoms so she was put on antibiotics. And a few days later after the lab results came back we got a confirmed diagnosis of bladder infection and a new antibiotic to tackle it. And she quickly got all better.

Now, here we are again. Kaitlyn needing another trip to the doctor to confirm another mommy diagnosis this time of strep. And yet again mommy was right. Hey, I'm 2 for 2 with Kaitlyn this year.

CJ on the other hand I keep jumping the gun with. CJ has had a couple of colds the past few months. He's got one now. While we were at the doctor today for Kaitlyn I thought I better have the doctor give him a once over. Just to help put mommy's worries at ease. I figured it was probably just a cold, but his boogers and snot has been kind of yellow/green. And very thick. Nothing else going on with him really. So I asked the doctor to look. She gave him the all clear. It's just a cold. Of course it could develop into something more. It's rare for a child his age to get strep, but with someone in the house with it it is possible. Hard to tell with a 2 year old though what hurts so that's why mommy has a harder time diagnosing.

So Kaitlyn is home from school for another day tomorrow. Hopefully Thursday she feels well enough to go back. I think she will. She wanted to go to school today, but I didn't like the looks of her throat. So she stayed home today. I am hoping this will be the last of the sickies in our house for a good long time too. We've had our fare share I think this year. It would be nice to not be on the monthly visiting of the doctor schedule.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sometimes I Wish I wasn't the Grown Up

Isn't it funny how when we're kids we can't wait to get older. I remember I couldn't wait until my 10th birthday because then I was double digits. Then it was 13 because I'd be a teenager. Then it was 15 because I could get a job. Then it was 16 because I could drive a car. Then it was 18 because I'd finally be an adult capable of voting and smoking if I so chose ;). Then it was 21 because then I could drink.

Well, I have surpassed all of those milestones and would give anything to go back to any one of them. What do I have to look forward to now? Oooh, 40 to be over the hill. 50 to be middle age. 65 to retire.

You know what being an adult has brought me? Gray hairs, wrinkles, and funerals to attend. I found out today that a good friend's father passed away over the weekend. Her daughter and Natalie are best friends. So now along with the rest of my weekly plans I'm throwing in there attending a wake. Juggling getting a friend's kid to school and someone to watch CJ. Thankfully it's on Joe's day off so he can handle all of that. This is the 3rd funeral I have attended in the last six months.

Another friend's father passed away in October and I attended his wake. Then Joe's grandmother in December and now this. Before I was an "adult" I attended a total of 2 funerals I think. And legally speaking one of those funerals I was actually an adult. I guess I was fortunate enough to not have to deal with a whole lot of death when I was young.

Meet Raymond Alvarez:

Father of 2 and grandfather of 7

May Raymond Alvarez Rest In Peace. Hilary, the Barnes Bunch is so sorry for your loss.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pins, Pizza, and Pop

Our local bowling alley has a deal on Saturday evenings from 5-8 of Pins, Pizza, and Pop. Two hours of bowling, pizza, and soda for one low price. So we decided to do that with the kids tonight. What a great gross motor activity to do with CJ who needs a little work with gross motor skills ;). We had a blast. The pizza left a lot to be desired, but everything else was great.

CJ all ready to bowl

Ready, 1, 2, 3, bowl

There goes the ball

Kaitlyn's turn

Natalie's turn

Scores from the first game. Yes, Joe won and me and Kaitlyn tied

After the first game Natalie decided she wanted to try without the bumpers. So we turned the bumpers off for her and she gave it a go.

Natalie and Kaitlyn watching the action

Natalie's attempt at bowling without bumpers

CJ lifting the ball

I'm going to pick up that ball

Dropped the ball

The score from the 2nd game. Not too bad for Natalie for the 1st time without bumpers. And yes, Joe won again and Kaitlyn beat me. I got a blister on my thumb.

We tried to squeeze one more game in on the night. We managed to get a little more than halfway through it. These were the scores as we ended the evening.
Look, Natalie was improving. She would have beaten her score if we could finish the game. And CJ was having a really good game.

It was a very fun family evening together.

Friday, March 19, 2010

It's the Little Things

Isn't it amazing how the littlest things can make a child's day? Kaitlyn declared tonight, "This is the best day ever!" What made her say that? Joe made milkshakes for dessert. A chocolate milkshake made today the best day ever. It cheered Natalie up from not getting extra recess at school despite having earned it. It made Kaitlyn's day the best ever. CJ wasn't too impressed with it, but well it's cold and he doesn't like ice cream. Weird kid I know. I have no idea what's wrong with the boy. He won't eat ice cream or popsicles or really anything that has been frozen. But for the girls a simple milkshake makes their day. It really is just the little things.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

And he Wonders Why I Get Upset

I debated writing this post because of what some of my family members might say when they read it. But then I thought well this is my blog about my thoughts and feelings and I'm just going to say it. So just a little disclaimer in the beginning here if my inlaws are reading this this is my blog and I'll say what I want to.

Okay, that said. My brother in law is a member of the United States Army. He has not been a member for very long. Joined in his late 30's and he's now 40. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that he wants to serve his country. What I don't think is great is that he whines and complains that he's stationed miles away from his family (meaning his wife and her three children whom he has only been married to now for going on 3 years, but who he has had a long on again off again relationship with lots of infidelity on her part, but then suddenly when there's the chance that he could be shipped over seas she amazingly wants to marry him). Yeah, but we won't go into my feelings about her. Well, wait a minute that's not true, I just might bring her up again.

So then there are families much like my friend Renee's family who are in the process of getting ready for something like his one millionth deployment to Afghanastan. All year long or longer deployments. He has missed out on much of his children's lives in this time. And through it all my friend Renee has managed to deal with all of the kids and numerous medical problems and surgeries without her husband there to help her.

Then we go back to my brother in law. His wife and family could have moved with him to North Carolina. There was a house there for them and everything. First the excuse was they couldn't sell the house here so they had to stay. Now never mind that her father lives in the house with them and could have stayed behind to sell the house. Or the house could have sold with no one in it. Then it was her health. She couldn't be in a warm climate. Well, anyone who has been in New England in the summer knows that it definitely gets very hot and very humid here. Maybe not for as long as it would in North Carolina, but it definitely gets hot here. But this started their crusade of getting him transferred closer to home. Letters from us as the family stating that we can't take care of her because we have our own responsibilities.

All the while I kept thinking of Renee who's husband was probably deployed yet again. She didn't get to write letters stating what a hard ship it was for her husband to be away. Even though with four children at the time under the age of 8, one of them with Down Syndrome and Cancer. And now, just three months after adopting their 5th child from the middle east who also has Down Syndrome her husband is preparing for another deployment. But for her this is just the life of a military wife and family. They do what they have to do. Just about 6 years ago she moved with her husband out of her comfort zone and home of California her entire life and moved to TN because that was where he was stationed. They have made a home in TN. They have a life and friends there. She found a support system so when her husband is away she has someone to lean on and help pick up the slack. Right now she's in the process of talking to her 5 children about daddy going away again and making out wills and power of attorney and all the other stuff that goes into preparing for a deployment.

Then there is my brother in law who did get his transfer closer to home. He's now stationed out of NY, but still only is home on the weekends. And there is still the complaints of I never get to see my spouse. But that is by their choice. They have chosen to keep two separate homes. It does not have to be this way for them. So why wouldn't I be upset when I see my friend just going about life and dealing with the day to day things without complaining that her husband is being deployed yet again? They have never had to deal with deployments. He has always been close enough and capable of coming home should there be an emergency. Maybe they should be counting their blessings and thanking the men like Frank Garcia who are leaving their families behind yet again. I know I am forever grateful to people like him.

And I know many other military families who have had some difficult things to deal with from the military. Situations where they weren't allowed to move with their spouse. Having to uproot the entire family and move overseas. And they have done it with some complaint yes, but not with some motive to try and find a way out of it. Yes, it stinks, but it is the life of the military. And if you can't handle the things the military throws at you, then maybe the military is not the place for you. And that, brother in law of mine, is why I get so upset when you complain about not seeing your family. Because the truth of it is, if your family really wanted to be with you, then nothing would stop them. I know if Joe's job told him he had to move hundreds of miles away I sure would be following him. No house not selling or medical condition would keep me from being with my husband. And my children from being with their father.

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Are you wearing your green today? I am!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Art Show

A few weeks ago I was told that Kaitlyn's art work was chosen to represent her school in a state wide art show. I was told I'd be getting something in the mail about it soon. And I did. And they were having a reception on the day I was throwing my friend's baby shower at the same time. Joe was going to take Kaitlyn to it while I stayed at the baby shower. When we asked Kaitlyn what she wanted though she said she wanted to stay at the shower. We told her we'd be able to look at her artwork anytime until Friday though so we would do that. And that's just what we did after picking up the kids from school today. We brought them to the art exhibit. We are so proud of our little artist.

Kaitlyn with her art work above her head

"The Yellow Face"

We told Kaitlyn it kind of looked like Sponge Bob. So since it's clearly a girl I asked Kaitlyn if it was Sponge Bob's girlfriend. She said yes, it's Sponge Barbara. Her teacher titled it "The Yellow Face".

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Good of the Baby Shower

So after cake issues, the surprise being ruined, and being locked out of the hall we did end up having a very nice baby shower. Good food, good friends, and lots of presents. It really ended up being a very nice day in the end even after that rough start.


The present table

Time to open gifts

So see the mom to be had a smile on her face. She enjoyed her day so mission accomplished.

Diaper Cake

Many years ago I had learned of these things called diaper cakes. It's rolled up diapers made into a three tier cake. So I learned how to make them and I used to make them all the time as gifts for friends and family who were having babies. Then I stopped. Or maybe people just weren't having babies. I don't know which it was. But now one of my best friends was having a baby and I said you know what I'm going to make her a diaper cake. And if you read about my baby shower cake saga you will know that this was the only good looking cake at this shin dig.

Here's a little step by step view of how it all goes together...

Bottom tier

Middle tier

Top tier

Decorate with some ribbon

All decorated with toys, pacifiers, and nipples

It was a huge hit with everyone.

Baby Shower Cake Saga

I love planning parties. I never knew how much until I had kids. It seems to gather all of my strengths into one thing. I love coming up with themes, figuring out a cake, making invitations. I just love it all. Yesterday though really tested my patience with the whole party planning thing. And it was something that was so out of my control.

I was helping plan a surprise baby shower for a very good friend of mine. I designed the invitation through This was the final product:

The poem reads:

There once was a time
when we all heard her say
I'm done, that's it...
four kids, call it a day
But now that expression
"I'm done" is in the past
There's gonna be another (last name) baby,
will this be the last?

I worked very hard on creating the invites. They came out great. Everything was falling into place nicely. Balloons had been purchased in the pink and brown scheme. I brought the invitation to the bake shop where Joe works to have them put the picture on the cake and to give them an idea of the colors I was looking for on the cake. I was going to make the cake myself, but we were thinking 60 people and I had all this other food to make so I decided I'll delegate the cake making to someone else. Then I can get one nice big sheet cake and don't have to worry about making two cakes and filling them and stuff.

So I had this picture in my mind of this beautiful sleek cake to go along with the invitations. What I got instead was the ugliest cake in the world. I did not take pictures of that cake. I really should have. So I will try to explain what they did. First let me explain that the person I spoke to who said she'd be there Saturday and make the cake called out that day. So granted this person was trying to recreate something off of what notes were written on a piece of paper by someone else, but who would have thought anyone would be stupid enough to do this? They created an edible image of the invitation. Of the entire invitation. Of the RSVP date and phone number. Of the address of the venue. The whole thing. Who would want that on a cake? But it wasn't written on the paper that I did not want the whole invitation. I know I mentioned it numerous times to the person I ordered it from and even told her she could cut the invitation. But seriously, if it wasn't written and you saw it was an invitation you would think someone would have called just to confirm what the customer wanted just to be on the safe side if you had any doubts. I got no phone calls though.

There were no flowers on the cake like we had spoke of. The border was in brown and pink. Two piped lines, one brown and one pink. I did ask for the border to be brown to pull the whole color scheme into it. I didn't want a lot of brown because brown on a cake can be unappealing. The words Welcome baby Jazmyn were written in brown too. They were kind of squeezed in on the top. And right in the center of the cake was this invitation with this pink piping going all the way around it. And because there was nothing else on the cake but that your attention was really focused right there. It was not the sleek design that I was looking for at all.

So after much argument over what was written on the paper and whether or not they actually recreated what I had ordered they ended up making me a new one. I left to go get the stuff to the hall and then was going to go back to pick up my beautifully designed cake. Well, turns out this was just the beginning of my trouble for the shower. Turns out the guest of honor found out about the surprise. How I wasn't clear on, but the who was her brothers. Moving right along though we had to pull this off. We arrive at the hall and it's locked. We were half an hour late, but the doors definitely should have been open. So we checked all the doors. Nothing. We called the church. Nothing. We called the pastor. Nothing. People were arriving. It was raining. A cold rain. The guest of honor arrived. We still had not gotten inside nor decorated. Someone went around and checked the doors again and found one open. A door that was checked originally was now unlocked. Was it on a timer? Did someone sneak over and unlock a door and we miss it? There were a lot of comings and goings in the parking lot. Ugh, it was a huge mess.

While we were trying to figure out the whole ordeal someone offered to go pick up the 2nd try at the cake for me. She came back and told me it's not perfect, but it is still very pretty. Oh geez what am I going to do now? So I looked at the cake and all I could say is well it's better than the original, but I saw lots of fault with it. Here's the redo of the cake:

Now, I pointed out some of the things I found very ugly right on the picture. Where's the brown border? There was some light almost like a chocolate brown around the bottom of the cake where it touches the cake board, but that was it for brown on the cake. The border was very sloppy. I found the writing to be very sloppy. I don't know what was up with those flowers in the upper left corner of the cake. And my friend looks like she's in a window with that thick piped border going around the picture of her. And unfortunately you cannot see it in the picture, but there was a line going through her face on the picture. It wasn't on the invitation. I'm not sure if the edible image broke and they just pieced it together instead of making a new one or what.

Now if it where me, I would have put a few flowers in the corner of the picture. Made maybe a vine like look going around it if it needed it. The border I probably would have done with a star tip in the three colors. Dark pink, brown, light pink, dark pink, brown, light pink, etc. I suppose they were crunched for time and of course I can't expect them to do exactly what I thought, but this just wasn't even close.

I guess the moral of this story is if you want it done right do it yourself.

Other than these catastrophic events the shower was a huge success. I will share the good of the shower later.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Welcome Sofia Lynn

Welcome to little Sofia Lynn. Born yesterday (March 10) at 3:26 p.m. weighing 6 pounds 6 ounces and 20 1/2 inches long. Congratulations to Michele and Todd and their three sons on their new baby girl and sister. She's beautiful. The Barnes Bunch is so happy that everything turned out all right.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Strike Scare Over

I can finally relax. Well, about my husband's job anyways. This Sunday a vote was made to accept the contract proposal offered by Stop and Shop. I do not have all the details of what has been offered, but from what I understand it's a raise and a bonus. I do want to thank all of those who said they would not cross the picket line if Stop and Shop went on strike. I truly appreciate everyone's support in this. We have another three years of not having to worry about this. I'm a little concerned with how close we got to striking this time what the 2013 contract negotiations will bring. Maybe I won't even have to worry about that then because my husband will have found another job.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Informal School Meetings

My Facebook friends all know about this and wanted an update. So rather than post a big long status message on there I figured I'd blog about it. But to catch my other readers up who aren't my Facebook friends or who might have missed it I'm going to start off by discussing what happened yesterday.

I received a phone call from someone at the school telling me there was going to be an informal meeting about Kaitlyn tomorrow (meaning today) at 2:15 and wanting to know if I would attend. This is the first I'm hearing of this meeting and the woman seemed to think I knew all about it. I assumed that it was about Kaitlyn's Literacy Action Plan or something else similar to that. I had informed the principal that I am to be at all meetings about Kaitlyn so I know what their thinking is and so I can put my 2 cents in about her as well. Because after all I am her mom and I've known her since before she was born so I would say I know her slightly better than the people at school.

So when I found out they were having a meeting about her I about lost it that I wasn't notified. I said oh I will definitely be there and I better be notified of these things from now on. The lady was going to look into why I didn't get a letter about it. She called me back and said since it was an informal meeting I was not invited to it. I said ummm, I will most definitely be there. I told the principal that I am to attend all meetings about Kaitlyn and blah blah blah.

So then when I went to pick Kaitlyn up yesterday afternoon I figured I'd better touch bases with her teacher. I told her I didn't know there was a meeting, but I'd be there. She said I didn't need to come this was all informal and she was just asking what more can be done for Kaitlyn and if she'd qualify for certain things. I explained that I should be at this meeting because I can have some input as well to what is going on with Kaitlyn and that I'd also like to know where you're planning on going so I can research and prepare for a future PPT. It did not seem like her teacher really wanted me there though. I told her in no uncertain terms though that I will be attending. And we left it at that.

Last night I gave the principal a heads up that I'd be joining them at the meeting and he said he wanted me to come to his office to talk to him after popcorn Friday. He wanted to explain to me what happened.

So we talked for a good half an hour today after popcorn. Well, he talked and said the same thing over and over again. He wasn't trying to keep me out of the loop. He'd never do that. He talks to Kaitlyn's teacher all the time about her. He talks about other kids to find out their progress. This meeting today is simply them meeting with the special ed team to find out if some new law that was created would apply to Kaitlyn and we could use it to try to get her some special ed services. He didn't want me thinking they were excluding me. They were just going to find out what they needed to do to use this new law and what markers they could use to show that there is a significant delay. And they would come to me after this meeting to tell me where they are headed and find out if I agreed to them doing this. To which I replied so my coming to this meeting would just eliminate the need to have a 2nd meeting to get my approval on this. I also explained that I had thought they were doing the LAP (Literacy Action Plan) without me which why I had insisted originally that I'd be at the meeting. But still, I felt that I could only be an asset to the meeting to answer any questions the team might have of what I've observed with Kaitlyn.

So I did go to the meeting. And the law does appear to be something we can use. They will basically now be looking at a much broader picture of Kaitlyn and the progress or lack of progress she has made. They are trying to identify the specific problem she is having in reading. So the speech therapist wants to do some phonemic awareness stuff with her. They also want to test her on commonly used phrases in text to see how much and on what she's making the mistakes on. They are looking at her writing as well. Her teacher also brought up that she's beginning to see more of what I've seen with her with being very easily distracted and kind of zoning out with things. So I brought up ADD again with them. We discussed the lead concerns. They knew about this because I had brought it up to the principal when we were moving as one of the reasons we were moving. They can't say for sure obviously that Kaitlyn's possible long term exposure to some lead could have caused this, but as she's away from it longer it will be interesting to see if things improve. So I was able to give the school psychologist a little more information about that aspect of things as well.

What I did not tell them is that I'm looking into doing a Neuropsychological evaluation of Kaitlyn on my own. See what that comes up with. Then I can present that to the school as hopefully a piece of the puzzle. Things do seem to be moving forward finally with the school in getting some sort of special ed services. It's not that I want her labeled as special ed, but what I do want is if she needs this to have special things in place for her to help her especially with testing coming up next year. She's a whole grade level behind in reading now. So assuming that stays the same and does not get worse when she takes CMT's (Connecticut Mastery Tests) next year she is going to be expected to read things at her grade level when she's reading a grade level behind. That does not seem fair. And I know it's going to totally freak her out and I don't need her stressing out about these stupid standardized tests. So if with testing she can be given extra time or prompts or something with the reading then I think she would do much better with that.

We meet again April 9th at 2:30 to discuss what has been found. It sure would be nice if I could get a nueropysch evaluation done by then. Not sure if that will happen. But I'm thinking the pieces of the puzzle might finally be falling into place and they aren't so tied in what they can do for her.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Decade of Wedded Bliss

Just a couple of kids it seems 10 years ago. But that was me and Joe on our wedding day. March 4, 2000 we were wed. It was a small wedding in our home with a justice of the peace. It was a perfect day though. I could not wipe the smile off my face. There were many nay sayers of our relationship along the way, but we knew we were in love. And ten years later we are still going strong. It hasn't always been easy, but I knew it wouldn't be. We've had two more children since we got married. We've moved numerous times together. We've seen each other at our best and at our worst. Joe knows me better than anyone else does and I know him. We are in it for the long hall. We may not always see eye to eye, but we always love each other. Even when we're arguing over which concert tickets to get or who left the peanut butter jar open. I picture my future and in it I see me and Joe together hand in hand.

Here's our picture 10 years after marriage...

Still very much in love. And I can see our picture in another 10 years from now too...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Stop and Shop Strike

Here is the latest on the Stop and Shop strike:

Submitted by Barbara Fedumenti on Wed, 03/03/2010 - 3:14pm.

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

At 2:00 p.m. today the company gave all five UFCW New England local unions a counter proposal which is not acceptable. As a result your union, Local 371, hand delivered a letter to the division president of the company hereby notifying him that the collective bargaining agreement with Local 371 will terminate as of March 4, 2010 at 3:00 p.m.

The purpose of this letter was to let the company know that we are serious about getting a fair agreement for you.

As things develop this afternoon I will give you periodic updates.

In solidarity,

Brian A. Petronella
International Vice President
President, UFCW Local 371"

This is where my husband works. This is the company he has faithfully served for nearly 11 years. This is the company that does not want to give him a raise. This is a company which has done extremely well for itself and is opening new stores and buying up other failing stores. And this is the company that he could be walking out on tomorrow. We will have no income if this happens. I hope anyone who has access to a Stop and Shop will not shop there if a strike should happen. You will be dealing with untrained workers who are only temporary until the strike is over and they know it. Some might think these jobs are for the uneducated, but this is not true. My husband has been receiving lots of training to run the machinery required to work his department. He knows what he is doing. This is a job that has provided for our family for the past 11 years. We would like it to continue to provide for our family, but no wage increases is just unreasonable. I truly hope everyone will unite and not cross the picket line should there be a strike. This is my family we are talking about. And there are many other families out there just like mine who could lose their only source of income if this strike should happen. And if it should last it would be very detrimental to us. So please no shopping at Stop and Shop if this strike should happen.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Something I've been wondering

Okay, so it's been a week since I brought CJ to the doctor to have his iron levels rechecked. Back in November his hemoglobin was 10.9 which was a little low. Not alarmingly low, but still a little low. His lead levels were over 5 then too. I had done some research on lead and found out that high levels of lead can cause anemia, slow growth, and other delays which we have experienced with CJ. So I was getting worried and we ended up deciding to move. Now mind you according to the CT lead program they don't start getting concerned until it's at a 10. They wouldn't step in with our landlord based on our children's lead levels. I mean ideally there would be no lead, but this wasn't bad in their minds.

Here are my thoughts about the mark of 10 in lead in a child's blood. At one point in time they thought 30 was an acceptable number. Come to find out that's very dangerous. So perhaps lead in a child's system can start effecting people at much lower numbers than they are saying. And perhaps this can be proven by CJ's blood results.

Last week when we went to have his iron rechecked he did remarkably well. It was up higher than I think it has ever been. He was at 13.8. Then I had them test his lead. That is down to less than 3. Just a month and a half of living in a new environment and my son's lead levels are much lower, but his iron levels are much higher. Now let me be clear about something with his iron. We were not on an iron supplement for him. When he tested at 10.9 in November he was still drinking pediasure. The doctor took him off of that. A huge source of iron he was no longer getting. To top things off last week when he was tested he had been sick for almost a week and hadn't been eating well at all. I honestly didn't really change his diet. A little more whole wheat bread and some raisins, but there's no way that iron could possibly have been more than what was in his Pediasure. So how in 3 months did his iron go up so much given all of these things if there is no corralation between iron levels and lead levels?

So this leads me to think that even at levels that are considered low for lead in a child's system that they were in fact dangerously high for my son. I begin to wonder about other things too. Like Kaitlyn's difficulty in reading. Like my lost pregnancy last year. Could we have been all breathing in way too much lead in our old apartment for way too many years? Would things be different for us if we had never lived in that house?

But we can't live in what ifs and would a could a should a's. We are out of that environment. CJ is thriving. Not only is his hemoglobin up almost 3 points, but he also gained nearly 2 pounds. Can you imagine what all of these numbers would have been if he hadn't been under the weather and not really eating for so long? Now I just keep waiting and hoping that the reading will finally click with Kaitlyn. Wouldn't that be something with her? It sure will be interesting to find out in the future if they lower the lead in a child's blood from 10 to say 5 for action taken by the lead program. I'm glad we were in a position to move out of that environment, but I'm sure there are many other people who wouldn't be able to move. Sure would be nice for those people to have the backing of the government to help resolve the problem and make a landlord do the work that needs to be done, or to help a family financially fix the problem.