Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer 2011

By the Zoo overlooking Lake Michigan

At the Zoo


By the river looking at Main St. bridge


In front of the giant flower pot downtown



The kids and I have been busy this summer, it's the first since Peter passed away. For some reason, I am motivated to do activities with them. It also helps that they are older now, and listen much better! We walked around our downtown one day, looking at the yearly art projects. This year planters were painted by local artists and sponsored by local businesses. Our favorite one was sponsored by the bakery we love to go to, it was titled "Flour Power". We hit the ice cream parlor and then the library after walking in the hot sun. The ice cream and air conditioning hit the spot! On another day, we hit the beach with friends, we all got fried, even with sunscreen on! On the Fourth of July week-end we sat through our cities three hour parade, I was the only one who got burnt. Sherry hosted a cook-out, and then we hit the fireworks. I love the way the fireworks reflect off of Lake Michigan. We were exhausted after the long week-end. Yesterday we went to our zoo, it only costs a dollar for residents on Mondays. It sits right on the lake, it's a small zoo, but worth visiting at least once a year. We still have a few things left to do, especially our trip to Six Flags. All the kids received a ticket for reading six hours, so we only have to pay for drinks, and food. When you look into things, there are a lot of things to do in our area for cheap, or better yet, FREE!!


I hope everyone is enjoying their summer....


Until next time-

Take Care,

Sue

Friday, June 24, 2011

Greek Fest 2011

Last week-end I spent most of my time working at Greek Fest. The weather was awesome so that helped bring out the crowds. I was working on the food line, my job was to dish out the rice that went with the meals, lamb and chicken. We also had pastistio, moussaka, spanakopita, triopita, dolmathes, Greek salad, and feta cheese with Greek olives. That was just inside the building. Outside were gyros, souvlaki, saganaki, loukamathes, and a few other things. They also have a carnival going on, so there was also carnival food. On Sunday, Father's Day, the kids and I went to the cemetery and planted flowers. We then went to my sister-in-law's restaurant for lunch, of course it was delicious! All of her family was there, we haven't seen two of her kids in such a long time. It was a very nice visit. On the way home from there, we stopped by the fest, the kids hadn't been there yet. They had such a good time riding the rides, especially Helen. She loved the Tilt-O-Whirl, she rode it twice. Although I think if I would have let her, she would have went on it all day! Robbie played some of the games, he doesn't like going on the rides. On our way out we bought Noah a hat, he was the only one without a Greek baseball cap. He wears it ALL the time, even to bed! We stopped by the honey puff(loukamathes) booth and picked up two large orders. Our last stop was by the dance floor to watch some Greek dancing, I could watch it all day. The girls pulled up a chair, the boys on the other hand were bugging me to go. I thought it was appropriate we spent part of the day at the fest, it was where Peter spent his last Father's Day. We had a good day.

The kids started Vacation Bible School on Monday, they love going there every summer. Ted is one of the counselors this year, his first year doing it. He is helping with the Kindergartners, he enjoys it very much. He can't believe these little kids want to spend so much time with him, they follow him everywhere. The other day he went to put all the name tags at the table and drop off his cap and folder. He turned around and saw his whole group of kids. I heard him say to them, "You know you can go with your parents now, right?" It was so cute to see him interact with them. That evening they were all in the backyard playing freeze tag, Ted hasn't joined them in such a long time, it was very nice to see and hear. Helen started summer school, she loves going to school. She is constantly correcting me when I just say school, she says, "No Mom, summer school." She's too funny!

Helen has been wearing the new jeans all day, there are a few tweaks we need to do, but nothing that can't be fixed. Helen LOVES them...we will keep you posted on our progress!!!

Until next time-
Take Care,
Sue

Friday, June 10, 2011

Summer Break Is Here!

I just got back from getting my car checked out. I have had issues with the transmission and was worried it was coming back. It's still under warranty so I thought now is the time to get it looked at. Luckily it's not the transmission, it's something to do with the front differential and the four wheel drive going to the back of the car. My car is old, it's a 1999, but we bought in December 1998. I know sooner than later I need a new one, I just can't afford it at this time. I'm hoping it will hang in there and be good to me!

Summer vacation has started, the kid's last day was yesterday and Helen's is today. I now have a seventh, two fifth, a fourth, second, and first grader under my roof, they grow so quickly! Noah graduated from Kindergarten on Wednesday. I took him out for lunch at the place of his choice, he chose IHOP for pancakes. I was hoping for Chili's or Red Robin, but that didn't happen. When we were done we stopped at a greenhouse to buy some veggies for our garden and pick up flowers. He was such a big help, he carried the flats of flowers for me, and I didn't even have to ask. He has gotten so big, and so mature from the beginning of the school year. It made me a bit sad. All of them are becoming more independent, it's hard for me to adjust. I need to let them do things, it's a hard habit to break.

Helen has had some issues at school, I'm glad the end of the year is here. It's not the teachers, it's the other kids in her inclusion class. She is at that age where they know there is something different about her, but don't quite get that she is still just like them. There are the few who will never get it. Some of that comes from the parents, they don't get it themselves and so they can't convey to their kids how wrong it is to tease. Now that I think about it, that's everywhere, it's not just with special needs kids. Bullies can be put into that same category. Ted has one in his class, the parents are no where to be found. In fact, the kids that cause the most problems at the school, are the ones whose parents I never see. In a perfect world....

Until next time-
Take Care,
Sue

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Out of Respect

Last week we had a death in our family, our sister-in-law's dad passed away. It didn't feel right for me to write, he read our blog religiously. One day he was riding his bike and working around the house, and the next, laying in a hospital unconscious. He died less than two weeks later. He was always so good to us when we would visit Savannah, GA, his town. It is such a beautiful place to visit. My sister-in-law is doing okay, it's never easy losing someone we love.

On a different note, Noah turned six last week and he graduates from Kindergarten next week. The rest of the kids are done with school at the end of next week...YIKES! Now that they're older, I'm hoping they will help more around the house. I want to start getting some work done this summer so I can have a little extra income coming in, times are tough! They keep asking when I'm going to put the pool up, all I see are $$$$$! We don't have a huge pool, but every extra expense adds up. Besides, our weather has been so wacky, just like everywhere else in the U.S., it's crazy. It's been much cooler than usual here, it's only just recently started warming up. I want to make sure we have more warmer weather than cooler before I put it up. I have made some plans for us this summer. We are going to meet up with friends at the beach, we have a very nice one in our town. I have a friend who's in-laws have a lake house, we're going there, and a friend who's parents have a cabin in Northern WI that we've been invited to. Robbie's best friends parents have a cabin near the Wisconsin Dells, so we may go there for a little getaway. I'm keeping my fingers crossed it will all work out.

We are still waiting to hear from our pattern makers. As soon as the samples are sewn, we will start to send them out for you to try on and give us feedback.

Until next time-
Take Care,
Sue

Friday, May 20, 2011

IEP

Last week I had Helen's IEP meeting with her new team, it went well. The only change that was made was to the amount of time she spends in the mainstream classroom for reading. Since this subject is her strongest, we feel the additional time spent with her peers will be a benefit to her without affecting her schoolwork. I was told throughout the whole meeting how much they love Helen and love having her in the classroom. They all wish she would have been in their class earlier so they could have spent more years with her. She only has one more year at that school and then will move to a middle school. I'm going to start looking into that now so that I know what my choices are. Like everywhere else, there are some schools that are better than others. I am relieved it went so well, I have heard horror stories of other IEP's. So we are set for another year, unless any issues arise.

Ted went HOBO camping last week-end with his Boy Scout troop, they slept in boxes. Our weather here was cold and rainy, ALL week-end. Ted had so much fun, he didn't care about the weather. The only things he took were his sleeping bag, boxes, spoon, cup, and a stick. They used their sticks to roast hot dogs and make pancakes. They would put pancake batter on the stick, let it dry a bit and then dip the stick back into the batter until it formed a ball. Then they roasted it over the fire to make the pancake...how clever is that!?!! This week-end they are cleaning their part of the highway they adopted, having a cook-out and then swimming at a club pool. Robbie's Cub Scout den is going to join them for the highway clean-up and cook-out, they don't get to swim. Since Robbie is still in Cub Scouts, guess who gets to go with to help...ME! He still needs to have a parent with him at his outings. I just heard the weather for tomorrow and they are saying we should be clear of rain from 9am-2pm...perfect!!

Until next time-
Take Care,
Sue

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Field Trips

The school year is almost over and the kids have field trips scheduled left and right. Ted and his class took an overnight field trip to a Bible camp here in Wisconsin. I was able to go during the day and help out. They had a lot of activities to keep them busy. They did horseback riding, fishing, canoeing, archery, poetry, animal tracking, fire building, orienteering, nature hike, paper making, and owl pellets. I have never seen owl pellets before, I didn't even know what they were. Do you? It's what an owl regurgitates...I know, YUCK! They are like big hair balls. The kids pull them apart and inside are the skeletal remains of the prey they have eaten. The kids are supposed to try and identify what's in there. The only way you can figure that out is if there is a skull in the pellet. Ted had three skulls in his! At night they made a big fire and roasted marshmallows and made smores. They told a few ghost stories and played elbow tag with their teacher, he stayed the entire time with them. All the time I spent this past year helping raise money for this trip was worth it, Ted had a blast.

While I was helping out at Ted's trip, I missed a field trip of Robbie and Noah's. I wish I could have gone, but there weren't very many parents that offered to help, so they needed me to be there. Robbie has another one coming up next week, but they leave as soon as they get to school. Helen's bus comes after I drop the other kids off, so I won't be able to go to that one either. I will be able to go with Grace on her final field trip, I'm looking forward to that one. Ted, Robbie, and Katie have done this field trip, but I have never been able to go. In fact, when Ted went, Peter and I were at the Mayo clinic getting his initial testing done. This is the time of year when the battle began for Peter. This is a difficult time of year for me, I'm glad to be so busy!

Last Saturday we had a fitting with the new pattern for the jeans. It went very well, the jeans fit Helen so much nicer than the previous pattern. We are going to have a pair made in every size and then send them out to have other kids try them on. We want to be absolutely sure these pants are going to fit nicely on everyone before we manufacture them. I'm so excited about the next step!! Keep checking with us so you can get the latest news!!

Until next time-
Take Care,
Sue

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Still Sick

We missed marching in the Greek Independence parade on Sunday, the kids were sick. Ted had a fever, Katie was coughing, and Grace was still blowing her nose. I wasn't feeling that great myself, so we stayed home. On Monday, Ted stayed home from school recovering from the fever. I received a phone call from the kid's school, Noah went to the office first thing in the morning and had been laying on their couch. They called to see if I wanted to pick him up or send him back to class. After talking with him, I decided to go and pick him up. Once he got home, he was fine, he played on the computer. He could have stayed at school! About a few hours later, another phone call from the school, Katie wasn't feeling well. After talking to her, I decided to bring her home. I worked on getting the laundry done during the day, about an hour before school was over I received another call from the school, Robbie wasn't feeling well. I talked to him and we agreed he could lay on the couch until school was over. Once everyone was home, I had two with sore throats, one with a headache and stomachache, and one still blowing her nose. Ted and Helen were the only ones feeling fine.

On Tuesday, Katie was feeling better so she went to school along with Ted, Helen, and Grace. Robbie and Noah stayed home with sore throats and no fever. Because Robbie had strep a few weeks ago, I called the doctor and they ordered a strep test through the lab. They told me if Robbie was positive for strep, they would prescribe medication for any other child in the household with the same symptoms. I didn't have Noah tested because of that. The rapid test came back negative. I sent Robbie and Noah to school on Wednesday because they were bouncing off the walls. The only symptom was the sore throat, other than that, they felt fine. The twenty-four test came back inconclusive, meaning, something was happening with the sample and they wanted to wait another twenty-four hours.

Now it's Thursday and I just heard from the doctor's office. Robbie has strep, but it's a different strain, so the other kids have to get tested, they will not call in prescriptions for them. So now I have to take Noah, and also Katie, who has since come down with a sore throat, to the lab. Katie is the only one who stayed home from school today. She is complaining of a sore throat, headache and stomachache. I will run them over to the lab after school to get tested. I'm hoping the rapid test, about ten minutes, will come back positive. Otherwise, they have to wait a couple of days to start medicine. I wish now that I would have had Noah tested the other day. Nothing is ever easy!!

On Saturday we have a fitting for the jeans. If they fit Helen and look good, we will have a pair made from the jean material in every size. We will then take those jeans and go around to different groups and have fittings. We want to see if the jeans fit all different body types, not just Helen's. Keep checking back, I will keep you posted on how things are moving along.

Until next time-
Take Care,
Sue

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sick, Sick, and More Sick

The kids are on Spring break...finally! Everyone was healthy for the holiday, the sickness kicked in the next day. Helen didn't want to eat lunch, which is not like her. She was in the living room with the other kids, playing video games. When she started crying, the girls came and told me something was wrong. When I got to the living room, Helen was sitting on the couch with her head buried in the cushion. She wouldn't talk to me and wouldn't lift her head up so I could take a look at her face. I rubbed her back until she stopped crying and then asked her if she wanted to come by me. She told me no, she wanted to stay and play video games. I went back to cleaning and doing laundry. About a half an hour later I heard Helen crying again, I found her on her bed. I grabbed her and brought her into my room where we laid down on my bed. She finally settled down and fell asleep for three hours. When she woke up, she had a fever. I gave her Tylenol and kept an eye on her. I noticed she wasn't drinking either, so I thought maybe she had caught Robbie's strep throat. I called the doctor's office, they called in an order to the lab for Helen to get a strep test done. The lab closed in twenty minutes and Helen needed socks on and I needed to change. We got there with five minutes to spare. There were two people at the check in desk, one was on her way out. She told me the other person would be with us in a minute. Then the phone rang, and the clerk decided to answer it and then proceeded to take care of the patient on the phone while Helen and I waited....five minutes. When I finally got to check in and told the clerk Helen was there for the lab, she started to tell me we wouldn't be able to get the test done. I didn't even let her finish, I said to her, "Oh no, we were here in time, she needs this test done!" She told me the lab technician had already logged out, I again repeated that we were there in time. She left and went and spoke with the lab, came back and started checking us in. When we got back to the lab, I could see the technician wasn't happy at all. She was young, and I could tell she wanted to leave. Helen sat in the chair and the tech tried to get her to open her mouth so she could swab her throat, but Helen would have no part of it. I tried talking her into cooperating, and when I touched her mouth, she threw up...everywhere! I was trying to clean it up when she got sick again, this time it was more than the first. The tech was gagging like crazy, I could tell she was mad. Come to find out, she had plans to go to the Brewer's game that evening. I told her what a way to start her evening, I was being sarcastic. Helen finally let her get the sample, I cleaned up as best I could, I apologized, and then we left. She had to stay until the rapid test was finished and then she had to run a 24 hour, and a 48 hour test on it. I'm guessing she didn't get out of there until about 5:45pm....karma is something!

Helen's tests were all negative, so she didn't have strep. I think it must have been a touch of the flu. She was okay the following day, but then was up during the night getting sick. Last night she had a restful sleep and is doing much better today. Grace is fighting a cold, she is blowing non-stop. Her poor little nose is all red. I'm feeling a bit of what everyone has had. My stomach hurts a little bit, my throat is dry and scratchy, and my nose is stuffy...lucky me! All my plans of getting things done while the kids were home went out the window. I haven't gotten anything done this week. I'm guessing the rest of the week is going to be spent getting myself better. On Sunday, the kids are supposed to walk in the Greek parade in Chicago. I'm hoping we are all better by then.

Until next time-
Take Care,
Sue

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Where's Spring?

Helen's teacher talked me into going to another concert at her school. It was with a retired music teacher that came in to help with a special project. When you walk into Helen's school, there is a long wall that has been empty. The school decided to have a mural painted on that wall. The art teacher's retired dad (who is an artist) volunteered his time and got the job done. The program was an unveiling of the artwork and also the premier of the new school song. It was like night and day, this program was so well organized. They must have gotten seats from another school, because there were plenty to go around. Helen was standing next to her classmates, they were all joking around before the concert started. She had a great time singing, and especially liked singing the new school song. After Helen's group was done singing, there was a brief intermission and then the unveiling of the wall. Helen got popcorn and the girls got Popsicles. Ted was home watching Robbie who was sick with strep throat, and Noah wanted to stay with them. I was with my girls, we had a nice time. The mural turned out very nice, the artist did a nice job. After the unveiling the next group was going sing, Helen yelled, "Let's go!" I guess she had enough! I felt bad for leaving since that was one of the things I complained about at Helen's other concert. I guess the difference was, we were standing in the hallway by the front doors, we were not in the gym with everyone else. I did send an email to the Principal and the Assistant Principal praising the evening. They both saw how much fun Helen had. I'm glad her teacher talked me into going, there was a feeling of community that night.

Holy week is upon us, and I have one home with a cold and another with pink eye. I'm hoping we are all healthy for the holiday. Last night while Helen was in the shower, she told me her eye hurt. I thought maybe she had gotten soap in her eye, it did look red. While drying her off, I noticed her eye had discharge, and she kept closing them tight. While putting her jammies on she kept grabbing at her eyes. I called the prompt care to see what time they closed, it was 7:40pm, they closed at 8:00pm. I decided to take the chance of getting there on time. I thought if she had all night to rub at her eyes, they would be worse in the morning. We got there with two minutes to spare, I don't think the staff was to pleased with us walking in at that time. The doctor prescribed eye drops for her, we were out of there in twenty minutes. We ran to the drug store to get her medicine and were home by 9:00pm. I put the eye drops in and she went to bed. When she woke up this morning, her eyes already looked better, so my decision to go out in the terrible weather was definitely worth it.

I'm not sure if you all know this, but all the people, except myself, that are working for It'll Fit'll, work a full-time job. They are working on the clothing line in their spare time, that's another reason why we are not moving as quickly as some of you may like. Thanks for being patient, the wait will be worth it. The pattern maker is in the process of making a new pattern and has brought on board a pattern maker who has experience in children's clothing. I think this will be a huge benefit to us. I will keep you posted.

To those of you who celebrate....Happy Easter....Christos Anesti!!!

Until next time-
Take Care,
Sue

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Music Concert

On March 17th the kids and I went to Helen's first music concert, Helen was extremely excited. When we got there we didn't know where to go since this was our first experience of an evening event at her school. We stood there in front of staff, none of whom I recognized, for a few very awkward minutes. One of them finally said, "Helen, are you here to sing?" The tone in her voice led me to believe she was surprised to see her, which then made me think, maybe she wasn't supposed to be here. Helen answered with a "Yes", she was then sent to a small auditorium to sit and wait for her turn. The rest of us just stood there not knowing where to go. I looked into the gym and saw the other families so we went in there, no thanks to the staff. We looked around for six seats so we could take our places, but there were none to be found. Only half the gym was filled with chairs, so I went back out into the hallway and asked if they were going to put more chairs out. I was told all the chairs were out. I was in disbelief so I asked, "These are the only chairs you have?" I was told, "They are all we have in the whole building." I then said, "You mean you don't have enough seats for all the families who came to see their child sing?" The response, "That is correct." The kids and I went and stood against the wall waiting for Helen to perform, just our luck, her group is last. I then saw a staff member come in with more chairs so I told Ted to go and grab some chairs for us. We started to file in the new row of chairs when a woman came and sat right in the middle. There were not six empty chairs on either side of her. The Assistant Principal must have seen the frustration on my face and he went and asked the woman to move down. She bit his head off, I couldn't believe it. After he said a few words to her, he walked away to get chairs from his office for us. As soon as he left the woman moved down one chair, still not enough for all of us to sit. Noah ended up on my lap, and it was very stuffy in the gym. The fifth graders are the first to perform. The music teacher explains what song they are going to sing. I don't think she even introduced herself to us, and she sounded like she would rather be anyplace else but here. While they are singing there is so much noise going on behind us we can barely hear the singers. Because the gym is only filled up halfway with chairs, the other half is being used by younger siblings to run around. The sad thing about that, the parents are doing nothing to quiet them down. In fact, the music teacher, the one with the microphone, says nothing. The first group is done singing and I am shocked to see what happened next....people left! I have never in my entire life seen that happen. I have been told by people I have shared this story with, that it does happen, and it's sad. By the time Helen's group performed, there were plenty of seats for everyone, there were even empty seats. No wonder the school doesn't need anymore chairs, they don't expect people to stay for the entire performance! Helen's fourth grade class is finally performing and I'm not happy. She is standing between two boys, and I'm not sure they are even in her class. Now I'm not trying to knock boys, but they really don't have the same compassion as girls do. Helen has always been put by the girls in her class, usually the ones who look out for her. They have heard her sing, so they are not surprised the night of the concert. I will be the first to admit that Helen can't carry a tune in a basket, and she's often off beat, but she LOVES to sing, so I LOVE to hear her sing. The girl in front of her turns to look at Helen and then turns back around giggling. She looks back every now and then at Helen and then turns with either a giggle, or a look of annoyance. One of the boys standing next to her keeps trying to scoot away from her, as if she had cooties. I am so angry by the time the concert is over that I go and complain to the Assistant Principal. He agreed with me and is also a little stunned at what he witnessed. He asked me to write a letter or send an email so it's in writing. I sent a letter to him and to the Principal last week and then a follow up email on Tuesday. I heard from them both the same day. The Assistant thanked me for the formal letter I had sent the previous week. He told me he makes it a point to stop and talk to Helen. He shot hoops with her at recess last week and was very surprised at how well she shoots. The Principal responded with a long email thanking me for the letter. He and the Assistant both agreed with me and are in the process of making changes. I thanked him for listening to me since some people would have thought it was just a parent of a special needs child complaining again. I told him most people aren't fortunate enough to have a special person in their lives and therefore don't know how important it is for us to speak up. I am Helen's voice, thanks for listening. Until next time- Take Care, Sue PS....sorry for no paragraphs, the program wouldn't put them in!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Variety Show 2011

We have been so busy around here, I haven't had a chance to sit and write. When I'm not at one of the school's helping out, or acting as chauffeur, I'm throwing a load of laundry in the washer, folding it, or straightening up around the house. While I get "caught up" around here, I thought I'd share the videos of Robbie(he's the cowboy), Katie(middle pink), and Grace(middle purple) in their school's variety show. I hope you enjoy!

video video

This Sunday, Helen has a fitting with the pattern maker. I'm hoping we brought the rise up far enough so we can move ahead with the jeans. I'm very excited!!

Until next time-

Take Care,

Sue

Friday, March 11, 2011

Always Something

I was without my computer for a couple of weeks thanks to a virus, why are people so evil!?!! I am keeping an eye on my bank account and checking my credit cards everyday....what a pain! I was using the kids computer while mine was out of commission. It was so s......l.....o......w! I'm having it looked at, just in case. It's a shame when you trust the security product you purchased and someone is able to break through it. My computer had to be reformatted, it was a mess. It is wonderful now, it's much quicker than before. I always wondered why everyone raved about their high speed Internet, now I know.

Helen has had a few issues at school. After spending time in her special education class, she leaves, on her own, and goes into her inclusion class. The special ed. class is in the front of the school and the inclusion class is in the back. It's a very long hallway she has to walk down. There is a boy in her class who leaves about five minutes before Helen in order to go to his inclusion class which is different from Helen's. The other day, I'm told, he hit Helen in the nose. One of the aides found her in the hallway crying. When she asked what was wrong, Helen told her the boy hit her in the nose. They got her calmed down and then asked her again what had happened. While telling the story she giggled a little, this put some doubt in their minds that it really happened. When going through Helen's backpack that day, I came across the note explaining what had happened. First of all, Helen very rarely cries, and if she does, something happened to her. Second of all, this is not the first time this boy has hit her. Did they really think Helen would come up with a story like that, it's really not in her to do that. She kept touching her nose and saying the boy's name to me, that was proof enough for me. I suggested they let Helen leave first from the classroom, that way, the boy can't wait for her in the hallway. I'm hoping this solves the problem, if not, I'll definitely have to go in and talk with the principal. Don't get me wrong, her teachers are wonderful, but when you hear about your child getting hit in the nose at school, it doesn't sit well, especially since it's Helen.

The other issue she had happened at the grocery store yesterday. During the winter months her class makes soup. The day before they cook, they shop. I was told she had a meltdown, she sat in the aisle and wouldn't get up. I don't know what lead up to that point, so I have no idea what triggered the behavior. Her favorite aide, Mr. Spencer, was able to talk with her and get her up and moving again. We are very lucky to have him as a part of the team. He is actually the one on one aide for another student. Thank goodness he is in the same classes as Helen. It always seems to be something...so definitely....one day at a time!

Until next time-
Take Care,
Sue

Monday, February 21, 2011

Lunch With Helen

Excited to see me

Eating lunch


After recess




Last Wednesday Helen's school had "bring a friend to lunch" day, so I went. I reminded her in the morning, while waiting for the bus, that I would be there. I went to the kid's school to help with hot lunch, like I do every Wednesday, then headed to Helen's school right after. When I got there, I had to wait with the other parents in the hallway, lunches were running behind. While I was standing there, I saw Helen coming down the hallway, she was skipping. I didn't say anything and waited for her to see me. She's looking down while she's skipping, she stops, looks up, and sees me. "MOMMY!" she yells, and starts running. She gave me a big hug, almost knocking me over since she came at me full speed! She told me, "Come on", so I followed to her inclusion class where her coat is hanging on the wall. Her classmates are all getting their boots and coats on since they'll be going outside right after they're done eating. She walks up to them and says, "Guys, guys, look, it's Lolly!" They all just stare at me, they have no idea what she just said, they don't know her name for me is Lolly. I explained that to her, so she said, "Look, it's Mommy." They all said hi to me and then a few of the girls told me she was so excited about me coming, it was all she talked about that morning. I followed behind her class on the way to the lunchroom and watched my big girl get her hot lunch. We found a spot to sit at the table and were joined by one of her classmates and his aide from her special ed. class. He told me all she talked about was me coming for lunch, she was very excited. After lunch the kids lined up for recess, I was the only parent to go outside, what's up with that!?!! It was a nice day, a little gloomy, but not freezing cold! I watched her play with some of her friends, and was told by one of her classmates how she likes to push on the slide. I was a bit concerned when I saw how much supervision they have on the playground....not much. I talked to the aide and then to one of the teachers about it and found out they were lucky to have that amount. I voiced my concern for Helen's safety, especially since she's getting older. My plan is to go back when the weather gets warmer and watch what goes on. If I don't feel comfortable, I will talk with the Principal. When recess was over, it was time to line up and go inside. Helen didn't want to come off the equipment, which has always been an issue. I couldn't get to her, there was a big pile of snow and I only had on tennis shoes. Spencer, the aide, finally got her off the slide. She followed her classmates inside, took her coat and boots off, then said, "Come on Lolly, let's go." She wanted me to stay and join her for the rest of the day. I told her I had to get home to let Toby out. She was fine with that, said bye and disappeared into her classroom. Walking down the hallway I thought to myself, "That was the best hour and a half I've had in a long time!"
Until next time-
Take Care,
Sue


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Go Pack Go

Last week we had the blizzard and this week we have frigid temperatures....BRRRRR!! Helen turned eleven on Sunday, she was very happy when the Packers won the Super Bowl on her birthday! One of her teachers must be a die hard Packer fan, he taught her to say, "GO PACKERS!!" Robbie kept trying to get her to say, "Go Pack Go", but she stuck to her guns. Robbie and I watched the game, I enjoyed the commercials, he enjoyed the game. It was so cute watching him get so excited, he was such a guy.

Katie finished her basketball season with only one loss! The team they lost to, they beat last week. In Katie's eyes, they didn't loose any games, they cancelled each other out. If only it worked that way!

I am looking forward to this week-end, it's the first in a very long time that we have nothing planned, well, except for church. It's going to be nice to sleep in and just hang out. Of course I'll be doing laundry and some housework, that's a given. The kids will be able to stay in their jammies, they love doing that. Last Sunday was Scout Sunday at church. Ted was an altar server and Robbie took up gifts, they enjoy participating. This was the first year I took all the kids, they usually stay home with Sherry. We sat in the main part of church with the other scout families. I wasn't sure if we would make it through the whole mass, Helen sometimes gets the giggles. She did giggle a few times, but it didn't get out of control. We tried one other time to sit in the main part instead of the cry room, it wasn't successful. Helen was making gas sounds, some were for real, some she made with her mouth. She was laughing so much that I had to take her into the cry room while the other kids stayed put. Robbie's big buddy from school went and sat with them to keep an eye on them. Robbie met his big buddy when he was in kindergarten. The school pairs up seventh graders with kindergartners so they have a buddy to hang out with at some of the school functions. Robbie was very lucky, his big buddy was awesome, and still is! Robbie started kindergarten right after Peter passed away, so his buddy sort of filled in for Peter. They have a special friendship. Noah has a girl as his big buddy this year, he seems to enjoy it. I wanted him to have a boy, since it was such a great experience for Robbie. I spoke with the teacher and found out they needed the boys in seventh grade to double team with some of the more misbehaved kindergartners. It's all good!!!

Until next time-
Take Care,
Sue

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blizzard of 2011

Looking North
Looking South

View from our backdoor, had to shovel a path for Toby

The past couple of days have been crazy around here...The Blizzard of 2011! We started hearing the possibility of snow over the week-end. We then started hearing how much snow we were going to get. Growing up in Illinois, I was used to the idea of being hit hard with snow, so I just rolled with the information. After Helen left for school Monday morning I ran to the grocery store to pick up bread, milk, and eggs. That afternoon I received a text from my neighbor asking if my cabinets were stocked with food, and if I had enough milk to last a couple of days. That was the first I had heard of a blizzard heading our way. I made sure we had what we needed and then got the house cleaned up knowing most of my time would be spent outside getting the snow taken care of. Monday afternoon and Tuesday we went about the day as usual. It is Catholic Schools week at the kid's school so there were events planned for everyday. Tuesday morning was a carnival that I helped at, and then in the afternoon the whole school went roller skating. It was there that I received the call from Helen's teacher, they would be getting out of school an hour early due to the weather changing. Once school was let out, I called the place where Ted has swimming lessons to see if they were still having them, yes, he still had class. He was the only one out of eight kids that showed up. He had a private lesson, with two teachers that night. The club is right on Lake Michigan, so when we left, we were almost blown away! The blizzard was at the beginning stages, windy, snowy, and cold. We snuggled in for the night, watched movies, and watched the storm. We could not see the houses across the street from us, it was very creepy. We woke up to white...everywhere! I got a text from my neighbor telling me to meet them outside, it was time to shovel everyone out. Thank God for great neighbors, we worked together as a team and got everyone shoveled out. I can't believe all the snow, it was a bit overwhelming at first. It took us about five hours to get all the work done. It would have been much quicker if my riding snow blower would have worked. We put chains on the tires, but come to find out, I need to put snow tires on the beast! It kept getting stuck, the tires would just spin, regardless of how much weight was on the machine. One of these days I'll get it working.

The kids had another day off from school because it took so long for the plows to clean up the streets. The school district also needed an extra day to get the parking lots and front walks at the schools cleared. The kids missed trivia day today at school, they were looking forward to that. Tomorrow is the eighth grade vs. faculty basketball game, they will be at school for that one. Then it's already the week-end. I'm having Helen's birthday party Saturday, her actual birthday is Sunday. She will be eleven...where does the time go? Since it's the Super Bowl, I decided to have the party the day before. She is already excited and keeps asking me who is going to come to her party. I told her we would have to wait and see since the weather has been so bad. I don't know who will make the drive, and who won't.

Until next time-

Take Care,

Sue






Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Basketball

Robbie's basketball team has yet to win a game in the regular season, they did win one in a tournament over the holidays. Saturday is the last game, we're hoping for a win. This will be the last game with the team that has played together for the past three years. He has been playing through our city program, but next year he gets to play for his school. Luckily, seven of his classmates have been on the team with him. Another player attends our church and religious education program, so he'll be able to be a part of the team. On Saturday, Robbie will be saying good-bye to the other two players. According to Robbie, one of the boys is a really good player, the other one, not so much. He doesn't like to pass the ball, and when he runs to the basket, rarely makes it.

Katie, on the other hand, has won all the games except one. She has two more games left because they had such a good season. I agreed to let her miss the next two weeks of Greek school so she can make it to practice. Her Greek school is from 5:00pm - 7:00pm, and her practice is 5:15pm - 6:15pm, they are on opposite sides of town. It would have been a lot of running around on my part, which means using a lot of gas. I would have to drop the kids off at Greek school, then race to drop Katie off at practice, go home for about thirty minutes and then drop Helen off at religious ed., then go pick Katie up and drop her off at Greek school, go back to pick up Helen and then back to Greek school to pick them all up. There is no other way to do it, that's going by their schedules and what time they get out of the activities. YIKES! She has done a good job understanding the plays so far, but did have a few games where she felt overwhelmed. I don't want her to end the season feeling that way, so might as well let her miss a couple weeks of Greek school. We're hoping to end the season with only one loss, I think the girls can do it.

I'm off to work my usual Wednesday hot lunch at the school. One day I'll no longer be able to do this, so I'm enjoying it while I can.

Until next time-
Take Care,
Sue

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fighting A Cold

Last week I was trying to fight off a cold, it won! By the end of the week, I was miserable. I can't get sick, there is too much to be done and no one to pick up the slack. Helen has been sniffing a lot the past couple of days, I hope she doesn't get it. Since her nasal passages are thin, it doesn't take much for her to catch colds. I tried my best to stay a good distance from her, but she's a hugger, and there was no getting away from that. I tried turning my head away from her, but she loves to get right in my face and talk to me. I guess she figures that's the only way she will get my undivided attention! Ted's home sick with a sore throat today, hopefully it won't get worse, he's prone to strep. I'm hoping to get caught up with things around here, it doesn't take much to fall behind.

Robbie placed fourth in the Pinewood Derby race with the Cub Scouts. He will be going to the district race, his first time. His car is a slice of pepperoni pizza, it looks so cool. Ted went to the district twice, and Robbie's best friend has gone the past couple of years, so it was a great night when he realized he was going. The district race is crazy...lots of people, mostly excited boys, their energy could power the city! It gets so loud, I would guess there to be around seventy-five Scouts racing. There are four heats to sit through, it makes for a very long day!

Until next time-
Take Care,
Sue

Monday, January 10, 2011

Resolutions

It's only the second week of the new year, and I've already broken all my resolutions! One of my resolutions was to get back to writing once a week...obviously, that didn't work! We haven't had much happening lately, which is actually a good thing, boring, but good. We had wonderful holidays, I gained too much weight, but who doesn't? Of course, one of my other resolutions was to start walking again...that didn't happen either! I feel like I need to hibernate, I've got enough fat stored for the winter now I just need to sleep and wake up thinner! I haven't walked because it's been so cold. I put the blame on Toby...how can I take him out for a walk in this cold weather, he has such short hair, he'll freeze...see how easy it is!?!!

I took a jewelry making class last week, knotted pearl necklace to be exact. I LOVED it, I think I have found my calling. I'm going to take more classes so I can learn other techniques. Who knows, maybe someday you'll see them on here, that would be AWESOME! Any suggestions you might have on styles/color schemes, feel free to share, I'll do my best. Who knows, maybe one day it will be a mom and daughters product line, wouldn't that be great!

Helen has been so good at church lately, she is signing the prayers, and has even started signing with the readings. I thought I would give it a try and sit in the main part of church, we usually sit in the cry room. On Saturday, Helen and I went to Mass by ourselves, I wanted one on one with her. We walk into church and Helen heads to the front of church. I thought nothing of it, since that's where we sat on Christmas Eve. Instead of stopping at a pew, she opens the door that heads to the cry room. I'm about 10 feet behind her and I'm trying to shout, without shouting, so she won't go into the cry room. She either didn't hear me, or chose to ignore me, she went right into the cry room and made herself comfortable. I reminded her that we were going to sit in the main part of church, she insisted we stay put, so we did. She was paying attention because she started to sign, but then she got naughty. I'm thinking I should have brought everyone, she realized she had my undivided attention. I also should have known better, and maybe waited until Sunday morning to go to church. Helen was gassy all day, I mean really gassy! She was passing gas the whole time we were there. At times, it was quite loud, and we weren't the only ones there. At the end of Mass, I'm pretty sure I smelled air freshener!!

Until next time-
Take Care,
Sue