Saturday, April 23, 2005

Hello from CA!

It's been a tiring, rough week, to say the least. After getting the news last Saturday that my grandfather had passed away, I was scurrying around, trying to get plane tickets for the girls & I to fly out here. We had thought that the funeral might be on Friday or Saturday. Well, after I'd bought the tickets for Wednesday evening, I got a call from my mom that said the Memorial Service was Wednesday morning and the funeral was Thursday afternoon. So, that meant I had to push up my flight a day, which also meant I'd have one less day to get ready. So, the race was on. I seriously didn't think I'd leave on time, but we did. And the house wasn't even a total disaster area.
So, the girls and I got into Sac at about 11pm on Tuesday. My friend Deanna picked us up from the airport and took us to my mom's. Well, after sleeping on the 2nd flight from Minneapolis, MN, both the girls were wide awake when we got there. Needless to say, we didn't get to sleep until about 2am.
The memorial service was in Modesto the next morning at 11am. It was my opportunity to say goodbye to my grandpa face-to-face. They didn't have an open casket, but it was open before the service began. I left the girls with my mom so I could be alone. It was really hard and that's when it hit me. I was sad, but happy that he wasn't suffering anymore.
The service itself was nice. It was at his church and they played a few hymns, including his favorite "How Great Thou Art". The last song they played was "Daddy's Hands". I knew my mom had picked that one out. After the service and a small reception, most of the fmaily went over to my Grannie's house. That's my grandpa's mother. Yes, she's still alive. She's 92.
The next day we had a graveside service in Sacramento. Grandpa's buried next to my uncle Rick, who died when I was 1 1/2 and who is buried next to my grandma, who died when I was 3. I'd never been there before, so I'm glad I now know where everyone is. We all went over my to Uncle David & Aunt Kelly's house afterwards. Then my cousin Michael had a baseball game to go to, so a few of us went to cheer him on. He hit a homerun before my mom & the girls and I got there. It was too bad we missed it.
The girls & I went to stay with my in-laws yesterday. They went in the spa & loved it. Sarah was out like a light by 8pm. Emma went with Melissa & I to the mall. I bought a purse. I've been needing one for awhile. Melissa bought Emma a couple toys from the Disney Store. This kid (along with her mother) are in serious mall withdrawl. I hate having to drive 45 minutes to go to a decent store.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Family emergency

The girls & I will be making an emergency trip to CA for a little while. My grandfather passed away this past Saturday. We're leaving Wednesday evening. That's also Sarah's birthday, but Jeff and I have decided to celebrate when we get back. We're going to be in CA for about a week and a half. So, it's crunch time for me to try & get everything ready before we leave. There's a list a mile long of stuff that I need to get finished. Laundry, house, packing, food (so Jeff doesn't end up eating HotPockets for a week). And on top of it all, Emma's coughing up a storm & I think Sarah has the croup. Yay! Nothing can ever be simple for my family.
So, I've been on the phone this morning, trying to change appointments & figure out how I'm going to get Emma's Kindergarden Round-Up re-scheduled. While I know that my family would know I was thinking about them from out here, I felt I really should be there in person. My grandfather's health hasn't been good for a long time, but this was still a shock. He was always smiling when I saw him. He loved seeing the girls last summer. We were able to get a picture of 5 generations: my grannie, my grandpa, my mom, me & the girls. It's somewhere on my mom's computer. I'm going to get it printed out so I can put it up on our wall. I feel bad for my grannie. She's lost 2 of her 3 children, plus 2 husbands. And my poor Great-aunt Reba has lost her father, her husband & her 2 brothers. It sucks to get old & have everyone you love pass away. But, you have memories and those can be very comforting.
On a positive note, I'll be able to see my cousin Keith, whom I haven't seen since my wedding, I don't think. He was in the Air Force for 4-5 years and stationed in Missouri or Illinois (can't remember). Plus, my mom said that my grandmother's family is also going to be there. I've NEVER met them. I wish I could see these people under better circumstances, but I know we're coming together to celebrate a loved one, and that's ok.
I'm going to miss you grandpa.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Idiots with access to the internet

A few days ago, someone on the Trisomy21online website posted a link to this guy Bob Lonsberry's site. He had written an article defaming the special education system in public schools, basically saying it was detrimental to the "regular" students, taking away teacher's time, and that these students could be disruptive, causing the regular students harm. People about hit the roof. I know that the special ed. programs run the gambit from mild dyslexia to autism and beyond, but PLEASE! Revert back to the days of old when kids who were "mildly different" were sent to "special schools" (AKA institutions) because they would receive a better education. it was all nice & tidy. The regular kids didn't even know about the special needs kids, because they never saw them. He even brought up the term "separate but equal". Are we in the 1950's???? Was he actually comparing special needs kids to how African-Americans were treated? I could NOT believe the gall of this guy. Why don't we just terminate all the special needs kids when they're born and save the system tons of money?? Or better yet, pump ALL the money into prenatal testing so we can eradicate those "retarded" kids before they're even born? Because, heaven forbid they be in the same class as your "perfect" child. While I know that inclusion is not for every child, and some children will learn better in a separate setting, the idea of lumping all special needs kids together in one group is ridiculous. And he has a LINK to the Mormon Church website on his site. He used to be Mormon, but was excommunicated. So, it's ok for him to tell others what is right, but not do it himself.
I'm all for the First Amendment, but it doesn't seem right that this guy gets paid to write imflamatory articles about things he has no knowledge of. It's not like he has a child in the special education program. I read all these posts from moms on the T21 site about how they are struggling with getting a fair & decent education for their child with DS. One in particular stands out. Tori, whose mother has been fighting with her school all year to get her involved with the mainstream class more often, finally got through to the school. Tori has been thriving ever since. It just seemed the school didn't believe in Tori's abilities. People have this mental image of a special needs child, that they can only learn so much. They don't want to give them the benefit of the doubt. A child with DS's capability to learn doesn't end, just like a regular person. It only ends when someone gives up on them.
I'm at a loss, because I feel the need to argue for Sarah's right to a fair & equal education before she's even going to school. This is not something I should have to be worrying about when my child is only a year old. Right now all I should be concerned with is helping her learn how to crawl, then cruise, then walk. I don't want to throw myself a pity party, as it's not about me. it's about Sarah. But, sometimes I get in the rut of comparing her to other typical babies and I get so upset. I keep thinking, these people have no idea how lucky they are. They don't have to worry about the same things I do.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Yesterday was a pretty big day for Sarah. The optical shop called and said her glasses were in. We went to go pick them up while Emma was at school. They're so cute!!! The lab had shortened the temples so they weren't gargantuan on her. They're still a little too long in the temple, but not nearly as bad. They also have an elastic band that goes around the back, but even on it's smallest setting, is too big. I'll need to modify that a bit. Sarah has already shown her disdane for these glasses. While the guy was fitting them to her face, she starting throwing a major fit, trying to grab them off her face. The fit miraculously stopped as soon as they were off. She then shot the guy the EVIL EYE, and proceeded to look at me, and raise her arms to be picked up. It was too funny.
We went over to Jeff's office to show him her new specs. The first thing out of his mouth was, wow, those are thick. It's true, they are pretty big lenses. Poor thing must have been REALLY blind. Now it's just going to take some time for her to realize she can see better, albeit differently, with them on.
She seemed kinda depressed in the first few hours after we got them. She kept shooting me these, WHAT did I do to deserve THIS????, looks. She was quieter than usual and didn't seem very social. But, after a little while she seemed to perk up.
Emma, Sarah & I went to go check out the charter school that's just outside of town. This was the one I as drawn to at the Kindergarden Info Night. It's technology based and seems to be really good. I had planned on checking it out 2 weeks ago, but then the sickness came and has just recently (within the past 4 days) decided to relinquish it's grasp on me. I wasn't able to see much of the work inside, as it was recess/almost lunch time. But I saw both the K classrooms and saw some of the kids during their centers. Some of them were working on the computers and some were working on the letter "Y", using sand in a container to draw out the letter over & over. Very clever. So far I'm pretty impressed with how they teach. I enrolled her after the tour. They have a "Kindergarden Round-Up" on the 26th. That's basically where they do all of their assessment tests to see where Emma is academically. I think they also do a hearing & vision test. It should be interesting.
We also cut Sarah's hair last night. Emma got her first professional haircut on Sunday, and we probably should have had them do Sarah's too, but I did Emma's first big one, so out of nostalgia, I guess, I did it myself. We cut about 4 inches off, and trimmed her bangs. It's about an inch above her shoulders now. It's kinda hard to cut hair on a moving baby, but I did my best. There's pictures on the website. Emma did very well during her haircut. She even let the lady wash her hair in the big sink. She basically got a bang trim, about an inch or so off the bottom, and some face framing. It looks really good!
The weather here is really turning around. There was no snow on Saturday like it said there would be, but that's how Michigan weather is. It changes hourly. It's supposed to be 75 today, but then between 50-60 for the next week and a half. Like I said, it can change hourly.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Making Strides

I feel less of a complete lump today. I actually started feeling a little better yesterday, with the pressure in my face a lot less and also less of a pounding in my head. Still a snot-face though.
Jeff & I are going to a LAN party tonight. Basically, a bunch of geeks sitting around for 12 hours, playing video games. Jeff went to one a few months ago. I told him I wanted to go to this one. I'm probably not going to do that well, as I don't have a lot of time to practice on the games that they play, but it'll be fun. A girl named Jessica is going to come over and watch the kids for us. This will be the first time I've been away from Sarah for overnight. Even though I'll just be down the street at the college, I know I'll probably be worried about her the whole time. She's been getting up at about 1:30am for the past few nights. Then she's up again at about 6:30am. But, this girl seems pretty competent. She's watched really young children overnight for the past few years. And she's not a freshman, lol. I think she's about 23. Plus, she's getting her degree in Special Education, which I thought was really neat. She was recommended by a student co-worker of Jeff's (who's going to be at the LAN party, the only other girl) and Jessica said she was really excited when she heard that Sarah had Ds. She's worked with kids with Austism and Cerebral Palsy.
I'm going to pump to make sure she has something to give Sarah in case she wakes up. Emma's excited to have someone new come over. She met Jessica last night and was happy that she was coming back tonight. She told her to bring her pj's and that they're going to have a party. With popcorn and everything. It's a "Girls Only Party", lol.
On a different note, Emma has been doing really well with her chores. All this week, she has made her own bed, without any prompting from me. And she does really well at it. She's kept her room practically spotless all week, as well. This must be her genes from Jeff kicking in, as I am NOT innately a clean freak. Although she does need some help remembering that her toys on the floor of the living room are her responsibility, too. Apparently she thinks that she only needs to take care of them once they're in her room, and I'm the one who needs to get them there. Sounds like someone else I know...