Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Google Name Meme

I saw this on Renee's blog and thought it looked fun.

Type in "[your name] needs" in the Google search.
Amanda needs to pee. (Actually, no, already took care of that thanks.)

Type in "[your name] looks like" in Google search.
Amanda looks like she is pouting. (Not often, but no one's perfect.)

Type in "[your name] says" in Google search.
Amanda says: As crazy as it sounds, we lie to make it seem like we're not Little Miss B*tch. (Lie about what, I wonder?)

Type in "[your name] wants" in Google search.
Amanda wants a hug 'n kiss. (Sure, who wouldn't?)

Type in "[your name] does" in Google search.
Amanda does badass hair (Snort..hahahaha, no)

Type in "[your name] hates" in Google search.
Amanda hates feet (Not all feet, just the smelly ones.)

Type in "[your name] asks" in Google search.
Amanda asks "What would Google do?" (Well, yeah, DUH, I'm using Google for this Meme)

Type in "[your name] likes " in Google search
Amanda likes to distract herself with silliness. (Anything to get out of actually having to do anything productive.)

Type in "[your name] eats " in Google search.
Amanda eats pandas. (Sorry, no, I'm allergic to bamboo.)

Type in "[your name] wears " in Google search.
Amanda wears Betty's blouse (Who is this Betty and why do I have her clothing??)

Type in "[your name] was arrested for" in Google Search.
Amanda was arrested for possession of crack, prostitution, and a bar fight (Um, wow, I have no recollection of this at all.)

Type in "[your name] goes" in Google search.
Amanda goes west. (Actually, I went east. I don't go west very often, too expensive.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Warning: Geek Alert

Ok, I'm totally geeking out about the fact that Stephenie Meyer is my friend on MySpace. Yeah, I know I'm one of about 135,000, but HEY! It's still cool!

**You'd think I wasn't turning 31 next week...

Family Update

Life has slowly been chugging along for us. We're back into the routine of school/work/kids etc. I'm now working 4 mornings a week, which was an adjustment, but I've found it actually makes things easier. I'm able to get home after picking up the kids from daycare at the latest by 1pm. I then feed them lunch and put them down for a nap (no guarantees that they'll actually sleep, though) and after that I'm able to be a lot more productive. The morning routine of getting all 5 of us fed, dressed, and out the door by 8:10am is actually a lot easier than I had envisioned. I only work 4 days a week, so I have all of Friday off.

Jeff is back in school, as well. He's teaching again this semester and taking his final class for his minor. It's Metalworking, which I thought sounded fun. Not so much after he told me he needed steel-toe boots, safety goggles, and pants that weren't easily flammable. Oy. He's also going to a few training sessions for Apple. He's preparing to take the ASCA Certification test soon, and I know he'll do fabulous!

Emma is doing wonderful. She's officially out of the Resource Room at school, and in the classroom full-time. She's still seeing the school Social Worker, but it's looking like the issues she was having in the 1st semester are slowly being resolved. We got her 2nd quarter report card last week, and she's doing great. She got a majority of 3's (her school grades from 1-4, 4 being the highest), a couple 2's, and a couple 4's. From the progress reports from her teacher, it looks like her being in the classroom full-time now is really being beneficial to her academically, as well as socially. She rarely comes home from school saying she's had a bad day. She's making great strides in reading and spelling, and is testing her skills by e-mailing with family.

Sarah is still as chipper as ever. She recently got new glasses, which are slightly different than her last few pairs. These don't have the cable temples, so they fit a little looser. I was worried that this might take some getting used to, and that she might start yanking them off frequently again. But, she adjusted to them nicely, and really notices when she's not wearing them. A for school, she's doing fantastic. She did a few things over Winter break that her teachers had been working with her on, so I sent a note in the first day back after the new year. Things like counting to 10, as well as identifying more shapes, and being on the road to being potty trained. There's a small possibility that we might go ahead and send her to Kindergarten next fall, but I'm still not sure about it. There are a few more people I want to talk to about possible placements for her, and I don't want to send her just because she's old enough. Legally, I can have her stay in preschool another year, but I'm not sure what's best for her yet.

Katie is going great. She and Sarah are still the best of friends, even though Katie keeps trying to be the boss. Too many times during the day I'll hear something to the effect of, "NO, Sawah, sit down!" Or "That's bad, Sawah!" Talk about a chip off the ol' block. This child is "Mini-me" and mimics everything I do...not always a good thing.

My birthday is next week, which is always interesting. I'll be 31. Jeff is going to another Apple training for most of the week, starting on Monday, so we're celebrating my birthday on Saturday. Yay! I get to sleep in! :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

This shall henceforth be known as the "Macbook Air incident"

Last weekend, my MacBook Air started having disk errors, saying that my hard drive was failing. Which, in and of itself, sucks. Especially since we've had these types of things happen to us before, and we've lost LOTS of stuff (pictures, files, etc.) But, we've learned our lesson, and now we have an external HD to back up our main home computer. Up until Christmas, my laptop didn't have an external backup, but Jeff thankfully amended this by getting me one for Christmas. So, all of my email, contacts, websites, files were saved.

But, since the closest Apple store is 2 hours away, getting it fixed required the whole fam to pack up in the car and drive there. They didn't have the part on hand, so they had to send it off. Meaning I was laptop-less all this last week. Which wasn't terrible, just inconvenient. I use a program called 1Password for most sites and programs I use, and since I don't have it on the main Mac downstairs, that meant I couldn't log into a lot of things all week. Thank goodness I hadn't yet done it to my email, cause that would have sucked.

I was fully expecting it to take another few days for my laptop to get back to the store. I had asked if they couldn't just send it directly to my house instead of making me drive all the way back, but they said that it affected quality control, and that they tested everything once it was returned, to make sure everything was completely repaired. I couldn't really argue with that, so I said ok.

They called me yesterday afternoon to let me know it was ready to be picked up. I mentally ran through the days that I might be able to go, and decided Monday would be the best day, since I didn't have school or work, and neither did the kids. I wasn't looking forward to driving out there alone with all the kids, but it seemed the best time. Jeff had other plans, and suggested maybe doing it after dinner last night. The kids would be fed, and hopefully fall asleep early. Plus, he'd said that the snow wasn't going to let up all week, so I'd be driving in my van that needs new tires in not so fun conditions. Again, I agreed that was probably not the best idea. So, we had dinner early, packed the kiddos into the truck, and started on our way.

Normally the girls are pretty happy in the truck; they love riding in it and listening to XM Kids on the satellite radio. Most of the time they fall asleep, allowing Jeff & I to have a little bit of quiet time. This trip? Not so much.

Katie had been whining since we left the house, and I silently wondered if she wasn't feeling well. But, I tried my best to make everyone happy and comfortable as best I could. The weather was atrocious-snow blowing sideways across the freeway, and the traffic was a lot slower than usual. What would normally take us only about 2 hours, was taking closer to 3. About 45 miles from our destination, Katie's stomach had had enough. She proceeded to throw up all over herself and her car-seat. And, by Karmic coincidence, we were NOWHERE near an exit. Both Jeff & Emma have sensitive noses to unappealing smells, so we rolled the windows down slightly to allow for some ventilation. Yeah, we rolled the windows down, in Michigan, in the winter, when it was snowing. But, it was either that or risk there being 2 more people puking in the truck. We had to drive for 10 miles before an exit came up. Poor Katie was so brave, she didn't even cry the entire time. I felt so bad for her; she was a mess.

I would hazard a guess that the temp outside was about 5-6 degrees, without the wind chill. I had to completely strip Katie down (thank goodness I'd brought her & Sarah each another set of clothes), clean her off, and set her in the drivers seat, all while the door was open. Then I had to clean up her seat as much as possible. My small stash of baby wipes was barely enough to get the job done. But, the truck still smelled a bit funky. Jeff to the rescue with a brand new "New Car smell" air freshener. Once everyone was back in their respective seats, we continued on to the Apple store. We only had an hour before it closed, and Jeff was determined to not have this trip be in vain. So we trudged on. We got there about 15 minutes before the store closed, and while he and the girls waited in the truck, I ran inside the mall to go get my computer. It was fixed, I got my paperwork for the repair, and I was heading back out to the truck within 5 minutes. Jeff pulled around, and as I was putting my stuff inside, he said,"Sarah leaked through her pull-up, she needs a change, too." Oy, when it rains, it pours.

So after another set of clothing was changed, we were on our way back home. The kids finally fell asleep about an hour later, and we had about 45 minutes of peace & quiet. I think I should write Apple and use this incident as a reason why Michigan needs another Apple store closer to where I live. Considering how many products we buy from them, it seems only fair.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Slight Snafu

So, Jeff just called me and let me know that I need to be taking 6 credits in order to keep working at the college...fabulous. I was quite happy with only taking 1 class, but if it means my job's on the line, I guess I'll suck it up.

So now I'm taking Aerobic Kickboxing for the whole semester and Bowling for the 2nd half. Awesome, now I don't have to pay my daycare lady more money to watch the kids while I go work out at the campus I get to pay the COLLEGE.


Well, after starving Sarah all morning in preparation for her being sedated, we get to the docs to find out they had no plans to sedate her. Ugh. So, the poor thing was famished for nothing. I was really worried about whether or not she would sit still for them to get decent pics, and I didn't want to have to go down to Lansing in order for them to IV sedate her. But, with Daddy's help, she did fantastic. They were able to get a good look at her PDA. The cardio said that although her PDA is at a weird angle, he's pretty sure that it's extremely tiny, which means it's shrunk since last check. Which is awesome. He also said that because he couldn't hear it with a stethoscope, that it's considered a "silent" PDA, which doesn't warrant any surgery. Woo Hoo!! He said that they would most likely have to make the hole larger in order to get in there during the heart cath, so we'll just check up on it again in a few years. Phew. I'm very glad that she doesn't have to go through surgery. :)

We then went out with Daddy for a celebratory Burger King lunch, lol. I also decided to be brave (translation: braving the freezing temps) and go get Sarah's new glasses. I had to chuckle at one of the light-up signs on the way home; you know, the ones that show the temp and time, etc. It said it was 77 degrees. I don't know if it was wishful thinking or if it was so cold the machinery has malfunctioned. Either way, it made me laugh.

Prayers for Sarah

Sarah has her annual cardiologist appt this morning. "Annual" really means it's been 2 years. She has a small PDA (Patent ductus arteriosus) that has been present since birth. But it's never caused her any problems, she's never been on meds for it. Sometimes they close on their own, which is why we didn't do anything about it 2 years ago. But, if it's still there, we will go ahead and get the catheterization done. It's not open heart, it's a short procedure where they go into a vein through the groin area and close the hole with a small mesh object. Since kids with DS sometimes have issues with being under general anesthesia, she'll probably stay overnight for observation. This wouldn't be so bad, but the only hospital who does this procedure is in Grand Rapids. So it's a bit of a drive.

Because this morning's procedure requires her being under oral sedation, she can't eat anything, which is pissing her off. I had to surreptitiously give Katie some breakfast so I didn't have 2 extremely ornery kids on my hands. But, Sarah is persistent, and tried to sneak some cold pizza from the fridge. I am however giving her some clear liquids, but it isn't helping.

While this PDA hasn't really affected her life, it might cause problems as she gets older if left open. So, some prayers and good thoughts would be appreciated this morning. :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Jeff's Revelation about women (Possibly NSFC-Not Safe For Children)

Quote from my husband this morning:

"I used to think that women hit their sexual peak at around age 30, now I'm convinced women hit their sexual peak after reading "Twilight".


Monday, January 12, 2009


I've started the process of selling some of my mom's things on eBay. This is an extremely cathartic process for me. I've kept a lot of the things she left me, but even she told me that she knew I didn't like ALL the stuff she had, and to keep only what I wanted. I've kept a lot of her Depression glass, but there's just too much.

Most of it will be Depression glass, Asian art & figurines, plus some shabby chic style things. I only have a couple things on there now, as I'm slowly dipping my toes into this "selling on the Internet" business. Buying stuff off the web I'm used to, selling, not so much.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Where to Begin? Part 2

When I left you the other day, I was whining about my mountain of mommy guilt re: my daughter's social skills. Aside from those particular issues, Emma's had a great year so far in her new school. I love her teacher and I know she has made significant progress. It kinda makes me wonder how well she would be doing if we'd moved her to this school right after Kindergarten. But, again, just heap that onto the guilt mountain.

Another new change is that now Emma is riding the bus to and from school everyday. This is new only that it's an actual "yellow school bus" rather than the local transportation that she took to her old school in Kindergarten. She's been really excited about this since we told her at the beginning of last summer. Her new school starts 45 minutes after her old school, and she doesn't catch the bus until 8am, which is nice for us all, because we really aren't morning people. A few months ago, the high school had their Homecoming week. Due to where we live (right across from the high school) our street was part of the Homecoming parade route. I kept waiting for a notice or call from her bus people to let me know how they were going to change the route on the day of the parade. I didn't get anything until the morning of the parade, after Emma had already left for school. So while I knew what the deal was, Emma didn't.

After getting to the new drop-off spot for that day, I waited...and waited. Fifteen minutes after her normal time to be dropped off, I saw the bus coming up behind my car, where I was sitting with the 2 other kids. I didn't have a chance to get out of the car, and the bus didn't stop. So I scurried and tried to catch up with the bus, hoping it would notice that I was following it and stop, to allow Emma to get off. It didn't. So, instead of following it around, I went to where I KNEW another stop was, got out and waited for it to show up with the other parents. The bus got there, no Emma. I was immediately freaking out.

There's a rule for the elementary schools that no child under the age of 10 can be let off a public school bus without a parent/guardian visible. So, since September, I've had to wait on my front porch every afternoon, so the bus driver can see that I'm home, and let Emma off. There's a waiver I can sign which will allow her to get off the bus without that, but Jeff & I aren't comfortable with that. It's a huge pain in the butt, but I can deal with it for another year until she's 10.

So, when Emma wasn't on the bus, I panicked. The bus driver, which was a sub, and didn't know the original route well to begin with, couldn't tell me which stop Emma had gotten off at. I was now livid as well as panicked, which doesn't go well together. Some kids on the bus told the driver and myself that Emma had gotten off at the stop previous to where I had been waiting originally. I had no idea where that was, not to mention the fact that there was a Homecoming parade going on at that moment right where Emma had gotten off the bus. I had no idea where she could have gone, nor did I know, since we'd only been at our new house for a few months, if she would know which way was home.

The bus driver was sure that she had gotten off at a stop with a ton of other kids who were going to a daycare. She gave me the address of the daycare and I went to go find her. Thankfully, another mom who'd been waiting with me volunteered to go searching for her with me. We went to the address: no daycare. No one was even home. I'm starting to hyperventilate at this point. The lady with me started walking towards the parade route and I searched all the streets in between. I went as close as I could to our street, parked and got out and started walking towards our house. That's when I saw Emma standing in our driveway, watching the parade with none other than her 3rd grade teacher. Talk about a stroke of luck.

What had happened was, since she didn't know anything was going to be different, when the sub driver told everyone who normally got off on our street to get off at a stop she wasn't familiar with, she listened and got off the bus. When she realized she wasn't in the right spot, she was super smart and started looking for our house. Ironically, after getting there and finding that I wasn't there, she saw her teacher setting up with her kids to watch the parade, and sought her out to ask for help.

What really pissed me off was the bus driver seemed to have no idea that what she'd done was simply idiotic. Firstly, she was a sub. Why the hell do you give a sub the job of dealing with an altered route when it's their first time for that route? Second, Emma is under 10, meaning legally, according to THEIR rules, she needs to have a parent/guardian visible before they let her off the bus. The sub didn't ASK the adult at the stop whether Emma was with her, she just assumed. And Emma, not knowing that there was anything different, was just doing what the bus driver told her.

This almost made me want to take her off the bus entirely. But, seeing as how I value my sanity, I decided against it. She enjoys it, it makes her feel a little more grown-up, and I don't have to drive to and from the school twice a day. We haven't had any other issues with the bus, so I suppose it was probably just bad timing.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Where to begin? Part 1

Do you ever get the feeling that if you sit down and actually try to do something, you know that most likely you'll get interrupted, and never finish it or not finish it the way you want to?

Yeah, that would be me and this blog at the moment.

While my life has been boring for the most part, there have been a few things I wanted to blog about. But, when I had free time, most likely I would convince myself that I could be doing something else instead of blogging.

I guess I should probably start back a few months.

Way back last school year, at Emma's old school, I had asked at one of her IEP meetings to have her evaluated for a learning disability. While she had made some progress in the Resource Room (for reading and spelling) during 2nd grade, she just wasn't progressing at a rate that I felt was ok. Plus, she was starting to regress in other areas where she had been really strong (math). They told me at the time that they were pretty sure that they wouldn't be able to get to it before the end of the school year. I was ok with that, since I'd already known that she would be going to a different school this year, due to us moving and me not being able to drive 15 miles to and from her school that was in the middle of nowhere twice a day.

So, she switched schools and I waited for her to be evaluated. But, during the summer she had gone to speech camp for 6 weeks, and had made great progress in that area, and they had also worked on some language and reading with her, as well. Which was fabulous of them, considering it wasn't really their job.

About 6 weeks into the school year, we have her bi-annual IEP. The school psychologist tells us that they don't believe she has a learning disability, and her teacher confirms that, while she's not 100% caught up to her peers, she's within the average range for her abilities. I thought, great! This is wonderful. Her 3rd grade teacher (whom, I LOVE) is an ex-Resource Room teacher (she taught in there for 15 years) and so I trusted her opinion implicitly. She also told me that she didn't think that Emma really qualified for Resource Room help anymore. I had to pause at that one, because I couldn't believe my good luck!

Then they dropped the bombshell on me. While they don't think Emma has an LD, they did want her to start seeing the school social worker. They had noticed (and I confirmed this has been an issue since Kindergarten) that Emma seems to have trouble maintaining good peer relationships. She gets easily offended and is often reduced to tears at school. She would come home and tell me how so & so wasn't her friend anymore because of something they'd done or said. It seems she had a hard time distinguishing between innocent schoolyard squabbles and real issues. I've always felt bad for her in regards to friends, because, even from an early age, she couldn't really keep friends. Her best friends when we lived in San Diego were kids of friends we went to church with, and when we moved 2000 miles away, we only kept in contact with 1 of those families. That family we only see once a year. When we moved here, we didn't know ANYONE. All of the people Jeff worked with had kids who were much older. I started Emma in preschool, but it didn't seem like any of the kids really wanted to be close friends with her. Trust me, I tried almost everything. We had parties and playdates and parent coffees. I tried to go to almost every school function they had. Then, there was the insult to the injury when I put her in a school where none of her friends from preschool were going. She easily made friends in Kindergarten, one of which, Adam, is still her friend to this day. But, it seemed every year that the few friends she made that were really important to her, either moved or switched schools.

Last year, her best friend was Adam. Adam had a few other friends who didn't always want to play with Emma, since she was a girl. Which is ironic since there was another girl who was ok to play with, but not Emma. (Insert angry mom rant over unequal gender treatment by little children in public schools.) Adam's mom is probably my closest friend here, and so we got our kids together frequently (she has 3 boys, so she got her "girl-fix" when I came over, lol).

I have tried SO hard to make sure that the transition to this new school would be easy for Emma. I even put her on a soccer team last spring that had all girls that would be going to her new school. I was hoping she would make friends that would carry over to her class. But it seemed like nothing worked.

Emma is a VERY social child. She's not withdrawn, she's not shy, but the social worker just doesn't think she can relate on a peer level to kids her own age. This makes sense, since she'd constantly been around kids who were younger than her (i.e. her sisters, and the siblings of friends). When they started talking about that at the IEP, I lost it. Academic delays you can fix, but I knew enough about social development to know that it's VERY hard to catch up in that regard. I immediately had flashes of her going through school as the social outcast because she couldn't relate to any of her peers. And I was mad, too. She's SO bright and smart and funny and loves life. How could these kids not see that and want to be her friends? And of course, I felt guilty. Jeff & I were the ones who dragged her across the country, away from her only friends and our whole family. I blamed myself for not doing enough to make sure she had good social outlets. But, I thought, what else could I have done? I put her in sports and school and did all I could with being so far away from any help from family and having just had a child with special needs.

One bad thing about not growing up with the same kids: it seems like all the families have enough friends and whenever someone new comes into play, they don't have room.

Emma DID make a really good friend over the summer during speech camp. Ironically it was a girl who she'd gone to preschool with, but who goes to a different school. She's had a couple play dates since the summer, but she lives about 30 miles away, so those are few and far between.

So far, she's been seeing the social worker about 1-2 times a week. I don't know if it's making any difference. Emma still comes home from school on occasion and tells me she had a bad day because someone wasn't nice to her or so & so didn't want to play with her. It's hard to make her understand that no one can get along with everyone all the time. I know part of it is probably school related, and I know that some of it is from the stress that we've been under for awhile. Our household is far from stress-free and I know she internalizes it. Add that to my mountain of guilt please. But, how to fix it? That's the million dollar question. I only wish I had the answer.