Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Cards

Merry Christmas Script Christmas 5x7 folded card
Make a statement with Shutterfly Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

Just finished creating my Christmas cards with Shutterfly.  Wow!  What a selection they have.  It took me about three days to decide which one I wanted.  I actually created four different cards before I settled on one.  They were all so different, I just had to decide which look I wanted to go with.  I love this kind of stuff.  I lets me feel so creative, and take it from me, creative I am not!  It certainly makes me want to get serious about making some photo books for the girls.  If the photo books are as easy to create as the cards, I should be able to do it.  I have done a few photo books with another online company, and they are lots of fun, but Shutterfly seems to offer a lot more options to really make the project your own.  I am excited to try them out!      

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

She Is Growing Up!

Rachel went in to the dentist on Monday for her check up.  The hygienist found out that Rachel has three new teeth!!  Three!  She has both of her upper six year molars coming through.  I am not surprised I did not know that, because she will never open her mouth for me to look in there, but the third tooth is a lower incisor.  It is coming in behind her baby teeth.  I cannot believe I have not noticed that one.  The dentist told me to start wiggling the baby tooth to try to get it to loosen up and come out.  I have to say I am not looking forward to Rachel losing her baby teeth.  She is my last one and I hate to see her grow up.  I cannot believe all my babies are gone! 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Frustration Was The Word Of The Day

We had Rachel's IEP meeting on Thursday.  It was such a fiasco, that I could not sit down and write about it until today.  As soon as the meeting started, I realized that the IEP team and I were not on the same page.  I immediately told them that I was there to change the IEP to place Rachel in a regular kindergarten classroom full time, as her original VE teacher had informed me I could do.  The teacher stopped me right there and said she had never told me that we could move Rachel into her classroom.  I was flabbergasted.  I had talked with this teacher multiple times regarding this change, and I really don't think I just misunderstood what she was talking about. 

In addition to this, I also found out that Rachel was still not getting into the regular kindergarten classroom from her new VE classroom.  She has not gone into her regular kindergarten class since sometime in September!!  The new self contained teacher did not even know that Rachel was supposed to be pulled out of the VE classroom for certain activities!  I have lost a lot of confidence in Rachel's school in the the last couple of weeks.  I have had several parents tell me what a wonderful school this is, but right now I am not impressed.   

After the meeting, Rachel remains in the VE classroom with the new teacher and will be pulled to a regular classroom for some activities.  I cannot believe that we had to hold a meeting in November to get Rachel back on the schedule that we put in place back at May's IEP meeting!!!  I guess I am going to have to get into the school on a regular basis and make sure the school is carrying this out.  I am not devastated with this placement, as I knew Rachel would not do as well academically in a regular classroom, but I did want her back with her original teacher and I wanted Rachel to get to experience the feeling of "belonging" in a regular classroom. 

Tomorrow Rachel should resume the schedule she had at the beginning of the year and hopefully, she will be comfortable going back into that kindergarten class.  She does not like change and it has been two months since she was last in the class.  Mike is also interested in talking to someone that knows IEP law and discuss this situation with them.  Not carrying out IEP requirements because it is not convenient is not acceptable. I really should have stayed on top of everyone to make sure things were getting done, but I had been so pleased with the staff after last year, that I just assumed that everything was being done like it was supposed to be.   Wrong! 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Tomorrow I have a meeting at Rachel's school to change her IEP.  This was not in my plan, it is just how things have been falling into place.  In September, a teacher just walked out of her classroom and quit.  It was not a teacher that Rachel had, but the school put the kids that had no teacher in Rachel's classroom.  Rachel went from a self contained classroom with eight kids with special needs to a kindergarten-first grade multigrade classroom with 21 kids-13 of them regular peers!  I was told that the school was going to be looking for a special ed teacher for the older kids in the self contained classroom and the younger kids in the self contained class were going to be staying with the multigrade class and their original teacher and an aide that they had started the year with. 

Well, it turns out that the school had other plans.  The new special ed teacher was hired to take all of the kids that were in the self contained class.  Not only that, but the self contained class moved to the classroom that the kindergarten first grade class was in and the kindergarten first grade class moved in to the self contained classroom.........what was the logic behind that?  I will never understand taking kids that have to have their routine and changing up EVERYTHING on them!  I will never understand the way some people think!   

The last of September and the whole month of October was a waste because it was total confusion when the class of thirteen kindergartners and first grades were pushed into the Rachel's class.  All the kids were out of sorts and there was no routine.  Finally, the class started getting into somewhat of a groove, and then the special ed kids were pulled out and moved into the new classroom with the new teacher.  Therefore, all of November has been spent trying to convince Rachel that the new room and teacher aren't so bad.  She has not wanted to go into the new room.  She is starting to adjust, but the teacher seems so quiet and the room is so empty it just doesn't seem like the best learning environment.  It is this teacher's first teaching job, so she is still trying to figure it all out.

Now if this was not confusing enough, about two weeks ago Rachel's original teacher stated she thinks Rachel could do well in the kindergarten first grade class, and she wants to get Rachel in there full time!  I agreed, but Rachel could not go into the class until her IEP was rewritten-mind you she had been in that classroom the whole month of October, but in the new self contained for the last three weeks.  We scheduled an IEP meeting which took about two weeks to get done-two weeks of Rachel getting used to her new room and teacher.  Now, I wonder if I am doing the right thing pulling her out of that room.  She is finally starting to go in there without complaining.  It will mean moving Rachel AGAIN!  It will back to her original room with her original teacher, so maybe it will be easier for her.  I hope so, because we have gotten almost halfway through this year, and I feel like Rachel has not really gotten much out of it.  It also means compromising her one on one time for reading and math in order to get the social interaction with regular peers.  I hope I am doing the right thing.

I am also wondering if I should do this, because it is happening solely because of the unexpected turn of events.  When we tried to get inclusion the last two years, we were pretty much told it was wishful thinking, and it was not what was best for Rachel.  This is happening only because Rachel's original special ed teacher is now teaching a regular classroom, and she thinks she can handle Rachel in the room without an aide.  It seems to be unheard of to have a special needs kid included in a regular classroom with and aide.  When we go to an IEP meeting in the spring, the school will not offer us another inclusive opportunity.  Here in Florida, they consider an aide in an inclusive environment more restrictive than no aide in a self contained class!  Can you believe that?!  I guess that is their way of saving money.  I am getting really frustrated with the school system.  Inclusion in Florida is not a reality for the most part.       

Saturday, November 13, 2010

School Pictures 2010

I have finally gotten everyone's school pictures and gotten them scanned into the computer.  I cannot believe how big the girls are getting.  Allison is in sixth grade and will be in middle school next year!  Rachel went in to the doctor for a well check this past week and measured in at 3 1/2 feet tall.  Not very tall for a seven year old, but it shocks me how tall she has gotten. 

Rachel is also on a roll with her language right now.  She is saying lots of new words and even putting two words together sometimes.  Her newest two word combo is "stay here."   This is often said with great emotion as she is being forced to go somewhere she does not want to go.     

Friday, November 12, 2010

Free Christmas Cards!!!!

If you haven't already seen this offer on another blog, check it out!  Shutterfly is offering 50 free holiday photo cards to bloggers.  In this economy I am so excited to see an opportunity to save some money.  Since having my first kiddo 12 years ago I have sent out photos each Christmas.  I started by getting professional pictures taken and just including the pictures in the cards.  That was expensive!  I moved on to taking my own pictures, printing them out at the local Target or Walgreens, and inserting the photos into the cards with the photo pockets. Having to take the picture, get it printed out, and stuffing it into the photo card was a lot of work!  This year, I decided I am going to try the photo cards.  No more running around and stuffing cards! 

I was aware of Shutterfly's photobooks .  I have created a few photobooks with other sites in the past, and they are both fun to create and wonderful keepsakes to remember special times.  They also make great gifts.  Over the last couple of years, the sites I have used have become stale and boring.  I recently opened a Shutterfly account to create a photbook after seeing a friends book.  It was so colorful and creative.  So much more interesting than the ones I have created in the past with other sites.  I am looking forward to creating a book on their site.  

I had not really looked at the cards, though, until today.  They are so cute and the combinations that you can do are almost endless.  Check out their selection here.  I am really excited about being able to not only add my own pictures, but also my own message.  No more poring over the cards at Target and Hallmark trying to find a card that will look good with my picture AND has a message I like!  I already think I might have one picked out.  The girls are wearing blue shirts this year, and I think this one would be really cute.  Okay......I am off to start taking pictures so I can get started on my card!

Monday, November 1, 2010


We carved the pumpkins on Friday night.  Leah drew two of the faces and Allison requested a pumpkin that looked like Winnie the Pooh.  The kids design and I cut.   

The front porch all decked out.  The pumpkins on the left are not real pumpkins.  


Here the girls are all dressed up for Trick-or-Treating.  Allison was not a happy camper at this point, because she was supposed to be a vampire, and the teeth she bought would not stay in place like they were supposed to.  So she was left with just the dress and the white face paint.  Fortunately, she got over it and went out and had a good time-so not like her?!  Maybe she is finally growing up.  We had planned on dressing Rachel as Belle, but she had other ideas when she saw the Incredibles' costume.  She would have nothing to do with the princess costumes after that. 

We also got Cookie in on the act.  We had not planned on doing this, but on a last minute run to Target yesterday, we saw that the pet costumes were on clearance.  We could not resist.  It is hard to see, but Cookie is supposed to be a unicorn with a princess riding on his back.  He really did not like the head piece.  Below is Cookie posing with Minnie from across the street.  Don't they look like they are having fun?

Rachel thought Minnie was cute!

 Is this really my child?!  Leah was lovin' the green hair.  Thankfully it washed out easily. 

The morning after........Rachel wanted to eat candy this morning for breakfast. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Pumpkin Patch

Rachel's class had a trip to the Pumpkin Patch this past Thursday.  She missed the trip last year because she was sick.  She just about missed it again this year.  She was home sick Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday with a cold.  She missed a field trip on Monday, but made it back to school on Thursday just in time for the second field trip. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

More Riding Lessons

The big girls have been having a fit to take horseback riding lessons, so a few weeks ago we signed them up with this lady that does lessons in her backyard.  She is really cheap, gives hour long lessons, and the girls are having a great time with the horses.

Thank goodness Rachel is okay with the big girls getting to ride and her not.  This lady has LOTS of  animals at her house, so Rachel does enjoy checking them all out, and she loves playing on a slide and in a play house that are there. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Great Day For A Walk!

Today was our walk for Down syndrome awareness.  Unfortunately, it is no longer named the Buddy Walk, because NDSS copyrighted the name and required a large fee for its use.  Our organization wanted to keep all the money to help the local Down syndrome community, so they opted to change the name.   

We had amazing weather!!  It is usually VERY hot and sticky or it is raining.  Today was picture perfect.  The temps were comfortable and the wind was blowing.  It was perfection.  This year saw a record turn out and record donations totalling of $35,000!!!  It is so neat to see so many people come together for a great cause! 

Friday, October 22, 2010

When It Comes To Running.........

.....I have always been a sprinter.  Even as a kid, I was really only interested in running shorter distances.  I loved to run when it meant racing at top speed from one end of the yard to the other or around the house once or twice, but I never even entertained long runs.  My cousins and I would race every Sunday at my grandmother's.  I was one of the fastest, but one of the oldest too. 

Anyway, apparently in all aspects of my life, I am a sprinter.  I jump off to a great start and maintain the speed for a short while, and then I am done.   I present my blog as evidence.  I got off to a pretty good start on the 31 for 21 blogging project and even added a blog or two while entertaining company for a weekend.  But, I quickly faded and have totally lost my rhythm. 

Unfortunately, life is a marathon..  In life with Ds, there are lots of marathons....sometimes lots of marathons are going on at one time.  I am struggling to keep up the pace.  I actually never really even set a pace, LOL.  When I found out I was expecting Rachel, I prayed to God for patience.  When she was diagnosed with Ds, someone told me she would teach me patience.  As the saying goes, be careful what you ask for, you just might get it!  I guess I better start training for a marathon.  Over the last seven years I have fought tooth and nail to remain a sprinter, but it is time to change gears.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Horseback Riding

I am not doing too well with this 31 for 21 posting...........I knew it would be a struggle, but my does time fly by.  I think I have just missed a day or two and am surprised to see how many days I have actually missed.  I cannot seem to get caught up from having company last weekend.  Well, that is my excuse and I am sticking with it! 

We have had beautiful weather here this past two weeks.  It has been nice to be outside when we have the chance.  Thursday afternoons, Rachel does her horseback riding.  Below are some pictures from this past Thursday.  I cannot believe how big Rachel is looking these days.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

We Are Still Recovering From All The Fun

We had a very busy, but fun, weekend with our friends.  It is amazing how much sand seven kids can bring home from the beach.  I am still sweeping sand out of my house!   The kids were constantly on the go from early Saturday morning until Monday night.  They kayaked, went swimming, went to the beach, went shark fishing, and played on the water slide a neighbor let us borrow.  They also argued, complained, whined and told on each other, but generally a good time was had by all.  Tuesday morning, reality reared it's ugly head, and I fought an heroic battle to get the kids off to school.  I am not sure how, but I managed to get them out of the house and to school on time.  Our company left about noon on Tuesday, and that evening we were all worn out.  Even today I am still recovering from the hectic weekend.      

Rachel really enjoyed the water slide this time around.  In the past she has not been able to climb up the slide by herself, but this weekend she proved that she is indeed growing up by showing us she has mastered climbing up the water slide.  It was so much fun to watch her do it on her own.  I have tried to upload a video of Rachel on the slide, but it is not working right now.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Rachel!

Today, 10-10-10 is Rachel's birthday.  She is seven.  Where has the time gone? I still think of her as my baby, but she really isn't a baby anymore. 

For her birthday she got a little indoor trampoline, two books, and a Kids Bop CD.  Her favorite thing was the card she got from some friends that plays "The Hamster Dance."  So much for the gifts..........;-)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Let The Fun Begin!

We have a very busy weekend ahead of us, and the girls could not be more excited.  Our friend, Bill, who passed away in August, left behind a wife and four kids.  They will all be coming down from Alabama to spend the weekend with us.  Allison and Leah cannot wait for the kids to arrive.  They have been on pins and needles for the last week, and they were just silly all afternoon and evening they are so excited.  I am hoping that Rachel will be well for the weekend.  I kept her home from school today because she had had several bouts of diarrhea the last two days.  She seemed to feel okay, but I just thought it would be best to keep her home.  About noon today she threw up, but shortly after she was fine and has been fine all evening.  I am praying that everyone will stay well for the weekend!  It should be chaotic with seven kids...:-)  It will be strange to have Joanna here without Bill.  I still cannot believe he is gone.

In addition to the company, Rachel's birthday is Sunday.  My plan was to get out today and get some shopping done, but with Rachel home sick, that did not happen.  That means I have to try to work that into Saturday.  It should be lots of fun to have all the kids here for Rachel's birthday.  I plan on getting her one of those little trampolines that they use in therapy.  She LOVES to "jump" on the trampolines in gymnastics.  The problem is, she cannot jump.  She cannot get both feet off the ground.  Maybe if we have something for her to practice on she can finally reach that milestone.  She will have fun trying to get there, anyway.     

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I almost let the day get by without a post........well, actually the day is over here in Florida, so I will just have to pretend I am on Central Time tonight!  "Oots" is Rachel word for oops.  It is one of the many things that she mispronounces.  Mollie from across the street is "Moss", kitty is "killy", Whitney is "Nee", horse is "see"-see is also fish and cheese........we sometimes have to resort to sign language to tell which "see" she is talking about. 

I have waited so long to be able to communicate with Rachel and if you were to ask me today if she can communicate, I would say not really.  But, I have recently noticed that she is saying many new words.  She is still limited to one word at a time, but she is really increasing the number of words available to her.  Tonight the doggie gate going into the kitchen was a little hard to open.  When Rachel pulled on it and it did not open, she said, "Locked."  It is really cool to be hearing the new words.  Hopefully soon we will be hearing sentences!!     

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Is It Just Me?

Today Rachel had speech therapy.  She gets speech in school, three days a week, and I take her in to someone else once a week.  Rachel has had speech since she was an infant.  Over all these years, I have been given numerous oral motor exercises to do with her.  I always try to be the good mommy and attempt to do what I am told, but it never fails that, even if I get off to a good start, I end up tappering off.  I always have some excuse not to do is too late, Rachel is too grouchy, there is not enough time, I will do it later, Rachel doesn't feel good, I don't feel good, we are off our schedule with travel or friends visiting, etc.....  I always have good intentions and have spent lots of money on these intentions, only to let them fall by the wayside over time.  Take the eProReading program.  We got through the first coouple of sets of cards, and then I started missing days.  Days became weeks, and now we are not doing it at all.  Am I the only one out there that has a difficult time doing all the recommended exercises? (I am not any better with the PT or OT exercises either, by the way)  If you are good about following through on things, how do you do it?!  I just feel overwhelmed with the things I am supposed to do.  All three girls seem to have a thousand things that they are supposed to be doing, and I feel like I just cannot keep up.       

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

School Pictures.......She Looks So Grown Up!

October 2006

October 2007

October 2008

October 2009

October 2010

I cannot believe that Rachel will be seven years old on Sunday, but when I see this recent school picture, I have to say she is growing up! 

Monday, October 4, 2010

One Month Down............

Rachel has been taking her thyroid medication for a month now.  I am glad to say that it has not been too hard to get the pill down her.  At first she gagged a little when I put it in her mouth, but she got it down.  She will still sometimes gag a little when she just sees me getting the pill out of the bottle, LOL!! 

After taking the meds for a couple of days, she started protesting when I would say it was time to take her medicine.  I was thinking it was going to get ugly, but she did not protest too hard, and now, she seems to understand that it is something she just has to do and protesting won't get her anywhere. 

Sometimes she seems to swallow it whole, but most of the time she chews it up a little before I can get her to take a drink of water.  She makes some nasty faces, but she gets it down.  Just this week I have been able to hand her the pill and get her to put it in her mouth. 

I am so proud of how she has adjusted to taking the medicine.  I was really thinking it was going to be an ordeal, and that I would have to get her up earlier for school in order to be able to get it down her and get her to school on time.  Leave it to Rachel to take it in stride.

For any moms out there who might not know, hypothyroidism is not uncommon in children with Down syndrome.  It is important to have regular check ups with an endocrinologist to monitor thyroid function.  We were taking Rachel in every six months.  Because we were monitoring her on a regular basis, we were able to catch it before Rachel was really experiencing any significant symptoms.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Beware Of The Dog!!!

You gotta feel safe when this is in your house to help keep a lookout for intruders!!  This is what I found the other morning when we walked in the kitchen to eat breakfast.  He never even knew we were in the kitchen and did not know I took the picture.  Good thing I was not looking for a dog for protection!   Cookie, we love you anyway!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Future Businesspeople Of America

In Florida, anytime of year is a good time to make a little money with a lemonade stand.  The girls got out in the driveway with the neighbors the other day and made somewhere around $24 selling lemonade.  What nice people I have in my neighborhood.  They are always willing to stop and buy a cool drink from the kids.  I wonder if they have any idea how happy it makes these kids to sell a cup of lemonade. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

What I Have Learned So Far

In honor of Rachel, I will be posting everyday in the month of October to help bring awareness to Down syndrome.  Before Rachel was born, I had had very little dealings with children with special needs and was not sure what it meant to raise a special child.  I certainly am not an expert in the field today, but I have learned some things in the last seven years.

I have learned that these kids are individuals with their own ideas.  In the past I did not give people with Down syndrome the credit they are due.  I never really thought that they were unique, and I grouped them all together like so many other people do.  "They are all such angels," is one of the most common things you hear about our kids.  Well, they aren't.  They are just like any other kid with good days and bad.

I have learned that in general, children with Down syndrome will learn some things more slowly than their peers, but they really aren't behind in other things.  Rachel did not walk until she three, but she was swimming on her own when she was five.  Not to shabby for any kid!  She also was the easiest of my three girls to potty train.  Imagine that.  The better her speech becomes, the more I realize how much information she has soaked up over the years.  Just because she has been limited to communicating basic needs, has not kept her from taking in all the things that surround her.  

I have learned that kids with Down syndrome are amazing when it comes to some things.  Rachel picked up the iPad and within minutes knew how to operate it.  I struggled for a while with it (still do, sometimes), but not her.  I was wondering how or if I was going to be able to teach her how to use it, but turns out she didn't need my help.  It took us a couple of tries to figure out how to lock out some of the functions on the iPad.  We would think we had it done, but next thing you knew Rachel had figured a way back to the movies or youtube.  She has a memory that is amazing too.  She will recall something from months ago if she is placed in a similar circumstance.  When she becomes a better communicator she is going to be a walking archive!!  

I have learned that as a mommy, I am not good at letting my kids do things for themselves.  I am much too quick to jump in there and help Rachel get dressed instead of letting her do it herself.  I have learned that Mike is much better at teaching the girls to be independent.  I have learned that Rachel may not be able to do something on her own simply because I have not given her the chance.  Down syndrome may make Rachel more dependent on me, but I have to remember to give her the chance to show me what she can do.  

I have also learned to appreciate the accomplishments.  So many things that came so easily to my older girls, have often been a struggle for Rachel.  Despite the difficulties she does it anyway!!  I have come to admire all the determination that is packed into that little girl. If only I had that kind of drive. you, Rachel.  Happy Down Syndrome Awareness Month!  Thanks for all that you have taught me and all that you will teach me.    

Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Hope I Can Do This!

My postings have become few and far between, so committing myself to this is not the smartest thing I have done.  I think it will be fun, though, and hopefully get me back into the blog routine.  October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month.  I have accepted the blogging challenge to blog every day in October.  Thirty-one days for twenty-one chromosomes.  It is not much, but if it can help raise awareness and acceptance of our special kids, I am all for it.  Bring on October!!   

Friday, September 3, 2010

I Cannot Believe It Is September

This time of year I start wishing I did not live in Florida.  I long to have the temps start cooling down and the trees turn colors.  But that does not happen here.  Instead I put up my autumn colored wreaths in the heat and sweat through Halloween.  If we are lucky, it is a little cooler in November.  Well, cool enough that you don't HAVE to wear shorts.  Since I cannot have autumn colors outside, I will just have to settle for having them on my blog!   

One thing this Florida weather allows us to do is grow things year round, so about two weeks ago, I  let Allison plant a "garden" in a flowerbed that I had just cleaned out.  She decided she needed to grow vegetables for us so that we don't have to "spend so much money" at the grocery store.  So far I have invested $5/plant for 5 plants and then $20 dollars for tomato cages.  Oh yeah, and another couple of dollars for a bag of mulch.  I hope these plants start producing soon!  Actually, I am not really sure how it will work out. With less sun and eventually cooler temps, I am not sure if the plants will make vegetables or not.  We will see.  

Here are a couple of pics of Allison's "garden."  It is around the plumbing for the pool pump, so it is not a pretty place for one, but if noise helps plants grow, then the sound of the air conditioner and pool pump should makes these plants THRIVE!  Why here, you might ask.  Well, we had to dig up the plants that I had around there, because they were choking off the plumbing,  You couldn't see the pipes and controls anymore.  Before I got around to dismantling the bed, Allison said she wanted a garden. Viola!  I may have made a mistake letting her plant the zucchini.  It is getting huge!   

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I just found out yesterday that Rachel has hypothyroidism.  We are fortunate that her endocrinologist has been following her very closely, and we are catching this early. Rachel has not shown any symptoms of hypothyroidism.  This diagnosis is not a complete surprise.  Rachel's lab work has shown her to be borderline for the last several years, but the labs from last week confirmed that she has finally crossed that line and will have to take medication.  Medication for the rest of her life......bummer.  I have never been the greatest at remembering to take or give medications.  Lots of irony there, considering the last job I had was pediatric nurse! I guess I will have to get her a pill dispenser to help me remember to give her the meds. 

I got Mike to pick up the prescription last night and did not look at it until this morning.  It turns out the pills are caplets.  I called the pharmacy and asked if they had another way of dispensing the med, but she said, unfortunately, no.  So it looks like I am going to have to try to teach Rachel how to swallow a pill.  I did at least confirm that it is okay for Rachel to chew the pill.  I am betting that it tastes horrible, though.  It might just be easier to try to get her to swallow it.  Just to make it more fun, it has to be taken on an empty stomach, and she cannot eat anything for 30 minutes after she takes the pill. 

It is going to take us some time to get this routine.  We have been so fortunate up to this point, as Rachel has not had too much to have to deal with.  I loved filling out the forms at the doctor's offices and putting "none" for medications taken at home.  Don't get me wrong, we are still so very fortunate. We still have a very healthy little girl.  We are truly blessed. I am betting the first time Rachel tastes that pill dissolving in her mouth, that she is not going to think she is blessed, but she is indeed.  Wish us luck!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

First Day Of School

It is that time again!  The girls went back to school this week.  Allison and Leah started on Monday and Rachel started on Thursday.  I tried my best to get them to ake Rachel on Monday, but they wouldn't........actually, I forgot that she was not supposed to start until Thursday and I got her up and dressed and to school bright and early Monday morning.  She is in the same class as last year so the teacher knows her (and me) so she let Rachel stay in the class for about 15-20 minutes while I got Leah into her new classroom and settled in and ran to the school office to take care of some paperwork. 

Things seem to be going smoothly.  Allison is in 6th grade at the school she has attended since 1st grade.  She seems to like her teachers and is pleased with the friends she knows in her homeroom class.  Leah is now at the school Rachel is attending.  We were rezoned last spring, but Allison was grandfatered into the old school for her last year.  Leah has two little girls she knows from our neighborhood in her class, so she is happy about that.  She is also in a multiage classroom with 4th graders.  I am curious to see how that is going to work out.  Right now, I feel a little uneasy about it.  I am not yet sure if I like that or not.  Rachel is in kindergarten again this year.  she has the same teachers as last year.  She will be going into the indergarten classroom more often this year and will be pulled out only for academics and therapy.  The teacher told me that they would send an aide in there with her at first and then try to give it a go without the aide.  We will see how that goes.  I am excited and scared at the same time.  I hope it goes okay and Rachel can gain some independence this year! 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Missing Bill

It has been over a week since my college friend, Bill, passed away.  He was just 46.  Left behind a wife and four kids.  Aortic dissection, they said.  All I know is that one minute he was here with us and the next he was gone.  Actually that is not exactly the way it happened, but it seems that way. 

I knew Bill in high school, but it was those first years in college that we became friends. Everything I did, I did with a core group of friends that included Bill.  We all watched Magnum PI and Simon and Simon on Thursday nights.  We watched M*A*S*H after the late news.  Bill harassed me to no end about going home from college on the weekends to see my mom.  Once in a while he would win, and we would stay in town.  He was always sure we were out partying with him if we stayed.  He wanted everyone to have a good time.  We attended many football games together.  I can remember painting a sheet in his garage one Friday evening and watching him carry it around the stadium the next day.  It was a game against Notre Dame and the sheet said something about God and the ten commandments, and of course something about beating Notre Dame.  I can remember following his little gold Honda to Birmingham to football games.  His was the only car I ever saw that was dressed up to look like an elephant!  That was Bill.       

After college the get togethers were less frequent.  We lived only about 20 minutes away from each other, but you know how that goes.  Everyone gets a job and gets wrapped up in the day to day stuff.  We were at his wedding in 1990 and he was in ours in 1992.  Well......until the bachelor party hangover required him to have a seat in the nearest pew.  He gave me grief for months about scheduling my wedding day on an Alabama football game day-Alabama vs Southern Mississippi, I think.  I was actually surprised I had not thought of that, but he could not believe that I had forgotten to consider that in my wedding plans.  Some friends were angry with him for thinking like that, but I wasn't offended.  That was Bill.

In the mid 90s, Bill became a Dad for the first of four times.  Mike and I packed up our household and moved to Texas, and our family started not too long after that.  Needless to say, there were even fewer times that we connected in those years.  Our little college group of friends started turning 40.  We were in contact with friends as they started planning ways to embarrass each other at "Over The Hill" parties.  Mike and I were in Minnesota, so we could only listen to the funny stories after the parties were over.  Wish we could have been there to celebrate with them.  Sounds like they went all out for Bill's big day!  A big party for a guy who loved to have a good time.  That was Bill.

In 2004 we moved to Florida.  Finally we were in a place where people would actually come visit, and our kids were getting old enough to actually travel around.  After many long years of not seeing each other, Bill came to Florida with his family twice.It was great to reconnect again.  He also came down with "the guys" for a long weekend of deep sea fishing.  My  kids still talk about how high "Mr. Bill" could splash water when he did a jack knife jump into the pool!!  You could always count on him to be the big kid!  That was Bill.  

Bill decided to organize a regular get together with the old college buds in Alabama.  He named the annual reunion the Redneck Regatta.  For two years in a row we packed up the family and headed to Alabama for a few days on Lake Guntersville.  What wonderful times we had hanging out together.  It was really neat to see our kids form friendships with our friends' kids, and for them to get to know our old friends.  The girls LOVED those trips because they got to hang out with Bill's kids and got to tube behind Bill's boat.  At one point during the last visit, all the kids ended up sitting on one of the boats.  When Bill noticed that they were all out there together, he got the jet ski and started spraying the kids on the boat.  The kids loved it.........that was Bill.

As Facebook gained popularity, Bill became a part of my everyday life again.  It was always fun to read his status and banter back and forth with him about anything and everything.  Our core group of college friends were together again and it was a lot of fun.  One of Bill's last posts was, "Come on feel the noise..."  He would throw a line from a song out there, and everyone would try to come up with the next line.  There won't be anymore of those games on Facebook.  There won't be anymore commentary between Bill and his fellow political enthusiasts.  There won't be Redneck Regattas with EVERYONE there.  There won't be anyone to splash water up to the top of the pool enclosure.  There won't be anyone to spray the kids with the jet ski.  There won't be anyone to help his wife raise those four kids.  Bill, we miss you terribly.  It was fun while it lasted.          

In Memory Of Bill

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

We Love Our Wildlife!

Earlier this week Allison caught the smallest lizard I have ever seen.  After the cold winter, we did not see any lizards for a while, but they appear to be making a comeback.

Allison caught her first bass this morning in the lake behind our house.  She was proud of herself. 

The kids started throwing lunch meat in the water to feed a soft shell turtle.  It was lots of fun watching him come up to eat. He kind of blends in but he is the brown circle toward the top of the picture.  

Leah decided it would be fun to drop the hook she had been fishing with in the water to see what the turtle would do...........he took the bait.  Literally.  He had been cautious to not come too close to the shore so I was sure when Leah dropped the hook in, he would not come up to it because it was pretty close to us. In seconds, he saw the bait and grabbed it before I could get it out of the water.  Poor guy.  I had to work pretty hard to get that hook out. 

We found this grasshopper on the pool screen.  I used to see these all the time growing up, but this is the first one I have seen here in Florida.  The girls thought he was really cool and had to have their pictures made with him.