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.