Sunday, October 30, 2011

Henry's New Glasses

You may remember last September when David got glasses.
This weekend it was Henry's turn.

He was SO excited to get his eye exam!
Like, seriously excited.
He's a nut.

He was adamant about getting blue glasses.
Blue is his favorite color.
He didn't try on any other color.

He looks so handsome and grown up!
And I've probably said about 18304 times this weekend, 
"Henry.  If they're not on your face, they're in your case!"

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Remember this summer when my patio looked like this?
I hated those vines growing from the hangers on the wall.
And I ripped them all out.

My sweet potato vine grew like CRAZY.

It looked so nice and full all summer.
We had to trim it back several times, or it would have taken over the entire patio.
Chris hated it.

I loved it because it was so easy and so full all the time - it never looked bad.
Until this morning.
We had our first frost.
And really?  Time to lose the sweet potato.

I pulled it all out today and look what we found!

We actually GREW sweet potatoes!
I realize this shouldn't be such a surprise, but it was!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

IEP-i-s-s-e-d At Myself

I HATE the IEP process.  Hate, hate, hate it.  The IDEA Act and its alignment with leaving no child behind?  That's a happy crock of crap.  My child - he's the one who would be left behind, should that decision be left up to the schools.  It should NOT be such a fight to have special education services provided.

Long, loooooong story short, I requested a speech evaluation for David about six weeks ago.  We got a note sent home last Wednesday that the evaluation was complete and the note had five or six different appointment times to select from for us to meet and go over the results.  One was the next morning at 10:30 - that's the one we chose.  We sent the note back to school and made it very clear that David had to bring the note directly to his teacher in the morning.  He did.  We got to school at 10:30 for the meeting.  No speech therapist - she was sick.  Um hello.  Could nobody call me when they got the note at 7:45 to tell me that?  They "called the other speech therapist at another school" to see if she could go over the evaluation.  5 minutes later some woman walks out and tells me that we can't go over it that day.  I had no idea who she was, because she never introduced herself.  Oh wait, she was the other therapist.  What the hell?  We went back and forth about the inconvenience, she never knew about it, she wasn't prepared to discuss his evaluation, who said he needs speech anyway, his grades are fine, blah, blah, blah.  I was so steaming mad I walked out.  That was rude, but I was about to either start crying or punch someone in the face.  Our meeting was reset to Monday.

I did a lot of research over the weekend.  And I got madder and madder.

I was mad that the woman was so disrespectful.

I was mad that David has a need for a service but gets great grades and that is the scale for determining if a child qualifies.

I was mad that I let this woman make me so mad.

I was frustrated that it is so damn hard to get a child who is not failing his classes some help with other areas.

I was mad that David continues to need help with things - when is enough going to be enough for him?  He's seven years old and he's spent five years of his life in one therapy or another.  I don't know anyone else who has spent 85% of their life under regular medical treatment and has received not one, not two, not three - FOUR major medical diagnoses in that period of time.  Life altering, game changing diagnoses.

I was mad because I don't want to have to fight about him and what is best for him with everyone who is partially responsible for caring for him.

I was mad because everything always has to be a fight.

I was mad because if he can't get speech at school we would have to pay for it privately and really people, there is going to come a time in the not so distant future when the money for therapy has to be diverted from one therapist to pay another.

I was mad because it takes so much energy to fight about his care.  Energy that I could be spending playing with him or reading with him or riding bikes with him instead of fighting with his school or an insurance company.

I was mad because Chris wasn't mad.  (Really, I was mad enough for both of us.  He didn't need to be mad too.)

I was mad because it's not fair to Jack and Henry that we sometimes have to spend so much time working with David on things or bringing the other children to David's therapies, which forces them to ride in the car a lot and not be playing or having fun.  Not that they have ever complained even one time.

And I was mad at myself for feeling all of those things.

And then?  I got over it.  I realized that I would rather spend the time and energy I was spending fighting about David to be fighting for David.  Speech at school?  Not our only option.  I got up Monday and made a private speech evaluation appointment.  I told myself that I didn't care what they said at school - we could get private services.  No, it wouldn't be the most convenient, but I like the therapist and David would too.  I went to the meeting much more at peace, as Chris and I already made our decision to get services for David privately.  And guess what happened?  The school did the right thing.

David qualifies under the "other health diagnosis" (Tourette's) to receive special education services.  And he started speech today.  And the private therapist?  She trained the therapist at school who is providing his services.  We will touch base with the private therapist in 4-6 weeks.  If he is not progressing, we will add private speech too.

And we will all be OK.  I am so, so thankful that Chris and I are always on the same page about David's care.  We are both very committed to doing whatever we can do to ensure he has every single opportunity to be successful, despite his differences.  (Which, PS, David is completely unaware that he is different from anyone. . . )  This trip with David would be so much harder and so much more stressful if Christopher and I were not working together!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I was cleaning the living room yesterday and Max got excited and peed behind the couch.  I pulled it out to mop behind it, and then pulled it out further so I could just get all of the dust bunnies, etc that gather on the wood floors.  Well. . . that made me decide to move a bunch of furniture around.  What should have been a five minute cleaning project turned into three hours of moving all of the furniture on the first floor around.  Oops.

In the breakfast room before, we had a small cabinet that was my grandmother's by the front door.  It holds board games and puzzles.  I've always wanted a little desk in our kitchen but never really have found a place for one.  (Which is a bit ridiculous, because our kitchen/breakfast area is quite large.)

I swapped the game cabinet with this little sewing table that was Chris' grandmother's.  It had previously been in our entry, and was empty.  Now I have stationery, files, my laptop and iPad, my checkbook, bills, pens, stamps, tape. . . all of those sort of "desky" things in it.  I love it here!  It's also a great space to keep my laptop so I don't have to get the charger out/put the charger away every time I use it.  I can't believe we didn't think of this before.

This was our living room before.  It's a big room, and really didn't feel cozy to me.  It was certainly fine, but I was ready for a change.

First, I covered the couch with the slipcover.  I love me some plaid, but the pink plaid couch doesn't really fit my living room style.  I pulled the console table (which is actually the lower part of a dining room hutch that Chris and I got about 7 years ago for our first dining room) behind the couch.  It's difficult to see in this iPhone photo, but I put some silver frames, to large silver bowls filled with some pumpkins and gourds, and some hurricane vases that I'll put some candles in.  I anchored the table with two floor lamps that I got months ago and GW and painted.  Chris looked at the photo and said, "Hey!  It looks like grownups live there!"

I moved the chair to the space where the console table was.  I pulled a side table that had been in the guest room down from the attic, and brought an old wire milk crate that came from Chris' parents' farm in from our shed.  I put the crate on the floor next to the chair with a round tray on top to make a little space for our magazines, etc.

We moved the victrola (which I secretly hate, but don't tell Chris) to the entry.  I moved one of the chairs from the entry back into the living room.  Next up?  I'm going to cover the cushion on the chair and the love seat.  I'd love to get a new (to us) love seat and just slipcover it, but unless I find one for next to nothing that's not happening.  Until then, I'll work on the recovering project.  You know, that I've wanted to do for over a year.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Big Weekend!

We had a great day today!
We started (early!) at the Middle Half.

Our Run for Katie runners who raised money for Katie were running.
They raised over $1,700!

The big boys did the kids fun run.
I love this photo of them with Ella.
Ella's mom raised the most money for our Run for Katie.
And won a trip!
And clearly winning runs in their family.
Ella won a gift certificate this morning for the best spirit in the kids' race!

D&H did an outstanding job.
I'm so proud of them, and they'll definitely do more runs.

Our whole family came to support our runners and the boys in their run.

After the race we headed to Bell Buckle for the Webb School craft fair.
It was perfect weather for it, and it was a lot of fun.

Of course Jack found a horse dog to play with as soon as we got there.
He (she?) was a great dane, and there was another one right next to him (her?)
The dogs were enormous.
And were quite possibly better behaved than my children.

Everyone was a little tired after our big morning.

We walked around.
Picked up some rocks and threw them in a puddle.

Listened to some bluegrass music.
Performed on the bed of a truck.

Jack really liked it.
It was entertaining.

As was the Amish (?) boy with a pocket watch.
He was dressed just like his father.
Who had a Blackberry.
Can the Amish have blackberries?
Or tattoos?  He had one of those too.

He and Jack were busting a move together.
Because Jack would befriend the only Amish child in a 100 mile radius.

David was clearly not entertained.
I told you - we were all a little tired!

We went home and all took a three hour nap!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Lamp Shade Re-Do

We're slowly but surely making over the guest room to be a room for Katie.  We've decided on paint and fabric, and have painted the walls.  The silver lamps we had in there were too grown up for a little girl.  And I removed one side table to make room for a small bookcase.

I didn't really want to purchase a new lamp, and we have several small lamps that we're not really using.  I may or may not have a thing for lamps. . .

I have had a small white lamp since we bought it for Jack's nursery.  I bought this shade last week when I went Goodwill Hunting.

It was the perfect size, and it was brand new.
And the perfect price, at $3.00.

And this is why it was there.
It was all dented in one spot.
Oh I can so work with that.

First, I measured the height of the shade.

Then the circumference.
Upside down, apparently.

Then I cut my handy drop cloth fabric.
Remember that?
It's the same fabric I used to make my dining room curtains, and to make the boys' monogram pillows at Christmas last year.  I've gotten a lot of mileage out of this drop cloth!
I added two inches to the height and width so I'd have some extra to fold over to finish the edges.

I used hot glue and glued one end to the shade.
I wrapped tightly around the shade and folded the raw edge over to finish it.
I glued that, then had Chris hold the shade so I could pull the fabric taut so it wasn't saggy.
I glued the finished edge over where I started.

To finished the top and bottom, I just folded the fabric over the shade, put a small strip of glue, and pressed.  I quickly worked my way around the top and bottom.  To get it to be finished over the arms of the shade, I notched out the material around the arms.

I love the finished product! 
I plan to make a window seat cover using the same material with navy blue piping.

I think I will do some sort of navy trim around at least the bottom, because when it is turned on you can see the notches for the wire.  I'm thinking maybe thick navy rickrack??

This entire project took me about 15 minutes from start to finish, and cost me $3.00!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Jack's Photo Bomb

Grampy, David, Flat Stanley, Gigi.
And Jack, the photo bomber.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Homemade Granola Bars

Someone call Martha Stewart - I gave her a run for her money today.  We got pumpkins, decorated for Halloween, made bookmarks with Henry, went to the park, and I made homemade sloppy Joe's, apple crisp, and homemade granola bars.  This fabulous granola bar recipe is courtesy of my sweet friend Briana.

Dry Ingredients
3 cups old fashioned oatmeal
1 cup bran buds
5 cups dried fruit and chopped nuts, unsweetened flaked coconut (I used coconut, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and blueberries, and mini chocolate chips.)
1 cup whole wheat or all purpose flour

Wet Ingredients
14oz can sweetended condensed milk
2 large eggs or 1/4 cup egg beaters
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp honey
1/2 cup apricot sauce (or preserves)
1 tbsp canola oil

Mix wet and dry ingredients together very well, this will be a dry mix. Press into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, cut and separate, then cool completely and wrap individually.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Goodwill Hunting

Did you know the first Saturday of the month is 1/2 price day at Goodwill?  I don't know if this is every Goodwill or just Middle Tennessee?  As much as I can't stand going there when it's busy, I love, love, love 1/2 price day.  I got eight books for the boys, including some Flat Stanley books and some Magic Treehouse.  I also got four matching frames for $1.99 each.  I will paint them and hang the kids' school photos in them.  I got one large frame with a great mat.  I will paint the frame.  I got another chunkalicious frame with a great mat.  The color is awful on both, so I'll paint both.  I got a brand new, still in plastic, drum lampshade for Katie's room.  I got ten items of clothing for the kids, which were all name brands including Gymboree, Mini Boden, Hanna Andersson, Lands End, LL Bean, and Gap Kids.  My total?  $36.49.  Well worth putting up with some, um, different people and waiting in a loooooong line!