I hope you all had a nice Christmas holiday if you celebrate it. If not, I hope you had a peaceful day with family/friends.
I realize there haven't been many posts on this blog as of late, but I have to admit it has been a hard year. I was reminded of how hard it has been when a disagreement with a best friend came to light on Facebook and I was reminded that when I posted a few 'positive' posts that people noted it was nice to see them. I am sorry if there have been some 'downer' posts, but I can't explain how hard it has been this year. Losing my mom was losing my best friend and I just miss her very much. Then losing my 2nd mother, my English cousin, 4 mos later has been hard. Dave has had some health challenges this summer and end of year that have been eye opening for him and while manageable, also hard for me in light of everything else going on. I have not shared that here or on FB, but it's made for a challenging year. I will be very glad to see the end of 2012 and will be toasting the heck out of 2013. :-) Thank you all for the support over the last year, I really have appreciated all the support I have received here, personally and on FB.
We had a great end of year for the girls this month. I got to go hear BGA's class sing The 12 Horrible Days of Christmas on the last day of school before break. She called me to tell me there was an asembly and would I come. I had no idea there was one. She finished off her call with "I love you Mommy" twice to make sure I got the point. I noticed though that she didn't cling to me this time and while she wanted me there, she didn't want me to interact unless she initiated it. She's growing up! Her class sat near where I stood (no seats as I got there late because of a train stopped on tracks). It was hilarious and her class wrote it with the teacher, then performed it (the teacher also is a performer, I believe she sings with a group). It was hilarious and the entire assembly was great as I watched the teachers participating from singing and dancing, etc. It was great to see how enthusiastic they all were and what a great choice in this new school that we made. The only remark that her teacher made was that she is not giving her any trouble other than, "she likes to chat." I told the teacher, "Oh, she's just like her mama." LOL. But it was nice to hear this from the teacher. It made the previous 4 years worth it. The teacher told us at Back To School Night, that she can see her really trying not to get in the middle of stuff with other kids. That's such a huge improvement for her. It makes me feel very proud of who she is becoming. I see that redhaired temper appear sometimes but for the most part I see her trying harder to keep the peace with her sister, rather than blowing up at her. I only see her when she is just beyond frustrated, getting mad and yelling at LGA. I've been told that she helps LGA at school a lot (even though she has denied it) and LGA's teacher's husband, who is a sub and has subbed in both LGA's class and BGA's (and he refused to go back to BGA's class) told me that BGA was the only one who did not give him any trouble and was a great kid to have in class. This also makes me proud. BGA used to be in the middle of anything that went on and I am sure that she was loud and hyper when there was a sub as one of the subs in her class last year told her the equivalent of "shut up" in Spanish not realizing she knew what it meant. The principal refused to handle it when I complained and I did complain. I even told the principal I realized that she could be hyper and probably was a handful, but the sub did not need to tell her to "shut up" and that there were many other ways to have gotten her to behave.
LGA finished the year on a high note as well. We had her IEP the Monday before school ended. It is always a bit unnerving to go in to meet with the teacher, speech teacher and a 'member' of the staff (this can usually be the prinicpal, vice if they have one, or the counselor). I am not sure our school has a counselor, but has a principal (woman) and vice (very YOUNG 30ish woman). The principal chose to sit in on the meeting and we had it in her office. I believe the principal is either younger than me by 3 or so years or she is my age. She was very nice, very involved, and I got a great feeling from her. I love LGA's teacher, love, love, love this woman. She's got over 20 yrs experience, appears to be in her 60's, and is a great teacher. She led the IEP, very professionally, and had great strategies for teaching LGA, said she was making progress and gave us tips on how to work with her. The principal wants to set up her mentoring program and will have an older kid mentor LGA which we did at her other school. BUT.......she wants to inspire some confidence in LGA so will possibly have LGA mentor a kinder student since LGA gets along well with the younger kids. She was very involved in the meeting and didn't just sit there like the previous principa did at the old school. The speech teacher is also an older woman, and she looks to be in her 60's as well. However, for the first time, she had actual goals for LGA and will give us words to work on with her. This has NEVER happened as the only times we asked to help or said we were working on words with her we were told to stop because she wouldn't respond and we'd be doing more damage than good for her. WTH?? This teacher said 'no, we are going to work on words and she will have homework. I have goals for her.' She also told me how much LGA is bonded to me by the way she talks about me all the time. That made me feel good. I think Dave and I felt for the first time since we started having IEP's for LGA (in kinder, she's now in adjusted special ed day class, exposed to 3rd grade level at times) that this was the very first positive one where we felt we were supported and our child was succeeding. LGA has taken a jump this year, reading small sentences, and spelling, some double digit math (although math continues to be hard for her to grasp) and just overall doing well. The teacher has gotten to know her, really likes her (we had this last year when she started mainstream 2nd before we moved her and her teacher there, an older male, really liked her and was sad when she left to go to special ed day class), said she's a pleasure to have in class and really knows how to get the best out of her. She's been very supportive to me as well, given me strategies to work with her at home, and we've seen a decrease of physical use when she's frustrated as her words have increased, and as her teacher now has her draw out her frustrations and works with the kids when they have issues. I have seen her more happier, and not as many issues. We also had a very good conversation on Christmas eve, where she talked patiently, sounded out her words and didn't throw a fit if I couldn't understand her because I could....she took her time. Now when we help her with a word she can repeat it back and I see her trying hard to learn words. She was happy on Christmas eve, she was into her little tree in her room and singing the Christmas music (she's SO disappointed it's over on the all day Christmas music radio station on her radio in her room). It was a nice day. I couldn't believe the change. I know she's growing up but she still is 2 yrs behind emotionally. It was nice to see a glimpse of a more 8 yr old LGA that day. I treasure that moment. She seems to be making great progress and I'm very thankful for the support we have school wise, as I know that is not always the case. I read over part of her IEP and for 2010 it was very depressing. The current IEP was the best we've had. She's making progress. I will take it. The teen years may be hard for her, but after 4 yrs of struggles, I think with both girls, I will take this lull and enjoy it.
Christmas Eve was nice, we went out to breakfast and the girls always enjoy doing that. We ran some errands at Petsmart and Target (LGA has grown shoe and clothes size and some of her clothes do not fit. She had a pair of boots on that were 12 1/2 that she evidently wore last year but now she's in size 1, so she needed new boots, perfect as we had to brave Target for some supplies needed there). She got a pair of pink sparklys (that Dave fought me on saying they were not practical, but she loves them and EVERY girl needs a pair of pink sparklys. If they'd been in my size I would have gotten a pair too!) and a pair of silver style ugg boots. I still want her to have a black pair of dressier boots but didn't find any. We then stopped at the store and got deli meats, rolls, chips, cheeses, salami and pepperoni trays and stuff for Christmas breakfast. We ate lunch with the salami and pepperoni tray then had sandwiches, diet root beer, and sweet nibbles for dinner. I wanted to get some moose munch (from Harry and David. We love the stuff) as Ross had it so I went back out (and had a bit of time to myself) but unfortunately Ross sold out of it. I came home after a nice little break, and we finished off the night watching A Christmas Story on TBS. It was just the 4 of us and it was quiet, but very nice.
Christmas day was quiet but fun. It was very rainy and bone chillingly cold here. We opened presents (and they slept in till 8, what a nice present for Dave and I) and then we all got ready and they played with their presents and when it was time - late afternoon - we went for dinner at Marie Callendars. It wasn't the best meal there for the price, but it was nice to go out to a meal instead of cooking as we have in years past. I didn't feel like cooking and neither did Dave. But it felt great to go out. I really wanted to see a movie, but no one wanted to go. I thought that would have been a great day out to see a movie. An older woman commented on LGA's new shiny pink ugg style boots at dinner. She beamed. She behaved well for the most part at dinner. We then came home and watched some tv, and then bed for the girls. I was very cold and appear to have a mild cold. I knew I was getting a bit sick as I just couldn't seem to get warm on Christmas Day and felt cold all day long.
Dave had Sunday, Christmas eve and Christmas day off. He will have the same for New Years and the girls go back to school on 1/7. He took 1/3 off (couldn't convince him to take off 1/2) so it will be a nice week next week as well. If the rain goes away we might be able to take a day trip or two. We're staying in this week, and so far they are doing well. Minimal fights. Temps are cold - upper 40's to low 50's, and rain has ended but expected back for the weekend.I'm resting as I don't feel well. Laundry to be done, house needs to REALLY be done, but I have no energy so it will have to wait. I'm thinking if I feel better at the weekend I will enlist two helpers to get it done. ;-)
I took no pictures and on Christmas day during presents BGA said, "mom aren't you going to take pics?" No, I just didn't feel like it. I think this year is the year with mostly phone photos and no real photos taken. I guess we'll look back on that later, but I just wasn't in a mood to get out the camera and take any pics. I thought of taking a family pic before dinner, but couldn't get anyone to do what we needed (LGA has a hard time with transitions and putting up her electronic game was not easy for her) so we just barely got out the door. I feel like I'm missing recording part of their childhood, but that's ok. I'm just gonna go with it. Maybe next year I will pick up the camera again and feel more like recording their events. And that's ok too. I survived the first Christmas without my mom and it was nice and just the Christmas I needed this year. Here's to a great 2013. I will be toasting the arrival of this new year wholeheartedly.
Be safe out there friends and enjoy the rest of your 2012. Thoughts for you all of a wonderful 2013 filled with lots of special memories.