Friday, June 6, 2014

graduation day

And just like that, my oldest is a middle-schooler.  I tried my best to bribe her to stay in 5th grade a few more years, but she is ready to fly.  To a new school that is just as big and unknown as her elementary one was 6 short years ago.  She is more ready than I'll ever be.

We are so proud of her and all she has accomplished.  Every time she asked for help with her homework, that game show "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" would run through my head as I realized I wasn't.  ;)  My girl loves music and dance and math.  Her little body holds a great big brain (and heart) that amazes me daily.  I don't know how we got so lucky to be blessed with a daughter like Grace.  I'm awfully glad we did.

Happy Graduation Day Miss Grace Ann.  We are so proud of you and can't wait to see what the next years bring.






Of course, her brothers ended the school year with a bang as well.  Liam will be moving on to 3-day a week preschool and Coop will be a big 2nd grader!  Liam loved his first year at school, and I prayed every day that his teachers would survive his never-quiet mouth and endless energy.  :)  Coop had his ups and downs (50ish days of school missed, but who's counting?) but he had a great year with great teachers and made some awesome new friends.  We are so glad we have a team that believes in him as much as we do.  

This growing up thing is awfully hard on a Mom's heart, but it sure is exciting to see what great little people they are turning in to.  Time marches on, we are enjoying the ride.








Sunday, March 30, 2014

coop school update

Hey you all!!  How could I not have blogged the good news yet?!

COOPER IS STAYING AT SIBLEY!!

We requested a mediation with our school district (a special meeting where a mediator from outside the district is brought in to help us all come to an agreement). Our only dispute was on placement, as we have always felt our team has done a great job on inclusion and goals and services for Cooper.  

Anyways, after a few hours we were all able to come to the decision that the best place for Coop was at his current neighborhood school. 

We are so incredibly relieved. 

Of course, it isn't a perfect solution. The program Cooper is currently in is still moving (and we still think it is an awful decision that our school board has made) but we think patching together services for Coop from the programs remaining at his school is still a better, less disruptive, option for him.  (He will receive services from the special education classroom that stays at Sibley, as well as from the resource room.)

Four months of worry is over. And I can't help but think this all could have been done so differently. If this was the only option the school district was willing to consider (which it really was) then I wish they had come to each of us 4 families that were to be affected and discussed options, like the one we finally settled on for Coop.  A "let's work together to find the best solution" approach for our child, rather than the "we know what is best for you and this is it" approach that we were given. When we are only talking about 4 kids/families, it seems like the considerate thing to do. At the very least, I think a lot of stress and hard feelings could have been avoided. 

But, it is done and over.  We are thrilled Coop will stay where he is. We know it is the best decision for him and our family. 

Thank you for supporting us through all of this!  All the messages of support, phone calls, ideas, and emails.  You guys were so amazing.  Coop is one blessed little man.  Thank you!  




Tuesday, March 4, 2014

liam lines #3



Mom- Keagan has new shoes, are they cool or what?!
Liam- Cool or what?
Mom- Yeah, cool or what?
Liam- Oh, they are cool AND what. Both the same. 



*after he polished off his daily 2 egg breakfast*
Mom- Were those eggs good or what?
Liam- Hmmm, what.



*in the bath*
Liam- Dad, there's a hair situation in my bathtub. 



Mom- Hey Liam, what do you know about unicorns?
Liam- They're glowing. *whispers* They glow. * fake giggles* 
Wait, what was I doing?



*all dressed for school*
Liam- Hi Coopie. Look how handsome I am. 



There's popcorn stuck on my hiccup!



I need to sit criss-cross applesauce, not criss-cross yogurt. 



Every time he goes potty, he makes sure to alert everyone he is going, runs in, slams the lid up, then yells:
That was close!



*sneezes*
Mom- do you need a Kleenex?
Liam- *sniffs* No. Look. It goes back in. 



*snuggling before bed*
Let's hold hands so we don't lose each other..... Cause I love you more than Cheetos. 



I burned an entire pan of cookies. Dave brought the burned black sugar cookie pan out to the kids to be funny and yelled:
Dave- Look, Mom made cookies!
Liam- (screaming) CHOCOLATE!



*In the car*
Liam- Mom!  I see a legendary bug in here!



Hey Dad, my tummy says I need to eat hot fudge. 



Mom- Want to go out for lunch?
Liam- Sure!
Mom- Which restaurant do you want to go to?
Liam- Hmmmm, probably the one that has food. 



Dad- *moaning and groaning because his back hurts*
Liam- Dad, you're really......
Dad- Don't say old.
Liam- Oh!……..Yeah…….You're really....handsome. 



Sitting on Dad's lap: 
Liam- *leans back and crosses his legs* Ahhhh, this is the life. 



I'm going potty. Liam barges in. "Mom, what did you eat?  Caramel?  It smells like it."  



Liam- Who is this?
Mom- Batman
Liam- No it isn't
Mom- Yes it is. Look at the bat on his shirt
Liam- Oh. Yeah. I thought it was a hunka-doke. 
Mom- ?????



Grace- Can we have ice cream?
Liam- Grace. It's not gunna happen. 



Liam: Can I have some chocolate milk?
Mom: Yep. Give me a few minutes and I'll get you some.
Liam: Ok. The kitchen is right over there Mom. And you can bring it to me in my room. 
And a bowl of pepperoni. 



Singing Frozen: Let it go, let it go. Can't hold it back anymore. Let it go. Let it go. Turn away and slam the door. In my faaaace. In my fullllll face. 



Dad, can you get me a car for my bath?  Preferably one that floats. 



Quizzing Liam on cold weather safety:
Mom- What would you do if you got locked outside in really cold weather and you couldn't get back in?
Liam- Hmmmm, a fire?
Mom- You would build a fire?
Liam- Yep!
Mom- I think we need to work on that one.




Tuesday, January 14, 2014

#teamcooper

I like to believe the best of people. I like to believe most people look out for one another.  I like to believe most people wouldn't choose to do something that could knowingly hurt someone. Especially if that someone is a child. 

I guess that isn't always true. 

In a unanimous vote our school board voted to evict our son and 3 other children with special needs from their school, so they can make space for incoming kindergarteners. 

Not one person chose to defend our son. Not one person stood up against the superintendent's proposal. Not one person thought it was a bad idea to sacrifice our child for their agenda.  Not one person thought moving a child against their parent's wishes and doctor's recommendations was something that shouldn't be done. 

I'm afraid if choosing the 'least worse' option is the best you can do, you aren't doing your job.

When a school district's fall back solution to space issues is moving their most vulnerable students (4 times and counting, with the last time being merely 2 years ago) there is something very wrong going on. 

This isn't an option that should even be on the table.  When an administration knows they will be able to roll right over a parent's outcry because the numbers of children in special ed are low, there needs to be more protection in place for these kids.

When our kids with special needs aren't able to open enroll like every other child, an administration shouldn't be allowed to abuse that fact by shoving these kids wherever/whenever they please.  And trying to make it right by comparing what was done 10 years ago is insulting.  Of course options are better now. They should be. It doesn't excuse poor decisions now.  Or make me willing to settle for less than what is a basic right for the typical kids in this district:  to attend their own neighborhood school.  I don't think that is asking too much. 

We will be pushing forward for more answers.  Our child deserves better than this. 


Thursday, January 2, 2014

the new year that almost wasn't


Our annual New Years celebration with our best friends started with this:


But ended much much better:



However, in all the ER and 7 kids commotion, I forgot my nice camera so you will have to deal with crappy phone pics. ;)


We were all ready to celebrate New Years with my two friends since high school and our ever-growing families. This year in Des Moines. (We rotate our party location between our 3 houses every year). However, my migraine-prone brain had other ideas. 

I woke New Year's Eve with such an awful migraine I ended up in the ER by the afternoon and my first cocktail of the day involved an IV and 4 drugs I can't even pronounce. But, they did the trick. A nap in the hospital bed, a nap in my bed (and some gentle arm twisting to convince my husband), and we arrived in Des Moines just in time to ring in the new year with our friends. 

We made up for lost time by staying up past 3am playing games, eating good food, and giggling at kids up past their bedtimes (and our always sleep-deprived selves). 



We are so blessed with friendships that have stood the test of time.  New babies and sicknesses and miles between us can't keep us apart.  Some years we have had to get creative, but we always make it work.  We may not see each other often, but we make the precious few times we do count!

Happy new year everyone!  Happy new year my dear friends and family. A wish for a happy, healthy, ER-free year for you all. :)