Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Why "Title 1" Isn't a Four Letter Word.

Last year, at about this time, during conferences, our Baby Girl's teacher told us that according to her standardized test results she was "borderline qualifying" for Title 1 service.

Those words made me catch my breath. "WHAT??? MY daughter? Qualifying for Title 1? Couldn't be." And so, Mr. Wonderful and I talked it over, I talked with a few of my teacher friends, I scratched my head in confusion...she seemed to be at (if not further) the same "place" as our other children. The difference? Her personality. Shy (especially with strangers), where they were more outgoing. Stubborn, where they were "go with the flow". 



We all agreed...we'd wait it out. Let her get more accustomed to school, tests, etc. Let her get more confidence. And so, we rode it out until winter when we were informed, via letter, "According to your child's test results, she qualifies for Title 1 services which will start...". And just like that, my world was crushed.

I was CERTAIN it was something I had done wrong. SOMEHOW, I had failed my youngest born. I had let her down. And yet...I was STILL confused. She STILL seemed to be just as knowledgeable as our other kids...and when we sat down at home and went over the things they test in school, she KNEW them. A LOT of them. A LOT more than what she scored on those dang tests (yet another reason to kick standardized testing to the curb...but that's a whole 'nother post).

So, the Mr. and I talked again. He was still resistant to the idea of Title 1...I, on the other hand, was a bit more open to the idea. I knew she knew more than what those dang test results showed but...BUT I saw Title 1 in a different light. Perhaps, the closer attention with a different teacher would help build her confidence. Would help her realize she KNEW those answers, she just needed to be able to say them out loud.

I quickly saw her blossom...she adored her Title 1 teacher and the time she and a handful of her classmates had with Mrs. H. To be honest...I kind of think she thought it was pretty cool...getting to spend that extra time with someone else, that not everyone got to!

Kindergarten ended, summer started and flew by and before we knew it, it was time for her to start 1st grade.

Wanna know what's interesting? Her test scores are at, or above, where they want them to be! There's been no mention of Title 1 and the girl is reading like crazy! (Which, let me digress, is absolutely adorable...is there anything more precious than a new reader, walking into a store/building/office and reading ALL THE WORDS?! I mean. Her world just exploded with words! Anyway...)

In hindsight...Title 1 was not the "stigma", not the "four letter word", not all the bad stuff I thought it was. And no, she was not automatically "labeled" as Title 1 when she entered 1st grade, as I had worried she would be. 
Turns out, Title 1 was a pretty beneficial thing for our Babe.

And I had nothing to fear, afterall.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Christmas Kick-off!!

As we speak, my mom, SIL and myself are power shopping our way through the Mall of America! It's our annual Christmas shopping kick-off and man alive...was I due for a little "me" time!

After single-parenting it for the last two weekends (hubby was deer hunting), I was ready to have a night that I didn't need to worry about bedtime or supper or baths or laundry! Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE being a mom and very rarely "need" time away AND I have a husband that is "all in" when it comes to parenting, but sometimes? Sometimes a mama just needs a night away.

A dinner out, where she doesn't have to share even ONE bite of her salad. 

A bedtime where the ONLY person she needs to worry about brushing their teeth is HERSELF.

And that night was last night. At the Radison Blu...attached to the mall so we didn't even have to step foot outside and could haul bags to and from our room! Like a little slice of heaven, right here on earth. And BONUS: a Caribou coffee RIGHT at the mall entrance to our hotel!

The mall is decorated for Christmas (SANTA IS EVEN HERE!!!!) and this annual trip really kicks my Christmas spirit into high gear!

So...happy Monday to you! I'm off to find some "perfect" Christmas gifts!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Yes, I Did...And I'm Totally Not Ashamed.

Just finished up a fantastic weekend. Started with my least favorite holiday of the year and a bad attitude turned completely around...like when the Grinch's heart grew 3 sizes. 



For several years, I took our kids trick-or-treating in our town's business trick-or-treat event. And each year I grew more and more hateful toward Halloween until I realized it was the HORDES of people fighting in and out of small doorways for one small tootsie roll that were making me so stressed out!

So last year, I said ENOUGH! No more downtown trick-or-treating. Mama needs her sanity. We did our annual Gram's Chili and then the hubby took the kids around to a few houses near my grandparents. Well, this year, I decided (begrudgingly) to go along with them and guess what????

I actually found myself enjoying it! Watching my bundled up Elsa, dress billowing out from under her winter coat, run door to door, seeing my kids being all shy and uncertain at the first couple of houses and then, near the end, offering up an unprompted "Happy Halloween" to each house they visited! It was delightful.

I giggled. I beamed as I heard their "thank you"s being offered without any reminders. My heart swelled when, after one of those sincere "thank you"s, an nice old lady said, "Well, I sure like to hear that!". Turns out, Halloween isn't as bad as I thought!

Then Saturday, the Mr. and I helped my bestie and her Superman move into their new home and gosh, if I didn't realize how much I enjoyed moving, too! So rewarding to see so much progress in such a short period of time and the excitement. I remember moving and as stressful as it was, there's always that strong undercurrent of excitement. Of new beginnings and memories yet to be made.

Sunday brought with it the spontaneous idea to host supper for my parents and Gram and Gramp. I had promised my mom Carrot Gravy (sound gross, but just try it, it's amazing!) for her birthday (in August) and Sunday seemed like the perfect day.

While grabbing some groceries, I wandered down the "Seasonal" aisle at our local Walmart and was struck with a sudden and ferocious Christmas bug. So, I came home and promptly put Pandora on to the Country Christmas station.

Yes. I was listening to Christmas music. And I'm not even a little bit afraid to admit it! #iheartchristmas Wait. Did I just use a hashtag in a blog post?! What is this world coming to?! ;)

Anyway, I now have a houseful of kiddos who are eagerly anticipating Christmas, asking when we can decorate and starting to talk about their Christmas lists. I'm hoping to try to slow the Christmas season down this year and try to enjoy it more. It just goes too fast!!

Have a fabulous week...and good luck to the deer hunters next weekend!


Monday, October 27, 2014

Something I Haven't Done for Awhile...

Used to be that I'd share a picture now and then when I did a photo shoot. While my shoots are few and far between these days, I do have some to show you!

But first up...how do y'all store your photos? I've discovered my picture taking has WAY slacked off since my laptop ran out of memory. And, I'm not a fan of my external hard drive because it just DUMPS the pictures in there and, for example, leaves me with 5+ photos with the same title (DSC_0043 or something like that). Can I move them into folders? Will it take me 87 years? Is there some online storage solution that I can pull my photos back from (not Shutterfly, for example)?

I've tried uploading to Google, but it never works. (What am I doing wrong?) Help!!

Anyway, here's a few of my faves from my most recent shoots...





Happy Monday!

Monday, October 13, 2014

In Love.

We had Dr. J and her awesome family over this weekend, and as we were getting ready for them, I decided to decorate my mantle for fall.

Dubya hauled up my Rubbermaid tote full of fall decor for me and we began to set things out, feeling content and happy as I sprinkled my house with hues of orange, red, and yellow.

Prior to our remodel project, our fireplace was something I tolerated. Put up with. The Mr. and I had spoken, now and then, about refacing it with stone or some other kind of brick but it was my dad that spoke these wise words, "Just wait until you're done with your project...you might change your mind about it.".

Never. I NEVER thought I'd change my mind about our fireplace being something other than an object that I just put up with. I never thought that I could actually APPRECIATE our fireplace...but then? Something magical happened.

As things came together with the remodel project, I began to realize that our fireplace was starting to shine. I was kind of as if we "unearthed" it and instead of it being this big, behemoth of a structure that always seemed to be in the way and never appealed to me, suddenly I saw it in a whole new light! The colors we chose for the walls and the warmth of the wood floors have made our fireplace come to life!


One thing I have always loved about my fireplace was being able to decorate the mantle for various holidays and seasons. So, when we finished decorating the mantle and I stood back, my breath caught for a moment as I saw, with fresh eyes, the majesty and beauty of our fireplace, set in its new surroundings and, once again, I fell in love with our home.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

They're BAAAAAAAACK!

Perfect timing for a spooky story, since it IS October and all, right?

Imagine this: you lose your way to contact loved ones, then right before your very eyes every appointment and party and get together vanishes into thin air.

DUH DUH DUH DUHNNNNNNN.

It happened to me Sunday morning. I slept peacefully through the night only to wake up and discover that all of my contacts had gone missing from my phone during the night. I thought maybe they all ran off together on some grand adventure, but I discovered them, hanging out together, right there in the cloud. So WHY weren't they on my phone?

Of course, I wanted a quick fix. A button to push. Something fast and easy. But everything I tried was unsuccessful. They remained, stubbornly, up there in the dang cloud.

Then I discovered my Calendar had been wiped clean. To some, this might sound like something from their wildest dreams, but to me? TERROR. That calendar is my LIFELINE, PEOPLE!! I panicked a little, wondering what important events, dates, meetings, appointments I was going to miss...

I decided to throw in the towel and get the new iPhone. Clearly my 4S was no longer up to the task of being my #1 sidekick. I hauled my butt to the nearest Best Buy (my new favorite place to shop, thanks to the SUPERB service we've gotten there!) only to discover that they were clean outta iPhones. 

Over to AT&T I went. Same story.

Then onto Target. Ditto.

And then, to Best Buy Mobile. Where, they too, were out of the iPhone. I lamented about my missing contacts and calendars and "ugh'ed" that they were still in the cloud so why won't they come back down to my phone.

Then, this adorable blonde haired young Best Buy dude said something magical, "Wait. It's in the cloud? Try signing out of your Apple ID, then sign back in." Seems easy enough, right?

Well it didn't work. BUT THEN. OHHHHHHH BUT THEN!!!

I remembered something I had read on the internet...if you turn off iCloud for contacts and calendars (keeping what's already on your phone), then turn them back on and "merge", that your info will come back. Well, I had already tried that (about 30 times, like the Walmart cashier that kept trying to scan an item that said "Non-saleable item"...IT DIDN'T WORK THE FIRST TIME, why would it work the 30th?!) and failed but I had a EUREKA moment.

What if...WHAT IF I put the two tactics together? It was like you could see the freaking light bulb light up above my head.

I quickly grabbed my phone, turned off iCloud for contacts and calendar and then signed out of my Apple ID. I waited a few minutes, signed back IN to my Apple ID then turned iCloud back on for contacts (choosing "merge" when the option comes up) and calendar AND HOLY MOLY.

There were my contacts. E'ry last one of 'em!!!! And my appointments and birthday parties and prior commitments and EEEEEEEEK!!!!

My life was all back in order.

The end.



Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Awesomeness

Kids, particularly your own, are the most amazing creatures on earth, no?

The love and adoration a mama feels is absolutely spectacular, no?

You hurt when they hurt and you share their excitement when they're excited, no?

So...lemme tell you a little story.

Remember when this sweet pumpkin was born? 


And I took her newborn pictures? 


And she didn't cooperate one little iota but GOOD GOLLY is she ever cute and I can't say that I minded getting to hold her and feed her and cuddle her to get her to TRY to cooperate? Yeah, her.

Anyway, when I was finished snapping photos of the little munchkin, my brother and sister-in-law were talking to me as I was (confession: half) listening as I looked through the photos on my camera. This is sort of what I was (half) hearing, "You know...and you...but we're thinking...for baby...that we were going to ask Belle to be her Godmother." SAY WHA?????

My head snapped up and I got a little teary because I knew. I just knew that nothing else in the whole world would make my sweet girl's day (month? year? life?) than being able to be the Godmother to her brand new cousin. Yes, she's a young Godmother, but Catholic "rules" are that only one Godparent has to be a confirmed and practicing Catholic...my bro and sis-in-law ran it past the priest and got the go ahead and on Sunday night, during her birthday celebration, sweet Belle got the gift of a lifetime.

The last gift she opened was a card...a card from her baby cousin that read, "Godmother, Your Sweet and Fun and Cool" (or something like that) and the "OH MY GOSH!!" that came out of my girl's mouth was priceless! She was beaming. So excited and thrilled to be such an important part of her cousin's life!! Thankfully, we got it on video...because truly, such an awesome reaction!



And so, as her mama, there I sat, sharing the rocking chair with her while I fed HER Goddaughter...and I got all teary. Because: the joy. The joy that that one little act did for my daughter? It did me in.

The awesomeness of being a parent. It's the best thing in the whole world.

Later that evening, as she was trying on gifts and marveling in what she had gotten and that she had just been asked to be a Godmother, she exclaimed, "This is the best birthday EVER!".

And my heart exploded. 


LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails

This Template was custom created by Bloggy Blog Designz Copyright 2010