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!


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