Monday, October 11, 2010

Powerful instruments ...

I feel overwhelmed, frustrated, bitter, overwhelmed, sad, exhausted ... and, have I said overwhelmed?

A brief exclamation of my absence. One woed - Overwhelmed - With all the curve balls life has thrown me recently, I feel like i'm running in circles, and hitting walls all around me. New changes are coming in the kids schooling (as Madi has just started rsp, and isp), Sawyer is pottytraining, Quinn's dealing hard with daddy's return to crazy work weeks. I feel like my mind has too many thoughts to muddle through. so nothing is getting in that department.

I'm deeply saddened by the death of a local boy. A young gay man (18) decided to follow his heart and assumed what was right to him and became 'chloe'. Faced with bullying and harsh judgement, he shot himself, days before his 19th birthday. wtf is wrong with this world??

Let me begin by saying .... Judge not lest ye be judged. Right?

So, as a religious women I have my feelings on the matter... as a psychology graduate student, I have my feelings on the matter, and the conglomeration of the two - It doesn't matter.

What is 'right' to me is honestly irrelevant. If an individual is Gay, Green, Straight, etc etc etc its irrelevant. Are they living their life justly?

Do they go around exploiting children? do they commit murder? do they harm other people in being Gay/Bisexual/Transgender? ...
Nope. so .. why is it a big deal? Who the HELL am I to enforce specifics of my morals on other people? Sure .. we most of us agree, we should not kill, we should not steal etc. Are people who have different sexual preferences violating those moral specifics?

Ever heard the saying love the sinner, hate the sin? I'm a sinner, so is every one!!

Explain to me how bullying, torturing, killing etc etc a gay/bi/tg person is exempt as a sin? My God teaches tolerance, love. He teaches that we shall not judge. HE does that. And i'm sorry ... I can't see my God turning his face on this young 'chloe'.

So, some jackass(es) took it upon themselves to attack verbally, a young man .. to the point where he felt he had nothing to live for .... to the point where he loaded a gun .... to the point where he took his own young life.



A Travesty.

I have a few people close to me in my life that are part of this 'group'. One is actually very close to me. Do I love this person differently? Absolutely not. My only concern for him is the awful judgment of others. People can be so cruel.

So ..... we have these 'instruments' with which to speak out .... or keep quite. Freedom to, is paired with freedom from.

Ani Difranco wrote

"You know you need your instrument, but does your instrument need to be miked?"

You know your opinions are important .... but at what point do you keep your mouth shut and realize your opinion are judgmental .... Possibly hurt someone so much that they kill selves ... We have powerful instruments.

Ponder ...

You don't have to like, but you shouldn't hate.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

When knowledge doesn't feel like power

"When your body grows bigger, your mind grows flowers, its great to learn, 'cuz knowledge is power".

Remember that? I remember ... very vividly, School house rock was a marker for my childhood learning and the songs and jingles have stuck with me.

However, with the happenings of the last few weeks of my life I am feeling rather 'stunned' by this knowledge, and almost wish that I could rewind, change something, somehow alter the time I stand in right now.

Perhaps I should start at what I could notice as the beginning, and please understand, this free flowing though will likely not be edited...spare the comments on the grammatical errors :)

Madison, my now 9 year old beautiful daughter seemed to start to struggle in math in First grade. She understand the concepts, but could never seem to remember the basic addition facts. She struggled to retain the knowledge, and myself, and the teachers who observed (for lack of a better word) my teaching of my daughter through the charter school we used to affiliate with just thought it was developmental. you see, I work hard not to place unnecessary pressure on my children based on the societal ideals that others may have. Developmentally, perhaps she wasn't 'ready' to memorize those math facts. No big deal, when Madison 'decided' to read, she jumped from beginning reading to reading at the level of a third grader in 1 school year!!

Second grade came, and once again, math was the source of contention, she would cry, sulk, complain and all and all just hated math. I told her new teacher of my concerns, and once again it was developmental, and, of course, I as her mother should do MORE flash cards, more drills, and subsequently cause MORE friction and perpetuate her hatred of math.

Third grade came, we moved to a new area, had a new teacher and Quinny started Kinder. Madison was still struggling, trying to teach her to tell time or count money was akin to torture. She simply could not get it, and was so disappointed in herself. Especially when her 5 year old brother was answering her math questions. Sure, Quinn has shown he is gifted in math, but boy did that crush my precious girl. I had to separate the math lessons, spend extra time trying to teach madison, and deal with daily meltdowns as a result. BUT I thought she might be getting it. We did online games, fun stuff .. anything to get her interest to increase. She could finally tell me the pieces of money (quarter, dime, etc. etc.) but still struggled to remember their value, she could tell me 'about' what time it was, but could not say, 4:29. Still the teacher agrees she will learn, it will click.

At this point, I knew, I just knew something was wrong. No one listened, but I knew. I was able to introduce the concept of multiplication to her. She understood that 4 x 6 was the same as four groups of six. But she couldn't solve it without a white board and a pencil, and making four boxes that each had six dots in each then counting the entire thing. She couldn't 'count-on' when doing math. (ie. when adding 6 and 9, one should say the number 9 in their head, and count up 6). Instead, she had to count the first number, then the second, and often by the time she solved it and gathered her pencil to write the answer, she'd forgotten it.

I.just.knew. Why didn't they listen?

I decided that I would remove my children from my charter, feeling that my concerns were not being addressed (and other aspects I shall not go into at this moment, but inquire if you must). I spend the rest of her fourth grade year trying diligently to work on making her foundation in math stronger, blaming myself for her difficulties, it must be that we didn't spend enough time on addition, I rushed her in the belief that she was choosing not to do it, or that it was a developmentally appropriate. 5 whole months passed by with little improvement. It was then that I started researching about math disabilities, what they entailed and what could be done. I made the decision to contact the local school district at the end of her 3rd grade year.

Fast forward to this September.

The school psychologist contacts me, and we discuss my concerns, he agrees that something sounds 'off'. The gamete of testing began.

School psychologist administered dang near 4 hours of testing, and before I left he affirmed that there was definitely something going on. He believed she had Dyscalculia, but was much more concerned about the 'visual spacial' difficulties she had. What ... what is a visual spacial difficulty and wth does it mean?! Before I answer that, let me tell you my annotated bersio of what Dyscalculia is. It is essentially dyslexia with numbers. Individual's with this learning disability struggle to understand math, and its concepts.

"Dyscalculia is a specific learning disability in mathematics. Dyscalculia is a word you use to describe when people have significant problems with numbers - but still have a normal or above normal IQ. It seems that no dyscalculic has problems with math alone, but also struggle with problems being able to learn to tell time, left/right orientation, rules in games and much more. See the list of symptoms. Also, there are more types of dyscalculia, and all types demand specific learning methods aimed at the specific problem." (1)

Ok ... this fit her, this was what I thought she had prior tp testing, I felt relieved, I WASNT CRAZY ... but that still left this whole visual spacial disability spinning in my head ...

google it, I dare you. You'll get a fountain of information ... most point that this is in fact a 'nvld' or (non-verbal learning disability). Which is where the psychologist is leaning, but as he is a school psy. he cannot diagnose it exactly. I am currently searching for the next step.

visio spacial disabilities I am still working on understanding. Let me just tell you the 'quirky' things I just thought were part of my daughter ... till now.

She learned to ride a bike at 7, AFTER her 4 year old brother ... he motivated her, if not for him, i'm not sure she'd be doing it. She struggles with the coordination of things like that. She just learned to tie her shoes tightly. She has been able to do it for a year but it was soo loose it wouldn't stay, but she FINALLY has it (so proud). The list goes on and on of these little 'things' she does.

The psychologist said a few things that resonate, and define her.
1. if you place her hands behind her back and ask her to touch her middle finger to her thumb, she cannot do it.
*This is because she cannot visual her hands and the positions of her fingers.
2. Her struggle to remember an answer long enough to write it down
3. Her struggles in following multiple step directions
*this is because she has issues with her working memory. She cannot hold but a few thoughts in her head at a time ... the psy gave the example of juggling. she can only juggle two, maybe three, balls. She cannot manipulate thoughts in her mind.

She cannot close her eyes and imagine herself in a room. She cannot picture things when she closes her eyes as others do, she has 'verbal' scripts' that do for her what visualizing does for us.

confused yet ... So am I.

Everything I have ever scolded her for is due to some disability I knew nothing about. I did NOT expect to walk out of these meetings with this information.

I have a special needs daughter.

I have a daughter who will be affected the rest of her life by this disability ... she will not be able to follow maps well, she cannot do math in her head, her handwriting, which while I have seen worse, is very labored, why? Because she struggles to visualize what she has to write, plus she has issues with 'fluid' writing.

Really I could type and type and still not convey the complexity that is this disability...

But, you know what hurts me more then anything? the fact that my daughter is not seen as I see her. I look at my daughter, that smile, those eyes, I see compassion, caring, intelligence, I see kindness love, and honestly, I see the first person in the whole world who truly loved me as me. the person who is reason I breathe, She saved my life. She's the most amazing little girl a mother could ask for. She's perfect to me. What kills me is that other's won't see that. That someone is going to see her disability. and that is going to be her definition to another person. That she won't be 'that outgoing blonde girl with great manners', and she'll be 'that girl with that disability.' (part of this comes from the fact that from my understanding it's not too common).

As I write this, I vow to my daughter to NOT let that define her. to NOT let her disability be her trade mark .. but to let her make her own mark .. despite it all.

So here I sit, suddenly a mother of special needs daughter, with one that is uncommon to boot.

THIS is why knowledge doesn't feel like power .... today at least.

1 -

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

Interestingly enough, a few days ago I had a conversation with a friend of mine from church in regards to my family. The actual family I have, uno the ones in which I am genetically part of. She asked if I was close to my parents, and I explain no. Things have not been ok with us for years, we haven't had a pleasant conversation in 11 years. Not to mention, they don't know my children, etc.

She asks me why? Well, I tell her, that's a very good question. One that doesn't really have a logical answer. I just explain that there are some people in life who hold grudges. Some people, despite themselves, can never understand the ramifications of their actions on others. I tell my friend how my little brother and I have recently (in the last 3 years) became very close. That I feel we have a pretty typical brother/sister relationship. Despite what our parents feel about me, my brother chose to make his own judgement. For that, I can never thank him enough/.

To avoid the negative talk of the craptastic relationship I tell my friend. The most important thing about my father are the few things I do remember that are positive.
1. He loved Music.
We would sit on the porch swing and listen to 'Bad Company', 'ZZ top' and other awesome classic rock. He and I connected here, and I don't feel that anyone in his life connected in this aspect with him.
2. He loved the outdoors
I have many good memories of camping and gold panning, hiking and swimming with my father.

Regardless of my dad's judgements on me, and my feelings about him, and those judgements, he does possess a few good things. The best part of this?? My husband possesses the same. He Also loves music, to the same extent that I do, and he also loves the outdoors. His dreams are to work in the wilderness, where he is all he wants to be.

I continue to tell my friend I am so grateful that the few things about my father I did get, because I was able to chose my husband who possesses those same things. Jeremy however, does not have the part of my father that led us to not speaking for 11 years. Thankfully.

My friend continues to inquire about specifics. I say, Uno, when it all comes down to it, regardless of the circumstances, it's done. I no longer mourn the loss of a father, because I never truly had one. I stopped mourning the lack of a mother years ago. I told my friend, I prefer not to talk about the nitty gritty details.

The point of this blog, perhaps to say

Dad, despite everything, I have learned from you. While a majority of these lessons were things that remind me what not to do, it's still something. Thank you. thank for your love of the outdoors, for the love of music. These positive qualities I am reminded of. Yesterday, driving back from the lake, through the trees, a deer crosses my path, and 'bad company' plays on the radio. At this time, I am brought back to some memories that I have seem to have forgotten.

I am reminded today by the smile on my children's faces, and the glow of my husband that today is father's day. The day to honor the man who does everything in his power for you. My sweet Jeremy is the hardest worker, he supports me going to school while he works endless hours, often out of town. He loves us. Unconditionally. Something I cannot say about my own father. But I am PROUD to say about husband. The father of my children, the reason for my successes, and my supporter, my cheerleader, and overall a damn good man. Thank you Jeremy, for being everything my father wasn't to our children, and everything good that he was to me. There simply are not words to express the depth of my love for you. <3

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Will we be sucessful in our children's eyes?

This is something that has been resting heavy on my mind a lot lately.

When my children are 30 (27, and 23 respectively), will they know that mommy and daddy worked hard to make treasured memories. Do they know how much thought I personally put into attempting to create these memories, and how important to us it was that they looked back on their childhood with happiness and not disdain?

My questions are.
1. Do I create enough positive, wonderful memories for my children?
2. Is my planning actually done in vain? Because positive memories are not made by the parent, but rather....facilitated accidentally?
3. Is it a combination of both 1 and 2?

My positive childhood memories are few, most of them are entwined with my best friends. I remember pretending I was a mermaid for hours in the pool with Megan. I remember putting our dolls in a stroller and taking them for walks. I remember getting ice cream from the ice cream truck. The cessation of contact with my parents that occurred 11 years ago definately was not without cause, but I won't deny there weren't some positive memories.

This, of course, makes me hyper sensitive to the ideas around my own children. Are they going to remember that one time that mommy got really frustrated because they were fighting all day and yelled, or, are they going to remember the time we sat in the dark when the power went out and played 'who am i'? (a game we created together), perhaps they'll remember camping at Sample Meadow and playing Frisbee in the valley, the love, the kisses, the 'I love you more then all the stars in the sky, more then all the sand on the beach, and more then all the trees in the forest'. Perhaps .. just maybe Quinn will remember that I'm 'his girl'.

Now that I got all mushy, I ask you ... do you feel that you as a parent (or even those without children, do you and our spouse or significant other) create enough opportunities for positive memories? or .. do you feel that they will just create themselves?

I think, it's a combination. You cannot micromanage every facet of your life and expect happiness to occur, sure, that planned trip to Disneyland, my kids will likely NEVER forget. But .. I think an immense amount of happiness comes in spontaneity. So .. perhaps the answer to my questions is that you should as a parent or loved one, seek out good opportunities to offer memory making moments, but, you should not be afraid to embrace the memories that occur without planning.

Madison, Quinn, and Sawyer, mommy hopes every day she gives you all the love, care, hugs, guidance, and support you deserve. :) Love you all, more then all the trees in the forest. :) <3

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Home Again Home Again Jiggity Jig

This might not turn out to be a 'silly' blog as the title indicates, but that little tune has been playing in my head for the last three weeks.

My family and I just moved home. To some, it's no big deal, and to others, like myself ... I didn't know how much home was a part of who I am, the literal fiber of my being, until I left.

A little under a year and a half ago my husband's job relocated us out of town. Part of me was excited. A new place, new faces, new things. I thought I was one for adventure. I have lived in this area of California for all of my life. Not in this town per se, but in the area. Jeremy and I used to dream about moving to Alaska, moving ... somewhere, and at times, we really thought anywhere would do.
Those of you who have lived in a small town must understand. People know your buisness. Perhaps more painfully, you run into people constantly, and it seems those days you really want to just run to the store to grab milk, you're stopped by 5 people. The feelings of anonymity are gone. This used to bother my husband much more then I, he's far more anti social then I. However, I can attest to internally heavy sighing when I'm really in a hurry.
Anyways, back to our journey. Not only relocating but moving into a 'city' (which is really, a small town, outside of a larger town). This area did have a few perks, the grocery store was 5 min. away (this included strapping all the children into car seats), and the kids often had neighbor kids willing to play (this was a mixed blessing). The perks were small in comparison to the less appealing parts. The first was the medical care. (For those who know the story of my sons birth, you understand). Second, was the people; the whole time I was there I only made two real friends (I am sure part of it was my lack of going out every day to the 'big town', but I simply do not have the time, or money for that social effort lol). Lastly, the original idea of our moving (that my husband would be home more) backfired. Instead, he began working out of town. The kids and I saw him only 48 hours a week. This lasted for about 11 months. ELEVEN MONTHS! talk.about.lonely.
Without going into to many boring details, the point at hand is that we did not like this town. We dreamed of home. So much so, that my husband bought me a picture that made me think of home. When my husband's job confirmed he would stay in this job position (working out of town), we saw it the opportunity we needed to move back home. That way, I wouldn't be by myself all the time (w/o family or friends to support me, as I raised our kids practically alone). Additionally, when he came home from working, he could come home and be happy. ( I should add, that since coming home, my husband has been home every night, changes in job regions, lets hope its permanent).

So...... here we are. Not only did we move home, but we bought a house at home (good luck moving me again!). I cannot explain the extent in which we missed it here.
I sit outside on my 2.3 acres of land, MY LAND, and watch my children play, no sirens, no gangs, no people in a store flashing gang signs at my husband because he was wearing blue. Instead, I garden (something I have never done, but am taking immense pleasure in), I hang my laundry on the cloths line while my toddler picks me 'fowa's' (flowers), and my older kids play soccer or hide in their 'fort'. Today, I sat and knitted while my husband and the baby talked about trees and grass and 'fowa's', and my older two kids ran around pretending to be secret agents, exploring with an old pair of binoculars. Every morning I get up and I open all the blinds, never afraid of who is looking in my home (as no one could see!), I teach my kids school under the bright sun that shines in the window, and we all eagerly look forward to 'recess', where we can all be and feel free outside, in our wonderful mountains.

I really thought I wanted something different ... something better, but I know realize, and I am sure my husband agrees, different isn't what we really wanted, and it surely wasn't better. Every day he and I discuss how much we love our home, our life, and each other. God is so good.

Tollhouse ... I missed you ... and now, you're stuck with me! ... apologies.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Growing up"

Well, in T-minus 15 days I will be 30. :) Am I grown up? I don't know, am I?
Lots of things have happened this last week.
I found a home for my grandmother. What a weight of my shoulder's. I find myself however, swelling in my own mortality when i'm around her. I find myself very scared of what will happen if I end up like her. I cannot imagine being caught inbetween like she often appears to be. Between what is 'normal' and this 'abnormal' place, where you cannot remember the people who love you, you can only remember certain memories. With my granny, it's often bad memories, of abuse and heartache. Please God spare my children from witnessing this from me. :(

On a much much lighter note, my husband and I are officially homeowners!!! We're very excited. We have something to call our own. In about 6 weeks we'll be moving, AND i'll be graduating. 2010 is surely shaping up to be a pretty amazing year.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Holy Sheep Batman!!

What a WEEK! I have intended to post my pics of my wetbags and things much sooner, but simply have not had the time. Here's why (if ya wanna, it's ok if you skip it :p)
1. I got a clogged milk duct, nearly made it's way to mastitis I think! I had a low grade fever for two nights, and it just knocked me on my butt! I was so tired I could not teach school one day. I was literally exhausted stirring the batter for biscuits, I had to take a break and rest my head on the counter. (no lie)

2. Once I felt better, Sawyer busted in with a fever. He's cutting molar's, so I assumed it was related to that. Well, Friday night his fever was so high that tylenol AND motrin were the only way I could get it down. He has also been on this 'party all night' kick where he'd been staying up till 10 or 11. (infringing on the only time I have to do school work). So, between him being ill, and staying up VERY late, I have had no down time. He was ill all weekend. Thankfully, Sunday night the fever was gone for good, and he's on the mend.

3. I had a paper to write that, as mentioned above was not being written during its allocated time, so I had been using mommy down time errrr nap time, to write it.

4. So, after a whole week of feeling awful, or dealing with a child who felt awful, the end is here! However. I got a call from my grandma's nursing home (for those of you who don't know, I am her only family, I facilitate everything for her). They determined she needed to be in less care. So, a downgrade from skilled nursing, to board in care. I'll spare you all the rants of how ill it makes me that our country cannot care for its elders adequately. So, I spend all of Friday on the phone (quite literally) working this out, or rather trying to. Some progress has been made though, thank God.

5. We are moving home here in a few months, and have decided to start looking to buy a house, as opposed to continue renting. Shockingly, we found one we liked. Last weekend my fabulous in laws went to look at it for us, and we are going to look at it this weekend. As well as go deal with social security and a bazillion other things with granny while we're in town.

Phew, that was a mouthful huh? Ok .. so the kitchen wetbags are AMAZING. Like I expected anything else from kelli. I simply love her. Also, she is going to make some custom trainers for little man because he's so anxious to use the potty :)

Here are some pics!!!
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Here is one of them (they're the same)

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Another pic :)

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All put away :)

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And... just for fun. This is what Sawyer thinks the pocket is for :)