Thursday, December 29, 2016

Transition to School

 

The transition from homeschool to school has had it's challenges but overall Selena loves school. One of our greatest challenges was transportation to and from school. We went from a two car family to only having one car after the accident. We knew she would have to ride the bus. We were fortunate that she qualified for a small bus that picks her up at the end of our driveway. It became very apparent from the get go that Selena is afraid of the larger busses and has passed on all field trips that require riding the bus. She did go on one local field trip and tried to ride the large bus but it was too much for her. 

 

She loves riding the small bus though and proudly walks to the road to wait for it. The above picture was the second day of school and her first time riding the bus. 

She is doing quite well in school and surpassed all her yearly goals within the first couple months, so we had to redo a new IEP for her. She was jumped in many subjects and is a lot more willing to work on her writing. School was really one of the best things we did. I miss having her at home but admit it's been nice to have the quiet through the day.

At times things do overwhelm her and we're working on communicating with her teachers instead of stuffing her feelings and bringing them home to dump on us. For example the thought of the Christmas program was too much for her. She decided not to participate but had a hard time telling her music teacher. She doesn't like half days or when she has a substitute teacher. I can always tell when things are too much for her because she will not want to go to school or tries to become very argumental with us. She's missed a lot of school, which we don't like but we figure she took the leap, these other things will smooth out.

Some days she misses being home and being homeschooled but when asked if she would like to come home the answer is always the same, "No, I like it at school!" 

It's been fun for me to watch her find herself, her identity and her new fashion sense. I will conclude this post with a few pictures of her fashion and show off some of the clothing she loves.

 

 

 

 

She has so many cute outfits, still loves her dresses but really has an expensive taste in clothing! I am so happy we found FabKids to buy her clothing. Laundry is different because almost everything she owns is hand wash or hang to dry. Oh well, she is growing up!
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2017


 
This morning begins a new adventure in our lives. I so enjoyed this beautiful sunrise as I contemplated the new changes laid before my family. 2016 was a year that was rough at times and quite challenging. We had a lot of transitions, changes, and hard knocks, it is so nice to be ending the year with a whole new chapter in our lives. 

The greatest things that happened this last year:

Selena started public school 

We made the decision at the end of last year's school year, to begin the transition into public school. The decision to put her in school was based on the fact that she was struggling within the homeschool setting becoming very frustrated and beginning to not like homeschool. She had needs that I just wasn't able to meet, such as her writing or lack of writing. We moved forward to testing for an IEP. Selena at first tried to refuse going to school, that slowly turned around to her wanting to try 4th grade. The first Semester in school has been challenging but she loves it! 

Car accident 

Papa and Selena were involved in an auto accident in August. They were rear ended on the highway. Our van was totaled. Injuries were not as bad as they could have been thankfully! Selena was sore and still suffers at times from from post concussion, basically a lot of headaches at times. Papa however took the blunt of the impact. He suffered for months in pain from a very bad whiplash, injured back, and post concussion too. He's getting better but we can't say 100% better. With the loss of our van, dealing with the insurance company, which still is ongoing, loss of pay, and medical appointments, we all were becoming pretty drained. Like I said it's not over yet, bringing on an Attorney it has relieved us from all the stress. I feel Papa began to have more energy to move forward in his healing after we hired the Attorney.

Retirement

Papa began talking about retiring more and more during 2016. After the accident the subject became more serious. We began to set possible dates, and began making lists of the things we needed or wanted to accomplish before he actually retired. We figured if he worked until May we would have everything set and ready. The beginning of December we were yet again faced with uncertainties about Papa's empowerment, not that he would lose his job but a change of employers. Neither of us had the desire to ride through the transition, we felt it would just be a hassle especially with a pending retirement date for May. The wheels were put in gear and I am pleased to say we pulled it off, everything on our to do list was accomplished, everything fell into place and December 29th was Papa's last day of work!

Of course we had good times through the year as well! We were thrilled that TJ and family were able to visit a couple times and celebrate an early Thanksgiving with us. Selena turned 10 this year and has grown so much. Through all the trials we have grown stronger in our relationships with each other, as a family, and within our community. 

We look forward to 2017! We are excited for this new chapter in our lives and while we know the transition period will be challenging at times we are ready to embrace it. We wish all of you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!
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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Helicopeter Parenting?

I have been reading a lot of people talking about Helicopter Parents, the cons of being a helicopter parent. I can understand and see where some of the claims are valid. Many of Selena's friends are not allowed to leave their yard, are not allowed to play with their friends unless it is in their yard, but if I were to be that way, Selena would have nobody to play with. She does have friends who live across the street and sort of next door that I do allow her to play with.

For Easter we got Selena a Gizmo Pal 2 from Verizon, our number one reason for getting her this watch device is because Selena wants more independence. She loves to know she can walk her dog, and ride her scooter or just go for a walk. I have read where some consider this as being a helicopter parent. I ask how or why? Yes, I can call her, or she can call me, I can track her via GPS, but yet she has her freedom at the same time.

Yes, this device is worn as a watch, it will tell the child what time it is. It allows me to allow up to 4 people to call her, or for her to call them, but they have to download the app that goes with it on their phone. It doesn't just work with iPhone, but also android phones. I can also from my app track her by GPS and know where she is when she is not home. It's fun for her too, not only does she love the fact that she can call me, but she can record little notes, it does make fun sounds, which I can shut off by my phone when sounds are not appropriate.

It does have it's not so good features, one is if she turns it off or I turn it off I am not able to turn it back on by my app on my phone, Shhhhh Selena doesn't know that! She does know that if she turns it off, I am in my car going to her last known location! This only happened once, and she turned it on right away and called me stating she turned it off by accident, I doubt that she was probably showing her friend how it works.

My question is, do you think this is helicopter parenting? I don't, I see it in a world of allowing my child the opportunity to have her independence, yet being able to be in contact with me when she needs me, or my being in contact with her. I remember as a kid having to keep a dime in my sock so I could use a pay phone to call home! We do not have pay phones anymore, and I really am not ready to give Selena a phone yet. Would I refrain from allowing her to go play with her friends without this, absolutely, would I allow her to walk the dog without this or ride her scooter as far as she does, probably not. She has worked hard to earn the right to go further from  home, but I still want to know if she needs me she can get ahold of me.

What did this cost us? It was 79.00 for the device, and only costs us 5.00 a month on our bill for what I consider a lot more freedom for her and a little piece of mind for us.
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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Teaching Team work and so much more!

One of the things that we are working on is teaching team work. Selena with her ASD sometimes doesn't understand this concept. I thought long and hard as to how to approach this and to teach her how to work as a team, the fact she doesn't need to do it all alone, or neither do I. This hit home with me with the horse riding, I try to play wall soccer with her, the idea there is that maybe I have the ball, but she is suppose to take it away from me and make the goal.

The picture shows you the ball I am talking about, the idea is we guide our horse to kick the ball. I began to realize even when I directed my horse right in front of Selena she did not drive her horse to take the ball from me. This is not working as a team. This is an area we need to work on. It also can include competition.

Selena loves to help in the kitchen, she is more willing today to try more then ever before. Keeping that in mind I have included her more in the kitchen and have had many discussions on team work to cook dinner, to get the job done.


 Selena has been doing a lot of work in the kitchen. Above she was making Au Gratin Potatoes all by herself. She had to measure all the ingredients herself, mix it while I was preparing the meat, then she put everything in the oven.

Our next step was to make a few dishes that were one pan, where she did part of the work and I helped with the next part. We made a breakfast casserole together to a complete stir fry. Her job was anything from cutting the food, to stirring it in the pan, but she had to keep in mind that I would step in and help when I felt it was necessary.

She is coming along way not only in her cooking skills but also understanding that we can work as a team and it really can work better when we do. She is beginning to realize it doesn't have to be all Selena, or all Mama, but that we can get the job done, learn, have a lot of fun when we work together. It does take communication, listening, and cooperation skills, but in the end she is learning just how valuable these skills are.

How do you teach Team Work in your home?

 

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Mom Time

We have learned, or should I say I have learned over the past few years that I as mom need my time away. That has been a hard concept for me, because I never remember my mom going out with friends. I guess I have began to realize how important this is, even if it is just lunch with a friend, or a night to a weekend away! We need this time to think about ourselves, to forget our worries, concerns and schedules at home. We need a time to go out and laugh, cut loose and just have fun!

Last month I got a free hotel room at one of the local casinos. Now I am not a huge gambler, but oh how I love my time with one of my best friends! Her and I went and had a blast! Did I win! OH you bet I did! I have never in my entire life hit a Jack Pot!

I can't even begin to explain my emotions or how I felt when this popped up before me! I couldn't shout or yell like many do, but I was so shocked that my night out was totally over the top! I was ready to come home! We stayed had so much fun! I did not loose any money, but had fun laughing so hard I cried. It was a great time.

This month my friend got a free hotel room and invited me. We left this last Sunday and came home on Monday. No I did not hit any huge jackpots like the one above but I didn't lose either. We probably laughed even harder then before, I think we even scared people around us away from our laughter! We had a great meal, good conversation, and just a lot of fun!

I have learned this is so important for us mom's rather we are STAH moms, working moms, homeschooling moms, we just need to take time away! We need to take a break from our children, spouses, and our home. When we do we come home rejuvenated, renewed, and ready to meet any obstacle that comes our way.

If we do not take this time it is easy to become drained, overwhelmed, and though we still function through the stress, the problems, the good and the bad, we just can't meet our family's needs with the same zest. I say if you can get away, for lunch, a day away, time with a friend, do it for yourself. You do not need to feel any guilt, you do not have to worry about your children, come on your spouse can handle things for a while or for over night! Everything will be fine when you come home, believe me the house will not burn down, your children will not starve and your spouse will not be bald.


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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Same Interest Importance

My husband and I were talking last night about how important it is for both of us to have something that we do with Selena that is fun and interesting that just involves just her and a parent. I never in my wildest dream thought I would be riding a horse again. Though I have always loved horses, I just never gave much thought to riding with Selena. It's been really fun though.

I feel it is very important that we find same interests with our children, I am not talking about family interests, which are important too, but the one on one time doing something that both the child and the parent enjoy. We spend so much time being our child's parent, we are the one in charge, and spend time and energy just on that aspect. For some of us we spend a lot of time being a soccer mom, driving our children from one activity to another activity, they participate, perform, make sure we are watching (WATCHING from the side lines where we might be visiting with other parents or as I have observed busy on our electronics), but is that really spending time with our child?

I don't care if it is getting out and taking walks, riding bikes, playing ball, just get out there and find something you and your child enjoys together. Sure Selena and I do a lot together, but something about having one or two activities that we do together, just the two of us, promotes more free communication. We are having so much fun, laughing, trying new things, exploring how to listen to each other, work together, and have fun with each other.

This quality time with our child builds a relationship that will go with them the rest of their lives. We are unplugged and are in the moment. We often comment that we are our child's first friend and teacher but do we continue to be that part through out their lives? When I think of it in this manner I think to the time I have to connect and spend time with just my husband or with that girl friend I have, I love those times and truly need them! My child is just as important to me as they are, I have two choices with my child, I can sit on the side line and watch her run around and have fun or I can find a common ground interest, jump in with both feet and spend that quality time with her. I can be a part of building lasting memories and a strong relationship between us.

Sometimes it gives us a chance to just drop all our worries at home or work and just be a kid ourselves again. For me I truly want my children to think back and not only remember me for the parent I was, but to cherish the things we enjoyed, the times we were able to escape and be one on one in bliss just truly enjoying each other. Our children deserve to have our time, they deserve to get to know us as a person, not just as their mom or dad. It is easy to think that the time we spend driving them to from point A to point B is quality time in the car, but is it? Sure we might play a game in the car, or talk, and laugh, but are we really connected? Not really we can become disconnected because we still have to focus on our driving. I say find something that you do with your child that is just pure fun, no distractions, talk, listen, play, just let go and connect on a deep level. Your child will appreciate that in the future.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

No School = Lots of Learning

This week has been one of those weeks when we did not get a lot of actual sit down school done. Just after coming off break with such a momentum going, this week life just stepped in our way. However, Tuesday we did have fun out at the barn, arriving there at 9:30 a.m. and not getting home until 1:00. Selena learned all about the different types of hay, as well as grains that are fed to horses and helped prepare the feed for the evening and next morning feedings. We also rode for over an hour which we both had a great time, leading the horses without a lead rope, to riding without reigns. We played a lot of games on the horses, and tried to ride around the arena holding hands, which might sound easy but believe me it is not, you really have to know which horse needs to slow down and which one needs to speed up as you go around corners. Great therapy as it promotes working with others.

Then came the rest of the week, our thermostat needed to be replaced, Selena had fun helping and watching as our Landlord changed the thermostat. She learned why we turn the power off, why we wire the thermostat a certain way, and the safety that is needed when working around electricity. She also got to watch as our toilet was replaced. She spent the entire trying to help, watch and ask 101 questions. We are so lucky that those who come into our home to do repairs are so good about allowing Selena these opportunities to learn. My favorite picture is of her watching the toilet go in.

During down times Selena discovered her Magnet Science kit again and had fun exploring about magnets. Sometimes these science kits sit for long periods of times in her science cupboard, never touched, then she will pull one out and spend hours each day just exploring, playing, and again asking 101 questions about how it works, why and what for.

 This weekend we drove out to Ocean Shores and visited with Laurie her horse instructor. We had a good visit and Selena loved playing with her dog and visiting with her bird. While it poured down rain here it was very pleasant at the beach and even sunny. Selena enjoyed seeing so many different birds on the water from ducks and many other species, watching them dive under the water to catch fish. Deer who came into feed, and just the beauty of the beach life. To be honest I would love to move to Ocean Shores.

Sometimes even when we do not get to sit down and do actual school work, we discover so much more to learn. Oh and before I forget, Selena even made mashed potatoes all by herself! I had just put the potatoes in the mixer when the electrician arrived to inspect something, I got busy helping him, and Selena took it upon herself to go in and finish the potatoes for me. She did an excellent job and was totally unsupervised!


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