Monday, March 30, 2015

Meeting Update

A week ago today, we had our mediation meeting that included our advocate, members from the district, and a mediator from the Department of Education.  The purpose of the meeting for this part of the process is to have a mediator try and facilitate an agreement between the two parties so that it would not have to go to court.  
Because the district views Colin's education in the least restrictive environment completely differently than we do (a self contained setting), an agreement could not be reached leaving us in a position we never expected to find ourselves.  The next step of this process is due process in which we are currently in a 30 day "cooling off" period and then we will end up at a due process hearing in front of a judge.  While the judge will not be making any decisions, he will also be trying to facilitate an agreement, just with a little bit more authority than the mediator had.  

Financially, we are finding ourselves in a situation we weren't quite prepared for because of the preparation involved on our end to show that a general education classroom IS appropriate for Colin as long as he has the right supports in order to be successful.  Part of me wants to cry and complain that it's "just not fair" that we need to do this when it is extremely challenging to figure it out based on our budget and because we are fighting for something we shouldn't have to fight for. However, when you are a parent, you do what you have to because it is what is best for your child.  And so, onward we move...

Ironically, the day of the meeting that left Chris and I emotionally drained, was the start of "Buddy Week" at Colin's Karate school.  Colin's "buddy" was Kailey and so she joined him during his class.  At the end of the class, all of the students that brought a "buddy" were presented with a medal that said "Together We Can" on it along with a star for his uniform.  Together we long as we can find a way to work together for what's best. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Busy Weekend

We had a very busy weekend but filled with lots of fun events (and Chris and I even got out for a little bit too!).  With the bit of warm weather we got after the snow on Saturday, we took a walk up on the boardwalk with my parents and even played some games in the arcade too.  

While I always feel it has been a long winter at this point, I can feel the warm weather just around the corner and am looking for many more days that will be spent outdoors.  Being at the ocean just has this way of calming any worries or anxieties just by looking at it, so I was happy we got to spend a little bit of time up there.  We have our mediation meeting tomorrow so that has been weighing heavy on my mind lately.  I'm trying to think positive thoughts, though, and hoping for a collaborative meeting.  

This morning, I took Colin and Kailey to a breakfast at Applebees where one of my students was having a fundraiser with her cheerleading group.  The special guest was Elsa and they were besides themselves when they walked in and saw her standing there. 

It was also exciting because although I packed cottage cheese, I never brought it in and Colin had some pancake and scrambled eggs! We are making such huge progress in the eating department and I can assure you, every bite he takes of something other than his standard foods is a cause to celebrate!

They were so sad to leave and begged me to see her again "tomorrow" but I had to tell a Mommy fib and said that Elsa was heading back to Arendelle.  Fortunately, they understood and it actually made the situation better because they said that she would be sad not to be with Anna or Krystoff any more. They launched into this whole scenario on the walk back to the car listing all of the people from Frozen that she needed to get back to.  It was quite cute listening to them BOTH talk about it. 

Both Colin and Kailey went to the birthday party of one of Colin's friends from school today and had a great time.  It was a fun, and exhausting, weekend!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Cody is 6 Months!

On Thursday, on Kailey's birthday, Cody turned 6 months old! 

We still have to take him for his 6 month check up, but he has certainly hit a growth spurt recently.  When we started him in the 6 months clothes a few months back, everything seemed so big on him but all of a sudden, it seems like we are squeezing him into most one piece outfits or onesies.  I am starting to put him in some 9 month one pieces and although they are big on him, they aren't huge either.  He seems to be in no hurry to be on the move yet and although he CAN roll in either direction, he isn't rolling consistently or all over the place yet (not that we are complaining).

He really is a happy baby, but the end of the day is tough because he really just wants to be held and get attention, but we typically don't get home until later due to the activities of Colin and Kailey.  Most days we walk in the door and it's a rush to get dinner on the table while spooning food into Cody's mouth.  Once he has eaten, he is usually pretty happy until bed time which seemed to have formed itself.  By 6:30, Cody is ready to go to bed and he is usually out within 5 minutes.

He's been incredibly curious lately and inspecting his hands, toys, etc. If you have a phone anywhere near him, he immediately tries grabbing at it.

He is up for the top position of the smiliest baby we've had yet. It doesn't take much to get a big toothless grin from this baby and it's my favorite thing about him yet.

We just love this little boy so much! We can't wait to see what the next 6 months will bring!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Happy 4th Birthday Kailey!

Our beautiful little lady turns 4 years old today! She has grown into such a "big" little girl and we are so proud of the special person she has become...we are so excited to celebrate her day with her today!


Kailey has brought so much love and happiness into our lives along with her spunk, sass, and vibrant personality. We are constantly in awe of how much she truly loves both of her brothers and because of the ways she really takes care of them.  Even before she says good morning to Chris and I, she runs to find Cody to wish him a good morning. She has really become such a great friend to Colin and has helped him grow so much socially, even in some ways, more than Chris and I have facilitated.  She has become his biggest cheerleader, motivator, and friend.  She is the boss and leads any activity and really has such an imagination that most activities between her and Colin turns into an adventure. 

Kailey is all girl and really into typical girly things like princesses, dolls, accessories, and wearing dresses as often as possible.  She's often accessorizing, even for bed, with rings, necklaces, purses, hair bows, etc. She is really funny and the things that come out of her mouth often crack us up.

It's great that she has her own room now because it often takes her a solid hour before she starts to fall asleep and settle down for the night after going to bed. We started a new hashtag on instagram and facebook called #gotobedkailey because she's become a pain, although entertaining, after she's "settled" for the night. 

Happy birthday to our Kailey girl; we couldn't ask for a more loving daughter and sister for our family and we are so thankful she is such an important part of our family.  We look forward to watching her grow over the next year...

Monday, March 9, 2015

Karate Class

When we enrolled Colin in Karate, we decided, along with his teacher, that it would be best for him to do private lessons at first so that he could get used to the routine, learn some of the moves, and adjust to what was expected before putting him in a class setting.  It was a really good choice because there have been some little things to work through and as with most aspects of Colin's day to day life, some days are simply just better than others.  This is true for most kids, but for Colin, it's even more so because of some of the challenges that make some things more difficult for him.  

Since things have been going so well and he earned his half-yellow belt, we talked to his teacher about trying out a class last Monday for the first time.  He was nervous and hesitant at first but once his teacher helped him get out onto the floor, he was excited to be there.  For his first time, he did really well, following directions, actively participating, doing what the other kids were doing (even on moves he hadn't learned yet) and then when the 30 minute mark hit, he started to break down a little bit.  Private lessons are typically 30 minutes and classes are 45 so we expected that this would start to happen.  He didn't do anything in terms of misbehaving, but he started to tire and would sit down.  Due to the snow, he didn't have his private lesson on Thursday and then we tried the class again today.  This week was a little bit tougher in that he had a harder time, but for different reasons. 

It's hard for Chris and I on days like this to watch as an "outsider" because we know he can do it and we also know that there's reasons why he can't.  When Colin is tired (after a 4 day weekend and the time change, he was definitely "off" schedule), he gets into what we call "sensory mode".  I suppose it's a self soothing technique but he becomes focused on things like little strings, fuzzies, the edges of shirts, hair, etc. and rubs his fingers along them slowly.  Although we had his teacher trim his belt of the strings before class, he still found ways to do this today. Sometimes when he was tired, he would sit on the ground but would get up when asked.  In addition, Colin has always been an observer so even at times it seems like he's not paying attention or doing anything, he really is.  Today was one of those days where he didn't really seem to be paying attention yet when we got home, he asked to do a "Karate class" with me in the living room and went through the warm up, some of the moves and even included positive reinforcements that were utilized during class.   It's hard to watch days like today, but we also know that for every day like this one that's a little bit more challenging, there are plenty more encouraging ones and positive ones to come. 

We are so proud of Colin for continuing to work hard, even on days that are more challenging for him.  We are also so thankful for Karate instructors who are patient yet still push Colin at the same time. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sunshine and Fresh Air

Thursday and Friday last week we had some unexpected days off as a snowstorm came through.  It was really nice to get those days because I typically find myself taking advantage and not doing any of the things I am usually doing on a "regular" day.  We got outside a good amount both days (and then Saturday and Sunday as well) so it felt really good to get so much fresh air.  It's been a tough winter stuck indoors and I am anxiously awaiting warmer temperatures consistently.  
"Mom! My foot is stuck in the tree!"

On Saturday was the local Seaside Heights St. Patrick's day parade and I decided to go with my parents being that it was warming up a bit.  Colin generally does ok with loud noises but it just depends on the venue and what is happening in regards to whether or not he gets upset. 

Kailey was grumpy when we got our spot because she was cold and hungry and complaining "just because" but eventually warmed up once she realized she was getting candy from the parade participants.

Colin was really excited once the parade actually started but got upset when the line of 25+ fire trucks came through first blaring their horns.  Once that was over, he was really into the pipe bands and marching bands. 

At one point he started marching, looked back and me, and the said "bye mom! See you later!". 

Since the temperatures got up to 50 degrees and felt like a heat wave, I took the kids with our friend over to the boardwalk to take a walk for a little bit.  It was nice to be up there but it was a little bit windy and Cody didn't like that part too much.  The kids had fun trudging through the snow piles up there. 

It was so great to get out into the fresh air and sunshine so much this weekend!