Sunday, March 1, 2015

Regular Week, Gearing up for Weeks of Stress!

I haven't posted much, because there isn't much to post! It's been a regular week.
I've been working on a young adult fiction project.

I don't know how I'd get anything done without all the help I get!

Sasha especially likes to walk on the keyboard and type for me! You can see all five of our pets in this photo. Starting next to Jasmine--Sasha, turned one this month, Travis smushed under Sasha-turned 2 yesterday, Max next to me, 15 -got him when we first moved back stateside from England summer '99, Jayden-somewhere between 8 &12?, Caspian-4.

One day Travis was in the house, and all of a sudden he went crazy. Like "danger alert" crazy, jumping and growling and snapping. We've only seen that behavior on walks where another dog dares come near his people. Turns out he saw this balloon Adam had given Jasmine and though it was a threat to his people. So we held him up to it so it could see it wasn't real.
Jasmine got a game as one of her gifts from my brother. It's a bit complicated. Anyone ever play this game? It came from the calendar store in the mall that's only there for a couple of months.

While she and Rick figured it out, I went on a DQ run for anyone who was cooperating at the time.



Yesterday was Travis' birthday. Pets don't normally eat on the counter. But it was also Trifexus day. We smash it up in canned dog food and have to separate the dogs so we know each dog gets his/her meds. 

Travis thought maybe mom's cereal would be tastier.

Sasha is playing with Travis' present, because Travis gets attached to one toy and only wants that toy.

So the cow is all he wants. He will fetch it over and over. This is actually the second cow, but I'm not sure he realizes the first one was replaced. 

Waffles for supper. We do this some times on Friday or Saturday night.


Daddy/daughter ready for church.


I know some of you are shoveling yourselves out this week, so I won't complain about our 50ish, rainy weather (30s at night). We don't have to shovel it. First part of this coming week is suppose to get up to 74F for a high and be dry. Second half of the week is supposed to be 50F and rainy.

On Monday Kayla has the state writing test. I was looking at her practice papers and was blown away. She was given several article on a topic to read. From them she had to prepare an web, transition and outlines.
From that she has to write a five paragraph essay with at least one quote with documentation in it. Her essay is two and a half pages long.

Jasmine has her writing test on Tuesday and Wednesday. If fourth grade has to write a five paragraph essay, I hate to know how long Jasmine's has to be. She really struggles with it. Kaleb's test is the same as Kayla's, but his is next week. He has not done nearly as much practicing as Kayla has.

I do not remember ever learning how to write a paper in school at all!

Spring break is the week of the 23rd and then we go into the regular state testing. FCAT has been replaced with a test that is "more compatible with the common core standards." I've heard it's straight from &^%%. Instead of multiple choice, it's short answer and essays. Won't that be fun for our kids who struggle?!

Jasmine has MPA next Saturday. That's where all the bands play before judges and get a rating. She is playing orchestra bells or xylophone and feels ready.

What's next for you?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Mom-Daughter Date

Well, the dance didn't happen for Jasmine!! We talked on the way there about how we are having so many lasts now--last middle school dance, last time we do such and such--and we were ready for some fun. Probably the last time she'd really want me with her.

Got there and there was a group of sobbing girls at the door. They were measuring dresses to make sure they were knee length. Several girls were turned away. (They were given the chance to go home and get another dress, but the mood was ruined.) I guess that is in the handbook and at every other dance Jasmine's dress has been. But the last couple of dances I've seen really short dresses so assumed the code was no more than 5" above the knee same as the school dress code.

Jasmine took her dress to be approved earlier that day, but the teacher just looked at it and asked Jasmine if it was long enough. It's new dress, and Jasmine probably wouldn't have known how long it was. (And she actually likes this dress which is very unusual. She does NOT like dresses and only wears them to the dances). So she told the teacher she thought so. Why not just have her try it on?

So we are at the door, and she gets turned away. We had brought dance pants to go under it in case she wanted them. She went to the car to put them on, but they said that didn't count. That's the part I think is ridiculous.

I asked why an e-mail hadn't been sent out, why the teacher hadn't told her that her dress was too short in that morning etc. They got the administrator who escorted me from the gym.

He said, "These kids are 13 and they were told the dress code." I got in his face and told him that he knew she was a drug baby and sometimes didn't always get it. They sent out an e-mail saying it was a black & white dance, how hard would it have been to put right on that e-mail that the dresses had to touch the knee.

Jasmine had been crying this whole time and turned back to tell her friends goodbye, and he told her to stop crying and leave the area. That irritated me. I said, "Don't you tell my daughter not to cry. This is the last dance of middle school for most of these kids and she's been looking forward to it all week. This is not the kind of memories you want to leave these 8th graders with."

He told me, "You need to leave the property NOW." I did. And I didn't say anything rude. They even gave me my money back which is against policy but they just wanted to get rid of me.

If my kids are breaking rules and misbehaving, I will be all over them. No doubt. But I also have their backs.

So I took my heartbroken child to the mall to see the new "Annie" movie. (One girl from the school was there trying to find a new dress that was long enough and had sleeves so she could go back to the dance. For us, the mood was already ruined). The movie was really good. The girls in this version were foster kids and there was junk going on with them, but Jasmine was placed with us at about three weeks old. I took her home from the hospital, so she doesn't have any of those kind of memories. So the movie didn't trigger any negative reactions in her.

Jasmine still wants to go to the high school associated with that school, but I pulled Kaleb's name from the lottery for next year. And Kayla will go next year, but I will probably pull her out after that. Our local  middle school is really bad. I talked to someone who has a friend teaching there and she said it's hard to teach because of the discipline problems, and that it's the parents more than the kids. Those  kids (and parents) all filter into the high school we'd go to also. So we are going to try for a different middle school and high school for the twins through school choice.

Some of you have been following my blog and remember when I posted Jasmine's science project on facebook just so people could see it, and she got in trouble at school and was told she had to do a new project even though she didn't know I'd posted her abstract. And she did NOT do a new project. I sent some e-mails at that time saying if they couldn't be glad for her that she'd finished it then they were definitely not on her team, and we needed to look for a school that could support her and rejoice in her progress! So that blew over. But that was maybe the start of me wondering about this school. 

But they are the best school easily, also the safest. But the "high expectations, high achievement" comes down to requiring way more homework and projects than other schools which equals, high expectations, high stress for kids who struggle.

I guess we'll make the decisions one year at a time. For next year, Jasmine will go to their high school. It has a chance for the kids to "major" in marine science, engineering, medical science or criminal justice. They have amazing field trips for marine science--watch the whales migrate and such, but it's a lot of extra work and I doubt Jasmine can keep up with it.

 Kayla will stay there for 5th grade, although she is currently failing 4th grade, and Kaleb will stay at the public school he's at. It's the best of the public schools. Too bad that's not true for our assigned middle and high schools.

The thing is, the school prides itself on being the best and we are constantly told we are the best etc. It feels very elite and that's not me. I am just down to earth and struggle with enough issues of my own to be unable to act elite. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

She's 14--and enrolled for high school!

Last Saturday was the lottery for all 9th graders wanting to go to the charter high school. Preference was given to those in 8th grade at either branch of the middle school. I'm not sure how many slots there are for 9th grade, but Jasmine was #103 to get in. She was near the end. On Monday I went and accepted her position and filled out enrollment papers. For high school. For my baby girl.

Does this look like someone who should be going into high school already? I guess it does feel like a lot of years  have passed since this was taken.


She'll always be my angel baby
These pictures are from two years ago when she turned 12. Our Sears no longer has a portrait studio. Neither does Penneys or Walmart! 


Jasmine turned 14 on Wednesday. That's her hip hop day. She wanted Little Caesar's Pretzel Crust pizza, so we stopped and got it on the way home.

 Travis giving his mommy a birthday kiss.

 Pretzel pizza
 Jessica joined us
 The movie she wanted isn't out yet, so she has an IOU from my mom for it.
 And a check from her grandparents
 A case from Aunt Lou for her (generic) tablet she got for Christmas.
She got a game and CD from Uncle Ken
 Adam and Deja joined us too. Adam gave her $$ for her band trip to Universal and our summer trip. Details still being worked out for summer. We had TWO "perfect" plans, both of which turned out to be flawed by things not our fault.
 We got her a DS game.
 And Air Jordan shoes (which we only paid half price for!) We also got her some clothes and a set of books you can see in the last picture that were a last minute idea and showed up the day after her birthday. I'd forgotten about them.

 She ended up with two cakes.
 
Jessica got her the dress she's wearing in this picture. She doesn't like dresses, but there's a black & white dance at school tonight. That's clothing colors, not a racial thing! She looks so grown up in the dress! And she actually likes it!!!!

Happy birthday boo bear/baby girl! You are my joy and song. Parenting you is the adventure of my life.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Today

We didn't really do anything special for Valentine's day unfortunately. Two of the children decided they were not going to cooperate at all today, so we stayed home. They were given second and third chances to do what they needed to for lesser privileges and decided not to. So although Penguins, Night at the Museum 3 and Big Hero 6 are all at the inexpensive theater, we didn't go. Kayla did not go to her basketball game either.
We had pancakes made with fresh blueberries, blueberry pie filling or syrup on top and whipped cream for those who wanted it. Which was everyone but me! (Because I had syrup, not pie filling on mine)

Hunter and Adam were both at work, and Jessica had to work at 10:30 but came for breakfast. I took some pancakes, bacon and sausage to Adam at work. They are kind of used to me occasionally running in with food for Adam (even though he's in his own apartment).

Everyone got a tube of candy, ear buds and a Christian music CD or DVD. Jasmine got Mandisa.

Yeah, Kayla has something weird going on with the back of her hair. She won't leave braids in, and instead of scrunching it pretty she pulls it straight out. Guess she's trying for a unique look. As of me writing this, she has all the braid out and it's just every which way.

Kaleb had some issues with the ready whip.

It's Jessica's  half birthday today as well as Valentine's Day. Hunter is on break every day from 9-9:15 so she was texting him.

They did the lottery drawing for the charter high school today. Very thankfully, Jasmine made it in. Happy Valentine's Day to her! There is a very long waiting list. She has a sibling advantage. If  you have a sibling already in the system, either branch of the school, you have priority. So she counted for Kayla when Kayla was trying to get in, and now Kayla counted for her for the high school. That seems kinds funny that the younger child can count toward the older, but it does. This charter school prides itself on expecting more from its students and that drives me crazy! No late assignments. Yet my college students constantly turn in late homework and even take the online quizzes late with no penalty! Still, it's the best place for Jasmine right now. The high school we are zoned for has a lot of issues. There is junk going on right at school. Junk she does not need to be exposed to!

Tyler just posted some rodeo pictures. A group of them got to go and are actually there as I'm writing this. Because he is rec director, he sometimes get priority on the outings. Rec director is a lot of work with no pay, so it's nice when he gets to go somewhere.




Hopefully he'll post more photos later.

So not the kind of day I was hoping for at all here, but my adult children all seemed to have a lot going on today.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Mardi Gras parade adventures

Yesterday was the Mardi Gras children's and pet parade. We don't take part in any of the adult activities and have not actually done any of the parades since Jessica last marched with the flags with police explorers, but I decided to go this year.

And I got the bright idea to take the dogs! What I didn't realize is that when they said "pet parade" it meant you could pay money and march down the street with your dog as part of the parade. Our dogs were not at all excited to see other dogs walk by. In fact, there was quite a bit of barking, growling and doggy attitude from my three. It's also hard to grab beads while holding a dog.

But don't they look so sweet and innocent? Not sure what Sasha is doing with her head though.

I can understand my puppies acting like puppies. But what I don't understand is why some parents let their kids be rude and greedy. And why is it that I always get next to a kid who is determined to get every single thing thrown!!

In the children's parade they throw very little candy but do throw stuffed animals and beads. And the boy next to me was about five and felt he was entitled to all of it. My kids seemed to be invisible. I finally told them to stand out in the street and wave like crazy like the other kids were. Personally, if I were throwing stuff, I'd throw it to the kids who were just waiting quietly, but not so for the ones throwing in this parade. Mine waved a little but just aren't the kind to kill for beads.

Not so with the family next to me. First a little girl in the parade goes up and gives the boy a stuffed animal. He says, "I don't want this one." Hands it back to the girl and grabs the other one she was holding. She was about 6 and looked ready to cry when he did that. The boy's mom did nothing. Personally I would have made my child give it back.

Then some beads were headed toward both the boy and myself. I was holding Sasha so didn't put much effort into getting them, just put my hand out. They hit my hand, but he snatched them. When I turned to look at him, he says, "Ha. Ha. I got them" in a really mouthy tone. Seriously there were lots of things I could have said to him at that moment, but I just looked at him a few seconds then said, "I guess you're just more aggressive than me. It didn't matter that much to me." (or something like that) And I gave his mom a look. She wasn't even embarrassed.

But the thing that really got me was that his mom started darting in front of us to get beads. I'd reach down since they were at my feet but she snatch them before I'd get them. I wasn't in a hurry and I'm not about the sacrifice my dignity for beads. If it were money, maybe :)

 You see how many Kayla and Jasmine have in the picture? This boy had about three times what they have combined. I mean, what do you really do with them. The boy wanted blue beads. They are rare. So the mom started calling out to the people on the floats "Give us blue beads." Then two greens landed ON KAYLA'S SHOES and the mom darted around me and snatched them right off of Kayla's feet!!! I could not believe a grown woman did that!!!! I just looked at her and said, "Oh my." What else is there to say? If she can't tell that she is a totally aggressive greed monster and a horrible example to her greed monster son, nothing I say is going to matter. So I stuck with "Oh my" in a very quiet "I'm so disappointed" tone usually reserved for a child who has done something that is, well, disappointing.


After the parade, we walked around to see if there were any food booths with food we couldn't resist, but we didn't find any food booths at all. So we went to taco bell and went through the drive through. This was very interesting because, remember, we had all three dogs in the car with us. And two of them thought they needed to dive out the window and through the carry out window to help bag up our food. Nope. Didn't happen. But not because they didn't try!

We took the taco bell food home, including a soft beef taco we split three ways between the dogs, and watch A Christmas Carol (the Jim Carry one).