Friday, January 20, 2006

the gym

We joined a gym a couple of weeks ago. I've belonged to gyms before, but this one is really cool - new, super clean, three pools, wet and dry sauna, very family friendly.

Holly is out of town with the twins, so I took the teens last night and was super glad that we joined. As I did my pitiful beginners workout, the girls did some cardio, then climbed the climbing wall a couple of times. When I found them, they were playing volleyball TOGETHER, laughing and having a great time.

That alone was worth this month's fee...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

back to normal

which means hectic. If I didn't really love my kids and Holly and my life, don't think I could manage it.

We had family portraits taken over the weekend. It's hard when it involves eleven people, three of whom are two or younger. But we did it! and the pictures are good. Holly and I had to remind ourselves that you rarely see outstanding portraits of two years old - the best pictures are usually older or younger. The best whole family portrait had B sucking his fingers, looking off to the left and S glaring at the camera. BG's son, who is two, didn't smile but at least didn't look mean. We got some great shots of the girls in pairs. The best moment - we were trying to get S to sit in a chair and smile, and B ran up to her and tickled her yelling "ticka ticka ticka", we all laughed, including the twins, but the photographer wasn't ready.

E wants us to adopt her. she was not available for adoption while she was in foster care because her mother never gave up her parental rights. We'd offered to adopt her after she turned 18, and she was interested, but when she hit the magic age, she was off to small town hell and her family to live hell life. She eventually came back, of course, even tried bringing her mother to get started here. After a couple of months of trying, her mother told her point blank that she was not capable of being the kind of mother E wanted and went back to STH. Broke E's heart, but now she wants to be adopted. We're talking to the adoption lawyer on Monday and we'll bring it up. As torn as E is, since this would mean a slap in the face to her birth family, she is determined enough to change her name.

I really want to do it. I want her to be legally ours. She is such a wonderful kid.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

as school starts...

All of my high schoolers get a bit nervous when school is about to start. One of them blew last night. We should have seen it coming and done something proactively, but she hadn't had a real live kicking and screaming tantrum for over a year and were caught off guard.

Holly was a wonder - coming downstairs from her sickbed, figuring out the problem and choosing a way to deal with it. She is really good at it. I kept my cool and didn't show any anger, which Holly said was enough. Well, it was my best at the time. The positive side was that, bad as it was, all was resolved and everyone in bed within an hour.

Holly is going to propose homeschooling S in English and Social Studies at her ARD today. I really understand why she wants to home school S, but S is not easy to teach. She is actually pretty difficult even to be around for extended periods of time. Well, Holly certainly will teach more than her teachers have so far this year in those subjects. Her English teacher has had her 'desyllabify' words ALL SEMESTER. For over three months, S broke down words into their respective syllables. I'm pretty sure that English is supposed to involve more than that, and I think the class would have been more exciting for S if they'd read and written more. Her Social Studies teacher considered that S had successfully completely a chapter of work if she finished the worksheet/test at the end of the chapter. So, S picked key words from each question, found it in the chapter (the word was usually bolded) and wrote whatever it said. She doesn't have a clue what any of it actually means, but she's totally 'caught up' in that class.

S is considered Special Ed legitimately, but that doesn't mean she's stupid. Her IQ is normal, possibly even high-normal. She has the capability to learn and understand lots of stuff, but they won't or can't take the time to help her actually learn it. Then they pass her, which they have to do because they can't fail her unless they prove to Holly that they've followed her set learning/behavior plans, which they don't. The first year with S we were more concerned with managing her behavior at school than how well she learned because one has to be able to function in society to survive. Now, despite what happened last night, we are concerned that she have a reasonable education. It looks like the only way she might get it is for Holly to try, which could drive us all crazy.