Monday, November 26, 2012


 I have decided to boycott bedtime.

After an hour and a half of kids getting up and down, crying, yelling, growling, and wanting this and that, I have officially locked myself into another room before I physically hurt one of my children. Oh wait, I forgot, Dylan actually called me a monster.  For real!  I made him do his HW and sleep in another room. Clearly, I am a horrible person. 

 I thought this was supposed to get easier, but now instead of a baby, I have three walking and talking children...IT IS SO HARD!  They have attitudes, and opinions, and VOCAL CHORDS! I don't write this to complain, but as a way to vent and clear my mind.  It makes me feel good that my children will read this one day (hopefully when they have their own children) and see what they did to me...and what their kids (as kids) will do to them.  This is normal right?

Yes.  Yes it is.

Whew...that feels better.  I probably should go and do something about the painful cry that I hear...I am sure somebody ran into a table and is going to need stitches...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Dylan Is Awesome.

I find that the timing of Dylan’s apparent name change (see last post), couldn't have been more perfect.  Dylan woke up a few days ago and decided that he was going to start his own clothing line.  T-shirts to be exact.  The name for his company is still up for debate:  D.I.A. clothing or Shark Shirts (both of which he came up with). 

When talking about what kind of shirts Dylan wanted to make, we talked about the importance of being creative and making something that nobody else has ever made; Something that people will want that they can’t get anywhere else.  He immediately said, “I know what I am going to do!”  About 60 minutes later he came up with a design and an idea.  Sharks!  “I want to be all about sharks” he said.  “I want to make a shark shirt for all of the holidays and all of my exploratories” (Exploratories are the “electives” of elementary school such as music, P.E., art, and Computer Lab).

Here are the first designs of what hopes to be MANY!  I was too proud not to share.  Let remind you that he is only 6! 
Dylan used brown pastel with pen on the frames because, "the frames are really old from a sunk ship so it has to look really rough and old, like they are about to fall apart". 

Computer Lab:
I want to point out in this picture in particular, the amazing perspective.  I was telling Cameron that I couldn't have done this at least until I was in 7th or 8th grade, to which he responded, "I still can't do that!" Take a  look in the slats of the chair and you see the shark fin on the back, and the fin (hand) on the left (as if he is typing).  He drew it as if he were looking at it head on!  What kid does that? He also even included the desk in between the slats...he had three things included in that tiny space, all of which were accurate!  I am still so impressed. He even used pastels, pencil and crayon for different textures.  Amazing and hilarious.

If these aren't creative, I don't know what is.

Dylan's recent story that he brought home:

One Day a big flash of light went speeding through a town called Nerd.  It stopped.  A man named Candy Corn Man...
was standing on a tower.  He dived off of it (notice the correct spelling of off!).  People saw him.  He flew!  (Notice the correct usage of exclamation!) He saw a ogre with a kid! He shot a speed of light.
He hit the ogre.  The ogre died.  Candy Corn Man and the kids lived happily ever after.

 Here was the pic accompanying the story:

Lastly, I had to include Dylan's Pumpkin from school. He made a mummy skeleton pumpkin.  He took out his body book (since he is still obsessed with bodies...and fetuses (but that is for another story)) and traced the ribs so that they could be perfect.  Looks pretty good eh?

I know I am biased, but I really have to say, that the name D.I.A. is mother approved. I couldn't have picked a better name for this kid if I had tried.  By the way, I think I have the perfect gifts for Christmas this year ;)

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Dylan: Mom, you  know how the USA stands for something really important?
Me: Yes
Dylan: I want my new nickname to be DIA, for Dylan Is Awesome.

Dylan has been struggling a bit with complaining lately.  After trying just about everything, I decided to try something new. About three weeks ago I pulled out a glass of water and filled it half full.  I then asked him to tell me about what he saw. He proceeded to tell me that he though it wasn't full.   We then had a long conversation about this idea of half empty or half full.  About being grateful and seeing the good and not the negative.  It was a really great conversation   I talked about how I often think this way and how it makes my life harder,  and how his daddy has a gift to see the positives, etc.  Anyway, long story short, two days ago Dylan started saying thank you and I love you all day long for everything.  "Thank you mommy for driving me to Burger King", "thank you daddy for letting me go to the zoo with Jack", "thank you mommy for giving me a hug", etc.  This went on all day long.  At one point I turned to Cameron in the car and said, "Dylan has been really positive and sweet today, I love it".  Just then Dylan leans over (with a big ol grin on his face), and whispers in my ear, "Mommy, I decided I wanted to see the cup half full".  BAM!  

Happy Halloween 2012

Halloween Festivities!!!!!
Arts Festival in the Square:
Dylan could have anything he wanted painted on his face.  He wanted a tin nose.  Awesome.
"Look what I made!"

Ol McDermitts Farm:

 Some of our favorite new people.  The Haralsons.

Dylan's fall performance:
 1st grade sang songs from the Wizard of Oz.
 Dylan was also recognized for being the Learning Lion in his class!  He was so excited to be honored by principle Childers.  We are so Proud of you Dylan!

We're off to see the Wizard...
 These were all at the Ward Halloween party for Trunk-or-Treating

Halloween Fall Festival in Adamson Square, Carrollton

Halloween Night with the Mounts

Halloween went off with a hitch!  The kids were all very excited, but mostly about the hayride.  In fact, Sydney was pretty much obsessed with it.  Every time she got off to go trick-or-treat she would yell, "don't go away hayride", or "stay hayride, stay here!".  If she saw it moving once she was off, she would cry and say, "don't go hayride, stop, don't go!"  It was cute for the first 20 minutes, but then became a bit of an issue, as you can imagine.  It was fun though as always.  We go with a large group of kids and have a blast. Macey kept up with all the older kids and lasted all night too.  It was impressive!


Sydney had her second EVER IEP meeting a couple weeks ago.  It was so fantastic that I had to share.  For those of you that might remember, the last IEP meeting was a disaster… to say the least.  I didn't write about it because I wanted to protect Sydney, and lets be honest, because at the time I was in total denial. I have decided that I will share a little bit about it with you now since Sydney is so far beyond where she was, that it’s both miraculous and hysterical. 

April 2012: So for my first IEP meeting I didn't know what to expect.  You go in thinking you are going to have a “planning meeting”.  Maybe talk about the challenges and goals for the upcoming year.  Well, yeah…no.  It was nothing like I had planned.  I think all mothers need to research this and brace themselves for that first initial meeting.  They need to be warned and told that it will be much tougher than they expect…and to bring a buddy.  If I had had a buddy, (namely my spouse), it would have been much easier, but as it was I walked in solo faced with 7 women sitting at a table with looks of worry, sadness, and purpose.  If I hadn't known any better it was as if I was walking in to be reprimanded for my job.  It was horrible. 

The meeting began with Sydney’s “autistic specialist”.  She had given Sydney the “Autistic diagnosis” not two weeks prior, which is why the meeting was called. She opened up with her observations and test results and not 5 minutes into the meeting, announced, “Your daughter scored a 30 on this test taken by her teacher, which puts her in the mentally retarded range”.  Holy Shit, are you serious?  Excuse my language, but seriously?  This same teacher, who took this test, was the one who told me every day in the parking lot that Sydney was talking more, and opening up so much more than the day before.  After an entire year, she is viewed at as mentally retarded? (Here is the part where you see the comedy…not then of course, but now).  So right off the bat, I am told that my daughter is mentally retarded and that she is autistic...again….and again.  I knew that that label had been given to her prior to the meeting, but after it had been said over and over again, and apparently it was official.  I then was told about an experience that the school had when Sydney wouldn't stop crying for about an hour one day, and was brought to the director because she was disrupting the class.  Again, seriously? Why didn't I ever hear about this?  The meeting continued for close to two hours as the therapists, teachers, and school director gave me observations, and asked questions to each other about how to handle certain situations. They ended telling me that they weren't sure how Sydney would handle a “big” school but that it was important for her to be in school every day.  This alone would worry me over the course of the next five months in determining whether or not to put her in a mainstream school in the fall. Ugh.  It was a mess all around.   

To be fair, this was a pre-pre school so they were not really equipped and experienced with special needs kids.  In fact, a couple of them said that this had been their first IEP meeting EVER.  So with that, I wish I had understood from the beginning that this had been the case and that I needed to look for a school more experience. Coulda woulda shouldas right?  I would have done things differently had I known better, but we were all learning together.  I didn’t and still now, often don't know any better. 

Anyway, I left that meeting in tears, swearing that I would NEVER go to another IEP meeting alone.  It was awful, and I left feeling like I had failed my child once again, and that there was little hope for her to be mainstreamed. 

 October 24th 2012: I requested a meeting after only 6 months because I felt that Syds goals had been met, and that she had made huge progress.  I also wanted to sit down with Sydney’s new treatment team since she was at a new school with new therapists and teachers.  I wanted to get their overall view of Syd, where they thought she was, what they thought her future could hold, and most importantly, to know if I was in denial and seeing things that just weren't there.  So here I was, walking in solo, yet again (don’t even ask), but this time there were only 4 women at the table waiting for me…and they were all smiling.  I had researched IEP’s, wrote out all of the goals that I wanted to suggest, and even gone to an IEP class at a recent resource fair that was held in town.  I was ready for whatever was going to be thrown at me, and I was ready to fight for my child to get the best possible treatment.  I was adamant about making this meeting different than the last.

They began by telling me how much they love and adored my child. Who doesn’t want to hear that?  They then went over the goals with me and told my why or why she hadn’t met them yet, but that she was close to meeting all of them. They listened to the goals that I had suggested and told me why or why they wouldn’t work.   They proceeded to give me ideas and advice as to how to help me help her reach those goals. It was fantastic…who would have thought? They are HELPING ME?  HA! Where was this 6 months ago?  I then asked them all if I was in denial about Syds Autism.  I asked if they believed she was autistic or of it was anything else (in my mind, Auditory or Language Processing Disorder).  They ALL said they did not believe it was autism but  sure enough, Language and Auditory Processing Disorder.  (My tears began to surface.) She can’t be tested yet for Auditory Processing Disorder, but she does have the tendencies as I had suspected.  They then went on to tell me, after I had asked about her future, that “she will be fine”. "SHE WILL BE FINE". (My tears began to fall.)  The therapist said, “Look, I had two nephews with auditory processing disorders way worse than Sydney that actually had to go to special schools, and are now graduated from college with honors”.   She then went on to say, “I bet in a few years she won’t even need any help...we just have to work with her and work with her…she is smart, we just have to give her the tools to help her find the words that she needs.”  Wait, hold the phone….did she just say that my kid is smart?  (The tears began to stream.) Is this the same child that we were talking about 6 months ago? The one that is “mentally retarded”?  I think I actually asked, “Are you sure?” Her teacher then handed me some papers (a test that she had given Syd) with letters and numbers on it.  “Look, these are all of the numbers and letters that she already knows. This is well beyond where many of my students are. ” She then began to tell me that Sydney is one of a few that can really write her name, and that that was rare at this age.  She also said multiple times that Sydney does really well in her class and is very comfortable in there  (I LOVE THIS TEACHER).  The case worker said, “I would be happy if that were my kid, really, if she isn't where she needs to be she is above where she needs to be”.  (Tears began to drip off of my face.) I couldn't believe any of it. I told them that we were planning on having her repeat kindergarten just to catch up with the kids, and the case worker laughed aloud and said, "but look (putting those papers in my face again), she wont need to catch up!" Wow. I couldn't believe it. I began to profusely thank each of the women there for their words of hope and validation.  I told them about my experience 6 months prior and they all felt both awful and amazed at Sydney's progress.   

For the first time ever in Sydney’s life, I truly felt real hope.  I felt that other people were finally seeing the Sydney that I see every day.  Not just her sweetness, but her potential.  I have accepted that people who know her struggles treat her differently, in fact I expect it.  It is part of the deal when you have special needs I guess.  But for the first time, I felt like these people were treating her just like everyone else.  They truly saw past her disorders and saw her for who she is and who she can be. They weren't closing any doors on her, and saying things like can't and won't. It was beautiful.  I was/am SO amazed and grateful to these women.  couldn't have asked for a better team, and more importantly, I couldn't have asked for better teachers.  Mrs Chadwick and Mrs. Karen are incredible, and exactly the people that Sydney needed to help her move forward. I am so hopeful! 

Random Syd:
Look at this FACE!  This is so her! 
 Her favorite thing to do is read books.  Its not uncommon to find her hiding in her bed, in a basket, etc with a pile of 20+ books on her lap.