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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Yep. It's been months.

It's that time of year again people, and it's busier than it's ever been for us.  Work is going well, but I got hurt on the job so I'm on light duty right now and rehabbing my knee.  Dante and Alex are trying to stay caught up on their school work, and I'm stressing about it (per usual).  Unexpected bills are hitting, we have all been sick, the cat was sick, and we're all working more hours than we did last year at this time, so nothing is on schedule this holiday season.  I'm sure that most of you are in the same boat, but it felt good to type that out :)

As you can see here, Alex is decorating the tree again.  This year the Sissionaries helped out but they aren't in the picture.  They are coming over for Christmas dinner this year, and will be skyping their families from our computer.  It's really bittersweet to see.  They're so happy and they catch up with their parents and siblings, and then after a while everyone gets sad and starts to cry because the call is close to ending.  Family members gather so that distant cousins and Aunts & Uncles, and grandparents, and family friends can all speak to their missionary.  I like to be a part of it. 

As you may expect, I have almost no Christmas knitting going.  This pair of socks in progress is intended for Dante, but I'm not sure if they'll be finished in time.  I don't love the way this color is transitioning at all.  I bought this on my trip to Stitches East, and I've been trying to knit the yarn from that trip so I'll feel better about spending and buying so much, lol.  This is the only project so far that has felt disappointing, but he likes the colors, so... 

I'm not sure about getting a gingerbread house baked, or anything else we usually do.  Alex doesn't want Christmas Eve meatballs this year (my tradition), and has asked for quesadillas.  I guess we're tossing out all the stuff I usually do and trying a lot of new things, so it doesn't matter if I get to all the baking or knitting or movie-watching.  It only matters that I remember the reason we celebrate the Christmas season, and that I spend time with my boys (without trying to kill them). 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

welp, summer is gone folks

First day of the 3rd grade.
I don't know how this keeps happening.  I didn't realize it had been SO LONG since my last post.  The whole summer went by!  I guess that's what happens when I'm focusing on school, and working full time, and trying to run the Primary all at the same time.  So let's see...what's new?

I'm still at work and it's great.  It's hard but it's great.  My husband is working full time at a Nissan dealership and loving it.  Dante started his senior year of high school a few weeks ago.  Senior year!!  I don't know how that happened.  It seemed at first like we'd never get here, but at the same time it feels like I just had him.  It's a strange time warp.  Alex started 3rd grade and is doing wonderfully now that his accommodations are in place.  The small changes made by the 504 have been a huge help.  Also, it doesn't hurt that there's a new, more seasoned teacher and a new principal as well.  I like them both much better than the combo we had last year. 

The Primary is flowing nicely and thankfully, all of the people we lost over the summer have returned so we're better staffed.  My kids are almost ready for a rip to the temple and we're all pretty excited about it.  They've been working very hard at improving their behavior each week and I think they're just about ready.  We have a challenge in place where they're trying to earn the coins they need (they're filling a jar) before October, and I think they just might do it.

Now to the yarn.  I knit another yoked baby sweater for a friend/co-worker who is expecting a baby any day now.  You may recognize the buttons from Katie's etsy shop.  They're left over from the sweater I knit for Alex a few years ago.  They're perfect for this little gem.  The yarn is hand dyed and I bought it when I went out to California last summer to visit my parents.  The Yarn Yenta and I went to her favorite local yarn shop and I came home with this (among other things I won't mention here, lol).

Right now I'm working on another sweater.  I have six on the needles.  I just need to finish one already, lol.  I also have two pairs of socks, one shawl, and my Pop blanket still in progress.  Meanwhile, I designed a sock pattern for the Super Sock Scarefest, which will be released on October 1st.  If you're in the group, you'll get the pattern for free.  It will be released to the general knitting public after the 2014 round finished up. 

And since I'm in a confessing mood, I feel compelled to say that my good friend Heather and I took a pilgrimage up to Webs a few weeks ago.  You know you're in trouble when you walk in and see the shopping carts (like at the grocery store).  We got one just to be funny, and to have a place to put our purses.  We filled it with yarn.  I bought enough yarn to knit a sweater for every person in my immediate family, plus another skein of Noro Kureyon for my Pop blanket, and two skeins of sock yarn in ridiculous shades of red and pink, cause the last thing I needed was more sock yarn.  Oh well.  Such is life.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Things are looking up

Today I got to help out a friend who always helps me out, and it was nice to be able to return the favor.  We took her little girl this morning so that she could go to the temple to help a family who went up to have their child sealed to them.  Their little girl really struggles with strangers and has severe separation anxiety, and since my friend is the child-whisperer, she is the only one who can sooth the little girl. 

So today Alex got to play with his friend for most of the morning, and he did a wonderful job keeping her busy and happy.  He made her a waffle and did some of the cutting himself (with a butter knife).  He colored, built a train track and brought down a handful of Thomas engines to play with, brought down several stuffed animals to play with, played peek-a-boo with a hat, and just generally did his best to be helpful.  We eventually went for a walk to the park and he helped her down the slide.  Then on the way home, she turned to him and asked him to pick her up (the way babies with limited verbals do, with up-stretched arms, lol).  This has never happened before so I took several adorable photos of that but I won't post them here.  He picked her up and did his best to carry her for as long as she wanted him to, taking care to set her down and readjust when he thought he was losing his hold.  He was very careful with her without having to be told, and I was glad to have the help (and made sure to tell him so several times).  He needs more opportunities like this to have positive social interactions with others so he can learn how it's done and be immediately reinforced for doing it. 

In other news, the mediation was successful and the school agreed to start the 504 process.  I was also able to specify that if it should be necessary to involve the school psychologist in the process, they have to pull one from another school.  The one I've had issues with is now out of the picture, and since it's written into the mediation agreement, it's legally binding and I can enforce it in court if necessary.  This should be in place before the end of the school year, which is rapidly approaching.

And finally, I went to my doctor and after working up a plan of action with him, I'm feeling much better.  Sometimes there are just to many things going on in our lives to handle successfully, and there's no shame in asking for help until things blow over.  I struggled with having to take medication in the past, feeling somehow like I was broken and couldn't be fixed, but I've come to realize over the years that the human body is not designed to handle stress for extended periods of time.  The very system that protects us in the short term can cause damage in the long term if we can't switch it off.   Getting some help to do that is not only wise, it's necessary.  This time around I just feel glad for the help and I don't feel any stigma or shame in it.  I made a good decision and my family will be the better for it, as will I.

Work is getting better now that I'm getting better.  Yesterday I was sent to the main building to help out a classroom with limited staff.  The youngest children went on a field trip to URI to kick off the Special Olympics, and it was amazing.  I didn't really get it before, but going in there with my little buddy C was the most joyful experience I've had there.  Each school got to go in separately (much like the athletes do in the traditional Olympics), and they were greeted to a standing ovation.  There were several stations set up with modified versions of several sports, and they were encouraged to go around to try what ever interested them.  He was so excited, and got to see some teachers and classmates from the school he attended prior to ours.  He was warmly greeted by them all, and it was heartwarming to see.  He stuck pretty close to me and cuddled up regularly.  It was one of those special moments that reminds you of why people do this type of work.  It was wonderful to see him happy and having a good time, able to choose for himself whether he wanted to try an activity or just go sit down in a chair.  Next year, when Special Olympics comes around again, I think I'll sign up to be a staff for one of our Pathways kids.

Oh yeah.  You came here for knitting.  I'm working exclusively on my POP blanket and I found two skeins of Kureyon at Knit One Quilt Two that were brighter than what I was working with before.  I went over to Bella Yarns and got my white Eco Wool, and now I'm full steam ahead.  It. Is. Glorious.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day fun

I took the boys out to Orange Leaf today, or The Leaf as we affectionately know it.  Alex has a gift card held over from Christmas that we still hadn't used and today was as good a day as any.  They had this hilarious sticker on the front door so Dante gave Alex a boost so that he could take a photo with this amazing specimen of a mustache.  I think it's a classic :)

We stayed home today instead of going over to my MIL's for a BBQ.  Aaron went, but I have a major homework assignment due tomorrow and I was still trying to start it, (so naturally I felt compelled to blog).  Aaron headed over late and would be staying late so that meant that Alex needed to stay home with me.  Dante went out to get into a pick-up game of basketball, so he stayed behind too.  It's a nasty gray day and Alex is struggling with some hyper-sensitivity, which isn't going over too well with Aaron today so it's probably for the best that we stayed here.

It's days like today when I get to take photos like this one, when I realize that I sneak lots of quality time in with my boys and I don't have to worry so much about family moments slipping through my fingers.  I'm very active in church so my children are too, and we spend a lot of time together as a family doing those things.  I also spend 90 extra minutes every morning with Dante, driving him to seminary and then to school.  I spend one-on-one time with Alex at night when I read to him at bedtime and when we watch cartoons together.  And I have so many photos from the last few summers and holidays that I can look back on.  I didn't know what they were at the time but now I realize that I manage to find time for my boys every day, and I don't need to grieve something that isn't here yet, and might not be as dire as it feels right now.  I think that talk I had with my mom yesterday helped me put it into perspective too.  My mom is a smart lady and I love her.

Meanwhile, I've started to do some things that I used to enjoy and I've tried to do less of some others that don't really bring me joy.  I was always very active on Ravelry but over the last few months I've hardly even checked in.  I also have an extensive blog roll that I would check every morning before starting my school work.  I haven't done that in months and months.  This weekend I went back to it and it felt a lot like going home.  It was bittersweet because on the one hand, I really missed it and I felt depressed over being away from something I loved for so long.  It was the sudden realization that I hadn't been doing as good of a job of sticking to the normal things as I thought I'd been doing that I found so upsetting.  On the other hand, I was back and it felt good.  I discovered a pattern book available for preorder that i really loved, and I used my Mother's Day gift card to pay for it (thank you Aaron!). 

The other thing that I did was give in and purchase the pattern for the POP Blanket.  It's unbelievably fast and addicting.  I've knit six squares in the last 24 hours.  It only takes about as long to knit one of these as it does to knit a hexipuff, but I need a heck of a lot less of these.  I love this so much!  It's definitely cheering me up and I feel so much more like myself today.  However, I see a second one of these in my future because I really want to have the white border and I don't have enough white Eco Wool so I'm using a taupe yarn I have on hand.  It's cool, but the effect is very different from the sample that I fell in love with.  I really don't want to buy a skein of yarn for this but it might come down to that.  I don't have enough of the white I got as the Vermont fiber festival, and I'm not sure if the Cascade 220 I have on hand is thick enough.  Maybe I'll knit a square with it and see how I like it.  Either way, this blanket is happening, and it's happening right now!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Can I take it all back?

So we had a conversation a few weeks ago where I was feeling better at work, and I was working on a sock and a sweater, and I was eagerly anticipating going to mediation with Alex's school.  That's not entirely accurate any more. 

As you can see in the photo, I was reminded of the existence of my Beekeeper's Quilt and I picked it back up.  I've been knitting puffs like there's no tomorrow, because it's all I have the mental energy for right now.  The downward slide is more evident in the things that trigger sadness and tears.  It's tough when I can't be happy for others in their moment of happiness because I'm reminded of something that I'm missing in my life, or when I can't enjoy a natural right of passage with my child because I'm sad that things are going to change.

It's painful to even write about this, but I'm really struggling with having two children so far apart in age, mostly because Dante is quickly becoming a young adult and I have a little boy in the house still so I'm in the mode of having all my little ducklings at home and accounted for.  I'm not in a place of transition like I should be to help Dante as he makes the change, and I'm trying desperately to hide that from him because this is supposed to be an exciting time for him. 

You see, my weeks are literally flying by at break-neck speed so when people tell me that I've got another full year to 18 months before he sets off into the world, they might as well be talking about hours.  This calendar year Dante will enter his senior year of high school.  This year.  Next year he will graduate.  He will turn 18 quickly after, and the will likely put in mission papers.  He will set off on a mission for 2 years, during which time he will likely be too busy to remember to write to his mother.  When he returns after 2 years away, he will go off to college.  Things will not ever be like they are right now, and I actually like things as they are right now.  I've worked really hard to shape him into a kind, respectable, likeable young man and I'm angry that I get such a short time with him to enjoy it now that he's there.  I'm regretting that I have to share the last summer I have with him doing homework and working my new full-time job.  I've done my best, but I'm looking at the time I have left and regretting how little of it there is left before he's off into the world.  He won't have very much time for me (as I've not had as much time as I'd like for my parents), and I can't stand that.  And I can't figure out how to express that to those around me so I just press on like I'm okay because trying to talk about it causes me to break down in tears. 

I'm not putting this all out here for sympathy, so please don't feel like you have to respond with encouragement.  I just hoped that it would be a little therapeutic to actually admit what I've been feeling and struggling with.  Then maybe I can start to get back to myself again, because I certainly haven't been myself in a little while.  Work is hard most days and the last week I've lived in constant anxiety of going to work.  I know what it is, but I feel it none the less.  I haven't wanted to watch anything other than cartoons.  I haven't knit much of anything and I've had to force myself to knit what I've managed to knit.  I've hardly cooked.  I checked in on my blog feed for the first time in months and months, and immediately felt lonely and isolated.  I want to talk to people; to reach out, but I don't want to talk to them.  I want to tell someone but I don't want to be needy.  And sometimes I try to reach out but no one is home.  Lots of times actually. 

Anyway, this post sure took a different turn that I thought it would but sometimes that's for the best.  I'll keep working on this thing and I'll enlist some help is I can't fix it.  In the meantime, I appreciate the ability to unload it.  Now, I'm going to go knit some puffs and watch Spongebob.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Woodstove, the Rhode Island Department of Education, work, and other such things

So it's been a while and you're probably wondering what I finally decided to do with that Sweet Georgia yarn I picked up on the Yarn Crawl.  At first I was just knitting a simple top-down sweater with no real plans, but then I realized that I really wanted something special.  I pulled it out and started scouring Ravelry for pattern ideas.  I kept coming back to one pattern over and over, and I've already knit the child's version once so I knew I eventually wanted one for myself.  Ladies and gents, I'm now knitting myself a Woodstove Season

I'm to modifying it a little bit to make sure the sleeves are long enough and to account for two fewer buttons than the pattern calls for (because I got these at the crawl as well and they're special order).  I've already made it through the sleeve increases and have put the sleeves on hold.  I'm also working through the decreases right now...at least I was until I saw Denise working on a sock from her Quaere Fibre yarn one night during class and had to immediately wind mine up.  It only makes sense.  My Woodstove Season is just too big to haul around anymore and I need to have a project to work on in church :)  So I cast on my 10 Stripe Rainbow and started a toe-up sock.  It's obnoxiously bright and beautiful.  I love it to pieces.

In work news, I'm just plain exhausted but things are finally coming together.  I've been doing the job long enough now to feel more comfortable when I have to sub in another room.  I've also learned that a lot of my struggle was just my own attitude.  I was afraid of getting hurt, or of a student hurting themselves and not knowing what to do.  I can say now that I've experienced aggression from each of the students in my room and none of it was as bad as I'd imagined.  I find that I'm not afraid now, and now I'm enjoying work more than I was before.  My co-workers help a whole lot too.  They're hilarious people and I love the teamwork aspect of it.  However this job, in combination with my personal life and my new responsibilities as the Primary President, is just plain overwhelming.  I don't have time for much of anything and when I do, I just don't feel like doing anything. If this continues, I'll need to talk to my doctor again about starting my anti-depressants again because this is the start of the downward slide.  I've been able to wrangle things back into order the past three times but I don't know if I'll have the energy to do it a fourth time.

The battle with Alex's school has turned ugly.  I called the state Department of Ed and they confirmed my suspisions that his case has been badly mishandled from the very start.  There were four areas where they did things that they shouldn't have, (or failed to do things that they should have) done.  They also read the requirements to qualify for a 504 plan to me, and Alex met three of the six requirements, confirming that he should indeed be on a 504 plan.  The school flat out refused to even consider him for one until after we get him evaluated on our own (which isn't supposed to be a requirement).  The school is responsible to handle this and shouldn't have pushed it off onto us. 

All that being said, we are now scheduling mediation to discuss the issues we've been having.  I also have an appt with an attorney on Tuesday specializing in special education issues.  I'm going to have them go over the case thus far and ask for their advice going into the mediation.  I also found a copy of a functional behavior assessment and put that in Alex's file so that I can prove that the fba we received from the school was incorrectly conducted and written, and that it should not have been the deciding factor used to determine Alex's eligibility for special education services.  I think things will improve after this.

And finally, I have to apologize for my lack of consistent blogging.  I'm finding it hard to find things that I feel comfortable talking about online.  I've actually shifted over to using a journal.  My blog started out as a way to talk about personal happenings so that I could more easily keep my family in California updated.  Then I started to knit and used it to chronicle that as well.  Then I started to design and I had to be a little more careful about what I put out there because the blog represented me as a person and as a brand, and if you want to keep customers coming back you have to take care to avoid offending them, lol.  Then I started to hear from people that I knew that they were following the blog.  That was when I really had to think about what I was writing.  It's hard because I felt a certain freedom when I could just write what ever I wanted knowing that only about two people ever read my blog.  Now it's different.  I have a leadership position in my church where I directly work with children and teens, and some of them read the blog (or their parents read it) which means that I have to sensor myself even more than I ordinarily would to avoid setting a poor example.  That doesn't leave much of interest to discuss here, and my rediculious schedule doesn't allow me to knit fast enough to talk about knitting.  So, blog posts will come and go until after school is finished (about a year from know), and I once again have time to knit and design.  You're welcome to hang in until then (and I'd love it Dear Reader if you would), but I completely understand if this blog drops off your radar for a while.  I've been there.

Monday, April 14, 2014

My yarn crawl haul

Oh people.  You have no idea what I did at the yarn crawl this year, lol.  I've had a gray sweater on the brain ever since Kim knit one out of some amazing yarn that I can't even remember, but I've been obsessing over it ever since.  I've purchased so many gray shirts and t's, and really it would have been less expensive to finally give in and just buy the yarn already.  So I did.

I found six skeins of Sweet Georgia Superwash Worsted in silver at Love to Knit, and I slapped my plastic down for it faster than you could blink.  My only regret is that I didn't buy a seventh, because there were just so many beautiful patterns in my que that 1200 yds would cover, but I've got super-long arms and the sleeves won't fit without that extra length.  I should have known better.  That being said, I did decide that I could either knit a super simple top-down cardigan (which I've done before and it fit), or I could knit Rocky Coast.  I should have enough yardage to cover the long sleeves.  Or I could knit this.  I would need a few skeins of another color for the stripes but that's not a problem, and there were some really stunning versions done in gray. 

I also picked up lots of cool stuff from the Play At Life booth, which is where I usually do all of my damage during the crawl, lol.  I got three of her gradient kits and another maki to make summer armwarmers.  At work I use them for scratch guards.  And I got two skeins of sport weight self-striping sock yarn from Quaere in 10-Stripe Rainbow.  I. Can't. Wait.

That being said, good friends just had a baby today and I was caught unaware.  I really forgot how far along the pregnancy was, so now I'm really happy (and justified) that I bought that bunny kit on the crawl as well, lol. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Finally starting to swim

It's cheese with my name on it!
 Hi everybody!!  Oh how I've missed you all.  It turns out that adding full-time employment back into the mix has been a bit much for me and I've been doing my level best to keep up with all-the-things.  Most days I don't even knit!  I KNOW!!

Since we last spoke, I had a birthday and fought several times with Alex's school.  I've been trained on all of the students in my classroom except for one (which is coming soon), and today we finally enacted the safety/restraint training that we recently switched to so I was more able to help out in the room on a few occasions.  And while it certainly has been tough to work with some of the boys without being able to engage physically if it should come to that, it's been a blessing in disguise because I've learned enough about their triggers and personalities that I've learned how to avoid an aggressive episode.  It's better to avoid an incidence of aggression and self-injurious behavior than to have to engage a student who is having one.

In knitting news, I've not done much to brag about but I did finish a pretty little sample for my favorite Yarnie, Chrystee of Play At Life Yarns.  I used one of her Maki and one of her semi-solids to knit another knee high.  I've knit this sock with this exact yarn combo several times now and I love it each time.  I'm looking forward to finishing my latest knee highs with her Dark Rainbow and Blackstrap.  Look for those soon.

School (grad school that is) is going well for me.  I'm on break from my latest class and I'm still carrying a 4.0 GPA.  My job provides the supervision hours that I need to qualify for the BACB exam, which is great...but I had no idea that I would be required to do homework for that.  Now I have homework from work AND homework from school.  It's all really really overwhelming, especially with my rediculious schedule.  I'm very much looking forward to summer when seminary will be out and I can sleep.

And to wrap things up, the Mr has started to make homemade candles.  He loves it and he's really starting to get the hang of it.  Naturally there was a learning curve.  You can see him here trying to get a candle out of a mold, lol.  Turns out that there's a window of time in which you're supposed to do that and if you go past, good luck getting it out.

Eventually he will be opening an etsy shop and giving small business ownership a go.  I'm really excited for him, and for the suddenly endless supply of candles I have to burn.  Most of the first batch weren't good enough to sell, but they're good enough to scent my home :)  Our apartment has never smelled so good.

this is what happens when you don't have a proper seal.

Friday, January 24, 2014

This year so far

 This year (so far) I've embraced lots and lots of change and thankfully most of it has been good.  I'm all set to start work on the 10th and I will be provided an opportunity to work with several different groups of students so that I can get all of my experience hours in.  I'm feeling pretty good about it, but trying to get used to the fact that i won't have near as much time to knit, lol. 

I have also been blessed to have two of my cousins (on my dad's side) reach out and contact me via Facebook.  It's amazing how much one of my cousins and I look a like!  The family resemblance is striking.  We have been chatting today, trying to break the ice and get to know each other, and I look forward to doing more of that.

Dante tells me that his bus issues have largely resolved themselves and he is no longer required to sit in the front.  I think the meeting we had with the school, the bus company rep and the driver, and the rep from the school district did the trick.  I also think Dante knows now that we will back him up when he is being treated unfairly, but that he still needs to show respect for his elders and that we will be limited in what we can do if he gives in to teenage impulses.  I'm glad that things are finally settling down on that front.

Alex is starting to do pretty good in school again.  It was a really rough go there but he's had several good days in a row and has started getting his work done in class again.  I'm really proud of the efforts he's making and I'm glad to see that his teacher is really trying to work with him to accommodate his needs.  I know we got off on the wrong foot with her but I can see that she truly is trying, and he likes her so she can't be a mean woman or he wouldn't hug her every day.  SMD is a tough thing to get a handle on and most teachers haven't experienced it (or at least didn't know they were) so it takes some time for things to come together.  The fact that this is starting to settle down shows me that 1) his teacher is starting to understand his needs, or at least how to meet some of them, and 2) my intervention is working.  One way of testing an intervention is to start it, then stop, then start again.  If the behavior improves, then gets worse, then improves again, you can say that the intervention worked.  I didn't want to have to go through this with Alex, but I think I can safely prove now that my suggested accommodations work for him.

Meanwhile, I've been baking bread like it was my job, and I'm loving it.  I switched yeast brands after talking to a friend and I've had success after success.  We finished all the store-bought bread last week and I baked a new loaf last night.  I sent Alex to school with a sandwich made from home made bread; we'll see if he actually ate it, lol. 

I've got some sour dough starter in the fridge and a batch proofing on the counter as I type this.  The first batch turned out pretty good but it got too dark on the outside and I don't think it was fully cooked through to the center.  I'm gonna try again tomorrow :)

And finally, I came up with a list of ideas to use to help raise some money for the YW Camp this year.  I'm pretty excited about a few of them and I hope we can try them out.  I also had a long-time blog friend come through for me with fabric for a YW activity; thank you very much Cathy!!  Our budget is laughable, so this will help us out immensely :)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Big big changes in the New Year

Friends, this year got off with a bang!  Firstly, I got the job.  I'm going to start my first job in my career field, and it's surreal to me.  I've had a bunch of paperwork to fill out, I needed to get a background check, I'll have to get fingerprinted and I've got to make sure my immunizations are up to date.  There will also be trainings.  Lots and lots of trainings. 

I'll also have to adjust to a more restricted schedule, and a very specific dress code and grooming requirements.  No more jewelry (I really don't wear much anyway), no perfume (same here), hair pulled up and back (already do that...), and nails cut very short.  Now that I'm thinking about it, I do all that stuff already, lol.  I guess I won't have to change much there.  I did order some new clothes and I'm pretty excited about putting them on for the first time.  I got several of my favorite short and long-sleeved tees from Old Navy (cause they come in tall), and a week's worth of scrub pants with pockets, in dark colors so they will look more like slacks but move easily with me when I have to move.  I expect to spend a lot of time getting down on the floor and back up again, and I don't want the back of my pants to slide down every time I bend, so scrubs with a draw string should solve that issue.

Meanwhile, I had a meeting Alex's school and I was able to bring my husband with me.  He got to see the issues I've been dealing with.  And you know what?  After all that fighting to get them to understand and to implement his behavior modification plan correctly, they STILL aren't doing things right and are punishing him for his sensory behaviors.  I just had to write an email explaining to his teacher that the sticker chart is to be used to encourage him to do his work, and that he received 8 stickers on Friday even though he didn't actually do his work.  Then when he refused to do his work yesterday, she sent him to the office for arguing with her and being 'disrespectful', but didn't send him down with his work, so in effect she reinforced his disruptive behavior.  Guess who just learned that if he doesn't want to do the work, all he has to do is argue and he can go to the office to escape said work.  I had to remind her (again) that she needs to give him stickers ONLY if he's done his work in class, and that instead of arguing with him (engaging in a power struggle with him), count to 3 and tell him that if she gets to 3 he'll lose the sticker for that hour.  Simple as that.

I also asked for them to start the process to evaluate him for an IEP again, but they didn't write that in on the paperwork from the meeting.  I'm getting push back on that and I'm really frustrated.  If he had an IEP he'd get more help and they would be held to the terms that we put down in his behavior plan.  I understand now why so many parents are frustrated in this process.  It all went so much more smoothly with Dante.  Not perfectly, but more smoothly.

The next step in this process is to have an updated evaluation with a child psychiatrist and see if there is any change since the last one (probably not).  Then I push again for an IEP and if I get any hassle, I go to the school board and one of RI's parent advocacy groups.  Oh, and I created a 'user guide' for Alex and a flow chart for next year because I don't feel like trying to tell every single new teacher/coach/primary leader I meet all about this over and over again, and it's a lot for them to take in.  Now they'll have something to refer to when I'm not there.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014, Day 1

I usually do a year-in-review before the end of the year but I didn't get around to it this year.  I haven't been able to tear myself away from my copy of Game of Thrones for a while now and it's sucking my will to live.  This book series is definitely one of the best and worst things to happen to me in 2013.

And speaking of '13, it was a really rocky year for the Washington's and we're all happy to be done with it.  We've been dealing with a lot of stress, anxiety and depression, back pain, chronic allergies for just about everyone (including the cat), difficulty at school, adjusting to our new seminary schedule, and new church responsibilities.  Although many of the things we experienced this year were good things (finding my father, taking the boys to California to meet him, being assigned to work with the Young Women, graduate school, Dante's first girlfriend, Alex's school moving into a new building with a playground, a promotion for Aaron), these experiences caused more than their fair share of stress and we just weren't equipped to deal with it.  We all went through a range of emotions that none of us expected and we're still trying to right the ship.

In the world of knitting and designing, I was much less productive than in years past.  This year I only released two designs: Gingerbread Armwarmers, and the Missionary Hat, although I did finally manage to revise the New Moon Vest chart and get that out into the world before the end of 2013.  I knit a few samples for several different designers this year but most of them are still secret and I can't post about them just yet.  My own knitting was geared toward children last year.  I did not complete one full sized adult sweater but I did knit several baby sweaters and two for Alex.  I also figured out the perfect recipe for a hat (click on the missionary hat link), and I knit approximately 13 of them.  I guess that made 2013 the year of baby knits and hats.

Grad school is steadily moving forward.  I'm trying to transfer to Salve Regina and I need to check in to see what my application is missing.  The letters of recommendation were the hardest part and it took months to chase them down.  Every time I start a new class at Kaplan I cringe because I know that only a portion will transfer over and I don't want to have to repeat more than necessary.  However I know that this transfer will be just the thing I need to get into an internship and a job after I graduate.  As a matter of fact, I applied for a job and got an interview simply because I wrote in my cover letter that I was in the middle of the transfer process to Salve, and this company works closely with them.  Saying I was trying to transfer was enough to get me an interview!  And that interview went well; they have checked my references and I hope to hear back in the next week or so.  I might be starting off the new year with a full time job in my field, which is both exciting and terrifying all at the same time.

And on that note, I'm going to go do some homework and leave you with a small year-in-review of my baby/child knitting from 2013.