Tuesday, October 30, 2007

They Drive Me Crazy!!

Why do IEP (Individualized education plans, for students with disabilities) meetings have to be so hard?? With less than two years left in public school, one could hope the system could get things right for Evan. But I guess not. It was time for Evan's triennial assessment. To begin with "they" didn't want to do a complete evaluation since he's leaving the system in a couple years. Excuse me!! Isn't this the time to get it right?? Well, horrible mother that I am, I asked for a complete evaluation. So, last Wednesday I received a "draft" assessment. I wanted a final assessment. "They" said that just in case there were errors they would finalize the assessment after the IEP!! Excuse me again!!! The IEP is suppose to be built around the assessment so it should be complete before the IEP team meets. And the law states that I can agree or disagree with their assessment. How can I do that without a final copy. Why is this so hard??? So, horrible mother that I am, on Thursday I asked for a "final" copy of the assessment to review before the IEP on Monday. So, they removed the draft stamp and sent me a final copy on Friday. Well, low and behold, I didn't agree with the assessment. So, many of his skills were much more lower than the last assessment. So, I decided for the first time ever I would stand up to them and disagree with the assessment and ask for an independent assessment.

Evan's IEP meeting was yesterday afternoon. I'm proud (not in a prideful way) of myself for staying calm and making sure to compliment them. I don't want to burn bridges with them I need their help, can't do this alone. Then I told them I respectfully disagree with the assessment and already had it in writing. So, now we have to wait for the Special Ed Director to decide if he thinks their assessment was appropriately done. If not then we go to due process (a court hearing). Sounds fun, huh? I have no idea what he will do, this is my first experience dealing with this particular person.

The other thing that concerned me was Evan's transition plan. The transition plan is suppose to help the student when they leave the school system to have something appropriate they can be involved in. "Their" idea of a transition play is to help him memorize his social security number!! Excuse me again!! Each IEP should have a statement of transition. Evan didn't even have one so I came up with one and asked for it be a part of his IEP. Here it is!!


Evan’s Transition Statement


As a young boy Evan had a wish to help his favorite weatherman, Al Roker, report the weather on the Today Show! On a very exciting day in April 2000, the wonderful people at The Make-a-Wish Foundation made that wish come true! What a great experience, with great memories for our family.

Evan’s wish to become a weatherman continues. I would like to help make that wish come true. Not just as a memory of his Make A Wish trip. While I understand that getting a degree in meteorology is not within the scope of reality for Evan, I would love to see him working for someone in the field of weather. This could be in logging data, filing, cleaning, or any number of activities. Several types of businesses need information about weather, from TV stations, to airports and power plants the list could go on.

My ideal for Evan when he leaves high school is to see him working for a company that has some type of weather related component. I would like him to be able to work at least part time and be surrounded by mostly non-disabled peers. This will need to be done with some support at least at first.

Let’s not let Evan’s wish to become a weatherman die!!

I was happy I shared that without getting emotional. I asked them to share that vision and work together to make it happen. Again, we have to wait and see. The IEP meeting was tabled until the whole assessment thing gets worked out.

So, the IEP saga continues. It has been most difficult throughout Evan's schooling. I have had to fight for so much for him. It's worth it, but I just wish that "they" would try to do as much as possible to help kids, instead of as little as possible. I think I need to join this group??
To be continued....

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fabulous Friday's Forever Family Featuring.....

My Daddy, Paul Leo!! My dad was born in 1910 to an Irish Catholic father and a French Canadian mother. There were eleven children in the family. But only 6 lived to adulthood. This picture was taken 1828. My dad is the young man on the left. His parents are in the middle, three of his sisters in the middle and younger brother on the right. This is the earliest picture I have of him.

My dad worked in a shoe factory back East when I was little. He was married before he meet my mom. That marriage ended in a bitter divorce. My dad had five children from that marriage. I never, ever heard him talk about those kids. I have never met them. I often wonder about those half siblings!! I wonder how hard it would be to walk away from your children, never to see them again on this earth!! My Daddy and me.

When I was six my family moved out West, I think it was mainly to get away from his other family. My Dad had an Irish temper and was an alcoholic. But, he never ever abused me. The last few years of his life he stopped drinking and helped others end their habit through the Alcoholics Anonymous. I'm proud of him for that.

Playing at the Park, I was a Daddy's girl!!

My Dad was a very honest person. I remember one Christmas Eve, we had returned home from shopping and my Dad realized the clerk had given him $20 dollars extra in change. He took us right back to that store and returned the money to a very thankful clerk. I'm so glad that my father taught me to be honest by his example!!

My Mom and Dad

Another memory is shopping for shoes. YIKES!! I hated shoe shopping with my Dad. He had a great knowledge of how a good shoe was made and suppose to fit. They didn't have the self serve shoe stores in those days that they do know. Heaven forbid, we go into a shoe store where the shoes were poorly made or the clerk didn't now to fit it properly. They would definitely hear a word to two from my Dad. My brothers and I would just cringe and want to hide!! He just wanted the best made product and that's not a bad thing.

This is the picture on my Dad's last drivers license. I like his smiling Irish eyes!!

For most of my life my dad lived with heart disease. I remember visiting with my family many times and thinking it might be the last time I saw him. But he surprised me so many times!! He died at the young age of 70 after suffering his fourth heart attack. It's been over 27 years ago and I still miss him. Even though I know he wasn't perfect (I'm not either), I knew he loved me and I loved him!! I look forward seeing him again. We had a great time when we did his temple work. My Dad and all his siblings have been sealed to my grandparents. I look forward to being sealed to my Dad one day too. I love you, Dad.








Wednesday, October 24, 2007

California Fires

Just last week my husband and I were discussing the tornado's in the mid west and south east part of our country. I remember commenting that I would much rather live in California's earthquake country. I had totally forgotten about how tragic the wildfires of California can be. While we are save in our area, my heart and prayers goes out to the firefighters, the people who are in the path of the fires and those we have suffered a loss. Life is so precious, we just never know when a tragedy will strike.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Thank You!!

Thanks everyone I had a great birthday yesterday!! To start off I went to my ward Relief Society "Super Saturday". It was fun to be with all the Sister's. We had service projects going, and crafts to make, and a great luncheon. Rumors spread it was my birthday so everyone sang to me. I made some Christmas presents. They turned out great, I was really jazzed. Too bad, I can't tell you what they are, but I'm afraid of spies!! Here's a clue, they are made of wood.

When I came home I found a bouquet of beautiful flowers from Katie. And a yummy chocolate cake that Evan and Mike and made for me. Mike was wondering what was wrong the frosting!! It was kind of melting!! The cake was still warm on the bottom. Mmmmmm, yummy, warm melting chocolate!! So, we had a little family party.
Here are some of the presents I received. Lovely flowers from Katie. Flowers always gladden my heart!!


Some beautiful Nativities for my collection. (That should have been on my list of things about me, I collect Nativities.) The one on the left is one that Mike got for me when were in Sedona, Arizona, in June, only I didn't know it!! We had gone to visit the beautiful Chapel of the Cross up in the red rocks. They had a gift shop full of Nativities. I was going crazy in there!! I talked Mike into letting me buy two small ones. He paid for them while I got Evan in the car. Mike also purchased the one of the left, and had it shipped it to our home, so I didn't know. It happened to come at a time I wasn't home and had been hiding under the bunk beds all these months.
The one of the left is from David's family. It can hang on the Christmas tree and has little lights on top that change colors. It is very beautiful.
This is a darling Nativity charm bracelet from David and family too!! I can't wait to wear it at Christmas time!!

I also got the Taylor Swift CD from Evan. Thanks Evan, I like her songs.

Then Last night we went to a friends house for a Halloween party. Peace!! Mike and I dressed like old hippies. Evan was a surgeon!! We had a lot of fun!!





Saturday, October 20, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!!

Since today is my 55th birthday I thought I would share 55 things that make me me!!

1. I'm shy.

2. And an introvert.

3. I was born in the East.

4. But grew up in the West.

5. I have three brothers.

6. An no sisters (boo hoo) but I do have four sister-in-laws!!

7. I have five half siblings I have never met.

8. I met my wonderful husband at Disneyland.

9. We went to the same high school, were in the same senior English Lit class but never talked to each other.

10. I have been pregnant seven times.

11. My first pregnancy ended in miscarriage, then we couldn't stop having babies. LOL

12. I am a 11 year breast cancer survivor.

13. I am NOT good at math.

14. I used to be a LVN, Licensed Vocational Nurse.

15. I have been a parent for 31 years!! So, I guess I'm still a nurse.

I6. I love my in-laws, they are great people.

17. I love to work in my garden.

18. and watch the birds

19. I love the ocean, but NOT to play in the water. I love the sounds and smells and sights!!

20. I love to camp.

21. Really hot weather makes me grouchy.

22. I used to play the flute in my high school band.

23. I can play the piano just a little bit.

24. I listen to country music.

25. I do not like housework.

26. I consider myself a disorganized person.

27. My family did NOT have a religion growing up.

28. I am a 28 year convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

29. I love having the Gospel in my life.

30. I love the peace that being in the Temple brings to me.

31. I love doing my family history and have 707 names in my Personal Ancestry File.

32. I totally love being a grandma!!! Well, who wouldn't with such great little grandsons!!!

33. My maternal grandparents were born in Italy.

34. My paternal grandparents were born in America, they are Irish and French-Canadian.

35. I only had one grandparent alive when I was born.

36. I can't wait to meet my family on the other side.

37. My favorite color is green.

38. My second favorite color is blue.

39. I love being in the outdoors, thus my favorite colors are green and blue!!!

40. I love chocolate!!!

41. I have driven across the country three times in my life.

42. I would love to go again, there is still lots to see.

43. I love Yellowstone National Park.

44. I don't like big crowds.

45. I don't like big cities, especially to live there.

46. I have been on TV a few times!! Thanks Evan for the national Television exposure!!

47. I went to 11 different schools from first grade to high school graduation.

48. I love Christmas!!!

49. I have type 2 diabetes, but not bad. I don't take medicine just watch what I eat and exercise.

50. I hate to fly, but love to look out the window when I do.

51. I never smoked in my life.

52. Or drank alcohol.

53. I sing soprano in the church choir, but have an alto voice!! (I'm working on it)

54. As a teenager, I made a lot of own clothes, but don't sew much anymore.

55. I love my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Without them none of this would be possible.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Fabulous Friday's Forever Family Featuring.....

My mom, Virginia. Since tomorrow we will be celebrating my 55 year on this earth, I thought it would only be appropriate to feature the woman who made that happen. Born to poor immigrant Italians around 1919 in Ontario, Canada, she was their second and last child together. Life was hard in those days. The family lived on a farm. When my mom was a young girl her father left the family for another women, and my grandma raised those two little girls alone.
Mom and her sister Eva with their dog Laddie, circa 1920's


Born with congenital cataracts my mom was visually impaired most of her life. Back then the doctors didn't know how to treat cataracts like they do now. The attempt to scrape the cataracts off only lead to scar tissue which affected her vision. She was teased and called "four eyes" as a little girl, for wearing eye glasses. Later in life my mom would lose all the vision in one eye after surgery to correct glaucoma. And then she could only see out of a pin hole in one eye.

Mom enjoyed braiding her little girls hair!!


My mom came to the US in the 40's to find work. She meet my Dad in the shoe factory where they both worked. They fell in love got married and had four children. I was the second child and only daughter.



I like this picture of my mom as a beautiful young woman!


Because of her poor eyesight my mom never drove a car. We walked a lot!! She never complained. After Evan was born my mom was able to come and live nearby us. She was a tremendous help with the kids. It was great to be able to see her all the time





Mom and Lydia, her constant companion and seeing eye dog

I was happy to be able to give back to her for all the things she did to raise me. In 1999, unable to live alone anymore she lived with us for several months. Then it became apparent it was too difficult to continue to have her in our home and care for a Evan at the same time. So, she moved up to Seattle to be with my two brothers who had no children. It was hard to let her go, but it was the right thing. My brothers have been great with her. Suffering with dementia she has become very frail the past year or two. The last time we saw her she didn't recognize us, but that's ok. I know she still loves me.


Mom and Evan and I visiting up in Seattle.


One of my fond memories of my mom is when when we were growing up she would get out the Christmas albums and play them in July. Used to drive us kids crazy!!

I learned many things from mom. I learned about being loyal. She stood by Dad when he was having problems with alcohol. She had unconditional love for everyone. Even though my family never attended church together, my mom taught me about my Savior Jesus Christ. She instilled in me excellent morals and standards. I'm ready now for her to go to the other side. I know life will be so much better for her there. She will be able to see and hear and she will know who I am!! I love you mom!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

We're Expecting!!!!

Grandchildren that is!!! April called last night to tell us the happy news that they are expecting a little one in June. It will be their first baby!! And Sariah is well on her way to bringing little Leah Ann into the world in December. How fun two more grandbabies!! I love it!!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Soccer Saturday


Like thousands of families we spent time today watching our son play soccer!! However, the kind of soccer Evan plays is quite different than most. Power wheelchair soccer is a fast growing international sport. Evan has been playing for two years and is definitely improving. I was lucky today and actually got him blocking a goal on video!! It's just too bad I don't get excited or show a little enthusiasm!! LOL GO DRAGONS!!!!!
video

Friday, October 12, 2007

Oh, The Places You'll Go!!

You ever go somewhere touristy and get a little magnet to remember the trip? My niece recently wrote in her blog about a trip to Vermont and stopping to get a magnet. My husband likes to collect those souvenir magnets. They used to look cluttered on his metal closet door. When I painted my kitchen last year, I came up with a cute idea and thought I would share it!!

I bought a set of inexpensive cookie sheets and spray painted them white. Using the fun 3M velcro hanging strips, I just put the cookie sheets on the wall. A perfect spot to put those magnets. It's fun to look and remember the fun places we have been!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

No More Secrets

My friend Aprilyn wants my secrets. My housekeeping secrets that is!! (I can hear my six children laughing!! "Did Mom have housekeeping secrets??? Did she really housekeep??? We tried to thwart her every effort!!) LOL

Well, I did have a secret!! Are you ready!! Drum roll please!!

Lower Standards!! Well, not too low mind you!! But don't set yourself up for something unachievable. I was happy to have my living room and dining room fairly clean and my dining room table cleared off. I still struggle with that. We get inundated with paper work and it inevitably ends up on the dining room table.

The other thing we had that was fun was a big bag with a face on it that ate toys!! I found that silly bag in the closet the other day and just had to laugh!!

I'd love to hear your ideas too!! Seems like I'm always trying to stay organized, it just doesn't come natural to me!! HELP!! Tell me your secrets!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I Survived!!

I'm not sure what was worse the ear plugs or the loud music!! But, at least I did manage to survive the Weird Al concert!! I have to admit, he did make me laugh and I was caught tapping my feet a few times. The guy is a great entertainer and definitely the king of parody and costume change!! The concert was well over two hours long without intermission!! In between songs he would have these videos of Weird Al TV interviews that were just a crack up!!

When we got to our seats there was NOT room for a wheelchair, even though I had told the lady on the phone we had one wheelchair user in our group. The "House Manager" was great and she moved us closer!! So, we got even better seats!! The two seats in front of Evan were empty so he had a great view!! Of course Evan totally loved the show. His favorite song of course was "The Saga Begins" a fun Star Wars parody of American Pie!! May the Force be with you!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

More on General Conference

I found this great link today at BYU Television . You can get video of anything that has been on BYU TV. It's fast, you don't have to wait for it to download. Since we missed the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference, I decided to try to get in a few of the talks. Elder Wirthlin's talk was probably the most touching thing I have ever heard or seen. His talk was about Charity, the pure love of Christ. He started having trouble speaking and was shaking. But, bless his heart he kept going. He knew he had a powerful message to share and he was going not going to give up!! Then Elder Nelson comes up and stands behind him and gives him support. You could feel the Savior's Love!! It was definitely a great lesson in love and perservance that I will remember!!

Goodly Parents


We took time this weekend to visit with my in-laws. They are getting up in years and both having health issues. We keep hearing that Grandpa Gayle might have to go on kidney dialysis. He looked great and more important, he says he is doing "Fantasic!". I really appreciate his attitude. He is just happy with each new day he gets!! He looks forward to sharing in more events with his grandkids, like Tiffany's graduation next year! I'm so grateful they raised such good children and I was smart enough to marry one of them!!!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Our Fun Weekend

It's always fun to get together with my kids. This weekend was General Conference. Since John & Amy and Rachel & Joey were congregating at Katie and Brad's house we decided we would crash the party too!! It was fun because John and Amy didn't know we were coming.


It was great to watch Conference together! We all thrilled that Elder Henry B. Eyring was callled as a member of the First Presidency. And Elder Quentin R. Cook had been our Area Authority so it was also exctiing to hear that he was called as a new Apostle.


All the conference talks were touching. I really appreciated Elder Oak's talk about how we spend our time and that some choices are good, but others are better. I need to work on the better choices!! I also am going follow President Eyring's talk to work on recognizing God's kindness in my everyday life.


The other really fun thing our family did was sit down and watch the three new Signing Time DVD's!! It was so fun to see my grandson, Andrew, signing and dancing. Boy does that kid know how to groove. If you click on the video on the Signing Time link he is the little guy dancing at the end!!

Oh, and Brad is such a great cook!! Thanks for all the yummy food!!


Tomorrow we are going to visit Mike's Mom and Dad, then head on home. I'll post pictures when I get home.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I Can't Believe I Did It!

Warm fuzzys is not what I get when I think about the music of Weird Al Yankovic . But, I bought tickets to his concert next week anyway. The things we do for our children!! You see, Evan loves Weird Al. It's so funny, this sweet, innocent, quiet young man, absolutely loves listening to Weird Al. I remember one time when Evan was in the hospital, the doctor came in, saw the headphones and asked Evan, "What are you listening too?" He was so shocked to hear that Evan was listening to Weird Al!!
I'm going too, I just want to watch Evan, watch Weird Al!! I know he will be thrilled!!! It will be fun to watch him laugh!! Maybe I'll just bring earplugs!!
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