Sunday, October 28, 2012

Roxy the... What?!

Meet Birdie's friend Roxy.

See Roxy sit?  Sit, Roxy, sit.

I see you squinting at the screen, wondering if your vision is failing you in your old age.  You're wondering did I upload the wrong photograph...

Now you're feeling clever because you've concluded that Roxy must be an imaginary friend that is supposedly sitting in the chair...

And some of you are wondering, now that you think about it, what the hell a spaghetti squash is doing sitting in my living room chair.  If you are thinking that is the most jacked-up, redneck fall decor you have ever seen, then congratulate yourself for being wrong.  Again.  That spaghetti squash, in fact, is Roxy.

Deep breath, people.  I don't need anyone hyperventilating with laughter yet.  I haven't even gotten to the good part!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Miraculously Fantastically Magical Sticker

Never-- and I mean NEVER-- underestimate the power of a sticker.

No, that's not a typo.  I meant to write "sticker".  And by sticker, I do not mean "a pointy-ended object with which to poke at things".  The sticker to which I refer could more aptly be described as "cute, colorful, sticky-paper praise".

In general education classrooms, stickers have been employed for many, many (we're talking since-the-dark-ages-when-I-was-in-Kindergarten many) years as one of the ways teachers indicate a job well done to their students.  I used to love getting a sticker on my paper when I was in school (even in high school), because I knew before I even saw my grade that I'd done well.

When you take those same little sticky-backed disks of paper and hand them to a special education teacher, and they are instantly imbued with magical qualities.  Scoff all you like, but it's true!  Stickers, quite often, are the currency of special education.  Stickers provide for students that need to practice better behaviors a couple of things.  One-- they provide students with a visual tally of the times they exhibited good behavior, which becomes a reminder that they ARE capable to doing what they need to do to be successful.  Two-- the stickers (when enough have been collected) can be traded in for any number of desirable things that reward hard work-- extra time at a favorite activity, a trip to a prize box, a special treat, quiet time, or whatever rings the bell of the kid needing motivation.  The stickers are currency, and when the price (or prize, as it may be) is right, kids will work hard to earn them.

Making Time to Volunteer at School

Now that school is back in session, I am sure many of you-- especially parents of elementary-aged students-- have been hounded harassed encouraged to volunteer in your child's classroom.  Many were asked to sign up as volunteers at the very beginning of the school year.  However, now that the first quarter grades are about to go out, and the first of the school seasonal parties are about to begin (as in the nebulous "Fall party", which usually mashes Halloween pumpkins and Thanksgiving turkeys into one non-denominational celebration), teachers may be requesting some help again to fill in the volunteer gaps.  Or, maybe now that school is underway, you have realized that you want to be a bigger part of your child's school experience.  Maybe because you want to keep tabs on get to know better his/her teacher and classmates.  Maybe you realized that volunteering is one of the best ways to keep up with how your child is progressing at school.  Or maybe your child has asked you help out.  Whatever your reason for wanting to volunteer, I know that this is sometimes easier said than done...

Volunteering can be hard to work into your schedule, particularly if you are a working parent.  But do not fear, there are still many ways that you can contribute to the success of your child's classroom, even if you cannot carve out time in your week to be at school.  My friend Carol, one of the administrators for the website National Nannies, has compiled an excellent list of 10 things that you can do to help out your child's teacher from home.  You should take a moment and check out her suggestions:

Link to Carol's article on

Aren't these great ideas?!  You're child will be so excited that you have taken some time to devote to his or her class, and the teacher will be ever-so grateful as well.  Please don't feel like you've missed your opportunity to volunteer-- it's never too late to offer a helping hand!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Red Rock Overlook Hike in Pictures

I know I haven't written in nearly a week, and for that I am truly sorry.  I have tons and tons of ideas floating around in my head, many of which are in various stages of my writing process and sitting in Blogger waiting for me to get back at it.  I am also working on a guest post that will be showing up pretty soon...

But enough with the excuses!  I thought I would share with you, in pictures, why I have gotten little to no writing done today.  It was just too beautiful outside to be sitting inside with my laptop in front of me!  Hubby and I took the Crazies to Red Rock Overlook, a nearby park, for an afternoon hike and geocaching adventure.

Princess, styling & profiling in her very
"fashionable" hiking gear... she yelled "GEOCACHING"
just before I snapped this.  :)

And they're off!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Little Things

At my house this isn't always the case!
It's the little things, really, that make motherhood so rewarding:

The extra long hugs, especially when you know your kids don't usually love them.

The charming I'm-so-proud-of-myself smiles of accomplishment.

The crayons found hidden in your underwear drawer by only God knows who, that make you laugh out loud at 6:00 a.m. when you find them.

The almost compliments received, like "you'd be pretty today, Mommy, if you weren't wearing make-up.  Or that shirt."

The hilarity of going out without the children, thinking you look great for a change, only to discover one of your charming offspring used your shoulder as a tissue when she hugged you good-bye, and so now you look like maybe YOU are the one that uncouthly blew your nose on your shirt.  

The countless pieces of artwork that threaten to swallow your fridge whole.

The shampoo bottles in the shower that have all been filled to the top with water.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Happy Campers, the Next Chapter

Greenbrier Lake

Last Friday after school, the Crazy Train rolled into Maryland's Greenbrier State Park for our second pop-up camper adventure.  We figured, what better way to spend a three-day weekend than in the woods?!  Although it was a somewhat whinier trip than our first, it seems that fun was had by all.  Even the cooler temperatures and drizzly Sunday couldn't spoil the fun for my ladies.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Awareness & What A Diagnosis Is NOT

Aahhh... the magical diagnosis.  In the world of special education, a child's diagnosis is the compass rose and key that educators use to draw the map of that particular student's learning plan.  The diagnosis, by definition, is an evaluation of an individual to determine what is contributing to their educational and behavioral difficulties.  The diagnosis, therefore, is a tool.  It is a tool parents and teachers use to raise awareness and understanding about a child's particular set of behaviors, and nothing more.  It is most decidedly NOT meant to be an excuse for academic and behavioral shortcomings. It is not permission to stop parenting.  It should, instead, be a parent's notification of hard work in the near future.

I'll just apologize in advance-- this may turn into a bit of a rant.