Three Posts in One Day?
Monday, April 30, 2007
That is a record for me!

Just an update on Baby X.

He had his 2 week well baby check up today. (He's actually three weeks old, but we waited an extra week since he was in with the doctor 3 times his first week home. He had a staph infection in his eyes that caused a fever, and that I was afraid had moved into his chest, but he's fine now!)

He weighs 10 pounds! He's in the 50% for height, and the 90% for weight. He definitely likes to eat, that's for sure! He's also a total Momma's boy. We call him Radar sometimes because he can instantly sense when I've moved further than 3 feet from him, even when sound asleep, and also we brought him home from the hospital on 4-07-07 (that's 4077, Hawkeye fans!)

His arms also have been turning blue occasionally, and the doctor says he has a heart murmur. We're being referred to a pediatric cardiologist for further evaluation. Fortunately, there is a medical university in Charleston so we won't have to go far.

It will be at least a couple of weeks to get him in - I'm glad it's not an emergency, and we get bumped up to a slightly better health insurance copay on May 1, so that works out well (we'll have to pay 35% instead of 50%).

I knew before he was born he'd be giving me a run for my money!


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4/30/2007 12:32:00 PM | Permalink | |
The Purpose Drivel Life
No, that's not a typo.

I remember reading a couple of very good critiques of Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life on the Net not too long ago. Of course, now that I really need them, I can't remember where they were or who they were written by.

If you know, please send them my way! One specifically focused on New Age theology in his works; another one tore apart what seemed to be a universally accepting ecumenism. I've already got the one off Karl Keating's site. I am looking for well written critiques by people in the know, not slightly incoherent rants from nobody-ville. If you know what I mean. (In other words, please do not forward me anything by Rebecca Brown or her "ministry".)


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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4/30/2007 12:24:00 PM | Permalink | |
I Know This Is Old News

...but have we learned nothing from horror movies?

Playa Vista is a condo development in LA. It is being built on one of the largest Native American burial grounds in the US.

Who thought that was a good idea? Perhaps we can have Craig T. Nelson and Stephen King consult with potential homebuyers first? Or maybe the developers also own a psychic cleansing/seance service, in a shocking conflict of interest.

To Bury The Dead is a corporal work of mercy. To Rebury the Dead in order to maximize profit is reprehensible.


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4/30/2007 12:01:00 PM | Permalink | |
Eating Crow
Friday, April 27, 2007
Sheryl Crow must have hired a new publicist - she seems to be popping up everywhere, at least in Bloggetyville. First, she published statement calling for Americans to use one square of toilet paper in order to save the planet. (It's in the entry for April 19th. She also claims on Apr. 23 that it was just a joke, and links not to her own statement on her own website, but a quote on Huffington Post. Weird.)

Rocks in My Dryer covered this story for the Mommy Bloggers, but I just wanted to add some additional commentary, because stupid celebrities amuse me. Here's the Charleston City Paper's comment.

BTW, I still stand behind my characterization of Ms. Crow as a homewrecker. Anyone who fools around with a married man (Lance Armstrong for those of you living under a rock), and then goes on Oprah to pontificate with him about what a true, great love they have while his three little kids are living in a fatherless home, is a homewrecker. A shameless homewrecker. Even if the divorce was caused by other events, in my book dating married man = homewrecker. Especially when dating starts in Fall 2003 and divorce is finalized in December 2003. I just used a word that is not even in the dictionary 4 times in one paragraph - I'll move on now.

The Smoking Gun has some revealing info on the environmental impact of her tours.

Now she has been invited to perform at a Catholic charity function, despite being 1)Not Catholic and 2)Proabortion. The Archbishop of St. Louis, being a good shepherd, has resigned from the board of the Children's Foundation over her appearance. (I love the article's quote "It's not about an idealogical litmus test. It's about helping kids." How about helping kids with no voice, money or power not be killed because they are inconvenient? Maybe I need to start a new "Janus" category for two-faced people.)

Amy Welborn has this story covered, and H/T to The Curt Jester for the heads up as well.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4/27/2007 08:27:00 AM | Permalink | |
I'll Drive the Getaway Car
Husband dear has finally returned to work, after being out for 5 weeks. This is definitely a good thing, since his "disability" payments are less than 30% of what he actually takes home. They tax disability at 25%, plus he works construction which means overtime (he always works at least 48 hours a week) and per diem -neither of which are reflected in the disability payments. Still, something's better than nothing - and it is great that the first time my husband has a major medical problem requiring an extended stay out of work, it is also the first time we have any kind of insurance to lighten the financial load.

I finally got around to reconciling the bank statement, which I think is fun especially because Quicken will make pie charts for me showing husband dear exactly how much his Coke habit is costing us. I discovered that his company has paid him for the last two weeks.

He did not work for the last two weeks, but, when he got back to the job site, got a couple of paystubs. They are for 40 hours with no per diem - not a typical paycheck for him at all. He got a paycheck three weeks ago, but that was to fix a mistake from the first week of March, where they shorted him a day's pay and 3 day's per diem.

Apparently, the South Carolina school system is worse than I thought, since the payroll clerks can't even add and the supers can't even take attendance! To tell the truth, I'm not quite sure how it happened at all, since hours are tracked by a badge that is swiped in and out everyday. These hours were entered in on a handwritten timecard and entered manually.

So, because husband dear is honest and has a wife who nags encourages him in his integrity, he tells his supervisor, who tells him not to tell anybody. So he tells the job superintendent, who tells him not to tell anybody, but eventually agrees to go into the office, where the human resource lady tells him - you guessed it - not to tell anybody. As a former office manager who oversaw payroll, I totally get the HR's response. It would probably cost more money to straighten out the problema and take the errant pay back, especially once insurance premiums, 401(k) contributions and matches, and employer taxes are taken into account. It's a paperwork nightmare.

And so, we are the beneficiaries of money that is not stolen, but doesn't quite belong to us either. Should I spend it? Save it? Donate it? Accept it without further question? Is this God's providence, taking care of us when husband was unable to work? Or a test of our faithfulness - and honesty?

Maybe I'll take the money and realize my lifelong dream - high stakes poker.

Or maybe I'll just buy groceries.


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4/27/2007 06:33:00 AM | Permalink | |
We Should Be So Lucky
Thursday, April 26, 2007
The Antichrist, who runs a church in Miami, has decided to visit Guatemala. He, and his followers, tattoo 666 on themselves so everyone will know they are antichrists.

He claims to be god, and also claims that no one can sin (and he's getting really popular. Hmmm, wonder why?). Since sin is an offense against God, I guess he doesn't get his feelings hurt easily, since there is no sin...wonder what he calls it when someone cuts him off?

If only the real antichrist is that easy to spot!


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4/26/2007 10:13:00 AM | Permalink | |
WFMW: Getting Smarter Every Minute
Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I just found out that MIT offers classes online for FREE! You don't get any credit, of course, but you can learn new things! How cool is that?
MIT Open Courseware

Great idea for homeschoolers - when people question your 12 year old's access to social events, you can airily proclaim he has no time for that, since he's taking chemistry through MIT and his online genomic biology course is simply too time consuming.

Or you could actually, maybe, learn some chemistry yourself. I might just browse through the "Neuroscience and Behavior" course, since it seems particularly applicable to my life right now.

Want lighter fare? offers lots of courses, and all materials are free and online, including some textbooks. I've heard their computer courses are very good, and they offer other science classes as well.

Who says housewives have to be dumb?

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4/25/2007 08:18:00 AM | Permalink | |
Color Blind?
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Something that I've noticed since moving to South Carolina is race. More specifically, the "race card". It seems nothing happens here without mentioning race (meaning black and white, specifically). It's a lot different out west.

The Charleston School District superintendent, a black woman, recently accepted a position in Seattle. The hunt was on for her replacement. The school board settled on another (white) woman, who is employed by the school district. Here's the story that ran last night, with the headline "School Board Split Among Racial Lines":
The Charleston County School board voted 6-3 Monday night to offer Dr.
Nancy McGinley, currently Chief Academic Officer, the job of Superintendent.
Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson stepped down from her three-year post at the helm of the district when she was offered the same position in the Seattle School District on April 12th. Her last day with the district will be June 15th. Dr. McGinley has been with the school district for three years and worked closely with Dr. Goodloe-Johnson crafting the “Plan for Excellence.” Her close contact with the program and with Goodloe-Johnson made most school board members comfortable with nominating her for the job. But others were not so comfortable with it. Three board members voted against offering McGinley the contract. They said they wanted a hiring process to take place that included a search for the best person for the job.
“It’s the school board’s responsibility to provide the best person possible for the job,” says Hillery Douglas, CCSD board member. “How are you going to do that unless you look for them?”

The local NAACP chapter got involved with the debate last week, when they first called for a nationwide search for the superintendent job. As it turned out Monday night, the three votes against McGinley taking the job were from the only three African-Americans on the board.

"As it turned out..." This story is being forced into the racial divide mold. The dissenting board members have, to my knowledge, never even mentioned race in any interview. They just feel that it would have been better to conduct a national search, rather than promoting from within. The media is trying to spin this as a race issue.

Truth be told, the local NAACP never lacks for something to protest. This weekend, another big story was that some parents want to open a charter high school, specializing in math and science. The NAACP thinks this is a terrible idea, and that it is just another ploy by whites to tread on black students and gain an unfair advantage. According to Dorothy Scott, a local NAACP leader:

Scott says her organization's members are not deceived by the Committee for the Charleston Charter School for Math & Science when it says the proposed new high school is merely an initiative to put a quality high school on the peninsula.

If white parents want a quality high school, that opportunity is possible at Burke, Scott says, though the school is currently under threat of state takeover for its continued low performance and a graduation rate of about only 27 percent.

Still, the newly renovated Burke High — constructed for 1,200 students with an enrollment of 700 — could easily accommodate a math and science accentuate program, says Scott. But whites downtown won't let their children attend school with blacks, she protests.

While the NAACP has been vocal in its protests, criticism of the proposed charter high isn't widespread among downtown black residents. But that doesn't mean black residents don't view the proposal with suspicion.

Blacks downtown are an apathetic lot. Like bumps on a log, they tend to sit undisturbed by anything short of an act of God. Much of the discussion about the proposed charter is limited to small intimate groups.

[Note the last paragraph - this is a regular article, not an editorial. Imagine if Imus had said that sentence! Then again, what can you expect from a paper that has a column called "The Jew-Gooder"?]

The local network news has characterized it as "rich white folk trying to keep their kids from going to school with black kids". No offense, but if rich folk of any color want to prevent their kids from hanging with the locals, they send them to private school. If the only public high school available to my kids had a 27% graduation rate, you better believe I'd be looking into alternatives!

Speaking of Imus, it still amazes me that while Al Sharpton swooped in to criticize the remarks (well, the fact that he publicly criticized them does not surprise me. That man never met a camera he didn't preen for), no one from NOW or any other organization condemned the remarks as being insulting to women. Apparently, insulting people's hairstyles is now a worse sin than calling them prostitutes.

I'm sure fanning the flames of racial tension in the Deep South, where the wounds from segregation still run deep a generation later, makes great news copy. Sometimes, though, drumming up business and selling papers comes at too high a cost.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4/24/2007 06:42:00 AM | Permalink | |
Some info on Autism
Monday, April 23, 2007
Our dinky city paper actually had something worthwhile printed in it last weekend (can you tell I just subscribe for the coupons and the ads?)

There was an excellent set of articles about Autism - one in 150 children in South Carolina have been diagnosed.

The first article related to the fact that insurance rarely picks up the cost of ABA or other therapies (aside from occupational and speech). Legislation that would require coverage is pending and stagnating in Colombia. Autism and mental health are notoriously not covered by insurance or poorly covered - my own plan will cover 30 mental health visits per year - that includes all psychologists, therapists, etc. One could easily go through 15-20 visits just getting an accurate diagnosis, with all of the varied tests required to rule things out. I don't know what would happen if we had an actual crisis that required more visits - there is a terrible shortage of child psychologists in our country, and many won't even file insurance. They don't have to, they are so in demand. It is not unusual for a child psych to have a 6-8 month waiting list just to be evaluated. In the meantime, these children are losing months and years of their lives untreated and possibly abused or maligned by their family, their school, their community because of their behavior which often looks like brattiness.

The second article reflected an alternate approach, profiling one mom who discovered that her child was sensitive to aluminum (which is present in many vaccines and just one reason that many believe there is a vaccine/autism link). Testing for heavy metal poisoning at a clinic not too far away from our town revealed high levels, and sure enough when Mom changed the diet by scrutinizing food labels and started filtering the water, the child improved - from non-verbal to a normal kid. I'm definitely going to see about getting Mr. R into this guy, as our other doctors are reluctant to order these kinds of tests (and a doctor's order is required for insurance payment. They are too expensive for me to have done on my dime right now.)

On another related note, researchers have discovered that often autistic children have certain abnormal infant reflexes - and are developing a simple screening test that could be given even before one year of age. Early intervention, indeed.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4/23/2007 07:35:00 AM | Permalink | |
Friday Fun: Some Cartoons for Your Amusement
Friday, April 20, 2007
A little something for everyone!

For Math Geeks:

For Grammar Nerds:
You can get a t-shirt of this made up over at One Horse Shy.
For Sci-Fi fans and/or Engineers, Scottish or otherwise:

For sarcastic Catholics:

This was posted over at Mommylife.
She got it in an e-mail, and it was also posted over at Free Republic - but I don't know where it's from originally.


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4/20/2007 09:04:00 AM | Permalink | |
Magnetix Recall
Thursday, April 19, 2007

Magnetix have been recalled after 26 children required emergency surgery and one child died after ingesting the tiny magnets that fell out of the ends of the toy. I own the generic version sold at WalGreens - I'm guessing they're probably equally unsafe. 3.8 million sets were recalled last March, and an additional 4 million sets were recalled this week.

MegaBlocks says the main victims were under 6 years old, and kits manufactured after March 2006 are okay due to enhanced warning labels (doesn't make the toy safer, just makes MegaBlocks less liable) and design changes (which does make it safer).

The sets usually come with metal marbles, also not safe for littlies!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4/19/2007 09:09:00 PM | Permalink | |
Partial Birth Abortion Ban
The U.S. Supreme Court has officially decided that partial birth abortion is barbaric and never medically necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman, and has upheld President Bush's ban.
(Drawing and quartering your infant in utero or engaging in chemical warfare is still okay though).

Among the notification emails in my inbox yesterday and today from pro-life sources, I received TWO breathless e-mails from Planned Parenthood. They are desperately trying to drum up some money:

Email #1:


Join Planned Parenthood in doing what the Supreme Court refused to do. Act right now to protect women's health and safety

Your immediate help is essential as Planned Parenthood responds to the disastrous U.S. Supreme Court decision issued just hours ago. It's a dark day for women's health and safety.

With Bush appointees John Roberts and Samuel Alito leading the way, a 5-4 majority turned its back on more than 30 years of Supreme Court decisions that protected women's health from dangerous laws that restrict abortion.

In the cases of Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood and Gonzales v. Carhart, the court has now made the Bush abortion ban the law of the land. There is no way we will let this stand. Not when it's an issue so central to women's lives and so crucial to the health care services that Planned Parenthood provides to women every day.
Here's the second one:

In the last 24 hours, people all across America have expressed their outrage at a Supreme Court ruling that has brought about a seismic shift on reproductive freedom. The court told women that, with their health at risk during a pregnancy, deciding what to do is no longer up to them and their doctors. The Bush Supreme Court has let politicians come barging into that most personal of decisions.

No woman in America is safe from that intrusion. And women in states where anti-choice legislators are tripping over themselves to take advantage of the court's unprincipled actions are in the most immediate jeopardy. Send a powerful message right now. Make clear that you won't let any court or any politician put women's health and safety at risk.
PP had a commentator on one of the news channels last night - interrupting their unceasing coverage of the Virginia Tech killings - who is characterizing the ruling as "a politician in the doctor's office with you".

Of course, they are conveniently ignoring the fact that the government, usually via the FDA, is involved in private healthcare decisions all the time - allowing this therapy, recalling those drugs, promoting procedures. Planned Parenthood was all for government intrusion into healthcare matters when it involved making Plan B an OTC medication and forcing pharmacists to provide medications that violated their religious and moral beliefs.

Consider a quick phone call to your Congressional representatives letting them know you are in favor of the ban. PP can make a lot of noise in politics - make your voice heard too.

Don't know how to get in touch with them (or even who they are)?
Go here and type in your ZIP code.

BTW, I've heard the best way to contact government officials regarding issues is via fax - it has the urgency of a phone call and the weight of a letter.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4/19/2007 08:47:00 AM | Permalink | |
Now Back to Your Regularly Scheduled Blog
Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Sorry for the Bloggy break. We've been taking it easy around here lately, because Baby X was sick. Two doctor visits, two cultures, a blood draw, and a prescription seemed to have cured him more or less.

Miss E and Baby C have been taking it easy too.


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4/18/2007 08:47:00 PM | Permalink | |
Origen of the Species...
Friday, April 13, 2007

I've seen this pop up on several sites...

What Church Father Are You?

You’re Origen!

You do nothing by half-measures. If you’re going to read the Bible, you want to read it in the original languages. If you’re going to teach, you’re going to reach as many souls as possible, through a proliferation of lectures and books. If you’re a guy and you’re going to fight for purity … well, you’d better hide the kitchen shears.

Find out which Church Father you are at The Way of the Fathers!

Too bad he was later declared a heretic...

Learn more here.


posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4/13/2007 09:23:00 AM | Permalink | |
More Plan B
Washington state plans to force pharmacists to fill the prescriptions, and won't let them opt out as "conscientious objectors". Pharmacists will not be allowed to refuse to fill a prescription that they consider harmful or immoral. Story here.

Where's the ACLU when you need them to protect these pharmacists rights? Oh yeah... they're probably filing the lawsuits against them.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4/13/2007 08:44:00 AM | Permalink | |
WalMart Pharmacy Caves
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
In response to Planned Parenthood's recent Fill My Pills Now campaign, aimed at changing corporation's policies regarding emergency contraception, WalMart will now supply EC.

Time for a new pharmacy - Target, Safeway, and Winn-Dixie still refuse to carry it.

What's the big deal with EC? (Also called Plan B or the Morning After Pill)

It harms women, and kills their children. See some side effects here. On the other hand, the headaches, decreased libido, hirsutism (think Wolf Man) and weight gain will probably make another purchase unnecessary. It is available over the counter, but you must be 18 to purchase it. (Not exactly harmless, is it!)

If you're in a fightin' mood, check out this link (not for kids!!!!) - This is a government health website - why does it sound like it was written for Teen magazine? Note the definition of pregnancy is that a fertilized egg in implanted in the uterus. Guess all those tubal pregnancies aren't real. (The other view is that a new human being is created at conception -when sperm meets egg).

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4/11/2007 07:11:00 PM | Permalink | |
WFMW: Side Effects

We live in a miraculous age, where there's a pill for everything. Unfortunately, many times these pills have side effects - and we don't always save all of our fine print. Is your dry mouth related to the antibiotics, or a new symptom? Why are you so tired all of the time all of the sudden? Can you take your antibiotic with your iron supplement?

Enter the Information Superhighway.

Here's my links for looking up medications, vitamins, and interactions.

RxList - Click on "Consumer" for information; "Advanced Consumer" will give you the actual chemical structure, which you probably don't need!

WhatMeds - This site is mostly dedicated to mental health, antidepressants, and meds for autism and other special needs. Has outside links to other helpful sites at the bottom of each medication entry.

Vitamin Encyclopedia - anything you wanted to know about vitamin and minerals.

Herbal Encyclopedia - popular herbs and supplements, including safety precautions. - the mother of all prescription sites. Drug interaction checker, news, pill identifier, and more.

Works for Me! See what works for everyone else at Rocks in My Dryer.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4/11/2007 10:46:00 AM | Permalink | |
Spring Cleaning?
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
I haven't even finished the Autumn Scrub yet!

I'm not the most motivated psychotic neat freak housekeeper. We do have one particularly bad trouble spot in our home: The playroom/office/schoolroom, AKA The Computer.

We're a cyber-savvy family, so yes, we do refer to 64 square feet of former dining room as "The Computer". The location is great - and had our landlords not chosen to install brand new carpet, knowing we had 6 kids, right before we moved in we might have wasted the space with an actual place to eat. Now, it is the all purpose catch-all spot for everything. I love this room because I can see the kitchen, living room, TV, and if I stretch to the side, the front door and out the front windows from one handy office chair. Very handy when you are 9 months pregnant! It's control central for our house.

And it looks it, too.

I do have "Office Day" on my weekly schedule, and we do have a slave child assigned to do daily pickup in the playroom. I haven't actually done office day in over a month, aside from the requisite bill paying and account reconciling. Fun times, those.

So, I decided some outside motivation was in order. Plus, I'm having trouble coming up with entertaining blog fare, with the pregnancy brain, sleep deprivation, and all. Not to mention, I'm looking for something productive to do while sitting a lot.

Laura, the Organizing Junkie is hosting a 30 Day Organizational Challenge for one room in your house. So here we go!

Some requisite Before pictures:

I realize that the shelves look fairly neat. That's because about half of the contents of the shelves are on the floor and under the girl's bed. Notice the empty shelves? Empty bookshelves are not normal for our family. That paper stuck to the wall above the aquarium? It's from Miss E's birthday party. Which was in January. If you look closely, you might see a box of Playmobil Nativity people on top of the second printer, as well. I got a new printer for Christmas, but it's out of black ink, so I am also using the old printer, which only prints in black now and requires every single piece of paper be individually hand fed. Then it might print. Sometimes. If the planets are aligned properly.

There's still time for you to sign up too! The contest runs from April 3 - May 2 and there are actual prizes (besides the satisfaction of a job well done, which any Mama knows should be reason enough to do a job well the first time. What, you want a cookie too?)

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4/10/2007 02:35:00 PM | Permalink | |
The X-Man
Saturday, April 07, 2007
He's here!
Xavier Quinn was born on Good Friday at 12:32 pm

8 lbs. 19 1/2 inches

His feet are longer than my middle finger! He definitely belongs to me... I'm a size 10 (11 in heels).

Here's how Baby C feels about the new baby:

Here's how Baby C feels about me.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4/07/2007 07:43:00 PM | Permalink | |
WFMW: Car Edition
Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Well, since I'm busy (baby will be here by next Tuesday for sure - they'll induce on Apr. 10 if I make it that long!), I'm going to recycle a post I did in December.

It's my total culmination of tips for traveling with small children, for the Works For Me Wednesday Car Edition.

How Mama Does Not Go Insane on Car Trips

Happy reading!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4/04/2007 08:00:00 AM | Permalink | |
This Totally Sucks
Tuesday, April 03, 2007

and sucks and sucks and sucks...

My husband has been coveting a Dyson vacuum for months. Myself, after seeing the $400 price tag, not so much. Although it does look really cool and would probably shock me with the crud it would suck out of our carpets.

We are in the market for a new vacuum, as well as a carpet cleaner, both of which have to wait until husband dear is allowed to work again. I really love our old vacuum - it's a bagless Bissell that cost $60 and has lasted for 3 years, despite vacuuming 10-14 times a week. We're hard on vacuums.

But, this opportunity is too good to be true! 5 Minutes for Mom is hosting a contest - winner gets a free Dyson Slim Vacuum! The Dyson 18 Slim works on all floors - even playmats. Check it out. You must enter by lunchtime Wednesday - which is 9 am Pacific!

If you don't win, you can always shop online for it. Feel free to use my Amazon link!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4/03/2007 02:20:00 PM | Permalink | |
Just a Little Note to the School

You can't have it both ways.

Throughout the cold and flu season, the elementary school sends home notes every two weeks or so. They go something like this:
Don't send your kid to school if they are sick. If they have a runny nose, cough, fever, are listless, are vomiting, or have diarrhea, keep them home.
About every month or so, we also get a handy little reminder letting us know that children can only miss up to 10 days of school per year. If a child racks up more than 10 days, they will be retained and social services may be notified. All absences must be excused by a written note. Absences in excess of 10 days must have physician notes.

Well, there are 184 scheduled school days. The odds of a kid having diarrhea or a snotty nose on at least 10 of those days? If they are my children, 100%.

This is compounded when the school nurse calls me because Mr. R has a fever - of 99.2 degrees. Directly after recess. When he was running around the playground in long pants and a sweater.
Then she sends him home for having pink eye and declares he can't come back until he's on antibiotics. Except he has viral pinkeye from a cold (and antibiotics won't kill a virus). Upon his return to school, I get a note declaring his absence unauthorized unless I write a note excusing him... when the school sent him home and wouldn't let him come back.

Sigh. Can you tell I'm frustrated?

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4/03/2007 01:46:00 PM | Permalink | |
Mad at the School
Monday, April 02, 2007

Mr. R. got his report card. In first grade around here, there are no ABC's, but rather 1, 2, and 3's. A 3 means the student is exceeding the standards for his grade, 2 means he is meeting them, 1 means he is below grade level. The only letter grades they get are U's, N's, and S's on the social skills (Unsatisfactory, Needs improvement, and Satisfactory.)

There is also some kind of literacy standard called DIBELS, and a score given as a fraction over the minimum standard. Mr. P's DIBEL was 80/32 (yeah. He's MY son!) and Mr. R's was 40/32.

Mr. R's report card was a straight line of 2's. Seems good. His IEP (Individual Education Plan, which is what specifically the school is going to do for him in special ed.) behavior sheet was mostly 90-100%. He gets a score every day, which I have to sign, on 10 different behavior aspects such as "Respects other's property", "Focus on Teacher", "Bus Behavior", etc. He got a 78% on "Focus on Teacher", because pretending his pencil is a rocketship and designing robots are more interesting than CVC drills. It seemed he was doing great!

He even was awarded Student of the Month for December and March, and won an art contest.

So I flip through his IEP goals (he's got 5 official ones) and 4 are marked "Will Meet Goal By End of Year", with a commentary. The fifth one did not have any information at all and appeared to have been overlooked.

The commentary, however, was dire. "Lacks focus". "Attention deficit problems are interfering..." "Unable to use correct punctuation" (To be fair, the boy could not even read in September. I'm not real worried about the way he ends sentences at this point.) Over and over again, in the IEP summary, the words "Attention Deficit Problem" were used as Mr. R's inability to, apparently, even minimally interact with students, teachers, or to learn was described.

Mr. R does not have ADD or ADHD. It is not part of his IEP. It is not an official diagnosis. He has never been treated or on medication for it. In October, his teacher completed a 3 page questionnaire on the matter for Mr. R's doctor - and rated him as "Never" or "Rarely" exhibiting ADD behaviors. The parent report also indicated a low occurrence of ADD behaviors, and I ended firing his pdoc after he insisted that I should give Mr. R meth Ritalin, despite not meeting the criteria for an ADHD diagnosis. (I also had his pediatrician evaluate him in the past - and results were negative).

Of course I wrote back, asking for a parent teacher conference. I had actually requested one LAST quarter, but after much phone tag, forgot about it. (Ok. I'm a bad mom. My kids ride the school bus too. Lynch me later.)

A sentence in the lengthy teacher note back..."As you know, this is so important for children with attention deficit disorder...."

So, despite being on grade level, receiving good behavior reports, and on track to meet all educational goals, Mr. R is apparently not learning, disrupting the classroom, and unable to complete his work. I'm a little confused. Even more disturbing, despite getting a note on his behavior Every. Single. Day. , this is the first I've heard of it! No note. No phone call. No mention from his guidance counselor, special ed. teacher, or regular teacher.

Highly unacceptable.

What I need to know is, what, exactly, are the behaviors? Why are they not marked on the sheet? When are they occuring (he eats school lunch, and I have not even attempted to enforce the no artificial colors/preservatives rule, although I did give the teachers a written, brief overview along with a typed list of foods likely to cause a problem. And yes, that's part of the IEP so legally, they are bound to follow it. I've just sort of let it go, since Mr. R has not had any problems. Not anymore!) He started going to a mainstream classroom in December - is this when the problem started? Did it start when they came back from winter break? Did it start after husband dear split his rib and is unable to work? Did it start after he had trouble with a class bully, after he was out with pink eye, or after he developed a crush on a girl in the mainstream class?

Must. Have. Conference. Now!

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 4/02/2007 01:32:00 PM | Permalink | |