Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Say Cheese!

I have found another category in which I have a great (in my humble opinion) shot that needs to be shown off in an I Heart Faces challenge.  This week's theme is "Smiles".  Once you gander upon my entry, click on over there to see the hundreds (literally!) of others that are entered.  And leave them a comment telling them that my entry is the best!  I also know that there could be lots of PhotoShopping done to this picture, but I didn't.  This is the way it happened to turn out.

This is Azriel.  Maybe this isn't a full out all teeth showing smile, but what do you expect from a baby who is less than 20 minutes old?!  If  nothing else, it sure made the rest of us smile.  Admit it....you smiled too!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Last Week

Last week was tough.  

Scratch that.  

Last week was brutal.

Why?  Find out here.

Friday, we were out of school for our scheduled "Spring Break".  One whole day that I was actually looking forward to having at home to do some things that needed to be done.

Instead, I spent the day crying.  

The funeral home was filled with kids and adults alike, all wearing camouflage.  I overheard a story in which the funeral home had set up 300 chairs throughout the building.  Every single chair held at least one person.  Many many more found seats on the floor, in the hallway, or leaning along the walls.  The estimate was that there were 500 people inside the building during the service.  That does not count the numbers of folks who came and left before service time.

Stories abound detailing the concern and prayers pouring out for our "family".  Our girls were in the middle of a softball game on Tuesday afternoon when they heard the news.  Tears began to fall, but to the outfield they went.  The other team heard what happened and called off the game, saying that they were too far behind to catch up.  Once the high fives were over, the other team went to their bench where they placed their gloves and hats.  They then made their way to our team where each of their girls hugged each of ours.

The state university rushed at least one of our students and her mother (a teacher here) through while they were attending Freshman orientation for next semester.  They got them out in time for the two of them to slip quietly in just as the service was starting.

There were hugs between people that you would never expect for hugs to be.  Kids were hugging teachers.  They were hugging each other.  They were crying in front of each other without shame.  Teachers were letting the tears fall in front of all.  People who were having spats with others put those aside and came together in their grief.

Schools from surrounding communities sent e-mails or called our counselor offering support and sympathy.  Even the state university called to offer condolences.  Remember, we are a tiny school.  And the state university called.

The hallways are still unusually quiet.  They are louder now, but still not at the level they should be.  Kids are still in shock.  Although, some are wavering still between denial and anger.  There is no acceptance as of yet.

We should be grateful that out of the three classmates who were together, only one was taken from us.  And yet, we can't rejoice in that fact because one was taken from us.

There are some kids who have started counseling through an outside source because of the stress they have been forced to endure.

I feel silly because I still break into tears at times.  And I can't come up with a reason when Crazy Man asks why.  Like yesterday afternoon.  My MIL hugged me and told me to "have a good week".  I am having more trouble than normal putting my thoughts together.

And I am not this child's mom.  Nor am I blood related to him.  I am just a mom of a classmate who happens to have worked with this child through school.  I can not imagine how she feels.  And selfishly, I don't want to imagine how much worse she feels if it hurts this badly for me.

If you have read this far, please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers.

Thanks for listening.  Tomorrow will be better. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

No Words

I am not really myself today.  Physically, I look the same.  Mentally, just not all there.  (Stop laughing.  I know that I am normally not all there, but this is different.)  This is a tough post.  Just be warned.

Yesterday was April 20.  The seniors are released from school on April 29th.  The entire school lets out on May 14th.  The place is loud and happy between classes.

Today is April 21.  We are out of school on Friday.  There are a total of 16 days left in this school year.  And there are no loud happy students in the halls between classes.

What could have changed so much just overnight?

Yesterday afternoon, around 4:43 pm, one of our 16 year old ninth grade students was pronounced dead by the county coroner at the scene of a motor vehicle accident.

This boy was in my son's class.  He was one of 28 students in that grade.  His brother is a senior.  His father was raised in this school, just like many of us here.

We are not a happy place right now.  The only word I can come up with to describe this place is eerie.

It isn't supposed to happen here.  Not our school.

But it has.  And it sucks.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Looky Looky!


Not long ago, I told you that I had joined in on a Spring Swap hosted by Short Mama.  And, I have been saying that I was working on getting things together to send to my partner.  Well, I played by the rules and got everything all boxed up and sent out on the day it was supposed to go.  Want to see what I sent to my partner Julie?  Just click on her name and it will take you to her site, Just Playin' Around.

She also played by the rules.  And, because she did, I got mail!  I love getting mail.  The problem is that when you get rid of the bills and the junk mail, there usually just isn't anything left to love!  That was not the problem with this batch of mail since I got this lovely box with my name written all over it.  Of course, there were others who were as curious as I was as to what was inside....

Once I was able to convince Ziggy that I really didn't need his help, I opened it all carefully and found.....
A card peeking out on top of something bright and pink.  What could it be?!  I was having trouble not just ripping through it!  Instead, I used patience and took my time, savoring every exciting piece!

A very cute springy card and a fun new tote!  And, she shops at Target!  How do I know this?  Because I saw one of these on one of my recent excursions there when I was gathering things for her box and talked myself out of buying it!  Not sure how she knew this, but she did.

Inside this fabulous bag was.....
all sorts of other goodies!

Let's see, shall we?
Springy, flowery fun tumblers.  These things are heavier than you think!  I am always looking for something that I can use that isn't glass.  I love these.

A cute little pail filled with those little puff candies (which I can never get enough of!) in flavors that I have never seen before.

Now, I don't know where she found this, but I LOVE it!  It is a coupon holder that I can hang on my cart while shopping.  I thought she was several hours away from me, but evidently she was watching when I came this close to spilling out my tons of coupons the other day in the grocery store!  That won't happen with this nifty thing!

This is a neat little notebook that I can write anything my little heart desires in.  Isn't it cute and springy?!

And, finally....my very own cooler bag!  I don't have one of these and am thrilled to finally be the proud owner!  And, it is a bright pink, so The Boy and Crazy Man won't bother with using it!  Now, I don't have to wonder just what I am going to put my lunch in when I go on these upcoming field trips at work/school.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!  I loved everything in my package.  Hopefully you enjoy what was in your package as much as I liked picking it out for you!

Want to see what the other 66 folks who signed up got? (Add me and Julie and you get a grand total of 68.)  Click here to go find out!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Getting the Finger

I have decided to enter another picture over at I Heart Faces this week.  I was a bit disappointed that I didn't get my act together in time to enter anything last week.  I didn't think I would be able to show off this photo as an entry because there is not a face to be found.  But, after reading the rules for this week, there doesn't have to be a face showing at all!  Yay for me!

This picture was taken around Halloween time.  I love these cookies, not only for the taste, but also because sometimes it is fun to give someone a finger!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Writer's Workshop

If you are a reader who has been here a while, you may notice that today I am going to try something a little different.  I have decided to link up over at Mama Kat's.  She hosts the Writer's Workshop and gives you some different prompts to chose from for your writing. 

The prompt that I chose reads: Where does that fear come from? Write about something that frightens you that other people might find ridiculous. Write about it in a poem, a story, or whatever. 

I have a crazy fear of funerals.  Well, not really the actual funeral, just portions of it.  I know that most people don't like to attend funerals.  Although if you do, then I can only assume that you are a mortician or something along those lines.

Anyway, when you go to a funeral, you hope that whoever dealt with the body was able to make your dearly departed look as though they are just sleeping.  I am not sure why this is the case, but you never hear anyone say that they want to look horrid at their own funeral.  But, the thing is that if they make them look as if they are just taking a nap, that is when my mind starts to play tricks on me.  Because when the funeral director closes the lid I begin to panic and freak out.

How did I arrive at this fear?  Well, I didn't even know that I had the fear until I was at my uncle's funeral several years ago and I had the misfortune to witness the closing and sealing of the casket.

Now, when I go to a funeral, I keep my fingers crossed that the lid will be closed when I am not looking.  Crazy, huh?  I know the body is still inside, but unless I actually witness the lid closing I am fine.

Another fear that I have about funerals was discovered this past November.  We had been at a visitation for around six hours and was finally leaving for the night to get something to eat and then get some rest so we could return the following morning for the funeral.  I rode with my husband planning to leave my car at the funeral home and return to get it after eating.

Simple enough, huh?  Not really.  Because when I got back to get my car, I couldn't make myself get into it and leave.  I just had a major meltdown and started to cry.  After several minutes, I was able to verbalize just what it was that was causing the episode.

The irrational fear was that everyone had just left the funeral home.  How can people just pick up their stuff and leave their loved one in that place?  Alone?  They have been a mom, a dad, a sibling, a friend, a husband or a wife for many years.  And it is doubtful that anyone had ever just walked away from them without telling them that they were loved or even just a simple 'see ya later'.  But this had happened.  And I lost it.

Another fear of the funeral stuff occurs in the cemetery.  I have to walk several feet away from in front of the stone or directly behind the stone.  If I don't do it that way, then I feel as though I am walking on someone.  And that is just wrong.

All of these things give me nightmares for weeks when I attend a funeral.  Even just a visitation will usually set off the nightmares.  For that matter, I will probably have nightmares tonight just because I brought this to the forefront of my mind.  Talking about them makes me want to cry.

I know that these fears are totally irrational.  And most people look at me like I am totally crazy when I verbalize them.  But even though my mind knows it is a little on the nutty side, my heart has yet to be convinced.

Head on over to see what others are writing about this week!
Mama's Losin' It      

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dear Someone

Today is the day that I like to join in with Short Mama to write Dear Someone Letters.   Let's get started!

Dear Short Mama,

I have no idea what is going on here, but I could not get your button to show up.  I have tried everything I know how to do, but no dice.  Could I really have forgotten how it is supposed to work in a week?!  I don't think so, but something is up.....

Ima Hick

Dear Everyone,

It has been a long week since I last posted.  And I am just nearly too tired and confused and brain jumbled to even come up with something to write that is even close to being readable.  That is the main reason that I haven't typed out anything for nearly a week.  So don't be surprised if you read all of this, sit back and question just what exactly I was talking about!

Ima Hick

Dear Nurse at the Other School,

Remember back in January when we sent emails back and forth concerning Kindergarten Screening?  No?  Well, I do.  And if you don't, then I will gladly show you the emails that I happened to have saved.  Anyway, during that time, I told you that you would need to make sure you were at the screening since you had a job to do there.  I didn't realize that you didn't think that I was talking to you.  Silly me!  Where were you the day of the screening?  Unless the date was different than what was posted in the newspaper, you were not there.  After I had told you two months prior that you needed to be there!  And, tomorrow is the deadline for you to return all of those papers to me that I have to have for the two of us to hopefully keep our jobs.  Guess what?  I don't have from you what I need.  Am I totally shocked?  Not at all.  Will I apologize if the forms are delivered in the mail today or tomorrow?  Maybe.  We will have to see what kind of mood I am in.

So mad that I don't even know how to end this letter,
The One Who You are Supposed to Pay Attention To

Dear School District Voters,

Nice to know that someone besides those of us who work here are questioning the school board decisions and have decided to vote out an incumbent and vote in someone totally new.  Have we all made the wrong decision?  Time will tell, but can it really be worse than it was?

A School Employee

Dear Mother Nature,

The weather was really nice for a few days.  For that I thank you.  I have, however, had enough of the wind.  Did you forget that this is Missouri, not Wyoming?  Now, the rain is back and with it came cold again.  Pick a season!  Please.  And make it summer.....

Wishing for Summer

Dear Grandma,

Didn't think I could get those deviled eggs done for Sunday dinner, did ya? Ha!!  Fooled you!  I not only got them done, but had some left.  Of course, I delegated the eggs to be hard-boiled.  But you never specified that I couldn't do that!

Your Favorite Granddaughter

Dear State,

Please do not cut funding for my position at school.  No matter what anyone else might think, I am really a help to the school.  And, if you want to cut funding, then that will just be one more person standing in the unemployment lines.  I didn't realize that when the higher ups said they wanted to create jobs that what they actually meant was they only wanted to create them in the unemployment offices.

Please Save the Funding,
A School Nurse

Dear Mind,

I am tired.  And you working all night shoving dreams that make no sense at all or that scare the you know what out of me is just not helping.  I am really over this.

Needing Sleep

Dear New Doctor's Office,

You were so kind to me when I called.  You answered all of my questions and then some.  Thank you so much for being so kind and patient.  I really appreciate it.

Hope it Will Continue

Dear Boy,
You crack me up!  And you are growing like a weed again.  I am hoping that I will be able to convince you to start wearing short sleeves and shorts once Mother Nature allows warmer temperatures to show up around here.  I know how hard it is to totally change your way of dressing.  And I hate having to hide all of the wrong weather type clothing from you.  But, I have done it before and will do it again!

Your Mom

Dear Swap Partner,
I have everything that I can think of that reminds me of Spring all stuffed neatly packed into a box that I am going to be wrapping up tonight.  I will bring it with me to work in the morning so that I can stop at the post office on my way home tomorrow.  And then it will be on it's merry way to your house!  Hope you like it!

Keeping my fingers crossed,
Your Swap Partner

That is about all I can squeeze out of this tired, jumbled brain of mine at the moment.  Hopefully next week will be better.  Now, don't just sit there!  Go check out the other letters!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Because of This, He Is

I am ashamed to admit that I used to look at the kids who were throwing themselves down in the middle of Wal-Mart's aisles and wonder just why the mom was letting the child act that way.  I would always tell myself that my child would never!  And if he did, then that would only happen once!

Then God performed a miracle and I had a child who he blessed with Autism.

What?!  A miracle and a blessing?!  Are you crazy?!

Probably.  But yes, a miracle and a blessing.  I have not always looked at it that way.  And to be honest, there are days that I still don't!  Especially when I am the mom of that kid in Wal-Mart.  Or when I am seen trying to calm a tearful scared child who stands inches above me when we are in the pediatrician's office.  Or when The Boy refuses to let anyone but Shannon touch him at the orthodontist office.

I will not lie when I say that I sometimes wish that my son had a limp or a cast or whatever that could be seen by the world instead of this invisible disability.  At least then there would be no scathing looks from others when the above happens.  I can handle those looks (or I at least like to tell myself that I can), but I get royally ticked when they are directed at The Boy.

If I try to explain that The Boy is on the spectrum, the looks turn to a couple of different things.  Since he has grown so much, most of the time the look continues as anger because now I am just trying to cover for an overgrown brat or a really spoiled teen.  Or, it could turn to confusion and then pity.  Very rarely does it ever go from confusion to understanding.

A miracle and a blessing is what I have. 

When my Grandmother says in awe, "he hugged me", I am reminded of this.  When my teenager tells me that he loves me and doesn't mind if his classmates hear, I am reminded of this.  When I realize that he is smarter than I will ever be, I know that he is a blessing and a miracle.  And without the blessing, The Boy would not be The Boy.  Sure, he would still be my son, but he would not be who he is.

Today is Autism Awareness Day and the month of April is Autism Awareness Month.  Please, open your hearts and your minds when you see those Wal-Mart meltdowns. Maybe, just maybe, that family you are passing judgment on is working through Autism.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Dear Someone


As you know, or maybe you don't, I link up with Short Mama to write Dear Someone Letters.  These help me say the things that I would love to be able to tell people, but usually don't.  Enjoy!

Dear Mailman,

Please do not talk behind my back.  Just because I have called and asked that my mail be dropped off at my parent's house does not mean that my husband and I are having problems.  It simply means that with all of the icy weather we were having and now the major possibilities of flooding, I just really need to have access to those bills that continue to be sent to me despite the weather.

Still Happily Married

Dear Major Television Networks,

Do you realize how hard it is to watch your shows when you schedule all of the good ones at the same time?  You know, your ratings for each would rise if you put the good ones opposite the ones that are never watched. Maybe you should try that next season and see if it helps any.

Tired of Having to Choose

Dear Department of Education,

No matter what you do, not every child will be proficient at the subjects that you throw out there.  Have you ever even visited a school?  Do you realize that there are children here that have such major disabilities that they can't even tell you their own names?  And you want them to be proficient at math?!  C'mon.  Really?  Who is coming up with all of your brilliant ideas?  I agree that it would be nice to have a country full of really smart kids who turn into really smart adults, but can we be realistic?

Just Shaking My Head

P.S.  And having end of course exams that count for 20% of the grade at the beginning of April?  There are still six weeks until the end of school!  Shouldn't these be called 'Three Quarters of the Course' exams?

Dear Interviewers,

Can I have the job I interviewed for?  Or at least some other job that I may be even better at?  How about any job that you may have available?  For the same pay as you were advertising of course.  Really.  Just give me two weeks and I would be all yours.  Matter of fact, if I was to tell the Superintendent today, then more than likely he would tell me not to come tomorrow.  Then I could be all yours on Tuesday since Monday is a state holiday.  It would really do my wallet heart good to hear that you want me to work for you.

Waiting on Your Call

Dear Family,

Is this a joke?  You want me to bring the deviled eggs for Easter Dinner, all the while knowing that I can't hard boil an egg to save my life.  You are doing it just so you can laugh at me, aren't you?

I Will Show You 

Dear Second Grade Teacher,

Thank you, thank you, thank you!  I truly appreciate you boiling the eggs for me.  I am being 100% honest when I tell you that I have tried everything known to man and the middles are still not done.  And I even proved it to my mother who stood over me and watched me start with cool water, and then I even boiled the yolk right out of the thing for 30 minutes before letting the water cool down a little and then running cool water over it again to let it sit for another hour.  And the darn thing wasn't fit to eat.  Sad, ain't it?

Thanks again,
I Can Cook Anything But a Hard Boiled Egg

Dear Mother Nature,

Thank you so much allowing us the privilege of knowing that Mr. Sunshine is still alive and well.  I was beginning to wonder if you were waiting on a ransom or something.  I know that I have not received a ransom letter, but then maybe it was lost in the mail?  Either way, I am glad to see that you have released him and allowed him to return to showing himself.

Very Grateful,
Vitamin D Deficient

Dear Mrs. 4444,

You know how I love riding your coattails linking up to you for your Friday Fragments every week.  But this week, I will not be at school/work because of our abbreviated version of spring break.  Not that you are worried about less link up, I am sure, but I wanted to let you know just on the off chance that I am missed!  I will return to your regularly scheduled Fridays as soon as possible!

Hope to be back next week,
Ima Hick

Dear Anyone Who Has Read Down This Far,

Tomorrow morning I have a special post all scheduled to arrive here around 8am central time.  It isn't linked up with anyone or anything like that, but I would love to have you come visit and read it tomorrow.  And, if it isn't too much trouble, maybe send some others over this way to read it also.  I would love to have the extra visitors!

Thanks so much,
Ima Hick

Did you find anything that you wish you could have written?  If not here, then maybe over at Short Mama's place.  Head on over and see what others have to say.  Tell her I said "hey" and that I sent ya!