Wednesday, November 18, 2009

But he's so social!!! How can you homeschool?

Ugh, how many times have I heard that since we started telling folks we were going to homeschool Music Man. People, that was the problem!!! He was TOO social at school! Music Man loves people. He loves to watch them, to see what they are doing, to mimic them. He gets super distracted just going to wash his hands before a meal. When you put him in a classroom (even a small one with only a few kids) he wants to see what each one is doing. Then another teacher comes in or the bell rings to change classes. Or it is time for a different activity. Then the speech therapist will come get someone for class. Oh the distractions in school-school!

Music Man needs quiet to concentrate. He needs to be one-on-one with a teacher or his assignment. He excels at the computer and concentrates hard when it is something he is interested in. The issue with school-school is that he cannot concentrate on something fully when there is so much going on. His resource teachers did the very best they could with him, but they had more than just him to teach. He couldn't be the center of attention with them. But he can with me!

Monday, November 9, 2009

All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth

Farm Boy finally let me pull his top tooth on Thursday evening. It has been loose a good while, but he was afraid to let me pull it on out. I had to promise him a whole dollar in order to pull it tonight but it came out easily thank goodness! I was really getting concerned it would fall out and choke him! The other one is also loose so he may be singing "All I Want for Christmas" this year for real!

Music Man's teeth usually came out because the permanent teeth were coming in. Farm Boy is losing them way before that so he ends up with the large gaps that most kids have when pulling teeth. This one actually looks like a crater it is so large!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Little Drummer Boy, Part 1

Music Man had his first drum lesson on Wednesday this week. He did so awesome! He listened intently to his teacher, Danny Garrett. He tapped on a practice pad and learned about the values of a whole, half, quarter and eighth note! Seeing him excited about learning make my heart skip a beat and made me nostalgic for band class. I so wanted to be a band director and hate I put down my contrabass once I left high school. Anyway, he's happy drumming and has kept rhythm perfectly since he could move. More to come ....

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Homeschooling Special Kids Group

I created a new email group today for those homeschooling kids with special needs in the Athens, GA area.

Friday, October 30, 2009

New Look

You have probably noticed things looks a little different. :) I love our new template, Falling Maple! Maples are one of my favorite trees and this time a year in north Georgia is incredible! When I saw this blog template, I knew I had to have it! I am working through the ins and outs of this new template and will hopefully have it completely functional by the end of this weekend. It comes from an awesome designer, Lena, who owns Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates. If you are a blogger who has to rely on the generosity of freebies, check her out!! She is amazing!!! She also has very inexpensive customizable premades, Premades with Purpose, to help raise money for their adoption expenses. Go read her story and buy a template, even if you don't need one! :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Undershirts Under the Jammies!

My latest stress saver is having Music Man and Farm Boy put their undershirt on after their baths at night. Living in a older farm house with no central heat means mornings are chilly! The boys often complain about having to take off their warm jammies even after we heat up the room to change clothes in. We save time, stress and whining by putting their jammies on over an undershirt at night. It keeps them warmer on chilly nights and I don't have to listen to "I'm coold!!!" We personally love the Hanes Tagless. One Hanes Place has great prices too!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, a day we can remember those babies gone from our life too soon. Please light a candle in your time zone at 7:00PM to remember all babies who were lost before they got a chance to live.

If you are in the Monroe, GA area, please join us at the Historic Courthouse tonight as we gather to pay tribute to our little ones.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Historic Courthouse

Monroe, GA


*Rain or Shine!*

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Zoe Foundation Charity

I had the pleasure of speaking with an incredible mother the end of last week. Out of the grief of losing her daughter, Zoe, she formed The Zoe Foundation Charity which will be providing funeral expenses to families who lose babies at or before birth. They are still in the beginning stages of developing their website, but they do have their first fundraiser planned for this coming Friday night in Savannah! If you are in the area and would like to participate, please contact them directly.

Zoe Foundation Charity

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pregnancy Loss Remembrance Day Service

Photo by natalicek

The public is invited to remember all babies lost at or before birth on

Pregnancy and Infant Loss
Remembrance Day
Candlelighting Service

Thursday, October 15, 2009
Historic Courthouse Square
Monroe, GA

Remembering Your Baby

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Homestead Academy: Calendar Math

We are beginning with the very basics of math (well, of every subject really!) Here is Music Man helping me organize our newly laminated calendar. He is putting them in number order and we will add them to our calendar later today.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

FOM Dance - Dance Therapy for special needs children, Athens, GA

Noah is loving his dance therapy! They meet on Monday evenings from 4:45PM -5:30PM at Freedom of Movement Dance Academy in Bogart. Dance Therapy is offered free of charge for individuals with special needs! It is such a blessing for the kids and their families! Not only do they have a fantastic teacher, each student has their very own helper/assistant!! Please check them out if you are interested in dance classes of any kind!

FOM Dance - Dance Therapy for special needs children, Athens, GA

Friday, September 18, 2009


You may hear me talk about school-school occasionally. This is our term for public school. When we began exploring the idea of homeschooling, our boys would say things like "are you talking about real school or homeschool?" I had to quickly nix that line of thought and coined our new way of talking about public school. I did not want them to think of homeschool as not real or even pretend school. This comes, I guess, from the fact they both started in public school. *sigh*

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Woo Hoo!!! We're back!

We finally have internet access again! I am so completely thrilled!!! I'll be blogging again regularly! So much has happened that I haven't blogged that I don't really know where to start. I'll begin sorting through posts and get them up as soon as possible. Jason has also started a blog.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Save the Date: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day Oct 15

I have reserved the Historic Courthouse in Monroe, GA for our Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day Remembrance Service. Remembering Your Baby has hosted a service for the last two years in Hernando, MS. This year I will be hosting it in Monroe since I live here now.

If you are in the Hernando/Memphis area and want to volunteer to host the service, please let me know ASAP! I would love to see it continue to be help there!

Friday, August 28, 2009

All Heart Photography: The Chandler's

We had pictures done in July when one of our closest and dearest friends came for a visit. Here is a link to the full session (on her blog!)

All Heart Photography: The Chandler's

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Happy Birthday to My Little Sis!

Today is my little sister's 34th birthday! Happy Birthday, Gyp! You are a wonderful mom, a dedicated daughter, loving aunt and awesome sister! I love you so much!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Two Weeks Down and 36 to Go!

No, I am not talking about a pregnancy!! We are two weeks into the school year and it has been a challenge already. My challenge is mainly due to Farm Boy being in public school while Music Man is at home with me. Music Man and I are doing great, (though he still asks (a lot) if he can go play while we are supposed to be doing our schoolwork.) I’ve been reading a lot about homeschooling and the consensus is, for those who do not homeschool from the beginning, that it takes one month (or more) for each year that a child was in public school to de-school and get into homeschool mode. Homeschool is so different. It is not stressful though patience is definitely something I am learning! Music Man thrives on routine so though we do not have to have every minute planned out like a classroom in public school, I do attempt to follow a schedule so he is in a routine. (I think I've found a great system - to be posted early next week!)

Our garden has become a challenge as well as what is left of it is ripening quickly and ready to be “put up.” Then there is the challenge of getting my night owl up for school, snuggled (hope he doesn’t grow out of that for a long time!) fed, dressed and to school on time while getting Music Man ready for our day as well. I can’t very well visit Farm Boy’s school in my pjs so I also have get myself somewhat presentable before we leave the house in the morning.

Farm Boy has to be at school no later than 8:25AM. We try to get out of the house around 8:00AM so he has a little time to “visit” before school starts. Music Man and I get back home around 8:30AM and try to start school about 9:00AM. I would love to start sooner, but usually we have to finish up a few chores before we can get started. We work until noon and then break for lunch. He usually wants to lay down after lunch and naps until we have to get Farm Boy from school. Music Man reads to me and we review in the car on the way to get Farm Boy and then they snack in the car after Farm Boy gets in. I give them a bit of free time when we get home. Farm Boy has the option of joining us at 4:00PM for afternoon reading time (he usually does) and then we break about 5:00PM for the evening. Occasionally we have to working a little longer in the afternoon depending on start time in the morning.

We will soon be adding our extra activities to the schedule: Upward Soccer for Farm Boy, Dance Therapy for Music Man, small group and hopefully drum lessons for Music Man – we are still working on that one. Anyway, that is an update in a nutshell.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

New Code Names in Blog

I have decided to make my blog a little safer for my family and keep them a little more anonymous to the outside world. This also negates the need for password-protecting my site and allows people I do not know the opportunity to read it without having to subscribe with permission. For those who have been following my webpage-turned-blog since my oldest was a baby and we kept everyone up-to-date on his accomplishments, it may be a somewhat of a challenge to get into the code names I have chosen. Hopefully the picture key will help you keep up with who is who though I think they are pretty self explanatory if you really know my kids. :)

So without further ado, I introduce you to:

Music Man

Farm Boy

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

For ~Joeli~ on Her Sixth Birthday

Butterfly 2
Originally uploaded by Cupcake Land by ShamsD

Do not tell me she is in a better place -
Her place is here with her mother.

Do not tell me that God needed her -
God made all the angels he needed before time began.

Do not tell me you know how I feel -
You have not buried a child.

Do not tell me to get over it -
You never get over losing a piece of you.

Just tell me you love me.
That you remember her.
That you are here for me.
That you wish there was something you can do to ease my pain.

There is nothing you can do but it helps to hear you say it and to know you care.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Introducing Music Man

This blog is about my homeschool adventures with my special kid, Music Man. He has FG Syndrome, a rare genetic syndrome characterized by heart defects, low muscle tone (hypotonia) and developmental delay along with many other nondescript anomalies. He has been in a center-based program since he was three and has always received good services where we were (first in FL then in MS.) However, after we moved back home to GA, we were unable to get the support he needed. So our homeschooling adventure began. My only regret is that we did not do it sooner. The difference in Music Man has been amazing. He is reading - phonetically!!! He LOVES math. All this coming from a kid we were told would never walk or talk. He is super-focused on school and is able to get his work done without the distractions that plaque a regular or SPED classroom. He also has time to do other things like dance therapy or drum lessons! He only takes a nap a few times a week rather than everyday like he used to. He enjoys co-op and Homeschool PE through local groups. We have a blast eating lunch together every day, visiting the library once a week and park days with friends. It is truly amazing to see how this kid has changed. It was an adjustment for us. But one so worth it!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Summer is Sailing By!

Sailing into the susnet
Originally uploaded by Swamibu
We are still without internet access at home so my blogging has been sporadic. It has been two months since I blogged and I miss it!!

We are a mere two weeks (!!) away from school starting. I am so unhappy with that, let me tell ya! We had exactly TWO MONTHS, just eight short weeks for summer break. Walton County is leaning more and more towards year-round school. There are periodic breaks throughout the school year called Intersessions and they come a week at a time with a longer one at Christmas and sometimes the traditional Spring Break we grew up having.

All that being said, we are planing to homeschool Noah this year. We have had summer school throughout the summer and we are working well together. He is learning again. We are enjoying spending time with one another and having a great time writing, reading and creating things! I am struggling with sending Adin to kindergarten. I have really enjoyed having both of them this summer. I would love to have both of them home this school year well. The plan right now is to send Adin for kindergarten so I can focus on Noah and then re-evaluate at the end of the year.

I am still looking at curriculum options and deciding what Noah needs. I will update you all on that closer to school starting.

Please pray for us as we embark on this journey of homeschooling. I am very excited but it is a lifestyle change for us. It will also be a little difficult having Adin in school and following a rigorous schedule dictated by the county and Noah and I being able to live while learning and learn by living.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Our Thought-Provoking Ideas about Socialization by Tammy G.

~From the Weird Kids website.

(1) Children with moderate to severe autism (like our daughter: she's
moderate--maybe high if her language ever gets close to catching up) are usually pigeonholed in special ed. They are not usually grouped with peers who provide good role models for social skills and are often lumped in with emotionally disturbed children.

Homeschooled children have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities with good social role models in smaller inclusive settings like church, youth groups, lessons (music, sports, art), etc.

(2) Children with autism usually have hypersensitivity to sounds, making inclusion difficult even for the most capable children. A classroom with 22 kids is anything but quiet, hindering their ability to learn.

Homeschooled children can have peace and quiet when it's time to learn. They can be exposed to stressful noisy settings in small doses so they can figure out coping mechanisms as they mature.

(3) Children are usually required to sit at their desks most of the day and are discouraged from socializing for most of their classroom time. School is a great place for meeting large numbers of children. But it does not always provide many chances for quality socialization with 1:1 interaction with people who share common interests (not common labels or ages).

(4) Most schools allow to some socialization during PE, recess and lunch, which are absolute disasters for some children with autism due to the noise, lack of structure and chaos. Homeschooling can allow parents to carefully select social settings which minimize distracting factors and maximize the child's strengths (a talent or keen interest of the child's).

(5) As adults, WE do not socialize only in groups of 22 or more people exactly our ages. Adult autistics will probably socialize like us, with people of a variety of ages with whom they share common interests or meet at work. Homeschooling offers more socialization opportunities in situations autistic children will more likely face as adults (shopping, church, interests, libraries, family gatherings, etc).

(6) Peers do not necessarily provide appropriate models of socialization for imitation. Ignorant teachers don't either (not all teachers are ignorant: wonderful teachers are treasures). In the worst case situations, autistic children are ignored, physically and mentally abused, singled out and teased by ignorant, uncompassionate people.

Because children are lumped by age, autistic children stick out so much sometimes they end up being magnets for bullies. Homeschooled peers are less aware of subtle differences between what is cool and uncool because they spend more time with children of a variety of ages and a variety of abilities.

The Bottomline on Socialization for Our Family:
I would much rather have a child who looks forward to spending time with peers, who may be a bit rough on the edges, than a child who's so afraid of messing up they feel major stress and self-hatred. Our daughter used to avoid being around other children at school and went to the opposite side of the room as much as possible. She no longer does that in a group. When we first started homeschooling, she had a very hard time joining a group craft activity during story time! Now she sits at the table and watches what other children are doing to get ideas for art. She's really blossomed in the past four years. More importantly is her reaction when co-op is cancelled: our daughter gets very upset because she looks forward to her classes. And, now if she sees a classmate at church or at the store, she smiles at them. And, yes, she has attended their birthday parties, slumber parties and other common events in a typical child's social life.

In a nutshell, gentle introduction into society in tolerable doses avoids the trauma of prolonged exposure to noise, chaos and occasional abusive treatment in traditional schools. Having the desire to socialize due to low quantity but high quality social experiences may help more in the long run than killing the desire due to high quantity but low quality experiences!

Tammy G.

"A parent's love perceives no limitations."
Copyright 1999 Tammy G

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Blog Name Change

I think I must have been pregnant when I created our website name, The Chandler Family Web Home." It is long and cumbersome and just sounds like something I would think was catchy when I was pregnant. It reminds me of the Christmas tree I created in ALL red and white decorations while we were in Florida and I was pregnant with Adin. It was all red and white.


Red balls. White lights. A red and white paper chain made from scrapbooking paper. Oh yes, I thought it looked good. I don't think it really had any ornaments on it except for candy canes. And we all know what color those are.

So I have decided to change the name of my website after many, many years. We'll try this one out and see if it fits. Let me know what you think. Post em here or email me.

We love you all!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

First Lost Tooth

Last night while I was getting out of the shower, I heard some commotion in what should have been a very quiet house. The boys had already gone to bed and Jason was packing for his trip to Mississippi. I heard Jason tell me to put a robe on so Farm Boy could show me something. They came in and Farm Boy screamed "I wost a toof Mommy!" He then attempted to show me the hole in his mouth but every time he opened his mouth so I could see, his bottom lip would cover his teeth making it impossible to see anything. This went on for a good thirty minutes as I tried no less than ten times to take a picture. The one above was the last one I took and you can see my thumb in it. He loved showing it off today as we went to Jason's parent's house and then at school all day. I still can't get used to it. I cannot believe how big he is getting!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

I've missed blogging ....

So it has been a crazy few weeks. I spent them catching up on all the things I hadn't done and couldn't do while I was working for a month. I have really missed blogging but it is difficult since we do not have internet access at our house at the moment. I come to Jason's parent's house a few times a week but usually spend that time downloading email and checking the blogs I read. I can get them on my phone but emailing on my phone isn't fun and blogging on it would be even harder. Ah well ...

So I am getting ready to head out to the Board of Education in Walton County. I do hope I will not have the "pleasure" of seeing the guy who thought he knew best for my child without even meeting him. I refuse to have any more dealings with him but yet he is the one who is supposed to be our elementary coordinator. Anyway, the Meet and Greet Luncheon is hosted by the Parent Mentor and I think it is monthly. This is the only one I have been able to attend and I think it might be the last one for the year. Noah's IEP meeting for goals and placement for next year is actually Thursday. I'll update on that later this week. I made visits to our home district school along with the other one in Monroe and know which one he is best suited for. I am excited about the possibilities for next year if we actually make it through the 3rd grade. :S

Monday, April 6, 2009

What a Month!

Well, it has been a weird and wild month. I cannot even believe to catch you guys up so I won't attempt to. Below is a letter I emailed tonight. You will probably see in it that my job was short-lived. Please pray as we again make another transition. I am really okay with not working there anymore. I am FLOORED at how it transpired. I am glad to be able to focus on my kids again and Remembering Your Baby. I'll update again once we get through Easter.


April 6, 2009

To Those It May Concern:

While I greatly appreciate the opportunity to serve in the area of hospice care, it is with a heavy heart that I send this correspondence.

I was hired on March 3, 2009. At that time, I was told that the volunteer program at Hospice Advantage-Athens had been unintentionally neglected for a period of approximately six months. As a result, the program was in need of a complete restart. I went through corporate orientation and training for two weeks, so as one would expect, no recruiting was done during my first two weeks of employment.

In my third week of employment, I met with Shari Koch, who I was told, had the most successful volunteer program in the entire company. That experience proved invaluable to me. It affirmed that the method and manner of recruiting and retaining volunteers that I have used for close to ten years in other organizations have worked successfully in the hospice setting and more specifically within the Hospice Advantage organization. However, I quickly found out that the Athens location had never done things that way. Ideas were met with skepticism. Methods were questioned.

In fact, in my fourth week of employment I was sent to fourteen different assisted living facilities on a marketing mission in order to assist in improving our census numbers. I willingly complied because I was certain a lack of volunteer recruiting during this period would not reflect negatively on my job performance. In fact, on the Monday of that week, I attempted to blend assigned task with recruiting responsibilities but was not encouraged to continue that process. I discontinued the practice in order to focus solely on my assigned task.

During my fourth and fifth week of employment, it was discovered that of the eight volunteers that I inherited when I was hired none were current on their TB tests and therefore were not allowed to see patients. I spent time informing them of these developments and helping them get current. As a result of this, my volunteer hours fell drastically short of the required 5%. However, focusing on this fact alone does not count recruiting presentations scheduled in the community that are certain to garner more volunteers and therefore increase volunteer hour percentages.

In summary, one partial month is not enough time to turn a program around. To evaluate my job performance without evaluating these facts is nonsensical and unjust. The unfortunate victims of this decision are the countless patients who will continue to be improperly served.


Dawn Chandler

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Job Update

It is funny to me that we would be happy about Jason not getting a job. But we are. I know he would be miserable. He doesn't even LIKE recreation and that was our major. The hours were horrible. They wanted someone to give a long commitment to moving up through the department and Jason's heart was not in that. I have never been so happy that he didn't get a job (and he doesn't NOT get them very often!)

I was actually offered my job on Friday. I am so excited and never thought I would be about going back to work for someone. I will be the Volunteer Coordinator for a hospice in Athens. I will be basically creating the program from scratch and will be responsible for 15 counties around a 60 mile radius around Athens.

I'll update more as I know it. It is going to be an adjustment for all of us. Please pray for us! :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

IEP Update

For those of you reading without knowledge of special ed or without a special needs child, this is a very involved post. I have posted a summary first for those of you who just want the basics. If you are involved in special ed or are family and want to know the details, feel free to read it all. :) Warning: it got long.

The meeting took almost two hours! I could not believe it when we walked out at almost 5:00pm. I was very impressed with the way it was set up. The school is very technologically advanced and used a laptop with projector to allow everyone to view it while we were writing it. They basically took the Mississippi IEP and wrote it on their form, asked if I thought all the goals and such were still appropriate and we changed a few things around to fit what GA does differently than MS. The have done quite a few tests already and are continuing to evaluate him according to GA's standards. We did put in a request for adaptive PE which is in addition to the regular PE class he will take. OT and PT know about him but have not done anything with him yet. He is testing lower than his MS scores indicate but that is typical of him as he seems to test better once he gets comfortable with a teacher.

My main concern with Music Man and his schooling is how exhausted he is every night. His school day is two hours longer here due to the bus ride to and from school. It is about an hour and ten minutes one way and for a typical kid it would be tiring. We did decide he needed a snack in the afternoon (!!!) as his lunch is at 12:30pm and he wasn't eating again until he got home at 4:30pm. We have to meet again in 60 days as a state-to-state transfer once all of his testing is done. We will review the IEP again and decide is anything needs to be adjusted or changed.

Music Man goes into a regular ed class as soon as he arrives at school just like he did in MS. I guess it would be called homeroom. I do not know how long he stays in there (tried to remember to ask for his daily schedule, but I think it is still not absolutely concrete since he is still doing a lot of testing.) He does get lunch, recess and specials (art, music, computer etc) with his regular ed class. He is also getting regular ed science and social studies with a para-pro, whom he adores. Reading is focused on a lot. I am unclear if what I am about to try to explain is what the school does or if it is district wide and I don't totally understand it all, but I will try my best to explain it. :) Classroom instruction is divided into units and a unit in this case is an hour. They have several reading units throughout the day (or is it week?) There is guided reading and teacher-directed reading as well as (I think) a regular reading unit/class. We are exploring how to divide up Noah's regular ed units (I think I heard yesterday that he gets 20 regular ed units in a given week.) We tossed around ideas such as the science and social studies being regular ed with the para-pro and then more self-contained/resource reading or even allowing him to go into more regular ed reading units such as the teacher-directed units and allowing the overlap of several reading units so he is getting exposure to more reading rather than just a minimal amount in the resource/self-contained class. My head is starting to hurt thinking about trying to explain it again. Forgive me. I am unsure if it is all clear. :)

I am concerned. I am very concerned. I love the school. I love the teachers. The administration is great. I am so worried about the length of his day. He doesn't seem to be making friends easily. He usually is able to tell me the names of friends as soon as he starts a new school year and new class. It has been two full weeks and he cannot tell me one name of a friend at school. His teachers were very glad to hear me point that out so they can be aware and help in that.

I am really just trying to get him through to the end of this school year and then re-evaluate during the summer. I hope and pray (really, really hard!!) that we are still here for next school term. I have been homesick for quite some time (like the whole eight years we were gone) and having just come back home, I am not ready to leave again. I really want to be close to family. I want my kids to grow up in the country and closer to family. Please pray for our transition to GA and as we look towards the future and dealing with the possibility of yet another move. And just so you know, moving again would mean that Jason was offered a ministry position that we felt God was telling us to take. We are not looking to just move for the sake of moving. It would definitely be God-led. Now all that being said, I am just trying to get though the year. I do not feel the bus ride is good for him but do not want to pull him out of school again when he is just trying to get used to things. We are considering other options as we look towards next school year and planning towards being here unless God leads otherwise.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Job Interview, IEP Update and Other Stuff

IEP was rescheduled to Friday at 3:00pm due to a scheduling conflict at the school. I will update after the IEP sometime this weekend.

Jason had a job interview yesterday. It went okay as he stated it. It was with the Morgan County Parks and Rec Department. It is entry level, but what our degree is actually in and he would be working a lot. It really wouldn't be more than what he does with Aquatic Expressions, but he would not be able to do anything else (like Aquatic.) Doing ministry along side this rec job would also be difficult as well. While we desperately need him to get the job, I have major mixed feelings about it. I was really hoping he could find a part-time permanent position so he could continue to do Aquatic and get back into ministry as well. But we will address that and deal with it if he is offered the job. PLEASE PRAY we make the right decision on any job consideration!

I have also been putting in applications and I am struggling with it too. I have not been paid for work regularly since Noah was born. It is very difficult to even fill out applications, construct a resume or feel like I am qualified since I have been doing volunteer non-profit work for the last seven years. Anyway, pray I will have the wisdom and courage when I need it.

And lastly, we have had a death in the family this week. Jason's best friend and cousin growing up lost his dad this week. If you have heard Jason preach regularly, you may have heard him talk about Russ and Brian. This was Russ' dad. Brian actually lost his dad last year. It has been difficult to say the least. Jason's dad was very close to Russ' dad as they are first cousins and grew up together. Today is the funeral. Please pray for the whole family during this time.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I only want what is best for my child (doesn't everyone?)

I have really been struggling with this blog post. I have been avoiding it and procrastinating horribly. So what I have decided to do is to let you guys in on the basics and then if you have questions or comments, feel free to leave them here or email me.

Noah is attending a school on the other side of the county from us. He gets his own private bus that comes and picks him up in front of the house and drops him off again in the afternoon. The bus ride is about 45 minutes in the morning and almost an hour or so in the afternoons. It takes 30 minutes by car. I hate that the bus takes forever. I hate that he is all the way across the county and I hate that I can't just drive him myself - right now we cannot afford the gas. Now before you all start protesting about having him served in his home district, please read the whole post.

I called the Walton County BOE DEES office before we even left Mississippi. (DEES is the Department of Exceptional Education Services, for those of you not in Georgia.) They requested some things to be faxed so they might go ahead and make an initial placement decision before we arrived. Hopefully it would be the correct placement and he would not have to change schools. Well when we arrived, it was clear they wanted to place him in the school he is actually in now and we began fighting it because of the distance. He is exhausted in any given regular day we have, even while living in Mississippi and only being 10 minutes from school (with traffic!)

Well, the short of it is, he is going to that school now. We have other concerns such as him being the only non-self-contained kid in a self-contained classroom. The teachers and admin at the school said he was the highest functioning in the program. I hate that too. He does get most of his academics in there, but is in a regular classroom for science and social studies. He also does homeroom, lunch, recess and "specials" with his typical classroom. Specials are what we called activity classes in Mississippi - art, music, computer and library. They even get one day of Spanish per week! All that being said, it is still somewhat against what I feel is best for him. I really don't, however, want to uproot him again in the middle of the school year. Georgia has a few weeks off in March for intercession and then spring break. The school year ends just after Memorial Day and starts up on July 30 (!!!) in Walton County. I really think they are working towards a year-round program although I am not certain that is the case.

Now as to why I haven't fought to keep him in his home school. This school he is in is the only one, according to the BOE, that serves kids in a self-contained resource room similar to what Noah was getting in Mississippi. The one that we are district-ed for does not even have a resource room. They serve the kids in the regular classroom pulling out as needed (I think) if they need extra help. The way I understand though is that they pull out and go to the library and there is not even a resource room to go to. I do not want to fight to have them change everything about what they do in order to meet the needs of my child when they are not used to doing it that way. I don't feel the teacher would like it, benefit from it etc and who's to say she wouldn't take it out on me (Noah) if she wasn't happy about the situation. I know what I mean and it makes sense in my head, but I don't know if I am making sense to anyone but me.

For next year, if we are still here in Walton County, I am considering other options.

So that's that. Wednesday is our official IEP meeting for the state-to-state transfer. I am a little nervous as I always am with IEP meetings. The admin at the school is wonderful though and I do like his teachers.

I may update again after the IEP meeting. If not, email me for the details!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

I hate moving

It has been five years since we moved. The last time it was to Hernando from south Florida. We had only been in FL three years and had a lot less stuff. When you stay in one spot (as I guess most people have a tendency to do) you accumulate a lot of stuff. We found things we had actually packed when we graduated from college, moved to Good Hope, then to FL and then to MS without ever really going through it. It would go from place to place and be put into storage and then forgotten about. Well, this time we decided we did not want to move it again. We got most of it gone through, found some crazy stuff we have saved (papers from high school, poetry we had each written - in high school! and other various things that made us laugh.) Well then we got sick. It started with Farm Boy getting a fever virus the Monday before we were supposed to leave MS. Then I got it. Then I got the flu. Then Music Man got the fever virus. And then, just for fun, Jason reacted to an environmental allergy in a job he was finishing up. So we were pitiful. And we couldn't pack, let along think about leaving MS. I was overwhelmed by the amount of things I had to do before we left. The short of it is, I would probably still been there had a wonderful friend not come in and taken over. He got us packed up and loaded and we were on our way on Tuesday. All of us. Jason was in a very full Rider truck (in anticipation of bad weather coming in - very good decision by the way!) I was in my very full Suburban with two rowdy boys and two freaked out cats. We pulled in Tuesday night about 7:00pm. We were glad to be here, exhausted and wanting warm food and hot showers (we got both and very quickly and then fell into bed.)

Jason and his dad left out on Thursday heading back to Mississippi to get his work trucks and clean up the house. I am so thankful for good friends again as they would probably still not be back had he attempted to do everything on his own. I didn't realize how much we had actually left in MS, but due to some gracious friends, they were able to pack it all in. They were also well fed, well entertained and had a warm place to lay their heads. They got up early Sunday morning and headed out before the snow and ice arrived.

My Saturday was equally eventful. I had been looking for my clothes for three days. I had a few things, but couldn't remember if my clothes were in a box or a suitcase. I had a few things to wear but had no idea what I was going to wear to church on Sunday. Saturday I found them in a suitcase in our closet. Oh yes, you read correctly. My brain was mush. I so painstakingly tried to put my clothes where I could find them (I assume on Wednesday) that I in turn hid them from myself.

So now we are trying to organize our life again. We are staying at Jason's parents' house right now (just 200 yards or so from his grandparent's house where we will be living eventually.) We are slowly unpacking, cleaning out some things we didn't get to clean out before me left (due to the illnesses) and just having a great time hanging out with his parents. We just spent two weeks with them at Christmas, but after being gone from GA for the last eight years we have a lot of catching up to do on "just hanging out." Jason is networking and I am actually working on my resume as well. We are hoping he will be able to continue his landscaping business and also to get back into ministry.

I know many of you are wondering about Music Man and his schooling. That is a separate post. I am working on it but it may be another few days before it is ready to be published.

Friday, January 16, 2009

2009: A New Chapter

With the beginning of the new year comes a new chapter in our life. This was a somewhat difficult decision to make and a bittersweet one as well. We are leaving Hernando and moving back to Good Hope, at least temporarily. We are excited to be moving a lot closer to family but very sad to be leaving the friends we have made in the five years that we have called Hernando our home. This is the only place our children have known.

I know that many of you have questions about why we are doing this now. The short reason is that Jason’s business has dried up due to the economy and our cost of living will decrease in GA. We will be staying at his grandparents' farm just down the street from his parents' house, for at least a little while. Jason has some job prospects. Music Man will finish the school year in Walton County. Dawn is most likely going ahead sooner than Jason and taking the boys.

We are very ready to get back into ministry again. Please pray with us that God will lead us where He wants us. Pray for our small group. Pray the transition goes smoothly for the boys.

We have been immensely blessed over the years to have been in such a loving community. The friends we have made will always be near and dear to our hearts. We would love to see each one of you before we leave, but fear that to be impossible. But feel free to stop by if you would like and give us a hug! We are sure gonna miss you all!

We will keep our cell phone numbers at least for now. Email addresses will not change either. Find us on Facebook – we are both on there several times a day!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Biggest Full Moon of 2009 Happens Tonight!

The biggest and brightest full moon of the year happens tonight! I am excited and hope it will be clear tonight! There is more info on NASA's webpage.
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