Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Wrap Up

What kind of blogger would I be if I didn't post a 2009 wrap up?

I cannot believe it will be 2010 in less than 12 hours. That is just not possible. It's also not possibly that I'm a grown up with actually children who have survived long enough to annoy the crap out of me and I still love them.

I have learned a LOT in 2009. I could call it The Year Heather Grew Up. Or, The Year Heather Admitted She Couldn't Do It All. I am a self-admitted Dooce-lovah so in the vein of her recent post on 2009, I'm going to make a list of good things that happened, and even not so good things that turned out better than I'd hoped.

  1. The Green Guide for Horse Owners and Riders was published in June.
  2. Rookie Reiner came out in December.
  3. I had my first book signing and it was NOT a success but I learned what NOT to do (it unfortunately underscores my control issues, but I'm ok with that.).
  4. My second book signing was better but not great, BUT, I got over the fear of sitting at a table by myself and I had a whole herd of work friends come and visit me so I wouldn't be totally alone. I also learned a few things NOT to do and my next will be even better!
  5. I kind of sort of got a promotion at work, I don't talk about work here so I'll leave it at that, but it's good and I remembered why I loved my job - which is a good thing to remember because it makes it easier to get up each day at the butt crack of dawn. 
  6. I have learned better parenting and wifery through pharmacology. There, I said it, I have outed myself on blogger. I take Cipralex and have for about two months now. It's like I'm still Heather only Now! With Less Screaming! More Kissing! Saner!
  7. I've slowed down. I stepped down off of three different boards even though I thought it would make me feel like a horrible QUITTER! And it did for a bit, then I realized that life continued and I was still a good person and I could give more of my time to my family. Now I know that my maximum is TWO BOARDS. I will not, WILL NOT, take on more than I can chew in 2010.
  8. Ok, here's another work post even though I said I don't post about work.... I am a Team Leader and I have The Best Team our department has seen in my 6 years there. I'm proud of them. They rock. Nothing is perfect but we don't strive for perfection, we strive for awesomeness. I may not always be the friendliest and nicest boss, but I think they know I'd fight for them and I think that is more important. We're going to kick 2010's butt.
  9. All my writing assignments have come to me, I haven't queried in months and I still get writing assignments sent to me that pay better than the ones I used to query for. That is cool.
  10. I've got a plan. I have a plan for 2010 and I'm taking slow and deliberate steps to put it into place. This makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. You'll see some changes here soon. I promise. I also promise that I won't be as lackadaisical about the posting and the writing. I had to take time off to form my plan. \
So now, with a half-day left in this year, I'm spending it the only way I really feel comfortable doing.... cleaning my house. Yes, you heard me. I feel the uncontrollable urge to clean all the nooks and crannies of my house so I can sit down and be truly relaxed when I ring in the new year.

Be blessed!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

STDs: From 2 to 57 in about 40 years

I have a post up on BlogHer about the realities facing our kids today.... and how I cope with it.

Princess E


To be honest, I didn't think I'd be the mother of a girly-girl. But she is. And she's wonderful. And also? She's tough as nails.

Some Days You're the Princess, Some Days You're the Cat

Monday, December 21, 2009


Dear Son,

Your sister did NOT try and cut the cat's ear off.

She merely tried to give him a haircut (as demonstrated by your grandma on your head) with some scissors she absconded with, using her newly found mad chair-moving-and-climbing skillz. (Mommy has a better hiding spot now.)

She tried to give him a haircut and SLIPPED.

It didn't bleed much.

Ok, it bled a lot, but it was a nick. You can't even see it now.

Please stop telling the neighbors your sister cut off the cat's ear. Especially the ones that belong to PETA.


PS you'll not the stupid bugger still sleeps on her bed, he's obviously not afraid she'll gut him in the night. Squeeze him to death with love, yes, gut him, no.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Home Visit from the Prinicipal

You know things have taken a turn for the worse when the principal needs to make a home visit.

Michael has been attending a different school for about 7 weeks. He's been in a program that was designed to help children with "mild to moderate" behaviour issues. At first I'd been reluctant about signing him up, but the teacher and the principal and the assistant principal said it was a great program. And with an 8:1 student/teacher ratio, I thought that perhaps it would just be a positive experience, even if they didn't figure out what makes him tick.

When I met the teacher in the program though, I was in smitten. He is a great guy with a positive, quirky personality. I knew Michael would love him - and he does. His behaviour has been stellar at the program. He gets a rating for each section of the day and most of the time he gets a 3/3. So far they have determined (surprise!) that Michael can take a long time with his work and is distracted easily. But they also have backed up the feelings that I've had for a good long while that Michael's confidence in his own abilities is low and this leads him to doubt himself. Since I realized this back in Kindergarten, I've tried to encourage him in every area related to school.

But the teachers are the one who hold the key. Last years' teacher did some serious damage to his self-esteem. This year they told me that he was reading below grade level. I knew this was not true so I asked them about their testing. After checking some details, they said it wasn't the reading... but the comprehension. Again, I knew that wasn't true so I asked how they checked his comprehension... they replied, by asking him questions. Aha, did they think that his low confidence might factor in to his inability to answer those questions, even if he did understand what he'd read? They didn't know. It wasn't in the parameters of the testing.

But Michael can read an entire Robert Munsch book without hesitating. He reads and understands complex words that are far above the grade three level. He's an excellent reader... and I don't say that because I'm his mom, I know it's his strongest skill in school.

Anyway... back to the home visit part...

Last week Michael wanted to attend the Christmas concert in his regular school. He'd been there for a half day 'reintegration' visit so he knew it was happening. In fact, he'd previously been really upset that he'd miss it. He looks forward to it each year - the confidence he has in performing is great. The teacher burned him a cd of the music and he went to the concert that night and did a great job. His class got up and did some handbells and sang Silent Night, but since he hasn't practiced handbells, he stayed at the side. Then he joined everyone for the finale.

There was a second night and Michael's dad took him - except this time I received text messages that Michael was upset and crying. Odd, I thought, since the previous night had been so positive. I spoke to Michael when he got home and what I heard really upset me.

(note, this is the story pieced together after talking to Michael and the principal)

Before the concert Michael asked his teacher if he could get up with his class during the handbell performance so he could sing Silent Night with them. She said he could. She sent the class down to the gymnasium with the other teacher. When Michael went to step up on stage the principal saw him and pulled him off... thinking he wasn't supposed to be up with the handbell kids as he hadn't practiced and didn't have a bell. He tried to tell her it was ok but she looked at the music teacher (who hadn't been a part of the discussion about silent night) who shook her head no. So Michael was kept off the stage despite protesting that he wanted to go sing. When he realized he wasn't being listened to, he began to cry. It wasn't long before the principal realized that there was in fact singing happening and that she'd been wrong. She tried to ask him if he'd go up, but it was the middle of the performance and he was embarassed.

I sent an email to the principal and the teacher, expressing my disappointment. I also told them that Michael was still upset and now was having very negative feelings about this special program he was in. In his mind it wasn't about the mistake that the principal had made, it was about the fact that he had to attend this other program and miss having fun at his school in the Christmas concert. I was heartbroken because this program has been so good for him. He has started to show more confidence and I'm hopeful it will show up in his regular school, even though there are more kids and it's more chaotic. But I did tell the principal that I wasn't sure the school was right for Michael. Perhaps another school might take better care of my son. There have been so many other issues... he is just not being watched closely enough in class. I've told them over and over that they have to get ahead of him. They have to know what he's doing if they expect him to be successful. His mind wanders, he daydreams.... he gets distracted very easily. That's what ADD - Inattentive type is all about.

The principal emailed me back and said she'd call me in the morning, which she did.

She offered to come to our house (just two blocks from the school) and talk to Michael and apologize. I was impressed by her offer (especially when she said this is the first home visit she's made in 26 years of teaching) and she was true to her word, she explained what happened from her point of view and apologized to Michael. He accepted her apology and said he'd forgive them and then we chatted a bit about some photos on the wall and his nearly perfect day sheet (just one 2, the reset were 3s).

I thought it was a classy act on her part. I think if I were cynical I'd say maybe the fact that I'm PTA president factored in, but I really don't think it did.... I hope it didn't. This isn't about me at all, it's about my son and his success at school. He has three weeks at the other school before he goes back full time to his home school. I know he's going to be a changed kid - I just hope the teacher can help sustain that change. In the classroom now he's both encouraged and held accountable in good proportion. He is rewarded consistently for good behaviour and prepared for success. (Example: instead of having him write the spelling test words in his nearly illegible scrawl because it's being written at the end of the day, they print it and send it home and now he's getting 100% because I can actually help him practice!)

Onward and upward. Only 9 more years, with this one at least!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Facebook is Killing My Blogging

I am a bit of a Facebook addict. And by "a bit" I mean, I have had dreams about playing Bejewelled Blitz or having a naked photo tagged and being unable to un-tag it. It makes me feel quite connected to friends from both the states and here in Canada.

But I feel so connected that I feel everyone knows what's going on in my life, so what's the point of blogging?

Father, it's been almost a month since my last blog post.

I'm not Catholic but I believe that's at least 12 hail mary's and something-something about rosaries.

It's also put a significant dent in my regular writing life. But that wasn't just Facebook, that full time job has taken a lot of energy... and some days I'm just too tired to think. Facebook requires little thinking. Just reading, looking, snooping...

Although I enjoy time on Facebook, I wonder if anyone else feels that it's a bit of a leech.....?