Feb 272013
 

Yesterday Tyra didn’t come straight home like she is supposed to. She left the school with the boys, but then she went with her friend Carley, to Carley’s house. She came home with Carley to tell me that Carley’s mom said that she can come over to play. I told her that she didn’t ask me if Carley could come over, and I pointed out that she has lots of homework to get done before I even consider letting her have a friend over. Not to mention that the house is a mess because we are in the process of moving everything around now that the basement is finished. So she sent Carley home saying that she can’t play today, but maybe another day.

Today, the boys again, came in the house without Tyra. Ethan informed me that she was in the front yard. When Tyra did come in the house, she brought someone else with her, and she came to me to tell me “She wants to watch me do my homework.” I told her that I really don’t think this girl wants to watch you do your homework. Then I pointed out that Tyra still hadn’t even started her homework for the week, and that Daddy and Ethan have scouts tonight and we just have a lot going on. I told the other little girl that we will have to talk to her parents and set up a play date in advance for some other time. She said ok and then Tyra took her to the door, telling her to tell her mom that she can’t play today and not to be scared going home. Then Tyra came back to me to yell at me “I didn’t know that you would send that LITTLE girl home!” The phrase “little girl” caught my attention. I asked Tyra, “what is that girl’s name?” Tyra had no clue what this girl’s name was but says “She lives over there somewhere” as she points to the back of the house.

So at this point I’m thinking “Great, this girl’s mom is going to think I’m a snob or something because I wouldn’t let her stay and play, assuming her mom knew that she had come to my house. Also because I have no idea who she was or who her parents are, or where they live or anything like that, I CAN’T set up a play date for anytime.

I don’t know why Tyra thought that maybe I would let this girl stay and play, when I wouldn’t let Carley stay and play yesterday. Why would she think there was a difference? She still hasn’t done any homework. The house is still a mess and she isn’t helping to clean it up. Both of those were reasons I said we couldn’t have friends over, yesterday. Why would I have changed my mind for today just because she brought a different kid over? It’s like she is testing me or trying to trick me or something.

Feb 232013
 

When I was a girl scout I remember participating in an activity that we called “International day”. We got together with a whole bunch of other troops and each troop represented a different country. We had a display to show things from our country and we got to dress up to represent our country and as a troop we made a treat to share, and we had passports that we got to take with us from table to table and as we got to taste the treats from all the other countries they stamped our passports. Upon becoming a leader I tried to look it up to see when it was supposed to be and found information on “World Thinking Day” which seems to be the same thing and it’s on February 22nd every year. Last year, we celebrated World Thinking day as a troop. Each of our girls got to pick a country, and they learned a little bit about that country, and came to our meeting dressed up to represent their country and they brought a snack from their country. When our service unit asked for activity suggestions, I suggested a World Thinking day activity and I described the way it was when I was a girl. (I also described the girl scout olympics, but that doesn’t really have anything to do with this post. πŸ˜‰ ) This year, our service unit is put on a World Thinking Day event and it was similar to the way it was when I was a girl. Each troop represented a country, and they had treats and swaps, and a display, not many people dressed up though. The older girl scouts made passports for all the girls attending. I kind of think the passports that I had when I was a girl were better though. Mine have my picture on them and info about what troop I was in, and what country we were representing and things like that. These passports were just some folded papers inside a laminated cover that said “Passport” on the front. But there were enough pages inside to make it difficult for the staples to actually hold them all inside (Tyra’s fell apart, halfway around the room). Our troop represented Micronesia this year, because Amy’s sister lived there for awhile and had some things that we could put on display and she came to one of our meetings to tell the girls about the islands and the people that live there (Tyra and I missed that meeting though due to our impromptu trip to North Carolina).

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If the service unit puts this on again next year I would like to get the girls more involved in deciding which country to represent. Amy split the girls up and set up shifts at our booth for the girls to cover. That way everyone had a turn to be at the table to answer questions about Micronesia, but that way they didn’t have to be at the booth the whole time and could check out the other booths before or after their shifts. Tyra’s shift was the second to last, so we started out by going around the room. We were just finishing our rounds when we heard them say that we would be ending in 10 minutes. I flipped out, thinking that I totally spaced the time and missed taking Tyra to our troop’s booth for her shift. But, upon looking at the time, I noticed that we still had time before her shift was about to start, and that there was supposed to still be another HOUR of the activity. Amy asked the ladies in charge about this and was told that some of the kids were starting to act up and the events director decided it was time to just end the activity since those girls had already been to every booth and were getting bored. Amy was quite angry with this decision. She had sent her daughter out with her husband to deliver as many cookies as they could, and then her husband was supposed to bring her to the World Thinking day activity for the last hour. But they were ending it an hour early and Amy’s husband hadn’t arrived with her daughter yet. I wasn’t really angry, but I was rather upset at their decision to end an hour early. I sent Amy around to the tables to quickly go get some swaps and things for her daughter, and while she was doing that, her husband and kids arrived, so I filled him in on what was going on. He wasn’t too pleased either.

They finished off the activity with a really big friendship circle and sang “Make New Friends”:

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All in all, I think the event went well. And I think the three hours would have been a fine length of time if more troops had been willing to participate. My hope is, that they will want to do this again next year, and that more troops will be interested in participating. πŸ™‚

Feb 232013
 

Girl scout cookies arrived this morning! This year our troop sold nearly double the amount of cookies that we did last year. And last year we got them all to fit into the back of the van with some room to spare. But there was no way were were going to get ALL of those cookies in the back of the van this year. Kyle still removed the seats in the van so that we could use it to haul cookies home, but Amy also found a smaller trailer to borrow. We figured that last year we had two and a half pallets and so this year we were going to have at least five.

Our cookie pick up time was super early this morning. After Kyle got all the seats out of the van, and Debby was at the house, Kyle left with Ethan to go to a belt loop pow wow, and I got in the van to go meet Amy and the other parents that volunteered to come help. When we were all at Amy’s, we split up in the different cars and went to go get our cookies. At the warehouse there were LOTS of pallets of cookies. Our troop was the second troop to pick up, and we were told that our troop was the second highest selling troop and that was why we were one of the first troops on the schedule. Once our cookies were out of the way, they would have more room to sort out all the other troops cookies. πŸ˜›

They got all of our cookies sorted out and instead of making five decent sized stacks on pallets they made three really tall stacks on pallets for us to take. I was really nervous about how tall the stacks were. But the guys wrapped them in plastic and loaded all three pallets onto Amy’s borrowed trailer. It was scary to see how the tires of the trailer flattened with the weight of all those cookies loaded onto them. And we ended up only putting a few odd cases into the van because there weren’t enough to make another full layer on the tops of the pallets.

I followed the truck that was pulling the trailer home, so I could watch to make sure the cookies and trailer were ok. At one point we did have to pull over and check how well the cookies were tied down because we started loosing the cardboard pieces that were supposed to be there to keep the ties from smashing the boxes of cookies. But all seemed to be ok and we got to Amy’s house and started sorting out the cookies by what each girl needed.

I cameΒ  home after all the cookies had been picked up, and it had snowed a lot while Kyle and I were both away, so I shoveled the driveway before trying to park the van. Kyle and Ethan got home while I was shoveling the driveway. After we parked the van and the car we unloaded all the cookies, and here is the pile of cookies that Tyra sold this year. She sold 624 boxes during the pre-sale this year:

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That isn’t the greatest view of them, but considering the hallway was the only clear enough space that we had to stack them up, that was where they were put. πŸ™‚

Feb 172013
 

I made a super quick trip to California on my own this weekend. Wendy decided she wanted to go to the temple to receive her endowments this weekend, even though she knew that a bunch of family were coming to Utah for Adam’s baby blessing two weeks earlier and that I am planning on bringing my family down three weeks from now. I was slightly frustrated that she would plan it right in between two other family events. Then, when we got word that Great Grandma Ruby wasn’t doing very well and wasn’t going to make it and we ended up in North Carolina for a week, I was more than ever, hoping that Wendy would change her mind and reschedule to make things a bit easier. But she wouldn’t and because the kids had already missed several days of school because we were on the east coast, I just couldn’t make myself load them all up in the van and take a road trip THIS weekend. I really didn’t want to drive through the night, because that was the only way we would have been able to make it work. So, being very sad that I couldn’t take my family with me, I hopped on a plane all by myself Friday night after my Girl Scout meeting. The good thing about flying alone this time, was that I actually got to read my book (The Neverending Story by Michael Ende). When we flew to North Carolina, and home again, we had all the kids and two of them were lap sitters, which meant that Kyle and I each had a kid in our lap for the whole flight, and reading a book meant trying to keep the book away from the lap child at the same time. πŸ˜›

The airplane that I was on this time, was a LOT smaller than the ones we were on to go to North Carolina. And even though I packed super light, and shoved my temple bag into my smallest suitcase so that I would only have one carry on and my purse, my carry on was still too big. The over head compartments in this plane were only big enough to hold backpacks, nothing bigger. And if you had a really big backpack stuffed to the gills, that wouldn’t have fit either. So they ended up checking my bag at the gate.

I arrived in California safely, and after collecting my suitcase I worked my way outside and called my dad. He found me and picked me up and we went to the house. It was rather late when we got there and so we just went to bed.

Saturday was rather insane. We woke up and got ready for the trip to the temple. Dad had bought muffins for breakfast, and after Wendy arrived, we were off to the temple. We got to the temple a little bit early, so before going inside, we went to check out the visitor’s center. A couple of sister missionaries showed us some of the neat things that are new in the visitor’s center, and then it was time to be getting Wendy inside the temple. The session was a 1:30pm session, but Wendy was supposed to be there at noon. Mom, being Wendy’s escort went with her, and Dad and I went to hang out in the cafeteria for a little bit.

After the session was over and Mom and Wendy and I were all back in our regular church clothes, we went out to find Dad. But we didn’t see him anywhere. He came out of the dressing room several minutes later saying that someone else was in his locker when he got there to change. Then we went out to the car, and after realizing that there wasn’t enough time to go get some dinner, we headed straight to my parent’s stake center for the adult session of their stake conference. President Francis, was being released as stake president this weekend and my parent’s didn’t want to miss it. My family has known President Francis for many years. He was the Bishop in my family’s ward when my family was baptized, 15 years ago. We finished up the evening by going to Mimi’s Cafe. I would have rather gone to The Whole Enchilada, but they weren’t open as late as Mimi’s was.

Sunday morning, we went to the general session of Stake conference, and I saw a bunch of people that are still in my parent’s ward after all these years. A lot of the people have changed, but some of the faces are still familiar. President Francis was released this morning. They announced that he has been called to be the mission president in the Rochester, New York mission, and so he is selling is chiropractor practice and they are selling their family home and he and his wife will be taking their kids to go live in New York.

This afternoon after church, I changed and got everything packed back up. I told mom that I planned on leaving my temple bag, since I will be back down in just three weeks and I will need it for that trip too. I had time to eat my leftovers from Mimi’s, and then Dad took me back to the airport. RIGHT as we were getting to my terminal, he was pulled over. I felt so bad, but I didn’t have time to stick around and find out why he had been pulled over, so I went into the airport to figure out how to get on my plane home. Later I saw that he had texted me that he had only been pulled over because there wasn’t a license plate on the front of the car. That cop must have been bored or something. I made it home safely, and Kyle and the kids met me at the airport to pick me up. And now I can get started on moving into my newly finished basement!

Feb 132013
 

Tyra has been struggling in school for a really long time. Almost since she started I remember being concerned that she just wasn’t getting it. She has difficulty with both reading and math and because every other subject revolves around those ones she just struggles in everything. I remember expressing concern to Mrs Spaulding, her kindergarten teacher, and being told “Oh, Tyra can read.” But as soon as Tyra got home she couldn’t, or at least that was what Tyra must have wanted me to think. Last year, in second grade, she was put into a reading tutoring program called double dosing. She would stay after school a couple days a week and get extra practice with reading. But at the end of last year, when she was filling out a packet that was supposed to be a review of the whole year, and she couldn’t do any of it, I felt like maybe she should repeat second grade. Her teacher, Mrs Gustafson, told me that they “really REALLY don’t like doing that” and she said that Tyra would be fine, and they went ahead and moved her up to third grade. This year started with their regular evaluations in the fall, and her teacher, Mrs Nelson, told me that she is a year behind in her level of reading, to which I am of course thinking, “see, I knew we should have had her repeat second grade!” Kyle and I thought that maybe we should have Tyra evaluated to be sure that there wasn’t something more serious going on. Sometimes we would wonder if her difficulties in school were somehow linked to her bed wetting issue. We also kicked around the idea that maybe her near drowning accident might have caused deeper damage than we had thought. So we asked her teacher how we can go about having her evaluated. First we were required to wait for her teacher to go through six weeks of interventions with her. This was a period of time where her teacher would pull her aside during class and help her work on practicing reading, but they weren’t just reading books. Mrs Nelson has a big book of columns, and Tyra would have to read down the columns as quickly as she could without messing up. The first columns were just a couple of letters put together and Tyra would just have to read the sounds, and as soon as she could do it in under the specified time, she could move on to the next set.

After the interventions period, Mrs Nelson had to recommend Tyra for further evaluation, and then we had to wait a few more weeks before that could begin. In the meantime, someone had recommended that I ask the school psychologist to observe her in her classroom, and when I asked if this could be done I got an email from the school psychologist asking me what she is supposed to be observing Tyra FOR? I didn’t know how to answer that. Tyra obviously is having some problems, and I am not there to see why, and her teacher is busy with all of the students in her class, so she can’t really sit there and pay attention to just Tyra. I was told that observing the child is just something the school psychologist is supposed to do, I don’t know how they are supposed to be doing their job! Finally in mid November I heard from a resource teacher at the school about filling out some paperwork so that they can begin an evaluation. Of course by that point school had already been in session for nearly three months and was therefore a third of the way through.Β  Kyle and I got the paperwork filled out one night and got it sent back to the school and they were able to begin testing. The testing took several weeks to complete, and with the holidays in there, there were several non-school days so that felt like it slowed the testing down a bit.

Here we are mid February now, and we had our conference to discuss the evaluation results today! They went over the answers that Kyle and I had put down on a survey that was part of the paperwork and showed us how that score made it look like Tyra was having serious problems (and that really was how it looked to us: she really seemed to be having serious problems), and Mrs Nelson’s answers for the same questions, had a score that made it look like there was some concern but nothing nearly as big as the concern that Kyle and I were having. So then they talked about the things that the school psychologist had noticed. She sat in the class to watch Tyra and saw that Mrs Nelson would instruct the class on the topics for the day, and then she would sit down and instruct Tyra. Also they told us about how they tested Tyra and they told us that basically what it boils down to is Tyra just has a focus problem, and they did not find any learning disabilities. Based on the testing it showed that Tyra would get several math problems in a row correct, but then every math problem after that wrong because she lost interest and just wanted to be done with it. Same thing with reading; she would read a bit and then start making things up because she was impatient and just wanted to be finished! So based on that, they found that she does have all the tools she needs to figure things out. When she stops long enough to think things through she CAN and DOES figure them out, but she would rather be doing something else and so tries to get out of it as quickly as she can.

I am glad that there is no underlying problem. Focus is something that can be worked on. I’ve heard that using a timer is a great tool in teaching someone to focus, so we will have to give that one a try. Of course I do kind of feel like this year has been a bit of a waste. I thought last year that she should repeat second grade, and so far all this year she doesn’t seem to be improving and here we are six months into the school year, and we finally have the results from the evaluations. School gets out in about three months from now. But at least now we know that it’s just that she needs to practice focusing, and now we get to decide how we are going to do that.