This wasn’t my best week. I didn’t shoot as much, though I did shoot every day. I’m not happy with what I’m getting. I’m feeling a bit anxious… somewhat due to medication changes and somewhat because I’m not sleeping well. And I’m just feeling plain sick. My EDS and auto-immune disease flares up randomly… and when I have a week like this, I feel so old and tired.
Day Twenty-Two ~ Dominic Gets an ARD
In the midst of Anna’s incredibly rough fall (see 2015 in Review), we had Dominic’s first 504 Meeting at Church Hill Middle School. Elementary school was very hard for Dominic. He has severe ADHD… and the decision to medicate was not easy. In retrospect, we waited too long. By 5th grade, his rages, meltdowns, and emotional outbursts were mostly under control but the move to New Braunfels was hard on him. We ended up seeing a behavioral therapist and his psychiatrist nearly every other week for most of 5th grade. He made tremendous progress by the end of the year. We requested that his entire 6th grade team attend Dominic’s 504 Meeting and they did. I was impressed. It was a large room full of people, and Curtis and I explained some of Dominic’s challenges and what we were most worried about. The VP suggested that to give him more support, we test him for academic and emotional/behavioral issues. The academic testing supported previous testing with a results of a very high IQ with lower executive functioning. He did end up qualifying for services with an “emotional disturbance” based on his ADHD, trouble with peer/teacher relationships, and pervasive depression. Dominic now has a dedicated adult (Mrs. R) that he can go to at any time for any reason. He can hang out in her room to do his work, to cool off, to check in when he’s overwhelmed. She will be his advocate, his intermediary with his teachers, and generally keep him organized and as happy as possible. I couldn’t be more pleased with how it went.
Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/1.8 | 1/320 | ISO 1600
Day Twenty-Three ~ Fostering Stuart
Last summer, we took Anna to PetSmart one Saturday and there was a rescue group there called Texas Animal Guardians. They had some adorable dogs up for adoption and Anna was smitten with the whole process. We went back most Saturdays for most of the summer. Gyvel, the organizer, started to recognize us and took a shine to Anna. One day, she brought a t-shirt for Anna and asked her if she would like to volunteer. Anna walks the dogs around PetSmart and is allowed to take them out to do their business. Last week, they pulled a lot of dogs out of a San Antonio kill shelter and were desperate for fosters or adopters.
This little guy is named Stuart. He was kept in an outdoor pen and it was getting below freezing at night. As soon as Anna picked him up, he fell asleep on her… in the middle of PetSmart! I couldn’t bear the thought of him going back into the shelter, so we said we would try fostering him short-term. Well, he is getting along so well with Charlie and Lola that we called Gyvel on Sunday and said we would foster him until he found his forever family. He’s about 8.5 pounds, a Terrier/Schnauzer mix (?), and is about 2 years old. He is completely housebroken and has no bad habits. How he ended up at the shelter is a mystery to me!
Don’t Shop, Adopt!
Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/1.8 | 1/160 | ISO 640
Day Twenty-Four ~ So Strong
One thing I love about where we live is all of the wildlife we get on our property. We have a small herd of deer that visit us every morning and we’ve been feeding them for about a year and a half now. Last fall, my father-in-law and Dominic built them troughs so their feed is off the ground (clever design too with a mesh screen); that way, they don’t get sick from eating near their poo. We also have a watering trough for them. Curtis is always so sweet to bring the deer nutrition in from the car (my mom had gotten it this time)… those bags weigh 50 pounds. I love showing off how strong he is. <3 Thank you, honey!!!
Nikon D750 | 85mm | f/1.8 | 1/400 | ISO 320
Day Twenty-Five ~ Feed Store Cockatiel
Another favorite store to visit is the New Braunfels Feed and Supply Store. This is where we usually buy our dog food and deer nutrition. They also sell small pets and Anna loves to visit the birds. She’s been wanting a cockatiel for well over a year and is convinced she’s getting one for her 15th birthday. (Daddy says no.) This little cockatiel was soooo sweet and friendly… the store doesn’t always have them in stock, so it was awesome to see one as I promised a visit as a reward for a good week at school.
Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/2.8 | 1/200 | ISO 1250
Day Twenty-Six ~ Am I Not Allowed Here?
Stuart is settling in nicely and is playing with Lola more than Charlie. He is quite the character and has tried to usurp Lola’s place on my lap. One day while Dominic was doing his homework, I was trying to get some shots of Charlie looking out the window. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Stuart sitting on a dining room chair! I love the look on his face… like he knows he’s not supposed to be up there. Even Charlie is saying, “Dude! What are you doing?” “What, am I not allowed here???”
Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/1.4 | 1/250 | ISO 2500
Day Twenty-Seven ~ Hiding in Plain Sight
This is one of those raw images, hard to talk about and hard to post. I can feel myself withdrawing from the world because I’m just not feeling well. I wanted to show two things with this self-portrait…
1) Having an invisible disability while looking normal is hard to describe. I get a lot of “I was back to normal a month after my hysterectomy,” and “My aunt had a thyroidectomy and was fine.” Well, they didn’t have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and auto-immune disease too. I feel defensive, like I have to explain why I’m so tired and why I’ve gained so much weight back after getting so healthy. It’s embarrassing and makes me feel ashamed. I don’t want to share, I don’t want to educate, I don’t want to be sick. But I am and I do.
2) Sometimes, someone right in front of you can be struggling. They are hiding in plain sight. If a friend is extra-distant or quiet, reach out. Sometimes a simple “I’m thinking of you” can mean the world.
Nikon D750 | 85mm | f/3.5 | 1/400 | ISO 640
Day Twenty-Eight ~ Before It Was Cool
My mom has been coloring for years and years. Now all of a sudden, it’s cool! There are adult coloring books at every checkout lane… at the supermarket, at the pet store, at the craft store, everywhere! Mom has had so much fun adding to her coloring book collection and pencils. She’s even joined a few Facebook coloring groups that offer challenges. Her work is beautiful! And the act of coloring really is a serene practice and very zen-like. I’ll share a finished piece from her soon.
Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/2.8 | 1/250 | ISO 800
Thanks for looking and I hope next week is a better one for me… at least happier and more centered. Smooches.