The weekend before school starts is not typically so crazy busy but it was unusually frenetic this year. We had blood draws, shopping, friends visit, more shopping, first days of school, and fallout from school starting. I’ll fill you in below.
Day 232 ~ Brave Anna and Brave Dominic
Since the kids had visited the psychiatrist and our family practice doctor last week, both doctors wanted blood work done on both kids… liver panel and cholesterol for both of them and a thyroid level for Anna. But they both had to be fasting, so we made an appointment for early Friday before breakfast to get their blood drawn. Dr. Kelly’s nurse, Emily, is so gentle and good with kids. I love her. The kids were great, very brave, no flinching or crying or drama. Way to go, guys! I am so happy we have Dr. Kelly as the doc for our entire family. She is amazing and has already educated herself about EDS more than any other doctor we’ve ever had. Both kids blood work showed that their cholesterol is borderline, but everything else was fine.
Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/2.2 | 1/200 | ISO 640
Day 232 ~ Hanging in the Art League
After I got back with the kids, I had to take off for a day of work. The New Braunfels Art League is a large gallery in downtown New Braunfels that invites artists to submit their work for special shows. This month the theme was “Images of Life” and I submitted a photographic series that was symbolic about life. When you submit to a special show, you are required to volunteer for one work day at the gallery as a docent. Friday was my day. I had a great time! The ladies, Sandy and Pam, were very welcoming and were wonderful teachers. At the end of the day, I snapped a quick photo of my art… though it’s supposed to be hanging all in a single row with the rosebud first (The Beginning symbolizing the beginning of life… the budding), then the long full rose bush (The Middle… the endless stretch of everyone in bloom around you but you are still unique and an individual), and the butterfly on the decaying rose (The End… and Begin Again… the end of life as the rose dies but also symbolic of life going on evidenced by the butterfly looking for pollen, poised over the dark abyss). The New Braunfels Art League has a once-a-year juried show that if your work is accepted, means you can display your work year-round in the main gallery. That juried show is coming up soon and I hope I get accepted. It is nice to see my work displayed and I hope to be sharing more soon.
Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/2.2 | 1/200 | ISO 800
Day 233 ~ Peekaboo Happiness
On Saturday, mom’s dear friend, Danielle, came for a visit with her hubby, Mark, and 11-month old baby boy, August. I was having a sick day… fibro/auto-immune flare thingy… so I didn’t even say hello for several hours. Daddy had the kids out and when they got back, Anna made a beeline to see August. I went upstairs with her to hang out for a few minutes. Because his first birthday is coming up soon, she picked out a little present for him which he seemed to enjoy a lot. Dominic came up a little while later and played peekaboo with August. Anna loved watching him giggle and interact with her little brother. These smiles melted my heart.
Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/2.5 | 1/250 | ISO 1000
Day 234 ~ Sweet Stick
I took the dogs out Sunday afternoon and Lola jumped at something on the patio. I looked closely and found a long line of ants marching from the grass across the patio, under the furniture, and up into a ficus tree. Since I was finishing up a popsicle, I put my stick down near the marching line of ants and got my macro lens. It didn’t take long for the ants to discover the sweet stick. “Hey… what’s this???”
Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/8 | 1/400 | ISO 800
Day 235 ~ The Day Before
On Monday we did a little last minute shopping and had lunch out with the kids. I looked through all the paperwork that I had gotten from freshman registration and realized that Monday afternoon was Cougar Camp where the freshman were invited to come in and find their classes. We stopped by and found Anna’s classroom and met her new teacher. Ms. H is a brand new teacher, it’s her first time teaching special education and she just graduated from college. She seemed very nice and excited. (You can see her ducking out of frame in the background!) We were in the same area where Anna attended summer school so I was hopeful that this transition to high school would go well.
Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/2.5 | 1/250 | ISO 800
Day 236 ~ First Day 9th Grade
Miss Anna is 15 years old and starting her freshman year in high school. She likes Andy Hurley from Fall Out Boy, plays Nintendogs on her DS, and wants an old soft-faced Baby Alive from 2006. She sleeps a lot, loves her Nana, watches Impractical Jokers and fail videos with her daddy, and had the most balanced summer ever. I’m worried sending her to high school that she will be vulnerable to a boy that takes advantage of her, that she will notice more differences than similarities with other girls her age, and that she will cry a lot at school. We are praying for a good year. (It was so muggy outside that my lens kept fogging up while I was trying to take photos!)
Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/2.2 | 1/200 | ISO 1250
Day 236 ~ Waiting for the Bus
I wasn’t going to include this one, but I had walked out to the street to see if the bus was coming (it was late) and when I looked back, Anna was standing there with her hand on her hip looking so grown up. I told her, “Anna, you look so beautiful and grown up!” which made her blush and giggle. That’s when I snapped this. Daddy is in the garage waiting with us.
Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/2.2 | 1/200 | ISO 1000
Day 236 ~ First Day 7th Grade
Mr. Dominic is 12 years old and starting 7th grade in middle school. He doesn’t have any celebrity crushes but does have a new friend that he is quite fond of. He likes playing games on Steam with his best friend, Nik (who lives in West Virginia now so they Skype a lot), playing Pokémon Go, and taking care of his guinea pig, Domino. He has regular chores, has been taking guitar lessons for a few months now, and is interested in picking up martial arts again (I don’t know where we are going to find the time though). It’s been a rocky summer for him but I am hoping he can make some new friends this year and things will be more even for him soon.
Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/2.2 | 1/200 | ISO 1000
Day 237 ~ Second Day 9th Grade
A couple of hours into the second day of school, I got a call from Anna’s teacher that she had broken her glasses. Sigh. I asked if one of the lenses had popped out (this happened at summer school one day when she was upset) but no… she had broken both temples off of the frame. Since Anna’s prescription is a -8.5, she is blind without her glasses. I told the teacher to keep someone close to her and I would bring an old pair up to the school. I picked up her broken glasses and took them over to Linda at the New Braunfels Optical Shoppe. Unfortunately, these were not repairable and we had to order the frames which wouldn’t be in until early next week. Because her lenses are so expensive, I was trying to find the cheapest option to get her into her current prescription. Linda has a boutique shop so everything there is a little pricier, but she tried to work with me. I ended up going to Walmart and bought some $9 frames and took them back to Linda so she could put some lenses in. It just so happened that the lenses from her broken pair of glasses were an almost perfect fit for the cheap frames. Whew.
So the story was that Anna was having trouble going from the hallway into the classroom in the morning. This is something that she has always struggled with… it’s the anticipation of kids being in the room and someone being loud or unpredictable. She operates from a place of fear and anxiety the majority of the time, especially with transitions. She balked at going in and ended up having a pretty serious meltdown. She got angry and threw her glasses, breaking them as she threw them. I talked with her a long time last night about taking care of her glasses, that she can’t see without them, and that they are kind of expensive to replace. I emailed back and forth with her teacher, strategizing some new ideas to help Anna with this particular transition. I also learned that Anna said she had a heart attack the first day and had broken her arm the second day. She really really really doesn’t want to be there. But the afternoons have been good so there is hope.
Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/2.2 | 1/200 | ISO 1600
Day 238 ~ Palm Tree Shark Teeth
Today is the third day of school. I got calls from both school this morning. Sigh. Double sigh. Deep heavy sigh. Why can’t things be easy for my kids? I see all of these photos of smiling, happy children populating Facebook on their first days of school, with happy parents wishing their children well as they go back to class. Why can’t my kids have that too? Dominic was in the counselor’s office because he’d had an outburst in theater class. Mrs. Ramos, his behavioral specialist, was with him and he would need to spend the rest of the day with her. He actually has an appointment tomorrow with the Clarity Child Guidance Center in San Antonio. Both Mrs. Ramos and Dr. Streusand, the kids’ psychiatrist, recommended them. Dominic is going to start counseling there and we will transition both kids’ psychiatric care there over time. Then Anna’s teacher called me about an hour later saying that Anna had been complaining of stomach pain and had been crying. I reassured her that Anna’s tummy pain was probably gas (she does deal with severe constipation but that hasn’t been an issue this week). Her teacher then put the campus coordinator for special ed on the phone. He had been called because Anna’s meltdown caused the classroom to be cleared and he was helping her calm down. I talked to him for a few minutes and suggested that Anna lay down on her side for 20 minutes. He said he would have the nurse check her out too since he had promised her. Then the nurse called me (she has already visited with Anna every.single.day so far!). I am already dreading hearing my phone ring. But I haven’t heard anything else from the high school today. After all that drama, I needed to calm myself down so I went out back with my macro.
The palm tree fronds grow teeth… at least they look like shark teeth to me. And this is how I’m feeling at the moment… all bristly and angry and desperate and worried and afraid and upset.
Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/9 | 1/400 | ISO 500
Day 238 ~ Fire Bush Blossom
But amidst the chaos and sadness, there is beauty. This tiny tiny blossom on the fire bush reminds me that there is beauty all around us. When I slow down enough to take a deep breath, I recognize that things could be much worse. The kids didn’t hit anybody, they didn’t hurt anybody, they didn’t destroy property. Though both of my children are struggling with the transition back to school, they have improved from years past. I have to focus on that… that they are better and each year they are more mature than the year before. I just wish they could be happy. Really, that’s all any parent wishes for, don’t you think?
Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/5 | 1/400 | ISO 640
Thanks for looking. And if your children don’t struggle with going back to school, have a moment of gratitude for that simple thing.