366 in 52 [2016] ~ Week Thirty-Six

Momma bear came out this week. I was hoping the worst was behind us. I didn’t even have a chance to download photos until yesterday so again my post is a day late. But you will understand why soon.

Day 246 ~ Cheesy Chinese

After the week before last, with the emotional roller coaster of Izzy’s suicide and subsequent bullying conversations, our family needed a little respite from the tidal wave of emotions. (I can’t imagine what it’s like to wake up every morning facing that reality, I feel so sick inside for her parents.) Curtis and I took the kids out for Chinese food. Our favorite Chinese restaurant in New Braunfels is China King. I get fried rice with nearly every vegetable they offer, yum. Curtis gets everything as spicy as possible. Dominic and Anna get chicken fried rice. It’s nice to see the kids expanding their palate. I just love the boys’ expression here! I love them both so much.

New Braunfels family child photographer

Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/1.8 | 1/125 | ISO 2000

Day 246 ~ Did You See That Dog?

After dinner, we packed up the leftovers and headed over to the New Braunfels Art League. It was First Friday which is an event where all of the local businesses stay open late in downtown New Braunfels and have sidewalk sales. I was able to participate and had a canvas for sale (see the image HERE, if anyone is interested… it’s 20×16 and is $100), but it didn’t sell and I needed to pick it up. The kids wanted dessert from 2Tarts, so we headed there first. It was super packed, so Anna and I waited outside. This adorable couple and their huge puppy walked by. “Mom, did you see that dog?” Anna asked. They turned around and introduced her… she was a Mastiff puppy only five months old and she was already as big as Charlie. They were so sweet. While the kids ate their cookies, we walked around the corner to OMGelato for our first (of many!!!) visits. OMG is right. Their gelato is the best I’ve ever had. I can’t wait to take my mom there.

New Braunfels child girl special needs photographer

Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/2.2 | 1/200 | ISO 640

Day 247 ~ Caption This

Saturday was a much-needed lazy day. The deer have been visiting frequently so I went out with some deer nutrition and bonded with them. They are getting bolder in how close they come. I love this picture… her tongue is slightly out and she’s looking at me like I’m crazy. How would you caption this photo?

New Braunfels nature deer animal photographer

Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/2.8 | 1/250 | ISO 800

Day 248 ~ Introducing Sapphire

Mom took the kids out Sunday afternoon for lunch. I got a call from Dominic mid-day asking, “Mom, we are at Sac-n-Pac and there’s a guy that has baby turtles. They are sooooo cute! Can I have one?” I have NO idea what possessed me, but I said, “Sure honey!” We have an aquarium and Dominic needs to earn his Reptiles and Amphibians merit badge for Boy Scouts, and I thought to myself how much trouble can they be? Mom got on the phone and said they would stay very small and weren’t much work according to the guy. An hour later they came one with not one, not two, but… SIX turtles. GULP. Two turtles each for Dominic, Anna, and my mom. Each set had their own little habitat, gravel, and food. Dominic named his two turtles Sapphire and Ruby, and he got red gravel for his habitat.

New Braunfels animal pet turtle photographer

Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/3.3 | 1/200 | ISO 5000

Day 248 ~ Introducing Andi

Can you guess what Anna named her turtles? Andi and Pete (Andi is a girl turtle otherwise it would be Andy) from Fall Out Boy. She is still completely obsessed with Andy Hurley, the drummer. Like completely. Here she is holding Andi so you can get a sense of just how tiny these little guys are. Anna chose rainbow gravel for her habitat.

New Braunfels animal pet turtle photographer

Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/4.5 | 1/200 | ISO 1000

Day 248 ~ Introducing Rose

My mother named her two turtles after two very dear musician friends, Rose and Artie. These turtles even have their own Facebook page now: Rose and Artie’s Adventures, by Shirley. Too cute. Throughout the week, we have discovered that the turtles are cold and were not eating yet. We do keep our houses as cold as refrigerators, so there is that. We’ve been on a quest to warm them up. Mom tried warming an athletic pad and put that next to their habitat. I used a heating pad under their habitat. Finally we put them outside with a laundry basket inverted to keep them safe in an effort to warm them up. Finally they started moving around and eating. Mom ended up purchasing three special warming pads made specifically to go under these types of habitats. Oh the adventures continue!

New Braunfels animal pet turtle photographer

Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/4.5 | 1/200 | ISO 400

Day 249 ~ Petunia Parts

Monday was Labor Day, woohoo. The kids were happy to sleep in and not go to school. It was nice to get a long weekend with my honey too. Since we were being lazy and stayed in our PJs all day, none of us were good photo material, so I went out with my macro. The photo garden that my mom made for me is happy and thriving. The purple petunias are blooming like crazy. Actually most everything that can bloom on our property is going full throttle. Mom calls it the second spring. I love that in this image you can see the pistil, specifically the stigma, so clearly. It’s a bluish-lavender puff of texture.

New Braunfels nature macro petunia flower photographer

Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/5.6 | 1/250 | ISO 1000

Day 249 ~ Inviting a Sniff

Since I’ve already photographed most everything in my yard already, it’s hard to find something new to shoot. Over by the cactus in the far corner of the yard, I found these tiny yellows flowers blooming. I don’t know what they are called… does anyone else recognize it? I think this angle just invites one to lean down and sniff the blossom. It was too low for me to do that though!

New Braunfels nature macro flower photographer

Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/6.3 | 1/250 | ISO 1000

Day 250 ~ Three in Ten Days

Tuesday the kids went back to school after the long weekend. Anna had been complaining of a headache all weekend (actually a specific spot, the right temple). It was bad enough that it made her cry several times over the weekend. I thought it might be the antibiotic that she started Wednesday the week before for her bladder infection, so we stopped it Sunday night, hoping that the headache would go away Monday or Tuesday. I sent a note to school about the headache and got a response back mid-morning that she had been complaining of her head hurting. Then at 11:30, I got a phone call from her teacher.

“Anna has broken her glasses again.”

“What???” I ask incredulously?

“We decided to change it up this morning and tried transitioning to a different class for second period. Anna refused to come in the room and waited in the hallway. Then she got mad and broke her glasses.”

First of all, second period was hours earlier, why didn’t I get called when it happened or mention in the email? Secondly, why oh why do you decide to change things up on the third week of school when the previous week was stable??? These kids need routine and consistency! I took a deep breath.

“I am very, very angry. I do not feel you all are handling her properly. This is the third pair of glasses in ten school days. We spent over $320 last week repairing and replacing her other pair and getting her a backup pair. I am not happy at all.”

I could hear Anna sobbing in the background. I asked to speak with her so her teacher put her on the phone. She was hysterical. “Mommy, please come pick me up. Please, pleeeeaaaassseee.” “Honey, what happened?” “I don’t know, I don’t know. Please come get me, please mommy, please!!!” Her breath was hiccuping, she was so upset. I talked with her for a long time and got her calmed down. I told her that I couldn’t pick her up because she was sad, but I would come get her at the end of the day. She could be a car rider instead of taking the bus home (this gets her home nearly 1 hour 15 minutes earlier which is a whole other issue). I told her to go lay her head down and rest and I would take her backup pair of glasses to the office.

I then called the district-wide secondary special education coordinator, Mrs. W., and left her a long, very upset, message. Three pairs of glasses in ten school days! Anna has NEVER been this upset, she has never had this many bad days in such a short amount of time. Something is seriously wrong. When I got to the school, I asked to speak with the head of special education for the campus, Mr. T. He was not available so I left a message for him to call me. He called me back a couple of hours later and I was surprised by how he described his interaction with Anna after the incident. Apparently she had gotten even more upset and had thrown stuff and hit too. He was very much about the power struggle… he would not address anything until she had cleaned up. I didn’t say a word on this call, I just listened. He asked me if she behaved like this at home to which I replied, “No, never.” I ended the call saying something like I didn’t think they were handling her correctly (including Mr. T.) and had put in a call to Mrs. W. I then asked for a meeting for when Curtis was in town next week. Mr. T. was quite upset and said he would be in touch to schedule the meeting then hung up on me.

By the time Mrs. W. called me late that afternoon, I was pretty worked up. I was Momma Bear On The Rampage. We talked for over 20 minutes. She was very reassuring and apologized that Mr. T. has a gruff manner but is actually pretty nice to the kids. When I told her what he told me (verbatim what he said) and I pointed out how it was about power (with examples), she acquiesced that he was used to working with kids who were classified as having an emotional disturbance. He was not used to working with kids who have an intellectual disability. He will be coached, she assured me. I hope so, I don’t want that type of personality interacting with Anna.

She then asked for a couple of days to see what she could about Anna’s placement and support. Since Wednesday was an early release day anyway and Anna was emotionally wrung out, I decided to keep her home the following day.

New Braunfels child girl special needs photographer

Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/2.5 | 1/200 | ISO 1000

Day 251 ~ Primm and Anna Have Headaches

Having kept Anna home because of her horrid day the day before, Anna continued to say that she had a headache. Growing more concerned because she’s not usually this persistent (and she kept pointing to the same spot on her head) and she had been off the antibiotic for over two days, I took her to see Dr. Kelly. She loves taking one of her reborn baby dolls to Dr. Kelly’s office because the entire staff is so sweet with her. They always ask to hold her baby doll and let her talk all about it. For this visit, Anna brought Primm. Primm had a headache just like Anna’s. Because Anna has broken her glasses so many times, Dr. Kelly was concerned that she might be experiencing some vision changes. Her last eye checkup was July 2015 so she is due for one (which is now scheduled for 9/23). They did a quick eye test in the office and Anna measured 20/50 with her glasses on. If Anna is still complaining about this headache on Monday, then we will go back. I’m really not sure what is happening with the headaches, but every day the pain is making her cry then she wants to sleep. I’m worried.

Later in the day, I got an incredible email from Mrs. W. about what they are going to do with Anna. Effective immediately, they are moving her to a different teacher who has more experience (her current teacher is a first-year teacher). She has to learn and she wasn’t necessarily doing anything wrong, but Anna is so behaviorally complicated, that she needs someone with more experience. Additionally, they are going to have Anna’s teacher from last year, Mrs. Lowry, come to the campus this Friday and help the new teacher learn Anna’s quirks and give her some tips. AND on Monday, Mrs. Haynes, Anna’s 7th grade teacher who is now an elementary low incidence disability specialist, will come to Anna’s class to do the same thing. Both Mrs. Lowry and Mrs. Haynes had an incredible rapport with Anna, they got her, they understood her, they cared for her, they challenged her, they did great things with her. They made her feel good about herself. I am so thrilled that these changes happened so quickly and with such decisiveness. Last year Anna’s placement was awful at the beginning and it took us until after Thanksgiving to get her moved. I told Mrs. W. that I would keep Anna home one more day so that they could get all the necessary arrangements made. She also said that since Anna has been struggling with PE, they wouldn’t send her anymore. I nearly wept. I told her that I was considering private school or home school if things weren’t going to improve. I cannot send my daughter to school everyday just to have her rage, cry and sob, sleep, and be miserable. I can’t do it. Mrs. W. assured me that they would do everything they could to help Anna be successful.

New Braunfels child girl special needs photographer

Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/2.5 | 1/200 | ISO 3200

Day 252 ~ Math

Monday was a holiday, Tuesday was the horrid day, Wednesday was early release so I kept Anna home, and Thursday I told Anna that Dr. Kelly wanted her to rest for a full day to see if it would help her headache. I have to be really careful about not rewarding the bad behavior at school with getting to stay home. Anna is savvy enough to figure out that if she breaks her glasses and cries, then she could stay home. Nope. So Thursday morning, I had Anna get dressed like she was going to school and work on some math. She actually enjoyed it and wanted to do several more pages than I had asked her to initially. She still can’t do single digit addition and subtraction in her head but she used tally marks to figure out the answers. I loved how proud she was of her work and that she couldn’t wait to show Nana.

New Braunfels child girl special needs photographer

Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/2.5 | 1/250 | ISO 2500

Day 252 ~ Reading

Anna can read fairly well, definitely up to Level 3 beginner type of books. But who doesn’t love Dr. Suess? Go Dog Go used to be one of her favorites so I had her read it to me. It’s been so long since we’ve read that book, that she actually giggled out loud several times. It was super cute. And I needed to see that happiness related to school work and reading. It was good for both of us. I am hoping that she goes back to school Friday with a good attitude for her new teacher.  It’s been so hard for her so far this year.

New Braunfels child girl special needs photographer

Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/2.2 | 1/200 | ISO 2000

This week HAS to be better, right? I’m so tired. I got five text alerts from the txConnect app that Dominic is missing work already. Sigh. Not again. There is a mom’s night out in our neighborhood tonight (Friday). The organizer is the most darling, energetic, sweet little thing you’d ever want to meet. I’d really like to go and connect with other moms in the neighborhood but I’m so emotionally spent that I will have no energy for interacting. And I fear that I will hear stories of Johnny in sports and Sally in cheer and I’ll want to punch all those sweet moms in the face (not really, but you know what I mean). So nope. I’m hunkering down in my house cave and hiding for a while.

Don’t forget to let me know what you would caption that silly deer photo! I need a laugh.

Love every single one of you reading this. Spread love. Kindness Matters.

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