366 in 52 [2016] ~ Week Forty-Three

I took a long break from shooting Friday through Monday… and just shot a little the last few days. I’ve been so distracted this week! Curtis and I had a date night Friday, we went to San Antonio and spent the night there, and we had a great time. We got back just in time Saturday for him and Dominic to attend a fellow Boy Scouts’s Eagle ceremony. Then Curtis had to leave for Minneapolis mid-day on Sunday where he’s been ever since. He got home late last night and I was so so so happy to see him. It seems like I had so much going on every day, but really it was just one appointment or meeting a day… funny how those days get so full. Monday was a massive grocery run and laundry. Tuesday was a doctor’s appointment for me. Wednesday was Anna’s ARD (more about that below). Thursday was Anna’s cardiology appointment. Busy!

Day 298 ~ Fall in Texas

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Temperatures are staying in the 80s during the day and getting into the 60s at night, so we are officially experiencing autumn here in Texas. I’ve been searching for a fall leaf to shoot and found one lone red leaf on one of our crepe myrtle trees. This is about as pretty as we’ll get before the trees drop their leaves.

New Braunfels nature macro landscape photographer

Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/8 | 1/800 | ISO 800

Day 298 ~ Clouded Yellow at Work

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

This beautiful backlit yellow butterfly is called a Colias, otherwise known as the Clouded Yellow. Our fire bush was laden with butterflies on Tuesday. The sun was bright and harsh, but I didn’t care… I was happy to have time to pick up my camera for a few minutes!

New Braunfels nature macro butterfly photographer

Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/8 | 1/500 | ISO 400

Day 298 ~ Gulf Fritillary Glow

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Nothing can rival the gorgeous photos I got of the Gulf Fritillary butterfly last year (there were six posts altogether starting with that one), but I love love love how the sun is shining through his wings to make them glow the most beautiful color of orange. It was about 10:00 a.m. so the light wasn’t favorable but I couldn’t resist.

New Braunfels nature macro butterfly photographer

Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/8 | 1/500 | ISO 400

Day 298 ~ Upside Down Bumble

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

I wandered out front to see if we had any fall leaves (which we did not) but the loud buzzing that sideswiped my head caught my attention. Bumble bees! Giant, heavy, lumbering bumble bees were covering my purple Mexican sage. I couldn’t get a good angle on them but something about this image made me smile. Upside down, whatever it takes. Got to get that delicious nectar.

New Braunfels nature macro bee photographer

Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/8 | 1/500 | ISO 800

Day 299 ~ Anna Attends Her ARD

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

I’m not sure where to start. How about… this is the very first time I did not sign any paperwork because I disagreed with the committee? Yep, that’s what happened. This was Anna’s first ARD at Canyon High School. It’s an ARD that I called because I was concerned about her placement and wanted a one-on-one aide assigned short-term to help her transition to high school. It’s been a wretched start, as bad (if not worse) than last year. It took over 4 weeks to get everyone together but we finally sat down yesterday. We let Anna join us at the end, and as you can see, she was holding court quite well. Can you guess what she was talking about? Andy Hurley of course. Let’s see… in attendance were: Anna’s dance teacher, Anna’s case worker and (one of) her essential academics teachers, an assistant principal, the campus spec ed specialist, the district spec ed specialist, two members of transportation, and speech therapy. Eight of them. And me. Thankfully Curtis joined by conference call, otherwise I would’ve felt very much alone.

First they went over her current skills. She’s lost so much ground that it makes me nauseated. She’s reading at a 1.9-2.1 grade level… I think she was up to grade 3 or 4 at one point. She’s lost the ability to tell time on an analog clock, one of her strengths last year. She’s still struggling with basic math. It’s hard. And breaks my heart. Anna was not in the room during this part of the meeting, thank God. She is very self-conscious about what she can and can’t do. Then they talked about her goals. Her teacher rewrote them so that they would match up with high school level TEKS but all are modified down. We talked about speech, then went into behavior. Whew. That part was tough too. She has had some truly awful moments. Meltdowns that include turning tables over, throwing chairs, ripping stuff off of walls. Lots of cursing. And even hitting other students and teachers. 🙁 I think she’s a little better than at the beginning of the year, but not much. Mornings are harder than afternoons. No one can see any patterns, triggers, or antecedents to these incidents. I asked for a district behavioral specialist or psychologist to observe her for the last 4 weeks. They got someone in there five days ago and she’s another teacher, not a specialist. My thoughts are that these episodes are triggered by anxiety but I don’t know for sure. We had spells like this in 5th grade when she first started puberty and they seemed related to her menstrual cycle. She’s on hormones now so that she doesn’t have a cycle so I don’t think that’s a contributing factor.

We asked about the cameras for the classrooms, but no one knows exactly where we are in the requisition process. They’ll get back to us, they said. I do feel like Anna’s teacher and the campus specialist are really invested in helping her, but I don’t know if they like her. Honestly they just don’t know her. I’ve asked over and over and over again for an informal meeting with Anna’s teachers so that Curtis and I can train them and offer tips on how to handle her. That has yet to be scheduled either. I’m so discouraged.

Then transportation spoke up. I’ve gotten one call from them that Anna had an incident on the bus, I’ve gotten one call from the school to come get her off the bus (last week after school, did I blog about that?), and I’ve gotten one or two casual reports from the driver that something upset Anna and she had a meltdown on the bus. So maybe four total? “Because of repeated incidents,” transportation says that they want to remove all of her personal belongings so she can’t throw them (“because it’s just a matter of time before she hurts someone”) and they want to put her in a harness to restrain her. WHAT??????????? Curtis and I both went off. WTH? She’s not a savage animal. Can you imagine being restrained to be transported? And see everyone else get to watch their screens for the hour-long ride to school but you can’t? How do you think you would feel? After we blew up and said NO, Curtis and I calmly asked about the cameras being installed on the bus and they said, “Oh yeah, we have cameras on all the buses.” Well they didn’t four weeks ago. We nicely asked to review the footage of when Anna is having a meltdown so we could see if there was anything triggering her, like a screaming student or a deer jumping in the road. It could be anything. If we could help identify why she’s getting upset, we could coach the aide to intervene before Anna throws something. But they won’t let us see the footage. They said it’s a privacy issue for the other students and something to do with FERPA. We said we aren’t signing anything until we see the footage or they show us the law that prohibits us from seeing it. I asked how many students are on the bus. 12. 12 students with special needs. 1 aide. It is too crowded and those kids are on the bus too long and it is too stressful. I think it’s time for a lawyer… or the media. Honestly, I think they are trying to scare us into taking her off the bus to get us to transport her ourselves.

I’ve been sick to my stomach off and on since the ARD. I’ve never had one go so badly or feel so hopeless to help my little girl. I thought we were making progress but apparently everyone has just stopped talking to us. Anna’s not even trying to do work at school some days. She just shuts down and the work gets sent home. My poor baby girl. Anna doesn’t like acting bad, she feels awful about herself. And I feel awful for her.

New Braunfels special needs child photographer

Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/2.2 | 1/200 | ISO 800

Day 300 ~ Brave for the EKG

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

During Anna’s annual checkup in August, our family doc heard a heart murmur. Anna has also had some arrhythmias like me (I have PACs and PVCs). With our family history and not knowing for sure if Anna has the kyphoscolosis type of EDS (which could have vascular involvement), the doc recommended Anna see a pediatric cardiologist. We booked the appointment nearly 2 months ago and today was the day. I was pretty sure they would do an EKG so I prepared her ahead of time. I told her to show me her brave face to show Daddy later and this is the cheese face I got. Her EKG was normal but they did send us home with a 24-hour Holter monitor to see if we could catch an episode. I think Jenny has had them too.

New Braunfels special needs child photographer

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

Day 300 ~ Time for the Echo

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

I was surprised that the cardiologist wanted to do an echocardiogram during our visit but pleased we wouldn’t have to come back another day. Anna was quite nervous but again I said, “Let’s see that brave face for Daddy!” and got this image. Thankfully there is no evidence of aortic root dilation so it’s unlikely she has the vascular involvement with her EDS. There was no mitral valve prolapse either, which is great. I’m glad she didn’t inherit that from me. We should get the results of the 24-hour Holter monitor sometime late next week.

New Braunfels special needs child photographer

Nikon D750 | 35mm | f/2.2 | 1/160 | ISO 2000

I’m sorry that I didn’t shoot everyday and it wasn’t a happier post but overall Curtis and I are doing great, the kids are healthy, and there is much happiness at home. We just have to get school figured out. And I need more time to color with my mom! Thanks for looking!

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