Wednesday, February 15, 2012

When is it enough?

Its a long one! Writing it all out is like therapy to me.

Isaac has been dealing with bullying at school. In early January he was suspended for fighting back against 3 boys. We were encouraged by the principal (Ms. Crooks) to help him find tools to deal with how to appropriately react to similar situations in the future, so he would not be the one getting into trouble. When situations arise with my children I address them. In doing so, I have found out some details that disturb me. In a previous blog entry I had expressed frustration with Ms. Crook lying to me. Today was the last time.

Let me take you all back. In December Isaac was teasing a boy named Christian about liking a girl, the boy responded by pushing Isaac to the ground, putting his face into the ground and then shoving grass into his mouth. A call was put into the principal about what happened, unfortunately the next day Isaac decided to retaliate. For that he got into trouble. At this point Ms. Crooks referred to Isaac's behavior as bullying. I was bullied as a kid and there was no way I would tolerate my child doing that to another child. I took action, got him in to speak with a counselor who he continues to see now.

In January there was an incident with three boys while they were all playing a tripping game. The play turned serious when the three boys tackled Isaac in an effort to take him down to the ground since they were unable to trip him. I didn't view it on their part as malicious, but I could understand why Isaac felt threatened being tackled by three boys. That is not exactly what the principal told me. She told me repeatedly that Isaac said he was tripped and he got angry and that is why he tackled the other boys, she said all the kids had the same story. After he insisted that story was not true I dug further, finally getting the statement that he and she both had written on. The written account did NOT match what she had told me. I went further and called the school board, that was on a Friday. On Monday, which is the day he was suspended, I was able to speak with Paula at the school board who confirmed that none of the other statements reflected what she had said either. So instead of Isaac being the victim having been tackled by three boys just like his statement said, she said that he did it out of anger from being tripped. I expressed my frustration to Paula about Ms. Crooks lying to me and it was brushed off as her miscommunication the incident to me. Whatever.

Once Isaac got suspended he worked really hard on not reacting to other kids doing things to him and telling an adult instead. His teacher has him on a behavioral chart, he can receive two stars per day which can be earned through good playground behavior. He did an excellent job and only missed one star the whole time. He has been so proud of himself, he gets in the car and says "Mommy, I had a good day!" His efforts have really paid off and it has boosted his self esteem.

Last Thursday when Isaac got into the car he did what he was supposed to do and informed me of an incident that had just happened after school. We went in to talk to Ms. Crooks, but she was unavailable so we went over and talked to Isaac's teacher about it since Danny is in his class. He informed me that Danny had been in the office earlier for another incident and that he would call Danny's mom. Here is what happened per Isaac's account. When Isaac was waiting for me after school, a little boy named Danny who was in the same area as he was told him to leave that he was there first. Then Danny and some other boys began to call Isaac fat, took his back-pack, threw it in the bushes and they all stomped on it. One thing Isaac did say to me that made no sense was that the mom had pulled up, pointed at Isaac and said something but he didn't know what. He was acting strange and I knew that couldn't be the whole story. I later found out that he flipped the kids the bird in all his frustration and the mom saw it.

I sent Ms. Crooks an email and she called me after she spoke to all the kids and had them write their statement. Only Isaac said he didn't write one, she wrote it for him. She said that the kids did all have the same stories, only difference was she said that there was some kicking involved and the mom said he flipped them off (at this point he hadn't told me that). She said Isaac left out the part he played in it, which ended up being that he flipped them off. Things went fine up until yesterday.

I got a phone call from Ms. Crooks, she told me Isaac hadn't done anything but told me that Isaac was walking with Danny and another boy named Mark. Mark had a book that Danny asked to see, Isaac made a snide comment saying that Danny probably wouldn't give it back so Danny poked him with a pencil. She said we just need to keep encouraging Isaac to make better choices in the friends he plays with.

When he got home we talked about it and the story was similar. Isaac said they were in line to go back to their classroom and Isaac was standing with Mark. Danny cut the line and stood with them and that is when the remark was made and Isaac was "poked". Why did I put poked in quotes you ask? That would be because when I asked Isaac where he was "poked" and looked at it, there was a small puncture about an inch away from his right nipple. It was done with enough force to go through his shirt and puncture his skin. Danny was able to return to class after they visited the office.

I wrote Ms. Crooks an email and attached pictures of the puncture and cc someone from the school district because at this point I was pissed. What if the pencil had gone into his eye? At what point is this actually going to be addressed? I was able to vent my frustration to some lovely Internet friends of mine who were sincere in their concern and always have great advice. I knew they would be honest with me when I asked if I was overreacting. is the website I had found that gives advice on bullying and the steps to take when your child is being bullied or your child is the bully
I don't think my kids are perfect, I know they have their faults and they don't handle every situation properly. When they have a behavior that needs to be corrected, you bet your ass I am on top of it. When I feel my child is being singled out or treated badly I will do the same.

The only step that I had not yet taken was "Commit to making the bullying stop". The recommendation is that if the bullying persists or escalates to either contact an attorney or law enforcement. I spoke to an officer last night who suggested I call and speak to one of the school resource officers. Officer Creed, one of the School Resource officers said he would go by the school today to talk to Danny. I asked him if he could also talk to Isaac, it couldn't hurt right?

Ms. Crooks called me after the officer left the school and said that they had spoken to both boys. She explained to me how he was praised about how he handled the situation yesterday and that he left the office very happy. Then came the BUT...ugh. She told me he had gone out to recess and was playing handball and there was a boy running in front of the handball court saying "you can't hit me", Isaac threw the ball at him. A teacher who was scanning the playground saw it and told Isaac to park it, but Ms. Crooks said he refused so the teacher sent him to her office.

We had a long discussion, I told her I didn't feel like the situation was being handled properly since there were no consequences for what Danny had done. I laid all my frustrations out and explained that I just couldn't understand why Isaac had been suspended for defending himself yet this boy went straight back to class after he stabbed (poke graduated to stab when Isaac showed me how it was done and when I saw the puncture) Isaac with a pencil. I asked her at what point this would be taken seriously, all she could tell me was that they are handling it. The conversation ended with her saying that we would continue encouraging Isaac and that he had done so well until the last couple of days, he hadn't had any bumps in the road until now. After I got off the phone I cried. I felt like she was shifting the blame on Isaac once again.

After Isaac got into the car we talked about what happened at recess. I was upset that he refused to "park it" as the teacher had told him to do. I began talking to him about not disrespecting an adult and listening when he was told to do something. He said "I didn't refuse to do anything, Ms. Crooks said I did, but I didn't." So here I go doubting him again, I asked him if he was sure and he said he was. Calling the teacher who dealt with it was what I decided to do. I called Mrs. Fox and told her who I was and asked her if she could tell me what happened. She did say that she didn't see what transpired prior to Isaac throwing the ball, but she said she headed over to him and did yell to get his attention. When she told him that what he did was not okay, he became defensive and raised his voice saying that he didn't do anything. I knew exactly what she was talking about, I have seen him do that before and it is NOT OK. So I asked her, about him refusing to park it when she asked him to but she said he never did because she had never asked him to park it. Since he was so upset she thought he needed more than a time-out. That is when she sent him to the principals office.

I just broke down because I was so upset, I explained that Ms. Crooks had told me that he refused what Mrs. Fox told him to do. She said maybe Ms. Crooks misunderstood her, which I don't think is the case. Ms. Crooks is always trying to twist situations Isaac is in. Not to say that him raising his voice at the teacher wasn't a bad thing, it was and it has been addressed. Yelling at an adult is unacceptable no matter how upset he is. She could have just gone with the truth and I would have dealt with it just the same. I asked if she could put what she told me in an email and she offered to sit down with me and Ms. Crooks and talk about it, but I am done with it and I don't want to talk to her. I told her I would rather change schools than deal with Ms. Crooks anymore. She was very nice about it, she said that they don't want parents to feel frustrated the way I was and that they want us feeling that our kids are safe at school. Its too late for that.

February 16, 2012

After talking to the school board yesterday we made the decision to remove Isaac from that school. While Isaac and I were having breakfast I asked him if he had to write a statement yesterday and he said yes. When I asked him what he wrote he said "She told me to park it and I refused so I had to go to the office" I said "But you told me that didn't happen" He then said "Ms. Crooks said it did and told me I did and to write it down". He further clarified that when he told her what happened, she insisted that he refused the order to park-it, he told her what actually happened and she again said "you, refused. Write that down on your statement." She is unreal, I hate this woman for what she has been doing to my son. She thought that she could get him to write what she told him and I would look at his statement and think he had lied to me. Bet she didn't expect me to talk to that teacher who revealed the truth about the situation. I told Isaac for future reference that if ANYBODY at all ever tells him to write something that isn't true that he can tell them he will not write something that isn't true because that is not what happened.

It makes me sad that someone who is in such a position of authority over our children would abuse it the way she has. I know it happens all the time, but with the people that work with our kids we expect more than this.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Now I am Mad...

As I am standing in line at the bank I get a phone call from Isaac's principal, which is never good. I tell her I will call her back when I get out of the bank. When I call back she informs me that Isaac was involved in an incident today with another student. She tells me that Isaac and some other kids were playing a "tripping tag" game and one of the boys tripped him and he got angry and tackled the boy (Ben) to the ground and then kicked him in the back. Isaac would be suspended for Monday. Typically Isaac doesn't do this type of thing unprovoked, but I am still upset that he reacted this way. Afterall he was playing "tripping tag", what did he expect? We have been teaching him to walk away when someone does something that makes him mad, looks like that failed.

When he gets out of school I express my disappointment with him. I always question him and get him to tell me the sequence of events that lead up to the incident. He tells me that he tackled Ben because Ben and two other boys were tackling him trying to take him to the ground. I figured he was not telling me the truth since this is not what the principal told me he said. After a few minutes I say to him "I don't understand why you would tackle a boy because he tripped you, you were playing a game where you trip each other." He says "Nobody tripped me." And we go back and forth for awhile about what the principal says he said and his account of what happened. He was adamant that he was not tripped and that these other boys tackled him and he tackled Ben because of that.

I decided to call the principal back. Talking to her I clarify something that the paper she sent home says and then mentioned that Isaac had told me the other boys had tackled him. She says that the others boys gave the same account of the story and she repeats to me that Ben tripped him and that is why Isaac tackled Ben. Frustrated with Isaac and disappointed I say that Isaac must be lying to me. After further discussion and making threats to Isaac (that I fully intended to keep if he was in fact lying) to try to get him to just admit the truth, I remember that anytime anything like this happens the kids have to fill out an incident report in their own words and then the principal recaps at the bottom what the student says.

I call her back once more and say that he is adamant that no one tripped him and asked if I could get the paper that he wrote and she says sure she will make me a copy. Heading toward the school I remind him that I will see what he wrote and that lying to me will get him in more trouble, he doesn't change his story. I am thinking that the kid just doesn't give a crap. The principal is saying he was tripped and reacted based on that and Isaac swears that the other boys were tackling him and that is why he tackled Ben. At this point I am fully expecting to see Isaac's words stating he was tripped and got angry and he just didn't want to admit it.

I realize the gas tank is almost on empty so I stop to get gas and ask the hubby to pick up the paper. We pulled up in the driveway at the same time and lets just say that it is a VERY good thing he was the one to pick up that paper. As I stated before, this paper is a written account of what he says happened and her account of what he said to her. I was floored when nowhere did I read (because it did NOT state) that anyone had tripped Isaac, not in his words or hers. Not only did she lie to me (about him being tripped and retaliating for that) she did not acknowledge that what Isaac told me about the other boys tackling him was also what he had written in his account of the incident. She was specific that all the boys had the same story which was that Isaac got mad after being tripped. Sadly she had no idea just how persistent I would be.

This is not the first time Isaac has defended himself and has gotten into trouble without much happening to the other students. While I wish he would figure out a better way to handle himself, I don't want him to let other people hurt him and he not be able to protect himself. The last time was very concerning to me. Isaac had teased another little boy about liking a girl (typical third grade behavior) and the boy shoved him, smashed his face into the ground and then shoved grass in Isaac's mouth. That was beyond just hitting someone for teasing. After school the boy kneed him in the thigh and told him that's what he gets. Isaac went into the office asking for ice and his brother explained to the office attendant what had happened. The next day I called into the office to let the principal know what happened and it turns out Isaac was in there for retaliating against that boy.

When I got the notice home it stated that Isaac was bullying the kid, which knowing the facts I will have to argue that was not what he was doing. Now I will never fault my kids for defending themselves, but there was no imminent danger to Isaac at the time of his retaliation so for that he did get into trouble. My frustration at this point is the principal's handling of these situations and the fact that she lied to me about what really happened (which is confirmed by the statement of incident report). I just can't understand why she would make it out to seem that Isaac was the instigator when it is clear by her statement and his that he was not.

I did call the school district who will be investigating this incident and looking into making sure that there were consequences given to the other students as well as the discrepency in her account of the incident vs what is on the paper. There is no doubt that she lied to me, but I just don't understand why! She knows that he has been struggling in school and that he has referred to himself as "bad", why would she try and make it worse for him? I am just beyond frustrated!!

Friday, December 30, 2011

One Thing Leads to Another

My self-diagnosed ADD strikes again!!! Tonight I was very easily distracted, thankfully I am not ALWAYS this easily distracted.

I opened my laptop tonight with the intention of starting my Powerpoint presentation that is due on Wednesday, 5 whole days away! Considering my work habits for papers and presentations (last minute) I am ahead of schedule...or so I thought. Any given day I can start one thing, which will lead me to another thing, that leads me to another thing (and on, and on, and on, you get the point) until what I had originally set out to do gets pushed to the back of my mind. Which brings me to this entry tonight.

Series of Distractions:
As I open up my laptop, Eric asks me to text him to make sure his new phone is working. I open up my phone and send him a text and I realize that I have so many conversations that should be deleted. As I am deleting conversations I remember that I need to send a couple texts, so I do. As I am texting, I receive a text back from Eric, letting me know that it works. I then realize I don't have a picture for his icon, which is weird because I had chosen the "sync to facebook" option when I got my new phone. Hmmm thats strange, oh well.

Eric is so stoked about his new phone, so he shows it to me, pointing out his awesome new durable case and how it protects the phone. As he passes the phone to me so I can feel the rubbery awesomeness that is his case, I accidentally hit his photo gallery icon which prompts a box to come up that says "Add social network". I then say outloud "I saw that box on my phone too. I bet if I choose this option it will download my pictures from Facebook and I could use my profile picture of us as your icon." He doesn't respond since he is used to me "thinking outloud". I proceed to hit the box and what do you know, there are all my photo albums from Facebook, sweet!!! So I go to my profile pictures and choose the picture I want as his icon only to find out that it does not give me the option to save it as a contact icon. Oh well, I will figure it out later, I have to get to that Powerpoint.

LIGHTBULB!! At this very moment, as I am typing this, I am fighting the urge to go to my phone and click on Eric's contact info and then choose the picture from my FB album, that has to be the way. Who was I kidding? As you can probably guess, I couldn't resist, I just grabbed my phone to see if that was what I needed to do. To my surprise all my FB friends who are contacts in my phone now have photo icons next to their names :)

Back from my distraction, to focus on the original series of distractions that has prevented me from beginning my Powerpoint.

Anyway, where was I? Thats right, I was talking about pictures. At this point pictures are on my mind, and I see my camera bag out of the corner of my eye. Remembering that I have pictures from the snow and Christmas Eve that need to be downloaded, I ask Eric to grab the SD card out of the bag so I can download them. After the pictures downloaded, I briefly looked through them giggling about the memories from Christmas Eve. I see a picture of my niece, Breanna, and remember I need to ask her a question, so I text her. I then close the picture folder which opens up my picture library. I see quite a few pictures that were from my last Powerpoint presentation that I no longer need that can be deleted, so I delete them (darn it, I still need to start my Powerpoint). Then I notice a folder that I was unsure of what its contents were, and I MUST know, so I open it.

The pictures that the folder contained were from Thanksgiving 2010 and Christmas 2010. As I looked through the pictures, I realized how much has changed since last year. The appearances of all the kids in the family are drastically different. Their faces are so much more mature, some have shorter hair, some have longer hair, some have gotten a little chubbier and some have thinned out. It just made me realize how change is not always as noticeable when it happens gradually.

As 2011 comes to an end, I am counting my blessings. I am thankful for a healthy family, great friends, and minimal personal struggles throughout the year. Today as I was counting my blessings, my thoughts went to those who have struggled throughout the year and continue to struggle. It is hard to watch people you care about struggle, regardless of whether the struggles are cirsumstances beyond their control, or circumstances of choice.

Just a few of the things that I am looking forward to in 2012: finishing school, getting back into the work force, and possibly doing a sibling project for my IFs. My last class is scheduled for either July or August and as fast as time is flying by, my graduation will be here before I know it. On the first night of each class we do introductions that consist of our name, degree program, our job and what we plan on doing with our degree. My answer to what I will do with my degree has remained the same "I have not yet decided". I have always been fascinated by death, which according to my mother started at an early age. Once upon a time I thought I wanted to be a medical examiner, then realized it was the criminal aspect of homicide that intrigued me, not the medical aspect (although that is fascinating too). I would love to be a homicide detective.

Knowing that I will be looking for a job soon, there is so much going through my head! OMG, I NEED to figure out what I want to do!! Probation? Parole? Sheriff's Deputy? Police Officer? Private investigation? AHHHHH!!! Will I be able to secure a job in law enforcement right away or will I have to find something else until a job is available? If I find a job in law enforcement, will I be able to do a sibling project? There is just so much uncertainty, but I KNOW it will all work out the way it is supposed to. And by this I do not mean that I will LET things happen, I will MAKE things happen.

I am very easily distracted and still have not started my Powerpoint.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Wonderful Time Spent With Family

This year for Thanksgiving we got to spend the day with both sides of the family. Tuesday night I started on the pies. This year I had a couple new recipes that I wanted to try so I HAD to make test pies, and they turned out great. Wednesday is when the real baking and prepping started. Before I knew it 8 hours had passed and 4pies had been baked, cranberry sauce made, cooled and then chilled. Another new recipe I tried was Roasted Asparagus with Feta Cheese, so I did a trial run on Wednesday as well. I made some garlic artichoke hummus for pre-meal snacking. Wednesday was a very busy day!!

With the sounding of my alarm at 3:30 am the turkey was put into the oven (with the help of my husband of course), and Thanksgiving day had begun. Let me tell you, I love oven bags for turkey. There is nothing like being able to put the turkey in the oven and going back to sleep knowing that I don't have to baste the turkey and it will STILL be moist. Once the yams and asparagus were finished we headed to Trent and Jessica's where she had prepared the rest of the meal. She did an absolutely amazing job and this was her first time making a Thanksgiving dinner and turkey. It really does not surprise me though, Jessica is a pretty amazing girl who has become such a great friend. It was great hanging with the cousins and grandma.

Next we were off to the other side of the family. It was so much fun hanging with the family, talking, laughing and watching Cody bust his moves...the boy can get down!! As ornery as that little guy can be sometimes, he sure can make us smile. I love to see my family happy, especially the ones that are working through struggles. Tough times are what strengthen us as individuals and sometimes we just need to experience them to put things into perspective.

Although family time was awesome, Black Friday (or shall I say Thursday?) was a bust. Usually I am a die hard Black Friday participant, but this year opening the doors as early as some of the stores did was such a disappointment to me. Despite Walmart's claims of "there will be no lines since we are opening at 10pm" there was indeed a line that went from the front of the store out to the street half way to Costco. Figuring we would get inside and everything would be gone, we moved on to the next store which proved to be equally as disappointing. Eric and I decided we would go home. We went to Walmart at 8:30am on Friday and still got all the stuff we wanted. We hit Target, TJ Maxx, Sears, Walmart (another location), Victoria's Secret, and Best Buy. Our Christmas shopping is almost done...yay!! Tonight we will catch up on our sleep :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Let the Month of Thanks Continue!

Initially this was supposed to be my blog entry to kick off November, the month of thanks. Too bad that crazy thing called life got in the way. So, I deleted my saved document and started all over today, November 15th. Each day I have been thinking of how lucky I am and about the great life that I am blessed with. I was fortunate to have something I was grateful for each day.

When I was younger, I thought I had it all planned out. I thought I knew exactly how my life was supposed to be. HA, I had no idea!!! This month I have thought about all the blessings in my life and how they have changed me as a person. I have amazing family and friends, and my three sons are pretty awesome too.

In my family I have people that I can talk straight to and get honest feedback from, they are always there to lend a hand to help, an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on. Throughout the years my family has had their struggles with many things including, drugs, and alcohol. Even with all the struggles, my family has some of the biggest hearts I have ever seen. I love each one of them for who they are and what they bring to our family!!

They say that true friends are hard to come by, and I have found this to be true. I have fewer than a handful of people that I consider true friends, they also happen to be really great people! Something special about my family and friends is that we don't always see eye to eye on issues, yet we continue to love and respect one another. We don't talk everyday, or visit with each other on a regular basis, but we are still there to celebrate the good times, laugh about the silly things our kids do, and be there when we are needed. This is what true friendship is and I am so grateful to have the family and friends in my life to share it with.

My boys, well...they are pretty amazing! Each one of them is unique. These boys are constantly making me smile and laugh. And I find that sometimes it is so hard to discipline them when all I want to do is laugh!! When I was young I envisioned myself being a mommy to little girls: dressing them up, doing their hair, playing dolls with them and having tea parties. Turns out that it just wasn't meant to be, and I am MORE than ok with that now.

Each time I was convinced that I was having a girl, I think because I wanted it so bad. When I was pregnant with Isaac, I was REALLY sure he was a girl. The day that I was due to have my ultrasound, I stopped by my cousins house to chat. It was then that she told me her cousin had passed away from an overdose, he left two little boys behind. At that moment I decided that I no longer cared what the gender of my baby was, I was just glad that he was healthy. All along God knew exactly what I could handle...I am so glad that God doesn't just give us what we want and pray for, he gives us what is best for us. God did however bless me with three neices that I could play barbies with...I mean have tea parties with and do their hair. It is fun every once in awhile, but dang to have to do that daily, umm, no thanks! Doing my hair and make-up alone is enough of a task!

Andrew is a smart kid, he is witty, such a momma's boy and overall just a good kid, soon to be adult. He has such a great heart, and is so much fun to be around. It is so funny to watch him say the things to his brothers that I have said to him his whole life, it is like he has those "ah-ha, this is what mom meant" moments. It took me so long to get there, I was so stubborn. He is not the typical teenager who gets into trouble. He doesn't befriend a certain "type" of person, they don't all dress the same, very much different in fact. I love that he trusts me enough to come to me with the happenings in his life and for advice or just to talk. He is a lot like me when I was younger as far as learning goes, he struggled with mainstream learning but is rocking it at Charter! I am so proud of the effort he has made to graduate school, he is on track to graduate early. He loves music, he and his friends can be found at Guitar Center often trying out new equipment and playing the guitar and drums.

Eric is also a smart boy, and has no problem with learning. I knew he was smart but was blown away at his school conferences. His scores on the MAPS testing were at a 10th grade level, and he was receiveing A's, a B+ and an F. He quickly found out through that F that NOT turning in a project could be detrimental to his grade. He really enjoys science, sports and video games. He is still such a cuddly and lovey boy at 11 years old. He is playing the drums in band this year so we went to a music store to get his book. There, I found a book for beginning singing that came with a CD. As we were listening to the CD, I realized he has an ear for music and understands it. Me...not so much. He has come such a long way behavior wise. As annoying as he finds his little brother, he has great restraint when Isaac does something like punch him in the face. That is definately something we are working on!! This year marked Eric's 5th year in tackle football. He has become such an excellent player and has much heart when it comes to playing the game.

Isaac is my baby boy. He is silly, smart, artistic and a super sensitive kid. This year he finally found the joy in reading, YAY!!! It had been a struggle up until this year. Like his big brothers, Isaac also has an interest in science. He loves to go to Lakeshore Learning to see the types of science kits that they have. He once used an entire box of baking soda and 3/4 of a bottle of vinegar (the one from costco...the REALLY big one) on the front sidewalk to make a volcano. He is very artistic, loves to draw, color, paint and he is constantly creating things out of stuff he finds around the house. It is always interesting to see what he comes up with. This boy of mine cracks me up with some of the things he does. I went through some stuff to donate: purses, shoes, scarves, and clothes, and he goes into the garage and puts some of this stuff on, strutting like a model on a runway. Here he is in some pink heals, a scarf to match and just his shorts! After he realized I found this funny, he continued his runway session with other equally fashionable ensembles. He loves to make people laugh. He loves to ride his bike and do tricks and is working on learning to ride a skateboard. The skateboard wasn't as easy for him as the bike. When he was 4 he took off his training wheels (yep, he did it himself) and jumped on the bike and started riding it. He is always finding new ways to amaze us.

My kids are pretty amazing. No matter what my kids do, say, or how they behave the love I have for them will never, ever change. Isaac asks me (a lot) "Will you love me even if I do something bad?" I tell him "Of course I will", then he says "Something really, really bad?". Then I say "I wouldn't like what you did, but would still love you." Unconditional love, they know that no matter what mistakes are made my love will always remain unchanged. Although I have to say that this repeated question of "really, really bad?" has got me a little nervous, lol. He assures me that he has no evil schemes up his sleeve.

I am going to close this out with giving thanks to my best friend, my husband. There is so much about Eric that I am thankful for. Most importantly he is a great husband and father, there is nothing that he would not do for us. He is adventurous and keeps us on our toes. He has been so involved in raising our boys, he taught all three of them how to tie their shoes, and he helps with every aspect of the care of our boys and our home. Sometimes I am amazed at how much he does and is willing to do for us. There are days that I have been so busy with school work or running around that I didn't quite get to everything. I forget to take something out for dinner sometimes or don't get to the latest disaster that the kids have made, and he NEVER complains. He understands that I don't always have enough time or that I get so wrapped up in my school work that I forget things like, oh taking out dinner...oopsie!

He has supported everything that I have wanted to do like going into the Army, surrogacy and going back to school. While I was away for those 8 months of training, he made sure our boys were taken care of, he acted as both mom and dad. I know how hard it is to have to be both parents, and he did it and did it well.

When I came to him with my idea of wanting to become a surrogate, he was unfamiliar with it but supported me. Surrogacy is one of the things that has made a big impact on our lives, it wasn't just me, he too was a huge part of both journies. He drove me to my transfers, gave me injections, sat with me through the sad and scary times of my journies and has just gone above and beyond to help and support me through everything. Now that I am going to school, same thing. He has been so supportive and I don't think I could have done it without him. I am so happy that we are where we are today, and I wouldn't change a thing about our life together!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Perfectly Imperfect

Class is going good, last week things got heated up. Whenever we are dealing with race and cultural differences emotions can take over. For once it wasn't me though, lol. I do think people hold on to the past too tightly, how long after our ancestors have been gone must we still pay for their mistakes? 600 years? 6,000 years? What about who we are now and what we have done since? And what would the future be like if we could just let go of the past and open our minds to work together? I live in my own little world...I know.

Interesting how one realization can lead to the decision making process of a completely different situation. The past...I do hold on to certain things. I am stubborn, I may rush to judgment at times, I will speak my mind and not just what someone wants to hear. But on the flip side, I am always open to hearing the other side and truly like to see the other point of view. Over the years I have really been working on not jumping to conclusions based on what I see. Each mistake I have made has had some lesson to be learned no matter how small the lesson was.

I am hard on myself when I make a mistake or hurt someone's feelings. When I realize it, it isn't easy letting go even if it was unintentional. Looking at things from every angle before making a decision is something that I am constantly working on. In the grocery store, strolling along with my groceries (kid free, this is my quiet time) there is that mom with her kids, she has lost all patience and is frustrated. So often I think to myself "Oh my, she is mean!" Then I think back on my own situation the week prior, everything went wrong that day. I had to run to the store to get that last minute dinner ingredient, dad wasn't home so the kids had to go with me. They had been fighting since they got home from school and that didn't change just because we were headed to the store. They fight all the way to the store, despite my pleas for them to stop. At this point I feel like pulling my hair out, I raise my voice and I give "the look" and miraculously there is silence. Those are the moments that make me feel so bad, wishing I had handled it with more grace and patience.

It is after my moment of reflection on myself that I am able to look at the mom and give her a sympathetic smile, a small gesture to remind her that she is not alone and some of us do understand how she is feeling. It isn't always easy, we can't always be patient, and perfection is not a reality. Even the person who looks perfect on the outside has their flaws. We are not a flawless species, from our flaws we learn not only how to be better people but how to understand others.

When I was 16 going on 30 I knew all the answers (just ask my mom), my way was THE way and no one could tell me different. It didn't occur to me that I was being close minded...I was. As a person I am continuously growing and changing and it isn't always easy to see that I may be wrong.

Why is it that my mom is always right? Yesterday she didn't tell me what I wanted to hear and for that, I am grateful. It gave me a reason to look at the situation and make a decision that wasn't based purely on emotion. I mentioned I was stubborn right? Well, when it comes to my kids it is magnified by 100! When I think of my perfectly imperfect life I realize that every good and bad thing that has happened to me throughout my childhood and adulthood has shaped me into the person I am today.

My point is that I cannot protect my kids from everything, I need to step back and let them see and experience things for themselves (within reason). When it comes to these three boys of mine I can turn into an angry mama bear that would do anything to protect her little cubs, they are my world and I cannot imagine life without them.

I believe that people can change, I know that I have. It is still hard to let my guard down when it comes to some people. Today I am grateful for my ability to be able to look at myself and pick apart my flaws and change what needs to be changed a little at a time. Afterall...I am perfectly imperfect.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Last night was the start of my new class, Cultural Diversity Issues in Criminal Justice. The instructor for this coure is a hoot!! He has a great sense of humor and has a lot of experience to share. I love that the instructors for these classes always have stories to share. My first impression was that he seemed rather uptight, before class started he stood at the podium and didn't say anything. He had this serious look on his face, and I was sure that he was going to be this uptight, no nonsense kind of instructor. First impressions can be VERY deceiving!

So often we go through life, making assumptions from the limited information that we are given about people and situations. We can be so quick to judge or assume based on what we perceive something to be, versus what it really is.