Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Stepping out...

I guess I should have held off on writing the last post.  It seems just as we have started to see the grass in our yard, it will be covered, yet again, in that cold white stuff tomorrow morning.  Grrrrr....  The good news is that it should all melt quickly since the temperature will increase to the 50's over the weekend.  

Speaking of weekends, this past Saturday E participated in a sparring tournament for his Taekwondo school. He was very excited to place third in his category.  Typically he is timid when it comes to sparring, but he decided he wanted to participate in the event.  We are proud of him for stepping out of his typical comfort zone...way to go E.

Here's a video of part of one of his matches. It's driving me crazy that I can't center the video.  Sometimes I can figure it out and sometimes I can't.  

"Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring has sprung...

I don't know about you, but I've been ready for Spring for about a month now.  It's time for the sun to warm the earth, melt the rest of the snow and urge the flowers from the ground.  We walked around the yard the other day and saw some of the first signs of this beautiful season.  

 Happy First Day of Spring!
If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.  ~Anne Bradstreet

Hmmm, I especially love this quote.  Another one of those signs I may have missed before the Big C.  But now I find myself so keenly aware of these reminders. I am living the life I'm supposed to be living, muck and all.  Each experience has something to teach me, something I can choose to grow from.  I try my best to be thankful for all of it, even though sometimes I am knocked on my behind.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Attention abundance...

I've been taking a class for my teacher recertification.  The title of the class is ADHD:  Focusing, Learning, Teaching.  I'm familiar with the diagnosis of ADHD as both an educator and a parent.  I don't usually talk too much about it on this platform, but I thought I would today.  I had to write 16 pages of content for my coursework, so I figured I might as well share some thoughts here.  I guess you could consider this impulsive and random...a bit like ADHD itself.  

It does seem like everywhere you turn, someone has some sort of medical acronym attached to his/her name, ADHD being among the most popular. In my personal experience, I have seen many children diagnosed with ADHD, but I do not believe them to be over-diagnosed instances.  This being said, why does it seem that more children are being diagnosed with ADHD?
Is this increase in diagnosed instances of ADHD because schools that once lacked identification resources are now officially diagnosing more children?  I think perhaps there is a combination of things going on.  Those students once thought to be behavior problems and underachievers were probably struggling due to ADHD and/or some other disability.  They were never officially diagnosed and therefore they struggled to be academically and socially successful in an environment that expected them to conform to a very narrow set of standards.  In these such cases, there were actually many children, who are now adults, who did exhibit the characteristics of ADHD, but were never officially given that title.  In this year, 2014, there are now also other factors to consider such as an increase in outside distractions, such as social media and video games.  Video games can provide children with ADHD a sufficient amount of stimulation to be engaged for lengths of time, but the effects of these games can often result in unpleasant situations, such as addictions and increased hyperactivity.  These types of stimuli did not always have such a presence in one's childhood, so the effects were not seen.  Finally, there seem to be increased demands at a younger age, including formalized testing, such as MCAS.  This has resulted in children having to conform to standards at an earlier age, making it more evident that not all children are capable of such rigid learning and evaluation.  When the bar is set higher, it becomes more evident where the struggles exist. 
I am not certain that there is necessarily an increase in the number of students with ADHD.  Perhaps the changes that exist with not only educating our youth, but also raising them, make us more aware of the struggles of those diagnosed with ADHD.  Twenty-five years ago, the hyperactive child was told to go play outside.  Now he can be found stimulating his brain while sitting on the couch playing video games.  So, is there really an increase in the number or a difference in today’s world that just makes the instances more evident?
 Is it important that the child with ADHD be labeled?  It is only important so that we, as teachers and parents, can best help our children to become the best versions of themselves.  The label is given not so the child with ADHD can be provided with an excuse for not completing an assignment or making loud noises in class.  Instead, it helps us to understand and have a clearer picture of how the child can be successful.   Although there are specific criteria that we are expected to teach to all our students, each child should be viewed as an individual, each capable of learning in his/her own way at his/her own pace.    They should be given the opportunity to learn and show their understanding in ways that best suit their own learning style.  Nowhere in life are we expected to “fit into such a small box”, so we cannot expect developing young children to be able to do so either.

 As part of my coursework, I was required to read this article.  Well worth the few minutes it will take you to read it.

"I prefer to distinguish ADHD as attention abundance disorder. Everything is just so interesting . . . remarkably at the same time.” Frank Coppola

Monday, March 17, 2014

I'm so grumpy...

Doesn't that make you want to dive right into reading this post?  Surgery was Thursday and although my recovery is progressing as it should each day, I'm kind of grumpy.  This seems to be the pattern for me after surgery.  Sitting around is both physically and mentally difficult for me.  I get more anxious, my day lacks routine, and I end up pretty crabby.  I do my best not to share my miserableness (is that a word?) with others, but those closest to me are never spared; they're the lucky ones.  As I get back into the routine, the grumpiness fades and I get easier to "live" with.  So, with each passing day, I'm hoping the case of the grumps gets a bit better, but right now, the process seems slow.

We did have some events for the kids this weekend, so those were good distractions. Yes, I ventured out on both Saturday and Sunday.  Thank goodness this surgery has a quick recovery, 7-10 days for a complete recovery.  I'm on day 4.

E had his Cub Scout Blue and Gold Celebration on Sunday.

 And Little Miss, starred as Fish 3 in her production of Get Hoppin' on Saturday.  

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Moving forward...

I've wanted to sit down and write a post for several days, but, honestly I don't know what to say, so we will see where this takes me.  A couple of weeks ago I went to the OBGYN's office for a test and 30 minutes later, I left there contemplating whether or not I was going to have a hysterectomy.  Although I wasn't really shocked by the recommendation, I'm not sure I was prepared for it.  I went there by myself and had to swallow hard a few times to fight back the tears.  By the time I reached the car and called Vic, I had lost it.  I'm just tired of "stuff" and really, another $%&a;*# surgery?!  
Breast cancer and ovarian cancer are linked and the Tamoxifen I am on for five years post chemo can cause hormonal changes.  While there is nothing emergent about my situation, the doctor feels that it's best to take out all the worry and frequent testing by removing all my girl parts.  I agree.  My girl parts have pretty much caused me grief for some time now, so I think it will be a relief to rid myself of the worry and fear that something is brewing down there, that something is wrong. 

Why do you all need to know this?  You don't.  Part of the reason I write this blog is because it's therapeutic for me, it helps me to see things more clearly and process my everyday life.  I also hope that by opening myself up, it can allow others to open up as well, to see that we all have "stuff".  There are trials, but we can get through them, even sometimes when we feel like we're crawling.  We should be able to cheer one another on and pick each other up when we fall, sometimes flat on our faces.

Tonight I will shower once again with Hibiclens and tomorrow at 10:00 am, I'll be headed to the hospital for yet another surgery. Today I'm choosing to look at the situation with gratitude because if I didn't, I wouldn't be headed in the right direction.

-I am grateful that this surgery is a precautionary measure and that there is nothing really wrong.
-I am grateful that I am healthy (a word I often struggle to use) and able to endure another surgery.
-I am grateful for the overwhelming support of my family and friends.
-I am grateful for the confidence and expertise of the medical professionals operating on me.
-I am grateful that I have access to healthcare that can provide the best care to me.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The barn...

I pass by this barn a lot, as in several times a week.  This barn has character, and in the fall, the colors surrounding it are just beautiful.  One of these days I'll get enough nerve to go knock on the door of the house where the barn resides and ask the owners if I can photograph my children in their yard, in front of the barn. I'm hoping they say "yes", and maybe they will even tell me a story or two about this beautifully weathered structure in their yard.  

"Character develops itself in the stream of life."
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe