I can't believe its already the middle of April!!! Well, its possible that its actually not, as I type this post it is currently snowing here in Cincinnati, and I think I'm convinced someone has upset Queen Elsa and she is making everyone in the midwest pay for some sort of wrong doing! I am so over it!!
Thankfully, just two weeks ago I was able to make the trip of a lifetime, that I had been waiting to take since I was a child. I finally made it to Disney World with my husband and Abbey! It was nothing short of amazing. Everything I read is true- the food tastes better, the air smells better, the people are nicer and children are downright endearing most of the time. My daughter is 9, and as of late has been trying to grow up way too fast on us. Getting rid of her Princess stuff, insisting she can't have a backpack or lunchbox with characters on it, that's for babies, apparently. I as surprised that she still wanted to dine with the princesses at Cinderellas Royal Table and even with Mickey and Pals and get autographs. My personal favorite experience was watching "rope drop" at Magic Kingdom- the official opening of the park by the residents of the castle, as well as Mickey & Minnie. I cried more than I am proud of that day in particular. It felt truly magical and I remembered what it was like to believe in happily ever after. It was needed and appreciated now as an adult more than I would have thought. I also got to meet one of my personal heroes, Mary Poppins! She was at breakfast with Alice, the Mad Hatter, Pooh and Tigger. Alice in Wonderland was the first chapter book I ever read and I dressed up as her for book character week in kindergarten.
We were able to explore Pandora in Animal Kingdom and since Avatar is one of Abbey's new favorite movies she was enthralled with the rides and the scenery. My little princess also chose the Omatikaya Warrior face paint that day, and she looked amazing! All in all, Disney can be expensive, but it is worth every penny to see the joy on my daughter's face and the faces of the other kids. It was heartwarming to see their character interactions as well as their enjoyment of the rides. The food is wonderful and the customer service is in a class of its own. Sorry, didn't mean for this to be a Disney infomercial!!
March for Babies is on 4/29/18 here in Cincy, and I have been so busy it almost snuck up on me! My fundraising efforts were good this year, a little over $1500, which is not bad considering I am the only one fundraising. I'm hoping for one more push and a few more donations this week. The walk is always so bittersweet, knowing that I have a memory sign instead of a Celebration sign, but its okay. It helps Abbey to feel closer to her sister and it reminds me why I'm still a part of this cause. I like that others see her sign and know that a loss parent is so dedicated to the mission, because one day I hope that fewer moms and siblings are living the reality of losing a child to a birth defect or prematurity.
To add to the usual craziness of the end of the Spring season, we are hoping to move this summer and are prepping are house to put on the market. I thought I had a handle on clutter, but man it sneaks up on you! Also, resist every temptation to buy kids stuffed animals...I have 3 bins worth and there are more she refuses to take off her bed. I'm really hoping to transition her to understanding that vacations and experiences are more valuable than possessions, because so far it would seem I already have a 9 year old hoarder on my hands! She has so many "treasures" that are just so important, that she feels the need to keep....whereas I am ready to toss it all and sort it out later.
Part of the reason for moving is a good public school. Abbey's private school is safe and kind and they do a great job. But as a very small school they do not have the staff available to construct a good adaptation plan. There is not a "team" that looks at and reviews her progress or her classroom behavior. All of the adaptation plan has been constructed by me, following a guideline from the 1st grade, by a counselor no longer on staff. I have to rely on my own research, instinct, what her teacher tells me and what I observe when she does homework. I have no idea if I'm making the right decisions or asking for the right adaptations. I have a college degree but its not in education and I find myself constantly stressed and worried about her education and if these are the right adaptations for her particular situation. Whenever I'm concerned she isn't doing well, her teacher will say- " she is so smart and she has a lot to contribute" well that's awesome and heartwarming to hear, I know she is insightful and bright and gets big concepts, but for 3rd grade I really need her to master grammar and work on her executive function, because she struggles to form sentences on paper while spelling simple words correctly. Despite her understanding anything in the big picture during discussions, if she can't write ti down cohesively she will never pass high school or make it in college. Worse, she will be discouraged and give up, thinking she isn't smart. Part of my frustration is that she struggles in the subjects that come easily to me and trying to put myself in her position is very hard. Not to mention, I didn't go into education for a reason! This is just not my strong point. I am prepared to advocate for my child but I am just not capable of being a counselor or developing a learning plan. Everyone keep their fingers crossed we make it through the end of the year and that this problem is resolved in 4th grade with a public school!
Love that you all had a wonderful Spring Break and had a wonderful Disney World vacation! Very cool for all of you! I've only seen Cinderella's Castle there in the wee morning hours with a couple other SYS ladies. It was hysterical! So cool that Abbey got her face painted and enjoyed the whole experience. She'll remember it:) Isn't it insane how much stuff we actually have in our homes?! I hear you about the school situation. You're doing awesome advocating for her and I hope that you all find that dream team at her next school setting:)
I'm so glad that Disney World was all you had dreamed it would be. I always feel the same way when we're there. It will be my one gift to my grandchildren.... someday! Everyone should experience it at least once in their life.
Good luck and have a wonderful day remembering your sweet Josie and celebrating Abbey on Sunday. You're an amazing support to so many and Josie continues to inspire me and many others to keep doing what we're doing here and for the foundation as a whole.
Good luck with the move... I can't think of a better reason to move than to find a better school for Abbey. I hope you're able to find a better learning environment for her so that you can have more support in her education.
See you soon!
Brandi -- glad to hear the Disney vacation was awesome! Disney does have a magical effect on everyone.
You are an awesome advocate for your girl. I know our situations are different, but Kaelin has also had a rough year in 3rd grade. I've put her back into the intervention program for some extra help in a couple areas. She struggles in an area in which I am strong -- english language arts -- and I find it hard to understand why. She makes mistakes she shouldn't, and it's tested my patience in a big way.
Good luck on getting the house ready for sale. We went through that three years ago ... and I hated the process. I tell my husband I will die in my current house, because I'm not doing that again! :)
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