5 Dollars

My life as an at-home momma of 3 amazing kids...it's kind of like shoveling snow in a blizzard.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Family Zoo Outing

Ruby and Daddy watching the mother and baby elephant.

Kaylee loved the beautiful yellow flowers.

This picture of Kaylee with the goat has to be one of my all-time favorites. Matt called it "a meeting of the minds." I thought the expression on her face was just hilarious!

Saving his sisters from the enormous snake.

And pony rides for all!

Ballet class

They were certainly a cute little bunch of happy, giggly girls last week. I am still convinced that Miss Johanna hypnotizes them somehow. I have never seen a dozen 3-5 year olds who pay such good attention and follow directions so well as the girls in Miss Johannas classes.

Little nursing mother

Need I say more?

Children's Museum 9/21/2006

The Children's Museum's old Mysteries in History exhibit is closing. Keithen and I had to go see our favorite piece in that gallery, the glass house. This house took over 500 hours to build. 24 hours alone were spent on the fence that surrounds it. It's a really cool piece and we'll miss examining it and pointing out all the cool little details.

Of course the carousel is always a favorite stop on our Museum visits. The Museum wasn't very crowded at all when we went last week. (One of the great advantages of year-round school!) We were the first ones on the carousel and got our pick of jumpers. There were maybe only 6 other people on the carousel with us.

The dinosaur art gallery is another area where the kids like to spend a lot of time. They enjoy making things with the clay and drawing their own masterpieces to take home. And of course Kaylee is not shy to tell anyone who talks to her, "I'm an artist!"

While we were in Playscape, three interpreters came out and got the kids singing and dancing. Ruby loved it!

Kaylee really enjoys the dinosaur dig. There was a great interpreter there last week who explained that, "When we find triceratops, we usually only find the head. We think triceratops must have tasted pretty good."

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Third preemie dies from overdose

Thursday Dawn Jeffers, 5 days, died at 11:38 p.m. Tuesday in Riley Hospital for Children, where the girl had been transferred after the overdoses were discovered late Saturday and Sunday at Methodist Hospital.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of all 6 babies.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Weekend update

Keithen had a soccer game on Saturday morning. They lost 2-1 (although they don't officially keep score, LOL!). He did get to play goalie for a quarter and did a great job.

Ruby was supposed to have her last soccer practice and get her trophey. Instead, they decided to add one more weekend for her age group! So she gets to play again next Saturday and then she'll be done.

Pappy and cousin Ashley came to visit on Saturday afternoon. They stayed overnight to watch the kids while Matt and I went to his 20 year high school class reunion.

Patterns and symmetry

Do you think they know that they were learning about patterns and symmetry when they were creating stuff with perler beads today?

Harry Potter & J.K. Rowling - National security risk?

J.K. Rowling aparently had a bit of a battle with airport security on her recent visit to New York. The security agents attempted to stop her from carrying on her partially handwritten manuscript to the anxiously awaited book 7 of her famous Harry Potter series. She was eventually allowed to bring the manuscript on the plane, bound up in rubber bands.

What did they think she was going to do? Threaten to give everyone paper cuts?

Study: Voluntary C-sections riskier

A recent study of nearly 6 million births has found that the risk of death to newborns delivered by voluntary Caesarean section is much higher than previously believed.

Back in 1999, when we took our childbirth classes while expecting Keithen, I believe our instructor told us that the c-section rate was hoovering close to 25% at that time. According to this article, the percentage of Caesarean births in the United States has now increased to 29.1 percent in 2004, which is up from 20.7 percent in 1996. Insane!

I love the fact that the article points out that delayed establishment of breast-feeding may also contribute to the increased death rate.

ISTEP testing

The first link is from Sunday's Indianapolis Star and includes a quote from my interview last week. She only used a tiny fraction of what I had to say, but you know that's how it is. Only so many colum inches to fill. I will probably be forming some of my own thoughts into a blog post this week.

Pencil it in: Heftier ISTEP taking shape

Can ISTEP be fair to special education?

2 Premature Infants Die Due to Medical Mistake

Did you know that more people die from medical mistakes each year than from automobile accidents? In 2000, medical errors were the third leading cause of death in the USA. (There are 2,000 deaths/year from unnecessary surgery; 7000 deaths/year from medication errors in hospitals; 20,000 deaths/year from other errors in hospitals; 80,000 deaths/year from infections in hospitals; 106,000 deaths/year from non-error, adverse effects of medications - these total up to 225,000 deaths per year in the US from iatrogenic causes which ranks these deaths as the # 3 killer. Iatrogenic is a term used when a patient dies as a direct result of treatments by a physician, whether it is from misdiagnosis of the ailment or from adverse drug reactions used to treat the illness.)

Unfortunately, two deaths that occured this weekend due to medical errors have put Indianapolis in the news. Two newborns, both extremely premature and less than a week old, were administered a fatal dose of heparin at Methodist Hospital on Saturday. The babies each weighed around a pound and were mistakenly given an adult dose of heparin. Apparently a staff member (most likely a member of the pharmacy) placed the incorrect vials of heparin in a drawer of a drug cabinet at the nurses' station of the NICU. The nurse (or nurses) then failed to double-check to make sure the vial matched the concentration listed on the cabinet drawer before administering it to the six infants.

Emmery Miller, 2 days old, and D'myia Alexander Nelson, 5 days old, both died late Saturday, likely from internal bleeding, officials said. Four other babies were also mistakenly given the wrong dose of the anti-clotting drug. One of the surviving infants was transferred to Riley Hospital for Children and was being monitored for possible surgery, while the three others remained at Methodist and were listen in stable condition.

What an unforgiveable mistake. How do you deal with this as a parent? It's devastating enough to lose a child, but to know that your baby should not have died makes it even worse. I can't imagine knowing that a mistake made by at least two members of the professional team you entrusted to care for your child was what caused the death. If it had been my child, they would have had to call security to hold me down and most likely needed to sedate me. I am sure that the grief and rage I would have felt would be unfathomable.

My heart and my prayers go out to the families of Emmery Miller and D'myia Alexander Nelson. I hope that you have can find peace and comfort somehow in this time of immense grief. And I hope you sue the pants off of everyone involved.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Ballerina girl is back!

Ruby started her new ballet class today. She's been looking forward to it for quite a while and I think she was very glad to see Miss Johanna again today. She did a great job and remembered everything that they do in class, including her French vocabulary. She's also very excited that her recital will fall on a day that Keithen and Kaylee will be off from school, so her whole family will be able to come watch her dance.


I was interviewed by an education reporter from the Indianapolis Star yesterday to get a parent's opinions about ISTEP test. If I see anything from the interview appear in the Star, I'll be sure to post a link here. There may be yet another education post coming from me soon based on some of the thoughts I scribbled out about this subject.

Parent/teacher conferences

It's hard to believe, but the first grading period is already over! Keithen and Kaylee are already 1/4 of the way through the school year. We had parent/teacher conferences yesterday with both of their teachers.

Keithen has improved since the beginning of the year, but he still has some work to do. It's not that the classwork is too difficult for him. Academically, he's doing great, with "Mastery" scores in all the standards assessed. The problem he is struggling with is developing good study habits and making wise use of his time. He is too easily distracted and too slow to finish things. He is probably the slowest in his class at getting things completed.

Thanks to a suggestion from Mandie, I've asked his teacher if he could keep Sudoku puzzles in his desk. When he goes back to school after the intersession break, he'll be allowed to do puzzles if he finishes his work in a timely manner. I'm hoping that the incentive to work on his puzzle book will inspire him to work quicker.

I also think we are going to have to start taking away his glasses and booklight every night at bedtime. He's been known to turn the light back on or find another light source or a different book if we take just the light and book away. When we take his glasses too, well....if he can't see anything then he might as well go to sleep! We've discovered that there does seem to be a correlation between the nights he sneaks in extra reading time and the days he isn't staying on task in school.

His math skills are evidently very impressive and he's a wiz at regrouping with both addition and subtraction. He's currently reading "Goblet of Fire" and is over 13 chapters into it, mostly just from the time he's spent reading on the school bus every day.

We'll be meeting with his teacher again at mid-term of the next quarter in order to see how he's doing and if he is still making progress. I'm a little sad that the boy who has always been "the star student" in school is struggling some this year. But, I also know that what he's experiencing is very normal with changing schools and trying to adapt to a gifted program where the work is actually challenging for the first time in his school career.

The kids in his class made a big picture of a pond and lots of pond creatures and animals that was on display. Along side it were reports they had done on mammals, fish and reptiles. I said, "that's my son!" when I read his mammal report that said, "mammals feed their young their breast milk" and "humans are mammals." Yep! That's my boy!

Kaylee is doing fabulous in Kindergarten. She's very well liked by her classmates and has a lot of friends. She does need to work on how she handles little upsets in her day. If something doesn't go perfectly for her, she doesn't always recover well from it. And if someone else makes her mad, she doesn't always remember to show them respect and use nice words with them. We talked with her teacher about allowing her the chance to draw something if she needs to calm down. She was already planning on creating a "recovery area" for kids who have had an upset to go to in order to collect themselves. She said that made a lot of sense and she'd be sure to put paper and drawing supplies there.

Until shortly before Kindergarten started, Kaylee would rarely agree to use scissors to do anything other than cut a straight line. If she needed something more complex cut out, she would always come and ask me to do it for her. Now, according to her teacher, she is probably the best cutter in her class. The example she showed us of lines that Kaylee had cut were nearly perfect, right along the dotted lines. I am wondering if her switch to bifocals has helped her have more confidence and coordination with the scissors.

She knows her numbers up to 10. She got all of her capital letters right on her assessment and only had trouble with "g" on the lower case list. She is one of the very few children in the class who consistently know all of their letter sounds. That surprised me! I figured that she'd be quite average in that area, but she's actually at the head of the class! (I guess it's just really hard for us to judge what normal is after Keithen. He entered Kindergarten reading at around a first grade level and was reading 3rd to 4th grade books by the end of that school year.)

I asked about her handwriting because lately I've seen her mirroring some of her letters, specifically lower case "e" and lately her numbers. It's a new mistake and not something that she has done all along. Her teacher hadn't noticed her doing it, but she says a lot of the kids have recently started flipping letters. Maybe their brains are just too full at the end of the quarter? She's going to watch when they return and make sure that it doesn't continue.

The main thing she needs to learn right now is her address, phone number and birthday. Honestly, she was having such trouble with counting until a couple of months ago that I had never worked very hard on her. I was afraid to press learning those things when she couldn't count past 6 in sequence!

So.....all in all good reports for everyone!

Has it really been 5 years?

I started this post nearly a week ago. I just couldn't bring myself to sit down and finish it until now.

Five years ago, on 9/11, I spent much of my morning staring in disbelief at the TV and crying. I held 6 month old Kaylee close to me and tried to reassure 2.5 year old Keithen that we were safe, even though something bad had happened.

I remember feeling fear in my gut when I took the children out in public the first few times after the attacks. Keithen and I were enrolled in a "mommy and me" type class at the parks department. There was a strange silence at the start of our next class. All the adults agreed that we felt we had to get out of the house and go on with our lives, making things as normal as we could for our children. But it felt strange, like we were going through the motions of what normal life was supposed to be.....unsure what the "new normal" would become.

I remember one day we were walking into the Children's Museum and heard a plane overhead on approach to the airport. Nearly everyone outside the museum froze in their tracks and looked up at the low flying plane. Watching a low-flying plane pass overhead has never been the same for me since 9/11.

Thankfully, Ruby is young and innocent enough to occasionally remind me of the childhood joy and fascination with such things. A couple of week ago at soccer practice a plane flew overhead as the kids were doing their warm-up lap. Imagine about a dozen 3 year olds stopping in their tracks all at once and turning their prescious faces towards the sky. Those are the kind of moments where I see the hope for our future.


Friday, September 08, 2006

Week in pictures

A few pictures from our busy week.

Keithen the goalie at work "guarding his house." (He's down low in red blocking a shot at practice.)

Kaylee looking every bit like a school girl!

Her enormous word: stegosaurus! Her teacher read a book to the kids about an enormous watermelon and then the kids had to come up with something enormous to write and draw. This was the morning I volunteered in her class this week. She sounded it all out by herself with the exception of me helping with that tricky "au" sound.

How Ruby fell asleep tonight. She's been skipping her nap most days lately.

I need to get a copy of the paper that she made for Daddy the other night. She's learned to draw a Colts horseshoe, write the number 18 and the word Colts now. She also copied "I love Daddy" onto the paper for him.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Curious George

Keithen and Kaylee were excited about their extra day off from school today for Labor Day. I think the most anticipated thing about their long weekend was the premiere of Curious George on PBS Kids this morning. Ruby was also very excited to see the new show start. They've all been big fans of George at one time or another and have read or heard pretty much all of the stories. Last winter we took them all to see the Curious George movie at the theatre for their birthdays.

I think George lived up to the hype for the kids today. I wasn't sure if Keithen would enjoy it since it's probably geared at younger kids. In the end, they all three seemed very engaged in watching the show and thought it was funny. I liked that they are trying to work some math and science concepts into the stories. We've only seen one episode, but I think that so far it's a hit here.

Crikey! Steve Irwin killed by stingray

‘Crocodile Hunter’ Steve Irwin’s heart was pierced by the serrated, poisonous spine of a stingray when he swam above the creature Monday. Irwin was shooting a new series called “Ocean’s Deadliest”on the Great Barrier Reef.

Irwin's death was just a blip on the radar for my girls. I'm not sure if they really know who he was. Keithen used to be a big fan and used to watch his show on the weekends a couple of years ago. I think he was sad to hear the news today.

A fatal stingray sting typically only happens a couple of times per year. Stingrays do have a serrated, toxin-loaded barb on the top of their tail. The barb, which can be up to 10 inches long, flexes if a ray is frightened. Stings usually occur to people when they step on or swim too close to a ray and can be excruciatingly painful but are rarely fatal. When they feel threatened, stingrays usually quickly swim away. The accident seems even more strange when you consider all the other dangerous creatures that Irwin handled in his career.

Irwin's manager and producer John Stainton was on board Irwin's boat, Croc One, at the time of the accidnet. He's been quoted in many of the news articles explaining what happened. “He came on top of the stingray and the stingray’s barb went up and into his chest and put a hole into his heart.”

Wow. Ouch. Talk about your extremely unlucky coincidences. If he'd have been struck by that barb almost anywhere else, maybe he'd have had a chance. The one thing that I guess you can say is that he died doing something that he really deeply loved. That's more than a lot of people can say.

Irwin is survived by his wife Terri, daughter Bindi Sue, 8, and son Bob, who will turn 3 in December. I feel so sad for his children, especially little Bob who will probably never remember his father. Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with his family. Hopefully the love and prayers of his fans will somehow help the family through this sad time.