Tuesday, April 22, 2008

IEP and Special Needs

As a mama to kids with special needs I celebrate the little things. Sometimes we lose sight of the forest for all the trees though. This time it's a good thing.

Lili had her second IEP this past week. The were SHOCKED and AMAZED with her progress over the past year. They reminded us that at her last IEP she couldn't walk independently, she couldn't talk and had the skill level of a 1 1/2 year old. We've celebrated so many little breakthroughs I didn't even realize the huge jump that she has made.

Their new recommendation is an integrated classroom at a typical school. Yeah! I might have two girls in school this fall, I can't believe it.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Adult Onset Diabetes

So back in October I wrote that I was diagnosed with Adult Onset Diabetes. I've been fighting a battle since then to bring down my blood sugar naturally. I've maintained and continue to modify a healthy low carb diet. I've had the best of intentions to exercise but that hasn't happened on a regular basis.

We're coming up on 6 months since I was diagnosed. I keep going back to the doctor and getting my levels checked. She's let me remain medication free because I've managed to slowly (by healthy eating alone) lose almost 15 pounds. But my numbers are still high. 139 fasting. Ugh! But I did fit into a regular (non-plus size) XL jacket last night. I felt like crying in the store!

I've been able to make lasting changes in our diets. Cutting out sugar was the easiest part. Splenda makes it easy for me. Cutting out carbs is another hurdle though. I've been eating only high fiber, whole grains but I still need to eat more plants. I'm really interested in this book Superfoods RX. Anyone know anything about micronutrients? I already feel the difference in my energy level with our new diet change and I'm starting to feel the difference in my clothes. Now I just need the difference in my numbers. Anyone know a good personal trainer that will come whip me into shape after the kids go to bed?

Friday, April 4, 2008

Biological Ties

This past week Josie meet her biological sibling. When Josie was born she was immediately placed with a foster family (us) and then DFS found that her mother had just closed a case with them a year and a half before. That foster family decided not to accept her placement at the time because (like us now) they had two very close kiddos and another kid at home. Their home was full, thank goodness for us. I can't imagine my baby girl not being a part of our family...the ringleader of our family!

As a person with 5 half siblings myself, I find the commonalities of biology fascinating. I wasn't raised with my siblings- I was born 20 years after my oldest sister. I was my mother's "second family" after divorcing and remarrying. My siblings and I are different generations with one common parent. But we are all sooo strikingly similar, our hands, our hair texture, our silliness, our need for the calmness of the outdoors. Something primal that connects us all that makes us part of one.

Jo and her sister have so many similarities that can't be explained by anything but that oneness to each other. I'm so thankful that her sisters family wants to nurture that connection. I'm hopeful that this is one biological tie that will always give her roots.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A New Phase

As Choo Choo's case begins to come to a close we are looking for other opportunities to continue to serve kids in the Foster care system. I found a great program through a local residential care facility that offers mentorship opportunities. I'm specifically excited about being able to be a pen pal to a youth who is transitioning to independent living.

If you might be interested in writing a few letters and lending an ear to a youth in Foster care please take a look at the program at Child Center Marygrove.

This time of year (tax return time) is when we also begin to budget and plan for the next year. We reassess our current spending and make a conscious decision where we want our money to go. So far this year we've decided to cancel our home phone and just use our cell phones -cause that's all we really do anyway, cut back on our cable plan and order Tivo instead of our cable company's DVR. Tivo you own and the local DVR we were basically renting forever! We've also decided to cancel our local YMCA membership and do family "workouts" instead.

Another thing that I'm excited about with this year's budget is our new "charitable contribution goal". We regularly donate and give to causes that are near to our hearts but we have never made a specific goal to shoot for. This year we've pledged $1500.00 of our budget for monetary donations and that's not counting donated goods. It feels really great to sit and decide how we're going to spend our money and research what organizations are doing things that we're really interested in.