New Year, New….School?

Upon getting off work tonight, after working 14 straight hours, I was informed that Nichole’s school is closing its’ doors. Tomorrow. Just like that. No more ECOT. Yes, dear (few) followers. My kiddo was an ECOT student.

I went to her school portal, and found this letter:

Dear ECOT Family,

It is with great sadness that we inform you the ESC of Lake Erie West voted against our appeal at their board meeting tonight. We are very sorry that we were unable to maintain your education through the end of the school year. It was with our every intention that we would continue to provide students a quality education, as we have strived for each year since we began.

The decision has been made to close operations at the end of the day tomorrow. We will be sending each family a letter indicating the address and the name of the school district office where records will be delivered.

As long as we are able to staff people for the phones we will accept phone calls for file transfers other than to the local district. We will be able to send electronic files to the school of your choosing as long as it is permitted by the sponsor.

We will complete all semester one grading and issue earned credits and diplomas over the next few weeks. Diplomas are scheduled to be mailed to the address on file after the transcript has been certified by a counselor.

We are so thankful to each of you for choosing ECOT as your family. We have been inspired by the stories that each of you have shared. Our hope is that each of you are stronger, braver, and smarter than when you logged in your first day. We believe in each of you and believe you have the tools to be successful as you continue your educational journey.

Sincerely,

(Name Excluded by me)

 

Well, this sucks. I’ve had two children graduate from ECOT. Well, ok, I had one child graduate, and one “graduated” with an unfulfilled promise to finish his credits at summer school…and well, that didn’t happen.

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Regardless, now my youngest daughter and I must hurry up and find a new online school. I flat refuse to re-enroll her into public school. Maybe I’m sheltering her too much, but she’s in no condition to attend public school. I refuse to subject her to bullying again. I refuse to subject her to the threats of destructive little assholes that think they need to bring guns or knives or other weapons to school. I refuse to subject her to perverted little punks that may want to take advantage of her innocent soul. Nope.

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Hard Christmases

Have you ever sat alone and thought about the past, and thought about the present, and wondered when it all got so hard? We’re weeks away from Christmas, and I feel like crying. This adulting thing is so much harder on single moms than you could ever imagine.

I’m working my ass off, literally. I’m clocking between 70-80 hours a week, at less than $10/hour. I’m paying the bills alone, and it’s killing me. And now, looming just over the horizon, is Christmas. I’ve got kids expecting presents, as they should. How in the world am I supposed to pull extra money out of thin air to afford gifts? I WANT to buy the gifts, but how? My kids are all older, as any of you have already read. I can’t get away with little stuff anymore. How in the world am I gonna pull this off?

 

Most of the Christmases we’ve celebrated before weren’t just in my court. My first husband always worked, and made pretty good money. When the kids were little, we always made sure they had plenty of gifts, even if they weren’t pricey. After we were divorced, my grandmother helped me so much. Then, I was with my second husband. We didn’t make much money either, but at least we tried. Now….it’s just me.

I’m praying for the strength and wisdom to get through this holiday on my own.

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Q & A with the Queen of Nickie-isms

**I found this in my memories on facebook, and decided to ask her the same questions again, so I enclosed those answers as well** 

(originally posted in November 2016) WITHOUT prompting ask your spouse these questions and write EXACTLY what they say. The outcome can be hilarious. (In the spirit of facebook, I asked my questions to the queen of Nickie-isms)
•What is something I always say?
(November, 2016) “the F word!”
(November, 2017) “Take the dogs out.“
•What makes me happy?
(November, 2016) “a clean house”
(November, 2017) “well behaved children and a clean house”
•What makes me sad?
(November, 2016) “um…you’re not exactly sad often. I guess losing a family member. You cried a lot when Grandma died.”
(November, 2017) “I don’t know. You’re usually never sad.”
•How tall am I?
(November, 2016) “um…probably about 5 foot?”
(November, 2017) “I don’t know. About 5’6? Maybe an inch or two off?” (I’m 5’5 ½”)
•What’s my favorite thing to do?
(November, 2016) “watch Netflix?”
(November, 2017) “watch Hulu”
•What do I do when you’re not around?
(November, 2016) “Usually when I’m not around, you’re at work.”
(November, 2017) “Work.”
•If I become famous, what will it be for?
(November, 2016) “You could be a penguin breeder or something?”
(November, 2017) “You could be a famous doctor!”
•What makes you proud of me?”
(November, 2016) “When you’re happy and content. Because when you’re happy and content, I’m proud that you’re not going to beat the crap out of somebody.”
(November, 2017) “Your existence?”
•What is my favorite food?
(November, 2016) “pizza. that was an easy one.”
(November, 2017) “Normally its pizza”
•What is my favorite restaurant?
(November, 2016) “um….Wendy’s, I think. You never really told me.”
(November, 2017) “Um…I don’t know.”
•Where is my favorite place to visit?
(November, 2016) “Aldi’s? You go there often!”
(November, 2017) “Work? That’s where you usually are…”
•If I could go anywhere, where would it be?
(November, 2016) “to bed!”
(November, 2017) “Hawaii? South Carolina?”
•How do I annoy you?
(November, 2016) “When you put a song on REPEAT!”
(November, 2017) “Repeatedly telling me to do something I’ve already done!”
•What is my favorite movie?
(November, 2016) “Cinderella? I know its a Disney movie!”
(November, 2017) “I don’t know. Happy Feet? Racing Stripes?” (I hate those movies, for the record!)
•Who is my celebrity crush?
(November, 2016) “I don’t remember. Tom Bergeron? Jimmy Fallon? I don’t know!”
(November, 2017) “This is a joke answer because I have no idea: Johnny Depp”
•You get a phone call that I am in trouble, who am I with?
(November, 2016) “Probably someone that kidnapped you?”
(November, 2017) “Um…the police?”

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Rockin’ Out

So, who has been getting into this rock painting phenomenon? If you haven’t heard 5db2d0e406d8062c9c283f0e5ca611f3--a-rock-painted-rocksabout this, let me give you a quick explanation. Different towns across the country have begun painting rocks (just normal rocks you find anywhere). Here’s the lowdown:

1. Find a rock.
2. Paint the rock (Pinterest and Google has a lot of great ideas)
3. Put a tag on the back of rock with instructions and your unique #. (Mine is #MonkRocks) Your unique hashtag makes it easy for you to follow your rock. (glue it then spray with a clear coat of Mod Podge to seal front and back of rock). It’s about $3 a can at Pat Catans or Walmart. (We’ve written our hashtag and everything with a sharpie, so don’t think you have to print out custom labels or anything like that!)
4. Take a picture of rock and post on (your town’s facebook page; trust me, I’m sure they have one) with a hint of where it’s hidden.
5. If you find a rock, post a picture and include the artists hash tag in the post so the artist can follow their rock, then re-hide it again for someone else to find.
6. HAVE FUN 

(Those instructions were courtesy of Ann Weisent-Page, from her Knox County Ohio Rocks page on Facebook)19399793_1742909605738157_4339511131298441639_n

So, you and/or your children spend some quality time together painting rocks. How could that be bad? And then, you and/or your children go out into the fresh air and hide the rocks somewhere in public. In my town, the various parks are popular hiding spots. While you’re out, you can also hunt for other people’s painted rocks. Basically, it’s like a year-long Easter egg hunt…..for kids of all ages.

You down?

I bought acrylic paint and some cheap paint brushes. Each bottle of paint was $0.95, and the package of brushes was a buck. Cheap entertainment, for the most part. I just love how it gets kids OUT of the house and has nothing to do with video games!! (Can I get an amen??)

Here’s some pics of Nichole and Tessa getting down and dirty painting their rocks…

Belly Buttons and Teddy Bears

Belly Buttons

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When Cassie was little, she was completely obsessed with her own belly button. Now, I’ve seen various kids play with tags on blankets or pillows or toys, obsessing until the tags would become frayed and worn out. Children have security blankets, sure. Children need ways to feel secure, any way they can. I’ve just never seen a kid obsess over their own belly button until Cassie came along. She was worse than Linus and his blanket! But she was so freakin’ cute that the belly button thing wasn’t really a big deal, and she eventually quit.

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Years later, she had her belly button pierced and now has a variety of jewelry for that specific piercing, so maybe her obsession over her navel isn’t over?

 

Teddy Bears

Nichole has had her share of obsessions over the years, but that kind of goes hand-and-hand with Asperger’s. Her very first one was over teddy bears. Even as a baby, Nichole loved her bears, but most importantly she used her bears as pillows. I’m not sure she ever used a real pillow until she was 10. She preferred to sleep on her bears!

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She was so obsessed with her bears that she named and numbered them! “Oh, this is Beary 4!” And she could tell you which one was what number without blinking an eye.

 

July 2, 2003 ~ Enter Miss Nichole

Nichole was the fourth baby. I was in the middle of a divorce when she was born, and I was semi-dating a guy who was more of a friend to me than anything. When I went into labor and got to the hospital, I was pretty determined to do the entire thing by myself. (What’s that saying about making plans and God laughing?)

I’m the first to admit that I’m a big baby when it comes to pain. When I was in the delivery room, in labor, I was emotional and terrified so eventually asked David to join me and hold my hand, when he happily did.

One of the nurses, an RN named Whitney, just happened to have gone to high school with me, so I was semi-embarrassed (not quite the reunion you want being in stirrups and pushing life out of your vagina) and semi-grateful because she was one of those sweet natured girls in high school and truly a wonderful nurse. The doctor, on the other hand, was ridiculous. At one point, he came in asking me if I was ready to push. I wasn’t. So he got angry and left. I never saw him again until after Nichole was born. (What a douche-bag!) I was having my fourth child. I think that entitles me to the experience of knowing when I’m ready to push and when I’m not.

When Nichole entered the world, Whitney delivered her with the assistance of two other nurses in the room. Frankly, I was pretty glad the douche-bag doctor hadn’t returned if he was going to have an attitude like that. Do you really want to anger a woman in labor? You’re likely to get kicked in the jaw!

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Nichole was such a sweet little baby girl, but she did need some assistance breathing when she was born. They kept her in her incubator for 24 hours, using the oxygen hood bili-blanket-use(see photo). She was allowed to go home the following day. She came home with a bilirubin blanket (see photo), as she was also somewhat jaundiced. She had birthmarks all over her sweet face, when she was born. One on each eye lid, one above her nose, one above each ear, one on the crown of her head and one on the back of her neck. Poor baby looked like she’d been in a bar fight.

About a week or two after she was born, the doctors found her hydrocephalus, which I’ve previously posted about, feel free to search my posts for that story.

World Wars

Have you ever watched television or movies and wondered how in the hell these families

AR000902have kids that don’t constantly fight? This plagues me constantly. It hurts my heart to hear them talk about how much they hate each other. I’m well aware that siblings everywhere fight, but I can’t figure out at what point in time that all finally ends?

17523436_739932349500584_4913308194758659748_nI have an older brother myself, but we didn’t really grow up together. The few years that we did live together as kids, I do recall the occasional arguments here and there, but he was also five years older than me. He had his friends and his life, and I wasn’t included in any of that. By the time I was 11, we no AR001202longer lived together.

These days, my kids have had their whole lives together. In the last couple of years, Darcie and Cassie have finally gotten to the point where they’re close and loving sisters. It was a long, hard road because they’re 10402378_10152144751115925_129885094075340088_nalso five years apart. Stolen makeup and sibling arguments kept them going for a while but now they’re close and loving and have learned to appreciate each other.

 

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My issue is my son’s relationship with his sisters. And the girls’ relationship with their brother. I don’t know how to solve the issue, especially when none of them are interested in making the effort. My son is almost 19. At what point do they begin to make adult relationships with their siblings?

I feel like pulling my hair out.

I included “happy sibling” photos to remind myself of the few times they were happy together….*sigh*

It’s a Mario Kind of World

On July 2nd, Miss Nichole turned 14 years old. Wow, 14! So….since she’s still deep into her Mario obsession, I decided to take her (and Cassie, Ryan, and my ex-husband, Rob) on a Mario inspired adventure at The Infield in Lexington, Ohio. First, we tackled mini-golf (inspired by Mario Golf, no less). Now we 2515598-mariogolf_wt_1920_042314haven’t taken Nickie mini-golfing since she was around 3 or 19601515_10154544348870925_8313605813444906953_n4 years old. She was far more impressed back then, than she was now. Still cheats though!

After we finished around 15 out of the 18 holes of golf, we waited for a few minutes until Darcie, Jason and Tessa arrived. We headed for the go-karts! Whychar_mario have a Mario inspired birthday without a little Mario Kart? All the kiddos raced first, so I managed to get a lot of pictures. Poor Nickie had never been go-karting (me either, for that matter), so she drove her car slowly, taking the scenic 19601101_10154544428655925_4704771385241263456_nroute apparently. She loved it though.

After the first race, the kids all watched while Rob and I had our turn. I lost, by the way….badly. Then some of the kids took another turn. Nickie wasn’t terribly fond of the loud noises, even after we warned her that it would be noisy. You’ll have that with Asperger’s though. She was okay pretty quickly, tolerating the noise for the sake of the day.

We finished out our adventure with a Mario (pizza) Party! A good time was had by all, and she actually told me when we pulled into the driveway at the end of the day, “I had a really great day! Thank you!” and that is something I don’t think I’ve ever heard from her.

Enjoy the photos!

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