Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Day 2: Vast improvement

Today was my first day of Kindergarten. I spent from 10:00am - 2:45 pm in the Kindergarten class that I will be assigned to this year. I was so nervous last night and this morning. My mentor teacher is very nice and it was a pleasure to finally be working with kids. I also felt so close to Cole all day, because I knew 30 miles away in his own school, he was doing much of the same things. The elementary school that I'm at is beautiful and clean. The classroom sizes are great, as well as the design of the school. It is easy to find your way around campus. I love my class. The kids were all eager to meet a new face. They kept coming up to me for hugs, wanted me to help them with tasks, and kept telling me I'm "pretty". Yeah, I think I picked the right grade, they are all so sweet at that age. I jumped right in and helped my teacher, I helped the kids, kept them on tasks and read a story to the class. There are two boys that are special education and one learning disabled boy. The boy that is autistic has an aide that is with him most of the day. The other one has aspergers. He hasn't been fully diagnosed yet, so he doesn't have an aide. He is smart,but very disruptive. He has difficulty following directions and angers easily. He had several outbursts directed at the teacher and the special education aide assisting the autistic child. I spent the majority of my day helping him. He was very sweet to me, even at times clinging to my legs. My teacher thanked me profusely for attending to him throughout the day. I'm so exhausted from being on my feet in dress shoes (YUCK) and bending and squatting throughout the day (not to mention kickball at recess) but I loved every minute my day. I'm am again so very thankful that I have a wonderful healthy child. There are a total of 16 special education kids in the Kindergarten group and as the year gets started many more will be diagnosed with other learning problems. It's sad to know that these sweet kids will struggle with this difficulties throughout their lives.

Cole's second day of class went well. He was excited to be up this morning and eagerly waited for the bus. We reviewed his room number before he left and apparently he had no problem finding his class. He said his day was "FUN! FUN! FUN!". He went to music class today. He was very interested in hearing about my first day and we compared stories as we made dinner. So we both were off to a better start today.

Monday, August 27, 2007

First day let down

Today was Cole's first day of school. We both had great hopes. However, he started coughing and having congestion this weekend. At 4:00 am I woke up vomiting. Every time I got up to be sick, he got up because he wasn't sleeping well due to his cough. In between running to the bathroom I got him dressed and made his lunch. We waiting on the front porch for the bus to arrive. For the little ones the put an picture of an animal on the outside of the bus, so they don't have to remember a number. The bus pulls up and there was the name of the animal but not a picture, it turns out that he bus was out of order so this was a temporary bus. He eagerly jumped aboard. I followed the bus to school and at the lights Cole was smiling and waving his feet dancing around in anticipation. The traffic at school was crazy, once I got inside the building I found Cole who was looking lost and confused trying to find his classroom. Once inside he excitedly chatted up his teacher. Off I went to work.

About 10:00am I got a call that he had hit his head on a tree and cried and threw up. So they sent home. I had to call his doctor to get a note to take to school stating that it is normal for him to throw up. He was still feeling sick later on and I had to take him to the doctor anyway. I hope tomorrow is a better day for the both of us.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Moving up and on

Friday morning is a big day for Cole. It is his last day at the daycare he has been at since he was six weeks old. It’s literally his home away from home. We have been lucky because as far as daycares go, they have fairly low turnover. He has two teachers that he is very close to. One, Ms. Lydia was his teacher from that very first day. In fact, Cole says that he is marrying her and me when he gets big. The other, Ms. Margaret is his current teacher. She has also been there for the past five years. He made cards and gifts for his favorite teachers (including the lunch lady) and is bringing cupcakes for his class. I wanted to make something for the staff but due to starting back to school myself today, opted to send fresh baked cookies instead.

I made a big step myself today. I let him go on the end of summer field trip to Six Flags in San Antonio. I had planned on going myself, but they picked the day that I was scheduled to go back to school, so I couldn’t go. I debated about letting him go. Sending my five year old on a bus for a two-hour ride to a San Antonio amusement park was a big deal for me. Ms. Margaret assured me she would be personally in charge of Cole and gave me her cell number and said I could call anytime - I didn’t by the way. They came back at 6:15 pm all tanned and happy. She was impressed with all the roller coasters he wanted to ride and they had a blast at the water park. She had Cole and his friend Avery (who is also five and been there since she was six-weeks old) all to herself during the day and they were well behaved.

While I was waiting for his bus to arrive tonight, his Kindergarten teacher called to introduce herself. We have an open house Friday night after work and he is excited to meet her and to be able to tour the school again. School starts on Monday morning. Cole will be riding the bus and I will follow along in my car for the first day to make sure he knows the routine. After school he will be attending on campus extended care. Such exciting times!
Next week, I’m going to finally be working with kids in school myself. I’m actually going to working at the school in Kyle that Cole would have been going if I still lived out there. I will find out on Tuesday what grade I will be with for the semester. I hoping Kindergarten or 1st, but I will have to wait and see. I have to make a “me brochure” introducing myself to the teachers and write a letter for the parents in the classroom that I will be a part of. I’m nervous but excited to finally be working in the school. I’m taking 17 hours this semester, but this will be my last year. Next fall I will be student teaching full-time and then finally be finished.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The one reason I miss having a man

There is only one reason I miss having a man around and no it isn't what you are thinking. Get your mind out of the gutter :-) It's taking care of little things on the car. Not routine oil changes and such, I've always taken care of that stuff. But the annoying things like scraping car tags off the windshield, replacing wipers, plates and bulbs. I don't have much patience for doing these tasks. In a relationship I think if I'm washing his dirty underwear and all, it is only fair that they help with these tasks. Asking too much...apparently so.

This morning when I turned on my left turn signal it started clicking double time. I was pretty sure this meant that my turn signal was out, which was correct. At lunch I ran to a auto part store and picked out the correct bulb. I headed back to work and using my car manual removed the plastic casing and the carpet to get tail light. Sweating in the 100 degree heat and humidity I tried to determine what I needed to remove next. A male co-worker then came to help me. Working together we had it replaced in less than five minutes. So I guess men are good for some things. Just kidding, actually I've realized in last few months my hard man-hating outer shell has been cracking. It's time to harden it back up. I just need to think about how it has been since April (Cole's b-day) since his dad contacted him and I can fill in those man-hating cracks. See I'm starting to feel all bitter, I mean better again. SMILE

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Goodbye Grandpa

As I mentioned previously I decided to speak at my grandpa's funeral. The night before his service some ugly family stuff happened and I had cried a lot and not slept much the night before. I looked and felt like death warmed over and briefly considered not speaking. But, my grandfather meant the world to me, so I decided to speak. Part of what I spoke about I'd previously written in my blog about him. So tears in my swollen and puffy eyes, my hands shaking, my eyes averted from him coffin, and Cole's hand in mine, I walked to the podium. Here is what I said:

"As grandpa's favorite grand-daughter, a fact that I'm sure has nothing to do with the fact that I'm the only one, I like to say a few words about my grandpa. He was always very special to me. In fact I named my son after him he meant so much. He was a remarkable man. He came from a poor family that was filled with alcoholism and abuse. He even spent several years in an orphanage. He didn't let his sad upbringing hinder him or define who he was. He was a very hard worker, intelligent, and quick witted. He was unfailingly kind and always the perfect gentleman. He was amazingly artistic and always humble about his abilities. He could draw, paint and carve amazing things. Most of my most cherished memories involve sitting around watching him carve. His calloused hands would move gracefully around the block of wood and the curled wood chips would fly and out would come some amazing character or animal. The harshest words we ever heard him utter were "Robertson you turd" and "Well, Kiss old Rose." We would always ask, "Grandpa who is old Rose?" So Grandpa give old Rose one last kiss for us."

So while my brother and cousins were given wedding rings and trinkets to remember my grandpa, I will remember him my way. I'm proud to have spoken about him in front of his cherished friends and family and he will always be in my heart and I will think of him every day as I look at Cole Robert.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Back in town

We are back from Phoenix. Being with your entire family especially under tense circumstances is especially stressful. Suffice to say there was plenty of family drama and some very painful moments. Cole did well at the funeral. My grandpa’s casket was open both during the viewing and for the funeral. My uncle (my mom’s brother) didn’t want to attend the viewing so he stayed home with his two kids and Cole, but everyone attended the funeral. Cole wanted to go up close to see my grandpa, but I told him that he didn’t look like the great-Papa he remembered, so he chose not to. He did go up and look at his pictures and his carvings. I spoke at my grandpa’s service and he bravely held my hand to go up with me in front of all those people. He was a little afraid to go to the cemetery but it was broad daylight and there were no gravestones, just grave plaques. He was wondered around asking me to read the names to him. He found one with the last name “COLE” and wanted to know why one had his name!

Cole had such a good time with his cousins; I was jokingly saying I was going to have to buy him a brother because they kept him occupied for hours. We did have time to see my dad’s side of the family. The youngest of my Aunt’s kids is a freshman in high school and very sweet to Cole. Cole loved him. He is on the football team and we went out one night to watch his practice. Cole kept giving him “high fives” and hugs. In between family obligations we had plenty of time to swim daily which was nice because the average temperature was 115.

The last day we went to the Phoenix Zoo with my mom to escape and get some alone time. We had only been there for about 45 minutes when there was a “CODE RED LOCKDOWN”. We were hustled into a ticket booth for almost two hours. It seems two Mexican Wolves had breeched their enclosure and had to be recaptured, so much for a drama free day.

The biggest surprise of the entire weekend was my mom’s boss and her husband flying in to provide support for my mom. My mom has known her for 20 years. I was standing outside the funeral home and was waving at someone in a car driving by who was waving at me when all of a sudden I realized it was my mom’s boss. It was so surreal. I know my mom really needed and appreciated that unexpected show of support.
I’m glad to be back home. I hope to enjoy the next week before fall semester starts and Cole starts Kindergarten, GULP!

Friday, August 10, 2007

From Arizona

My grandfather passed away yesterday morning. At least he is no longer suffering. I'm sad but also relieved. My dad, my brother and Cole and I flew into Phoenix today. It was so strange being at my grandparents house without him there. No one would sit in his chair. It just sat there empty while we all sat in our usual spots. Tomorrow we are seeing some of our family. Both my parents are from Phoenix so we have some visiting and catching up to do, sad that it has to be under these conditions.

My grandpa's viewing is on Sunday and the funeral is on Monday. We will be heading back home on Wednesday. Cole is still blissfully unaware of the sadness and is mostly just looking forward to seeing his cousins.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


My thoughts have been filled this week with the mental images of my dying grandfather. My mom says he writhes in pain and the morphine doesn't always help. He is emaciated and not able to make intelligible words.

I can't help but think how unfair it is that we can help end an animal's suffering but we can extend the same courtesy to our loved ones (at least not legally). Killers on death row are given a more peaceful end to their lives than our elderly and sick loved ones. Almost every day our kind doctors and staff help clients make educated decisions about euthanasia and quality of life. We allow owners to be there for their pet up until the very end. They pass away in moments, just slowly going to sleep. The decision is agonizing for owners but one of the most loving decisions the owner will ever make.

My grandfather is unable to swallow and was put into hospice on Saturday. He is slowly and painfully dying of starvation and dehydration. It was the right decision to not place a permanent feeding tube. Both times they placed a nasal feeding tube he struggled, was in pain and he ripped it out. However, the decision doesn't make the death any easier. My greatest wish for all the people I love in my love is a quick and painless death. I'm in awe of the courage and patience my mom has shown the last few weeks, especially with dealing with my Grandma (I'm not even going to touch that subject). My uncle flew in today for a few hours to say goodbye. At least I'm comforted somewhat by the thought that when I see him again he will finally be at peace.

Monday, August 06, 2007


This weekend Leah, Cole, and I went to a rodeo in Bastrop, Texas. You drive 30 minutes outside of Austin and suddenly you are surrounded by country folk. Picture what you think a redneck looks like and we saw fifty of them. Leah was afraid if we stayed any longer she was going to get pregnant, because every where you looked there was a pregnant woman. All kidding aside we had a good time. A co-worker lives in Bastrop and we met her there. We even got to use the "back gate" which is where the rodeo contestants? athletes? cowboys??? enter. She knew half the people at the rodeo and we got to hear about all their goings-on....note to self don't live in a small town.

We watched the rodeo and then headed over to the carnival. Cole rode the rides while Leah and I just people watched. Then we headed over to the dance. Cole and I danced several songs and then Cole took to the dance floor alone. He did splits, played the electric guitar (apparently guitar strings are around your collar bone), and did some break dancing. Then the real fun started. The band took a break and they started playing some hip-hop music. The teenaged country folk came streaming out of the woodwork. They were a bumpin' and a grindin' and dry humping on the dance floor. It seems the grinding move is VERY popular and I'm impressed with how well they can move in those tight starched jeans. Leah and I watched in amazement. We felt OLD, OLD, OLD and kinda dirty for watching! We know we never did that type of dancing when we were that age (wink, wink). After a few bump/grind songs we decided we had better get our old' selves home it was after 11:00 PM after all ;-) Cole instantly fell asleep on the way home as we drove back to "civilization" :-)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Pleasantly surprised

We are two nights into my dad picking up and watching Cole and things are going surprisingly well. They have both been in great moods when I've gotten home. Last night my dad even took Cole to dinner at a restaurant ALONE!!!! He has even given him a bath both nights, which is one more baths than his dad ever gave him and probably two more than my dad ever gave my brother or I :-) Tonight when I called they were playing Transformers and having a good time. I hope the rest of the week goes as well.

My grandfather is off the ventilator and awake but still not talking. They have also found a mass on his lungs which they are 99% sure is cancer, but are waiting for the pathology results. They seemed to have caught the sepsis early enough the antibiotics are helping. Even though my mom had prepared for the shock of seeing him it was still awful. They are talking about once he is stabilized they will send him to a nursing home. My mom and grandma are going to check out a couple tomorrow. The nurse told my mom today that it is unlikely he will ever leave the nursing home. At least my mom is there to help my grandma face reality and make some much needed decisions.