Saturday, August 24, 2013

Photoshop Ruins Our Self Image

This was spurred by a conversation with my oldest daughter who is drop dead gorgeous, but who somehow thought she was fat (at 11 mind you). It made me really start to pay attention to what we are promoting as a society and what is actually reality. All of this scientific research took place on the beach as I played with my family...what better place!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Louis L. Redding Middle School Rocks!

As in life, there are constant changes in the DuBose family. Just recently, we have been gearing up for middle school...yes, middle school! (for all of my non-Delaware folks, Sasha is only in 5th grade not 6th as she would be in NJ because our cut off date is early-September 1st.) Anyway, it's been a time of nervousness and anxiety for Sasha, but not for the normal things a child would be nervous or anxious about attending a new school. Let me back up a minute. In Delaware there is something called school choice where you can apply for your child to attend a different school than their normal feeder school. We elected to do that for our girls when they left private school and returned to public school. Now that Sasha is moving to a new school, I "choiced" her again to try to keep her with familiar friends. Well no one foresaw a school budget shortfall or a tax increase not passing, so long story short, we were not accepted to our choice school-no biggie...or so I thought. 

The degree of fear, ignorance, and prejudice I have encountered from well-meaning parents when telling them and more importantly, my Sasha telling friends where she would be attending school, has disturbed me to the point of wanting to take to the blog. "What's the big deal?" my non-Delawarean people ask. Well Louis L. Redding Middle School is the town middle school that borders the two-three block stretch of town that is predominantly African-American and carries a sigma longer than my time here in Delaware. So in true Kai form I set out to find out as much as I could about Louis L. Redding Middle School and the history behind the man who the school is named for. 

Louis L. Redding Middle School was built in 1952 and began as the African American school for the district. Louis Lorenzo Redding was Delaware's first African American lawyer. He was born in 1901 and grew up in Wilmington, Delaware. His father was one of the first African American postal workers in Delaware which gave Louis and his siblings the ability to grow up in a house and focus on school rather than work. Louis Redding went on to attend Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island and was one of only six African America men in his Ivy League class. Mr. Redding realized while at Brown University there were no African America lawyers in Delaware, but had met many during his time in Providence. Redding went on to attend Harvard Law School and then returned to Delaware to practice law. Redding was the only black lawyer in Delaware for nearly 25 years. He joined other lawyers in 1954, with the NAACP and successfully argued and won the historic Brown v. Board of Education case before the Supreme Court that desegregated schools across the nation. 

So again, not trying to make my blog posts so lengthy, but this one is important and personal to me. My daughter is about to attend a school that carries a rich history-one that I cannot wait to share with her. One that I hope she absorbs and carries with pride. I have a Romare Bearden poster of Brown v. Board of Education that anyone who knows me from college on, has seen hanging in my rooms and it is still with me now in my house (about to re-frame it actually). I spoke to my daughter this morning and told her not to let anyone, ANYONE make her feel where she will go to school is any less than where they will attend. She is going to attend a fabulous school with teachers and staff who are dedicated and skilled individuals-just like at all of the other schools in town. Sasha is blessed enough to go to a school that carries a rich history that in many ways is intertwined with our own family history. I am excited to be a part of a school named for a man who did so much for Delaware and our nation and I will make sure she is too. (so much more I want to say, but I'm going to refrain since I am really trying to shorten these blog 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen Introducing the Newest Member of the DuBose Cliqué...

Welcome Onyx!

Onyx is a 4 year old Lab Mix. He enjoys running, playing, fetching balls, long walks, acting a fool-basically everything Teddy P. hated...

The kids love Onyx and honestly so do Scorey and I. We used to own a Great Dane by the same name and although this Onyx has only been here a week, we feel the joy of owning a dog returning. 

I could go on and on, but let's face it, I suck at keeping a blog...just too much going on all the time. So my new strategy is keep it short, bang it out and keep it moving. So bottom line is Teddy was a DRAG. He wasn't happy and neither were we. He didn't like kids and last time I looked around me, I have 4. Our groomer found Teddy a great home so no worries and do not feel sorry for him. He's "chilling like a villain." 

Onyx is another rescue. Yeah we could have gone and gotten a puppy and maybe trained a dog from scratch knowing his/her issues and insuring he or she would be a perfect match, but honestly, I don't know if we could have done a better job than this. Onyx was part of an unfortunate family situation and the owner was forced to surrender him. He deserves another chance...and isn't that what life is all about? Onyx is not perfect by any means, but really who is. He's got a ways to go with his training, but he's smart, he's funny and he's a much better fit for our family. Okay short and sweet. Welcome Onyx! 

Is that a dog running with a ball in his mouth in my yard? Actually Onyx is carrying two balls in his mouth and running. Now that's our dog! 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

It's a New Year

Happy New Year! I am glad to be back on my blog grind, but I will admit to not wanting to write this post, but it's probably the most important post I have ever written in some ways.

The whole purpose of me writing the blog is to document what goes on in my family on the daily, weekly, or such as it is lately...yearly basis.

A bit of New Year's Fun

I don't have any witty intro this time...this fall has been a challenging one for our family and not necessarily in a bad way, but a challenging one. Bear with me. Our oldest son was classified with autism by our school district. Now one of the reasons I dreaded this post was because I don't hold myself out to be any type of Autism expert so I am not and cannot possibly answer all of the questions that arise by making the statement I just made in a blog, nor will I attempt to. I will give the abridged version of things for everyone. About a year ago, the teachers in our son's class came to us with concerns about his learning and behaviors and asked if he could be evaluated for Autism.

We had been down a similar road with our oldest child who was also enrolled in the preschool program and received speech and occupational therapy services. We took Sash to several doctors and many concluded her behaviors were "autism-like" but no one ever concluded she was autistic and she eventually went from one end of the spectrum to the other-literally. I still have the bell graph the school psychologist drew us when she attempted to explain how two years prior she stated our child was permanently learning disabled to then stating she was practically gifted. Anyway, not trying to digress, but wanting to give you a bit of perspective on where we are as a family on autism, ASD, etc...

So on November 16, 2012 a panel of educational experts who had observed our son over a period of time, concluded based on the educational definition, our son meets the criteria for the classification of Autism. For anyone unfamiliar with classification verses diagnosis-classification is is used when the schools are trying to see if a student qualifies for certain services they can provide. A diagnosis can only be provided by a medical doctor. We are still going through the process of getting a medical diagnosis. It's easier said than done.

First of all, for us at least, we started the process a bit late. Then when we did start the process, I learned the department of the children's hospital here in DE that handles Autism is not accepting new patients at this time. I took my search to Pennsylvania and the wait list at the Children's Hospital in Philadelphia is 9 months to a year. So the good news is, the ball is rolling, the bad news is, it's a looooonnnng roll.

Shortly after the school's classification we learned our son also has a seizure disorder which explains why he has not slept through the night since birth (actually before birth if you count the time in utero that he did not sleep). Anyway, after an EEG and a 23 hour EEG with video sleep study that showed Scorey having seizures, he is now on medication that helps him finally get the sleep he has been missing all this time.

There were many medical challenges in 2012 and I am not sure what 2013 will hold, but it doesn't matter. We are blessed with life. I am thankful for so many things. I know it sounds cliché, but it's true. We are short on money, long on bills. Days are long, nights sometimes longer. I know I need more patience with my kids and my dog...speaking of which, someone told me he has a blog--go figure!

We are living the life we were blessed with. I look back and smile at the time I lived in NJ.  I remember holding my oldest rocking her to my favorite Stevie Wonder song thinking "if this is life, then we have this thing in the bag! It could not get better." I was did get better. It also got more complex-not necessarily in a bad way. This is what life is. It's messy, it's confusing, it's frustrating...and the best thing, if you are blessed, you get to keep doing it over and over. I have NO clue what the future holds. I have a stack of papers that looks like an encyclopedia that I need to complete for Scorey to be seen at the children's hospital in Philadelphia. I'm thrilled...

No, really I am! I have a friend around the block with a son in a coma. I have a friend who just lost her nephew in what should have been the best time of his young life. I have another mom friend who lost her husband in November and just spent two months praying and willing her daughter back to health. We lost 27 beautiful...BEAUTIFUL lives in December to senseless violence. I am thrilled to trudge through papers and questions about autism, behaviors and milestones I can now hardly remember.

I'm going to go put on my favorite Stevie Wonder song again and now I am wise enough to know this is not the best life has for's only the beginning.

Some of the beautiful faces I get to see everyday

Happy New Year everyone!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Dog's Life

Last September on a rainy day, Scorey and I had a crazy thought: "let's get a dog." We both looked at each other shrugged our shoulders and like we have done for the past 15 years, embarked on a new adventure together. Our oldest two girls were in school and we headed south with our two boys to look at a cute little doggie we saw online on an adoption pet site. During the drive we encountered a police roadblock for a gentleman who had himself held up in a motel room--that could have been a sign! We debated turning the car around, but we decided to stay the course and after about an hour we made it to the Kent Count ASPCA.

When we arrived, the dog we thought we were coming to see looked NOTHING like the cute picture they had posted online. We weren't convinced he was our dog. As we stood in the lobby debating our next move, Teddy walked in. He was cute. I initially thought he was coming in the main entrance for services but overheard the gentleman with him say he was turning Teddy in. I asked if I could take Teddy for a walk and the rest is history I guess...

Teddy a.k.a. Teddy P. the day we brought him home...terribly matted, but cute.
The After: Teddy's First hair cut...yikes! 

Fast forward a little more than a year. Teddy is still with us, but it's been a bumpy road. We thought Teddy was 4 years old, came from an elderly woman and lived a relatively quiet life. We are learning Teddy is likely not 4, probably closer to 2 or 3 and did not live such a quiet stress-free life. He was abused and x-rays of his legs show bb gun pellets and metal. Since we adopted Teddy, he  has always been very skittish and fearful of people. Teddy also has fear and anxiety towards buses, construction vehicles and loud noises in general.

Over the summer Teddy fractured his leg trying to dart out at the school bus that drops off my son in front our our house. It's been a tough summer for all of us and although Teddy has healed almost completely physically, his emotional state still remains uncertain to us.

Teddy after orthopedic surgery to repair his fractured leg

What am I getting at? They say you don't get the dog you want, but the dog you need, but I am not even convinced of that fact. We have spent thousands of dollars on Teddy's medical care which more than makes up for the fact he was free to us. We have spent time, money and energy on a dog I am not convinced can be the dog my family wants or needs. I have 4 children. My house is loud. As much as I wish there were times I could change that, I can't. Teddy is fearful of sudden moves, noises, etc...Not a good issues to have living in this house. I keep thinking he will learn to "just deal" with our family and settle in. I don't know how long that will take and I am not sure how long Scorey and I can be patient.  Teddy has not really bonded with any of the children and that was precisely the reason we chose him. I keep thinking would he be better off in a quiet household where he can have someone's full attention?

In the words of Cesar Milan, Teddy has to join our pack and I am not sure he wishes to do that or is able to do that. I won't change the way I run my house. I won't ask my children not to run, talk, or play for fear of triggering Teddy's anxiety. I make enough accommodations just living with two children with ASD and sensory issues. I am already mentally drained and don't always want to deal with a dog who barks and growls at the slightest breeze, don't even talk about when someone actually comes to visit--no one can talk without him barking incessantly...who throws a fit if he cannot be up underneath me or Scorey all the time, who does not connect to any of my children. I am sure there are many opinions out there and right now I am not really looking for one. I am just merely stating where we stand as a family. We have been honest with our kids about Teddy and that he may or may not stay with us in the future. We have to do what works best for us in the long run...I just don't know if that includes Teddy P.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

We got our iPhone 4s and the kids have their iTouch/iPhones and all is right with the world!

Well sort of. The majority of the fighting has definitely stopped and the good news is I can now answer a call or a text if you are trying to reach me.

There are still challenges, like now the girls think because most games are .99 cents, we can buy a game every minute of the day. The biggest change has been my son who actually takes care of his touch better than the girls. The rhinestone encrusted one you see is now as naked as can be. My daughter thought it would be cool to try and decorate other things with the stones. You can definitely see the personalities represented in the cases.

I just wanted to keep you up-to-date with the iPhone situation.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sleepovers? WTH???

Okay calling all moms (and dads if any read)

What the heck is up with the sleepover thing?

My girls keep talking about sleepovers (mostly after being around a group of friends who are talking about sleepovers). Is this some new thing that I don't know about because my girls are barely 7 and soon-to-be 9. Who is sleeping over at those ages? Did I miss something. Was there a sleepover age shift that I just missed?

I don't think times have changed that much have they? I grew up going to sleepovers. I was older. I personally was not that crazy about them. I love sleep. Period. Always have and probably always will. I could never stay up late and still can't. My childhood friends still tease me to this day. (It's all good. I'm well rested. LOL)

Now here's the thing. My two daughters can barely sleep in their own dang beds without waking up constantly to voice all sorts of concerns, so it is crazy to me to think they would sleep in a strange house in a strange bed or floor. I just don't see it. My girls do not have cousins or other family members that they have spent the night with. They are total sleepover virgins. Not to mention their father is just not having it. He is against the sleepover thing and that is a battle I am not willing to go to the mat for them at this time. NO THANKS!

So now I have them asking if friends can come here for a sleepover, but again really??? Aren't they a little young?

Someone enlighten me please. What are your sleepover thoughts, experiences and stories? Please share.