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!