22 February, 2011

What do you do?

     We've all heard stories about children being bullied at school.  We've all run it through our heads what we would do if it was our child.  We'd talk with the teacher or bus driver, we'd talk with the principal, we'd get something done to make sure that our child was protected and away from the bully.  But what if the bully is the very person in charge of your child's welfare?  What if it was the teacher or the bus driver?

     A few weeks ago, on February 1st, The Big One came from school with a bomb shell.  She told us that she had seen the guidance counselor at the school that day because of a report that was made.  That report was from a couple of older students that ride her bus and what they reported was that the day earlier the bus driver had told my daughter that she should have never been born and that I should tie her to a dog chain.

     WHAT!?  Ummm, okay, why wasn't I informed?  I didn't hear about this until after the school was closed for the day and the next day was a snow day and so I couldn't talk to anybody about it then either.  The more I sat and thought about it, the more furious I became.  Who says this to a child?  Who says this to ANYONE?  I think in my entire life, I have only thought this of one person.  It was a grown man who kept me prisoner for several years and abused me daily.  And even then, I quickly thought better of it and never said it aloud.  But this wasn't a grown person who she dealt with all day long every day, it was someone she saw four days a week for a half hour.  A child.  MY child.  Words can't really express what I felt.  It was sickening.

     On February 2nd, I wrote to the address on the bus company website.  I expressed my concerns and even shared personal insight as to why I was so offended by the comment, but I didn't hear back from anyone.  Apparently the address is no longer valid.

     So the day after that, I wrote the guidance counselor to make sure that there was in fact an incident that happened.  I told her that until I knew the situation and could make a decision about whether I felt safe sending my daughter on the bus, that I would take her myself.  I also let her know that I couldn't afford to do it for long and that I would transport her as long as I could and then pull her out of school if necessary.  I couldn't pick The Big One up that day, but my mother-in-law did and she informed me that the principal had told her that he would look into the matter and find out what happened.

     I did receive an email back from the guidance counselor.  She informed me that yes, there was an incident that she counseled my daughter about and that the principal had asked the bus service owner to review the video tape from that day and to get back to him on what was said.

     On the next day, February 4th, I received a email from the bus service owner saying that he had reviewed the tape and that there was no comment said about tying The Big One to a dog chain, but that she did say something that he found offensive and that she would be dealt with and he hoped to see her Monday morning.  Personally, I think the dog chain comment was made a different day because children are not going to report someone that they have to be with very day unless they know they heard it.  I think it was said an earlier day and the children didn't report it until a second incident occurred.  Either way, I am very very grateful to the students for standing up for my daughter and getting involved.  And the principal said that he wanted the bus driver to switch routes, which I was also grateful for.
     So, I emailed the bus service owner back, I told him that I was thankful for him looking at the tapes but that I could not let my daughter take that bus until I knew what the comment was and I could make a decision on it.  But since he personally drove the morning route, I had no problem sending her in the morning.  And when I sent her Monday, I noticed a woman on the bus taking notes as if she was learning the route.  This made me happy because I figured that maybe he was teaching someone else the route so that he could switch drivers.

     Not the case.  Not even close.  The next morning, guess who was driving the morning route.  Go ahead, guess.  Yeah, that's right.  He had taught the abusive bus driver to drive my daughter's morning route as well.  And I was distracted at the time she got on and didn't notice until she was rolling away.  But when I did notice, I was very much unimpressed.  Livid, actually.  Not only was this woman not taken off my daughter's bus route, but she is driving MORE!?  What the heck!?

     And I did receive an email from the principal saying that if it should happen again, she would be fired.  I got the impression that he felt like his hands were tied in the matter.  That's cool, but I'm not gonna sit and wait for a second abuse on my child, I want her on a different bus.  I did also receive an "apology" letter from the offending driver that day she drove both routes.  But honestly, instead of easing my mind, it just upset me even more.  Soon, I shall scan the letter and place it here, for now, I will just relay what she wrote:

To *****'s Parents,
I am writing to say "I'm sorry" for having said to ***** maybe she shouldn't have been born.  I really and truly don't remember saying it but I only can say I must have been having a bad day.
Again, I'm sorry.

Mrs. *****

     I don't even know what to say besides "How scary is THAT!?"  She says something so hurtful and abusive to a child and doesn't even remember saying it?  Does that mean that she says things that hurtful so often that she thought nothing of it?  Or was she on something?  Or was she being dishonest and just shirking responsibility like it is no big deal?  And then she blames it on a bad day.  I mean, every other day in my house is a bad day.  How often does she have a bad day?  Once a week?  Three times a month?  Either way, would you really want this person driving your child?  I didn't.    

     It was fine for the first week, but then I realized that this new arrangement is quickly taxing both my money and my energy.  And even though I am determined to bring her myself, I have no idea how it is going to happen.  I can barely afford the ten trips per week I am already making for school and speech.  Now I have 4 more to make.

     After hearing about the "apology" letter, my mother became angrier than ever about the whole situation and she has written several times and has gotten no real answer back accept that the situation does not concern her, basically.  So now we are wondering what the next step should be.  I feel like I haven't been taken seriously.  At this point, we are thinking a petition... or the media...  I don't know really.  But I feel like this woman should not just be slapped on the wrist over a comment like that.  And I feel like I have been slapped in the face not just once because of her driving more now, but twice with that "apology".

     I don't know, what do you think?  What would you do?

21 February, 2011

This is My EVERYTHING Blog, right?

Cause it seems like the "Everything" has been lost in the blog.  So, let's get some of that back.  First, I wanna talk about hobbies.  I happen to be very fickle with my hobbies.  I will do cooking for a month  and even make my own noodles, then the next month, I will eat all frozen foods and concentrate on art or scrapping.  As you can see, even my blog get caught in my fickleness.  This month, I happen to be doing photography.
I love going outside (when the weather is better) and doing shoots with my girls.  I get better every year.  But I also love Photoshop and turning photos into something they are not.  I also love that I can use it to fix photos that don't come out incredibly great due to poor lighting or due to children messing with my camera... a LOT.
Baby bee hasn't had any professional pictures taken yet.  Sad, isn't it?  She has had a clogged tear duct and she just looked awful, so we weren't overly anxious about getting her in to a photographer.  So now that her duct is clearing a little, I decided it was time, and luckily The Christmas Tree Shop had those giant tea cup planters for half the price Walmart did.  So I snatched it up and took a few.  She cried most the time, which is fine.  It just gives me an excuse to try again.  But for now, I think I got some pretty decent shots, more than worth the $10 I spent on the planter!  And yes, that is the price tag... I forgot to rip it off, lol.

***IRIS Scrapbook cases Review***

Let me quickly say, that these cases SAVED MY ROOM!!!  I had scrapping stuff in every which place.  I never knew where stuff was when I needed it and It was such a chore to put stuff away that I never wanted to scrap anyway.  When I did, I didn't want to put things in every little bin I had them in, so really, I just left them out and my desk became a mess.  It was depressing and my room quickly followed suit.  I saw these on CSN and just knew that they were for me.

I was a bit nervous that CSN would count the lids as separate pieces and ship out 3 cases, but I got 6!!!  And now all my scrapping supplies are all organized in only 6 cases.  I have one for tools, one for embellishments, one for pre-cut 6x6 and 8x8 pieces of paper, one for scraps, one for foam and things, and one for all of my full sized 12x12 paper and cardstock.  They hold so much stuff that I don't need anything else!  Look at this:
That right there is my ENTIRE scrapping station :)  I was so inspired by my organized desk area, that I also set up 3 bookshelves and bought 18 plastic bins and 5 photo boxes to help organize them.  Now my room is well on it's way to being completely organized.  I couldn't be more thrilled!  These cases ROCK!

The only problem that I had at all was for a little bit, I had a problem shutting one or two of the cases.  It's been resolved, but for a while, they wouldn't close completely on the corners, almost as if the top were warped.  But like I said, it resolved itself somehow cause now they are all closed just fine.

And they lock, did I tell you?  They snap closed in the front, which I love.  Here are some specs for the cases:
These cases are designed to accommodate scrapbooking needs and will hold up to 12" x 12" papers. Perfect for separating projects and making them portable. These cases are also acid-free.

  • Holds 12" x 12" scrapbook paper
  • Acid-free
  • 6 Piece Set
  • Dimensions: 3" H x 14.375" W x 14.625" D

Scrapbook Central Series - Scrapbook Case in Clear - 6 Pieces 3" H x 14.375" W x 14.625" D 1.2 lbs

Long story short, you will NOT be disappointed in these cases.  you should definitely look into them if you are into crafting or need a storage system for something else you are into. 

Do you scrap? 

Disclaimer: I received these products to review and was not paid for this review. My review is 100% my honest opinion. Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

07 February, 2011

***Birds and Bees and Kids Review***

Are you freaking out about the idea of having the big talk with your kids?  You aren't alone, that's for sure.  What bothers me the most is that my oldest is only 6.  I shouldn't have to talk with her about it, BUT... you know that the kids in school will be filling her head with wrong information if I don't fill it first with useful and correct information.

Like most parents, I am not looking forward to it.  I'm so afraid that her first reaction will be "Yuck!" or even worse, "Is that what you and Daddy did to make me?"  I'm especially freaked since the story of her conception is not one that I particularly feel is appropriate for a young child to hear or one that her Daddy was even involved in, sadly.

But after watching Amy Lang's video from BirdsandBeesandKids.com, I felt a lot more comfortable and I had a game plan.  What I loved best about her video is how she suggests you go about it.  It's much more comforting to imagine lots of very short conversations than one or two long, drawn out and detailed ones.  She gives you some ideas for how to squeeze in little "Public service announcements" about sex into every day life and I love that.  And also, it had me laughing just to think of my child rolling their eyes and chuckling over these little announcements.

I'm really glad I watched the video.  I feel like I have been armed with the tools I need.  And it left room for me to put my morals in, which is great.  I definitely want to instill my morals and values into my children before the school gets a hold of them, because I am sure we will not agree on many points that I definitely believe should be left for parents to discuss.  But I doubt they will leave that stuff out of the sex education class, so I guess it's best if I start now with letting her know what it is, what can happen and what I expect from her.

Have you had a talk with your child yet?  How do you think it went?

Disclaimer: I received these products to review and was not paid for this review. My review is 100% my honest opinion. Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

06 February, 2011

iplaybabywear Food Storage Cubes Review

   With everything that is being added to food now a days, I love being able to make my own baby food for my daughter. I love making things from scratch and there is a sense of security and pride in knowing that you are putting good things in the bellies of the ones you love. That is why I am giving two thumbs up to iplaybabywear food storage cubes by Green Sprouts. They come in sets of four in each tray and the ones I got were polypropylene, but they come in glass too with the lids being interchangeable. They snap down securely which is nice for travel and no spilling. They are bpa free and as far as I can tell they are dishwasher safe. I have seen no damage from washing them that way. They easily stack and come with stickers to write the type of food and date you made it. Organization was definitely in mind with these!
   My daughter started eating foods at 5 months and she was sooo fussy, so when I found foods she liked I just pureed them in my bullet and used the food cubes. Now that I have them, I can't imagine not using them! I don't have anything negative to say about them, they are a must for any parent that makes their own baby food or would like to get into it. 
   i play and Green Sprouts are both a registered trademark of i play inc. and they specialize in bringing us products that are safe for the environment and for our little ones. They know that babies love to put things in their mouths and children learn by their senses so they make sure all their products are safe when they do so! 
   They have a great selection of outer wear and toys and teethers. All of their products are super cute and again safe. Look at this adorable hat... you can just tell its really soft and it looks great. If you want a safe place to go and to feel good about buying things for your baby, please support i play and shop with good reason :)

Disclaimer: I received these products to review and was not paid for this review. My review is 100% my honest opinion. Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

***Reasons Why You Rock Review***

I admit that I could use a BIG boost in self esteem.  I know that I don't give myself enough credit most of the time and I don't believe in myself as much as I should.  That's why when I saw that Kathy Light was asking for a few people to read her book and tell people what they thought, I was very interested.

This book is called Reasons Why You Rock.  It's more like a journal than a book.  It asks you questions and helps you realize just what it is about you that makes you special and what it is that makes you great.  It helps you realize your achievements and your wins and helps you focus on all the good things about you.

After doing just the first couple sections of the book, I felt better about myself and what I had done so far in my life.  It really opened my eyes and forced me to be honest and say "You know what?  I am pretty good at drawing" or "I got my license, had a baby, went through an adoption and completed a lot of schooling in just one year, I did good."

If you are looking for an eye-opening book or a confidence booster, this is the book for you.  You can find it here

Disclaimer: I received these products to review and was not paid for this review. My review is 100% my honest opinion. Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Then Sings My Soul Book Review

   I love a good book that can keep you interested and make you learn something at the same time, and that is exactly what Then Sings My Soul does for me. Robert J. Morgan put together a great compilation of 150 wonderful favorites hymns and Christmas classics. Not only did he put them all in the same place but he dug behind the song and got the story of the ones who wrote these awesome songs and if possible the story of why they were written. What were the times like when this song was written? What was the author going through? What was the authors life like before they wrote a masterpiece? These are just a few questions that are answered for so many of these classics.

   He put partial or whole sheet music in the beginning of each story and then went on to tell about the history. When was it first written, by who etc. He also makes everything really easy to find by categorizing them in sections of seasonal, or style. 

   The book has a great look with torn edges on the pages and an old feel to the book while reading it. With nice thick pages this book was nicely put together. I have learned many things about the songs I already consider favorites and now they are even more special because I know the story behind it. This is a great addition to anyone's bookshelf especially for the lover of Christmas classics! I am very happy I have it in my own.

Disclaimer: I received these products to review and was not paid for this review. My review is 100% my honest opinion.Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Costume Supercenter Costume Review

   I am a mother of 4 girls... so play pretend is HUGE in my house. We can probably all go back in time and remember what it was like to be the newest princess in a great fairytale from the movies or our own imagination. But, when I was young we had scrap materials or leftover halloween costumes, we definitely didn't have the variety my girls now have to bring their fantasies more to life. Costume Supercenter let my girls review their beautiful White Snow Queen child costume in the Christmas section of their site. It was a really pretty silver color and the details were wonderful! My girls were so excited to add this to their pretend wardrobe! I mean, look at how adorable that is! It will make a great prop for upcoming photo shoots as well! 
   As you can see the costume was the princess dress and I don't know if you can see them real well but there are cute roses all over it. The skirt sort of reminds me of Bell's dress in Beauty and the Beast. I always loved that dress :) I also love the glovelets. It is a  nice touch. It fit well and wasn't uncomfortable, or at least I never heard them complaining!
   Costume Supercenter has so much to choose from with over 50 categories! You will definitely find what you are looking for there. From periodical, to seasonal and scary to elegant. Look at the little military costume for boys! The helmet has a retracting visor. Too cute. They don't just have childrens though. They have some for all ages and accessories too. So whatever you may be looking for, and for whatever reason... give these guys a chance and check out their site here! I'm sure you will find something you love.

Disclaimer: I received these products to review and was not paid for this review. My review is 100% my honest opinion. Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

Smart Mouth Mouthwash Review

   In a previous post I mentioned that I hate the teeth routine and I look for any shortcuts I can find when it comes to that particular chore. Mouthwash is one of the most dreaded parts for me. I don't like the swishing, I hate the burn and find it such a pain. However, Smart Mouth Mouthwash has rubbed out some of that pain for me a little. You still need to swish like normal but the taste is great, and it doesn't burn at all! I love that. It also is different from others because their formula requires you to mix part A and part B right before you swish. The reaction is a powerful cleaning effect that wipes out all that bad breath. In fact Smart Mouth keeps the bad breath away for up to 12 hours. If you wash at night, you wake up without morning breath! This is true... I tried that.
   I tried the fresh mint and loved the taste. As I said before it doesn't burn at all. The pump makes it fun and easily accessible. You just pump 4 equal pumps of part a and b in the cup provided and swish. This way the 2 key ingrediants stay separate until you use it, providing you with the freshest way of washing possible. 
   Solution 1 focuses on wiping out the existing bad breath and solution 2 battles the germs that cause it to begin with. This partnership is a winning formula! Another great thing about Smart Mouth...it is sold in more then 35,000 stores nationwide! This includes Walgreens, Rite Aid, Target, CVS and Walmart. Since everyone is different and likes different things, don't just take my word for it that it is a great product.. go to one of those retailers and check it out for yourself! I for one, recommend getting smart :)

Disclaimer: I received these products to review and was not paid for this review. My review is 100% my honest opinion. Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

***Socks4Life Review***

Love socks?  I do.  My feet get cold and I love the feel of nice comfy socks on my feet.  And if you like unique socks, you might want to check out Socks4Life, they have a huge selection of socks and leg warmers for women, men, and children.

I was fortunate enough to be able to try a few pair.  My favorites were the slipper socks.

They are super soft and they don't slip off when you sleep.  They also have grippy pads on the bottoms, which is great if you have slippery floors like I do. 

I also tried the liner socks, made specifically for women's dress shoes with low sides, such as some high heels or tennis shoes. 

I loved the way they fit.  The heel didn't slip off like I imagined it would.  They felt great and they looked great in my brown shoes that regular socks look bulky in.

And the other pair I tried were the Yelete Rhinestone Leg Warmers.  They look great over high heels.

Socks4Life has women's socks, crew socks, Low cut socks, even  novelty socks (who doesn't love those?)  And they aren't badly priced at all!

Do you wear leg warmers? 

Disclaimer: I received these products to review and was not paid for this review. My review is 100% my honest opinion. Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

***Smartknit Kids Seamless Socks Review***

If you live with a child who suffers from a sensory processing disorder as I do, you know how getting them dressed every day can be a real pain (literally).  The Big One has a case of tactile defensiveness and she is getting over it slightly, but for a while there, it seemed like she wouldn't wear anything.  I was desperate, so I reached out to Smartknit to help me.  They were generous enough to send me several pairs of socks in a very pretty purple color.  But like an idiot, I saw 4-6 and figuring that she was a size 6... I asked for those.  I don't know what I was thinking, as she is a size 12 shoe.

However, it didn't stop me from slipping them onto Baby Bee to check them out.  And they are definitely seamless.  And warm.  They are soft to boot.  I absolutely love them and so does Baby Bee.  And we aren't the only ones.  Check out these testimonials:

My daughter battles me every morning when I ask her to put her socks on so we can get her on the kindergarten bus on time--she hates the sock seams and no matter how we arrange the socks/tights on her foot, we can't seem to get it so the seam isn't annoying her. I thought this was very strange until I read other people's comments on this web site. I ordered two pairs of socks and when they arrived, she examined them suspiciously--she did spot a line on the sock, but held her foot out reluctantly anyway. When the sock went on, her face lit up and she said "Hey......we can put these socks on anytime!" We've been doing wash every other day to ensure clean socks, so I am ordering more of these!
Deborah, SmartKnitKIDS Parent 

We were spending over a half hour every morning just trying to get her socks and shoes on---She would scream and cry and move the socks around --take them off -- turn them inside out-- It was a battle every morning until we found these socks (they are wonderful and we only have bad mornings if all of them are dirty) this is why we are getting ready to order 9 more pair!!! It makes life easier for us!
Christina T., SmartKnitKIDS Parent 

Does that sound like you?  It sounds like me.  I'm really sorry that the socks I got didn't fit her because I know she would love them.  But thankfully, things are going better and she is okay with her socks now.  She comes home without socks on each day, but she doesn't fight tooth and nail to get them on in the mornings anymore.  But if she didn't, I would definitely be getting more of these (in the correct size this time).  They really are great.

You can see a line, like a seam, in the sock, but you can't feel one at all.  And they don't have a heel in them like ordinary socks, so if the socks are a little too big, it's no biggie.  Just pull them up higher and you're off.  I would recommend these to any parent  who fights to get their kids dressed in the morning.

Does your child suffer from SPD?  How do you cope?

Disclaimer: I received these products to review and was not paid for this review. My review is 100% my honest opinion. Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

***Python Printables Review***

Looking for a way to spice up valentines day?  Python Printable Games has tons of games and activities to bring some fun into the holiday.  They have trivia, crosswords, mad libs, love coupons, and even games for the bedroom (or other rooms if you're feeling daring).
Check out some of these games:

Pretty neat, huh?  Some of them look really fun.  Each game is $6.95, or you can get every game for only $19.95!  That's a savings of $132.90!!!

I had the pleasure of reviewing Python Printable Games' Christmas pack.  Unfortunately I was struck with a very bad case of exhaustion and I didn't get a chance to tell you all what I thought of it.  But let me tell you now, I LOVED it!  I fully intend to laminate these games and use them for years to come.  I especially love the dress up dolls, as do my girls.

And if you have girls, they will love this valentines dress up costume party doll.

And for a dollar or two at your local library or office supply store, you could cut that out, laminate that right up and have an awesome and sturdy paper doll set that will last you for years.  Or if you are feeling real crafty, glue the pieces to magnet sheets and make a dress up set for your fridge.  The possibilities are endless.

And what fun would a party be without a white elephant gift exchange?  That's right, Python Printable Games has it all under control with instructions and ideas to get that gift exchange underway.  It'll be the most fun you have had in a long time.

I hope you give Python Printable Games a try, they have lots of fun ideas for all your holidays and  birthdays too.  You won't be disappointed.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.

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Bryton Pick Review

   Routines....they make a huge impact on my day when I use them. I would love to have routines in place, but they are definitely hard to implement and get used to. My dental routine is no different. I really dread thinking about the whole teeth routine as do many others which is why I liked having a chance to review the Bryton Pick. It is an easier way to floss and can be easily taken with  you anywhere you go. It looks like a small boomerang with thin metal on the ends. The metal is what goes between your teeth is the pick. Which, I gotta say, I was a little worried at first because I thought it may cut. It didn't though. It went right in between my teeth no problem and got the job done. Don't push too hard though, you really don't need to.

    It comes in a nice travel sleeve that fits perfectly in one of your card spaces in your wallet or purse. After you go out to eat you can just take it out, use it and rinse it off. They come in many styles too so you can get one that fits your personality. People may know what it is but its not as much of a show then bringing your typical floss out with you, lol. Each Bryton pick is up to a month of uses. These were designed for on the go, but I use them at home too. Like a lot of people I hate flossing and this has really helped me not dread it so much. Two thumbs up to a great idea, try some yourself...click here and get your own!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.
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