Monday, February 27, 2006

Damn Scale!

While at work the other night, I decided to step onto the scale they have there, see just exactly how much I weigh. I could have had a heart attack right then and there! I stepped off, shook my head, "This can't be right!" I said to myself. So, I took everything out of my pockets, took off my shoes, and stepped back on, it wavered, but was still within 1 lb. of the weight it showed the 1st time. I stepped off, stepped back on, did this a few more times. Shook my head again..."NO WAY!" Then, it set in, "OMG!" I am at my all time high. I have never weighed this much, NOT EVEN PREGNANT! I will say...189lb. And, ladies, I am a mere 5'1/2" tall!!! This is insane. All those Dutch Bros., Starbucks coffees, poppy seed muffins, and pepsi's have most definitely caught up with me! This is just insane! I was 118 lbs. before getting pregnant with my 1st dtr, and was down to 116 by the time she was 1 1/2! This is my wake up call. I do not want to end up with diabeties, high cholesterol, heart problems, or any of the many problems that can result from being so overweight!
So...I decided to try TrimSpa. I also came across a 3 day belly fat reduction plan in a magazine at work. It is actually already making a difference. Lots of calcium, vit. C, protein, water. For 3 days I eat the same tham dings, which really aren't that bad, except for the plain low fat yogurt. Drink lots of water, take my TrimSpa, and drink NO PEPSI. NO SALT, NO SUGARS. I feel good already. I have way less bloat, no swollen feeling, my belly has already gotten a slight bit smaller. (Jack, if your reading this, DON'T NEED YOUR INPUT!) Two more days of this diet, and then start some workout. I have to lose this weight. 70-75lb. HOW THE HECK DID IT GET THIS CRAZY?!!

Friday, February 24, 2006

One Busy Day!

Beau had to go in today for his 2nd year well check, and vaccinations. Turns out he missed a couple somehow and was up for not just one, but 5 vaccinations, all in seperate injections. I said "NO WAY", so they only did 3/5. Still, he howled, and tears rolled. Little Leah could tell it was more than just crying like at home, it scared her, and she started crying too. As soon as they were done, and had bandaids on his thighs, he just started rubbing his legs over and over, trying to make the ache go away. He left binky in the car, so he had a nervous breakdown when he realized it wasn't handy. But, once the nurse mentioned stickers, he seemed to get over it all quite quickly. He even found a Thomas the Train sticker!
He now weighs a whopping 31 lbs, is 37 inches 'tall', and Ginger made sure to tell me to stop letting him have his binky, and ba-ba, and to put him on 2% milk now. OH! And, to start potty training him soon. Come on! Let me keep my 'baby' boy a bit longer, dammit!!!!
After the doctor visit, I took them to the park, and we ate Hasty Freeze, while Leah napped in the van close by. It was sooo cold and we just could not get out of the wind, so I had to cut the park fun short, to their dismay. Amazing how they can tolerate that cold!
I had to make a "what daddy forgot" grocery shopping trip, so we went to the supermarket. They love the free cookies, and so they stuff their faces while I run around like a mad woman trying to remember where everything is in the stinkin' store! I swear they reorganize between every shopping trip I make! Makes me crazy! I settled myself though with a wonderfully delicious, and satisfying Cinnamon Dolce Latte as I exited. Mmmm,mmmm! I love those things! If it weren't for a nice, hot, triple fattening coffee after a marathon grocery shopping experience I'd lose my mind!
WHAT A DAY! But...the smiles on each one of thier faces, and the adorable little giggles always melt my heart no matter what may.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

What a Wonderful Boy

This morning Beau Michael was playing with Leah in thier room, so I asked him to play nice, I had to hop in the shower real quick. I put the baby gate up, keeping them in thier room. When I got out of the shower, I found him in the living room playing Choo-Choo trains, Toy Train and Leah sitting mesmerized by Teletubbies! TV 2 Bob the Builder was the last video in before I showered, so that boy put the Teletubbies video on specially for sissy! How sweet is that??? I said to him. "Handsome! Did you put teletubbies on for sissy?" He said, "Ya". I said, "That is so nice of you to do that for sissy, thankyou so much! " He just soaked that up!

I was in town today also, and as we were walking through the store, Leah in the cart, Beau trailing behind me, an elderly woman came driving her motorized wheelchair toward me. Beau ran out in front of her, and she had to come to a very fast stop. I hollered for him to watch out, he stopped, went back behind me, and said to the lady, "Sorry!" It was so sweet coming from his 2 year old mouth. The lady was so impressed, shocked, she graciously accepted his apology. He was all smiles!

Drew...what shall I do with you?

Today, Drew came home from school complaining about a boy having slapped her hand. She said she got in trouble for no reason. I got her to emphasize a bit more, and the story changed a little to, a boy making fun of her on the bus, saying he saw her panties, she got mad, (as she is known to do!), and slapped him on the hand. I'm thinking his hand must have been the closest things to her for her to get ahold of. Well, he told on her to the bus driver, she bawled her head off on the way to school. I called this boys Mom, we talked, I let her know that I am not blaming her son, but that Drew is prone to being aggressive, and easy to anger. I told her about an incident when she was playing ball with her cousin, and he started laughing at her, which she did not like, and she hauled off and punched him in the stomach, knocked the breath out of him! This Mom replied, "Well, I think Trey's met his match!" Ha-Ha! I don't think we'll have another talk.
Girl Vs Boy

Thursday, February 16, 2006

What reading problem???

I laid down this evening with Drew in her bed, and we practiced her reading books from class, 'Sam' books. She read the first one with such expertise I was in shock! She had to figure out one new word, but did so very quickly! And then the next she had to practice the one new word, plus one more, she had a little bit of a hard time, I think she tries to just say the word from memory vs. sounding it out. But, she did amazing! I am so proud. I told her she earned not 1, but 5 gumballs for tomorrow. I just can't see that this meeting has to do solely with her reading abilities. I am starting to wonder even more.

Mad Momma

I called the District office to talk to them about the problems I am having with my dtr's school. He also agreed that the teachers statement set me out on a negative spin. He insisted on personally calling the school and speaking with the principal about making time ASAP for a conference. I emmediately got a call from the principal, the meeting is now February 28th. Sooner, but in my opinion, NOT SOON ENOUGH! My dtr says, "teacher will just say I'm bad, she just thinks I'm so bad!" I hate this coming from my 5 year old dtr!!!! I have DIBLES information, and I plan to let them know just exactly where they can shove it!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


I am just stewing right now! I have been trying to get a conference with my 5 year olds teacher for a few months. Report cards just came, and I was not happy with hers, so I tried to set up an apptmt. No luck. Finally set one up for what was supposed to be today, but the teacher cancelled it, saying,"The principal won't be able to attend, so we need to reschedule." I was speechless, I mean, I need to meet with her about this, I have NO idea what is going on. They tell me they have some special meeting planned, yet, are not telling me why, or notifying me beforehand! I looked at her, "I just don't understand why we need a principal present for a parent/teacher conference." She says to me, "Well, I just don't know what your reaction is going to be to what I have to say, or what will be said, so I just think it's better if he is there." This spun me real good! MY REACTION? WHAT I WILL SAY? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? AND WHY IS NOBODY TELLING ME? WHAT IS THIS BIG SECRET?! I am so angry right now. the only thing I do know is that they say her DIBLES scores are significantly low. Yeah, well, I think DIBLES is a bunch of BS! I can't sleep, my stomach hurts, I have a headache. And, this meeting is April 25th!!! OMG! I am so very unhappy with this school right now, I could scream!

National Clout of DIBELS Test Draws Scrutiny
Critics say reading tool's scope fails to justify its broad use.
By Kathleen Kennedy Manzo
Just a few years ago, a set of tests known as “dibbles” would have elicited little more than a chuckle from educators or anyone else. Today, they’re taking it seriously, because the acronym DIBELS has come to symbolize the standard for early-literacy assessment throughout much of the country.
Teachers in Reading First schools in more than 40 states now use the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills to screen K-3 pupils for potential reading problems and to monitor their progress. And state officials are collecting the data from the short reading-fluency tests to determine whether schools receiving some of the $1 billion given annually in federal Reading First grants are making adequate progress in getting students up to grade-level proficiency.
Several states have gone so far as to adopt the assessments for all schools to use regularly.
Seen as Reliable
Developed by researchers at the University of Oregon, DIBELS has become a catchphrase in the schoolhouse and the statehouse as officials look to test data to inform instruction, to identify children at risk of failure in reading, and to hold schools accountable for student achievement.
But while teachers, administrators, and researchers praise the tests for their ease of use and reliability in predicting which children may have reading difficulties later, the use of DIBELS has drawn criticism from some in the field. Critics cite the tendency of some educators to teach to the tests or give the measures too much weight in gauging reading ability, as well as the often-aggressive promotion of DIBELS by federal employees and consultants to the Reading First program.
“If you want a test of whether kids can read fast with low comprehension, then DIBELS is great,” said G. Michael Pressley, a professor of education at Michigan State University in East Lansing and a former editor of the Journal of Educational Psychology. “It is not as well developed as the claims that are being made.”
DIBELS has become the de facto national assessment for Reading First over the last three years, with the tests’ use in most of the 4,800 schools in the program and a number of other schools. Reading First, adopted under the No Child Left Behind Act, authorized $6 billion over six years to implement strongly skills-based reading instruction in the nation’s struggling schools.
Although the total number of schools using the tests is unknown, more than 8,200 schools in 2,600 districts have signed up for the associated data-management system offered by the University of Oregon at a cost of $1 per student.
DIBELS has become widely used because “it is pretty darn good,” Roland H. Good III, who developed the tests with Ruth A. Kaminski, wrote in an e-mail message to Education Week.
“DIBELS is a reliable and valid measurement tool…that helps teachers make decisions to change reading outcomes for students,” he wrote. “It is also very efficient to use and requires modest resources to implement.”
‘Lol’ and ‘Tob’
DIBELS measures such skills as letter naming, recognizing the sounds of each letter, sounding out words, and read-aloud fluency. Its appeal is that the tests are “brief, replicable, and relatively easy to administer,” said Natalie Rathvon, a Bethesda, Md.-based consultant and the author of Early Reading Assessment: A Practitioner’s Handbook. “DIBELS is great for testing those foundational skills.”
The tests for K-6 cover a range of tasks and include benchmarks for determining whether pupils are on grade level or at risk of problems with reading. On the test of letter-naming fluency for kindergartners, for example, youngsters are asked to identify as many randomly listed uppercase and lowercase letters as they can in one minute.
Sounding It Out
Children in kindergarten and 1st grade are given this test of their fluency in decoding nonsense words as part of the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills.
tob, dos, et, tuf, kej, mun, ik, saf, naf
SOURCE: Dynamic Measurement Group
On the nonsense-word-fluency test, K-2 pupils must decode pseudo-words, such as “lol” or “tob,” as quickly as they can for one minute, a measure intended to gauge how well they know the letter sounds. First, 2nd, and 3rd graders are also given a test of their oral-reading fluency, which measures how many words in a given text passage they can read accurately in a minute.
At Spencer Math and Science Academy in Chicago last week, Rachel Woodrick, the Reading First coach, was in the midst of testing 3rd graders on how well they could read DIBELS passages. After spending a few minutes with each student, she entered the scores into a hand-held computer and received feedback on how each child measured up to the desired standard.
“Once you learn to do the test it’s really easy to do … and it gives me a fast result,” she said. “And the test does not push [the children] to an extreme frustration level” if they are struggling with their reading.
The battery of tests was not the first choice for Illinois and some states applying for the federal money. In fact, a number of states had intended to use other assessments for screening children and gauging progress in Reading First schools. They changed their plans, they maintain, after federal officials and consultants pressured them to include DIBELS in their grant proposal as a condition for approval. Federal officials deny those charges. (
"States Pressed to Refashion Reading First Grant Designs," Sept. 7, 2005.)
Still, observers say that DIBELS, which was in use years before the Reading First initiative, may have seemed the best fit for Reading First schools because the tests are quick and yield information about aptitude on a range of reading tasks. They were also designed around the same research on effective reading instruction that guides the federal initiative, Mr. Good said.
“It is not a coincidence … that the structure of our work corresponds so closely to Reading First and the National Reading Panel report,” the influential research review released in 2000, Mr. Good wrote. “We were all reading the same research and committed to following the evidence and the data.”
Competitive Edge
Some states were able to make a case for other tests. In Virginia, for example, Reading First schools use the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening tests, or PALS. That system, developed by researchers at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, has been the early-literacy assessment in that state since 1997 and is used by schools and districts in more than 40 other states as well.
Virginia was able to make its case for using the test in Reading First schools based on its use in nearly all of the state’s 135 school districts over the last 8 years. Several other states also initially chose PALS as their evaluation instrument. But federal reviewers, who questioned the validity and reliability of the tests, repeatedly returned those proposals. Marcia Invernizzi, the director of PALS, calls the federal claims “outrageous.”
“I would pit PALS’ validity and reliability studies against any Reading First assessment,” she said. “DIBELS is a terrific assessment tool, … but it lacks the instructional transparence and utility that teachers need.”
Ms. Rathvon, the Maryland-based consultant, agrees. While DIBELS provides good assessment tools, it is “a work in progress,” she writes in her book. Nor does it give teachers clear answers for designing instruction around students’ needs. For example, PALS pinpoints if a 2nd grader is reading at a level expected of a mid-year 1st grader, while DIBELS determines only if a pupil does or does not measure up to the benchmarks set for his or her own grade level.
The Virginia test system, however, was not included in a federally commissioned expert review of research-based early-literacy assessments that met Reading First requirements, although Ms. Invernizzi said she twice submitted the materials.
Only a few states were able to get tests other than DIBELS, such as the Developmental Reading Assessment and the Texas Primary Reading Inventory, approved under Reading First.
Some critics charge that DIBELS got the competitive edge not because of its superiority, but because its developers and their colleagues at the University of Oregon, located in Eugene, were key consultants to the U.S. Department of Education for Reading First. Mr. Good was on the assessment committee that evaluated 29 early-literacy tests, including DIBELS, his own product. That list was provided as a resource to states for drafting their Reading First plans.
Related Products
While the tests are free for download, slick, packaged sets and related products are sold by Sopris West, a Longmont, Colo.-based company that sells instructional materials and assessments and offers teacher training. The data-management program has been licensed to Wireless Generation, a New York City-based company selling hand-held computers to schools for assessment and data management.
States and districts have also paid for training sessions. Mr. Good said his influence on Reading First “has been negligible” and credits other researchers with guiding the federal initiative.
Some of the harshest criticism is aimed at the test content itself. Some researchers question whether children’s speed at reading nonsense words or carefully crafted passages has anything to do with the ultimate goal of comprehension, according to P. David Pearson, the dean of education at the University of California, Berkeley. Moreover, Mr. Pearson said, the assessment measures have not been studied adequately enough to support its widespread use in Reading First.
Research has shown that students’ ability to decode nonsense words, and their speed in reading grade-level passages, are valid and reliable predictors of whether they will have reading difficulties later on, according to Ms. Rathvon.
Even so, some researchers argue that DIBELS’ reliability and its usefulness to teachers is questionable.
Michigan State’s Mr. Pressley is completing a technical report on DIBELS. So far, he said, his analysis shows that it is an accurate indicator of how pupils will perform on high-stakes state tests in reading. But DIBELS does not show whether students are on target for developing higher-level reading skills, such as vocabulary and comprehension.
“These [tested skills] become your end goal,” Mr. Pressley said. “DIBELS is leading some teachers to infer the wrong end goal, which is to read the words fast

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Mashed Potato Caper

I made some mashed potatoes this evening with dinner, which I must say, I rarely do. (BAD MOM!) Leah loves them! I started out feeding her from a baby spoon, but quickly graduated to just slopping a big heap of them on her high chair tray and letting her go for it! And, that, she did! She had mashed potatoes up her nose, all over her eye lids, in her hair! Beau just thought that was hilarious! "ha ha, ya-ya, mess!" ( He says her name, very strangly nowadays!)

I just LOVE Valentines Day!

Bee Mine, get it?!! Too cute!

I had to make Choo-Choo cupcakes for my Handsome! He loved it!
The little flags say, "I choo-choose you".

Saturday night, Drew and I stayed up until midnight making her valentine's for school. It was so much fun. And, I quote her, "This is much funner than even watchin' TV!" WOW! What a compliment coming from my 5 year old electronics addict! Here are a few photos of what we made! Thank goodness for Family Fun!

Friday, February 10, 2006

My Handsome

I took Beau Micheal Joseph to Sears for the February promotional props, "When I Grow Up", using a man's jacket, hat, and tie. I thought it turned out so cute, even though I could not get him to smile, or cooperate much as far the hat was concerned, so this was the best I got. But, I love it anyway! What a very handsome "man" he will be!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Beau's New Blankie

I had an idea for my son, it transformed from making something to hang on his crib or bed to store his choo-choo's in at night since he must sleep with atleast 3 of them EVERY night. It finally evolved into making him a quilt/blanket with a zippered pocket to place the choo-choo's in and they can sleep with him! I think it turned out great! He loves it. I am not quite finished yet, still have the binding to add, but he can sit with it for now. I am so proud of myself!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Fifths Disease

My son had this virus last spring, was misdiagnosed by 2 doctors mind you, in a local urgent care, saying it was Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease, which is a Herpes virus. But, after me freaking out, and going to my doctor yet again, we figured out it was Fifths Disease. There is alot of literature online on it too. I guess only children get this type of outbreak. He had a sore throat, runny nose, the rash on his cheeks, extremities, trunk. Adults only represent with respiratory manifestations if they contract it from a child, and it is deadly to a pregnant womans fetus. Has something to do with red blood cells bursting I believe. I thought I'd post the photos of took, which I am glad now I did, for Donna to have a look-see. It got so much worse than these photos depict, and he was so itchy, it was horrible. I had to give him benadryl for the itching since it was even on the soles of his feet.
Check out this website for more detail: