Happiness Daily Catch Up

~~Exhausted sigh~~  Wow it’s been busy here in the Strongheart household since school started on the 22nd of August.  As y’all know from the previous posts Cecelia is in Kindergarten!  Yeah, Cece!  Well more specifically she’s in a SPED classroom and joins the kindergarteners varying times every day.  She is in a class with seven other SPED kids.  There is one teacher and four aides.  So that works out to a pretty nice ratio in my opinion 1.6:1 although I don’t know how you’d have a .6 of a teacher LOL

Anyway, Cece has been doing beautifully.  She took to the full days much easier than I did, that’s for certain.  I am utterly amazed at how easily she seems to have adapted to full time (nearly 8 hour days) school.  We’ve had to rearrange our schedules and figure stuff out.  Now Cece goes to speech, occupational and physical therapies twice a week for a total of 5 hours.  We still also receive 10 hours of respite care a week for the time being.  So starting next week we’re changing the schedule around again so that everyday Cece will get out of school 25 minutes early and go to respite care for two hours before coming home.  We’ll have to see how that goes, she didn’t do so well with respite yesterday but she’d been out sick the day before.

So what am I doing during this time, you’re probably wondering?  Well mostly taking care of and trying to keep up with Glenna.  We’ve been running errands, attending reading time at the library for preschoolers, enjoying the weather, and just being together.

I’ve spent these last five years learning about developmental delays, diagnoses, therapies, supplements, diet changes, etc.  for Cecelia.  Cecelia’s official diagnoses are: Pervasive Developmental Disorder NOS, and Severe Mixed Receptive Expressive Language Disorder .  I have done and still do lots of research about these plus implementing a plan of care for Cece to help her overcome these difficulties.  In all of this time with therapies and working with Cece, Glenna has been right there learning too.  I knew Glenna was learning at an amazing rate and picking up everything that we were working on with Cece.  This became quite clear when Glenna started using sign language at six months old.

I just didn’t fully comprehend how much Gege was picking up from all the intense therapy and work I’ve been doing with Cece at home.  Well this past several months I am starting to realize the full impact of these things on Gege.  Now I sit here shaking my head wondering how in the world am I going to keep up with her?  Here’s Glenna, who is (mind you) only 2 years old, and she already amazes me.  Gege cannot go to head start this year because she’s too young and misses the cut off.  The cut off is September 1, meaning the child has to be three years old before then.  Glenna won’t turn three until November.  Yet she’s learning so much so quickly…sigh….

Here let me brag just a bit before I make my point (I think I am leading towards making a point…maybe? or I could just be babbling b/c I’m tired LOL) so here we go:

~~sits up taller, dons a deep grin of complete amazement and utter pride, because bragging about ones kids is always an easy thing to do~~

So if we do the math Glenna is two and three quarters years old.  Already she speaks in 7-14 word sentences (sometimes longer if she’s telling me a story), she knows her colors, her shapes and her numbers up to 15, plus she can sing her alphabet.  I know you’re sitting there saying to yourself “okay so what’s the big deal” right?  Oh did I only say she sings her alphabet?  She can also identify the entire alphabet by sight not only upper case but lower case too.  She can also match the appropriate lower case letter to it’s corresponding upper case letter and vice versa.  She also knows probably 75% of the phonics of the alphabet ooh and last but not least she can recognize the entire alphabet in sign language plus sign hmm maybe half of it. Oops and she is able to recognize her numbers up to 10 by sight also.

She is obsessed with letters and reading books.  I began to wonder what am I going to do to help Glenna now?  How do I challenge her and keep up with her intense desire to learn?  I thought about it and did a lot of online research.  I noticed when I reviewed the suggested requirements for children to be prepared for kindergarten that although Glenna was excelling in a lot of areas she had some things that needed work.  These thing were things that I alone could not accomplish.  The biggest thing, in my opinion, is that Gege needed to work on was her social skills.  She needs to learn how to interact and play with other children and adults.  Well being home with mom isn’t going to accomplish this.  Plus she needs to learn to try some artsy craftsy skills b/c I cannot seem to get her interested in drawing, coloring, cutting, glueing at home.   So now I had to come up with a type of plan of care for Gege.

Also during this time I realized that with Cece being in school full time I could ~~looks around to make sure no one is listening/reading because this next statement is compounded by guilt~~ **gulp** get a job!  GASP! Have adult interaction! Bigger GASP!  What. A. Concept!  Oh but how does one do that?  I am still coming to terms with the fact that Cece’s in Kindergarten and is spending more of her waking hours with her teachers than she is with me.

Glenna has never been in anyone else’s care for more than a few hours on a few very very rare occasions!  Oh it would be so wonderful to bring in some extra money, sure we’d lose our housing and some other assistance but we’d be fully self sufficient!  These thoughts/ideas sent my mind swimming.

Immediately I started making a mental list of pros and cons.  Pro:  Glenna could go to daycare/preschool at a private facility and interact with others learning all kinds of wonderful things.  Con: Glenna would go to a daycare/preschool and be away from ME!  Pro: I could interact with adults and do something outside the house!  Con:  I’d have to interact with other people and do things outside the home!  Pro:  Glenna would really enjoy playing and learning with other kids!  Con:  Glenna would be learning and playing with others and I wouldn’t be there!

Yeah, okay, I admit it, I was having a panic attack.  I had to talk it out with friends and even put it up on FB to build up my courage to move forward.  I’ve become comfortable in the life we have now, but still…… sigh…. there’s a whole world out there.  I was/am filled with excitement, anxiety, happiness, panic, joy, sadness, pride, and fear.  I had to psych myself up.  I had to realize that it is time to make another life change, it’s time to keep moving forward!  It’s time to make a better life for the girls and I.

So in the midst of all of these realizations I came up with not only a plan of care for Glenna but also a new life plan for me too!  I made phone calls and did research.  My biggest concern is that I cannot afford to lose insurance coverage for the girls.  Cece needs to keep all her therapies in place.  Additionally, she has met the State’s Level Of Care requirements to receive Medicaid Waiver Services .  We have developed a Plan of Care for Cecelia and are just waiting on it to be approved by the State.

Once it’s approved Cece will start receiving waiver services.  Our anticipated start date for services is Oct. 1, 2012.  Once the plan is approved then Cece will receive services six days a week for a total of about 26 hours per week.  So I had to find out how much I could make and still keep their current insurance coverage.  Thankfully the waiver services go off of Cece’s actual income and anything I make does not factor into it.  But all her therapies are covered under Denali KidCare so they have different requirements.

But after much research and many phone calls I realized that the likelihood of me finding a job that would pay enough to put me over the limit was small.  So then other considerations had to be considered.  We’ll lose our housing assistance/vouchers most likely which means I have to make enough to cover the full rent, currently I pay 60% of it.  We’d lose our food stamps so there’s another expense I have to be able to cover.   But the biggest thing would be the new expense of child care for Glenna.   I researched, found and completed an application for Child Care Assistance.

Then came time to find a daycare for Glenna, fill out their application and turn in required documents, ensure they had room for her and then take all this paperwork over to the child care assistance program office to turn it all in.  We just did all of this last Friday.  We toured the daycare/preschool.  Glenna got to see the school, meet the teachers and see all the little kids.  I was/am adequately impressed with the facility.  We turned in our assistance application and scheduled an appointment for the middle of September to go over it and find out if we’re approved.  Whew…such a big step!

I have been really talking up school to Glenna, and I am trying really hard to not let my anxiety over this new path we are taking show.  It’s not easy but I am ambivalently excited!  Once all of the daycare/preschool stuff is in place then all I have to do is find a job! I have three very good possibilities right now, I just have to work on my resume and get that and an application turned in.  Another job is rumored to be opening this week so I’ll think about applying for that too.

So as you can read we’ve been busy busy here in the Strongheart Household.  In addition to all of this I am still working hard on my personal goal of getting healthy before I turn 40 next year!

Life is awesome!  The girls amaze me everyday! OOH did I mention that Cece is very nearly potty trained during the day?  YEAH!!!  Didn’t think she’d make it before school started but she’s been working on it for a month now!!  That helps reduce my diaper expense!  What else am I forgetting?  Oh well I can always try to do another post if I think of anything 😀

Well there you have it.  Happiness Daily  Weekly!  Life is this amazingly wonderful journey that we all make and guide for ourselves.  We cannot know where the path might take us or with whom we travel it with or lose along the way but it’s the journey that defines who we are.  I may be a widow, I may have dealt with more than my fair share of difficulties, I have my own battles and successes everyday but no matter the happiness, turmoil, joy or pain that comes with each and every day I will always take time to cherish every day that I have.  Cherish those in my life, my family, my friends, be they here or miles and miles away or if they are watching down on us from heaven above.  Don’t get lost in chasing your goals so much that you lose sight of the here and now.  Remember the best things in life are never the easiest! Live on! Live well! and Celebrate Happiness DAILY!

(here are a few pictures from recently…enjoy!)

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About annstrongheart

About me...hmmm where to start. I'm a proud single/widowed mom of two beautiful girls who currently works full time for the local Tribe. Life. Is. AWESOME!
This entry was posted in autism, disability, friends, fun, Happiness Daily, parenting, persistence, single mom, struggle, summer, therapy, widowhood, writing/blogging time and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Happiness Daily Catch Up

  1. FEDUP!!! says:

    Ann, this is simply awesome what is going on with you and the girls! So glad to see you all are advancing nicely!
    If you have concerns re. working and earning too much in order to keep your current coverages for you and the kids, maybe you could try to volunteer instead. You would earn little to no $, but you would boost your resume for future jobs, and you also would be working/interacting with adults…
    Check out services that might be available for GeGe for bright kids ( my English is totally failing me right now… Sorry about that! :/ ). I know those services exist, but they are way harder to find than services for disabled kids.
    GOOD LUCK to all of you! {{{HUGGGZZZ}}}

  2. annstrongheart says:

    Thanks, FEDUP!!! I’d love to volunteer but child care for Gege is an issue. I had forgotten how expensive daycare/preschool is!! WOW! It’s between $650-$750 a month! That’s nearly as much as I pay in rent!! whew…. Thank goodness for Child Care Assistance lest there’d be no way a lot of parents could afford it! I am really excited!

    It seems like we’re moving through stages first it was just surviving Segundo’s death, then coping day to day sometimes minute by minute then getting into and then out of an abusive relationship, finding myself, recognizing Cece’s issues, moving to get help for Cece, building up my self esteem while learning to ask for help, getting back on our feet again when we moved into our home and now…..now…..sigh…. 😀

    Hmm what stage is this maybe the “Moving from walking to running stage?” Now that we’ve gotten or are getting all of our priorities and Cece’s services in place it’s like I can step back and just let those work for her while shifting some of that immense focus to Gege and me!

    Life is moving forward nicely, acceptance has come as far as Gundo’s passing although I do occasionally regress into the anger stage when I am angry at him for leaving us to do all this alone but that’s okay. Life goes on I am just trying to hold on to each precious and wonderful moment! 😀

    Love your comments, my friend! Hope you’re having a great holiday weekend!

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