Friday, November 15, 2013

7 Quick Takes

1. This is the year my kids' educational experience imploded. I could write the details, I suppose, but living through them was enough. After one suspension, many, many meetings, some disappointing report cards, and several visits to doctors and psychologists, we seem to have leveled out at a manageable chaos, at least for the present. In the process we have acquired ADHD diagnoses for two kids (with another in the works), one dyslexia diagnosis, and I have learned more about the bureaucracy of learning disabilities in the public school system than I ever wanted to know.

2. Besides the school troubles, our church has been facing some difficult decisions. Our congregation votes on Sunday whether to stay in our denomination. The process of coming to this decision has taken more than a year. I serve as an elder in our congregation, so I have had many, many meetings and emails and conversations, often at the expense of spending time with my kids on their difficult schooling.

It's been a rough year.

3. I have been marathon-watching the Inspector Morse/Inspector Lewis series on Netflix while I'm doing housework. I am utterly taken in by its lugubrious charm. And if you didn't know lugubrious and charm could go together, you haven't watched Inspector Morse.

4. Speaking of marathons, my husband and I signed up to walk the Flying Pig half-marathon in May.  Walkers are welcomed in all the races. My husband turns fifty soon, and this is how he wants to celebrate. So we take a five-mile walk along the river twice a week, and we'll try longer distances in the new year. It's been nice to spend the time together. If you ever want to spend a pleasant morning in Cincinnati, try the riverwalk in the fall. It's lovely.

5. My children have decided they like salmon. Given the price of salmon, I'm not sure this helps us all that much. But when you have skinny, picky kids, any food you can add to the "Will Eat" column counts as a win. We buy a package of frozen salmon fillets, throw a couple (still frozen) on top of some mixed frozen vegetables and olive oil, bake it at 450 for 25-30 minutes. Serve it with rice. Easy dinner. Not cheap, really, but not that terrible either. Serve it with tortillas as tacos and it goes further.

6. I found my dyslexic child reading a book for fun this week. This has never happened. I tiptoed by and pretended not to notice. It was a comic book, but she was reading the words out loud. I'm not sure what she was saying. It was hard to hear over the sound of angels singing.

7. Have you read Francis Spufford's Unapologetic yet? It's wonderful. My favorite read of the year.


  1. I buy salmon at Aldi's - still not cheapo, but it's the best price I have found. I am not a huge fan of salmon, but I LOVE it made this way:

    I am so curious to hear more about your church's difficulties....does that sound morbid? If it is a sore subject for you, then no need to elaborate. But if you are willing or want to share - email me? I believe we attend churches in similar wings of the Church, so that is why I am curious...

    Sorry to hear about all the challenges you've been facing with your kiddos, but I hope that some diagnoses will lead to action plans that will end up with happier, healthier kids and parents. xoxo

  2. It's years ago now that my oldest was diagnosed with ADHD. I found that knowing exactly what we were dealing with and how it impacted her life made the whole situation much more manageable.
    Same child was a very reluctant reader. The best advice I read said to find something they were willing to read and keep them supplied with it. Don't worry about the quality yet--comic books, fan magazine about a pop star, books for younger children--just get them reading. With the practice they get better and gain confidence and naturally move on to more suitable material. And it worked for her (we read a LOT of Berenstein Bear books for awhile!)