Keep fueling the fire ’cause you’re only making me stronger!

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

Last week I made a phone call to my daughter’s school in order to receive an update on our case seeking speech therapy for her and guess what I received?  Nothing!  Nada!  Freaking Zilch!  So, you can imagine how angry I was and the anger kept brewing up inside of me to the point where I was in tears over the phone as I explained to my husband what they said, or in our case, didn’t say.  I didn’t know what to do with myself, but then it hit me.

Take that anger and use it as fuel.

I sat down in front of my computer and started typing away.

I started typing a lengthy letter detailing the process that we’ve been going through with no results.

I started typing about the discouraging words coming out of people who should be helping us.

I started typing about my sweet daughter who’s being punished for having good grades.

I started typing about her teachers who noticed immediately that she needs a little bit of help.

That’s all she needs, a little bit of help.

THAT’S ALL WE’RE ASKING FOR!

I started typing an SOS letter to the highest position in the school, the principal.

I printed out my letter with my contact information, signed and sealed it.  I hand delivered it, while picking up my daughter during dismissal, to the assistant principal with a message that this letter was for the principal.  Honestly, I thought I was going to get a response possibly the next day or later.  As soon as I got home, ten minutes later, I received a phone call from the principal.  I was shocked and pleased.  We spoke amicably about my letter and she assured me that she was going to look into matters, talk to all the necessary people, and find me options.  I told her options are good, for now, because nothing’s currently being done.

So, the waiting game continues…

…but, I will continue to call,

I will continue to write,

I will keep advocating for my child,

they will continue to see and hear me until I see results.

Until my child gets that little bit of help that she needs.

And for those who don’t want to help me, your discouraging words bring on a rage inside of me and I use that as fuel to surpass any social anxiety that I suffer from in order to insure that my child will get the services that she is rightfully entitled to.

Take that anger and use it as fuel.  Advocate for your child, no matter what.

My newest mantra.

Take good care all.

Until next time…

DIY CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

I wanted to see if I could make some Christmas ornaments using cookie cutters and air dry clay.  Guess what?  It worked.  This is going to be a great project for the weekend with my girls.

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Things I used: mini rolling pin that’s used for clay activities, toothpick, cookie cutters, and air dry clay

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I pressed little alphabet beads into the heart, spelling out LOVE, and two gold beads for Mr. Gingerbread

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According to the container, it takes about 2 – 3 days for the clay to dry.  Since I pressed little beads into the clay it did crack a bit during the drying process.  I just used a toothpick and inserted a little bit more clay in the areas that was noticeable then let the clay dry once again.  I used pink and white twine to string it up the heart.

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I painted Mr. Gingerbread a lovely Acorn color (Martha Stewart acrylic paint) with a small paintbrush.

This project has endless possibilities!

Take good care all.

Until next time…

Building our first Gingerbread House

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

The holidays are fast approaching and my mind is about to explode.  Please SLOW DOWN!!  Wishful thinking, I know.  Anyway, the other day we went to my mom’s house and I decided to take a gingerbread kit, which I bought at Ikea (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90218783/), with us because we’ve never constructed a gingerbread house before and I thought my girls and I would have a lot of fun putting it together with Grandma Rose.  That was an understatement because we had a BLAST!

Along with the kit I also bought a bunch of decorating goodies:

Marshmallow fluff

Mini marshmallows

Mike & Ike candy

Fruit Snack Gummies

Twizzlers

Mini M&M’s

Skittles

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The laughter was non-stop between my youngest licking her fingers (germs galore, yikes!) and dealing with the stickiness of the marshmallow fluff.  We did our very best to stack the house, decorate it, and keep it in tact, but…

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…it didn’t work.  By the end of the night, one side of the roof was falling off and the fluff was melting causing the candies to fall down with it.  Oh well, we still had so much fun building it and then eating it.

Take good care all.

Until next time…

Oh angry bird…

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Oh angry bird

look at you there

staring fiercely at me,

but you bring so much joy

to so many kids, including my own.

You’re even inspiring.

Beckoning me to take a photograph of you

with your beady little eyes,

furrowed eyebrows and pointy beak.

Who knew you were such a model?

You definitely have that je ne sais quoi.

– Angelica Mercado

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Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, less writing these past few months days.  Just going through the motions and preparing for Christmas.  The tree and decorations are up at the Mercado household, the online wish list has been emailed and the gift shopping is very SLOWLY getting checked off.  As for my angry bird inspiration above, my kids are always taking their toys, whether they’re bath toys or not, to the bathroom and while taking a shower the other day, I spotted the angry bird on the dollhouse table.  It beckoned to be photographed.  So I did.  And then gave it some words.

Take good care all.

Until next time…

DIY Minion

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

I have a great craft idea that came from my darling, beautiful and very crafty 6-year-old daughter, Olivia.  With a toilet paper roll, construction paper, glue, markers, scissors, and googly eyes Olivia made her very own minions from the movie “Despicable Me.”  She came up with this idea on her very own so I’m sharing it with you step by step.  Enjoy!

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My husband put up a ledge shelf for Olivia’s Arts and Crafts finished projects.  Here are her Minions – Ballerina, Mom, Dad, and Baby Minion

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I covered the toilet paper roll with yellow construction paper.  I added the googly eyes with the glue dots.  Then traced around the eyes with the silver marker to make the goggles and used the black sharpie to make the band.

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Using the sharpie I drew the smile and hair.  With the blue construction paper I made the front of the overalls, adding a pocket and the letter G for Gru.

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I glued the construction paper using the Fabri – Tac glue because it works best for me.  I used the glue dots for the small strips of construction paper.  You can always make the Minion with one eye like the toy figure pictured.

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Here’s my finished Minion.

This is a fun craft project for your kids and it’s also a great decorating idea for any Minion party!

Take good care all.

Until next time…

Proof is in the grade!

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

Happy belated Veterans Day (THANK YOU to all veterans and those currently serving) and my thoughts are with the people in the Philippines and their worried friends and family throughout the world.  May help arrive as soon as possible and heal those in need.  May the people who lost their lives rest in peace.

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So, I’ve been wondering whether or not I did the correct thing in asking for my daughter to be placed in another first grade class with a new teacher.  I got the answer this past Friday when my daughter’s teacher wanted a word with me regarding speech therapy for Olivia.  I told her that we tried to get her therapy last year while she was in Kindergarten, but due to her above average grades, they felt that she didn’t need the therapy.  Olivia’s new teacher balked at that.  We are starting the process once again in order to give my daughter the help she needs because this year it’s affecting her spelling, writing, and communicating skills.  There are certain letter sounds in which Olivia has a hard time pronouncing so if she’s writing a word that includes these sounds, she spells the word wrong.  At home we do practice with her enunciating certain words and letter sounds, but she still needs a therapist.  Within a week, her new teacher picked up on this and that’s why I’m loving her.  Also, my daughter was given her first spelling test with the words of the week, which we studied for by writing them over every day, looking at homemade flash cards, and making sentences for each word.  She scored a:

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The proof is in the grade.

I did the right thing and the added bonus is a teacher who’s going to battle for my daughter to get the services that she rightfully deserves.  Last year, Olivia’s Kindergarten teacher mentioned that there was some issues regarding her speech, so we started the process of requesting speech therapy for her.  It was completely drawn out.  My husband and I scheduled and attended meetings, I wrote many letters and finally (many months later) my husband took Olivia to be evaluated, per an appointment made by the Board of Education.  This evaluation proved that Olivia was not struggling in school.  They concluded that she was above average, but that’s not what we asked for.  She can’t say certain letter sounds, but because she was achieving superb grades in Kindergarten, they decided that she would grow out of it.  That was their conclusion.  Obviously they were wrong, because it’s starting to affect her now in the 1st grade and if not dealt with, it might get worse, but I’m not going to let that happen.  No matter how many letters I have to write or meetings I have to attend, my child will get the assistance that she needs.

I’m her advocate.

I’m her mom.

Take good care all.

Until next time…

Happy Belated Halloween 2013

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

This year for Halloween the Mercado household dressed up as…

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…Princess Peach, Mario, Luigi, and Yoshi from Super Mario Brothers

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I so wanted to recreate that picture above with the stuff toys, but a certain little girl/Yoshi didn’t want to cooperate and get into the costume my talented husband created, so we went Yoshiless.  My oldest daughter, Olivia, was Princess Peach (costume gown and crown bought early at Target.com), my husband was Mario and I, as you can see, turned into Luigi.  I couldn’t smile comfortably with that darn moustache on my face.  🙂

We bought the white gloves, blue suspenders, and moustaches at Party City.  I ordered a set of Mario and Luigi hats through Amazon, but unfortunately they didn’t arrive on time so I took matters into my own hands…

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I took hats that we already owned and using felt, tape, glue, safety pins and a sewing needle I transformed them temporarily.

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This idea popped into my head the day before Halloween so I had to hustle in order to have them ready for pics and trick or treating, which only my husband did with my oldest ’cause turns out my youngest was running a fever that night and I had to stay home with her.  That’s why she was refusing to cooperate.  She wasn’t feeling well.  😦  I was able to put a costume on her in the morning when we took her sister to school.  At that time she was okay.

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My little forest fairy!

Several days later I was able to make Yoshi come to life…

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…here’s Sophia in a homemade Yoshi costume.

My husband purchased a green t-shirt and felt (white, red, orange, and green) at A.C. Moore craft store.  He made the shell using red and white felt and sewed it together.  He stuffed it with polyester fiberfill (Sophia can use it later as a small pillow).  In front of the shirt, he sewed a white felt circle and then attached/sewed the shell in the back of the shirt.  He constructed the head-piece on his own, using green, orange, and white felt.  He drew the eyes and nostrils with a sharpie marker and to make the nose prominent he used a little of the fiberfill and sewed it up.  There you go, it’s Yoshi from Super Mario Brothers!

I hope your Halloween for 2013 was fun and safe.

Take good care all.

Until next time…

A stressful month…

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

I’ve been missing in action and it’s due to my wonderful powers of procrastinating, lack of ambition, and finally my computer crashing (even though there were warning signs for several months that something was awry in the system, I chose to…I’ll give you one guess…If you said, procrastinate, then you would be correct).  Plus, I’ve been dealing with the fact that my daughter’s 1st grade teacher left after teaching for a month and her replacement didn’t seem to keen on picking up where she had left off.  In fact, my daughter was constantly coming home without her sight words for the week or knowing the lessons needed to complete the homework assignments.  My instincts kept telling me to do something, speak up.  I voiced my concerns with the principal and vice principal of the school.

“Let’s give the new teacher some time to catch up.”

Every day I felt this weight getting heavier and heavier. 

“Let’s give her a week.” 

I felt the stress building up.  I didn’t want to let my daughter down.  After all, this is her education and it does start from the beginning, especially now with the common core standards in place.  New words and mathematical strategies are being introduced to our children every day.  So, if they’re not learning these very important lessons NOW, then they can’t continue to the next grade.  The straw that broke the camel’s back was when my daughter and I had to go online and learn how to do the new math strategies, that should have been taught in class on that particular day, but weren’t, in order to complete her homework assignment.

“Time’s up lady!” 

I’m not saying that I have a problem teaching my daughter because I don’t.  I am her first teacher, her advocate (like her Kindergarten teacher told me), but she’s also going to school for a reason.  Right?

Yesterday morning, the weight was lifted off my shoulders when I called the school for an update and was informed that my daughter was happily in her new class, with her new teacher.

Goodbye October, hello November.

Take good care all.

Until next time…

A lesson learned

Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

This past Sunday, my daughter lost her second tooth.  I know what you’re thinking, “here comes another crazy mom detailing every single milestone her child goes through.”  And yes, I do that once and awhile, but there’s more to this story and I wanted to share it with you.

My daughter had wiggled her tooth to the point where it was unattached (in the back), but still hanging on tight (in the front).  This, of course was driving her nuts because she wanted a certain fairy to pay her a visit so she begged me to take it out.  I tried, but couldn’t bring myself to complete the mission because I didn’t want to damage her gums or something, I don’t know.  Then my husband calmly came into the bathroom with a tissue in hand and gently, but swiftly, took the tooth out like nothing.  Olivia and I were shocked and then the excitement ensued.  She wanted to place the tooth under her pillow a.s.a.p.  I, on the other hand started panicking a little because I wasn’t ready with the little surprises the “tooth fairy” was going to leave behind and it was already bedtime.  Lucky for me, my husband came to the rescue, once again, and found two chocolate gold coins for me, I mean the tooth fairy, to place under Olivia’s pillow as well as a crisp dollar bill and a lost tooth certificate (I printed that out after my daughter went to bed).

As we prepared to tuck Olivia into bed, she suddenly remembered something.  She told us that a classmate had taken her tooth to school to show everyone.  We asked her who and her excited face completely shifted into a more serious, sad-looking face as she remembered something else.  The same little girl didn’t want Olivia to sit next to her one day.  Olivia’s quivering voice and innocent, sad eyes simply broke my heart.  She continued to tell us how this little girl didn’t want to be friends with her as well and that she didn’t know why.  We reassured her that it was ok and with that my daughter remembered her tooth and her excitement returned.  Just like that and I learned a lesson from my daughter.  She wasn’t going to let that incident in the past take away from her current joy.  Of course that lesson learned was short and sweet for me because it wasn’t easy to go back to the happiness at hand.  I was still dwelling on the fact that my daughter’s feelings were hurt.  It was gut wrenching seeing my little girl’s smile turned upside down and hearing her say, “I don’t know why she didn’t want to be my friend.”  As a parent, you never want your child to get hurt, but deep down inside we know that it’s part of life and that it’s going to happen, no matter what, because we can’t be with them 24/7.  We can though teach our children to be kind to others and stand up for those who need help.  Those are the lessons that I’m going to be teaching my girls as well as many others.

Take good care all.

Until next time…

Dads Take Your Child To School Day

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Hello everybody!

I hope you guys are well.

Today was a special day at my daughter’s school.  It was their annual “Dads Take Your Child To School Day” (A project of the NYS Office of Children and Family Services and NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance).  It’s special in my household because I’m normally the one that takes my daughter to school while my husband goes to work early, but today Olivia got to walk hand in hand with her daddy all the way to school.  Just them, and the smile on her face as I waved goodbye from my window was priceless.  It’s very important for children to have a male figure they can count on in their lives.  The flier that was sent home with my child inviting dads to this event also stated that “If dads are unavailable to attend the event, invite grandfathers, foster fathers, step-fathers, uncles, cousins, big brothers, significant male caregivers or male friends of the family.”

I applaud this project and their efforts to promote awareness that everyone in the family plays a very important part in a child’s life.  My husband absolutely loved taking part in this event because he’s a devoted father and he’s always curious to see how things run, especially his child’s school.  He was able to see Olivia in her class first hand and she was able to introduce him to her classmates.  It was a win, win situation that’s worth it in the long run.

Start building a great relationship with your child and their school today.

Take good care all.

Until next time…