Family · Photography Challenges


This post is in response to Cee’s Compose Yourself Photo Challenge: Week 9 Rule of Thirds Introduction.  I tried to include a variety of photos. Be sure to click on the link to find out how you can take part in this photo challenge, as well as others that Cee offers.

This mermaid might be more in the top half than third. 

train station
Train station on the left third.
I like Beej’s hand and the shadow hand with spoon on the bottom third while the “real” spoon is in the top third. 
And here is a mushroom (I think) in the right third. 


Friday Fuzz · Gender

Student A is ALL of Our Kids!

My previous post, Township High School District 211- Bad Form shares the highlights of this ongoing issue. I tried to keep my own personal opinion and feelings out of it, but I wanted to share my thoughts* here.

The bottom line is that this district acknowledges this student as being female in their records and in some of their actions. She has had unrestricted access to female restrooms and is able to participate in girls’ sports. She was not allowed access to the girls’ locker room and that’s where the violation to Title IX comes into play.

The district’s school board voted to accept a settlement but when the Office of Civil Rights for the US Department of Education issued a press release outlining the details, the district claimed they were inaccurate and demanded a retraction. Since the links included both on the district’s website and the OCR’s press release lead to the same agreement, it appears that someone didn’t read the fine print.

The district insists that this agreement only applies to that one student and that she is being required to use a curtained off area to change- not that she has the option.

The district was found to be violating this student’s Title IX rights. If this settlement only applies to this student, then the next one to come along, if treated any differently than what the settlement stipulates, automatically puts the district back in violation AGAIN. If we give the district the benefit of the doubt….. and we say, that isn’t the case….that the district will treat ALL students the same way and any other transgender student will be afforded the same use of restrooms and locker rooms, then WHY doesn’t this settlement apply to ALL students? 

Something is off. Something feels very wrong about this. It stinks of the district running scared in the face of a community responding negatively at the outcome.

I’ve read the comments following the articles tangled with more than one person, only to walk away from the conversation in frustration. I’m sure the district is hearing threats of lawsuits and protests from scared parents who don’t understand. And in all of my years dealing with administrators, I can tell you one thing- they don’t like the idea of angry parents storming the district…..and after having faced a month of the mob mentality, I’m sure they really don’t want this to continue.

It was the district’s responsibility to educate their community on a topic that many are ignorant and it looks like they failed. This was an opportunity to educate people, help grow understanding, teach compassion and acceptance….the list is endless. Instead they chose to go on the defensive and make it clear that they are accommodating this one student because they will loser federal funding if they don’t.


On a completely different note, I am in awe of this community and I’m PROUD to be a part of it. Since the settlement was handed down, members of a Facebook group (Illinois Parents of Transgender & Gender Diverse Children) connected with the parent of the transgender girl. When informed of the district’s actions, this group, with leadership and guidance from the parent, sprung into action. A call for help is spreading across the internet, signs are being made, talking points are being shared, and people are supporting by showing up/ speaking at tomorrow’s board meeting or writing the district directly, sharing their feelings.


I’m not doing this for only one kid- I’m doing it for all of our kids. They all deserve to have the same school experience as everyone else. I will be there showing my support. I hope that you will be, too!

*My own personal take on what is happening is drawn from years of a variety of education experience and from being the parent of a transgender child, and how the uneducated public respond to anything transgender. 

Family · Gender

Township High School District 211- Bad Form

Student A is a transgender girl. She is in high school in Township High School District 211 in Palatine, Illinois and she would like to have the same rights as any other female student in the district. If you are unfamiliar with this story, you can read a press release issued from the U.S. Department of Education here regarding the case and the district’s actions. The press release includes links to the list of the district’s violations as well as the settlement agreement.

Settlement Reached with Palatine, Ill., Township High School District 211 to Remedy Transgender Discrimination

The short of it is this-

The largest high school district in Illinois, was found to be in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

OCR finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the District is in violation of Title IX for excluding Student A from participation in and denying her the benefits of its education program, providing services to her in a different manner, subjecting her to different rules of behavior, and subjecting her to different treatment on the basis of sex.

After agreeing to a settlement on December 3rd, the school district is threatening to rescind the decision at an emergency board meeting scheduled for tomorrow, December 7th. You can read the superintendent’s statement here. Superintendent Cates interprets the settlement in a different manor than the Office for Civil Rights of the US Department of Education.

If you are in Illinois or if you can help, the following message is being sent out by the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, Facebook groups, PFLAG groups-

district 211

Family · Photography Challenges

One Word Photo Challenge: Appliance

Twizzler is back and this year he’s more mischievous than ever.


Imagine 6 year old CJ’s delight when he found our elf, Twizzler, leaving us a surprise on top of the stove! Who knew that elves poop mini chocolate chips?

This post is in response to One Word Photo Challenge: Appliance.


Family · Words to Live By



I remember the stumbling blocks, obstacles, and ups and downs I encountered over the years-

  • The overwhelming feeling of terror when faced with the enormity of being responsible for the existence of that tiny human
  • Figuring out when to feed him, how much to feed him, his cries- as few as they were……
  • Getting him to sleep through the night- easier than one would think
  • Potty training- not as hard as it needs to be when you can bribe him with a mini-marshmallow each time he peed
  • Teaching him his colors- impossible until you find out he’s colorblind
  • Becoming the parent of two children and all the challenges that come with that additional tiny human
  • Lather. Rinse. Repeat….or not
  • Finding out that the second tiny human is nothing like the first was so all bets are off
  • The moment you realize that the three’s are much more terrible than the two’s could ever be!
  • Teaching him to tie his shoelaces- frustration at its best
  • Determining if he is left or right handed and then having to convince his teacher that you are correct
  • Carrying around a toddler who can’t refuses to walk at 15 months.
  • More potty training but this one can’t be bribed
  • Homework and having him read books to you (AHHHHH!)
  • Scarlet fever. Chicken Pox. Strep throat. And my all time favorite- the puking, diarrhea virus that landed us with a dehydrated sick baby in the ER and 2 puking kids at home with their grandma.
  • The third time human who completes your family but also throws all the rules and all the parenting experience you have amassed out the window causing you to have to rely completely and totally on instinct.
  • Ear infections and potty training and clingy, clingy, clingy.
  • Boy puberty. Girl puberty. Puberty. Puberty. Puberty.
  • So many years of school, activities, sports, music. Running. Running. Running.
  • And in the midst (2003-2015 to be exact) TEEN TOWN (Need I say anymore?)
  • You find out that your daughter is really your son but then no, no exactly your son but a very unique blend of both.
  • Your baby goes off to college.
  • Your oldest gets married and starts his family—–beginning the cycle all over again.

And here I sit on the other side, thinking about all of it and how consuming it was. At times it was exhausting and too many times I was so caught up in all of it that I forgot to sit back and savor those moments. I knew they were fleeting at the time but it was all moving so fast. With three children, there was always someone in crisis or needing attention.

The thing I find most interesting is that other people whose kids are the same age as my children have stood up, dusted off their hands and moved on. Their kids seem to be off living these independent lives, even the ones in college.

I have two in college and one married with kids and it seems to me that they need me even more now. Everyone was home for Thanksgiving and we got to spend some rare time together- all of us. While I was happy to have all my kids back home safe and sound for a short time, it wasn’t the relaxed time I had hoped it would be.

When my kids were growing up, I would get this feeling that something wasn’t right. Sometimes I knew which kid it was and sometimes I could even figure out what was wrong but there were other times when I couldn’t pin it on a specific child or if I knew which one it was, I was unable to locate the problem.

See, I have two kids in crisis right now. Parenting adult children is completely different than parenting kid kids. So much of it consists of propping them back up on their feet when they fall down, reassuring them that they can do this…..and then stepping away but not too far- just in case they fall again. That’s where I’m at with one of my children. We’ve been in this holding pattern for a few years now and I keep hoping that one of these days when I push him back up onto his feet he stays standing. Until then, I’m always nearby- keeping an eye on him. And I make sure that he knows that even if he doesn’t hear from me or see me, that I’m always there.

The other one is in a major crisis and although I know that there are people who would say (and have said) that I need to back off and let him figure this out, my gut instincts are screaming at me so freaking loud there are nights that I can’t sleep.

I wish that I could say that my track record sucks and that I’m wrong more times than I am right but when it comes to my kids… well, I know my kids. And so with this one, I’m staying closer, making sure he not only knows that I’m here but he sees it and feels it.

One of my closest friends lost his mother this weekend. I know that this is a difficult time for him and I wish I could be there for him but he’s out of town dealing with his loss. It reminds me that no matter how old you are, there are times when you still need your parents. You still need or want your parents to be parents because I think that the small child in you cries out for them.  I know so many people who would give one more day to see their parents one more time. I know what it feels like to want your parents and have them not be there. And mine are not gone. They are a few miles away, trying to not rock their boat while balancing on a fence. It’s not a good feeling.

So as long as I’m alive I will love my children and be there for them and I’ll even tell them to stop being asses when they are acting like jerks but no matter what they will know that I’m here.