Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Taking a Stand

Yesterday, the Mississippi State Senate voted to kill House Bill 745.  This bill would provide an exemption for public schools students with special needs to be promoted to fourth grade if they are meeting the requirements of their IEPs but do not meet the cut score on the high stakes standardized reading test.  It would also make the current school year the baseline assessment year for all third grade students, delaying for one year retentions based solely on the state reading test.

Today, I took a stand for my child with special needs!!

The following is my strongly worded letter I sent to my senators.

Senator Parker,

I am writing to express my disappointment in the senate for killing HB 745. As a parent of a third grader with special needs, I find this decision appalling and a slap in the face to your constituents. 
My son is 8 years old.  He was born with a cleft lip and hearing impairment. After several surgeries, he is able to function and hear like a normal child. However, he struggles in school. With an original ruling of developmentally delayed, we have also learned that he has a reading disability. I call it this because our "wonderful" state does not recognize dyslexia as a disability. For the past three years, we have paid for a private tutor to help our son read on grade level. He receives remediation through his school, and lots of time at home working on improving his reading scores. And while I hope this will be enough, as a mother I am in constant worry that he will not pass this high stakes standardized reading test. 
Yesterday, I met with his general education and special education teachers. My main question was how can I assure that he will pass this test. Do you know what I was told? They don't know!  We are a part of one of the top districts in the state and the teachers have no idea what will be on this important test. They have had no practice. They aren't even sure when it will be given. Well, I say shame on you!  Shame on a group of people who apparently have never stepped foot in a classroom for making decisions that affect children. Shame on the state senate for not giving schools adequate time to develop ways to help these kids. Shame on the state senators for causing students with special needs more worry. Did you know that my child, as well as many others, find themselves in tears over the PARCC testing?  Just last night it took him an hour and a half to complete 17 questions on a PARCC practice test. Do you know why? Because he struggles in reading. 
Stop making poor decisions!  You and the rest of the senate owe it to the good people of the state to better prepare teachers and students for the ridiculous decisions you all have made. It's time to be heard and to take a stand!  I hope that you will also choose this route!
Thank you,

Tobie Pillstrom

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Are You Ready for Some Football?

In a break from blogging about Lynleigh...I thought you'd love to see how amazingly cute my little defensive lineman is! Today was the first football game for the Hernando Tigers (black team) and it was a short one thanks to the Jamboree!

They were all introduced at the beginning and I cheered as I took pictures like a good football mom!

Then he came and asked for something to drink so I made him stop for a photo op! I love that face!!!

We were offense first so Kaden got a little break before having to hit the grid iron! (like that sports cliche'?)

Then it was his turn to chase the pigskin! he didn't get the flag but I think he tried really hard! And he looked so stinking cute doing it!

The tigers won both games! What a great way to start the season! It was a bit hot today but I know that when we get home with our little cheerleader that it will be a lot cooler and good football weather! Maybe one day you will be buying his jersey and wearing it to a "pigs hogs" game in Fayetteville!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Take Me Out To The Ball Game....

Our first games of the season kicked off today! I can't believe it's already time for baseball but man am I excited.

This year, Kaden plays for the Horn Lake Cubs and Brady plays for the Horn Lake D-backs. Can you believe these two big boys are my babies? I'm looking at their faces and thinking...who are those kids?
Both boys played their games at the same time so Tony and I had a major juggling act today. However, the good news is that they played at fields next to each other. That made it a lot easier.

This has to be one of the cutest pictures I've ever taken. Kaden started the day off as catcher and OMG...I love that kid in this gear!

Of course I'm the mom who brings a dirty faced kid to an event!

Who is that guy with the long hair?'s Brady. He's the only one with this hair on his team. He doesn't like the idea of "baseball" hair...maybe I can get him to at least get it trimmed!

It was a great day! Kaden's team won both of his games. Kaden made the winning play when he tagged out a kid running to third. Brady's team lost one and won one. He plays for the team who won second last year and they are determined to take home the big title this year!

Saturday, April 02, 2011


I'm so sad today! My little buddy took his first trip to Disney World without his mommy!
My mom decided she wanted to go to Disney with a friend of hers and invited Kaden to go with her. Well, of course we didn't tell him until this week and it has been the most anticipated thing since getting Lynleigh's picture!
Mom called him on FaceTime Wednesday night to tell him they were going and his response was priceless! I know you've seen the commercials where the kids find out and they are screaming and acting crazy! Well, our moment was nothing like that! As soon as she said, "Kaden, do you want to go to Disney World for your birthday?" His response was, "Nah...I want to wait until my little sister gets here!" Do you love him our what? Anyway, as the week finished up, his excitement grew! Today, I walked him to the gate at the airport to meet my mom and almost lost it about 20 times! I can't believe I put my baby on a plane to meet Mickey Mouse and I'm not even going!
As soon as I get some pics of this awesome trip...I will post!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Lynleigh Ren

Now that the newness is wearing off...I thought I should blog about our referral! I'm not ready to post her pic online yet, but I can tell you all about our little girl!

Last Tuesday, we finally got the call that we had been matched with our sweet baby girl! She was born in September 2009 so she is a year and a half. She has a cleft lip and palate. Her lip has been repaired but not her palate. I was beside myself when I got the call.

I had waited by the phone all day hoping they would call us. Finally, when I had given up hope of being called and plugged my phone into the speakers to play music for my class...the phone rang! Marsha from Holt sounded so excited to tell me that they had matched us with a sweet little girl. She is described as a little girl who loves music and everyone loves her! Of course, I wanted more info so I immediately called Tony and we both waited by the computer for the email. When the email finally came, I called Tony on speaker phone so that we could open it together. My students were sitting by impatiently waiting to see her too! As soo as I opened the email, I started crying! My students were so excited they insisted I put her picture on the smart board! I was freaking out and had to call all of my teacher friends to come to my room. She is beautiful!

So, of course we accepted her! (like we wouldn't!) And sent in our letter of intent. Today we are waiting on our Letter of Acceptance to come back from China. It's only been a week and a half but it seems like forever!
We have requested more information on her palate and whether or not she has any ear infections related to it!

Until then, I'm starting the transition of moving the boys into the same room and will soon be preparing our baby girl's bedroom!

Please pray for us! We still need funds for plane tickets and travel. We also need prayer for our sweet baby while she prepares for our arrival.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Ok...I can't contain my excitement about our paperwork is officially its way to China! I still can't believe how close we are getting! I'm really hoping that we get matched in the March matching but I know I need to think more in God's terms when it comes to timing and stop being so worried about it!

The boys are so excited about getting to see their little sister! Kaden is so obsessed with wanting to buy things for her and saving his towys for her. I'm sure it will all change when he's no longer the baby! We've been talking about that a lot and I'm trying to prepare him for what's to come. But I don't think he will really understand until she gets here!

So, for now...not much else is going on and I can't wait to let you know about the next steps!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Oh..I'm so excited and I just can't hide it!!!!!!! I found out this afternoon that our dossier will for sure be sent to China on Friday!!!!! This is awesome news! They said it usually takes about two weeks to get a log in date (LID) but because of Chinese New Year it will take aobut 4. That's fine! Because as soon as we get out LID, we can be matched! This means we will be eligible for matching in March!!! They usually match kids on the third Monday so I'm impaitently waiting for the Middle of March to roll around!