All photos on this blog are the property of Mary McGinty Photography (unless noted otherwise) photos may not be used or copied without my permission

Jan 31, 2012

For the love of God...

Monday nights I teach 1st grade religion class at our Parish's Catholic School. I'm not naming the school out of fear....not because I want to protect anyone, except myself I guess. 
I teach in a 1st grade classroom and the standard rule for the kids is "don't touch anything" perfectly OK. I bring in all my own extra's in addition to what the Religious Ed office provides me with. These kids are 6 years old and have had a full day of class' so I try to make my class fun and easy. They have a limited attention span at 6:30-8pm. I don't give homework, we color, craft and play fun games like Bible Bingo, Noah's Ark matching, Bible Baseball etc. I give them candy. They are learning everything they need to in a fun environment. I started with 7 kids...now I have 12...12, 6 year olds...tired 6 year olds . I also have an assistant. Some kids asked to be transferred to my class cause I am the fun teacher..yes, yes I am

My dilemma: 
This crazy ass day teacher keeps leaving these notes in my mailbox..OMG!!
after the 1st week I got a note saying her red and black dry erase markers were missing. I look in my tote and I see 2 markers (school provided all that stuff so Im not sure what is what) With a note I leave them on her desk...that I steer clear off...in fact I sit on a teeny tiny little 6 year old chair and my knees are higher then my teeny tiny table

The nest week I get another note in my box with the 2 markers that simply said "these are not dry erase"

well ok...whatever...then I don't have them

The 3rd week I get a note that says:

When you leave make sure at the 2  yellow tables there are 3 blue chairs, at the remaining tables leave 4 red and/or blue chairs

"Oh for Christ's sake!"

Whatever, I put the little stick'em in my binder.

We decide to make Advent wreaths for Advent....the paper candles are not standing upright and the glue is a drippy gooey mess. Me and My Assistant start stapling...


We use all of Satan's staples. I ask C my asst to go to the office and find replacement staples.
C fills the staplers and they are put back in the exact spot

Needless to say we go around and pick up every scrap of paper, wipe down all the desks. Put correct colored chairs on correct effing tables (every week)

The Catholic guilt brings me back to my childhood Catholic School experience. Old school...our nuns wore habits and as God is my witness, Sister Juanita had a limp from Polio...she was as mean as a snake. This lay teacher doesn't scare me

3 days later I get a call from the religious ed director

"Ms so and so just called me and she was quite upset because there was glue stuck in both of her staplers and she had to wash them"

I apologize and tell her about all my notes and what great lengths we go to not to put Ms so and so over the edge

F the director tells me "she doesn't seem to share very well and these classrooms belong to the parish not her"

BOOYAH!! take that Satan!!!

We still go to great lengths to leave that classroom spotless and fear there maybe a hidden camera (joke). I get hives if I take a tissue for fear they may be counted.

Last night I had a surprise for my kids. I popped 3 bags of popcorn brought in Veggie Tales and The Story of Noah's Ark VHS tapes for them to watch in the dark. They were so cute and just loved it. Veggie tales is really funny...just saying. It is also great because my Asst was a no show.
With 15 min left of class I turn on lights and almost threw up!
Popcorn and seeds all over the "reading rug"
I have all the kids pick up what they can and what is left?
1000's of little clear seed covers all over...those little bastards that get stuck in your teeth
Well they're stuck in the rug
I frantically search for a broom...Nothing!

There is a little closet behind the teachers desk with the door slightly ajar, with a pounding heart I open it...Damn just wipes and extra supplies. I close the door and immediately think Mother F#%&@r!! The door was ajar because it automatically locks..I'm screw'd
The 1920 creepy dark Catholic schools...hopefully she has  a key

Score!! I find a child size hand broom and dust pan in the "play area"
So while the kids are watching the end of the movie. I am down on all 4's sweeping little clear seed things into the dustpan all the while kinda moving kids as I go along.

With a pounding heart I try to get every last one. Then it hits me
"FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, am I insane? This crazy teacher has me acting like a fool. A couple boys try to kick some seed covers off the rug (hide them, go for it) and leave mud on the rug.


As we leave the classroom to head outside to meet the parents for pickup I notice the entire room smells little microwave popcorn. I calmly shut the door to trap in the aroma

I anticipate and look forward to a nasty note in my box

Where is the Christian Love I ask? Can't we all just get along?

this is my 3rd year teaching and never have I had a teacher as neurotic and this one

I will admit that next week my heart will pound walking into the office to retrieve my mail. Sister Juanita all over again. Catholic schools scare me...crosses all over, multiple Jesus  pictures and statues with the red flaming heart...scary stuff!
and Satan sitting at her desk

Jan 29, 2012

spur of the moment

 A last minute invitation found us meeting Karricks friend at Xtreme Trampoline in Carol stream. Karrick and Nico jumped for an hour and a half while us 2 moms got to sit down and just chat. I supplied the Starbucks....just what I needed. Marlene has a crazy life too. single mom, 1 child, owns a hair salon, finishing up getting her Masters degree while interning everyday at a not so local high school as a guidance counselor 

Karrick and I went straight to Callahan's basketball game where they suffered their first loss  :(

 Callahan #34 below is standing with his 12/13 year old classmates/teammates. Kevin his coach is like 6'3. My darling (going through puberty) growing son is just shooting up... holy crap! I don't write about him much because my mere existence mortifies him. Maybe a bag over my head and some duck tape on my mouth will smooth things over...I don't know

Jan 28, 2012

How sweet is my boy?

Today TJ and Alexis are celebrating 1 year together! 
 All the house computers are hooked up to my printer, so I was woken up last night by non-stop papers printing. When TJ came up to retrieve them I asked what gives. He said "When Alexis comes to wake me up tomorrow morning my entire room will be covered in anniversary signs" Isn't he just darling ???

Yes, she comes by every weekend morning and wakes him up

On another note, can you see all the prescription bottles (above) on my poor baby's desk? That's what my child has to take daily after that damn high school broke him!!
This week was given an anti-seizure medication...No, he doesn't have seizure's . It's used not as a pain med, but to try and  knock the headaches out completely by relaxing the brain. He can only take it at night...it knocks him out!

TJ was still asleep when I took this, the papers are blowing from the fan being on. We all sleep with fans on year round. I think it started in Oak Park, we lived on a busy corner and the fans would drown out the thumping of bass from all the cars that drove by. Very annoying. While we certainly don't have that problem in Lombard, it is almost too quiet that we need the fans...an occasional flock of geese honking is the only noise we get.
When we 1st moved here we were all sitting at the table and Callahan being 6 at the time, puts his little arms up and says 

"I can't stand it, it's too quiet!"


 Yes, TJ's mattress is on the floor, he bounced a little to hard and cracked the wooden frame in half.
I honestly have been too preoccupied to think about it...it's on my list :)

I can't believe how grown up my little boy is, it's all just flying by too fast. 

Happy 1 year to the worlds cutest couple !

Jan 25, 2012

multi listed

On Monday I received a phone call from BNB Chicago Model/Talent Agency expressing interest in signing TJ. We met with the agent/owner today and they signed TJ on the spot. We are not exclusive with Lily's Talent  so TJ is officially multi-listed.

I have heard of BNB as I see their model/actors sign in at auditions. BNB is a non-union agency so they get a lot more non-union commercial bookings. BNB also books union projects.  We do get some non-union auditions through Lily's but not a lot as they are SAG. Non-union commercials are on TV and are paid, but usually not as much. TJ is willing to do the work and build a solid resume. The more experience he gets will only benefit both agencies. 

All this makes the pain of not being able to participate in sports a lot more bearable. No sports also has freed up time to take some acting classes downtown.

TJ is pretty excited!!

Jan 24, 2012

the boy is back...part-time

After almost 17 weeks, TJ is back at school...part time. He goes half days alternating between morning and afternoon classes. He had to drop H Chem, German 2 and drivers Ed. He lost all his German which is  not uncommon with a TBI (traumatic brain injury), so next year he decided to go with Spanish 1. In place of Drivers Ed we put him in a PE class with the Athletic trainer that has been a Godsend throughout this ordeal. Mr M has been in constant contact with me so knows all of TJ abilities and disabilities. I'd rather TJ get this credit instead of a class where he would have to concentrate and get homework. If TJ didn't take PE that would disqualify him from playing baseball or volleyball in the Spring...if he recovers 100% that is. TJ has an investing class instead of Chem, which as fate would have it, is taught by his football coach. Now Coach L can see the devestation TJ has suffered from being left in practice after not 1, but 2 blows to the brain. I will go on record as saying "my boy better get an A in that class". Lastly we gave TJ a study hall for last period.
Lunch and PE are back to back, smack dab in the middle of the day...long break when full days start
TJ has done well so far...gets headaches, but a 15-20 trip to the nurses office to lay down usually cures that. Just this morning (1/2 day # 5) TJ said "I feel like i'm waking up a little" music to my ears. He is also getting some of his humor back. Last week TJ and I had a 1hour meeting with his counselor and school nurse to put this plan in place. When I picked TJ up the after the 1st day on class I asked how it went and did the teachers get all the instructions

TJ: "yeah, they got em, the nurse sent out a group email"

"Great what did it say?"

TJ: "basically it said, 'TJ is pretty much retarded, so if he starts acting retarded please send him to the nurse"  here's a copy"

I had to laugh...

TJ has been a trooper throughout this whole thing, much thanks goes to his girlfriend Alexis that has been here for him (all non-school and non-sleeping hrs). She has understood and dealt with his memory issues, mood swings and just TJ not being TJ.
I don't know how many girls at this age would have done that. This shows her maturity and all around great character.  There were many times that they just had to sit in a dark room because that was all TJ's brain could handle.

TJ's modifications are

  1. half days
  2. elevator pass
  3. leave class 5 min early (avoid movement and chaos in hallway)
  4. can leave class at any time to go to nurse to lay down
  5. laminated (usually paper) SRC (student resource center) pass to get help in Math, science, or English during any of his 3 study periods ie PE , lunch and study hall
  6. reduced homework
  7. longer time for tests
  8. all instructions need to be written down by teachers (still has short term memory loss)
  9. notes from missed classes need to be given to TJ (every other day he misses am or pm classes)
  10. teachers need to remind TJ daily to show them assignment notebook at end of each class
if  TJ shows any signs/symptoms of brain fatigue they need to document it and send him to nurse ASAP (a lists of signs/symptoms were given to each teacher)

that's all I can remember at this point


He still has a long road ahead of him and is behind almost a full semester (has 9 wks to make up Incomplete's and SRC is helping him)

Jan 18, 2012


cellphone pictures...Aarrgh 

Callahan is making his Confirmation next year at sacred Heart, so he needs 2 years of service hours. Last night we headed over to our local PADS shelter. I brought Karrick along to help as I believe he is old enough to learn to give back. I refer to Lombard as my "bubble". It appears that 99% of the population are white middle-upper class, so Karrick has no real idea of  poverty.  He wasn't thrilled about going, but once we got there he jumped right into worker mode. Cal and Karrick set up tables and chairs, then set the tables. The PADS lady with her arms crossed behind Karrick (below) asked if she could borrow Karrick "because he looked like an excellent worker". With a giant smile he helped her set orange cones, move beds and even plug in a fan.
I had to explain in the car on the way there that the bags the people walk in with are all they have. I said some may dirty or even a little smelly, because homeless means no washing machines or showers. I also had to tell him to watch his words (he has no filter and speaks very honestly)
He did want to stay long enough so he could watch over them while they slept. With pride beaming from my heart I had to tell him that wasn't possible, that they needed their privacy.
On the way home Karrick said
 "that was nothing like I pictured, I thought they'd all be sitting in church on the benches (pews) and would walk up to get their food" 
I think he pictured a bunch of homeless people going up for Communion and receiving a hot dog or sandwich

Jan 15, 2012

School bound

Well, after 16 weeks at home TJ is going back to school....1/2 days to start out.
Friday night TJ and I went to Glenbard East's Varsity Basketball game to watch Alexis perform during half time. We ended up staying for the 1st 3 quarters which is a huge accomplishment for TJ. That's up from 15-20 min previously.

I must admit I was a little sad seeing a lot of TJ's fellow football and baseball team mates, knowing he won't be competing with them. Baseball isn't 100% out this year, but close.
TJ seems okay with it so far.
 They say "when one door closes another one opens". TJ is going to pursue his acting career. Last year we had some conflicts with baseball and auditions...cancelled 2 callbacks because he couldn't commit to the projects if he got the role. Neither were paid or through his agency (which you don't cancel and stay represented) They were Depaul and Columbia College short movies which is a great way to get experience and have fun. Friday he is auditioning at DePaul film School for their quarterly films.. He will be put on file if they like him and wait for a role that fits his description. His agent has suggested more than once that he take an acting class offered by one of the casting houses. She says he is great, but a class will polish him up a little. He now has the time.

Since he got injured TJ, has grown 3/4 of an inch and put on 22 lbs. I think his body was so worn out that he stopped growing. He overlapped sports and teams and became anemic. He was 5' 10 1/2  for the last year and measured that at his 1st concussion doc appt.
One of the greatest gifts since his injury is he has reconnected with Callahan. They were so close as little guys and then led different lives. Friday night they were sledding on our deck...it was really cute

How cute is Callahan's coat? Tim and I got it when we stayed downtown on Michigan Ave. Tommy Hilfinger wool coat. Totally got it for a steal

Jan 12, 2012

In 24 hours...

Wednesday December 11 at 3:20 pm it was close to 50 degrees and sunny. Karrick and his buddies played after school on the playground. The bright sun is reflected in my photography

 Above Karrick is playing by the swings...that is the shiny chain glowing in the sunlight

 24 hours later

December 12th 3:20 pm it was close to 25 degrees, snowing and windy . Karrick and his buddies played after school on the playground.

Photography by Mary Mcginty

Jan 11, 2012

the things we learn on facebook

Jan 10, 2012

Brain injury update

Pardon the grainy cell phone picture...cell phone pictures make my skin crawl

Even though TJ is showing improvement, it's been a hard week for both of us. TJ was told to aggravate his brain....which he did and it recovered as expected.

We went to the health club a few times where tj was able to do some strength training, a little racket ball followed by swimming. At the end he did have a horrible headache...brutal, so much as he had to medicate himself. 

Monday we had PT and Ann just did a neck massage because she found little knots in his neck and shoulders (muscle spams) which could account for some of the bad headaches. He is going to have trigger point injections to relieve the spasms. The kabasch was put on racket ball....too much hand eye coordination for his brain (I wasn't surprised)

From the moment I dropped TJ at PT  I had tears streaming out of my eyes....I just felt so bad for him. Here I thought he was getting so much better, (sitting in his quiet room) just to realize the outside world still isn't his friend. Tomorrow he takes the repeat IMPACT test... I'm not real confident he will pass... an hour, 20 min is a lot for his brain to focus on memory and speed type questions. (I'm guessing here on types of questions)

I spoke with his counselor yesterday and we hope to have him start half days next week alternating morning and afternoon classes. He had to drop honors Chem, German 2 and now drivers Ed for 2nd semester. He'll have to take a private drivers ed course when he's ready. The free periods were filled in with bullshit classes, so he can get credits....such as "Independent living" I busted out crying when I heard that. He couldn't even take an acting class because attendance is mandatory WTF...! How life can quickly change

TJ is holding up well, taking most of it in stride, which has always been his personality. He is super bored and really wants to get back to school.
Tomorrow will tell what the immediate future will bring

Jan 9, 2012

No more freebies

Well my darling Karrick told me he would no longer model for me unless I paid him. 

I said  "name your price" 
he said "5 bucks"
I said "deal"

I think this shot is well worth the price...I actually got 227 shots for $5

Jan 8, 2012

Chocolate chip pancakes

TJ making chocolate chip pancakes. It's no secret that I don't cook that much, so as a growing teenage boy that eats 24/7 learning to cook is a necessity . He often cooks for Callahan and Karrick too. I suggested keeping cooking school as an option for the future 

Jan 6, 2012

As sweet as he looks

I just can't get enough of my Karrick these days 

Jan 5, 2012

TJ and SIS..14 weeks in

FYI Update
2-10-202 TJ has "Post concussive syndrome" not SIS, Im not changing the post

Yesterday marked 14 weeks since TJ suffered 2 helmet to helmet hits in football. He has been suffering from SIS or Second Impact Syndrome

Often SIS is fatal, 50% mortality rate...I've since found out. I guess we should consider TJ extremely lucky. I am also so thankful for all the top notch medical professionals that treated and continue to treat TJ.  Marionjoy Rehab Hospital  has been a Godsend , they see and treat the worst of the worst.
Monday at physical therapy TJ took the gaze stabilization test and scored above average..YAY! The PT has tried to give this test to TJ a few times in the last 2 months, each time he couldn't even see anything on the screen and the test had to be stopped. The PT said TJ did so well (avg is 70, TJ scored 120) that he saw things flashing by that she couldn't even see.  Ann (PT) had TJ run the hallways to purposely aggravate his brain...which it did. His headache went from a 2 on the 1-10 scale to a 7 which is horrible...the positive is that TJ didn't get dizzy! Another good sign was that Ann immediately put TJ in a dark quiet room and his headache went straight to a 4.
Yesterday (wed) TJ woke up on his own at 7am (he'll sleep til noon, 1 or 2 pm if left alone)
He was different Wednesday, he seemed better than he has been. Dr Walsh the Brain Injury Coordinator at Marionjoy said  "one day he'll wake up and it will be like someone flipped a switch"

This is where we are:
 TJ is to aggravate his brain daily and then let it recover in a dark room otherwise he will not tolerate school at all. He has therapy Mon and Wed, then hopefully he will be discharged.  On Wed. Dr Walsh will administer the repeat
IMPACT Test. Original test was given to all football players at the beginning of the season to establish a baseline of brain function. The HS sent over the code so when TJ takes the repeat on Wed at Marionjoy it will compare to the one taken at the high school...online test. If TJ passes he will be cleared to "TRY" school on January 16, if he fails the test, more involved brain testing will be given.  If TJ finds he can't tolerate school he will be evaluated at Marionjoy and have the other brain tests...I have no idea what they are.

Yesterday I took the 3 boys to our health club Glass Courts which is an amazing family friendly club. We all ran the indoor track..I did a slow jog as not to aggravate my neck that has been feeling pretty good. TJ felt great, so we put Karrick in the nursery and then hit the weight room (machines, not free weights)  again TJ felt great. TJ and Cal went to play racketball and Karrick and I went swimming. TJ lasted 20 min on the loud, bright and echoing court. POW a mean mean headache hit, so bad that TJ got pretty angry. It did calm down some once we left. In the past 3 months when that level of headache hit, TJ would be crippled with pain for 3 days and almost seemed drugged.

All in all, it would appear that TJ is finally in the recovery stage.
No one can tell us how long some of the symptoms will last. I image that the headaches will linger for a long time. 
TJ still seems to get confused and can be a little slow to comprehend things. He sometimes forgets things, but not like the short term memory loss the 1st 2 months where entire conversations were lost
Maybe once he's back at school his brain will liven up some, he's had virtuously no brain stimulation in 14 weeks so maybe it's hibernating a little.

Jan 2, 2012

Zero cooperation

My kids have long ago become tired of me taking their pictures and rarely cooperate .
The hat and scarf I originality put on Patrick the dog only to have him go immediately to Tim and try to hide under Tim's arm. Then he proceeded to shake violently...does the camera shoot nails? I don't know...

Tim told me I had better find a new subject, so off to Karrick's room. He was immersed in his Nintendo 64 racing Mario. I just put on the hat and scarf...he didn't flinch. I went and sat on the floor next to the TV and took some shots. I'm pretty sure he was ignoring me, but that's ok because I got what I needed