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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Random post

I did it.

I blinked.

People warned me not to, but I did it anyways.

And now, my oldest, my first born, has grown up.

She just turned a couple weeks ago, and I decided to measure her feet.

She can now officially wear...women's size shoes.

As per her foot measurement, she could wear a 5, in women's shoes.

I don't remember exactly when I made that leap, but I vaguely recall going shoe shopping with my mom, and deciding to try on a pair of 3 inch heels, in a size 5. They fit...and my mom was appalled. I think I might have been 9 or 10, but don't quote me on that.

But Emma's too young for that! There's no WAY she could be old enough. Ugh...I'm getting old.

But I suppose there's a silver lining to this: if her feet are this big at this age, I'm hoping that means she'll be tall. :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Shhh...

I'm not going to tell you that Sarah has gone potty in the big potty about 50% of the time the last 4 days. I'm not going to say that she's the one who's initiating this, and I'm not going to say how happy I am. You didn't hear this from me. :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Oh blog, I have not forsaken thee...

This poor blog has taken the proverbial back seat for the last month or so. I have numerous things that I want to blog about, but most of them are going to require vast amounts of uninterrupted time and energy, neither of which I have at the moment.

Just a few notable anecdotes:

* Jeff & I both got through our finals/last papers with our sanity (mostly) intact. We just got our grades: 2 A's for me, an A & a B for Jeff. I'm so very proud of him!!! This has been the hardest semester to date for him and he did fantastic!

*Emma turned 9 last week. Instead of a birthday party, she decided she wanted to go to Great Wolf Lodge for a couple days. So we leave for there next Monday, which is Jeff's birthday. So we'll be celebrating 2 birthdays at once. This is Jeff's 30th, so it's a big deal. :)

*The little girls are doing great, aside from neither of them being able to take a nap due to their constant playing when they're supposed to be sleeping. In fact, I just had to put them in separate rooms and lay down with each of them in order to get them to sleep this afternoon. They were both exhausted, but were playing too much to notice. It only took 5 minutes each for them to fall asleep.

There are lots of other things going on, but this will have to suffice for right now.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Kitty Funny

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Am I ready for this?

Last night we were discussing what to do for Emma's birthday that's coming up in a few weeks. Her, Jeff, and I were running ideas around, when Jeff had the idea of Emma going to visit her Nana & Papa for a few days. She loved that idea, since it's been a year since she's seen them.

Nana & Papa are in California...We're in Michigan. This presents a problem.

This trip would entail Emma, my soon-to-be-but-not-yet 9 year old, to fly...on a plane..by herself.

...breathe...

She's old enough (heck, I flew by myself numerous times from the time I was 5, but that was from Sacramento to Burbank & back), and I know she enjoys flying, so it's not like she'd be having a panic attack at 20,000 feet. She doesn't even require (by the airlines) that it be a direct flight, she can have a connection! (I don't want her to though.) We're trying to work out the details, and I know she's excited. She loves her Nana & Papa, and the chance to have them all to her herself for 4 whole days?? It's enough to send her over the edge. We'll see how Mommy & Daddy fair.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

For the love of a dog

For Emma's 1st birthday, back in 2000, we bought her the "Blue's Clues Big Musical Movie" DVD. She. Loved. It. She watched it all the time. It became a staple on our long trips to see family in CA. Once she got a little older, it became less of a favorite, and usually was left, forgotten, in our DVD case in favor of the current flavor of Barbie movie (which I still haven't forgiven Mattel for). After Sarah was born, she had her own favorite movies, like Signing Time and Muppets and Veggietales. Blue's Clues came out every once in awhile, but it wasn't mesmerizing for her like it had been for Emma.
Well we officially have another Blue's Clues fanatic in the house. And she goes by the name of Katie. I kid you not, this is what I heard in my house this morning:

Katie (in the kitchen waiting for a drink, hears the opening strains of the Blue's Clues DVD in the living room): "Gasp" BLUES CLUES MOMMY, BLUES CLUES!!! ::squeal:: (as she's running pellmell into the living room, almost hitting the wall as she turns the corner) IT'S BLUES CLUES!!!! YAY!!!!!

Cue complete silence for the first 20 minutes of the DVD.

I call that Heaven.

I know most people wonder how much use they'll get out of the toys and games and movies they buy for their children. Eight years later, this DVD is still bringing joy to the children of the Wilson household. I'd call that money well spent.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

This pretty much sums it up

I haven't written much since the Election. I didn't want to gloat, but let's just suffice it to say that I was happy with the way the election turned out.

I was NOT happy with what happened in my home state of California and the passing of Prop 8. I was talking to someone I work with and I equated the ban of gay marriage with black people not being able to marry white people 45 years ago. It's the same thing: black people weren't equal, so therefore they weren't allowed to have equal rights. Gay people are not seen as equal. This is appalling. What's the "straight" divorce rate nowadays? Over 50%. When was the last time you heard about a gay couple who beat their kids? I know many gay people who have adopted children or who've had surrogates. Since having those kids doesn't come in the "natural" way that it does for straight people, you can bet that those families actually WANTED those kids, and fought to get them.

This article in Newsweek pretty much sums it up.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/169157


It's appalling that people hide behind the religious aspect of it. Whatever happened to "love the sinner, hate the sin"? I don't personally believe that being gay is a sin, but you know what I mean.

I actually heard someone on TV say that they believe that only marriage between a man & a woman before the eyes of God was an actual marriage. Well, I guess that means Jeff & I aren't really married. We were married by a city official, in my mom's backyard. Not in a church, not by a clergy. It's not like gay people want to be married by the Pope, in the Vatican. They want the things that all (straight) married people get: health coverage, life insurance, THE RIGHT TO SEE THEIR LOVED ONE IN THE HOSPITAL.

Times change, the biases and prejudices of old need to be gone. The world has bigger things going wrong with it than gay people wanting to be married.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Rock the vote

Tomorrow is a huge day for our country. We, the people, of the United States of America, have the awesome job of picking the leaders of our country.

This in and of itself is awesome: the fact we get to CHOOSE. Let alone who we vote for, the fact that we are able to voice our opinions in a democratic process.

There are countries in the world where the only form of voice its citizens have are protests, or they are forced to suffer in silence, for fear of retribution.

In countries where democracy is a new concept, there are people who travel from hundreds of miles away, standing in lines for hours, just to be a part of the democratic process. To know that your voice is heard, regardless of the outcome. Because before, you didn't have a voice.

I think, as a country, we have become lax, frustrated and downright ambivalent about voting. I hear so many excuses: I live in a Republican/Democratic state so my vote is useless; I have to work; I have school; I don't like waiting in line; it's too far; I don't like any of the candidates; I forgot; I don't have time.

If your voting place is any closer than the next county, if you have shoes to wear to vote in, if you're not having to vote by scratching an X on a piece of scrap paper and putting it into a shoebox, then you have it better than a lot of people in the world.

Ditch the excuses. Go out tomorrow, in rain, snow or blazing sun, and perform your civic duty. Or quit bitching.

Consider yourself motivated.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

21 Things about Sarah

I'm taking a cue from a few of the blogs that I read.

Sarah:
1. is 4 1/2.
2. has 2 sisters, one older, one younger.
3. was named after her 2 grandmas.
4. has worn glasses since she was 1 year old.
5. loses those glasses at least once a day.
6. loves the Doodlebops, Backyardigans, and Signing Time.
7. has platinum blonde hair and blue eyes, both of which she got from her father.
8. once ate a whole container of strawberries, by herself, in one sitting.
9. loves chips and salsa.
10. does not have the palmar crease on her hand, but has it on her foot.
11. has a bad habit of eating her hair.
12. loves to ride the bus to school.
13. gives the best hugs.
14. can fold herself in half.
15. is still in diapers (but we're working on it!)
16. calls soda "pop" even though we don't (talk about a child of her environment).
17. is the biggest Daddy's girl.
18. calls everyone by their appropriate names (Mommy, Daddy, Emma) except Katie. She calls her "baby".
19. LOVES music, anything musical.
20. is seriously stubborn.
21. has taught me more than I could ever have imagined.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Calm after the storm

Life has been a whirlwind the last month or so. Between school for 4/5 of us, work for Jeff & I, and general madness, it's been hard to keep up.

I've been completely remiss in my plan to blog every day for the month of October. There have been some days where I just didn't have a brain cell left to think about what to blog.

A few anecdotes from the last few weeks:

* we got the girls' costumes: Emma's a witch, Sarah's a pirate, and Katie's a cowgirl.
* Jeff signed up for his spring classes; he only has 2 more after that, and he's all set to graduate next December.
* Emma got through her first MEAP (Michigan Standardized Test) and I think they're now starting the LD evaluation
* we had an incident with the bus and Emma, I'm still following up with that, it'll be a later blog
* Emma seems to be doing very well in school; she's making great progress in reading
* Sarah continues to be the "little teacher" in class
* Katie is still doing wonderfully; she's loving daycare and doesn't cry every time we pull up to the house!
* I've been having an existential crisis over what to do with the rest of my life, education-wise

That pretty much sums up our lives for the last few weeks or so. We have some cool things coming up, including our annual get-together with our best friends from Tennessee. It's their turn to drive up here for Thanksgiving. Not to mention the election next week!! :) The girls all have the day off, which is NOT going to make it easy to go and vote. But, we'll make it work. Never too early to learn about civic duty. :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Political Post-Open at your own risk

I have (mostly) avoided politics on this blog, as I have many friends who have many different political views. I am friends with people who are die-hard Republicans and equally die-hard Democrats. Because I am a tolerant person, I don't hold grudges against people who have varying views from me, because I know there is more to life than constantly arguing about things we can't always change.

That being said, THIS pissed me off to no end.



I would LOVE to see the entire program, but I can't find it. If anyone can, please feel free to e-mail me with a link. This woman is intolerance and bigotry at it's absolute worst. WHO THE HELL EVER SAID THAT AMERICA WAS A CHRISTIAN ONLY NATION?? Last time I checked, we were a "freedom of religion" country. Who the hell cares if a family member of a politician is atheist? I am LIVID. If you're not Christian (or Jewish, although those are few and far between) then you're apparently not qualified to hold public office. When was the last time you heard of a Buddhist or Hindu running for office? You don't, because it doesn't happen very often. And as for atheists, there's only 1 currently in public office, that I know of. NEWSFLASH: Christianity is NOT the only religion in the world. It might be the most populous, but guess what's next on the list? Islam!! And after that, it's "Non-religious".

I do not consider myself religious in any sense of the word. I haven't been to church on a regular basis in 5 years. Do I believe in God? Yes. I consider myself spiritual. I don't "look down" on people who have deep religious beliefs. In fact, I think I might even be jealous of that at times. Nor do I shun people who I know have little to no religious beliefs. Religion does not a good person make. Nor does a lack of it.

Flame on.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Go CMU!!!

The weekend just got away from me. I meant to post something on Saturday & Sunday, but I blinked and all of a sudden it was Monday morning.

So, Friday night, after giving myself an aneurysm about getting my English paper in on time (which I did, with 21 minutes to spare thankyouverymuch), I didn't even want to think, let alone blog. Saturday was Central Michigan University's Homecoming. Although we have season tickets for the whole fam, we decided to get a sitter, cause as much as we love our kids, we needed a mini-break from responsibility, lol. So, the girls had fun torturing breaking in bonding with a new sitter (FYI: it involved 2 non-napping girls, a closed room and poop, I'll end it there), and we had fun hanging out with people from Jeff's work and enjoying the oh-so-fabulous and very unusually warm weather. It's mid October, in Michigan, and it was 78 degrees people!! Absolutely gorgeous!

Anyhow, the tail-gating was fun, the game was great (even though our star QB and one of his favorite WR's got slightly injured; they're both ok), and it was a lot less-stressful than our last game, which ended up being decided by a botched field goal that hit the upright with 3 seconds left. I lost about 10 years on my life with that one. We beat Temple University 24-14 (I think, don't quote me on that). Oh! And I got a not-so-great picture of our Grand Marshall for Homecoming, Amy Roloff!! She and her family star in "Little People, Big World" on TV, and she's a CMU alumni, which is pretty cool.

So, all in all, we had a great time, and next comes WMU next weekend!! :) So far we're on track for another MAC Championship!! Fire up Chips!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

College stuff

I wish I had something cool for today's "31 for 21" post, but I have a paper due for my English class in less than 2 1/2 hours, and my brain is mush. Maybe something tomorrow....

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Chatting Time

Last night I had a pretty cool experience: I was in a chat room with none other than the "one and only" Rachel Coleman. One of the creators of "Signing Time", which is the one show that my 2 little ones can always agree on watching. Of course, there were about 20 other people in there, too. But, I digress. And I don't care what you say Rachel, Miss "I'm just me", lol; the fact is you're a freakin' super hero at our house, and I'm sure at thousands of others, as well.

The proof is here & here.

Oh, and here, too.

I recently started following Rachel on Twitter and she reciprocated (another point for the cool mom). So, when she Twittered about the weekly Signing Time chat that was just starting, I decided to join. It was hilarious, and not always G rated, lol. There were a few people I knew online: Kei, Pam, and Erin. Aaron, her husband, even joined us. A fun time was had by all.

So, Rachel, I know you want us all to think that you're just a normal mom, but I can see the red cape poking out from the orange sweater from where I stand. :) And Happy Birthday!!!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Special Exposure Wednesday






When I took this picture, I thought it was going to be a fabulous pic of the 3 of them. Then I actually uploaded it to my computer and got a look at Sarah's face. LOL

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Tough Decision

So, after numerous hours of wracking my brain and stressing about too many unknown factors, I've come to the decision that I just can't make this trip to North Carolina. I'm bummed beyond belief, but my car is acting up, my kids are starting to act sick, and as much as I'd like to spend time with my family, the trip there and back by myself would probably stress me out way more than the trip is worth.

I still need a vacation...

Monday, October 06, 2008

Return of the bathroom posts

The last time I mentioned my bathroom (the one that reeked of cat pee, if you'll remember) we had a new floor, courtesy of a friend of Jeff's. The original idea was the peel and stick vinyl floor tiles. That ended up not happening, as time was against me. So Jerry came in and within 6 hours, had put in beautiful ceramic tile. So, we had a floor, which was great, but the walls were still covered in gawd awful pastel Hawaiian print wallpaper. So, I ripped it off. (See previous posts about my lack of forethought on home improvement projects) That worked for about 75% of the wallpaper, while the rest was stuck on with industrial strength adhesive. I was reduced to spraying the walls with water, letting it soak in, and then using a putty knife to try and scrape off the adhesive. This was tearing the crap out of the drywall and driving me insane. So, this weekend, Jeff had had enough and said "Family trip to Home Depot, this bathroom is getting finished." So off we went, for primer, paint, and supplies. I also found this wallpaper remover, Dif, that helped me get the majority of the adhesive off. I immediately went to work. I used the Dif, and then on Sunday morning, prepared to paint. I taped off everything, and put on 1 coat of primer. I then put on 2 coats of "Raindrop", a subtle lavender color voted by a majority (I was out-voted 2-1, I wanted "Sweet Blue", which was a bit darker). It's hard to take pictures of a room that is less than 9x7 feet, and have them be color accurate. But, I can do some contrast pictures, to give you an idea.



Plus, here are some pics of the ceramic tile floor.







It's still not fully finished (I have to put the 75 pound mirror back on the wall, plus, I still need new baseboards) but it's fully functional, without looking like people were showering in the middle of a construction project.

ETA: I don't know why the pictures aren't showing up, but it's late and I'm new to Flickr, so if anyone could e-mail with how to have them show up on here, that would be awesome!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Grains of Gratitude

I've never done a "Grains of Gratitude" before, but I think today I need to. I haven't had an existential moment or anything, nor have we been involved in any accident to be thankful for our safety. I was told awhile back by someone that I might get some benefit from a "Gratitude Journal". I haven't done that yet, but this is a start.

I'm grateful for:

* my family, and their health.
* my husband, who is my biggest cheerleader and best friend.
* a home to call my own.
* the ability to go to college, even if it is going to take me forever to finish.
* being able to go visit family this week, even if it requires a really long drive.

I think I'm going to try to make this a regular post on Sundays. :D

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Two down, two to go ('nother TMI post)

Poop samples, that is. I was able to scrape (literally, as they gave me 2 wooden popsicle sticks) enough out of a particularly nasty diaper yesterday to get 2 of the 4 vials I need. I'm hoping I can get the other 2 sometime this weekend, and maybe I'll be able to take Sarah to the hospital to get her blood drawn very early Monday morning before school. I want this all done and taken care of before we make the pilgrimage drive to NC the middle of next week. And then maybe, just maybe, I'll have some results by the time I get back. Wouldn't that be nice.

Friday, October 03, 2008

"Sucker"

I need to have that tattooed to my forehead.

Trying to get Emma ready for school in the morning is an exercise in futility. I beg, bargain, and threaten her into getting ready. We even set hr clothes out the night before in an effort to expedite the "getting ready" process. But between eating breakfast, brushing hair & teeth, getting her backpack ready, socks/shoes, coat, and getting out the door, I'm exhausted by the time she walks (usually late) out the door to the bus stop.

I'm thinking this is karma catching up with me because I recall doing the same thing to my mother. While my mom only had me, and I have 2 other kids, my mom worked full-time, and had to be out the door roughly the same time as me, so I suppose it's pretty equally frustrating.

I have tried numerous tricks to help Emma be able to do all this stuff on her own: she has an alarm clock, which we use; we set out her clothes the night before; I try to get her to make her own breakfast (she's almost 9, and cereal doesn't require heat, lol). I make her lunch if need be, so it really shouldn't be that hard to get ready. But, every morning, I find myself getting her backpack together, untying the knots in her shoelaces, putting her coat, socks, and shoes all by her to she can get to the easily. I'm practically pushing her out the door so she doesn't miss her bus.

The problem is that there is no real incentive for me to punish her if she is procrastinating. If she's late and misses her bus, then it punishes me, lol. Because then I'd have to get all the kids ready and in the car so I could drive her to school Which wouldn't be terrible, but Sarah's bus comes 45 minutes after Emma's. And Emma's school doesn't like it when you drop kids off more than 20 minutes early and I wouldn't be able to drop her off and then get back home in time to get Sarah on the bus. And if Sarah misses the bus, then I'd have to drive HER to school, too. And I can't just drop her off. We all have to find a parking spot, get out and walk into a huge building. Of course, this requires that we're all dressed in something other than our pj's, which defeats the purpose of having Emma ride the bus! You can see how this one little thing snowballs into a bunch of hassle for the entire family.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Gimme the poop (TMI post, not for the squeamish)

After procrastinating for way too long, I finally was able to get Sarah in to see the Pediatric Gastroenterologist (from hereto referred as the Pedi GI). This poor kid, in her entire 4 1/2 years of life, has probably had less than 10 solid BM's. I'm not joking. Ask anyone who has babysat her, and had to endure a poopy diaper, it's like liquid. It's practically the consistency of newborn poop. And it goes everywhere. Katie has days where hers are like that, too. But, she also has pretty normal poop, for a 2 year old.
Sarah's been tested for celiac, but her last test was over a year ago, and I knew she was due for one. I've tried limiting the amount of juice she gets, that didn't work. I contemplated putting her on a gluten free diet, just to test it out, but then thought that if she DID get tested for it, that would skew her results. A lot of different scientific names have been thrown my way by the medical people I know: C-diff, celiac, acidophilus, intestinal bacteria.
Needless to say, that trying to potty train a kid who has these types of BM's is not happening. And I want at least 1 kid out of diapers by the end of the year and at the rate we're going, it was looking like it was going to be Katie. Although I think Jeff and our bank account would throw me a party if I got both of them out of diapers by then. But, I'm not going to get ahead of myself.
So, the appointment yesterday wasn't groundbreaking, but at least it was something. He gave me 2 lab orders, one for a blood draw and 4 vials. For poop. And a wooden stick. Not kidding. I have to collect Sarah's poop and put it in 4 different containers. I've done this before, but at the time, she had rotovirus and her poop was the consistency of soggy green alfalfa. (I told you this was going to be TMI) So it was easier to scoop up with a wooden stick. How I'm supposed to do that with liquid, I guess I'll find out.
I'm hoping, praying, BEGGING that some answers will come out of this. This poor kid just wants to poop normally. Or at least she would if she knew any different, since this IS her normal right now.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

National Down Syndrome Awareness Month



October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. I am going to accept the "31 for 21" blogging challenge. Simply put, I'm going to try to blog everyday for the entire month of October. Get it? 31 for 21, as in Trisomy 21. :)

This has been going on for a couple years, but this is the first year I'm going to attempt it.

ETA: I started this post waaaay before October 1st, and then got slammed with life in general. So, I'm a little late, but I'm going to try to do this!! :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

An abundance of time

This is something I never seem to have, until today. Apparently after complaining all summer about how it was so hard to get anything done when all the kids were home, today, with 2 of the 3 girls home sick, is when I have updated this blog about 5 times. Not to mention actually getting some housework done, as well. Who'da thunk it?

So here I am again, with another amusing anecdote. This morning when I called Sarah's school to let them know that ugly green snot monster had overtaken her, I got into polite conversation with one of the Para's in her class. She told me all about how Sarah's speech had become very intelligible (relatively speaking) and seemed to have purpose. She's been making all sorts of word approximations, and responding appropriately to questions and actions (i.e. actually saying "Thank you" after being helped or given something). She's apparently become so adept at it that on Friday, when her new student Speech teacher came to meet her during class, Sarah decided that she just wasn't going to talk. She only used sign the ENTIRE CLASS. That takes determination. And a bit of an attitude.

I'm just so proud of her. She's getting glowing reports from school about how she is the "little teacher" and seeing how she's 1 of only 2 class veterans (all of the other kids are new to this class) she's become a little mentor for the new kids. I really think that if she keeps up this pace, that she'll be more than ready to try out the all day Kindergarten Readiness class next year.

Signing Time fiends

That would aptly describe my 2 little ones. ST holds their attention like no other DVD we own, and it's usually the only one they specifically ask for (either in sign or words).
I felt the need to expound on my Twitter from a few minutes ago. Sarah had woken up from her nap right about the time I'd finished straightening up/vacuuming the basement playroom. She wanted a snack and ST, so I happily obliged since I wanted to get a bit more housework done before Emma got home from school. I heard Katie talking in her room, after waking up from her nap, so I opened to the door to let her out. I said, "Morning Katie!"even though it's 4pm, lol. She still looked a bit groggy, but she heard ST on in the living room, gasped, and ran full out down the hall, yelling, "Bye Mom!!" She then said hello to Sarah (which is more than I got) and now they're happily sharing their bowl of plain tortilla chips and watching Rachel, Alex & Leah. Sarah chose "My Favorite Things" to watch, which is funny, cause I would have to guess that is her FAVORITE ST of all time. It's the one that has all the colors and veggies and fruits. "Leah's Farm" is probably a very close second.
The new volumes of Baby Signing Time are coming out next month (I think) and you can bet that those plus Volumes 10-13 of regular Signing Time will be on their Christmas lists.

Get out yer eye patches

Friday, September 19th, is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Aside from the obvious fact that it's freakin' cool there IS such a thing, I also find it ironic that I found out about this the day after I decided to have Sarah be a pirate for Halloween. I'm sure no one but me will find that interesting. But, we have an affinity for pirate stuff - the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney has always been our favorite and we have a Jolly Roger decal on our van, no joke.

And I MIGHT just have to order this, just because it's awesome.

http://www.cafepress.com/talklikeapirate.12901607

:D

Sicky day

Both little girls have come down with their first school year sniffles. Green snot and raspy breathing FTL. So Sarah stayed home from school this morning, and we're all still in our pj's watching some "Backyardigans". (I could watch that show without kids around, it's such a cool show.) I'm debating whether to call in sick to work since I think my daycare provider would have a fit if I showed up with 2 sick kids, even for an hour & a half. The girls still have plenty of energy, in fact, they're rolling all over the floor with each other as I type this.

Ok, problem solved, I just called in. The person I would be working with is comfortable with working alone for that hour and a half. Still doesn't make me happy I have to miss work, but hey, what are you going to do? Both girls are definitely getting naps and meds today. Clear snot is fine, green snot is not.

Thankfully Emma has escaped the first of the year sniffles so far. I may have to spend today Lysol-ing the whole house so make sure that stays that way. Especially with Jeff gone, I can't afford to get sick. Purell and constant hand washing for all. :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ok, it's official...

Katie is definitely going to be a cowgirl for Halloween. I just bought the cutest pair of girls' pink cowboy boots on eBay...for $2.50! Seriously, I just couldn't pass them up. :D

Thoughts of Halloween

Over the weekend, Sarah had drug out a plain white dishtowel from the drawer and I decided to tie it around her head. Jeff and I instantly told her to say,"Arrrrr" like a pirate. Which she did, and it sounded so cute! Voila, we have her Halloween costume. We're thinking of having Katie be a cowgirl (they each have pink cowgirl hats). And Emma swears she wants to be "Katara" from "Avatar: The Last Airbender". Oy.

BTW: what is it with little girl's costumes looking like they belong in a saloon?



http://www.brandsonsale.com/ca-012968.html

Seriously? I may not be a teeny-bopper,nor an old fuddy-duddy, but please. This is ridiculous.

Wonderful way to start the morning

I woke up this morning and checked my e-mail. My English professor sent us back our first in-class writing essay. This is one where we're given an article to read beforehand and then have to answer questions we're not given until class time, in essay form. I didn't think I did very well at all, but she said that it was the best one she'd read and gave me an A! Guess I'm not doing so bad with English even after being out of school for 12 years. :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lord give me strength

It's 10pm, all of the children are asleep...finally. It's day 1 of Jeff being gone. I know I've done this plenty of times before...don't know why this trip is starting out so hard. Could be the flood watch we were under for most of the day, and the non-stop 60 hour rainstorm, or the fact that my house is a disaster and I don't have time to clean it. Things sticking to my feet bug me to no end. I have officially squandered my daily use of the words,"No", "Stop", "Don't", "Get off", and "Time-out". It's times like these that make me really pissed that Jeff gets to go on these fabulous trips and I get to stay home and change poopy diapers. Yes, I know that's irrational and selfish, but I don't care.

And yes, I know Jeff reads this blog, but I also know he feels guilty about this, too.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Blog? What blog?

Yeah, so I haven't updated in a bit. Might have something to do with me working and going to school. I'm still trying to get into the swing of things. The kids have fallen back into their routines: Emma is loving school, Sarah's the queen of her classroom and bus, and Katie isn't crying every time I pull up to the daycare.

Life hasn't been all that exciting so I haven't felt the "need" to blog. But, maybe I'll have some good stories in the next few weeks. Jeff's going out of town starting tomorrow, which always brings it's own fun, Emma's in swim lessons instead of soccer, and between Sarah and Katie being my "twin dynamos", well I'm sure I'll have something to blog about soon.

ETA: I apparently spoke too soon: just tonight Sarah snuck into our bathroom and stole a box of my tampons. She proceeded to empty half of the box and open them. Oy vey.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A new school year begins

Emma started 3rd grade on Tuesday. Ack! I can't believe how grown up she's getting. I actually did take a few pictures before we rushed out the door the first day, but I haven't had time to download them to my computer. She only had a halfday the first day, but full days the last 2.

Today was her first day on the school bus. She rode the ICTC public bus during Kindergarten to Morey but the last 2 years we've carpooled. Morey doesn't have a typical "yellow bus" so this was her first real trip on a school bus. I walked her to the bus stop and we were met there by a couple boys from her school. She was very excited. Thankfully her school doesn't start until 8:40am, which means she doesn't have to catch the bus until 8am, which translates to more sleep for us all. :D

Sarah started school yesterday. Katie and I took her to school, but I had class and work immediately afterward so she took the bus to daycare. But she caught the bus this morning, and was very excited, too. I told her the bus was coming soon and she got her coat and backpack on and practically paced in front of the door. Once the bus showed up she bolted out front, with me barely holding on to her hand. This is old hat to her, lol. She knows the bus driver and the aid, and has "graduated" to a different seat. She no longer has to sit directly behind the driver, she gets to sit a couple of rows back. She has to take off her backpack and coat in order to be comfortable, and then she climbs up into the seat and helps the aid put on her 5 point seat belt. This child LOVES school. Just like Emma. :)

Tonight was Emma's Open House. It was meant only for parents (which I didn't know until the last minute), so Jeff & I did "Rock, Paper, Scissors" to see who would go.

I'm kidding.

I ended up going because Jeff had about 500 pages to read for his class.

Plus he knows I take better notes. :D

It was nice. I'd met Emma's teacher the first day, and I knew a little bit about her (she'd been a Special Ed/Resource Room teacher for 16 years) but I'm SO glad Emma's in her class. This woman just seems awesome. Sarah's teacher's daughter also goes to this school (also in 3rd grade, but a different class), as well as her niece who IS in Emma's class. Both girls had been on Emma's spring soccer team, which is why I specifically put her on that team, so she could meet some girls who would be going to her new school (the decision to switch schools had been made right after we signed the purchase agreement on the house). I'm really really hoping Emma's able to make some good friends, who actually call and want to spend time outside of school with her. In the 3 years Emma went to Morey, she had maybe 3 invitations to go to someone's house (birthday parties not included, but I could count those on 1 hand as well). And while I understand that people have busy lives, try explaining that to a sad elementary school student whose friends don't want to spend time with her. Add to that the fact that Emma's best friend for 2 of those 3 years was a boy, who played with other boys, who didn't want to play with a girl. She was ostracized from the girls because she played with the boys, but the boys didn't want her to play with them.

Playground politics aside, I'm really hoping for a fantastic year for both girls. I saw Sarah's teacher tonight, as well. She was just gushing over how much Sarah has blossomed over the summer. She's still the "little teacher" and now she has some younger classmates who apparently look up to her. She loves the routine and loves being at school. I finally voiced to her my idea of having Sarah go to the Kindergarten Readiness Preschool next year at the Human Growth and Development Lab. I'm 90% sure I want her to have an extra year of preschool, even though technically she's eligible to go next fall. I've been toying with the idea of having Sarah go to the all day K Readiness and have Katie go to the 3 year old program. We'd have to pay for Katie, but I think we'd get a multi-child discount or something. But, that's not really something I have to deal with for a few months at least. I don't foresee Sarah being in a self-contained classroom in school, so I think a year with typical peers (but still getting all her therapies) will help prepare her for public school.

Anyhow, I'm just glad the school year has started, as the girls have been antsy (to say the least) for the last month since Speech Camp ended. I hope the girls will always have this love for school. :D

Monday, September 01, 2008

First week down

Wow, I am almost too exhausted to be awake. This week kicked my butt. It isn't really school or work that's been hard: it's been childcare. Emma doesn't start school until tomorrow, so I needed someone to watch her all last week while I was gone. Sarah & Katie's sitter didn't have room, so I was scrambling last Sunday night, calling everyone I knew. I ended up doing a combo of 2 people. Emma had fun at both places, so it worked out. Now I have a new dilemma: Emma starts school tomorrow, but only has a half day. WTH is with that?? What's the point? :sigh: Anyhow, I'm probably going to have to skip work, which I've already talked about with my supervisor. The person I would be working with is cool with being by herself, working both desks. I hate doing it, but I also hate having to keep calling on favors from people I know.

I'm still working on getting the front bathroom ready to paint. I've been taking down the awful wallpaper for a couple weeks now. 80% of it came down with no issues, just removed the top layer and sprayed the brown paper bag looking underlayer with water and gently scraped off using a putty knife. But some of it looks like it was glued to the wall with something other than the regular adhesive. And it's not been fun trying to get it all off. So my plan to have it done by the time school started isn't going to be realized but hey, what can you do? I took down the gigantic and extremely heavy mirror in order to get the wallpaper off underneath. I may have to rethink putting that thing back up there. Or I may end up framing it in wood. I think it would make it look a lot nicer. Once everything is finished I'll finally take some pics to post. When the bathroom doesn't look like it's a warzone.

Monday, August 25, 2008

SAHM no more

Well, maybe that's a bit melodramatic, but technically it's the truth.

The fall semester started today and I also started my part-time job on campus. Of course, this also starts my 3 1/2 month stress-ball known as "what to do with the children". This is probably why it took me almost 12 years to start college again. And of course, I waited until we had 3 kids to try this. I know, not the brightest of ideas, but hey, you take what you can. I was able to get childcare for the little ones, but she couldn't watch Emma. So, I spent all weekend frantically looking for someone to watch Emma. I finally found someone, but it required driving across town and then racing back to campus before my first class this morning.

One other thing I had sort of forgotten about until this morning (oops) was now that Jeff has his own vehicle, that means he also has the only CMU parking pass. So, on my way after dropping Emma off, I was searching through my purse for quarters and scouring the parking lots for open metered spaces. I finally found a space, but only found enough change for 90 minutes. Between my class and work, I would need 3 hours.

I parked for class and made it there just in time. This is my Fundamentals of Interpretive Reading (aka public speaking). It seems like it's going to be an interesting class. We have to do 4 in class monologues and 5 papers. There's a twin bed in the front of the class. That seriously made me do a double-take.

After class, I went back to my meter and saw I only had 30 minutes left-and was due to go to work in 20 minutes. I ran through the options in my head: leave the car there and walk the 1/2 mile to work, and have to walk back afterwards OR park in the commuter lot and take my chances with getting a ticket. I decided to take my chances with the parking police. If I had known what the fees were for each, I would take hiked and stayed at the meter: $25 fee for no parking pass, only $10 for an over-meter fee. Cause yeah, I got my first ticket...ever. And of course, I was at work for 2 1/2 hours, and got the ticket only 10 minutes before my shift ended.

Wonderful.

I think that officially inoculated me into the whole "college experience".

Luckily my next and only other class is in the evenings, when they aren't prowling the parking lots looking for suckers. It's English 101, which also is part of my Competency Requirements. We're reading 2 non-fiction books for this class, which is nice. They're both about the Iraq war, one written by an Army soldier which is a collection of his blog posts while he was deployed. The other is by a journalist written in the Green Zone of Baghdad. We have 5 papers for this class. So I will be writing a LOT this semester, which is fine by me. I need all the help I can get with that. Cause most of the things I put down on paper doesn't make much sense except to me.

And a few other people who have a twisted sense of humor.

So, that's how my semester is going to go: school/work/school/kids/hubby/home. We'll see how this first week goes.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

You Tube

Video's up. :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuAucIgWUsc

Out of the mouth of babes

Our last morning at Great Wolf Lodge, as we were walking up to breakfast, I could hear Katie yelling something that I couldn't quite understand. It sounded like it ended in "Mom", so I asked her to repeat it.

"Ni Hao Mom!"

I blinked.

"What did you say?"

"Ni Hao Mom"

Ummmm this kid is 2. And she's telling me hello in Chinese??

I know there's a show on TV called "Ni Hao Kai-lan" that the kids occasionally watch, but I know this hotel didn't have that channel, so it had been at least 3 days since she'd seen it, possibly longer.

She kept repeating it all morning, saying hello to everyone in sight, in Chinese. My Kids, lol.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The last great hurrah

Of the summer, that is.

Since the last few months (ok, who am I kidding, the last YEAR has been super hectic/stressful/pick your choice of adjective) have been busy, we decided we needed a family vacation that didn't involve weddings, funerals, or illness. We needed something relatively cheap, close, and extremely family friendly. The Great Wolf Lodge fit the bill.

It's a very nice hotel that has an indoor waterpark, an outdoor pool, a mini golf course and an arcade. Plus it's only 2 1/2 hours away. So we packed up our swimsuits and waterwings and headed out for a 3 day vacation.

We took a lot of video, which Jeff is working on editing, so hopefully it'll be up soon.

The kids had a blast! Whenever we walked inside the waterpark, we basically didn't see Emma for the next hour or so, lol. She would come back and ask if either Jeff or I wanted to go on one of the big slides with her. We took turns playing with the little ones in the kiddie area. Katie was in her new-found element. Apparently this child is a waterbaby. She was absolutely wild about the little slides and would go up and down, and up and down...for ever. She would also walk to these white tiles that were in the ground which had the depth of the water on them, jump along them (there were about 6 all in a line), pretend to jump off at the end and then put her arms up, like she was jumping off the balance beam. ROFL You think we've been watching too much Olympics?

Sarah was content to sit on the sidelines and play in the water. She was relishing in having daddy all to herself, with both sisters occupied. She was also being very friendly, talking to everyone within reach. She would go down the slides with Katie every once in awhile, but when she did attempt it, she would mostly just sit at the top of the slide and block everyone's path.

Emma was my little phantom child, showing up every once in awhile, to tell us what she'd been doing, to introduce us to a new friend. The hotel also had this interactive game called MagiQuest. It's a medieval role playing game that has the child going on quests for different items that were scattered around the hotel using a computer-chipped wand. Emma had a blast running around searching for the items she needed. It's a very long game so she didn't get to complete it, but she gets to keep the wand, so when/if we go back, she can play again.

Emma and I also were able to go get a manicure together. Well, she was in the kiddie spa area, and I was in the other area, but we did it at the same time! The kiddie area has an ice cream parlor type of atmosphere, which was cool. Emma got sugary sweet smelling hand lotion and pinky sparkly nail polish. This was the first manicure I've had in ages, so it was nice to just relax and be pampered for a bit.

Jeff was able to get away and work out for a little bit. That's his version of stress relief. I wish I had his determination. LOL

All in all it was a nice vacation. We were all sad to leave, but we know we'll go back sometime in the future.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Buddy Walk




Only about a year ago, our area of Michigan didn't have a local support group for families who had loved ones with Down syndrome. But, a wonderful woman, Sheryl, and her husband, Joby, decided that they wanted to start one of their own. I'm so very glad they did, because we have been able to meet a wonderful group of children and adults with Down syndrome from our area.
The Central Michigan Down Syndrome Society is having our 1st annual Buddy Walk on September 21st. The Buddy Walk isn't new, it was started about 13 years ago, with the idea of spreading awareness about Down syndrome. I believe there were over 250 walks around the country last year. Our team name this year is "Sarah's Superstars". Our goal is to raise $250 for our local group, to make packets for new parents, provide support, and encourage awareness and acceptance for people with Down syndrome in central Michigan.

You can click on the "ChipIn" icon in the sidebar. People are also welcome to come join us at the Buddy Walk. It's Sunday, September 21st at Chipp-A-Waters park in Mount Pleasant, MI. Everyone's welcome!!

Feeling like Fall

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. Spring is a close second. I think it's partly because of the weather at those times of year. It's not at either extreme: too hot or too cold. Even after growing up in the valley of northern California, with it's extreme heat, I'm a temperate person at heart. I don't do extremes well. Which begs the question: why did we move to Michigan, which has the opposite problem? But, I digress.

Fall also brings memories of the start of school. I LOVED school as a child. It was the start of something new; new clothes, new backpack, new books, new teachers, new friends. Even now, as I am frantically trying to prepare 4 people for the start of school in just a few weeks, I'm looking forward to it.

I woke up this morning, and the day felt like fall. I know it isn't, I know that it's only the 12th of August, nowhere near fall. Maybe it's because the weather isn't so hot today. Not having A/C in this house yet has made me more aware of the daily changes in the weather. I feel like if I went outside, I might need a light sweater, although I doubt that's the case. It all started this morning, while getting dressed. I looked in my dresser, and decided against shorts or capris. I put on jeans, which I probably haven't worn in months, due to how hot it has been. And weirder still, a 3/4 length sleeve shirt; not a tank top, not a short sleeve shirt. It was like I was unconsciously aware that I wouldn't feel comfortable in anything else.

But the idea that fall is coming, even if it isn't here already, brings sadness, too. I feel like we've been so busy, like we are every summer, but this one even more so, that we've missed summer. Jeff working horrible hours trying to turn the IT world on its ear, Emma and Sarah in speech camp everyday, moving into this house, unpacking, housework, cooking, etc. And now that at least some of that is finished (Jeff's big announcement was over a week ago, Speech camp ended at the end of July) it's time to start looking toward fall and the start of school. I feel like I want to put a stop to it & say,"Wait! What happened to summer? I missed it, that's not fair." I suppose that's life when you're a busy family.

Not that fall will be any less busy. I'm starting a new part-time job and taking classes again. Jeff's got a new project, too. He's going to be teaching an IT class that he is creating from the ground up. I think Emma wants to do soccer again, and I'm debating putting Sarah and Katie into dance or Kinder-Music. We always seem to be busy at all times of the year. But, if we weren't, I suppose life would be boring. :)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

On this day in...

So Renee over at Life with my Special K's gave this website where you can see what the #1 song on any day in pretty much the last 100 years was. It's pretty cool.

My birthday: "Stayin' Alive" by The Bee Gees

Jeff's birthday: "Le Freak" by Chic
(snort)

Our Anniversary: "I'll Be Missing You" by Puff Daddy & Faith Evans
(Not a very romantic song, lol)

Emma's birthday: "Smooth" by Rob Thomas
(The same as Kassidy's! :) I wasn't feeling so "smooth" either.)

Sarah's birthday: "Yeah!" by Usher & Lil Jon
(Jeff loves this song)

Katie's birthday: "Ridin'" by Chamillionaire

My mom's birthday: "I'm Walking Behind You" by Eddie Fisher

Jeff's mom's birthday: "Big Bad John" by Jimmy Dean

You can check it out here. It's fun!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Prayers for Emma Hope



This little girl is having major heart surgery this morning, even as we speak. Her parents lovingly adopted her and a little boy, both with Down syndrome, from Ukraine. This little girl is 5 years old but barely weighs more than Katie. She was given up on, she's been living with this heart defect her entire life. Doctors here in the US have told her parents that this surgery shouldn't be done, as it was unlikely that she would recover from it. But they persevered and found a doctor who gave them hope.

Just pray that this sweet little girl is able to continue her 2nd chance at life.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom




Today would have been your 55th birthday. I hope you like the flowers that I had sent today. I wish I could be there in person to bring them to you, but that will have to wait until I'm able to make a trip out there.

I miss you so much, and so does Emma. She talks about you all the time. She even uses the furniture you gave us as part of her conversations. Such as,"Mom, the babies are climbing on Grammy's table." :)

You are always on my mind and often in my dreams. I'm so happy that you are no longer in pain. I won't lie and say that I'm not still bitter over the fact that you left us too soon. There are so many times I wish I could call you on the phone and ask your advice, or just to talk to see how you're doing. The girls are growing up so fast and it seems like they're changing everyday.

I know you're watching over us. Happy birthday mommy.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

This is why I don't see doctors

Have you ever heard someone try to explain why it's been 25 years since they saw a doctor? I have heard the line,"I feel fine, it's only when you see a doctor that they find something wrong with you."

Yeah, I can relate.

First a bit of background: When we lived in San Diego, we had no family nearby, just a few close friends from church/the Navy. I had no problems taking Emma to see the doctor whenever she needed it. Me, on the other hand, not so much. This included dentists and doctors. The few times I had to go, I ended up having to take Emma with me, which was hard (little did I know only having 1 was easy, I now have to juggle 3). There were a few times Jeff was able to get off work, or one of my neighbors could help me out. But, those times were few and far between. I did manage to get a few things accomplished while in San Diego: I got my two top wisdom teeth removed, I had a couple moles removed, and I did manage to have my yearly "women's appt". But that was about it.

Fast forward to us being in Michigan. I'm pregnant, there's snow, and Jeff is still working ungodly hours. We STILL don't have family close by and the friends are even fewer. Getting to the OB each month while pregnant was enough to send me into the nuthouse with a clingy 4 year old on my leg. I KNOW I need to see a dentist cause it's been a year since my last cleaning...then it was 2...then 3, and then I was pregnant again, so I can't go, cause they'll want x-rays.

**Let me butt in by saying, I KNOW my excuses are lame, but they seemed rational to me at the time.**

So, here it is, 2 years after the birth of my last child, and I am just NOW seeing a dentist. Forgive me Mr. Dentist, it's been 5 years since my last confession visit. Oy.

6 CAVITIES PEOPLE!!!! I about died. My perfect record of having NO cavities for my entire life...GONE!!! I even went through 18 months of braces, when the orthodontist told my mom, "She'll probably have at least 1 cavity after these come off." But, NO!! I didn't. I thwarted ye olde tooth decay with my mighty brushing. And mouthwashing...and flossing...not so much flossing.

See, this is where my downfall was. I HATE flossing, with a vengeance. I still have my 2 bottom wisdom teeth, and they have been making a mockery of my 18 months worth of braces for the past 13 years since I got them off. They also have been making flossing a serious hazard. The space between my teeth is so small, I break most floss that I try to shimmy in between them. And, as with most hygiene regimens, once you're a mom, they kinda fall to the wayside. Cause, seriously? I can't even pee in private anymore, so finding the time to floss after the morning rush or before I collapse into bed at night is SO not possible.

So, here I am, preparing to endure 2 sessions of fillings (that's 3 cavities each, in case you're wondering), and after that, getting 2 wisdom teeth pulled. My Fall is going to suck, big time.

There's 1 other side effect to not having had much experience with dental work: I'm scared to death of needles aimed at my mouth. Need blood? Sure! A flu shot in the arm? No problem! But, needles coming towards my mouth with the intent of sticking into my gums has me doing the "all-over-body-shivers". I might need a mild sedative to get through this. Or a shot of vodka.

Friday, July 25, 2008

So moms aren't invincible

Big surprise, eh? Yeah, it was to me, too. I woke up yesterday morning with serious upper back pain. Like, it hurt to move/talk/breathe type of back pain. It was right between my right shoulder blade & my spine. Right where I couldn't really stretch it out to try to alleviate it.

I'm not usually one to run to the doctor for every little thing (well, not when it comes to ME), but I really wasn't able to do anything productive. I tried heating it and stretching some more, but no luck. I was thankfully able to get an appt with my Internist yesterday afternoon. She massaged and stretched and manipulated my neck. She also checked my make sure it wasn't my gall bladder. Apparently gall bladder issues can sometimes present themselves as upper back pains. But, that didn't seem to be the issue. She also said that she herself holds her stress in the same place, but on the opposite side. She asked if I had been experiencing stress. I had to suppress a snort, thinking, I have 3 kids and a husband who's been on 4 weeklong trips since the beginning of May, AM I EXPERIENCING STRESS??? I politely said, I might be, a little.

So, the diagnosis: strained and inflamed back muscles. Which might be from dragging carrying 2 little 30 lb. girls who think the "flop-n-drop" is the new Olympic sport and are going for the gold. I was given a Rx for a muscle relaxer and told to take some anti-inflammatory drugs. I picked up the Rx after dinner, took 1 plus 2 Advil, and waited...I didn't see any real relief until this morning, but I feel 100x better now.

Oh, and it was suggested I get a massage. Oh yeah, this is why I like this doctor. She tells me, in her professional opinion, that I need a massage, to help my condition. I definitely see some therapy in my future.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Preschool already??

I just put in Katie's application for preschool...for NEXT fall. Yes, apparently these things have to be done a year in advance, especially if you want to get into the Human Growth and Development Lab preschool at CMU. This is the same preschool where Emma went the year before Kindergarden. This doesn't automatically get her a spot, we won't know until next April or May if she got in. There's always a waiting list. There's also the not-so-fun aspect that it's freaking expensive preschool. $1,150 a year. BUT, that includes the fall semester, the spring semester, and a 6 week long summer semester. So, she would go from the end of August to the middle of June, with a few weeks off for Christmas, Spring break, and at the end of May. Not too bad. I was hoping that this would also be where Sarah went the year before she goes to Kindergarden, which would be the same year Katie would start. But, that's something that will have to be discussed with Sarah's preschool team closer to the middle of this coming year.

It's hard to think that my youngest will be old enough to go to school here pretty soon. The day that all 3 kids are out the door to school will be both sad and triumphant, lol.

Friday, July 18, 2008

On our own again

Jeff left early this morning for a business trip in Salt Lake. I feel so bad for him because we both got such a lousy night's sleep, but I was lucky enough to get to sleep in a bit after he left.

A quick recap of the last few days: We had fun during our 1 night "stay-cation" at the hotel. As soon as the girls got out of speech camp, we went home, finished packing up our overnight bag, and checked in. We immediately changed and went to the pool. The indoor pool was heated, so it wasn't completely refreshing, but it was better than nothing. Plus it started raining outside (go figure) so it would have doubly sucked if it had been an outdoor pool.

The girls had fun, although Sarah kept wanting to go into the spa, which was a lot hotter than she was accustomed to. Whenever we go to Nana & Papa's (who have a spa) they cool the water down to about 98 degrees, but I'm betting this spa was at least 103-WAY hotter than I was comfortable with. Sarah is still kinda iffy when it comes to water in general, but Katie was a fish. She absolutely loved it. She didn't mind if her head got dunked (although after reading about dry drowning, I was a bit nervous and kept checking on her after she went to sleep) and was happy as a clam jumping off the edge of the pool into my arms. We put Emma's pink water-wings on her and while she doesn't have the coordination to keep herself upright (her body keeps wanting to float on it's back) she WAS confident enough to jump towards me from the steps of the pool when I wasn't looking.

Emma is slowly getting more comfortable with swimming. I REALLY need to get her into swim lessons. I think with her being my first, I've been a bit too protective and was perfectly happy doing everything for her and not really noticing if she didn't know how to do something when her peers probably did (such as riding a 2-wheeler and knowing how to tie her shoes). I think I've been so focused on her school work and speech & the little ones, that I've kinda neglected that part of Emma's upbringing. Either that or I just assumed she'd learn how to do things on her own. I don't remember going to swim lessons as a kid, I just remember knowing how to swim. But, I was at the beach every summer, and had family who could take me all the time because I was the only child/grandchild that was around until I was 8. *This is the part when I get all pouty over the fact that we have no family nearby.*

Anyhow, the girls had fun, and it was a nice reprieve from the heat of our house.

Speaking of the heat, it is really affecting how Sarah & Katie sleep. Last night was just awful. We tried to get everyone to sleep in the basement (which is probably about 10 degrees cooler than the main level) but no one would settle down. So we put the little ones in their room on the floor with a box fan blowing right on them. Jeff went in their and tried to get them to fall asleep, but it took awhile. Then at around 2:45am, they took turns waking up and being restless. So, Jeff and I took turns trying to get them settled back down to make sure they didn't wake the other one up. We opened all the doors to let the cooler air flow through the house, but all that did was open the door for the girls to get up and walk around the house. They were each found asleep in the living room, at the side of our bed, at the door of the pantry after getting into it, in Emma's room, under their bed, and IN our bed. Needless to say, none of us got much sleep. Except Emma, who sleeps through anything.

I tried to put the little ones down for a nap this morning, to try and help them catch up on their rest, but it took almost 90 minutes for them to settle down. By that time, it was close to the time for Sarah to go to camp. I decided to let her sleep instead. So hopefully they'll both wake up refreshed and ready to give me a run for my money. :D

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Quick post

We are retreating to an air conditioned bunker hotel somewhere nearby due to the constant bombardment of heat. The children are wilting as we speak. We are hoping that a night in a room where the inside temp is LESS than the outside temp will help to refresh us. That, and a dip in a pool that isn't inflatable.

Will update tomorrow when I won't be sweating buckets.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Alas, forsoothe...

or whatever it is, lol. So, I didn't get the part. The final cast list was posted this morning, but you know what? I'm not too disappointed. This was my first try-out in 12 years, and there will be more. I know why I wasn't cast, but that knowledge will help me in my next audition.

The call-back went ok. I realized after I saw the first few people up on stage that I had forgotten a key component to this part: the accent. This is a BROOKLYN Jewish family, and I really hadn't been practicing my accent. I did it ok on the first read, but the 2nd one was LONG and it required a lot of changing emotions, so I was focusing on that. The 2 women who got the parts had AWESOME accents. So, like I said, I'm not bitter. This is a learning experience and I'll know what to do next time.

Plus, now that I don't have this to occupy my evenings for the next 2 months, I will probably be able to go to an IRL with some people from one of the Down syndrome boards I go to. And I'm also picking my fall classes this week, so now I can easily figure out my schedule. :D

Friday, July 11, 2008

Busy bees

That's apparently our motto for this weekend. We have way more stuff to do than we ever do normally, and it's kind of surprising.

Today: I have my call-backs at the same time Emma has a birthday bowling party to go to. DH to the rescue, and have fun putting the littlest ones to bed, hehe.
Tomorrow: driving to a local lake for a day of boating/food/fun with a group of people from Jeff's work. I needed to make an emergency trip to Kohl's last night to find a bathing suit that covered up my "doughy-ness".
Sunday: taking Emma to her friend's house for a playdate in the morning, and then we have our monthly Central Michigan Ds group meeting at a park.

We're never this busy. And poor DH is going out of town next Friday, so he won't have another weekend to himself (well, with us, too) for 2 weeks. I suppose when you live in a climate where people generally hibernate during the winter, you try to get in as much socializing and outings as you can while the weather's good. The way I see it, if I can get the house clean before we have all these engagements and then we LEAVE the house, we won't be home to get it dirty. Works for me.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Call-backs

The audition last night went pretty well. I was the only one there trying out for either of the 2 older female roles, so I went first. Surprisingly I wasn't nervous, which was odd. But it got my portion over with quickly. Although the person I was reading with said they had quite a few the previous night.

Anyhow, the director said the call-back list would be on the door of the theater this morning, and call-backs were Friday night. So, where was I first thing this morning after dropping Emma off at speech camp? Of course, I was sitting in my car outside the theater, hoping no one would recognize me being a total loser and waiting for the list to go up. I saw the director go in, put up the list, lock the doors and leave. And because I didn't want to look desperate, I waited until he was out of sight before going up there. I was on the list. :D But so were about 30 other people, for only 7 parts. My odds aren't great, but hey, at least I got called back. That's pretty cool.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Broadway is calling

Well, the Broadway Theater here in town, that is. Those of you who know me pretty well know that when I was younger I was really into theater/drama/performing in general. I was in plays since I was around 9, I played 2 instruments starting in 7th grade, I was in choir at church, and a songleader my senior year in high school. I was also a weekly performer in Sacramento's Rocky Horror Picture Show for about 2 years....back when I was skinny.

Anyhoo, I was reading the local paper last week and saw that they were holding auditions for Neil Simon's play "Brighton Beach Memoirs". I'd only heard of the play, and only vaguely remember the sequel movie "Biloxi Blues". So, I decided to try out. They were held last night (but I couldn't go) and will be held again tonight. I've tried in vain to get ahold of the entire script so I can prepare a little bit, but I suppose if it's that hard to get ahold of, that probably means no one else will have been able to either. Making the playing field even. Aside from the fact that it's been over 10 years since I performed on stage, and WELL over that since I actually had to audition for something. There's also the tiny little detail that I'm really not the age for any of the parts in the play. There are 4 female parts, 2 of which are teenagers (NOT likely) and the other 2 are a little older than me (38 & 40). But, I figured if I did well enough at the audition, anything can be done with make-up, so making me look a little older won't be that hard. For crying out loud, I played Auntie Em in my elementary school's performance of "The Wizard of Oz" when I was 12.

But, I've read a little bit about this play, and it seems like it would be a lot of fun. It's set during the Great Depression in Brooklyn. It's about a Jewish family (HELLO, my maiden name is Yiddish) and mainly centers around the narrator, Eugene, who is 15. The part I am thinking I would be interested in is his aunt, Blanche. She's a widow, with 2 teenage daughters, and they are all living with Eugene's family.

So, I have no delusions that I might actually get a part, but I figured, this theater does plays 4 times a year, so I might as well get back into the swing of auditions. Plus, they have a kids theater program, too. And people keep telling me I need to get Emma into drama. So wish me luck!!

Monday, July 07, 2008

YouTube

We have recently come into the digital age in the Wilson household with the purchase of a digital video camera. Now it won't take 5 hours or an act of Congress to get videos of the fam onto the computer for the rest of our family far away to be able to see the kiddos. We went a little crazy this weekend, and put up 2 new videos. One from the 4th of July and one of Sarah doing some Signing Time. Here's a link to where you can find them all, yes it's on YouTube. :)

http://www.youtube.com/jmwolf

*Edited to add: the videos that are listed on the bottom of the page are Jeff's favorites.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Surgery day for Kennedy

I haven't had a chance to post today, but Kennedy had her spine surgery today. According to her mom's updates, she's now out of surgery & in the ICU. Things are looking good and the doctor's said everything went well! Here's a link to her mom's blog: Life with My Special K's

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Bathroom Update #4...I think

Yay!! Toilet is now disengaged from my floor!! To quote Jeff as we were able to successfully remove the stubborn bolt,"Those Home Depot guys are freaking geniuses." ROFL

I took off the rest of the luan flooring this afternoon, but my goal to have at least 1 coat of the Kilz on before the girls got home from camp was not realized. That flooring took a lot out of me. But, I am determined to work on it again once the girls go to bed. If I can get the 2 coats I want on there before tomorrow morning, then I can head to Home Depot to get the new luan flooring and install it tomorrow afternoon! See? There is a method to my madness.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The bathroom gods are against me

Ok, this bathroom is becoming a major thorn in my side. I have (almost) all the supplies I need, I just need to get the floor into a state where I can start. That involves unhooking the toilet and getting it out of the way for the time being. I knew what to do but a toilet is a huge porcelain PITA (pain in the a$$) and I didn't want to risk breaking it and having "new toilet" be part of my bathroom remodeling expenses. So I waited to request Jeff's help in moving it this weekend.

Well, the toilet has decided it doesn't WANT to be moved and is staying put. There seems to be something wrong with one of the nut/bolt thingies that secure the toilet to the floor. The top nut can be moved, but the ENTIRE nut/bolt/nut system is moving together, meaning nothing is coming off. And since the other nut is on the UNDERSIDE of the toilet, which we can't get to, we're at a loss as to how we're going to keep that one secure in order to get the top nut off. This whole thing makes my brain hurt....

And once again I have a time limit. Not like I wanted to still be doing this 2 weeks after I started. I wanted it done within 4 days, which was feasible at the time. But houses are fickle things. And I have 3 little distractions who don't like me working on the bathroom while they're at home/awake. But now that Emma & Sarah are at speech camp (Emma all day, Sarah in the afternoon) and Katie is now taking naps in the afternoon, I have almost 2 1/2 hours in order to work on it!! But, this still requires that the stupid toilet be detached from it's current position. So, it's another trip to Home Depot for me. I think they're gonna know me by name soon.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Central Michigan Down syndrome Society


When Sarah was first born, and we found out about her little something extra, we looked around for some local support. We didn't find much. So, I went online and found a wonderful group of people that I have looked to in times of stress and celebrated with in times of great joy. We have been fortunate to meet up with some of them over the last 4 years, but there's still nothing that beats having a local group that you can talk to & meet up with on a regular basis.

Last year, on Mother's Day, we went out to Bob Evans (a Marie Calendar's type of restaurant). While we were having breakfast, a family walked by & stopped in front of our table. The mom started talking to Sarah, and commented on how cute she was. Generally when people do that, it's because they have some sort of Down syndrome connection. And as soon as I saw the little baby in the infant seat, I saw the connection. We didn't exchange information, it was a nice little meeting where we shared something in common.

Fast forward about 6 months. I get a letter in the mail from a woman who was starting up a local Ds group and wanted to know if we would join. I jumped at the chance and called her right away. What do you know, it was the same family from Bob Evans. Their little girl was named Elizabeth and they had just gotten through heart surgery. We set up a recurring meeting at McDonald's for once a month. She decided, since this town is pretty small, and there aren't many kids with Ds, to include kids with other special needs. Sarah's little friend from preschool, Morgan, who has agenesis of the corpus callosum started joining us as well.

Our little support group is growing in numbers and in activities. We have an official website and a date for a Buddy Walk. So if anyone is in the central Michigan area, you are welcome to join!!

Prayers for Kennedy

On the sidebar, you might notice a new button. It's for a sweet little girl named Kennedy. Kennedy is only about a month younger than Sarah, but has been through so much in her short 4 years. She has a little something extra, like Sarah, but her family has been tested with some medical challenges that we haven't. Last year, right before her 3rd birthday, Kennedy was diagnosed with AML (Acute Myelogenous Leukemia). Kids with Ds have a much higher rate than the average population to get diagnosed with leukemia. But, the up side is that kids with Ds also have a much higher remission/success rate. The chemo schedule for AML is rigorous (this is the same form of leukemia that Chelsea was diagnosed with). It is 6-9 months of chemo, between 4-6 rounds, with each round lasting about 1 month from admission to release. Then there's the side effects of chemo: hair loss, NO immune system, pain, nausea, general fatigue. So many of our online friends have had to deal with this.


After she got through that with flying colors (she's still in remission!!! Yay!!), she had another surprise for her family. See, another medical issue that many kids with Ds have to face is AAI (Atlantoaxial Instability). It is a problem in the upper part of the spine where the neck vertebras aren't formed correctly. Kids with Ds have to be screened starting at age 3 to make sure they don't have this otherwise they could be seriously injured or even paralyzed if they have a bad fall. Sarah was tested last year and so far everything looks good, but she will be getting more x-rays done soon. Kennedy was also diagnosed with an even more serious version of AAI called AOI (atlanto-occipital instability). To borrow the way Leah described it, Kennedy's head is merely resting on top of her spine. She is flying to Philly today to have a spine fusion surgery. This will be a long recovery time for her & her family. To make things a tad more complicated, Kennedy's dad is serving this country in the US Army, and left in December for his 2nd tour in Afghanistan. He will be flying to Philly to be with his family during this time, and will be able to stay with them during Kennedy's recovery.

Did I mention Kennedy has 2 brother's and 1 sister? This whole family could definitely use prayers for strength and courage through this tough time.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Bathroom update

For those of you that were interested, no I didn't get the bathroom finished by Saturday. And as luck would have it, the weather decided it wanted to rain on Saturday afternoon (according to the forecasts) so we moved the party to a local park that have covered areas, as our backyard has no shelter. As it would happen, it started pouring as soon as we were getting ready to leave.

Anyhoo, the carpet and old linoleum are out, but there was one more layer before getting to the subfloor and that has proven harder to rip up. But, I have a plan and all the supplies to get it finished, so hopefully I'll be able to post pics of my new bathroom floor sometime this week. And just the floor cause the rest of the bathroom is still ugly.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Channeling my mother

Ask anyone who knew my mother and one of the first things they would say about is she loved to home repair/home decorating/gardening. If you called her on any given day, she probably could be found painting/staining/installing/planting something. I have already determined that I did not inherit my mother's artistic gene, however, it seems I've been blessed (and depending on who you talk to, including my husband, that might be stretching it) with the "fixer-upper" gene. Over the last 2 weeks, I've embarked on more "fixer-upper" projects than I have in the past 2 years. It all started with me finding 4 rolls of contact paper in my mother's things. I immediately thought of my kitchen and the nasty old paper that was in there, along with the shelves that had nothing and were merely nasty themselves. Over the course of about 6 hours, I put contact paper on almost every shelf in my kitchen & pantry. And then proceeded to rearrange said shelves.
My new project is somewhat ambitious, and my husband has already expressed doubt that I will get it done. When we moved in, it seems that the previous owners had a cat, that was allowed to use the carpet in the main bathroom as a litter box. First of all, putting carpet in a bathroom seems like an extremely idiotic idea in the first place, but I digress. It smelled....BAAAAAAAAD. Poor Emma wouldn't even brush her teeth in there & the smell hit you as soon as you walked in the front door. It was awful. I got lots of advice on how to get rid of it, but they all required that the bathroom be well aerated. Which it isn't, as it doesn't have a window or good air flow. So spraying anything on there that required we allow it do dry was not going to happen.
We have a birthday party here this Saturday and I didn't want to have to make all the guest use the 1/2 bath by the back door. So, I decided to rip up all the carpet, padding & anything else that was under there, and put new flooring down. It already smells better and I haven't even put anything on the subfloor yet. The people who put this carpet in were morons. They put carpet over linoleum because they were too lazy to rip up the old flooring. So now I have a decision to make: be an equal moron and just put new vinyl flooring over the old stuff, or bust my hump & try to rip out the old stuff that's probably been there for 25 years. Did I mention we're having a party here Saturday? There is this product called Kilz that is a sealant of some sort that I was told would block out the smell of cat pee that soaked into the subfloor (which is most certainly likely). I think it's time to go visit our friendly neighborhood experts at Ye Olde Home Depot. It's times like these that I wish my mom were here so I could call her & ask her advice. But, all I have now is WWMD (What would Mom do).

Monday, June 16, 2008

Snot much fun

Being sick, that is. Poor Sarah & Katie. They each have a sinus infection and conjunctivitis. Which are fancy words for a lot of snot & goop all over the face. Katie woke up this morning, wandered into our room (how, I don't know, since I THOUGHT their door had been shut), I pulled her into bed with me and we fitfully slept for about another hour. I hadn't even looked at her when she came in, I did the "eyes still half closed" thing. When we all woke up a bit more, Jeff noticed that her poor eyes were crusted shut. She had wandered into our room pretty much blind. Poor kid. I immediately made a double appointment for them both as soon as I could. They each had a low degree temp of 99.6, and weighed in at 28 & 23 lbs. My little twins, lol. They even get sick together. So now we're on a regimen of oral antibiotics and eye drops for the next week. Fun fun.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Library Fun

When I was growing up, I went to the library alot....I mean a LOT. Especially in the summer when I was visiting my dad. My aunt would take me at least twice a week: for story time, to get new books, rent movies, the whole 9 yards. I grew up loving books. There are books that are engrained in my memory of childhood: The Boxcar Children, Nate the Great, Corduroy, anything by Beverly Cleary.
I have been remiss when it comes to helping my children have that love of the library. I'll admit before today, it had been at LEAST a year since I took them there. But, even though I haven't pushed it, my kids have still developed a love of books. Emma loves books, and so does Sarah. Katie's learning. :D
So we went this morning, and we had a good time. We got books, a couple DVD's, and audio books to tide us over for the next week or so. I've been a bit short on decent books for me to read lately, so I decided to take a crack at some books that I was supposed to read in high school, but, well, they bored me to tears at the time. I'm not proud of it, but hey, I was 17. And lover of books that I was, I didn't like being TOLD to read something for the sake of a teacher just so I could get a good grade. And now I'm in college doing the same thing, rofl.
Anyhow, so I got "Brave New World" and "1984". I'm about 1/3 of the way through "Brave New World". It's hard to believe it was written in the 1930's, seeing how forward it is regarding what amounts to extreme promiscuity and drug use. I need to think of more books I should have paid more attention to in high school and take a 2nd look at them.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Booty Camp

In case you hadn't gathered based on how old my 2 younger kids are, but I have 2 in diapers at the moment. Sarah is on her way, and I think just needs a little push to be completely free of diapers, but Katie is still aways from that. She's cognizant of the fact that she goes pee & poop and even tells me, but she doesn't like the potty chair. And I'm not gonna push her. She'll get it in her own time. After all, she DID only turn 2 yesterday (and no I didn't post anything, I'm a bad mom, but I'm a single mom for the week, so I didn't have a ton of time).

Sarah is very sporadic when it comes to the potty. She has on a few occasions told me in advance that she needs to go, and will actually go. But other times she acts completely oblivious to it. I don't like the fact that it seems like I don't have the time to focus on making sure she gets trained, but with DH being gone all day (and sometimes for a week for work), having just moved into a new house and still trying to unpack, plus having a younger child always underfoot, it's been beyond difficult trying to have a schedule to go have potty time. So, when I saw this on the Today Show this morning, I immediately told Jeff about it.

www.bootycampmom.com

This woman says that, with parent involvement, she can potty train your child in 1 day. She does these camps 2 days a week, maybe 2-3 times a month, in groups of 4-5. The methods she uses are a little controversial (a LOT of salty snacks & sweet drinks, which help the body have to pee more frequently) but it helps the child get into a routine of knowing what it feels like. She also teaches the child that it is THEIR responsibility to take care of their potty needs. If they have an accident, she has them clean it up (with help and in a very positive attitude). There have been articles written for NADS (National Association for Down syndrome) and she's been doing this for over 4 years. She claims to have a 98% success rate.

The only catch is she's in Chicago. But, that's only about a 5 hour drive. It's totally worth it to me. If I could have Sarah potty trained by the start of school next fall, that would be a miracle, for us as a family & for our pocketbook.

Monday, May 19, 2008

What Sarah & Katie were doing

while Emma was learning how to ride her bike.

We brought out the slide/swing set that Katie got for her birthday last year, and they had a blast. Enjoy!!















I love to ride my bicycle

"The hardest part of raising a child is teaching them to ride bicycles. A shaky child on a bicycle for the first time needs both support and freedom. The realization that this is what the child will always need can hit hard." ~Sloan Wilson

Score another point for buying our own house! At the age of 8 years 5 1/2 months, Emma has learned to ride a 2-wheel bike. She's had a bike since she was 5, but living where we did, on the corner of a busy street, with no real usable lawn, getting her to be able to ride it very often was hard.

Now her bike with the training wheels was way too small. So, Saturday, while out yardsale-ing, we saw a bigger 2-wheel bike that was in really nice condition, for $16. We couldn't pass it up. After a trip to the store for a new helmet, and after putting the younger 2 to bed, we set out to teach Emma how to ride.

The first hurdle was teaching her how shift her weight when she starts falling to one side. She had the pedaling down (and trust me, riding a bike on thick grass is no easy feat) and was doing well with the steering, but turning without falling over was still an issue. By the end of the night, she was able to go in a straight line without falling over, and with me only holding on long enough to get her started.

Yesterday morning we tried again, and within about 30 minutes, Emma was doing circles around our lawn & driveway, again with me only helping her to get going for a second. After I went inside to make the kiddos some lunch, Emma stayed outside and I watched her from the window. She could now get started all on her own & did about 30 revolutions in a row!! I'm so very proud of her! After not having ridden a bike period for almost a year, she picked it up really well.

Now she wants to make these long treks out to the park and has it in her brain that she'll be able to ride her bike to school next fall. Hate to break it to you kid, but your school is too far away. :( But, we have a nice big high school right across the street that has a sidewalk all the way around it, so I have a feeling we'll be making a lot of family walks around there this summer.















Brownie points for who can guess where the title of this post is from. :D

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Little Helper

Sarah LOVES to help me clean, as long as it's something she wants to do, and isn't forced. LOL She helps me empty out the dishwasher, put laundry into the dryer, and make the beds. Today she decided to take it upon herself to clean our upstairs coffee table.





The pics are a little blurry because they were taken with my cell phone, but she was very intent on cleaning. :)