Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mostly gross but with a few laughs.

Hello all!

Even though I changed my home page to show some holiday spirit and posted some pictures a few days ago, I'm only just now sitting down to tell you about the last two weeks.

I didn't think I would be writing this at all, at least not during day time hours! I stayed up late the night I posted the pictures because, , my computer died. It was bogging down and freezing up, being overly annoying when I only have a handfull of minutes at a time to sit there. Then I left for the weekend and my hubby turned it off. Now we know he shouldn't have done that, because, sadly, it won't boot back up again.

My hubby can fix it, as he's done previous computers in the past. He actually built this one quite a few years ago and saved us a lot of money. However, when someone works with computers all day every day, you can't get that someone to come home to a computer job, not willingly or happily, at least! I don't know when I'll be able to use it, so instead I have his lap top to use in the evenings. During the day I can use the smaller computer downstairs, but that is supposed to be for our business only. There is no firewall, no virus protection on it what so ever. I have an Internet connection there only to view my orders and to print postage. As I am addicted to computers, I have been wandering down there often to check my email and chat with some ladies I've known for a few years now.

I have presents divided and packaged up in piles designated as Tim and Yo. My hubby isn't heading north for the holiday until the 23rd. He'll have a lot more room than I will, so will be taking a large plastic tub filled to the top with presents. I'll only be bringing up exchange gifts and a selection for each of my boys to open at a family gathering held the same day as our arrival up north. It actually starts at 2:00, but to make that hour we'd have to leave here by 6:00 a.m. That's probably not gonna happen! We'll shoot for 9:00. With potty breaks and half hour for lunch, we should be there by 5:00.

Let me get down to it as it's getting late.

Usually I have more to say about Dev and B than I do Hunter, but not this time! I took note of a few things to share with you, the first on my list are the 95-100% grades he's been getting on his weekly spelling tests. A recent one he came home with was for 101% because his penmanship was clear and even!

On December first, Hunter's 11th birthday, the regular fourth grade teacher returned. I've told you about it before, so I won't repeat myself. I requested a meeting with her and she agreed. My babysitter is only part time and already had a full house for that day so I brought Devin and Bryce with me. Devin was very excited when I said we were going to Hunter's school to meet his teacher. Devin ran to his room and came back with his Go, Diego, Go! backpack.

Mrs. G's planning hour started at 11:00, so Dev and B and I arrived jus before then. Hunter's school is called an intermediate school, located in a much older building in front of the elementary school. The layout was poorly made. There is a big front door, but that's not where they want you to enter. I park on the parking lot, which is at one side of the school. I walk past the front door carrying Bryce and followed by my backpack wearing three year old with this face consuming smile on his face, to the other side where there is a walking path from this school to the one behind it (Hunter has to go to the elementary school for lunch and gym. Lovely.)

Afer being buzzed in we then had to climb three floors to the office to sign in and be announced to Hunter's teacher, who we must go back down two flights of steps to meet in her classroom. For some reason Devin wanted me to get to the bottom of each flight before he would take hold of the handrail and come down. Had Bryce been his usual wiggle, let me go self, I would have had less patience!

I was a little put out when I first entered the classroom and saw Mrs. E there. I don't recall her title, but she's like a coordinator between parents and the IEP team. This wasn't anything official, I just wanted to meet the woman who was spending more hours with my son than I was.

Mrs. G is probably in her early 50's, but you wouldn't have guessed that if you were just looking at her mouth and the neon yellow gum she was chomping. After the introduction it wasn't that noticable in her mouth. Maybe she was just freshening her breath. We discussed how Huner handeled the meeting she, Mrs. T and Hunter had the week before. How Hunter was behaving with Mrs. G in the classroom and the differences between the teaching stles of Mrs. T and Mrs. G. To cut myself short, I feel pretty good about the situation and Hunter has no complaints. (Devin did great sitting in few different desks and checking out the chalkboard. I sat B in Hunter's chair and he spent most of the time scribbling on the back of Hunter's paper. The rest of the time he spent climbinb all over me.)

Hunter takes forever in the bathroom at night. Using the toilet, taking a shower and brushing his teeth can take over an hour. I've cut it down considerably by taking the book away from him before he goes in there. Now he gets the job done and reads the book before going to bed.

I'm wondering if there's one book I should confinscate because of what it's teaching him! After he was done in the bathroom I entered to find the walls splattered with spit balls! LOL I told him he could do that all he wanted, as long as he cleaned up the mess!

I'm not sure how it happened, but Hunter came home from school one day with his eyeglasses broken. The left side was completely snapped off near where the screw is. It was unfixable so I called the eye doc and asked what kind of warrenty there was. He's only been wearing them since the spring. I was told as long as we turned in every piece we'd get a complete replacement, even the transitional lenses, which were scractched up. Even though the woman put a rush in with the order, it would take a few days and that meant duct taping his glasses back together. What I used wasn't exactly duct tape. I really didn't want anyone seeing the grey tape or the black of electrical tape holding my son's glasses together. I found a cloudy clear tape that we've used to help visquine our windows and that held his glasses together until yesterday, when we traded them for the new pair.

Oh...yesterday. I got a horrible scare yesterday. I'm going to break off and tell you about it. Hunter gets home about 3:20. We left the house and traveled the 30 minutes to the eye doc to make the switch. We came back to the nearest town to our house and went to the BK drive thru. Tim and I were going to his company Christmas party and leaving the boys with a sitter, hence the fast food run. I made a left turn from the BK, behind a black pick up who then entered the right turn lane onto the bypass that was put in a few years back to help ease the congestion that is created when you put cars and Amish buggies together.

Before the truck turned I saw a car stopped at the sign at the end of the bypass and then it was blocked from sight by the black pickup. I started to accelerate as the truck moved away, when the car suddenly appeared in front of me! I clenched the steering wheel with both hands as I slammed on the brakes. As I squealed to a stop just inches away from the back panel of that car, I saw the startled face of an older woman who continued driving away. I stayed there for a minute or two, catching my breath and expressing the greatest grattitude to a van which is up there in miles but has a good set of brakes! The car behind me gave me all the time I needed, no blares of the horn to get moving. Had the roads been even the slightest bit icy, I'd be needing a new van. All three boys were safe and secure, although it did wake Bryce up from his nap. We made it home, I handed the children over, then I proceeded to drink four glasses of wine too many and felt it in the morning!

Back to Hunter...he got a phone call! Tomorrow they are having some sort of carnival for the last day of 2008. He and another boy will be managing a game where they will build a pyramid of plastic cups for kids to throw a ping pong ball at. The boys have talked together twice about their booth.

This last one actually happened over the Thanksgiving holiday, when Hunter's grandparents were here. Apparently Hunter had an upset stomach one night and ran to the toilet to vomit. His grandma found the evidence and cleaned up the commode the next morning. However, I didn't know the extent of the sickness until Hunter tells me right before he goes to be that he needs new bed sheets. Why? Because he threw up in his bed before making it to the bathroom and spent the rest of the night on the floor instead of coming to tell me. I got his room cleaned up and told him to come get me right away if this happened again.

If you think that was gross, then read on.

Through Bryces's baby monitor I can hear when Devin is crying. One night I heard his cries, so I put my soft and warm terry cloth robe on and stumbled my way up the stairs. He met me at his bedroom door and said that he needed me. I asked him what was wrong, in which he replied with a cough...and then he puked all over the front of my robe! Thankfully I was protected in that or else it would have been a thin t-shirt and nothing on my legs to stop what I couldn't see coming at me in the dark hallway! After that purge, a new sleeper and a drink of water, he went right back to sleep.

Don't stop now, keep reading....

Devin is learning about things that are smaller and bigger. I've been showing him different sized balls and he uses the words himself in describing things. When children sneeze, they often close their mouth. Devin did this and told me he had a small amount of snot on his nose. I wiped it up with a tissue and we carried on. He sneezed again and came running, shouting, It's bigger, mama. It's a big one! Um. Yeah. The bottom of his face was all snot. It took two Kleenex's to get that off. Bigger was right! (Hey, Uncle Mark! Ya ready to spend some qaulity time with your nephews?!?)

Devin has been testing my patience to the limit. He's throwing things at the dogs and chases poor Kit around so much, she spends a lot of time in my shadow. He hits, pushes and takes things away from Bryce that I'm imaginging myself dividing the house, one side for Dev and the other for B. I had had enough the other day when Dev took an orange plastic recorder (like a small one piece clarinet) and hit Bryce on the head. He knew I was mad because he was apologizing before I had covered the short distance between us. I don't have a problem with smacking a little bum now and then and this was one of those moments where I was going to try and make an impression. I grabbed his right shoulder with my right hand and pulled back with my left. Devin's instinct was to put his hands on his backside and still clutched in his hand was that darn recorder! The bottom knuckle bone of my thumb hit that hard plastic and I instantly froze up in pain! I had a purple spot for two days afterward. Note to self: Take offending toy away first!

But Devin is nothing compared to Bryce, The Destroyer of Homes. At least Devin is old enough to listen and obey when we say no. Bryce? He laughs in our face. Sure he does stop, but look out as he throws whatever it was we wanted him to stop doing at you. If you're within a few feet of him when he drains his sippy out, because he chucks that thing hard and contines to pick it up and throw it until it's been refilled and placed in his hands. Is there a coffee table in your house? Does it have drinks, books, perhaps clean clothes neatly piled atop it? Bryce is faster with his hands than Knight ever was with his gator tail! Forget to push in your dining room or office chair? Too bad, because now you have salt and pepper on the table, napkins thrown on the floor and paperwork, CD's, or your computer behaivng strangley because a 19 month old changed a setting you have no idea how to switch back.

I called my parents the other day to warn them of Bryce. They smiled and they chuckled. He's the typical toddler, they said. We're ready for him, they claim. I tried to explain that B is like a set of twins in one body, that you think you have him where you want him, but then he's way over there pouring out your drink you thought was safe because he was with you over here and while you're soaking that up, he's at the other side of the house, checking to see what plants were watered and which ones weren't and then suddenly deciding that they all needed to be repotted.

On Sunday I'll be driving to Traverse City to pick up Devin's big Santa gift. I told Tim that I'd probably just leave all three boys with my parents if they were going to be home. My husband says, Oh, no. Don't leave Bryce with them. Why not?, I ask, becoming a little defensive about his apparent lack in trust of my parents babysitting skills. He replied, Don't leave him with them on your first full day there. They won't want to watch him again!

I've closed myself up in a room with no heat so my typing won't keep Tim up. I'm tired, I'm shivering, and I have a lot of packing to do tomorrow!

I hope you have a safe and happy Christmas!

Love to all,


Saturday, December 6, 2008

24 hours and a few other things

Hello all.

How many have you finished Christmas shopping? I’d like to say I have, that I started early like I said I would this year…and last year…and the year before. I think the blame lands on family who don’t share ideas until mid-December! :P

If I could put some sort of clock in this update, you’d see that I started this at 7:36 this AM, December 5th, but am now only sitting back down at 9:18 AM. Since 7:36 I’ve peeled Bryce out of his wet sleeper and changed his bed sheet. He takes a bottle every night, no comments, and if he has two, which he did last night, and sleeps on his tummy with his bum in the air, which he does every night, he’ll wake up soaked and unhappy.

Since 7:36 I’ve gotten Dev into his big boy underwear and ran with him six times to the potty, four of which were false alarms and one was only a little squirt and dribble of pee, but he looked up at me so happy and proud.

I’ve fed them both breakfast, which Bryce threw on the floor to fill the tummies of dogs instead of his own. I didn’t push Dev’s chair in when he left the table, leaving half of his waffles behind. I heard grunts later and look at the table and see B has climbed up on the chair and was now on his knees eating Devin’s waffles. I let him eat them as he worked so hard to climb up there and Devin is eating less and less these days, I didn’t think he’d come back. But I was wrong and had to make Devin some more.

Apparently the children’s TV channel Noggin was having a dance party at 8:00 in the morning. All programs for two hours were upbeat and full of dancing. Devin thinks I make a great dance partner and I’ll agree only because I was the only adult on our carpeted dance floor! Our favorite one was from Jack’s Big Music Show where a woman played the guitar and sang a song about dancing and freezing. One part went like this,”…freeze like a tree with no wind in your leaves. Don’t shake your knees, don’t even sneeze!” I don’t think we’d make good competition for So You Think You Can Dance because Bryce did A LOT of laughing!

Since I’ve started this, I’ve had to make room for one and then two little boys who wanted to share my chair. B in the back practicing his massage therapy with his feet, and Dev in the front wanting to type but instead content with moving the mouse around so I’d sometimes be typing here or in IE or typing when I shouldn’t be and the computer would yell at me, which would send Dev giggling because I told him the computer was yelling at me.

Now it’s 10:22 and I’ve gotten up a few more times to tell Dev to stop burying his brother in the couch pillows and Bryce to stop turning the TV on and off. When I turn on Christmas music later, I’ll then start asking him to stop skipping through the songs! But now I’m going to remove Bryce from behind me and start a load of laundry, because if I don’t do a load or two a day, I won’t be queen atop just Mt. Laundry, but an entire range. A scary thought!

Here it is now almost 4:30 and I haven’t sat back down here. Not too much has happened. I finished getting out the Christmas decorations, so our tree is up and B is fascinated with it. Last year all he wanted to do was pull them all off, but this year so far he’s just touching them and staring at the lights. I used my cell phone to take a picture because of course my digital camera has no batteries. This time it isn’t because I took tons of pictures, but because I left it in the cold van to drain the power for no good reason.

Now it’s Saturday and here is where I had two paragraphs that wouldn’t save, so I had to reboot and have since fed my family plus two. Hunter had two friends over for his birthday and I’ve taken them to see an animated movie called Bolt. It had a good story line I wish I had thought of….

Once back home sitting on the couch with Tim, he mentions that Bryce started to gag himself with his fingers on purpose. He tells me that he had to smack B’s hand away from his mouth a dozen times and while discussing it, we can hear retching sounds down the hall. Bryce started to get fussy and he’d been down for 45 minutes. Tim hopes he’s not poopy. I say to make him a bottle and when giving it to him, take a deep sniff. The only muscle Tim and I moved were our eyes as we looked at each other, willing the other to get up and tend to the baby. Poor Bryce! Third Child Syndrome just isn’t right!

Relax, we didn’t ignore him much longer. Tim and I exchanged a few impish comments before I got up with a glare. The child wasn’t completely down yet. I had given Tim the option of taking Hunter and his friends to the movies while I stayed home with Dev and B. He told me to go. I got back at 9:00, 30 minutes after the scheduled bedtime and planned on finishing an evening without my two youngest, and there I was, back at work again. 24/7 with no spontaneous breaks in sight and the scheduled ones are no more than two hours! (And as I write this paragraph, I hear my husband call to me; Bryce is fussing again, should we check on him? The “we” mentioned was me.)

I’m not saying this to make my hubby look like the bad guy, really he’s not. He admits he doesn’t have the patience or understanding sometimes and would rather I be the primary caregiver. He is a wonderful husband and father, a man who would rather work two jobs to make ends meet than have his wife work while a stranger raises his children. There aren’t many things he concedes to, but in this he shows me great admiration, with a small dash of annoyance on top!

I only wrote down a few things this week to share with you, and since I’ve already gone on for a bit, I’ll try to make this brief. No promises, though!

Devin got in trouble at gymnastics. Honestly, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened yet! At 3 ½ he’s the youngest child in the group (and the only boy) with a whole lot of energy and not use to structure and direction in such a wide open environment. I watch from a balcony above the gym and I want to go down there and jump on that huge rectangular trampoline!

The second part of their lesson involves going from one station to the next, practicing a different gymnastic skill at each one. In one place they practice head stands, another they swing from a bar or climb a rope, hang from a bar and bring their toes up to their fingers, sit on the pommel horse and lift their bottoms up and form their legs into different positions and finally they are supposed to grab on to a bar and walk their feet up a padded wall to finish with flipping over the bar to land back on their feet.

All this is supposed to be done in a clock-wise circle. We’re talking three to five year olds here. Most of the seven children can be redirected. Mr. Jim is great with children and they rush to follow his silly instructions. The circles made by Devin and one little girl always have a few more lumps, zags, dashes and squeals in them than the others. This day in particular they were all over the place. Mr. Jim usually doesn’t have seven kids by himself. Miss Carr unfortunately has been out the past three sessions. She not only is an instructor but a competitor and injured her shoulder. Hopefully she’ll be back soon. Mr. Jim told Devin quite a few times to get behind so and so, do the bars and that he was next on the horse, but Dev would jump out of line and run amok.

There’s a sign up in the viewers balcony that says, Please do not talk to your children. I don’t want to talk to Dev, I want to holler at him! Mr. Jim took control and sat Dev and the little girl down, said that if they didn’t want to do gymnastics, than they would sit there and stay out of the way of the other children who did. Mr. Jim kept glancing up at us in the balcony and I’m hoping he didn’t take my mean mom look as directed at him because I was doing it for Devin who continued to wave and smile at me from his seat against the wall! Finally he caught on and sat there quietly and he was soon invited back to continue, which he did very well.

Bryce is quick. I think he might be quicker than any other toddler! I come back into the room after being gone just a few minutes, and B is on the table surrounded in salt and pepper. Thankfully none got into his eyes! I turn on the TV, start a Blue’s Clue’s recording, turn around and see Bryce has taken Devin’s uneaten corn and thrown it into all previously unknown corners of the house! I don’t dare take five minutes to start a load of laundry for fear of what I’ll walk into when I’m done. Like I’ve told my hubby many times in many ways; So what. Not a big deal. Nothing’s broken. Everything’s fine. Don’t get so worked up and, don’t clean up until they’re in bed!!

Hunter had me fuming one morning, and probably annoyed his teacher as well. I noticed he forgot his lunch in the fridge, so I made plans to go into town. Since it's a fourteen mile drive I would also go to the store and attempt the library. I've been avoiding the place because B has been VERY vocal!

Anyway - Hunter has lunch at 11:30. The boys and I were ready by 11:00 so we all got in the van.

Last week I lost my van key. I have my key on just a single ring. The other keys I keep on a ring that hangs from my van's automatic gear shift. Before hubby left on a biz trip Tuesday morning, he pulled his van key off and gave it to me. I don't leave my key in the van anymore because Dev tries to help me by locking the doors and twice now he's locked my key in the van!

Anyway - I still often forget to grab the key off the hook just inside the door, and that morning was no exception. I went back in the house and reached for it...but it wasn’t there.

I immediately knew Hunter was responsible. I'm sure I've told you all how he loves to horde small things, including keys, and this one was a single, shiny silver key, just winking at him from its hook. Just in case my assumption was wrong, I looked all over the floor, in a couple pairs of shoes underneath the key hook, but no key. I ran up to his bedroom and looked in his stash places; under his pillow, in his safe and in a small treasure chest his grandma gave him. It wasn't there.

Hunter will not eat the food served at the school's cafeteria. He has to have the same thing each day. The only thing that differs is his dessert. I called the school and it wasn't the usual lady who answers the phone so I had to explain more than I would have had Teresa picked up. But after a few minutes she called Hunter down and he came on the phone.

I told him he had forgotten his lunch and that I was on my way to bring it to him, however I couldn't because my van key was missing and asked if he had taken it. He said yes. I asked where it was. He said he couldn't remember. We backtracked and he said it was in the pocket of the pants he wore the day before. I told him how upset I was that he took a key that was on the hook and we were going to talk about it some more when he got home. I told him to apologize to his teacher for the interruption and to have a good day.

He later told me he didn't recognize the key, which I understand as it's always been buried among the many on his dad's key ring, but with him it's about not touching anything that's not his or he hasn't been given permission to play with. He doesn't do that with friends and in stores, but with family he does.

OK. I’ll end it there. I don’t know if we’ll be geocaching tomorrow. We didn’t today because Tim had to spend the morning in the office and then Hunter had his friends over. It’s supposed to be a high of only 23 degrees tomorrow, and that’s pretty chilly!

Hope everyone is well. Take care and be safe.


P.S. Will post pictures tomorrow!

HOLD IT! Sit back down, please. As I was saving pictures from camera to computer, the step before uploading them to my website slide show and writing something about each of them (just so all you know the steps I take because I want to) I come across a picture I took of my TV remote control. Why, do you ask? Well, I forgot to tell you about the incident with the remote until I saw the picture. I have since replaced the remote and have added the time to the growing list of things I probably won't forget.

It was supposed to be quiet time. Bryce was done for his nap and I told Dev he could watch Dora the Explorer as long as he stayed on the couch, underneath his blanket with Kit. I then went downstairs to run on the treadmill. I heard some rumbling and thudding from above and knew what it meant. Devin wasn't sleeping, in fact he was playing with Knight and they were shaking the house. I sighed and finished what I was doing, ignorantly thinking the worse Devin was doing was getting dog slime on his hands and the couch from throwing a tennis ball that keeps magically appearing when I will testify with my right hand on the Bible that I had put that darn thing back outside!

I slowly climbed all fourteen of my steps and found a very happy black lab on his belly with his tongue lolling out. In his eyes you could see the happiness a game of fetch was for him, and between his paws there wasn't that greyish, grimey, slobbery ball, but my remote control!

Tim has taught Knight many things on top of the training received as a bird dog. Some of the useful things (to the man of the house) are; to retrieve a golf ball hit in the back yard, fetch a piece of wood for the stove upstairs, open the refridgerator door and bring a bottle of beer to the master and, the point I'm getting to is, find and bring the TV remote to the lazy person in the recliner.

So Knight knows he has permission to fetch that silver oblong thing at least once. Here comes the little master and tells Knight to fetch it once, twice, three...four...?? Who knows how many times that needed piece of equipment went from little hand to sharp teeth. I can tell ya it was enough to eject the four AAA batteries, which thankfully were not ingested by our 85 pound knot head, but enough damage was done that I had to work at putting the batteries back into place. It might have been all the teeth marks, or could have been the slobber, but whatever it was it was sufficient to retire the remote to the trash can.

When I told Devin that the TV remote control was not a doggie toy, I got the big eyed look and an, I'm sorry, mama. Ah, well. Nothing broken but some TV time, and we could all do with a little less of that.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Teachers, toilets and toddler beds!

Hello everyone!

I am so thrilled to be writing this to you today! Two nights ago I had to reboot my computer because it was being terribly slow and giving me error messages. Annoyed, I turned it off and back on again and the first screen it showed me was blue, which is a sign no computer owner wants to see, especially when she hasn’t backed up her system since the spring!

My computer crashed. I didn’t want to believe it, so I rebooted it again, but got the same fatal error. I had to accept it with a sigh and a cuff to the back of my head, reminiscent of my days under the care of my oldest sister. :P I did not want to take the next step in this story, which was telling my husband what happened, someone who works with computers and their problems (and the people who create those problems) every day. Without him telling me, I knew he didn’t want to spend the time or effort on it. With his leaving town today and returning tomorrow night and then family coming for the holiday, he didn’t have any time to spare. I knew this, and he knew I knew this, but he had to tell me anyway in that loud, annoyed and impatient way he has. And I told him, even though I know he knows, but I told him anyway, that my family and friends are in this here computer and if he didn’t do it, I was going to call the traveling geeks and spend at least $100 on something he could fix for free. I also mentioned some other things I won't talk about here, since this is a family blog!

I left him to it and when I came back later, he was burning music CD’s to take on his business trip. Success! He had worked his magic, so here I am! Darn it though that his victory didn’t fix my outgoing email problem. It seems every three months or so I have trouble with my provider. Last week it was incoming mail and beginning two days ago it’s now my outgoing mail! I’ve sent them another email which I’m told has been forwarded to another person to get it fixed.

Anyway – let’s get to my boys!

Hunter’s school called me today about 1:00 to say that he was being sent home early. I sent a text to my husband who had been on the road for about three hours by then and passed on the news, with a couple extra words like, Got in fight. A few blank lines down I included the letters JJ, for Just Joking. Apparently he didn’t see that part because he immediately called and said, What’s this? Did he win?? This is a running joke with us because Hunter will probably never get in a verbal battle, let alone a physical fight. My son wasn’t in trouble. Because of the previous day of rain and today’s snowfall, the school was sending kids home early before the roads became hazardous. He returns to school on Monday, which is his 11th birthday!

Monday marks another significant event for Hunter. If you go back to my update around the time Hunter started fourth grade, you’ll remember my telling you how Hunter and I went to his classroom to meet his teacher and learned that Ms. G had been in an accident and would not be returning to the school for some time. Well, that time has come. On Monday she will be there full time and Mrs. T is out. I’m told that today and yesterday she had one on one meetings with every student and I was reassured that she read Hunter’s file. What she didn’t do, however, which sits a bit foul in my stomach honestly, is attend Hunter’s IEP meeting which we had yesterday morning and will be in effect from yesterdays date to November 23rd 2009. They told me she would only be doing so much in these first two days back, but that she and Mrs. T have been talking about Hunter. I know that the two teachers were meeting with him today to talk about a solution the IEP team and myself agreed on. Read more about it below.

Hunter still isn’t asking for help and it’s affected some of his grades. I’m getting ahead of myself. While reviewing last years IEP, we talked about the class aide. I asked how that was working out this year and the faces across from me went from smiling and eager to blank and uncertain. Apparently there is an aide in his class again this year, as there is supposed to be, but the aide is assigned to one child specifically and has not helped Hunter at all. He doesn’t need a lot of help, but he does need some direction at times when the teacher’s hands are full with 31 other kids. According to the paperwork in front of every person at that meeting, Hunter should have been receiving assistance in the classroom up to December 1st. My reason for being upset is that Hunter has brought home quite a few tests where he has gotten many wrong because he didn’t remember to use scrap paper so he would have more space to write out his answers. It’s those little things that make the difference with him.

To make a long story short, we agreed that Hunter needed some sort of cue to let the teacher know that he needs help. We think he doesn’t ask because he doesn’t want other kids to see him asking for help or getting something wrong. So we came up with the idea of using a small item of some sort provided by his teacher. If it’s something of his he’ll want to play with it. When he takes this item out and puts it on his desk, that’s the signal for the teacher or the aide to come and see what he needs. After that I felt better about signing the new IEP.

Last week was parent/teacher conferences. We couldn’t get our sitter to cover for us, so Tim stayed behind with the boys. Mrs. T was very positive about Hunter. He is still doing great work in all areas and he has made noticeable improvements in his printing! The only thing counting against him, although Mrs. T chuckled about it and I, having been guilty of it myself, had to as well, is Hunter sneaking in a page or two from the current book (or three) he’s reading when he should be doing his school work! She says he puts it back in his desk right away, but in-between subjects she knows what he’s doing!

On to Devin and I have great news about him! He’s using the potty! For the past two weeks he’s been wearing underwear while at home. In the morning he tries to go when we take off the diaper and he is great about putting the underwear on afterward. Actually, last week he didn’t wear anything at all but a shirt and, well, I didn’t get to him in time and he pooped all over the floor. There was a trail from where he headed toward the bathroom, so he tried to make it. But following that trail was Bryce, who stepped in it and was reaching down to play with some when Tim and I came on the scene. What brought us running was Devin’s wail because he knew what was happening. He had the same reaction when he peed in his underwear for the first time. But here we are in the second week, maybe about five days wearing underwear and have only had four wet accidents and only one of them was real big! He hasn’t pooped in the toilet yet, but he’s interested! He often calls for me to run fast to the bathroom behind as he sprints ahead, just loving his little bum in either Cars or little dinosaur underwear. In his excitement he often overshoots the bathroom door. His left leg is still going while his right leg stops as he tries to turn into the bathroom with a Whoa! That was close! I turn the light on for him and he lifts one lid and I remind him to lift the second lid while he tucks the hem of his shirt under his chin and proceeds to make bubbles with a huge grin on his face! After an especially good amount of bubbles he’ll jump in the air with his arms up and exclaim, Yes!, giving me a high five and sometimes telling me to give him a hug.

He’s also caught the eyes of some ladies! Last weekend the weather was crappy so we took everyone to the spongy playground in the mall. Hunter being almost 11 and too tall for the equipment meant for kids no older than seven or eight, found himself a seat in the back and read his book (any surprise there?). Dev and B took off to slide, climb and conquer. Tim and I took turns leaving to shop and coming back and positioning ourselves by the open entry way, preventing B and other quick children from escaping. During all but maybe the first 20 minutes of the hour and a half we were there, two boys and their parents came to play. These two boys, on the other hand, were one head taller and the same as Hunter and also both were quite a bit wider. At the start they were just walking around and sitting on some of the equipment, but then they started chasing each other and running and knocking each other over. At one point one of the boys jumped over the side and into the miniature version of a local minor league baseball team's stadium, landing on a four or five year old who was sitting inside. The smaller boy was OK, he pushed back, but I couldn’t believe the parents just sat over there and let their children, who were well over the height limit measured by the charming forest creatures clustered around the measuring stick by the door. On our way out Tim called security and reported the family and honestly I didn’t feel guilty at all because those boys were obviously too far grown to be in there.

I said all that in preparation for this! On our way from the indoor playground, Devin ran a bit in front of us, emphasizing the movements of his arms and legs. He stopped when we called, looked back and then continued walking and ended up next to two girls about eleven or twelve. He looked up at the one nearest him, smiled and waved. His eyes fell on the purple, large sequined bag she carried over one shoulder. He took a step closer and touched one of the shiny discs and then told the girl he liked it! Then he walked next to them like he was their traveling companion. The girls kept looking at each other and giggling. Finally they took a left into a store and we had to call him back because he was going with them. They looked back and giggled again and when he saw, he waved, too.

We finally got Dev a real toddler bed and not just a crib with one side missing! After getting sticker shock for how much a new Devin sized bed and mattress would cost us, we rummaged around Craig’s List and found a race car bed and mattress for $50! So after Hunter and I got back from geocaching this past Saturday morning, Tim drove about an hour to get the bed. While there he filled the tank at $1.58 a gallon! Devin loves his bed, but within seconds after sitting on it the first time he said, Where’s the steering wheel? (I realize now I forgot to take a pic.)

We probably would still be procrastinating if B hadn’t suddenly appeared beside Tim sitting in the recliner. Apparently he had not only climbed out of his porta crib, but landed quietly and without injury on the toys scattered through out his room and then left by the partially opened bedroom door. It was a work day so I stayed up with Bryce who fell asleep just before midnight and I could put him back in his crib without worrying, at least until morning, of him climbing out and wandering around. The next day I took the crib apart and reassembled it in B’s room after retrieving the missing side from the attic. Devin slept two nights I think it was on a single sized air mattress before we presented him with the race car bed.

Bryce is doing absolutely wonderful! He’s not eating everything in sight anymore. He’s become as picky as Devin, which means the dogs are going to be getting fat this winter because almost his entire meal lands on the floor! He still does not like my dropping him off once or twice a week with a sitter. As soon as I open the door he starts to cry. I’m told his crying bouts are getting shorter though. Sometimes Bryce just walks around not touching anything, but I can see he’s thinking behind those soft brown eyes. He’s looking at everything around him, wondering what he can get into next, working things out. We found out what happens when he throws his dad’s cell phone on a tiled floor, what he can do with a pen you didn’t think he could possibly get to open and did you know an 18 month old can make the number 116 appear on your TV screen and make you spend an astonishing amount of time trying to fix it and not being able to figure it out??

Well, I think that’s all for this week. Be sure to check out my website. I made a video of Hunter and a science experiment he wanted to share with all of you.

Everyone have a great Thanksgiving!


Friday, November 14, 2008

Report cards, stubborness and mess makers!

Let’s start with this morning (11/13). Devin had waffles and a yogurt, Bryce a waffle and some cut up banana because I didn’t want to clean up the mess he makes if given yogurt. When I let Bryce loose Devin wasn’t done. I was dumb and went downstairs and started folding a huge pile of laundry, since I do live, as my blog is titled, On Top of Mt. Laundry. Anyway, I was making progress when Bryce appears at the bottom of the stairs like I knew he would, and toddles quickly over to me, all smiles. He’s still snug and warm in a red footed sleeper. As he draws closer I notice his belly and chest are smeared with something…pink. I smell sweet fruit and see his stubby fingers and chubby cheeks are covered in cold yogurt! Oh, no. I don’t wanna go upstairs. Please, don’t make me! There’s no one else here but me and the child who didn’t finish the yogurt and doesn’t remember to throw it away when he’s done.

The table and the chair Bryce climbed up on were smeared with the drying goop, but all I could find on the floor underneath and around was the empty, suspiciously yogurt free container. It seems without me around the dogs parked themselves underneath Bryce and pounced on that container before it could spill its sticky contents onto the floor. I considered laying Bryce on the floor and having the dogs lick him clean, but I decided that wasn’t such a good idea and stripped and wiped him down.

Then, Devin wanted Fruit Loops for his afternoon snack. I gave him a bowl and put the half empty box on the counter. Later I hear him filling up his bowl again and I called to him to only fill the bowl one more time. I hear it again and when I came back into the room to tell him that was enough, he told me it was for Knight as he patted the dogs head as Knight quickly ate the bowls contents before I could take it away. The cereal box was then empty.

Poor Kit has come running to me and cowering between my feet. Soon after, Devin appears from around the corner with a toy chasing Kit, or his pop gun shooting Kit or using his head to ram Kit. Neither words, time alone, nor a pop on the bum is getting my point across of, Do not chase Kit!. He’s also getting a little rougher with Bryce, but Bryce is holding his own. It’s being pushed down that gets him upset and seeing Dev smothering B with couch pillows gets me worked up.

It was the beginning of the eighth sleep filled night of putting B down to slumber when he didn’t make it through to morning. Devin shows up every other night, but Bryce was with that wonderful Sand Man for so many nights in a row I felt spoiled! But this one night my poor boy must have had growing pains. He woke up twice and the only way I could get him to go back to dream land was rocking him and massaging his right leg, which he kept moving around like you do when you try to get rid of those stubborn pins and needles. It was almost 4 AM that second time when he finally stayed down until 9:30, and then he was his happy and adventurous self!

I am going to start seriously potty training Devin. I’ve been letting him take the lead, but he’s going too slow for me. I don’t want to scrape any more poopy diapers! LOL Seriously, though, I only have so many diapers now that fit him, and he is coming up on 3 ½ years old! You’d think if he can tell his dad to drive faster because he’s poopy, he could sit on that seat and do the job!

Shall I mention Devin and his curiosity with boogers? No, let’s skip that one. But I will mention the 5:45 AM wailing that roused me so fast if I had been in the bunk beds of my younger years I probably would have knocked myself unconscious! I went upstairs squinting in the light over the table where Hunter was eating breakfast and into Devin’s room. When Dev paused from a cry I could hear Bryce beginning to fuss in the room next door. I quickly scanned Devin, wondering if a leg was broken. I asked him what was wrong. He sniffed and hiccupped that he wanted Kit. WHAT? Apparently Kit woke him when she left to climb into the great ball of blankets Hunter’s now vacant bed had become. Not sick, no pain, no blood, just that the dog had left him. I called Kit back into the room and lifted the blanket as she made herself comfortable. Devin rubbed his eyes and told me, Thank You. Bryce had fallen back asleep but I was up for the day and saw Hunter out the door.

I’ve mentioned before how I’ve started putting Devin and Bryce’s clean clothes in baskets instead of taking the time to fold and put them away. Bryce just meanders in each room and pulls clothes out of drawers. It’s easier and faster to just gather them up and plop them back into baskets. (I thought about putting names on each basket, but wondered if I did that, would I put clothes away ever again?) I have two bookshelves in the same room as this computer and every single wonderful, blessed day I have with this child, there is one part of the day where I find him in the middle of pulling all my books down or at the end where he’s perched himself on one of my treasured hard covers, chattering happily while assessing his hard work around him. All I can do is sigh and hope he hasn’t ripped any jackets. I use to shelf them in order as many of them are part of a series, but I don’t bother anymore. No, I’m not packing them up in boxes. I love my books.

Hunter had a dentist appointment last week. I am still shocked but very happy to report that Hunter will reach his 11th birthday next month with not a single cavity! He has been doing a poor job brushing his teeth now that school is back in session because I’m not hovering over him. Most mornings he doesn’t do it unless I tell him to. He had a lot of plaque to be scraped off this time around, but the doc gave him two thumbs up!

A few weeks back Hunter brought home a progress report. He was doing wonderfully in all subjects but Social Studies, which is actually called Ohio History in his 4th grade classroom. His score in that matter was 60%. From that report on I had him bring home his textbook and for his reading assignment he read that book instead of the Goosebumps or chapter books he so loves. His first report card of the year came home this past week. In past years that seem to have flown by this information was on colored, oversized paper, like I was opening a large but thin greeting card with the school’s mascot, a cheery looking husky, on the front. This year though, it’s a simple piece of your typical computer printer paper with bold boxes and some grey shaded areas. Inside these boxes I find that Hunter is doing excellent or satisfactory work in all but three areas. Art is low on the list of his favorite subjects. He’s never liked being told what he had to draw. He was given an S- in that little box with the comments of, “Needs to follow directions. Does not use care in completing work.” His Social Studies grade was a 70, up from a 60 a few weeks back! The other unacceptable grade (I told Hunter anything below 80 would make me unhappy) was a 77 in…Reading. What? WHAT? No way! Even back in Kindergarten Hunter had high scores in reading and has passed every AR tests he’s been given. I looked over the list and saw that for writing he was given an 89. Huh? Now THAT is wrong! Obviously there was a mistake. I sent in a note to the teacher, asking if she may have inadvertently switched his Reading and Writing grades. She wrote back and said that, yes, she had. She got it straightened out and Hunter’s school record is now correct.

I’ll end here with one more thing. If any of you have tried to Text me over the past two days, I was not able to see it. My cell phone had a software glitch and was doing things on its own and locking me out of other things. I traded it in for a new model of the same make and my Verizon rep. transferred my address book and music over to the new one, but was unable to keep my messages. So I wasn’t purposely ignoring you, I just couldn’t read or respond. I also have a request in to my email provider because I haven’t been able to send out emails, incoming is working fine. This update is almost done, but right now my emails not working I can’t tell you to stop what you’re doing and read it immediately! :)

I hope everyone is enjoying this unseasonably warm weather. I know were in for a big change here tomorrow!

Take care,


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Our weekend in Hocking Hills.

No more Kentucky days! I’m kinda bummed about that since last year I briefly met a mom I had been chatting with since I was bout 5 months pregnant with Devin. Nevertheless, after going there for six years we’ve moved on to another location, with no complaints from me! Kathy found us a great cabin in 80 acres of woods in Nelsonville, Ohio, more specifically, the Hocking Hills area fifty miles southeast of Columbus. Both Tim and my brother in law Jeff know this area for hunting and both wish their schedules had been different so they could have joined us. With five kids and five adults, we were already a full cabin!

Before leaving I had printed out online directions to our cabin in the woods. The page was full of turn after turn on roads I felt I’d get lost on. I asked Tim if I could borrow one of the two GPS systems his company owns, but he was taking one to N.D., and someone was taking the other. I was fine with that. I had the directions and my cell phone; we’d make it one way or the other. Then Tim came home and thanked me for patching up his favorite hunting jacket that a mouse had made a path through with my own Tom Tom brand GPS! I quickly got familiar with it and chose a male voice called Richard to help me get to Nelsonville. Soon I was referring to this piece of technology as him or Richard.

He got us there with no problems at all. Once we arrived at the two track to the cabin the blue arrow on Richard’s screen that represented the GPS unit in my van floated off into nothing, but the cabin was easy to find once on that rugged road. The boys and I arrived about the same time as my parents. After waiting a few minutes for the owners to come and give us the right key (parents had already stopped at their house and were given the wrong one) we followed the leaf covered two track to the cabin. Sister Jennifer arrived about an hour or so later and Karyn and the kids arrived the next morning.

Even though we had seen each other in July, every meeting we have is like a reunion. I get family withdrawals living in Ohio with no family around. (Another hint to those who want to start new…just in case you’re feeling dense.  ) We didn’t have a lot planned, but what we did schedule was going to be fun!

Karyn and the kids got there in time to unpack before we had lunch and then headed to the train station. Devin got to ride a real train! After about a 30 minute delay the whistle blew and we were off. We sat together in an open car with a roof. At first I thought the wind was going to be cold, but it was perfect. When I heard the entire adventure was three hours long, I thought choosing to sit in the open with Bryce was going to be a problem, but Bryce loved the train ride. When we started moving he settled back in my lap and watched the scenery go by.

We passed some wide open spaces and saw some deer, but we also clanked and bounced through some dilapidated looking neighborhoods. There were houses that were only ten feet or so away from the track! Thank goodness the only train that used those tracks was the passenger train we had tickets for. I bet naps in the houses on our path weren’t scheduled around a baby’s routine, but also the whistle blowing train as well!

Our tour started off in one direction and then stopped and reversed back the way we had come. It was annoying at first until the people on the other side of our bench agreed to switch seats. On the way back we went past the train station and on to a remake of an 1800’s village on the property of a college. We leisurely strolled through weathered cabins where the children walked on stilts, rang a school house bell and made their own wax candles which ended up looking like ginger roots.

The next field trip was to COSI. Take a look at the link and see the pictures taken there for a narrative of what we did. Richard (my GPS) let us down a little. The COSI he took us to was actually a branch of the science museum at the Columbus Museum of Art. We were only about a mile away, but we had to park and ask for directions. (Can you guess how much I detest city driving??)

We read that with our age group (children, not the adults!) it was estimated that our trip there would be about two and a half to three hours. We arrived at about 12:30 and left as they were closing at 6:00! With five kids there was plenty for us to do and linger at. It was a great time.

The next morning Richard took us to Sears where we had the first appointment at the portrait studio there. Like last year the children were well behaved and we were quickly done. It may have helped that we had gummy worms and Blue’s Clue’s on a portable DVD player that kept the attention of the younger ones!

When we weren’t out and about we were in the cabin enjoying each others company. We played adult and kid games, decorated an edible haunted house, turned orange craft foam and real pumpkins into Jack O’ Lanterns. The cabin came with a trail we estimated to be about half a mile long. We walked that together and the children just had a lot of fun playing in the small front yard with the leaves, stones and dirt. Oh – the cabin also came with a hot tub and a fire pit, although we didn’t use the latter.

I probably missed something in there that you might learn about later amongst all the pictures I have yet to post. Hope I was able to convey to you, Tiffany, what you missed and am looking forward to you being there next October. 

Yolanda's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad 10 Days

Hello everyone. Yes. Here is my update, finally. After all the heck I gave my dad and Karyn about sending me pictures immediately after our weekend together (with Karyn I joking told her to do so even before unbuckling her children from their car seats) here it is almost a month and still no update!

Well, I was composing a short story for you all, a continuation of Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day. My version was called The Later Years and was about a mom and four boys, ahem, a husband and three boys, so, obviously, it was about me. Unfortunately, perfectionism creeps up and takes over sometimes and as I don’t get much personal time around here, I haven’t finished it. Instead, I’ll just list the things that made one week so awful.

• Before Tim left for a 10 day trip to N.D., Devin said, “Let me help you, mama” and locked the van doors with my keys in it. We were dropping B off at the sitter’s before gymnastics. Tim was able to rescue us.

• My husband left me for 10 days with three children and a dog in a house with three entrances and five windows at ground level (I have a point for mentioning such details.)

• The first couple nights were fine. I think it’s good to be separated from your spouse once in awhile. Being apart helps you remember why you love and appreciate the one you married. I was missing my hubby with every bump in the night. Sleeping downstairs each sound reverberated through my ceiling. Most of it was Kit, jumping down and traveling back and forth between the body heat of Hunter and Devin in their beds. I finally made her a bed downstairs next to the fire and she settled down. I only made things worse by watching a suspenseful movie, therefore the mention of how many doors and windows we have because I checked and rechecked them all!

• One morning I walked into Bryce’s room and right into a wall of stink. He had been in a poopy diaper long enough to get a nasty rash, therefore producing an unhappy boy.

• Oh, yes. While my husband was still gone spending his time with men, dogs and feathers, Devin did it again. This time I have to take some of the blame. I was unloading groceries and Devin was still in the van. I came back and took him as the last load, closing the van side door as I went. Nothing so bad about that, right? Wrong! The next morning we all went out so innocent and happy, looking forward to the library and chicken and French fries, when what do I discover? The van doors are locked. What do I see hanging from the ignition? That’s right! My keys AGAIN! Devin’s sweet voice asking me what’s wrong made it even more memorable! I gave Bryce a piece of chalk to keep him occupied, sent Dev into the back yard and attempted what I saw the policeman do that rainy day I first locked my keys in the van a few weeks back, starting this chain of three times a charm crap. It worked, ‘cause now I remove my keys each time I turn the van off and my gentle attempt to break in also worked! After 45 minutes I was able to unlock the door.

• Can’t forget the breathtaking fact of Kit being sprayed by a skunk. Apparently our fence doesn’t keep the bigger critters out. I’ve been lax since the installation of our simple fence, so when Kit went outside to do her business before lights out, I just let her go. I saw her ears perk up as she started down the steps and then she sprinted off in that way she has that sends squirrels running for their lives. I heard her bark and then suddenly stop. She didn’t squeal or growl, she just turned around because she was back scrambling up the steps sneezing and hacking almost as fast as when she took off. She was in the house and rubbing her face in my couch cushions before I caught whiff of a burnt balloon smell. I’ve never actually smelled a burnt balloon, but if I do, it would be the first stage of a skunk spray. It wasn’t until morning, after I gagged my way into banishing the dog into the garage, removing the cushions and pouring out bowls of vinegar did the characteristic skunk smell take over.

• Tim still gone and me still having a hard time sleeping and silently cussing that the man of the house is gone AND he took the 90 pound dog and left me with a ten pound shivering weenie!

• Hunter was picture perfect during this time. Getting his homework done, showered and into bed. Waking up without problems and catching the bus. Helping me with his brothers, just overall being the ideal child. Then I read in his communication notebook that he’s been writing “concerning and worrisome” entries in his school journal. What does he write? The teacher doesn’t say! How can she write to a mom telling her her son wrote something troublesome and not tell her what it was or give her a copy of the entry?! The only thing she wrote was to ask him about it. I did and Hunter told me of his last two entries. When I asked him if there was anything in there he wanted to share with me about his feelings or actions, he said no. I wrote asking the teacher to explain in more detail. Either she ignored it or didn’t see it. I finally had to call the office and leave a message for the teacher to call me. Finally I get a copy of the journal pages that were causing me stress. He wrote things like, “This is sick” “I wish all schools would shut down” “I don’t get any respect” and “I hope I get what I want”. I reminded the teacher that Hunter still uses other people’s words when he talks, mostly TV characters. If he doesn’t know what to say, or in this case, write, he’ll repeat something he’s heard. I told her unless there is a pattern of thought here, not just these few sentences, I’m not concerned.

And the winner of Yolanda’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad and LONG 10 days is…

• I walked into B’s room to wake him from his afternoon nap. What I saw first registered as too cute. He had taken off his diaper and was sleeping with his little bare bum in the air. But as I got closer and breathed through my nose, it wasn’t so cute anymore. Underneath and around and on my youngest son was poop. Poop on his bottom, poop on the sheet, poop smeared around the inside of his crib. I picked him up, wondering if it could be even worse? Yup. The hands rubbing his tired eyes were poop encased. The stinky stuff was on his shirt, on his face and probably had been in his mouth because there were dried smudges on his lips. Oh, yeah. I gave him a bath, tossed clothes and sheets into the washing machine and spent a good amount of time scrubbing the crib inside and out. Hunter and Devin never took off their diapers, but I don’t remember seeing them with their hands down their pants as much as Bryce!

Tim returned home with no problems and with a cooler full of wild game. He was welcomed home with hugs and kisses, but also with the evil eye from me! 

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A little boy named Max.

Read and see pictures about a little boy who has a story to tell. Even if you don't want to hear it.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Do you like scavenger hunts?

Last year I came across a link to the Great Cloth Diaper Hunt while chatting with other moms about cloth diapers. I love scavenger hunts and found myself addicted after I discoverd that first little diaper icon. I have participated in the GCDH two times now and each time my eyes are opened to the wonderful world of work at home moms and natural family living. Not only is the hunt fun with rhymes, riddles and trivia questions (which can easily be Googled if you’re stumped!) but you can bookmark stores that have caught your eye to return to later. Most sponsors have discounts only for participating hunters, many of which run through December and holiday shopping!

How does it work? It’s very simple! Registration began October 15th. Once you register here, you start visiting all the participating sponsor sites and hunt for the Diaper Decisions diaper to earn entries into 65 random prize drawings, including two Grand Prizes and one Ultimate Grand Prize! The hunt starts Saturday, November 1st at 11:00 AM EST!

If you’d like even more details you can visit the Rules and FAQ page at Diaper Decisions.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Growing too fast. All of them!

Great news with Hunter! Although I still find myself going upstairs to check on him each school day morning, Hunter is always ready with coat and shoes on with backpack nearby in plenty of time to catch the bus. However, there have been a couple dark mornings when I'm glad I checked on him.

One morning he wanted to wear a blue shirt, but they were all dirty (scattered all over his bedroom floor and not in the laundry room) so he pulled out the only blue shirt left in his drawer; a sleeveless, mesh styled tank top that I had missed while clearing out the summer clothes. After my explanation and his mumbling that what he was wearing was fine, he changed his shirt.

Another time I reached the top of the stairs and found Hunter sitting in the recliner. He probably was wearing his shoes but I couldn't tell as they were buried in quite a few folds of denim.

I asked Hunter to stand up for me and as he did, he hitched up his pants, held them, and said, I think these are dads. Ya think? He was going to go to school in a pair of his father's pants because I had made the mistake of putting them in Hunter's clothes pile and not Tim's.

I'll probably show my tired face upstairs, where Hunter turns on every single light fixture, for another few weeks.

He brought a progress report home and like last year he is doing 85% or higher in all subjects except for Social Studies. Currently he has holds a 65% there. I've asked him to bring those books home and he forgets and Ihave written a reminder in his notebook again to have his teacher remind him. His writing is still pretty bad. I think he should have been left handed. I've watched him play and eat with his left hand, but it's his right that he prints with. He positions his paper like he were a left hander, too.

I've written down a few things that Devin has said that have just been too darn cute, but my list has disappeared. I think it become a canvas to my little artists that eventually ended up in the trash can. I can remember Devin saying, Yes, sir! and saluting me when I asked him to do something (Toy Story). The other night as he got out of the bathtub and was wrapped snug inside his duck towel he said to me, I can't move. My batteries are dead. I picked him up and he told me that he needed new batteries. I threw him on the couch, which recharged those drained batteries!

He has started to say no to just about everything I tell him and he's whining something awful! Tantrums are becoming more regular. Eventually I tell him to go away because I don't want to listen to it anymore. He does. He goes and sits on his bed then and does the same when he's in trouble. The other day he was doing a great job nicely wrestling with Bryce on a pile of couch pillows. Then he became not so nice when he kicked Bryce in the head. I comforted Bryce and ordered Devin away. When I went into his room five minutes later I found him just sitting there quietly on his bed with a frown on his face. He did apologize to Bryce and they both continued on with the pillows.

I don't want to jinx do I say it without tempting fate?? (Bryce has slept through the night for almost a week!!) That's all, now hush!

He has gotten so big! I think he'll be bigger than Devin. He's not even two yet and he comes just about up to Dev's shoulder! Some of my medium diapers aren't fitting him anymore. Devin was wearing mediums up until a few months ago!

You'll see in this weeks collection of pictures a good sized gash on B's nose. The boys were playing outside, Devin with Knight's hard plastic bumper. I don't know what exactly happened, but it sounds like Dev threw the bumper toward Bryce and either the bumper did it, or maybe Knight did, or maybe Bryce fell down from one of the two, but the end result was a very upset Bryce with a good sized cut on the top of his nose. It bled quite a bit. Thankfully now you can barely see it, which is great because...the boys and I are leaving for the annual Christmas pictures tomorrow!

For seven years now my sister Karyn and I have been meeting in Lexington, KY to have pictures taken of our kids together and then we give them to our parents and sisters for Christmas. We met in Lexington because that is the half way point between my house here in NE Ohio and hers in NE Georgia. It actually started when Hunter was two and Jennifer K'ryn a small three months old and we lived in Michigan. How time flies. Over the years other family members have been going. Last year was the most with everyone attending but the husbands (dad was there). We rented a cabin last year to hold us all. This year though, after determining we've done all we'd like with the kids in the Lexington and Louisville area, I was surprised to hear Karyn saying she wanted to go to Columbus, here in Ohio. A 3 1/2 hour drive for me. No complaints at all! LOL We've found ourselves a little cabin with a hot tub on 80 acres in Nelsonville. On Saturday we're going to go for a train ride, Sunday spend the day at the HQ of COSI, and Monday morning are the pictures and then a pumpkin festival. We'll all go our separate ways Tuesday morning...unless I can convince my loving, wonderful family to come back here because Tim is gong to be gone the entire week. He is leaving for North Dakota with Knight. They are both dreaming of duck and pheasant but it sounds like there is going to be a lot of everything where they're going.

I believe Jennifer's hubby is coming with her, but I don't know if we'll be seeing him. I'm told he's going bow hunting. Tim considered coming when he heard this, but after looking at his calendar and seeing his North Dakota trip during that same time, well, it's obvious where his heart REALLY is! LOL (Love you, babe.)

The only person not coming is my...sweet...sister, Tiffany. Her and her wanderer husband just got back a couple weeks ago from a trip out to CA to see the Redwoods. They don't know how to travel in a straight line. I know they stopped at a relatives house in ID I think it was, then spent some time on the hot southern red stone of Utah before continuing on. I'm sure there were quite a few more stops in there! If we want to see her over the Christmas holidays, then she can't make it to the cabin in Columbus. I'll get over it eventually, Tiff. :P

Tim is actually leaving tomorrow, too, on a trip to Michigan he knew was coming, just not when. Early Tuesday morning his paternal grandfather died after about a years battle with cancer. I was saddened to hear of his death. I only really saw him during family reunions and could tell he loved having everyone together. Tim and I did see him briefly last Christmas, but honestly, I couldn't bear to look at him. He was so frail and thin, having to sleep in a portable bed inside his house and not in his own bed. The situation reminded me of my mom and her death of cancer back in April of 2003. His service will be on Saturday. Tim and I had already discussed that he would attend alone. Great Grandpa G. will be greatly missed.

Hope everyone is well. Love to all.


Monday, October 6, 2008

This is long, but it's a must read for everyone.

An Autism Mom's Open Letter to Dr. Paul Offit
By Julie Obradovic

Dear Dr. Offit,

I am writing in regard to your new book, Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine and Finding a Cure.

It would be premature to say for sure, but I am willing to bet I would be considered a “False Prophet” in your eyes. I am a mother who witnessed her daughter regress into Autism, and I am a mother who believes it was because of her vaccines. I dedicate much of my time to helping other parents who experienced the same thing with their own children.

Please show your respect and click here to read the full letter.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Good/bad for Hunter, Super Dev and B's such a lover!

Hello everyone!

I’m starting this in the early AM on Monday, September 22, 2008. Let’s see how long it’ll take me to finish it!

First off - Happy Fall! Is it feeling like a change of seasons for you? It does here in the mornings and evenings, but during the day it’s been getting into the mid 70’s. Yesterday the sun was so warm, a high of 78, we closed the windows and turned the air conditioning back on! It’s going to be clear and mid 70’s the entire week! Plenty of time to play outside, a place were both Devin and Bryce love to be!

Hunter had a friend over yesterday afternoon for some fun and then we went out for pizza. They played outside almost the entire time. They chased Devin around and played catch with a small football. Kit also joined in the fun with the football and Knight was there, dropping a wet and slimy rope on everyone’s feet.

It was during this visit that Hunter’s friend told me during a time Hunter was not around that he, Hunter, was being teased on the school bus. Another fourth grader bullies other kids, too, but Jonathon tells me he tends to pick on Hunter more than others. Jonathon spoke to his mom about it and she suggested he stick up for Hunter, which Jonathon said he did. I asked Hunter how he felt about it and he said he was frustrated because he asked the boy to stop but the boy doesn’t. I told him how some boys like to make fun of others because it makes them feel better about themselves. For right now I told him to just ignore the boy and I’ll be asking about him every day. I told him if this boy interferes with where Hunters wants to go or is trying to do something and can’t because of this boy, then we will take it further than just ignoring him.

In the years previous to this, the teachers have always responded to my questions of teasing and bullying by saying that everyone likes Hunter. That he has a great sense of humor and brings things to school for Show and Tell (in earlier grades) that the kids are really interested in. Other kids were always volunteering to go with him and the OT/ST when they took “Hunter’s Group” into a different room. They didn’t know what it was all about, but they knew it was fun to leave the room with Hunter.

Anyway – I wrote about this in the communication notebook to his teacher and will wait and see if she has anything to say about it. Tim suggested we could talk with the boys’ parents about the teasing, but I know it comes with going to public school. I don’t think it can be avoided, but I’m going to do some research on the subject, see if the library has any books Hunter can read with the hope he can handle it himself and stop the stress it creates in me!

On a super, wonderful, fantastic, magnificent, great, excellent note…can’t think of any more words to convey my complete happiness, here is what I found upstairs one school morning. The night before Bryce must have had an upset tummy or something because he was up every couple of hours. I didn’t pull him out of bed, I just rubbed his back while he drifted off to sleep, but he woke crying quite a few times. Devin appeared downstairs once asking to sleep with me. I told him no and bribed him with a sippy cup, knowing that he was going to probably overflow his diaper. He’ll never be night trained for the potty if I kept that up, but I was tired and those stairs are a pain in the butt when you’re half a sleep!

Anyway - Hunter’s been getting up now at 5:30 to get ready for school. I appear at 5:45 and find him about a quarter of the way there and usually have to stand over him to finish getting ready. That morning Tim woke me with an apology, saying he hit the snooze too many times and it was now 6:20. The bus arrives at 6:30! (Don’t give me heck for not making Tim get out of bed for Hunter. Now that Dev and B have been going down for a two hour nap from 1:00 – 3:00 every day, I can take a nap, too. Tim can’t.) I cussed and untangled myself from the bedding. Our bedroom is downstairs in the finished basement, so it’s getting colder down there faster and that morning air made my steps quicker than they already were. I was already preparing myself, thinking that I’d be waking up everybody to take Hunter into school, so I was quite shocked to find Hunter sitting on the couch already dressed. I threw question after question at him and all his answers were yes! The only thing he hadn’t done was put his shoes on. He did that, put on his coat, tossed his book bag over his shoulder and left the house. I went back downstairs and crawled into bed, telling Tim he was off the hook ‘cause Hunter was ready to go.

If I hadn’t gotten up, though, I don’t know if Hunter would have actually gone out on time because he was watching TV and when he watches those goofy shows he likes (The Mask with Jim Carrey) he loses track of time. It also helps that everything is set out and put together the night before, but that I think is to help my sanity more than to help him! 

One more thing about Hunter this week. We had very high winds last weekend because of Hurricane Ike. I was talking to Hunter about that and he said he was going to go get his weather book that talks in more detail about hurricanes. I hear book after book slapping together and go see what he’s doing. I find he’s not looking for the book by reading the titles on the book spines, he’s pulling each book out, looking at the front, and then dropping it into a growing mountain of books on his bedroom floor! The mountain had peaked pretty high by the time he found what he was looking for. A threat of a shovel and garbage bag got him to put them back on his shelf.

For some time Devin has been calling himself Super Devin. I’m not sure where it came from, but as Super Devin he climbs on top of things and jumps to the ground. Also as Super Devin he seems to have conquered his fear of being thrown up into the air. Before he would cling to you, possibly scratching you, if you lifted him above your head. Now he wants to be tossed into the air. I often browse online stores and once saw super hero capes made for children. I decided to try making one for Devin. The area around the neck came out smaller than I had planned, but otherwise I’m very happy with it! At first Devin didn’t want anything to do with it, even though he kept asking me when I was going to finish his super cape and was very excited when we went to the fabric store to get the materials. He has since worn it quite a few times. The pictures I took of him, one is on the main page of my web site, he is actually naked underneath!

Devin is doing great in gymnastics! I mentioned last time that he was starting, but I didn’t share any other details than that. I have pictures and a video of his first 45 minute lesson, but he’s since had two more which he has already done much better in, but I didn’t take a video.

Devin has a couple cute sayings he’s been repeating. One is, “I love…” fill in the blank. It could be a color, or a toy, but if he likes it, he’ll let you know! I have talked about how Bryce is too little to do some of the things Hunter and Devin can do. Now when Devin doesn’t want to do something he tells me that he’s too little to do it!

Most nights he snoozes until he hears Hunter in the morning or until I wake him up at 7:30. Bryce on the other hand still gets up at least once a night, four out of seven nights. Rarely do I get a night where both of them sleep through, but it does happen, and when I wake to the alarm at 6:00 A.M. I’m so happy I was able to sleep through! Now, if I can trust Hunter to get himself going without me that would be even better. Plus if I can get Tim to not make so much noise, I might get a full night sleep!

Bryce sleeps through the night about 3 nights a week. I’m sad to say that he is no longer breast feeding. He was only nursing at night and then he started sleeping through the night. Without those feedings my milk has dried up. He would get some, but he had to suck and suck and suck to get maybe 30 seconds of milk. So when he gets up at night now he gets a warm bottle of whole cow milk instead.  After the bottle he goes back asleep for the rest of the night.

He is keeping up with Devin. I saw him once try and throw the couch pillow back at his big brother! He’s a master of the stairs, climbs up on to just about every thing he can, and has thrown his food at the dogs like he knows they aren’t supposed to be sitting under him, waiting with wet chops for pieces to drop.

Did I tell you he’s been going to day care? It’s an in-home environment and he goes one day a week for just an hour while Devin is at gymnastics. There is a play area in the viewing balcony at the gym. I discovered this after finding a place for Bryce to spend the time as I didn’t want my vocal, energetic 16 month old disrupting gymnastics. Anyway – She came recommended by a friend. She’s had a home day care since her son was born, 21 years ago. Bryce starts to cry when I hand him over, but once he spies the Magna Doodle, no more fussing and I don’t exist! She’s a nice lady and agreed to use the cloth diapers without hesitation at all. After that first day she asked for brand names and web site addresses. Her daughter is pregnant and she wants to talk to her about cloth diapers. Each time I drop him off, he arrives in a clean and dry diaper with extra ones in a bag. He’s there barely an hour and every time I pick him up, he’s in a new diaper. Personally, I think she’s trying them out. They are definitely cute and they do the job!

Bryce has become a hugger and a kisser. He’s raising his arms to be picked up now and once you do he’ll put his right arm around your neck for a squeeze and then he buries his face in your neck. He’s imitating kisses! If you’re on his level he’ll come running up to you, gives you this look like he’s saying, Hold still now, I’m going to give you some love, and then he’ll hug and nuzzle on you. Those of you coming to the get together in October be prepared for lots of loving from Bryce!

Last Monday was AWFUL!! It started about 7:15 P.M. when I began drawing the boys a bath and the power went off. This was the day of those high winds I mentioned before. A branch from our tree came down with a lot of smaller branches and debris as well as quite a few shingles from our roof. We heard our neighbors tree fall to the ground. Tim was scheduled to head down to Columbus in less than hour. He set up the generator for me, and then he was gone.

I shouldn’t really complain because not too many people have a generator. Even though ours is small, it does keep our refrigerator going and if I keep the power restricted to a couple lights and one TV, then it’ll last eight hours. There is no need to run it at night yet, so I set my cell phone’s alarm clock and went to bed. As I closed my eyes I sent out a wish to the Sand Man to keep Bryce sleeping until the morning light. As I mentioned before, he is no longer nursing and without the generator running, I didn’t have a way to warm up a bottle of milk.

The fates were against me already! At 4:30 I heard Bryce through my bedroom ceiling. I grabbed my flashlight and made my groggy way up stairs. After shielding the light with my shirt, I went into his bedroom and tried rubbing his back. That didn’t work so I brought him out to the rocking chair and after about five minutes or so he fell back asleep. I gave him a bit longer before putting him back in his bed, but as soon as his head touched the pillow he was awake and crying again. I closed him in his room and rushed outside in just a t-shirt to start the generator. It fired up on the first pull. I ran back inside and used the microwave to warm up a bottle. The bottle warmer takes 4x’s as long and I was in kind of a hurry! I shook hard and tested and then gave the bottle to a tired eyed, unhappy Bryce. He eagerly took it and laid back down. He didn’t make another sound until I woke him up later.

Unfortunately, Devin woke up and was close to shedding tears himself until I took him and his blanket to the rocking chair with me. I had since donned my hooded sweatshirt and pocketed my cell phone. Devin was back to sleep and I was on my way when the alarm on my cell went off. I turned on the TV, hoping Hunter’s school was closed so I could leave him to sleep and go back into slumber myself, but, alas, it seemed like everyone else’s school was closed but his!

I slid carefully out from under Dev and went and roused Hunter. He got ready and met the bus without a hitch. I watched a morning news show for a bit and then woke Dev and B for breakfast. After that I continued sorting out toys and clothes to bring to Goodwill. Why do I do it with a three year old and a 16 month old in my wake? I don’t know, but someone tell me to stop! Everything I put into a box was pulled out. My piles of separated clothes became one pile with drool or juice all over them!

It was about 11:00 when I decided to drive to a town 30 miles away to check a PO Box we have there. I’d planned on taking the boys to the park and getting lunch. Of course we were half way there when it started to rain.

I’m going to confess something to you that you might not agree with. Feel free to flame me and then confess yourselves something that you do, because there is always something, that I can flame you in return. Usually both boys are asleep when I arrive at this post office. I lock the doors behind me and take about 20-25 seconds to go inside, open a box, grab the mail, and back outside. On this day Devin was awake and eager to use my keys. I tossed them to him but instead of unbuckling him and letting him come out my door, I left him secured in his seat. I got out of my van in a rush, locked the door, and turned toward Devin’s door as I closed mine. The knowledge of what was happening hit me like the salty wave of the ocean when you don’t turn sideways to lesson the blow. I started to reach my hand to stop the door, but my personal protection mode snapped in place and I pulled my hand back before fingers were broken.

I took a few seconds to cuss quietly to myself before peering behind the tinted windows to see Devin waving at me and Bryce slobbering on a toy. I took a deep breath and cussed at myself some more. I had just locked my boys in my van, I was standing out in the rain and Tim was out of town, over three hours away. Who else was there to call but the police?

I did have my cell phone in my sweatshirt pocket still (at least I had THAT going for me!). I called information because it wasn’t a huge emergency and got the phone number to the local police. It took only a couple minutes for an older officer to arrive. While he opened his trunk he told me how he had just done this same thing at the gas station the other day. I don’t know if it was true, but he made me feel better about it (although I doubt he had little ones in the car!)

He pried back my door and placed a wedge that inflated a bit in between. Then he reached in with what looked like a thicker version of a bent wire clothes hanger and on the first attempt was able to left up my door lock. While he was doing this I heard his radio squawk and my van information and location was broadcasted for all with police scanners to hear! I had to sign a release for him to do it, probably in case he broke my door. Although I didn’t fill anything else out, I’m sure there is a police report of it in their files!

I actually ended up not going into the post office that day!

Devin didn’t seem to really care, he was having fun playing with my keys. I pulled my van key off the ring and started my van, feeling such a rush of relief flooding me from head to toe.

The park was out so we headed to the Burger King, one with a very big indoor play land. I didn’t think much of the empty parking lot. It was only 11:30, not quite the lunch hour yet. I unbuckled the boys and we rushed to the door…which was locked! That’s when I noticed the sign that said they had no power. But the lights were on! They probably just left everything on from when the power was out. I then had to take a wiggly Bryce back to the van and drag a screaming Devin who was mad that we weren’t going to be getting chicken and french fries and play. We did eventually get that, but we had to go elsewhere with a smaller play land.

Once home my boys had already got some Z’s in the van so I didn’t attempt to lay them down. We stayed outside for a bit. I raked up the leaves and sticks that were all over the fenced in play area in or back yard. I left quite a few piles for Tim to collect when he got home. It took about two hours to do this, and during that time Devin and Bryce played in the sand box and the water table. I left the area and made a circuit around the house collecting the torn shingles from the roof. When I came back around, Bryce was sitting inside the water table, soaked to his belly button, and Devin was dribbling wet sand on his head!

I picked Bryce up and tried to hold him away from me, but he’s too heavy! Actually my shirt front getting soaked felt good as I was sweaty from all the raking I did! I got both boys inside to find each were poopy. I changed their dipes and dumped the poo in the toilet. I pushed down the handle to flush…and nothing happened. The poo is stuck in the toilet and I was too flustered to rememver that dumping a bucket of water in there would work. (I have one full of rain water outside and I could also have gone out to the pond.)

I deposited the dipes in the dry pail and washed my hands with some already wet wipes. I went back upstairs and put lotion on my hands thinking a beer would go down real well about now. I pulled one out, twisted off the cap and learned that freshly lotioned hands do not mix with cold beer. The bottle slipped through my finger to thud and spill all over the floor. It would have been bitter icing on my already sour cake if Bryce had waddled in there to splash happily in my spilt beer. Thankfully he was occupied elsewhere!

As I twisted the cap on the last beer in the fridge, I sat down in my comfy recliner and then realized how sweaty I was and how dirty the boys were and none of us could bathe!

The power came back on late Tuesday morning and Tim came home that night, mighty happy that I was able to get a shower in that day! 

Devin did something that made me want to scream a few days before my day from heck. It had rained the previous day. We were outside and he came out of his little house holding Hunter’s Gameboy, exclaiming that he had found it. As he was walking toward me I was telling him how that was close, it being outside during the rain fall and how his house had kept it from getting wet. Devin walked by the water table and said, Wet? Like this? And he dunked the electronic, $100 piece of equipment into the water!! I jumped up and said, No, no! Not like that!! He pulled out and said, Oh, sorry, mama, wiping it on his shirt. His reaction was sweet, but the Gameboy and the game inside it was soggy toast.

Update on Hunter and the bully. I wrote up a quick note and gave it to the bus driver when she brought Hunter home. It said what I had learned and asked her to call me. His teacher wrote in the notebook to call the transportation director and said now that she, the teacher, knows who the boy is, she’d keep an eye out. The transportation director called and said it had been taken care of and Hunter told me yesterday that the boy is now sitting at the front of the bus.

The boys and I just came inside from cleaning my van. I ran errands today and messed up their nap schedule, so they were wide awake and played while I cleaned out the garbage, toys and dirt my van collects like my boys collect grime in their ears. Devin helped spray and wipe down the windows and dashboard…and the seats…and the floor…and Bryce went back and forth between us and the back yard. I had the two side doors and the back open to let in air. It’s about 75 degrees out there and I had the volume turned up on some music that made Devin want to dance!

While I was finishing up on one side of the van, vacuuming up dirt, small toys and old lollipops (yeah, I need to clean more often) unbeknownst to me, Bryce was on the other, coloring the side of the seat, back of the front seat and carpet with blue chalk! I suppose it did add some flare to the boring grey of my vans interior. I’d rather it be chalk than crayon or permanent marker. We’ve been there and done that!

I actually have a reason to clean out my van. Tim is heading up to our hometown area on a pleasure trip. Honestly, I wasn’t too keen on him disappearing again for four days after having been gone so much on business recently. However, I can’t really complain because I disappear myself for a time, but I’d rather not be alone again anymore with three kids and two dogs. We compromised by him taking Devin. They are leaving in the AM tomorrow (Thursday) and going to stay with friends. I know Devin will be staying with his grandpa at one point and my parents at another while Tim goes hunting with his mom and out with friends he worked with while we lived in Michigan. It’s supposed to be pretty warm up there so a ride on the boat might be warrented. They’ll be back sometime Sunday.

While they’re gone I’ll be loading up Tim’s truck with box after box of toys and clothes for Goodwill. I may get Caleb to come stay with Bryce while Hunter and I go to the movie. We may visit with another mama of a boy on the spectrum, but she has other children and a hectic schedule. Other than that, not much going on around here!

Thanks for reading all of that!

Love to all,


Monday, September 8, 2008

Co-sleeping, bed sharing and breast feeding.

Summary There has been much controversy over whether infants should co-sleep or bedshare with an adult caregiver and over whether such practises increase the risk of SIDS or fatal accident. However, despite opposition from medical authorities or the police, many western parents are increasingly adopting night-time infant caregiving patterns that include some co-sleeping, especially by those mothers who choose to breast feed. This review will show that the relationships between infant sleep patterns, infant sleeping arrangements and development both in the short and long term, whether having positive or negative outcomes, is anything but simple and the traditional habit of labelling one sleeping arrangement as being superior to another without an awareness of family, social and ethnic context is not only wrong but possibly harmful. We will show that there are many good reasons to insist that the definitions of different types of co-sleeping and bedsharing be recognised and distinguished. We will examine the conceptual issues related to the biological functions of mother–infant co-sleeping, bedsharing and what relationship each has to SIDS. At very least, we hope that the studies and data described in this paper, which show that co-sleeping at least in the form of roomsharing especially with an actively breast feeding mother saves lives, is a powerful reason why the simplistic, scientifically inaccurate and misleading statement ‘never sleep with your baby’ needs to be rescinded, wherever and whenever it is published. James J. McKenna and Thomas McDade

Read Why Babies Should Never Sleep Alone

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A brief update.

OK. Not so brief!'s been so long since I've done one of these. I know I'm not remembering all the things I want to share!

First thing I'll talk about is Hunter entering the fourth grade!!

He started August 21st. He's no longer at the elementary school. He is in the building that use to run his summer autism program when he was in preschool. But they've moved on to one of the closed schools and the building became the Intermediate School. Fourth and fifth graders go there, about 250 kids in that building. 500 in the K-3 behind them. Both schools share the same buses, but the schools don't start the same to prevent over crowding on the bus. The elementary school starts at 9:20. Hunter's school starts at 7:30 which means the bus picks him up at 6:30. A wake up call at 5:45! Ugh, that's an early morning. Tim's alarm doesn't go off until 7:00, but with us walking around upstairs he's been getting up too.

Even with everything packed the night before and clothes layed out ready to wear, Hunter still barely makes it out the door in time. I still can't trust him to do it on his own. He gets easily distracted and he must use the toilet before he goes to prevent accidents during the day (#2, not #1).

He brought home a notice requesting that all fourth grade students bring a second pair of tennis shoes to school on Friday's. They have recess right before gym and wet and muddy shoes are not allowed on the gym floor. For families needing assistance with this, there is financial help available. Fortunately we aren't one of those families, but we are a family with a 10 year old who still cannot tie his own shoes. I showed Hunter that letter and told him he had four days to learn how to tie his shoes. I'm embarassed to admit he doesn't know how to do it, but it's frustrating for both of us. The letter must have changed his attitude about it because he listened and followed my examples without too many problems. He can do it now but he's very slow. He didn't have to use his new shoes this past Friday because it didn't rain.

This year he doesn't have to wait until 12:45 to have lunch, but, unlike last year, this year he has to go outside and walk across the bus parking lot to the elementary school for lunch. The intermediate building doesn't have a cafeteria. They also have to walk double the distance to the playground for recess.

His teacher is actually a sub, who will be around for an undetermined time, no one is able to say anything for sure. Three weeks before school started I sent an email to his teacher requesting a time to come to the school and meet her and have Hunter see his classroom and where he'd be sitting. I thought this was especially important since he was in a completely different classroom. I didn't hear back from the teacher and was told the way to contact her was only by email.

Finally I was told I could go to the school after 12:00 P.M. the day before the first day and the teacher would be there. A teacher was there, but not the teacher I thought it would be. This teacher knew Hunter. She had subbed for his classroom last year and filled in for the music teacher when she retired and hadn't been replaced in time for the next school year. She let Hunter choose his seat, although he's still close enough for her to keep his attention on task. She's also the first teacher to use the communication notebook on the first day!

So far it seems all is going well. He is working hard and when I quized him on the words of his first spelling test, he didn't get a single one wrong! His homework every night this week has been math. He did have trouble determining when an estimate and an exact number should be used, but that'll come.

Devin starts gymnastics on the 9th! I am so looking forward to it. The gym opened up this spring, but I didn't know about it until I saw a flyer. Their building is hidden by a longer building that houses three different businesses. You can't see it unless you're looking for it. There is one group that is younger than he is, for toddlers Bryce's age. Devin is called a Mini-Light. Tim isn't keen on his son being a gymnast, but for now it's a good way for Devin to run and tumble!

His imagination continues to wow me. He is Buzz Lightyear, he's Superman, he's Super DEVIN! I'm thinking of making him a Super Devin costume for Halloween. I was really bummed, Karyn, that the Superman PJ's you passed on to us didn't come with the cape! I see the two Velcro spots on the shoulders! Where's the cape?? :P He's always "cooking" me pancakes and cupcakes, offering me pop and chocolate milk (after he shakes it up real good). He loves to color and draw. He wants to play outside all the time. Our yard hasn't been covered in so many toys or seen nearly this much use since we moved into this house! If I'm not careful, he's running out the back door in his PJ's or even just a diaper. The sandbox is usually is first stop. I've rinsed him off so many times in one day I lost count.

Yes, he's still in diapers. He isn't showing any interest at all in using the potty. I'm thinking of just getting him some underwear and see what he does when he pees and it goes right down his leg.

He's been getting up sometimes right before Hunter catches the bus at 6:30. You'd think he'd be ready to take a nap come afternoon, but although he stays in his room for the two hours I ask of him, he hasn't been snoozing like Bryce is next door.

We have them on a schedule now, something that I should have been doing a long time ago! LOL All three of the boys are in their bedrooms by 8:30. Hunter doesn't have to turn off his light until 9:00, though. No more running, no more screaming, no more crashing into each other. Come 8:30 it's just Tim and I and it is soooo very nice. Getting up at 6 to make sure Hunter is up and ready to catch the bus at 6:30 leaves me ready for bed by 10 or 10:30 anyway, but Tim and I are both enjoying adult conversation in a quiet house without interuption.

Five out of seven nights Devin is sleeping from 8:30 until he gets himself up or I get him up at 7:30. Bryce not so much. For four days in a row he was sleeping through the night. But he gave us false hope, the brat! It's been a week or more noow he's been up once a night, but no more than that. Sometimes that once is about 11:30 and not really affecting my sleep and then he's down until I wake him with Dev at 7:30. Now and then he fusses quietly and drifts back to sleep without me seeing to him, but most of the time I respond because he gets worked up. The first time I ignored him he woke Devin up and I had TWO crying babies. So if B doesn't start to settle down on his own, I'll go up there and rub his back, but most of the time I end up nursing him back to sleep.

Bryce has quite a mouth full of teeth! He eats everything in sight, even old cereal or popcorn in the cushions. That really grosses Hunter out. He's not always being passed by Devin as they run after each other around the kitchen island. Bryce is running, too! He's a master of the stairs now, although if climbing with a toy he sometimes gets distracted. He fell down about six stairs and gave himself a bloody lip.

He's not saying just da-da anymore, but ma-ma is coming out of his mouth more and more! Sometimes after one hug, he'll give another and another and another until he waddles away after some distraction. He's climbing up on everything. I arrived at the table one day to find Bryce standing on it and Devin climbing up to join him. Devin was not happy with me at all for allowing Bryce even that slim amount of time on the table while giving him, Devin, none.

Tim and I are hanging in there. We're trying to get our date nights going again, but our sitters keep falling through! If we had some family living down here.... Maybe if we stopped going north every few months someone might decide that living in NE Ohio might not be so bad....

If I save this to write more another time, I might not get back to it for days. Maybe not for another week!

Hope everyone is well. Write me when you can. How about now??