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??


Oak Island, N.C. once again!

Hi all.

Yes. We've been back from Oak Island for awhile now, but here I am, finally telling you all about it!

The drive down there was pretty uneventful. My boys are seasoned travelers already! It wasn't until we got there that we ran into trouble. Our friends, Meg and Joe, are the ones that reserve the beach house every year. They were not told about the construction going on down the length of the street in front of the house. Maybe the rental property people didn't think the work crew would be in front of our house yet. Actually, they weren't. They had stopped digging in front of the space between our beach house and the one to the left of it. However, they did leave a huge pile of pipes in front of the house, leaving us nowhere to park.

The rental property people told Meg they had no idea that construction was going on in front of the house. They wouldn't take Meg's word for it, they had to send someone out there to see for themselves. We eventually got the OK to park in front of the public access two houses down, with a guarantee the police wouldn't give us all a ticket for parking there overnight.

Come Monday morning, a construction worker came to the house and apologized and got the pipes out of there. That's when we learned that the rental property company did indeed know that construction would be going on during the week of our vacation. It was only Monday that the heavy equipment was in front of the house. Overall it wasn't that much of a problem...for those who did't want to sleep in! The equipment made a heck of a lot of noise at 7:30 in the morning. A vacationer across the road let his unhappiness be heard.

It was pretty warm there, mid 80's the entire time, but not nearly as uncomfortable as last year. We also had one rainy day, Wednesday. It was a good down day. We did some shopping and had brought the Wii along for the kids to play.

We went on crab walks with flash lights and glow sticks. We didn't see any jellyfish on the beach this year. After the rainy day on Wednesday, the beach looked completely different! Before then, there was a long, shallow trench of water the kids could play in. It was as warm as a bath tub! We cleaned out the rocks in the stretch in front of the house and Dev and B splashed in it and Meg's son, Stevie, floated with a mask and snorkel, watching the little bait fish swimming in and out of his still fingers. He became part fish that week! LOL

Last year I didn't get much beach time as Bryce was only a few months old. When he went down for his naps I'd take the monitor back down to the beach with me. I did that again this year, but Bryce just needed short time outs in the shade and he was good to go for awhile again. We'd put him under the cow print shade at the top of the beach or under the cover of a beach umbrella, secured in the sand around an area dug out and walled up. It was quite the kiddie pool which I neglected to take pictures of. I didn't want to risk water and sand on my camera. I meant to get a waterproof disposable, but forgot. :(

Hunter behaved the same as last year. He mostly stood in the surf, no deeper than mid shin. He had his toys and did his thing. He did stay longer on the beach this time around. Like Stevie, Devin wanted to be a fish, too! He kept telling me he was swimming as he crawled around in the surf on the sand. He went out a couple times with his dad, but I could tell he was more comfortable on his own two feet at the shore line.

Some of you may not know it, but I don't really like to float out there in the ocean, not being able to see what's under me, but I did it. One of those times I did, a jelly fish stung me. My hubby says he didn't see anything. He was behind me and could seeif something was there, but it felt like the back of my leg, below the knee, was being poked by a needle. I started swimming to shore but kept getting poked. I finally swatted at whatever it was with my hand and I think the force of my hand in the water loosened whatever it was. An area the size of a quarter was red and when that faded there were tiny, dark red spots. Tim says it was probably the spine of a fish.

On another day Tim and I were throwing a football back and forth on the beach. He tossed it out to Joe but didn't quite make it to him. As the ball floated there I saw what I assumed was a small shark surface and then disappeared. Tim assured me that it was just a fish checking it out, nothing to worry about. On the way home though, he said yes, it was a shark. He didn't want to scare me out of the water!

For $40.00 one day we rented a two person kayak. Oh my goodness my body just did a shake remembering all the jelly fish we saw! It was quite a sight. They were as dark as blood in the center, with a paler red underneath. They were easy to spot and I was very helpful telling Tim which way to go steer back there! With that surf, I didn't want any getting splashed into my lap! While floating out there I was also reminded of seeing the rays jumping out of the water like a flat stone skipping across the surface. We were fine, nothing happened to us, until my hubby failed at keeping us straight coming in and a wave flipped us! LOL

I told Tim I didn't want to spend every day at the beach, that I wanted to do something else. So I took the initiative and reserved us some seats on a charter boat that promised we'd see lots of dolphins and other sea life.

It was about a 30 minute drive and we boarded the boat and headed out to sea. It was an hour and a half tour, an hour of which was travel out to the open sea and back. All of us had good sea legs, but Hunter lost his seat to a lady who had to sit down pretty quick. She was looking kind of green! She didn't move the entire trip.

We met up with a shrimp boat that was owned by the same company. We followed slowly behind it while it brought the shrimp nets up. We could see the shrimp in the net and watched as some floated loose of the bunch and were snatched up in the claws of the birds that squawked and hovered all around us. Other shrimp were made meals of by the dolphins swimming under the water. Some dolphins even jumped for us! At the end of that the crew of the boat we were on brought aboard other sea creatures and had dead samples of even more, including a Man-of-War, the most dangerous jelly fish out there! They sold preserved specimens in mason jars, but, uh, no thank you!

Meg and Joe had brought a baby sitter with them, so we got a couple adult night outs. Just dinner out and time away from the kids.

The way home was opposite of the way down. We left earlier than Meg and Joe because Tim had to be back, clothes washed and bags packed to catch a plane to MN the next morning. Instead of caravaning like we did on the way down, we let the GPS lead the way. When we stopped for lunch Tim took a closer look at our planned route and was shocked to see the computer was sending us toward Washington D.C.! With some adjustments and a new route thru the back twisty, hilly roads of beautiful West Virginia, we made it home two hours later than planned and a small bag full of pukey clothes. Bryce had a bit of car sickness. Even in the front seat my tummy was doing some flips.

Overall it was a good vacation. There have been quite a few times where all of us have wanted to be back there again!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A shot of skepticism about vaccines won't hurt a bit

Questioning in itself is not a bad thing, especially since the Internet has ignited an information explosion, some of it inaccurate. It does, however, reflect a larger crisis of confidence in public health officials and policy, which has developed partly because so many new, seemingly unnecessary vaccines have been added to the schedule and because no one can explain what causes, how to prevent or how to treat the new childhood disorders: asthma, allergies, attention deficit disorder and autism. - Julie Deardorff Health and fitness reporter for the Chicago Tribune August 31, 2008

Read the full article here.

Have some time to be fully shocked and upset? Then read this.