Thursday, October 21, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
- Josh passed the Bar!!!!!!!!!!!! Need I go on? Here is a pic of him getting sworn in this afternoon- it is now completely official. Now he can sue anyone (in Oregon)!
- In Timothy’s class they had to section off the room because he kept escaping (how much does that make me feel better?It is not just me!).
- Sadie has started Kindergym (a much cheaper version of “Little Gym” classes done through our Parks and Rec department) where she is a maniac! The child has no fear. One of her favorite activities is the balance beam where yesterday she jumped continually across it. She is a tad scary, but hugely cute. Her sense of humor is really blossoming (what do you expect from a child with Josh and my genes put together? She better be funny!). The other day she climbed up next to Josh while he was feeding Timothy. When Josh looked over she was in Madeline’s sunglasses and simply said, “Coooooool.” I know I am partial, but that is really cute. Oh, and Sadie has decided to not call Josh "Papa" anymore. This morning she told him, "No Papa! Father!" So, I guess he has a new name.
- Madeline has been doing really well in school. Everyday we get a report card for the day. This also includes her behavior on the bus. Well, last week when Madeline came home the bus driver told me to make sure I read her card, she had a tough afternoon on the bus. So, I excitedly took a peak and it said, “Loud talking out and criticizing my driving!” What exactly am I supposed to say to that? The loud talking I expect and truly have no other words to ask her to stop. I have pretty much given up and expect her to be a tour guide one day for partially deaf people. I decided instead to focus on the “criticizing my driving” part. I asked Madeline if she knew how to drive, she responded no. Then I asked if she has ever driven a bus, she said no. So, why then do you feel you need to criticize or instruct the driver? “I don’t know…..” She says. Well, I asked her to please leave the driver alone and then reminded her the following morning. When she got home the next afternoon apparently the same thing happened. So I talked to her again, but then emailed her teacher and asked her to remind Madeline. Her teacher (who I love by the way) said that they would have a bus training session the next day. When Madeline came home I got a good report. When I asked her about the day she very excitedly talked about the bus training game they played. She retold the story at dinner and Josh asked why they needed to do this (I guess I forgot to tell him about the issue) and she said, “Well Papa, you see some of the kids have been having troubles on the bus and my teacher felt they needed some practice (said in a very sad and compassionate tone). I guess like me (said in a very quick and quiet voice).” Oh Madeline, I wish I could be privy to your thoughts sometimes.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Some of you may not be too impressed by what I am about to say, but being the mom of two special needs kids before #3 came along, my viewpoint is skewed. Last week I was walking around outside with Sadie (19 months old) and asked her to pick the yellow flower (thinking she would just pick one or I was going to point at the yellow flower). She proceeded to point at the yellow flower say, “Yellow” and then pick it. Coincidence? No, she then picked out the white and purple flowers. She has since replicated this new talent and I am completely impressed. I keep underestimating her and then being surprised when she does something so genius! Oh typical children…
This made me think, of course, of what we went through to teach Madeline colors. Seeing as how we spent a little while teaching her English we did not push things like colors or shapes. Why would we? Well, once she was headed to pre-school I figured it was time to really start working. You probably already know this, but Madeline has a bit of a strong-willed personality. Mix that with the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome and you can get in some interesting situations. I remember time and time again I would say the colors of things and then ask her what color something was. Inevitably she would tell me every single color she knew except the actual color. I am not exaggerating! I would point to a pink flower and ask, “What color is this?” (this is after going over it) and she would say in her shaky dramatic voice, “Yellow? Green? Blue? Orange?...” Every color but pink. I laugh now, but at the time it was very frustrating. Thankfully she now knows her colors, but this trait has moved onto bigger and better things. For example, any time I ask her which direction we need to turn or tell her to tie her left shoe, etc she will say or do the opposite. I would say 90% of the time this is true. Even if she were just guessing she would have better odds (I am not taking her to Vegas- that is for sure)! Now, I am sure that there is a perfectly logical explanation for this and I should probably ask her doctor, but for now I just laugh to myself and understand that at some point she will get it- it is really not that big of a deal.
As for Sadie, I guess I need to start really working with her- who knows what she can learn? I certainly don’t.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Well, summer school is over and we still have 29 long days until school begins. Can we do it? Today my nanny was not able to make it to work- so much fun. I was lucky enough to have a friend help me for a few hours because I had an appointment. I did, however, get to bring all 3 kids in search of Nature Camp for Madeline. Apparently, I signed her up for one that is 25 minutes from our house. She has done nature camps in the past and the facility is only about 10 minutes away, but not this week. To make matters worse I showed up on time (crazy, I know) to the place we thought it was only to be turned away and rerouted. By the time I made it back home (9:45) I had to immediately leave for an appointment then go get her (it ended at 12:00). It is already a short camp, but the hour of driving makes it even that much more fun. I should get a lot done this week for sure!
Speaking of school, Madeline graciously gave me yet another funny story. During the few weeks of summer school the bus picked up both Madeline and Timothy. This is normal for Timothy, but not for Madeline. You see, the Special Ed bus comes right to the door- what service! Timothy gets so excited he can hardly stand it and basically runs out to the bus where I strap him into the 5-point harness that is built into some of the seats. According to the bus drivers on the way home it is considered a good day if Timothy only gets out of his seat once. She had to pull over on the highway once to get him back in. I guess they don’t fasten it tight enough despite my continuous pleas. Anyway, Madeline was happy to wait out front for the bus and even thought it was cool to be dropped off. On the first day though, Madeline came into the house and asked, “Why does my bus have seatbelts?” Goodness, how do I answer this without sounding degrading? I think I said something like, “Well, these are newer buses and they just happen to have seatbelts.” Luckily she bought it. I did not have the heart to tell her that she will now ride the Special Ed buses. Since she will be going to a new school next year that is across town she will again be on the short bus. I joke about how lucky I am to have 2 kids on the bus with the tented windows! This means that each and everyday I will have 4 buses stopping at my house! I think the neighborhood kids might come and wait by our house assuming that the bus stop has moved. I guess there are perks to having such special little ones; sometimes I just have to think outside of the bus, I mean, box.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
All in all I am glad the girls and I had a chance to visit the Lone Star State in all its glory. Now, I am back to mild weather and very little humidity. I laugh when people complain about the mosquitoes and told my friend that unless you get swarmed by them while on your way to and from the car you do not have a problem. Now, here is a good photo to show you where I grew up- try not to be jealous!
Monday, July 19, 2010
Here are some fun videos to see the difference in bed’s:
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
What is happening now is insane! I had no idea it was this easy to cry. I am not a blubbering crazy woman or anything, but my eyes fill with water way too often. I tear up at things like stories people tell me (happy or sad), a song at church-(well, pretty much everything at church-), good news, bad news, stupid little mistakes (like, burning dinner or running out of cereal when that is all I want in the world), seeing someone pulled over or stalled on the highway... It is ridiculous!!! I can no longer claim to be an emotionless creature. How sad (I am not tearing up, I promise)… Is this how life is for others? Will I be like this forever? God help me! Maybe I should start taking some testoserone or something. Shoot, I don’t want chest hair. Maybe I am just learning to deal with life in a new way. I am most definitely more understanding of others emotions and would rather cry than yell at someone. Crying can make people feel sorry for you while yelling definitely does not.
I still do not officially say I am a crier, but my guess is that will change. What is the actual amount of crying necessary to make one a crier?
Friday, June 25, 2010
So far, two weeks into the summer things are going well. True, the first week she went to Bible camp in the mornings and played at a friend’s house all afternoon on Tues/Wed/Thur. This last week my mother-in-law, Lila, took on the task of entertaining Madeline- hey I can do this kind of summer. We will see how it goes.
This is before the first day of the second run of second grade- does that sound right?
Monday, June 21, 2010
1. January 2010- enough said (this was tied to the bottle of vodka- it really was a hard month).
2. For painting Madeline’s nails to help her stop sucking on her fingers. Hey, we tried!
3. For all of the extended bathroom breaks.
4. For all of the visual schedules.
5. For all of the secret signals.
6. For trying everything- literally.
7. For all the long emails.
8. For all the bad words I know you wanted to say, but didn’t.
9. For all the calls.
10. For Madeline’s desk- I don’t know where to begin or end.
11. Transitions (this was tied to a bottle of beer with an eight ball on it- you never knew how they would go from day to day)
12. For all of the outbursts.
13. For all of the really really really sharpened pencils.
14. For all of the teacher questionnaires.
15. For all of the behavior plans.
16. For the days I forgot to give her her meds.
17. For all the times Madeline went MIA/Rogue
18. For listening intently and still not having any idea what she is talking about.
19. For all the IEP meetings.
20. June 2010! (this was tied to the bottle of champagne)
I know that these are not all self-explanatory, but you get the idea.
It was a fun gift to make- I must say. I love using that 1/1000th of my brain that is actually creative and can sometimes come up with stuff like that. It is rare, but can happen. The best part was his reaction. Either he is a really good actor or he really liked it. Apparently, when his wife saw it she asked, “is this from Madeline’s parents?” If that does not tell you how much of an impact on his life she has been I don’t know what will. It was nice to actually be honest about how trying these last two years were, but to also hear how much he loves Madeline and really cares about her success is wonderful.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Madeline is getting into some serious financial debt these days. We do the whole, "natural consequences" thing with her. For example, if she were to do something like cut up a pair of jeans or purchase a gift card for the neighbor boy who saved Timothy (a story for another time), than she either has to pay me from money she already has or earn money the hard way (by picking up pinecones in the backyard 1 pinecone = 1 penny). At this point she owes me $9- not bad considering she owed me $30 last week (that's a lot of pinecones). A new income source has presented itself to Madeline, thanks to her brother. You see, Timothy has some
sort of vendetta against Sadie. I am not sure if he is doing the whole- if a boy is mean to you it means he likes you- thing or if genuinely doesn't like her. Actually, I think it is a matter of him thinking she is his newest cause and effect toy (think of one of those annoying toys with a lot of lights, sounds and buttons). She is the best one yet because she can do that and more! The only problem with his new obsession is that Sadie is a little girl and not an annoying talking piggy bank. She can actually get hurt and it matters. Where is this going, you ask? The other day I was not able to chase after him and Josh was making dinner. Timothy decided it would be the perfect time to play with his favorite red-headed toy. So, being the resourceful person that I am, I told Madeline to be her bodyguard. She did great! She and Sadie watched a cookie monster DVD and anytime Timothy got near-Madeline would use her body to cover Sadie. It was sad and sweet all at the same time.
The bummer about this situation is that Sadie will probably be in need of these services for a long time. We have been searching and searching for "answers" and solutions for what is going on in Timothy's little brain and, yet again, we have been told that they don't really know what the future holds. We know that he is at about a 10 month-old cognitive level and his motor skills are like that of a 21 month-old (I would seriously love if that were switched). That he is severely to profoundly (who knew there were many types ranging from mild to profoundly) mentally retarded which is a pretty broad diagnosis. While this is good to know it is not helpful in the whole, "how much longer can we keep going on like this" problem. Now is the time I can/should do all of the, “we only are given what we can handle” or “take one day at a time” schpeel, but what I really want to say is this bites! Okay, that is out of the way- whew. One thing that Timothy definitely has going for him is how darn cute he is! He is so endearing that you can’t stay frustrated for long- I didn’t say you can’t be frustrated just that it is hard to stay that way. In fact this is a tad embarrassing, but I was told screaming was a good way to relieve stress. I remember thinking, “What situation could possibly arise where I would want to scream?” Well, shockingly enough one presented itself quite soon thereafter. I don’t remember what Timothy was doing, but I do remember thinking I was going to lose my mind, so I just let out a loud piercing scream. Rather than getting upset like most kids he started busting out laughing. So, this may or may not have happened again with the same response. That means I now have a fun way to get out a little stress and make Timothy laugh- what a bonus! In conclusion, does anyone know what the going rate for a bodyguard is?
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Last week as I was headed to the airport to pick up my parents I was quite upset about something entirely ridiculous. You see, I was having a boo-hoo-my-life moment. You have them- right? Basically, I heard some good news about a wonderful person and rather than being happy for the person I decided to think about how “bad” I have it and how “good” they have it. My emotions were having a field day and these strange drops started coming out of my eyes- it was insane! I have so many friends who say they cry all the time, I grew up with a mom and a sister who were not afraid to shed some tears, but for some reason this is not something that happens often in my world. I have no mockery of those who cry (well, I did once and that was not nice), I am actually jealous- it seems like a perfectly wonderful way to get some icky feeling out. Anyway, I was crying and feeling incredibly sorry for myself- it seemed so right and I had quite a good case for myself as to why my life was so hard. Then it happened- I was in line to get on the freeway and waiting on the side was a homeless man. Shoot! What a way to get dragged out of your pity party! I mean, maybe I should try having emotional breakdowns in the comfort and privacy of my own home. At least then I would only have to deal with little orphans. Well, crap! I can’t get a break! You see it occurred to me that I have it way better than most people in the world. The mere fact that I was born in America gives me a one-up on a large portion of the world. I have a home, a family, a car….so much more than I actually need. I have friends and those who love and care for me- how many people are alone? Before I go too far, I think you get it- right? We are incredibly blessed. This is not to say that I don’t or shouldn’t allow myself to ever feel bad, but rather I should not stay there. There is nothing but bitterness and anger in that place. What did I do- you ask? Well, I sucked it up and stopped crying. Don’t worry, more than a few tears and even a little snot had escaped before I cut it off.
Friday, June 11, 2010
I have so many ideas about blog posts, but so little time... Madeline provides me with a plethora of material. Writing can be such a good thing for mental health. I have filled up many journals with unimportant whining/prayers (well, the prayers are important, but the whining is a bit annoying). Why do you think I write this blog? To make sure as many people as possible know as many embarrassing details of my life as possible? That is part of it, but it is more so that I can get things off my chest while trying to be funny (trying being the operative word here).
So, Madeline must be picking up on this idea. She has always liked to scribble on paper and write in books, etc. Now though, she is taking it to the next level. Not too long ago I took Madeline to school (well, I do that almost every day if I can- gives me a chance to find out what is really going on) and her teacher (a saint) asked if I had heard about “yesterday’s incident.” Surprisingly, I had not. Apparently while on a bathroom break Madeline decided to try her hand at a little graffiti. This is not surprising if you go to our church (it is held at a Portland high school) where you cannot go to the restroom without seeing a colorful (both language and hue selection) array of reading material in each stall. One problem though- while Madeline has the concept of graffiti down, she does not quite “get it.” On the door she wrote, “Do not disturb! By Madeline Pond.” I guess the whole not getting caught thing did not matter to her. Her teacher tried to make me feel better when he said that all the words were spelled correctly- sad to say, it did.
I did not have the heart to make a big deal out of it- I actually cannot even remember what I said- I think I was too amused to think of a consequence. Having the principal take you into the bathroom and watch while you clean up your mistake seems like a big enough consequence to me.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Well, we have been back for a week and I am still in denial! Alaska was absolutely wonderful! From start to finish we had a great time. The ship was great, the cities were fun and just being together was simply amazing. 7 days went by so fast; I didn’t even have time to miss home. I cannot overstate how nice it was and just how physically and emotionally rested I feel. We had a chance to recharge and just be together. Some of the highlights include:
- Whales- While working out on the ship we had a panoramic view of the ocean and kept seeing fins of whales or porpoises when all of a sudden we saw a complete whale breach (I think that is what it is called when they jump out of the water) and then a few minutes later we saw a tail fin. Crazy! Who knew exercising could be so much fun!
- Reading- I finished one book and read three more.
- Eating- the food was incredible. One of the people at the gym said that cruisers gain an average of 7-10 pounds while on board- it is easy to see why.
- Nothing- we could do nothing at all if we wanted. It was strange how quickly I figured out how to take advantage of that situation.
- Excursions- while in the ports (Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, Victoria) we had a chance to go on a cool hike, dry snorkeling and zip-lining. Each was super fun in their own way. The cities themselves were really neat and it was fun just walking around.
So, there, enough of that. One of the best things about this vacation was what happened while we were away. Before you think I am going to get all mushy about missing the kiddos, don’t worry, it is not going to happen.
Josh’s parents, Paul and Lila, graciously offered (that is right- offered) to watch the kids while we were away; 7 days- enough said. By now you surely realize what an amazing gift that is- watching OUR kids for a week is not for the faint of heart. Good thing they are pros with 8 kids of their own- they just jumped right in. As Paul would say, this ain’t my first rodeo! Well, this may not have been their first rodeo, but it was more like a circus combined with a rodeo. When we left on Saturday morning they were smiling so sweetly, but you could tell there was real fear underneath it all. I guess it would have been smart to take a picture. Before we were even in Seattle we got a call that the newest crib tent was done- Timothy had finished it off. So, they frantically found one in a specialty kids store nearby (which the last few times I have needed one they were out). From then on, Paul and Lila were on a mission to help Timothy proof the house. They sent out an email to our family who are graciously helping us buy Timothy a bed (which was found online by a super-sweet reader). It is on order now and we are trusting God to help us fund the rest. They had a contractor at the house for a few days basically constructing a room within a room in our garage, which is our playroom. It is incredible! He also installed cabinet locks that Timothy cannot (shoot! should I say that?) break, built a tall gate on our deck so the kids can go out there and play without us being right there as well as a few other things. Basically, he pimped out our house! By far though, our biggest gift from them is that Lila is going to come back for 6 weeks this summer! While Josh is studying for the bar she is going to come help us with the kids. This will definitely be a huge stress relief for us and will help our home be more relaxed with more hands on deck. I was and still am completely blown away by there incredible generosity. Already our home is a safer place for Timothy, which means less anxiety for us. It is incredible! So, Paul and Lila survived with only a few minor incidences. Who cares that there was a small fire, Madeline threatened a kid with a plastic knife at school and Sadie got a little bruised up? What else is new?
Saturday, May 15, 2010
We are headed to Alaskuuuuuh (this is a song sung by me- very clever- you just sing it with a very deep annoying voice)! Josh’s parents are watching the kids and we are leaving for 7 days! Can you believe it! It is seriously perfect timing, that is, if you want to prevent my complete and total mental breakdown. This week I have been pondering the reasons why I am so excited about this trip, so without further adieu…
THE WATER HEATER: I don’t know if I have mentioned this, but we made our garage into a play room- complete with a therapeutic swing for Timothy, things to climb on, etc. Well in that “playroom” we have the added benefit of it holding things like lawn maintenance paraphernalia (which is oddly never used), glass recycling containers, the water heater, and such. Well, shockingly Timothy loves the water heater, especially the knob that turns it on and off. So, every time he is out there he inevitably will turn that knob. So, we continually have to keep him away from it and turn it back. However, sometimes he can get away with it without us knowing. When this happens we are blissfully unaware until we need to take a shower. You understand the rest. In Alaska, there are no Ethiopians messing with hot water heaters- I think!
DINNER: The other night I was being a good wife and mom- I cooked dinner. Nothing too crazy about that-right? Well, let’s just say a meal that should have taken me about 30 minutes to make, at the most, took 3 ½ hours. It is not like I set it down and did other things for a while, no, during this time I was chasing, holding, grabbing, blocking and basically just running ragged to make this meal. I started at 3:30pm and really only got the chicken cooked and sliced until Josh came home at 5:30pm. On the ship they will cook our food and we will have many dishes to choose from- amazing!
MADELINE SCHOOL: It will be hard to reach us while in Alaska, not impossible, but expensive when we are at sea. So, I will not be able to hear all of the exciting things Madeline does at school. For example, a week or two ago Madeline gets home and before she even gets through the door she says, “Mom, I did something really bad at school and you are going to get a call from my teacher!” “Okay, what did you do?” I said. “Ummm, I guess I went into the PE teacher’s office during PE and I guess I saw a cupcake on her desk. I thought it was for me, so I ate it .” (when she said “ate” she really meant that she licked the icing off and put it back on the dest) “Really? You thought it was for you? “ I said. “No, I guess not” was her response. So, what did I do? Rather than listening to my inner voice telling me to yell and give a long drawn out speech, I instead told her that she was going to write an apology note and when I find out what kind of cupcake she ate she was going to use her money and buy more. Well, it was a red velvet cupcake, so I ordered some nice large cupcakes that cost $4 each. Madeline purchased 4 of them and we brought them to school and personally delivered them to the PE teacher. You see, I do not have to do these things for 7 days!!!
ARGUING: Josh and I are not big arguers, at least not with each other. Madeline, on the other hand, loves to argue. It is an art form she has perfected over years of practice. The other day I was reading a Dr. Seuss book to her and she started arguing with the book- apparently ham is not green. I really just don’t know how to handle things like this. On a regular basis Josh and I will be talking and Madeline will inject a question, “Why would they do that?” I ask her if she has any idea what we are talking about and she says, “No.” “So, why are you asking questions?” I ask. “I don’t know, I just wanted to know why.” What am I supposed to say?
CHILD-PROOFING: I know that you have heard all of my ludicrous stories of child-proofing, but I just could not leave this out. We can open up any door we want and leave it open. We can leave things out without fear of destruction. We can even walk around without tripping on random toys, books, cups, furniture… I honestly cannot even picture it all. I guarantee that I will randomly go move something out of reach or just feel like I need to find a place to hide my purse. There will be no bed in our room that is covered with a tent or with zip-ties holding it all together- we will not need to be kept in bed- we can stay for as long or as little as we want.
POOTY-PANTS AND POTTY MOUTHS: This one is pretty self-explanatory- Sadie will not be teething on the boat, I will not need to change crazy disgusting-air-out-the-house diapers, and I will not get called about inappropriate word knowledge from the principal (see last post). I can say whatever the heck I want to say (replace heck with whatever word you would like)!
WE ARE GOING TO ALASKA!!!: Who really needs a reason to be excited about going to Alaska or anywhere for that matter? Josh and I are simply floored at this amazing trip and our wonderful care-giving family. We can leave knowing that our children are in perfect hands, have fun and just bask at the amazing earth God has created. Right now, we are in a coffee shop eating lunch before we get on the ship. We just got off the train from Portland to Seattle where we saw a bald eagle, mountains, and really incredible beauty and the trip has not even started. I can feel the tightness in my chest easing, my brain relaxing and a smile on my face that does not seem to want to go away. Josh and I most definitely need a break and are going to get one. I will let you know how it goes…