Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Where to begin?!

Well, the anniversary of the birth of Jesus has come and gone once again, and I'm still sorting and organizing the pictures. Took less this year, whether I meant to or not, and I'm okay with that. This year I truly enjoyed the visiting I did with loved ones, so here are photos of the people I spent the last week with.
#1 Well... Darth Vader counts, I think. We saw Star Wars costumes at Henry Ford Museum on Christmas Eve. And you can bet Roman was over the moon.

#2 My cute kids on Christmas Day. In their new jammies and silly head gear.

#3 Cousins (and assorted aunts, uncles, and grandparents) on Doug's side of the family! They live out of town and we hadn't seen these cousins since April.

#4 Cousins (along with grandparents & aunt & uncle) on Amy's side! We hadn't seen them since October, even though they live just a couple hours away. E. wasn't thrilled with his picture taken, though.

#5 More out-of-town goodness comes to visit! Friends Cat & Paul were in the area with their 9-month-old, Sam, so we met at the Kalamazoo Science Museum (so Roman would have something to do) and spent a couple hours catching up.

Cat & I met in first grade, and what an amazing coincidence that we both got pregnant within a couple weeks of each other. Charlie was originally due end of March and their son due beginning of April... although both were born early, Sam arriving mid-March to the surprise of his parents!

In the plans for the rest of the week are New Year's Eve with our friends Paul & Nicole and their son, a trip back to Beaumont Hospital for Charlie's hearing check (and a stop at the NICU), and one more day of merry-making with my dad's side of the family. Whew!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas, one day late

A quick post, as I'm meant to be playing Legos or Jedi or something with Roman. Both boys slept until 7am Christmas morning, for which we thanked our lucky stars. The whole celebration took about an hour between stockings and gifts. Then Doug made blueberry pancakes but Ro was so excited to play he barely ate one. Charlie, too, was really thrilled with Santa's gift of a ride-on-and-push toy and also spent lots of time putting animals in and out of Noah's Ark. Photos are still on the camera, so I'll post those later. Santa brought me socks in my stocking, which I really wanted. Doug got a book & movie, and of course Santa brought us all our favorite candy; Skittles for Ro, KitKats for me, and Reese's Pieces for Doug.

I can post pictures of Christmas Eve, where the boys each opened one present - and got special Christmas jammies to wear!

Fire trucks for Roman, and fleece decorated with penguins, moose, and polar bears for Charlie.

Roman took this portrait of us before we went to church.

And our house on Christmas Eve. Doug was so pleased to put up lights this year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Cheer, T-3 days

Yesterday was the pageant at church, Roman's first one (we've always been on the road before). Our friend's son Mitchell sang "Little Drummer Boy" and these three stole the show. Roman took his drumming very seriously.


Today was bake & decorate day. Now, I just don't enjoy baking as my father did. I remember Saturday marathons when I was younger, Dad in the kitchen baking dozens upon dozens of cookies (it seemed like it at the time, anyway) and Jeff and I would invite a friend over and we'd sit at the counter, frosting cookies all afternoon. Well, thanks to GFS I don't have to bake from scratch. Just pop the precut sugar cookies in the oven for 12 min. a batch and they're done! Of course, there were 72 cookies and my tiny cookie sheet only held 9 at a time (we have a small wall-mount oven). So it still took awhile. Then it was time to decorate.


After sampling a couple each, we had dinner. Then jammies on at 6:30pm (at least, the little boys and myself) and we hopped in the car to head to the Wayne County Lightfest. We have gone a couple times in the past, but the last was probably 4 years ago. It is a 4-mile stretch of lit-up holiday scenes along a road that has small county parks on either side. It took us about a half-hour to drive through, snacking on more cookies and enjoying.

(I totally didn't take this picture. I snagged it off the Wayne County Executive's website).



Saturday, December 20, 2008

Must be Santa, Santa Claus!

Some Christmas cheer from last night. After lots of "is it or isn't it going to happen?" debating, our church & the Co-Op preschool decided to go ahead with the "Milk & Cookies for Santa" gathering. Roman only knew one other child there, but at least it was his good friend Sammy!

Roman asked for "everything Star Wars!" Santa asked him to be more specific but Roman was frozen. Then Santa opened his book of toy ideas for good little kids and Roman could point to what he wanted.

Then we quickly got the poses with Santa, before Charlie freaked out! Not bad looking for a family where 3 of us are on antibiotics! (Roman=sinus infection, Charlie=4th round to kill the ear infection, Amy=strep throat)


Friday, December 19, 2008

All about Doug

Doug doesn't usually want me blogging about him. In general, he doesn't think the world needs to know, or cares, what he's up to. Sometimes though I get blogs practically written in my head, and such is the case today - so I asked permission to write about him. And with a heaving sigh, he said, "I guess if you feel it's necessary." He then gave me a guideline of how he'd like me to phrase things. Funny guy.

President Bush has announced a loan with strings, so Doug's job is generally safe until the end of March. That really helps with a decision I was faced with, which was a possible interview & transfer to another middle school that is looking to hire for a full-time position in January. I'll stay put now, thank you, and play Russian roulette with Doug's job. He's got his resume out in the world again, second time this year. Last spring we got fed up with living in this area and realized that long-term we want to be on the "west side." Doug applied many places and even interviewed at a couple, coming very close to an offer in Kalamazoo (but they dissolved the position because sales were down). The funny thing about when his resume goes out online is that headhunters call. And in Spring, he said he wanted to stay in Michigan, and yet they were calling from out East, the Carolinas, Alabama - all places really wanting to hire.

Now that we've been reevaluating options, we've got two things on our minds. We still want to end up on the "west side" but we also need to consider making the jump out of the automotive industry. And that may mean a move out of the state. Something we've never talked seriously about before. So he's marked along with his resume that he would be willing to relocate to Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, and a couple other places I really can't remember. And wouldn't you know it - he got a call from a headhunter for Texas. Normally we would laugh at this, except his words were magical to Doug - "I see that you have a degree in chemical engineering and a lot of experience in program management."

Many times Doug has expressed frustration that he stayed in mechanical engineering too long, when his first and true love is chemical. And how it's been too long, and he'd never be able to get back into chemical engineering. And now this call. We assume oil, and wouldn't that be a field to get into! A little more job-secure. However, Texas is definitely not on our list of "if we could live anywhere...". But the idea of Doug using his chemE degree plus his second love of program management, well, I suspect he just may chat with that headhunter a little bit more. I doubt there will be real interest on Doug's part - Texas has no snow, after all - but it's a little heartening to know that people may still be interested in him. Now the question is, are we willing to jump the USS Michigan for unknown waters?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bad news revealed

So a couple posts ago, I mentioned how I was feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed. There was more to that, of course, and now I can finally mention it. In the scheme of things this isn't as bad as many people are dealing with, but Doug got the news last Tuesday that he will be laid off. For him it's only 2 weeks, but it's the beginning of a much larger problem that we believe will continue to happen.

His company is a supplier, of course. They work with all "Big 3" but very little with foreign makers. While sales were down in December, the sales are down a LOT in January. Big 3 have put everything on hold, of course, with the bailout being up in the air and not sure if GM/Chrysler can make it until a new Congress can come in. So the manufacturing arm is actually down 5 weeks, but Doug, because he works with new designs, only has to be off 2. He was even allowed to select the 2 weeks, isn't that nice? Everyone has to take one for the team - including the owners, who pledged not to draw a salary for the month of January.

Of course, we fully expect this to happen again in March, as any emergency plan President Bush can put into place will end then. If no long-term agreement is reached, Doug will most likely be out of a job. So that has been cause for lots of thinking, planning, double-thinking, mental juggling, proposing scenarios, and worst-case options.

So... big sigh. Belts will be pretty tight from here on out until... well, just until. As I said, at least we're not facing what many others are having to endure, but it still stinks.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

One week countdown

There's one more week of school until break. What a very different point in life than this time last year, and last year I tried to imagine what life would be like today. Last year: 6 months pregnant, body swollen out of shape, feeling the baby kick, but dealing with Rebekka and her family to make arrangements over the holidays was at the forefront. We were preparing for 5 days on the road to visit family and sorting and wrapping presents. This year: an absolutely adorable 11-month-old baby, I'm down 25 pounds from my just-pregnant weight, we have no idea where Rebekka is, and we're preparing for our very first Christmas here at home (and sorting and wrapping presents).

Trying to get the kids healthy, too. Charlie seems to have recovered from ear infection #2 and just has a lingering juicy cough. Roman keeps developing a low-grade temp. every couple days and is very exhausted. A couple people have mentioned mono or strep throat, my guess being strep. Doug tried to look in his throat but Ro's tonsils/adenoids are huge. Guessing I'll be calling the doctor tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The stress starts to rise...

I have just written a letter to my neighboring town's District Court, fighting a ticket I received a couple weeks ago. Not only does the ticketing officer have a "mean" reputation (as in jerk, not tough-guy), this article was also in the local paper just days before my ticket. In case you don't want to read the whole thing, the clincher is this line: "The (traffic ticket) increase was even larger in small towns like Plymouth which saw the number of tickets go up from 440 to 2,500 — up 480 percent — over the same amount of time (one year). According to Detroit area police the reason for the increase is dwindling property tax revenue." So I'll line your coffers, Plymouth, but quit trying to charge me 3 points on my license. Grrr.

It's been a busy week and not necessarily the events have been stressful, but apparently I'm reaching my personal breaking point. I actually was almost paralyzed by having to cook, get ready for Scooter Club at church, and come home to do schoolwork. I've done it every Wednesday since mid-September, so why would today be different? Who knows. Christmas Break is fast approaching, it's a full moon soon, and therefore the kids are a little more to handle than usual. Maybe that's it.

Of course, the uncertainty in Congress over the auto industry is stressing a lot of people out around these parts. It's just sitting around and waiting - will we all continue to be in business or shut down? It seems to be in Congress' hands, and Lord knows they shouldn't be trusted to run anything. A student was telling me the other day that his dad owns a trucking/delivery company that delivers Mopar parts (Chrysler parts) to customers. He's basically in limbo - if Chrysler is divvied up or declares bankruptcy, his company is gone. If they get a loan, then at least they can continue for a few months while Chrysler sorts things out. It's beginning to hit even the affluent area where I work. What a disaster if this Congress can't get their heads out of their butts...

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Secondhand Charlie

The little bugger is darn cute. Good thing, too, so he shines right through all the hand-me-downs he gets. This doesn't bother me at all, except I realized the other day that he has one outfit in the closet that was purchased new for him, and 2 pairs of jammies because he outgrew the 12-month sizes. Everything else, from onesies & socks to his winter coat, are hand-me-downs. We have them from Roman of course, and our friend's son Perrin, and our neighbor's son Evan, and a church family's son Sammy, & a cousin's friend's daughter's son. If that made sense. The stuff I have bought "new" came from the resale shop.

This was never so glaring as when people asked me if he has certain toys in preparation for Christmas. He has nothing new, people. All his toys are hand-me-downs as well, from Roman and our friend's son. And the poor boy... the idea for this post popped into my head last week, when I finished Roman's bath and we decided to just plop Charlie in the tub real quick afterward for a washdown. Yes, folks, Charlie even has secondhand bathwater. Stinks being the 2nd kid, huh?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

bedtime conversations

As I tucked Roman in for bed this evening, I said I'd tell him the story of Jesus' birth. Of course I like to embellish with modern sayings to make it a little more accessible for my 5-year-old. Well, Roman got me back this evening. Here's how it went...

"...so Mary was outside of her house, getting water for the family or something, when bam! an angel appeared."
*Roman giggling*
"and the angel, whose name was Gabriel, said "do not be afraid, even though you've never seen an angel before!"
*more Roman giggling*
"Do not be afraid, because I bring really good news. You're going to have a baby!"
Roman: "That's not very good news."

I laughed so hard I could barely get the rest of the story out! Out of the mouth of a fairly new big brother, obviously. He also led me into some rocky areas of his adoption story this evening, too.
Roman: "Babies are born in every month."
Me: That's true. I was born in April.
Roman: "I was born in April."
Me: No you weren't. You were born in June!
Roman: "how do you know that?"
Me: Because the people in Russia told us.
Roman: "How did they know?"
Me: Because when you started to come out of your birthmama's tummy, she called an ambulance to go to the hospital. So they knew what day you were born."
...silence as he soaks this in, and then...
Roman: "What if I still lived in Russia?"

Oh boy. I knew he just wanted a brief imagining, but my mind went all over. Does he mean with his birthmom? Or at the baby home? Or just wanting to know a little more about Russia? Which angle do I approach? It's not that I have a problem talking to him about any of it, but bedtime is not when I expect these things! So I simply said, "well, you wouldn't have Daddy & I in your life. And we would probably be a little lonely, not having had a boy to love the past 5 years." He didn't say anything after that and mumbled about wanting a Band-Aid for his thumb, but the comments and questions are coming more frequently now. I guess he's at the age where he begins to own his story & realizes there's loss mixed in with that joy of adoption.

There was so much more I could say, in retrospect. But I suppose the point right now is to continue to make him feel secure in the adoption, because I really don't think a 5 year old is ready to hear about Russian school, or the playground at the orphanage, or the 1 bedroom apartment his birthmother shared with other relatives. I did mention that Daddy and I wanted to take him back to visit Russia someday, and he said "No. Only McDonald's & Red Square." Interesting.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

"Christmas is here again...

...stand up and cheer again!" That's a line from one of my favorite Roger Whitaker songs. My parents have made me weird in so many ways, like a love of Roger Whitaker, for instance. I even saw him in concert when I was in college. What early-twenty-something kid gets excited about that? Exactly. And I won't even discuss my love of John Denver right now. Saw him in concert, too... but that's another blog on another day.

I listen to Roger Whitaker's Christmas album every year as I decorate the tree. Have to. I've gotten flexible on when the decorations go up, when they're put away, where they go, and even when I start to listen to Christmas music... but it's always gotta be Roger during tree-trimming. Just as it always was when I was growing up, complete with a couple skips in the record. Except my copy is CD now!
Roman helped, of course. He has gotten the biggest thrill out of going through our boxes this year. He pulls everything out lovingly, often saying "Oh, it's beautiful, Mommy!" or some such exclamation. He laughs at his old decorations that we've saved, such as the handprint wreath ("what's that supposed to be?" he asked), or the framed & decorated picture of him in reindeer antlers that was our first official gift from him.

We have gotten the tree up and gone through 2 of the 4 boxes of decorations. I am actually cleaning out and donating some this year, and many won't make it out of the box because of either lack of horizontal space or lack of safe place away from grabby infant hands.



Even our poor tree cannot be fully enjoyed this year, as anything dangly or lit up seems to catch Charlie's eye. Roman also is entranced with the tree, constantly pulling ornaments off & moving them to different places. There will be presents under there soon (something else to keep away from Charlie's exploring hands & mouth), as we are going out Friday night to do the bulk of the kids' gift shopping. I ordered a couple things online today and I'd say probably within the next week, given some uninterrupted time (maybe this weekend?), I will have most, if not all, of the Christmas presents taken care of. Christmas cards were printed today, now I just have to get envelopes and address them. Moving right along, as 3 windows have been opened on the advent calendar...

Monday, December 01, 2008

3 reasons to celebrate

Now you'd think I was talking about my wonderful boys, wouldn't you? But no, this one's all about ME. The drama with my coworkers has been solved to my satisfaction with no union involvement (whew!). Also, I finished and sent off my last paper for this semester's grad class tonight. Done until January 7! I can free up that section of my mind for a little while, and maybe remember important things... like calling that mom for a playdate this week which I totally forgot to do tonight (after telling her I would...). And doing some serious cyber-shopping for Christmas, and maybe even get a scrapbook page or four done... And lastly, one of the swim coaches stopped by school today to say hi and confirm that I am "on board" for this season and start laying out plans for getting our paperwork & signup together. Whoopee!

Pictures later. I'm going to have a cookie, and then going to bed. Some celebration, eh?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Turkey Day!

Be safe and thankful. Or thankful and safe. But do both this weekend, will you?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Drama, always drama...

After a trip to the university where I'm doing graduate studies tomorrow, I will have more to update. Suffice it to say I am still not considered an active student there, but they approved my request for an independent study - which I've done all the work for except one paper. There's a laptop goin' traveling with me this weekend. And it's been recommended I apply for graduation as soon as possible, even though - that's right - I'm not an active student. Hmm. Honestly, I think the entire Education department and Graduate Studies department will stand up and cheer if I ever make it across the stage to receive my degree.

Drama at my work, too, unexpectedly. I became the unwitting pawn in an argument between 2 other colleagues when one referred to "the younger teachers" and the other decided to corner me specifically (as a younger teacher) and subtley threaten me. The matter has been turned over to my principal, but I don't think this is the end of it. I foresee at least one meeting about it and probably a visit from the union rep. Grrr.

Even more drama. Can you handle any more, gentle readers? All I'll say is the cops in the city where I work are meanies and jerks. Poopyheads.

Roman has developed a new little habit - he can't make a decision without "eeny meeny miney moe." Everything - from who is putting him to bed, to which book to read, to which yogurt he wants... comes down to Eeny Meeny. He ends it by saying "dirty dish, dirty dish..." ad nauseum until he finally decides who is "it." It was funny for three days. Now it's funny but then gets slightly annoying.

Charlie is a chowhound now. He eats #3 jars but also enjoys cottage cheese, cheese of any type really, graham crackers, Wheatable crackers, tavern cheese soup, hot dogs, yogurt, canned carrots, diced apples, cereal bars, and microwaveable mac & cheese. We typically give him finger food mixed with food we spoon-feed him. Still gets 3 bottles a day but as he's chewing very well on lumpy things, should probably at least substitute that mid-afternoon bottle with a food snack. He takes a bottle after lunch as that's when most new food is being introduced (at daycare) and we never know how much he'll eat of a given thing. Doesn't like ravioli, we discovered today. The green vegetable issue is alive and well - won't even eat our versions. He also takes a bottle about a half-hour after dinner, and that's the last one we'll give up - fill the tummy up and it's a nice relaxer right before bed.

He took water from a sippy cup the other day but he won't hold it himself - in fact, won't hold his bottle either. Need to give him time to figure it out, I suppose. He's 10 months physically but supposedly 8 months developmentally... however, we've noticed he's really making gains and in general is not delayed 2 months anymore. Dr. also cleared him today of his ear infection - after we started the second round & he got some horrible diarrhea, we stopped it. Dr. agreed that we can just leave it since he got 5 days' worth of the 2nd dose.

Tomorrow Roman and I get the tree and ornaments from storage and at least get that up. We both have the day off from school so it'll be something fun we can do together.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cars, a tooth, & historical Roman

So much doesn't seem to happen, and then - I think of about 5 different things to blog about. I sat down Saturday to compose a blog about the auto companies, and then Mitch Albom pretty much spoke my mind in his column on Sunday. Take a few minutes and go read it. On a personal note, if GM goes bankrupt Doug's job is still okay and the loss can be covered. If all three file... obviously. We're up a creek. Of course the Big 3 have made mistakes, and I really don't think they deserve a handout. However, so so so so so many suppliers will go out of business because when bankruptcy is filed, the $$ owed to them is immediately negotiable. And suppliers are way down on the "pay our outstanding bills" list. And my other thought is, you can argue all you want about how they're making gas-guzzlers but seriously, folks - it's called supply and demand. And demand went down fast based on gas prices and loan issues, too fast for the car companies to retool - it takes 2-4 years to get an auto from conception to build. So, yeah. A handout - no. But some help to safety-net about 3 million jobs nationwide? Sure. I think I'm beginning to be glad about the election of a Democratic president.

Charlie's first tooth has appeared! This also happened Saturday. Bottom left, cute little thing. On Sunday Roman and I went out to Henry Ford Museum to do a little gift shopping. We popped into the museum (our membership is the awesomest thing ever!) for about an hour to hit the highlights - Allegheny locomotive, the 1940s diner, toys in the Decades area. When I told him it was time to leave, he started to whine a lot. He then tried one of the best arguments I've heard yet. He knows his Mama pretty well...
"I want to go into Greenfield Village!"
No, Roman, another day.
"But I like President Lincoln! I like the Wright Brothers!"
You do, huh?
"Yeah, I do! They are cool old-time people! And I can only learn about them at Greenfield Village!"

Sweet. A book was loaned to me today by our librarian that was a "choose your own adventure" but it was a history series. The one I brought home was about Pearl Harbor. By simplifying some of the words as I read (and leaving whole sections out), Roman got completely wrapped up in it. He loved making a choice every couple pages, and it had actual photographs too. He embraces make-believe in this fashion in an unbelievable way, talking like he was actually there. For example, pointed to a photo of the USS Arizona & said, "that's the ship I was on. Isn't it good I opened the hatch and got out?" He did that with the Titanic exhibit too. It's clear how to teach him in the future, huh? The other thing I noted - every time there was a choice between saving people or doing something else, he always chose to help people. We're doing something right!

I'm making my Christmas cards this year, but they're digital. I printed off 2 versions tonight and I think just a few minor changes before I can send them off to be printed. Cool. I've never tried this before and even the idea of the layout is a little different.

Otherwise? Hanging in there. Doing "the triangle" this weekend, visiting first Doug's parents and then my parents for the weekend. I love Thanksgiving, it's the one holiday besides 4th of July I feel everyone can celebrate equally. I don't feel weird talking about it at school or mentioning it at the store.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pictures from last weekend

I wish I could come up with catchy titles. I have that problem with scrapbooking, too. My page titles are often things like "Family Camp" (for family camp weekend, naturally) or "Hungry Baby" for pictures of Charlie eating. Yeah. Real creative.

Anyway, so here's "pictures from last weekend." Roman getting his yellow belt, and the couple small projects I worked on. Ones of Ro are a little blurry, but it's a big area and Doug was far away. :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

4cc gives me a flashback

I was getting Charlie's medicine this morning, which this time around is measured in cc. I had the brief thought that the last time I measured cc it was when Charlie was feeding through his NG tube and I was pumping only a few cc at a time myself. And Charlie was crawling on the floor near me as I was thinking this, and I suddenly was so awash with memories and emotion that I actually started to cry. Charlie as his little preemie 3# self, his wrinkly skin over his too-small bones, the tube up his nose, his long spindly fingers as he squawked like a kitten in his incubator... it all came rushing over me. I scooped Charlie up and just squeezed and squeezed him. I cannot believe how amazing he is.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A whole week?!

I can't believe it's been a week since I blogged. Impossible. Yet, there's the evidence in the dateline. A quick update since I should be in bed but instead am surfin' the 'Net:

Roman went back to the dentist today for 3 fillings, hopefully his last for awhile. He will return in March for a cleaning. He was not the brave yellow-belt we had hoped for (screamed through the whole procedure) but no more problems in his mouth.

Charlie also went back to the doctor today as he's still pulling on his left ear and pretty grumpy overall. Dr. said it's hard to tell what's going on with him - his ears are still fluid-filled and dull, but he also has congestion from a regular cold & his teeth are ready to pop through "any day." Because we've just finished a 10-day course and he's still not acting like himself, we are starting another 10 day course of Augmentin this time. This house is like antibiotic central. One of us is either on medication (or going to the dentist) every week.

Doug got me a new planner/calendar because things are starting to happen for January that we have to prep for (days we need coverage for Roman for days off, yearly dr. appt. checks for Charlie at the ped. and eye doctor). It was so beautiful to open to the month and see blank squares. No appointments yet, no dates circled, nothing highlighted... just a beautiful, blank page. It didn't last long... I had 3 things to write in there. Boo.

I went on a weekend crop this past weekend. Got about 30 pages done the old-fashioned way (paper) from 2003. That marked the official completion of years 1997-2003. Amazing. I still have lots of gaps in our "with kids" photos, but it's nice to have something accomplished. I also got 2 small projects done, a "Russian Treasures" acrylic album & a tongue-in-cheek "what I did on my summer vacation" flipper. I'll take pictures and post them. Someday.

Am looking forward to the weekend already, and it's only Monday. While I love weekends away, I get back and can barely prepare for the week ahead. I have grad class stuff to finish (one final paper that is weighing on my mind) and Doug and I have to figure out when to do some heavy-duty Christmas shopping. We're talking about taking a day off together while the kids are at school to spend the day together doing it. What a great hubby I have - usually I am the one doing all the work!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Charlie: a man of action & grumpiness

video

Charlie is just moving along with his development like nobody's business. We introduced actual solid foods this weekend, trying beans, pasta, chicken, ground beef, & homemade french fries. The only thing that went over well was the french fries. Everything else was about a two-bite maximum and the chicken he actually spit out. Partly he had trouble because he fists the food and then can't maneuver it into his mouth and gets frustrated.

He wants to crawl all over, and he's beginning to navigate the steps in our living room. He can go from carpet up to wood floor, but more trouble with wood floor up to carpet (too slippery). I pulled out a lot of "older" toys that were Roman's and cleaned them up. Charlie took to them immediately, proving he's no longer an infant. In fact, as evidenced in the video above, he can grab a ball and shove it into the toy pretty darn well.

This weekend Charlie got to know his grandparents again, as it had been awhile since he had spent any time with them. He loves his Baba even more than Grandpa, which is neat to see. He tracked them all over the house and favored them with a lot of smiles. He also became very vocal this weekend, babbling quite a bit. He's still getting over his infection, and actually was worse today (Sunday) - could not be consoled. The nose started dripping and I think his throat is still sore... he spent the day on a 2-hour cycle, taking 30 min. to 1 hour naps every 2 hours. Poor guy. I suspect a long night is ahead.

Ahead in the week for Charlie: nothing different but hopefully getting healthier!

About Roman

video

A fantastic weekend - so good, there's too many pictures and videos to load up at one time. So first I'll talk about Roman... he tested for his yellow belt on Saturday and passed. Daddy took him and was awesome with the camera - got shots and videos of many aspects. Above is Roman doing high blocks and low blocks. Doug said they also were led through a 20-step form that Roman did really well on. Next Saturday is the ceremony where he will be presented with his yellow belt. Hooray!

My parents were visiting this weekend and Grandpa took Ro out to lunch to McDonald's for some "just the two of them" time. Roman was thrilled. It also worked out that for most of the day, the 2 brothers got time apart - and that wasn't all bad. Ro wanted movie night on Saturday and we all watched part of "Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets." He's getting into HP now, which is okay by us. There are a couple scenes here and there that he is scared to watch, but we're glad he's branching out from Star Wars.

Today he played with neighbor Evan. I hear interesting things from Ro - they are at the stage where they are role-playing, having played "house" a few times and each is willing to take on the "mommy" role. Funny boys. But they also play Army or spies too, and we actually heard Roman state "I don't want to play Star Wars, I'm getting bored with that." Whoa.

This week for Roman: we have a conference with his teacher on Thursday evening. Ro has 3 days of "cool lunches" because it's otherwise half-days, so his after school care is doing special things.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Doctors, dentists, & karate

Charlie has been sick with a cough and stuffy nose that just isn't going away. Took him in this afternoon to the ped. and the pronouncement made me feel so bad for him - double ear infection. Poor guy! No wonder he's been in such a bad mood the past few days. So amoxicillin for 10 days. Poor thing wakes up coughing up a storm and is spitting up mucus at all times of the day. And instead of grabbing his ears, he's been rubbing the back of his head so it hadn't even occurred to us.

Roman goes to the dentist tomorrow for another round of cavity fills. I haven't written much about this but it struck me when I was conversing with another adoptive parent the other day, I should probably mention it. Ro's teeth are in terrible condition - filled with cavities, and one was so infected he had to have it pulled. We were feeling bad (and responsible) that things had deteriorated so quickly, when the dentist pointed out his history - we have no idea of the prenatal care or even what he got to eat at the baby home. In talking with others, one parent told me her daughter from China has had to have 6 pulpectomies (that's root canals on baby teeth) because her teeth were so horrible. I have heard stories of sugar-water being given in some South American areas instead of formula. Either way, we've got to keep a close eye on his mouth.

On the good side, Roman tests for his yellow belt on Saturday afternoon. In talking with the Master and his wife (I don't know how to spell her title) they agreed that skill-wise he knows what he's doing, just gets the Left an Right mixed up and has a hard time concentrating. Well, duh, that's been pretty obvious. They're used to it, though, so they encouraged us to have him test. So pretty much he'll be passed, but he doesn't know it and that makes it fun.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Voting - some thoughts.

Doug voted this morning and waited an hour. Got in line at 6:40am and didn't get out until 7:30. I myself ended up going at lunchtime (big mistake!) and waited 1.5 hours. I didn't want to risk standing in line with Roman for who-knows-how-long, so not too bad - took a book and enjoyed the company of my precinct neighbors. Ro had a babysitter.

On Monday my students and I looked at sample ballots and talked about how to cast a ballot. The kids were pretty amazed at how much was on it - I'm sure they figured it was president and maybe senators, and that would be it. We laughed a bit about "pick no more than 18" judges and that sort of thing, but one comment made by a kid cracked me up. He first stared at me incredulously and said, "how do you guys know what to do?" I said that an intelligent voter would listen, perhaps do research, and know what they felt strongly about and choose a candidate that was aligned with their beliefs. His second comment was, "what will you do if you have to wait a long time?" I said I'd bring a book. And he stared at me again and said, "a BOOK?!" I don't know what shocked him more - that I would do research on candidates, or that I would want to read for an hour or more!

Roman, too, has been getting into the voting spirit. He's been hearing about it on radio and tv, of course, and us talking about it at home. He has been asking the past few days which person was which, and trying to get their pictures straight. They held a mock election on Monday in his school, and Roman came home pretty upset. "I tried to vote for Obama but I voted for McCain instead!" It turns out when he got the ballot, he got confused about who was who, and ended up voting for McCain. Poor kid - didn't know he could request another! Disenfranchised kindergartener. He begged us at dinner to vote for Obama "for me" which cracked us up as well. When we asked why he chose Obama, he answered as many people would I think - "all my friends want him, and you guys don't." Pretty rebellious for a 5-year-old, eh?

I find it great that an African-American is running for the first time, and that a woman was chosen as a running mate for the Republicans for the first time. An historic election, indeed. A coworker asked, "what do you tell someone who says they don't want to vote because the electoral college decides it anyway?" I used to say that your vote selects the electoral college, or I would play on the war/patriotism angle "people died for us to keep this right!" But it turns out my minister had the best comment. Voting represents the ideals of our country - a government by the people, for the people. It is a physical statement that you believe in America and all that it stands for. It shows the world that by standing in line and casting your vote, what we believe in is important.

And lastly... boy, was I aware of things back in 2004 or what? (and by the way, when I say he's not African-American, I mean a descendant of slaves).

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Charlie is crawling!

video

(loosely to the tune of The Muppet Show)

It's time to clear the shelves off

It's time to put things away

It's time to lock cupboard doors

Because Charlie crawled Saturday...

Yup, folks, the boy is mobile. Not very fast yet, but he's definitely propelling himself across rooms. The first official crawl was to go after Roman's candy that he was sorting on the floor Saturday morning. Charlie also has launched himself down the step toward the side door to get at my Crocs, and has gotten into our videotapes three times. He also tried to eat a dried leaf that someone had tracked in. Needless to say, the time has come - more vacuuming, small toys are spirited off to Roman's room, and once he's roaming room to room, cupboards will be locked again. Haul those gates back out of storage. Time keeps marching on...

We also had returned to us a little play table that encourages kids to stand. Charlie would stand at it all day if he could, he was enthralled with it yesterday. He even tried to walk around the sides of it, with minimal success. We tried to explain to him that there was no need to go from crawling to cruising in a day. I don't think it will work!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween pictures

Above & below: Charlie at his daycare party, with his baby buddies. To go along with his namesake's job, Charlie was a dragon.

Below: Roman is tempted by the candy we plan to hand out.
The trick-or-treaters, ready to head out! Roman, of course, is Anakin Skywalker.

Roman's haul... a good year!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Flavor of the Week

1. Put Your iTunes, Windows Media Player, MP3 Player, or whatever on Shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. You must write down the name of the song no matter how silly it sounds!

If someone says, "Is this okay?" You say? Slippin' Through My Fingers

What do you like in a significant other? My Blue Heaven

How do you feel today? Hoist the Colours!

What is your life's purpose? Basket Case

What is your motto? When I Come Around

What do your friends think of you? Jump in the Line

What do you think of your parents? For the Longest Time

What do you think about very often? I Feel Lucky That's very true!

What is 2 + 2? Sinister Minister

What do you think of your best friend? Winner Takes It All Huh. Interesting.

What do you think of your significant other? You May Be Right ha ha ha!

What is your life story? Break My Stride

What do you want to be when you grow up? I'm in Love Again whoops! Wonder what that means?!

What do you think of when you see your significant other? Tell Her About It

What will you dance to at your wedding? Desire Actually, it was a Sinatra song.

What will they play at your funeral? The Nations of the World (from Animaniacs). Funny!

What is your hobby/interest? Wild, Wild West hee, hee

What is your biggest fear? River of Dreams

What is your biggest secret? Ring of Fire

What do you think of your friends? Waterloo

What will you post this as? Flavor of the Week

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Preparing the pumpkins


This afternoon & evening was a rare treat. Doug was able to come home early, arriving with Charlie about 4:15pm. We also didn't have Scooter Club at church, so the whole evening was wide open! Doug and Roman carved our pumpkin, and Roman drew scary faces on the little pumpkin meant for Charlie. We all stuck our hands in the gooey innards, even Charlie!


Excitement in the next few days includes Charlie having a "baby party" tomorrow in costume with Jello as a special treat. Roman is having a pizza party in his afternoon care. Friday, of course, is the big day... trick-or-treating & it's Mama's turn to take the boys out this year. Saturday we're going to an apple orchard with a few other families from church. Totally fun!

Monday, October 27, 2008

looking forward to a root canal?

Here's the state of affairs: I am so tired from the weekend, and I've endured so much pain over the past few weeks, that I am looking forward to my root canal in T minus 29 minutes. I will plug my iPod into my ears, they will give me relaxin' gas & lots of novocaine, and I might just get a little nap in with my pain relief.

Isn't that sad?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Neither of them can stay in one place...


Roman's "at risk" profile came back at - surprise! - high risk for ADHD. His teacher filled out a form, and Doug and I filled out a form. My counselors scored it and then discussed the results with me. His result even got a "wow" out of them. Basically, four categories - Oppositional, Inattentive, Hyperactive, and "total risk for ADHD." Under oppositional Roman is practically nil, although his teacher saw a little of it. Inattentive, we saw more of it at home than at school, & he is rated at a "mild" problem. Hyperactive, the teacher's score matched ours, and he was a 14 on a scale of 0-21. The total "ADHD index" on a scale of 0-36 placed Roman at a 28. That's pretty high risk. Again, not surprising.

What do we do with this information? For starters, change how we approach things. We got the book "From Chaos to Calm" which discusses what types of routines & approaches work best in parenting the "challenging" child. Just knowing that we're on the right track has changed our attitude with him. For example, driving in the car the other day Roman was incessantly talking, as usual. Doug and I kept trying to speak to each other and got interrupted constantly. Finally Doug said, "Roman, can you stop talking and let us speak to each other?" Roman said okay, but then kept right on talking. I looked at Doug and whispered "no, he can't!" So instead of getting frustrated and raising our voices with him because he's not doing what we say, we took a deep breath, got him involved in something else, and had our quick conversation.

That's part of it, you see - his brain simply cannot press the "off" button. It's actually an under-stimulation of the brain that controls attention and in the "h" case, physical movement. Roman's brain believes it's telling his body to stop, but that section is so under-stimulated that it doesn't actually send the message. So we tell him to stop talking, his brain registers that we told him to stop, and he believes he has stopped - but the actual "firing" of the brain to his mouth to make him stop doesn't happen. The same with fidgeting, blurting, poking, etc. Kindergarten no big deal, but if it continues in school he's going to have a problem with learning AND with making friends. I don't want him to be the weirdo that the kids shun. Speeding up his brain is what we want - that's what medication does, by the way - speeds up his brain so that when he's told to stop doing something, the brain can actually get through to his body.

This has been an awkward line to walk... continuing to impress upon Roman that there are certain behaviors that are expected by us (and society), and yet knowing that at this stage in the game he cannot meet those expectations - even if he thinks he is. We are not verbalizing in front of him that "gee, now there's a reason for you to not do things." Rather, it's helping us change how we approach things so he CAN be successful at some expectations. His conference with his teacher will be very interesting next month.


Charlie had his 9-month appointment on Monday. He weighs 20 lbs, 10 oz, and has grown 2 inches since his 6-month appt. He's now 28 inches, I think. In layman's terms, he's practically in 18-month sizes. He's roly-poly and so can't wear regular t-shirts, just onesies. Big tummy hanging out. He is still in level 2 foods but is beginning to take "chunks" and chew them, rather than suck it all down like a liquid. We've given Gerber fruit puffs with success finally. His pincer (finger) grasps are getting better, and while he can pinch a pea or puff between thumb and finger (not tips), it gets lost in his palm. He also doesn't bring it to his mouth yet without encouragement. However, he stuck his fingers in my yogurt the other day and did put his fingers in his mouth a few times.

He is rocking on hands & knees, and moved forward a little the other day before he lunged for a toy of Roman's. He is starting to interact with peek-a-boo - he will pull down the cloth in front of my face, and when I did it with my hands yesterday he pushed them away so he could see me. He also cries when we walk out of the room. I don't miss those days. Roman, luckily, can often change Charlie's mood. Charlie absolutely adores Roman and watches him constantly.

Doug and I are keeping the house running, sometimes even smoothly. A busy few days ahead.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Jumperoo Charlie

video

I have results of Roman's "at risk" testing for ADHD, news from Charlie's 9-month dr. appt., and cute pictures to post. But since my Dad has requested more videos, I bring you Charlie in the Jumperoo. And the news that's fit to blog tomorrow.

Identical to the one he fell asleep in at daycare, we borrowed this from Baby Kaelyn (who I can't really call "baby" anymore - Toddler Kaelyn?). It's a hit. This is a mild video of Charlie's raucous jumping, I'll try to catch one of his full-on jumping fits soon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happy thoughts & Charlie video!

video

The other day I was sorting clothes, getting winter stuff out that would hopefully fit Charlie (hence the hat), and so I had him in the crib. Imagine my surprise when I glanced over to see that he was fine and discovered him practically on his knees and peeking over the top of the rail! He has done this a few more times since, both in the crib and once on the couch, attempting to pull up on the arm from a sitting position and launch himself onto the side table to get at whatever goodies are in arm's reach.

I was relieved to read today on my weekly email ("your child at week 4 of 6 months") that only 1 in 6 babies at this age sleep through the night regularly. Thank goodness we're not alone. Charlie is still getting up one time a night, usually between 3:30-4:30am. We've begun to cut back on formula and just give him water in a bottle to see if it's the protein he needs, or just a "full feeling." Yes, we did that once before. I know. But I'm getting really tired of this. Again.

Roman, for all our frustrations, is continuing to be a fantastic kid. He got his fish put on the "Star Work" board for doing his personal best on it Monday. Today he brought home a practice sheet of lower-case f and he had done a really good job on them. And he was proud to announce that this week his job in the classroom is table-washer. Goes to show that little ones really do take pride in having "jobs" and feeling part of something. Regarding the issues, after an unexpected chat with the counselors in my own school, they offered to score a Conners rating scale if Ro's teacher & us filled one out. His teacher agreed, and I should be able to turn them in Friday and have results next week. It's not a diagnosis, but it will certainly tell if we're on the right track.

Roman has a playdate on Saturday with one of his new kindergarten buddies, Josh. He showed off his math skills this morning by saying "Yesterday it was 4 days until I play with Josh. Four, take away one, now it's 3 days until I play with Josh!" Brilliance right there.

Thanks to a messed up dentist appt. for Doug (wrong day, office's fault) he received 2 $25 gift certificates to the company that owns Olive Garden, Red Lobster, etc. Conveniently, Charlie's daycare is offering their first "Parent Night Out" this Friday & older siblings are welcome. So we get an unexpected date night! Dinner with the Fs on Saturday will be fun; we like to play with their daughter Kaelyn.

More happy news - I'm planned at school until mid-November for 8th grade, and the next 1.5 weeks for 7th grade. Caught up on grading, too. Life is good sometimes. And because I'm at work until 7pm tomorrow for conferences, I am splurging and eating Wendy's for lunch & packing a snack-dinner. Mmmm. I can't wait.

We did get two pieces of bad news this week to enter into our prayers - my friend N. has landed on hard economic times and so we pray that opportunities head her way. Also we heard our camping buddy Davey was in a motorcycle accident Tues. night - he was hit by a car that ran a stop sign. Amazingly, he is conscious and *only* has dislocated fingers, a dislocated shoulder, and pretty nasty road rash on his face. He's off work for the next 3-6 months too. But much, much worse could have happened.

I'm off to pop a check in the mail so I can go on my scrapbooking weekend in one month!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Smells, & Ro's official report

This may sound odd, but I love it when I can still smell my kids after they've gone to bed. Like I just rubbed my nose with my sleeve and smelled Charlie's scent. I love it. And Roman has his own scent too, which I smell a lot when I go to bed (because he crawls in there in the mornings sometimes to cuddle). I do love those kids a whole lot.

We received Roman's official report which didn't conclude much, but had a lot of hints & suggestions. He was observed 2 separate times, the first on a percentage scale of on/off task behavior. I think I mentioned before, he was 30% on task with teacher redirection, 70% off. Of that 70% off task, 30% of it was verbal (blurting, asking questions at wrong times, talking to friends), 22% was "passive" (rubbing the carpet, playing with items on the shelves, staring at kids/space), and then lesser percentages for physically moving around, etc.

The suggestions the consultant gave which they are going to put in place is a wiggle cushion that Roman has to sit on during group time (gives him something to do with his body), visual pictures of proper behavior at center time (sit in seat, do your best, clean up afterward - Roman can't remain in his seat), and coloring reward for when Roman achieves these basic goals. Teacher & I also agreed that Roman rushes through things and does not do his best because he doesn't like some tasks (practicing letters, for example) or can't sit still long enough to concentrate on them.

We're going to give this plan a month and talk again at conferences in mid-November to see how things are going. I have requested a Conners test be done through the school and evaluated by the school psych., and the teacher is getting that going. We are also on a waiting list at a local psych. office for Roman to be tested by an outside source. Apparently the principal floated the idea of a Young 5s switch but I told the teacher that was a last resort for me - I can't imagine pulling him out of kindergarten for his inattentive behavior, especially since I think it stems from a "can't" situation rather than "won't" and I don't think it's immaturity. I don't think gaining an extra year and putting him in kindergarten again next year will solve the problems he's having in school, essentially.

My cousin reminded me that we will have good days, bad days, days of frustration, but if it is ADD or ADHD it's a whole lot better than some other issues he could be dealing with, and that's so true. We have found here at home that while we love "Love & Logic" for discipline measures (and oh, how it works in the classroom!), for correcting behavior our own version of "123 Magic" is much better for Roman - and apparently lots of ADD kids, too. It gives him time to process that he's doing something wrong and correct it, something that has driven us crazy for years... he can't seem to follow directions on the first request. I think his brain is so crazy that he simply can't process very quickly.

Doug asked Ro the other day "What was going on in your head when I asked you to put your shoes on for the second time?" Roman's answer was very sincerely, "Blah blah blah blah." Other times he has made the comment that his "brain is crazy" or when he slows down to think, he hears lots of talking. I don't think he's schizophrenic or anything, I just think his brain is going a mile a minute and rather than making purposeful connections between brain/body/voice, it's completely separated.

Anyway. So that's what's on my mind this evening.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Funny, funny Charlie

This picture was taken by Charlie's daycare, when they realized they hadn't heard the Jumperoo bounce recently...

He was bouncing so much, he fell asleep in the Jumperoo! Cutie pie.





Sunday, October 05, 2008

Nothing new, just the usual

We've reached that blessed time of year where nothing exciting is happening. Thank goodness. School is rolling along for everyone, no major holidays, a few doctors' appointments, but that's it. And really, there's nothing much to report anywhere. I will anyway, though - an update about nothing to update.

Roman: Preliminary report from the consultant showed Roman on task just 30% of the time, *with* teacher redirection. So when left to his own devices, Roman can't even do what he's supposed to 30% of the time. We're still waiting for the full report but we were told they won't formally test him (due to young age); I'm going to demand that they do anyway. We're also trying to find a place that our insurance will cover that will test him as well. A lot of places "treat" but won't actually test. Otherwise he's loving kindergarten. He has a couple friends we hear about a lot, he loves gym & library, and wants to start walking home by himself. With the weather turning colder, I'll probably let him!

Charlie: When placed on his tummy, he commando-crawls backward. Poor guy. Then he screams a lot, because he's pretty frustrated. When I placed him in his crib to play while I sorted his clothes yesterday, he grabbed the rails and actually tried to pull himself up. Wow! He has grown into 12-month sizes, 18-month in some cases. T-shirts don't fit over his belly, we have to wear onesies all the time. I think I'm going to videotape him screaming before a meal one of these days to show that he actually does get in a bad mood. He absolutely LOVES his big brother, tracking him around the house and laughing everytime they make eye contact. It's absolutely hilarious.

Doug & me: Weight loss plateaued for awhile with both of us. Doug appears to have lost again this week (3 more pounds down!), but I have remained the same. I'm not disappointed by this as I'm still pleased at how much I've lost (25 pounds!). I think exercise now needs to take a bigger role (I've mentioned that before, right?) but it's just trying to find the time for it. Doug is thrilled to fit back into shirts that were in storage for awhile and hadn't fit even before that.

My grad class work needs to pick up. I did 2 assignments this weekend, which leaves 3 more small ones and one big paper to write. Will try to get the 3 done this week/weekend, leaving the paper research for the rest of October and the writing in November. I want to finish before Thanksgiving, but conferences and various other things will start soaking up my time soon.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Roman's school picture

School pictures are awesome now. Lifetouch Studios did it, and you can order a CD with a color, b&w, and sepia toned version. How cool! My big boy kindergartener.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Roman is smart as the dickens!

You can tell what he's learning in school lately based on the following conversations...

"Daddy, do you know what another name for a diamond is?"
What, honey?
"A rhombus!"

"Mommy, look, I cut a triangle!"
That's great, Ro!
"I will cut out a trapezoid next."

And here's proof of his strategical planning skills:
"Mommy, you have 2 of your (lowfat) yogurts left. I am going to eat my blueberry now, and my strawberry tomorrow. So when you run out of yours in 2 days, you won't eat my yogurt, because I will have already eaten the ones you like."

Can you believe that?! Doug laughed so hard, and Roman was so pleased with himself. I was a little shocked at his very detailed reasoning...and pretty shocked that he knew how much of his yogurt I snuck!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Relaxing day at home

video

Today is a nice day at home. We all lounged in our jammies until about 11am, when Ro and I had to get ready to go to a birthday party at a local park. While he partied, I graded 4 sets of papers. It took me 1.75 hours, not bad. I already had done 2 sets on Friday afternoon. Anyway, got back home and we all lounged some more in the living room, football on. Decided to take a quick video of Charlie's attempts to crawl, when Roman decided to get in on the action too. Since my posts have been all doom & gloom lately, thought it'd be fun to share.

We've been doing a lot of research and talking to lots of people about Roman's potential issue. I'll answer the FAQ here:

Yes, we trust the teacher. No, she's not just trying to hyper-control him. Yes, we've seen these issues ourselves (I've verbalized and blogged about it 2-3x before this). Of course we will talk to an outside source & not just take the school's word. Of course we're going to check out all options of treatment. Yes, we understand kindergarten is more rigorous and he's a 5-year-old boy. Please also understand I have taught many, many students with ADD & ADHD and I know it when I see it. As Doug said, "the pieces are easily explained away. But when you put the all the pieces together..."

We also spoke with my cousin & some good friends, both of whom have elementary-age children on medicine for ADHD. They gave us some good advice and thoughtfully shared their details & decision-making with us, which we greatly appreciate. This could all be nothing, but we owe it to Roman to exhaust all options of diagnosis AND treatment if necessary. We also found a copy of a common assessment used by teachers (and which I have filled out many times for my own students), and in our casual checking of it, Roman scored high in 8/9 behavior indicators for hyperactivity/impulsivity (questions 10-18). A general diagnosis is made with 6/9 high scores.

So anyway... life continues. Charlie is growing and eating, eating and growing, and trying to crawl. He ends up going backward, though. Doug and I are going out this evening with friends from church, and leaving both boys at home with the sitter. Ahhhh.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The phone call we were dreading. Well, one of them.

I guess Morgan Freeman (I truly believe God looks like him) had me stay home for a reason today. I received a phone call from Roman's kindergarten teacher. And let's just cut to the chase - she's concerned about his apparent immaturity (one of the more immature in class, she says, and was surprised to see he had a June birthday), and she is suspecting an attention issue. We agreed to have a teacher-consultant observe Ro in class. I know I blogged a few months ago about suspecting some ADD in Roman (I can't find it in my archives, though) and the more research I did today, the more I'm pretty sure of it. ADHD, specifically.

When looking at the generalities, Roman exhibits everything under "Hyperactivity" and "Impulsivity." Hyperactivity: Individuals who are hyperactive may appear to be in constant motion, perpetually “on the go.” They have difficulty sitting still and may squirm or fidget. They often feel restless, may talk excessively, and display disruptive behaviors.

Impulsivity: Individuals who are impulsive often “act before thinking.” They may interrupt others, blurt out responses, and have difficulty waiting their turn.

Now of course, lots of 5-year-olds display these from time to time. Roman does all the above, almost ALL the time. We thought his behavior was just irritating. But considering he doesn't/can't correct it, and all the above has also been seen at school, it definitely has us wondering. We'll see what the consultant says... at least we can rule it "in" or "out" and go from there.

Bad night, bad day

Even with the help of antibiotics, I had a horrible night last night. Barky cough, made my chest and throat hurt. I woke up on my own around 1:30am. Awake until 2:20 or so, just fell back to sleep, and then... Charlie was up. Over. And over. And over... we're not sure what his problem was - too cold, ear bothering him - but it was hands-down the worst night we've ever had with him. Doug finally plopped him in bed with us at 5:30am (screaming!) and once we could calm him down, the stinker slept straight through until 7:30am. Woke up in a fabulous mood, all smiles.

When I first went in to check on him, he was trying to get up on his knees; he would hold the position for 10-20 seconds and then collapse, making frustrated sounds. Which is a good sign, but I'd rather him not practice crawling-position at 2:45 in the morning! We did everything we could think of... soothing, rocking, bottle, new diaper... nothing helped. Weird.

Needless to say, I'm home today sick AND tired. I'm off to napland now.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Festivities are done for now.

I was just thinking as I typed that title - I sure wish I had a book of good poetry. I have some sonnets, but they had a feature on NPR the other day that the Library of Congress is recording poets reading their own poems, and I liked quite a few. I could have some pithy titles of my blogs, then, too. I am sick. I also received antibiotics today. I don't feel good at all. So the diet is out the window now. Have you noticed I've been typing that too often lately? I am holding steady, "maintaining" as it were. Three of the four of us went to the doctor today; Roman is just starting his sinus problems, Charlie has the start of an ear infection, and I'm in full-blown sinus infection mode. Again. Every Fall. So the boys also have scripts but doc asked that we wait a few days to see if they get better on their own.

Had a great weekend. My Grandma turned 90, with a big party attended by lots & lots of relatives, including a few I don't see very often. Very cool. Also had family portraits taken in various combinations. Fun!
After the candles were blown out, Doug and I ditched the kids (with my parents) and went off to a friend's wedding reception. We were sad to have missed the ceremony, but at least we got to party with them in celebration.


Luckily my sinus blast held off until Sunday afternoon. Charlie is really cute, eating his toes in earnest now. I caught him happy as a clam on the changing table the other day. He loves being "nakey" as the Rugrats say - easier to grab his feet that way.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Channel your inner pirate...



Avast, me hearties! Friday is International Talk Like A Pirate Day!
Let the festivities commence.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Little pitchers have big ears

Roman & I were playing lightsabers this evening, and I was Darth Vader. We tease-threaten, quoting lines from the movies & such, when Roman said - "You're the Soviet." I just about fell over from shock. He then said,
"Isn't that what you call it?"
Call what, sweetie?
"The bad guys... Soviets?"
Oh man. I'm not quite sure where he picked it up - perhaps the news, perhaps Doug and I talking. So we had to take a break from the lightsabers so I could explain the following:
"Russia had a leader who turned them into "bad guys" for awhile (eyes went wide!), and they were called Soviets. But then they had a leader when Mama & Daddy were young who said, "we're not going to be the bad guys anymore." And they stopped being Soviets and became Russians again. And that's when you were born, honey - when the Russians were the good guys again."
Satisfied with this, we continued our battle. Of course later in bed, while looking at our WWII picture book (yes, it's true!) he pointed to Stalin and said, "He's a bad guy Russian. Why is he sitting with Churchill?" Now, this should point out many things: 1. The complications of foreign policy, 2. I probably have taught my child a little too much about WWII because he can identify Winston Churchill in a photograph, and 3. My child is brilliant.

Monday, September 15, 2008

My happiness

I still have to Photoshop Doug's arm out of the way, but isn't this wonderful? I took it at the end of August, and came across it this evening while picking a couple pictures to go in the "Brothers" scrapbook. This one's a keeper.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Whew! I'm recovering.

Just can't party like a rock star as much as I used to. Oh, I tried, believe me. But I think the fact that my baby is just starting to sleep through the night and I'm still short sleep (and will be for the next 20 or so years) takes its toll. Bachelorette party was fun, though, and it was great to hang out with my old friends in the city I love... Yes, There Really Is A Kalamazoo! And the mayor partied with us, too. What a cool city.

Anyway, I'm back to my "normal" life and I do like it that way. I was so happy to see my boys this morning, gaze upon my husband, & chill out at home. I had a great afternoon yesterday with my mom and grandma too. Because of the wedding I have to cut short our appearance at my grandma's birthday party, so I wanted to spend the afternoon with her to make it up. We three did lunch, a quick shop at the mall, a movie ("Mamma Mia!" for the 2nd time), and oh yeah... spent 40 min. in lockdown at the retirement home because of the tornadoes. Yuppers, 2 of them, one just a swirl but the other did touch down just east of Kzoo.

Doug handled the 27 hours without me very well. I even got a cute picture sent to my phone that the 3 boys took after dinner. And speaking of dinner...

I know I mentioned awhile ago my brilliance in planning out our meals. After completing a month of it, I can tell you it's awesome. Just once a week I come down to the 'puter, decide which meals go on which day of the calendar, and print it out. Print out the accompanying grocery list, add a few things, and done. Here's an example of the coming week's menu:
Monday: sweet & sour chicken jambalaya, rice, & beans (7 points)
Tuesday: baked beef ziti, salad (6.5 points)
Wedn: salmon steaks, baked potato, mixed veggies (pts TBD)
Thurs: Chicken w/basil & honey, crescent rolls, broccoli (approx. 7-8 points, depending on ounces of chicken eaten)
Fri: Crockpot pizza, corn (1 cup=5pts)

It's nice because in weeks where I'm working late, or we have karate, I can adjust for an "easy" meal or a crockpot meal, so we're not running around trying to cook dinner & get out the door. The only trouble I've had is minor problems with the grocery list (forgetting to put every ingredient on it) and then not being able to fix that particular meal. But that's what cereal & pb&j are for! The other beautiful thing about this is we have leftovers for our lunches every day. Saving on that, too!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Party like a rock star

Well, for a moment in time, I'm going out like a single girl tomorrow night. It's a friend's bachelorette party. We're starting out calmly enough, with dinner at Burdick's (oh, how I love going back to Kalamazoo!) & then to a piano bar. But then, I hear talk of a wild "end of summer block party" and a mechanical bull. I suspect that's when my senses will leave me, too. The idea of going out makes me very tired, especially the hours I'm sure we'll keep. I'm normally in bed by 10:15pm! Let's hope I drink an equal amount of water with my beer, & I should be okay. But for now - woohoo! I'll party like a rock star one last time.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

and it keeps going down, down, down...

Just a quick and awesome weight update: Doug is down 35 pounds, with 34 more to go to his weight goal... I am down 25.5 pounds, with 10 more to go until my weight goal! Woohoo!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

All right, I'm wading in.

I'm going to say it. Here's the trouble: George Stephanopoulos told me in an interview how to choose a candidate to vote for. "Pick the top 3-4 issues that concern you most. Figure out how you feel about them. Then vote for the candidate that most closely aligns with your beliefs." Now that pretty much settles things. As one of my coworkers said, "I can't decide who to vote for - the person I like, or the party that I agree with."

And that's where I have been. While McCain is just fine, I like the idea of Obama. I like his youth, his "change" theme, how he has gotten the young'uns interested in politics again. We needed someone to spark passion, & McCain doesn't spark passion in me.

But I'm a Republican at heart. I drive down the middle most days, and I even cross the line into the left every few issues. And I'm apparently one of these people. It's not a fluke, people - I'm a white moderate Republican woman who was thinking of voting Democrat, until Sarah Palin was selected as the VP.

I'm also one of those who can listen & respect others' opposing views, perhaps because of my job - having to teach politics & current events without letting the kids know which way you lean allows one to argue both points of view. And I don't ever try to convince other people to see things my way. I believe what I believe, and you can vote your way, and we'll see who wins. And frankly, I think either candidate will be better than our current administration, which I will call... stale. But that Sarah Palin... wow. I love hearing her speeches. She speaks very well, connects with crowds.
I don't care about her pregnant daughter, her son with Down syndrome. She's just as inexperienced as Obama, so that's a moot point to me as well. I just like her. Combine that with my love for a free-market economy & my beliefs on health care & the military/Iraq, & you've got a woman who will be voting Republican this November. Just don't tell my students yet.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

S'more pictures!

Some more pictures, of us eating s'mores! Clever, no?