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

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?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

One crazy week down...

I do know how many more weeks of school are left until mid-June, but only because my principal mentioned it in an email. 38. Not so bad, right? This first week back was great, hectic, crazy, work-intensive, & fun. It's been great to see Roman, especially, get to know names of new friends & get used to his kindergarten routine. Friday he began the afternoon "latchkey" program and as I had heard, he didn't want to come home. He was upset that I arrived right when "the people" (dolls) were going to go camping. He hadn't figured out where they were going to go, but they had a tent in the car & were just setting off. Isn't that awesome?! When I walked in the room he & another little boy were crouched in front of the dollhouse. I found it pretty humorous, until he explained that the people were leaving the house. Of course. :)

My classes are going to be fun & challenging. 2 out of the 3 classes have a large majority of boys, which makes management a little more necessary. I have one child who already we are thinking of bringing up for LD concerns (learning disability). They have him listed as ELL (English-Language Learner) but that's not possible, as his 4 older siblings never had this problem - and they were all born in America. The kid doesn't have a brain-filter, either; everything that pops into his head comes out of his mouth - loudly. And yes, he is obnoxious, but you can tell it's more than just him wanting to be center of attention. And as always, I suspect there are a lot more stories hidden amongst the kids in my classroom that will come out eventually.

The craziest part of the week was trying to gather everything for each day. Lunches to pack, papers for Roman and Charlie, stuff for latchkey, my teaching stuff, etc... and I'm trying to figure out how I can fit exercising into this new routine. Whew!

Roman update: He has finished Tiny Tigers karate & must be tested before he can move up to the "big kids" class. We have to call and schedule that for next week. He has "great days" at kindergarten, per his report. He misses playing with Evan, and he was exhausted Friday night. At recess he plays Star Wars with Andrew, Maya, Tommy, another girl, & a couple other boys. Every book that his teacher reads to the class, he has decided he wants a copy of.

Charlie update: Forget the bottle! Gimme the food, woman! Essentially, that's what we're getting from him. He is in stage 2 foods and will be for a little while as he gags at anything more textured. He will eat between 4-6oz of food at a sitting, occasionally washing it down with 4-6oz of formula. He has slept through until 6:00am a couple nights now, but still favors a 4:30am squawk. He sits up unsupported now, and last night actually got into the crawling position in bed, but I don't think he knew what to do. I have also spotted the eruption of a little white tooth, bottom front-right. That would certainly explain his extra facial fluids (eyes & mouth) the last couple days.

Amy & Doug: Doug has lost another 4 pounds. He finally decided, after losing close to 35 lbs total now, it was time for new pants. He cleaned out his closet of too-big shirts & pants and went on a mini-wardrobe updating excursion to Kohl's this morning. He has finally, FINALLY moved away from pleat-front pants and is wearing flat fronts. Woohoo! Way to update yourself, honey. :)
I, on the other hand, have struggled the past couple weeks. I overate a little, plus changing to "forced eating times" has adjusted what & when I can eat. I plateaued a week, and then gained a week. However, it seems I am back on track now, so fingers crossed I can keep going down some more.

Wow. That's it. Should cover the next couple days, at least.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Going to school, part 2

While Roman was very excited to start school, the pictures show a little anxiety underneath the surface...

He picked out his outfit, had his Clone Wars backpack on, and both Mama & Daddy (and of course, Charlie!) walked him to school. Roman was confident enough to not have us stand in line with him, so we stood a little way off. Of course, my insides were twisted with butterflies (nervous for him!) and tears (my baby boy!). And then out came his teacher to lead the class into their very first day of kindergarten.

Roman's report after his half-day (which was an hour and 15 min) was that he wanted to go home, he wanted to stay & play, and his teacher is nice. "All we did was play," he told me. And that's how it's supposed to be.

Today he was much more confident and looking forward to going. It's the full 3 hours, so he got to bring a snack in his (what else?) Clone Wars lunch bag. And the teacher asked that they all bring a stuffed animal to share the day with, so he took his Webkinz dog which used to be called "Mud," then "Darth Vader," and now for some strange reason, his name is "Weppy." But as he walked through the doors for his second day, my insides still did a twist. My little boy, a kindergartener.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Back to school, part one

Back in my second home.

There is one great advantage to being on a cart. Every year I end up moving my "home base," and every year I get to organize all my stuff again. Books on a bookshelf. Reorder my file cabinet. This year I got to buy new colored pencils. Is there anything better than a box of new, sharpened colored pencils?! I didn't think so. And look at that whiteboard. I love clean & empty boards. Just think of all the learning that will be written there in the next 9 months!

Monday, September 01, 2008

My domestic god

We did a lot of nothin' this weekend, which was a nice change of pace. Roman played with our neighbor-boy all afternoon Saturday & today; we roasted marshmallows both Saturday & Sunday evenings in our new fire pit (thank goodness for clearance at Ace Hardware!). We got a lot of little things done; shelves in Doug's storage area, I sorted Charlie's clothes (he's growing again -now in 9-12 month sizes!), laundry, some restructuring of the basement. But then there's Doug. My domestic god. Got it in his head he had to make bread & butter pickles this weekend. And isn't he the coolest vacuumer you've ever seen?!