Sunday, December 18, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Oh, Charlie. He was so excited to sing for the mayor at his holiday party today. But could I get him to wear something festive? Oh, no. Could I even convince him to wear a more traditional color like red or green? Heck, no. So there he is, front & center, wearing a bright orange shirt & camouflage pants. Not worth the argument, although on the inside I want to make sure everyone knows - he chose his own clothes today!
It was so darling to see them sing. They performed four songs - Jingle Bells, Up On the Housetop, I Made A Snowball, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas. The other 3 songs are together on a separate video and too long to post here. But I hope this gets you in a festive mood!
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Tuesday I had to wait all day for surgery because I wasn't technically "emergency," so I didn't go under the knife until 6:30 or so that night. A mass was removed and a diverticulum (pouch) was stapled up. Since my blood and urinalysis were fine, and it didn't look like cancer, doctor said it was most likely just a cyst or polyp. I will get definite results this week.
So I ended up having to stay through Friday because I had to be stepped through liquid diet, bland diet, and pass gas before I could go home. I also am off work through Christmas break which I am somewhat unhappy about, but I suppose is for the best. I had to take 2 naps today and still on pain pills.
The boys (all 3 of them) handled things very well. It helped that I was in a hospital in my own town so it was no big deal to come visit. Roman was the one we were especially worried about, but Doug and he had a long talk the first night I was in hospital and he got some fears relieved. Lots of people have reached out to help us and it's been so appreciated! Now it's just a matter of letting the healing continue.
Monday, November 28, 2011
We are looking forward to being at home through Christmas morning this year. It will be our second time in 11 years. The older the kids get, the more enticing it is to stay home. Go to our own church for Christmas Eve service, have Santa visit our house. We will embark on our usual Tour of the Families afterward, of course. It makes sense more than ever this year, because my school district has me teaching up to the 23rd of December; the boys get out the day before. Running a bit tight this year!
The boys continue to grow (their pants keep getting shorter!), play hard, and fight hard. Charlie has reached that adorable age where he is piecing together things and getting to know the larger world and the connection he has to it. Since Halloween he has been in a state of wonder - he doesn't remember holidays from last year, so everything is new and exciting. We made his weekend when he saw our house lights lit up the other night. We are wondering if Roman is questioning Santa - he doesn't say it outright, but I know he must have heard things.
Roman is an interesting fellow. He is beginning to balance his true self with the self he needs to present to his friends; examples like, he really loves school but hears other kids talk about hating it & not wanting to go... or he made the comment today about how he "hates" church, yet two weeks ago was so excited to go to Children's Church. It's amazing to me to actually watch someone go through this identity phase. Being cool and accepted versus being himself & accepted. Of course, I think he's the coolest 8-year-old around but what do I know?
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
The meeting was good in another way too - for me, it was great to get some positive feedback on the work we've been doing with Roman. So much of it has been adjusting how we planned to parent; what works for Roman is usually the opposite of our gut reaction. They both commented on how far we've come and reminded us what Roman was like 2 years ago... besides his sweet side, there was a definite love-of-violence and lack-of-compassion being displayed. He also really could take or leave me as his mom and had no spontaneous feelings of love toward me. Roman has really improved in that department, being willing to get physical with us (cuddled, hugged, even kissed!). His anger and his rages calm down much more quickly now, and we're better at handling them.
The worst part is, and for any parent I'm sure, is knowing that what's best for him now (long-term) is not always what he wants. He can't emotionally handle playing with neighborhood friends during the week, so I have to tell him no to that almost daily. He can't have his expected schedule after school changed in the slightest, so sometimes his world is rocked when I do have to run out and pick something up when he gets home. He is taking it in stride for the most part.
I can only hope that we continue to get better at this therapeutic parenting stuff and Charlie benefits too. Then we will have 2 great boys making it well through life.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Here in Michigan teachers are apparently overpaid and underworked. The tenure system is horrible and must be gotten rid of. Union protection is unnecessary, & pay raises should be based on test outcomes. To this end, my district has been changing the evaluation process. Where it used to be every 3 years, now it's every year. They introduced a new rubric & goals about 5 years ago that now is out the window. Our goals must now be SMART - I forget what it all stands for, but measurable, attainable, blah blah blah. We are required to have 3 of them, 2 related to our School Improvement Plan goal (more on the SIP in a minute). Of the 2 related to our SIP, 1 must be a PLC goal (all content and grade similar teachers have the same goal).
We must meet with our evaluator to review our "rough draft" goals. Fine. Then put them on Form B. But not last year's Form B, this year's updated version. Which won't be released until the day after the goals are due. There will be 2 drop-in evaluations. I'm fine with that too. Then in the Spring I have to review & reflect on my goals in writing, and include data-driven proof that my goals were met.
Having 2 goals relate to the School Improvement Plan... interesting, since I also have to be part of making our content SIP goal. We have professional development days to do just that. And go over MEAP scores. And meet in our PLC groups to come up with common assessments, which are encouraged to be used as part of our goal.
Oh yes, and if you're given a rating of minimally or not effective? That's how they're going to let teachers go now when cuts need to be made. In theory a good idea; in practice you get no chance to improve yourself. A teacher is given their evaluation in May, and usually by the end of May we're notified if we're laid off. Not even the business world is that strict - usually given targets to reach or ways to improve, am I right?
In theory, it all sounds good. Teachers paid on how well they teach! Able to get rid of poor teachers no matter how long they've been there! My problem: I WANT TO TEACH. I am tired of making ridiculous goals, so I can make ridiculous assessments, and spend my professional development time making more goals and going over data. I WANT TO TEACH. Give me PD on strategies I can implement... techniques to use... ways to understand & reach learners who aren't engaged... THAT'S what I'm doing this job for. I want to interact with students, I want to get them enthusiastic and learn to like (love?) my content area! I could really not give a damn if students demonstrate an increase of 20% proficiency on a test (or 70% of students will pass the post-test, or....)
Go ahead and test them... if I'm a poor teacher, it will show in more than data-driven tests. You can walk into a classroom and document who is a bad teacher based on teaching style & engagement. Not all kids are going to be great at every subject. That has nothing to do with my teaching skills. I know I should care how they perform - and I do. But I certainly don't want my entire career based on whether a certain percent do better on a 23-question test on the Constitution.
I haven't even started on the other issue: my district has decided that all teachers need to be re-taught how to teach reading in the content areas. Never mind I had a similar class as a requirement by the state for my Masters degree. And I did learn some great strategies. But I was pulled out of the classroom 2x already in the first 3 weeks of school (with a third day out in November). THE WORST time to pull a teacher out. Does my teaching even matter? The first couple weeks of school are crucial to setting the tone for the rest of the year. Apparently the "sub calendar" is a more important consideration. Oh yes, and on top of all the above? We are required to now do 9 hours of professional development on our own time. Plus most of us are trying to earn the 6 "real" college continuing ed credits required by the state.
I am already sick of meetings, and goals, and all this crap. It did not take long for me to dread sitting at these things. My mind gets overwhelmed, I get grumpy and angry, and the idea of changing my career looks sweeter and sweeter. My principal assures me that things will all change (for better or worse) in the next couple years as the pendulum swings.... truly I don't know if I can wait that long. I have talents and interests that can be used and appreciated elsewhere, because it's clear to me neither the state of Michigan nor my district appreciates the fact that I can, actually, TEACH. As in, interact with students? Get them to enjoy learning? On top of that, middle school students! The dreaded early teens! This isn't cared about in this day, age, and state.
I'm thinking about being a stay-at-home mom. Or going back for another Masters in Library Science or Public History to work at a museum. I bet if I looked, I could even get a job as an education coordinator or what-have-you at a smaller museum. I would really miss interacting with kids though. Which is the only thing keeping me teaching this year.
Thursday, October 06, 2011
We started Charlie at "Tiny Tigers" tang soo do (karate). He is wearing Roman's old top but we had to get new pants since he's much smaller than Ro was when he started. Here he's striking his fearsome Tiny Tiger pose!
Saturday, October 01, 2011
I guess that gives you a good indication of life in our house right now! The above picture was our back-to-school portrait. While I would love to have those cool shots of the same pose at the same place every year, I also realize I'm the mother of boys. And I'm just happy they were willing to stop moving long enough to take a picture, never mind the where!
Roman is a busy 3rd grader whose homework level has increased noticeably this year. It's pretty creative too, which means Mom or Dad has to assist. Like he's the Star of the Week next week. While it's very cool for him, it requires a posterboard of pictures and a bunch of categories for him to write about (I see the sneakiness, teacher!). I predict it will take an hour between printing the pics, putting the board together, and getting him to sit to fill everything out. But he loves his class and is beginning to care about his handwriting... I could actually even read a recent story he wrote! Now if we could just get his spelling improved. He is not involved in any sports right now, mainly because Monday and Thursday evenings are taken with therapy or neurofeedback (NFB), and Tuesdays is when Doug does tang soo do. I want to sign him up for swim lessons, and our NFB will pause for about 6 weeks after Thanksgiving... so perhaps then. He has mentioned wanting to learn to skateboard & when we brought up learning an instrument, he mentioned wanting to play the guitar.
Charlie is a "busy bee" - that's the name of his room at preschool. There is an inordinate amount of boys in his class - 15 of the 21 kids. But he still talks about the same friends, Cooper & Venna, so I think he mostly sticks to himself and his close buds. They are beginning letter recognition and beginning writing - tracing lines and such. It's really cool to see what he can do. He did mention the other day that he wishes Cooper could see his toy cars. I think it's a matter of time before he has his first playdate. Charlie is super-good about using the bathroom now and has only had one accident since August, and that was during nap. Still in a diaper at night but who cares. Last week Doug took Char to "Tiny Tigers" tang soo do and he absolutely loved it - announced he wanted to go every day. We dug up Roman's old uniform and we'll try it again this coming week to see if the enthusiasm is still there.
Doug has put in his 90 days at his new job and really likes it. It's amazing to hear him talk in a positive way about the people he works with and the things he does. Even the irritants of the job don't bother him much. He gets good feedback and it's.... normal. He is a red belt now in tang soo do and in a couple more years will have his black belt, if everything goes well. I'm really proud of him for sticking to it and wanting to accomplish this. He didn't have a hobby or passion for awhile and I'm glad he's found one.
In another post I'll get deeper into my job, but suffice it to say it's been a very very very stressful & discombobulating start to the school year. Some of it because of my choices, most of it because of the state of Michigan's.... choices. I've imagined quitting before, but this was the first year I felt I could walk away and not have guilt. This was before I got to know my students though, and now I'm back on track. Mostly. I'm the head coordinator for the Washington, DC trip this year and it's a busy time - paperwork and deposits due, roommates and chaperones to figure out. As I've mentioned before, if only I could figure out how to NOT grade papers, life would be just about perfect.
As a family, Doug and I are trying to put together a better plan for leisure time in the coming months. Meaning, vacations! There has been talk of short getaways on both sides of our families which we would love. We also have decided that we want to go somewhere for Spring Break as a "true" vacation, not just a couple days in Cleveland (although we don't sneeze at that, either! Cleveland is awesome!). The frontrunner currently is the Smoky Mountains, complete with Dollywood, Gatlinburg, and hopefully Biltmore Estate. It stinks on my school schedule that we can't just go places when we want... we're stuck doing further-away places in the summer, or saving to fly there during Spring Break. This year is a car year.
Anyway... a nicely detailed slice of life for your reading pleasure. I hope it's not a month before I post again!
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Roman is very excited about school starting too. We won't find out his teacher for another day or two, but he has already started tracking down items, sharpening pencils, asking what the date is. We are talking up Charlie's daycare, and they have an Open House scheduled for tomorrow night. He is going to have a very hard time being away from Mama. It seems the more time he spends with me, the more he needs to be with me. It's very sweet - Ro did this with his dad - but clingy is not my style.
Here at home we've been ramping up too - getting back into a laundry cycle, planning the weekly meals, discussing who will take the kids in the morning, buying snacks for packed lunches. While I have a lot to do still to get ready, I'm happy about this time of year!
Monday, August 22, 2011
We had been suspecting for a few weeks that the medication Ro was on to stabilize his moods wasn't working as well as it had. We were noticing more ups and downs, and they were getting both more frequent & larger in scope. We had agreed that when we saw the psychiatrist today we would talk with her. But Roman put his bipolar on display Saturday - we haven't seen a low like that in months. Poor boy. Even as he is experiencing it, he can't explain why. He was sobbing, tears flowing, all the while saying "I don't know why I'm upset." Unfortunately this happened at my parents' house, so they had to see the ugly side of his usually bright and sunny (sometimes manic) disposition.
Based on our explanations and Roman's help, we have to add another medication to his day. This is the step I'd been dreading, although I had been warned - bipolar isn't as easy as one pill & he's fixed. In fact, Dr. told me that she was surprised we hadn't said anything earlier, as kids Roman's age with bipolar usually need 2 medications at this time. This medication also requires blood drawing to check levels, so Ro had the unhappy experience of a blood draw this morning. He was very brave (and earned a new lightsaber). He has to do it again in 2 weeks to check med. levels. This is getting so much more complicated.
I'm glad, though, for a few things. That we know of this early enough in his life that we can manage it and help Ro learn to manage it. We're blessed to have a fabulous psychiatrist with a degree in pharmacology, worth every not-covered-by-insurance penny. And so lucky that Roman has not shown any aggressive tendencies and still remains a sweet, lovable boy. We know God led us to him and so we need to continue to be the best parents we can for him.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Roman's neurofeedback is finally showing some success too - we have had 14 sessions now. In tracking some of his behaviors, we have noticed 4 of them, most significantly his anxiety/fear of being alone, have really decreased. We also no longer see the constant interruptions & overtalking; his "boredom" and arguing has gone down as well. Ro still has trouble regulating himself and keeping on an even keel, and we have noticed his impulsive behavior has ramped up. But, it's all the 3rd month of summer, and who knows what will happen when school starts? We have been pleased with what's happened so far.
I have been on Weight Watchers for a month now and have lost a grand total of 13.5 lbs. What's even better though, is the every day things that have changed. I was able to pull 3 shirts out of storage that now fit me again. My belt has gone in one hole. A couple pairs of pants now need that belt to keep them up! I have been checking out different exercise programs (don't want to rush into things!).
I don't say much about my wonderful husband on this blog, but he is doing great as well. He is really thriving in the job he started at the beginning of June. He comes home happy & doesn't seem to mind going to work. A couple things he focused on at the start of the job have gone well, & he's getting good feedback. Sounds like a normal job, doesn't it? He's just thrilled to actually matter at work.
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
Monday, August 01, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
So that was frustrating, although I'm getting the hang of it. I dig why they changed it - frankly, I could get away with eating crap and still losing weight. They're going for a "life change" approach. Which I have to do. I have a terrible habit of wanting to weigh myself every day to see what's happening, which I need to stop obsessing over.
Today I was at JC Penney and found their sundresses were 60% off. I tried on one and it *almost* fit... my tummy was the problem. (next size up was too big elsewhere). So I bought it anyway as inspiration and am hanging it on my closet door - I want to wear it with a cute little shrug or cardigan on Parent Night at work, which is the 2nd week of September. Figure even a pound a week, from now until Parent Night, would be a loss of 8.5 pounds. I'm hoping for 10 pounds down, plus a tummy-smoother, and I'll be in that dress no problem.
Exercise has also been on my mind. Frankly, I hate to sweat. But I've gotten to the point that I sweat anyway, even just sitting outside, because I've got so much flab on me. So I did the dorkiest thing imaginable - bought myself a sweatband for my head, & a couple for my wrist. Matching grey, so stylish! There's a walking path at Rotary Park that if we hit it at the right time, the boys can ride their bikes on it too. And I need to pull out the ol' Turbo Jam and get cranking again. But like I said, I may look like a dork but I'm probably more likely to do it if sweat isn't burning my eyes all the time.
So. There you have it. I'll have to post a before & after picture each month to see what happens, eh?
Friday, July 08, 2011
Charlie has entered the "push your buttons" phase. Verbally he asks "why" all the time, asks the same question two to three times in succession, or asks all of us the same question individually. When I turn the "why" around on him, he simply shrugs his shoulders and says "I don't know." Gah! Too early to be doing that! He has picked up many things from his older brother, some funny (inflections in his voice, certains phrases) and not so funny (can they please stop mentioning body functions unless they have to do it?).
We observe with envy kids in other families at the park, movies, fireworks. They follow directions in public, at least. They sit - and remain sitting. Many times they sit quietly. Why weren't we allowed at least one child like that? Why does it have to be such an effort to take my kids anywhere? It's gotten to the point where I have to lay all sorts of ground rules down about whining, asking to leave, asking for a toy, you name it.
So we're plodding through summer, and I WILL keep them occupied. Just wish they appreciated it a little more.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
It's a far cry from my complete collection from back in the day - from 1994 through 2000, I received dirt from people who would travel, I would collect it myself, I would even get dirt from friends of friends. But I went through it all, saved the most memorable or thoughtful, and have put them on display.
I stopped collecting in 2000 when my canister of St. Andrews golf course dirt opened in my suitcase. I figured that was a sign... plus, as newlyweds we just didn't travel that much! But putting this display together has inspired me again. I go to DC once a year & I would love to collect some Pentagon dirt. And we'll start traveling with the kids more often now that they're bigger... this could be a lot of fun once again! (& no worries - I left lots of room in the display for the future!)
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Yesterday was our first true day of training. Decided to go without diaper outside and C. notified me immediately when he had to go. Success! Decided to go inside without a diaper, and he went another 4 times throughout the day. No accidents. Great success!
Today we started out well again, with C. requesting "to go nakey like before." Continued to do his #1 when at home in the toilet, with warning. This afternoon we were playing (him nakey) when C. said, "Poop!" I said with some urgency, "go to the bathroom! Go! Go!" He stood up... and it was already done. On the carpet. Easy to clean, luckily. After dinner he said his tummy hurt, but he gave us warning, and did his first #2 in the toilet! Woohoo! But I should have paid attention to the fact it was loose.... he wasn't back in the living room more than a couple minutes before he yelled again, "I'm pooping!" I ran out to see.... oh yes. Himself, the carpet, just a mess. He was upset, too, as he had a panicked look on his face. Word from the Daddy: No more running around nakey. So tomorrow we will wear underwear with severe warnings that he cannot get them wet.
He's really pleased with his reward - M&Ms - and tries to use the toilet even when he doesn't need to, just to see if he can get a few more M&Ms. He's definitely old enough to do this - now let's hope his stubborn side doesn't appear.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
We crossed the street and I was pointing out buildings and identifying them by their rooflines; where Gum department store was, where the Communist Museum was, churches, St. Basil's. Talked about Lenin's tomb. You guys, it wasn't a regular dream. I was RIGHT THERE in Red Square with my parents.
I have dreamed of Russia before, but nothing as vivid as this. I was so sad when I was awoken by Charlie - I knew I wouldn't get back into my dream, and I so wanted to. I think it'd be so cool to show my parents the land of Roman's birth. It's such an intensely personal experience between just Doug and I, that none of my descriptions can do it justice. And Doug and I have talked often of taking Roman back someday. Perhaps this is a sign that I should pull out his baby book and finish it.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Summer is like the starting of a new job. I am their primary entertainment & disciplinarian now, not school or daycare. And where at school I can get a new set of kids every 55 minutes, I'm stuck with these 2 all day every day! We will have some awesome times, no doubt - Ro already wants to go swimming, have lots of playdates, go to the zoo, etc. - but there will always be those "long dark tea-times of the soul," for us usually around 4:30-6pm, when they've played everything they can think of, and I just want to get dinner started... ooh. Just got dread-chills thinking about it.
To start our summer, we will be going to K-Mart for a new pillow for Roman & birdseed for the feeder. If we're all in a good mood, I may attempt a Costco shopping trip. Pretty exciting stuff, huh? Most of Roman's friends have both parents working and are in daycare or with babysitters, so it will be interesting to make playdates. But I'll start calling people tomorrow!
Saturday, June 11, 2011
So my parents arrive in the midst of this. Roman had calmed down so he went to entertain them, Charlie was no longer screaming but just kicking the wall, and I calmed myself down. Then it was my Dad's turn to cause a ruckus. He voiced a concern that he needed something sweet to help his sugar. We gave him a cookie. A few minutes later he got up to get a drink of water, made it into the dining room - and passed out. Just collapsed onto the floor. So 911 was called, Roman was scared out of his wits so my mom consoled him, then I tried to console her... my Dad's okay now. He was responsive within seconds of hitting the floor, no physical damage done. The rescue ambulance AND fire truck showed up, that was exciting. They gave him some glucose and he got balanced out again.
The EMTs were awesome with Roman, too. They could see how panicked he was and so the lieutenant took him and Doug out to the fire truck and let him turn on the siren, blow the horn, crawl all over it... then they gave him a hat, stuffed bear, sticker, all kinds of goodies. Poor Charlie slept right through it (well, thank goodness he did) and so didn't get a stuffed animal. He was a little jealous.
So we did go to my parents' hotel where they were staying, Ro and Doug swam in the pool, we ordered takeout & ate in the room and watched the Belmont Stakes. Boys in bed at a reasonable time, because tomorrow is Roman's birthday! And another possible round of emotional responses. So stay tuned.
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
Roman's birthday is coming quickly. He will be getting a new bike from us, probably Saturday morning. he went to the dentist today and got a filling and was a really brave boy. I was very proud of him. Charlie has been just charming, wanting to help outside. He loves filling birdfeeders, playing in the dirt and plants, and both boys covet watering the plants so they can play with the hose. In 1.5 weeks summer will be upon us and I'm lining up ideas in my head of things to do. Charlie still needs naps, so it will be time-sensitive summer. He also needs to be potty-trained, so I've got my work cut out for me.
Monday, May 30, 2011
I wanted to clean out the cupboards downstairs.
We needed to put everything into plastic tubs and had just been putting it off.
We had been putting it off for months, but we just got our reimbursement check from my daycare account. So we had money to pay the cleanup crew!
After 10 years in this house, we finally built a garage. So now there's a place to put everything from the basement.
We had been talking about moving some things around in the laundry room and putting a different type of flooring in. Now, we can definitely do that.
In fact, we can adjust the flooring in the office area, and truly clean out all toys like we had been daydreaming about. It's practically a blank slate!
So blessing always come from tragedies. I'm just paying attention to which toys the kids miss and which ones they don't, so some may just never make it back in....
And the official countdown, by the way: 1 week, 6 days until Roman's 8th birthday.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Wow, has it been raining. And more, and more. Yesterday's took the cake. The volume that fell in just an hour or so flooded the sewer system of my town, therefore forcing water back up into people's homes. In a neighboring town, main roads and intersections were closed due to flooding. Many buildings were closed because of extensive water damage today. So our 3" was nothing. Except... the carpet & padding. The floor molding. The couch. The laminate flooring in the office area. Storage area. Everything soaked. The amusing part, according to Doug, was watching the boys' aircraft carrier realistically float across the basement.
Roman doesn't handle emergency situations well at all, and the fact that his toys might be drowning really upset him. There was so much emotion going on - Doug frustrated & angry, me practically laughing (what else are you going to do?), and Roman worried - he just broke down in tears. It cheered him to see that Doug was liberating the toys & furniture first. Charlie just thought it was great fun - now all his toys are in the living room where he can reach them!
The cleanup crew is coming first thing Friday morning, and the carpet's getting ripped out. We'll probably spend the evening checking out the paneling & cabinetry to assess damage. And maybe calling a number I have wanted to dial since my childhood days.... 588-2300 Empire!
Sunday, May 15, 2011
(Robins, obviously, in our yard)
Oh yeah, that hawk that attacked another bird once
Doug's favorite is the chickadee. I like them too, and the cardinal. Charlie seems to like the blackbirds, but he calls them starlings. He and Roman like to scare the mourning doves off. I have recently been interested in the white-throated sparrow though, because they look odd - brown bodies, with black-and-white stripes on their head.
Anyway. Back to your regularly planned surfing.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Sunday, May 08, 2011
Spring around our house means busy weekends. Roman has started Spring flag football so has practice and games. Doug has turned his attention back to the grass (or lack thereof) and I start dreaming of a relaxing outdoor area. My brother will be working on the latter - we hired him to design a space for us now that the whole thing is trashed from the garage-raising.
Charlie, always an outdoor kid, wants to spend every waking minute outside. He is the type that can wander around outside for an hour, amusing himself with sticks and mud. He is working on making friends with Jumpy, our squirrel - they sat and stared at each other a few days ago, Jumpy in the tree and Charlie on the deck. I swear to you, it seemed that they were silently communicating.
Spring to me means school is starting to wind down. In another week or so I will be at one of my favorite parts of the year - when I have to start planning my lessons backward from the end of the year to make sure I get everything in that I need to. There is great hope I will actually have a classroom next year (hopefully not in a hallway far, far away). I look forward to summer as we're planning some different things than usual - camping more but with new friends, Roman's doing a couple of nature classes, and I want to check out a couple area fun places I haven't been yet. Although I do have a streak of trepidation - Charlie's starting to kick his naps, making them shorter and shorter... and potty-training will have to begin in earnest.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
I often wish we had a biological kid before we adopted Roman. I think we would have noticed much earlier that Roman wasn't like "regular" kids. On the other hand, we just soak up any affection given from Charlie because we never got it from Roman. Roman is also learning from Charlie, both in playtime and affection-wise. We have noticed that he is giving kisses and being slightly more spontaneous in telling us sweet things; I think it's more because he sees Charlie than he actually feels these things. Who knows, though.
When playing with Charlie, as I've seen this week as they've been each other's only playmates, Roman is demonstrating much more imagination. His therapist has mentioned that emotionally Roman is really behind - more like a 5 year old than an almost-8 year old. He can fake it well with his peers, but he really does love to talk to and play with his stuffed animals and is right with Charlie when they play "guys." Coming to terms with this has been tough, but finally adapting to what he needs (even if we think it's weird) seems to have worked. He definitely understands what is "okay to do at home."
Saturday, April 16, 2011
So. I try to talk with Roman pretty factual about death too. It's not scary, it's not something to avoid - in fact, we refer to it as going to live with God. And for hard-believing Christians, is there anything better, really? Wouldn't life be scary if you didn't firmly believe this? Yesterday was something I certainly never expected to need to talk about, though. The old ladies who live next to us also had their brother living with them. He passed away suddenly in the afternoon and I found myself in the odd position of explaining to Roman about how they take care of a body. Yes, because timing was terrible - Ro and I went out to do an errand right as the funeral home showed up to remove the body from the house. And oh, was Roman curious. We talked and I think/hope I handled it well. I just don't want him to be afraid of death either - death & taxes, right?
Monday, April 11, 2011
Doug was told to expect a phone call regarding a career opportunity Tuesday. We both are excited to hear about it, but I haven't seen Doug this giddy in months.
Doug is going to see Rush in concert with his best friend Sunday night.
It's the last week of school before Spring break. We are going to Cleveland for a couple nights and looking forward to spending time with the boys with no real schedule. We would like to take in the Natural History Museum (dinosaurs!), Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Great Lakes Science Museum, and of course lots of time in the pool at the hotel.
Roman starts neurofeedback over break too. Hoping it helps with anxiety & ADHD.
It's the 4th marking period at school. That means we're on the downhill slope!
It's Doug's and my birthday month!
Life's A Dance by John Michael Montgomery
I Feel Lucky by Mary Chapin Carpenter
Our Song by Taylor Swift
Viva La Vida - Coldplay
Don't Stop by Wade Hayes
The Nations of the World - Animaniacs
Rock of Ages by Def Leppard
Take A Look At My Girlfriend - Supertramp
American Woman by Lenny Kravitz
Stupid Girls by Pink
Fruits by Knee Deep Shag
Doug caught me grooving & singing at Coldplay and just laughed at me. All were good sing-along songs and the kitchen now looks great!
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Flash-forward to 2007, I'm now pushing 215. Found out I was pregnant with Charlie and so no problem - I'll lose it all after he's born! And I did, with Weight Watchers' help: back down to 185, 190. Pleased again. And then I started some medication in 2009 for anxiety, and guess what - it's one of the worst meds for weight gain! I piled and piled it back on, now at a whopping... I don't even want to say. But the pictures tell all, gentle readers - when I saw a shot of me almost double the size of my cousins at a wedding last summer, I cried. Disgusting.
I tried Weight Watchers again, but was unable to lose anything. I'd go down 2, 3, maybe even 4 pounds - and then plateau. That's not normal. I could never lose more. Meanwhile, even though my anxiety is under control, my self-esteem is plummeting and I could even feel some depression creeping in over this issue.
So I went to a new doctor today - the psychiatrist that Roman goes to, because she has a degree in pharmacology and knows meds really well. I told her my plight and she immediately said - "there's no way you will lose weight with that medicine. It's notorious for it!" She prescribed me a different thing for anxiety right away - the same one Roman is on, ironically - and I will start weaning off this horrible drug. It will take a month to wean off, but hopefully by the end of summer I will be back at 200 again. And can go nowhere but down. My skinny clothes are hanging in Roman's closet and wanting to get out again! So nice to know that it's not me - not battling against myself.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Oh. My. Gosh. Where I thought of him as the protective older brother, Roman immediately placed himself as the younger one. His mind must roll over those thoughts every day. I played it really well, saying "Oh it does? So this is you..." and we talked briefly about it. But my heart ached for him - wanting to know his birthfamily. We talked again about it at bedtime and he said, "even if we go back to Russia we may not find them." So clearly that little brain is spinning plans that he hasn't verbalized yet. I shared with him my feelings on my own birthfamily, and how I hope we can find his someday. Oh, my sweet Roman.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Oh yes, folks. That's a hawk. We were sitting there tonight, and out of the corner of our eyes we see this huge winged shadow come swooping in. We all jumped back, and I looked out to see this hawk on a rock in our landscape. He apparently was going after another bird at the feeder. Doug is all thrilled now, hoping to see some hunter-prey action.
Saturday, March 05, 2011
These pictures, taken just a few minutes ago, shows the awesomeness in our living room; Daddy and Charlie watching "Johnny Test," with Charlie believing he has a better view through his handyman safety goggles...
Friday, February 25, 2011
Charlie, after this song it's naptime.
You can have one cookie. "One at a time?"
Funny words or phrases:
"Mugot" instead of forgot
But really, the funniest thing he does at the age of 3 is try to control his little world. He likes to tell Doug and I how to sit or lay down with him. He orders us what songs to sing at bedtime. He is also fighting for independence - we regularly hear "I'll do it myself!" He is putting his pants on but still gets tangled in his shirts. And when it comes to toys, it's anything with wheels or wings - planes, trains, & automobiles.
He is really sweet too, and shows affection we never got from Roman. I finally had to ask another mom if it was normal for Charlie to be so loving. He touches my face, strokes my cheek, plays with my hair, all kinds of stuff. Apparently this is all appropriate. I can't imagine that I dreaded Charlie's arrival at one point. Life would be so grey without him.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Sunday: Emotional meltdown or rage. The buildup of fun/less structure. He will end up needing to be helped to calm down.
Monday: Very emotional, typically anger; occasionally needs help; still coming down from weekend.
Tuesday: Good day.
Wednesday: Emotional, cries easily. This is his "low" day.
Thursday: Good day.
Friday: Good day. Beginning to ramp up for "high" weekend.
Saturday: Will have a short and quick "high" in the a.m. which we can calm down. Continues to wind up (see Sunday).
Of course, if we go somewhere on the weekends or there is a major shift in plans during the week, this all changes. Ro holds it together really well when visiting grandparents or playing with friends - which makes his Sunday or Monday night meltdowns even bigger. But like I said, now that we can see the pattern (we've been documenting a little over a month now) we expect it and are ready for it - and we keep calmer too. Mostly.
Charlie either continues to be oblivious to his brother or accepts the snafu ambience in our home. He will play by himself when Roman needs our attention. He himself is a calming influence and when in the mood to play with Roman, can often be helpful. Of course, he's also 3 and getting into the "yank the toy away and if you don't give me what I want, I'll scream & hit you" phase. But because he's also in the "I want to help you and generally be a pleaser" phase, he will inform me when I need to put him in a time-out. He actually walked me through one yesterday. Told me to put him in time-out, then after it ended he said, "why was I in time out?" but it wasn't a question - it was like he was coaching me in what to say. It was pretty humorous.
So, when you ask how things are going, I'll say everything's fine. Nothing new to report, "the usual." But inside I'm thinking, "snafu!"
Thursday, February 03, 2011
I thought of this today, though, as I flipped over the paper towel roll for the umpteenth time - do righties have any idea what it's like to live in their world? Here are the things I encounter:
Notebook spirals digging into my hand/arm
can openers operated with my weak hand
had to train myself to use the computer mouse on the right
the number pad on a keyboard is always on the right
the paper towel always has to be flipped - it's on a vertical holder and I want the loose end on the left, whereas Doug wants it on the right
I put cards in envelopes upside down and backward
I change diapers opposite of Doug, so early on we kept moving the wipes around
Using scissors and knives? It's messy, let's just leave it at that
When nurses try to draw blood or I have to have an IV, everything has to be switched around to accommodate me.
I had to learn to golf with right-handed clubs, which I swear is the reason I'm not very strong at it. Although now when I try to do it left-handed, it feels weird too. And for my job, writing on the overhead screen? Forget it. But I am proud of it, and so glad that Charlie gets to join the ranks of those of us in their RIGHT minds.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
And this last one? Just an adorable shot of him sleeping in our bed while Doug was out of town. So. darn. sweet.