Saturday, August 30, 2008

August, In Pictures

We look forward, all year, to the County Fair. We go every single day to be sure that we hit all the junk food stands and rides: And see all the cute, baby animals:
Any and all visiting relatives join us for the fun. Did I mention the rides?
We try to catch a couple of concerts. Jason and I joined our parents' generation at the Chicago concert. Make fun if you must, but those old guys were rockin!When are days aren't filled to the brim with family and festivals, we relax:
Then, we find somewhere else to go! This year, we went up to the zoo:Where George was beside himself with excitement because he got to go on his first train ride:Did you know that, occasionally, dinosaurs show up at the zoo? They're loud!
And that brings us to Labor Day weekend. Class lists have been posted and kids are wavering between nervousness and excitement. Next week, this playground will be full, and my house will be much, much quieter.
Let's hear it for September!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


One of my favorite (albeit blurry) photos from last weekend:

Laying on the bed with Daddy. In the same position, eyes closed or open at the same time, pretend yawning together, stretching together, being together. Jason had a shadow/echo most of the weekend. It was fairly humorous to have conversations with him, hearing the continuous echo below and slightly behind him on a two second delay.

This is the first time J's been gone and George has been able to verbalize his curiosity about Daddy's whereabouts. They talked on the phone (well, Jason talked, George recited from videos that include phone calls); and when we picked him up at the airport, well, it was beautiful. We may hate the separations, but maybe, just maybe, they serve a purpose in encouraging verbalization and awareness of life outside George's head. Regardless, I love seeing the bond between my boys.

5 Minutes for Special Needs

Monday, August 18, 2008

Friends to the rescue

A couple of weeks ago I received an unexpected package in the mail:
From my good friend, Beth Nixon and her family (names blurred because she doesn't publish them on her blog). WOW! What an excellent surprise. Made even more so because we were starting a couple of really busy, happy weeks; so I knew we wouldn't be needing this box any time soon. I honored the spirit of the gift and set it aside.
Today, Jason went back to work after being home for a wonderful (emphasis on FULL) four and a half days. George has been, shall we say, screechy. He can be very cranky and violent while he gets used to Jason being gone. It all calms downs after a couple of days. Then Jason comes home for a weekend. Then he is gone again. And the cycle repeats. Fun.
So, as we returned home from a very noisy trip to the library, Emma asked me, "Can we open that box today?" I admitted that we probably would, then proceeded to STRESS THE HELL OUT when I couldn't find some paperwork Jason needed me to fax to him. Three hours, many phone calls, and a destroyed basement later, he called to say he found copies and doesn't need originals. I went and found my angry, banished children; apologized for acting like a Momzilla; and off we went to open that box!

Tonka trucks just the right size to play with alongside his Thomas trains!
They are currently rolling down a track that stretches across our living room.

That's a happy face, I promise! She just recently started
collecting these little kitty charms and just about inhaled all
the oxygen in the room when she saw a new set!

Ahhhhhh, espresso and chocolate bliss.

Thank you, Bethy, you are amazing. The house is quiet as the kids play with their new toys and my mouth is happy.

My vow is to return this favor in some way. To Bethy certainly, but also to some other mother going through a transition of some kind. To someone who needs an unexpected present to turn the tide of an ugly day. To someone, like me, who needs reminders that little things bring big smiles. To children that have stresses in their lives that they can't articulate, who need a chance to open a present and just play every once in a while.

Thank you for rescuing my day, my friend.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The difference between 7 year old boys & girls

(click on layout for credits and journaling)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Awesome band, awesome CD, and hey, check out that cover!!! Click on the picture to go buy the CD on Amazon!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Barista Boy

I think I'm figuring this whole "single mom" thing out. Make daily chores seem really fun and your kids will want to do them!! Actually, both Em and George have always been great about helping out, but George is entering into the phase of childhood where he wants to help with, or do, everything I do around the house. He feeds the dog all her meals and treats, makes his own PB&J for lunch (with help, otherwise he'd use the whole jar of peanut butter), and now... makes my coffee in the mornings! From start to finish: he loads the water, filter, and grounds; starts the machine; watches as it brews and calls me when it's done; after I give him a mug, he scoops out the sugar; I pour the coffee and he stirs; I add the cream and he stirs. This is the life!

Of course, now he wants his own "coffee" to make. Namely, milk and chocolate sauce that he can stir together into chocolate milk. Fair trade for the labor, I think!

I haven't featured Emma much lately. Not for lack of love, I promise! Simply, she's just cruising through the summer with not a lot going on (including, thank goodness, no attitude problems worth stressing about). And she's entering the phase where she is very picky about the pictures I take of her. In fact, she'll be pretty upset if she sees that I've posted this one, but I think the look on her face is priceless:

Can't you just hear her??? She's saying, "Moooooooommmmmmmm, I don't want you to take my picture again!" In this instance, it has something to do with her MP3 player. Apparently she doesn't like to have her picture taken when she's wearing it. Not sure why, but obviously I'm a horrible mom who ignores her!

Speaking of her MP3 player, I love her play list and it completely defines who she is and her influences. Everything from The Little Mermaid's Kiss the Girl to Hannah Montana's I Wanna Be A Rock Star to Pink's Let's Get This Party Started to Van Halen's Jump. (She can tell the difference between Van Halen's two lead singers, by the way. Can you?)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Gettin' through the days

Jason left about three weeks ago for month-long training at a school in California. This week, George seems to have realized that Daddy's been gone an awfully long time. So an assortment of items are being carried around everywhere. A picture of Daddy, his spare set of sunglasses (which look absolutely adorable on a 5-year-old's face), and a phone (preferably a real one, but this plastic one works in a pinch - like when Mommy takes the real one away). And he's wearing something other than his blue jammies. For the last couple of days he's worn the one orange shirt he owns.

Anyone that knows Jason will understand why George is identifying with orange. It has a lot to do with the shirt being worn in the photo above. I have a feeling I'll be shelling out $16.95 plus shipping for a smaller version. I love the Internet.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Random Much?

Tips for looking like the classiest lady in town:

1. Shave legs

2. Apply lotion

3. Allow little black cat to rub all over freshly lotioned legs

4. Leave house without checking legs


Awesome website link stolen shamelessly from Molly: Love Food Hate Waste

Filled with recipes for using leftovers and other food buying and storage tips. We are always drowning in leftovers (well, at least, when Jason's home and I actually cook), and the recipes on this site look like ones I'll actually make, so I'm thrilled to find it.

Notice anything missing?

The top gap is new as of this morning. There are at least two other wiggly guys in there. I've been teasing her about her new lisp all day. Good thing I have that new recipe site, I'm going to have to get creative with the blender if she looses too many more!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Lows and Highs of Being Momma

Some days aren't so easy. Thursday wasn't so easy. From the moment he woke up, George was screechy, whiny, screaming, and altogether cranky. When we arrived at school that morning, I literally had to drag him, kicking and screaming and hitting and crying, to the classroom. All the way to the classroom, instead of the bench outside where they gather and the teachers take in the kids. He didn't want to be at school, didn't want to separate from me, didn't want anything to do with anything really.
When he finally was distracted enough by a teacher, I was able to sneak out with his main teacher and the speech therapist to go to our final IFSP meeting. (Individualized Family Service Plan, the plans and goals that are set and evaluated throughout the special needs preschool system.) Although he will remain in preschool next year, he is technically part of the elementary system starting in the fall and all evaluations will be handled by an IEP, transitioning from a family focus to an individual student focus. We have already set the primary goals through the new special needs preschool he'll be attending in September.
This meeting was good. All filled with good reports of progress, laughter about his quirks, and reminiscences over the past two years' memories. As the meeting stretched well into a second hour, I was enjoying talking with two women who knew and cared for my son so well. Then his teacher sat back and very calmly started questioning my reasons for puling George out of her school to place him in a different special needs school. The final 15 - 20 minutes of the meeting were filled with her insinuations that I had made a bad choice and my bumbling attempts to explain my reasons without being insulting or negative toward her and her classroom. I left with guilty tears in my eyes and a heart heavy with sadness over this negative ending to our relationship.
An hour or so after that meeting, I returned to the school to pick up George. Normally, he walks with his class to the bench, I kneel in front of him to get his attention, and, with prompting, he says a quick "Good-bye everybody" without looking as we walk away. After our rough morning, I had no idea what to expect. Certainly not the bright-eyed little guy that cheerfully emerged saying "Hi Mommy" as he walked to the bench. Then he, very deliberately, gave each and every one of his classmates and teachers a hug good-bye. As I stood there, practically fainting from shock, he walked up to me, took my hand, and said, "Go home and have lunch?"

Print It Now 2 picture frames by Beth Nixon

The rest of the day was spent enjoying this special boy as he played (mostly) nicely with his sister and a cousin, gave out hugs like they were going out of style, and careened around corners on his Big Wheel at top speed. Like a normal little boy.

I went to bed as soon as the kids were settled that night. Maybe next year will be easier. Right?