Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Unofficially 100% Certain: The Diagnosis

The twin's speech therapist has recently said that she is "unofficially 100% certain" that Collin has apraxia. What that means is that he isn't trying to say enough for her to conclusively officially diagnose him, but in all her years experience her gut is telling her this (and has for some time). His comprehension is actually advanced for his age (much better than Oliver's even). But his words are nill. He possesses all the apraxic characteristics. She is 100% certain.

What is apraxia?
From apraxia-kids.org: Childhood Apraxia of Speech is a motor speech disorder. For reasons not yet fully understood, children with apraxia of speech have great difficulty planning and producing the precise, highly refined and specific series of movements of the tongue, lips, jaw and palate that are necessary for intelligible speech. Continued, but condensed info: The brain must tell the muscles of these “articulators” the exact order and timing of movements so that the words in the message are properly articulated. Finally, the muscles must work properly with enough strength and muscle tone to perform the movements needed for speech. Children with apraxia of speech have difficulty in this aspect of speech. It is believed that children with CAS may not be able to form or access speech motor plans and programs or that these plans and programs are faulty for some reason.

Basically, boiled down, his brain can't tell his mouth how to talk.

I've been chewing on this for a little while now, as you might recall a couple past posts here (before I knew of her thoughts) and here (after I knew). She mentioned it about a month ago as a gut instinct and then last week she said the words 100% certain.

I have read some on the internet, asked my fellow twin moms, spoke to my EI specialist and just tried to process this... trying to figure out how to help my little boy. Obviously he has been in speech therapy for a while now, so we have a jump start. However, we didn't really believe it was much more than a delay for a long time and now we know otherwise.

The current plan of action is to try to add another day of speech therapy a week and possibly also add music therapy, which has proven some success with other apraxic children. This would be in addition to the OT that Collin (and Oliver) already gets. We are not sure if he can handle four days of therapy, much less if we can swing it. But, we are going to try. I am going to sit down with his speech therapist and review different tools for that are out there - such as card programs and music CDs. My EI specialist also said that some families have found fish oil to help, so that is an easy thing to add.

We already have the Signing Times dvd series, which Collin loves. The first time he saw it, I swear, it was like he felt liberated that there was an avenue for speech. We have always done baby signs with the kids, all of them, but I think seeing the kids on the video signing and branching out into new signs just really opened a door for him. This is also a recommended dvd for apraxic kids, which we actually got before we knew he was apraxic. We have a variety of whistle and recorders for him to blow through to strengthen his mouth muscles. We also have a few toy microphones just to encourage sounds and speech at all. We focus on simple sounds, so as not to frustrate him, like mmmm for more or eeee for please (along with using the sign language for it). And of course we use motivating situations for requesting these sounds.

I have joined the apraxia-kids message boards, blog, newsletter and will probably go to the support group just to gather more information and find other parents in our situation - hoping to learn things from them regarding their journey and course of therapy, share stories about their children and find support from other parents who are trying to figure out how best to help their children.

Though all children are different, with appropriate therapy these children do learn to talk and then learn how to form sentences. Some it takes longer than others. For most their speech is very hard to understand even when they do learn to talk. And most experience issues through elementary school, especially with their Rs and Ss (needing therapy then too). However, most can go on, with much work, to speak beautifully as an adult. Most.

In the meantime, I can't help but feel sad. Sad that my little boy is unable to talk. Sad that he struggles and feels so frustrated. Sad that he has to go through this. Sad when he tends to play more by himself and wondering now if it is because he can't communicate. Sad because Steve said "I just don't want him to be made fun of because of his speech" and knowing that does really happen because I read it on the message boards. Sad because I wonder if it is my fault in some way. Sad because I can't fix it with a magic wand. Just sad. (and worried, concerned, overwhelmed and the gamut) That's the emotional battle right now.

The intellectual side of me realizes that this is not the worst thing in the world. Certainly I have some great prospective for that fact. I also know that I am doing what needs to be done for him. And that in the end, he will be fine, he will talk. Even if it isn't clear or understandable to all, he will most likely talk.

Even still, I'm his mom. That is my baby. I'm human. And all the practical thought can take a backseat at times like this... while I process all this information... because sometimes that is just how you cope. Sometimes you need to feel what you feel and say what you feel and just cry and look for support... from all avenues... while you deal with this fork in the road. So, that is what I am doing right now. Because, I'm his mom and that is my baby and I'm human.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Collin did it

Dear random people in China, Europe, Canada, as well as, friends and family:

I am very sorry for the continuous prank calls you have received over the last year. As you know my two year old son, Collin, loves phones but knows not of what he is doing (or so that is what he tells me).

At this point, it seems that an apology is now in order for his texting. Please let me just say that I am not responsible for what he says in these texts. Yes, I realize that I am his mother and that I should be held accountable... but have mercy on me... I am a full time working mom of four... four who are clearly smarter and possess more energy than me. My six sense and eyes in the back of my head signals are getting all crossed. I think they are covering for each other, creating diversions in other areas so as to cover for each other and mix my special mommy signals rendering me virtually powerless.

Again, we have discussed his use of my cell phone with him; which by the way, we are not sure how he gets his grubby little hands on it as it is never within reach. Collin's solution, which he diagrammed and presented impressively to Steve and I, was that he get his own cell phone. He even researched the best plan. However, I want you to know that we do not intend to give him one and will do our best to control his current use of my cell phone. Therefore, we hope that the random calls and texts to you at all hours will cease. Though I am not making any promises.

Thank you and have a nice night.

Look at his thumbs fly on that full QWERTY keyboard.

"Dude, you really didn't just send that did you? You are going to be so busted."


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rain, kicks and donuts

Today was the first soccer game in the rain. We knew it had to happen, but we hoped it wouldn't. It did. Drizzly yucky cold humid soaked-to-the-bone rain.

However... today Ethan kicked the ball! He kicked the ball during the game! He kicked it hard and he kicked it in the correct direction. The smile on his face was priceless. He actually made contact a few times today. Don't get me wrong, he spent a fair amount of time in the "beehive" (the cluster of kids running around together following each other), but he is making strides. And it was so miserable today with the rain, but he still came through!

Collin lined up today for the after game snack. I am not sure if he just knew, or if he eyed something that looked good or his nose took him there or what. But he was front and center with the kids on the team. Zach, one of Ethan's coaches, saw him waiting patiently, with a little drool I'm sure, and picked a snack just for Collin. Today it was Timbits. Yes, Collin's first donut ever. Chocolate glazed nonetheless. He held cradled this donut hole in both hands as if it was a treasure and just smiled and coo'ed at it. Then he licked it. Yes, licked it. Several times. Savoring the taste. Huge loving smile each time. The first bite... you had to see it... there is no describing it. He lovingly and slowly ate that donut hole, enjoying ever morsel and making the most content happy sounds the entire time. He actually was ear to ear grin and all happy sounds the entire way home. Who knew a little donut could bring such joy?

Now Oliver on the other hand, Zach gave him a donut because he gave one to Collin and didn't want him to feel left out (he wasn't lined up and wanting one). Oliver threw it down. Like Zach had handed him an undesirable brown lump of something that he had to dispose of it immediately. I think he even yelled "NO!" Again, not so sure he's our kid.

BTW, sorry about that title... I am really tired and my creativity is just not there...


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Does the batcycle have a power?

We've been going out for walks after dinner. The twins in their cozy coupe push behinds...
And Ethan on his batcycle and adventure truck.

The boys all love it. Collin actually turns the steering wheel back and forth the entire time and shifts the gear too. All like he is really driving. They love these things.

Ethan of course loves his motorized fleet. Though his batcycle, for obvious reasons, is by far his favorite. As I mentioned before, Steve added a more powerful battery to it so it didn't putt along.

So, here's what we are wondering. Is it possible for it to have some special power on Ethan? Here's the thing... he gets on it and the smile is instant. And we aren't talking no little smile... it's like a man in a mid-life crisis getting some small fast convertible car, or a Harley maybe, making him feel like a kid again... that kind of smile. That's not all though. He is different on this thing. Ethan is pretty mild mannered, daring but not too daring when it come to things like this, but on this thing he is well... I don't know how to describe it. He folds himself down like he's a race driver (on a motorcycle), he has been also standing up riding it, and all the time he is screaming "wooo hoooo" and "I'm never going to stop" and things of that sort.

On top of that all that, he is disappearing. What, you say? WEll, this thing is faster than most (but really not crazy fast by any stretch - it is just a small sidewalk thing meant for kids his age, not an off road bike), so he tends to get ahead of us pretty fast (okay some is his battery and some is our general speed - we are slow... slow and old...). He has always stopped at turns and waited for us... always. That all changed last week. While on the batcycle last week, he did not. He went on... and on... and on... to the point where we could not see him. Steve had to run to find him (we assumed that he would be around the corner when we turned it as, again, he never ever strays typically), which left me pushing two of these cars. That didn't work real well, which meant I had some unhappy passengers. As it turned out, Ethan was a good 1/4 mile ahead of us this particular time, wind in his hair, yelling "woo hooo" and loving it... without regard for us or anyone for that matter. Just him and the open road sidewalk.

When Steve got back he was red faced and sweating from the sprint. Naturally we spoke to Ethan again about not going ahead of us to where he cannot see us and why not to do such things. He repeated our words, agreed to our conditions, mounted his batcycle, turned up the Meatloaf on the pretend radio, hunkered down and off he went... bat out of hell again.

So, back to the question, is it possible that this batcycle has some power over him when he mounts it? Just saying...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Going to the park with my four boys

This weekend we took the boys to one of our many local parks. This one was new to them and they were all too excited to explore.

As usual, Oliver was all over everything without concern for his size, nor the age recommendations posted. Ethan took it all in, assessed and then went for it. Collin took it all in, assessed it, observed the others, ran around all of it and then decided to try it (truth is he is just as happy in a big open field running, as he is at a playground using the equipment).
Oliver on one of the bigger slides... right off the bat.

Ethan is our climbing monkey anymore.

Collin running and running and...

Stuffing leaves down his pants. Don't ask, we don't know.

The three brothers.

Oliver being a monkey and swinging from this cross bar.



In the end, the favorite was this giant slide that at first made me very nervous (with the twins going by themselves), but I have learned to loosen up a little. They went on it over and over and over.

He would ONLY go down head first... and he wanted to go down it again and again and again.


And when I said that this was the favorite for all... I mean by ALL...


Sunday, September 20, 2009

The three visitors and their green power

Today we had three unexpected visitors... Batman, Spiderman and Robin. With their myriad of tools, they ran through all three levels of our house chasing billains (villains). They had so much energy... they were just non stop.
I have a little secret. Come closer...shhhh... I gave them green smoothies for a snack. No really, I so did. And this wasn't the first time. I think Steve's exact words to me when he saw it in the making was "isn't it bad enough you do that to our kids, but the neighbor's too?" I'm still working on him, he's not quite aboard with the whole green smoothie thing yet.

At any rate, today's smoothie was three cups of raw baby spinach, one large carrot, frozen pineapple, a orange, a few strawberries, grapes, a little vanilla yogurt and a little milk (to thin it some)...oh and a little raw sugar... you know Mary always said "a spoonful of sugar makes the ...." The verdict? They loved it... again. Batman (who does not live here) even asked for seconds. The Wonder twins, who joined the mix after day three of refusing to nap, get really upset when it's all gone, which happened quicker than I thought today. Mini meltdowns over no more green smoothie... kinda funny all things considered.

Of course one of the acclaimed benefits of green smoothies is energy. Not that four and five year olds need more energy, they don't (but they do need greens). Just saying I think I gave them a power boost unbeknownst to them. I am pretty sure at some point I am going to become the cool green smoothie house. "Ethan, let's go to your house. Your mom makes those awesome green smoothies. How again does she get them so green? Never mind, what do I care, they are awesome." "Hey, has anyone ever noticed how much more energy they have after being at Ethan's house?" "She is the coolest mom ever!" What? I can dream, can't I? They are really good and the kids do really love them and aside from that, I'll have you know that I do have my cool moments... really... I do... of course when your audience is boys ages two to five, it's not too hard.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Moore Hall of Justice

It's true, Steve has sucked the boys into being Super Hero fanatics. Well, really only Ethan at this point, but Oliver is showing some sure signs already. Ethan is truly an over the top fanatic, so even if the other two don't go down that road...he has it covered for all three of them.

Ethan has taken to randomly singing the theme song from the opening of the old Super Friends cartoon. He gets to watch it once (maybe twice) a week with daddy... and he's knows the song already. Really. I was finally able to get it on video, but he was very camera shy about it; he kept laughing (because of the video camera). It didn't help that Oliver was repeating him either.

So, ignore his expressions and his mannerisms, which he did to stop himself from the 'nervous video camera in his face laugh.'

Enjoy...
video
Don't you love how he changes his voice to sound like the announcer? And how about those sound effects he does?

In case you couldn't understand it all, here is what he is saying: Gathered together from the cosmic reaches of the universe! Here in this great Hall of Justice, are the most powerful forces of good ever assembled! Superman! Batman and Robin! Wonder Woman! Aquaman! And the Wonder Twins Zan and Jayna with their space monkey Gleek! Dedicated to truth, justice and peace for all mankind!

Oh, but that is not all. We have discovered that any time we sing the Batman 'sound'... well... just listen...
video
Yep. No training needed. He apparently picked that up from living here. Sigh...

Probably another great video would have been the expression on daddy's face when he heard both of them do this for the first time. Ahhh, the smile.

Ethan has decided that he wants to be Flash for Halloween. He thinks Collin and Oliver should be Batman and Robin. I tell you, we are living in the Moore Hall of Justice. Who would have thought? Not I.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

But I'm only four!

Tonight I called Ethan downstairs:

Mommy: Ethan, please come downstairs
Ethan: Why?
Mommy: You have homework for school.
Ethan: Homework?! But I'm only four years old, how can I have homework?

And so the struggle with homework begins... at the ripe young age of four... in preschool...

His homework was to draw his family members in a cut out of a house that they sent home. So he did...

He also insisted on using his bug stencil to draw a bug in our house... as a family member. (in the photo, it's on the right hand side. you can't see it in this very well, it was done in light blue pencil)

Ethan: I want to use my bug stencil to make a bug in our house.
Mommy: Honey, you are only supposed to draw your family members. We don't have any bugs in our family.
Ethan: Yes we do.
Mommy: No we don't.
Ethan: Yes we do. They fly around me every morning at breakfast.
Mommy: (thinking: oh this is going to sound good to the teachers and the class)
Mommy: Okay, we have some flies. Who let those flies in? (what? does that sound defensive to you?)
Ethan: (thinking... knowing full well...)
Mommy: (giving Ethan the "you so know who did it look since I have pointed it out a thousand times.")
Ethan: Me. (giggle, giggle)
Ethan: Well, me and my brothers... and actually sometimes daddy leaves the door open too. Oh and sissy too. And my friends. When they come over they leave it open all the time too, remember?
Mommy: (thinking: geez...way to take everyone down with you buddy.)
Mommy: Right, but they really aren't family members and they don't stay for long. So let's not tell people that there are bugs flying around at breakfast, okay?
Ethan: Okay. But I still want to draw a bug in our house.
Mommy: Okay, but remember our deal?
Ethan: Sure do.

How much do you want to bet that tomorrow at circle time when they are showing off their artwork and explaining the inhabitants of their homes... Ethan will focus on the bugs flying around in our house? Let the whispering begin... "there are those Moores, I hear they have bugs..." Who knows where that will go from there... and we are only in preschool. Lovely...


Monday, September 14, 2009

A mouse??

No, it was just an Oliver or a Collin...


I found this in the bag, uneaten side up, when I was sorting them for storing last night. I am not sure whether it was placed back in the bag in a hurried fashion when they heard one of us coming, so as to hide what they had done (since they were getting "busted" all weekend eating apples) or if it was just being saved for later. What a rude awakening it must have been today when they discovered the apples were gone and they couldn't sneak one whenever they please.

Like I said, the kids love apples. And have been eating more than enough to "keep the doctor away."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I love fall!

I don't care if it's not officially fall yet or not, it's close enough. And I LOVE it. I love the leaves changing color. The cooler temperatures at night and overall. I love apple picking. I love pumpkins and hayrides. I love the smell in the air. The beginning of sweater weather. And of course football. I love the Browns and I love it when they win. I mean it's so rare that you have to take serious joy when it actually happens... which of course it didn't today. BTW Quinn... the ball gets thrown forward... that's in front of you... just saying...

Today we went for a walk with the boys. The twins in their matching little push behind cozy coupes and Ethan in adventure truck. It was so nice out... ahhh fall. Then I decided to cook fall things. I made a sweet potato and apple dish. I made corn chowder. And I made applesauce. YUM!

The boys LOVE applesauce and we have lots of apples, so I make lots of applesauce (and freeze it). I discovered a month ago that I had the ability to make applesauce with my Kitchen Aid mixer and some attachments (most of which I had). I wish I knew sooner! So, now it is so much easier and less time consuming, not to mention even more nutritious. All I have to do is cut them with an apple cutter and drop the apples into a big pot - cores, seeds, peel and all. Cook on low with a little water, some cinnamon and vanilla until they start to break down and get mushy. Then put them through the fruit strainer on my Kitchen Aid mixer. It spits the yuck stuff into one bowl and the applesauce into another. It is awesome!! It made me fall in love with my Kitchen Aid mixer all over again. Okay, I never actually fell out of love with it, who could? But I do love it, and I promised it more attachments for Christmas so we could discover more abilities and fun things... hey, it needs some gifts too right? Okay, it's for me... (yes, I know I need a life... but really... it IS cool!)

Every time I get out the Kitchen Aid and attachments for applesauce now, Collin promptly pulls up a chair. This, of course, starts the wheels and they all pull up a chair. It's cute, kind of a pain in the rear to work around them, but too cute to stop.

Today, after the excitement was over, Collin stuck around with his toy spoon (as you've probably noticed, he's rarely without these play utensils in his hands... or something else small). As I was tending to the chowder and letting the applesauce cool a bit, Collin decided to help himself.

So, I gave him a little bowl to eat at the center island while I worked on the other stuff. At one point I turned around and caught him dipping his entire bowl in the big bowl of applesauce to refill it. I missed it, though I am assuming he tried refilling it with his tiny spoon and it didn't work fast enough so he went full guns and dipped in the bowl. Smart kid. Messy kid. (I didn't get a photo of it, it was messy, I didn't want to encourage the behavior in any way just for a photo op)

When I made my first batch a month or so ago, I used really red apples (which just happened to be the ones in season at the orchard). Needless to say, my only joy that day was not just discovering how easy it was to make applesauce now (as compared to what I had been doing for years), but when it came out of the strainer and into the bowl it was PINK. So what you say??! My grandmother's pink applesauce is just about my favorite food on the entire planet. She painstakingly sieves it with a colander by hand and makes the most awesome pink applesauce ever... heck the best applesauce of any color. Since I had been peeling, mine was never pink. I told Krissy after this happened that when I saw it come out pink, it was like the mixer had a glow around it and the heavens were singing "aaaaaaaaaaaaa". (again, it's already been established that I need a life) It of course does not taste like grandma's applesauce, but it at least looks like it. Grandma - what the heck is the secret?
Notice, it's pink! And Collin is shoving the yuck parts into his mouth before I could stop him, since I was taking photos and didn't notice. That was a lesson learned quickly though. It cracks me up because the other two are looking at Collin like "you shouldn't... wait... ewww... how'd that work out for you?"

The boys devoured the applesauce after dinner. Wish I could say the same for the corn chowder. Not that it wasn't good, it was. It is just that new things and new consistencies that are completely different than the norm don't go over well. Soup-like things are not something we have often and have yet to be something they like. Oh well, just like any die hard Browns fan would say: "maybe next time."

Friday, September 11, 2009

Afternoon with mommy

I decided when I took the day off that after I picked Ethan up we'd have a special mommy and Ethan day. Since mid way into my pregnancy with the twins, I have struggled to get special time alone with the kids. It's just hard. I many times just don't feel like I have it all balanced yet. But, I hope with time to carve out more special one on one days with all four.

So, what do you think we did? Hint... it's fall, it's one of our favorite things to do, it's a tradition of sorts for us... apple picking! Today the u-pick on Honeycrisp opened and we were there! Honeycrisp are so juicy and delicious. As an added bonus, they keep (in a cool spot) until April! In my house of apple lovers though, they won't make it that long... maybe November. We picked tons - three big bags. Okay, correction, I picked tons. Ethan is my expert apple tester. That's his favorite part of apple picking... eating apples... and lots of them. Thankfully did pick a lot of Honeycrisp because as it turns out (according to the email newsletter I just got from the orchard) there was a bigger than normal turn out this year and instead of u-pick for two weeks (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), they anticipate being out by tomorrow evening (so in two days versus the normal six). Crazy.

Raspberries were u-pick today as well, so we decided to get some of them. Now, I am not a fan of berry picking - of the raspberry, blackberry, blueberry variety that is. One reason is it takes SO long and you end up with this tiny bit of fruit (which the kids devour in a day). The second reason, related to the first two berries, I don't like to get pricked all the time by the thorns! The third reason... I HATE spiders. Big hairy million-eyed scary spiders. Who cares if they eat bugs and help the berries... I hate them. They creep me out. (shuttering now) However the kids in this house LOVE raspberries and they were cheap and of course very fresh... so I did it. Ethan watched... and laughed at me and my creeped out sounds and overly dramatic shuttering movements.

The ceremonial first bite of the first apple picked. The verdict: 'delicioso!'


Ethan talking to the apples. He told me at one point that we had lots of kids. Thinking he was referring to his siblings, I agreed. He then told me jokingly that the kids were the apples. This was born from me telling the apples to stop falling out of the bag... the overflowing bag. So, that became one of our jokes. Here he is talking to this bag of apples and telling them to stay put 'kids' we were taking them to a good home.

When we got home, I put the apples in the living room until I had time to wash and bag them for storing. I thought it would be okay since the boys were playing in the family room. I went on to make some fresh salsa (Collin and I are addicted to it), which is precisely when they decided to venture into the living room. My hands were covered with tomatoes guts and I hear Steve saying "no, no more... stop eating them... Wendy a little help here!" It's kind of a fun game to take a couple bites from one and continue on to another after all. Once we hid them, the boys continued eating the one that they each had. The twins ate right through it... to the core. These kids love apples (well, fruit in general).


To sum it up, it was a gorgeous and perfect September day. Ethan and I had a lot of fun picking apples, talking about the first day of school and making jokes. All the boys enjoyed the bounty. It was a great day.

Hello Room 18!

Ethan started preschool today (kind of weird to start on a Friday, huh?). He was a little apprehensive about the new room, new teachers, new friends, etc. I decided to take a vacation day so that I could take him and pick him up.

We went to the open house yesterday, where you meet the teachers and get a passport to go around to all the subject areas (gym, spanish, art and music) to meet each teacher and talk about what you will be doing. And most had you do a little activity. He did okay... he didn't hide his head under my shirt like last year, which I was very grateful for, but he also didn't talk to anyone. Being a very shy kid (and adult) myself, I felt for him. Thus, the day off today.

He did pretty well at drop off. No tears... from/by him... only by me... in the car... afterwards, but no talking either. And you will see from the photos... no smiling too. I had told the teachers (yesterday at the open house) quietly of his apprehensions and of course they are used to that. And since he was doing his 'head in the clouds', no smiling, no talking, not listening (deep in thought/fear/whatever), I told them about that too and that I saw the signs for it this morning.

When I picked him up, the teachers came up to me immediately (read: ran to me in excitement) and told me how well he did. They said he was shy at first, but enjoyed telling his friends about his stuffed friend in circle time and it only got better from there. As it turns out, there are three girls from his class last year and one boy from his Friday story time class last year in his room. AND there is also a little boy from his infant II room from the day care days. His mom and I recognized each other, but they didn't. They were only about 15 months old when she left to stay at home after all. And now we have these little men. Wow, amazing to see them now, remembering them then.

There are only six boys in the class of 14 kids (or is it 16... I forget). Last year the ratio was opposite. Should be interesting for the little boys... but maybe easier for the teachers. The other little help, strange as it is, is that Colin (the boy from his Story time class last year) has the same lunch box as him which helped reignite the friendship. Now, it's not a super hero lunchbox if you can believe it. It's a brand spanking new Laptop Lunches Bento System 2.0 (no lead, no phthalates, no PVC), hot of the presses with a cute little alien design on it (it was aliens or flowers... I'm writing to them about super heroes). On a side note, when I brought it home, after buying it, Ethan and Oliver ran off with it, sat on the sofa together and dissected it - looking over all the parts and pieces and discussing it... like it was the coolest thing ever. (score one for mom!)

So, all in all, a good first day. He said that his new friends liked his stuffed friend. He picked "Floppy" to bring. Floppy is a rabbit stuffed friend that is well... floppy. He has used Floppy as a pillow for probably three years now and NOTHING else will do. Nothing. With all the washings, Floppy has seen better days. Daddy has done some repair sewing over the years, but among other issues, poor Floppy is on his forth hemorrhoid and this one is here to stay it seems. Poor guy.

Ethan also said loved gym and music today. And that his teachers were funny because they kept teasing him - because of his super hero shirt - about Collin and Oliver's name being other super heroes names (obviously this was done to make him laugh and get him more comfortable... and that it did... score one for Mrs. B and Mrs. S.

Here are some photos...
Ethan with Floppy and his new lunchbox (over the shoulder or hand carry... snazzy) before we went to school. BTW, he picked his outfit today... Batman of course (yesterday for the open house it was Superman).
At his cubby in the hall. Look at that face...


When they come into the room in the morning, there are all kinds of different activities set up on the different tables for them to do until circle time. This is a peg board with pegs. Again... look at this face! (and those are with me BEGGING for a smile and also trying to get him to say something to bring on a smile)

Through the window as I was leaving.

At pick up, with his teachers. MUCH better! Got him to say "cheeseburger" even, which is the face you are seeing. MUCH better!


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bend it like Beckham

Today was Ethan's first soccer game. He and his team, the Tigers, raced up and down the field, stealing the ball and scoring so many goals we lost track. It was like watching a bunch of naturally gifted soccer players. We were in awe. It was amazing. I was actually speechless.

Okay, the speechless part is correct. But I might be making up the rest. Just a little. Maybe.

It actually might have went more like:

Ethan, get up. Why are you laying down, please get up. Put the grass down. Stop holding hands... Go get the ball... you CAN steal it... no, not with your hands...

Jacob kick the ball... that ball... right there... get it... yes, that ball. Get back on the field... You can't hold hands during the game...

Kaleb ... I can't say anything about Kaleb, he actually did really well.

Both teams divided into two groups and then played each other. So, it was three on three. Pretty good chances of actual soccer happening right? Ha! First, we could not get Ethan off the ground. And when he was, he was starring off in space. Jacob was much the same, but without the constant laying on the ground. Kaleb was slow at first but then he was the only one of the three to do anything remotely like soccer, however I don't think our team ever scored... much less figured out where the cones were to score. (By the way WASA, where the heck where the goal nets? These are four year olds... they need BIG SCREAMING targets.)

As far as the other team, the Sharks, well let's just say that Sharks like to eat Tigers. To be honest, it wasn't even the three kids on their team... it was one long haired blonde girly girl. I think that she was really eight years old pretending to be four and that girly girl image was clearly a facade. That's my thought at least. She scored every time. On every play. I. Kid. You. Not. Every single play. Through the correct cones even. So many times that we actually lost count. Suffice to say, she kicked butt and took names.

They took a water break every 10 or so minutes. At that point the kids came to their parents for a drink. At that point, the parents huddled down and gave instructions on what to do when they went back into the game. Okay, they might not have been so much instructions as much as maybe... well... pleading, begging and bribes. Look, you never know what you will do until you are faced with the situation yourself... that's all I'm saying... It was quite comical to hear all of us talking to our kids though. At one point we told Ethan to use his Flash (super hero) powers. He ripped up and down the field to show us and everyone what was in him - this during the break - and when the game started back up, he laid down on the field. Sigh...

So, here are some highlights (there were some really good ones that I missed because ... well... because).


The pre-game pep talk by one of the coaches - it went in one ear and out the other for all of them. Yes, that is Ethan laying on the field.

Yep, that's a big grass blade he was picking... during the game.

Holding hands with Jacob...yet again. Awwww...

"Ethan, please get up. Show me those Flash powers. Come on Ethan, show them to me!" I wish I made that up for humor purposes, but really that is what this coach was saying... in a normal and then turned whiny begging voice.

Oh wait... he's running... to the ball... to help... oh... a soccer moment!

Running through the bridge of parents at the end of the game.

Ethan asked us on the way home if he could have some Flash potion to make him Flash right before his next game (Flash was actually strike by a lightening bolt to get his powers but that isn't something we really explain for obvious reasons). So, before Saturday morning I need to come up with a magic Flash potion. Steve was thinking Mountain Dew. I am thinking not. (I still believe that I can get the boys into their teens without drinking soda... I'm a dreamer folks.) Anyone have any ideas for the magical Flash potion?

BTW, since we were late getting onto a soccer team, his shirt still doesn't have a name and number on it. I felt so bad that he was the only one without... maybe that explains his lack of skill tonight. Maybe... I am planning on getting his shirt fixed tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

If you can't laugh at yourself...

A while ago Amy T. posted some photos us from senior year in high school on Facebook. Her birthday I believe, in her basement. And though many of us, men and women alike who were pictured, thought that she should need to have written consent from each of us before doing such things... we had to admit they were pretty darn funny. And if you can't laugh at yourself...

Somehow funny old photos came up in conversation, between chasing kids, on Friday when my friends (none of which I went to high school or even college with) were over for the play date. Many of them somehow missed them on FB, but remembered and laughed about similar photos circulating of themselves. We even debated on who had the biggest hair back then.

Since these are plastered all over Facebook for the world to see , I thought I would share. I present to you, for your viewing enjoyment (read: side busting laughter), said photos:

Now, for those of you who didn't know before, what decade do you think we went to high school in? I'll help you out. Big hair was in - for girls and boys apparently (like duh!). Like OMG we so all talked like this OMG (and like so owned the book that like taught us how to talk like that... like OMG)! George Michael was still straight (in our minds at least). Jellies weren't just for sandwiches, they were also for your feet and wrists. Apparently bright blue, green and bright pink eyeshadow was in (in my mind at least). Along with a horrid product known as Sun In for your hair (dad, why again did you let me spray so much of that crap on my hair, thus turning it orangish, during our trip to Sarasota?). Oh, and really ugly sweatshirts and sweaters (sorry girls). Did you guess???

Now, can you guess which was me? If you guessed the one with the sea shell sweatshirt (just returned from Florida) - you're right! Though that sweatshirt appears to have only two nautilus shells strategically (and inappropriately) placed on the front, it actually was a row of four... and I'll have you know that it was quite the stylish thing back in the day! Steve made me sell it a year ago in a garage sale. The nice lady with the Coppertone tan and bleached blonde mullet who bought it seemed to really love it too. Hmmm... must be back in style again.

You know, on second thought... maybe the title of this blog post should have been "That much hair in one place should be illegal."

Monday, September 7, 2009

Burning rubber!

Okay, it's more like burning plastic, but who is really hung up on those technicalities?

As you know, we have a little fleet of motorized vehicles - all bought used and very old. Before this weekend, two worked, one did not. The two that worked were so slow. I mean Ethan's tricked out Batcycle is so cool, but it puttered along like a 95 year old man on a Sunday afternoon drive. Even the neighbor kids, who loved riding it just the same, commented on how slow it was. Luckily for the kids, Steve is gifted in areas like souping up vehicles. And this weekend he did just that.

A couple weeks ago Steve found a site that was basically a bunch of dads talking about Power Wheels. More specifically how to make them faster and better. After I got done giggling over the thought of a bunch of grown men creating a website (blog, forum, whatever it was) to discuss tricking up their Power Wheels... er ... I mean their kid's Power Wheels, I started listening to Steve's plan. He read and researched, made calls to a friend with connections and ordered two bigger (read: more powerful) batteries. We aren't talking no whimpy toy Power Wheel batteries here, were talking battery batteries here (which were cheaper too - so I was all aboard). Okay, is it just me or does anyone else think of Tim from the old tv comedy Tool Time doing the man grunt as I tell this story?

Steve took the project on this weekend. He rewired the battery... um... wires (I don't know what this stuff is) to accept the new batteries and cut out the battery cavity in the vehicle to be big enough to fit these new bigger batteries. Saturday was the test run for two. The first one we tried was the two seater Jeep I got from a garage sale this summer very cheap (it was from 1994 after all), thinking the twins would like it...eventually. This Jeep runs with two batteries (neither of which worked when I bought it), so Steve loaded up both of the new more powerful batteries and set it for the high warp speed. And warp it was... Ethan about had whip lash when he put his foot on the petal. After he sat back up from the sheer force of forward movement, with a huge smile on his face, Steve decided that maybe he would kick it down to using just one battery (the lower speed). That was fast too. And Ethan loved it.

Then we took one of the batteries out and tried it in his little adventure Jeep (one seater), which has just one speed. It ran much faster now. What made me laugh as I watched this was that it wasn't until this summer that Ethan even learned how to control these vehicles. I tried last August to teach him, yet again, and well it didn't go well (read: that is what that big dent in my passenger van door is from). But Saturday night, he was ripping down the sidewalk yelling "woo hoo" and making his steering wheel crazy on purpose just for fun of it, enjoying the speed. It was like the wind in his face from the increased speed made him high. And when he stopped, right in front of me, he quickly turned his wheels whipping around to a stop complete with the screeching halt tire sound... like a pro... pro drag racer that is. The smile on his face was HUGE. He loved it. This, from a kid who again could not manage to comprehend that his hands controlled the direction in which he was going, that he couldn't gawk without regard for the sidewalk (and cars, people, dogs, etc) and that his foot controlled the starting and stopping of the vehicle. Wow... what a difference.

Tonight, Steve re-wired the Batcycle and battery cavity so that it could run at a speed more befitting its stature. For the test run, Ethan wore a Batman shirt and mask... of course. Steve followed behind with the twins. It became a half hour venture... sorry, I mean... a half hour crime stopping mission. Tomorrow, he gets to show his neighbor friends his new revved up fleet of vehicles and so his excitement still mounts.
As I sit here and type, I just realized that I have been smiling the entire time. And laughing... to myself. There are so many things that I didn't know before I became a mom. Some of which you can guess or predict and some you can't. One thing I know: there is nothing like seeing the joy on your child's face... on his custom Batcycle, decked out in Batman garb, ripping around your neighborhood on his crime stopping mission. "My job here is done."


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Rain... please!

Dear Mother Nature:

Thank you so much for the absolutely wonderful summer weather. We have enjoyed the milder than normal temperatures and lower humidity all summer, this weekend included. I can't thank you enough.

I am wondering if I can make a plea to you - mother to mother. Can you please make it rain tomorrow? I am not talking the sprinkle or drizzle. I am talking all out thunderstorm and rain that goes on all day. Or at least in the afternoon, so we can get some outside play in the morning. But after that, let it pour all afternoon... please! But not enough that our electric goes out (which will be tricky since our electric goes out constantly, but that's another blog post altogether... you heard me AEP, you're on my list).

See, I have been on a kid play palooza since Friday morning. It's been so much fun, but yet... I'm tired. Not to mention that our backyard has seen better days, our house has seen better days and the circles under my eyes have seen better days. I need some time to get the house back together, get something actually accomplished this weekend and get some downtime to where I am not chasing kids for miles nor being the lifeguard of behavior to the masses. Thunderstorms, as I am sure you know, are a great excuse to stay inside without guilt or regret... and again, did I mention that I really want to stay in? Strike that - I really NEED to stay in tomorrow afternoon. Please.

I am sure you can relate as a mother yourself. So, if you can see it in your heart, please make it pour tomorrow afternoon.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

p.s. no disrespect intended, but you kind of owe me one for when it drizzled the ENTIRE day of the highly planned huge OUTSIDE neighborhood birthday party. Just saying...

Fall kick off party!

Our home owner's association had a fall kick off party today. It had large inflatable fun things, balloon art, face painting, games, firetrucks, a band and more. We started out with Steve and I and the boys, but the twins didn't last long. They had fun, but most of the things weren't for little people and patience for lines is just not their thing yet either. They humored themselves by spending most of the time playing chase - as in we had to chase them. Ethan and I stayed until about 8:30 pm however.

Most of our neighbors that were in town went so we arranged for a canopy (one of the other neighbors - I am still not ready to take ours down - too much work to get up) and food. Actually, we were a little behind in the coordination so there were a furry of phone calls and emails today between the five families going regarding plans. Kind of like being back in high school and making plans, only this time it wasn't "what are you wearing and how are you doing your hair?" It was more like "What are we bringing, when are you going, where are we setting up, etc." Yes, not as exciting, but it's a mom's job I guess. And we managed to pull it all together and have quite a spread and a good location. Well done ladies!

Here are some photos:
Ethan and Oliver in an inflatable bounce thing.

Eating!

One of the giant inflatables. They had some really good ones, not your normal bounce house things.

Collin running from us... this was him the ENTIRE time.

A very tired Oliver.

This inflatable you put on a vest which is attached to a rope and another person on the other side. You have to touch your "football" (in his hand) to the goal posts before the other person. It's basically tug a war in a sense. Ethan's opponent was a bigger kid so we were concerned, but Ethan REALLY did well. We have no idea who would have made it since the kid ended up throwing his "football" through the posts when he got somewhat close. Dude... where are your listening ears?

Ethan and Christopher in one of the firetrucks.

Balloon sword.

Ethan and Christopher playing with their balloon creations. Christopher had a spider hat.

Christopher, Cameryn and Ethan.

Ethan climbing the big football inflatable.

Okay, this one I wasn't too sure about. You had to stand on these blown up circle stands (trying to balance basically) along with three other people. You swing this giant heavy ball at each other trying to knock each other off. When you are knocked off, you are out. Guess how long it took Ethan to get knocked off? Give him credit for trying though, I looked at it and thought "no way!"

It's been a marathon weekend of fun events the last three days... I wonder what tomorrow will hold for us...
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