Monday, September 24, 2007

Work and Life and Classes of One Kind or Another

So here it is, Monday. I realized today that school is back in swing full force. How did I know this? Wasn't getting up at the atrocious hour of 7 A.M. enough of a clue? Well, I guess not. Tonight the Horde had homework. All of them, even darling kindergardener Jayden. How can you have homework in K you may ask? Well, they sent home a calendar on Thursday (they had no school last Friday) with "suggested" activities to do each night and to send in any projects that resulted from said "suggestions". Also, she brought home 2 worksheets of "reading" exercises that needed a "reading partner" signature, i.e. Me. These sheets were front and back. She's only 5 people, take it easy on her!

James just had one sheet. And I made him read his book. He's reading "Superfudge" by Judy Blume. I don't think I'll be having Jason supervise James' reading time anymore however. James certainly has not been making progress on his book. He doesn't like to read. Jason doesn't pay much attention to if James is actually reading at the time.

Jayden starts her 2 dance classes tomorrow evening. With excellent timing, her ballet shoes came in the mail today. We picked up her tap shoes last week at the dance studio. So 2 classes for her. She LOVES her dance class. Where she will be taking classes is right across the street from the gym that I go to. Once Jayden is in the "swing" of things, I'm going to start dropping her off for class, and head across the street to get in an hour of "me" time!

I went to orientation at Wal-Mart today. It took 4 1/2 hours! We watched videos, and I almost fell asleep. We took a long tour of the store. We did a couple of computer training programs on the computer. As a cashier, I did the Tobacco and Alcohol Sales and Procedures. I scored 100% on both tests. Of coarse I did. I've been in retail, and working at stores that sold both things, long enough to know how to do it! However, I had to do them in order to start work on Friday. Jeez, what have I gotten myself in to? It looks like this weekend, between Friday and Monday I'll be working 25 hours. I'm not working at Denny's anymore. The money just wasn't worth the effort. And Wal-Mart offered me a much better wage.

Life is going as normal. Jason has his initial appointment with the doc who will probably order a sleep study for him. Jason snores horribly, and will have episodes of apnea. Izzy sees Doc. J on Friday morning for his 18 month well child visit. I was about to say well baby, however, my bruiser of a boy isn't much of a baby anymore. At his 15 month visit he was 34 1/2 inches tall and 29 1/2 pounds. He's grown since then, I know because his clothes are smaller!

We went to the Verhage Cider Mill this past Saturday. A good time was definately held by all! I'll make a seperate post of the pics from that outing, and a video of them getting the apple pulp ready for squeezing to make the cider! We went on a hayride, watched them make cider, and fresh doughnuts. Of coarse we had to sample both! MMMM fresh doughnuts and cider, how much more fall could you get? Well, I'll tell ya! In a couple of weeks, we'll be going out to see Gene the Pumpkin Man. This man literally has orange everything, car, barn, house, clothes. He even has a huge cinderella pumpkin coach in his yard!

Unfortunately, I won't be working a Civic show this season. Working is taking a priority this year, working for pay I mean! I love the shows and the people and environment, but we want to buy this house, and in order to do that, we need to clean up our credit. It's not really bad credit, it's just not the greatest.

This blog kind of reminds me of "Prairie Home Companion" and the Letters from Lake Wobegon segment of the show. It's a little snipet of life from my corner of the world. Where things are always chaotic, and wonderful, and amazing. Have a great night everyone, and a pleasent tomorrow.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A little of this, a little of that

I got to thinking the other day. Well, more accurately, a post on a message board got me to thinking. My son James. He's got "issues" as we call them around here. That's stating it mildly. James is currently taking 4 different medications for various things. Odds are that after he sees the Pediatric Endocrinologist in October, there will be another. New things just keep cropping up with him.

James is a highly special needs child. Appearences are very deceiving when it comes to him. Aside from the fact that he is VERY small for his age, about the size of a "typical" 5 year old and he's almost 9, there is nothing about his outward appearence to make one stop and say "that child is special". He is very smart for his age. He can be very charismatic and charming.

James has a list. And the list keeps getting longer and longer. On that list are things like Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Integration Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Attention Deficit and Hyperactive Disorder, Sleep Disorder, Growth Disorder, etc., etc., etc. I never signed up to be the mother of a child with special needs. Especially one like James. I'll admit that I cried when I found out Izzy was a boy because I was so worried that he would be "another James". I knew I could care for one "James", but 2???

I love all of my children. Sometimes remembering that I love James can be hard. It does get easier as he gets older and he learns control and we understand more about him. These are all honest feelings and I'm sharing them with you. I don't want to take any flak for feeling them. In all honesty, unless you have a child like James, you don't have any room to give me flak anyway.

I wonder often about James and who he will be when he is an adult. I wonder just how he will be able to handle working in the "real" world. Will he ever get over his video game obsession? Will he ever learn to really connect with other people? Those are things I think of, on top of the usual stuff of wondering about the kind of woman he may or may not marry, and what college he will go to.

I'm going to leave this post with a couple of things. First a thought, and then an excerpt. The excerpt is from a woman who is talking about discovering her child has Fragile X Syndrome. While I particularly identify with what she is saying, having a special needs child, I think that it applies to all parents. Her name is credited along with the title. I got the excerpt from a woman on another message board I post on. The thought is this. There is a wonderful strong lively woman with two beautiful boys on one of my boards. She just found out recently that her oldest boy is on the Autism Spectrum. Needless to say she is having such a difficult time adjusting. I still am having a difficult time adjusting, and I've known about James since he was about 1 1/2 years old. I shared the excerpt with her. I also told her this. "I'm not promising roses, but tulips are just as beautiful when they bloom." And that's the truth of being a parent. You may not get the roses you planned on, but those tulips are just as bright and beautiful coming up in the spring.

WELCOME TO HOLLAND by Emily Perl Kingsley

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go.

Several hour later, the plane lands. The flight attendant comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy!! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy.” But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine, and disease. It's just a different place. So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met. It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for awhile a you catch your breath, you look around...... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills.... and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy...and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say, “Yes, that's where I was suppose to go. That's what I had planned.”And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away.....because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.....BUT ....if you spend your life mourning that fact that you didn't get to Italy, YOU may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things,....about HOLLAND!

Monday, September 17, 2007

A post of pictures

I don't know if this will work or not, but we'll find out. I'm trying to add pics, to make a whole post of them. It's kind of hard to do because while I love my brother dearly for putting my new computer together when mine suffered the Crash and Burn of 2007, and we added huge amounts of memory, because of where the photos are now stored, I can't see them as little thumbnails in the folders, so unless I KNOW the name of the picture, I'm playing a wonderful guessing game, so we'll see what we get! I sure do hope I can get these pictures to go in some kind of order!

That is the darling Horde in all it's cute glory. They are posing for the camera and trying to keep Izzy in place for the picture!

This is what happens when Izzy is Baby of the Week on a message board I belong to. They ask for random pictures of said baby. I was told to take a picture of Izzy in something girly. This would be one of Jayden's MANY dress up skirts. Yes, that's me sitting behind Izzy.

This is the older members of the Horde on the first full day of school. They look so eager and happy. Katy looks amazingly cute with a shaved head, in fact I think even more grown up than before. Where did my little girl go?

This is Jason and Izzy playing along on Jason's Martin, a birthday gift from me a few years back. Izzy loves to hear music and "play" along. I wonder if as he gets older he'll keep the interest or not?

This is another of those "Baby of the Week" photos. This time around, it was put some hair on Izzy's bald little head. He does have some hair. It's very palely blondish red, and it's very fine, and it's barely there right now. He does not look like he's having fun here. That is James hold him down and Katy putting the Cabbage Patch Doll's Hair on his head. I certainly hope that the hair that Izzy grows out of his head is a little less unruly.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I wasn't listening.

Today, I'm talking to James and Jayden. "GO PLAY". I wasn't really yelling, just talking loudly. I tell Jayden "Izzy is napping, you need to be quiet and go play." James comes in to the office and starts talking about something or the other, most likely video games.
"How can I help you?"
"I just want to tell you this one thing."
"Is the baby sleeping?"
"Yes, but it's just one thing."
"What did I JUST tell Jayden?"
"I wasn't listening."

Well, at least he's honest, right? Things have been interesting around here to say the least the past few days. Some of it I'm willing to share, some of it I'm not. If you are one of the few who know, well then it doesn't need repeating here.

The girls' bedroom. I am beginning to regret the mere idea of painting it. Ok, we live in an old house (have I said this before?). Built in 1889 or something like that. At some point, someone stripped the paint to the plaster and put up wallpaper, at least I *think* that is what happened because there just isn't enough "stuff" on the walls to account for 100+ years of decorating. The wallpaper peels up pretty easily, in most areas of the house. It has been painted over with good old laytex. White laytex at that. In the girls' room is a completely different case, kind of. Oh, the wallpaper is there, there is also a layer of grey primer.

So, I was sitting down, by one of the windows in the girls' room to wash the window and the wall to get it ready to paint. Ooh, there are some air bubbles in the paint. It won't hurt to take those out and smooth out the paint because i'll be painting over it all anyway. Well, my smoothing out air bubbles turns in to a HUGE piece of paint coming off in my hand. Oh hell. It just keeps coming and coming off. Crap. Under this paint is a layer of grey dust, and primer, and then wallpaper, and then the original plaster walls. Oh goody.

So I get the flea brained notion in my head to strip all the walls of the paint, it's coming off easily enough. Then wash them, and paint them over. *sigh*. Not so simple. Some parts of the paint are really still VERY stuck on. It makes a HUGE mess. The dust is so thick, it needs to be scraped off before washing it, or I'd wind up with a bucket of mud. Ok, I've got three full walls done. I mean, stripped of paint. In one corner, I have them repainted, which took 3 coats of paint. In another corner I have the wall scraped and washed. In another corner (there are quite a few corners in this room, about 6 I think because the room has a little bit of an L shape to it) the wall is just scraped.

The just scraped wall now has a HUGE drywall patch on it. Bigger than the first time. When the paint was stripped from that wall, the wallpaper came with it. In no other part of the room has the wallpaper come down as well. Under the wall paper is a huge area of crumbling plaster. Jason uses drywal fabric and plaster to patch the hole. As I was scraping the dust off of the wall, the patch came off, with more. So now the hole is even bigger. I'm going to wash AROUND the patch, and then paint over all of it, though over the patch I think I'll use the brush instead of the roller.

There are still 2 more corners of the room, and those still have the original white paint, nothing has even been stripped there. So the walls with the pretty peach paint on them look fantastic. Very girly and nice. As if I didn't have enough to do already, I'm adding sponge stencils, in three different colors as a border on the walls. It will go from the ceiling, down the corners and around each door and window frame. What am I thinking? Oh yeah, the girls will LOVE it. I get that, however, I am creating tons of work for myself.

Yes, the kids want to "help". Their version of helping involves 1/2 a bucket of paint spilled on the carpet (good thing the landlord didn't replace the carpet upstairs), dragging paint pieces to other parts of the house, and playing "swords" with the scrapers. Not much help at all.

So here it is about 12:30 in the morning, and I'm up and around because I have been working on the girls' room. It will look fantastic when it is done, and maybe by then I'll have figured out how to post pics to share. However, until it is done, it is a headache and so much more effort than I bargained for. By the way, does anyone have any kind of pattern for an over the bed canopy? You know, the kind that is a circle at the top, hangs from the ceiling, and drapes over the head of the bed? I am going to make two of those, one for each girl. I have tulle out the wazoo, left over wedding decs, so I figure I could put it to good use finally. I've seen pics of them, the canopies, and they seem easy enough to make. However, that's what I said about the girls' room. "Two, three days tops and it'll be done." HAH!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Learning to Crochet and Never Growing Up

I'm hearing lots of giggling and laughing coming from the living room while sitting at the computer. I have a feeling that if I were to get up and go take a look, I would strongly disapprove of the form of self entertainment and put a halt to it. In the living room is the entire Horde, and Jason. From what I am gathering, they are playing some kind of game involving a ball and tickling and what else I'm not sure. Now, with an adult in the room, you'd think it would be much less roudy than it would be with just the Horde. However, that just goes to show what a big kid my husband is. He's just as bad, if not worse, than they are.

Speaking of games, Izzy has decided that he can control what the other kids do. They oblige him completely. They have taught him that if he smacks his legs with both hands, they will get down on their knees and bow down to him while chanting "bow down to Emporer Issac!" over and over again. If he claps his hands, they do a little dance. If he makes a loud noise over and over again, they will repeat it. They refer to him as Emporer Issac and he adores it. He has made the older members of the Horde in to doting servants. Now if only he could get them to clean their rooms and the play room.

Katy has decided she wants to start crocheting again. I had begun to teach her about a year ago. We got as far as making one long line before she lost interest. While shopping on Friday, I had her pick out a ball of yarn that she liked. One ball would make a rather small project, and therefore, hopefully, keep her frustration to a minimum. She has decided that she want's to make a scarf. A scarf is a very simple project and a great one to learn on, in fact it's how I learned to crochet.

So I tell Katy to make a row of 48 stitches, which she does. I begin to show her how to make the lower row, which will make the loops. She doesn't quite understand, and it's a dark yarn, so I do it for her. Then I show her how to make the first couple of rows. She can do it, to a point. I leave her alone to do it. She brings it to me and says "I've really messed it up, I can't do the end thing."
Katy has totally skipped turning it back around to make another row and has continued it around and to the bottom. I unravel it and then put her back in place. A few minutes go by and I hear the aformentioned giggling and laughing fest. Katy brings me her project, and once again, it is not as it should be. She has twisted it so that the bottom is now the top.

My look of absolute dumbfoundment has her laughing. James wants to know what is so funny and she tells him that it is in fact the look on my face. She then says, "I don't know what happened."
"Um, really?"
"Yeah, I was doing it OK and then we were bouncing a ball off of Jayden's head (with the aforementioned grown adult/child in the room) and crocheting and I did that."
"Katy, that just goes to prove you can't crochet and bounce balls off your sister's head at the same time." To this comment she starts laughing almost uncontrollably.
"No, Mommy, I was crocheting and they started the game and I set it aside and I picked it back up and I was doing it and that's when it all got messed up."
"Were you paying attention to what you were doing?"
"Um...not really."
"OK, that's why it looks like this. You can work on it more tomorrow."

I told her I'll add a couple more rows to it so that it's harder for her to get it all twisted around like that. At least she is trying. When James was informed that he is going to be learning to crochet, he was less than enthused and told me that it was a "girl" thing and he shouldn't be made to learn it. My theory on "girl" things and "boy" things is that is a bunch of hooey. They will all learn to crochet, to sew, to work on a car, to do their laundry, to throw a ball, to fix a drawer, etc. etc. etc. I feel that in order to be fully prepared to be grown ups and get out of the house they need to know all those things. And they will get to hone their skills while doing work around my house.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Milestones and Back to School

I'm still not sure how to insert pictures into the blog, and with the hard drive crash of 2007 (it was also the mother board that hit the dirt, and Jack, my brother, can't explain why it happened) we have yet to put our pictures back on the computer. I will figure it out, I'm going to want to share first day of school pictures. It will actually be 2nd day for James and Katy, and 1st day for Jayden. The older three start school this next week. Katy and James have a 1/2 day on Tuesday, Jayden starts on Wednesday, which is the first full day for Katy and James. I found out this past Thursday that Jayden will be at school all day as well. I did a little dance right there in the office! That means that it will be just me and Izzy during the day together. It will give me time to work more with him one on one.

Speaking of Izzy, he has hit a couple of milestones since I last posted. On Tuesday morning, I was sitting on the couch reading "The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants". A side note on this book. Katy is reading it right now as well. I had never read this book, and as I like to think of myself as an informed parent, I decided to read it as well. I wanted to know exactly what she was reading. It's a pretty good book, and very age appropriate.

So I'm sitting on the couch, reading the book. Izzy is playing in the living room and the older members of the Horde are upstairs. Izzy is moving about a lot, and I keep seeing the top of his head over the top of the book. Admittedly, Izzy is a big kid, and when he's standing upright, this makes perfect sense. However, I'm seeing the top of his head in the middle of the room, and going from one side of the room to the other. Now the only way that this were possible is for him to be....*gasp* .... WALKING! I lower the book, and by God, there he was, WALKING back and forth across the room! What a HUGE milestone for him! I just sat there grinning like a fool. I still smile thinking of it. He's getting to be such a BIG boy!

Another milestone this week. Izzy is delayed in speech. He was drugged up pretty heavily for the first 9 months of his life due to seizures. So he is delayed in all realms as the drugs just made him a groggy blob for the most part. So every milestone he reaches is delayed, but still joyous, and definately long awaited. It's also why he's just walking at 17 months, though I realize that some kids take longer than others.

Izzy has been playing with sounds more and more often. He really seems to have no desire to communicate, which we just can't figure out why. He's been vocalizing more, trying to use some consonant sounds, though he hasn't been putting the sounds together to make basic words. Mmmmm has been a favorite of his. On Thursday I was in the office, which is at the back of the house, using the computer and Izzy was crawling and walking around back here as well. At the back of the house is also the adult bedroom and the kitchen and the lower bath. He is free to roam all the rooms for the most part.

I get up to check on what he is doing. He had turned on my clock radio, which he thinks is a great game. It makes a great noise every time he pushes the button. I go to get Izzy out of my bedroom and he has climbed on to the bed (another milestone while I'm thinking of it) and was chewing on a magazine. Izzy is a paper eater. He loves ALL paper. It's a phase, all of my kids have gone through it, however it does mean keeping books, papers, magazines, and mail out of his reach.

I look at Izzy and say,
"You little heathen. You aren't supposed to be eating that."

He looks up at me and grins his adorable grin and says "Muma" and giggles and claps.
I stand there in absolute shock, this is his FIRST word!
"What did you say?"
"Muma...hehe" and more clapping.
"Yes, you are such a good boy Izzy. Yes, I'm Muma. Good boy." and I continue the praise for the guy. And I'm grinning like a fool. My baby boy's first "real" word was Muma. Hehe, I get first dibs! Ok, admittedly, Izzy signed Daddy first, however, I get the spoken realm! As a side note, we are teaching Izzy (and the other members of the Horde to keep it consistent) basic sign language to help teach him communication.

We have the van that day so that we can go pick up Katy's birth certificate, pick up my pay check from Denny's, and go to the Horde's school. I need to show them Katy's birth certificate, and they get to meet their teachers, well the older two do. We meet the Principal, Mr. K. He's a very jovial nice guy, and I KNOW I'll be seeing a lot of him. They had a computer error where they had place James in 2nd grade, not 3rd. Because of this, the Horde was able to meet their teachers. We met James' resource room teacher, Ms. D. first. She gave us an impromptu tour of the building, showing us where James' resource room would be on the 2nd floor. Then we went up to the 3rd floor, to meet James' main stream teacher, Mrs. W., and on the way to his class, we passed by Katy's class, where we met Mr. R.

My impressions of their teachers so far. Ms. D. is a very happy, high strung kind of woman. She was trying SO hard to connect with James. He was having none of it. The only interest he had in her room was the computers (of coarse) and her prize box. Though it was nice for ME to meet her and place a face with her name, as I'll be working with her, and Mrs. W. closely for James in the next year. Mr. R. is a young guy, rather skinny, and bald. You can tell he has a receding hairline and instead of trying to cover it up, he shaved his hair off. He was friendly and welcoming, as all teachers are at the beginning of the year. I think that Katy will really like to be in his class. James main stream class will only have 17 students! I was so amazed and impressed by this fact. And very glad because I know that fewer students in the class for less distraction for him will allow him to be more successful. Mrs. W. came across a lot like Ms. D. Very open and friendly, and trying so very very hard to make a connection with James. At this point we had been at the school for close to an hour and James was just bored and tired and wanted to leave, which I also understand.

We ran some more errands, and went to pick Jason up from work. Everyone is just bursting with the news that Izzy said his first word! Jason looks back at him and says
"You are such a good boy Izzy. Can you say Dada?"
Izzy looks at him, grins and says "HAH! MUMA!" and claps his hands. I found this hilarious, as did the entire Horde, though I think Jason was a little hurt. I reminded him that while Izzy may say muma, he only signs daddy, and that seemed to help a little. So now, every chance we get, we try to get him to say muma.