Sunday, September 30, 2012

Seasonal Woes Again....

The weather is turning to fall, the leaves are changing colors, the wind brings a chill in the morning and my children are fighting the change to long pants and long sleeves.  Little Man is leading the war against long pants and long sleeves but Peanut is taking up the fight right along side of him.  Peanut just strips out of the clothes he doesn't want to wear and walks around naked - he is a silent, quiet fighter.  When I have asked him why he doesn't like pants he just says that they are not shorts - yeah, that is kind of the point.  Little Man whines and voices his complaints that the pants touch his feet and the shirts touch his wrists and that is embarrassing, annoying, or just plain wrong depending on what argument he is taking up that day.  Sweet Pea doesn't take up the fight in quite the same way.  She is fine with pants and long sleeves, it is socks and shoes that she takes exception to.  As soon as she is strapped into her car seat she strips off her shoes and socks and throws them to the floor.  When we get to the park, she sits down and takes them off to run around.  If she is in the stroller - same result.  Papa Bear and I just sigh and let her run around without shoes, just as we allow Peanut and Little Man to wear short sleeves/shorts when pants are the better option.  The weather will eventually force the issue and they will comply or be cold.  It isn't worth the fight because the war will be won when it snows, one way or the other they will go with comfort.  Twice a year we try to help them transition to weather appropriate clothing and it is a frustrating process at times - maybe we will move to Florida or San Diego and wear the same seasonal clothing all year long! 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Perfect Pumpkin Day

Peanut has been asking to go to the pumpkin patch since June and for months we have had to tell him that it was closed.  Last night, we got to tell him that it was going to open again and we were going to go so at 5:15am, Peanut exclaimed (from his hiding spot under his bed) that he was ready to go to the pumpkin patch and find his perfect pumpkin.  We spent 3 hours at the festival and did everything from pretending to drive the combine harvester to the tunnel slides to the hay ride to the actual pumpkin patch where each kid found their perfect pumpkin.   We stopped for lunches and snacks, enjoying the day and riding it out as long as we could.  Peanut's non-stop smile said it all, he had finally found his perfect pumpkin and we had a perfect family day.

This is the smile that we got to see all day! Give Peanut a tractor to drive and you are his hero.

This way!

Captain Jack

It's that smile again!

Can you see the excitement on Peanut's face as the tractor pulls up for the hay ride?

The Perfect Pumpkin (as he declared)

Pumpkin for the Princess

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Logan's Heroes

Peanut is my hero every single day.  He works so hard for every word and spends over 3 hours a week in speech therapy without a single complaint.  Last week he spent 3 hours at preschool and then ate lunch in the car so that he could have a 2 hour speech and language evaluation and he was a complete rockstar during his evaluation.  He didn't fidget, complain or throw a tantrum - he worked and he worked hard.  When speech therapy starts, he knows that it is time to work.  Every day I watch my sweet boy work harder than anyone should have to work to be understood.  He is my hero. 

This weekend was the Childhood Apraxia of Speech walk to raise money and bring awareness to Peanut's condition.  Friends and family came together and for a few short hours, we all got to be Logan's heroes and show him how incredibly proud we are of how hard he works.  He knew that the walk was for him and that it was his special day.  Little Man was an excellent big brother, conceding this day and walk to his little brother and not being upset at losing the spotlight that he craves.  My mom (Mee-Mom) drove down from DE just for the day and spent time during the walk holding his hand and talking about anything he wanted to talk about (which was probably very random since Peanut is not known for staying on topic).  Uncle Mark and Tita Michelle came and took pictures of just about every moment of the day, turning the camera around to catch pictures of themselves with the hero every chance they got.  Wonderful friends that are as close as family came giving up their morning and skipping nap times to show Peanut how much they love him.  And there were those that couldn't be there in person but who donated in his name and who I know were cheering Peanut on.  I feel incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful support system and community surrounding us, surrounding Peanut.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Running... Phoebe Style

Friends was a popular show when Papa Bear and I were dating and we watched it together each week religiously. We often use quotes from the show in certain situations that only make each other laugh and will date us to our children when they are old enough to understand what we are doing. Every time I watch Sweet Pea run, I am always reminded of one episode where Phoebe and Rachel go running together. Rachel runs like every other person on the street but Phoebe runs with abandon, she uses and swings her arms, adds a skip to her step and just has fun with it. This is how Sweet Pea runs all of the time. I am not really even sure it can be categorized as a run. It is more of a hoppy, skippy, forward motion that may or may not result in her running into a wall. It makes me so happy to watch her run. I just love the way her arms go everywhere and how her feet seem to bounce off of the ground. I hope she never stops moving with such ease, joy, clumsiness and abandon.  See for yourself. 
Oh and if you want to compare it to Phoebe's run then watch this....

Riding Bikes

We had a big milestone weekend for bike riding.  Little Man had been asking for about a week to have his training wheels taken off.  We had promised him that we would try (again) over the weekend and see how he felt about it.  The last time we tried it was with his first bike that was much too small for him at the time and he asked to have the training wheels put back on after a gallant effort.  This time, it wasn't much of an effort at all.  I left the house to run a quick errand while Peanut and Sweet Pea were sleeping.  Papa Bear and Little Man were left to their own devices and when I got back a short 20 minutes later, Little Man had completely mastered riding his bike.  He was standing up and pedaling, executing turns and even falling gracefully.  He still uses a foot dragging method for stopping at times rather than using the foot or the hand brakes, but other than the damage he inflicts on his shoes, it works for him.  He wants to spend every minute he is awake and not at school on his bike.

That leads me to Peanut.  He had Little Man's 10 inch bike passed down to him about 6 months ago but felt that it was too "wobbly" and had only sat on it a few times.  Watching Little Man get praises for his effort spurred Peanut to try it again.  (Papa Bear did adjust the training wheels to get them as stable as possible) and now we are having to pry Peanut off of his bike in order to get him to eat and occasionally come inside.  It is a joy to see and a balm to my sometimes anxious heart about the limitations that apraxia will impose on my boy.  I know that there are no limitations to what he can do and he proves that to me all the time, but these reminders are still wonderful.  He also uses a foot dragging method to stop and has literally shredded 2 different pairs of crocs.  We consider it a small sacrifice to the bike gods.

Sweet Pea is now granted access to the trike so we are working on pedaling although she is in no hurry to learn and prefers to be pushed in her car - she is a smart one :)

We are so close to being able to go for family bike rides which is something that both Papa Bear and I have fantasized about for 5 years.  Now we just have to get me back on a bike - something I haven't done since falling off Papa Bear's bike in college.

Updated with a video:

Monday, September 10, 2012

Next Steps for Peanut

Little Man is established in school and enjoying himself immensely.  In fact, he informed me today that he doesn't like the half day on Monday and can't wait to have long days the rest of the week.  So now it is Peanut's turn.  He has his meet the teacher orientation this Wednesday and then will start school on Thursday.  We made the decision to change preschools this year and I have been wondering if we made the right decision for him.  I know that if we were at his other school he would know so many people there and be able to run right down the hall and into his classroom.  We have been visiting at least once a week at his new school and doing the same thing, but the hallways are different and the faces aren't familiar.  On Friday, Papa Bear took Peanut and Sweet Pea to walk the hallways and play at the park one last time before his first day and he had a chance meeting with both of his teachers.  He got to see his classroom, see where his cubby is and talk to his teacher who was using sign language as she spoke to him.  All of this was reassuring.  But today I got the most confirming sign that we made the right decision.  I had a meeting with Peanut's new case worker on his IEP team, Mrs. S.  She is amazing and a breath of fresh air when it comes to Peanut's speech needs.  She was only assigned to him because she is assigned to the preschool that we choose for him and if we had gone anywhere else, she wouldn't be a part of his team.  In the 24 hours that she has been on his team she has tracked down his new SLP, received permission to be a part of the GW program speech, and added his goals that were written by the GW Speech team as an addendum to his IEP.  We aren't working against each other.  She genuinely wants to help Peanut and wants to be a part of his success.  So my heart still flutters when I think about dropping him off on Thursday, but it is at peace that this is the best decision for him.  Papa Bear and I am really looking forward to watching the progress and seeing all of the strides he is going to take this year.  It is hard to imagine that Sweet Pea and I will be on our own for a few hours every week.  Oh the trouble we plan to get in!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Off He Goes!

Little Man was ready to leave for school at 6:00 this morning.  He had his fancy clothes all picked out, his backpack ready and started counting down the minutes.  At one point I found him sticking his head under the bathroom sink and he explained that he was wetting his hair down for Kindergarten so it would be perfect.  I helped him style it and he looked in the mirror announcing it was perfect.  We practiced opening the containers in his lunch box and I showed him where the forms were that he needed to give his teacher - it is amazing the things that you don't think about doing for your little ones until they are going off to do them where you can't help them.  We walked to the bus stop and my heart was beating too fast.  Peanut ran ahead and then back again oblivious to the fact that he wasn't going to be able to get on the bus with his brother.  When the bus came, Little Man bravely walked up and got on, finding his seat.  He looked out the window and gave me a little wave and then off he went.  Thankfully, a friend works at his school and peeked her head in and let me know that he did indeed make it to his class and was happily sitting in his seat.  Now I just have to keep busy until I pick him up at the bus stop this afternoon - Peanut and Sweet Pea are happily playing together but will be thrilled when he finally gets home.

You can see his little head in the middle window leaning forward to see me

Monday, September 3, 2012

Letter to Little Man

Dear Little Man,

Tomorrow you start a brand new adventure, but for the first time in your 5 years it will be an adventure that I can only participate in from the sidelines.  Really I will just be an observer.  You will be navigating the bus, hallways filled with big kids, gym class, music class and recess without me. 

You are going to be exposed to all types of other children, some may be bully's and some may be timid, some will look like you and others will look very different.  Be kind to all of them, no matter what because you will never regret being kind.  

You have told me that you are worried Kindergarten is going to be too hard for you.  It won't be too hard for you at all, I am not worried.  But I am so thankful that you shared that worry with me so we could talk about it, figure it out together and work on it as a team.  Don't ever stop sharing your worries with me and Papa, we might not be able to fix them or even always put you at ease, but as a team we can overcome anything. 

I hope this year continues your love for learning and feeds your insatiable curiosity.   I know sometimes I seem frustrated by your never ending questions, but at the end of the day I love to tell Papa all of the wonderful, intelligent, insightful questions you ask me.  Never stop asking questions.  Question everything.  But be respectful in how you ask your questions and listen well to the answers.  You love to tell me that you ask so many questions because you don't know everything yet and you want to know everything.  I love this so much.

I love you so much and I am so proud of you.  I know you are going to love Kindergarten and we are both going to learn so much.  I know I am going to have to learn to let go a little and let you have your own adventures.  Every once in a while, I hope you include me a little in them though.  Remember to be kind, use your manners, ask questions and no matter what, Papa and I are here for you.  Go, enjoy, you got this and when you don't, well, I got you.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Closet to Mud Room Conversion

I do this thing where I see something that I really want to change in my house, usually to make life easier and more organized and then I obsess.  The last time this happened we turned our formal dining room into a library.   This time, I needed to get a handle on our front hall closet before school started.  The kids bags were always hanging on the back of the door knob to the garage or thrown on the floor of the closet which would lead to us searching frantically at the last minute as we tried to get out the door.  And finding the right shoes, forget about it!  That is partially the reason the boys can usually be found in two different colored crocs and Peanut is almost always sporting two right feet (the other reason is their unique fashion sense).  Now we have backpacks, lunch boxes, speech therapy bags, and preschool bags - life is going to just get messier and more complicated.  So I started planning and Papa Bear started groaning.  Finally I threatened to use the power tools to start the project on my own and Papa Bear took over (must remember that trick for the future).  And now after just a few weekends of working on it, we have ourselves a mini-mudrooom where our messy messy closet used to be.

Now each of us has an area and the kids have a bench to sit on to put on shoes and get ready.  It is perfect.  Now for the next project....poor Papa Bear!


After I picked up the crowbar, Papa Bear took over

Real Teal from Benjamin Moore and the start of the bench

Peanut was a huge help!

Little Man couldn't be left out.  Get the man a real hammer!

Papa Bear and I each get a side wall

The custom built bench
After - The Finished Product