Monday, April 29, 2013

on being a mom

this weekend i read the most hilarious post the other day from a new mom attempting to navigate all the advice we, as new moms, read or hear or ask for or receive without asking. i laughed so hard. you can read it HERE.

this morning i read a fabulous post about this thing called motherhood, how i need to take it season by season and to stop comparing myself, my kids, our lives against the lives of others. such a great reminder! you can read it HERE.

so go read. be encouraged. be strengthened to face the week ahead!

happy monday y'all!

Friday, April 26, 2013

the dice game

can i please share our new favorite activity with you?

we've grown a bit tired of extreme candyland which was played repeatedly during the winter months. time to come up with something new. 

i got this idea after harrison described a game he played in p.e. class at school. he explained that the gym teacher had a huge yellow die. the kids took turns rolling the die and looking at a chart that showed them which exercise they had to do. easy peasy right?

we have dice.

we can come up with exercise ideas.

so that's what we've done.

the boys and i make a plan. we decide what exercises we want to do and write them down. graham likes to come up with crazy ideas. anyone heard of a one-legged donkey kick? nope? me neither.

here are a couple plans we've used in the past few days. we list out six activities, one for each number on the die. we take turns rolling one die to find out which activity to do then we roll both dice to tell us how many times we get to do it.

this is GREAT counting practice for graham!!!! an added bonus on top of the great sensory input/exercise all of us receive.

a few days after we had started playing the dice game you won't believe what came in the mail...

 the may 2013 issue of family fun magazine.

which had a little blurb that showed how to make your own exercise dice!

so that's what we've done.

i happened to have a perfectly square box in the recycle bin which i covered with a brown paper grocery bag. i asked the boys what their very favorite exercises are and we wrote them on here. you know graham chose one-legged donkey kicks. :)

we do each activity 10 times.

i figure this big box die will be great to take outside!

the small dice can be put in my purse, a backpack or a suitcase so we can take them on trips...or even if we have to wait to be seated at a restaurant...or if we go to a friend's house that doesn't have things for young children to play with...or any place where two little misters might need to get some sillies out.

and that is just about everywhere!! 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

just some random stuff...

hi guys. this morning i took both boys to preschool. harrison doesn't have school today due to some kind of state testing or flex days or some other mumbo jumbo. he asked if he could go to school with graham and the preschool teachers were more than happy to welcome harrison back for the morning. it was nice to be able to drop them both off at the same time and pick them both up at the same time. 

i was expecting to turn around and head straight home but ended up grabbing coffee with a friend and catching up with her for a while and then went to costco because there is nothing better than going to costco sans two little rugrats. but while i was cruising the aisles i remembered i left a candle burning in the kitchen and offered up a desperately plea for fire protection to the lord and, thankfully, he heard my cry and our house was not burned to the ground but did have a very pleasant cinnamon smell.

now i'm catching up on emails and posting while the boys are watching curious george when i really should be catching up on laundry and dishes and putting away the millions of little things that migrate from one floor of the house to the others.

in other news, i was talking, very limitedly, to the boys about the boston bombing and about prison an punishment/consequences; explaining that when people do wrong things sometimes the consequence is that they are sent to jail. harrison responded "and then they have to pay money to get out". he was comparing real jail to monopoly jail. and why wouldn't he?

wouldn't it be so nice to go back to a world - and innocent, naive world - where the only jail we knew or understood or needed was a monopoly jail?

i should also mention that yesterday's post about harrison's occupational therapy results doesn't mean we are done with therapy yet. he will continue to go through the month of may, take the month of june off, go back during the month of july. then we are done. his post-testing will be at the end of august. so hopefully we will continue to see more and more positive changes. :-)

jeremy took the boys to memeanpapa's house last sunday afternoon. i stayed home to catch up on laundry and dishes. it's my life, people. anyway, he came home with big plans to lose 30 pounds in 30 days. i told him i'd be happy to serve him what i eat and that would, at least, be a good start. but with one condition: he is not allowed to complain. so he's been happily eating what i eat - no dairy, no gluten, no refined sugar, very little grains...mostly just lean proteins and veggies and fruit - and i swear it's only been four days and i think he's already lost at least five pounds.


it's so infuriating how men can lose weight so quickly!

we shall see how it goes. it is very nice to be able to just make one meal for all of us for a change as opposed to modifying things for each member of the family. last night jer got home in time to have dinner with us (a rare treat for a week night!) and we had homemade pizzas. the boys had pita bread crusts and jer and i had gluten free brown rice tortilla crusts, which really do make for a yummy pizza. why is it that i find when my boys eat their dinner?! i told jer "you are home to have dinner together as a family, the boys ate all their food, i could not ask for anything more!" he responded "except for the dishes to be magically cleaned up". he was right.

let's see...what else? oh! i came up with another fun activity/game that helps us get our sensory input/exercise for the day. i'll take a couple photos and share it in another post. it's super simple.

this morning harrison climbed into bed with jeremy and me and said, "i need my morning cuddles" and proceeded to snuggle with each of us for a few minutes. seriously!!! i couldn't believe it. then when jer left for work harrison ran after him, yelled "wait!" and gave him more hugs! jer's love tank was instantly filled to the brim. physical touch is jer's love language. so i'm sure you can imagine how hard it is on him when harrison doesn't want to be touched or complains about how jer touches him.

anyway, it was a good start to the day. 

hope you all are having a great thursday too!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

occupational therapy results - the changes we are noticing

this is a photo of our fridge. a couple of items on this fridge are telling signs that occupational therapy is helping harrison. 


see this note? harrison went on a school field trip to denver's museum of nature and science yesterday. he had to take a 100% disposable sack lunch along with him. i wrote him a little note and tucked it next to a couple vanilla sandwich cookies. after i picked him up he pulled the note out of his pocket. i was shocked he kept it! he read it out loud to me and told me how he showed it to his teacher and read it to her. this mommy's heart was overflowing. but i was making dinner last night i turned to open the fridge and saw that he hung it front and center, just below a red heart valentine he made for me a while back. i was shocked he kept it AND he displayed it!

this has been one of the biggest changes we've noticed in our son: his ability to give and receive affection. 

he gives more hugs. he gives more kisses. he is better at receiving hugs and kisses. he cuddles up on our laps more. he is better about using his words to tell us when he doesn't want to be touched. he is better about using his words to tell us when he does. he is better about using words to tell us HOW to touch him (firm pressure, but not too tight).

these are all great steps in the right direction. 


this photo shows a paper juliana sent home with us. she uses this scale at STAR center and thought it would be beneficial for harrison to have one at home. we use it to rate activities, 0-10. you can see the facial expressions associated with each number. this helps harrison:
 1) recognize emotions
2) identify what the emotion is - happy? sad? angry? 
3) associate the events in our day with a number on the scale and be able to discuss them
4) most importantly, and this is really hard for him, understand that if something bad happens while doing something fun (you fall down while playing baseball) it does not mean that the entire event was bad. sure, it really hurts to scrape your knee (rating = 0 or 1), but you can recover and get back outside and have fun again (rating = 10)!

this has been huge in helping harrison learn to regulate again after becoming dysregulated. 

it's also been huge in helping him talk about emotional things.

just the fact that he is comfortable using this scale is a great step in the right direction!

other changes we've noticed in harrison, in no particular order: 

i frequently hear "hey mommy, guess what..." or "mommy, i forgot to tell you something..." or "guess what we did today..." followed by actual back and forth communication with my son!

he actually wants to pick up the phone and call people, mostly memeandpapa.

our friends came by yesterday and harrison actually stopped what he was doing outside, came inside, started up a conversation by saying "i went to the museum today".

when discussing things he'll say, "i have an idea.." and proceed to tell me his plan.

in general, there are many more circles of communication now as opposed to me PULLING information out of him and only getting one word responses.

he has been writing about his feelings. just recognizing what he feels is a big deal. being able to write about it (even if he can't quite verbalize it yet) is an even bigger deal.

in general, he interacts so much more with us and others!
now, it has to be said that he still interacts with others in a socially awkward way. part of this may be his age - silly boy humor is at an all time high at the moment. but in my heart i know part of it is that he's just a bit socially awkward. sweet boy. 

i've also noticed that he does not crash into me when i pick him up from school anymore. at least he hasn't for a couple weeks. i guess we'll see if that behavior starts up again. 

there are still a number of behaviors that we do deal with:

i mentioned the social awkwardness.

he still needs to chew on his 'chewies'. 

during his birthday dinner he said something funny and every laughed. he got instantly upset/angry, turned around and held his fists to my face as if he was going to hit me. i tried to calm him and he was fairly quickly able to go back to opening presents. later i was able to discuss it with him. he said just got so surprised when we laughed. so it's clear that unexpected things - especially if they are loud and especially if he doesn't understand why they are happening (he had no idea why we were laughing) - are dysregulating to him. the other piece of this scenario goes back to him understanding the social connection that humor = laughter. he just doesn't get it. he still doesn't really understand humor, or what's considered funny, all that well. 

there are more but i need to jet outta here and go pick up my sweet boy from school. and, really, i'd rather boast about the positive changes we see than dwell on the little things that still need improvement. 

all in all, we are thrilled to see evidence that therapy is working!




Tuesday, April 23, 2013

ipod shuffle storage case

harrison got an ipod for his birthday. he loves listening to music on my iphone, but i don't love sharing my iphone, so one day i pulled up images of ipod shuffle's online and asked if he might want one. he said yes and commented that he liked the black color best. i passed along this information which resulted in uncle zach giving harrison a black ipod shuffle for his sixth birthday. uncle zach always wins the best gift award, by the way. cannot compete with that guy!

the next morning we sat down together to load up some tunes. harrison requested blindside and ray lamontagne. my six year old apparently has 1) good musical taste and 2) eclectic musical taste. he has since requested other artists: U2, coldplay and the lumineers. i'm such a proud mama.

just today after i got graham loaded up in the car and we were headed home from preschool my sweet four year old boy said, "mommy can we listen to the spanish song?"

me: what spanish song?

graham: the one where they say 'galorte'.

me: oh, you mean catorce? i have absolutely no idea how i was able to translate catorce from galorte. mommy instinct just rocks sometimes.

graham: yeah. catorce.

me: that's called vertigo. i'll play it.

what do you think bono would say if he knew four year olds were requesting his songs? especially in such a random way like 'the spanish song' and 'galorte'?



now that we have this ipod it's been a struggle figuring out where to keep it and how to protect it. the uber cool case it comes in is great...

but trying to get these components back into that case after each use is frustrating...

so we've just been leaving it out on the countertop but my fear is that it will 1) get broken 2) get splashed with water 3) get broken.  so enter this case...

which cost 97 cents at target. guess what it used to hold...

i dumped out the qtips and loaded up the ipod shuffle and it's accessories.


enough writing for today. i have to leave to fetch harrison from school. perhaps i'll listen to 'the mole song' on my way to pick him up. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

just a bit of babble

i'm melancholy today. some days are like that i guess. i did get cleaned up, put on makeup, got dressed in yoga pants let's just be honest, made the beds, unloaded the i'm functioning. functioning is good. but i'm quiet. i don't have much to say. don't want to do much. just melancholy.

it was a stressful week. we went to STAR monday afternoon. took graham with us. drove there in a winter storm. drove home during rush hour in a winter storm. denny's and their baseball pancake kid's meal hailed us over to the side of the road and took us in until the business professionals were all home and allowed us clear roads and happy tummies for the rest of the trip.

we didn't have any other afternoon appointments this week which was so nice. from that standpoint i got nothin. no stressful complaints should be uttered from these lips. but my appointment-free afternoons were spent doing other things. like dealing with the washing machine that managed to die. well not die but have seizures. and one technician diagnosed a lid lock issue which didn't help and a second technician said everything seems to be functioning fine except you have to start and stop and start and stop and yell and scream and kick and babysit to get it to spin and drain. so i took it upon myself to diagnose epilepsy and drove to home depot and smashed 500 smackeroos onto the counter for a new washer with zero bells and zero whistles and definitely zero motherboards.

and i have to spend one afternoon next week calling the company who sent out the technician who misdiagnosed the washer who took my $216 and gave me a new part that didn't need to be new. and i hate having those types of conversations. 

and then just as jeremy and i finally came to an agreement about our future homeownership - that we will spend the next 12 months or so saving like crazy to pay off that last bloody when-will-it-ever-go-away student loan and to sock away a down payment and to update the minor things in our current home that will help make it market ready - a friend told us about a house a house for sale on a street we love and all hell broke loose. and so we got a bit sidetracked for a about 36 hours. and they were hand-wringing, god-seeking, broker-searching, lender-finding, husband-arguing, wife arguing too let's just be honest, stressful hours. until we got a call from the listing agent that he had accepted an offer and the house was not meant to be ours.

so when that so-called housing opportunity went away is when the peace came.

isn't that the way with distractions?

they suck.

they suck the peace right outta ya. 

so i'm grappling with that today. the questions of why. why can't life just be smooth? why do washers have medical issues? why do houses have to come to market just when we decide to stay put for the next year? why does it still have to snow when all i really want is sunshine?

and mostly why can't i just be content no matter the circumstances?

then i read that a friend from college - a friend with a beautiful wife and four beautiful children - has just been diagnosed with a brain tumor and has a biopsy scheduled. which shoots my ranting in the foot because what's a washer and house compared to a life?

so i pray for benign and removable and miracle...and still i grapple.

me oh my this is heavy stuff for a saturday.

a heavy, full of questions, melancholy saturday.

some days are like that i guess.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


my two sons have taken it upon themselves to start a tooter club.

not to be confused with a tutor club.

sadly, my boys do not know what a tutor is.

they do, however, know what a tooter is.

they love - love, i tell you - to yell "go boy's tooter club! we toot on girls!"

they say this when they go skiing with daddy or to the donut shop with daddy or on any other no-girls-allowed outing. they say this when they beat me at crazy 8's or skip bo or go fish. they say this when they simply feel like it. in the middle of dinner even. then they turn their tooshies toward me and make fake tooter sounds.

i love boys.

i don't necessarily love boy's tooter club.

what i do like, though, is how the two of them - and sometimes the three of them, if we include daddy - have banded together. brotherly bonding. father son connection. boy humor. it makes me happy that they have each other and are beginning to develop a friendship based on the things boys base friendships on - bodily noises.

a few weeks back i had the honor of taking some photos of my friend's 12-week-old-ish little mister. i took harrison and graham across the street from our house to scout out some nice backgrounds for the photos. i told the boys to sit there for a few minutes so i could take some shots. they told me "go boy's tooter club!" and then proceeded to do this...

i spared you the shot of their tooshies aimed and firing at the camera.

you're welcome.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

i did it!

a few days ago i posted 'before' photos of my kitchen drawers and cupboards as a way of humiliating myself into actually - finally! - getting organized.

well, humiliation seemed to be just the motivation i needed!


i lined the drawer with wrapping paper (found at target's dollar spot), purged a bunch of never-used knives and utensils, and bought a lucite bin to help corral small sharp kitchen tools.


i got rid of a ton of junk and purchased two lucite bins to hold the items that need to remain. can you see the two boxes at the very back of the drawer? i simply dug a few empty boxes out of the recycle bin and cut them down. i plan to cover them with paper to make them look prettier. you can read a full tutorial of how to do that HERE.


the major issue with this drawer is all the plastic bags i keep. here's how i decided to store them...

i plan to wrap this oatmeal box with paper, too, but i wanted to see how this system would work for me first. it's been a few days now. i've had to pull out some bags. i've had to put in some bags. it seems like this may be a good option for maintaining bag organization!

it is truly insane the things i pulled out of here. as i mentioned in my previous post, om nom and the green pig lived here. but i also found their friends mater and finn mcmissile who were buried under an expired coupon avalanche.


the transformation of the next two cupboards isn't as dramatic. let me just say this: corner cupboards are of the devil. i did move all my large serving platters and bowls, along with all the small appliances, to one cabinet. the other cabinet now holds baking dishes, pots & pans, and storage containers & lids. it's a better system, it still just doesn't look all that pretty.




kitchen drawers & shelves = accomplished!

i'm linking up to project simplify 2013...

Project Simplify on Simple Mom

happy sixth birthday, harrison

 how did this days-old baby boy

 with these tiny hands

 and this giant yawn

and chubby everything

and gorgeous twinkling eyes

and a helpful happy heart

 and curious spirit

turn into this smart handsome fellow?

my heart does not know a time before you existed 
yet it feels like only yesterday you were placed in my arms. 
before you were born i prayed for you
and god blessed me beyond what i asked of him.
he created in you a true masterpiece
a boy so much greater than i could have imagined.
thank you for making my life fuller.
i love you more than i ever knew it was possible to love.

Monday, April 15, 2013

we can't be mary all the time...but we should focus on the times we are!

i wrote the other day about how we moms have it within ourselves to be mary poppins to our kids.

not ten minutes after i hit publish on that post i was smacked with the realization that i also have it within myself to be cruella de vil.

let me break it down for you:

graham was blowing a loud, high-pitched whistle inside the house and the first couple times i asked him to stopped fell on deaf ears he, literally, may not have been able to hear me, that whistle was so dang loud and the next couple times i told him to stop still weren't successful and when i finally aggressively swiped the whistle out of his mouth, threw it across the room and yelled at him, he went and hid in the corner.

then, jeremy, who was working from home, came upstairs to the kitchen looking for lunch and he got annoyed and complained because one of the boys was continually banging on the front door and i snapped at him and told him that's how i feel when he comes upstairs to look for lunch - annoyed.

sometimes i blow it as a mom.

and a wife.

and those times are more frequent than i care to admit.

sadly, on this particular day, i was rushing to get harrison to his appointment at STAR so even though i was still fuming i had to pull it together enough to sit down and chat with graham. i couldn't leave without bridging the giant disconnect between us. i had just a few minutes to apologize, explain that i made a wrong choice, that i treated him poorly, that mommies do that sometimes, but i always love him no matter what, and ask him for forgiveness. we cuddled on the couch for a brief moment. enough that i was able to leave the house without feeling like the worst mom in the world...even though i still felt like the worst mom in the world.

the apology i owed jer had to wait until we were on the road. i called him, admitted i was wrong and so sorry for being so cranky and rude. as always, he was quick to forgive. god bless that man! i'm so happy he's my husband! but i still felt like the worst wife in the world.

all i can do when i mess up is ask myself this question: what could i have done differently? followed by this statement: i will do better next time.

i attended a woman's retreat over the weekend and one of the things i heard really struck me. the speaker was talking about excellence. in motherhood, in wifehood, in womanhood, in life. she said, it is not humanly possible for us to be excellent all the time.

we need to accept that.

mary poppins doesn't exist, people. we can emulate her sometimes but being "practically perfect in every way" is an unrealistic goal. there will be times when we fall short but we should never let our failures overshadow our victories. despite our mistakes, god can still use us. despite our mistakes, our kids will still flourish. despite our mistakes, our marriages can still be strong. despite our mistakes, life is still worth living.

it is okay to focus on the good, the excellent, the times we win, the times we successfully channeled the mary poppins within us.

all those other times? the cruella de vil moments? learn from 'em...apologize for 'em...forgive yourself for 'em...then forget about 'em.

despite cruella, you can still be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!


Sunday, April 14, 2013

ever the procrastinator

in THIS post i mentioned that i'd like to join in on THIS project. check out the link to find out what Project Simplify 2013 is all about.

so...remember that snow day i told you about?

well, i used that day to tidy up quite a few things around our home.

let me list them for you.

the small drawers in the living room check
the kitchen pantry check
the basement toy closet check
the linen closet check
the master bedroom closet check
the boy's closet check
the powder bath cabinet check
the boy's bath cabinet check
the master bath cabinet check
the sensory bin supplies check
the craft supplies check
the homeschool supplies check

i got rid of two bags of trash, one bag of recycling and one trunk-full to goodwill.

not bad, huh?!

but here's the thing...confession time...with the exception of the sensory/craft/homeschool supplies which really did need a significant amount of organization, the rest of those items were fairly tidy already. it was quick and easy to go through each of those spaces, purge what needed to go and arrange what needed to stay.

so what i'm saying is i spent a bunch of time on projects that weren't all that necessary and - i know myself - it's because i really, really, really don't want to do the projects that actually need doing.


the room that really needs attention is the kitchen. i have some major issues with regard to kitchen organization.

major. issues.

in order to hold myself accountable, i'm going to post a few 'before' photos. hopefully the knowledge that my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad 'befores' are on display will encourage me to complete this long overdue project and take some 'after' photos.

without further ado...

don't you just love how the left side of this cupboard is so tidy while the right side is so messy? why yes that is a can of spray adhesive and an ipad keyboard and an ipad stand and cables and coupons and loads of other does-not-belong-in-this-cabinet stuff. and yes of course those little green objects, right side center shelf, are om nom and a green pig. doesn't everyone have little green objects living in their kitchen cabinet?

so...remember that snow day i told you about?

i think i need a couple more!

linking up to project simply 2013

Project Simplify on Simple Mom