Monday, August 31

giveaway for moms

On one of the blogs I read (Simple Mom), there is a giveaway for some really beautiful handmade jewelry from Lisa Leonard Designs. For more details on the giveaway, click here. I'm not normally a big jewelry person, but I like some simple pieces to wear from time to time.

At the end of October, my husband and I will have been married for ten years. Don't you think one of these necklaces with my kids' names on it would make a perfect gift?

Feel free to let him know if you see him out and about. ;)

something new

We met some new neighbors at the bus stop this year. One of them has two daughters, one of which was adopted from China and started kindergarten this year. (Did I mention that I love this neighborhood?)

She gave us an Ergo carrier. I'm in love. Norah can ride on our backs very comfortably and I can have my hands free. Today I took Will and N for a walk. Norah rode on my back; Will rode his tricycle. Or sort of, anyway. He prefers me to push, but will pedal as long as we aren't going uphill!

Sunday, August 30

Peeping Tom

Yeah, we're all sort of a little stir crazy after a weekend of illness.

Saturday, August 29

It goes something like this...

*screaming heard from the basement*

Mom enters basement from upstairs just in time to see Will, who attempts to pull Norah from the sensory swing by her hair.

Mom tells Will, "It's Norah's turn."

Repeat 20 times.

Will finally decides its in his best interest to go and play with his Silly Six Pin game - a bowling game, a new favorite in the house.

Norah hears the sound coming from the Silly Six Pin game two feet away, jumps off of the swing, grabs a bowling pin, and runs. All in 30 seconds or less.

Will runs after Norah.

*screaming heard from the basement*

Will runs back to the sensory swing. He gets off momentarily to fix his pants which are now falling off of his behind.

Norah seizes the moment, and jumps onto the sensory swing.

Will attempts to pull Norah from the sensory swing by her hair.

*screaming heard from the basement*

I can sort of relate to the hair pulling.

Friday, August 28

I love my neighborhood!

Everyone should have the chance to live in a neighborhood that they love. What makes a neighborhood so wonderful? The people, the sense of community that you share.

After having Will, we felt our life outside of kids dwindle away to nothing. Not uncommon for parents of young children. Especially common for parents of kids with special needs.

Then, we met our neighbors. Four houses of us all together. Lots of kids, all around the same age. Fun times to be had. A social life, complete with kids, began.

In the meantime, something wonderful happened. The neighbors loved on my children, special needs or not. No explaining why he does this or doesn't do that. Comfortable. A sense of community, like a family.

Just when we thought it couldn't get better, we brought Norah home from Vietnam in December.

Jack came home from China in March.

Tomorrow, my next door neighbors leave for Russia to bring an adorable little blond haired, one year old home.

What started out as some social time outside with the kids turned into some really wonderful friendships which continue to grow with the love of orphans. I love my neighborhood. I love the people.

Good luck you guys! We can't wait to meet the next child to be welcomed into our neighborhood family.

Tuesday, August 25

A Trip to the Vascular Clinic

Norah had her follow up appointment at the Vascular Clinic today. For those of you who don't know, before we adopted her, she was thought to have a lymphatic malformation or possibly even Klippel Trenaunay which would be more significant involvement of her arm. We were fine with our eyes, this was easy compared to some of what we've seen.

A couple of months after adopting her, we took her to the Vascular Clinic here. They actually diagnosed her with a capillary malformation (AKA Port Wine Stain), and the doctors disagreed about whether she had arterial involvement which would make it Parkes Weber Syndrome. This would mean follow up with cardiology as Parkes Weber can result later in an enlarged heart, due to the arteries working over time.

Today, two doctors looked her over and decided it was definitely NOT Parkes Weber and is, in fact, just a Port Wine Stain. We are so lucky and so blessed with this kid. The doctors today could not believe how well she is doing. Her growth is fabulous and her development is well above her age level.

On top of that (as if things could not get better), my two younger kiddos were both with me. They could not have behaved better. Sleep clearly makes such a HUGE difference for Will. I always knew it did...more so than the average kiddo...but it was so clear today. He is a different kid and was just fabulous.

What a great day. I couldn't stop thinking on the way home about how much God has blessed us recently. We are so thankful!

Saturday, August 22

I am stuck... potty training land.

We've progressed to being naked. (Well, him. Not me. Obviously.)

If he has on the underwear or the pull up, he'll go in it. If he's naked, he holds it for as long as he can and finally goes, but usually with me putting him on there. He does hold himself and yell help some of the time.

I'm going to have to go with Plan B, I think. Or Plan C?

Friday, August 21

I'm THAT mom.

Here are our first week of school pics! Will started his second year of preschool today. Caroline began first grade on Tuesday. (She is in the middle with her buddies on either side.)

Back to why I'm THAT mom.

Sheesh. I sent Will to school on the bus today - his very first day of preschool this year - with shorts that had no button. Miscommunication between his dad and I and anyway, the bus was early.

It wasn't until he climbed on the bus and his pants fell around his lie...that I asked my husband when we got back inside. (I was thinking it was because the adjustable waist wasn't tight enough or I would have run in and gotten him new shorts!) He came home with a string through his belt loops and soaked on the outside. Kind of looked like he might have tried to go potty at school and pulled his pants up himself. (You know, where they don't get all of the little boy parts inside the pull up?)

Oh least it is Friday!!

Thursday, August 20

And just when you are ready to give up....

The sun shines brighter.

No, I'm not talking about potty training.

The past month has been a difficult, chaotic one in our house. The two youngest have not been sleeping well, particularly Norah. She has been cranky beyond words and is approaching the infamous terrible twos. (Rightly named, I might add.) She and Will bicker and fight all day long on some days. Norah had a particularly willful month where she refused to do anything we asked her to. Her way or the highway.

Pair that with a boy who wants things his way, and it causes lots of commotion.

Over the past week I have been noticing little things. How Will is listening and following directions more often, offering "sorry" on his own when he's hurt her or gotten in trouble for not acting appropriately. How Norah is beginning to respond to the first "no" that we give her and actually show some restraint. How they are sharing some of their snacks without being asked. How Will has come up and given me a hug numerous times today and smiled at me...just happy. How Norah all of a sudden doesn't seem quite as needy...needing to be held 24-7.

I looked at something that came in the mail today....Day out with Thomas. For the first time, I'm considering taking Will to something all on his own. Today, in the store for the first time, he showed interest in a toy he really, really wanted and carried it around the entire store. (I showed great restraint in not buying it, actually.)

Tomorrow, he will go to preschool again, and Norah and I will have time to ourselves. I'm considering starting back up with my Moms in Touch prayer group and maybe doing something special, just with Norah. just takes a little while for the sun to shine again.

Tuesday, August 18

Houston, we have a plan.

So potty training a child with special needs continues here in our house.

I scoured the net to find a good plan. Because a masters degree in special ed just doesn't cut it when you're the mom. Seriously.

I've spoken with a few people, read a few things, and finally put all of the well meaning advice together into finding the plan that fits my boy.

It goes something like this:

1. Now that he's comfortable (sort of) with sitting on the potty, he will be going once every hour, starting tomorrow.

2. He gets a five minute warning. If this doesn't suffice, we'll add a picture cue.

3. He goes in, pulls his underwear down and sits on the potty. He'll stay there until the timer goes off, after five minutes.

4. Even if he hasn't gone, he pulls his pants up, flushes, and washes his hands, every time. He gets a reinforcer (goldfish crackers, in our case) for staying put and going through the steps.

5. If he does go, he gets tons of praise and a bigger reinforcer...all hail the cookie.

We're hoping things will start to happen. I believe it will, cause after all, the internet says it will. (The internet never lies, right?)

Monday, August 17

Phase Two of the Potty Training Experience

Today I began allowing Will to wear underwear. And nothing else. He bugs us to no end when he has gone number two, but because diapers are so fabulous, he doesn't care much about being wet.

So, the next step in my "plan" (I use the term loosely here) was to introduce him to the fact that being wet is not so fun. It worked. He didn't like being wet. Unfortunately, neither did my floor.

He did manage to pee in the potty once tonight, and several other times I saw some clear signs that it was coming and he was trying to keep from peeing in his underwear. The typical dance, the typical "boy-holding-his-private-parts" type of thing. However, he also kept from going in the potty as well because as soon as we would let him off of the potty, he'd go.

Brilliant. Onto phase three....and my glass of wine.

Sunday, August 16

Sibling Rivalry

The total lack of posts lately represents the chaos in my household.

Norah, my one year old who came home from Vietnam in December, fights constantly with my son, Will. Will's sensory issues don't make it any easier.

Picture this...a four year old boy with special needs who likes certain toys a certain way and to have his space. Enter in a boisterous one year old who will take anything from anyone and will. let. you. know. in no uncertain terms what she does and does not like. "NO" is by far her favorite word in the English language thus far. Usually yelled rather loudly or whined in the way that only girls can.

Will is totally threatened by having her here. Norah is totally threatened by the attention that Will gets.

I'm barely surviving some days. Most of the time you can find me chanting a mantra, "This too shall pass. This too shall pass."

I only hope it passes before the wine is all gone.

Oh no. She's getting older.

And I'm in trouble.

Caroline (my soon-to-be first grader), and I went school clothes shopping with my mom the other day. Each season, I've been able to buy her clothes and pick what I think is appropriate for a kid her age.

Like I said...until NOW.

She immediately found something she liked and had to pull me over to see.

What did she like, you ask?

Only the kind she picked had words written all over them. Call me old fashioned, but I was thinking...why don't we just invite someone to look at your butt?

Thankfully they were fresh out of her size. I'm totally dreading the fall.

Friday, August 14

Walking for a Cause

See this cute kid? That's my nephew, Brady.

We're walking with Brady's Bunch in October for Cincinnati Walks for Kids. The money we're raising will benefit the Center for Infants and Children with Special Needs at Cincinnati Children's. It's a pretty amazing center, led by Dr. Levin.

If you're local, join us for the walk. It is one of those things I wouldn't miss, having been a part of so many departments of CCHMC with Will. If you feel inclined to donate, please let me know. I'll email you privately. Brady's Bunch was one of the top teams last year in fundraising, and this team is striving to top those numbers.

Thursday, August 13

Chinese Fortune Cookie

Yeah, it's kind of like that.

Sorry for my absence lately. School is starting soon.

Sunday, August 9

I'm a Hopeful Parent. Are you?

Have you heard of Hopeful Parents?

It's a website dedicated to supporting parents of children with special needs. A group of candid and thought-provoking writers blog daily about their individual experiences as Hopeful Parents.

I will be serving as a co-moderator of the future forum. We're looking for beta testers for its new community site -- forum, groups, chat, etc. If you're interested, let me know by dropping a comment below with your email address. If you don't want to include your email address here, just give me a heads up and we'll make other arrangements.Hope you consider becoming involved this safe, hopeful, constructive community.

Friday, August 7

Random Thoughts on the past few days...

My first grader got her hair cut to get ready for the start of school. She looks so grown up. (=sad mom, but in a happy sort of way)

I went to Trader Joe's with all three kids and no one acted up or fought! (=happy mom)

The minute we got home, Will beat N over the head with a plastic bowling pin. (=sad mom)

The kids and I ate an extremely healthy lunch. (=happy mom)

After they went down for a nap, I ate two cookies. (=totally guilty feeling mom)

We bought all of the school supplies needed for first grade. (=happy mom)
Just what does one first grader do with 12 jumbo glue sticks anyway?

I got home and found mail from the school with another supply list for art class. (=sad mom)

I left for the night and went out with a group of moms who also happen to have kids with special needs. In a limo, no less! (=happy mom)

My friend's purse got stolen by some jerk. (=sad mom)

At the moment, my kids are all snuggled together watching a movie. (=totally blessed mom)

Wednesday, August 5

How about some pictures?

My kids' sleep cycles are still a bit off, hence the lack of posts lately. :) Here are some highlights from our trip.

We had a wonderful time and hope to see our California friends again soon!