This blog is just about my life and mostly revolves around my son, Jamie. This blog is a combination of everything, whether it may be a new recipe I tried, a good freebie I found, something funny Jamie said, or feelings I'm having about life in general. There's little rhyme or reason. I'll never win any blogging awards, but I enjoy writing about our lives and I mostly do it for my son. It's so easy to forget moments over the years. I've got all these little tidbits of our life in print and I hope that someday Jamie can enjoy them.

I called this blog Mother of Life, Mother of Loss because of my issues with pregnancy loss and the joy of finally bringing this wonderful person into the world. Truly, I feel the pains of loss, but you won't see too much of that here. I am blessed and I am, above all else, a mother of life.

After all the years of infertility and loss, Matthew and I were blessed with a surprise pregnancy. We were pregnant with twins, but unfortunately, Baby A could not stay with us. Baby B grew into a healthy and happy baby girl that we named Bella Marie. We are so blessed to have two beautiful children.


Saturday, January 31, 2009

Making Dynisha a Blog

After posting all about Dynisha earlier today, I decided to set her up a blog of her own. I think it will be a good way for her to express herself, practice her typing, and learn valuable writing skills. We spent a good chunk of the evening fixing it up and letting her type up her first couple of blogs. I think it turned out really, really cute. I'll definitely monitor it and we've discussed not putting her last name, address, school, phone number, etc. on the blog. She won't be posting any time soon without my assistance anyway. I think it's just so sweet. We named it Bubble Gum & Lipstick. It seemed to suit her.

All About Dynisha



Dynisha really likes to spot herself on my blog. I decided to make a post all about her. I found a questionnaire for her to answer and here it is...

Name? Dynisha Nycole

How old are you? Nine

Siblings? Two, biological siblings that I know of. Two adopted siblings. I have an older biological brother named Christopher who I have not met. I have a sister named Brianna. I was adopted and Matthew is my brother by adoption and Leona is my sister by adoption. I haven't seen Leona in years and don't remember much about her.

Best physical features? I think my hair is beautiful and unique. I love my hair. I wish it was longer, though. When it was long it was really curly and I liked it.

Celebrity look-a-likes? I don't know. I don't think I really look like anyone.

Favourite subjects at school? I have two, art and music.

Place you'd most like to visit? Disney Land

Last CD you bought? Camp Rock

Last book you bought? Witches

Favourite sport? Soccer

Favourite food? Pickles

Weaknesses? I don't like to do chores, but I have to do them anyways.

If you could work with any celebrity who would it be and what would you do? Vanessa Hudgins. I would love to go shopping with her.

Favourite song from your childhood? The Rush from Aly & AJ

Do you like any boys? What do y0u like about him? (giggling) That would have to be a guy at school named Logan. I like that he is very smart. He has short blond hair and blue eyes. He is verrry cute. He is my science partner.

What is your favourite genre of music? Pop

What inspires you? Watching singers on TV makes me want to sing.

Favourite TV shows? Kim Possible, iCarly, and That's So Raven

Favorite Movies? All the High School Musical movies and Lucky Clover

Which famous character are you most like? The way Vanessa acts on High School Musical, that's sort of the way I act.

What are your best qualities? People like the way I treat them. I'm nice to my friends.

What are your worst qualities? I am hyper and sometimes I talk too much.

If you could date anyone famous who would you date? Zac Efron from High School Musical

Pet peeves? I hate it when people scream. I hate it when people drum on things.

What do you want to do when you grow up? I want to be a singer. I'll probably be a doctor half of the time. I want to be married and have a baby and have a big house and a nice car. I want to have a verrry handsome husband.

Exhibit A in My Prosecution of Rough Housing


I hate rough housing. It makes me extremely nervous. I've been told on several occasions that I'm going to turn my son into a wuss.

There is a very good reason that rough housing makes me nervous, though. People get hurt for real. My mother used to rough house with me. It was a painful and humiliating experience. It's one reason why it's so bothersome to me to this day. She would literally torture me until I peed my pants. Now most people don't take things as far as my mother did, but it still goes too far, too often.

Today is a case in point. Jamie and Dynisha were playing in the living room. The exact details of what happened are still vague. Jamie says Dynisha kicked him and Dynisha says that he fell into her leg while they were wrestling. Doesn't matter. It comes down to rough housing gone wrong. Jamie ended up with a nose bleed. Blood dripped on the floor and on the cat, not to mention his body. The picture is of him after being cleaned up and initially thinking that we had managed to stop the bleeding. Now the little fellow is running around with a piece of tissue in his nostril. So I submit this picture as exhibit A toward my prosecution of rough housing. Most exhibits are in emergency situations where pictures can not be taken. Dynisha thought I was nuts for taking this one. Jamie was no longer in pain or crying and the blood wasn't running everywhere any longer. He was just distraught about the blood and actually posed for the picture, wanting his bloody hand to be seen.

Friday, January 30, 2009

One of Those Days

Today was one of those days. I had a headache I couldn't kick. The kids needed something every five seconds. Matt worked late.

Jamie's bus driver reported that he did "pretty well" today, but that he was kicking the back of the seat. I've never known a child who didn't, so I won't complain too much. I did tell him not to do it anymore.

He began fussing for Dynisha straight off the bus. I've explained to him every day that Dynisha comes home after he does. She gets in about an hour later. I gave him the ice cream he missed out on the day before.

Dynisha came home and immediately the two began to fight. Both were hitting. Both were yelling. Did I mention I had a headache? I tried to appease them both, but there was no use. Dynisha locked herself in her room and Jamie cried that he wanted Isha.

Brianna called twice today. I told her to come over. She said she would come over tomorrow. She wants Dynisha to come home. Dynisha does not want to go. I don't know if she genuinely misses her or if she is just afraid that Dynisha is getting something she is not. Brianna does not like to spend time at my house anymore. I can't say I really enjoy having her much anymore, either. She's got attitude and she only comes over if she wants something. She hates my rules, which are not that demanding. Last time her parents dropped her off she was cussing, screaming, and crying so much that I really wanted to smack her. I wouldn't smack her, though. She's only twelve. She had wanted to stay home alone so she could hang out with her friends, who are boys.

The day wasn't all bad. I got my Gymboree order today, which is something I really was looking forward to. I had forgotten it was arriving today and the doorbell had startled me. Both kids rushed to the door and looked out the window. "It's UPS, Laura!!" I kind of felt bad opening up the package in front of Dynisha, since it was all new clothes for Jamie. She's such a bright and bubbly child, though. She seemed just as excited as me as we went through the new additions to Jamie's wardrobe.

When I showed Jamie the "My Mom Rocks" shirt he said, "Mommy doesn't rock. Daddy rocks." I laughed and showed him the "My Dad Rocks" shirt.




I fixed a good size roast for dinner. We ate late hoping Matthew would make it in time. I ate one slice of roast and the kids finished the remainder. Matthew had canned chili when he got home. I couldn't say no, they don't normally eat that well. I did call Matthew before I gave them his portion. He had been eying the roast for days. He said to give it to the kids if they liked it so much. Poor guy.

After dinner my stomach was acting up. Vomiting and a headache are a bad combination. It feels like your brain might explode. If you have never experienced the two together, I suggest you just take my word for it.

After the kids were bathed and ready for bed, I got lots of sweet hugs and kisses. I picked Jamie up and nuzzled him, all sweet and smelling of soap. Mmmm, I love it right after bath time when the kids are settled, that is, when the kids are settled. I enjoy it when they are gentle and snugly. Wrapped in his towel, I call Jamie my baby burrito. I've been calling him that after his bath since he was a baby. Now he says, "No, I'm not a baby burrito. I'm Jamie." He laughs and we have a play argument about it.

Now the house is quiet. Jamie is sleeping with Dynisha. Matthew is watching TV, and I'm taking a few moments to blog about the day while I do more of the never ending laundry. They look so sweet and peaceful. It's easy to forget the trials of the day when you look at those sleeping angels.

Mostly, tonight, I'm thinking how lucky I am to have these days. I'm thinking how blessed I am and how fleeting life can be. I'm thinking how much I love my baby and my little sister-in-law. I'm thinking that I don't know what I would do if anything happened to them. I guess today was a really good day.

Please Post a Comment

I saw a post on Girly Dos about a family that has a little girl that is dying from cancer. There is a blogger who is giving money to this family. They will give $1.00 for each comment that is left on the post. Please visit the blog and post a comment. They are doing the donating, not you.

http://theextraordinaryordinary.blogspot.com/2009/01/we-get-by-with-little-help-from-our.html


I visited the blog belonging to Tuesday's family. You can visit it by clicking on her picture below. The story is hear wrenching. The last post is of a family preparing to let go and building their final precious memories. I cried as I read the sweet and sad posts of a mother who must say goodbye much too soon.



Update: There was a simple post on their blog tonight...

Tuesday Fiona Whitt - October 11, 2006 - January 30, 2009

Free Diet Dr. Pepper


Matthew's favorite drink is Diet Dr. Pepper. In fact, it's about the only thing he will drink. When I saw a coupon offer for a free diet Dr. Pepper, I jumped on it. Just click the picture.

God Gave Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergren


We bought this book before Jamie was even born. We read it to my growing belly several times. On the first day that my husband and I got to spend time with our precious newborn, in the nursing area of the NICU, we brought the book. The plan was for Matthew to read it while I nursed Jamie.


"Good night sweet child," Mama said as she tucked Little Cub in.

But Little Cub wasn't quite ready to go to sleep. "Mama, where did I come from?" she asked.

"From God," her mother answered. "Your papa and I were alone, and we wanted a baby."

That was as far as Matthew got. We both started crying. Not gentle weeping, but full on heaving sobs. We couldn't read the book for months. My eyes fill with tears even now reading those words. We did want a baby so bad.

Jamie didn't have the patience for this book for several years. It is pretty long. Now he enjoys it. He looks at me quizzically on the occasions that my eyes fill with tears. "Mommy is just so happy that God gave us you."

Change

Changing habits and ways of doing things is difficult for anyone. We all get used to doing things one way and if someone comes in and makes a change, it's really hard. Dynisha is learning this right now. It's a lot of little things. Most she doesn't mind, but others are harder. Putting your clothes in your own laundry basket and the towels in the bathroom laundry basket. Take your coat and book bag to your room, don't drop them by the front door. Put your dishes in the sink. You can't leave them in your room until I clean up and find them.

Yesterday, after letting her relax and play awhile after school, I asked if she had homework. "Yes, I have a book to read, but I've already read it. I just need you to sign the paper." I made her read it out load again. She read it to Jamie while I listened. I told her that I would never sign that she did something unless I witnessed her doing it. She said, "Momma says I have to read to myself. She can't stand to listen to me read. She says it bothers her nerves." How sad. Now she has an audience who really appreciates her reading. Jamie sat in rapture. He pretty much idolizes her and he loves books.

She lost the pink cup that she was drinking from the night before. I made her go find it. She pitched a little bit of a fit, "What if I can't find it?!" I assured her that she could. She stomped around the house a bit, but as soon as she actually looked for it she found it and I put it in the dishwasher.

She loves her room. I gave her an alarm clock and told her she could start getting herself up in the morning. We all get up at the same time, but I think it's good for kids to be responsible for their own daily routines. She complained because Matt had some scary skull as a background on the computer in her room and it sat beside her alarm clock. She said it scared her in the mornings. I quickly googled "girly backgrounds" and found a pretty pink floral she was happy with. This morning she hit the snooze button three times, but she got herself up.

Getting her to do chores is not a chore at all. I suspect this will change eventually. Right now she is determined to please us. I imagine once she is really comfortable (assuming her mom doesn't change her mind) she will start balking. I could be wrong. Right now it's really pleasant. I told her, "I'm going to clean the big bathroom. You and Jamie can clean the little bathroom." She smiled sweetly, "You don't have to clean the big bathroom. I can do both."

Trouble on the Bus

When the bus pulled up yesterday afternoon I eagerly walked to the door to gather my precious boy. "Laura," the bus driver said with a look of dismay on her face, "Jamie got in trouble on the bus today." Oh, no. He had hit another little boy with his puppy hat. When the aid had told him no he looked at her and hit the little boy again, laughing. Great. "This is the first time," the aid said, "but I said no." she gestured with a pointing finger, "and he did it anyway to spite me." All I could do was apologize for his behavior. I wanted to say I would take care of this, but I held my tongue because I didn't know if I could stop this. He might hit on the bus again tomorrow.

I gathered him off the bus. I wasn't sure how to handle this. Was it right to grab him up and give him the normal hugs and kisses, tell him how much I love him and laugh all the way to the house? No, that wasn't quite right. What was the right way to handle this? "Why did you hit Christian with your puppy hat?" I asked him, leaning down so I could look him in the eye. "I was just playing." I told him that this was not a nice way to play and he could not hit. He deftly tried to change the subject. I stopped in the road and knelt down in front of him. "You can't hit. It is bad. Do you understand?" He replied, "Yes" and we continued to the house. Once home he wanted ice cream. "Little boys who hit can't have ice cream." He fussed a little, but eventually accepted that he would not get any. Somehow it doesn't seem like enough. I have little confidence that he'll remember this the next day. I have little confidence he'll remember this in five minutes.

The problem is that he thinks this is a manner of play. Of course he does. Throughout his life others have played with him like this. I've tried to stop it but so many people think that this is an acceptable way of playing, especially with little boys. My mother and her husband do it, the girls do it, and my father-in-law does it. I envision how my mother encourages Jamie to hit her husband, "Hit him, Jamie. Hit him harder!" and my desperate pleas to stop, "Mom, I don't want him to hit. Jamie no hitting, it's not nice!" It seems I'm the only one around who doesn't play like this. Perhaps he thinks that I'm the one who is wrong. Mommy just doesn't get it.

I don't want him to be "that" little boy. It's moments like this when I feel woefully inadequate as a parent. I honestly don't know what more to do. I have always told him not to hit and punished him for hitting. He's getting mixed messages.

This morning he ran after Dynisha and slapped her hard on the stomach, like he was tagging her, then he ran off laughing. I grabbed him and again told him, "No hitting. That is not a nice way to play. Do you like to be hit?" He shook his head, "Other people don't like to be hit, either." No time for a time out. We have to rush for coats and book bags. It's time for the bus. I say a silent prayer, "Please, please let him be a good boy on the bus today."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Macaroni and Cheese

Obviously, I should be in bed because I just keep posting little meaningless drivel. I thought of a funny kidism that I hadn't shared, though. Okay, it might not be funny to everyone, but I find it quite humorous. These are the things that are so easy to forget over time.

Jamie has really bad dermatitis (or some flaking condition) on his head. It has a yellow color. We've been forced to start washing his hair with dandruff shampoo, which is really frightening because I don't want to burn his eyes. He's not really good at holding his head back. He always wants to lean forward. We're managing, though.

Every day Jamie feels his head for the little rough patches on his scalp. When he finds one he insists I check it out for him, "Mommy, look at the macaroni and cheese."

Cat-proofing

Well, I can tell it's time to update the baby-proofing in the kitchen. The drawer latches have gotten broken over the years and I never even put latches on the upper cabinets.

It's not my son that I need to baby proof for this time. It my wild and crazy cats. I'm up late getting laundry done and the cats are having a field day. They are actually opening cabinet doors and kitchen drawers, climbing in and out. That's just great. Dirty little cat paws all over my dishes and silverware!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Good Day (For the Most Part)

Today was a pretty good day. Jamie woke up before anyone else. He said he didn't want to go to school at first, but then seemed to forget that he didn't want to go. Matthew loaded him and Dynisha into the van and I watched anxiously out the window to see if there would be a struggle when the bus arrived. We gave him his Eeyore to carry and see if that helped.

He got on the bus with only a slight hesitation. Matthew told me that in the van he told him that he loved Mommy and missed Mommy. What a heart breaker. Dynisha pepped him up about school and told him how they would go to school together next year. She said she would walk him to class.

When I went to get him off the bus in the afternoon it was sleeting. I had to stand in the icy rain for about 15 minutes. I thought ahead of time and brought a blanket to wrap Jamie in when I got him off the bus. I folded it as tight as I could and tucked it under my arm to keep it as dry as possible. When the bus finally arrived I was pretty well soaked and had little ice pellets stuck to my sleeves. The bus driver opened the doors and invited me in a little to get warm. Jamie came and hugged me. He was all smiles. He asked me where Dynisha was and I told him that she was still at school. He accepted this without fuss. I wrapped him in the blanket and walked him home. It's only three houses down the street, but it was freezing in the sleet. He told me all the way home how much he loved me, "I love you apple. I love you cupcake. I love you ice cream. Mommy, you're my best. I love you banana."

We came in and I asked him about his school day and he actually told me a few things about his day. He still wouldn't tell me what he had for lunch. I like to be sure he's eating. I think I'll ask his teacher if he's eating okay. He keeps telling me, "I don't eat. I just play." I suspect this is not true, but I better check.

When Dynisha got home they played on the computer for a little while and I called them to help with some housework. The two of them helped me clean some of the floors and the bathroom sink. I finished preparing the guest room for Dynisha and she is sleeping in her own room tonight. She is happy, but Jamie is not. He cried himself to sleep saying, "I want Isha. I want Isha!"

He asked to go back to Sprout Studio today. I tried to explain that it was gone so we couldn't go back. He didn't quite get the concept. He didn't cry or anything. I just think he believes that I'm telling him a fib.



The icing on the cake today was getting his drum shirt in the mail. This was our favorite shirt last winter. We all adored it. I had looked for it on ebay at the beginning of winter but it was priced outside of what I was willing to pay each time I found it. Every time I didn't get it I was sorry, but thought I would eventually find it at the right price. I quit trying to get it months ago. On a whim I checked for it again and there it was for $10.00 or best offer. I offered $8.00 and got it ($11.00 shipped). When I opened the package and showed it to Jamie he grabbed it out of my hands and hugged it, "My drum shirt!" He wanted to put it on immediately but I told him that he could wear it to school tomorrow.

*The picture is from last year. I kind of miss his long hair.

Curious George Feeds the Animals by Margret & H.A. Rey


This is probably Jamie's current favorite. He loves the zoo (or anything having to do with animals). He loves Curious George, too. Matthew's lovey when he was little was a Curious George doll. The new Curious George cartoons are a lot more captivating than their original counterparts. Jamie really enjoys them, so having a Curious George book is even better.

This book is about how curious George gets in trouble for feeding the animals at the zoo. As always, George redeems himself by saving the day, catching an escaped bird and mending the wire to his cage.

Jamie will read this book over and over again. What he can't read, he makes up for in memorization. He could probably tell you this story in his sleep.

Amazon didn't have this book pictured, but clicking on the picture will still take you to where you can purchase it at Amazon.com.

Sprout Studio


























We took Jamie to Sprout Studio yesterday. He really had fun. They have many play areas with different activities. Jamie spent about an hour and a half at the water table. He just loves water. We finally talked him into checking out another play area. He had a lot of fun playing at the "market". He filled baskets with lots of fruit and enjoyed putting numbers in the cash register. He even served other children and parents food. He was interacting very well. He ended up spending an hour there. The rest of the play areas got about thirty minutes of his attention. Some were neglected altogether. There was an x-ray viewer with real animal x-rays to look at and he found that interesting. He enjoyed playing in the racing area, but he didn't ride on the cars much. What he enjoyed was the brightly colored cones and the road signs. He said he loves the STOP sign. He usually loves doing crafts, but he wouldn't even go in the craft room. I was hoping he would make me a souvenir. I guess he figured he could do that any old time at home.

I found myself thinking about McKalah and wishing she were there with us. I think she would really have enjoyed it.


I wish I could take him there again. It was a fabulous place and it only cost us $9.00 to get in. It usually costs $10.00, but they gave us a $1.00 discount since it was Jamie's first visit. Unfortunately, they are closing their doors for good after Saturday. What a shame.



Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Free Valentines Cards

This is a truly awesome freebie. Free photo Valentine Cards. When they say free, they mean free. I didn't even have to pay for shipping! I had a hard time figuring out which picture to use but ended up choosing one from our trip to Sprout Studio. I had a picture of him eating a giant lollipop I wanted to use, but someone had turned the resolution down on my camera and the picture quality was not good enough. Darn it.

Jump on this offer fast, though. It ends February 1st.


Is the Honeymoon Over?

Jamie refused to get on the bus today. He said he didn't want to go to school. He refused to put his feet down. The driver said we couldn't force him to get on. We drove him to school. He still didn't want to go, but didn't put up too much of a fight. When we got to his room we had to pull him in. At first he refused to leave our sides, but soon was distracted and went off to play. We talked to his teacher in the hallway. She said he's doing well. She's using a weighted vest on him during group to help him during group. He hasn't been napping, but she's giving him letters and numbers to play with during nap time and he stays on his mat and doesn't disturb the other children. She says this is perfectly acceptable. Many children at his age don't nap. It's just important that they rest. I agree.

She said she's not surprised he's acting this way. As she puts it, the honeymoon stage is over. Now he realizes that he must go every day and the novelty has worn off. I must admit that I am surprised. I must also admit that I'm glad we put him in preschool and that we are dealing with this now and not next year in kindergarten. I really don't think anything bad is happening at school. Still, the mother in me says to keep my eyes and ears open for any signs of trouble.

She said that she's also not surprised that he's having issues on the bus. The bus has a lot of stimulus and he gets overstimulated. It's a lot to handle for him. She says that what does surprise her is how well he does in the class room. There's a lot of commotion, some kids who have melt downs, etc. So far Jamie has not really reacted to this. She expected him to be overstimulated in the classroom.

Jamie will be having an assessment next week, I believe she said. After that they will call Matthew and I in for a conference to discuss Jamie. I wanted to ask if she thought Jamie was on the Autism Spectrum, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. It's not because I'm afraid that he is. I'm fine with that. He's Jamie, with all his quirks and unique ways of thinking and doing things. I love him and if they want to put a "label" on what Jamie is that helps others understand his quirks and his way of learning and interacting in this world, then that is fine by me. Even my husband, who had a difficult time in the beginning with that idea, agrees with me on this. I am anxiously awaiting what they will say. I'm just ready for someone to say what they think is going on with Jamie.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Growing and Growing

Usually, Jamie's clothing size changes right on cue. This winter was no exception. As the leaves began to change some long sleeve shirts and pants were beginning to be required. The shirt sleeves hit halfway down his hands in the size four and made me doubt my purchase, but the year before had been the same. The pants were about right in length,maybe a hair too long and needed cuffing depending on the brand, but he swam in any waistband that was not adjustable. So winter moved in and his clothes began hitting just the right places.

Something different has happened this winter, though. His shirts are fitting just fine, but his legs are getting longer. The size four pants I bought just months earlier are beginning to creep up toward his ankles. I bought a pair of pants from Gymboree in a size five, sure they would be too big since Gymboree tends to run big. No. They fit just perfect. I can't believe it. My son has grown two pant sizes in just a few short months!

The Invisible Moose by Dennis Haseley

This is a lovely story that Jamie got from the Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. This book is a story of courage, love, and seeing the true beauty inside.

Here's a nice site with learning activities related to this book.

http://www.vanderbiltchildrens.com/uploads/documents/bfb_ras_the_invisible_moose_-_d.pdf

If you have not signed your baby up for Dolly Parton's Imagination Library and you live in an area where it is available, you should do it immediately. Kids get a book a month until they turn 5 years old for free. Everyone is eligible. This is not an income based program. To sign up your child go to http://www.dollysimaginationlibrary.com/splash_usa.php.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Dynisha Packs Her Bags


It's been a hectic weekend, but a good one, despite a house full of stuffy and runny noses. Dynisha walked to our house Saturday and wanted to spend the night. Her house is very full. Her grandmother and her great grandfather just moved in. She has to share a room with her grandmother. It's not an ideal situation. She asked us if she could come live with us. We told her she could if it was okay with her mother.

Matthew went and talked to his mom and she said that it was fine with her as long Dynisha came home once a week. So it looks like we've added a member to our household. We'll fix her up a room over the next few days. We have plenty of spare bedrooms. Jamie has two himself, but we're going to give her the guest room, which is larger. Tonight she is sleeping in Jamie's room like she usually does when she spends the night. While the kids are at school I will fix up the guest room for her as best I can. Right now it's full of Christmas stuff we haven't hauled back up to the attic yet. The hard thing is that the room doesn't have a closet. We wanted it for a workout room and guest room combo so we put a murphy bed in the closet. For now I've cleared out space in our hall closet for her clothes. If this truly turns out to be a permanent situation we'll definitely redo the room.

Dynisha is really happy. I can tell she's also worried we won't really let her stay. She pulled me aside and asked if I thought we'd get along when she moved in. I told her that we wouldn't always. They'll be times when she's mad at us and times we're mad at her, but that we love her and that won't change and we won't make her leave. I explained about how things would be different with her visiting versus her living here (rules, chores, homework, etc.). We are also all aware that her mother can change her mind at any point.

My Head's Falling

I had to share a quick kidism. The other night when we were driving home from the grocery store Jamie was very sleepy. It's always cute to see his head drop and him fight to keep awake. I asked him if he was sleepy and he told me, "No, I'm not sleepy. My head's falling." A few seconds later he was fast asleep.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie


I decided to try my hand at a home made chicken pot pie for supper this evening. I don't know why I've never made one before. It didn't turn out as beautiful as I would like. I messed up the lattice crust, but it tasted pretty good. My husband (who generally will not eat any cooked vegetables) even ate a small mixing bowl full. He did pick out the peas. I don't think it was bad for my first try, mostly winging the recipe.



I made the chicken stock a couple of days ago. I boiled a chicken with vegetables in a big pot and when it was done I let the stock cook down so the flavor was stronger. I drained it and put it in the refrigerator intending to make chicken and dumplings with it.



For the inside I sliced carrots, celery, potatoes, and added frozen peas to the stock. I cubed chicken and seasoned with basil, pepper, garlic, and parsley. I added a little milk then mixed all purpose flour with a little bit of oil and added it.



I made the crust with 2 cups of self-rising flour, 1/4 cup of canola oil, 1/2 cup of softened butter, and 2/3 cup of milk. I rolled it out and pressed it into a casserole dish, I poured my mixture into the dish and then I cut some dough into strips to make the lattice crust.


I baked it at 425 for 30 minutes.

Homework


Jamie has his first "homework" assignment. He has to gather up items around the house to create a snow person. The project is based on the book Snowballs, by Lois Ehlert, that they read at school this week. It sounds like lots of fun.

Jamie told me when I pulled out his communication folder that his snowman was in there. There was no snowman, but a little paper lunch bag to collect the items to make a snowman with!

The teacher also sent a note telling me some of the things he did today. He got to ride trikes outside today. When I asked him he said, "I just played." I asked him what he ate for lunch, he said, "I don't. I just played." Little turkey.

Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert


Jamie got this book from school last Friday and he's really enjoyed it. It's a very simple book. Jamie enjoys pointing out the colors and the vegetables. I read it to him and then he goes through the book and tells me the story again. He's beginning to recognize the names of the vegetables. This book makes me really want to plant a small garden this spring so he can grow his very own vegetable soup.

I Don't Want to Go to School

This morning Jamie did not want to go to school. This is the first time that he hasn't been excited and anxious to go. He hugged me and didn't want to let go. He told me he wanted to stay with Mommy, that he missed me. I hugged him and asked him why he didn't want to go, but he just repeated that he missed me. He knows how to tug at Mommy's heart strings.

I must admit I'm concerned, though. It seems uncharacteristic of him. I wonder if he got in trouble at school or if something happened yesterday. I can't get him to tell me about school. He won't tell me what he did at school and the only friend he will tell me he has is a nonverbal child. I wonder if he's making the adjustment well. I wonder if the other children are accepting him. I went ahead and emailed his teacher to find out. I hate for her to think I'm a nutso mom who is going to bug her to death, but I must make sure everything is okay if my child won't tell me himself.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Book of the Day

I'm starting a new segment of my blog called Book of the Day. I'm going to let Jamie pick out which book is his favorite for the day and share his favorites here so one day he can remember all the precious books he loved. I remember many of my favorite books all the way back to before I started Kindergarten. My all time favorite was Johnny Appleseed. I'm ashamed to admit that though this was my favorite book as a child and still inspires me to put apples on my Christmas tree, I have not purchased this book for Jamie.





I also vividly remember the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books, by Betty MacDonald, which I do have quite a collection of. The librarian at my elementary school read many of them to us and I must have check out each one at least a dozen times.



Reading has meant so much to me throughout my life. Reading has taught me, entertained me, and inspired me. I hope reading brings as much joy to my sons life as it has my own.




* I got the pictures of the books from Amazon.com and linked them to their description and purchase pages.



And what an appropriate day to find this fabulous freebie... a free scholastic book! Go to http://www.scholastic.com/littlescholastic/freebook/index.htm

to get yours!

The Bus

Jamie discovered his breath was visible this morning. It was funny. He kept going, "hhhaaa, hhhaaa" to make puffs of vapor appear in the air. I was worried he would get cold and very bored waiting for his bus. Apparently visible breath is extremely entertaining, though. He also ran up and down the hill at the end of the street. There was still a small dusting of snow left on it and Jamie found it amusing.

When the bus finally arrived I quickly ushered him to the door. He didn't want to go up. He wanted me, but they said I could not take him to his seat. With some coaxing the aide guided him up the steps and I waved as they buckled him into his seat. I was glad to see him smiling and pointing at me, undoubtedly telling the aide, "Look, Mommy is waving."

I wish I had taken my camera with me to the bus stop. Maybe tomorrow I will. I should have gotten his picture yesterday when he got off the bus to document his first ride in a school bus. I hate it when I miss milestones. Some people may not think this picture worthy, but I take pictures of everything I can. You only get one shot at the firsts.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tardy


I was nervous about putting Jamie on the bus for the first time today. It turns out that I had nothing to be nervous about because the bus didn't show up! Jamie was so mad at me. He said, "Mommy, you missed it! You lost my bus!!" It turns out the school didn't get him on the bus roster for today and that's why it didn't come. Try explaining that to a very disappointed four year old. I got him to school, but he was late and got his first tardy. He'll get to ride the bus home. I kind of hate that. I wanted to check out the bus and the car seats in it before I let him ride it, but I won't be there to do that.

On my way home I stopped by the dollar store and picked up some Valentines odds and ends. I'd like to send some small goody bags to school on Valentines Day. I wanted to check out the goodies before they got picked over too badly. They had some cute foam craft sets, which seem like just the ticket. I've got to keep my goodies hidden from Jamie or he'll want them right now. He loves hearts. They're right up there with eggs. Too bad they don't have any heart eggs!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Snow Day

Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow.


Today we awoke to lovely surprise. Snow. There was no snow on the ground during the early morning hours, but by 10:00 there was a light dusting on the grass. That's a lot for us now days. We haven't had a real snow fall since I was a little girl. I took Jamie out and he played in the snow forever. He really had a blast. He sang about snow. He attempted making a snow angel. I had to force him back indoors since I didn't really have what I consider appropriate clothing for the weather. However, in the afternoon he talked me in to going out for round two.

The downside is that school has already been called off for tomorrow due to ice. I didn't find out until after Jamie went to bed. He's very excited about school tomorrow. He was supposed to ride the bus for the first time and it they had "Presidential Pajama Day" scheduled. We bought him a bland new pair of warm pajamas with Lightening McQueen from Cars on them. He calls them his speed pajamas. I'm not sure if the school will postpone the event or cancel it. I'll pack the pajamas in his book bag just in case when he goes back to school. I know he will be very disappointed when he gets up in the morning.


video

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Clothing Tags - I don't want to ruin my childs clothes!

The one thing I hate about sending Jamie to school is writing his name in his clothes. Since I resale his clothes the following year, writing his name in them is a pretty big issue. I found this place on line at www.stuckonyou.biz that has adorable labels that are pretty affordable in my opinion. You can get 50 personalized labels for $18.95. I found a promo code online GOCITYKIDS that dropped that price down to $15.60. Shipping is $4.95. They have lots of other personalized items that are very useful, too. I really like this place.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Class Newsletter

Today the teacher sent out a class news letter. Apparently they send one home at the end of each week to tell you what they did that week, what is going on in the coming week, and send reminders.

The kids read the book The Jacket I Wear in the Snow. They learned about Martin Luther King, Jr. They had a party today to celebrate his birthday. They learned about Rosa Parks.

Tuesday they are going to learn about the president and have a presidential pajama party. Jamie doesn't have winter pajamas. He wears shorts pajamas to bed. That means I'm going to have to go buy him a cute pair of pajamas for Tuesday.

The most precious thing was at the end of the newsletter...

"We have a new friend who has joined our class this week. His name is Jamie so you will hear the children talking about their new friend Jamie. We are excited to have Jamie and his family as part of our preschool family."

Two Free Years of Parents Magazine


I got an email a few moments ago from valuemags.com. You can get 2 years of Parents magazine for free. There are no strings attached, no credit card required, and no survey to fill out. Don't miss out on this one. I've gotten free magazines from them before. This is truely without strings. Just click on the picture.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Preschool Day Two

He babbled on and on about school throughout the evening. Obviously he had a very positive experience. This morning when I got him ready he broke my heart just a tiny bit. He said, "Mommy? Don't leave today. I lost you at school." I told him that Mommy's couldn't stay at school. I asked him if he wanted to go even if Mommy left and he said that he did. Today when I left I made sure he really knew I was leaving. I think that maybe yesterday he was distracted when I kissed him goodbye and was surprised when he realized I was gone. I don't think he was upset or anything. I just think he was surprised. Who can blame him. I hardly ever leave him anywhere, much less a strange place with strange people.

He was a little disturbed yesterday because he left his Eeyore at school. We have three of them so it wasn't an issue. He was excited when he got into bed because he thought we went and got his Eeyore at school. When we got there this morning it was sitting in his cubby waiting for him.

He was happy to get to school and immediately put his coat, hat, and bag up in his cubby himself and put his communication folder in the appropriate basket. His teacher said he did pretty good following directions and everything yesterday. He did have a little trouble staying in his seat for long periods of time, but was not disruptive. I gave him big hugs and kisses and made sure he knew I was leaving and he went back to playing and there was no problem.

When we picked him up I got a big hug and kiss. He said he had fun and had a friend named Jack. He said he ate tomatoes. He said McKalah was gone today. He did not pee his pants.

I'm watching McKalah and Hayden for the next few days, maybe longer. My sister-in-law is having a hysterectomy. At least I'll have a little baby to cuddle while I'm missing my little boy.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

First School Day



I was amazed when we got him to the school. He acted just a little shy going in the doors. The staff that had met him months ago at the evaluation remembered him by name. It seemed like everyone already knew it. They have much better memories than I do. I don't even remember meeting all of them. He was all smiles, even when he wasn't quite ready to talk. He took one of his alternate Eeyores (his transitional object or lovey) and he only needed him for the first few minutes.

Matthew and I stayed for about half an hour, mostly for our own benefit. Jamie only needed me long enough to tour the room and see all the fun stuff there is to do. His teacher showed him the easel with letters and numbers and he began lining letters up on the book case. After that he put them away and went to play a shape game at the table with other children. I managed to pull him away long enough to get a goodbye kiss.

I thought I was going to make it without any tears. Honestly, I was happy to see him having so much fun and I didn't have many fears about leaving. Even so, as we walked down the hall to leave the building I felt the tears well up. I tried to stifle them until I got to the van, but it was no use. They came and I had no control over it.

The house was so quiet today while we waited for time to go get him. We had less than three hours to wait. It really did seem like a long time. Maybe at some point I will enjoy some time to myself, but right now I don't really like it. I don't quite know what to do with myself. I'm glad Matthew is on vacation this week. I was so glad when the time finally came to go get my baby. We got to the school and they brought him out to me. I gave him hugs and loaded him into the van. He told me about his day at school.

He had bacon, eggs, and milk for breakfast. He had hamburger and french fries with milk for lunch. He played cookie shapes game, went outside to play, somebody pushed him but he didn't cry, he read books, they did music, he saw McKalah, and based on his description of a loud noise, fire, and going outside I think they had a fire drill.

In his communication folder was a note...


She included a paper with six pictures of Jamie taken throughout the day.



















I was worried he might wet his pants and sent two changes of clothes. When I picked him up he was wearing the same outfit I took him in. He did pee his pants on the way home, though.

I wish I knew more details about his day. Did he participate well? Did he do as he was told? Did he get along with the other children? Did he try to stay by himself or did he play good with a group? Did he take to any specific child? Did he need Eeyore? Did he cry any? Did he show any particular strengths or weaknesses?

Can't I just set up a webcam and watch him live all day long?????

First Day of School Morning Thoughts

I'm up right now, getting ready to get him up. I was fine about this, even a little excited, until on the way to Walmart Matthew said something like, "I just keep thinking about if he falls down and gets hurt or something and he cries for his Mommy or Daddy and we won't be there." Suddenly, both of us were brushing the tears from our eyes. Somehow that thought actually hadn't entered my mind, but now a vivid picture of my little boy crying for me and me not being there to hug him and stroke his hair like I always do is almost too much to bear. I've got to get that picture out of my head. I got on to Matt for telling me that! I could have gone his whole life without thinking about him crying and me not there to comfort.

I sewed little tags in his clothes and packed his backpack last night. It's surreal. The little backpack he's using is one we picked up on sale at K-Mart three years ago. It's a football backpack. Many of you know our nickname for him has always been Football. I remember so vividly when we went in there was a sale display and there was this football backpack on sale for $2.00. Matthew just had to have it. He said Jamie would carry it his first day of school. I didn't believe he really would, but for $2.00, I wasn't worried about it. Today, he will carry that backpack to school.

Well, it's time to get this show on the road! At least he gets to start on a short day. He goes to school from 8:15 to 11:45 today. Wednesday is a short day in our school system, not just the preschool.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Good First Impression


It went really well. She actually specializes in children with autism. There is a nonverbal child with autism in his class. She talked about not fitting the kids into the class, but fitting the class to the kids. She talked about nurturing their special abilities and catching them up with anything they are behind on, but letting them take the lead. Her class room is very structured, but there is free time. She's prepared for children like Jamie who might get over stimulated. She has a large trash can (that's never been used for trash of course) that is wrapped in carpet for children who might need a few minutes in some small space to calm themselves. She has a corner that's just for children to get away if they are over stimulated. It has a swing for kids that might need to rock to calm down. There is a big cushioned chair for children that need to be separated for any reason. It's kind of like a time out chair, but it's not a punishment. For example, if a child were acting up during an activity, she would allow the child to sit in the chair until he/she is ready to participate. She says children are never left in the chair for more than three minutes. It really sounds as if he's in the best possible classroom for his needs.

The bus has child safety seats with 5 point harnesses. I told her that I was concerned about his height and weight. Some of you may know that we had a very difficult time finding a car seat to accommodate him. She assured me that they had seats that would adjust to any child. On top of the driver there are 2 aides on the bus.

I can visit the school any time I want, announced or unannounced. I can bring treats if I want. I can join him for lunch or spend the whole day. She said that the only time she would suggest to parent that they should not visit was if the child wasn't coping with the parent visiting very well. Then she would discuss this with the parent. Usually, this is a temporary problem and that when the child is well acclimated to the class would no longer be an issue.

She said she would give me his class schedule. I would know what he did every day. There's a folder that goes back and forth to home and school called the communication folder. In that she will keep me updated on him and that I can do the same. She said it's even for the smallest things, like if he didn't sleep well the night before I can leave a note so that the teacher will know what's going on if he's especially cranky that day.

She came in and gave him two books. One of them was a Curious George book. He had a different one and when he saw it he had to run and get his to show her. He started pulling lots of books. That definitely got them off to the right start. She had some paperwork I needed to fill out and we had Jamie play on the computer while we handled the paperwork part of the visit and she answered my questions. Then she took pictures of Jamie and a few of us as a family for his record. Then she sat in the floor and read books with him and I got some pics and a little mpeg video of the two of them together. I was really impressed with their rapport. It's a little unusual for Jamie to develop a quick rapport like that. I'm very pleased.

This week Matthew is on vacation and we'll be driving Jamie to school. He will start riding the bus on Monday.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Preparing for a Teacher's Visit

Well, tomorrow Jamie's first teacher will be visiting our home. I'm quite nervous. I can't believe that he will be starting school. I just gave birth to him a few months ago, right?

Today will be a day for mad cleaning. I want to make a good first impression. My mind is in a frenzy trying to decide what kind of snacks are appropriate for the occasion. Should I just have a plate of cookies prepped or is this a veggie platter kind of moment? She might not care for any snack at all but I feel that I have to have something to offer. Don't even get me started on my dilemma about what we should wear! I just pray Jamie keeps his clothing on. At home he likes to be naked, at least from the waist down. I wonder if she'll think I'm really strange when I pop out with the camera?

Here's the questions I came up with to ask her tomorrow...

How many children are in the class?

How many teachers aids?

What kind of discipline and/or reward system is used?


What kind of curriculum?

What kind of snacks? (Can parents send things like cupcakes or treats, like for Valentines Day?)

How long has teacher been working with preschool age children?

Does she have any experience with children who have autism spectrum disorders or sensory integration disorders?

What is the class schedule? (What do they do during the course of the day? How structured is it?)

Are there written reports on child’s progress? Are there parent teacher conferences?

Can parents visit? If they can how does that need to be arranged? Can they come for lunch? Can they observe the class?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Happy Holidays & New Year 2009

Christmas was wonderful this year. Jamie had a really good time. The lights delighted him to no end. I meant to put up a lot more than I did, but it was so cold we didn't. It's probably a really good thing because I already have qualms with he electricity bill.

We went to my mother's house for Christmas the weekend before Christmas. My brothers both brought their families. It was actually fairly pleasant. We had spaghetti and Jamie got a toy guitar, Chutes and Ladders, Hi Ho Cherry O, a castle craft set, a singing Eeyore, and some other miscellaneous odds and ends I can't quite recall.
Christmas Eve we went to my Uncle Ed and Aunt Magaline's family's house. Jamie got a Dinosaur game for his smart cycle. He loves his smart cycle. That was a good Christmas purchase from last year that is still in regular use. After we left there we went to Matt's parents and got together with Matthew's side of the family. We budgeted Christmas pretty tight this year, but I made lots of goodies and gave them as presents. I got the girls both necklaces and a CD. They were pretty happy. Matthew got a few pairs of pants and I got a new coffee maker. It is awesome. I love it. Jamie got a car that plays YMCA and he loves it. He also got 2 pairs of pants, a belt, a stuffed dog, and a few small cars. One of the pants has a fire truck that lights up on the leg and Jamie just adores that pair of pants. I think I'll have to go to Walmart and get him some more light up clothing.


When we got home I made more goodies and Jamie went to bed quite late. I prepped food for Christmas dinner. I had to redecorate the Christmas tree since the cats had completely demolished it. I salvaged as many pipe cleaners as I could and put them on Jamie's little tree in his room and decorated it. I got all the presents wrapped and under the tree. We locked the cats in the garage to prevent destruction. I left Jamie's "animal eggs" unwrapped as the gift from Santa and Matthew and I dragged ourselves to bed.

Christmas morning I begrudgingly got up (after only a couple hours of sleep) and began preparing the 22 pound turkey that our dinner was to feature. I forgot to make the pan of cornbread the night before and was delayed a little more than I had wanted to be having to prepare that for the stuffing. I broke in my new coffee maker and went in and tried to drag Jamie out of bed. Unfortunately, at his young age, the fact that Santa came apparently isn't motivation enough to get up. It took a few tries but he finally got out of bed around 9:30am.

The first thing he saw was his animal eggs, of course. He was so excited. It took another hour before we could even coax him to look at his stocking. Once he had those animal eggs he did not care about opening his gifts. I had filled his stocking with a viewmaster and Clifford discs for it, a plastic candy cane filled with candy coated chocolate pieces, a snickers ornament egg, a Christmas pop up book, a a bundle of suckers.



It took most of the day to get his presents opened. As he opened each one he lost any interest in opening any others. He just loved each present so much that he didn't care if he got anything else. It just goes to show how little it really takes to make children happy.



He got plenty of games, which is the only thing he really asked for. We got him a few clothes, some puzzles, blocks, a doctors kit, and a skateboard. He had been pretending to ride a skateboard, after seeing it in a cartoon, for months. When I saw a "my first skateboard" at Walmart I had to get it. He has really enjoyed it.

We had quite an ensemble for Christmas dinner. Mom and her husband, Charlie were the first to arrive. Well, I find Charlie useless for most things, but he saved the day and fixed my main bathroom before our other guests arrived. Jamie had flushed a nail brush down the toilet and it was wedged good. We had attempted to remove it, Matt's dad had attempted to remove it. In the end we thought we were going to have to replace the toilet. Somehow Charlie managed to get it out. The only lasting damage is to our bathtub where we put the toilet when we were trying to flush out the brush. I was glad we didn't have to all share our small back bathroom. Next to arrive was Matthew's parents with Dynisha and Brianna. Last was my brother James, his wife, Rachel, Rachel's aunt, McKalah, and Hayden. We were already beginning to make plates when James' family arrived. I made stuffing, both in the turkey and out, real mashed potatoes, dumplings made in the turkey drippings, gravy, green bean casserole, and cranberry sauce. It was lovely. I pulled the table into the living room and set up a folding table in there as well so we could all sit in the same room together.


I think everyone enjoyed dinner, though we don't all get along famously. Everything went off without a hitch and there was no fighting. What more can you ask for?

I cleaned up as we went and by the time the last guests left my house was clean, dishes were done, and leftovers were put away. Matthew and I fell on the couch and had some peace and quiet. It was pretty nice.

With Christmas gone we looked forward to a wonderful new year. 2008 was full of bumps in the road and hard times, but it was also full of wonderful memories and great joys. I look forward to the same in 2009. Matthew and I felt a little twinge of sadness as 2009 came. The years are passing so fast. Our little boy is growing so quickly. The other night as I tucked him into bed I told him that he was getting so big, so fast, and he told me, "I just sleep and grow." I smiled. It's so true.


Dynisha spent the night for New Years. Well, she really spent the whole week. We bought the kids some silly string and noise makers. I let them bake cookies and we waited up for the New Year. Christmas season had also brought us cold bugs and Jamie wasn't quite up to snuff. By the time midnight was upon us he had a bit of a fever and was fussy. When the ball dropped he perked up and played a bit, but then he was quickly off to bed.

Happy New Year!