Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Birthday Leftovers

I just remembered that I had these pictures left over from Isaac's birthday, so in honor of the last day of his birthday month, I'll throw them up here for all to see.

In the spirit of turning three, Isaac has adopted an, "I'm three" attitude, which is interesting, to say the least. He acts completely insulted when we do something he doesn't want us to do, and I hear, "No, ma!" about three hundred times a day. He has about ten understandable words to his vocabulary and somehow manages to boss us around until he finally falls asleep at night.

Today we made quite the scene at Stride Rite, where we were ultimately in search of sandals for Isabella but then I thought, what the heck, Isaac could use a pair of shoes that breathe a little more than his boos (or, boots). As you know, finding a pair of shoes to fit over his braces is a monumental task. Isaac screaming as loudly as possibly makes it even more monumental, and then, when he repeats the same sounds over and over again when you aren't trying shoes on him...well, it's a situation that begs people to stare at you. And they did. And I pretended not to notice, and hoped they thought he was eighteen months old. Things like that are still acceptable at that age, right? Who knows. And I'm trying really hard not to care.

It was very cold on Isaac's birthday, but there happened to be a community expo going on, so we had the opportunity to see a helicopter up close (Isaac screamed, even though he is obsessed with all things that fly, or are otherwise known as beedows--I have no idea how he came up with that word, but that is what he calls airplanes, rockets, and helicopters), a firetruck (whoo whoo--more Isaac terminology), a zoo show, and a bubble show. 

Isaac loves bubbles. He volunteered to go on stage many times, and would shout from the front row and raise his hands and say, "ME ME, GO ME!" He was finally chosen, freaked out, and decided it was best to observe.

A little bike from Aunt Rosie, which no one was allowed to touch, look at, or go near once it was put together...Isaac didn't even go near it. He had to circle it for about a day until he finally sat on it.

We enjoyed dinner with friends, and since Isaac is a pirate at heart, we bought pirate plates and napkins which he loved, but of course he didn't eat anything. As I spent that day cooking, I couldn't help but think of the irony that I planned his birthday meal and dessert regardless of the fact that he wouldn't eat a single bit of it. On the day he stuffs his face with a cupcake, I will be one proud mama.

Birthday candle excitement...

 And that's all!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Growing Pains: Learning to Say Goodbye

I think it's fair enough to say that I can announce to the blogging world that my sister has moved to Texas. She arrived in Dallas yesterday, and let me tell you, there are some heavy hearts in this house. 

Thursday evening we enjoyed a family dinner before saying goodbye to Jesse. I've been preparing Isabella, and in turn, myself: "Mama, I just don't want Jesse to go." "I know, I don't want her to go either, but we have to be excited for her because this is a really good opportunity for her." And so it went, Thursday evening, on a teary ride back home. 

I snuggled with Isabella in bed that night, and told her it was okay to be sad. I thought about how Isabella has reached an age where loss and distance are real. She is learning to say goodbye (with the anticipation of a visit to Texas, of course), and also learning that situations change regardless of whether we want them to, or not. Isaac doesn't understand, but in Isabella's mind, she's losing the one who paints her nails, lets her cuddle in her lap, listens to her endless chit chat, and most importantly, the one who wears fancy clothes and always looks like a princess. She always looks forward to seeing Jesse (and so do I, she is my sister after all) and now it will be several months before we have a chance to see her again. 

Isabella awoke the next morning and said, "tears were falling down my face all night long." Later she came inside and told me she was "just trying to catch a sparrow to be her friend so that she would stop thinking about Jesse." It's so hard to watch her grasp these seasons of change. I have found that as I hold my child's hand in these situations (the death of my grandfather, and my sister's move) it becomes hard for me to process my own grief and sadness. When you have kids, there isn't time to stop, there's barely time to write this post with minimal interruptions. I haven't decided if that's a good thing or not. Maybe it just means everything is bottled up and one day I'll explode (picture self exploding--I feel it's entirely possible). 

Okay, moving on before all of my readers enter a completely depressed state of mind. 

I promise, we are excited for you, Jess! Texas is just so far away! 

And now, some (happy) pictures from an evening spent outside...

Take charge, little man. 

Oh my, how she is changing. 

Those two are inseparable. I'm pretty sure Isaac could manage any situation as long as Isabella is along acting as his personal assistant.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Swim 101: What not to do

I do not like swimming pools. They're crowded, loud, it's always hot (duh), I never get a tan, the water is cold, there tends to be an overabundance of people wearing inappropriately fitting swim suits, and water makes me think of people drowning. So basically, I stay away from pools, and lakes (for all of the above reasons and because they're gross), and since I don't really like water in general (aside from its beverage form), I shower as few times as possible throughout the week. Yesterday, Isabella said: From now on, every day I'm going to take a shower like daddy! Note: She did not say, "like mommy". I don't know what my husband's deal is, but I try to conserve the Earth's natural resources. You're welcome, Earth.

Well, I decided it was time to suck it up and take Isabella to swim lessons. This is especially important since I don't want her to drown, and she really does love swimming, so I figured now that she is old enough to take a swim class that does not require that I get in the water, what the heck.

As it turns out, she just started her second swim session, and loves it. This also means that I'm going to have to take her to the pool this summer. Don't worry, I've already started repeating positive swimming pool thoughts to myself on a regular basis.

Swim 101: What not to do

1. Do not forget to bring a hair brush. Not only will your child leave the pool looking like a rat abandoned a nest on top of their head, but your child will say repeatedly over the next eight weeks: "Remember that time you forgot to bring the hair brush."
2. Do not forget to bring underwear. If, by chance this happens to you, avoid a melt-down by talking about how fun it is not to wear underwear. That works out until your child says later in the day, "It was so fun not wearing underwear, that I think I'll never wear them again!"
3. Do not forget to bring a towel. The pool will probably be able to provide one, but you'll have to hear for the next eight weeks, "Remember the time you forgot to bring the hairbrush, and then we forgot to bring underwear, and then you even forgot to bring a towel!" From that point on, inform your child that it is their responsibility to bring these things.
4. DO look at the parents who are lovingly blow drying their child's hair like they are CRAZY!!! Who does that? Not me.
5. DO take full advantage of the fact that your child does not scream when you brush their hair while in a public place. Consider only brushing their hair when in public places.
6. Do not be the parent who forgets the swim session ended, and then realize a little too late that you have to relay this devastating information to your child who has been counting down the days to the next swim class.
7. DO be a totally amazing mother and take your child to the pool anyway, and have your own swim class.
8. Do not forget to sign up for the next swim session, only to realize it's too late and have to beg to have your child added to the list.

We made it on the list, and my fish is back in the water.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Bird Feeder Competition

Several weeks ago, Isabella and I decided we needed to diversify the bird population in our yard. Every year we have an overabundance of the Common Grackle, and while I love to welcome all feathered friends, I'd like some cute birds in my yard. 

First, I should say, our yard needs a lot of work. Over the next few years we really want to work on creating an environment that welcomes a variety of birds, butterflies, honey bees, and other beneficial pollinators. Last year was phase one: remove giant shrubs. I commend my husband for taking on that task since it wasn't a fun one and it was a lot of hard work. We then purchased two flowering trees, and a few other things, but the rest is supposed to be filled in with flowers, grasses, and whatever else seems appropriate. Phase two (this year): remove the remaining, smaller shrubs, that are in front of the very weird and falling over brick planter. Done. It looks like the weird planter is not going to go, we're just going to find a way to work around it. Because we're doing this all as inexpensively as possible, I am attempting to grow several perennials from seed. We'll see how that works out, and what our next phases are, but in a few years, the front of the house should have some more curb appeal. 

All of that to say, since we don't have flowers and other things in place to attract birds, we made bird feeders. Very high tech ones, made from toilet paper rolls. Isabella said it was the most fun she'd ever had. 

It took three days before a bird came near the darn thing. Since then, we've seen more than the Common Grackle and have recently checked out a few bird books so that we could try identifying some of our visitors. This is what we've come up with (I may be wrong about the types of Sparrows, but I assume these are close)

-Purple Martin (This is funny because my dad has spent years trying to get purple martins to inhabit his high in the sky purple martin hotel)
-Mourning Dove
-American Robin
-Northern Cardinal
-Blue Jay
-Carolina Chicadee
-European Starling (we always have these, and I don't like them, especially since two of them figured out how to get in the basement at our previous home)
-White Throated Sparrow
-American Tree Sparrow
-Purple Finch
-Savannah Sparrow
and I might as well add, that last week we had three Mallard Ducks who spent a morning in our yard.

Walter decided he needed to join the bird feeder frenzy, and completely blew my toilet paper roll out of the water (I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere).

Walter's bird feeder:

This is one of the front beds that used to have shrubs. After a good weeding, tilling, and raking, it is ready for more plants. That shrub on the end has to go too. When in doubt, wear a helmet.
It has been quite entertaining watching the birds, and it's also fun to see Isabella grab the bird book and look up which visitors we have. One bird, tried her hardest to build a nest under our bathroom awning. She gave it four attempts and seems to have given up, but it was very interesting to watch her perseverance.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Road Trip

Last week, the kids and I (and Stella) went on a little road trip to Columbus. Three humans and one very hairy forty pound dog, all stuffed with their crap into in a Honda Fit is probably a pretty comical sight to see, but we made it. I love my little car, but some day, I'm going to drive a big truck--a GMC Sierra.

My kids are wonderful little travelers, so I don't mind a two or three hour trip on my own. Isaac usually passes out and sleeps the whole way, and Isabella usually talks to herself. The iPad and DVD player, are reserved for longer trips, so they aren't allowed to have either one on a drive to Columbus. I feel like there is a decline in children being able to entertain themselves--which I find an invaluable skill--if technology is always at hand, self-entertainment is a hard lesson to learn.

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to live in Columbus. It's where my grandparents live--so it's where I've always wanted to be. It makes me very happy knowing that Isaac and Isabella get to live right next door to one set of grandparents, and ten minutes away from the other set. In Isabella's words: "I love going to Oma's house, because then I get whatever I want." I suppose that is how one is supposed to feel with their grandparents.

Because blogger continues to be AWESOME, my pictures are out of order.

Our big news of the week: Isaac was accepted to receive a speech grant from Small Steps in Speech. We feel so blessed that this grant will give him the opportunity to attend twenty speech therapy appointments. Also, a few days ago, I finally made the decision to purchase the Touch Chat AAC app. I am still in the process of individualizing it for Isaac, but he is learning the program very quickly and I think it will be a wonderful communication tool for him.

If you have questions about applying for grants or finding a specific grant for your child, please let me know and I will be happy to help in whatever way I can. These grants are out there. It may take some digging, and definitely some time to write an essay, answer questions, and get documents from therapists/physicians, but it really is worth it. There have been a couple that we have not received, but so far, I've had more success than failure.