Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Conflict Between Picture and Words

At first glance, one would read this sweet little note from Noah and say "AWWWW!"

"My mom is so cool that I want to hug her. She is awesome. The end."

But, now, look again and see if you can figure out why I started laughing hysterically when I saw at the picture

Notice at the bottom of this nice note ALL ABOUT MOM, the picture has Noah on one side, mommy on the other, and "girlfriend" Kylie in the middle.

It's clear that I am no longer the most important woman in my seven year old's life :(

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Aaron and Mommy's Adventure to A Show

It's likely to take the entire week to share our weekend. I don't know when October became an entire month of birthday festivities for Aaron, but he sure did love every moment of it. And showed so much happiness during each moment that every bit of work or weariness was totally worth it.

Last week on Tuesday, I entered a contest of Toni's at The Shopping Adventures of Cheapo McFrugalpants (I love this blog name). It was for 4 tickets to a Disney Live show in Chicago. Since we travel back to that area somewhat often, it seemed easy to work into our schedule, especially since school got cancelled for the rest of the week for the flu.

Hubby and I had discussed the possibility of winning, just in case, since there were only a couple of other names when I entered. Then came the email Friday morning...I won!!! Let the logistics discussions begin.

After quite a few back and forth calls between hubby and my SIL, we decided that Aaron and I would make the 3 hour drive to Chicago for the evening and go to the show with my SIL and her 4 year old daughter. Aaron and Kira are such good friends, and they are our Disney fans. Steve stayed home with Noah and they had their own boys night.

So at about 2:30 in the afternoon, Aaron and I loaded up the car to head out. I looked up the address online for my GPS and we were on our way. After a short stop for dinner, we were about 45 minutes from our destination when we got a to traffic jam BIG TIME outside O'HAre. Aaron was such an awesome trooper in the car and we were finally at our destination, 4 hours after we left.

Or so we thought...

After paying the money for parking, we parked and we started getting excited. But then, entering the arena, we noticed that the only people we saw were dads and boys in hockey jerseys. Realizing right away that we were at the wrong place, I threw Aaron on my back and we RAN to the car, pretty much in a panic knowing that my SIL and niece were at the RIGHT place, waiting at will call since they couldn't get the tickets without us.

A call to them to get the CORRECT address and we FINALLY got there, two minutes before the curtain rose.

Aside: I won't go into detail about how I got the address wrong, but it was kind of legit)

The kids were definitely excited to finally see the show. The first half was fun for them, and nice and short so it kept their attention pretty well.

When the first half was over, the kids were VERY bouncy, especially after just having bounced with Tigger, and they walked off into the lobby for popcorn holding hands.

After taking a break to get popcorn and souvenir cups, it was time to head back in for the second half.

Aaron was a little more drained the second half, since it was an hour past his bedtime at this point, and spent much of the time nestled into my lap, which I always love since it happens rarely.

But the very last thing of the entire show was one last moment of bouncing with Tigger, and while the entire audience was full of bouncing preschoolers, Aaron finally perked up and joined into the bounce.

What did you think of the show kids?

After discovering that it would cost $12 to pose by the big posters of Disney characters, we settled for a nice picture posing next to the table skirt with characters, and we were on our way home.

Getting to the car, I got Aaron's jammies on and it took him less than ten minutes until he was sound asleep for the entire ride home, which was about 4 hours with Chicago traffic.

So after 9 hours total of driving for a 90 minute show, I was finally home in bed with memories of two very excited cousins having the time of their lives.

Was it worth it, you may ask.

You Betcha!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Happy 5th Birthday Aaron!

You were two days late, taking your own sweet time. And then you got here and gave us all a big scare. But then everything was okay and we were free to fall in love with you.

And we did. Head over heels.

Happy Birthday My Sweet Boy! We're so blessed that you're part of our lives.

Love, Mommy, Daddy, and Big Brother Noah

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Aaron's Turning Five!

As I was preparing to write a nice little Happy Birthday post for Aaron, I thought I would do his birth story in T13 style. But then I had a strange feeling it had been done, and sure enough I did it last year. So if you want to read the birth story, click here.

So, instead, I will do my T13 about 13 fun facts about my sweet little boy

1. Aaron took both dancing and gymnastics classes this year. He has been begging ever since to take tap class but we missed the deadline. He also wants to do ballet in the future and be a "ballerino". When he hears music, he HAS to move.

2. Although I've stopped worrying so much about sensory issues with him, Aaron still does have some issues with loud sudden noises. As for the sensory issues in general, his teacher has only seen small glimpses and says she doesn't have any concerns about it at all at this time.

A huge relief after so much time spent worrying about it. Some new little ones have just started creeping up, like only wanting to wear "soft pants" (sweat pants) rather than jeans, but we'll take each one as it comes.

3. Aaron is water obsessed. Most kids either like water or don't like water. Aaron, on the other hand, must be all engulfed in it. This includes diving and flipping into the deep end on the first day of swimming lessons, as well as turning ANY game he's playing into a "splash in the water" game.

We spent most of our summer at pools or lakes, just to appease this need in him.

4. Aaron is a boy. He likes cars and super heroes, but he also has a very sensitive nature in some ways. He likes "girly" things. He loves dolls and and has asked for a princess Barbie for his birthday (he's getting a Snow White Barbie for Christmas). Not a big deal now and we like to nurture this caring side in him as much as we can.

5. Aaron is "artsy" in so many ways. He is always clapping a beat and will play any musical instrument he can get his hands on. He has even started piano lessons, and I am constantly amazed at how quickly he learns and how concentrated he is on getting everything I teach him right immediately.

But he likes to also to be in the spotlight as the leader. He has "conducted" from the time he was a baby, and he keeps a pretty steady little beat.

6. After reading the above, you may think he's a calm, quite little boy. OH NO!!! Much the opposite actually.

When Aaron is not in a structured activity (like school or a lesson of some sort), he is CRAZY. He very rarely can sit still without spinning, bouncing, jumping, etc. It is amazing how he is two completely different little boys depending on which environment he's in.

7. Aaron started soccer this year. We used to think that Aaron was going to excel in sports, and he may still. But although he is excited to be playing, he could either take it or leave it at this time.

But he sure does look cute in the uniform, doesn't he?

8. Aaron LOVED Disney World. While most people say "Oh yeah, Disney was fun" or things like that, Aaron was in love the minute we got there and still begs every day (7 months later) to go back. Everyone told me that four years old wasn't old enough for him to remember, and I'm sure that's true of most kids, including his older brother. But Aaron has an AMAZING memory and I think he really will remember it.

9. Aaron loves to be outside. I know this goes along with so many of the ones above. He has the freedom to run, scream, jump, and swirl. Warm or cold weather, it's almost like a need to be out in the elements.

10. Aaron LOVES school. And it seems to love him back. He has blossomed so much in the two months that school is in session. I never knew so much could change in such a short time. He is not only learning at an amazing rate, but his speech is so clear. His teacher loves him and says that he is so well behaved in class that she can put him anywhere on the rug and knows he will stay focused. Another BIG surprise from what I thought would happen in school.

Right now his only "red flag" is a few strong letter pronunciations and also fine motor skills. But those are the reasons I put him into Young Fives instead of kindergarten anyway, so all is well. He is even reading quite a few "popcorn" or sight words.

11. Aaron is unusually cheerful most of the time. And very goofy. Anyone who meets him, even if only for the first time, can feel his energy and can't help smile. He was that way from the time he was a tiny baby. I could take him anywhere and he would find someone (usually a pretty woman) and continue to make eyes at them until he got her to smile. Then he'd move on to someone else.

He's definitely my little charmer.

12. I wouldn't be honest if I didn't add this one: Aaron has a temper. A BIG ONE! When he gets angry, look out. And don't expect it to ease quickly. It takes him quite awhile to get over it. And we are still working on how best to deal with it.

Luckily since school started, we haven't been seeing it nearly as often.

13. Aaron is my snuggler. Although it is usually on his terms, he will still crawl into my lap on an almost daily basis, put his head in my lap, and ask me to rub his back. I know these snuggle days are going to pass quickly, so I will continue to cherish them as they come.

So, after a very lengthy post, you know all about my youngest. Probably more than you ever wanted or needed to know, but it was kind of fun to just think about some things that most define my little boy.

I'm so blessed that this special little boy is part of our lives. Happy 5th Birthday Aaron!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Closed For Flu

When I drooped Aaron off at school on Monday, there was a third grade teacher in the hall saying, "I only have two kids in my classroom today". I knew things were looking bleak for Tuesday. Which was a problem since Aaron's field trip to the pumpkin patch was that day and he would not be happy if he couldn't go.

Then I got a recorded message from the principal that night. While the other schools with 25 percent absenteeism were closing, he decided to keep Aaron's school open. Huge relief! But when I dropped Aaron off, I asked the secretaries what the absenteeism was for Tuesday. When she told me it was about the same, I knew the inevitable was coming. And when I got home from work last night, there was the recorded message from the principal again, this time closing school for the remainder of the week.

I have several thoughts on this matter.

The first is of a complete selfish nature. I didn't realize how precious those few hours have become. I am kind of stressing over how to fill an entire day with Aaron every day for the rest of the week. And how to keep my house clean when that is when I do everything. The media states that any child whose school has closed for flu should be kept home at risk of infecting other kids.

But my kid isn't sick, so why do we have to stay home?

The next thought related to this is this: If 30 percent of the student population is sick, causing school to close and my kid isn't sick, does that mean that when school comes back into session next week, MY kid will finally come down with this stinkin' bug? I told Hubby last night that I would rather Aaron was sick now while school is out than wait to see. Especially with his birthday coming up this weekend. If he misses his Chuck E Cheese party on Saturday for illness, then we still have to pay, and he would be so sad.

So we sit here and begin the waiting game. Will the flu start it's trek through our home? Or will we all continue to just cough our way through life and stay minimally healthy. I guess I am not so concerned about whether it's THE FLU or not. Whatever virus sweeps through our home, we'll just deal with it, nailing symptoms as they come and weathering the storm.

I am really glad though that we still got to go on Aaron's field trip yesterday. Although only 12 kids were at school, it was still a fun little trip. 1 little girl got bitten (grazed) by a horse in the petting coral, but the donuts were yummy and all the kids picked out cute little pumpkins.

So I am now headed downstairs to exercise, take a shower, give Aaron his piano lesson (I forgot last week), and then I think we'll surprise Noah at school by bringing him a special lunch. Then we'll head to the party store to get some stuff for goody bags for his party on Saturday.

We're not going to let a virus stop us until we have to!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"I Pledge Of Egypt"

About a year and a half ago, I posted a video of my son Aaron reading. I have been worried about his speech his entire life. I asked for some feedback wondering if others could understand him, since I felt like I was translating for him all of the time. I got a lot of wonderful feedback at that time.

A lot can happen in a year and a half. I found out the other day that the speech therapist had evaluated him and determined that he was fine and right on track. Although I still worry about him learning to say the "R" sound, I guess he's where he should be so I can just be proud of my little guy.

I had to post this video of him saying the pledge though. "I pledge of Egypt" yet "indivisible" is amazingly clear. We've come a long way, Baby!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Great Weekend

I decided that I have to bring back the Weekend Top Five this week. It was just such a busy and fun filled weekend. Here were the things that we will remember from the weekend

5. Birthday with my Mom and Grandma
Aaron's birthday is in two weeks, but with my mom visiting my grandma about an hour away, we went to visit her on Saturday. She had brought a little cake for Aaron so they could celebrate with him and also a couple of gifts for both boys.

4. Annual Wyoming Pumpkin Path
Saturday night was the annual Pumpkin Path in the city where we live. Local businesses all line up along the sidewalk in the park and hand out candy for the kids (and coupons for the grownups). Costumes are optional but it gave the boys their first chance to try out the Halloween costumes this year.

We have gone almost every year since it started (the year I was pregnant for Aaron) but this was by far the coldest of all. We had layered the boys' clothes up, but failed to think of gloves and by the time we were almost done, Aaron had started whining that he wanted to go since he was cold. Since we were almost done, we decided to actually FINISH the path for the first year ever and Aaron warmed his hands by keeping them in Daddy's hands while I carried the treat bag.

3. Family Birthday Party
With six adult kids (almost all married) and eleven (soon to be twelve) cousins, birthdays are hard to remember. So a few years ago, my parents started their quarterly birthday parties. We get together every few months and celebrate all of the birthdays within that vicinity. Yesterday was our next chance. We celebrated Aaron (who will be five in tow weeks), Cousin Jamie (also five in a few weeks), Cousin Piper (seven on Saturday) and my brother Matt (the Big 4-0)

I was so honored to have been asked to host the shindig and I worked all week to get the house ready. It made me feel good that everyone was comfortable enough with my little house to have it here. For being a small house, the kids (and I think the adults) all had a great time celebrating, eating and opening presents together.

Aaron got a bean bag chair from Grandma and Grandpa and has played on it non-stop ever since. As a matter of fact, it's two weeks before his birthday and he has gotten quite a few gifts that he loves. He is having a great birthday already and at least one more celebration to go. Lucky Kid!

2. Apple Picking
For quite a few years now, we have managed to put together an extended family trip to the pumpkin patch and it is always a fun time. The place we usually go to is closed on Sunday, so I searched for another one to go to this year. I found one that I thought was the one that Steve and I take the kids to every year and gave everyone the address, which ended up being incorrect. But nevertheless, we had a great time at Steffens Orchard. This was the first time we have ever been able to take the full group apple picking.

After a ride out on a wagon pulled by a tractor, we were able to give each of the boys a little bag to fill with apples. Although there were several varieties, my boys love golden delicious, so that is what we came home with.

The biggest thrill for hubby (and a little for me I must admit) was his phone. I know it sounds strange. But about five minutes after we arrived at the apple orchard, my camera battery died and I was VERY sad. So Steve whipped out his new phone and started taking pictures, which I didn't really put much faith in. But much to my chagrin, Steve loaded them into the computer when we got home and I still can't believe how great the pictures turned out. Now we actually even have pictures of ME during a family outing. Kind of cool.

1. The Green Monster
We are not the kind of peoplee that believe in giving a present to the other kid when it's someone's birthday. This weekend, the green monster showed up in Noah. We have never had this problem before with either of the boys, so it was a surprise to both hubby and myself when it happened. I also think it may be because of the grounding last week (which I will be posting about later this week). I think Noah was feeling left out and acted out on it.

I think the other issue is that Aaron is now old enough to be getting presents that would be great for either boy and Noah is noticing that he likes the things that Aaron is getting.

So after watching his brother get a lot of cool stuff all weekend long, Noah didn't handle it well at all. He commandeered both of the Lego sets that Aaron had gotten ("to make them for Aaron") and then started a major battle at bedtime about the bean bag chair.

Up until now, we pretty much have had the rule of "all toys are every one's to be shared". But this weekend is making me think that maybe that isn't such a fair rule after all. SO we had a very long discussion Sunday night before bed about the changes we are going to make. I think we will do more thinking on this matter and I may have more posts to write about it in the future. For now, Noah is going to have to turn the green monster off while Aaron celebrates his birthday again in a couple of weeks.

The Week Ahead:
Not really much going this week, which is a relief. It's supposed to be cold, which I thought I was ready for, but I guess not. I ate like a mad woman this weekend, so I will be Wii Fitting much longer than the last couple of weeks. As a matter of fact, I need to get off the computer and head downstairs right now. Have a good week.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

It's All About the Bathroom

This post is in two parts (sort of). It begins with a double bathroom problem, and ends with Noah's first grounding. If you're interested, I invite you to read on...

When we first bought our house, it had a main bathroom (tiny) and a fake-ish bathroom (minuscule) plopped in the middle of the bedroom. After a year or two, we pulled the "fake" toilet out of our bedroom for more space, knowing that someday only having one bathroom would become a problem.

And it has become a BIG problem. Every morning three and sometimes all four of us need to use it at the same time. Every morning fights erupt over it. It has been even worse since both boys have been suffering from runny BM's (the D word) for over two weeks now, so they are wanting to sit on there forever.

So bathroom talk in this way has been a common in our home while we are trying to figure out how much we need to save enough money(yeah, right) to install a toilet in out basement.

The boys have entered a phase of nasty "bathroom" talk at the same time. You know... "p#@p", "b*tt" and that kind of thing. Noah got in big trouble last week at school for using the word "privates". I have tried to talk calmly with him about them, knowing that it is part of being a boy at this age.

Then, when I drove on the field trip yesterday, the entire group (three girls and Noah) were all going it full force with the bathroom talk. I put a stop to it and the response from one of the girls was, "That's okay, we'll just wait until second recess". Real assuring.

BTW, THIS is the reason I toyed with homeschooling when Noah was first starting out. I just have no control over the influences of others at school and it drives me insane

So once again. I decided to just let it go for now. Then at the end of church night last night, the CE director pulled me aside to tell me that Noah had again been talking inappropriately in class, making some of the class uncomfortable. I called the teacher he had that night to clarify what had happened and apologize to her personally for his behavior.

I will not go into details about the series of events following our arrival home last night, but I can tell you it was not my shining moment in parenthood. But at the same time, Steve agreed with me which always makes me feel so much better when he's supportive.

I did speak to Noah's 2nd grade teacher this morning, both to let her know what is going on on the playground, as well as to warn her in case Noah acts out today as a result of his punishments.

He will be spending the next three days/nights "grounded". We have never done this before, but I think it is time for some drastic measures if he is ever going to learn that I mean business when this subject is being dealt with. He will come home from school every day, go straight to his room and stay there until bedtime.

In case you think this may not be punishment enough, take a look at the shelves under his bed. Do you think they look bare? The picture at the beginning of this post is the pile of all of the toys that are kept in his room. They are now in a stack in my room.

I mean business!