Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Look Around Outside

Warren did some selective log cutting this month. He likes to stay on top of the cutting to prevent rot. Once the heart rots the log isn't any good to sell, then they become firewood, which works for us because we heat with wood.

We made out first Craig's List purchase, a saddle. Never in my life did I think I would be the proud owner of two horse saddles. Technically, Emily paid for 80% of the new saddle. She sure knows how to save money. I'm proud of her.

Amber and Max

Samuel took Little J for a sled ride while I snapped pictures. Sam takes him on quite a wild ride, but Little J is easygoing; he just giggles through the whole thing.

Our chickens, 6 of them. That was last week. Now we have 11, but the newest additions are pretty shy. Emily's horse friend T called wondering if we wanted 10 or 15 chickens. I squeaked out, I guess I'll take 5. She was here 30 minutes later with a dog kennel of chickens for us.

Amber loves playing prairie girl. She dresses in all her layers of prairie dresses and long underwear or thick tights and heads outside for sometimes an entire afternoon, playing with the chickens, horses, dog and cats. On this particular day she was collecting the chicken pecked grapefruit halves, adding them to some slush and calling it honey butter.

There you have it. A little walk around the yard one afternoon. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. We're expecting some snow flurries and temps in the low 30's.

On tap this weekend
violin repertoire

checking traps

caulking in prep for more painting

birthday sleepover

adult night with some friends

Nick's first official babysitting job; he's tag teaming with a friend

late church
chili feed and ice skating with a combined 24 children between 4 families - it promises to be a wild and chaotic Catholic homeschooling group

Monday, February 15, 2010

Candy Cigarettes

We've had many conversations and stories told about candy cigarettes. My kids can't believe cigarettes were actually used as amusement, considering all the anti-smoking programs in place today. As a kid it was just normal to have candy cigarettes. I remember the chalky white sticks -so breakable- and the little red tip that kept it real. The neighbor girls and I would walk to school wearing our jean jackets and pretend to smoke. Their dad smoked and so we knew exactly what to do. How to offer one, how to take it from the box, how to hold it between two fingers and light up. We were so cool, or so we thought. I just wonder now what passersby thought of the sight of 10 year old girls smoking before school. I'm sure they were thinking they wished they could be as cool as us. Warren actually had an aunt who passed out candy cigarettes at Easter. We all get a kick out of that. Let's celebrate the resurrection of Christ, here are some candy cigs, kids.

Again today while Emily made mac 'n cheese for lunch she inquired about candy cigarettes. I told the same stories and then we had the greatest idea ever. Let's Google it. Did you know that if you google candy cigarettes, the 2nd listing (after the advertised sites) is 1 case of candy cigarettes at Amazon.com. Really? I can buy a whole case, 240 candy cigarettes for only $4.69. That's a steal deal. The kids are begging me to buy a case and I'm torn. I turned out ok. Actually, I've never even had a real cigarette in my mouth. I did take a puff on a cigar once, but never a cigarette. So what do you think readers, should I buy them for the kiddos?

Also the kids laughed even harder at the sight of bubblegum cigars. Emily says that's just, I mean (giggle giggle).

Read more candy cigarette testimonials here.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

First Reconciliation Prep

We've been preparing Amber for her First Reconciliation, which is tomorrow. She's a little nervous, rightly so. Tonight we acted out confession. I was the priest and Amber was the ?confessee? Then we switched spots. This helped ease some of her worries, but I had to hold back a chuckle when she recited her Act of Contrition. Below is the prayer with her words.

Act of Contrition
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you.
I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell.
But mostly because they offend you, oh my God, who aren't (art) all good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve with the help of my (thy) grace, to confess my sins,
do penance, and amend my life forever. Amen.
I hope Fr. John realizes she knows God is good and only He can offer real grace.

I've Been Cleaning.....

......and the kids noticed. Amber was sent in to take a bath tonight and the screaming could be heard throughout the house. Emily and Nick ran in to assess the situation and add their own remarks. Here are some of the comments I heard from the kitchen.

Oh my gosh, what happened in here?

What happened to all the stuff?

The tub looks brand new!

It's so....bare.

Woo? Woo? It even echos in here.

This wall could really use a painting.

I've never seen it so clean.

I've had comments on my cleaning before, so I'm used to it. I like a clean house, it's just by the time the thrice daily tidying is done there isn't any leftover time for actual cleaning - the kind with chemicals and scouring pads. But eventually I have to do something to combat the grime. Today that something was spending a little over 2 hours cleaning one full bath from top to bottom. I washed the walls, scoured the shower curtain rod, scrubbed finger prints from the door, Pledged the trim work, disinfected the sink, tub and toilet, washed the floor, window, mirror and light fixtures. The bathroom received the Full Monty of cleaning. The half bath got the same treatment.

Amber asked for a bedtime story tonight and chose one of her favorite books, Miss Suzy. Suzy, a gray squirrel, happily keeps a very tidy house in an oak tree. She's inspiration for us all.

Happy Valentine's Day

This I Love You is especially for Grandma!

And thanks for the monkey Valentines. We hope you have a great day.
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Friday, February 12, 2010

In Home Therapy Services

Ria blogged about Matthew's variety of Early Intervention services - what he receives, how often, what skills he's working on and the future of his EI services. She's asked for others to share their experiences and since I'm never at a loss for words and I'd like to have a written record of Little J's in home therapies, I'm joining in.

What type of services and frequency is Little J receiving?
As of yesterday, Little J is 18 months old. He currently receives Physical Therapy twice per month at home. His therapist happens to be a 2nd or 3rd cousin on my husband's side. I really like Kathy; she's so competent and knowledgeable. She gives me all the physiology behind why she does what she does. With my biology degree (emphasis in human anat/phys), I appreciate that. Little J loves therapy.....now. It wasn't always like that, though. Between the ages of 12-14 months he was pretty clingy and the sessions were more like consultations. She'd show and explain some activities for Little J that we could do to help him with transitions and mobility.

Do you have home, office, or group therapy?
Technically speaking we have home therapy. However if you add up everyone present, it's more like a group therapy session. Little J, 4 siblings, mom and Kathy makes 7 people. The kids usually get involved as well, sharing their insight on Little J's development, fetching toys and offering lots of encouragement. Having gone through the infant/toddler development stages with 4 other children has been very helpful for me. I have lots of experience knowing what stage typically comes next. Like Ria, I find it in my and Little J's best interest to celebrate each milestone and look forward to the next regardless of when it comes according to the charts. Every child is different and possesses their own unique abilities. And I've found that the child who learns to climb, walk, run, jump early is also the one who rides a bike, snowboards and attempts all kinds of large motor stunts at a young age. The one who learns to talk early, I've found, also enjoys writing, singing, acting and all things wordy. So, if you do have other children don't discount their ability to offer "group" therapy for your child with Down syndrome. And as a mother who loves their child and wants the best for him, don't discount your ability to offer therapy. With a combination of library books and internet, resources for therapy ideas abound.

What skills are we currently working on with Little J?
He's mastered combat/commando crawling. He alternates arms and legs now. And sometimes he'll get his right leg under him in the crawling position. So in yesterday's PT session we worked on pulling to a kneel and stand position using his cube, couch and dining table brace as pull up assists. We are working on him standing against a chair or sofa and then handing him something from behind so he has to weight shift; this will help strengthen his legs for further unaided standing and then walking. We have one step from our kitchen down to the entryway and I spend a lot of time in the kitchen as does Little J. He's already figured out how to get down the step going head first, but that's not my first choice for him. So we also worked on teaching him to turn around and go feet first. He wasn't all that into it, but did figure out very quickly how to go back up the step when we introduced a game of ball rolling. I also have my own agenda for introducing social skills. After every diaper change I stand him up and say "hug mama" and then place his arms around my neck. We also practice turn taking by rolling a ball to one another; everyone plays this game with him. I also work with him on fine motor skills such as the pincer grasp using Cheerios and pointing using Touch and Feel books and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. We do some basic signing: milk, more, eat, bath. Honestly, it's hard to even write it all down. Little J is involved in every moment of our day copying our gestures and babbling along with me as I teach lessons.

Final Comments
In the age of blogs, it's easy to read around and compare your county's services with another or your family with another and then wonder if you only lived somewhere different, had access to more or different therapists or had a different family dynamic, would your child's development be further along? Know that you are your child's best advocate. Love has a way of pushing us parents to find the best resources for helping all our children development to their potential.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Two years ago Warren gave me snowshoes for Christmas. I was in the first trimester of Joseph's pregnancy and not feeling very well so the snowshoes were used only a handful of times. Then last winter Joseph was an infant and recovering from heart surgery. I didn't use them at all. Here we are in the 3rd winter and I finally got them out today. Emily snowshoed to the mailbox and seemed to think it was ok. I strapped Joseph into the backpack and went for a long afternoon walk. My hip flexors don't get enough of a workout in my day to day activities. I can tell because about 3/4 way through the walk I just about had to drag my right leg. The muscle was hurting so bad. I'm fine now, so hopefully I can get back out in the snow Thursday.

A little note about socks. I love my Smartwool socks. Over the years I've had many different wool socks and Smartwool are by far superior to anything else. Most importantly they actually stay on my feet. Most wool socks work their way off my feet as I walk and end up bunched in the toe of my boot half way into my outdoor experience. Since they are actually on my feet they can keep my feet warm, not hot and sweaty, just toasty warm. They aren't cheap. And I never would've tried them if it weren't for clearance prices. I picked mine up for $7.99 at Gander Mountain.

Yummy Cookies

Looking for some Valentine cookie ideas I ran across The Decorated Cookie blog. The butter is softening and I'm rounding up decorator tips, food colorings, sprinkles....all the ingredients for fun cookies. Check it out; you won't be disappointed. From simple to gourmet, she has it covered.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Tebow Ad

I haven't read any responses to the Tebow ad yet, so I don't know what the consensus is - who liked it? who didn't? Personally, I thought it was too subtle. It was so subtle that even after sharing my anticipation for it with my family at lunch, when it came on the kids didn't even comment. Later in the game they wondered when the commercial was going to be aired.

I'm disgusted with what NOW (National Organization for Women) had to say about the commercial before it was even aired.

regarding the commercial
"extraordinarily offensive and demeaning"
A mother expressing pride in her son and being thankful for giving him life. Last time I checked that wasn't offensive or demeaning. But that's just me.
Read an editorial here.
I'm proud of my children and am extraordinarily glad I gave birth five times!!
There. I said it.