Monday, November 28, 2011

Feeling Awesome

So no one in the entire blogging world probably cares about this, but I feel so awesome that I have to throw it out there to someone.

Jared and I started watching "Little Dorrit" yesterday, and the second I saw the evil Mrs. Clennam I knew that I had seen her somewhere before, but I couldn't place her. When she spoke I felt sure that I recognized the voice. I puzzled over it and puzzled over it, and started mentally going through the list of the (way too many) BBC miniseries I have watched. I kept picturing this woman holding a tea cup and wearing a maroon dress-- very fancy, so I knew she had played a noblewoman.

It was driving me crazy, so I looked up the full cast of Little Dorrit, and then Wikipediad the actress (Judy Parfitt). But I didn't recognize any of the shows listed. This kind of face recognition has happened to me before, and if I can't place it while I awake I will usually place it in my sleep. Sure enough last night I woke with a start-- She was the queen in Ever After, I was sure of it! But that was a well known movie, right? So wouldn't that be listed on her Wikipedia accomplishments along with the one episode of ER that she appeared in?

This morning I looked up the full cast of Ever After, and sure enough! She was the queen! How did Wikipedia miss that??? I am awesome!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thankful

While I am late in posting my gratitude, I have been pondering my many, many blessings lately. A lot of the things I am thankful for are personal, and they are written down in my journal. But I can give a short list of the greatest blessings in my life right now:

1. The Gospel-- I am so thankful for the strength, encouragement, and direction I receive from my Savior and Heavenly Father. I know that everything following is all tied up in the Gospel. The relationships I cherish are made stronger through the Gospel, and so many other things on my list were brought about by promptings and "angels" whom Heavenly Father sent to help guide me. Every single thing on this list is a gift from God.

2. Family-- I grew up in a WONDERFUL family. I don't know how I got lucky enough to come to them. I have awesome brothers and sisters and amazing parents all of whom offer me so much love and support. I love my own little family so, so much! My boys stretch me to my limit and teach me so much. And even though they are so dependent on me for everything they find a way to give back. I just melt when I see Micah toddle over with a big smile on his face. And just this week Luke gave me a big, big squeeze and yelled, "I LOVE Mama!" And Jared. OH, Jared. I'm just so glad that he's mine forever. And then there is my adopted family who don't actually have to love me, but they do! (You know who you are, and I love you!) And finally my in-laws who accepted me whole heartedly and made me a part of you. Thank you!

3. Friends-- There are so many people past and present who have made me laugh, listened to me when I cry, helped out when I needed help, trusted me enough to ask for help... I am blessed!

4. Jared has the promise of a great future job.

5. Luke's teachers. He has wonderful primary teachers and school teachers who love him and pay attention to him and his needs. They are so good at working with him and teaching him. I am amazed by his progress!

6. Therapists!!! We have met quite a few over the past year. First speech and occupational therapists with Luke and then a wonderful physical therapist for Micah. How amazing that we had these resources that have blessed our boys so much!

7. Dr. Megson (and the Lindsey family who told us about her): Luke has changed incredibly much since our first visit in May. Words cannot express...

8. Books-- I am thankful that there is a book available on nearly any subject, and I have learned so much from books this year as I have read and read as I work and struggle to be a better parent and to help my boys. I am grateful for the books that offer me a break, those that make me laugh, those that make me think, those that make me cry. I love the books my boys love because those are the ones that entice the boys into cuddling up on the couch with me. I just adore books!

9. Education-- I am thankful for all the ways that Jared has grown through his education and for the job that his education allowed him to get. I am thankful for my own education that taught me how to critically analyze and question facts and stories I am presented with, and I'm thankful for the home education that I received as well. I saw how to mother from my own mom, and I try to follow the things that she did. She taught me how to love, discipline, clean, teach, etc., etc., etc.

10. I am grateful for my journal. This year I have done better at writing in a journal, and the contemplation required as I write has strengthened me quite a bit. It's a habit that I am happy to be working on.

11. Probably weird to end on eleven, but whatever. I am thankful for talents, especially the opportunity to build talents. I have loved my piano lessons this year! It is fun to "master" a new skill each week and to lean something I didn't know before. I am learning some Christmas carols right now, and I just love to play them and marvel on the fact that just under a year ago I couldn't even read music...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cupboards, Cardboard, and Obstacle Courses

Micah has become a little explorer. I knew this day was coming-- I think Luke may have hurried it up a bit. Luke likes to hide under the sink. He drags his blankie in there and closes the door, and then he waits for Micah to find him. A few weeks ago Micah decided he didn't want to be the finder any more. He wanted in the cupboard. Now he crawls in there all the time! He also decided that not just this cupboard, but all cupboard are awesome! So he pulls open all of them. He pulls out dishes, towels, curling irons, hair spray. Whichever cupboard he can get to and whatever he can pull out is fine with him! He also loves to open dresser drawers and pull out the clothes. I've just stopped folding at this point (or I'd be refolding jammies 10 times every day). I just shove everything back in and move on with life.



In all of his exploring Micah discovered the recycling bin as well, and he fell in love with boxes! (Hence the cardboard.) He carries them around. This works great at church because Luke loves Band-Aids. You might be wondering what those two things have to do with each other. Well, I will tell you. Band-Aids come in a box. So I keep a box of Band-Aids in the church bag. Luke sits happily sticking Band-Aids all over himself during sacrament meeting, and Micah sits and shakes the Band-Aid box. I call that a win-win. I also call it weird. And so do other people judging by the looks we get.

Here is Micah with one of the many boxes he has rescued from the recycling pile. I followed him around trying to get a good picture. What that really means is that I ran around trying to get in front of him to get a good picture while he simultaneously ran around trying to get the camera. That doesn't usually work for a good picture.


But this one turned out pretty cute:


He just wasn't holding a box.

Anyhoo. What with his box and cupboard/drawer interests (oh, and he also REALLY likes plugs), our house has become a bit of an obstacle course with chairs, etc. positioned to block off the things he loves most. His pack and play is wedged between his crib and bookshelf to keep him from pulling all the books off all the time. (He still has access to all his board books. Did you really think I would keep him from reading???) Chairs or side tables block most outlets that are in use. There is packing tape holding several kitchen cupboards closed. And the bathroom doors have to be kept closed at all times.

Good thing he is so worth it!

Love It!


Luke made this picture using watercolors and markers. He wrote his own name without any help! The little person you see is "Luke." I just love how his little faces have grown legs now (but no arms or bodies.) At least it has ears. Ha Ha. I just love it!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Brothers, Bananas, and Eating Update

Several months ago our bishop gave Luke a blessing before we had a big and (it turns out) life-changing doctor appointment in Richmond. Among the many things we were advised and promised in the blessing was that Luke and Micah would have a very special relationship, and that they would strengthen each other. I've pondered this part of the blessing several times.

When Micah was having trouble with motor skills it seemed like chasing after Luke (and chasing after Cheerios) helped him to master his own body and start moving. Micah definitely wants to run after Luke. This is a more recent video of Micah walking just so you can see how much more stable his is now:


(Yes, you are hearing what you think you are hearing. I was most definitely listening to New Kids on the Block at the time I took this video. Hee Hee. Every once in awhile you just have to jump back to third grade, right?)


One area where Micah is a great example for Luke is with eating. Micah is overall a good eater, and he isn't too interested in baby food. One day Micah was eating a big boy banana, and Luke decided that he wanted some too. I gave him a banana, and to my total shock and amazement, he ate the entire thing! It is Luke's very first consistently gobbled-big boy-solid fruit. Woo Hoo!


And over the past few weeks Luke has acquired several other foods as well: pot roast (cooked super nice and tender), grilled "cheese" sandwich (I finally found a GF cheese substitute that tastes GOOD!), hot dog, chicken salad sandwich, pulled pork (the last two are works in progress), applesauce, and a few bites of grapes.


Now we need to work on table manners....

TENT!!!

Two Saturdays ago Luke asked Jared if they could build a tent. I think he was imagining blankets over a table, but I didn't want to give up my kitchen table, so I had a better idea. I made Jared dig out the real tent (I thought it was a little 2-person) and set it up. It turned out to be bigger than I remembered. But both boys LOVED it. Luke especially loved it and spent the first evening opening and closing the door over and over and over. We dragged the crib mattress into the tent, and Luke slept in the tent that night. I didn't have the heart to take it down when the boys were having such a good time with it, so pretty much all last week our living room looked like this:



After the newness of the zipper doors and windows had (mostly) worn off, Luke started playing in the tent and not just with the tent. We played board games in there (Luke LOVES Candy Land!), read books, etc. His favorite game was going on a bug hunting expedition-- He got that off of Blue's Clues. Here's how we played: I would hide a bunch of plastic bugs that Aunt Jennifer sent and Luke would hunt around and find them and then bring them back to the tent where he would hold them up and name their color and look at them with his magnifying glass.

Random tidbit: Luke's favorite color is green. The green bugs were his favorite, and sometimes the bug hunt didn't go very well because after he found the 2 green bugs he would stop looking for the others. He HAS to be the green man when he plays Candy Land, and he always wants a green DumDum. We are almost out of Green Apple flavor, and I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the remaining 150 +. I asked Luke what he wanted for his birthday. His answer? "A green."

Anyway, back to the tent. We had to edge ourselves around the tent to check email, sit on the couch, walk through the front door, etc. So finally on Thursday evening I decided it had been long enough.

Micah had already gone to bed, and I had just tucked Luke in and gone to detach the poles when I realized I hadn't taken any pictures of the boys in the tent. So I got Luke out of bed and snatched one shot:



We will definitely do this again!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Trick-Or-Treat!!!

This year Luke finally understood about trick-or-treating. I wanted him to be excited about it, so I had gotten a big bag of dum-dum suckers (which are pretty much the only candy he will/can eat since he can't have milk-- no chocolate!-- and won't eat chewy candy), and we started practicing about 2 weeks before Halloween. He would put on his "special doctor clothes" and knock on Jared's study door. When Jared answered Luke would yell "Trick-or-treat!" and get a candy. He LOVED practicing trick-or-treat. (To all the anti-candy parents out there: We did NOT do this every single day).

Anyway, then the ward trunk or treat was cancelled due to rain! But I REALLY wanted to take Luke trick-or-treating after we had practiced so hard. So I called up my friend Amber and begged to be invited for trick-or-treating. Her neighborhood was the perfect place for a first timer. She lives in a town-house community, so we could go to quite a few houses without walking very far. Luke had a blast! And even though Micah wasn't collecting any spoils, he had a good time too. He loves just being outside.






Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Meet Jack-O-Lantern!

Luke was very excited to carve our pumpkin. While Jared was home teaching on Sunday night, Luke and I (mostly I) got the pumpkin ready to be carved. Luke was totally grossed out by the seeds and pulp and wouldn't touch it with his hands at all. He did pretty good with a spoon.

When Jared got home he and Luke carved the face. Luke told Jared that he wanted circle eyes and a happy mouth. He got it!


When I asked him if his pumpkin had a name, he looked at me like I'm an idiot, and said, "Jack-O-Lantern!" Oh, right!

School Parade

On Monday the pre-school classes had a little costume parade at school. Luke, as you can tell, is the cutest doctor in the world. He was so good just calmly walking down the hall waving...


until he saw me!


Then he started making funny noises and trying to fall on the floor. So embarrassing when he does that, and I don't get it. He doesn't get away with it at school, and he doesn't get away with it at home. But there's something about mixing school and home that gets him all confused. Ah, well. By the third lap around the pre-K hallway he stopped acting silly when he saw me and just waved to me.



New things are often a bit overwhelming for Luke, and it takes him time to figure things out and process the experience. He talks about new and exciting things for several days--I think it helps him process what happened. Anyway, for the past few days he has talked about the parade in his own cute little way. Mostly he walks around saying, "Wave to your friends. Wave to your friends," and "Did you wear your doctor clothes at school?"

When the parade was over we went back to the classroom for center time. I just followed along because we had to leave for Luke's eating therapy in 40 minutes, and I wouldn't even be able to make it to our house and back before it was time to leave. Hopefully I was a little bit helpful and not too much of a distraction.

Luke made a spider's web, and then he helped Ms. Sara carve a pumpkin. He didn't like touching the seeds at all. He put his hand in for less than 2 seconds, and then wanted to wash his hand right away. I suspected that would happen because he did the same thing at home when we cleaned our pumpkin.


Then he made a necklace.


I also got to spend a few minutes with Luke during his speech instruction with Ms. Kathleen. He did very well-- he was a good listener for her, and he picked up on a new activity very quickly. He responded to all her questions, and he didn't act silly with me in the room at all. I was very proud of him! He has come so, so far! I was very impressed by Ms. Kathleen as well. She had very visual tools to help him, and that is so important for Luke. She spoke clearly and rephrased questions or statements if he didn't understand. I am so glad that Luke is in such a wonderful program. Hooray for Blayton Elementary!

Pumpkin Patch

I think it was about 2 weeks ago that Luke didn't have school on Friday. The following Monday his class was going on a trip to Pumpkinville (a local pumpkin patch), and I wanted to prep him for it.

So that day (the Friday before the field trip) we met up at Pumpkinville with some friends.



Such a ham!


Micah had lots of fun crawling around in the pumpkins and eating grass. He wasn't much of a walker then. (He is CRUISING now-- although there is a LOT of tumbling amid the cruising!)


Luke loved loading the wagon chalk full (is that the expression?) of pumpkins, but then said he didn't want to buy any or take any home, so we unloaded them all and pulled an empty wagon back to the front. Well, empty of pumpkins. Luke and Micah rode in the wagon.


Then we went on the hay ride. This is the part I really wanted to prep Luke for because last year he FREAKED out on the hay ride, and we had to get off. I talked to him a lot about the hay ride for a few days before we went to Pumpkinville. I told him that it might shake and that it would be bumpy and noisy, but that it was lots of fun and NOT scary. He was apprehensive getting on, but then I started asking him, "Is it noisy? Is it shaking?" and telling him that it was so silly. After a few minutes he relaxed and got really into it. His favorite part was when we rode in the big mud puddle.


So Luke did great! And his teacher told me that when he went with his class he didn't have any problems at all! I am so glad that as his language and focus has gotten better it is easier to talk him through what is going to happen and what things will be like. It helps so much when I can prepare him!


Micah wasn't sure how he felt about it.



After the hay ride we had a little picnic and played for a bit until it was time to go home. It was a fun trip!

I was sorry that I missed Luke's field trip when he went back to Pumpkinville with his class. They were meeting there right during Micah's nap time, and I just felt too bad about messing that up for Micah. He had a bad night the night before, and he was so tired! Plus, out little Micah Trooper just gets dragged along everywhere, and I decided that some days need to be all about him.