Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

No Christmas parties here

Because of the snow, Miranda missed all her school days this week which means she had no holiday party with her classmates, something we were both looking forward to. I took her to play at Chick-Fil-A yesterday for lunch to try to cheer her up. Then, as soon as we had gotten home yesterday afternoon, the nurse called to say Alex had what appeared to be the 24 hour stomach flu and could I please come and pick him up? So, he is home today, missing his class party as well. I was able to take in the rest of the fudgey presents for Miranda's teacher and aides and handed them to the nurse when I picked up Alex, who promised to distribute them for me, and I was smart enough to do the bus driver and bus aides yesterday morning, so I am all done with school personnel. But it just didn't go as planned this year.

Alex is starting to act like himself this afternoon and he even ate a few cheerios, but he was very wakeful last night so both Marshall and I are living on caffeine today. Now that a full night's sleep has become a habit, I miss it even more.

Hopefully, we will all be well enough to attend the Christmas eve service tomorrow. Lord willing.

Monday, December 21, 2009

An Even Bigger Pile of Snow

We had approximately 2 feet of snow dumped on us on Saturday which is a bit much for most locals to deal with. It took us almost 2 hours to dig out the cars yesterday (of course, for most of the time, the children were helping). Anyway, we have lots more pictures to post of the children being cute while covered with snowsuits and snow. They are both out of school today (after cleaning the cars off myself, I'm really glad it's not my job to clean of dozens of school buses) but hopefully, school will be on as usual tomorrow since it's Miranda's last day and Christmas party. Alex's party is Wednesday. The pictures are here.

I spent much of Saturday making fudge for Miranda's teachers and brownies for Youth Group (which was also canceled yesterday--it's the first time in memory that all activities scheduled at church were canceled for the entire weekend) so am going to spend most of the next two days distributing the fudge and brownies. I love to bake but my rule is to make it and give it away. Marshall took a big platter of fudge in to work with him today, which makes his co-workers happy.

Of course, all the snow means the leaves will not be picked up this week. In fact, if the snow lingers because of cold weather, the leaves may not be picked up until spring. Of course, a white Christmas would be kinda cool.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Really Big Leaf Pile

I am still in denial that Christmas is next week. Every day seems to have a list of things that MUST be done today, because tomorrow will be too late. For instance, this morning was my chance to finish the leaf-blowing in the front yard as leaf pickup by the township starts Monday. I haven't managed to do it before now because of rain or snow or the general unavailability of someone else to watch the children while I played with the leaves in the front yard. This morning, I put the children on the bus, took a shower, got dressed and went outside. I managed to finish 15 minutes before Miranda's bus. I am just praying the wind doesn't blow too many of them back up in the yard. It's not a perfect job, not even up to my usual high standards of most of the leaves, but it's enough of them to qualify for a really big leaf pile and the rest will just have to disintegrate into the yard. I still have some in the backyard to rake up and bag, but that can be done anytime as leaf-bags get picked up regularly while leaf piles only twice a year.

Marshall is home from work this week Wed-Fri as he is rebuilding a Volkswagon Beetle engine for his pretty little 1972 Super. I am finding a few other things around the house for him to do but mostly, he works on his stuff out of sight.

We increased Alex's anti-anxiety medication last weekend so it's been a rocky week for him. I'm really praying next week is better, but we knew up front that some side-effects would pop up until he has completely adjusted to the new dose. Miranda is her usual bouncy self. Cute but pesky.

I should really be working on the Christmas letter, but I'm going to run to the grocery store instead.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Constant Search for Balance

I was talking to my husband last night about why I've been feeling so dislocated. First, we have been sick almost continuously since, like, mid-October. (It's been so long I can't even remember when it started!) Usually, we get one cold in the house, share it around, and then we're good for a couple of months, when the process starts all over again. I thought we were all finally well again (except for Miranda & my allergies) when Alex woke up this morning coughing. Now, I let him play out in the snow this weekend (we had our first snow Saturday afternoon of maybe half an inch) but made sure he was all bundled up for it. However, after listening to his cough this morning, I'm not sure my efforts were sufficient.

Then, my parents just left after a long and wonderful visit, which included a long weekend away for Marshall and myself. If there's anything to throw me off my game, it's leaving the house without my children attached to me. Not bad, per se, just relatively unfamiliar. We did return feeling remarkably refreshed last Monday afternoon but I can't shake the feeling I'm still playing catch-up.

Out of curiosity, I just looked up the definition of balance and the most striking description in the rather long list is "mental and emotional steadiness." Now, perhaps December in the USA isn't the best time to be searching for balance amidst the rush of holiday parties and Christmas gifts (SO much fudge to make!) but my life has been all about managing Miranda's transitions this fall and now that she's settling in to school in Miss Barbara's class, I am finding I still need to make changes in how I approach my own time. True, both children go happily onto the bus at 8:20 am (she returns about noon, he comes home about 3:30) 5 days a week except for holidays and early dismissal days so I, technically, have my mornings free. Instead of running a zillion errands on the weekends and dragging Miranda grocery shopping with me in the mornings, I can now spread out the stops and appointments while they are both at school. What I am finding more difficult to "balance" is the emotional and logistical energy required to keep up with Miranda's schooling requirements.

This is Alex's fourth year at Springville and even though Miss Kim is our third teacher, the process and program has been similar enough from year to year that I've learned how to keep up with the relationships I need to maintain with his teacher, therapists, aides, case worker, bus driver, and bus aide (10 people in all and they are all wonderful!) When Miranda started, the number of relationships that needed maintenance nearly doubled. A new teacher, two new aides, two new therapists, a new case worker, the same bus driver (God bless Miss Linda!) but a new bus aide in the afternoon. That's 7 more people who need to know me and I'm finding it all a little overwhelming. Or, at least, I'm trying to find that new balance and develop a new pattern for staying in communication with all of them. It's a good thing I'm a logistics expert. :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Is it really December?!

So, the grandparents have left after a wonderful visit (lots of new pictures to see starting here) and life is about to get back to normal. I think. I'm still a little groggy from my weekend at the shore with Marshall while my parents rode herd on our two adorable, high-maintenance children. At a nice little place in Brigantine, we relaxed and watched Torchwood Series 3 and I was finally able to start my next cross stitch project. I haven't stitched in at least 6 months and it was a real joy to finally set all the materials out (it's been kitted for months!) and actually start stitching!

The children are, for the most part, doing well in school. Miranda had a long Thanksgiving break (more than a week) so her transition back to school has not been completely smooth, but it's still a new thing to her so I'm not that concerned.

Marshall got bronchitis right before my mother arrived on the 19th--his doctor told him he was one day away from pneumonia!--but has finally stopped coughing and should have his wind back soon. He missed a lot of work days though with the illness and planned vacation after Thanksgiving, though, so is slogging through quite a pile in his inbox.

There was a terrific storm last night, but it is warm and clear again today, which doesn't feel like December at all. I remember the one December the ground was frozen for the whole month with ice several years ago (I think it was 2004, when Alex was young) and our poor dog had a path to the back fence while the rest of the yard was covered with frozen snow. Not this year. It's strangely glorious.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"Reality is not optional"

I don't care that this was published more than 5 years ago--this is the best explanation of why having a perfect plan or solution does not lead to a perfect outcome that I've ever heard. Here's the best paragraph:

"Thomas Sowell likes to say that reality is not optional. But we oh so want it to be. We want to change outcomes without consequences with the ease of adjusting the thermostat on the wall of our house. We want to dial incomes upward and gasoline prices downward. We want to blame Wal-Mart for the fact that its employees earn below the national average. We want to blame China (or Mexico or Japan or India) for our trade deficit. We want to blame or honor the occupant of the White House for whether new jobs are high-paying or low-paying. This worldview that flies in the face of reality and that ignores the inherent complexity of the real world is the bread-and-butter of journalism and the breeding ground for unintended consequences. "

Find it here: Russell Roberts "The Reality of Markets"

Read this one too: Russell Roberts "Pigs Don't Fly: The Economic Way of Thinking About Politics"

Monday, November 9, 2009

Copy of my email sent to all my GLF supporters

Here it is, a whole month after the GoodLooking Foundation Strides event and I am only just now writing my formal thank you letter! Please accept my apologies for the delay as our family has been experiencing both lingering illnesses as well as a lot of transitioning between preschools for Miranda who has finally moved in to her new digs in the Mt. Laurel Township Pre-School Disabled program at Springville Elementary (just down the hallway from Alex-yeah!) only last week.

I am a little embarrassed to admit that I didn’t read the fine print when I signed up for the 5K in May after the inspiring speech from the leaders of GLF, Joe Ciampoli and Penny Page: the traditional 5K in similar fundraising events is for RUNNERS and boy, am I a WALKER. I spent the summer working up to 5K walks in our neighborhood (being mostly confined with Alex and Miranda has left me without the opportunity to exercise, so the walks did double duty). I felt great during this training for having turned the kids over to someone else for the evening and gone out to prepare myself for this event, knowing that all of you had contributed so generously to this cause.

So, imagine my surprise on that Sunday morning, October 4th, to learn that I was expected to be running the 5K (many people do it in about 20 minutes--Yikes!) instead of walking. Running (briefly) and walking, I did the 5K in about an hour, finishing about half an hour after everyone else. (And re-aggravating knee injuries suffered in high-school.)

What I have since discovered about traditional 5K fundraising events is that many running enthusiasts will pay the $25 fee toward the organization as their primary contribution, show up for 20-30 minutes to run, and go home. That barely covers the cost of the event for the organizers.

So while I played tortoise to everyone else’s hare, with your help and overwhelming generosity, I was able to raise $3,535 for GLF, the event’s largest single contribution towards the $45,850 raised by the entire event. Thank you so much!!

I'm also very grateful to my father-in-law, Rick Webber, who counts a wheelchair as his primary transportation, for coming to the event itself and encouraging me even as I fell farther and farther behind the pack. You can see pictures that he took of the event here: http://tinyurl.com/yl59p7g

In addition to my deep gratitude to all who contributed financially to Alex's Angels and The GoodLooking Foundation, and the many more who prayed for my efforts, I am deeply thankful for my husband and my mother who watched Alex and Miranda for me and did bed-time duties, night after night, while I was out in the neighborhood walking my three miles. Without their constant graciousness and encouragement, I don't think I could have managed this at all.

Friday, October 2, 2009

It's the Big Weekend!

Many of you have already contributed to my fund raising campaign for the GoodLooking Foundation, and I am so grateful for your help. My original goal was $2,000.00, which I made almost immediately, so I raised it to $3,500.00, which I am within $60 of reaching. Again, thank you to all of you who have been so incredibly generous! Every weekend that Alex and Miranda start on Saturday morning with GoodLooking activities is a good one. And when we start the weekend well, it makes life so much easier. If you've been considering a gift or forgot all about it, you can still give. Click here to reach my page.

So, on Sunday morning at 8 am, I will report to Connolly Park in Voorhees, prepared to walk my 5K briskly. (I'm not much of a runner, but I've been practicing all summer and 5K takes me about an hour, with my iPod.) I plan to bring my camera to take pictures of the event and will write up a summary for y'all next week.

Marshall and the kids won't be attending the event because we decided changing their Sunday routine would be more trouble than it's worth.

Remember, Sunday is Alex's 6th birthday! Woohoo! We will be celebrating Alex and Miranda's birthdays jointly later in the month with family. There are advantages to having had two October babies, like having to host only one party. Although, I will have to make cupcakes for the first time in my life for Miranda's last day at Tomorrow's Hope Preschool on October 28th. I'm hoping my sister-in-law will share her secret recipe. Leah's cupcakes are always mouth-wateringly delicious.

Both kids are doing well at school. Many blessings upon Miss Kim and Miss Niki.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

And now it's Thursday

I really need to dig out the camera and post the pictures of Miranda from the first day of preschool. Our children don't really pose for pictures though (yet another reminder of the dominance of Boyle genes--all real Webber children seem to come out of the womb knowing how to pose for a photograph!) so you're really not missing out on photographic excellence or yet another "I'm SO cute" picture of Miranda. Besides, my mother takes most of those anyway. I am an indifferent photographer.

Anyway, Miranda and I have spent the morning doing mostly nothing (I think she spent 90 minutes in the tub this morning) so that she can recover from her busy week. Pesky child took a nap yesterday at 4:45 pm so didn't go to bed until 8:30 pm and then was up from 4 to 5 am. I know why she's waking up in the middle of the night: hunger because she's refusing to eat dinner. She had a small cup of vanilla pudding for dinner last night which I offered out of desperation because if she ate that, at least she'd have some calories in her. I still remember the nights when Alex at this age would have tortilla chips for dinner. But he was a better sleeper then than she is now. Ugh. Marshall and I are really struggling to stay awake during the day. But it is an effort. I was really hoping all the fun and excitement of school this week would mean she'd sleep better. Boy, was I wrong.

Miss Cathy comes for speech therapy in an hour and then we'll lie around some more until Alex come home from school. I don't even have any laundry to do.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

So it's Tuesday

Miranda had her first day of preschool yesterday and it seemed to go well. I told my friend Lisanne that her daughter, Addy, is going to have to give me the daily reports of what happens in class because, well, Miranda can't.

Yesterday was a get it done day. Marshall took the day off of work since Miranda's IEP meeting with her case worker was at 10 am and he wanted to be there and he had rehearsal at church last night for next Sunday's service (he runs the sound one Sunday a month) and it just seemed easier for him to stay home. So we put Alex on the bus at 8:20, Marshall left in his car to drop it off for an oil change, 5 minutes later Miranda and I got in my car to go pick him up and head for church. He was delayed at the car place but we still made it to church on time because, amazingly, we hit green lights all the way down 73. That never happens.

We dropped Miranda off in her class room with Miss Nicki (she must have liked Miss Nicki since she asked for her by name this morning) and Miss Megan, went to the lobby to chat with friends, raced off to the Child Study Team office, had the meeting, dropped Marshall back at the car place where his car was finished. Then we split up. I went on a quick shopping spree to Kohl's to return the size 5 pants I'd bought for Miranda a week ago (she's size 5 shirts, size 4 pants and size 10 shoes), stop at Trader Joe's for groceries, run to Target to take back some more size 5 pants and made it to church in time to pick Miranda up at 12. We were good until we walked out the front door and Miranda tripped and landed on the concrete, scraping both knees and palms. So, I left all our stuff there on the concrete so we could go back in the church and find Miss Heather and her stash of bandaids. And while Miranda's sitting on the counter in the bathroom and I'm cleaning her up I'm promising her a lollipop to make it all better and then realize my purse has many things but no lollipops! Of course, it being a kid-friendly church, someone in the office has one and they are happy to give it to Miranda.

Marshall spent the afternoon with his to do list which included changing the oil in my car (and then cleaning up afterwards) and then hanging up a picture and the new mirror in our powder room. It's not completely completely done in there, but it is getting closer.

Miranda's therapist is sick this afternoon so we raced home from MOPS for no good reason. We'll probably sit around and relax as she got me up this morning at 5:30 am. Pesky girl. There's always laundry to fold.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Day 3 (or, I really hate rainy days)

It has been raining since early yesterday evening. I almost sent Alex to school in his rain boots. I hate the rain. I am so much more easily discouraged when the sun is not shining.

I am really having a tough day. I just wrote a long email to the preschool director at Miranda's new school where she starts class on Monday.

[Here in NJ, the state and the feds pay for therapy until the age of 3, when the children are turned over to their individual township's care. So, Miranda isn't eligible to start at the public school until October 30th, her third birthday. So, Tomorrow's Hope Preschool has graciously said they would take her in their 2 1/2 year old class until November. So that is what we are doing.]

In the process of writing the email, I realized what the source of my panic is. I have become accustomed to protecting the world from my children, instead of the reverse, because they do not behave or react in ways typical to other children. Tell Alex no (for a perfectly good reason) and he'll slam himself into the nearest wall. Tell Miranda no (for an equally good reason) and she'll throw whatever is handy straight at you (including furniture).

So, how do I protect the other kids in Miranda's class from her? Yes, there is a perfectly wonderful teacher and another perfectly wonderful aide (2 adults in the classroom) who's jobs include protecting the children from each other. But do they know how to restrain her effectively? Or is Miranda going to use the skills she's learned in therapy for the past 15 months as well as many hours in the church nursery (God bless Miss Brynn, Miss Beth, Miss Rachel, Miss Sarah, Miss Kim--who am I forgetting?!) and behave herself in a relatively normal manner?

I think you can gather from my abject terror that I don't trust her to be a good girl and not beat up the other students. But it is possible that I am wrong.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Saddest Sign of the End of Summer

We started emptying the pool last night. It hasn't been warm enough to swim since Saturday.

When I first moved to NJ, I thought it was the strangest thing that community pools were only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. We used to swim in Fresno from April until October. However, it's only barely warm enough here to swim from June-August. The first of September here is really when the weather cools off. I still find it strange, though.

Day 2

So at about 2:30 yesterday I got a call from the school nurse who told me Alex was not having a good day, had refused to eat anything so of course wasn't even going to take his Ritalin from her. Poor boy had woken up almost 3 hours early for school and must have been exhausted by lunch time. New bus driver, new classroom, and a new schedule was enough to completely overwhelm him. At least his teacher, Miss Kim, was familiar from summer school. And there's a problem with his bus ride home so I have a call into transportation to find out what it is. He was cheerful when he got home but didn't do a whole lot before bed. The pile of paper in his backpack just for me must have been more than an inch high, though. It will take me a couple of days to get through all of it.

So, after I put Miranda to bed (she is consenting to sleep in her new bed, mostly, although I really need to get her a bigger blanket, I left the dirty dishes in the sink, skipped my neighborhood walk and went straight to the bathtub with bubble bath and a Georgette Heyer novel. I'd forgotten how much fun Frederica was. It meant I was fairly relaxed when I went to bed.

Today everyone woke up on time and fairly cheerfully and I was able to send Alex off with a few things that should make today a little easier. I will be picking him up from school early though to take him to the allergist. His eczema is going nuts again so Mimi will meet me at the doctor's office so help me cope with him while there. Miranda is going to Basically Babysitting. Her limp is better today but she managed to walk into a wall during Speech Therapy yesterday so has a new bruise on her cheek. I think her foot injury has affected her balance.

Tomorrow is Miranda's big day: pre-school orientation at Hope. Although I had a great conversation with the Springville school secretaries when I dropped off Alex's Ritalin yesterday morning, telling them how Miranda will be joining Miss Barbara's class soon.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The First Day of School Started at 4:30 am (I think)

So I look up as I roll over about 5:30 this morning and ask Marshall why he's getting back in bed and he tells me Alex has been up for about an hour already and is not going back to sleep. And he's loud enough that Miranda wakes up at 6. These children were not supposed to wake up until their father got into the shower at 6:45. So I'm starting the day grumpy from a lack of sleep. And I have to take Miranda to Alex's school this morning to drop off his Ritalin with the nurse so he doesn't make his teacher nuts by bouncing around the classroom all afternoon but since Miranda wants to go to school now herself, I'm going to carry her out screaming. Or push her out in the stroller, that is. Because she won't be able to walk from the parking lot to the school since Alex was jumping around last night about 5:30 and landed perfectly wrong on her right foot, spraining the joint that connects her big toe to her right foot. So she's limping. It's not really swollen or bruised this morning so it is getting better, but she has to limp to get around, which is the most pathetic thing in the world to watch this girl who her father calls alternately "Thumper" and "Princess Thunderfoot" LIMP. So even though it is the first day of school and I should be jumping for joy, I'm trying not to cry.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The little girl who won't sleep in a bed (or, only 2 more days)

So, our good little sleeper--as Miranda has been since she was tiny--has decided in the last week, that she won't sleep in a bed and will only fall asleep wrapped up in her blankets on the hallway floor outside of her room at least an hour after she was supposed to be asleep. So, I decided this must mean she's really done with the toddler bed and we should just go ahead and buy her a mattress to go with the big girl bed that's been in the house in pieces for 2 weeks as Marshall needed to paint it (which he is out in the garage doing right now). So, yesterday while we were at Costco with the kids to stock up on enough bread, cheese and milk to get us through the week, we looked at the mattresses and decided to buy one that afternoon. So, after purchasing said groceries, we went for our regular French Fries run, and then Marshall left me with the kids at home so he could go right back to Costco and buy the mattress.

[We missed our French Fry stop after church because we didn't go to church because Saturday night-Sunday morning Alex was awake from 11 pm until 4:30 am. He did this a week ago and we haven't a clue what's causing the wakefulness. He's not sick, he's not bad, he's just wide awake, and so one of us adults has to be supervising him because, well, you can't leave Alex unsupervised. So it was 10:30 am until Alex woke up and since Marshall and I had taken the night assignments in shifts, Marshall didn't get up again until 11 am. So no church.]

So then Marshall and I move the baby dresser out to the street (the one with the attached changing table that she's been too big to use for at least 6 months), we move the toddler bed that will go back to Marshall's sister for cousin Lilly, and we bring in the new mattress. We let the kids bounce on it for a few minutes (see above) and then I put all the bedding on it.

And when bed time comes and she's crying with exhaustion, what does she do?

Not only did Marshall move her into the bed after she fell asleep, I had to move her back when I went to bed later. Which means she had re-awoken and gone back to the floor. She makes me so completely crazy.

So, only 2 more days until Alex goes back to school. The bus will come promptly at 8:23 am Wednesday morning with Miss Linda the driver (we hope) and he will run out of the house and off to Kindergarten. Miranda's preschool orientation at Hope is Friday morning and then she starts the following Monday morning. Her behaviors have been so bad in the last few weeks, though, that I am anxious about leaving her at Hope. What if she beats up her classmates like she beats us up when she's unhappy or thwarted? Unpleasant to think about.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New pictures are up

Since my mother's been here, she's been taking a lot of pictures. This is our favorite of Alex playing in the mud. The rest of them are here.

Miranda was playing dress-up this morning with new clothes from the hand-me-down bag. Too cute!

Friday, August 28, 2009

And the good news is...

...that Lauren, Miranda's case worker from the Mt. Laurel School District, called me yesterday to say Miranda has a place in Ms. Barbara Borden's class at Springville Elem. That means Alex and Miranda will be in the same building and should be able to take the same bus in the morning, starting in November, after Miranda turns 3. I know Ms. Barbara from field trips as her class usually joins Alex's whenever they go out and think the world of her. This is really great news!

Our IEP meeting was supposed to be next Monday morning but was moved to Sept. 14 to give Lauren a little more time to have everything spelled out in black and white. But now that I know where Miranda will be, I feel so much better.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Surviving Here (God Bless Grandma)

Last week was such fun that my mother agreed to come and help me get through the rest of August and she arrived Monday afternoon. Of course, both kids screamed for the 25 minutes before we left for the airport (late!) but were happy to see her when we finally got to the airport 35 minutes later. And we have decided traveling to San Diego for Thanksgiving is just not a good idea (the thought of Miranda on an airplane for untold hours still gives me the horrors!) so we have invited everybody to come here. Of course, if everyone comes, we'll be full up and sending people out to sleep at the houses of other friends and family, but it will still be fun. Boyle's love a full house and my husband is an indulgent man.

So now I need to make my wish list of things to do while she's here. We may try to clean out the garage on Saturday. Fun, fun, fun!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

And now for something completely different (revisted)

In March, I wrote up the movies we were planning to see in the spring and summer. I thought now would be a good time to revisit the list with short reviews and add a few:

March 6
I found this movie fascinating even though I haven't read the graphic novel; afterwards, I realized it was the first "R" rated movie I've actually seen in the theatre.

May 1
Passed on it because of poor reviews.

May 8
Star Trek
Saw it twice in the first week and still want to see it again!

May 22
Terminator: Salvation
Passed on it because of poor reviews.

May 29

June 24
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Did see it. Didn't love it, didn't hate it. Had a few moments I liked. Of course, Roger Ebert's rant against it has been pretty amusing to follow.

July 17
Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince
Really liked it, although for the first time, I didn't reread the book before the movie. The actors were really wonderful but my biggest disappointment was no good kiss between Harry and Ginny.

August 9
G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra
Still looking for a sitter so we can go see it.

Dec 18
This is all that's available.

We saw it the Fourth of July and loved it! Second "R" rated movie for me in theatres.

Hurt Locker
Opened mid-July. Dying to see it. I'm a new fan of Jeremy Renner.

District 9
Opens tomorrow. Marshall really wants to see it and I'm interested.

And our favorite sitter leaves for Disney early Saturday morning. Dang.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The To Do List just keeps growing...

So, in the last week, FINALLY, Marshall and I wrote our fundraising letter for the GoodLooking Foundation Strides Walk on October 4, 2009 (Alex's 6th birthday, in fact). I had decided months ago that I wanted to walk to help raise funds for GLF since they have been SO good to us! So, if you haven't received the email, click here to see our page. Of course, I was supposed to have set the page up in May, but we got busy and tired and...it didn't get done. Same old story. I'm sure it's never happened to you. :)

I know I've been hardly posting for months, but Alex (accidently) broke my laptop in June and Miranda broke Marshall's (not so accidently) in July, so we've been surviving on Uncle Brandon's old one helpfully donated by Grandma and Grandpa and updated by Marshall, but it means we have to share and so the times when I used to be posting, Alex is using it. Or, in the evenings, I'm out walking to prep for the 5K walk on October 4th, or I'm just too darn tired.

If you haven't seen new pictures of the kids, the candid ones are here and the formal ones are here. They are still two of the cutest kids on the planet.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Some of my favorite people

These three young women are some of the best babysitters on the planet. Without them, I don't think I could have managed. So, join me in blessing Julia Koerwer,

Jen Haskell, and

Leah Koerwer.

Unfortunately for us but good for her, Julia will leave for university on August 8. We will miss her terribly, Alex, especially. Thankfully, Leah and Jen will be around for another two years.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Not a lot of posting lately, I know...

...but Miranda has stopped napping completely and her temper tantrums are escalating daily, reminding me more and more of Alex at this age, to my dismay. As strong as she is, though, I can still immobilize her. I just do not enjoy it. And I'm not sure which one of us has more bruises. I meet with the school district Child Study Team next Monday about setting up her evaluations preparatory to her starting in the preschool disabled program November 3, 2009.

On a good note, Alex's IEP meeting 2 weeks ago went really well and we are excited about his placement for next year. We get to stay at Springville another year, which was our preference. It would be wonderfully convenient if I could put them both on the same bus every morning, but most of the kids at Springville are ASD kids. However, Marshall and I are starting to discuss a diagnosis of PDD-NOS for her, which might put her at Springville anyway.

I have a bunch of pictures to post of the kids playing outside that I will try to get up later.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What a week!

So we had a week of potty disasters for both children (lots of baths, laundry, and steam cleaning floors and furniture) and then the meeting with Miranda's case worker from Early Intervention who was here Thursday for our one year meeting and to set goals for the next 6 months. Miranda will age out of Early Intervention when she turns 3 on October 30th, at which point she will be transferred to the Mount Laurel Preschool Disabled program like Alex, although they will probably be in difference schools, which means different buses. She will probably still go to Tomorrow's Hope Preschool for September and October, which will be Monday and Wednesday mornings, to help her get ready for 5 mornings a week starting in November. EI is also adding a behavioral therapist for Miranda to help us combat the tantrums of our little drama queen. So that was discouraging. And we have Alex's IEP meeting on Tuesday morning so we're essentially waiting for the other shoe to drop.

To take a break from it all, we are going to see Star Trek again tonight with 4 friends. We saw it last week on opening night, but our friends weren't able to find a sitter, so we went without them. I just couldn't wait. I watched the preview about once a week, starting in December, so I'm more than happy to see it again. And I'm not even a big Star Trek fan, but I am a fan of JJ Abrams and movies that are "pretty" to look at. Like Watchmen. I haven't made a decision about Terminator: Salvation yet; I'm going to wait and read the reviews.

I did finally post my iris pictures. They are really beautiful this year.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A little better today

Alex is still sleeping since there's no reason to wake him up. He still had a fever late yesterday afternoon and his appetite isn't back, so he's home for another day. Miranda bounded out of bed right before 7, per her usual habit. and has tried several times already to wake Alex up to play with her. She just doesn't understand why he should be home and not be up for chasing her around the house.

Anyway, in the end, all Alex had was the stomach flu, but it was the presentation that scared me so badly. Every other time he's had this kind of virus, we find out he's sick when he starts throwing up. This time, it was more than 3 hours of whimpering and looking pale and falling asleep at the drop of a hat before the vomiting started, which is what freaked me out. He has never been able to tell us when he's sick or where it hurts, so describing nausea was obviously beyond him.

And now he's up because Miranda's screaming just woke him. There are mornings when I am not happy with her, like today. She's been in trouble since she got up. When she's unhappy with us these days she just swings her arm back and smacks us as hard as she can. The best thing to do is catch her arm before she can hit. I understand why she's unhappy: on Tuesday, she was dragged all over creation when all she wanted to do was play at home, and now, yesterday and today, we're stuck at home because Alex is sick, but he won't play with her. It's just not her week.

If we make it to Saturday without the rest of us throwing up, we'll probably be in the clear. Here's hoping.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

We're all a little bleary today...

...well, except for Miranda; she's as bouncy as ever. But Alex is definitely feeling better today. He slept from 10:30 - 3 am and then was up with me from 3-4. Then he slept until 5:30 when Marshall took a turn with him. But his fever is lower and he's eaten a few Cheerios and crackers this morning, his first food since lunchtime yesterday. So we're hopeful.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Tuesday that started well

and ended up in the toilet. Or, at least, it would be the toilet if we could convince Alex to throw up in the toilet instead of on towels. Still, towels are better than floors. Or us.

So I got home after a busy morning (and a great meeting with Alex's teacher and therapists--things are much better at school) with a tired Miranda refusing to nap and after we'd been home almost an hour, the nurse calls from school to say at about 2 pm Alex turned pale and climbed into an aide's lap, whimpering. So I put Miranda back in the car and raced back to school to pick up a whimpering boy.

We came home and he went to bed and was asleep almost instantly, which immediately caused me to freak out. The last time Alex did that he was like 6 months old. I had left a message at the Pediatrician's office on my way to school (I did way too much driving while phoning today) and waited impatiently for him to call back at 4. (I couldn't reach either of my parents by phone at that moment which made me even more upset. I don't care how old I am; talking to them helps to calm me down.) Wonderful Dr. Monaco said to bring him in, so I called Mimi the Great to ask her to meet us there so she could deal with Miranda while I was with Alex.

It was an unpleasant trip there (30 minutes), an unpleasant exam (Alex had developed a fever on the way to the office) and when we walked back out to the car (Miranda had fallen asleep in the car right before we arrived at the office so Mimi stayed outside with her) Alex promptly threw up in the street. We had another unpleasant ride home of both children crying but Daddy was home soon after us, which made everything better.

The long and short of it is Alex has flu-like symptoms and I defy anyone who's been watching the news lately not to jump to conclusions and say swine flu. Ugh.

So, he's dry-heaving now between playing rounds of golf on the Wii (while sitting down). He is the most pathetic thing in the world when he's sick. And he threw up on Beloved Brown Blanket, which is now in the dryer. It'll be dry in an hour, when, hopefully, he'll be empty enough to go to bed. Then we can go to bed. Hopefully.

Pray for us.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Better Monday

(I am having difficulty inserting the picture I want, so here's the link to our web photo site: Old Couch.) Marshall was out yard saling Saturday as we dropped off some of our junk to a friend's sale and made some cash (Thank you, Tammy!) and promptly spent it on a new sectional with a hide-a-bed. It was a great price, looks brand new and seems to have been transported straight out of 1985, style-wise, but since our children are still in the destroy the furniture phase of life, we aren't really buying furniture for the main living areas that we care deeply about. Anyway, the photo is from Saturday afternoon, after we'd lugged the old couches out to the street where the trash men will pick them up Thursday if no one else gets them before that (and I don't really expect they will as they are in poor condition). Alex saw the couches outside and wanted to go sit out with Daddy. I wanted to do a new couch-old couch comparison, but I haven't managed to get that picture yet.

But back to Monday--today. Somehow, I slept well for the first night in a while and life seems possible again. At least, our To Do List while massive doesn't seem completely impossible. I spent the morning doing laundry and planning my day tomorrow. I have a 10:15 am meeting with Alex's teacher (regular monthly conference) so Miranda's already going to the drop in day-care (brilliant idea--I don't know why there isn't more than one!) so I'm planning 6 other stops along the way:
  • Put Alex on the bus per usual at 8:15, pack up Miranda with a large lunch bag in case she's having a hungry day, and drop her off at 9 am at Basically Babysitting.
  • Head to Vicky Olson's house to drop off a bin full of hostas. Mine tried to take over the yard last summer so I'm hacking them back considerably and giving her the pieces. Hostas are pretty hardy and mine seem to do amazingly well, when I water them. I consulted with my neighbor last night about my out of control flower bed in the front yard (she is an amazing gardener) about what to do about reordering my plants and she gave me some great ideas and the confidence to do it. I'm going to dig up some of my cannas for her as a thank you, since they are creeping again. Anyway, I've got a couple of weeks work ahead of me, but I'm breaking it up into pieces that I might actually be able to accomplish, then Marshall will run the hoses to set it up to be watered automatically, which would keep the hostas from getting sunburnt and my hydrangea might actually bloom. And then we order a ton of mulch and spend 2 weeks spreading it. But I am a happier person when my flower bed is in order. I take after my father that way.
  • Take the back way from Vicky's to Springville Elem for my meeting with Alex's teacher and therapist. I expect a happier meeting this time since he's been on his anti-anxiety meds for 2.5 weeks. And, hopefully, Jessica's computer will be be fixed soon. You don't realize how much you rely on email for teacher-parent communication until it's gone.
  • Dry cleaners to drop off my winter coat.
  • Bed, Bath & Beyond for a new mattress pad (I have a stack of coupons already stashed in my purse in case they finally have the kids' favorite Gazillion bubbles again).
  • Target for new flip flips for me (mine are 2 years old now and after a day of wearing them, are falling apart) and for Miranda so she'll stop stealing mine.
  • Costco for milk, eggs, bread, fruit and cheese.
  • Panera's for lunch (my treat for clinic days).
  • And back to BB to get Miranda, who should have played like crazy and be tired enough to take a nap. Her napping is irregular at best but there's a good chance she'll sleep tomorrow.
It was so hot yesterday we got out the bathing suits and the sprinkler beach ball for the kids. Those pictures start here.

Thankfully, it's supposed to start cooling off Wednesday. It was starting to feel like Fresno, where spring lasts about two weeks before it gets hot and stays hot until Fall.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

We've had a perfectly awful day

as the Celica didn't sell and Alex managed to make Miranda bleed all the way home from church (I still haven't figured out how he cut her finger open) and we got to try out our new carpet steamer because we didn't change Miranda's dirty diaper fast enough so she tried to do it herself. Ewwww. More laundry. Sigh.

So, I thought I'd share the pictures our friend Vicky Olson took of us on Easter morning after the church service. This first one is Miranda with cookie all over her face (she managed to swipe two of them which in effect, became her lunch) clutching the new toy Daddy bought her for Easter, Purple Rubber Elephant (named for Max's Red Rubber Elephant from Max & Ruby). She cannot leave the house without it and we've almost left it twice and did leave it yesterday. It was rescued safely this morning, however.

Now we have Emily Olson with Miranda-cookie-face.

This is Alex admiring the red tulips we bought for the church and then got to bring home. He insisted on carrying them himself, all the way home on his lap. And then when he broke one, he was very distressed and asked Daddy for tape to fix it.

We always get flowers for Easter in memory of my cousin Matthew Wilson, who died suddenly almost six years ago.

Here's the four of us, although getting both children to hold still while smiling is . . . difficult.

They are really cute kids, though. It helps.
One more of Miranda with her friends, Emily and Charlotte Olson. And Purple Rubber Elephant.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


at Longwood Gardens a good time was had by myself and MaryLee. It was hot and we took the convertible for its swan song (it will be sold by the end of tomorrow). Of course, too much time in the sun means I have a mild case of sun poisoning. Bummer.

Anyway, enjoy the photos.

It was Kite Day for families at Longwood. Alex is totally kite mad right now. Maybe we can take him in a year or two. It was strange to see so many families with young children at Longwood, more than I've ever seen there before.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring Vacation

Alex is on Day 7 of his Spring Break and should be ready to go back to school on Monday. We have had a pretty low-key vacation for him, especially as he is adjusting to new anti-anxiety medication. In discussion with his school team, we decided to discuss our options with our doctor, which I did last Thursday. So this is also Day 7 of the new medication and we seem to be adjusting okay. It is causing some insomnia, which is normal, and hopefully, will wear off in a couple of days.

I haven't posted for more than 2 weeks because we've been registering new levels of stress here at Chez Webber what with the purchase of the new car, which got into an accident the day after we bought it (we were hit while stopped at an intersection in Philadelphia having just left our appt. with Miranda and the pediatric neurologist) so it then spent all of last week at the shop. So I've been spending the evenings doing not much. Last night I went out to see Fast & Furious by myself and enjoyed it; I have this strange weakness for Vin Diesel, but I couldn't watch him in The Pacifier; I turned it off after half an hour. Anyway, Roger Ebert's review of the new film is spot on.

Today seems to be naked day for Miranda. I've found her without any clothing or diaper 3 times already. Maybe potty training time has come! She did go on the potty for the first time on Monday after a bath (she drinks so much bath water that she had started peeing on the floor after every bath so I've been putting her on the potty after I dry her off) but today is different. We'll see.

At the end of today we will own 5 cars. I know, I know, there are only 2 drivers here. Marshall is buying a commuting vehicle from a friend at work today, a Toyota Corolla, and will sell the Cellica on Sunday. We may keep the Previa around for another month or so; we haven't decided exactly what to do with it yet since it's barely worth more than scrap metal. But the new xB is very nice and I am enjoying the process of learning to drive it. I took it out for an extended drive last night after the movie (duh!) and realized how easy it would be to get a speeding ticket. So I will just have to be more careful. I'm sure there will be times I will miss my super-charged minivan, but since we said good-bye to the big dog last September and don't plan to have a new one until the kids are much older and more self-sufficient, the xB has just the right amount of space and efficiency.

I think that's all I have time to post about right now. We had a lovely Easter at Marshall's sister's house, except for the tamtrum Miranda threw just as we were sitting down for dinner so she spent 20 minutes screaming upstairs in a pack-n-play before she fell asleep. Everytime I think I've figured out when she needs a nap and when she doesn't (it's now less than 50% of the week now), she fools me. We took the kids to the Discovery Museum to play yesterday (Marshall graciously took yesterday off of work to give me a break and since all of our other plans for the day fell through--dentist, family pictures, feeding therapy session for Alex--we decided to spend the afternoon playing) and Miranda fell asleep in the car on the way there. So Marshall sat in the car with her for 20 minutes while she had a pick-me-up-nap while Alex and I played.


Monday, March 30, 2009

A Distracted Evening

I was having an amusing time this evening watching Whose Line is It Anyway? when I read this post on Anne Kennedy's blog, felt like vomiting, and then opened a beer. What a day.

I remember being about 16 weeks pregnant with Miranda when Alex received his diagnosis of high-functioning autism. When your eldest child is on the spectrum, chances aren't real good for the next one. (Alex is a rare one in his preschool-disabled classroom to have a younger sibling, especially one who is not autistic.) So I remember the misery well but I. Never. Considered. Having. An. Abortion. In fact, I refused any and all testing that could possibly lead in that direction.

Looking back and recognizing just how deeply depressed I was at the time, I'm grateful I was pregnant when we learned of Alex's diagnosis because it kept me from hurting myself. But it did feel like our world was ending, that all of our hopes and dreams of parenthood and a family were being smashed into pieces like shattered glass.

But even then, I did everything I could to protect that tiny baby girl growing inside me, and God did the rest. And when she came out into the world backwards (so, by planned c-section) on October 30, 2006, she was perfect and beautiful and the most amazing marvel of God. A miracle, in the flesh, in our very hands.

And now, at almost two and a half years old, she is a challenge at times, but a darling one, who loves hugs and kisses and just wants you to play with her. A child who is treasured, whose life I never regret. Yes, we suffered during the pregnancy and later, with her diagnosis of Sensory Integration Dysfunction last year, but never more than if we'd lost her. Or, worse, chosen to throw her away.

You see, if we'd had Alex evaluated by Early Intervention nine months earlier, like many wise and kind people advised us to, there probably never would have been a Miranda. So God turned my folly--for it was I who refused to call EI and bullied Marshall until he let me have my way--into joy in the person of my daughter. She is God's mercy and forgiveness and immeasurable grace, incarnate.

And now, after a break for weeping, let me do my five things:

1) Miranda doesn't have meningitis. I got a call this afternoon from the Children's Ministry Coordinator at church this afternoon saying Miranda had been exposed to meningitis in the nursery at Bible study last Wednesday and I probably would want to consult my pediatrician. So I called Dr. Chun and arranged to pick Alex up at school at 3 so we could go straight to Cadoro Pediatrics where Dr. Chun examined her and said Miranda is fine and we can still go to the MOPS playdate at Pump It Up tomorrow. Charlotte Olson is coming here first to play and then go with us, which makes it all the more fun. Can I say again how blessed I am to have such a fine team of doctors to help us? Thank you, Lord, and thank you, Joan Lawton (our case manager from EI for both Alex and Miranda) who sent us there.

2) I went to bed with a fever last night (catching the bug Miranda had all weekend) but felt well enough this morning to send Marshall (albeit grudgingly) off to work (where he did need to be) this morning and face the day with the kids. And have felt better as the day went on. Small bug, quickly vanquished. So many of our friends have been laid up with the stomach flu this season that lingers for 4-5 days. Thank you, God, that you spared us. Keep doing so, Lord. It would be a nightmare trying to rehydrate Alex.

3) Alex has had 3 good days in a row (Thurs, Fri, Mon) at school. Again, God bless Miss Jessica and her talented, giving and gracious team. On days like this I feel like I simply do not thank them enough.

4) Marshall fixed what we thought was the death-knell of my car. The heater had stopped working and he thought that meant the water pump was failing, but, MaryLee rescued us once again and told him to check the coolant levels. He topped up the coolant and the problem was solved, giving us some more time to arrange for the new car. Clever woman, that mother-in-law of mine. Having her means I have 2 great moms, not just one.

5) Marshall's out in the garage working on the Beetle because he decided he wants to go back to the car show where he won first place last year. And the show's this Sunday, so the car needs to be all spiffied up again. I promised I would learn how to drive it. I need to do that soon. For that car is another concrete reminder of God's grace. Years ago, when the rebuild of that car was stretching on seemingly forever, it became something between us in our marriage, but God showed me that to love Marshall I needed to love the car. That I needed to want him to finish the rebuild as much or more than he did, because that was part of wanting what was best for Marshall. And God gave me the grace to do just that, so I am proud of what a beauty it is.

Now there's a marathon post for you. :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Slow Sunday

Miranda had a low grade fever yesterday so she and I stayed home from the dinner party at the Olsons' and church this morning. She took a long nap this afternoon, trying to burn off whatever bug she's fighting and woke up covered in sweat. She seems chipper presently as she and Alex are outside playing in the beautiful weather between rainstorms. Hopefully, she'll be well enough to play at the MOPS event at Pump It Up on Tuesday.

1) Our expedition to Burlington Toyota yesterday was successful as I was able to drive a Scion xB and we like it well enough to settle on it as the car we are going to purchase to replace the Previa. We just have to spend a couple of days arranging the financing. Marshall has located an actual car for purchase in North Jersey that he is happy with; he drove up to see it in person yesterday morning.

2) Alex is a little subdued today but doesn't seem to have caught the bug that has Miranda down. Hopefully he will still be well enough for school in the morning. He's already got an 8-day Easter break starting April 8 so we don't want him to miss any more school that necessary.

3) The kids had a great time at GLF yesterday and enjoyed visiting with some of the other parents. Since we have greatly benefited from their program, I have decided to join their fundraising efforts so, dear friends and family, you will soon be receiving a support letter from me asking you to join our efforts.

4) Had a great dinner out with a friend on Friday night. Fried Green Beans never get old.

5) Roger Ebert's Your Movie Sucks finally came in for me at the library, so I've been enjoying his prose while he slams bad movies, actors, directors, etc. Very funny.

Must go make something for dinner. Although, Alex decided, since he didn't have his afternoon Ritalin (he didn't seem bouncy enough at the time to need it) to have his dinner at 3:30, while Miranda and Marshall were still napping. I'll find something for the rest of us.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Better to post in the afternoon...

... before my brain shuts off at 7 pm. Seriously.

1) Alex's feeding therapy yesterday with a new therapist went pretty well. He did protest about the new food we introduced (that he only had to touch) but we were able to persuade him to cooperate. Progress; slow steps, but still, any forward movement is progress.

2) Miranda, despite being tired (I really had to keep her up for her appt. today) had a great therapy session with Cathy, our new therapist who started last week. I have noticed new speech progress in the last week (probably because I was paying attention more because I would need something to report to Cathy today) and she spoke on the phone for the first time, to her daddy, and then to her Grandma Lorita in the last week, which makes us all happy.

3) All of our tax refunds are in so we will be driving the Scion xB on Saturday (we have a sitter all lined up since taking our children with us to a car lot would be, well, silly and I refuse to go alone) in hopes of purchasing one soon. Our Previa van has really taken a turn for the worse in the last few weeks and might leave me and Miranda stranded on the side of the road in the near future, so we'll be glad to be able to purchase a new vehicle.

4) Alex had a great report from school today, which is nice, for a change, since the last few days have been tough. And he answered a question for me this week about what he did at school in a new way for the first time. Join me in blessing Miss Jessica and her team at Springville Elem.

5) It's going to be a busy weekend, but fun. Tomorrow night I get to take my friend Vicky Olson out for her birthday, Saturday morning we have GLF, Saturday afternoon we go driving while the kids play with Jen, Saturday evening we have dinner with a group of friends at the Olsons', and then Sunday is church. All good things.

Please pray for my Uncle Mike, who is very ill and in the hospital. And also for Marshall and he finishes up the bedroom project and starts the next one, reinforcing the floor in the back of the house. It was done poorly when it was constructed, many years ago, and Alex's active lifestyle has exacerbated the problems. So Marshall has a plan and will be spending a good amount of time in April and May under the house. Ugh.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Yes, I know, it's been almost 2 weeks since my last entry...

... but life around here has been stressful and when it is so, I turn my brain off at night, so there's nothing left with which to blog. Not to mention reflect.

But I read something on Stand Firm today that got my ire up and while I didn't feel like posting a comment there would be ... fruitful, I'm blogging about it here instead.

To sum up, or, rather, how I read it, is something like this, "Isn't it just awful that women can't stay home and keep house and take care of their children, etc." Somehow the combination of the actual post with the comments made me angry.

Some women (and even a few men of my acquaintance) are perfectly happy to do just this. I am not one of them. I understand it is a privilege of mine not to have to work and I am well aware that I am the best care-giver for my particular brood, because I have had to learn how to do it best, but not because I was especially well suited for the job. Since I (with my husband) made the decision to marry and have children, it is my responsibility to follow through with the associated, well, work. But, as many of you know, I do not have neurotypical children, so I am not really a mother first; I am a household manager and therapist and mothering is something that seems to happen when it's convenient.

My major in college was English literature and there's nothing I like more than reading and discussing something that stretches my brain. I also enjoy standard office work because I find tidying up all kinds of paperwork to be very satisfying. But what I needed to study at university to be prepared for the kind of life I have now was speech therapy with a large dish of ABA on the side. (Cooking probably would have helped, too, but my mother-in-law, bless her, can make a delicious dinner out of a bowl of dirt and she has been very kind to bring me along and teach me a few things.) So I get irritated when someone presumes to tell me mothering and household management should be fulfilling in and of itself. And aren't I so lucky to have this opportunity?

My first response is, well, obscene, so I won't print that. My second would be, "Come and live at my house for a week and then tell me how lucky I am, you idiot."

And, on that note, let me list my 5 things to be thankful for today.

1) It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, finally, so we played outside, all of us, which the children thoroughly enjoyed, and I finally got some weeding done in my flower bed, which has needed it for weeks. I decided today that time spent weeding is never wasted.

2) We took the children for haircuts yesterday and it went off without a mishap, in spite of the long, long wait time. Alex didn't enjoy it, by any means, but he did sit still for it. Poor lamb, it really upsets him. It's like his hair has nerves in it. God bless the woman who has faithfully cut his hair without complaint for more than a year. We really don't pay her enough.

3) I took my turn in the church nursery this morning during the first service and enjoyed cuddling a variety of tots. Marshall brought the children for second service so I was able to serve without Miranda clinging to my leg. She and I are most happy when we are not in the nursery at the same time.

4) Miranda's new speech therapist started Thursday and she's marvelous! Really, she is that good. However, after 4 sessions of feeding therapy with Miss Lisa, we learned Wednesday that Weisman's Hospital has had to cut 20 positions, which means we will start with a new therapist this Wednesday. It was disapointing, especially since Alex has really cooperative these last two weeks.

5) It's spring so my tulips are coming up and I'm trying to plan a trip to Longwood Gardens with my mother-in-law, something we haven't been able to do together since about 2003. Way too long. If you've forgotten about my trip last spring with my mother, my dear friend Vicky Olson and her mother, see here.

6) Bonus Marshall's father bought a Wii for the grandkids for Christmas and so we've had it for a while and been actually using it for the last few weeks. Strangely enough, the sport which has caught me up in a passion is Tennis. I am really enjoying it, so I'm off to go play a couple of matches.

Foxtrot was particulary good today. Enjoy.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Thankful Catch-up, or Catch-up Thanking

We had a busy weekend, thankfully, after a rotten week, so I didn't get back to blogging. So I thought I'd list some highlights.

1) Alex went back to school, happily, and had a decent day.
2) Marshall was able to get off of work early and take the time to look at some of the cars we are looking to buy. Our minivan is 14 years old and has 187,000 miles on it and will need so many repairs to pass inspection in September that it makes more sense to replace it.
3) I was able to get out and buy groceries, finally, on Thursday night so we started the weekend with plenty of fresh fruits and veges.
4) Early Intervention called and scheduled a new speech therapist for Miranda Thursday at 1:30 pm, starting the 19th.

1) Miranda was well enough to bring her along to our Saturday program with Good Looking Foundation where Alex has scheduled play and she hangs out in the nursery with a couple of her good friends. This meant I could participate in the parents' Poker tournament, which I won first prize, a nice Best Buy gift certificates. My brothers would be so proud.
2) The weather was so beautiful, 70 degrees, that we spent most of the afternoon outside, working (Marshall and I) and playing (Alex & Miranda).

1) Both kids slept in until 8, giving me an extra hour of sleep. (Poor Marshall had to be up early to get to church as it was his Sunday to run sound.) We still got everything together to get to church on time.
2) We had a backyard bbq and extended play date with friends after church. Everyone had a great time! And then we came home and collapsed.

Friday, March 6, 2009

And now for something completely different

I'm going to stop complaining about how bad my week was and go for something, well, entertaining.

A whole bunch of new movie trailers have been released this week, so I thought I'd share my movie list for the year with links for the trailers so you can enjoy them too, if you're a normal person who doesn't obsess over them like me. I remember when the trailer for LOTR: TT was released and I spent almost an hour downloading it before I could watch it in its entirety. Not anymore.

March 6 (we're planning to see it next Saturday since it's a busy weekend for us this week)
May 1
May 8
Star Trek
May 22
Terminator: Salvation
May 29
June 24
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
July 17
Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince
August 9
G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra
Dec 18
Avatar (nothing much is available yet)

I will probably see Transformers and GI Joe regardless of the reviews, unless they are so bad even Marshall won't go with me.


(P.S. If you ask nicely, I might even admit how many times I've watched the Star Trek trailers.)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Blearily Grasping for the Weekend

I didn't blog last night because I really didn't want to reflect upon the day. Alex's feeding therapy session was eerily reminiscent of some one those first therapy sessions with his behavioral therapist from Early Intervention in the summer of 2006, right after he was diagnosed and I was about half-way through my pregnancy with Miranda. (Having some trouble typing; Marshall replaced the keyboard on my laptop last night because the old one had been doused with apple juice one time too many, and this new one is a little stiff yet.) In an hour of therapy, he spent at least 35 minutes crying, throwing toys, hiding under the table or otherwise being completely uncooperative. It was like he sized up the situation after the first 5 minutes, recognized that this was therapy and that he was having none of it. I know being out of school for a week didn't help, since he was out of his regular "work" schedule; we do our best here at home, but we don't structure his life therapeutically. Most of my time with him is spent simply persuading him to eat, hence the need for the therapy in the first place. We tend to leave the ABA stuff to his teacher and her team at school.

Break for an hour

And Alex and I just went another 10 rounds. God, I hate this.

More late.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Another day off of school - ugh!

When I arose this morning, it was with trepidation that I checked the Mt. Laurel Schools website to see it was a delayed opening today, which meant, again, Alex had no school. And the poor boy let me know in no uncertain terms this afternoon how unhappy he was to be home. He was in trouble every five minutes for about an hour. Poor little guy.

But, now the children are in bed (Miranda's sleeping as she refused to nap but Alex is probably still chirping) and Marshall's working on the Sage box, which has been really well behaved lately but the disc drive hasn't yet been resurrected, so that's what he's working on tonight, and I've just finished my Bible study homework from last week so that when I get to church tomorrow for the video, I'll be all caught up. (My college professors' hated my long, run-on sentences, but this is my blog, so they can be as long as I want!)

Which all means I have time for my 5 things:

1) When I got to MOPS this morning with both children in tow, I dropped Miranda off in the nursery per usual and then despaired when I learned that the young woman who used to be an aide of his on Sunday mornings (who I was planning to beg to take him into her classroom) is no longer one of our care-givers for MOPS. Lisanne, bless her, found another classroom for Alex to hang out in and he was really well-behaved for the whole session. God bless Miss Barb who took him in.

2) While driving to MOPS I almost hit the car in front of me that I thought was turning left but had to stop because someone pulled out in front of him. I think we missed his truck by an inch or two. I can imagine an angel standing between our two cars, keeping us all safe. It wouldn't have been a bad accident, but it would have been extremely annoying.

3) Brynn, my dear friend from MOPS who is also Hope's Nursery Coordinator, said she'd be more than willing to take Alex in the nursery with the rest of the crew tomorrow morning during Bible Study, so I'll get to go and see the video with the rest of the gang.

4) I've scheduled a playdate around lunchtime on Thursday to get us all out of the house at a place my children love to be.

5) Alex's doctor's office called today to say his Ritalin refill would be done now instead of later. I made the mistake of taking last month's scrip and handing the whole bottle off to the school nurse, not expecting the HMO to refuse to refill the current scrip for home use. I realize this is a dangerous drug, which we are very careful to dispense appropriately, but it was annoying and required a lot of effort on the part of Nicole, one of our favorite people at Elmwood Family Physicians (of course, we did like her before; just more so now). I sent in a plate of cookies for Nicole, Dr. Jay, and the rest of the staff last week to express my gratitude for their efforts on our behalf. Of course, it tells you something about the current state of our health care that it took Nicole almost 2 weeks to resolve this. Still, I'm thankful, especially since Alex has been home since last Friday, using up our stash.

That's the day's summary, anyway.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Return of the Snowbunnies!

(Miranda announced earlier this morning that she was ready to go outside, with only her wool mittens and black dress shoes. Thankfully, she did let me dress her more appropriately later.

I checked the Mt. Laurel schools website last night about 9:30 pm, not really expecting to see anything on the front page and was surprised to see school had already been canceled for today. Our region is receiving (yes, it's still snowing) 6-12 inches of snow today and so most schools are shut down. However, since the stock market it open, Marshall had to go to work so he took my car with its all wheel drive to navigate what he described as roads that were "more exciting" than usual.

Hopefully, Alex will have school tomorrow since he's already scheduled to be off Wednesday and Thursday because those days have early dismissal for Parent-Teacher conferences and (as many of you have already heard me complain about) there is no school for preschoolers on days with a shortened schedule. He was out of school Friday last because of a low-grade fever related to his cold (he's feeling much better today) so he's going to be really happy to go back to school tomorrow. And I will be happy to take Miranda out to MOPS Tuesday as well as I probably won't attend Bible study Wednesday morning because Alex will be home. We'll see how stir crazy we are. Maybe if I let him bring his Leapster, he might spend an hour in the nursery with the other kids while I see the next Beth Moore video in our Stepping Up series.

When I was sitting in church yesterday, I was thinking about Lenten disciplines of my own and what I want to do is try to post every day (or most days) 5 things that I'm thankful for. And, since Miranda is down for a nap, my snow pictures are still uploading, and Alex is happily playing his Cars game on his Leapster (and eating his now-cold pancakes), I have the time:

1) Marshall has a great job with SIG that he likes, pays well, and is as stable as it gets these days.

2) We have access to all the kinds of therapies our children need to overcome their developmental disabilities. Alex has a great teacher and wonderful aides at Springville Elementary and his new feeding therapy has great potential for improving all of our lives. And I'm trusting God to bring us a new Speech Therapist for Miranda.

3) We are a part of a great church community at Hope UMC. They treat us like family, at least, a family that is kind and supportive.

4) Alex was well enough for all of us to go to his classmate's birthday party at Pump It Up on Saturday that we've been looking forward to for a month and we had a great time, even though Miranda fell on her face a couple of times and looked pretty banged up yesterday. But her bruises are healing.

5) The three of us had a great time playing in the snow this afternoon. See pictures here.

It's going to be hard to come up with 5 different things each day, but I'm sure it's a healthy exercise for me.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.

We've had some tough times around here lately. We've sought extra therapy for Alex in hopes of convincing him to eat more than the dozen things he eats now. We need God to find Miranda a new speech therapist as her current therapist gave us our last session today because she has to have surgery tomorrow and take a break for a while. Marshall's father is ill and Marshall's blood sugar numbers are back up again.

But I have seen, in only the last week, God work amazing miracles in my life and in the lives of others that I love. He's healed broken hearts, broken relationships, and broken bodies. He's freed people from years of baggage and given them real, concrete hope for the future. I am in tears here, right now, remembering what I've seen only the last 2 weeks of my life.

I'm thinking I should spend this Lenten season praising God for all the good things in my life, because the more I think about it, the longer the list becomes. And the more I praise him, the more I am filled in joy and peace, which is what I need to face whatever may come.

My mother shared this scripture with me this morning, and it was exactly what I needed to hear.

1 Peter 4 (The Message)

Learn to Think Like Him
1-2Since Jesus went through everything you're going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you'll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want....

7-11Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God's words; if help, let it be God's hearty help. That way, God's bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he'll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!

Glory Just Around the Corner
12-13Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.

14-16If you're abused because of Christ, count yourself fortunate. It's the Spirit of God and his glory in you that brought you to the notice of others. If they're on you because you broke the law or disturbed the peace, that's a different matter. But if it's because you're a Christian, don't give it a second thought. Be proud of the distinguished status reflected in that name!

17-19It's judgment time for God's own family. We're first in line. If it starts with us, think what it's going to be like for those who refuse God's Message!

If good people barely make it,
What's in store for the bad?
So if you find life difficult because you're doing what God said, take it in stride. Trust him. He knows what he's doing, and he'll keep on doing it.

God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good. Amen.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Happy Ash Wednesday!

I should really be getting dressed and ready for Bible study, but wanted to share this post from the Episcopal Bishop Lawrence of South Carolina that I read on T19 this morning called "Ruben's Samson--with Lent Around the Corner." God has really been working overtime in my life to heal relationships so I am approaching this Lenten season with a spirit of joy, even though my parents went home last night after a wonderful visit.

Here's the best part:
Time for a spiritual checkup; that’s what Ash Wednesday is. Samson could’ve used it. And Lent, well among other things, it’s a spiritual shape-up for one’s Christian life; a godly housecleaning before a welcomed visitor; a spring spading and planting of the garden; even a long intimate walk with Christ. Repentance after all, once you commit yourself to it, usually ends in joy. I know the downside of the season as well as anyone. There are a lot of Lenten hymns I don’t care for. Some are dirge-like, others drab—(incidentally, Fr. Michael Wright has written a fine one and is willing to share it); the Kyrie can’t compare with the Gloria (surely there’s a good one out there, I’m just wanting to find it); and mea culpas just don’t yield themselves to full-throated praise from the heart as do Alleluias! Still, I have to admit when the pall of purple finally does give way on Easter morning, it’s like the end and the beginning of all things: the packed car starting out on vacation; the tied-fly cast lightly on the water; the closing of a good book: the opening of a better one.

May a rejuvenating Lent come your way!

Blessings in Christ our Savior and Lord,

--(The Rt. Rev.) Mark Lawrence is Bishop of South Carolina

I left Miranda painting by herself in the kitchen. Time to go find the mess she's made and change her clothes, again. :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Crazy busy!

My parents are visiting (they leave Tuesday, sigh) so we're working on all kinds of projects and pushing other ones forward while we have grandparents to babysit and add extra hands, so I haven't even thought about blogging. We took Miranda out of her crib yesterday (anyone want to buy a nice, used crib?) and she slept in the toddler bed for the first time last night. But in order to do this, we had to switch rooms between Alex and Miranda since he had the room that could be baby-proofed (a closet that locks, a door lock on the outside of the door, etc) so yesterday morning my father and Marshall disassembled and reassembled furniture and everything we'd been hiding in Miranda's room (she really only had half a room, poor thing; the rest was our storage but used to be our office) is now in the front room. Ugh. Hopefully, we'll be able to post some pictures soon.

We did enjoy watching the golf tournament with my father this afternoon and Alex and Miranda didn't fuss at not having the TV to themselves. Sunday afternoon growing up was always spent watching golf with Dad; that's just the way things were and still are. He already put in his order for me to pick up the final day of The Masters which falls on Easter Sunday this year and he'll be at church for the end as their church service starts at 4 pm, Central. So we'll record it for him in HD and burn it to a couple of DVD's, supposing everything with the Sage box is working by then. I told Marshall yesterday he has all of Lent to make it work. It has been a rather frustrating project, though. We wanted to go HD and we hate Comcast which meant we had to leave TiVo since they're now partnered with Comcast and we didn't like the options offered by DirecTV, so we decided to build our own. Rather, we decided Marshall would build us a system himself. All I do I speak encouragingly when he frustrated and try not to kick the box when it crashes. And it's not like the TiVo box never crashes; don't ever try to play Monsters, Inc. more than twice in a row without stopping the disc or it will kill the machine, trust me. Anyway, we reconsidered about a month ago after things had gone wrong yet again (3 bad motherboards in a row is seriously statistically unlikely) but still prefer to go with Sage, even though we've been through half a dozen remotes, none of which has been able to be programmed perfectly. TiVo spoiled us with the best designed remote available and it's hard to go back from there. But not even the TiVo remote would allow itself to be completely reprogrammed. So much fun being on the bleeding edge of technologly.

Please pray for a meeting I have Tuesday morning with Miranda's Early Intervention Case Worker and the Speech Pathologist that evaluated her last week. We have made progress but not enough to test out of the program, which means Miranda is still months behind in speech and comprehension from where a neurotypical child would be. And since our current speech therapist is going out on disability next week, we will need for Joan, our marvelous, wonderful never-makes-us-feel-like-we-one-of-90-families-she-works-with Case Worker to find us a new one, post haste.

Okay, I really need to get Alex out of the bathtub.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Article to share

I know I haven't posted in 2 weeks. Had a few minor crises and my mother arrived for a visit. I have a half-finished post that's almost 2 weeks old that I haven't decided yet whether to finish or delete.

Marshall found this great article in the Irish Times called First Lady spurs new arms race. Here's my favorite paragraph:

Intelligent women know that legs shouldn’t be exposed if you want to be taken seriously because men never expose their legs (except on holiday); breasts speak of B-list bovinity and a lack of intelligence because men don’t have them; piercings lack purity (we’re heading into a pure and serious stage now), and tattoos – well, I’d like to see how good Angelina Jolie’s ones look when she’s past her prime.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Miranda the Snow Bunny!

We finally had a snowfall significant enough to play in so Miranda went out to play in the snow for the first time this season. Alex elected to stay inside, warm and dry, but I went out and followed her around with the camera. She was having such a good time, however, that she rarely held still and wouldn't even pose for the camera. So the pictures are rather hit or miss, but she still looks adorable in her pink boots, lavender-colored snow pants and mittens, and bright red coat.

Snowbound today

Alex is home from school today since we had a couple of inches of snow last night. Even though the school district has a 2 hour delayed opening, there is no school for preschoolers when the schedule is altered. Which means even though Friday is a scheduled early dismissal, he won't have school at all that day. I can't wait for next year when he'll be classified "kindergarten." And Miranda was up from 5:30-6:30 am coughing but is fast asleep now so I'm blogging in a bleary-eyed fashion. I still haven't completely kicked this cold, so I'm back on Sudafed. At least I went to bed earlier than usual last night, at 10.

I was really looking forward to going to Bible study today. We just started Beth Moore's Stepping Up on the Psalms of Ascent but we've been on Week One for 3 weeks now as it snowed last Wednesday as well. I'm sure it won't hurt me to read Psalms 120-122 again.

It is beautifully pristine outside right now, though. I'll try and get some pictures. I might even send the kids outside in the snow, despite Miranda's cold. She was begging to go out yesterday. Her favorite episode of Max & Ruby right now is "Max's Snow Bunny" which I've been letting her watch twice a day since she's been sick since Saturday and it cheers her up. Max and Ruby are outside playing in the snow for most of the episode and I think she'd like to try it for herself. I kept her inside last winter during the few snowstorms we had so she's never really had the full playing in the snow experience. Perhaps today is the day.