Saturday, September 3, 2011

C Turns the Big 5

This week our little C turned five.  He woke up on the morning of his birthday and told me he was really glad he was five now because it was hard to hold down a finger for four. I told him he actually didn't have to hold up any fingers and could just say the number, and he has really latched on to that idea. :)
When asked what kind of birthday party he wanted, he promptly answered, "CARS!" (referring to the movie). Though this theme is a bit commercialized, we felt it was more important to give him what he wanted.  And I think he was happy...
Saw this idea on a blog, and it turned out to be pretty easy.

Pin the wheel on Lightning McQueen
License Plate Craft (materials from the Dollar Store!)
Mater and Lightning McQueen Relay Races

I've never seen a group of kids line up as fast as these kids did when they found out they could  get inside him to race.
And of course Mater was full wheelchair accessible.  It wrapped around back of C's power chair.
Pizza, watermelon, root beer, and CARS cupcakes!
C and his friend E even had the same CARS t-shirt.  This is their "silly face" picture.
Goodie Bags to say "Thank you!" 

His little smile at the end made the prep time totally worth it. He said, "Mom, this is the best birthday party I've ever been to in my whole life."  Such a sweet boy--he always melts my heart.  He almost makes me want to do it all over again tomorrow. Almost.

Beginning, The Beginning, The Beginning of Our Story

The day finally came.  After all the hype (and all my worry) our little C started Kindergarten. His first day was perfect, and he now loves going to school and gives me a huge smile every day when I pick him up and always has something exciting to tell me about how his day went.

So go ahead and tell me I was all worked up for no reason and worried for nothing. I don't mind hearing it. After all, I'm a mom.  Worrying is my job.

The Pintrest Obsession Begins...

For any of you who are not aware of Pintrest well, you should be. It is the best thing that ever happened to my craft & sewing addiction. A friend told me about and I have been telling everyone I know about it ever since.

So when I needed a cute gift for my sis-in-law's wedding, I went there and found an easy answer.  My friend "pinned" this idea from a blog, and I "repinned" it. To find the original tutorial click here. The wired ribbon I already had, and the cute charm I found at Hobby Lobby.

Don't know if you can tell, but the inside is their wedding invitation, cut into strips, and curled around a pencil.

Simple, but it is always nice to have something to hang on your Christmas tree to remind you of your special day.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Kindergarten Prep

As hard as it is to believe, our little man is finally old enough to go to kindergarten. I think I have finally overcome the denial stage, and have moved on to full-out panic. I know as a mother of a "typical" kindergartener I would have been a little paranoid and worried, but I would have told myself to chill out and get over it and
after a week or two I would have been okay. But with my little "special needs" man, I'm worried my paranoia might never end. My attempts to overcome it have been as follows:
1) We have already attended multiple IEP meetings (Individulalized Educational Plan - mandated by the federal government for all kids with an issue that affects their ability to learn). The school system pretty much already planned on hiring an aide for C, so when we mentioned it they just jumped on board. Having avoided that fight was a huge blessing in and of itself.
2) The principal of Chancey Elementary, where our son will be attending, has a child who was a kindergartener last year and another child with special she gets it. I had a 30 minute conversation with her in her office and by the end we were both crying. She also said she would be carefully choosing his teacher for next year.
3) The teacher for next year is AMAZING. Can I say that before school has already started? Okay, so at least it is my initial impression. In the IEP meeting she attended she kept coming up with ideas that might help C, and at one point started crying (and I cried, and his preschool teacher, who was also at the meeting, cried) as she told us "It will be my privilege to teach your child." Then I went to see her yesterday and she told me about how she already had someone in to help arrange the room so C's power chair could reach everything. She also is raising one of the tables up so that he can pull his chair under it, and ordering new chairs for all the other kids so they'll be at the same height as him and he won't feel left out. (I had to force my arms to stay down because I suddenly had the intense desire to hug her.) And she was already awesome before C ever showed up to her class--she has won awards, obtained a thousands of dollars technology grant for her classroom alone, and is featured on a commercial for the school district.
4) The aide they have hired sounds like a great choice. She has been teaching for years, part of which was spent with C's teacher. She lives in the neighborhood, has three older children of her own, and is soft spoken but willing to speak her mind when needed.

So if that all wasn't enough to release my paranoia, you'd think my need to concentrate on something else might just do it. That something else is the possibility of adoption that is looming on the horizon (finally) for our family. (Notice details are purposely omitted--no adoption is ever for sure, even once you have the baby, and we're just willing to share details.) C will go into school, leaving me suddenly alone all day, just as a new family member might come into our lives. We will see.

And yet, the worry about C starting school still wanders around in my head. I am hoping it will dissipate a bit after a few weeks, but I guess that remains to be seen. I think I've just decided that moms are just destined to always worry about their kids. Too bad they don't tell you about that side effect when you decide to have a family. But as much as we love that kid, I don't suppose it would have made much difference anyway.

Friday, July 8, 2011


C's friend: [as we pass the cemetery] You see that? It's a....military.
C: Yeah, that's where you can plant people when they get dead.

Seriously, how did we ever entertain ourselves before we had children?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Tax Man Brings You a Baby

The other day, C was playing in his room and I was doing work in the office next to him. All of the sudden, he announces, "Look Mama! I got our taxes done!" I walked into find him sitting with paper he had scribbled on, and his Leap Frog calculator.
Now, being that he is the son of an accountant, I thought this was pretty hilarious. Our taxes were actually already done, but I assumed he must have heard us discussing them at some point and recognized there was some urgency there. So I posted the little event on Facebook and went on my way.
But then it started popping up in C's prayers: "And please bless mom and dad to get their taxes done." So then I started having some guilt--we wanted our taxes done because we wanted our return, but I didn't think we were freaking out about it or anything, so I couldn't figure out why the kid thought it was so important. So finally, after the fifth or sixth prayer, we did the logical thing and just asked him why he thought we needed to get our taxes done. And his reply was, "So then we can get a new baby!"
I assume he must have overheard one of us tell someone that we were trying to get our tax return money so we could put our adoption profile on a new website that would give us a lot more exposure. Our sweet, sweet boy just had it worked out that taxes = baby, so he was doing his best to help. Sure do love that kid.
So we explained it a little better to him, and now the taxes talk is gone. Instead he prays over every meal and at night that we can "get a new baby for our family," which seems fine and appropriate...but also that Heavenly Father will "raise up a spirit". And therein lies this week's mystery--no clue where he got that one from or what it means.

Monday, March 7, 2011

What's a Pirate's Favorite Restaurant?

Arrrrrrrby's! Here are some photos of my favorite pirate. Could he be any cuter? I don't think it's possible.
C's Aunt Katie always has awesome surprises when she comes over and this pirate gear was a big hit. Thanks, Katie! We love you!
I don't know about you, but I'm totally afraid.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Goodbye Thomas

C is about 4 1/2 now, and in watching him at church I've come to the decision that it is time we move to more gospel centered "entertainment" for sacrament meeting. I've kinda been letting the toy cars, toy story figurines, and monster coloring books slide. Don't get me wrong--I'm not judging anybody else. You do what you gotta do to make it work for your family. I just think my calm little guy is ready to make a change.
My hope is that I can make it fun enough then C will roll with the change. About 8 months ago we decided to make him wait until after the sacrament was passed to pull his stuff out, and that has been going pretty well. We have always taken his Thomas bag (a little backpack with Thomas on it that seems to entrance other children for some reason) to church with all his sacrament meeting stuff. So I decided the first step was to have a church-ier bag.
I have sort of an obsession to felt right now, so this is what I came up with.
I'm very grateful to my mother-in-law for the amazingly sharp sewing scissors she gave me, even if they do make the felt addiction possible. I think I just love felt because you can create with it without stressing how the edges will be finished.
Next step: church-centered file folder games. Anybody have any suggestions??

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

How do you spell PEACE?

In early December we got out all the Christmas decoration boxes, cranked up the holiday tunes, and started decorating the house. Adam was unpacking the stocking hangers, which usually spell out PEACE...and then few minutes into our activity, I turned around and saw this:
I laughed loudly and for quite awhile, and we actually left it for a few days. Adam, who can always make me laugh, did this on purpose because few things could describe the last year of our lives better than those three letters...for two reasons.
First of all, for about the last year Adam has been working on becoming a CPA. The test is given in four parts. People typically study for a few months for each section. Each section's test takes about four hours, and in Kentucky the pass rate for each section averages around 46%. Only 10% of people pass all four sections on their first try. Adam has now taken all four sections, has passed three of them, and we are waiting for the score on the fourth. To say his schedule has been hectic is an understatement. He typically gets up between 3-5am, studies for awhile, then goes to his full-time (+) job. He studies for about 45 minutes during his lunch at work, and then often comes home and studies for another hour. I have no doubt this is the hardest personal challenge he's ever faced, and I am completely impressed and overwhelmed by his perseverance and dedication. He says he has guilt about not spending more time with C and I, but I don't see why because he still somehow manages to spend time each day with C and take me out about every other weekend for a date. And I know with perfect surety that whole reason he is doing this all is for us.
The second reason that picture characterizes us so well comes not from the letters themselves, but from the quantity of letters. I bought that 5-letter stocking hanger set before we had any kids, in anticipation of the three children we planned to have. I figured if we decided to go on to four then I could come up with something else to do.
But they say if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. And so, though we would have had all three by now had life gone as we expected, we instead find ourselves praying every day that we will finally be able to adopt and just at least make it to two. And yet, through all the waiting we still have hope. With all the work we've put into the adoption I feel as if I've experienced the difficulties of nine months of pregnancy in a different way, and should be expecting the new baby any time now. I actually find myself occasionally referring to our "kids"...I guess because deep down inside underneath the disappointment I know it will happen when the time is right.
But no matter what our letters are, I can say that through it all we have truly been blessed with peace from our Heavenly Father who is so truly aware of what our needs are. And who knows...maybe next year it will be CAPE...because we'll have a new member of our family, and my superhero husband will be a licensed CPA!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

School Anxiety

Before C was ever born, I knew I would be one of those moms that cried when their child went to kindergarten. I used to get stressed out when Adam had his first day of a new semester (though he was completely laid back and not nervous at all). When C started preschool I expected myself to boo-hoo a bit, but I came away doing pretty well.
And now, we are eight months away from kindergarten and the crying has already started. But not for the reason I would have thought. I am ready for C to go to kindergarten. I know he is craving more socialization than I can give, and academically he's ready. He counts, draws, cuts, knows his letters and sounds and is just starting to sound out words. But what is killing me is Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS).
Don't get me wrong--I do believe he can get a good education at JCPS and be prepared to enter college. But their whole process boggles my mind. JCPS has what they call a "student assignment plan" where a school can only accept up to 85% of the kids that live around them...the other 15% have to be bussed from somewhere else in the county to make sure the school is "diverse" enough. So when you register for kindergarten you choose from your cluster of schools--a first and second choice from Group A, and a first and second choice from Group B. And then you pray that you get one of them for the three months it takes them to decide.
Sound confusing? Yup. It is. And then just give the top of that problem a nice coating of "special needs child" and you get where my tears are coming from.
We've also been working on getting C's IEP written, so I have been touring preschools, elementary schools, and special needs schools, talking to PTs, OTs, resource teachers, principals and making appointments all across the county. And when it comes right down to it the thing I've learned is this: all I want is for C to go to the school right next to our subdivision. Curse you, JCPS!!!
And here's the best stressed out as I am now, I know that in eight months it will all be decided and C will start school and be gone from me from 8:45 - 3:45 every day...and instead of being stressed out I will be twiddling my thumbs looking for something to do. It will be the perfect time for a new baby to make its way into our family...but as we know adoption follows no one's timeline. We'll just keep our fingers crossed and keep praying and know that someday when that new child comes and gets old enough for kindergarten, we will know EXACTLY where the best place is to send them!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Almost" Day

So why is it so much easier to post about the bad days? I guess there is something to be said for catharsis. So in the true spirit of catharsis, I present to you my "almost" day.
Yesterday morning I almost went to visit a Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) preschool. C has been going to a private preschool, but because he has a physical disability they have offered him free preschool on top of that. So I was supposed to visit one preschool yesterday...which I almost did but then we had a snow day.
And then I almost observed at a different preschool today...but then we decided we didn't have the heart to send our child to that school--40 minutes away downtown--no matter how good the school.
I was almost able to sub at C's preschool for a little extra cash, but by the time we figured out I wasn't making the preschool visit and called the sub coordinator back she had already found a replacement sub.
So I dropped C off at preschool, and then I was almost able to get done all the things I had planned to do in my 2.5 childless hours...but then I started emailing Adam at work about stuff and got sucked into the game of Spider Solitaire I was playing while waiting for his emails. I know, you can say it---totally lame. I promise I am not an "online gamer" but I think this morning I just needed to veg a bit.
Then, I was almost late to pick up C because I got this awesome ticket (first in like 10 years) a few months ago on the way to get him so I'm paranoid a cop is going to pull me over again so I go super slow.
Next, I almost lost C at the school. How do you lose a child who can't walk at a school full of teachers? Great question. He was in his manual wheelchair and I parked him outside the teacher's lounge door so I could run in and get his mobile stander. I left the door open so I could see him but a teacher came in behind me and closed the door. I might have been in there 25 seconds, and when I came out C was not there or anywhere in the hallway. Now I know he can move the manual chair himself, but he doesn't go very fast. So I started to freak out and was yelling his name, when his assistant teacher came out of his classroom smiling and pointed inside her door. I ran to the class and sure enough, he was "hiding" in the classroom. I really don't see how he could have gotten that far without a push so I assume his assistant teacher helped him hide, but you'll have to excuse me if I don't think it's very funny to hide a child from their mother. I did not express those feelings, but trust me--I felt it.
So I got C in the van and was loading the mobile stander, and I turn around to see his manual wheelchair, which I know I put the break on, taking itself on a merry journey across the parking lot, careening toward a parked car. I shot across the lot and grabbed it as it almost made impact. [At this point in my day, yes, I am starting to think the manual wheelchair is possessed.]
We got home, unloaded, and settled, and my sweet boy made me smile several times. Kids always make things better. And I was almost my normal happy self again...when the phone rang. It was the Medicaid office calling to tell us we were denied for the new Medicaid program we were having C apply for and have been waiting to hear about for three months. Definitely qualifies as "bad news" because it would mean a lot more things would be free. We will of course appeal and hopefully should be approved.
So, there you have it. A day of almost. And now, as I'm reflecting back about it, I realize that I almost forgot one thing that I know to be absolutely true...that if you get over one bad thing, another is bound to come your way because that is just how life is. It was, in fact, designed to be that way. The point is to find your own happiness in the middle of it all. So I better run, because I plan to "chillax," as C says, and watch a bit of Scooby-doo with him so I can look back on today as the day that I almost had a bad day.