Sunday, February 28, 2010

my sweetheart

Tyler, although he can really test my nerves, has such a sweet way about him.

Back about a year ago or more, when we were in Florida, I set Tyler up with his own e-mail account while his daddy was deployed. He thought it was really cool to exchange e-mails with daddy, as well as an occasional e-mail from his grandparents. Well since daddy's deployement he's started "e-mailing" again. I log him on and he reads any e-mails he may have received. I then set him up to compose a message and he writes his own e-mail. Ones to daddy almost always say "Dear Daddy, I love you, love Tyler". These are usually written in a huge font in crazy colors, as he discovered those features a while ago. Occasionally he'll ask me how to spell stuff so he can write more, or occasionally he'll ask me to type.

As you all know, Al is currently in Afghanistan. We have not had much contact at all with him and I fear Tyler is growing leary of checking his e-mail and finding nothing. I guess he was bored of writing to daddy and asked if he could send me something. I typed in my e-mail address and left the room, as instructed. Minutes later I recieved this (written in approximately 30font in bright blue):


Is he not the sweetest thing?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

digging out again

On Wednesday Tyler turned 5 1/2. When did that happen? I had intended on taking some pictures of him, so I took out the camera. Ended up taking some of Jason and forgot all about it once Tyler was home from school. I stink. Oh well, who can't smile at a picture of a cute boy in jeans and a sweater? By the way, Tyler thinks he looks bigger now that he's 5 1/2 and has announced that he's going to tell everyone about it at school (that's IF he ever gets back to school)

That night I actually got a night out! I recently joined the Junior Women's and they were having a meeting/night out at a newer restaurant called Zinc. I picked up Beth and we went there after I got the boys to bed. We had a really nice meal and a fun time with the ladies.

That night we geared up for the next big snow storm heading out way. They were predicting, depending on what forecast you listened to, anywhere from 8-16 inches from Wednesday night until Friday afternoon. Also expected were high winds, so high that they were dubbing this a "snowicane" (snowstorm/hurricane).

Well, it didn't' end up snowing until Thursday morning, but the forecast was still bad so all the local schools closed. It ended up being the most ridiculous school closure ever because the roads were totally fine. It was warm enough that it was mostly a rainy slushy "snow". The day was not my best. Ty was in time-out two times before 8:30, if that gives you an idea. And 12 hours of non-stop "snow" still left very little on the road. As I said, waste of snow day. I did get a cute video of Jason "singing" and doing the hand motions to The Wiggles "rock-a-bye your bear". He's too cute. As my mom would say, bless his little heart".
And here is a picture of my now 17-month-old and the non-cooperative-for-photos 5 1/2 (and 1 day) year-old.

Thursday night got very windy and all the rainy slushy roads turned to ice. Friday actually justified another school closure (being snow day 6, now cutting out days of our spring break). It was snowing heavily. Luckily we kept power, and I was thankful for that. Determined to have a good day, we made it work. Tyler and I did exercise workouts on-demand while Jason napped. I was able to shower, play color-wonder markers with the kids, and various other things. Tyler head out in the snow with my dad for a little bit when he came home to shovel. By afternoon it was still quite nasty out, and I was beat. I let Tyler watch a video while Jason and I BOTH napped (how nice). Woke up to sunny skies, no falling snow, and melting streets. All in all we only got an additional 7 inches. After being cooped up for 2 days we head off to Chick-fil-A for dinner and playtime while my parents spent the evening in Atlantic City. While there Tyler had a little disagreement with another little girl over whose mother was actually queen. He's an odd little boy.

Last night I didn't get much sleep. Why is it, if I only sleep on average 5 hours a night, that smoke detector batteries only die at night? I assure you that climbing into the loft to remove the offending detector does not lead to restful sleep afterwards. Today was pretty low-key. Did have a quick trip to the library for some movies and books. One more day and back to school. We can do it!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

random assortment of thoughts

First off, unrelated to my ramblings, here is a photo of Jason helping dust the house yesterday.

So yesterday afternoon Jason had his 2nd speech session (2nd scheduled one was cancelled due to therapist's illness, and last week was a holiday). She arrived 20 minutes early, just as I was putting cookies in the oven and Jason decided to poop. A full clothing change was required...what wonderful timing. Anyway, she was very pleased with his new signs he's learned and his imitation skills. She took a look at him eating a snack and is convinced that he does not chew his food. So for now we have to do a food journal and she gave us a few strategies.

This morning Tyler woke up around 6:40 and was in a great mood. No issues whatsoever. Around 7:20 a transformer blew and we were left without power. Since we couldn't have pancakes, waffles, or oatmeal due to lack of electricity, I resorted to giving him one of my mom's "light" yogurts. Bad mistake. Perhaps it was a coincidence, but my mom and I saw a complete change in his behavior within 15 minutes of eating that crap. No dyes, but tons of preservatives and artificial flavorings for sure. It was totally bizarre. I was never so happy that I was able to send him off to school because there is no way I could have handled him here alone all day without power!

Luckily the power came back on after about an hour. I spent part of Jason's nap time reading a book by Dr. Feingold. He started a program/diet that removes dyes/flavorings/additives, etc in an attempt at helping hyperactive behavior. A few years ago I would have thought it was all a bit kooky, but until you live it it's so hard to understand. The more I read about this stuff (in various sources...not just this book) I'm so tempted to start my own organic garden and buy only natural whole foods. The food industry scares the crap out of me.

Tyler's behavior proved to be bizarre the rest of the day. I was declared "the most beautiful, pretty, pretty, mommy princess". 15 minutes later he was crying in his room uncontrollably and had announced that this was "the worst day ever" and "you don't love me anymore". Go figure. Eventually he normalized out.

This is horrible to say, but I'm sooooo sick of having the "I miss daddy" conversation. I try to be sympathetic, but inside I just don't know how to react...again...for the 5th time in a day. He was all sobby again today and told me that he really wants daddy home from Afghanistan. I feared that maybe he had forgotten that we weren't going to be living together as a family after that, so I tried to delicately explain again that daddy would be staying in NC and we'd be in NJ. He announced "I know, but I just want my daddy to be back from Afghanistan. At least North Carolina is closer and he can visit". My poor sweet baby.

The rest of my day felt busy but unaccomplished. How can you spent 30 minutes on the phone with insurance and get nowhere?

Today I could finally see some ground outside. The snow is starting to melt. 90% chance of snow on Thursday. I guess the visible ground will be short-lived. LOL.

Monday, February 22, 2010

its time for a change

I've said it before, but I'm gonna try again. Gotta lose some weight, but most importantly I've gotta get healthy, fit, and happy. So today I had a date with Bob Harper. Bob Harper, my friend and trainer from Biggest Loser. No, I dont' really know him, but he does some on-demand videos on cable. He kicked some ass. I need to find something longer, but for now it's something. It's a start.

Proper food intake, well that's another story. Baby steps.

mardi gras

Feeling a little like New Orleans around here these days. In fact it does nearly everyday. Jason LOVES wearing his mardi gras beads around. Such a cutie!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

sand castles

Today, while Jason napped, Tyler and I made sand castles. Wait, did I say SAND castles? Oops, make that SNOW castles. We've been having some warmer weather and the snow has been melting, but we've still got at least 6 inches out there. So, we took advantage and built some snow castles, towers, etc.

Other than that, our weekend was rather uneventful. In fact, very uneventful. Baked some banana bread, cleaned out my car, did some reading, paperwork, watched Air Bud for probably the 5th time, and lots of coloring/crafts. Sometimes it's nice to have a low-key weekend. With that being said I'm very eager to get back to the school week and our regular routine.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Someday I'll become an Occupational Therapist again. Today is not the day.

Months and months ago (actually back in the summer) I started doing my continuing education so that I could get my national certification renewed again. Shortly before Christmas I finally finished that daunting task, thanks to many nights spent in my bed with laptop and headphones taking online courses. Thankfully the national certification didn't take too long to process, and it arrived in the mail in mid-January.

Almost immediately I got to work to then get my NJ Occupational Therapy license renewed, as this was the next necessary step in what would be required to legally practice OT again. Well the information on the website was so incredibly vague, so I called for clarification on the fees that would be necessary. I did all the paperwork, got things stamped at the notary, and sent off my check. It took almost a month before I got a phone call that I submitted a check in the wrong amount. Awfully odd considering I specifically had called about this very issue. The woman tells me that I now have a $70 balance. Not having the paperwork in front of me, I just write down the info and address and make a mental note to check the paperwork and send off the check that night. Well, long story short, the woman gave me the wrong current balance AND the wrong address. I'd call to clarify, but I'm afraid that will get me nowhere. So today I sent off hopefully the correct balance to hopefully the correct address. We'll see where that gets me. A very frustrating process.

Friday, February 19, 2010

they're growing up...or not

The other day Tyler was getting dressed and announced that his jeans didn't fit. We tried on another pair and the same thing happened. After the 3rd (and final) pair of jeans didn't fit, he had to resort to some newer corduroys. Apparently he had a bit of a growth spurt and officially grew out of his 4T jeans. So today we decided to go to the mall to get some new pants and hopefully some new shirts. The sales sucked, but we did manage to get some jeans. I assumed he had finally grown into a size 5, but it appears that my little munchkin fits perfectly in a carpenter-style size 4 pair of jeans from The Children's Place. So, I thought he was finally catching up to the normal size for his age, but not. He is in fact growing though! Here he is walking in the mall carrying the shopping bag, while sporting his brand new hair cut (courtesy of my dad last night).

While there we ate lunch and then got a pretzel at Auntie Anne's. You should have heard Jason screeching and frantically signing "please" when he spotted that stand in the mall. He may not talk much, but boy does he let you know what he wants!

From there it was off to Chuck-E-Cheese. As part of Ty's new behavior plan I decided to implement a reward if he's had good behavior all week, such as a movie night, playdate, etc. Well I offered Chuck-E-Cheese because it was right next to the mall (not to mention that it would hopefully guarantee good behavior while at the mall). I had a coupon, so an hour of play time cost me about $3.50 in tokens. Not too bad. Plus we left with a plastic frog, lollipop, mini tic-tac-toe and sticker sheet as prizes. Bonus.

Came home and relaxed with dinner and a short movie before bed. Also discovered that the little man has yet another new tooth. Bottom right, right next to the center teeth. Here is is after coercing my dad into showing him youtube videos. He still fits right in the crook of his arm there...looks so little to me.

Speaking of youtube, I have a confession: I allow Jason to watch youtube videos on my iphone while I change poopy diapers. It's easier on all of us. For the record, Laurie Berkner is his current favorite.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jason's GI appointment

Today Jason finally had his appointment at CHOP (Children's Hospital of Philadephia, for those non-locals) to be seen by the Gastroenterologist. Luckily my dad was able to take some time off of work to bring us there, or else I fear I'd still be lost in the city!

As expected the doctor didn't really feel he needed any further testing. He's confident that his initial issues (blood in stool, spit-up, vomitting, etc) were due to a dairy allergy (which is funny since I never mentioned that as something we had considered). Based on the results of his prior swallow test, he feels his feeding difficulties in the past and currently are likely due to a "global delay" which has made it difficult for him to learn how to eat and drink as one would expect a toddler to do so. He would like us to go for a "feeding evaluation" which is a team evaluation by a speech pathologist, nutritionist, and a few other disciplines which I've since forgotten.

To be honest, I really thought he was doing much better, which HE IS, but apparently not as well as they'd like to see. I struggle with whether he really needs this possible intervention, but considering this is now the third professional to suggest a potention evaluation at a feeding clinic, it's now the time for me to go for it. I guess I had thought it would be overkill for Jason to get that type of evaluation and that maybe I was just being paranoid in describing his symptoms and stuff, but I refuse to be the parent who overlooks a potential issue, so we will persist with getting the referral and all that jazz.

hello sugar high

Yesterday Tyler came bounding out of school, announcing that they had had a birthday party for his teacher, complete with "a cupcake with icing and spriiiiinkles" and "cookies...not just cookie mommy, but cookieeeesssssssss"...all said with devilish laughing grin.

After the high finally wore off it was time to head to pump-it-up for my friend Amy's daughter Joey's 4th birthday party. It was a very late party night for us, but the boys had fun. Jason desperately wanted to play with the big kids, but luckily I was able to entertain him and eventually bribe him with food. Tyler of course had a ball. The party ended with pink-iced cupcakes and juice boxes and it was home for bedtime. The boys weren't in bed until 9:20 on a school night!!

Oddly enough Tyler ended up with red swollen eyes again. I'm not sure if I had mentioned it, but he kept getting this during the course of his antibiotic. At the time I had been worried that he was havign a reaction to the antibiotic itself like he had to amoxicillin, but it never developed worse than puffiness and redness around the eyes. Well, after the medicine stopped it never came back until last night. So now I'm wondering if it were all due to the red dye. This might all be in my head, but it's the only explanation I've got for now. Odd kiddo.

I was hoping I was going to get to sleep in late this morning since they were both up so late, but instead Jason was up at 4:50, nursed, and was only back down until 5:40, waking up extra cranky. Yea for me. Ty, on the other hand, had to be woken at 7:45 in order to quick dress him, feed him, and send him off to school. For the first time EVER, he announced "Mommy, can I please just sleep another hour". Go figure!

Ty's first report card

Kindergarteners don't get report cards the first marking period, so second marking period was the first time for them. Overall he did very well, but I had to laugh at the grading system. Instead of the traditional A, B, C, D or F they had codes like C for "consistently demonstrating". Considering they spelled out the codes in alphabetic order, it gave no indication which code was necessarily better than the other. I know "N" for "not observed" is worse than "C" for "consistently demonstrated", but I have absolutely no idea if it's preferable to have a grade of "beginning" or "emerging". Who comes up with this stuff? Anyway, Tyler had all good marks and I'm very proud of him!

crazy, crazy winter

On Tuesday as we waited for Beth to pick up Tyler for school (we've been doing a bit of carpooling recently) Tyler announced that it was snowing. To our surprise it wasn't snowing, but hailing instead. It's been a crazy winter for sure!

valentine's day weekend

Saturday passed by without incident. To be honest, not really sure what happened. Hmm???

I hadn't been looking forward to Valentine's Day, my first single Valentine's Day in a VERY, VERY long time. Luckily it was a busy day and it was pleasant, so I was happy. Started off the day with presents for my 2 little valentine's. Later got surprised with a valentine's day card and presents from them (courtesy of my mom of course). Played in the afternoon before having company that evening. My grandparents were due to head south for the winter (a very late start for them) and we still had yet to celebrate my grandfather's 86th birthday due to illness. We had a nice gathering with them and my brother Jim, Cara, and Aiden. Tyler was a little emotional, claiming quite often that he missed daddy, but otherwise it went off without a hitch.

On Monday I had offered to watch Beth's kiddos, so I brought the boys over there. I had been a little worried how the babies would do, Jason without a nap, and Olivia without her mommy. Well, my worries were unwarranted, because the babies did fine. It was the 2 older ones (Ty and Mackenzie) who were bickering the whole time! They held it together though and we all survived!

From there it was off for a quick visit to Al's mom and John. They had valentine's day treats for the boys and we hadn't managed to get over there the day prior. Boys had a good time, so that was nice.

Friday, February 12, 2010

let the games begin!

Today is the opening ceremony of winter Olympics. I just love the Olympics and everything about it.

As a side note, it made me realize how clueless I am about things. Apparently I am not up with my Asian countries. I admit that I had never heard of Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan. I'm happy to report that they are in fact countries AND have Olympic athletes. Good to know.

valentine's day party

Before I forget, I discovered yesterday that Jason got some new teeth. He had been being cranky quite a bit, and I kept checking for some teeth, but didn't see anything. Well I wasn't checking far back enough because apparently he was cutting all 4 molars at once. Both bottom molars had come through, as well as the top right. I suppose that wouldn't be so odd if he had any of the teeth you would normally get before them. That kid marches to the beat of his own drummer for sure!

Today was the rescheduled Valentine's Day party, now that they are finally back at school. I had volunteered to help, with my mom staying home with Jason. Tyler was excited to have me there, and I was thrilled to be there. Got to make brownies, park 12 miles from the school thanks to the snow, help with crafts, food, etc. It was cute seeing him interacting with his friends and winning the "hot potato" contest. Got to observe all the kids go from sweet and excited to hyped and insane on sugar. Not just mine. These photos courtesy of a classmates mother.

And Ty tearing into his valentine's when he got home.

Did I mention that Tyler has been doing tremendously better after that darn red medicine stopped on Sunday. Not perfect, but not concerning either. I wasn't looking forward to Valentine's day candy, but he actually willingly traded it in for a dye-free option from Trader Joe's. I swear he can tell the difference when he's on/off dye.

another snow playdate!

On Thursday (our 4th snow day from school) I got a text message shortly before lunch asking if Beth could "kidnap" Tyler for a playdate. Heck yeah! He was there for about 6 hours. I think 2+ hours of that was spent outside, with igloo-making and slide sledding. He had a great time with his friend Mackenzie! Afterwards they ate dinner and watched a movie. Thank goodness he had already signed his valentine's for school the next day because he wasn't home until just before bedtime! Gotta love playdates! Thanks Beth for the great pictures!

bored of snow pictures yet?

On Tuesday night it started snowing. And snowing. School was cancelled Wednesday in anticipation of the all-day snow event. The storm came in 2 parts. The first 5-8 inches or so was a wet and nasty snow, so we got outside earlier in the day to shovel out and avoid it freezing in place. The second part of the storm was blizzard0like conditions with lots more snow. All in all we apparently got 15.8 inches in Philadephia, making it now the snowiest winter on record. So much snow that we were able to make a snow cave and small sledding hill within our own yard. And no school on Thursday afternoon. Crazy. Excuse the pictures because most were taken with my cell phone cause it was too snowy and windy to bring the camera out.

As I said, the snow was a wet icy snow. We watched the trees get lower and lower with ice. For a long time there was a tree across the street bent over the street into our property and resting on power lines. And it was windy. Very windy.

After losing power 7 times prior to that, the 8th time left us totally in the dark. Tyler enjoyed playing lincoln logs by flashlight and later "camping" in his room. Surprsingly both boys went to bed without hassle. Me, on the other hand, was bored out of my mind!

Luckily the power returned by 10:30 or so, as it was already getting quite cold in the house.

On Thursday we awoke to a truly beautiful site. I wish I would have gotten outside to take some pictures right away, as these were taken through the window. By the time I got out later in the day the snow had fallen from the trees quite a bit. Oh well. Lesson learned.

So Tyler wanted snow this winter, and boy did the weather gods deliver. I'm pretty sure that this winter has made up for the past 4 winters we missed in balmy Florida.