Monday, September 28, 2009

C is for Candy (chocolate) Factory, Circus, and Camping

What a week! Where to start? How about our letter field trips for the week.
First we went to Sweet's Candy Factory in Salt Lake with a few of our adorable friends. 3 sets of twins, 6 boys within 5 months of each other--what could be more fun? I hope you don't mind I stole the pic Jess, thanks for having your camera handy. It was a fun visit, one I found quite interesting for myself. Having a candy sample that was still warm from being made was seriously rocking. The boys did pretty well too (surprisingly) and had a lot of fun picking out candy in the discount shop they had.

Saturday we caught the Barnum and Bailey show, Zing Zang Zoom.

Wizard Davis

Magician Carter

We didn't have outstanding seats, but we didn't pay much for them either. The first half the munchkins were completely mesmerized. They didn't budge the whole time. Carter didn't even eat the handful of cotton candy I gave him. For the record, I was mesmerized too. The acrobats and tight rope walkers were so amazing. I don't know how they do it all, some of those performers must be incredibly strong. There was a magic component to the show that was fun and intriguing also, not sure how they do it!

Life is pretty good!

After intermission the boys were a little less interested but still enjoyed it. I thought that was the best part, elephants and tigers!

Quite the fun time, I want to go again!

After nap we headed out to go camping with Lowell's family. A stop for gas, then groceries, some mixed up directions and 20+ miles up Payson canyon later we finally made it around 8:30 pm. Lowell set up the tent in the dark and we huddled around the camp fire getting dinner for my poor hungry bubbas.

S'more's makes everything better--the toasted coconut 'mallows were even better than last time, holy cow I love them! The boys and I got tucked into bed while Lowell cleaned up and visited.

Leap Pads in the tent, yeah we definitely rough it :).

This is where the night went from somewhat questionable to just plain bad. The boys quickly gave up their beds and climbed in with Lowell and I. Fine, we were all warm and cozy. A few hours later Lowell got up to "use the restroom" and when returning flipped the sleeping bag over and didn't realize the air mattress pump was on top. I was awakened by it slamming into my face, cutting open my lip, bruising my mouth, and leaving my teeth aching. It was a good time for Carter to push me out of our bed (serious bed hog) so I moved over to his bed and just whimpered over my swollen mouth and sore tummy (from swallowing blood, ick!). At some point the boys had unpluggled their mattress so it was very low and just had their kid sleeping bags (note to self: we are buying them thicker bags before we go camping again, just not warm enough for late September weather). Lowell was a sweetie and came and warmed me up but neither of us slept well. The munchkins were enjoying themselves in their double high full air mattress and thick sleeping bags (grrr. . . ).

Grandma occupied the boys by spinning them around in a chair from the camper while breakfast was being cooked. It was yummy and fun to watch the boys explore and play with their cousins.

We had a great site--isn't this fab? Totally isolated but enclosed so the kids knew how far they could roam.

Carter smiling in the camper (it's Lowell's sister's and the only way I want to camp without toilets near by).

Little C in the yellow aspens

Big D also

The trees driving home, holy cow it was gorgeous! up Nebo loop. I love fall colors in the canyons. So that was camping, for all my whining and drama about loss of sleep (and still sore lip) it was a good time and we sure enjoyed time with the fam.

Other notable items from the week:

Tuesday Lowell's mom and sis watched the boys so we could go to the temple for the first time in far far too long. I'm not going to even admit how long, but it was so nice. So peaceful and relaxing and uplifting. I think we haven't gone because we felt like if we have a break from the kids we need to do something restful like seeing a movie or going out to dinner but we were definitely in the dark because the most restful activity would have been going to the temple. And just what we need to boost us as parents so we can try to be better parents. Anyway, another note to self: Go to the temple!

This week was the boys' 4 year doctor appointment. They continue to be small, actually falling in the percentiles from last year. They are 7-8 percentile for height and 40 or so for weight. They did well on their eye test and though they were literally climbing the walls (and driving me crazy!) their doctor felt they were developing well and still age appropriate. He thought they may be leaning toward ADHD but woudn't recommend medicating them yet (we wouldn't want to even if he did suggest it) so that was as far as we got with that. Didn't have the H1N1 shot yet so we'll be back for flu shots. And Yes, I am giving my kids the shot and yes our ped recommends it.

Then today was the big assessment with the Early Childhood Assessment Center. It was both good and bad. There was a lot of helpful information derived from it, but although they noticed a few deficiencies especially in behavior, they will not qualify for additional help. First they tell you your child is in an at risk zone for certain cognitive areas and then in significant need based on behavior and then that that is as far as it will go. They can tell you they have problems but not what you can do to help it. That may sound harsher than it was, because the people were very nice and encouraging to us as parents but that is the take home message I got. Some of the cognitive delays they believe are either developmental meaning they just haven't reached that point yet but will or behavioral meaning they could do the skill but just wouldn't in the testing process. They do not diagnose but told us they have ADHD and anxiety issues. That was good info, it is a starting point for more research and for finding ways to help them to learn. They thought Carter was very "engineer" like, he did the puzzles so efficiently and when asked to identify the window on a house, he called it a rectangle. Lowell was in with Davis but apparently he talked up a storm and the ladies just loved him and thought he was very funny and cute. Charmers for sure. I guess what I didn't understand was that they could only qualify for school based on cognitive or speech delays. I never thought they had either. I thought they could qualify based on behavior but that was not the case. I am still in flux deciding what to do with this info (they also said they felt the preschool teacher was not patient enough with them and thought they may do better in another school). At this point I think I am going to continue teaching them myself. They are excelling in some areas (letters, reading [Davis is reading now too by the way, such a bummer to be the 2nd of twins to do something, much less fanfare]) and need help in others (colors, fine motor) and I feel I can better help them by teaching them myself. They won't be bored learning what they already know but can get extra help with what they don't. We also get to have fun doing letter field trips with our friends and we are going to start preschool once a week with Anthony and Andrew, switching houses each week. The big challenge will remain their behavior but I am hoping to get as much social experiences in as I can for them. Our twin friends our one way, we also want to start karate soon, and our very sweet primary president has contacted us about new ways they want to try to get the boys to feel involved and welcome at church. It is wonderful to have people care about us so much, on one hand I really wish the boys did not need extra help, but since they do I am grateful they are working on plans so they can go to church. So that's another great social experience for them. I may yet change my mind and try to find a school to take them, but for now I am happy with this choice. And I am happy with my boys. I plan to keep this blog as a journal for them in the future and I don't want them to think we ever thought they weren't just fantastic little men. We may have some hurdles to helping them get the most out of school (in 2 years) but I am hopeful we can pass them and encourage those stinking cute boys on to the best that they can be.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

B is for Birthday, Bakery, and Babies

Wow, B week has been so fun. I think some letters are going to be that way and some not so much (q and x should be interesting). I think C might just be the best--candy factory, circus, and camping. Or D, disneyland! But first we'll do B. Tuesday was Lowell's dad's Birthday, so we made him a pie and brought it to him with some lunch and sang him happy Birthday. Tuesday night was mom's night out, a spa in the kitchen night. Wow, what fun, facials, cheese and crackers, massage and relaxation time, and of course lots of chatting! I love UVMOM! Wednesday I asked the munchkins what they wanted to do and they were determined that we go swimming. I realized that they shortly will no longer be free and also will not have to wear the swim diapers any more so it's a good time to hurry and go and use up what we have left. I haven't gone just the 3 of us before but it worked out just fine. Except for the kicking and screaming when I made them get out of the pool after an hour and half it was a good time. Then we went to the Bakery to get some Bread. I will be making an ABC book when we are done with all the field trips so I had to take pics of the bread. Carter
And Davis, do you think they like Spider Man?
Lowell had an adventure for the boys Thursday that was so cute I insisted he take some pictures. Ever since Andrew and Anthony's pirate birthday party Davis has been digging in our sandbox for treasure. Sometimes for an hour at a time, determined that there is treasure out there. So Lowell picked them up some "treasure" and had the "pirates" who left it leave them a map too. Holy cow those little boys were in heaven!

The map (burnt edges to enhance the effect)

X marks the spot

There's something down there!

Thanks honey for being so sweet! When I got home Davis had all kinds of stories to tell me about pirates and treasure and X marks the spot (hmmm . . .there's something for X week . . .)

Finally this week we went to see some Babies. First to the zoo to meet Zuri:

The cutest, funniest little baby elephant. She was super cute and fun to watch playing. She was sucking on her trunk, darling!

And the baby tiger, can you see him behind his mom? He was just resting, but still cute. As long as we were there, we also saw the Bats and Bison, rode a Bear and a Bug on the carousel and were grossed out by the gorilla's Bum (he pooped and then ate it, wow that's fun for a 3 year old).

Davis with his B momento

Carter too
Then to the funnest Baby, my brand new nephew. Jonathan Brad was born on the 17th!

Davis was so excited to see him (his lips are red from a drink, looks a little funny). They both begged to hold him and were really sweet, rocking and gently patting.

And kissing. During prayers last night Davis said "Thank you for Baby Jonny, we love him". When I told them he had been born Davis said, "Can he come play at my house?"

Carter was equally excited, they have been asking for a while when the baby was going to come out of Angela's tummy. I asked him which toy we should get for the baby and he offered to give him his letter game. Fun to have cousins!

The happy mom and dad

Little Jonny just about to leave the hospital this morning. So convenient for me to be working here, except that I bet they got sick of seeing me. I would have been happy to just take the baby to the lab so I wouldn't be bothering them. I guess they want to keep him.

My mom was bummed I didn't get any without the binky, but truth is he wasn't very happy while I was taking the pics. He's still getting the eating part down and I think he was a bit hungry and cranky. So the binky stayed just so I could get a couple of shots. Anywho, so much fun!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A is for Aquarium and Amusement Park

So last week was A week. We didn't get too fancy as it was only a partial week and they had started A in school. Friday we went to the aquarium and found the Anaconda started with A and the rAys were really friendly that day. Of course we also found Nemo, a key to every trip to the aquarium. There are 2 clown fish in this one tank and the boys always talk about how it's the dad looking for his son and then the other appears and he has found him and we move on. Silly kids. I asked an employee once and he said all the kids yell Nemo at that tank all day. Next we went to See's which has nothing to do with A but we were passing it and I wanted some and to treat the boys for being good at the aquarium. Lastly we went to Arctic Circle for lunch. Hooray!

Saturday the boys redeemed their 25 potty stickers for a trip to Liberty Land. It's a stretch to call it an Amusement Park but I could use another A. Carter on the planes
And Davis
Carter Mini-golfing
Davis too
Daddy and his boys on the bumper boats ready to spray me on the shore. Good times. We had fun--it's not the most exciting place but the boys had fun.

B week has been pretty full, but I will tell you about it once it is done.

Some other noteworthy news:
We are anxiously awaiting the birth of a new nephew. My little brother BJ and his wife are a week overdue with their first and she will be induced in the morning if he doesn't start coming before then. A new baby is always a blessed event (and baby is a B word so it fits into the plans nicely ;)).
Strep and flu are both coming up positive this week in the lab, so be on alert. 21 of 21 flus tested at the state came back as H1N1 (novel or swine flu). This is the flu we are seeing this year. Of course true flu season is not in gear yet so that may change but be aware again. I was on the fence about immunizing the boys against H1N1 and this has changed my mind.
We made 25 jars of peach freezer jam (so far) and still have 3 bags of quickly ripening peaches. If you are interested in some peaches or jam, let me know pronto. The ones left are not the "pretty" ones but still would taste great in cobblers or frozen for smoothies, etc.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Proud Mommy Moment

You'll have to excuse my proud mommy moment, but lately they have been scarce so I am excited. After another horrid attempt at church (ugh!) I was putting Carter down for his nap and had snagged The Cat in the Hat from Davey's room. Books just seem to linger in one room or the other so I try to rotate them from time to time. Anyway, the moral to that story was Carter has not been read the Cat in the Hat. Since he knows all the letters and sounds in the title I decided to see if he could read it. He sounded out ccccc aaaaa tttt and then did it faster and then stopped like he had a light bulb moment and said, cat. Yeah! He read his first word. Lowell didn't believe me so Carter proceeded to read Hat for him. Today at nap he read Big, Bat, and Man. He only knows the upper case letters right now and only one sound for each letter but it's a start. He's pretty pleased with himself also. Just goes to show they may have behavior problems, but they aren't dumb. I can't wait to tell their preschool teacher when I pick up my refund . . .

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Live, Learn, Advocate

This certainly has been a stressful week. I can safely say I was dreading going to school with the boys. Probably a good sign right there. I didn't want to sit and be judged by their teacher on my ability to discipline the boys but I saw this as the only option to keeping them in the class so I went. It was not comfortable but it was a good experience. Because in the end, I didn't want them in that class any more than their teacher did. The boys did okay, for the first hour. I think timing is an issue here. As class went on they had a harder time focusing and following directions. We spent a lot of time in time outs and me threatening to take them home to which they responded, please! They wanted to leave, they were not happy there--it was painfully clear to me. That was reason enough for me to want to pull them from the school. I think if other parents, however, sat through some classes, they'd want to pull their kids too. The class was disorganized and chaotic. The teacher seemed flustered. I find it ironic that she lectured me on schedules when hers changed so many times that morning. I won't say her job is easy or I could do it better (there is a reason I sit alone at a desk playing with blood all day and not the people it comes out of) but she has been doing it for 20 years, I expected more. I was reminded of an early thought that the kids may have some sensory processing issues. There was near constant music in the background (sometimes classical but also mind-grating Barney) which was distracting to me, but the boys seemed completely overwhelmed and overstimulated. I found Davis spinning around trying to calm himself and when frustrated he was hitting himself in the head over and over. The teacher also spoke down to the kids. I just don't appreciate that, I speak to my kids in words they understand but not like they are idiots. She spoke to me that way also so I can appreciate how it feels. Worse of all the boys were not included. They had already been written off. In circle time 11 of 14 kids were brought up to share, neither of my kids were (though they were behaving). At snack time Davis was sitting quietly just the same as the other kids and still was picked last. Made me want to cry or just walk out but I am proud of myself for making it through the class. The teacher called Wednesday to say it wasn't working out and not to bring the boys back. I wasn't going to anyway but it still hurts. I think it is the feeling of exclusion. I am sure I am projecting onto the boys a bit but I never felt like the popular girl in school. I had good friends but I saw them as prettier and more popular than me and as just being nice in letting me tag along. I fear for my kids to not be included. It's lame but I have been in a kind of mourning over the whole thing. I signed them up for school 6 months ago and have been excited ever since. It is a hard thing for me to let go. Doesn't mean we love them any less. Or that they still aren't as cute as can be! Carter bug
Big D
Tuesday night we took the munchkins up to Tibble Fork so they could run and I could decompress a little. The place is magic for me, I love being outside so much. It was refreshing to my frayed soul that day to hug my stinkers and hike, throw rocks, and watch the sunset over the mountain (and to lust after the little cabins near the lake). Wednesday we went to the Children's Garden with my fab cousin Whitney and her darling little Lily. She is working on her PhD in Special Ed and had some good tips and ideas for me. Last night we went to see Up at the dollar theater (loved it) though the kids weren't feeling great and a pile of popcorn and soda may not have been the best choice (Davis promptly threw it up when we got home). After getting our feverish sweeties to bed, Lowell and I stayed up playing the new Beatles Rock Band and it turns out I could be a groupie--I got 100% on the vocals. Yahoo! And today the fever continued so we stayed home from the gym and spent some time together. Snuggling my Carter baby this morning he told me I was the best friend he's "eber eber had". Guess I can't be all bad. We took the dogs for a walk and went on an alphabet hunt--finding letters everywhere we went. We had the added bonus of city council election time (lots of letters on those signs) and garbage day (W and M [Waste Management is on the side of the cans]). We also learned that Oscar starts with the aaah sound that O makes so he starts with O and Max and Maddy start with Mmmmm M. Carter loves his sounds. I love how much was accomplished in taking 3 dogs and 2 kids for a walk while working on letters. :)
So, where does this leave us? Good question. Before going to class Tuesday I kept having the word "advocate" run through my mind. I am my children's advocate for education. I need to watch out for them and make sure they get what they need so they can be happy and successful. Sitting in class with them I was trying to think of ways they could get more personalized attention. One way would be if they were in a state program where people trained to deal with situations like these would work with them on the skills they need to get through school. They would have to qualify for such services and I have no clue if they would. I made an appointment to discuss it with their pediatrician and hopefully get a referral to be evaluated by a child psychologist. I have also been calling the school district's early childhood assessment center but have not reached anyone there yet. So that would be the best situation (in my opinion), the next best is the only other person I know who knows them well enough and is patient enough (with the Lord's help) to work with them, me. So I have plans to do preschool at home this year if they don't qualify for the state. I know a teacher who is willing to get me lesson plans and worksheets and we will sit in our preschool room twice a week and have a formal class. I already have all the puzzles, lacing cards, craft kits, art supplies, computer games, workbooks, reading books, etc. so it only makes sense to put them to use. I have been gathering educational supplies for years always putting learning toys in their little hands. And with the spare $140 a month I'll now have, I can certainly come up with something as good (yes definitely better) than where they were. I have no doubt I can teach them what they need to know for school, the social aspect unfortunately I cannot teach. So I'll enroll them in some sports/music/art classes as available and hope to get them in a good school next year. That's the current plan anyway, subject to change. Tomorrow we are starting our field trips for each letter of the alphabet with A=aquarium.

Monday, September 7, 2009

For Uncle Robbie

After cheering the Cougs to a huge victory Carter picked out the letters B, Y, and U all by himself in the tub. We had to take a pic for the biggest fan of all, Uncle Robbie. P.S. Hooray for that darn Leapster game, all the time I have spent working on letters with the kiddos and a video game would be the trick. To each his learning style I guess. We were picking up dinner the other day and I was so excited to hear the kids examine the stop sign. First they noted that it was an octagon and red then picked out the letters and went into doing the sounds for each letter. They didn't put the sounds together to make the word just yet (plus they know what a stop sign says) but I was excited. We're on the path to reading . . .someday. Anywho, more of the BYU fans:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Feeling Better

Thank you Thank you to all my dear friends for helping me through yesterday. It really got brighter as the day went on. I think sometimes as women we underestimate ourselves and when someone points out a supposed flaw we are too eager to agree with them. You've helped me to stand up for myself and say, Hey, I'm still new at this mom thing but I am trying hard. I love my kids to pieces and they are happy and healthy. I'm always working to improve my parenting skills but I'm not the worst one out there. I think there are a lot of parents who don't have to work as hard as we do but have much better behaved kids. Just how it goes sometimes. Still wouldn't trade mine in. Anywho, I will still be taking them to school on Tuesday, which will probably seem strange to some of you. It's partially because of the time and money already invested in this program and more so because for whatever reason, this is the school I feel the Lord directed me to put the kids in. I'm not sure why but that is reason enough to give it another chance. But I am on my guard, if I feel like my kids aren't given the love and attention they need I will respectfully leave. It would be hard at this point to find another school, so it may mean keeping them home with me this year. We'll see. So yesterday I have to say the night was so fun. I was being defiant of my blue mood so we got hot wings, made snow cones (I bought syrups from ebay in preparation for the snow cone shacks closing after this weekend) and cheered BYU onto a HUGE victory! Then my sis Hillary and I caught a late showing of the Time Traveler's Wife. Of course the book was better, but it did follow it fairly well. Some things skipped, some condensed, some mixed with other scenes but the general idea was given. Certainly an interesting concept for a love story. Two thumbs up. And now since it is Sunday, I will return to our regularly scheduled programming, Sunday on the Blog.

"He Loves Me", by Hillary Weeks

Don't it seem sometimes like the world is falling
And you're standing underneath
You'll never get out from under it
Or at least that's how it feels

With a load so heavy and the days so long
You can barely breathe
And the only thing that keeps you standing
Is getting on your knees

When I need that burden lifted
When my strength is gone
There is one thing
That keeps me holding on

Deeper than my heart can hide
Stronger than I feel inside
More thanI realize
He loves me
Steady as the day goes by
Longer than the reach of time
Enough to give His life
He loves me

I have felt it in the darkest night
When He stayed with me til dawn
On the days when I'm too weak to walk
He carries me along

Above the noise and clatter down deep in my soul
In the middle of my pain
He tells me I can make it
And He promises to stay

In a world where nothing's certain
I can count on this
There is no love
No love truer than His


He knows I'm not perfect but He loves me
right here, right now
When I'm weak
When I'm strong
When I stand
When I fall
Just as I am
He loves me, yeah
I know He loves me


Saturday, September 5, 2009