Mar 02 2011


Published by under amy's head,house,kids,overheard


A week or so ago, James and I were cleaning out our guest room really thoroughly (getting this house ready to put on the market!) and the kids were also supposed to be cleaning their rooms.

We were all working pretty hard, when Ethan came in, toting a nerf gun, and announced, “When we’re done with all this work, I suggest we have the BATTLE OF OUR LIVES.”

Nerf gun battles abound at our house. We agreed that sounded like a fantastic idea.


Today is Dr. Suess’ birthday, and our school is honoring it with a book character dress up day. I didn’t remember until late last night, so this morning was fraught with quickly trying to come up with SOMEthing, ANYthing, for the kids to dress up with.
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Apr 04 2009

Scenes From Our Trip

Published by under amy's head,daily,kids,overheard,random


Yesterday, I enthusiastically hollered when we crossed the (first) state border, “we’re in WEST VIRGINIA!” and the kids and I hooted at holered and wheeeee-ed. About an hour later, we pulled over at a rest area for a pee pee stop, and there was a pay phone right in front of our car. Ethan immediately was drawn to it.

“MOM! Can I call Daddy?”
“No,” I said,
“Please? I just want to tell hin we’re in North America!”

Then 15 minutes later when we stopped at a fast food place, as we were climbing ou Jocelyn asked, “Do they speak english here?”


Here’s my Dad, reading bedtime stories to 3 kids who then wouldn’t SLEEP for another hour or so:

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Jan 26 2009

Ethan Update Part 2

Published by under amy's head,kids

Ethan had a pretty good spell at school right after his 2 week break for the holidays. He was very excited to get back to school, colored in 8 pieces of his space shuttle that first day and was “green” for the first two weeks (they get greens for good behaviour). But I think now, he’s pretty much back to “normal”. One good thing – normal seems to not include nearly as much hurting other people. There was always something going on, each week, kicking someone, punching someone, some sort of scuffle, and thankfully, it seems to have lessened quite a bit – he did do some pinching last week, but that has been it so far this year.

Just a general sort of round up on his behaviour: He has a few friends in our neighborhood that he will play with, but James and I feel the need to “hover” if they’re outside or even inside, to mediate any issues that come up or step in if things get rough. When he is over at their house(s), we worry the whole time. At school, he will roll around on the floor at times, if too close to his neighbors, he will get in their space and/or poke them – his desk is generally pulled away a bit for this reason. He will sometimes circle his desk around and around. Some sensory things we’ve noticed, he will also often chew on things, and will make a sort of whistling noise through his teeth. He loves to wear super soft clothing – he won’t wear jeans, and loves the pants that are made from sweatshirt-type material. He loves footsie jammies partly because he prefers to be on the warm side when he’s sleeping, but partly because every inch of his body is covered in softness.

Actually, now that I think about it, I think he’s stopped the chewing (or if not stopped, it’s lessened a great deal) as well as the whistling through his teeth.

He is very inventive and curious about all sorts of things. They were doing surveys and votes in class, and he decided to do one at home – he counted up all the smoke detectors and all the sprinklers and tallied them up with tally marks. He loves to tinker on James’ workbench – taking apart an old printer, or attaching components to an old mother board. He knows how to make a computer fan work by attaching the wire ends to a 9volt battery. We used to have him read us a book every night, but during the winter holidays he complained he was too tired at the end of the day, so we switched it to mornings, and we call it our snuggle reading time. He is growing more confident with reading, but still will sometimes just look at the beginning of a word and guess at the rest instead of seeing the whole word. He’s grown so tall that it’s hard to snuggle with him (and yet we still manage somehow!)

He is very sweet and compassionate, loves anything that is “cute” (puppies, kittens, wee little robots, the color pink) and lately the WALL*E obsession in our house has reached epic proportions. A number pad has been installed in front of the stairs where numbers are entered before walking up them. “Trash cubes” are made from anything handy (blankies and laundry mostly). Anything picked up is picked up with robotic WALL*E-ish movements, and whole conversations from the movie can be repeated verbatim. “Give me the plant! -Tell me Auto! That’s an ORDER! -Very well sir.” “HALT!” is also a common order given around our house, like the steward bots on the Axiom.

Well, I think that’s enough for now. We’ll see how it goes from here.


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Jan 24 2009

Ethan Update

Published by under amy's head,kids

I haven’t updated on Ethan in quite some time (except for my cryptic twitters), and so it’s about time I did so.

He has been going to a weekly “Social Achievers” class at the counseling center for about 2 months now (big gaps for the holidays) and each time, they’ve said he has really struggled with it – giving attitude and fighting the redirecting they’ve done. The last few times have been better though, with less attitude and more cooperation.

In the meantime, he was tested by a psychologist in the same center for ADD/ADHD in mid-November, and before we received the results of that testing, the school asked us to come in for a child study. This was in early/mid December.

The child study went well. “Well” being defined as my ability to hold it together and not be too devastated by what was discussed! Also defined by the sensitivity and obvious compassion those involved displayed for my son. His teacher, the vice principal, the reading specialist and the school’s psychologist were present at the meeting, as well as James and I. We went over areas that he shows strength (science, math) and areas that he is weak on (reading) and his behaviour throughout everything. Even though he is struggling in reading, he loves nothing more than to sit with a book or be read aloud to.

His teacher and the reading specialist have worked out a system of rewards for good behaviour, when he is on task and staying focused he will get to color in part of a space shuttle. When he has colored a certain number of pieces he gets a bigger prize, such as lunch with his teacher, extra time in an activity he loves, lunch in the classroom with a fellow classmate, etc. His teacher also has been charting how often he is on task, with the goal that he stays on task 70% of the time. This means that she marks down how he is doing every ten minutes throughout the day. She also keeps James and I appraised of how his day went with an email home at the end of each day. I can’t tell you how blown away I am by the school, his teacher, and the administrative staff. I am so grateful that they have been so open and helpful and truly concerned about helping him be the best student he can be.

After discussing Ethan in great detail, they basically said that we can just continue as we have been, and have another meeting in the spring to see how he is doing, or we could start testing to see if there is more going on that we don’t know. We opted to start testing. They will test for a wide spectrum of items and hopefully it will give us a bigger picture and more insight into how we can help him.

In the meantime, right before the holidays I received a few voice mails from the psychologist who did his testing at the counseling center, and after playing phone tag, got a meeting set up to go over the results. We met with her last week, and she has diagnosed him with ADHD with a recommendation for a psychiatric consultation for medication.

I don’t know if it’s because of some of the possibilities that were tossed around in the school meeting (Asberger’s was one) that totally freaked me out and made ADHD a walk in the park by comparison, but I took this news very well, although it was exactly what I had been dreading. I am totally freaked out at the possibility of giving my SIX YEAR OLD a DAILY medication. (Totally. Completely. Did I mention I’m totally freaked out? LIke, WAY FREAKED OUT. A medication EVERY DAY. That will screw up WHO KNOWS WHAT as a side effect. Just want to be clear here! Me = FREAKED.)

From what I’ve read, ADHD can be a pretty subjective diagnosis. But I can’t avoid the fact that Ethan definitely has some problems that points pretty clearly to ADHD. I am not fighting this diagnosis, I just want to make sure that the help we give him will be the best for him, his health, and his physiological well being. I’ve talked to a few friends whose kids do use medication, and heard their stories. I’ve talked to my sister who has kids with ADHD and does not medicate. I am definitely more open to medication THAN I WAS before the holidays, but I honestly don’t feel the rush to make a decision RIGHT NOW.

However, what we are going to do RIGHT NOW, is get him in to see a psychiatrist. I’ve always felt like what we’re doing for him now is not right, or rather, not enough. I think he would benefit with one on one sessions, and I think James and I would benefit as well – part of the reason I don’t like what’s going on now is it gives James and I no feedback with how we should be doing things. When he acts impulsively or throws a tantrum, or comes home from school with a report of a bad day – are we handling it adequately? Is there something we could be doing better? I feel like we could use someone to help us with ideas on the homefront that we can employ in specific situations. I mentioned this once to the counselor who runs his class, and I think she thought I was playing a “But I’m such a BAD PARENT!” sympathy bit or something and told me I’m not a bad parent, I’m doing fine.

But I didn’t say I was a bad parent – and I don’t think we are bad parents. I don’t have to be a bad parent to want better parenting skills and skills to help Ethan cope better, not to mention, skills to help ME COPE BETTER. I think some one on one sessions well help Ethan, but also help us, and after a psychiatrist knows him and has worked with him a bit, I’ll be interested to see what their opinion on medication is.

So, once again, I’ve looked around for a new psychiatrist/clinic we can switch him too and once again I keep looking at this clinic that was recommended to us and moaning that they aren’t in our insurance. I called to get their self-pay rates, and even though we would be reinbursed 50% for out of network providers, AND we pushed our medical flexible spending account sky high for this year, it would be tough to say goodbye to that much money. The office staff person actually had one of the doctors call me back and after talking with her for a minute, she recommended some other psychiatrists in the area – one of which I had actually looked up after finding him on the insurance website’s network of providers. Relieved, I called this clinic and set up an appointment.

So right now, we’re kind of in a wait and see mode. Wait and see how it goes with the psychiatrist. Continue taking him to his social achiever’s class until we see the doctor. Wait and see what the school testing results looks like.

Since this is getting pretty long, I’m going to write more about Ethan himself tomorrow, lest I kill anyone with all these words!


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Dec 18 2008

Letters to Santa

Published by under amy's head,kids,photos

Despite a big DUM DUM moment from me which has in effect, removed any belief in Santa in our eldest (this deserves a whole ‘nother blog post, sometime soon), I managed to get them to write letters, which were then sealed away, stamped, addressed to Santa at the North Pole, and deposited into the mailbox, “With the FLAG UP!” as Jocelyn gleefully pointed out.

Before they were sent off, I did take pictures.

Outside of Ethan’s letter:
Outside of Ethan's Letter to Santa

What can I say, he likes to scare people.

Ethan’s letter to Santa:

Ethan's Letter to Santa

Dear Santa, I would like a spy kit. From, Ethan

Jocelyn’s letter to Santa

Jocelyn's Letter to Santa

A little trickier to read, so here’s the text:

Dear Santa! I would like a green buzz!!!!!!! I’ve been very good! Jocelyn

(edited to add: She is referring to Buzz Lightyear. None of those 5″ $5 purple ones, either, she wants the $20 12-inch one, that is GREEN.)

I have to say. Ever since James and I spawned offspring, I’ve been secretly waiting for the day I could take pictures of their letters to Santa.

Too cute.

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Sep 02 2008

Back to School Cake 2008!

Published by under cooking,crafty,daily,kids,photos

It was a great 3 day weekend, that was filled to the brim with fun things, so I’m going to work my way backward starting with yesterday – Monday, Labor day.

I’ve always thought this was a fun idea – a cake to celebrate the beginning of the new school year. It originally was a cake a friend of mine made because she was so relieved to have the kids out of the house for a large portion of the day again, but I think it still works for us.

I put a twist on it though, we made it a KID-ONLY cake. Meaning, only KIDS are allowed to make it! I told them what to do, I held the bowl when they scraped it into the pan, and I put it into the oven, but other than that, this cake was made by KIDS ONLY! They were SO PROUD!

View all the photos in this here fancy photo-scrollin’-seein’ thingee below:

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Aug 07 2008

Give up. Parents are definitely NOT cool.

Published by under amy's head,kids

Or, Why Parents Suddenly Become UnCool When Their Kid Hits Teenagedom

This has been rattling around in my head for a week or so. Let’s see if I can get it out in some sort of concise manner.

When you’re a teenager, well probably long before that, but let’s go with this for now shall we? Jeez. quit interupting and just let me get this out already!


When you’re a teenager, you are very aware of what others are thinking, what they’re wearing, what they’re doing, what they’re eating, what they like, what they don’t like, what they might think of you, whether you’re cool, whether you’re not cool, etc.

So you start to really pay attention to your own behavior, clothes, habits, etc. You monitor everything you do so as not to be deemed uncool. Thus is your entry into the world of adulthood, constantly monitoring, choosing, judging both yourself and others, on whether they or you are “cool”. This goes on pretty much forever, in what we call “society.”

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Jun 13 2008

Friday, POOL day!

Published by under kids,likes & irks

It has been a really nice week.

Children-wise, I mean.

The kids have been so happy go lucky. Last Friday was the last week of “school” and this week was designated as “daycare only” at their school, which means Ethan has gotten to bring his Nintendo DS to school with him and play to his little heart’s content, and probably not much of any change for Jocelyn.

Next week summer camp starts, which is filled with much more exciting things, especially for Ethan, since he is in the “big kids” summer camp. He gets to board the school’s vans each day and head out to the pool, skating, mini golf, & bowling. Jocelyn gets to have game day, splash day, movie day, and imagination station day (all at the school).

So I was kind of afraid this might be a blah week for them, but they’ve been so cheery and happy I am looking back at the week, kind of amazed. In fact on Wednesday when I picked them up, they were so lovey dovey and happy that I commented to them, “You guys are happier than a pile of puppies!” which made them laugh and giggle with even MORE happiness.

We all had so much fun at the pool last Sunday that I promised I would take them after school on Friday. Yesterday Ethan asked, “How many days until Friday?”

“Why?” I asked.

“Because Friday we’re going to the POOL!”

“Well, you should be happy because TOMORROW is Friday!”

“WAHOO!! I’m going to swim under water again! And I’m going to show Daddy this time!”

These kids. So cute. I hope the “happy” streak continues for a LONG long while.

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May 04 2008


Published by under daily,kids

Tonight when Jocelyn pulled off her t-shirt, part of it stuck on her head. Usually, we leave it there and call it “long princess hair!” But this time, it was partially covering her face, specifically, her left eye.

“I’m a PIRATE!” she called out gaily.
“She’s a PIRATE!” Ethan called out gaily.
“Look it’s a PIRATE!” I called out gaily.

“Ahoy!” said Ethan.
“Ahoy!” said Jocelyn.
“Say, ‘Yo ho yo!'” I said.
“YO HO HO!” Jocelyn chortled, pulling her t-shirt down further over her eye.
“Say ARRRRGHHH!” Ethan said.
“ARRRRRRRRRGH!” Jocelyn said.
“Say ‘schwab the deck, ye landlubbers!” I said.
“Schwab the deck you ladyfingers!” She hollered with delight.

Then I turned into mean mommy and made them brush their teeth, despite their claims that pirates don’t brush teeth.

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Apr 29 2008

mini brain dump

We planted some peas, but other than that, no garden planning has been done this year. Last year I sweated blood and tears over my sweet little indoor starter seedlings, and then I promptly killed them when I tried to harden them off outside (and it wasn’t the hardening. it was the not watering. i suck). So all the grow lights stayed in the closet this year and we’ll just be putting things directly into the ground.

I won’t be growing zuchini or cucumbers, because a) no one ever ate any but me, and b) the zucchini grew to GARGANTUAN sizes before I could pick them, which makes them less yummy.

The raspberries look like they are going to take over the world, the roots have REALLY spread out, and the strawberries are all intermingled with the raspberries. I should have done something about them last fall and now it’s too late. Note to self: Move the strawberries somewhere ELSE next fall. We already have a TON of little green baby strawberries growing. I can’t WAIT.

We’re doing sunflowers along the deck again – I LOVED those. We planted them on Sunday. I may also plant a pumpkin, because our mystery pumpkin was so much fun. Will definitely plant it later in the spring/summer though, as the pumpkin was ready long before October, and we’ll want some for halloween, o’course!

I’m totally screwing the pooch on some of my new years goals, so I need to go over that. Blech.

Soccer and tball season is upon us. Ethan’s games are going well, and I think he is really having a ball. Jocelyn love, love LOVES her soccer practice/games and even if she is a little clingy during them, afterward she always says, “I had SO MUCH FUN!” We had a vague repeat of the first game from last spring and I had an eerie deja vu feeling. It’s fun, but it really does run us ragged. Our menu planning is going to go SO downhill. I am the manager for Jocelyn’s team, so far I’ve only forgotten 1 thing. ERr, 2 things. At least I’ve come a long way since our first soccer game. Maybe.

i have very cute pictures that i need to do something.

It’s a shame that I fell off the 360 photos thingee because now the camera is sitting there, getting dusty. Someday I should pick it up again.

OK, not really money, but budget. The more I use YNAB, the more I LOVE it and I want to wax philosophical about that and see if I can’t get some of you to USE IT!


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