Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I just got off the phone with a coordinator of early childhood services in our school district. I have spent the last three weeks filling out her paperwork to try and get Jacob some extra help with his fine motor skills. Here are some of the insane things she told me since I was the one who initiated the assessment and not the district:

1. Occupational Therapy is a related service to an instructional program. It is not offered alone.
So, as long as a kid can think it, it doesn't matter that he's going to struggle to write it down?

2. In the field of education we are going away from looking at the process and just looking at the product.
Are you kidding me? We no longer look at how a child gets to an answer as long as it's right? This is completely the opposite of the Illinois State Standards. This was after I told her that I had been a teacher, right here in the state!

3. In looking at some of the answers that you filled out, I would have given him a higher score.
Of course you would have, then you wouldn't have to burden yourself with the paperwork that is necessary to test this child.

All in all, I can't believe that an educator would not want the best for any child. I know that because I am the mom I have a special interest in this particular child, but I just got off the phone fuming. In all my years as a teacher (and I know, it was only seven), I would never have told a parent any of those things. It seemed very disrespectful to me both as a parent and former educator. I did get him an assessment play date with an occupational therapist, but I am not holding my breath. It seems that if I want Jacob to get some help, I am going to have to pay for it myself. Where that money is coming from, I have no idea! Please pray for all of us!

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Name Game

Zachary has a new favorite song. He got a CD for Christmas that has his name in every song. The reason I (I mean Santa) got it for him was because one of the tracks was called, "The Train Song." I was sold right then and there. The rest of the CD could have had lyrics from Satan, but I was buying it anyway. Well, it's a pretty good CD. There is another track on it that has a bunch of rhymes from our childhood. Of course one of them has a train in it. Zachary sings it constantly. It goes like this,
Engine, engine, number nine,
Going down Chicago Line,
If the train should jump the track,
Do you want your money back?
Yes, no, maybe so.

Zachary just thinks this is the best, so he asks for this song in the car all the time. Consequently, we have heard all the other rhymes that occur in this song. Most of the rhymes I have heard, like Bubble gum, bubble gum in a dish, and Eeny meany, miny moe, but there was one rhyme that I have never heard. It goes like this:
Grandpa's whiskers old and grey,
Always getting in the way,
Grandma chews them in her sleep,
Thinking it is shredded wheat.

Then you hear a record needle slide and a little kid says, "That's disgusting!" All three boys think this is the funniest thing they have ever heard. It's a little gross to me, but the laughter that comes from my boys just makes me laugh too!
P.S. The reason the song is called, "The Name Game" is because the chorus of the song goes like this:

It's the name game,
When you hear your name,
It's time to play the game
The name game,
Shout your name (Zachary!)
Let's play the game.

It's cute!


Kyle has some new counting techniques. Some are right on the money, but some need a little help. Check it out!

He rattled off 1-100 the other day, didn't miss a number, and barely paused when the next ten came around (30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 ,90).

Kyle: Mom, I can count these blocks by 2's. 2,4,6,7. (Darned if there weren't 7 blocks there!)

Kyle: Mom, I can count to a million. 100, 2-100, 3-100, 4-100, 5-100, 6-100, 7-100, 8-100, 9-100, a thousand, a thousand one, a thousand two, a thousand three, a thousand four, a thousand five, a thousand six, a thousand seven, a thousand eight, a thousand nine, a million!

I think there is a math brain inside this kid! Woe to his English teachers!


Did you feel the earthquake last night?

I did, although at the time I didn't know that's what it was.

I woke up at about 4:40 this morning and I thought that I heard Jacob run into our room and go into the bathroom. I was all set to yell at him when I decided that I should put my glasses on first because the light never went on in our bathroom.

As I put on my glasses, I discovered that there was no one in our room. I decided that I needed to tell my hubby that we needed to call the Ghosthunters. It's a show on the Discovery channel, I think, that helps people discover whether there are ghosts in their house. It always manages to creep me out, but I didn't know what else this feeling that I just had could have been. I rolled back over and went to sleep, hoping that the ghosts were friendly.

As I got in my car at 6:00 this morning to go swimming, I heard the news say that there was an earthquake in southern Illinois this morning and that buildings downtown Chicago had been shaking. The quake registered 5.4 on the richter scale. I felt much better knowing that I was not crazy (although just for that moment--we all know there's a lot of crazy in me), and will never forget where I was the last time Illinois had an earthquake.

Doing Our Best

This post comes a couple days late! On Wednesday, it was supposed to be beautiful (of course it was soooooo windy), but with nothing to do (how amazing!) I decided that it was time for our first bike ride of the year.

Jacob was so excited! He has been practicing for the last few days and was ready to go. He loves to go to the bike path.

I hooked up the bike trailer, loaded some snacks in the back, along with Kyle's ball and glove, put Zachary in, and away the four of us went.

We got three doors down and Kyle stops and says, "I want to ride in the trailer." I asked him if it was because he was uncomfortable on his bike or that he was tired. He said that he was uncomfortable on his bike.

Wrong answer to get what you want Kyle! I explained to him that he had yet to be out on his bike this year and he was just feeling a little wobbly. He needed to ride his bike a little bit and he would be better. Well, we went about 20 more houses with him calling, "Mom! Wait for me!" (I was about a bike length ahead of him. I continued to reassure him that he was doing great and that he was going to be fine. He had a little trouble getting his pedals fixed the way he wanted them to get started, but he figured it out. We were able to ride all the way to the park, play for awhile, and then ride all the way home.

Just as a side note, Jacob took off and had to be reminded to wait for us. He was great about it. He stopped at every street and waited until I told him he could cross. He was absolutely in heaven. I know that there are many more rides in our future. It was actually nice to see him excel at something. He tends to struggle with so much, his fine motor control and hand-eye coordination are not nearly as good as Kyle's. He had such a wonderful smile on his face, and not that I like to see Kyle struggle, it was just nice to see the roles of the two boys reversed. So many things come so easy for Kyle (and that really is wonderful) and Jacob is so jealous of it and wants to do everything Kyle can do.

We've been getting ready to do some fine motor assessments with Jacob to see if he may qualify for some extra help. Writing, coloring, using scissors is so hard for him. I was thankful for God's little reminder to focus on all the wonderful things that Jacob can do, and the beautiful smile that came along with it will hopefully help me remember it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Lesson Learned

After dropping Jacob and Kyle off at school this morning, Zachary and I went to Sam's to get a few staples that we were out of. Zachary has decided that he likes to help now instead of just ride in the cart. This is fine as long as it is just him and me.

Today he was carrying my Sam's card when we reached the frozen section. We needed some fish sticks. I opened the freezer door and heard this, "No! I want to open it!"

Okay, so I closed the door and let Zachary open it. No big deal, I can handle this. I pull out some fish sticks and put them in the cart. I immediately hear, "No! I want to carry them."

I politely respond, "Honey, they are too heavy. That's why we have the cart."

We went about 4 more steps with him complaining all the way about how he wanted to carry the fish sticks, so I just decided to hand him the bag of 115 fish sticks.

Immediately, I hear, "Oops!" Of course he had dropped them. He set my card down on the floor, used two hands to pick the fish sticks up, and said, "We need to put these in the cart."

I guess next time, I'll just hand the heavy stuff to him right away and he'll determine where it should go.

Lesson learned (not sure if it was his or mine).

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Daddy Scores Some Points!

My hubby has completely taken over bathtime at our house. I love this because I hate bathtime. I help them get started and I help them finish up (get pajamas on and the such), but Daddy pretty much does the main affair. Well tonight, he gets double bonus points!

Kyle would not nap yesterday, was falling asleep in the car on the way home from church today, and still would not nap this afternoon.

Jacob was cranky this evening and clearly needed to get to bed.

Oh my, and it was bath night!

The next thing I knew, Daddy had both Jacob and Kyle in the bathtub and clean. I had gotten the kitchen cleaned up from dinner and was bringing up some pajamas for Jacob. This is what I hear:

Dad: Kyle, you get 5,000 bonus points if you get your underwear on.

Kyle: How many points do I have now?

Dad: You have 25,000 bonus points. That's more than we've ever given away in this game before! You have enough for a 15,000 mile train ride! Jacob, you get 5,000 bonus points for putting your pajamas on. You can earn another 5,000 for getting your teeth brushed!

This went on for the entire time that they were getting ready for bed. Jacob and Kyle (especially Kyle) absolutely loved it! There were no tears, there was no messing around, just 2 boys getting ready for bed quickly. This was the fastest that I think I have seen them get ready for bed since they have been dressing themselves.

Too often I fall in a rut with them and my hubby tends to think of more creative ways to get thigns accomplished. I sure am glad that I don't have to do this parenting thing alone!

Hubby definitely gets 25,000 bonus points, and who knows where his train trip will take him!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Potty Training-Week 2

Well things had been sort of status quo on the potty-training front until earlier this week. Zachary had pretty much been dry during the day and during sleeping times, but would poop in his underwear. Well, Monday morning he actually asked to go poop and then went! Yea! I was so excited. He then did it again on Tuesday morning, and then proceeded to have diarrea the rest of Tuesday (sorry if that's TMI) that was all in his underwear because I'm not sure that he knew that he was even doing it. I thought that we had suffered this major setback and he wouldn't remember to tell me again. Well, he didn't poop Wednesday, then pooped in his underwear Thursday morning, but today (Friday), he has pooped in the potty twice and has worn the same underwear all day--this is a first! So, maybe we're on the right track. I thank God for this being as easy as it has been. I don't know what prompted this, but I just ran with it. I am so thankful that I didn't miss the window that Zachary created for me. Hopefully we are done with diapers! However, I did just buy a whole box of diapers for overnight anticipating that he would be really wet overnight for awhile (Jacob and Kyle both were after potty-training), but Zachary only wants to wear pull-ups to bed, so if anyone needs a box of size 4 diapers, let me know!


Okay, so my father-in-law made this awsome shuffleboard game. You take these round wooden discs and slide them down the board and try to get as many as you can in each of the four holes. Each hole is worth one, two, three, or four points. However, if you get one in each, it is worth 20 points, 2 in each is worth 40 points, etc. Anyway, so we were playing last night. The kids were taking turns really nicely and watching each other slide their discs. We didn't really keep score, we just counted how many discs they got in the holes. When it came time for bed, we gave the kids each one last turn, Zachary being last. I guess Zachary didn't fully understand the rules of the game (or else he's playing by Grandma Hoogendoorn's strategy). He seemed to do much better when he made up the rules himself.

Yes, he is picking up each disc and carrying them down to the holes at the end. This made him perfectly happy for 5 minutes. Love that kid!

My Dreams Come True

I have always wanted to hire someone to come to my home and take pictures of my children just playing or in the backyard. I wanted to find someone that does this often so that they could caputure shots that I would never think of. Well, Jacob and Kyle decided to play photographer yesterday, snapping shots with the digital camera. While they took a lot of pictures of the wall and the floor, these were also taken. Could I have my artistic dream come true with one of them? They would be a heck of a lot cheaper!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Ten Thoughts

After being tagged by my friend Emily, I finally narrowed down my thoughts to these ten:

1. Why is it my children sleep when I need them awake and are awake when I need them to sleep?

2. The Cubs are already 1-3 this year. It seems we are already going downhill! (Spoken like a true Cubs' fan as my hubby would say)

3. I am amazed that Zachary has been finding every bird he can and he is always telling me that the bird is "looking at us."

4. Can I just take a month off from being a mommy and catch my scrapbook up to date? Of course I don't want any time to pass--I don't want to miss any moments either!

5. When I taught, I could remember the day to day happenings of 30 or so children. Why is it today I can't remember when one of my children last ate?

6. Summer is coming! Yea!

7. Patience is probably my smallest gift, if I even have any at all. That does not make for good mothering. Ah, always something to be working on.

8. There are so many tasks that I dread doing, yet when I do them, they take about 5 minutes. Why don't I just get them over with?

9. How did I end up with a man who loves every part of me? I truly do not deserve him. He must be a gift from God.

10. God continually shows me his grace. I don't always remember to look for it, but yet when I do, there it is, right in front of me!

Thanks Em, this really made me think!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

See ya!

My baby is gone!

Before you call me to offer to help look for my lost little boy, let me explain. Jacob and his daddy have gone to Pella for the weekend. My hubby offered to help his father with some remodeling of the upstairs and I thought Jacob would have a good time hanging out with Grandma. However, I wasn't prepared for the ease at which he would say good bye. He promply turned his Leapster on and it was all I could do to get a kiss out of him.

Now, normally I do not miss my children when I am away from them. Don't get me wrong, I love coming back to them, but I know that I need to enjoy the little time I have to myself. Yet knowing that Jacob is going to be gone for 3 days, I'm feeling a little empty already (He's only been gone 4 hours--they're not even there yet!). I am actually contemplating letting Kyle sleep in my bed with me (now you all know that I must be crazy). I am hoping that Kyle and Zachary and I will bond some while they are gone, but there are definitely some things that need to be done around here and I plan on getting them done. Hopefully we'll find some time--it's supposed to be beautiful this weekend. Kyle and Zachary do love to be outside, maybe that can be our moment.

Praying to find that special connection for the weekend...

Potty Training-Day 4

Well, dry again this morning! The thing I always think will take forever is coming the fastest. He hasn't been wet during a sleeping period all week. God has answered one of my prayers about potty training, just not necessarily the one that I would have thought.

Anyway, we headed off the Kohl Children's Museum out in Glenview. Armed with 4 pairs of underwear and pants, along with dry socks, I had Zachary go potty when we got there and said another little prayer. He did great! Our biggest problem was that he got soaked in the water area and while I had plenty of pants, I had forgotten to bring him dry shirts. Well, Kyle let his little brother wear his undershirt for the day (Jacob refused). When I went to change him out of all his wet clothes, I did find a load of poop in the underwear, but I was going to change them anyway and I just dumped the poop in the potty. He even made it through lunch. He did poop in his underwear again on the ride home, but fortunately, jeans are very forgiving and not very porous. He was dry again after nap and then again pooped in his underwear right before his bath tonight. We are definitely getting the hang of this, but I think I have to require him to sit longer in the potty at times that I know he has to poop. We'll get there!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Today we went to visit my sister at McCormick Place downtown Chicago for lunch. To get where we were going, we needed to take a lot of escalators. We don't usually take them because I either have a stroller or let's face it, I am not going to take three children on the escalator by myself. So today, I hear this...

Jacob: Mom, are we going on the excavator again?

We have always loved our construction books!

Potty Training-Day 3

Okay, so I braced myself for a day filled with pee pee and poop and headed into Zachary's room this morning to get him in his underwear. He was dry again! The kid has been dry overnight the last three nights. This just strengthens my resolve that he needs to be trained. We were going downtown to McCormick place where my sister works to meet her for lunch. I packed up a couple extra pairs of underwear and pants and we got on our way. He had no accidents today! We were able to meet, have lunch (granted we were in the potty twice) and get home without incident. He was even dry after his nap again. We did great all evening until Jacob and Kyle's bedtime. I was upstairs with them and my hubby was moving a set of shelves he had made into the living room with a neighbor when Zachary comes waddling toward me with wet pants saying, " I went poopies in my underwear." Well, at least we have established that we are wearing underwear and not pull ups (I get one point for that).

Luckily, in swoops Grandma! She was coming to babysit and she cleaned him all up, so no accidents for me today! Tomorrow we are going to the Kohl's Children's Museum so we'll see if we can keep up our wonderful record! Like I said, I am not going back!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Potty Training-Day 2

So, after a fabulous day yesterday with the potty training, I braced myself for another day. We started out the day well, his diaper from overnight was dry and he went lots of pee pee in the potty. He then went again, about and hour and a half later. However, about 10:15 this morning, I was on the phone with my hubby when Zachary walked into the family room with his legs spread apart, soaked. So, we cleaned that up (there was also a puddle in the basement) and went to the grocery store. We actually made it through the grocery store with no incident. We came home and I immediately had him go potty, which he did, and I set about to make lunch. Not more than 10 minutes after he had gone potty, Zachary says,
"I went pee pee! And poop too!"
So, in the middle of lunch preparations, I had to deal with poopy underwear. And you know that the poop always smears down the legs as you take off poopy underwear, so we got cleaned up and tried again. So far, we have gone potty one more time and been dry.

The problem that I am finding is that Zachary is calling his underwear pull ups. Ugh! Those pull ups are the most wretched things. They have helped with the ease of having him go on the potty, but they have also let him think that it's okay to go in his pants as well. That's the mentality that I now have to break. I should have realized that yesterday was too good to be true. Well, I am determined to not go back. We will see you all in underwear!

Potty Training-Day 1

Okay, so I bit the bullet. With Jacob and Kyle on Spring Break this week, I decided that I needed to get Zachary potty trained. I pulled out the underwear that we bought about 2 months ago and decided that we were putting them on and we aren't going back. The first day went relatively smooth. He actually made it all morning without an accident. He then took his nap and woke up dry. He went potty and we got the underwear back on. He then had three accidents between 4:00 and 7:00, one of them being poop. Oh well, I was still cautiously optimistic that we were going to get this done this week. Look for daily updates for awhile and hopefully they will dwindle so that there are no accidents anymore!