Thursday, August 28, 2008

Developmental Screening Surprises

After encouragement by my Father-In-Law, last May I made an appointment for Frank to be tested at the local Child Development Center. FIL was concerned about Speech issues, but they local CDC does a full battery of tests on the kids. When I was making the appointment and mentioned that many people could understand the three-year-old better than the five-year-old, they offered to make Jack an appointment for the Full Evaluation too. I thought it was a joke to test Jack, but figured it wouldn’t hurt anything.

Last month, the CDC called because Jack had failed the Vision portion of the tests… which didn’t surprise me because I remembered that he didn’t want to sit still for the vision things (or many of the test actually), he was far more interested in getting back to the toys in the waiting area!

Yesterday Jack went back to the CDC for another Vision Screening… which we did twice because he kept failing it. As luck would have it, I was able to get him an appointment this morning (due to a cancellation yesterday – see, it’s good to call the doctor and cancel your appointments if you can’t make them.)

Again this morning, Jack was wiggly, and they had trouble testing him. We dilated his eyes with drops and called in “the big guns”… that is, I called Tom at work and he was able to come over to “help” Jack hold still for the second set of tests. Sure enough, Jack has vision problems… Astigmatism and Myopia (near-sightedness). Both easily corrected by, you guessed it… glasses!

I’m feeling a bit stunned and sad. I just didn’t realize Jack couldn’t see. He has a negative two prescription in both eyes. That’s as bad as Tom’s is now!

Tom and I are both near sighted, but we didn’t need glasses until we were 32 (T) and 15 (S). I’m just floored about my three-year-old needing glasses. Of course I want to help him, but it adds financial expenses as well as logistical issues (YOU try finding a pair of INDESTRUCTIBLE glasses that a Rough-And-Tumble three year old will want to keep on and keep track of!)

Jack has been enjoying the tests as well as looking for glasses. Today, we went to three stores and here are the three pair I narrowed it down to.

Really, Jack loves the color RED, but I can’t seem to find any red glasses in his size. I could try looking online or in Salt Lake City, but don’t you find glasses are really something you want to see in person? Plus, if I ordered them in SLC, getting them serviced would be harder, so, I'll probably go with a local optometrist and order the first pair (the blue ones) in brown (they don't come in red).

I guess from all of this I would say… do get your kids screened! I was surprised 1½ years ago when Frank needed tubes (for hearing problems) and I’m surprised today by Jack. Both times I felt bad for them and at myself for not realizing it sooner. I’m glad that the solution for Jack is so “simple” though.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Exploring Blogland

When I first started my blog, I didn't know much about them other than my friend enjoyed her's. I began writing for and TO my friends, through my blog. Then. I wondered how to attract other people to my blog... I still wonder about that.

Now, I have people I know personally, and those I know through a few swaps / give-aways. I have other people that I know just from comments... on their blog or mine. Basically, I've found I enjoy "meeting" other people though their blogs.

Generally, I'll be reading something I enjoy, and see a link, or read a comment on a post, I'll like what they say, and follow a link and find their blog, then, *viola*, I have
another blog I enjoy reading. Today, I think that happened when I discovered PinsandThimbles.

I was reading Anne Brumley's post that was basically about finding our focus in life, and I thought I'd share my response:

I too have a million things going at once. Recently, I’d “slowed down” and wound up being bored and miserable. In the past few weeks, I’ve started picking up the pace and getting “more involved” and I feel invigorated and excited by life!

My Aunt, who’s in her 70’s and I’m in my 30’s, advises me that “to every thing there is a season”… there was a time when she was REALLY busy, but these days, mostly consist of her, a few pets, taking her mother to town, and LOTS of quilting. Her home is quite and calm, as is her life.

So. I guess what I’m saying, is that it’s important to do what motivates and excites us. It’s also important to accept where we are in our lives and know that one day things will be different, so, enjoy today and look forward to tomorrow!

Here's me reminding you to Enjoy Today and Look Forward to Tomorrow, with JOY!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Halloween Costume Ideas

So. Is anyone else thinking of Halloween Costumes yet? I was just thinking of what we've done in the past...
2002 - Frank - Stormtrooper
2003 - Frank - Frankenstein (he had 100+ stitches in his head from surgery 8 days earlier).
2004 - Frank - Construction Guy (everyone mistook him for "Bob the Builder".)
2005 - Frank & Mom - Priates, Jack - Parrot
2006 - Frank - Buzz Lightyear, Jack - Woody (complete with "pull handle")
2007 - Jack - Dragon / Dinosaur, Frank - Superman (he was suppose to be a Knight / Caveman to MATCH JACK!)
2008 - Hmmm....
I was just poking around online and found these fun sites...

Some VERY CLEVER "Different" Ideas, especially for people who "don't want to wear" a costume!

Family / Group Costumes

How-To Links to Many "Standard" Ideas

Links to Patterns
Simplicity Costume Patterns

I think Jack would enjoy being Indiana Jones this year... not very "original", but he walks around singing "Daa-da-duh-da! Da-da-duh!" all.the.time. He also has a "whip" we made him out of a piece of soft rope and hat that passes for an Indy Hat. So. I'm thinking I'd like to make him a jacket (I have leather scraps I need to pull out, but I suspect I'll have to find some other fabric/leather to make it... maybe I could find an adult leather coat at a thrift store and cut it up to make him one... hmm!) I also want to make him a satchel (which could double as his candy bag) and a little strap to put his whip on his belt (just a little piece of fabric looped over and velcro on one side.)

This made me think that Frank could be an Indy Character -Mutt, Nazi, Priest, Egyptian, Mummy... there are so many options! But... last year Frank wanted to be Bumblebee, the Transformer. The first time I heard about this was the week of Halloween. I was sick and I really had no idea who / what the Transformers were, so on Halloween it was a fight to get Frank into his superhero costume. Now, a year later, he still loves playing with and talking about Transformers. So, maybe I'll talk with him about creating a Transformer (possibly Optimus Prime or Bumblebee) costume. This one will need Tom's help on, since there will be a lot of hard pieces attached to the base (probably a sweat suit).

I suppose we could make two Transformers. They would both go for that, but I do think Jack would make such a cute Indy!
I always want to think of a fun theme for our whole family, then I struggle to get just the boys to match. Maybe by thinking of it a little sooner in "the season", talking with them AND doing what they each want, instead of a group theme, I'll actually get something made that the we will enjoy making and wearing!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Meet Trystan, The Neighbor

A few days ago, I was having a rough afternoon. I reluctantly let one of our neighbor-boys in the house. Reluctantly, because I was having a grouchy time and, although I like having a house where the kids feel welcome, sometime it can be a *bit* much. (There are 18 kids living in 6 houses across the street, 11 of them are out-and-about A.LOT!)

Anyway, after Trystan came in, he took his shirt down off his head. Here is what we saw:

I just burst out laughing! I know it wasn't nice. It probably made him feel worse. But is was just so funny to me!

The night before, Trystan's brother got his hair buzzed. Knowing Trystan, I suspect he was pestering his Dad (he can do that from time-to-time). So. Dad reached out and shut Trystan up!

Just the day before, Trystan had been flaunting his new, slicked-back way of combing his hair. So, I suspect this "punishment" was just what he needed, and probably far more effective than any talking, yelling, grounding, etc would have been.

Trystan was so embarrassed, he spent most of the day locked in his house... me? I told him to just put a hat or a bandanna on and go out and play. I never did let other people's teasing get to be in school...

Anyway, it is interesting to see how different parents handle different situations.

BTW, the next day, Trystan's hair was completely buzzed off too.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Let the Sewing Lessons Begin!

I'm pretty Jazzed Up this morning!

I'm giving my first sewing lesson to two neighbor-girls (ages 12 and 8). Both of these girls are pretty shy and very polite. Neither of them "fits in" with the girls who are always out on the streets playing with their older brothers. Both of the girls is looking for a friend AND both would like to learn to sew.

I've taught more people than I can count to quilt, and therefore many have been taught to sew. But, besides Frank, whose grown up sewing on my lap, these are the youngest students I've had.

I'm all a-flutter thinking of what to teach them and in what order. Simple projects first, I think. And maybe, in a bit, we'll do some simple red-work style embroidery (something they can do at home). For this morning, I think I'll do some Reusable Shopping Bags with them, from thrift-store sheets or scrap fabric. These are quick and simple and will show them some basic, straight-line sewing. We'll also talk about what kind of projects they would like to do.

Personally, I grew up sewing, so actually, I'm having a little trouble thinking "simple" for beginner projects. So. My questions to you are:
  • What did you first learn to sew?
  • What kind of projects would you suggest to begin teaching these girls?
  • Any other suggestions?
I'll let you know how it goes!

Now. I have to make pancakes for Jack and then go straighten up my sewing room... I'd better ask Tom to bring my extra folding tables upstairs to the sewing room too. :D

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

More Insights on Jack

I'm not sure if these are really "insights", but they do speak to me, as a Momma, about "My Baby".

Jack is rough-and-tumble and "all boy". He loves trains, trucks, motorcycles, balls, dogs, dirt, and rocks. Here, you see him playing in a big pile of boulders and rocks (which DO have a purpose in my yard, as soon as my back can move them again). He was happy as a lark sitting and playing amongst all the rocks...

Notice the out-of-place-hair? I do. :D

It doesn't seem to matter what kind of mischief the kid gets into during the daylight. At night, when he's asleep, he always looks like such the angel to me!

Usually, Jack stays in place, with his head on his pillow and hardly moves his quilt from his body. This night, June 24th, he looked so funny the way he stretched himself out and wiggled all around.

He melts my heart when I go to cover him up and give him "one more kiss" before I go to bed.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Life in Wyoming - The Information Age

This may be The Information Age, but, just like Wyoming was "The Wild West" even within the past century, Technology just hasn't caught up yet.

We may live without a lot of modern gadgets and conveniences, but when it comes to computers, we have plenty and use them A LOT! I'm constantly befuddled by the apparent lack of knowledge about how The Internet can be used in Communications here. I'm forever doing a Search for an event or place or some other thing, and I just can't find it. I wind up calling around and talking with people, only to hear "well, it was in the paper!"

So. After over ten years of no newspaper subscription, it looks like I may *HAVE* to get one, just so I can keep up with local events. This weeks transgression in related to tomorrow's Primary Elections. I haven't been able to get my hands on a physical or electronic copy of the Sample Ballot. Once again, I just heard "it was in the paper."

I should also mention, in this post about Newspapers, that living here for just a year, our family has already been in the paper twice. In May, Tom and Jack were featured at a Charity Event where Tom was dressed as Darth Vader. And, last week, at our Friday Playgroup, the boys and I were approached by a reporter... it was "a slow news day" and so we wound up on the front page AND the top half of the "B" Section... because we were having a picnic at the park! Now THAT's Front Page News, I tell you!

I don't know why, but it's just hard for me to go back to getting the daily paper... well, actually, it's not daily. Around here, the paper is published Tuesday through Saturday (so, no Sunday Paper), or, our Sister City publishes their paper once a week, on Wednesday.

Dirty hands. More recycling. One more thing "to do" (read the paper, bring the paper in, get rid of the paper). Why is it so hard for me to "get the paper"? I want to know what's going on, but I want it "now" on my clean, sterile, personal laptop-computer. Humph!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Meet Frank, The Scout

I try to prohibit my boys from watching my husband play first person shooters. Back in mid-July, Tom started showing Frank and Jack the Team Fortress "intros" to each character, which are short cartoons.

For those of you unfamiliar with The First Person Shooter Game TEAM FORTRESS 2, here is a picture of a character called "The Scout".
For some reason (I *like* think it's because The Scout runs fast) Frank took to dressing like The Scout...

This was all well and good and cute and lasted about three weeks... until "The Scout" got upset with "The Younger Brother" and used his "Hand-to-Hand Weapon" in a very Scout-like fashion... Frank hit Jack with a baseball bat!

Gratefully, it was a foam bat and a glancing hit. But THAT WAS IT for "The Scout" and watching ANYTHING from violent games.

Momma has spoken!

Post Script: I just re-watched the Intro for The Scout and I noticed something... The Scout is little and he beats up on someone bigger than him. I feel this too speaks to Frank as he's been having a tough time fitting in with the older boys who live on our block. Frank is the same size as many and even bigger than one of the oldest (12 year olds), but he's less than half their age, so, he acts in ways that confuse the older boys. They just don't get why someone their own size acts like their little sisters... anyway, I'll bet this is another reason why Frank identifies with The Scout. Still. Baseball bats and hammers (something he mentioned wanting to use when the older boys were picking on him) are just plain UN.AC.CEPT.AB.LE!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Jack and Ziggy

Just a few pictures I have had waiting in the wings of Jack...

...and the kitten, Ziggy.

These pictures were taken June 14th.

As you can see, Jack is quite the character (and still "Superman" from time-to-time) and Ziggy is a VERY tolerant kitten! :D

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sonoran Desert Mural in Our Bathroom

Since we first met, my hubby and I have wanted to put a mural in our home. I actually wanted to do a Sonoran Desert Landscape Mural in Frank's nursery, but it just never happened.

When we started setting up Shadona Central Speedway (this house), I decided to put that mural in our downstairs, half-bath.
The room is a 5'x5' square with 8' ceilings. The walls across from and beside the toilet are the recipient's of the mural. So. Basically, we have a 7' x 8' "canvas" to work on.

I wanted my Mom's help with this project, so, on her recent visit we started got started.
  • Day 1, I painted the sky and sand. She painted the base coats for the mountains, red-rocks, and saguaro.

  • Day 2, Mom detailed the background landscape, the pueblo, and started working on the rock and tortoise portion. She also penciled in the items right beside the toilet.
  • Day 3, Mom painted the cluster beside the toilet (quail, nest with eggs, rattlesnake, prickly-pear, ocotillo).

  • Last minute, she painted the hare and hawk shadow.
I use the term "day" rather loosely here, since a great deal of the work was done during the night, when my Mom couldn't sleep.

My Mom has been *pestering* me for some pictures of the room... it just took me OVER TWO HOURS to piece together 22 photos to create this collage, so, you can get a feel for the whole mural at once...

Note that this is actually painted on two adjacent walls, with the corner going right down the center of the Saguaro (large, tall cactus with "arms").

We have a lot more animals we want to add to this mural. So, it will be a work in progress, on her visits and as I get up the nerve (and go buy the paint... wouldn't you know I gave away my paints just before moving here!) to add criters and things one bit at a time.

Here's a list we are thinking of adding:
  1. Hawk flying in above door frame. Mouse in Hawk's talons, on the way to hatchings in nest (on the door frame).
  2. Roadrunner
  3. Cactus Wren
  4. Gila Monster
  5. Horny Toad
  6. Some mystery critter staring at you, as if sitting on toilet tank.
  7. Hummingbird (feeding on Ocotillo)
  8. More / bigger Ocotiollo branches (it is a little small for my scale).
  9. Butterflies
  10. Scorpion walking across top on the light switch plate.
  11. Tarantula
  12. Black Widow Spider and Web
  13. Owl in hole on side of Saguaro
  14. Woodpecker (probably pecking a hole in "side" of mirror on opposite wall.)
  15. Cactus skeletons.
  16. Ants
  17. Javalina
  18. Mesquite Tree
  19. Indian Pottery / Archaeological "finds"
  20. "Hidden" Kokopelli
Also, I want the mural to go to the floor, and right now it's about 15" off the baseboard, so, I think I am going to have to add wildflowers to the very bottom.

I'm sure there are more things for this list, I just can't think of them right now. As you can see though, this collage I've shown you is JUST THE BEGINNING! :D

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Frank's Best Question

Tonight I took Frank to a Congressional Forum. I didn't know much about it when I went, and I called around to the city and they didn't know much either, but I *felt* like I should go. So. We went.

As soon as we got there I was handed a brochure which caused me to be glad I went. We have one seat available for the Wyoming Representative to the House. Our Primary is on Tuesday. There are SIX candidates on our primary ballot, four of them happen to be from my party. So. I was VERY GLAD to see and hear them in person.


This is suppose to be about Frank's Great Question.

When we first sat down we were handed a form to write a question on. I helped Frank to formulate his question for the candidates. When he turned it in, the President of our Town Chamber (whom he handed the question to) started laughing and showing everyone around him. By the time Frank got back to his seat, several people were giving him "thumb's ups."

At the break, between the planned Round Robin questions and the Audience Questions, I was told that they were planning to "lead off with Frank's question" because it would "be a good ice breaker."

So, we all sit back down (about 30-40 members of the community and 20, or so, support staff) and the Moderator lays out the rules for the questions, "except for this first one, which we'll ask all the candidates to respond to, in order." Then, he reads Frank's question "What is your favorite kind of cookie to make and eat?"

The WHOLE ROOM erupts in laughter! And then, they all answered...
  1. Peanut Butter
  2. Fudge Graham
  3. Snickerdoodles
  4. Beer & Chocolate Chips for Breakfast
  5. Proprietary Chocolate Chip Cookies
  6. "It should be Marijuana ones, since I'm from California, but if you can make a cookie that tastes like a Lemon Meringue Pie, I'd like that one"
(Leave it to the Libertarian to come up with an answer involving illegal drugs for a five year old!)

After this, Frank was credited (as if there was any doubt that a question about cookies would have come from the only child in the room!) then asked to stand, where Frank received huge round of applause.

After his applause died down, the Commentator said "now, we have some other, less important questions to ask the candidates..."

The whole thing was pretty funny!

At the end of the Forum, The President stood up and thanked people, including Frank (by name) for "Winning the Best Question Award." Then, Frank was sent home with all the decorative balloons for his "Award." He was just so tickled! He didn't understand why so many people came up to shake his hand afterwards and thank him.

OF COURSE, I left my camera at home because BOTH my batteries had died JUST before we left! So, no pictures of Frank schmoozing with the Politicians! (Actually, he turned quite bashful with most of them, but was still all-smiles!)

In this picture, you can get a peek of the antique treadle sewing machine I talked about last summer. You can also see the chair I traded one of my couches for. I love this vignette I've created by my front door (which I completed with a potted PALM plant!)

Oh, and Frank went up to wish his favorite candidate good luck on Tuesday (the primary).

It was great fun for us and a great opportunity for us to talk about Politics and Government! The President of the Local City Chamber told Frank he wants to see him back... I'm sure he will!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pay It Forward Challenge / Offer

Now that I have the Benevolent Birthday Bonus out of the way, here's the chance for those of you who didn't win to STILL get a little goody from me. It's called a Pay It Forward Challenge.I've made this offer before, without any takers. :P

What I need are people who would like to receive a little hand-made something from me.

The first three comments will be in, and then I'll do a random drawing on the rest of the comments for an extra fourth person. Leave your comment by 4:00 pm (PST) Friday August, 15th. I'll draw the random winner next weekend.

Then, you make a post on your blog, and within a year, you send out something you make to three more people.

Is there anyone who would like something fun made by your's truly?

Ready. Set. Go!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Calming Winner

I have calmed down SIGNIFICANTLY since Wednesday where I discovered that I have a very treatable case of a little arthritis in L4-L5-S1 and also a little narrowing of the nerve passages.

On Thursday, I met with the Physical Therapist (whom I liked a great deal). Our meeting went very well. He put my fears at ease and answered my (many) questions. The long and short of it is that I have a series of "micro injuries" over the years, specifically from child-birth, weight gain, lack of muscle strength (see first item about delivering HUGE babies), age, and genetics. Basically, with a little focused work, I'll be feeling significantly better in "three, maybe four weeks." The fact is, I'm *extremely* flexible (to a fault) and I'm motivated, so, a few exercises twice-a-day, add back Yoga, next week introduce Hydro Therapy (pool time) and so on, and I'll be on my way to feeling better than ever!


For the Benevolent Birthday Bonus, there were 20 people who submitted by the deadline, and the Random generator chose...

Number 10. Let's see who the Lucky Lady is...

So, Charlotte of Owl Love to Stamp, please send a comment with your snail mail info (I won't publish it) and I'll get your goodies sent off!

Thank you all for playing along in my first (successful) blog-gift-giving session!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Take It Easy!

I think I just need to take it easy! On myself and others! I've been told that I "expect too much of others". Well, it's not just others but myself too!

I made myself a nervous wreck today before going to see an Orthopedic Spine Specialist about my recent, ongoing, continuous back pain. In the end, I came out feeling MUCH better than I went in! The news was good and quite the relief. Still, I received a phone call shortly after getting home and after the call, I totally Short-Circuited on my kids, my puppy, and my hubby (my Mom however was spared from the Rampage - of course, she wisely stayed out on the front driveway when she saw the Storm Brewing!)

Tom and I calmed down and offered apologies. Frank and I talked and made A Plan, in case I get upset tomorrow. Jack. Jack could care less that I blew up (not even crying when I dumped out his Otter Pop in the process). While it's nice that Frank is sensitive and emotional; you gotta love Jack! He TOTALLY knows how to "stay in his own boat" and just float down the Stream of Life, happy as can be, and oblivious to what other people are doing in their boats!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Benevolent Birthday Bonus

My best birthday's always seem to be the one's where lots of people calling or sending well wishes. Today has been full of surprise visits for me.
  • My Mom drove up from Chandler, Arizona.
  • My Father-In-Law flew up from Phoenix, Arizona.
  • My neighbors have been stopping by.
  • My Grandparents drove two hours from Lander, Wyoming.
  • A big surprise, my cousin and his family stopped on their way through town from Portland, Oregon!
  • I've also had phone calls from friends in Gilbert, Arizona and Amesbury, Massachusetts.
Oh! And I've been having fun wearing the crown (Crown Me Queen pattern from that my Mom made for me last night, along with my "Heart of The Ocean" from Tom last year!

And yes. I really dislike posing for pictures... especially one's I'm taking of myself! :P Maybe I'll have Frank take a better one in a little bit...

In honor of this being My Birthday AND my 222 Blog Post, I thought I'd follow the lead of SO MANY others and do a little gift giving. I recently dug out this little sample/teaching piece:

This is just a string quilt made to demo some techniques. It measures about 14 1/2" square. I'll probably throw some other things in with it, but I'd like to at least offer up this little quilt for you. If you'd like a chance at it, please leave a comment by 5:23 pm Mountain Time on August, 8th. The winner will be chosen by at random. In your comments, tell me what makes a birthday great for you!