Saturday, February 28, 2009

Making a difference ...

This morning I sit here thinking about some of my bestest friends, McKenna and DJ, who are on their way to Eastern Europe to meet their newest daughter. I know I was in their shoes just months ago, but I don't think you realize the gravity of something like this until you watch from the outside in. Does that make sense?

I am so excited for them and it is making me really emotional!

Last night I watched a one hour special on television about Operation Smile. I sat there intently watching with tears streaming down my cheeks as my heart swelled with joy for these kids. What an amazing organization!

I think know I was more deeply touched by the Operation Smile special because McKenna and DJ's soon-to-be daughter has a cleft lip and a cleft palate, in addition to having Down syndrome. I am so proud of them for giving this sweet girl a home ... she has no idea right now what God has in store for her!

Can you believe that $240 is all that is costs for Operation Smile to perform a 45 minute cleft lip and/or palate surgery that will provide a lifetime of happiness for a child? I think that is just amazing! So I have vowed to help when I can ... all in honor of McKenna and DJ's newest daughter.

It feels so good to be able to help and give back. Anyone care to join me?

Friday, February 27, 2009

A Work in Progress

A couple weeks ago, I talked about Mason and his behavior ... here and here. There are a couple questions I want to answer and then I am so done with this topic.

After that week from h-e-double toothpicks, I have been very careful about the amount of artificial color that Mason has ingested. He is not allowed to have any red, although I have allowed yellow and other colors in moderation. Red is the real stickler with him ... it makes him crazy!

That said, his behavior has improved. He still has his moments, but overall ... he is doing much better.

We have continued to use the sticker chart at school and he has been inconsistent in the amount of stickers he receives each day. I am not convinced at this point, however, that it is just him being inconsistent ... I think his teachers are inconsistent as well.

And that is a problem.

Last Wednesday, Mason got four out of five stickers. The reason he didn't get the fifth sticker? Because "he spent too much time telling his friends to listen during class". Seriously. So we have gone from one extreme to the other.

This past Wednesday, Mason got one of out five stickers. Sigh. I don't remember now what all the reasons were, but I thought some were a bit extreme and that the teachers expectations were perhaps a little too high.

But then I questioned whether or not I thought that just because it is my son that we are critiquing here ... so to speak.

So today, he got three out of five stars. The two stars he didn't get were for not following directions and not keeping his hands to himself. The explanation? "When walking in the hall, Mason was touching the walls, the coats and his friends."

Are you friggin kidding me?

First of all, they docked him in two areas for essentially the same behavior. Second of all, he is a five year old kid! Is it really that big of a deal that he is touching the walls and coats in the hallway as they walk by?

I don't know, maybe my bias is getting in the way here. I just think that perhaps their expectations are a bit high. As far as I am concerned, he got five stars today.

The poor kid ... he tells me everyday ... "Mommy, I'm trying ... I'm really trying!"


I also wanted to address a couple things with regard to ADHD, evaluations and medication. Although I have looked at a list of symptoms, I am in no way trying to diagnose him with ADHD right now. In my opinion ... and in the opinion of many professionals ... he is too young to evaluate appropriately. I want to wait and see how he does once he enters kindergarten in the fall. If we need to evaluate at that point, then we will.

So for now we are addressing the issue mostly by watching his diet, only because I have seen what it does for him. We are working hard on rewarding good behavior and trying not to focus a lot on the bad behavior. I should note, we do talk about his bad behavior, but we sort of try to turn that into how he can make it better. I hope that makes sense.

Thanks for listening to me ramble and for all of your feedback!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Help Needed

Today I am feeling completely uninspired by anything but photography. I'm not sure how I got so completely sucked into this, but it is fun and I like love it. And ... I.cannot.stop.

So for now, I'm just going to send you over to my photography blog so you can see the shots I took of Mason and Nika today while Chicky was at school.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Here we go again

I am pretty sure that if Payton could talk, she would say this ...

I want to do EVERYTHING my brother does. I think I'm five just like him. I also think I'm a boy and that I can do all the crazy things that boys do. ... just like my brother. I love him after all and I want to be

And if she were to say that, I'd tell her ...

No Payton, you cannot do everything your brother does. He is five and he has two years of gross motor skill on you. He is also a boy and well ... boys are a lot more crazy than girls. So please baby ... PLEASE ... stop trying to do everything he does. You can copy him on most things, but let's stop with EVERYTHING. Okay?

Need an explanation? Haha.

Mason has this little thing he likes to do here at home. I like to call it skidding out. We have some pretty slick hardwood floors and in his spare time, he likes to take off running and skid out ... as if he is sliding into home plate or something.

Somewhere along the way ... instead of looking at him like he is crazy ... Payton decided to join in. So last night they were skidding away, although Payton isn't the most graceful skidder in the world.

Bam ... she slid right into the pantry door and busted open her forehead, right in the exact same area that the guitar assaulted her. Except this time we got a 1/2" wide horizontal gash.


So after a five hour emergency room visit and some more liquid stitches, we were home and nestled in our bed by 12:30 a.m.

This child is quickly following in my footsteps, as I had a few sets of stitches myself as a young child. Then came my arm break and sprained ankles. Ei yi yi ... I hope she starts following someone else's footsteps soon, because I was a disaster of a child.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Gimme some chocolate milk, please!

When I was a little girl {and a big girl}, my most favorite drink other than Mt. Dew was {and is} chocolate milk. As in, I would have a huge glass of it everyday after school. My mom used to buy us Nestle Quik, but when we went to Grandma's house, we got Hershey's Syrup. I grew up associating Hershey's Syrup with Grandma's house ... crazy, but true.

I still do associate it with Grandma's house, actually.

And now that I have my own money, I buy Hershey's Syrup. I spoil myself like that. Ha!

Unfortunately ... or fortunately, I'm not sure which ... I've passed my love of chocolate milk on to my kids. They love it ... LOVE IT. All day long, they are asking for chocolate milk.

For a long time now, Payton has taken it upon herself to get the Hershey's Syrup from the fridge and bring it to us ... that is her way of telling us she wants some chocolate milk ... and she wants it RIGHT THEN. As of late, she also signs "milk please" ... how could we turn that down? For those of you not familiar with sign, she is signing "please" in this picture ... love her!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Award Time

Megan at Audrey and Stella's Playground has awarded me the Premios Dardos blog award. This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his or her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values every day.

And in the spirit of passing along the love, here's how it works:

Step 1: respond and rework -- answer the questions on your own blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own invention, add one more question of your own.

Step 2: tag - eight other bloggers to do the same.

1) What are you wearing right now?
Jeans and a girly tee.

2) What is your biggest fear?
Losing someone I love {good answer Megan ... haha}.

3) Do you nap a lot?
Ummm no.

4) Who is the last person you hugged?
My son, Mason.

5) What websites to you visit when you go online?
Lots ... but the highest ranking ones are my google reader, Facebook, blogger and my admin for The Polkadot Platypus.

6) What was the last item you bought?
A slew of stuff at Target last night.

7) If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I'm not a real worldly person, but I think I'd like to visit Australia. I have accent envy. LOL.

8) If you could go to the Oscars, who would you want to sit next to?
Oh I have no idea. I am so not into inflating the egos of people in Hollywood. I guess Sandra Bullock ... I think she rocks!

Wait, if a pop star could ever attend the Oscars, I would so sit next to Jordan Knight. :::drools::: Ok, I guess that would be inflating his ego, but whatever.

9) Has a celebrity's hair cut ever influenced your own hairstyle?
I had the Jennifer Aniston cut for a long time, but I have always loved Sandra Bullock's hair.

10) What is your most embarrassing moment?
Off the top of my head ... umm ... my friend, Meeghan {hey Meegs!}, and I were sitting on two bar stools at a bar. Some guy came up behind me holding a pair of my underwear and said, "Are these yours?"


I was like, "Ummm ... no?" He said, "Oh, because they were laying under your barstool." OMG I could have died. I still have NO idea how they got there ... I can only assume they were static clung {is that a word?} in my pant leg or something and had fallen out.

I was so embarrassed and come to think of it, I don't think I played it off very well. He probably had sat there behind me and watched them fall out of my pant leg. OMG.

11) What was the last movie you watched?
Bride Wars {I don't watch many movies}.

12) What is the luckiest thing that ever happened to you?
Back in the day, I won $20,000 on a dollar slot machine.

13) If you had a whole day to yourself with no work, commitments or interruptions what would you do?
I would do nothing. I never get to do nothing. Maybe get a pedicure because I'm pretty sure I'd need one. Maybe watch some TV because I never really get to do that either {except the Bachelor ... that is another vice I have} ... the TV always has cartoons on it.

14) Is there a major goal you have that you haven't yet achieved?
Uh, yeah ... to master this dang camera!

15) Drinks are on the house!! What do you order?
I'd probably stick with a daiquiri ... I'm simple like that.

Now for the love, in no particular order ...
Darlena at The Lehnick Family
Amy at Down South Musings
Gillian at Expecting Evangeline
Michelle at The Zoromski Chronicles
Cheri at Raising Reid
Stefanie at Life as we Know It
Shylo at Karli's Kingdom
Kacey at Ella Grace with the Pretty Face

My Russian Princess

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Two more kids ... RESCUED

In less than one week, two more kids in Eastern Europe will be one step closer to being rescued by their forever families. Happens all the time, right?

Not so fast. The two kids that I am talking about have Down syndrome ... it isn't everyday that kids with Down syndrome are adopted. Thus ... I present to you two very special families.

You may remember my friends, McKenna and DJ. I hosted a fundraiser for them here on my blog, where many of you helped me to raise $835 toward their adoption costs to bring Reese home. Thank you so much for your help in doing that! I meant to post a thank you to all of you a long time ago ... sorry!

McKenna and DJ have received their invitation to travel and they will be leaving in less than one week! They still have some funds to raise, so if you are able ... please consider donating to this very special family. Click here to visit their blog or click here if you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation.

Have fun McK and DJ ... I have enjoyed walking this journey with you this far ... and what is to come is even sweeter! I can't wait to meet Reese!


I think I've mentioned that blogging has brought me into contact with tons of people ... Meghan being one of them.

Meghan and her husband are leaving in less than one week to rescue Timur. Isn't he adorable? I remember drooling over his adorable little baby face when we were in the process of adopting Nika. I am so happy that he will soon be home with his forever family.

Meghan and her husband still have substantial fundraising to do, so I am asking for your help. Click here to visit their blog or click here if you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation.


If you are a blogger, please help me spread the word about these two families. Feel free to completely hijack my post if you like. Ha! More importantly, let's pray for them ... pray that their financial needs are met, pray for safe travels and pray that everything goes smoothly in country. These babies need to come home now!

Thank you everyone! ;)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

He's going to Disney World!

Yesterday while I was putting the girls down for a nap, I had Mason in his room having quiet time. After about a half hour, I went in to his room to find him standing over his suitcase.

Me: What are you doing, Bubs?
Mason: Packing my suitcase.
Me: Well where are you going?
Mason: To Disney World. Remember, if I get all five stickers, I get to go to Disney World.
Me: I see.

LOL. Have I mentioned he cracks me up?!

I mean, we have been working with him on rewarding good behavior, but Disney World? Wow, he must plan on being really, really good!

Now this I can't wait to see!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Be Aware

It all started about maybe a year ago. I noticed I had a spot on my left cheek that was red and scaly ... about an inch or so in diameter.

I wasn't sure how it got there or what it was. I kept the area clean. Didn't help. I put alcohol on it to dry it up. Didn't help. I even put yeast infection cream on it, thinking maybe it was a yeast infection that was eating my skin. Stop laughing. Didn't help.

After several months of hoping it would just go away, I called a dermatologist.

"We are booking about six months out," they told me.

That in and of itself was enough to get me completely annoyed with doctors ... so I hung up, with no appointment. After all, I had a skin problem right then ... seeing a doctor in six months wasn't going to do me any good. They suggested I see my primary care physician, but I figured he wouldn't know what he was talking about ... so I figured I would wait a little longer for the spot to just go away.

Six months came and went ... the spot was still there. It really didn't bother me much, for it was right on my cheekbone and I could cover it with blush so it blended. Although you could still see the scaliness through the blush. Whatever.

About a month ago, it dawned on me that this could be skin cancer. All along, I really did think it was just psoriasis or something. But what if it was skin cancer? So ... I tried calling another dermatologist.

"We can see you next week," they told me.


My doctor appointment was yesterday. I described my symptoms to the dermatologist and she looked at my cheek.

"You have what is called Actinic Keratoses ... or pre-cancer," she said.


The dermatologist whipped out her handy can of liquid nitrogen to perform cryosurgery. In other words, she sprayed the spots on my cheek in order to freeze them ... about four spots total. It stung and turned my face really red. Looking good. She said not to mess with the area and to give it four weeks to heal. If the spots are not gone in four weeks, I need to go back for more cryosurgery.

Let's just hope it doesn't go beyond that. Today it looks like I have four huge, flat blisters on my face.

Scary stuff, people. Be aware of your bodies and see a dermatologist every once in awhile for a good looking over. And don't let annoying spots like mine go for a year before you do something about it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Now I Understand

When I was a little girl, I remember my Mom always telling me how my homemade crafts or pictures meant more to her than something I could have bought at a store.

I never did completely understand why. I wondered, who wouldn't want something new from a store over some picture that was drawn on a piece of paper? I really thought she was just saying that to make me feel like my drawing was more worthy than those diamond earrings at the store.

Not that I had enough money to buy her diamond earrings.

Now that I am a mother, I completely understand how a child's artwork or craft project is more worthy than a pair of diamond earrings. Actually, I could use a pair of big diamond earrings.

To see the excitement in my child's face as they hand their homemade gift to me ... it is priceless.

And now I completely understand. Of course my artwork meant more to her than those diamond earrings. Just like my kids' artwork means more to me.

Silly me.

For Valentine's Day, Mason made me this vase of flowers at
school ...
And the kids drew me these pictures ...
And this one, to which Mason assigned the below captions ...
Mommy says, "I love you."
Daddy says, "I love you too."
Mason says, "Happy Valentine's Day, Momma."
Payton says, "Do do dow."
Addison says, "Mama."
Zoe {the dog} says, "Woof ... I'm hungry."

And Mason gave me two dollars to buy myself anything I wanted ... isn't he the sweetest?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fun with Friends

The people that have been brought into my life over the past three years of Payton's life are amazing. I have met some of my best friends ... thanks to a little something extra in the chromosome department amongst our kids.

The past few days we have busy, busy, busy. Busy enjoying our visit with our friends Carmen, Judah and Jaemen.

On Monday, Carmen and I took the kids to Port Discovery. I mean ... I don't want to say it was a mistake, but really ... what kind of crazy person like me takes three kids under five to a children's museum all by herself. I really thought I'd be fine, until I got there and saw the three story jungle gym in the middle of the place, with exits onto all three floors.

Seriously, who thought those exits were a good idea? So there I am, standing on the first floor with the girls, looking up wondering where Mason is ... and then I see him exiting off onto the third floor.

Fun times.

I spent a lot of time handing off one of the girls to Carmen so I could keep tabs on Mason. Meanwhile, she was chasing Jaemen all over kingdom come. That boy is busy.

Did I mention he is busy? Ha! Payton was pretty busy, herself. You let her down and next thing you know, she is headed down the stairs, up the stairs, over this way, over that way.

Our T21 babes ... I love how they are so cooperative ... Make sure nobody smiles!
Payton exploring one corner of the museum ...
Nika chilling ...
The only five minutes that Mason was not running and playing in the jungle gym ... he loves computers ...
IMG_8604Mom, this thing is too tall!
After visiting the water room and having some lady literally knock poor Nika on her head, I had had enough. Seriously woman ... watch where you are walking! Did I mention it was in the water room? Yeah, that means she landed head first in a huge puddle of dirty water.

So off to McD's we went for lunch, where we dealt with the rudest people in America. I wanted to show Carmen the Inner Harbor, but that was a quick trip because me and my missing brain I forgot all of our coats.

The kids down by the harbor ...
Mason and the big ship in the harbor ...
Mason on one of the cannons ... he thought those were so cool ...
The boys ...
Jaemen and his first look at ocean water ... because technically that is what it is ...

Wordless Wednesday

{Photo courtesy of my fab friend, Carmen}

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

This kid ...

In the most innocent and unassuming voice you have ever heard, Mason says ...

Mommy ... did you know that Auntie Kristie forgot to bring us Valentine's presents? Maybe she didn't know what to get us.

I'm cracking up that he thinks he gets gifts on every holiday ... pretty spoiled by his aunties, I think. I had to call Kristie to tell her what he said ... and now I'm listening to their conversation ...

{After her asking him what he wants ... he says} Well, do you want to go get the toys right now? {They move on to talking about school and his behavior ... or something like that ... then he says} Well ... Mommy kicked me out of school. She won't let me go back there.

This kid cracks me up. And no, I did not kick him out of school. I just told him that he wouldn't be returning to school if his behavior didn't approve ... and yes, he is going back to school ... yesterday was a holiday and he doesn't realize it. Man, he doesn't forget anything, does he?!

PS ... Auntie Shay ... I'm just saying ... you might want to be prepared for when you see him. Ha!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A great time had by all ...

gram bday montage
We had a great day yesterday celebrating my Grandmother's 78th birthday. It was nice to just hang out with family, which we don't get to do often enough. We ate, the kids played {so nicely, I might add}, we ate some more, the men drank beer and the women played Apples to Apples ... which I totally lost ... it was such crap.

But I'm not bitter.

It was fun for me to be able to have some different subjects to photograph ... here are some shots my cousin's kids ... well, two of her kids, at least ...
Gram 78 bday-3.jpeg-2
maddy rope-1
ella stand-1
maddy slide-1
ella rope-1

And some shots of Chicky for good measure ... man, I am so in love with this kid ...
p slide-1
p swing 2-1
p swing 1-1
payton stairs-1

How in the world did I end up with no shots of Mason outside? Ei yi yi ... sorry Bubs! I didn't get any of the little ones inside either, so I guess they are even.

The older kids spent a lot of time playing outside ... they had so much fun, but it was cold! In fact, it even started snowing ... err actually, more like sleeting. But that didn't stop them from playing outside ... uh, nor did it stop the men from their beer and fire ...
guys fire-1

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Today is the day we celebrate love. For me, it is the day I celebrate the love I have for my husband and my children.

They are my loves.

And ... this day brings another special meaning into my life. It is the day my grandmother was born. Way back in 1931, she blessed this planet with her birth.

She is my second mother. She and I are in essence the same person. Today we are off to celebrate her life ... to celebrate her 78th birthday. And there is no other way I'd rather spend this day.

Enjoy your loves today everyone ... and Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

More on Bubs ...

... as if this post wasn't enough.

It seems there is a wide variety of information and opinions out there, depending who you talk to. I have spoke with two pediatricians about Mason's inconsistent behavior and both have told me, "Welcome to the world of boys."

I do believe whole heartedly that boys are so different than girls. Err ... I guess I should say many boys, so as to not completely generalize. They are much more active, they learn slower ... the list goes on. Somewhere in the middle of that is where I get confused with what is normal and what is not normal.

Today was a hard day.

I spent about an hour before school talking to Mason about appropriate behavior. I discussed the five categories on his daily chart and explained in detail what those things meant. We had a really good morning ... he even showered, got dressed and brushed his teeth with little to no fight. Now that is progress. I told him if he earned all five of his stickers at school, that I would take him to Disney on Ice this weekend.

I had so much confidence in him. We had great discussions ... I really thought he was going to be able to do it.

When I picked him up from school, the first thing I did after we got in the car was look at his daily chart.

He got three out of five stickers.

"Mason had a hard time following directions today. He was reminded several times."

"Mason was pulled out of PE class today for being rude and disrespectful to his friends."

I honestly just lost it ... I cried and cried. It wasn't his fault that I had myself geared up to see five stars ... but at the same time I just wanted to know why he was acting this way.

He got upset after seeing me upset and spent some time in his room until I could get the girls down for a nap. After that, Mason and I spent time together talking about what happened at school. And his behavior the remainder of the day was great ... I don't get it.

I have contemplated keeping Mason home for a week and I have told him this as well. But I'm not sure if that will achieve anything. He loves going to school ... he loves it. Keeping him home from school would definitely leave its mark on him, but I'm not sure that is the answer.

Just tonight, he said, "Mom! In a couple days we have the circus at school. Please let me go back to that school, Mom. You have to let me go back. Can I try one more time? Please Mom?!"

Talk about break my heart. I love this kid with all of my soul ... I just wish I could pick his brain a little bit.

I have read a lot today about alternative diets ... in addition to removing the artificial coloring, which we have done all along for the most part. It is all very interesting ... and intimidating ... and most likely time consuming.

But for me, that is my first step in trying to rectify his behavior, beyond the sticker charts. I did read a lot about ADHD today as well. I even took a few online questionnaires ... most of which we failed, meaning he probably is showing signs of ADHD.

But those questionnaires are for older kids and many of the questions were hard to answer for a kid Mason's age. I digress. I am trying to keep in mind that if he does have ADHD, he cannot control these behaviors. I have read so much about kids who have this diagnosis saying that their brain was foggy prior to treatment. Foggy, as in ... they can't think clearly and they can't control themselves.

So with that ... I have to try to find a happy medium while we work through this. It comes and it goes ... and this happens to be a particularly bad week.

Despite it all, he is still my sweet little boy that I love so much. And I hate to air his dirty laundry, but this is life ... and that is what this is all about. Life ... the good and the not so good.

Thank You Grandpa and Grandma!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

It's a boy thing ... or is it?

Where to start?

Mason has always been ... shall I say, a wild one. He has always been on the hyper side and he has always been impulsive. He definitely has a lot of great days, but some of these hyper/impulsive behaviors are beginning to interfere with his functioning.

Let me give you a little history ...

Shortly before his second birthday, we moved him into his big boy bed ... and a new bedroom. In order to coerce him to stay in his new bed , we got him a little DVD player and let him watch one episode of cartoons before bed.

Why did we do this? I have no idea. Actually, I do have an idea. He was the worst sleeper ever. He rarely slept through the night and he hated his crib with a passion. A little DVD action was sure to keep him in his bed ... right?

Well ... turns out the DVD player was quite possibly the worst decision we ever made. Ever. Big surprise, huh? It was keeping him awake later than he should have been and the tantrums over him wanting another episode became more frequent.

So we took it away. Just like that. Mean parents, I know.

Actually ... smart parents.

It helped. He began getting the sleep he needed and his behavior improved. Imagine that!

Moving on ...

It was also around that time that I started researching artificial coloring in food and how it affects behavior in children. I was serious about it and decided to spend a few hours on a Saturday morning at the grocery store studying labels and finding alternative foods.

When I say it worked, I mean it worked. It was amazing to see the difference in Mason's behavior, especially after taking Red out of his diet. The only color we had a little trouble completely eliminating was Yellow ... macaroni and cheese has Yellow in it and getting rid of macaroni and cheese would have caused more behavior problems than the Yellow would have caused. I tried buying the gourmet stuff, but he would have no part of it.

Red is the biggest culprit, so that is the one we focused on the most. And we continue to do so. If I tell Mason that he can't have something because it has color in it, he understands completely what I'm talking about.

Moving on ...

Back in September 2008, Mason started preschool in a more structured preschool setting than he had been in previously. Since then, he has struggled a little bit with impulsiveness and appropriate behavior. These behaviors are come and go ... but like I said earlier, they are interfering with his functioning.

For example ...
  • He does very well when it comes to structured classroom activity. The minute circle time or free play comes around, he has a hard time controlling himself. He seems to think he is the class clown and he has a hard time keeping his hands to himself.
  • His mouth has gotten a little out of hand. He often says things to get a rise out of his friends. For example, last week when one of his teachers told him and a friend to stop whatever antics they were up to, he said, "Whatever." And then he laughed. Seriously? I don't think he would have reacted that way if his friend hadn't been involved, but it doesn't really matter ... he still did it.
  • In the beginning of the year, he had problems when it came to bathroom time. He thought being in the bathroom with his friends was hysterical and he often said inappropriate things, like talking about his "wee-nut" {don't ask} or his friend's underwear. Sigh. I was flabbergasted because we don't exactly talk like that here at home. So again, I think it was all about him trying to get a rise out of his friends. As a result of his bathroom antics, he was forced to use the bathroom separate from his classmates. I do believe his behavior improved regarding this and come to think of it, I'm not sure if he has been permitted to rejoin his classmates yet or not.
Anyway ... Mason's teacher, Kyle and I have talked to him and worked with him and talked to him some more when he has behavioral problems. He seems to make positive changes ... and then suddenly we are back to square one. We have taken away his TV, his Nintendo DS and other special privileges. Sometimes I think he really thinks it is all a joke.

A couple months ago, I made a sticker chart for him at home. Whenever he listened well or was good at school, he would get a sticker. As soon as he earned 10 stickers, we would take him to buy a small toy. It really helped him ... for awhile. Granted, it sort of became old news after awhile.

Moving on ...

I spoke with Mason's teacher last week and was informed that Mason was still having troubles on occasion at school. His teacher started giving the kids stamps on their hands at the end of the day if they had a good day ... and that helped him ... for a few days.

All of this is combined with the fact that he is a bit behind in learning his numbers and his alphabet ... depending on who you ask. If you ask me, now that he is five, he should know his alphabet by sight ... and he doesn't ... he still struggles with some letters. He also should be able to count to 100 or more ... and he can't. He can't seem to grasp the concept of counting by tens, nor does he completely understand that it goes 71, 72, 73, 74, etc ... the same as 1, 2, 3, 4 ... just add the seventy!

But I digress, the learning aspect is separate from his behavior ... actually it most likely is related, but in my mind I'm treating it separately.

Moving on ...

So our newest attempt to rectify his behavior is to use this daily chart at school. His teacher is on board with this and I am hoping he strives to get his stickers every day. We are only two days in and as you can see, he missed two stickers on day two. He did awesome on day one, but day two was a little different ...

I also am going to be doing something similar here at home. Some categories I am thinking of include ...
  • Brushed teeth and got dressed timely after he was asked {it is battle every day and it could go on for an hour}
  • Got all five stickers at school
  • Followed directions at home and acted in a respectful manner
If he does the things listed in each category, he will get a sticker in that category. At the end of each day, he will get a dollar if he got all of his stickers for the day. If he didn't, then he gets nothing. I guess I'm still trying to determine if this is the best way to approach it.

My biggest questions all along have been ... Is this a boy thing? Does he have hyperactivity disorder? Attention deficit disorder? His pediatrician thinks it is a boy thing ... and I'm honestly not sure. Despite the picture this might paint, he really is a great kid ... he just has these quirks that come and go ... and I'm not sure I have the answers any more.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Be My Valentine

Don't you just love Valentine's Day?

I remember being a kid and being so excited to see the Valentine's that I got from my classmates. Why, I have no idea. These days I love being able to watch my kids get their Valentines ... they get just as excited as I used to.

This year, I wanted to do something extra special for the kids' teachers. They both have awesome teachers this year and they have done so much for us.

So I set out to find a unique idea for a teacher's Valentine ... and I found it here. Isn't it cute?! Plus I figured teachers always could use a good hand lotion because they wash their hands so much. They do wash their hands a lot, right? Well whatever, I love a good hand lotion, so there ya have it.

Here is Payton's creation for her teacher ... I wanted to share it with you now just in case you wanted to run with my this idea.

Medical Intervention

I could watch my kids pretend play all day long. I love watching their imaginations soar.

Yesterday as I was doing dishes, I overheard the kids playing doctor out on the deck. It really struck me because never have I heard all three of them pretend playing together. Nika was the patient, Mason was the Daddy and Payton was the doctor. Well, those were the roles Mason assigned, at least.

So I grabbed my camera. Surprised? Shush.

"Open your mouth. Show the doctor your mouth. It's okay ... Daddy is here." {Do you see how crazy long Payton's tongue is?!}
"Okay Nika, it is time for your shots. You want Daddy to do it? Okay ... Daddy will do it."
"C'mon Nika ... it is time to go home. You did so good! Daddy is so proud of you!"


Speaking of medical intervention, I have got to do a medical intervention on Nika and her finger sucking. She sucks her pointer and middle fingers on her left hand and her fingers are a mess. After getting confirmation from the dentist that I need to tell her to stop, I have been doing that. She has good days and bad days as far as the sucking attempts go ... and sometimes she tries to hide it from me, which is actually quite comical.

Here is a picture of her hand ... check out her pointer finger and that little mark there. That mark is from one of her teeth and that spot is actually calloused from the extent of sucking. It actually looks really good right now because I just peeled a layer of calloused skin off of it. And there are several layers to go. Sigh.

My biggest hurdle is how to handle the finger sucking at naptime and bedtime ... I've tried putting a sock on her hand, but of course that lasts about two seconds.

So I set off to buy one of these contraptions. I checked it out, figured I could put it on any two fingers and hoped she wouldn't just try to suck on the plastic.

Until ... I added it to my cart and saw it was $74.95!

LOL ... are they kidding?! Seriously! What about that thing is worth $74.95?! That price baffles my mind!

So ... I am back to square one. Please, if anyone has any bright ideas ... please do share.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Spring Day {Photo Overload}

Mason trying to get the swing of riding his bike again ...
Zooming in on Mr. Handsome ...
The girls riding in style ...
Ms. Thang going down the slide the right way ...
... and the wrong way ...
Nika walking on the trail ...
...and getting up after a fall ...
Nika walking with her Daddy in the basketball courts ...
Chicky running through the basketballs courts ...
Swing ...
... swing {darn shadow on his face!} ...
... and swing!