Sunday, August 30, 2009

Happy 5th Birthday Little Miss!

aka: Alexis, Baby Girl, Girl, A2 or thing 2 when talking in code,
Miss AJ or Juliana when using a stern voice, Lexi, Sister, and many more.

As always Alexis' birthday was a whirlwind of activities. Her birthday celebration started at school on Friday. Mr. Gillotti had the class sing her happy birthday while he stapled a crown to her head. Of course that would cause blood so he kindly took it off before stapling. That brought laughter from all the kiddos.
I had brought cookies and balloons and then had the opportunity to hang out for a while to watch her play with her friends on the playground.

Later that night we went to a minor league 66ers baseball game. Fortunately this game did not drag on like the last one and was actually pretty enjoyable. One of the opposing players even gave her a ball. Dad was super thankful because that took the pressure off of him catching her one like he did at brother's birthday baseball game.
After getting home late that night we had to be up super early to travel down to San Diego to join my family for a birthday celebration at Sea World.
They all had lots of fun at Elmo's Bay of Play, as well as watching a few of the shows.
The birthday celebration continued through today, her actual birthday.
After daddy got home from work she opened her gifts: A Tinkerbell activity pad.
More mixes for her Easy Bake Oven,
A cute pink and purple, butterfly outfit,
A Tinkerbell figurine,
and lastly, a much anticipated new 2 WHEEL BIKE!!!
She didn't have much time at all to enjoy the gifts because we were then jumping in the car and heading to her favorite restaurant.....
Birthday girl enjoying some fun coloring time.
She kept asking the entire meal when they were going to come over and sing to her. Then when they did sing she got all shy and looked like she might cry.
Those feelings all disappeared when she dove into her yummy, chocolate shake.
And since one dessert is never enough, we headed back home to light some candles on the cupcakes she and I had made together earlier in the day. Once again she looked like she wanted to cry when we sang to her.

And now after three days of birthday celebration I am ready for a nap..... so I am ready for MY birthday on the 1st! :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy Birthday in Heaven 'D'

Today would have been my brother's birthday. I kept debating if I should do this post or not. I did not write a post for my sister Faith's birthday on the 8th, and neither did I do a post for my sister Charity's birthday on the 16th so why should I do a post for my brother's birthday? Even though it is great to remember my brother, wouldn't it be even greater to remember a person and honor and celebrate them while they are still here? My thoughts are rambled but I am really struggling with how much life seems to focus on a person when they are no longer here instead of really showing them that extreme love and devotion while they are still here to appreciate and receive it.

I miss my brother more then words can express, and even though I loved and appreciated him while he was here on earth, I wish that today I could, even just one more time, show and tell him how much I love him in person instead of having to honor the life that he lived.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tumbling and Trumpets

Andrew has really taken off with his trumpet playing and really enjoys music in general. His private instructor had been telling Andrew about a band called Dallas Brass that would be playing at the Redlands Bowl on Tues. Andrew and I marked it on the calendar and made it a date. Much to our surprise we found out that Dallas Brass would be making an appearance at his school on Monday to give a special concert to the students. I took Alexis and Aiden down to the school so they could enjoy the music as well.They showed off each of the instruments and gave a really good performance. Although Alexis doesn't look too happy, she really did enjoy them. Aiden was dancing and wiggling around and was the first to give them a huge round of applause at the end of each song.The crowd favorite: They played the theme song from Pink Panther with their sunglasses on, which the kids went wild for. Shortly after we left the school performance we were on the road to try out Tumble Tots. T.T. is a fun gymnastics center that is geared toward younger kiddos. Alexis' friend had just started going and her mom was telling me all about it. The class sounded just like what we were looking for to give Alexis an outlet for her energy and creativity. Of course since I was running out the door I forgot to grab the camera (Contrary to popular belief, it is not surgically attached to my body.) While at the center I picked up lots of info on their upcoming classes and activities. Much to my surprise they were having a toddler free play time the very next day for only $2/kid. Can't beat cheap!

So, with camera in hand we head back to Tumble Tots on Tuesday for both Alexis and Aiden to play. Thankfully it fit perfectly into our new school schedule for me to pick up Alexis and head straight there.

**Disclaimer: the lighting is awful in the place with super florescent lights so the pictures are not the best by far but help you get the general idea. Even the instructor vented her frustration with the lighting so I know I am not the first mom that was frantically trying to find a setting on my camera that would work, with no success.**

Alexis was the pro since she had been the day before and was eager to show Aiden everything they had to offer.

One of her favorite activities was jumping on the trampoline. She could get a lot of air time and loved doing the splits in midair.
Aiden on the other hand preferred to just sit on the mat and play with the maracas. Go figure, my boy wanting to play with the noise makers.
We finally convinced him to go on the trampoline but he didn't stay long.
Alexis in the meantime was moving from one place to the next. The uneven bars.
To the tumbling mats to do the splits.
Back to the uneven bars to do a flip and so on.Aiden finally got off the mat but never gave up the maracas.
He was in noise maker heaven.
After finally prying them away from him he moved on to making hats out of the various objects around the gym. They were fun to bang together too. Not much tumbling going on for him, but he still had fun nonetheless.He was worn out within 40 mins and ready to go home.
But we stuck it out to the end of the hour long play time for the parachute. He wasn't too sure about shaking the thing wildly and even less sure of running underneath it, but didn't mind climbing on top of it and being spun around by the parents (mind you there was only one other mommy, the instructor and myself there so I got my workout too).
All in all they had a great time at Tumble Tots and Alexis is anxious to start taking classes next Monday and Aiden and mommy are anxious for the next toddler open play time.

Later that night, after the dinner dishes were cleaned and put away (still working on FLYing), Andrew and I got ready to go out on our date to the Redlands Bowl to watch the Dallas Brass performance. He was so funny he even asked me if he could drive us on our date. Maybe in a few years son, but not tonight.
The performance did not start till 8:15, which is already past our bedtime, so we decided we would try to stay till intermission and then head home and straight to bed.
We lasted till intermission, which was a little after 9:00, and the performance was GREAT. My date was awesome and even held my hand on the way back to the car. Who wouldn't enjoy some great music at the oldest outdoor theater, soaking in the night air and gazing at the stars with a handsome guy sitting next to them holding their hand? Boy am I one lucky lady!!
Thanks for the wonderful date Andrew. Oh, and thank-you Daddy-O for holding down the fort at home with the two younger kiddos.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Learning to FLY, Baby Steps

My goal now that the 2 older kids are back in school is to learn to FLY. No, no, not airplane flying or helicopter flying, not flying by the seat of my pants, but FLY CLEANING. Now if you are a clean freak then this isn't for you, but if you live in CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome) then I encourage you to check it out and think about joining me on this FLYing adventure.

FLYing means Finally Loving Yourself. I am learning that my house is a direct reflection of how I view myself. When I look around and see the chaos/clutter it speaks volumes as to how I see myself and how much I don't value myself. OUCH!! That hurts to type but it is a true statement and one that I am vowing to work on now that we are back to a 'normal' routine.

It all starts with Baby Steps. The messy house didn't happen overnight (well, sometimes it does, but generally not) so it isn't going to get cleaned overnight either. Today's Baby Step is Shining the Sink. This is going to take some time to get used to this new habit but I know that overtime it will just become a natural part of my life and lead to conquering future Baby Steps.
The FlyLady system is all about establishing little habits that string together into simple routines to help your day run on automatic pilot.

So today I shined the sink before the kids were even out the door for school. All the dishes were loaded and started, extra dishes washed and dried, and the sink cleaned and wiped downed. And then the cleaning bug kicked in. By the time we walked out the door at 7:40 I had taken my first Baby Step of shining the sink, picked up all the clutter in the living room and hallway, assited the kids in a general bedroom cleaning, wiped down the bathroom counters and picked up the dirty clothes to get them ready for my first load of laundry, made the beds and put my sneakers on for the day. Heck most days I am lucky if I get a shower before we head out the door let alone get all of this done. The kids were even pleasantly surprised to get to turn the T.V. on for 15 mins since I NEVER allow them to watch T.V. in the morning on school days. We were that far ahead of schedule that I worried they would get bored and mess up all the work we had done if I didn't allow them to be entertained by mindless cartoons for a few minutes.

I thought for sure that by the time I got home from school the bug would have worked it's way out of my system and I would be more then content with what had been accomplished already. Well, much to my surprise the bug was still in full force and I got the vacuum cleaner out and conquered all carpet areas of the house. Then the kitched called my name again and I decided to vacuum around the perimeter of the kitchen and under the table. Then the fans, vents, and A/C input vents were screaming to be cleaned. I feel such a great level of pride in getting so much done before 9:00 (and had my sister not called me I would have had it done by 8:30, but I love talking to her so it was worth it.) :)

Now I intend to take a step back and admire what I have finished and take a little more time getting myself comfortable with the FLYlady system and see what is in store for me tomorrow.

Care to join me in FLYing lessons? or maybe just be my cheerleader? Leave me a comment and let me know. And as always, I hope you have a blessed week and now happy FLYing. :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What I Learned at School Today

Alexis and Andrew had their first day of school today. There were up and ready to go super early since they were so excited. Thank goodness they were on the ball because I ended up being called in for a substitute job and needed to be to the school earlier then we had previously planned, but more on that later.
Alexis on her first day of Kindegarten
Andrew on his first day of 5th grade

We found Alexis' seat in her classroom and she was super jazzed to have her own box of crayons and other school supplies.
Mr. Gillotti and Alexis. Andrew also had Mr. Gillotti for Kindergarten. He is the most tenderhearted 6 ft., former Marine, you will ever meet. I told him again today that he is not allowed to retire till Aiden has gone through Kindergarten with him.
Mrs. Pierce with Andrew. Mrs. Pierce and I are really good friends from my year of fundraising last year and I know that she is going to be an awesome fit for Andrew. She is super organized and really gets her kiddos ready for Middle School. I hope Andrew is ready to hit the ground running because she means business!
So this morning while we were getting ready for the first day of school the phone rang. I was suprised to see that it was a call from the school at 6:40 in the morning. When I picked it up it was the principal calling to see if I would be available to sub in the Kindergarten class this morning. Little background info: This year the Kinder classes went from 20:1 all the way up to 32 kids to one teacher, but on minimum days the morning and afternoon classes all come during the morning time which means there would be 64 Kindergarteners with only 2 teachers and NO aides to help out! Part of the agreement that was made with the teachers was that a substitute would be hired on minimum days to shadow them and help them out while they had so many kids. Why she waited till the morning of to arrange the help is beyond me but I am still thankful she thought to call me. So, I got off the phone with her and immediately called my sitter to see if she was up to watching Aiden on the first day of school. Thankfully she loves him lots and was willing to take him last minute. I called the principal back and let her know I was good to go and would see her at 7:30.

Then the hussle began. I couldn't possible show up to work in my flip flops and shorts so I had to quickly change out of my mommy clothes and into more acceptable teaching clothes. Like I said before, the kiddos were so excited they were actually ahead of schedule, which made for a pretty smooth morning considering the sudden change in plans.

I get to school, check in and find out I have been assigned to Mr. Gillotti's class. This means that I will be getting paid to watch my daughter's entire first day of school! Could it get any better then that? The principal has put me on the minumum day sub list which means I will get paid to work in Alexis' classroom 16 times this year.

So what did I learn at school today:
  1. Do not put your finger in the mouth of the scissors, they bite and make you bleed and Mr. Gillotti does not like blood. And, always hold scissors with your thumb on top.
  2. Glue gets crusty just like boogies so when we are done we need to wipe the top of the glue bottles off on our hands, rub them together and then it magically comes off. Did you also know that it only takes a few dots to make it stick and not a whole glob of glue? Could someone please tell the little guy at the blue table that he doesn't need 1/2 bottle of glue for one small piece of paper?
  3. Do not eat the teacher! He read a cute book about a Shark on his first day of school that would get so excited he would eat the desk, his pencil, anything in sight. But whatever you do, DON'T EAT THE TEACHER!

I had so much fun in the class but I really did work hard for my money. I tied more shoes today then I have in an entire week for my own kiddos. I wiped up more tears then I do in entire month for my kiddos. And, even cleaned up some bodily stomach fluids (YUCK) from a kiddo who cried so hard he made himself sick. Adjusting to Kindergarten is not an easy thing.

Here is to hoping that tomorrow has less tears and such, and more fun crusty glue boogies!

Monday, August 10, 2009

No Forward Progress

Today was the big day that Andrew and I had been waiting for! Andrew would be getting his allergy test done to see if he had made any progress in regards to his allergies, see if the shots had been working, and if the medicines he takes daily were doing there thing and he could wean off them. We were disappointed all around.

Having the allergy test is much like giving birth; you forget how painful it is until you are in the midst of it all over again and then those memories come flooding back. Andrew was not phased by the mentioning of taking the test and even told people, "on a scale of 1-5 it hurts like a 2, not bad at all." Well, that all went out the window with the first batch of pricks when he started asking if we could stop and just not do the test because it hurt so bad. He had to have 50 pricks on his back, mostly trees, weeds, molds, and animals. They started itching from the get go and the nurse administering the test could already tell there were issues before she even got to the last batch (they come in blocks of 8 at a time and then two single ones). She would prick his back with these 'scratchers' that had been sitting in the concentrated juices, and then mark with a pen each section so she could come back and 'score' them later.

Here is Andrew once she got all 50 on his poor, little back. He is inflammed, red, and itching like crazy already but has to sit and let them 'marinate' for 15 minutes to get a good reading. Dale and I knew it was going to be pretty traumatic for him to go through the test again so we had bought him a special treat ahead of time. Indiana Jones Lego game for the Wii, a game he had been begging for for over 6 months. I pulled it out right as she began the test to hopefully take his mind off the pain. He was so excited and had no clue we had gotten it for him.
Even the new game wasn't enough to keep him for being in lots of pain and just needing to breath through it (again much like labor where he would get a pain and start breathing through it and then it would taper off for a minute or so before it began again...... we had a good laugh that he sounded like he was having a baby and would name him Indiana Jones).
After she came back in and scored his back she decided that he needed to do the food panel on his arms since there was no more room on his back for the top foods (13 in all). This was not as painful as the back, due to the location in part but mainly because foods are not his serious triggers.
And then we waited again for the test to do it's thing and then for her to come in and 'score' his arms. After she did all her writing she made me a copy and left us to wait for the doctor to come in. I had brought copies of the test he had done in Feb. of 2006 so I could have a comparision of the results side by side. I was pretty discouraged. Seems like his allergies have gotten worse with time instead of improving with the shots, meds, and time. Dr. M. agreed that they were worse and that we need to change our approach. Most patients on allergy shot therapy have relief within 2 years of taking the shots, not a regression or worsening. We are going to switch Andrew back to taking shots every 2 weeks instead of monthly and are going to order a more concentrated amount to help build up the immunity faster. Faster still means years of shots in our future. He wants him to be symptom free for 6 months before we start decreasing his medicines. He can't even make it one month (or even a week or day at times) without a flair up but we are going to do what we can to get to that 6 month mark. The food sensitivities have also increased but not to the point where we need to eliminate them completely from his diet or require special care at school. He just needs to make sure to not eat super concentrated amounts of the foods he tested positive for.

So what is he allergic to: (LONG LIST WARNING!) Trees: Acacia, White Alder, Arizona Ash*, Olive*, Western Juniper, Fremont Cottonwood, Chinese Elm, Eucalyptus, Mesquit, Costal Live Oak, Sycamore, Box Elder, Mulberry, Bottle Brush, CA Pepper Tree, and Walnut; Weeds: Pigweed, Russin Thistle, Kochia, Lamb's Quarters, Scale, Ragweed*, Sagebrush, Yellow Dock*, Sheep Sorrel, English Plantain, Marshelder, and Pine Tree; Grasses: Johnson, Bermuda*, Timothy, Ryegrass*, and Kentucky Bluegrass; Molds: Aternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Penicillium*, Helminthosporium*, Minor Mold, Candida, and Cockroach Mix*; Animals: Feathers; Dog, Cat* and Horse*; Foods: Wheat*, Corn, Tomato, Soy Bean*, Peanut, Banana*, Almond, Shrimp, Tuna*, Cows milk, Chicken, Egg white*, and Egg yolk*! WHEW THAT IS A LONG LIST!!! **The ones with stars next to them where the ones with the most severe reactions in their group.

When asked again about the pain by Mrs. B.; who so kindly watched Alexis and Aiden, he said it was a major 5 on the scale and to never do the test again. (She was asking because her daughter is going to take the test in a few months and wanted to be prepared).
He is now at home with no more itches (thank you big tube of itchy cream!!), and enjoying his Lego Indiana Jones Wii game!!! I am so thankful to have this in our past and hopefully we can now get a clearer picture for our course of treatment.
Other randomness:

Aiden sitting by the front door waiting to go to church yesterday. For some reason we were 15 mins ahead of schedule and he didn't know what to do with his tired self so he parked it by the door and just waited.
After church we got a quick bite to eat and then headed to the haircut store for everyone to get their back to school haircuts. Andrew and Aiden love to play with the beaded rollercoaster toy.
Andrew got just a little trimmed off, no major buzz this time. Alexis got a shorter in the back, taper to the front cut (I don't like it and wish it would have been cut shorter and with a more drastic taper.) Had I not been holding Aiden during his haircut I might have been able to communicate what I wanted for her better. Oh well, next time.
And Aiden got his typical little boy cut, cute as ever, tongue and all. :)
Now that the shopping is done, the hair has been cut and the backpacks packed we are ready for school to start on Wednesday. We have Alexis' Kindergarten Orientation tonight at 6:30 and she is anxious to see some of her friends from preschool that she has been missing dearly. And me, I am anxious for school to start so Aiden and I can have some one on one time again, and less hours of begging to play on the computer and/or the Wii. :)