Thursday, November 7, 2013


So this guy is turning seven years old this weekend:

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I can hardly believe it.

Of our three, he's always been our most serious and thoughtful kid.  Even as a baby, he looked like this a lot of the time:

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And, things haven't changed much since this is the look I get these days when I pull out the camera:

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He still knows how to be silly:

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And his brother and sister (despite what they may say) adore him to no end:

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And despite all of the obstacles thrown at him over his little lifetime, he is a happy kid whose high energy and mischeviousness can bring a smile to anyone's face.

Seven years old.  Where has the time gone?

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Friday, October 11, 2013

Spock Lives in my House

We finally got around to watching the latest Star Trek movie this past week and really enjoyed it.  The computer graphics and plot were great, but the parts I really enjoyed had Spock in them.  (In case you're not a Star Trek fan, Spock is part Vulcan, a species that uses logic and reasoning to solve problems.  They are pretty much devoid of emotion and do not let feelings get in the way of their problem solving.)

The parts I found most amusing were the ones in which Spock comes across some sort of issue and his reasoning on how to solve said issue makes sense (because it is logical), but the other characters think he's crazy because he doesn't take personal relationships and feelings into account.  A quick example that won't spoil the movie for you would be when Spock says they should let another character die because it will save the rest of the crew from annihilation.

I am most definitely not Spock.  My emotions run pretty near to the surface and I almost always will make a decision based on emotion unless I make myself step back from an issue to think about it for a while.

Liam, however, is a Spock.  He has an emotional side to him, but you can see the little wheels turning in his head when a problem arises.  And I came to the realization that this sense of logic is what's causing some of his problems at school.

For a while, I was fairly certain that he was dyslexic.  At nearly seven, he continues to write some letters and numbers backward and will reverse letters when he's reading.  He also reverses numbers when he writes them.

For example, his math worksheet asked him to solve 5+9.  His wrote the number 41.  And, of course, it got marked incorrect.  When I sat down with him to go over missed problems, he saw that he'd written 41 instead of 14, but when I gave him a similar problem to work (7+8), he wrote 51 instead of 15.

However, when I asked him to write the numbers 46, 83, 75 and 32, he wrote them all correctly.

Do you see the pattern?

He only reverses the numbers if they are in the teens.

And I figured out why.

In his logical way of thinking, the number spoken first should also be written first.  When I say, "Twenty seven", he knows to write the 2 and then the 7 to get 27.  When I say, "Seventy six", he knows to write the 7 and then the 6 to get 76.

When I say "fourteen", his mind tells him to write the 4 and then the 1 to get 41.  Not 14.

My boy's problem is that English is a difficult language!

I'm calling this my Sherlock Holmes moment.

This is also why he's having a hard time reading.  Syd and Evan just accept that certain words sound a certain way; they are more of "whole word" readers rather than phonics readers.

I've been focusing on phonics with Liam and because English is a language not just of a million rules ("i before e") but with a million exceptions as well ("i before e except after c and words like weigh and neighbor"), his little logical mind cannot handle it all.

It's not the rules of English that are confusing him, it's the millions of exceptions.  And the exceptions to the exceptions.

I remember learning Spanish in school and thinking that it was hard, but it was only hard to me because it was new.  Spanish is actually pretty easy to learn because there are so few exceptions to the rules.

No wonder people say English is one of the hardest languages to learn.  My kid's been hearing it his entire life and he still can't keep up with all the rules.

However, I am glad that a little bit of the mystery has been solved.  Of course, if I knew the solution to the problem, I'd be a lot happier.

But, it's the baby steps.  Little by little we'll get there.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ice Cream for Dinner

I'm not usually the kind of person who turns to food for comfort.  But last night, I had a huge ice cream sundae for dinner.  I'm talking a gigantic bowl full of vanilla ice cream.  Chocolate syrup.  Caramel sauce.  Two maraschino cherries.  And I even threw in a couple of Oreos for good measure.

It was that kind of day.

What caused me to turn my nose up at a healthy dinner and turn to ice cream instead?

Was it forking over a small fortune to the allergist for Liam's next round of allergy shots?  Nope.

Was it putting down a huge deposit for the extensive dental work Syd has to have done over Thanksgiving break?  Nope.

Was it finding out that the next Bridget Jones book (that I was so looking forward to) kills off one of the main characters?  Nope.  (Although, I do feel odd mourning for a fictional character.)

Was it the fact that I've come to the realization that I am bored out of my mind now that all three kids are in school full-time?  Nope.

It was coming home from a Girl Scout meeting and finding Ryan in the midst of a partial seizure.  I found him leaning on the computer desk chair as though he was trying to connect the computer to something.  He was covered in sweat, incoherent and very confused about where he was and what he was doing.  His slurred speech and inability to find the words he wanted to use would make someone else think he was either drunk or having a stroke.  But I knew better.

It was only a fraction as bad as the last one and after a couple of hours of sleep, he felt much better, but it was still a seizure.

Just when I thought we'd turned a corner.


So now we're looking at readjusting his meds.  And I'm back to being the driver for the family since the seizure occurred at the time that he's usually driving home from work.  (Thankfully, he'd come home early so that I could take Syd to her meeting.)

The boys, who were playing in their rooms at the time, were oblivious to what was happening.  Both of them have been super sweet since then, too.  They didn't complain when I cut their bedtime reading time short.  They instinctively kept their voices down this morning when eating breakfast and getting ready for school.  And Liam, who is in a wipe-off-mom's-kisses phase, gave me a huge hug as I sat crying in the living room chair last night.

Epilepsy stinks. just plain stinks.

Friday, September 6, 2013

This and That

I signed up for a pretty intensive bible study at church now that all three kids are in school and I have large chunks of quiet time during the day.  There are total of five people in the class and the other four class members are all old enough to personally remember the Truman administration.  It's going to be a long year.

Evan's kindergarten class has themed snacks the first three weeks of school.  They got red jello cups on Red Day, carrot sticks on Orange Day, mint Oreos (how have I not heard of these?!?) on Green Day, etc.  Not having the energy for something all Pinterest-y and cute, I signed up for Circle Day, because what's easier than sending a box of Ritz Crackers to school with your kid, you know?  But wouldn't you know it, the pushy mom behind me in line whined (and I mean whined like a two year old), "Do you have to sign up for that day?  That's my daughter's birthday and I wanted to bring something cute."  Well, first of all, how am I supposed to know that day is her kid's birthday?  And second of all, she could have used a nicer tone because, well, she was definitely older than two.  So I quietly erased my name next to Circle Day and signed up for Square Day because I suppose a box of Wheat Thins is just as easy to send as a box of Ritz.

And then at Meet-the-Teacher last night, I had to listen to her girls whine through the whole presentation.  So I'm guessing the whining is genetic.  I feel sorry for her husband.

Liam's teacher had a baby three days into the school year so now he has a substitute for the next ten weeks.  She told us at Meet-the-Teacher last night that she doesn't like to punish kids by taking away their recess time.  If anything, she thinks those kids probably have too much energy and need to work it off in order to function better in the classroom.  Hallelujah!  A teacher who gets it!  Hopefully when his teacher returns in November, she'll have a similar attitude.

I got my Christmas gift early this year: a fancy camera that takes great pictures.  Well, it's supposed to take great pictures.  So far I've taken several so-so pictures of the dog (my only subject during the day since the kids are at school).  I'm taking a photography class over the next couple of months so maybe by Christmas I'll have figured out what I'm doing.  Maybe.

We may have to look for a new kennel for the dog for when we're out of town.  Our vet doesn't have one so we've been taking him to one a couple of miles away.  He's well taken care of, but this place is a little too fancy (and pricey) for my liking.  Maybe it's because they offer stupid things like Labor Day meal specials (a mini hamburger and slice of watermelon!) or blueberry avocado facial scrubs and bedtime stories.  For dogs!  They want me to pay someone to read to the dog?  We, of course, don't purchase any of those things for Max, but I don't know if I even want to be associated with a place that offers such idiotic services.

After several years of having it pretty easy at school, Syd has finally discovered why some kids say school is so hard.  Fifth grade is a doozy.  She had so much homework the other day that she only had fifteen minutes before bedtime to read a novel.  She lamented that her amount of "me time" has diminished greatly since starting middle school.  Poor girl.  She has no idea that this is just the beginning....

Thursday, August 29, 2013

School Snafus

School started this week for all three kids.

They all handled the first day really well, despite two of them being at new schools.  There were only a few tears.  (And those were all mine.)

The year has gotten off to a good start, but of course, things can't always go perfectly.

For instance, Liam brought home a nasty stomach bug and missed yesterday and will miss today, too.  So there goes his perfect attendance a mere two days into the school year.

And Syd's bus forgot to pick her up this morning.  As I was driving home from dropping Evan off at his school, I saw her bus sitting at an intersection near the exit of our neighborhood with the bus driver shuffling through a stack of papers and looking confused.  I thought she'd already picked up Syd and was on her way out of the neighborhood to continue her route, but as I pulled on to our street, I saw Syd still sitting at the bus stop reading a book.

The operator at the transportation department told me that she thought the driver arrived at Syd's stop too early and she would ensure that the driver wouldn't get there too early next time.

Syd was at the stop a good ten minutes before her scheduled pick up time, so, yeah, I don't think that's the reason.

The bus completely skipped our street.

Thankfully, Ryan had the time to drop her at school before heading into work so that I could stay home with poor Liam who can't be more than ten feet from the bathroom.

Thank goodness we were home, otherwise she'd still be outside getting eaten up by mosquitos.

But it made me wonder: what happens to the kids in a similar situation whose parents aren't home?

And this isn't necessarily school-related but it was still an interruption to what was a fairly good first week of school.  I got a frantic phone call from our sweet neighbor on the left yesterday evening telling me to keep the kids in the house.   I'd heard some yelling coming from the direction of the house on the other side of us, but as they're always making a bunch of noise playing basketball, I didn't really give it much pause.  Apparently, our lovely (please note the sarcasm) neighbors to the right of us got into enough of a dispute with one another that the police were called out.  We had four police cars parked right in front of our house for a good hour last evening as they attempted to quiet the situation and fill out paperwork.


And they wonder why I won't let our kids play with theirs anymore.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Well, That's Just Great

We found out yesterday which teachers the boys will have this coming school year.

I don't know anything about Liam's first grade teacher and I can't find anyone who does.


As for Evan's kindergarten teacher?  It's the same teacher Liam had last year for kindergarten.  I'm guessing she requested Evan after she found out during the kindergarten entrance tests that he could read.


The one advantage to this is that Evan already knows her and is comfortable with her making his transition to "big kid school" a bit easier.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Disturbing Phone Call

Nothing can compare to the horrible phone call I got a year and a half ago.  It's the kind of phone call I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.  Ever since the incident that prompted that phone call, Ryan has worn a medical ID bracelet with my cell phone number in case of another emergency.

Thankfully, he has been seizure-free since then and I haven't received another dreaded call.  However, every time my cell phone rings and it's a number I don't recognize, my stomach clenches up a bit and I answer it because I know that it could be another Good Samaritan looking out for us.

So today, I turned my phone back on after church and noticed that I had a voicemail from a number that I didn't recognize.  I knew it couldn't be someone calling about Ryan as he'd been with me all morning so I didn't get any kind of sinking feeling.  In fact, I was sure it was a sales call of some sort.

And then I heard this:

Man's Voice: "Uh, hello, this is Officer Smith* and I'm calling regarding a homicide that took place last night at a property you own."

My thoughts:  Oh God, our sweet tenant has been murdered in our rental house.  Oh God, Oh God, Oh God. 

Officer Smith:  "The property is located at #### Oak Street* and we need any footage that you may have recorded on your cameras.  Please give me a call back at ###-###-####."

The address he gave was not the address of our rental house.  Thank goodness.

I called him back immediately.  He asked if I represented the company that owned the property.  I informed him that I was a stay-at-home mom and we didn't own that property.  He recited the phone number he'd dialed.  I informed him that he'd misdialed by one digit.  He apologized for the miscommunication and I finally took a breath before hanging up.

Talk about disturbing.

I feel sorry for the person for whom that call was intended.

I wonder if they were as freaked out as I was once he finally reached them.

I guess I'll never know.

*Names have been changed in case a crazy murderer does a google search on his (or her - I don't discriminate when it comes to cases of murder) alleged crime.