Sunday, February 19, 2012

OT update

I took Matthew to his OT screen at Bronson on Wednesday and got a few surprises.  Turns out his fine motor screen places him at a 5.3, meaning 5 years, 3 months old.  That was a bit of a surprise to me because I thought it would be much lower.  He is able to string beads, button, lace, draw shapes and line, write his name and do mazes as he should be able to do.  His area of need is his grip/grasp which came out in the 2nd percentile.  So he will receive therapy once a week to strengthen those small muscles to allow him to write better and with more pressure (right now it is very light and wispy).  To my surprise his trunk is weak, so he will also receive services to strengthen those muscles, too.  I would have never guessed because of all the running, climbing, jumping and exercise he gets.

Upon the screen, our OT noticed some "quirks" with Matthew's eyes.  When he needed to focus  and follow a line with his eyes he would look out of one eye with his head at an angle and at times one of his eyes would go cross eyed.  We noticed that he does that a lot when he eats, but they said that was normal because both eyes are focused on the fork as they should.  It is when he needs to go across the page to read that they are not working together.  When she held his head straight he would move the paper to his more dominant eye.  So, I am taking him to an optometrist on Friday for a complete eye exam and a motor evaluation.  Looks like he may need some eye therapy to get his eyes to work together.

I am so glad that we are figuring all of this before he starts school and even more thankful for insurance!  Now that his speech is where it should be, we need to get everything else working together as well.  It is not set in stone yet, but it looks like Portage will be moving to all day kindergarten and most likely all day young-fives.  My push will to have him in young-fives instead of kindergarten.  Our screening is next month and that will give us more information to where he is, especially social-emotionally.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Is it February already?!

We have been one busy and happy family this winter (or shall I say the lack of winter).  We managed to get out and sled a few times, shovel a few times and run the snow blower a few times.  The boys are still waiting for their "BIG" storm where we can make unlimited snowmen.  Maybe in a few weeks...or maybe next year. In the meantime we have been taking advantage of the 40-50 degree weather and going for bike rides and walks around the neighborhood these past few weeks.

Matthew is busy as ever and "graduated" from speech at the end of November.  He is now going to go back to Bronson in a few weeks for a fine motor screen, because his fine motor skills are lower than I would like and despite working daily with him I don't want him to struggle with school in a few months.  If he qualifies, great and if he doesn't they will give me things to use at home to help him strengthen those muscles. He has Kindergarten screening in about two months and will attend my school in the fall.  We are hoping for a Young-fives placement because my district is about 99% sure at this point that they will switch to full day/full time kindergarten.  I know he is not developmentally ready for eight hours a day at school!  If we keep young-fives in the district then he will be bussed to another school for that one year and then be with me for K-5.  I still can't believe that he is ready for school, where did the time go?  Matthew will start indoor soccer in a few weeks and he is so excited.  He has been wearing his shin guards and socks all over the house since we got them.  We have a pop-up goal that they boys like to play soccer with in the hallway.

Drew is probably even more busy than Matthew.  He follows Matthew's every move and I wonder what he will do in the fall when Matthew is not with him anymore at daycare.  He is 32 pounds and 36 inches (both 85%), only about 9 pounds lighter than Matthew.  He loves to read books, run, dance and jump off of everything.  He seriously has no fear of anything.  He will dance to any beat...from me humming, a song on the radio or a commercial playing in the background.  He's a mover and a butt shaker!  He has had a major verbal explosion recently and is a talking machine.  He can count to ten (not too clear, but you can definitely hear the initial sounds and the double syllable of seven). Over Christmas we switched the boy's bedrooms and converted the crib into the full bed.  Matthew is now in that bed and Drew took over Matthew's old room and twin bed.  They both love being in a bigger bed and "new" rooms.

We all are looking forward to the warmer weather and the boys are itching to get on the boat.  Drew has never been, so it will be an exciting time for him.  Only a few more months :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Update on Us

It's been way too long since my last post and there is just so much to cover!  So instead of going into details about things I thought I would just do small bullets.  So here we go...

  •  Since my last post Ryan came home and is back to work!  He came home Labor Day weekend      and started back to work with odd jobs for a few weeks.  He now is working at Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in South Haven.  He is part of the cooling tower rebuild project and has a pretty easy job.  Most of the job is carpentry work so he is there for support in case they need assistance with the piping aspects.  So far they haven't, which means he is getting paid for ten hour days, seven days a week to sit in a trailer and play games with the other fitter and electrician.  I guess it is payback for being on the road and we will take it all :)
  • Matthew went to his first dentist appointment a few weeks ago and had mixed feelings.  He loved the water squirting tool and the polisher/cleaner, but HATED the suction tool.  
  • Matthew went to his first game at Spartan Stadium with Ryan in early September and then to another game & tailgate with me yesterday.  He loved the food at the stadium, the bus ride to and from the parking lot, the band, the kickers and punters and Zeke the wonder dog!
  • Matthew's speech continues to get better.  So much so that he is now down to once a month for a few months and then hopefully once every three months after the the first of the year.  We couldn't be happier!
  • Speaking of talking, Andrew is a talking machine.  Basketball is still his favorite word and he will still find every darn hoop around town and show it to you!  He also likes to say the usual Mama, Dada, Hi, Bye Bye and has added Mine, No, sock, shoe, Matthew (to some extent), Papa, sucker, thank you, bless you (in context and to strangers), please, Yeah, Deah, doggy, more, and so much more that I can't think of right now.
  • Andrew's asthma is under control for the time being, but we had some difficulties a few weeks ago when the weather couldn't decide if it wanted to be cold or hot or dry or rainy.  He was up to four breathing treatments a day and is handing them like a pro.  We are ready for what winter has to offer and hope he can stay healthy through it. 
  • My class this year is a good one, but a large one.  Again, I have 24 kids, which is far more than previous years.  Gotta love our crappy governor!  Due to student funding cuts we now have larger class sizes.  Our 24 is small compared to the 30 our upper ele. has and the 30's our middle and high school have.  We are still without a contract and I highly doubt we will have one before the year is over.  Our district has no real reason to settle with us and by not having a contract they are saving large amounts of money.  Under new state law if we are without a contract we cover the costs of increased health insurance.  Also, the district does not have to pay staff for classes they took (grad classes), nor do they have to pay our steps and if we ever get a contract they do not have to retro the pay.  Those are just a few of the areas they are saving, there are many, many more!
  • We just recently had to put Norm to sleep.  He had a dog version of a stroke last Saturday night.  We knew something was wrong when he couldn't get up and wouldn't eat.  We honestly didn't think he would make it through the night.  He started to hobble around on Sunday, but really could only walk a few feet before falling down.  He was walking on his knuckles, peeing inside and not eating.  I took him to the vet on Monday morning (Halloween) and upon their exam they found a large mass (tumor) in his stomach.  At his age we had already decided that we weren't going to do anything if he had cancer.  We had the option of taking him home and loving him up some more and bringing him back in a week or so, but we had already prepared ourselves and the kids said their final goodbyes so I made the decision to do it then.  If we took him home it would be for us and not for his quality of life.  He was not happy and couldn't get up or walk nor did he want to ear.  I couldn't do that to him.  So, after work I went to say my final goodbyes and it was almost as if he knew.  He didn't get up or wag his tail, he just rested his head in my lap.  My mom and dad also came to say their goodbyes.  I couldn't be there for when they actually put him to sleep, so Dr. Stucki did it at the end of the day.  We should get his ashes back in a few weeks and plan to bury him in the garden under his favorite tree that he often peed on.  He was almost 12 years old and had a wonderful life with us!
  •  I will try to do a better job of updating in the future.  There just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day right now!  On a side note, I put up a ton of photos to our site if you are interested in looking at them.  Click here

Friday, August 12, 2011

August Update

A little late, but our sweet, sweet Andrew turned 18 months old a couple of weeks ago.  I just took him to the doctor and he is 27 pounds and 33 inches long (50-75th percentile for both categories).  He continues to grow and grow.  He has all but two of his teeth as well.  He cut his bottom two second-year molars a few weeks back and you wouldn't have known it at all.  He is such a happy boy and loves to play with all sorts of toys and books.  His favorite word is "basketball" and he will let you know when you pass a basketball hoop, a basketball at the store, a basketball in a get the drift!  We bought the boys a new hoop for the hallway when Ryan was home last weekend and they LOVE playing hoops.  Matthew is getting the hang of shooting the ball instead of throwing it towards the hoop.  Matthew has also gotten the hang of riding his bike and has become quite fast in the process.  Before when I ran with the jogging stroller I would have to run a few houses and then look back around to get slow-poke Matthew.  Now I can sprint and he is still ahead of me.  I love my new jogging stroller and love that I can still get out and exercise with the kids.  

We had a wonderful visit with Ryan last weekend, too.  Coming home to our 90 degree temperatures was a vacation for him.  It has been much, much hotter and way more humid where he is working (heat indexes of 115 during the night) and to make matters worse with the heat he has to wear jeans, long sleeves and work with a hot welder!  He came home late Thursday night until Sunday night.  We spent a lot of time together playing, going for walks, errands, family movie night (Despicable Me was excellent by the way) and just hanging out.  Ryan decided to stay and put the boys to bed before hitting the road based on the weekend's reaction when he would leave the house.  Matthew is very, very aware of Ryan absence and didn't like when Ryan had to leave for a haircut or to run to the grocery store.  When he would start crying Andrew would chime in too and they both would be crying full force.  Monday morning was a little tough on Matthew, but a trip to my classroom cheered him right up.  On the positive side, things here are looking up in the way of work and Ryan should be home by Labor Day or before!  He may have to do some driving once he is home and possibly work on the Lakeshore, but a two hour daily commute would be a much easier sacrifice.

I have started to get back into my classroom in anticipation for the new school year.  It's a little difficult bringing the boys with me because they make more of a mess with the toys and want to get into EVERYTHING!  Luckily the prep work of getting my room ready is much, much less this year thanks to our gorgeous new school and not having to move :)  I have a few more weeks of "vacation" (can I really call this summer a "vacation"?, I don't think so at all!) before officially having to report back.  I am super excited for football to start and the school year to get underway! 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Much Needed Family Vacation

Loving their time with Daddy
The boys and I met Ryan in Chicago last Thursday for a five day vacation as a family.  This was Andrew's first vacation and first time out of the state.  The boys had a blast with Ryan, as usual.  We went downtown to Shedd Aquarium and saw all kinds of neat exhibits.  We also went to Brookfield Zoo and saw more animals and even ran into a friend from here that was visiting some family in Illinois.  We spent a lot of time hanging out as a family in our hotel, or as Matthew called it, Daddy's house.  Yes, "Daddy's house" has three elevators, cool doors at the entrance, and a pool.  We swam everyday, ate lots of good food (Cheesecake Factory, Portilios, Weber Grill to name a few), saw lots of new things (Matthew loved the shopping cart escalator at IKEA), tons of cool buildings downtown, big airplanes and spent lots of time with Ryan, which is why we were there in the first place!

Matthew's favorite animals were the dolphins (at both places), the giraffes and the lion.  Andrew loved the dolphins, too.  Though he kept calling them fishies...oh well :)  They both loved the dolphin shows at both places.  We saw part of a 4D movie at Shedd (a 15 minute movie of  Happy Feet), but had to leave early because Matthew got freaked out by the moving, shaking and rumbling seats.  Andrew, on the other hand, loved it!  I think my favorite part was the jellyfish exhibit at Shedd and the lion at the zoo.  While we were at the zoo looking at the underwater viewing of the dolphins, something cool happened.  A guy took out a plastic comb and started strumming on the comb fingers at the glass.  All of the sudden the dolphins (at one time all 7 of them) came to the window trying to get the comb.  The strumming is similar to one of the sounds the dolphins use to communicate.  It was quite the site to see and the boys loved it. 

Andrew loved sleeping on his new Aerobed at the hotel and having the freedom to walk around at night and tickle our noses and mess with Matthew while he was sleeping.  We drove around Schaumburg, Barrington and Hoffman Estates and drove by my childhood house.  That brought back lots of memories of old friends.  I completely forgot that we had a lake/large pond in the neighborhood that we would go fishing at and for some reason I thought of the time that I accidentally hooked my brother in the eyelid with my fishing hook.  Sorry, Brian.

The boys were spent by the end of the trip and both crashed in the car on the ride home, a rare thing for Matthew who has not taken a nap for me in over a year!  Once we got home and relaxed, I took the boys to see the fireworks in Schoolcraft.  They were amazing, as usual.  It was Andrew's first experience with fireworks; he stayed home last year.  So, now it's back to reality and back to routines at home.  The boys are adjusting to being home and we all can't wait to see Ryan again in another five weeks.  Let's hope these next five weeks go as fast as our five day vacation!  To see more pictures from our trip, visit our photo site.
We have this exact picture of Matthew, but from two years ago
Getting ready to see the animals at the zoo
The dolphins were mesmerized  with the comb and all came to the glass
Moon Jellies
The Jellies exhibit at Shedd was beautiful
Andrew and Ryan watching the Dolphin show at Brookfield Zoo  
Matthew watching the Jellies

Isn't he gorgeous?!
Ryan and Matthew petting the stingrays

Has it really been two years?

July 2009  Matthew just turned two
July 2011  Matthew just turned four

Friday, July 1, 2011

Makin' it Pretty

I have always wanted to add to my landscaping, but never had the time or money to do it.  I finally bit the bullet this year and just started ripping out grass once school got out.  Once I started I knew that there was not turning back and I had to finish.  Well, after three LONG days of working (over the course of a week) I accomplished what I set out to do.  I don't want to look at a pick axe or a shovel for a while!

It wasn't easy having the kids around, so I had to work on the first day while Andrew was sleeping.  On the second day I took them to daycare and spend eight long hours tearing out grass.  The third day was spend with the boys playing and Matthew being a HUGE help.  Turns out he likes digging, planting, gardening, watering and playing in the dirt.  Andrew on the other hand was a bit to control, so he spend a lot of time playing in his wagon with toys on the last day.  Matthew and I finally finished after Andrew went to bed.  Here is the before and after shots of the yard.  Now we just have to wait for them to grow and fill in.  Thanks to my water boy, Matthew, a lot of the plants are already growing and it's only been three weeks!  To see more progress pictures click here.


My wonderful helper!