Friday, November 19, 2010

One!

My baby turned one earlier this month! I am so late in posting about it because we've all been sick with some nasty flu bug lately. The kids are all doing much better, but I am still recovering and Seth just came down with it last night.
Ean's party was attended by his grandparents, cousins, aunt & uncle. His grandparents were here for the weekend of Halloween so we had the party for Ean and Ruby together on October 30th. The kids had a fun weekend filled with cake, candy, pizza, costumes and family.

I guess that's as much as I can blog this morning, since I just woke up Ean by blowing my nose. (Yes, poor child to wake up to what probably sounded like a foghorn!)

Happy Birthday, my sweet baby Ean! I love you!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Three!

Look who just turned 3!
Happy 3rd Birthday to my sweet 3rd-born! :) I love you, Ruby!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ahhhhh.... I love Fall!

I'm hoping this doesn't double post... I'm still working out the kinks of this blogging-from-my-phone thing. This here is "take two" this morning.

This photo was taken a little over a week ago at a local park. It has a small zoo which my kids think is great. The girls have already been asking to go back. I wish I knew if there was a way to send more than one photo in an email from my iPhone (anyone know?) because I have more photos I'd like to share, but it seems silly to publish a new post for each one.

That said, this photo was my attempt at a picture of all four kids I the Fall leaves. Let me tell you it was WORK to get this one, even! I had to get an updated photo of the kids on here, though, and the park seemed like a good setting.

I love Fall. The colors, the coolness, the smell of wood stoves, bonfires, and crispy leaves... Pumpkins and apples and baking... Mmm. Good stuff.


Until next time,

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mobile blogging test!

Testing 123! I'm trying to figure out how to send some posts directly from my phone, in hopes that I can blog more frequently!
For now, here's a peek at our youngest little mango! (This picture was taken in late August!)
:)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Soon?

Maybe I should have mentioned in my last post that "coming soon" was a relative term. :) Where oh where did the past month GO?

Even now as I sit down to type, the baby (8 months old now!) is starting to fuss. Figures.

Ok, 20 minute break to feed baby and put him down for a nap. Now where was I?

Right. Catching up... Will I ever be caught up? Maybe when my kids are all in school full-time? That will be in about 5 years.

********************

The above was written a couple of weeks ago already. Seriously, the Summer is flying by so fast I can't believe it. Between a bored 8-year-old, a tantruming 4-year-old, a strong-willed, potty-training 2 & 1/2 year old, and a newly-crawling 8-month-old, life is chaotic to say the least.

What have we been up to? Here it is in a nutshell. Yes, the condensed version is all I seem to find time for lately. Sorry.

Seth has been job-hunting. He was a contractor at a company that no longer renews contracts beyond 2 years, so as of June 30th, he has joined the Unemployed. No fun there. He spends hours searching for jobs, tweaking his resume and writing cover letters. He has had several phone interviews, but so far no face-to-face interviews. So he is busy searching and doing all that. It takes a lot of computer time! (Therefore, since that takes priority, most of my computer time lately has been from my phone, and I don't do well with typing on that little iPhone keyboard, so this is a treat to use the laptop uninterrupted for a bit!)

Ethan is bored. He is always asking if I will play a game with him, or if he can play on my iPod, or if we can go to the beach / park / library / restaurant , etc. We have been going to the beach quite a bit. I need to get him in swimming lessons. He loves the water and wants to learn to swim. He also loves science and wants to do science projects around the house. He is always asking if we have vinegar so he can make a volcano, or blow up a balloon, or make crystals, etc. He is reading about space and wants to look at the moon through his telescope. He is interested in cooking and wants to help me bake (which I haven't done much of due to all the warm, humid days!) Yesterday he told me he thinks he'd like to be a chef when he grows up. Although this may come from watching Ratatoullie a lot lately!

Kibby misses school. She always asks to "go to school and see Ms. Julie" (her teacher this past year). She also wants to go to church several times a week. She was evaluated at the Clinic again, this time by a psychologist. (She was referred back in January but it just took this long to get her in! 6 months!) Anyway, the Clinic did some testing and decided not to redo the ADOS test for Autism that the school district had already done over the Winter because after reviewing the report saw no reason to re-test. That meant only 2 hours at the appointment instead of four! Yay! The recommendation was that Kibby stay in Special Ed preschool with the speech therapy included, but to consider adding Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy as well. From what I understand this is a pretty intense one-on-one therapy, recommended for 20-25 hours (or sometimes up to 40 hours) a week with a qualified therapist. They work on developing adaptive behaviors while decreasing target behaviors by breaking goals and tasks down into smaller tasks for the child, and rewarding each small success, thereby increasing the likelihood of the child repeating the desired behavior. (Does that make sense?)
So we are looking into that for her. There are waiting lists and insurance hurdles, so it's been a process already. We are also looking into getting her a caseworker to help us navigate all of this, and to get the most help for her right now when she is young.

Ruby is 2 and a half, and is our drama queen, silly entertainer, and definitely a strong-willed child! She loves to watch movies, play outside, go to the park, to church, and to go swimming at the beach. She always asks for her "swimming soup". I love that so much I don't want to correct her! Is that bad? :) She is currently learning to use the potty, and isn't too thrilled so far. She will hold it in and beg for a diaper. Um, yeah. It's a work in progress, but I thought it might be easier to train her now before Ean starts walking!

Which brings me to Ean! He started crawling a couple weeks ago, and is getting to be speedy already! My gut is telling me he will not walk at 9 months like all of his siblings, and I have to say that makes me happy a little. :) I am NOT ready for that yet! Even though it's exciting to see them reach new milestones and it might have been cool to say "all my kids walked at 9 months" - I now know that they already are growing too fast and won't mind my baby slowing down a bit! He is starting to try to pull himself up on furniture already, though, and we have found him pushed up onto his hands and feet (instead of hands and knees) when crawling, which I find amusing. I should point out that he doesn't actually move then. He stays that way until he remembers how to get back down on his knees or topples over. :)
He likes to "dance" when he hears music, too. When he is crawling and hears music, he kind of bops up and down a little. It's hard to describe exactly, but so cute.

Whew! The laundry is calling once again, as Ean just overflowed his diaper in the baby swing. (Yeah, he still likes the swing! Unreal, but the weight limit is 25 lbs, and he doesn't try to climb out of it, so we've let him enjoy it as long as he wants to so far.)

Until next time! Forgive me for not proofreading - if there are typos I hope you'll all understand! I still have photos to post, so the next one will probably be mostly cuteness and less words. :) Hope you're all enjoying your Summer!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Coming Soon...

Yesterday I had to go to a mandatory training for work. Seth took the morning off, and my parents were visiting, so it worked out perfectly for childcare so I could go. The topic was Autism. Some of the people my company supports have some type of ASD so it was meant to educate the employees on the subject.
To be honest, I didn't learn much that I could use at work. What I did take away from it was a lot more personal, since Kibby was diagnosed with Autism in February by the school district. (She goes in later this month for more extensive developmental testing through the clinic here, so we will soon have their input as well.)
I will post more about what I learned in a future post. (Soon!)
Also coming up, look for a birthday post! Yes, Ethan turned 8 over the weekend! :)
Until then,

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Out of the Mouths of Moms

”OutOfTheMouthsOfMoms”

So, today I see that MckMama posted another "Out of the Mouths of Moms" post on her blog. I LOVE this. Honestly, I should really start keeping better track of the things I hear myself saying to my kids. I was just thinking the other day: "Oh, that would be a GOOD one for a Out of the Mouths of Moms post!!"

And so here's my chance to write about it.

Except I can't remember most of them! Ugh! I'm going to designate a notebook for just this!

Here are some that I do remember...

"Because it's not okay to play outside without clothes on! Yes, even in the pool. That is what your swimming suit is for. Yes, I know I have to wash it, but that doesn't mean you can go without one! Here's a towel. Let's cover up and go inside and put some dry clothes on. Yes, because the neighbors do not need to see your bare bottom." (Repeat a few days later. Sigh.)

"No, Baby Ean doesn't like it when you poke his eyes. Yes, that is why he is crying. You wouldn't like to have your eyes poked at either, would you? No, you wouldn't. No, really, you wouldn't. It would hurt. Hey, stop poking your eyes! WHAT DID I JUST TELL YOU?!?!"

"Sorry, we can't have your birthday party at Sea World. Yes, you're right, it would be a little pricey." (We live nowhere near Florida!)

"Because that what Kleenex is for. Yes, I know I can just vacuum again, but I don't want to. Please get a Kleenex."

"No, Ruby, that isn't Yoda. It's a picture of your cousin!"

"No, we don't eat Play-Doh. Because it's not food. I know it's purple and you like purple, but it is still not okay to eat it!"

"Please put your clothes back on." (repeat several times daily).

"Kibby, we don't talk like that. No, I don't think princesses talk like that, either. Why is that funny?"

"No, Daddy did not puke. Please stop saying that. I don't think Daddy has ever puked. What in the world brought that up?"

"Why did you yell at Ethan to 'go to China'? Are you mad at him? Do you even know where China is? Where do you learn this stuff?!"

"Yes, I know you tooted. Because I heard it. What should you say? No, not that. Do you remember what to say? No, not that! (sigh) Please say excuse me!"

"Yes, Baby Ean is cute when he sneezes, and I know the sudden bright light makes him sneeze, but you can't keep turning on the light when he is trying to sleep just so he will have a sneeze-attack. Because it's not nice, that's why!"


Okay, so maybe I remembered more than I thought I would!

What have you heard yourself saying lately that you never thought you'd hear leave your mouth? Please share! :)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sisters


Proof that they don't always fight:




Kibby is learning to tolerate her sister, and even play with her. It's what I've been hoping for, that they would become best friends. It's heading that way... Of course they still fight and squabble over things on a daily (even hourly) basis, but I am starting to see more love and caring between them, too.
If Kibby gets an owie, Ruby wants to kiss it all better. If Kibby accidentally hurts Ruby, she is now saying, "sorry, Ruby." without prompting. Heartwarming.


This may not seem like much, but even a few months ago, Kibby mostly wanted nothing to do with Ruby. She would ignore her or fight with her, but very rarely show her any love, interest, or compassion. To see this starting to change does my heart good! :) There is hope!

Sisterly love. :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Happy Half-Birthday, Ean!

Yesterday my baby turned 6 months old. Wow. I don't know where the past half year went. It seems like I just brought him home from the hospital a few weeks ago! What's strange is that now that six months have passed, and I look back, there were times when I thought time was d.r.a.g.g.i.n.g. I remember thinking at times that I couldn't wait until he was doing this or that... like holding his head up better, or learning to self-soothe, or sleep through the night, or roll over, or play in the exersaucer. (Ok, so mainly the sleeping through the night thing...) :)
But now, today, it is bittersweet. The year is going so fast suddenly. Before I know it, he will be running and climbing with his siblings. All of our kids have walked within a week (either way) of the 9-month mark, so it really seems unreal that in 3 months it's a very real possibility that he will be walking, too. Again, Wow.

Here's a rundown of what he is doing now:

* Sitting up for longer and longer periods of time without support.
* Smiling at EVERYONE. (He's such a charmer!)
* Pivoting around on his hands and tummy when we put him on the floor.
* Playing with his toes a lot.
* Putting all of his toys in his mouth.
* Trying rice cereal (but he doesn't really like it!)
* Wanting to stand up on our laps when we hold him (as opposed to sitting in our lap).
* Babbling and talking more and more. He "says" quite a few different sounds.
* Usually sleeping through the night! (HOORAY!)

I took a video of him in the backyard on Easter, and I'll try to post it here: video
It was his first time feeling the grass under him, and he didn't think much of it. And he let us know! :)

Here is our sweet boy today. Er, yesterday, actually.
Happy 6-month-birthday, Ean! We love you very much!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Well Hello There!

Yes, I'm alive!
Life is so chaotic lately that I feel as though I barely have time to breathe some days. Everytime I blink someone needs a fresh diaper, or a drink of water, or has made a mess to clean up, or is in tears because Mommy said, "no more movies today!"
And so, the toast gets forgotten in the toaster. The beds go unmade. The laundry piles up (partly thanks to our dryer breaking for a week!), the emails go unread, the dishes get done every other day at best, and, the blog posts go unwritten! Some days we even just have breakfast for dinner because it's so much simpler to make!

You'd think that things would go more smoothly around here with only 2 kids home 4 mornings a week now that Kibby is in preschool. But no. Mornings are a rush of trying to pry children from their pillows, get their faces washed and hair combed, backpacks and tummies filled, shoes found (matching ones, even!) By the time I get the two older ones out the door, the baby is crying and the toddler is awake, and *poof* goes any hope of spending some time online!

So here I am, trying to get a post up after a 2-month break. And it has taken me 2 days to type this much.

Some things I want to mention before I get back to the diaper-changings:

1) Anyone notice the updated picture in the heading? The other picture was 18 months old already and was missing Ean! So I had a few minor changes made to my blog. Danielle (The Design Girl) updated my pic, created a button for me, and switched the layout to a 3-column. Much nicer, I think! Thanks Danielle! :)

2) I changed my blog address. We are no longer FIVE mangoes, so I didn't feel that address was appropriate anymore. I am still having trouble getting things worked out to link from my old address to this new one. Some Blogger issue, I am told?

3) Angie Smith's book, I Will Carry You, is out! Yay! For those of you familiar with Angie and her story, you may have been waiting patiently with the thousands of us... and it's finally available. Angie is the wife of Todd Smith of Selah, and her book is about their daughter Audrey Caroline. If you or someone you know has experienced the devastation of losing an infant (or child of any age), I know Angie's story will minister to you as she shares her journey through grief and where her strength and hope come from. I think God is going to do great things through this book. Angie has a gift for writing and relating to others in a way I never will, and I love her heart and willingness to share her story.

4) More posts coming SOON. I promise they will be less wordy and definitely cuter. :) Also coming up is an update on Kibby and how school is going for her, and Ean's 6-month post. (WOW!)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Answers

Well, we finally have some answers about our Kibby. After months of tests and evaluations and screenings, of waiting lists and wondering. It has taken a long time, but we think she will be able to get some help now, and for that we are glad. It will be worth the wait.

We met Thursday with the team from the school district that has been doing her most recent evaluations. They tested her for several things: academic and cognitive abilities, vision, communication, and autism. In the midst of this, Kibby also saw a nurse practitioner from the department of developmental & behavioral pediatrics here in town. (She had been on a wait list since the end of August!) She also saw a social worker at the clinic to determine what type of an evaluation she would need by them, and an audiologist to test her hearing.

What had prompted all of this testing was her history of delayed speech, strange use of language when she did begin to speak, and other developmental... oddities, for lack of a better word. This led us to get her tested for some type of developmental disorder, and we began this process last Fall, after an attempt at doing an Early Childhood check-in was a flop. They weren't able to screen her. I have written some about these things in previous posts, but it has been a while since I've updated on this because I didn't have anything concrete to share. I didn't have any diagnosis or test results to report, just my gut feeling, and I've already shared that.

Well, now I have something to report. And research. It's name?

Autism.

It wasn't the crushing blow it could have been, only because I already suspected it. Not to say that it was nothing to see it on paper next to Kibby's name. It wasn't. However, I am optimistic that the help Kibby will be able to get will enable her succeed far beyond what I can do alone at home. (Not that I am ever alone... with 4 kids, it's rare to ever be truly alone in the house!) I am still processing how I feel about all of this, and all that goes along with this diagnosis. I'm also doing some research. I was a bit surprised at Kibby's scores on the autism test... we all pretty much expected her to test on the higher-functioning end, and she didn't. This doesn't mean she is low-functioning necessarily, either. She did score "far below average" in a few categories. She is a bit of a puzzle, and we're trying to figure it all out yet. He scores could be skewed a bit due to her problem with auditory processing, or could be completely accurate. The team once was fairly certain it wasn't autism, but after testing her and seeing her results, feel that they got accurate information and the results are correct. She will be re-evaluated at the end of Kindergarten to see if she still qualifies for services.

Kibby also qualifies for services for a language disorder. Which sounds pretty general, to me, but I'm not sure how you could narrow that down for her, either. He use of language is unique and odd, sometimes embarrassing, or even downright funny.

We have one more meeting to go before Kibby will start preschool. We will be prioritizing goals for Kibby and meeting with the teachers and observing her classroom. She will go four mornings per week, following the regular school year. For me, right now, the hardest part about her attending school is her transportation. I have to admit it kind of freaks me out to put my 4-year-old child on a bus or van with a stranger, for a nearly 20-minute ride (each way, not including other stops the bus may make) for four days a week. What about car seats? Do they have them? I have so many questions and things to figure out. We do have the option to drive her ourselves, of course, but I'm not sure how that would work with Ethan's bus schedule. I know I shouldn't worry about it, especially when I don't know the details yet. Deep breath, Susan... deeeep breath...

There. That's better.

I'll post another update when I have her appointment set up and I know when she'll be starting school! Whoa, it feels strange to type that. Ethan never went to preschool, so I'm not used to this. I always thought I'd have her at home until she was five and a half! *sniff*

***Update - I have her meeting set up for March 1st, and Kibby will begin school on March 2nd! I'm not sure I'm ready for this! I'm excited for her and nervous all at the same time. ***

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Birthday Girl!

Happy Birthday, Kibby!

Yesterday was Kibby's birthday. Here she is telling us all how old she is!
Anybody notice what's missing?




Two of her gifts - Strawberry Shortcake dolls.



She loves Strawberry Shortcake. She watches the 2 Strawberry Shortcake DVDs that she owns all the time! (I do mean all. the. time!) One of them is called Strawberry Shortcake, Berry Big Journeys. (I won it for her from my friend Sarah's blog. Thanks, Sarah!) Kibby loves to watch it, and she calls it "Strawberry Shortcake Big Germs". :)

She also got some Color Wonder paint & marker kits. She loves to draw and paint and color. She had gotten some Color Wonder stuff from her grandparents for Christmas and has been coloring pictures a lot lately. Since Christmas, when she wants to color, she will tell me, "I just want markers for Christmas, I just want to draw!" all in one breath, rushed together. It's the same phrase, said in the same tone, every time. That's just how Kibby is.


Here is some of her recent artwork:
This used to be more of the norm for her. She would fill entire sheets of paper with just purple. Every single white spot covered with purple marker or crayon. I'm happy to see she is expanding her love of color beyond just that one!



I had asked her to open her eyes instead of squinting them shut (how she usually smiles for the camera!) and she signed "awake" for me! :)



She used up all of her finger paints in about an hour! I looked over and realized she was using gobs of paint at a time, her little fingers nearly stuck together. Ah well, I thought... she is having fun. She was so focused at her creations, too!

Switching gears a bit, we have been having quite a few appointments for her lately. She has been having tests done to see if she will qualify for Early Childhood classes. So far she has had two speech / language evaluations, a vision test, a hearing test, a meeting with a social worker, some academic testing, and she has two more to appointments go. She will have an autism checklist screening done next week, and she will also see a developmental nurse practitioner. I hope to have all of the results compiled by our meeting with the school district in mid-February. I will update around that time to let everyone know what we find out!

For now, we'll keep up the artwork, one day at a time!


Monday, January 25, 2010

Not Me My Husband Monday!




Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else* have not been doing this week.

*Or in this case, our husbands. :)



It's been a while since I've done a Not Me Monday post, hasn't it? I usually don't have time in my week to be witty and keep up with everything else going on, but I just couldn't pass this one up. It's not about me. It's not about my kids. It's about THIS man right here:

Nice hair, don't ya think? Although I think it makes him look a bit pale here. Needs Photoshop touch ups, but I just don't have time anymore!

Anyway, without further ado...

Not Me My Husband Monday!

Seth, my husband of nearly six years, frequently has us in stitches without even really trying. Maybe that is what makes it so funny? Here are a few Sethisms. Some recent, some from a while ago. All funny.

* A few Summers ago, he rode his bike to work to save gas. He parked it in the bicycle rack downtown near his building without locking it up. When he returned at the end of the day, his bike was not gone. As in not stolen. He did not call me and I did not say, "Well, did you lock it up?" His reply:
"Well, no! It was parked right out in the open. Buildings with tons of windows all around it. Who would steal it with all those people watching?" It did not take me a minute to reply. I was not at a loss for words at his logic. I guess he forgot to put a sign on the bike stating it was his? :)

* Another time, we were looking in the local swap n shop ads for a kitchen table and chairs. We saw one, but didn't recognize the first 3 digits of the phone numbers listed in the ad and we didn't want to drive too far out of town. Seth decided to call the number and inquire. When the person on the other end of the line answered, "Hello?", my dear husband did not simply begin the conversation with, "Hi. Where do you live?" (and the person at the other end of the line most certainly did not answer him with the name of the town!)

* When visiting my sister in the next state over, we were getting in the car to drive somewhere, and my father was standing over by the kids on my sister's cement slab in her yard(which will someday soon be their garage floor). My dad (aka "Bumpa" to the grandkids) did not trip over some toy the kids had left sitting around, nearly falling over. My husband did not blurt out without thinking, "Oh no! Bumpa took a dump!" (He did not really mean "digger" and the boys did not find this so hilarious that they still giggle about it to this day!)


*Disclaimer:
No husbands were harmed in the making of this post. Hopefully no marriages, either! :) I love you, Honey! xoxo





Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I'm growing!

I'm getting bigger!




See?

This was me just after Christmas. (I'm thinking hard!)






Here I am on New Year's Eve. So excited I can hardly stand it.






But I do like to try to talk to Mommy!





And here I am most recently. All 13 and a half pounds of me. :)
(And it's Mommy's fault I look green here. I thought she was going to fix that...)




See you soon! :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Very Late Christmas Post

Only nearly a month late...



Merry Christmas!


Kibby provided our laugh for the morning, when she got her stocking, she went from Grandma to Grandpa saying in an excited voice, 'TRICK OR TREAT!!!" and held out her stocking to them. Ah, Kibby... Great enthusiasm, but wrong holiday. :)



Checking out their stocking gifts and candy.



Ethan got a chore chart. It's magnetic, and I still haven't thought of a really good place to put it where the little ones won't be into it and either rearranging the magnets or losing them, or worse - choking on them. Ethan was (still is) pretty excited about it, though.



The girls got fleece slings that Grandma made for them. Ruby loved hers and I have a couple dozen pics of her wearing her baby that morning. Kibby liked hers but wasn't nearly as excited. She chose to carry a Care Bear in hers.



Here is Ruby when she first opened hers. My mom had made them each 3 dolly blankets and a sling. Ruby immediately gave hers a snuggle!




Our family of six! (Wow, nobody is crying!)