Friday, December 26, 2008

Our Holiday, in pictures.

Here are a few pictures from our Christmas. It was quiet, Howard had to work, and other plans were postponed due to weather.

Our "tree".

The Boy checking out the presents. (M0st of them are for him).

A book he got from Grammy and Grandaddy.

The Boy and his Daddy gave me toe socks.
Here are all his presents.
I hope all of you had a wonderful Holiday.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Winter Solstice!

Today is the first day of Winter, I guess it officially started around 4 AM or so. The weather co-operated and we have a pretty winter scene outside. However, it's ice on top of the snow on top of ice, so it's a mess if you need to go out in it.

Here are a few pictures I took this morning at 8:30, it's only about 1 degree warmer now at 12:43 so it looks nearly the same out there right now.

Close up of an evergreen bush with the layers of ice.

This is the top of the same evergreen bush.


Ice on the cast iron porch supports.


A poor little rhododendron, frozen and ice covered, but strangely pretty.

Our neighbors made these snowmen yesterday late in the day. You can just see the smaller one peeking out from behind the bigger one.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter weather photo post.

We've have snow, and freezing temps for the last week. This meant NO SCHOOL! Winter break started a week early I guess. So here are a few pictures I took this week.

This first one is titled:
All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!
(However, The Boy doesn't understand he says he wants
"All the Hottest toys.")
It was almost dark when The Boy finally talked his Dad into taking him outside. Mom had to go out too in order to get the necessary "Snow Day" pictures.


The next day was better, the sun actually came out. We had a great day.

There was some beautiful color in the sunset that evening.

This is a street half a block away from out apartment. We were waiting for the bus to get some shopping done before the next wave of snow and ice was supposed to come.

An old, non functioning water fountain, The Boy thought we should try to take the ice out but it wouldn't come out. It did wiggle around some though.

The Boy and his Dad playing in the snow. The snow ball Dad is making? It hit ME on the shoulder mere moments after I took this shot. It got snow on the camera, luckily it seems the camera is snow resistant.

I'm working again!

After a lot of waiting and worrying, I finally have some Daycare children. They are a family with 5 kids, Ages 2, 4, 6, 7, and 9. They are really good kids, well behaved, interested in learning stuff, and friendly with Aidan. As long as things keep working out for their Mom with her job, and nothing happens to take them away from Salem, I'll be watching them close to full time. The pay rate around here isn't very good, she gets daycare assistance, but the hours I have all 5 together I make pretty good money.

Howard has been home from work for the last week, because of the snow and ice on the roads between here and the casino. They called and told him they changed his schedule. He will never think that me staying home and babysitting is easy ever again. The kids were here for only of the days he was home, they were really well behaved those days, but he felt drained those days when they went home. Plus there were 2 of us! LOL I think he has a greater respect for what I do now.

The next thing I need to do is figure out how much I need to keep out for taxes each month. I don't think I'll make enough to really make much difference for tax purposes, but I'd rather have some money in Savings I can spend in February than have to figure out how to come up with some extra money to pay taxes. With Earned Income Credit, and all the other credits we can usually depend on, we should still have a plus at the end of everything. I guess I'm still worried that we'll end up owing if I don't save, even though we will probably be fine if I don't. It's not a bad thing to get in the habit of saving, right?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sadness, memories, and Holiday wishes.

I'm feeling sad today. I'll admit to watching all the ABC soaps, every day I'm home to watch them that is. So, today was the funeral for a still born baby girl, born to young parents on One Life to Live. I was reminded of our little Erin Marie. It's been over 10 years since she was still born to my Oldest Son and his fiance, but now and then I think of her and wonder what kind of a girl she would be now, what color of hair would she have? What color would her eyes be? Would she be like her Dad and be into computers? And I tear up missing her.

It helps to think of my Grandson, he turned 10 this year. He's a lot like his Dad, the good and the bad. I miss him too, because he lives all the way across the country from me, but I know that his Mom is taking good care of him. And that his Dad is trying his best to be a good Dad for him. I talked to my Grandson on his birthday, he was a bit distracted as 10 year old boys tend to be when talking to people they don't really know, but he was nice and polite such a good boy.

It's a bit strange thinking about my Grandchildren, who would both be 10 now, while watching my 5 year old son play with his toys. It's not the usual order of things. I'm kind of old to be raising a young child, at least in the eyes of most of society. However, I feel much younger than I really am. Perhaps it's because of the boys. I'm still in touch with some of their friend who still live around here, or maybe it's because of The Boy, he keeps me busy and doesn't let me get too set in my ways. Or it might be because I have really good friends who are younger and they keep me interested in things and more aware.

This time of year always brings memories of family for me. Those who are still here and those who have passed. So now I have to go plan for the Christmas presents I'm going to make for my family this year. I have things I need to remember to get when my Mom comes to take me shopping this Friday. I hope you all have a nice evening, and that the coming days are not too stressful.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Texas Pepper Jelly e-Cookbook giveaway.

I just discovered this Web site for Texas Pepper Jelly, it looks interesting. I'd like to try some of the jelly some day, I'll have to look for it at the store next time I'm there. I've looked before and didn't find it, so maybe it's not or it wasn't in stores here in Oregon. They are having a give away, if you leave a comment you will get an eCookbook, and if you post about it in your blog you could get a knife as well. I want the cookbook, especially if I can find the jelly. I know some of you cook so I thought you might be interested in this as well.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Picture Post



Sitting and waiting for the bus.
Do I hear Geese?


Good Moring.


This is how my Spider Boy sleeps.

Pink Apple Butter Bread.

The Boy and I made the Apple Butter Bread yesterday. I think the water was too cold to activate the yeast correctly. I didn't have oil so I used butter but forgot to adjust the amount of salt, so it's a little salty. I didn't have any Whole Wheat flour so I used all unbleached all purpose flour, I know that changes things somewhat, but I already changed it with the butter so ... I also added 4 drops of red food coloring, because The Boy asked me to. Other than a little bit too much salt, The Boy and his Dad didn't seem bothered by the saltiness so maybe it's just me, the taste was nice. It might be because it was Thanksgiving and our minds were preoccupied with all things Thanksgiving, but it tasted and smelled as if it had pumpkin in it. This morning I used it to make french toast, that was really yummy. I'm going to try it again in a few days and see if I can get it to rise better. I want to try Pumpkin Butter too. Maybe for Christmas.
Here's a couple of pictures of the Apple Butter Bread all sliced up and ready to eat.


You can see the slightly pink coloring, maybe next time we will add more drops of color.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Parent Teacher Conference, yesterday.

For some reason I thought our parent/teacher conference was at 1:30, I guess it was actually at 12:30, but we got there early. The Speech teacher happened to see us and took us to the classroom. We had 30 minutes to talk to them, instead of an hour as scheduled, but we covered it all in that time.

The Boy is doing well, he is in a classroom with Kindergarten, First and Second grade kids. All of them have a few different problems. Things like Downs Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Speech Delays and other learning disabilities. We don't know what, if any, disabilities The Boy may have. He is a little delayed, and seems really innocent for boy almost 6 years old. There hasn't been too much in the way of testing to figure it out yet, but we are working on it.

The Boy is in the highest reading group, he is picking up reading pretty quickly. He is still working on some comprehension aspects, sight words, and being able to retell a story sequence.

Speech seems to be going well, he is communicating appropriately, asking good questions, and contributes relevant information during discussions.

He is still having trouble with writing, he really dislikes writing, and won't practice very often, so he isn't dong very well yet. I'll have to keep working with him on it. The teacher wants him to use colors rather than markers when he is drawing or writing, because it will make him work a little harder building up strength in his fingers. He also suggested getting more Playdoh, since the stuff we have has dried out, or clay for more strength building play. Maybe that will help make writing easier for him.

Math is an on going project. He isn't showing them his knowledge of numbers as well at school as he shows us here at home. But for kindergarten he is doing pretty well, or so they told us yesterday. There are a few things that we can work on here at home, now all I have to do is find a way that will be fun enough that he will want to do it.

He needs to learn how to stay on task and finish his work in a reasonable amount of time. He's not too far off an average kindergarten kid in that area.

All in all we are all pleased with his progress this grading period.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Pumpkin stuff.

I have 4 small pumpkins, I'm planning on cooking them up and making some pumpkin butter. I want at least 4 pints of pumpkin butter from them. I'll buy some canned pumpkin to make some pumpkin bread or pumpkin butter bread, because I don't think my little pumpkins will make all that much. I'll probably try to make at least on pumpkin pie, and I want to make pumpkin pancakes too. I wish I had more pumpkins.

I haven't been knitting much this year, at least not like I was last year. I also haven't been taking very many pictures. I guess this year is my non creative year. I've been baking bread though so I'm not feeling totally deprived.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

School pictures.

We got The Boy's school pictures back yesterday. They are pretty nice for school pictures, not great, but good for what they are. The photographer obviously told him to show his teeth when he smiled, so his mouth is kind of strange, but that's fine. Now I want to scan he 8x10 to post here for everyone who would like to see it, but don't really want a hard copy of their own. I'm not sure if its okay to do that. Copy right and all. So, what would you do?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sunshine and rain.

It looks like those of us who live in Oregon are going to get a few days of sunshine. I think it's Aidan's fault. You see he got a new umbrella day before yesterday, and he really wants to use it. So of course the weather will be nice for as long as possible. It's like washing a car is an almost sure way to get it to rain. So we will be enjoying the sun while we have it, and we will enjoy the rain when it comes.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Happy Birthday!

To me and all the other October birthday people out there. My brother Cody had a birthday last week, and a blogger friend had a birthday on the 14th. Both of my Mother's parents had birthdays in October, as well as her sister. (All three are gone now.) My friend Soloman also has a birthday this month, I believe it's the 31st. (Or am I remembering wrong? Hennifer or The Girl, I know you two will know.) I'm 49 today, can you believe it? I feel 29 most of the time. I don't mind my age at all, it's hard to deny it anyway since I have a son who is 29, another son who is 26 and a grandson who will be 10 in December. I'm sure I look fairly close to my age, being over weight helps me look my age. I have several friends who are late 20s or early 30's, and The Boy is 5, which helps keep me feeling younger and looking at the world with a younger set of mind.

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY! To anyone who has/had a birthday this month. I hope you all have a wonderful birthday and a great month.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Forgotten birthday.

I had migraines for most of the last week of September. That's the only excuse I have for forgetting that my Grand-nephew had a birthday during that week. I have a gift for him, but forgot to call or send a card. I didn't hear about a party either, so I guess I'll have to keep the gift until I see him next. It's not much, I wish it could be more. Anyway I feel a little guilty for letting it pass and not at least calling. I don't think that his Mom reads my blog, but his Grandpa does. So, Mark I'm sorry I missed your grandchild's birthday. I hope he had a great day, because he is a great kid. Love to all of you.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Baking.

Yesterday I was very busy baking. I made a pizza from scratch. It was a thick crust pizza. I had some frozen leftover pizza sauce, and some inexpensive sausage. I planned for this and got some grated Mozzarella cheese. The Boy likes pineapple, and I like tomatoes so we had that to add as we wanted. It turned out pretty good, except I over cooked the cheese. Next time I'll cook the dough for 20 minutes then add the toppings and finish off the last 5 to 10 minutes.

I also baked 3 loaves of bread. I used a recipe I found on a Cooking for Your Family message board. It's called Amish bread. It's a good basic white bread. (I've made it with some whole wheat flour and it turns out really good. However whole wheat flour is fairly expensive and right now we can't afford it.) I doubled the recipe, it usually makes 2 loaves. I made it into 3 loaves instead of 4 because my loaf pans are a little bit bigger than normal pans. They turned out really well. I was pretty busy for about 3 hours, making the pizza dough, then the bread dough, baking the pizza while the bread did it's last rise, and then baking the bread while we ate dinner. I get a little over heated a lot these days, so I had to spend all down time sitting in front of the fan to cool off. I want to do cookies, but I want chocolate chip and don't have the money for chips. Oh well maybe next payday.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ramble about financial options.

I haven't found any kids to babysit yet. It would be good to have 2 or 3 full time kids. I want to have a couple hundred dollars to ease up the budget some. So we can get extras once in awhile. H's pay checks pay our bills, and buys food. Sometimes we just barely make ends meet, but they always meet. Thank goodness. So if I can't find some kids soon, I guess I'll have to start looking for something I can do when H is home, something that won't cost much for transportation and that I won't have to spend much for work cloths. Data entry from home would be good, if I could find it. Something online that would allow flexibility? So far I haven't found anything to fit those conditions. I don't think we can afford daycare for The Boy, even part time. Well, if I found something that paid well enough to cover daycare, food at work, transportation, cloths and still let us have 2 or 3 hundred a month after all that, then it would be worth it for me to work outside the home. It's been suggested that we apply for food stamps, we probably qualify, but I'd rather not unless we absolutely have to, and right now we don't have to.

I don't have money to start an on-line business, advertisement and what not is out of our budget right now. I'm not sure that would be the best thing for me anyway.

We have decided that we want to get a house some day. H was impressed when we were looking at M's new house. (They were finishing up the moving in process about 2 weeks ago when we were there for M's birthday.) So, since our typical pay checks pay our bills and get some food, we decided to put at least half of every Tax return check in a savings account. If we can do it, and not dip into it during the year, we should be able to have a decent down payment in 6 to 9 years. We probably should save all of it, but with The Boy's birthday in February, and computer/camera/other electronic stuff we want to get, I don't think it's realistic for us to expect to save more than half. If I get some income myself, we might be able to save more money and be ready quicker than that. I'm not sure we can save anything to tell you the truth. There are always things we need or want to get, cloths or shoes for The Boy, bikes for all three of us, special foods, rented cars to go places with, helping pay for gas so my Mom can come visit, Holiday gifts, and birthday's. But we are going to give it a try.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

First Day Of School, with pictures.

Wednesday was The Boy's first day of school. Kindergarten is wonderful so far, so he tells me. He likes his teachers and the other children in his class. And he enjoys playing on the playground. We will see how he does as things progress.

Here are a few pictures I took on the first day of school. I know that every other blogger with kids has probably done this millions of times, but this is OUR first day of Kindergarten. I didn't get to do this with the older boys, the Internet wasn't around for the public when they started Kindergarten.







Friday, August 29, 2008

Kindergarten starts soon.

I'm starting to feel nervous about The Boy starting kindergarten. The first day of school for him will be September 3rd. He is in the morning class, the bus will pick him up at 8:11 AM, school starts at 8:45. The bell rings at 11:15 for him to leave school to come home. I'm not sure what time the bus will drop him off. There will be 11 or 12 children in his class. I talked to his teacher yesterday, I told him about the sensory issues, we discussed an OT coming to watch The Boy in class, and talking to his Doctor about the things I see as problems. I need to get his school supplies, and he needs new shoes. However, it will be at least 2 weeks after the first day of school before we can get shoes. Gotta pay the rent first.

Anyway, I don't know what I'll do all morning without my boy. Even on days like today, when he is pushing his limits and being extra loud, I'm going to miss his sooo much. I'm looking for children to babysit, I sent in an application to get on a referral list through the state. I'm still looking for work at home jobs that are flexible enough to fit in with my life.


Here's two silly pictures I took of The Boy today. He is so cute and can be so sweet.


Friday, August 15, 2008

I'm a Mother-in-law now.

Does that mean I should start being meddlesome or mean? LOL I'm glad that Christopher decided to forgive me for not telling him when we moved to California. (In my defence, I didn't have a phone number to call, not even a message number, to let him know.) Anyway, the Wedding was beautiful. I love my Daughter-in-law and hope we will be able to get to know each other better. Christopher seems so happy, and they fit each other well. I'm not sure what else to say so here are a few pictures that Christopher's Grandma took, his Dad's Mom.

Christopher before the Wedding.

The Bride and Groom.

The Ceremony.
(For those who know, yes that is Colin preforming the ceremony.)


Introducing the Newly Weds.


My Mom and Me.


The bride getting into the cart that will take her and the groom to the reception.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Rambling post about employment.

I'm going to have to find a job. I wanted to wait until The Boy was in First Grade to start looking for a full time job, but with the economy the way it is right now I'm not going to be able to wait. They are cutting Howard's hours at work, and the promises they made him about a management position were just so much fluff as far as I can tell. Everything costs so much these days, even with the pay check we were expecting to be getting by now things would be tight. So I'm looking for some thing that will not only pay for child care, my student loans, but also be able to add something to our account. Howard is looking for something in town, something that will pay what he is making now. He has several skill areas, forklift driver, cook/prep cook, dishwasher, as well as computer skills. There are nearly 3 times the jobs, right now on the Employment Department website, for him as there are for me.

My experience is old, the last job I had was in California driving and doing paperwork for a Mobile Tire Repair business. Working in Schools, well it's been something like 20 years since I did a practicum in a school. (I did have a little bit of substitute work a year or so after the practicum but that's still a long time ago.) Day care doesn't pay much, but if I found one or two kids to babysit I wouldn't have to pay for Day care for Aidan so it might work out okay.

So anyway, I'm looking for a day shift job, or any shift babysitting, here in town that I can get to on the bus and pays well. If Howard stays where he is I won't need insurance, because he has it and we are all covered. But if he changes jobs, we will have to manage insurance somehow.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Graduating to Orange Belt.

The Boy got his Orange Belt today. At his level it's given for improvement, not skill. He has learned quite a bit, but he has a way to go before he is ready to go into the black belt academy where he will be tested on his skill level. Here are a few pictures of him with his belt and medal.


Chah Reot (Sounds like Chariot and means Attention)

Kyeong Nae (sounds like coonyea and means bow)

A punch.
These pictures were taken with a camera phone so the quality is not very good, plus there was a smudge on the lens.

5 and 6 year olds who "tested" or graduated to the next belt.
(The Boy is third from the left including the lady in black)

The Boy with Master Lyon, and two instructors.
Kick!
The Boy is in the middle.

Punch!

High Block!


ONE MA'AM! TWO MA'AM!


Sitting in line watching others test.
He's fourth from the left.

The Boy did really well, he only got distracted a couple of times. He kept wanting to see what the other kids were doing, but tried to keep on track. He still needs to work on his form, looking people in the eye when they are talking to him, and not talking in class. He's really proud of himself and is enjoying the classes.
I'm really proud of him, he has learned quite a bit, and is working on the things he needs to work on. He even spontaneously remembers to say "Yes Mom!" or "Yes Dad!" several times a week!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Baking bread.

I've been baking bread lately. I'm trying to save a little money, however I'm not sure how much I'm actually saving. I know that the cost of flour, yeast, salt, sugar, milk and butter is less per loaf than the cost of a loaf of bread at the store. But I'm not sure how much electricity I use baking bread. It is very yummy bread, H and The Boy seem to really like it. I enjoy making it, and eating it, so maybe that in itself makes it worth the time and electricity it takes to bake bread every two or three days. I'm trying recipes, looking for one that makes a good amount of bread (2 or 3 nice loaves), and has good flavor.

I've tried 2 so far, the first didn't rise very well, I'm not sure why, maybe I miss read the amount of yeast, or the milk was too hot. The second make 2 really huge loaves, they are so big over the top of the bread pan that they tend to crush the bottom portion if left in the normal upright position too long. Next time I'll make 2 smaller loaves and some dinner rolls, or try for 3 loaves.

I have a couple of other recipes I'm going to try eventually, I may have to take the best of the different recipes and make up one that works best for us. I want to make some potato bread, and get some quality whole wheat flour.

I wish that my stand mixer wasn't so old. It was made in the late 1960's into the middle of the 1970's, it's a Kitchen aide model 4-c. I could really use a dough hook for it, and a bowl that is actually made for it would be nice. But it's old enough that the company has no idea where I can get replacement parts. I called them about it last year. Maybe one day I'll have the money to get a new one, or get lucky enough to find the parts on freecycle or at a garage sale or something.

If you have any good recipes for bread, or ideas that might be helpful, I'd love to hear them. Thanks.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Update, and summer plans.

Our computer has been in Texas for the last 3 weeks or so. It had a bit of a break down, and needed a new motherboard. We thought that it would be gone until the 21st of this month, but they got it done faster than expected and it arrived Monday morning! We are all very excited to have our computer back. We didn't know how much we each used it until we couldn't use it any more. Howard has some maintenance to do before all is well again, but it's getting there. I'll be able to do pictures in a few days so you can expect a picture post soon.

The Boy started Taekwondo classes today. We are paying for them with out economic stimulus check, I'm not sure that we would have been able to pay the $595 for 6 months of classes, 2 uniforms, membership in the ATA (American Taekwondo Association) and some other paperwork kind of stuff. He's loving it! We are hoping that he will learn self control, respect, and confidence as well as self defense. I like the school and the teachers there, they are willing to give him some personal help as he learns what he needs to learn in his classes. There are 2 other boys in the class, both are about 5 or 6, they are at different levels in the training. The teacher doesn't stop the class to show The Boy what to do, he asked an other teacher to stand by The Boy and help him with the form, standing still, all the things the other boys know already. It was good, he is learning quickly, and didn't disrupt class any more than the other boys did. In January we will look at how The Boy is doing, what he does best and if he is ready to go into the Black Belt Program, which is a specific program aimed at getting the student trained to Black Belt and beyond. It involves more discipline and has a stricter set of rules. There are different degrees of Black Belt, and once a student reaches a certain degree and is old enough they can teach lower levels to pay for their further training. The Boy may or may not be ready to do that in January, (if he is ready before January we will do what we need to do to change him over to the program) if he isn't he can still continue with the Basic Program as long as he wants to and as long as we can pay for it. In February we usually get our Tax return so we will be able then to pay for the next 6 months or whatever. (The Black Belt program is a 2 or 3 year commitment from what I understand from our introduction class.) Maybe someday we will have enough money to take a family class, although with Howard's schedule it would most likely be just The Boy and me.

I'm planning for August. Christopher is getting married on the 8th, and my Dad turns 70 on the 10th. I need to figure out what to get as a wedding present, and decide if The Boy and I will stay at my parents after the birthday party and help Mom do some canning before The Boy has to start Kindergarten. I'm excited about all of it, my FIRST baby is getting married! My soon to be daughter-in-law is a sweet woman, I'm very happy to welcome her to our family. I wish I had a little bit more time and money to help out with the birthday bash, but I'll do what I can. It's going to be great fun. If all of the FAMILY members who have said that they would like to come to the party actually make it, there will be something like 27 adults and 12 children, 3 of the children are teens, I think the oldest of the other children is 8 or 9, and the youngest will be 1 year old. Of course some of them won't be able to make it, I think that 6 of the adults have cancelled taking 2 of the teens with them. Even if it's only my Dad, Mom, my brothers, their wives, children and grandchildren, Jessica and her boyfriend, Me, Howard and my 3 boys it will be wonderful! I love family!

The weather has been kind of hot, and very muggy. I overheat quickly these days, so I keep water close, and stop at the store to get sports drinks if we are out and about too long. We are enjoying summer so far, and are looking forward to The Boy starting Kindergarten in September.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Concerns of an over protective Mom.

I need to figure out how to teach the boy how to deal with a feeling I don't fully understand. He says that things get to be "Too much." sometimes at school, or when playing with other kids. The noise they make, the way they touch him, and not wanting to play the same games they do. The way he talks about it, it sounds like it builds up and doesn't go away for a long time. Sometimes it's still there from the day before. WE need to figure out a release for him that doesn't involve hitting or screaming.

He has always been fairly easy going. He wouldn't fight back when the cousins in California (Howard's side of the family) would hit him or take the toy he was playing with. He would just move away and do something else. He took the move back to Oregon with little problem. Not long after we got here he started screaming when he didn't get his way, or when he thought he was getting in trouble. Not every time, but often enough that we all noticed it. Maybe that was his age and lack of language to explain how he was feeling, or maybe it was the start of these problems. When we stayed with my niece, he didn't do anything for weeks when her son would bite him. But he finally had enough and began to pinch and sometimes scratch him to stop him from biting. It took less time at school for him to start to push or hit kids that pushed or hit him first.

As far as I can tell the other kids are often the first ones to hit, however I know that he probably has done something else that provokes it. I don't think The Boy means to treat others in a way that would cause others to hit or push him, but he still has trouble with personal space, and he drools quite a bit, which make people uncomfortable. I think he is sometimes too rough with what he thinks are nice touches.

I need to figure out how to teach him about personal space, and how to keep his mouth dry. We need to work on what to do instead of pushing or hitting someone who is irritating him, whether it's hitting, pushing or just bugging him. He is a good kid most of the time.

Any ideas? Anything that has worked with other kids, or things that have helped you control your negative feelings? I could use all the help I can get. Thanks

Monday, May 26, 2008

The problems you can get into when talking to Teens.

We have some friends who have a boy who is 14 or 15. He's a very bright and usually polite young man. His Mom and Dad are divorced. Dad Married a woman with young children, and he adopted them. I think they are 4,5,7 and 8. Mom has 2 kids with her new husband, they are 1 and 2 now.

I've heard rumors that the Teen can be really cruel to his younger siblings. He says mean things, teases them, pushes them down etc. I think he is feeling displaced. He was an only child for a long time, and now he has to share the attention of his parents, who seem to spend much more time and energy with the little ones than they do with the Teen. Ive heard Teen talking about some of the things he does to his brothers and sisters, like stepping on their feet, calling them names, and throwing Lego's at them.

Anyway, we were at a BBQ with Teen, his Dad, Step-Mom and siblings, There were other friends there as well, but none of them were close in age to Teen, leaving Teen pretty much on his own. Eventually Teen started talking to some of the younger people there, they tried to include him in their conversations and tried to be friendly with him. I think they were feeling sorry for him. Eventually Teen started to ask some rather personal questions, he kept pushing for answers even when they didn't want to talk about it. (He asked them how old they were when they had sex for the first time. And about doing drugs. For example.) 2 of the young men thought they would use their experiences to illustrate what not to do. They honestly answered his questions, and told him how they had thought, at the time, that doing those things was cool. They told him that they later regretted what they had done, and knew that they had been wrong. After that Teen and his family went home.

A few days later we heard how the Dad and Step-Mom were very upset with the 2 young men for some of the things Teen said they had told him. He said that they wouldn't stop talking about sex and drugs even when he asked them to. He misrepresented how the subject came up and didn't mention that the young men had told him how much they regretted what they had done when they were younger. His parents wouldn't listen to people who told them the whole story.

We also found out that he had told his parents that Howard had threatened him. Which I suppose was partially correct, Howard did tell him that if he ever saw him throwing rocks at The Boy again he would drag him kicking and screaming to his parents and suggest a rather drastic punishment. Probably not a good thing to say, but Howard had just seen Teen throw a rock that narrowly missed The Boy's Head and was understandably quite angry about it.

This family won't talk to anyone directly involved with the things they have problems with, they won't listen to anyone telling them what they had seen and heard. They are choosing to totally believe their son.

I feel badly for the 2 young men, they were wrong to talk to him about the things they did, they are feeling guilty over the whole thing. One of them says he is going to lie if asked such questions in the future. He feels badly that he will purposely lie to someone, but feels that it may cause less trouble. (I think that talking frankly with a young person you don't know well, is probably not a good idea. Not because I think that young Teens will lie, but because you don't know their maturity level and it may be more than they can handle. Of course I don't think a 14 or 15 year old should be asking adults questions about sex and drugs either, at least not at a back yard party.)

I'm actually rather proud of Howard. He's changed quite a bit since becoming a Daddy. Before The Boy he would have grabbed the Teen and at least shaken him, no warnings given. If the person had been older than 18 he would probably have started a fight. Now he will give warnings if appropriate by his standards. (which usually means someone is young and probably just needs to learn or needs a reminder.) Or he will call the appropriate authorities to deal with the situation. The parents for someone 17 and younger, or the police for someone 18 and older, even though he would prefer not to talk to the police because of his own not so stellar background.) No one gets away with harming or threatening to harm The Boy while his Daddy is around.

So I guess the lesson here is not to talk to young people you don't know very well about things of a very personal nature. You can be friendly with them and talk to them about other things. Just be more careful than these 2 guys were. They were wrong, and they know it. And maybe Howard should have gone directly to the parents instead of talking to the Teen himself. I think he thought he was helping the Teen to keep out of trouble with his parents.

Anyway this has been bothering me for quite awhile, and I decided that I'd rather get it out than keep running through it in my head. Thanks for getting this far.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Boy, another Update.

We had the meeting with The Boy's school about his kindergarten class room. At this point he will be going to the LRC or Learning Resource Center. There are more adults in that class room, so when a child needs one on one attention they are more likely to be able to get it. It will also be easier for the OT, if there is one involved with him, to visit him in class. It seems to be noise that is his biggest problem right now, so fewer students will also cut down on potential noise in the class room. We do know and understand that even a small number of kids can make huge amounts of noise, so it isn't perfect but probably the best we can do and still keep him in a classroom with other kids. (The Boy wants to GO to school, he wants to be with other kids, and riding the bus is one of his favorite things.)

The OT will be seeing him soon, they want it taken care of before school is out so he can start with everything in place. We are still thinking that he has SID/SPD (Sensory Integration Disorder/Sensory Processing Disorder) mainly because of the problems he has with sounds. He did make a big step forward yesterday, however. We decided to cut his hair, usually this causes screaming and thrashing unless we cut it when he was sleeping. Yesterday he did say that he didn't want his hair cut, but then he sat fairly still and didn't cry or anything until the very last. He said that "It's getting to be too much!" and covered his ears. We quickly finished and talked to him. Thank goodness he is more able to explain what is happening to him! He said that he could "hold it" for a little while, but that the sound and vibration got to be too much. (We were using clippers, scissors are a problem too and take longer.) He says that it's kind of like it hurts, but not really. It's almost scary, but not really. It's just "Too much".

Now we need to focus on finding ways for him to work around the problems he is having. How to walk away when it's getting to be too much. How NOT to hit when someone hurts him, or pushes things too far. It won't be easy, so much of the play I've observed with the boys in the class is rough, loud, and intentionally rude both physically and verbally. It doesn't take long for things to get to be too much. We have to figure out how to modify The Boy's reaction, to these kinds of things. To everyone around him it appears that he is over reacting, to him he's taken all he can and he has to do something to make it stop. Lashing out will usually do that, where talking or asking them to stop won't. He doesn't want to go tell the Teacher, because he doesn't think that's right. There isn't any place he can go to get away either.

Most of the boys he is having problems with also hit, and push. They step on each others toes, and lay down on top of each other. They push and lean on each other, put their legs or arms on each other and other children, The Boy does these some of things too, because he thinks it's fun, because the other boys think it's fun. He leans against other children, he puts his arms or legs on other children. He does these things at the wrong times, with the wrong children, and since he isn't the bully type that some of the others are, he gets a loud reaction that gets the teachers attention and gets him in trouble.

I hate to say anything negative about The Boy's Teacher and her assistants. They are good people and are doing as well as they can, I think. However there are things they should be doing differently, not just to keep The Boy out of trouble, but to keep other kids from getting in trouble as well. The problems happen mostly during free play. During that time, there are usually 2 adults watching the 18 or so kids. One of them might be reading or doing an art project with a few kids, the other will be involved with a few more playing or reading or something. Leaving several children basically unsupervised. Needless to say it's usually the 3 or 4 boys who like to play rough with each other and with others who are left to their own devices. These boys push and hit and trip each other. They are often the ones that The Boy has hit, usually because they hit him first. I just think that one of the official adults should be watching the whole class in general, observing what is happening, and stopping the rough behavior before someone gets hurt. I did mention it at a meeting with the Home Educator, who said he would suggest it to them, however I have been in the class room and nothing has changed. Oh well, there are only a few days, about 22 including weekends and holidays, left until school is out for the summer. I hope his Kindergarten class room will work better for him

Friday, May 02, 2008

Another Update post.

My Step-sister (my Dad and her Mom lived together for several years while she was little. He helped raise her and was probable more of a Dad to her than her bio-dad was) is pregnant. The baby is due November 17. Not big news but it's going to be interesting. She will be 21 November 11, but I'm not sure she is as mature as my niece who will be 21 in December. (She's the mother of 2 now and has always been more mature than my step-sister.)

I found a virtual public school a couple of days ago. It looks interesting, but it's not available in Oregon. It's an on-line school that is free, just like public school. You get all the books, and supplies delivered to the door. The kids get a computer and Internet connection too. I looked at a kindergarten science lesson (I just scanned it I'll have to check it over better later) about life in a pond. It looked like something we would like to do. I want The Boy to actually learn something, but I'm worried that in the special needs class rooms we are considering having him attend he will not get enough actually education. He's smart, but is having problems learning how to deal with other kids. Maybe I'll find something I can afford or another virtual public school that IS in Oregon, to supplement what he will learn in school. Education is very important to me, I worry that his education will suffer while everyone is focusing on his interactions.

I'm still working on getting paid for babysitting The Boy's twin. She doesn't make much money and it seems that most if not all of her money goes to her other bills. I DO understand that she has to pay rent, and get food for her child. I just need to have that money. So I called DHS, because I'd filled out forms to get paid through their program before she moved. They WILL pay me for all the past hours if she calls them and tells them that I did babysit from day X to day X. I'll get a billing form in the mail, and it will take a few days to get the check for the portion they will pay. (something like $171) She will have to pay the rest, which will be something like $114. So now I wait and see if she will do it. (I called her and let her know) I've been stiffed for babysitting before, so I'm not going to hold my breath. We can cover the bills as is, but there won't be enough extra for the things I want to do.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

No more twins. And other updates

Well, The Boy's twin moved closer to the Casino over the week-end so we won't be having him around any more. We are going to miss him a lot. I'm hoping that he will come and visit some times.

So I'm looking for something else to do to make some money. I'm not sure what that will be, because I'll need a really flexible schedule. I feel that I need to be available for The Boy. I also need a few extra hundred dollars, to be able to have the things we want to have and to still be able to eat. LOL So, if you know of any work from home opportunities that are for real let me know okay?

In other news, Howard might be getting a better job soon. It's by now means a done deal, but if he gets it he will be making $11 an hour and will be a manager. He's also looking for things here in town, because it would be easier for him to get to work and home again. But so far there hasn't been much that would be worth it at this point.

The Boy has been having a much better week so far this week. I just hope he can keep it up. I don't know what we will do about Kindergarten next year. I'm not sure he is ready for it yet, and I'm not sure Howard will agree to sending him to a Special Education Kindergarten, where he can learn social interactions, in a smaller class room, along with academics. I've considered Homeschooling him, but I'm not sure I have the ability to do it correctly. In smaller groupings, and one one one, he is so sweet and co-operative. (Most of the time, he is a normal little boy who gets antsy some times.) We have meetings with teachers to talk about his situation. If he will stay where he is for the rest of the year (2 months?) or will go to WESD in a special education class. Then we will have a meeting with the school that he will be going to kindergarten in, about if he should be going there or should be going to the WESD Kindergarten class. By the end of May we should have it all figured out. We just need to find out what he needs to help him do the best he can in school. (I told Howard that I want The Boy to be the Nerd who makes One Million dollars every couple of weeks, rather than the Popular guy who flips burgers. I don't think he agrees with me completely. He wants The Boy to be the Popular guy who makes One Million Dollars every couple of weeks. LOL)

Depressing, death related, post feel free to skip.

I'm feeling sad today. I've been thinking about the members of my family who have passed on. There are 4 members of my family who died from Cancer.
My Dad's Mom (Maude Bea) died when he was just a baby, from "cancer of the female organs".
My Great Grandmother (Mom's Dad's Mom) had cervical cancer.
My Mom's youngest brother's wife (My Aunt Gail) died of breast cancer, and her daughter (Theresa) isn't expected to make it much longer because of it.
My Mom's older sister (My Aunt Carline) and her husband (My Uncle Jim) both were diagnosed with lung cancer, he passed away not long ago, and now my Mom thinks her sister isn't going to be around much longer either.

I've spent more time thinking about heart disease and other circulatory problems than I have about cancer. As far as I know 2 family members have passed from heart related disease. My Dad's Dad, (Grandaddy) when I was about 5 or so, and my Mom's Dad (Pa, or Pop), who had circulatory issues and passed from a stroke. My Mom's Mom (Monie) had some circulatory issues as well, but I believe it was complications of Parkinson's for her.

I should go have a cup of coffee, or get a Pepsi, and relax. It's good to remember those who have passed. They were all important to me in their own way. Even the ones who died before I was born. I miss the ones who are gone, and wish I could spend more time with the ones who are going.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Rambling update.

Between hormonal headaches, and allergy headaches, I'm feeling pretty beat up today. Luckily the rain is keeping quite a bit of the allergens down so I'm managing. However having 2 trees in the yard that I'm allergic to guarantees that I'll suffer at least a little bit until they finish flowering.

We are thinking that The Boy's burst of aggression last week was due mostly to the behavior of other kids who were pushing, hitting, and wouldn't let him play. He knows that it was wrong of him to react that way, and we are trying to find things he can do before he gets too frustrated and/or not physical ways to keep himself out of trouble. Things like telling others not to hit or push him, or walking way to be closer to the teacher. (He won't tell on the other kids. He doesn't want them to get in trouble.) It's going to be a balancing act, because none of us want him to be a punching bag for the other kids, but he can't hurt them back either. He loves school, he thinks that all the kids in his class are his friends, and he would be sad if he couldn't go to school any more. He is still 6 months to a year behind other kids his age in his speech and social skills. We are looking at a kindergarten class for kids with developmental delays. If that is decided to be the best placement, we are hoping that he will learn the coping skills he needs, and since it appears that he is closing the gap between what he is doing and what other kids his age are normally doing we are hoping that he will be ready for first grade in the normal school setting. It's hard watching him go through this, he's a really sweet little boy. He really does love going to school, and all the kids. He just doesn't have the skills to understand and prevent himself from over reacting when he gets overwhelmed. I'm not sure he is understanding what we are telling him, the advice people are giving him to deal with things that are normal for a class this size, or the reasons why he can't hurt others if they hurt him first.

I'm rambling and I'm not making any sense so I'll stop for now.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Aggressive behavior.

The Boy has been having a bout of aggression lately. Until we came back to Oregon I worried that he would be too passive. Other kids would bully him and hurt him because they knew he wouldn't do anything about it. (This happened several times with the cousins kids who were all within months of him in age. 1 boys and 2 girl) That's changed now. He pushes back, and he hits and he grabs other kids when they annoy him. (Sigh) I need to find a way to teach him that he doesn't have to just sit there while other kids hurt him, and that it's not okay to hurt other kids even if they hurt him first. He is normally such a sweet kid. Last night he cried when The Other Boy was in trouble. And yet, on Monday he was in trouble for pushing and shoving at school and today at school he hurt another child. According to The Boy this other child (a boy) hit him 2 times in the stomach before he grabbed him . He says he just wanted L (the other child) to stop hitting him. I understand, but he had such an extreme reaction! He's in time out right now because of it and won't get gummy slugs for his snack later. We talked a long time about why it's not okay to hurt someone else. He seems to understand, but does he really understand? What am I going to do if he keeps this up? He isn't aggressive with adults, maybe because they are bigger than he is or because adults don't often show aggression toward him.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It's almost like having twins.

I'm babysitting again. This time we have a 5 year old boy. His Mom works at the Casino at the gas station. His birthday is one day after The Boy's. I didn't realise how well The Boy pronounces words until I met this boy. He is kind of hard to understand, most of the time. But he is a nice kid, and he and The Boy seem to be getting along pretty well. (It's been two days.) The only thing is I watch him from 1:30 PM until she can get here after dropping off her boyfriend. Last night it was 2:30AM, I'm hoping that tonight it will be closer to 1 AM. It's not really a problem, I'm usually awake until about 1 anyway.

The two boys seem to be playing together very well today. Taking turns with the V-Smile, playing with the trains and being good boys. For the most part. There are some struggles, with who gets to play with what toy first, we use a timer when that comes up. Each of them gets a little loud when they get too frustrated (so far no hitting or pushing), luckily they seem to be able to work things out most of the time. We are working on asking nicely if we want something, asking someone to please stop if they are doing something that bothers us, and sharing toys and games. I'm trying to model the way I want them to do things, and they seem to be trying.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Questions.

Do you ever wonder if the people you have the strongest feelings for, not you children or parents, feel for you even half what you feel for them? What would you do if you found out that they didn't or even that they hardly thought of you at all? There are people I think of regularly, people I have a lot of soft feeling for, who probably don't even remember me much at all. That's okay though, I understand. I'm not a very extroverted person, some of them are quite a bit younger than I am as well, so maybe I'm not very memorable to them. I know that when certain people have gotten to know me they find me interesting enough to call me once in awhile, and seem to enjoy my company.

Here's another question: If you were exchanging e-mail with a friend, that you knew to be married, and she kept referring to "Me" and "My" when you expected "We" and "Our" would you ask your friend about their marriage? What if it was someone you had once been very close to, but now you found yourself rather distant, would you ask them then? Or, what if it were an acquaintance, someone you barely knew? Why would you or wouldn't you ask about their marriage?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Cuteness alert!

Just in case you don't want to read cute, sweet, things said by a 5 year old boy you might want to stop reading this post.

Okay, This post is going to be totally a Mommy blogger kind of post. That should be sufficient warning just in case someone came here looking for something less child oriented. (Like that is likely to happen. :P)

A couple of nights ago The Boy and I had a hard time sleeping. At one point we were both laying on the couch. He whispered "Tell me a story Mama." I asked which story he would like to hear.

"The one with the little baby that grew and grew and grew until he was 2 and flushed his Mommy's watch down the potty."
So I told him the story, with my own bits added and some of the original bits left out. Our favorite parts are where the Mommy rocks her boy "back and forth, back and forth, back and forth" and when she sings to him.
After I finished The Boy was quiet and I thought he had fallen asleep. Several minutes later I felt his little arm come up around my neck and he whispered "Mama, I'll rock you back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. I love you forever, I love you for always, As long as I'm Something MY Mama you will be." (I have to explain about the Something, it isn't because he forgot the words, although he might have because he doesn't understand what "as long as I'm living" means, it's because he's been telling me "I'm really Something!" lately. I'm not sure where he heard that, because I haven't said it, but to him it's a good thing.)
In a couple of minutes he really was asleep, but my eyes still had tears in them from the sweetness of his comment.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What's black and blue and exhausted? We are.

Not a good day for me.
I didn't sleep well last night.
I couldn't get to sleep quickly and once I did I woke up coughing and choking, and ended up throwing up.
Once that was over I got to sleep for about an hour and The Boy woke up with a bad dream and wanted to snuggle with me.
It took about an hour for him to fall asleep.
Since our bed is on the floor right now I couldn't pick him up to take him to his own bed and it was WAY too crowded for the 3 of us to sleep there together so I got up and slept on the couch for about 30 minutes.
The Boy woke up again and needed me.
So we cuddled on the couch until he was asleep again.
At this point it was 5 AM, so I went back to bed to get all the sleep I could.
At 7 The Boy was awake for the day, Howard didn't even stir so I got up with him.
At 9 Howard woke up and I took a nap until 11.
The Boy had school today, so at 11:40 we went outside to wait for the bus.
One minute before the bus arrived The Boy tripped on the sidewalk and crashed.
He immediately had a huge goose egg bump over his right eye.
He cried, but wanted to go to school anyway.
I wanted to let him go to school.
I needed to keep him home to watch him and make sure he was going to be okay.
He screamed and kicked all the way up the stairs.
He stayed home and I didn't get any sleep.
I think he's going to be fine.
I'm not so sure about me. LOL
Here's some pictures of The Boy showing his bump.