Yes, it is!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Little Bunny

This morning, Tim let our 2 dogs out into the backyard.  When he looked out the window, he noticed the dogs were rooting around one area of the yard and when he investigated, he noticed a nest with newborn bunnies.  Unfortunately, the dogs killed 2 of the babies.  Before Tim left for work, he came into our room to let me know what had transpired. I asked him if the babies were okay.  He knows me all too well so he lied and said that the dogs got just one of the babies.  And he reassured me that the dogs didn't eat it.  I rolled over and went back to sleep with plans to check on the nest before I let the dogs out again. 
After the kids woke up, I gave them their breakfast and laid out their clothes for the day.  While they were getting dressed, I went out to the backyard to look for the baby bunnies.  It was not hard to find as there was a freshly dug hole covered with what appeared to be some sort of fuzzy material.  I believe it was actually rabbit hair.  I quick checked to see if the babies were alive and to try to count them.  I was able to see 3 babies.  I covered the nest back up and wondered what I could do to keep them safe from my dogs. 
I went over to a friend's house and when I shared with her my concern about the babies, M offered to let me borrow her portable outdoor pen to protect the nest from my dogs.  After I got home, I covered the nest with the pen before letting the dogs out.  Of course, I supervised the dogs while they were in the backyard and immediately made them go back inside the house after they were done with their business.  Then the kids and I took off for Jackie's appointment in St. Louis.  I called Tim at work with strict instructions to protect the nest before he let the dogs out after he got home from work.  He was actually waited until I got home before letting the dogs out. 
After I protected the nest with the pen, I let the dogs out while I checked for information about how to help these babies.  Unfortunately, Jackie came running in screaming that Dugan is trying to get the baby bunnies.  I immediately ran outside and yelled for the dogs to get inside and into jail.  Then I went to check on the babies.  Unfortunately, Dugan somehow managed to reach with his paws and pulled 2 of the babies of the nest and killed them.  I was very upset with him, to say the least. 
Now I was at a loss as to what to do with the remaining bunny.  I researched how to raise a newborn wild bunny and decided that to give this baby a chance, I was going to have to try to raise it myself.  It was either that or the dogs were going to kill this one.  As recommended on a couple of websites, I bought some kitten milk replacer.  Thankfully, it appears that I would have to feed it just once, no more than twice, per day. 
Here is a picture of the little orphan:
Tim is now proudly calling Dugan the baby killer.  Yes, Tim thinks the rabbits around here are a nuisance.  Well, they do eat all our pretty plants. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

First Dental Visit

Yesterday, the kids had routine dental appointments.  This was Ben's very first official dental exam.   Jackie is an old pro already.  After Jackie's last appointment, I asked the dentist to allow Ben to sit in the chair to see his reaction because I had planned to make his first appointment with Jackie's next appointment.  At that time, Ben seemed to be okay with sitting in the chair and letting the dentist just peek into his mouth.  Until yesterday,  I was really unsure how Ben would do although I was fairly confident that Ben would sit and let the dentist "count" his teeth.  I was in for real surprise.
When Ben was called back, the hygienist immediately started to show Ben all the stuff in her exam room.  The hygienist showed Ben how the suction tube worked.  Ben thought that was pretty cool.  Ben was even able to wear his own pair of gloves to "help" during the exam.  Blue gloves, of course.  At this point, I was still unsure if Ben would cooperate with having his teeth cleaned.  We were mainly there to have a first official exam.  After the hygienist showed Ben everything, the hygienist turned on the little TV so Ben could watch some cartoons while the hygienist looked at Ben's teeth.  He did so well so I suggested that the hygienist try to do a cleaning.  I was amazed at how well Ben did.  He let the hygienist clean his teeth and apply fluoride!  I was so proud of Ben.  The dentist came in to do the exam and again, Ben cooperated so well. 

Both kids got a clean bill of dental health.  No cavities, woo hoo!  Ben has a slight cross-bite which will be monitored for the time being. Jackie has 4 more loose teeth, 1 of which is going to fall out any day now.  And one of her 6-year molars is almost completely erupted and another molar is just starting to poke through.  My baby is growing up so quickly.  

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ben, the Safety Boy

Anyone need a Safety Day representative?  I've got one for you.
Yesterday, the kids had an appointment at St. Louis Children's Hospital Safety Stop.  That is such a cool little place.  I learned awhile back, during one of Jackie's many appointments there, that one can purchase new bicycle helmets and have them fitted properly.  Until yesterday, I was unaware of the other services offered at this place.  For those of you located in the St. Louis metro area, the Safety Stop is located on the 2nd floor of the parking garage to St. Louis Children's Hospital.  You can buy new top quality infant carriers and booster seats.  The nurse helps you pick the most proper fitting seat for your child.  I believe they will also check out your current child restraint seats and help make sure they are installed correctly in the vehicle.  There is also a great selection of safety items for the home and car.  This is all in addition to the bike helmets offered there. 
The kids were so excited to get new helmets and I was even more excited that the nurse showed me how to get the proper adjustments on the helmets.  And even better was the price for each helmet.  And the helmets are top quality.  I left there with 2 home safety items and 2 bike helmets for $20.  I would have easily spent $50-$60 at Target on all of that. 
Ben was so excited about his new helmet that he held onto it in the car on the way home.  This morning, as we were getting ready to leave the house for Ben's medical appointment, Ben saw his helmet and insisted on taking it with us.  Okay, no problem as long as it stays in the car.  As soon as we arrived at the clinic, Ben refused to leave his helmet behind in the car.  He insisted on taking it with him to his appointment.  Ben got a couple of looks from strangers but they smiled at the cuteness of it all.  While we waited in the exam room for the doctor, Ben decided that he wanted me to put his helmet on his head.  Okay, I was cool with that.  After all, he kept trying to dive across the room on top of the doctor's rolling chair.  That's my Busy Ben.  The doctor finally came in and she thought it was the cutest thing that Ben was wearing his helmet.  I offered his services as a Safety Day Rep.  We both got a good laugh about it.  When it was time to leave, I tried to take the helmet off of Ben but he refused.  Oh boy.  I was a bit embarrassed at first with my child traipsing behind wearing his bike helmet in the medical clinic. 
Our next stop was the gym where I had an appointment with the trainer.  Again, I tried to get Ben to leave his helmet in the car but he refused again.  I just sighed and said "come on then."  We got inside and as soon as I got the kids to the playcenter there, the workers all looked up and almost in unison laughed and said "Look at Ben."  Again, I offered his services as Safety Day Rep.  I thought for certain that Ben would get tired of the sweat that was almost certain to be building up underneath that helmet.  I fully expected him to take the helmet off before I was done working with the trainer.  But nope.  As soon as I walked in the playcenter, there was Ben, still with that helmet on.  I just had to shake my head and laugh.  And my trainer got a kick out of it, too, and commented how cute it was.  I have to admit, he was pretty darn cute and I think he knew it.  We left the YMCA and Ben still wore that darn thing all the way home.  Silly boy.

Anyone need a really cute Safety Day Representative? 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Toddlers and Tiaras, Here We Come!

We recently received this invitation in the mail inviting my daughter to register for a pageant.  First of all, I have absolutely no desire to be a pageant mom.  And second, how did we even receive such an invitation?  I have never used my daughter's name or signed her up for anything like this.  And our name was misspelled, too.
I know my daughter is beautiful.  Even without make-up and dental flippers. No pageants needed to prove that.  But wait! Is there a National Sassy Miss pageant?  Now that's an idea.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sad Update

Yesterday, I asked for prayers for my friend's dog, Solomon.  The vet was optimistic that his cancer had been found early enough for my friends to seek aggressive holistic treatment for Solomon.  I just received the devastating news that Solomon died suddenly tonight at home.  Please keep my friend, G, and her husband in your prayers.  They are so very devastated about this entire situation. 
Rest in Peace, Sweet Solomon. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Friend Needs Prayers

A friend of mine, G, has a beautiful Golden Retriever named Solomon.  He is very much a beloved member of his family and until yesterday, he seemed to be the picture of health at age 7 years.  Yesterday though, brought some terrifying news for my friend and her husband.  I am asking for all my fellow dog lovers to please keep Solomon in your prayers.  I am very good friends with G's older sister and I know these two sisters to be avid pet lovers who take extreme care of their fur-babies. I'm certain that G would appreciate prayers from anyone right now. G does not have human children so her fur-babies are so very important to her.  Here is a note from G's Facebook page:

(Saturday, June 11, 2011) Solomon came and laid down near me, and let out a loud whimper which got my attention.  As I looked over at him I could see he was breathing abnormally fast, like nothing I had heard before.  I called Jxxx (G's husband) and he took him outside and he said Solomon's head was down and didn't feel like walking around. He came back inside and immediately laid down, acting very lethargic. So, within a minute's time, he went from abnormally rapid breathing to a totally lethargic state. Within minutes, we were in the car, took him to our primary vet, they did x-rays and found some abnormal fluid around his lungs. They did a biopsy of that area and instead of the fluid being clear it was all blood. So, they then referred us to a nearby emergency hospital that has more testing equipment to run some clotting tests, perform an ultrasound, to determine the source of bleeding, to find out what's going on.

(Sunday, June 12, 2011) Solomon stayed overnight at the emergency room.  The doctor monitored him throughout the night to ensure he was not bleeding anymore, and he didn't, so that appears to have stabilized.  Regarding the source of bleeding, upon ultrasound, they located a mass in Solomon's chest, between his heart and lungs.  She said they could not determine if it was in the sack around the heart or in the mediastinum.  It is not that big (3cm x 2cm) so roughly about the size of a quarter.

The doctor suggested we be referred to an oncologist for a definitive diagnosis but that that would more than likely involve having a needle aspiration done.  She said that would be a tricky procedure on Solomon given the location of his mass.

She said that both Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds are susceptible to developing hemangiosarcoma and she is thinking this might be what Solomon has but without an oncologist making the definitive diagnosis, she said she is speculating.  Without doing the tricky needle aspiration, she said we could go ahead and treat him "as if" he had this.  She said several times that this would be a risky procedure to do on him, given the location of the mass.

So, assuming the worst.........

J and I have been reading that once a dog is diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma it is usually in the advanced stages and they usually are given only 1-2 weeks to live.  This made for a long evening last night....many tears.

We are thanking God that we found this early because this is an aggressive form of cancer that usually spreads to other parts of the body.

J and I have unanimously determined, without any doubt, that we will begin to treat Solomon aggressively through holistic veterinary care and nutritional supplements.

Solomon will be on a raw diet and we will be incorporating supplements such as a Chinese herb, Yunnan Baiyao, which is known to successfully stop internal bleeding.  We have read stories of several pet owners who have successfully treated their dogs with this, saying it worked very well.

We have also read some encouraging stories of dogs diagnosed around age 6-7 with advanced stage hemangiosarcoma who have now reached their normal life span (14-16 years) with the addition of adding IP6 to their raw diet.  They mentioned how the IP6 kept the mass from growing in size, at minimum, and in some cases, reduced or eliminated the size of the mass all together.

We have read similar success stories of pet owners who added B17 to their dog's raw diet.  I was particularly encouraged to read these stories, of dogs having success with it, as I was somewhat familiar with B17, having already read about its effects on people with cancer.  (I had done some research a few months back and one of the books that speaks about it is "A World Without Cancer" by G. Edward Griffin, a book that has excellent reviews on Amazon from people whose cancer has now gone into remission).

J and I feel like we have been hit by a truck...this came out of the blue and neither of us are prepared to lose our boy.

We were encouraged to read some success stories from pet owners who have successfully treated their dogs with guidance from holistic veterinarians, knowing that these dogs were diagnosed with advanced stage hemangiosarcoma, but yet are now living well into their senior years.  Knowing that Solomon is in the early stages makes us feel there is hope!  And, our sweet boy is certainly worth our fight!  Please keep him in your prayers as we undergo this journey together.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

I Hate CP!

This afternoon, I took my children and one of Jackie's friends to an event which honored our military.  It was an awesome event with lots of activities for everyone and lots of giveaways.  The food and cold drinks were even free.  Being my first time attending this event, I was very impressed by what was offered and even more impressed that it was not a very crowded event which resulted in very short lines for the bounce houses. 
After the kids and I walked around and enjoyed some of the activities, the kids wanted to play on the playground.  Everything was going fine and the kids were having fun. 
As most of my readers know, my beautiful daughter has mild Cerebral Palsy.  Although I get nervous sometimes when Jackie tries to climb on something that requires good body strength, I do not hold her back from at least trying.  This particular playground that we were on is very nice and has play equipment for all ages.  There is even a small rock-climbing wall. 
Jackie enjoys using the monkey bars although she always requires my help on this on.  So, when she called for me to help her this afternoon, I obliged as usual.  This is one piece of equipment that I am not yet ready for her to do independently as she just does not have the upper body strength to support herself.  Usually, I will either hold her low on the waist or right around her thigh area just below her buttocks.  She usually is able to keep her balance in those positions with no problem.  But today was an exception.  These monkey bars were a little higher than normal so I was holding Jackie right below her butt.  Just as Jackie got to the third bar, her weak left hand lost grip on the bar and for some reason, Jackie started to lose her balance which caused her to lose the grip on her very strong right hand. I tried to move my hands up quickly to get a grip on Jackie but I wasn't quick enough.  With my hands still on her thigh area, Jackie's body fell backward and she hit the back of her head on the mulch.  She hit hard enough that she had an instant headache around her forehead.  I was horrified and I felt like a terrible mom for not moving more quickly to save Jackie.  Of course, Jackie cried and cried and I nearly started crying myself but I knew I had to keep myself together in order to not scare Jackie.  After picking Jackie up and rubbing the back of her head, I made Jackie walk a few feet to rule out dizziness or worse yet, a brain injury.  Even though the mulch is not hard like gravel or blacktop, it is by no means soft as evidenced by the sickening thud that I heard when Jackie landed on her head.  I also asked Jackie questions just to keep her talking to make sure she wasn't slurring her words.  I am just so paranoid whenever Jackie hurts her head probably due to the fact that her CP was caused by a brain bleed during her newborn days.  I kept Jackie next to me for a few more minutes while we watched the other 2 kids playing.  Finally, Jackie said that she felt okay enough to play again even though she had a little headache.  I told Jackie to just limit her play on the slides or the climbing net.  She was fine with that until she wanted to do the rock-climbing wall.  I did allow her but I was helping her every step.  Jackie was wearing her new tennis shoes today which are a little bit big.  Also, her left foot is 2 sizes smaller than the right so she doesn't have as much support which causes her to lose her grip on that foot sometimes.  Because of this, Jackie was having a little more difficulty today with those new shoes.  Normally, this wouldn't be an issue when Jackie's orthotic still fit.  Thankfully, she has an appointment with her foot surgeon next month and Jackie will hopefully be fitted for a new insert or orthotic then.  Then her left shoes should fit better.  Watching Jackie struggle with that rock wall today broke my heart but she was so determined to make it work.  She is such a fighter and she is determined to be like all her peers.  Ben climbed the rock after Jackie and he had no difficulty whatsoever. 
I am very thankful that Jackie's CP is not worse than it is but it still hurts me when I do see Jackie struggle with certain activities, especially when her brother, who is 3 years younger, can fly right through that same activity with no problem.  That is when I hate CP the most.  I still cannot get today's image out of my mind and it makes me shudder that my baby could have been more seriously hurt.  I am still a little worried about hidden symptoms so I will be monitoring her more closely throughout the rest of today. I just feel like a terrible mom for letting it happen. 

Think Outside the Box

I was recently asked to do a review for a fellow blogger friend. Her website is awesome and has great and fun ideas for having fun with our children. Most of us, as children, enjoyed building forts using chairs and blankets or even a large oversize box. And my own kids enjoy building forts like that, too. Last Spring (2010), I bought new tall booster seats for my children. The boxes they came in were quite large so I used those to make a mini house for my kids. They loved it. In fact, they could care less if I even cut out doors or windows. My kids had a load of fun just climbing in and out of the large boxes. So, grab a box and have some fun with those little ones this summer. Here is one great idea from my fellow blogger friend's website:

Cardboard Box Fort Ideas

More Indoor Fun ideas from Kid Ventures!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

More Kid Antics

My kids, especially Ben, were full of antics today.  This afternoon, I took the kids shopping for summer shoes.  Once we got inside the store and found the kid shoe aisle, Ben immediately went for the pink croc-type shoes and pink sandals.  But before he reached the shoes, he grabbed a hello kitty purse.  And Jackie, being the concerned sister that she is, immediately informed Ben that he needed to find boy shoes.  Of course, Ben was not going to let his sister control him.  Ben put on a pair of really cute, girly rain boots and ran around to the next aisle.  This all occurred while I was trying a pair of sandals on Jackie.  The boy is just plain wild when we go into shoe stores.  Or any store for that matter.  But especially shoe stores.  He likes shoes.  Girl shoes.
After deciding on a pair of sandals for Jackie, I turned my attention to trying shoes on Ben.  Poor boy, his heart was set on those girly rainboots.  I was finally able to convince Ben that the blue croc-type shoes were better.  And he as excited.  So excited, in fact, that he carried the box with the shoes to our next couple of errands, including his speech therapy session.  I tried to convince Ben to keep the shoes in the car so they wouldn't get lost but he wasn't having any of that.  Thankfully, everyone at the therapy center thought Ben was rather cute carrying his new shoes around.
After Tim got home from work, we headed to St. Louis to go see the Union Pacific 844 steam locomotive that was in town for an exhibition.  Tim and Ben are train enthusiasts.  They both enjoyed it as did I.  I don't think Jackie cared much for it.  Tim is not much for having his picture taken but he seemed excited that I offered to take a picture of him in front of one of the train cars.  It's a good thing that he's a good sport.  Here it is, heheheh:
As we started to leave, one of the trains on a neighboring track fired up and began to move.  The kids took off, too.  In fear.  It was sort of comical. 
After leaving the train, we went to Trader Joe's.  I was hoping the tiny kids' shopping carts would be gone by now.  But as luck would have it, Jackie spotted them right away.  So both kids had to have one.  Well, they terrorized the customers.  I had to whip out my wooden spoon several times.  That did the trick for just a few moments at a time.  Ben was getting to be more than a handful so we hurriedly went to check out.  At Trader Joe's, the cashier unloads the cart as they ring up the items.  Well, I was too busy trying to keep tabs on the kids and I didn't watch all of my stuff being rung up. I paid and out the door we went.  It wasn't until we got home and I started to put everything away that I noticed that my little renegade must have sneaked a couple of items into his little cart at Trader Joe's.  Gah.  
On the way home from St. Louis, we stopped to eat at a restaurant.  After we got seated, Ben had to go to the restroom. Once in there, Ben decided that he wanted to stand to potty.  Okay, fine.  He started to lift the toilet seat when he suddenly drew his hand back and said "uck!".  Hmm, I wonder where he got that from? 
This week has had some rough moments, including today, and my kids just seem more incorrigible than normal.  But they still manage to get a chuckle out me with some of their antics lately. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

My Boy Thinks He Can Hover Now

My boy is... well, he is just a funny boy. 
I have two admissions.  The first one is that I taught Ben to potty while sitting.  His daddy is a little non-plussed about it, though.  But until my boy is of the age that he can clean up his own mess and remember to ALWAYS put the toilet seat back down, then he is relegated to sitting.  Or if he so chooses, then he can use his father's toilet if he wants to stand and leave the seat up.  That's how we roll around here because we girls don't share a bathroom with boys (including the big boys) who insist that it's okay to leave the seat up.  No sir-ee! Call me mean.  That's just the way it is and I'm not changing in that regard.  Toilet seat issues are a huge peeve of mine and Tim has paid his share of fines in the form of flowers. Hence, why he has his own toilet now.
My other confession is that I hover in nasty restrooms.  I typically try to avoid public restrooms, especially the nasty ones.  Don't worry, I'm not one of those who leave "evidence" behind on the seat.  I'm at least kind enough to wipe off. And my kids know how strongly I feel about public restrooms which probably explains why they often feel the need to have a bathroom emergency no matter that they just went potty right before we left home.  Another reason I try to avoid public restrooms?  Well, it's a little uncomfortable to fit an adult and 2 little kids into a bathroom stall.  And usually, Ben gets busy contaminating his hands by touching every surface in the stall that I didn't think he paid that much attention to me.  But I'm telling you, the boy must have eyes in the back of his head as evidenced by his behavior today.
Yesterday (Thursday), Jackie had her OT appointment at Children's Hospital therapy center.  One of the bathrooms in the center has this cute little toilet and the kids like to use that one.  So this afternoon, toward the end of Jackie's appointment, I told Ben to go potty before we headed home.  I got him into the bathroom with the little toilet.  Ben pulled his pants down as usual and proceeded to sit.  I happened to glance down and noticed that he was...... hovering!  I gently tried to push Ben down and told him to sit all the way.  But those little hands of his were strong.  He was not sitting. He insisted that he needed to hover.  I couldn't help but burst out in laughter.  No way am I telling his daddy about this one.  Tim already thinks I'm corrupting his son with all my proper bathroom etiquette training.  The horror!  I've turned my boy into a sissy boy.   Only thing is, I don't use my hands to help me hover.  Heheheh.  Hmm,  who did all the training anyway?  And who had to clean up the messes?  Yeah, consider that, Buddy Boy.  My little boy's future wife is going to thank ME one day.  Heheheh.

First Swim Lessons

Ben and Jackie started swimming lessons this week.  I had been putting off lessons because I was afraid they would be turned away after the first lesson.  My kids like to be in the water but they hang on to me, to the point of nearly choking me, whenever they get in the water. 
I signed the kids for lessons at the YMCA with the reassurance that if the assigned classes that my children were in did not work out, then they would be placed in an earlier beginner class. 
Jackie was excited about the idea of swimming lessons.  She kept asking me when June 1st was. Was it today? Was it tomorrow?  Ah, finally.  She was excited.  I was a little nervous.  Nervous that it wouldn't work out. 
The lead instructor talked to us parents and explained that we were required to stay in the observation area in the event that our child needed to go to the restroom.  Bummer.  I was hoping to use that time to get extra workouts in.  As the instructor finished explaining everything, I suddenly felt a couple of little arms wrap around my legs.  Surely, it wasn't either of my kids.  I looked down and sure enough, it was Ben.  Oh no.  My heart sank for a moment for fear that Ben was getting ready to go into meltdown mode.  But surprisingly, he did not.  When the instructor told Ben's class to go sit on the top step of the pool, he followed his peers over there. I was so proud of him.  As I watched from the observation area, I was pleased to see Ben and Jackie following instructions from their instructors.  So, thankfully it looks like these lessons are a-go.

Summer Break!

Well, Summer break started out a little rough.  For some reason, the kids think it's appropriate to start getting up early.  Why was it a struggle to get Jackie out of bed between 7:15-7:30 a.m. during the school year?  But as soon as school is out, my kids are up at the butt crack of dawn.  I DO NOT DO MORNINGS. Grrrr. 
I had been looking forward to summer break and I had some ideas of what I was going to do with my children.  Plans like take them to the zoo, the pool, swimming lessons, lunch with Daddy, riding bikes, and more.  And of course, we can't forget the VBS of the week.  I am (or should I say "was") looking forward to spending quality time with my children.  Until Tuesday morning rolled around, that is.  I thought I would celebrate the start of summer break by taking my kids to (insert gasp)  the mall for lunch at Chick Fil-A after I worked out at the gym.  Jackie and Ben really like the chicken nuggets there and that is the one place I don't mind giving in to my kids.  I had a few other errands to run afterward.  I talked to the kids about our plans and promised them a treat if they cooperated with and obeyed me. 
We got to the mall and the trouble started immediately.  As soon as we entered the mall, there was an Auntie Anne's pretzel kiosk.  Ben stopped in his tracks.  I finally convinced him that lunch at Chick Fil-A was better because then he would get a prize with his meal.  Whew.  But then another obstacle.  Ben noticed these mall shopping carts.  Gah.  I don't even like the name of those things.  Boo-ba-loo?! What kind of a name is that?! Well Ben saw the car one and insisted on getting one.  No way was I pushing a cart around with a name like. Beside, my kids are more than capable of walking a few hundred yards to the food court.  After wrangling Ben away from those Boo-ba-loo things, we continued to head toward the food court.  Until Ben looked through the railing to downstairs.  A train!  Oh no.  Another obstacle.  By now, I was really starting to regret my grand idea of celebrating at Chick Fil-A.  Ben noticed the escalator and started in that direction. But it was the wrong direction as that escalator was bringing paper upward.  I finally convinced Ben that that was not the way to go and I pointed to the right way to go toward Chick Fil-A.  Finally, I placed our order and we actually enjoyed a relatively obstacle-free lunch.  As we left the mall out the same entrance we came from, the sweet employee at that Auntie Anne's kiosk asked me if it was okay to give my kids a pretzel sample.  Certainly, I agreed.  As she handed the samples to the kids, she admitted that she felt so bad for Ben because she could tell that he really wanted a pretzel.  How sweet is that?  My kids are such charmers. 
Our next stop was a clothing store with the grand idea of exchanging a couple of tops for some other tops that fit better.  But just as we were leaving the mall area, Ben started screeching from the back seat.  It seems he somehow poke a hole in his water cup and the cold water was streaming right out into his seat and onto his pants..  Grrr. Finally, I got to my destination but as soon as we entered the store, I knew it would be a no-go.  Jackie took off in one direction while Ben immediately found a rack to hide under.  Some of the other customers, and even employees, just chuckled and commented that I had my hands full.  I decided right away that I was just going to do a refund and go back another time, sans kids, to look for something else.  Of course, as fate would have, Jackie suddenly felt the need to use the restroom.  I tried to get Ben to go as well and I made the mistake of not making him.  As soon as we left there and headed to my next destination, I hear a cry from the back seat.  Ben had to go potty and now.  Grrr.  Thankfully, Toys R Us was just a block away by now and as soon as we got into the store, we ran to the restroom, bypassing the return desk.  After Ben finished, I went back to the return desk to return the crappy Dora walkie-talkies that Jackie picked out a couple of weeks ago.  As Jackie looked for something else to replace the walkie talkies, Ben kept getting sidetracked by train and motorcycle stuff. Of course, his dad would be proud.  Jackie finally settled on a couple of games.  Even though there were a couple of questionable moments, we all made it out of there with no yelling or screaming and no head-turners.
My next destination was Bed, Bath, & Beyond to exchange a water balloon pump that quit working after just one use.  The kids were angels.  But, we didn't get beyond the front desk.  Or maybe it was the visible threat of my wooden spoon that helped reign in my kids.  Whatever the case, the kids were being good at the moment.  I bought some hand soap that was on a display at the store entrance while the kind manager went to get a replacement water balloon pump.
Although the day ended well, I am now an advocate for year-round schooling.

My Funny Kids

This post is a little dated but I recently came across these photos and remembered that I had not yet shared my kids' funny antics. 
Jackie had an appointment with the eye surgeon about three weeks ago.  This appointment took longer than I had anticipated because Jackie's eyes were dilated and then she was seen by the ophthalmologist and then her actual eye surgeon.  I was somewhat irritated because they knew Jackie had another appointment following this one with the hand surgeon in a neighboring building and they were causing me to be late.  As I sat in the exam room trying to keep Ben from tearing the room apart and trying to keep my sanity but getting more irritated as the minutes passed, I finally sat back in exasperation.  Finally, I realized that the kids were being unusually quiet.  I looked over and this is what I saw.  It certainly brought a smile to my face.

 I was afraid the doctor would be annoyed if he saw my children playing with his equipment and as soon as I retrieved said equipment and put it back in place, the surgeon walked in.  Ben insisted on sitting in the exam chair with Jackie despite my attempt to get him out.  Fortunately, the surgeon thought it was great and allowed Ben to continue sitting in the chair with Jackie while he examined Jackie's eyes. 
I love these moments.

Jackie's Last Day as a Kindergartener

I know I'm behind in updating.  This week has just been incredibly busy with the start of Summer break.
Last Friday was Jackie's last day of school.  I was tad bit sad as this meant that my baby is growing up so fast.  Which means that I'm getting older.  This past year has seen a lot of growth from Jackie.  Maybe not so much physically but maturity-wise.  Jackie's vocabulary has also grown by leaps and bounds.  I still never cease to be amazed by some of the phrases she uses now.  And she can come up with some funny stuff. 
This past year has also seen Jackie grow into a social butterfly.  She still gets shy sometimes but nowhere near what she used to be.  I remember her preschool days when Jackie's teachers would report to me that Jackie still wouldn't talk.  She would participate in the activities and she would be animated during outdoor playtime.  But inside the classroom? It would take Jackie a couple of months before she would finally let everyone hear her cute little voice. No longer is that the case.  In fact, she can be downright demanding with other people, embarrassingly so. 
Jackie made so many new friends this past school year.  Of course, we all know how little girls (and big girls) can get catty, and Jackie would come home upset sometimes because one of her friends decided to be friends with somebody else that day.  Girls!  Drama!  Does it ever end?
Jackie's teacher had nothing but good to say about Jackie all year.  When Jackie got her first red note, Mrs. G felt terrible sending it home.  I'll never forget that day when I picked up Jackie from school.  She came out of the school, sobbing and supported by one of her little friends.  Jackie was so upset that I couldn't understand what she was saying.  I finally looked in Jackie's backpack and there it was.  A red note.  Red notes are not good.  Unfortunately, Jackie followed a couple of other girls running down the hallway, going from water fountain to water fountain.  The girls, who I found out later were sort of trouble makers, invited Jackie to join them.  Of course, Jackie followed suit.  The red note explained what happened and instructed us parents to talk to our child about their behavior.  Then we had to sign the note and send it back to school.  We did talk to Jackie about not following others unless her teacher said it was okay.  I knew as upset as Jackie was about getting that red note, she more than likely was going to strive to avoid another one.  Jackie is sort of a perfectionist and getting that red note devastated her. Well, about a week later, Jackie came home from school on the bus and when she came into the house, she immediately told me that she got another red note.  I couldn't believe my ears and I exclaimed "what for?".  Then Jackie smiled and said "just kidding."  You can read that here. Silly girl!
Well, Jackie nearly got through the rest of the school year without another red note.  Until mid-April, that is.  I picked up Jackie from school and as we headed home, Jackie casually told me that she got a red note.  I figured she was kidding me again being that she wasn't upset in the least.  But unfortunately, that was not the case.  And fortunately, Jackie realized the silliness of it all and didn't seem to be fazed by it.  In fact, I can picture her rolling eyes when she got that last red note.  You can read about that here
All in all, Jackie did exceptionally well during her Kindergarten year and I hope that she continues on this trend as she enters 1st grade this Fall. 
I ended up substitute teaching a full day in the neighboring community but I was able to see Jackie off to her last day of school.  Jackie's daddy greeted Jackie upon her return from school.  I thought about my baby girl all day long and I was anxious to get home to see my soon-to-be 1st grader. 
After I got home from work, I noticed a yellow envelope full of papers in Jackie's backpack.  I'm not really one to brag about my children's academic accomplishments although I am proud of how intelligent my children are.  So the following is a shameless brag.  I looked at Jackie's report card first and she got all S+'s.  There was also a sheet of paper with some test scores.  Apparently, the Kindergartners were tested at the start of the school year, mid-school year, and end of the year.  For the first two, Jackie scored average or above average.  But the final score showed well above average in every category.  I am a very proud parent, for sure.  This cements my confidence that Jackie is going to do exceptionally well.  This is such great news to me and is confirmation that the CP has not affected Jackie's cognitive abilities.  You go Jackie! I'm so proud of you!
Here is my baby on her first day of Kindergarten:
Here is Jackie on her last day of Kindergarten: