Tuesday, December 18, 2007

His name is Sparky!

We finally all agreed on naming the puppy Sparky. And boy is he keeping me busy! Not that it's any shock that an 8 wk old puppy keeps a person busy LOL. He's into everything, and having a grand time trying to undecorate my tree. Luckily I have a baby gate to keep him in the LR with me so most of the time that is under control. He already has learned to sit!

Jake made a breakthrough and actually sat on the couch to watch tv tonight. First time ever in this house that he's sat on a couch. He is being so cute with Sparky. Petting him and having fun giving him toys. I can't explain just how amazing it feels to see that after so long dealing with the fear. I love the big grins he's giving me over this pup :)

Friday, December 14, 2007

New Addition


Yesterday I drove up to Portland to pick up our newest member of the family. No name yet but he's 1/2 Cocker Spaniel, 1/2 Golden Retriever. And 100% sweetness! He's really playful, but also calm. Our whole family is in love.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

So many reasons to be grateful!

Today I am thankful for:

My health
My family
My home
My friends
My pets
I can see, hear, touch, smell, taste, speak and laugh.
I have my own vehicle, electricity, running water and enough funds to meet my needs.

I could go on and on and on about the things I am grateful for. But my children are the stand out. I am so very grateful for the incredible progress they are making lately. The last few months have been filled with many momments of gratitude for big leaps of progress. Just today some major progress happened.

My son Jake let our dog lick his hand and was giggling. He threw a toy for her. He pet her ears to see how soft they were because his daddy asked him to. This is a child that 6 months ago still ran away screaming from a dog he's lived with for almost 3 years who only wanted him to pet her and love her. Now he's starting to. At thanksgiving dinner for the first time Max ate mashed potatoes and loved them, AND stuffing and loved that too. He grew 1 inch in the last 2 months. My little guy who was under the 5% for so long is now 5 ft tall! He grew 5 inches in the last year :)

In the past year Max has overcome his fear of dogs as well, and now loves them. He overcame whatever hangup he had about sitting on my bed and the couch and now will sit on them. This was the last holdout of odd behavior at home. He has NO odd behavior at home now. No refusals! It has been a miracle to me to watch him just unfold into a calm and happy person that most resembles a normal young teen boy after being a ball of anxiety for so long. I catch myself just tearing up in happiness about the most mundane things, because for me they aren't mundane, they are a gift. The fears and sorrow I had when I started this blog are melting away like snow in the hot sun.

The principle of RDI- productive uncertainty was the thing I hoped would make a breakthrough for the boys with the dogs. It was a combo of cognitive behavioral therapy- putting them in an environment where the dog was unavoidable, and time, and a bit of luck. She won them over, just like Nick did for Max when he was 5 months old and hero worship melted Max's heart. He couldn't resist the love. And in this situation with Taffy it was the same way.

After Jake pet Taffy tonight he came up to me and gave me a big hug and said "I love you mom" just because he felt like it. Yes I have so many reasons to be grateful tonight!! :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

One brick at a time

I survived 2 b-day parties at the bowling alley for my 2 younger boys, and next weekend is Max's 13th b-day. He is having a few friends over for a day of gaming. Much less stressful LOL. I cannot believe I'll have 2 teens in my house!

I am still averaging an A in my Anatomy and Physiology class. One more lab exam (muscles) and then the final to go!

I will be studying a lot in the next 2 weeks! Lucky me though, I only have to bring pies to Thanksgiving this year :)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Birthday Season!

Tomorrow is Jacob's 10th birthday. We are having his party at the bowling alley. Oh how I love a b-day party with no clean up! It should be fun.

Here is one of my favorite pics of my red headed wonderful guy.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

CPR Pro

Yesterday I completed a Red Cross CPR Pro class. One more pre-requisite for the Nursing program out of the way! Another bonus, I am now sure I would know what to do if my husband or one of my children needed CPR. I even learned how to use a defibrilator if one is available. I think everyone should learn!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Parent Teacher Conferences

Good reports from all the boys teachers. Max will be going to a second mainstream class soon, and Jake has met one of his goals. Nick is thriving in K and his teacher says he is excellent academically, as well as really friendly and kind to everyone. I am a happy mom after those good meetings!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Rest in Peace



I had to do the hardest thing I have ever had to do today. Rocky bit my mother who was visiting and I had to take him to the vet today and put him to sleep. It was an unprovoked bite, and with all his other neurotic fearful behavior we had to make the decision on the vet's advice that rehabilitation was unlikely to work in his case. I know I made the right choice, but I am just heartbroken about it. The worst part was having to have my son Max say goodbye. This summer Max overcame his fear of dogs and made friends with my mom's dog, and when we came home he bonded with Rocky. It broke my heart to watch him hug him goodbye. I am having him cremated and will be keeping his ashes and some fur the thoughtful vet tech saved for me. I was with him all the way to the end and he passed peacefully into the great reward. Happy hunting Rocky!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Totally Stoked

I got the results from my A&P Lab exam on the bones. Our instructor already has them posted and the exam was this morning! I got 49/50. I also recieved an A on the Physiology portion of the exam so I am in excellent shape.

I have heard that the first term of this class is the hardest, learning the bones and muscles. So the rest of the year should be very comfortable! I haven't felt stressed at all fitting homework and study into my day. The times I have class fit really neatly into the kids schedule so it has been amazing compared to last year.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

1st Anatomy and Physiology Exam

I had my first A&P exam today. I think I only missed 4 out of 75. I am feeling pretty confident about the lab exam next week as well. I need an A in all 3 sections of the class to be in the running for nursing school. We should have the results in a few days.

My nephew

My brother and his wife are visiting from Japan with my 6 month old nephew Cerik. He's cuteness personified! Cutest little smile and really a doll. I haven't asked permission to post a pic, but he looks so much like my brother, only more Japanese. :) They will be visiting for 3 wks, and my mom is coming to visit as well. It will be the first time we are all together since Jon's wedding 6 1/2 yrs ago! That is too long.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Good Reads!





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Help out my friend!

Dear friends & family,

I'm excited to tell you about a project a friend of mine is working on. She is a 42-year old woman who just completed a year-long battle with breast cancer. And won!

Who Needs Boobs? is a non-profit organization she's developing to provide financial assistance to women facing breast cancer treatment and their families.

She was fortunate enough to be blessed by generous and thoughtful people who made sure her family was never in need. The gifts, meals, childcare, support and positive thoughts they gave her were invaluable in helping her family cope. But women who are single moms, on their own, or away from family may not be so lucky.

She wants to "pay it forward" and do what she can to help other young women with breast cancer get through treatment.

Her goal is to provide assistance with meals, childcare and housecleaning, as well as wigs, medications and prosthetic supplies. The first step in her plan is to collect words of inspiration and encouragement from breast cancer survivors at www.whoneedsboobs.com She intends to publish a book with 100% of the proceeds going to support women fighting breast cancer.

Please visit her website, sign her guestbook and PASS IT ON to your friends and family. If you forward this e-mail to ten friends, and they forward it to ten friends, word will spread and she'll be able to reach her goal.

Breast cancer changed her life in so many ways. It taught her that the world is full of wonderful people. It stregthened her marriage. And it helped her define who she is and what her life is all about. This project was meant to be. Please help her make it grow.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fall Term Begins

The first week of classes has arrived. I am exhausted LOL. I have class right now on Tuesday 12-1:15, and 5-9:20 pm in Medford. Wed Anatomy lab from 9-12. Thursday A&P lecture from 12-1:15 and no class on Monday or Friday.

I have to add one more credit, and the Orientation to Health Care Professionals class is full, so I have to show up and hope she will add me if someone doesn't show up. It would be on Fri from 11-12. Only 1 credit so less work than adding a 4 credit class. If not I will be adding American History which should be an easy class. I sat in on the lecture today just in case it is the class I need to take. It would be T/TH 10-12 so it would fit into my time slot. I want all my classes between 9-1:30 because that is when the kids are in school and I won't have to arrange child care. Cassie watches the boys while I go to my Tues eve class.

So far so good. The Anatomy class is interesting. I got to hold real human bones in the lab. I was pleased at how well I already know the skull. I have been studying for a few weeks so it would be easier. We have open lab for all the lab slots for the last hour of lab so if I need more lab time I can pop in to another section. We also have an interactive DVD to test ourselves with at home. So I am pretty confident I can get an A in ths class. I am considering changing the level to a 300 level anatomy class which would up the difficulty a tiny bit (research paper) but I am thinking it might give me a tiny edge over the competition. So I'll go talk to the professor about that.

Anyhow I am mostly going to have to do my reading on Friday-Mon because after class my time is pretty full with picking up kids, making dinner, soccer practice, homework for the kids, bath time, bedtime and somewhere in there all the laundry, etc. It is going to be a jam packed year!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

My DH's New wheels

http://www.toyota.com/tacoma/exterior.html


Here is Lane's new Toyota Tacoma PreRunner! I decided I was sick of sending him to work in a tin can of a Ford Focus, so we traded it in today for a new 2007 white Tacoma. I LOVE it :)

Best of all, since I just paid off my van, combing that payment amount with DH's car payment and this is going to hardly put a ripple in our budget :)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

All 4 in school





Nick's first week of Kindergarten has gone very well. His teacher is Mr. F, a BRAND new teacher. So far so good. He is totally comfortable as far as I can tell and has been happy every day when I pick him up. All the older kids are having a good year so far, and I have a good feeling this is going to be a smooth year :)

Friday, September 07, 2007

TEst

http://friends.imagini.net/@1506139-c609

Trip to ID Home and School has already started!

We went to see my mom for a few days and it sure wasn't long enough! But you take what you can get and enjoy what you have :) We had an awesome time visiting my mom and the boys had a few huge breakthroughs! They both overcame their dog anxiety and by the time we went home Jake was letting Trevor lick him, and Max also allowed Trevor to lick him. Since we have come home both of them are handling our dogs better. I actually caught Max petting Rocky today LOL. He was startled that I saw but I just ignored it and pretended I didn't see :D It was so nice to see my mom and Boppa (the kids call them Nana and Boppa)

All 3 older kids went back to school this week and had a really solid first week. Good reports all around. I think Jake will be much happier in the SPED classroom. They have 2 teachers (1 part time) and 2 full time aides and 2 part time aides. I think it will be a good year.

Today I met Nick's K teacher. He has a male teacher who is brand new to teaching- student teaching and subbing a year up to this point. He seems nice and the class is set up very well. I hope he doesn't have too inflated expectations for K though, boys 5-6 are not the best at following directions and he seems a bit perfectionistic to me. We will see how it goes. I would have preferred the other teacher but Nick knows a lot of kids in this class from the Y so he should be pretty happy with that.

I start classes on 25th. Not much longer until I go get my books!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Back from vacation

What a totally awesome time we had.

Day 1 Wednesday- We left home about 10:30 am, leaving the dogs and cats in the capable hands of our pet sitter. Amazingly they settled right in with her and I could leave knowing the dogs would handle it fine. I had never left them before and was pretty aprehensive about it.

We drove up to Seaside Oregon where we stayed on the beach at the Shiloh Inn. It was cooler than I expected and we got there about 5. We went to the beach as soon as we checked in, and the kids and I played in the sand. This was the first time Lane had ever been to a beach with sand at the ocean! He got in the water up to his ankles. The kids and I went out deeper and the water was cold but it was fun. I didn't risk my camera down by the ocean so I don't have any pics of the beach with us on it. We built several sand castles and it was fun.

Then we were all wet, so we headed back to the hotel, changed into clean clothing and headed for the amusement park rides. The kids all rode the bumper cars and the tea cups. I took Nick on both and the bumper cars were fun, but the tea cups were too much for both Nick and I! I felt like I was going to throw up. I used to like those kinds of rides, but not anymore. I think they were kind of unsafe for a kid Nick's size, no seatbelts. But it was fun anyhow for the older kids.

After the rides, we headed over to the shop we bought souveniers at last year and I let each child pick out something. Jake decided he didn't want anything. Cassie got a gel candle with shells in it, Max got a beach glass bottle with shells around the top, Nick picked out a replacement glass starfish for the one he broke from last year, and a big sand dollar. I got a big starfish. Lane didn't get anything there.

Then we went and rode the carosel, and ate dinner at the Chinese restraunt there. It was delicious. Then over to the ice cream shop for cones and back to the hotel to sleep. What a fun day! We were all tired and happy.


Day 2 Thursday- First thing we headed to the aquarium in Seaside, and then we ate breakfast, quickly took pics, checked out of the hotel and headed out on the road. We arrived at about 3:30 at the Lake, and the BBQ was in full swing. The family there included Lane's grandmother and her husband, his sisters Evana, her husband Dan and their children M and A, his sister Merissa and Katrinka and his parents Carla and Jim. The kids had a blast playing tag and Nick and A hit it off right away. A is only 8 months younger than Nick. They were inseperable for the rest of the trip :)

After the BBQ we took a bunch of pictures of the group. The only sibling not there was Lane's brother who had to work. We checked into the hotel, and for the first time got 2 rooms.

Day 3 Friday- We had lunch at Puerto Vallarta restraunt to celebrate Lane's dad's retirement. We then picked my friend Karie up at the ferry and she spent the night with us at our hotel. We went to Dairy Queen for cones and chatted for a bit. She had gotten a bad nights sleep the previous evening, so we called it a night at 11.

Day 4 Saturday- We dropped Karie off at the ferry, and then went back to the hotel. This was the big reunion day at Wye Lake. A lot of extended family came! Lane's Uncle and his family came, his aunt and her kids and their kids, and a bunch of more distantly related people. There were a lot of kids there and everything was so well planned by Lane's sister that we just had to relax and eat and take a ton of photos. We got back to the hotel about 6 and I did some laundry and the kids swam.

Day 5 Sunday- We met my good online friend Debbie and her kids at the McDonald's in Bellevue. I have known her for 7 yrs online and she recently went through chemo for breast cancer and is in remission. I was so thrilled to finally meet her! After that we headed back into Seattle to meet my friend Karie and her boyfriend at the Seattle Center. We got there and decided to go up in the Space Needle first. I had never been, so that was a treat. I took a bunch of pics with us at the top. Then we headed down, bought some things at the gift shop and went out to where the rides were. We couldn't stay more than 2 hrs because parking is attrocious. $12 for 2 hrs! We let the kids ride a few rides, took some pics of everyone and then said our goodbyes. I wish we could have spent the whole day there and next time we will plan that in.
We rode the ferry home, $42 for 6 people and a van....not going to do that again anytime soon. But the kids got the ferry experience and I got some pics.
Next we went out for dinner with family at Olive Garden and that was a lovely dinner.

Day 6 Monday- Monday we finally got to see Lane's brother. Katrinka got the pics with all 5 siblings like she had wanted for 2 yrs. It was the first time in 17 yrs all 5 were together at the same time. We had a really nice visit with Lane's brother, and the rest of the day we spent at the hotel recovering from our busy weekend. I did more laundry and started to pack it all up!

Day 7 Tuesday- We had to head out early to meet another online friend at the zoo. We got everyone in the car by 9 and checked out. It was hard to say goodbye to Evanna and Dan and the kids. A got really choked up. I know Nick is going to miss him so much too. They live on the east coast so visits are hard to do often.

We met my friend Carol at the zoo and it was really fun. Her kids were really sweet especially her son who is 13 and really a great help with little ones. We walked the whole zoo, got done by about 12:30 and then we had to head out. We didn't get out of Tacoma until almost 2 though because we had to eat lunch, get gas, find a bathroom since the gas station didn't have one! Then we drove the entire way home on I-5 and got home at 10:40 pm. What a long day! But amazing to me that it is really only a 1 day drive. We will have to do it again a lot sooner!

All in all a very successful vacation and I had such a great time. Not too exhorbitant either!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Off on vacation!

Tomorrow we leave for my husband's family reunion. A whirlwind week of visits. We will see his grandmother, my aunt, and all the other relatives. Then I'm seeing 3 friends that live in the Seattle area. We are also fitting in an overnight at Seaside, OR on the way there, and the Pt. Defiance Zoo. I was going to also go to Camlan, but decided it was too much. I am really happy for 2 reasons.
1. No puppies on this trip because I found a great pet sitter!
2. 2 hotel rooms for this trip and my kids will have enough space to let me maybe actually enjoy my time at the hotel!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Reiki

In June, I had the opportunity to go have a Reiki session. I went in very skeptical, and came out feeling like a million bucks. So I went back for another session, and then decided I wanted to learn how to do it! This will be one more positive tool in my tool box to help my children and myself in a path to a healthier more balanced life. I recieved my first Reiki attunement on July 21, and I will go back on the 18th of August for the second. In the meantime I am enjoying my first steps into using Reiki.

Parents know all

What a character! Last night Lane and I decided to vacuum under our bed, because something has been biting him at night and he thought it might be a spider. We didn’t find a spider…..but we did find a bazillion toys and garbage under our bed that a certain little someone put under there. We made him come in and pick it all up. While he was doing that, Lane said something to the effect of “I bet every time I asked you to pick up the mess you made on our floor you just tossed whatever it was under there.” Nick looked at him and said “I’m just going to say that you really freak me out when you read my mind like that!” We just about busted a gut trying not to laugh!

Monday, July 02, 2007

The surgery was a sucess!

My 9 yr old had his tonsilectomy on the 22nd. He flew through with flying colors. He really amazed me by his ability to handle the fear and pain and just do what he was asked to do. His recovery so far has been amazing. The hardest part has been keeping him quiet enough and not running around. 5 days after he didn't even need pain meds anymore. Now he's just itching for the o.k. to get back to rough and tumble play with his little brother :)

Summer is so wonderful just sitting and enjoying the momment. I am relaxing and doing just the bare minimum and treating myself to some R &R :) August will bring 2 trips, one to WA to my DH's family reunion and one to ID to see my mom.

Friday, June 01, 2007

IEP Hell- Going out of my mind!

I am in IEP hell right now! Because the educational system makes up it's own rules about what category to put your child in based on it's own criteria, my older son is facing "undiagnosis" of his Asperger Syndrome and is going to have to be placed under the "Emotionally Disturbed" category because he has been so sucessful at learning social behavior with his peers that he no longer qualifies for SPED under the Autism category. Never mind that he doesn't interact properly with adults, and still is definately in my opinion on the Autism spectrum. I am seriously just fed up with this whole system.

Since we got here in 3rd grade he hasn't learned any more writing than he knew at age 8. His math skills are at grade level, but he won't do more than a few problems. He won't take direct instruction from an adult, and will not respond to any of the tactics they have tried to use on him. None of this is new. He is exactly the same kid that shut down on them in 3rd grade, more or less. Just happens to have made 2 friends and is now comfortable in his classroom in middle school.

SO they spring this nice little "change of classification" on me without written documentation at the beginning of his 3 year re-evaluation, before we even go over the PLEP (Present Level of Educational Performance). The SPED director blatantly tossed this bomb out like he was announcing "Milk or juice" and I lost it.

I had agreed to do an FBA, hoping we could figure out the reasons he isn't learning. I should have realized they would use it to bite me in the ass. He's getting a new teacher in the fall and I hoped this would help her. Instead, all I got was this reclassification, and a suggestion to take away the only thing he likes about school- his lunch time with his friends, and his break time. You know that is only going to lead to a complete school refusal. But then it won't be "their fault" it will be my fault. They are just creating a nightmare for me. And for my son!!

Between both boys IEP stuff and school issues it is a wonder I managed to get a B+ on my last exam. I am seriously wondering if I am going to be able to do the nursing program now.

Update 7/2/07

Well I got the mess straightened out. I was able to negotiate the Autism label, with secondary label of ED. Hate to concede even that much, but sometimes you just have to. He has made a lot of progress I think in other areas the last few months, it's subtle but I am hoping it pays off at school next fall. The brain maturing as he enters adolescence may be the key to unlocking the frontal cortex maturation he needs to plan and execute the more complex academic challenges coming his way. At the very least I just have to hope he has better rapport with the new teacher. I have to keep reminding myself that even if the school system fails my son, I won't! He has a supportive loving family and that will mean more than the backwards school system and it's shortcomings.

Friday, May 04, 2007

I have a new nephew :)

I forgot to say.... my brother and his wife had their first child on Mar 28th. Their son Cerik was born weighing in at 5 lbs 6 oz which is in the normal range for Japanese babies. He has lots of dark hair and he's so cute! :) I am so happy for them! My brother sounds over the moon happy about his new son.

I'm back

I switched my blog over to a Google acct, then promptly the username password wouldn't work. I figured it out so now I can update my blog :)

Life has been totally crazy. I am taking 3 classes this term. Nutrition, USEM 103, and Lifespan Development. My 9 yr old has been totally melting down at school, so I am also attending school with him in the resource room every day when I am not in class. Needless to say I have no free time at all and I will be thrilled to see summer vacation! I observed the site based classroom today to see what I thought about it for him. So far I think I really don't have much choice. I like the teacher ( I helped hire her LOL) and she seems to have a good set up. Whether Jake will accept it or not is the question!

In addition to the school issues, Jake had an apt at the ENT last week, and he will be getting his tonsils out on June 22. He has had sleep apnea for awhile, and I finally caught it on tape so the ENT said he would definately take them out so he can get enough oxygen while he is sleeping. I am so relieved since I wanted to do this last year! The poor kid has snored since birth and mouth breaths and I think his apnea is really making life rough for him. Next up is getting him on Zyrtek to get his allergies under control. I have him on Loratadine but it's doing nothing for them.

I got Nick my 5 yr old registered for K this fall, and he has come with me to the school on the days he doesn't have daycare. He is going to do just fine. He has had a lot of fun at recess with the big kids LOL.

Cassie is really maturing. She got braces a few weeks ago and has done really well with them, hardly a complaint. She also gave her first speech at school and got an A on it :) I can see her academic skills growing a bit and that makes me very happy since she seems to be getting the idea about homework needing to be turned in to get credit finally LOL.

Max is doing o.k. I still haven't heard from his teacher about his IEP mtg. They are doing an FBA and I hope it's going to be done soon. I want to be done with school meetings for the year. He seems like he's been doing better lately so I hope they can get something useful out of the FBA.

Anyhow, my summer plans are in flux now. We were going to visit my mom in June, but Jake can't travel for 3 wks so it's looking more like Aug now. Way too hot in my opinion to visit ID, but we will do it anyhow. Once a year is just not enough to visit my mom.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Update!

Fall term is over and I achieved A's in both the classes I took. Winter vacation was wonderful. We had a lot of family time and despite being sick I enjoyed every minute.

Now it's back to the school schedule. This term I am taking 3 classes. University Seminar 102, Psychology 202, and Intermediate Algebra. So far everything is going well. I have had to work very hard at the math, but I am confident I will pass the class.

I have been in a very good mental state all winter, which is a relief since I tend toward seasonal affective disorder when it's gray. Taking my B vitamins has really helped with my energy level and kept my moods level. :)

The kids are all doing great. Nick loves his friends and the activities they do at the Y so I don't even feel conflicted about him spending so much time there. He is going to do just fine in K socially. He has made friends with all the little boys in his class. They are very cute at this age, playing superhero lately LOL.

Cassie has been feeling kind of anxious around other people, so unfortunately she seems to have inherited that from me, but she is gutsy and doing well despite that hurdle. She had finals last week, so I won't know until those grades come back how she did her first semester of H.S. She cut her hair off last week to donate it to locks of love. It looks really cute.

Max is doing well in school, but I have to encourage him more to invite friends over. And Jake has been having a rough time lately, regressing a bit. But one bright spot, he's finally reading chapter books and enjoying them :)

That is pretty much it. Just focusing on my classes and trying my best to keep it all together.