Saturday, November 1, 2014

Girls Make the Prettiest Pirates

First Time Front Side

Riley's eye doctor prescribed three hours a day of an eye patch for at least six months to strengthen her weak eye. Back when I wore one (at about the same age) I had to have a big bandage over my weak eye. It was big and brown and ugly. Worst of all it hurt coming off. I found Eyepatch.me on Etsy. I showed Riley all the wonderful choices and she picked pink and purple butterfly with jewels. I also ordered an eye patch for her cuddly friends with a blue flower pattern and a My Little Pony elastic to hold it on. I love them both! I wish I could go back in time and wear pretty patches too! Riley loves it too and I can totally see ordering some special occasion patches too. Riley was excited to wear it.

Puzzles

Eye patch time has become a special time because it means some serious one on one with Mommy. We play play dough, watch movies, do puzzles and all kinds of fun stuff. She only wears her patch at home because it's super important that she was it three consecutive hours. No peeking. I have to keep an eye on her. She doesn't cheat on purpose, but little Miss loves to change her clothes. She just rips her shirt off to put on dress up clothes and knocks her glasses off. We made a new rule that she can change one time before eye patch time and then again when eye patch time is over if she wants. They helped a lot.

Elsa Barbies

The only thing I haven't figured out is dance nights. We don't have three hours between school and dance class or between dance and bed. It's already our rush around night. I'm just not sure how to work it in, but I figure at least for now 6 days a week isn't bad. I really hope six months is all the time her weak eye needs. She's so beautiful, glasses and an eye patches just make her more beautiful.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween 2014

It FINALLY came! Costume-wise it was more of the same: Roo's request was easy and ready by September and Isaac's was complicated and we were working on it up until the last second. That being said, I think we super nailed it. I'm proud of the teamwork that produced that amazing, one of a kind costume. Go team! I dressed up, of course. Mike bought all the fabric and even hair dye to be the Kristoff to my Anna, but work got crazy so he never even started working on it. I was 100% fine with that. It was a nice thought, but I told him many times the kids costumes were highest priority. We had to hand make Isaac's enormous hat so it would be accurate and fit on a giant squid head. I also made all the barnacles out of paper mache. I even printed an image of carvings that look like tentacles surrounding a heart to put on Isaac's treasure chest. If you haven't seen the movie Davy Jones is so heartbroken he tears his heart from his chest and locks it away in a chest to keep it safe. It all came together so well!

Rapunzel
Davy Jones Anna
Rapunzel meets Davy Jones Cuteness
All of Us

I stocked up on way to much candy. I enlisted the kids for help with some last minute huge spiderwebs and a few other decorations, but costumes (mostly Isaac's) were the first priority. I didn't feel up to trick-or-treating with the kids this time. It's weird because Mike and I usually fight over who is going to go around with kids and this year we both felt less than enthusiastic about it. Even with my wheelchair it's a serious workout. My neighborhood doesn't have sidewalks so it's up and down driveways and rolling along the gutters. A workout that I have never minded paying for the next couple days, but I opted to pass out candy with my mom. After pictures, they were off! We didn't get even half the trick-or-treaters we got last year, but I had fun looking at the costumes and making stupid jokes ("Oh you better eat some candy, you're bones are showing, etc). Mike and the kids were back after a couple hours and there were so few trick-or treaters it was safe to go inside and wait for the doorbell.

This year, as is tradition, everyone potty-ed and shed unwanted costume pieces and then we took pictures of their haul. I turned on Monster House and since it was a Friday and they're older I gave them a time limit for candy eating instead telling them how many pieces they could pick out. It worked out great and no one got sick. In a perfect world Mike would have finished his costume enough to at least take a picture with me and his beautiful (lit with animated lightening) Ursula pumpkin wouldn't have been to rotten to lift off the table, but it was a fun Halloween. I am totally ready to get back out into the neighborhood with the kids next year! It figures the year I stayed home to hand our candy was slow trick-or-treat-wise and no family of friends dropped by. I hope both kids still come out next year. I've already told Isaac he's old enough to be taking a much more active role in his costume next year!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Color Week 2014

Red Day Blue Day
Yellow Day Green Day
Metallic Day

Roo's school did color week for the week of Halloween, ending with Metallic day! You know how much we love a theme around here. I think we nailed every day, but especially metallic day. If there was a winner, it would have been Miss Roo. This time around Riley insisted I wear the color of the day too (as you can see from the yellow day picture). A good time was had by all once again. Do they do color week in Kindergarten? I hope so. It makes picking out school easier by narrowing the options. Five-year-olds change their clothes more than teenagers (at least mine does).

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Pumpkins!!

Pumpkin Patch Group

We'd never missed our annual pumpkin patch picnic until last year when schedules were just too crazy so we were super excited to have the gang together this year. It's such a nice thing to eat and play among the pumpkins. We had ghost shaped nutella sandwiches, fruit, cheese, chips and juice. We even had fancy Halloween cookies for desert! They kid ran in the hay maze, made silly faces for pictures and even pulled each other in the wagon. I love these kids so much! Happy Fall! Happy 5-years-olds! Hurray!!

Pumpkin Patch Wagon

Speaking of growing up and fun traditions, the kids each carved a pumpkin this year. I thought they did an awesome job! Riley insisted on a scary skull and Isaac wanted to do a ship wreck, but ended up with a zombie face.

Roo Guts
Teamwork Isaac Guts
Isaac Carve
Roo Pumpkin Isaac Pumpkin

Friday, October 24, 2014

I'm Not a Fan of 5...

Glasses

I got a phone call yesterday that Miss Roo's glasses were ready to be picked up. It was good news, but five had already proven to be an extremely difficult year. I love my kids dearly, but certain phases are painful for everyone involved. The beginning of three certainly comes to mind. I thought we were bracing for Isaac's difficult transition to middle school, but it was smooth sailing. Riley however became melodramatic, mean, dishonest and unpredictable. The world made no sense to me when the behavior started. I know now that I gave her way to much sway with the school transition and her cram packed month of birthday festivities. I just kept waiting for things to "go back to normal." Normal is not static, it is fluid and often changes as soon as you have a handle on it.

I started to feel like I didn't even know this person. I reported things she told me to her teacher only to find out they were completely untrue. So embarrassing, how could I have known when prior to now she had always been truthful? She wasn't so drastically different at home, but I started feeling the old tingling-of-the-Spidey-Senses. I was suddenly overcome with anxiety that Miss Roo was misbehaving at school. Could she be...a bad kid? After everything we went through at the beginning of the school year I thought her strange behavior was over. Wrong-O.

I soon became overwhelmed by her nightly fits at bedtime. To clarify: throwing herself to ground, screaming, kicking, saying nasty things fits, every night. I was blind-sided. I reacted badly at first, feeding into the drama (oops). After a few night I made some adjustments gave her new incentives to go to bed peacefully and enlisted Mike for back up. Once we were out of the woods (phew) at home my Spidy Sense about school grew. Sure enough I went to pick her up thinking we'd grab her glasses on the way home and had my suspicion confirmed.

I arrived as they were finishing up lunch. Roo's greeting was over-enthusiastic and I knew something was up. When I approached her teacher it was obvious something had just gone down. Miss K had an incident report for me to sign, ugh! Apparently, Riley decided she didn't want to eat anything in her lunch except the fruit snacks. Now these are the healthy natural fruit snacks, but they are still "a treat" and Miss K told her (as Mom would have) that she needed to eat a few bites of her sandwich first. Riley's response was to throw herself from her chair to the ground so hard she was injured.

I mean really! Who IS this kid? Where did my sweet, logical little problem solver go? I bit my lip and tried not to cry from frustration. Next, even though I knew the answer I asked if this had happened before. I felt sick. I told her about the bedtime issues we'd recently resolved. We agreed we needed to be in communication about the "fit issue." She'd always been such a good kid. I was so frustrated and afraid I'd caused this by putting her in the bad environment, not taking her out sooner or not reacting to it properly when it started. Nonetheless, things had changed it was time for a new strategy. It felt like three all over again, maybe worse.

We went straight home (without a stop for her glasses) and talked about her choices. I said the things I've said a hundred times "Did the fit solve the problem? Did it make things better? Did it make anybody happy?" "You have to use your words to solve problems." And so on. I made a sticker chart so we could keep track of days without fits. I devised a whole reward system with emphasis on the positive reinforcement. I was sure knowing that the teacher and I were communicating would go a long way. I knew we could nip this nasty habit right in the bud if we handled it well.

It's never linear though this growing up stuff. I dropped off her beautiful Frozen themed sticker chart this morning with high hopes, but I know this like everything else will be a process. After school today there was a note instead of a sticker and I was totally bummed. We picked up Riley's glasses on the way home. She looks gorgeous in them, but it's a tangible reminder of all the change.

There's always time to make better choices, Miss Roo. Let's do this.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Return to the Haunted Hike

2014 2013

This year (2014) & Last Year (2013)

The funny thing about traditions is that they're never the same as the year before (kind of like kids). The earth rotates, things change, and traditions become benchmarks to measure growth. Last year, we discovered this cute neighborhood event, it's a tour through a decked out neighborhood to hear festive (but family appropriate) tales. We had an extended family event arise and my first impulse was to check the date of the event. Unfortunately, same day and approximately same time. I fretted quite bit about the conflict. Then in a surprising move Mike explained the situation in detail to his family. It's always a delicate balance balance between our little family's traditions and extended family events. I am always under tremendous (internal) pressure to do it all. I was totally surprised when Mike broached the subject in a timely manner and ever more surprised that us arriving late was acceptable. Just like that we were golden to hit the hike. Yay, for doing it all!

Last year I was about a month post-op from major back surgery, the kids were younger and the whole thing was new to us so clearly we had some things in our favor this time. This year had bestowed a whole new set of physical issues to overcome. With some unfortunate timing, I had blown a tire, not gotten a hole or found a slow leak, but blown it. KaBam! Like a gunshot. It exploded, totally split apart. In all my years of using a wheelchair I have never seen or heard anything like that. Unfortunately, the size tire I need is hard to find these days, no two day shipping. We hadn't calculated our one mile hike into the equation, sigh.

Mike offered to bring the wheelchair flat tire and all, but I declined. I'd figure something out (sprout wings, build robot appendages, etc?!?). I of course and no idea how I'd manage when we arrived. I used my cane and kept up the best I could, but it was super hard. Every time the group got to far ahead Mike would grab me under the arms, run forward, and set me down (go team!). Where there's a will, I suppose. Looking at the pictures side by side I can't believe how much they've grown (or how much better my camera is)! I feel blessed for the years they both want to be part of things like these because I know with a seven year age difference it won't be long before big brother is to cool or busy with other things. I'm glad we made to both events as tiring as that can be. It's worth what is costs me physically to make these memories. Who know where we'll be in a year...bigger and better things.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Eye Doctor Adventure

Ready to go

I made the appointment for a day when Riley was out of school. I told her it was a check up for her eyes. I explained that Mom and Dad had done research and were bringing her to a very good eye doctor. She was tentative, but excited. She wore her Minnie Mouse witch ears and was thrilled to see they had some pumpkin decorations. It turned out the receptionists son had attended Roo's school years before. Small world.

Mike and I had been wondering how technological advances may have changed eye exams. When we arrived they had Roo sit on stool and put an eye patch over one eye. I told them not to worry Roo was a great pirate and she knew all about wearing eye patch, Arrr! Then she had to look into a large metal box. She was instructed to look at the red balloon. When she climbed down she reported it getting blurry and clear again while it moved. Then we waited a bit before we were taken back for the exam.

Eye Exam

Riley climbed into the giant chair and I told her she was on a throne. He looked in her eyes with the otoscope and had her focus on different things. Playing Finding Nemp on the wall and looking at her eyes with different tools. They had an eye chart with symbols and boy howdy, did Miss Roo have trouble seeing that chart. It was clear that one eyes was significantly weaker and distance made a huge difference.

He tried different lenses into that cool teal apparatus (that matched her outfit) in the picture. After that came the least fun part, the eye drops. She confirmed that there would be a treasure box if she was good and then she begrudgingly received her eye drops. She didn't like it at all, but I thought she was a real trooper. If you take your kiddo for an eye exam bring their sun glasses in with you for the post eye drops wait.

She did need glasses after all. Not short term like I had them, but for the long haul. She'd also need to wear an eye patch three hours a day to strengthen her weak eye. Sigh...

Frames Profile

While her eyes dilated we looked at frames. They had a bunch of cute ones with different colors, flowers, jewels and fun stuff like that. Unfortunately, none of our favorites were the right size. Roo's biggest concern was that they be purple. As luck would have it they had a pair of purple frames in her size. They even had multicolored stripes on the sides. They wouldn't have been my first choice, but they were cute and we talked them up. Riley was happy and a little confused that we couldn't take them home right away.

Treasure

The doctor took another look in her eyes. He explained the eye patch again assuring me that three hours a day was all that was needed. He said that I could buy the bandage kind (like I wore are a kid) at any drug store, but now there were cute felt ones that slip on over the glasses. God Bless Etsy. It was comforting to know for sure what the issues are, but it's a little sad. My poor pumpkin. On the bright side I'm glad we know early and she's going to be adorable in glasses. Roo picked out that silly green fish from the treasure box and we were on our way.