Thursday, September 27, 2007

Never a Dull Moment

Thanks to some generous donors, we have fence posts to put in for our Personal Ponies. Thanks to the company Robert works for, we had the use of a Toro Dingo Compact Utility Loader with an auger attachment to dig the post holes. This morning after the kids got on the bus, Robert & I went out to start working on getting the post holes in

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We have the area for two paddocks laid out
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We'll be able to see the ponies from the house. Our master suite is the top right section, and we'll have a nice overlook of the paddocks. The room under it is the breakfast room.
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So, we were going along at a pretty nice pace, Robert operating the machine; I was guiding him and getting the extra dirt that fallen into the holes out with a regular ol' post hole digger... we make an awesome team. We knew pretty much where the conduit for our buried lines were, and had some holes we were very planning to go lightly on and use the manual digger on. The first questionable hole was fine~ the second, well.... I was checking every hole after Robert got the auger out, to make sure they were deep enough and that not too much dirt had fallen back in. When he pulled the auger out of this particular hole, I peeked in and looked at him and signed "water". Poor guy! his eyes got so big! We were digging pretty shallow in comparison to the other holes, so there shouldn't have been. Robert said it meant the conduit was close, and hopefully hadn't nicked it. Often water will run alongside a buried conduit. We grabbed the sump pump & hooked it up to drain the water. He checked it out, and saw that the pipe was quite intact~ YAY!!!
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After all the holes were dug, Robert returned the machine and I went around to a few of the holes that needed more cleaning out; there were rocks in those that needed to be manuevered out before digging deeper. After Robert returned home and the kids got home from school, we started putting in the fence posts. Tada!!! Our cornerstone post!
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We got nine of them in before we had to go get cleaned up and eat so we could go to open house at Sarah & William's school. I will update on that later, but it's all good.... great even.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It's William's Heart Day!

Seven years ago, William had his second heart surgery (the first was at 36 hours), an open heart surgery to repair his Atrial Septal Defect. William was 6 weeks old, and barely weighed 5 lbs, 9 oz. Story and pictures are towards the end of his birth story post, but I can't resist posting the picture of him post-op 7 years ago.
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And last month, on his first day of first grade~
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Every day I run my finger lightly over his scars and thank God for the chance at life they represent. William has a great life, and because of him, the rest of us have an even greater life and purpose.

Last night before bed, he was reading one of his Thomas the Tank Engine books to me~ Blue Train, Green Train.... and he was only stuck on a few of the words.

It's a wonderful day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

9 Volt

You know how they say you should change your smoke alarm batteries when you set your clock back? (or is it when you set it ahead?) Last night/this morning I discovered that's a really good idea!

I am a night owl. Last night, after I played my mind clearing game(s) of Sudoku, I turned off my book light, set my ear buds in my pillowcase, set up my Sansa mp3 player to listen to Kenny Loggins' "More songs from Pooh Corner" (helps me drift off sweetly to sleep, what can I say?), and fell asleep. How long before William came in to go potty, I'm not sure, but I got up to help him to the bathroom, washed hands, climbed back into bed with my little snuggle-buddy who settled nicely next to me, and began drifting back off.

CHIRP! ~ I thought something was messed up with my Sansa, or that the song switched, so I turned it off & set it on my night table. I snuggled back down with William, and drifted off again.

CHIRP! ~ Hmmm... maybe I didn't turn off the player. Nope... it's off.

CHIRP! ~ wow, awake, that is really annoying! Pierce your ear annoying.

CHIRP! ~ crap... it's probably one of the smoke detectors' battery. I got up, found my glasses, walked to William's room.

CHIRP! ~ Nope... not William's

I stood in the hallway, trying to pinpoint which of the 4 or 5 detectors upstairs it could be.

CHIRP! ~ hey, that sounds like my room! So I go back to the bedroom, stand under it and listen....

and listen....

wow, maybe I could just go back to bed, and just about the time I lifted the covers up...

CHIRP!!!!!! ~ No, I definitely cannot sleep through that! I look at the clock... 2:15am

I cursed quietly all the way down the stairs, turned on the dining room light and searched through drawers for a 9 volt battery. I turned on the kitchen light and searched through drawers for a 9 volt battery. I turned on the family room light... well, you get the idea. None to be found.

I cursed maybe not so quietly as I grabbed a chair to bring upstairs with me. I readjusted the battery that was in the detector, set the chair aside and waited. Waited. Waited. cool. Not wanting to have William trip over the chair when he wakes up, I carry the chair back down the stairs. Then I return upstairs to my room, pull back the covers, lay my head down.

CHIRP!!!! ~ I am not frakkin' kidding you! I fetch the chair again, pull the blasted battery out, move the chair to the sitting area of the master bedroom, and wait. Yeah, you'd best not chirp now, you bugger.

I slid back into bed, snuggled again with William, and drifted off. Until this morning when I heard Doug leave for school. Which means my alarm didn't go off.

Oh, Robert, my love, could you pick up a package of 9 volts on your way home? We're changing all the batteries. This evening.

The moral of the story is... Don't wait until the chirping starts... change at least once a year (not cough*almost4*cough). The sanity you save might be your own.

Passing some savings on to you!

I had pre-ordered the Signing Time! Series II volumes 1-3 dvds. They arrived last week and we LOVE them!!! William's favorite is volume 2: Happy Birthday to You. You can preview it here.
Part of the pre-order deal was a coupon for $10 off my next purchase over $15 at Signing Time! ~ my e-coupon arrived yesterday and says that I can pass the savings on to friends & family!!! The code expires January 15, 2008 and may be used once per customer. Use coupon code 10offs2 to save $10 off your purchase over $15 at Signing Time!

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Almost Perfect Weekend

We woke up early Saturday to go to the dentist, which is over an hour away (amazing how far we'll drive when you find the perfect dentist) so he could fill a little cavity in Robert's tooth. Robert grabbed his John Mayer signature guitar to show Dr. H, as they share the love of guitars, Nascar, Golf, etc.... I brought my computer so William could play a game while we waited. The drive there was uneventful, but still a very cherished time as Robert & I chat away and brainstorm ideas, and listen to the kids singing along with Rachel (our new Signing Time! DVDs came in last week!!!!) and William calling out to Daddy to see each sign he's practicing.

We arrived a few minutes before Robert's appointment, but they took him right in. It seems William barely got to start playing his game on the computer and Robert was finished~ amazing how quickly it goes when you don't need Novocaine. Robert got the guitar out & Dr. H started playing it, getting the feel for it. (Yes, we have THE coolest dentist) We chatted for quite a while and then it was time to go.

Afterwards we stopped for lunch, then bought groceries and came home and had a laid back, casual afternoon/evening. I checked my email and found out that we could visit William's pony on Sunday!

Yesterday we got up early again (me up early on a weekend is rare), Robert got the kids up, fed and dressed. I double checked my little camera~ good thing... the batteries were dead & the memory card was nearly full, so I took care of that and off we went. 2 hours later we were at Penzance, where Frosty is receiving some training before he gets to come live with us. Frosty is part of the Personal Ponies organization~ please visit the Personal Ponies website to find out all about this incredible program!!! Gwen at Penzance has three Personal Ponies in residence; they are Ambassadors for the program, as well as teach other little ponies how to behave with children.

Our first meeting with Frosty yesterday went very well~ I think he knows he was meant to be with us. There is this noble spirit about him, and when you look into his eyes, you see the intelligence in him. Yes, we were all totally in love! Here are some pictures; the rest are on my flickr pages.

Frosty
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Sarah brushing Frosty
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William hugging Frosty
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William's turn to brush Frosty
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Frosty & Me... he is sooooo sweet!
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William and Amahl, the resident Sicilian Donkey (and soooooo soft!)
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There are lots of pictures on the flickr site, so be sure to check them out!

We should be bringing Frosty home in a few weeks!!

On the way home, William kept telling us how cute Frosty is, and how happy he(William) is. Sarah was in absolute heaven.... until we stopped for an early dinner and her loose molar split vertically and she wrenched part of it out. I need to call her dentist today to see what we should do about the rest of it. The kids don't have the same dentist as Robert & me; theirs is closer to home. William has a different dentist than the rest of the kids~ he has one that specializes in special needs dentistry. So we go all over the place for our family's dental care!

So, except for Sarah's tooth (and that our beloved Red Sox lost last night), it was an almost perfect weekend.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Cup of Coffee

I want to go back to bed, pull the covers up and sleep. Then I want to wake up and start the day my way. Yet I am sitting here, typing, waiting for the coffee to brew. Ready to change the course of the day.

I thought it would be a good day. William was snuggled in my arms~ he got up, went potty, then downstairs. I followed along, stopping to make sure Sarah was awake (she was, playing with her Gameboy), told her the time. I came down, turned on my computer, checked a few blogs, checked my email, then went to make William's lunch for school, just going about my usual school morning routine.

Sarah came down, I took one look at her and told her she needed to change clothes. Then the drama began. Did I ever mention she is so full of drama? Yeah, she's going to be soooo much fun when puberty hits and those hormonal mood swings & PMS hit. I'm not really picky about the styles she chooses, the colors, etc. but I am when she puts on dirty clothes. The skort she was wearing was pink, looked new (I had gotten it for her last year, but she doesn't wear it much) and across the yoke of it... dirty. Of course, right away I get the excuse "It's NOT my fault!" Hmmmm... I don't recall telling her anything was her fault, all I said was it was dirty and she needed to go change. "What's wrong with it?", she asks, as though it's not obvious.
"It's dirty. There is a stain on it. You are not wearing it to school, you are going to put it in the hamper."
"What am I supposed to wear?"
"Um, clothes that are clean... you have enough of them"
To which she turns and stomps up the stairs, as though asking her to change her skort is asking her to bear the weight of the world on her shoulders.
She comes back down, wearing shorts and a tank top.
"Doug says it's supposed to be warmer today. Is this any better?"
"No, the top is dirty and you wore those shorts the other day and I know I haven't washed them since"
Sarah, looking down, missing the stains because they are at the neck of the shirt, "I don't see anything wrong with it"
"It's got stains across there. Go change please."
"It's NOT my fault! There's nothing to wear! What am I supposed to wear?"
"Yelling at me is not helping anything. Go find something"
And away she stomps. Each step an indignant emphasis of her mood.
She stomps around her room.
I make William's oatmeal.
She yells from the top of the stairs, "What do you expect me to wear?"
"Something clean!" I respond
She starts down the stairs. She goes back up the stairs. She starts down again. "What about this?"
"That's just fine. Now, do you need lunch money?"
"What's for lunch?" She's looking at the lunch menu~ I am in the next room. "Yes, I guess I'll have school lunch" Spoken like Eeyore. Remember, Wednesday's child is full of woe. Today it really fits.
"I'm hungry, do I have time for a toaster strudel?"
"Yes, if you put it in now"
"How long does it take?"
"I don't know, just put it in now"
"I want to know how many minutes it takes so I'll know if I have time"
"Just put it in now or you won't have time"
And the hysterics begin. Again. This time she stomps off, yelling, "If you had woken me up earlier, we wouldn't have this problem! That's it, I'm not going to school!"
"If you had come downstairs instead of playing the Gameboy, you would have had plenty of time"
"It's (c'mon, say it with me) NOT my fault, YOU should have told me to come downstairs!"
She comes back down, says she's hungry, goes through it again about time. Finally I told her to just put them in! Meanwhile, William picks up his bowl of oatmeal and his spoon and carries them in to her. "Uh, Sarah, want hot cereal, William's?" Oh, my stars..... he was going to give her his oatmeal!

Finally, the drama behind us (this one. this day at least), it's time to get them down to the bus. Sarah does not want to talk to me. After all, this is all MY fault because certainly none of it is hers.

And they're off. Off to school. I can come up and enjoy a nice, quiet, peaceful house. Steve came downstairs, and I jokingly asked if Sarah woke him up. "Yeah, but that's okay, it kept me from trying to fall back asleep" and off he went to his classes this morning.

I decide I want to make a pot of coffee instead of just a cup. Ready to dump out yesterday's coffee grinds, I discover the garbage pail is full. Ugh. So I pull the old bag out, set it on the floor, ready to put the new bag in. Except the pail is all wet on the bottom. Meaning the old bag must be too. So the old bag goes in the new bag, and I get to clean up the mess.

The coffee is finished brewing, and I am going to get a cup. I am going to enjoy that wonderful aroma (chocolate caramel), and I am going to savor every sip. The events of the past two hours are purged, and I plan to get on with my day. I'm going to do some more sewing. I'll post pictures of my projects later.

For now, I am going enjoy a cup of coffee.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Head Blogging

I write blogs in my head. That is to say, I come up with entire blogs in my head, while I'm doing things that of course, are inconvenient to stop doing so I can grab my computer and type them out. Things like: washing dishes (no way is my computer getting that close to water), driving the car (I dislike even talking hands-free on my cell phone), snuggling with one of the kids or laying there next to William as he falls asleep, taking a shower (again.... the whole... water... thing), putting my makeup on, or in those moments of trying to fall asleep.

Naturally, by the time I have the free time to access my computer, all those wonderfully written thought-blogs have been filed away (maybe not filed so much as tossed into a pile) in the clutter of my mind. So, today, on my way to town, I thought about my kids. Okay, I think about my kids nearly ALL of the time, but driving along today, the old Mother Goose rhyme popped into my head~

Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go.
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
But the child born on the Sabbath Day,
Is fair and wise and good and gay.

I began thinking about which days my kids were born...

Monday's child is fair of face ~ Doug, my 4th child is a Monday child. Handsome young man he is too.

Tuesday's child is full of grace~ Jim, my oldest was born at 2:01am on a Tuesday. He is charming, forgiving, and has been a blessing.

Wednesday's child is full of woe~ Oh, that is soooo Sarah!!!! She thinks she has it so tough (most kids would love to have it as tough as she does, lol).

Thursday's child has far to go~ hmmm, I didn't have a child on Thursday!

Friday's child is loving and giving~ This would be Mariko, my 2nd child. The one who is going to medical school.

Saturday's child works hard for a living~ My 3rd child, Stephen~ fits this perfectly. When I offer to pay for something, he turns me down and says he has enough that he earned. Well, he lets me pay for his college and he lives here rent-free.

But the child born on the Sabbath Day,
Is fair and wise and good and gay. This would be my youngest, William. My happy-go-lucky, smart, loving, little boy.

How funny is it that I never had kids born on the same day of the week?

By the way... I was a Friday's child. Robert was a Thursday's child... did he have far to go? Yes, when he drove from Texas to Massachusetts to be with me!

What about you? Your kids? Find out here

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

5 a.m.

Most nights, when William wakes in the wee hours to go wee (sorry, couldn't resist), he knocks on our bedroom door and announces, "Mom? Mom? Dad? It's me, William...." Often he gives his entire name, as though it's the secret password.

This morning, I heard, "yay!!!!!", muted as though by distance. I rolled over. I notice the stairway light on.

"ALL RIGHT!" I hear William yell excitedly. I got up, went down the stairs, noticing that both sets of family room lights were on. William glanced at me quickly, said, "Oh, Hi, Mom.." and went back to what he was doing. Just what was he doing? you may be wondering.

He had come down the stairs, turned the lights on, booted the computer up, and started playing his Harry Potter Quiddich Cup game. The computer, laden with games and other stuff, is 5 years old and, like some of us older, outdated beings, takes a bit longer to get going in the mornings. Between the time for that, and where he was at in his game, he had to have been up for at least 15 minutes, if not a little longer.

I convinced him it was really not time to get up yet and exited his game, turned out the light, and brought him upstairs to go potty & then snuggle in the big bed. I glanced at Robert's clock, which he sets at least 5 minutes faster than actual time. 5:11. William had been up before 5. We snuggled, and we both nodded off until my alarm went off at 6:30. William didn't get up until after 7.

yay!!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Who has this kid been listening to?

This morning I asked him where something was. William responds with "I hae no idea!" He's not always good at enunciating words with a 'v'. He is, however, great at the intonation associated with saying I-de-Ah! just the way he's heard it once or twice around here.

When confronted with "William, why did you throw the toys up in the air like that?" or other things he knows he ought not to do, William responds with "I don't know!"

Overheard while he and Sarah were playing, "Uh, Sarah, knock it off!"

The ones that crack me up the most are when he's playing a game, particularly a computer game. These range from "Oh no, try again" to "Game over, dya wanna quit?" to "Oh, dammit" That one makes me glad we don't say anything more than that in this house. At least while the kids are awake.

And William sounds so cute when he tries to say, "dag-nab-it!"~ he kind of says it in a coarse voice!

I am not too proud to beg...

The voting for the Mannington Awards ends tomorrow, September 7th. Please, please please please please! Please help me and vote for Rachel Coleman of Signing Time!

The Mannington 'Stand On a Better World' Award honors those who strive to make difference in the world around them. By creating the video series, Signing Time!, Rachel and her sister Emilie set out to make a difference in the world of Rachel's daughter Leah, who is deaf. In doing so, they've helped children of all ages and abilities communicate with others. This includes our William~helping in his communication needs and with helping him learn to read.

Your vote will help Rachel win $10,000 for the charity of her choice, The Signing Time Foundation. Of course you can always donate to The Signing Time Foundation (501c3) as well. The Signing Time Foundation’s mission is to enrich the lives of children of all abilities. The Foundation is the main sponsor of the Signing Time television show, seen on many Public Television Stations across the country.

You can only vote once per valid email address, so please pass this along to your friends and family. Once you vote for Rachel, you will receive an email with a link to confirm your vote. If you have more than one email address, or share the computer with others, make sure you clear your temporary internet cookies between votes.
PLEASE? and Thank you! (Did you know William has been signing those since he was 2½? Rachel taught him to use his manners!)