Life as MommyMo

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Machine Gun Fire

Rob always says my typing sounds a lot like machine gun fire. I've been known to get comments from people who walk by me when I'm typing on my laptop at meetings. So, when I saw this speed test on the Sweet Shoppe blog today I decided to take a quick crack at it.

86 words

Typing Test

I used to say I typed about 90 words a minute, so I guess I wasn't that far off!

I'm headed out in a bit to go to Tennessee again. The sky looks kind of ominous and the wind is really blowing. I hope that doesn't affect travel too much. Then again, it was beautiful last week when I took a tour of the entire MidSouth before making it to Nashville. Who knows what will happen? All I know is that I'm already missing Grey's Anatomy. I guess getting in a bit later won't make much difference. I'll stop now before I jinx myself.

The biggest news in the week is that one of our favorite people FINALLY came home (safely!!!) from Qatar a couple of days ago. We are doing our best to be patient about when it's *our* turn to finally see him! I understand he wants to catch up with his own wife and child first... I can be that patient if I must.

I took Sam in to school a bit late today, and ended up with some time to talk to his teacher in more detail than I'm usually able to. She actually started a conversation with me, asking if we'd considered having Sam evaluated by a neurologist. I was a bit surprised, but she quickly explained that her comment is related to the ongoing concerns we've had about his ability to focus and learn. She said to me that his intelligence is definitely not in question, but that he's highly unusual in his inability to concentrate when doing lessons. She said it takes almost nothing to distract him and that he's not yet been able to get through a worksheet on his own without needing significant "help."

We had a conversation about how much more he struggles with this than any other child in his class. We've known this was an issue for a while, but to hear the first real words of confirmation that he's not learning is not good news. I not exactly sure what our next step is going to be, but we will do something. I see evidence of the same issues she talks about happening at home, so I agree that we need to pay attention. I'm just hoping that someone can suggest strategies for behavior modification that might be helpful. I'm in full research mode now.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Drink on Me

The Recipe For Karen

3 parts Wit

2 parts Inspiration

1 part Whimsy

Splash of Warmth

Finish off with an olive

I'm stuck in a hotel in Nashville after two long days of meetings. It's always refreshing to get to spend talk just talking (this was actually interviewing) field staff and volunteers across the country about our favorite subject -- Relay For Life -- but 10 solid hours of questioning does get a bit exhausting.

I'm in the lovely airport Marriott, just trying to relax before getting up at 4:30 a.m. for another early morning flight... The little Blogthing above seemed funny to me in my current state, so I'm sharing it with you. :-)

It might be advisable for me to have a drink or two, actually, before embarking on another airline journey. I left my house at 3 p.m. on Thursday to pick Sam up and get to the airport in time for a 5:30 flight. All seemed to be going swimmingly for a while. Our inbound flight was about 15 min. delayed, but no biggie. USAirways books in extra time, so I figured I'd still reach Nashville in time to order some dinner in my hotel room and get some writing done before going to bed.

Well... I boarded my plane around 5:50 p.m. We took off around 6:20. I did a little work and read Newsweek during the one hour and 20 min. jaunt to Tennessee. I hear the captain get on the intercom to very pleasantly let us know that we were making our initial descent, "but unfortunately, folks, it's NOT into Nashville."


As it turns out, our plane was having a wee issue with the anti-skid braking mechanism, and the runway we were supposed to use in Nashville was closed. The only remaining runway was too short for our plane to land, so we were going to have to go to Louisville, KY and wait to be told what would happen next.

Ok. We go to Louisville. We sit for about 20 min. without being let off the plane when we're then told that there is not a plane for us in Louisville, but because of the Ryder Cup, there is also not a bus to take us to Nashville, nor any cars to rent, nor any hotel rooms in the city. So..... I start to think we're going to spend the night sleeping on the plane. Visions of those people who have reportedly sat for 15 hours on board planes without being let off begin to pass through my mind.

The intercom crackles again. "Well, folks... We've located a plane for all of you. It's in Cincinnati."

Back into the air we go. I seem to be perhaps the only person a bit concerned, not that we're being diverted for the second time, but that we continue to travel in a plane with a less than reliable braking system. The flying part is fine, but I'm pretty partial to planes that can also stop once they're back on the ground.

Well.. We get to Cincinnati and realize we are swapping planes with a bunch of people headed to Philly. Turns out those poor people were getting to ride the crappy plane because the runways in Philly are long enough that the plane would eventually coast to a stop (I'm guessing) and then they could take the plane out of service. I have no idea if those people originally knew the cause for their delay, but the airline held us in the same area as them before we reboarded, so if they didn't know before that, they did after they heard from a bunch of ticked off passengers that were five hours in to a supposed 100 min. flight.

In all honestly, I actually was quite calm through all of this. I was nervous about that whole no brakes thing, but I actually think the nice little pills I'd been taking to keep from being dizzy for my ears have weird, unlisted anti-anxiety properties, because I really did just go where they told me to go.

The end of my long saga is that I did get to Nashville around 11:45 ET that night. All things considered, I am impressed I actually got there that night. Turns out I landed within two minutes of my boss' final flight from California, so we had a VERY late dinner and then left the hotel fewer than five hours later to drive to Bowling Green, Kentucky to interview field staff about staffing successful Relays.

What a trip! So... I will not drink to calm my nerves tonight, but I will pray that I get home in time to spend some time with Sam tomorrow. Assuming I actually get home at the expected time, we plan to go apple picking. I'm looking forward to some straightforward fun!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fonts Make Me Happy

I've been a total font geek for as long as I can remember. Back in college, while taking newspaper layout and design classes, I would spend forever searching for just the perfect typeface when creating a new look for a newspaper. Imagine my delight when I realized that digital scrapbooking could provide me an actual REASON to download hundreds of fonts to my computer.

Like any good addict, I've moved beyond what I can find on free font sites. I tend to like to use beautiful fonts that are not totally common. I even get a little twitch when I see marketing materials created with Times New Roman.

All of this explains why I was giddy with excitement to find out I'd been accepted to Fontologie's Creative Team. It just so happens that I'd received a nice big box full of printed pages two days before I saw the call for Fontologie's team. I noticed that I've used a couple of her fonts, in particular, on a large percentage of every page I've created since purchasing them. The moment I noticed the call posted to her blog, I *ran* (as much as you can do that online... but you know what I mean. My clicker hand couldn't find the link to my yahoo email account fast enough.) off to send her a message.

And that's the happy news with which I'm starting this day!

In other news... I've spent the early part of this week at various doctors' offices. I have a teeny bit of ear pain that was joined by a not-so-teeny amount of dizziness on Saturday. Ever since, I've been feeling as though I'm on a cruise, but without the maid service and free drinks. The lovely nurse practitioner at my doctor's office determined that I have a garden variety case of fall allergies that are causing enough swelling in my sinuses to put pressure on my inner ear. Nothing too exciting, but the dizziness is getting really old. I've been taking a handy little pill that all but makes the dizziness disappear, but I learned yesterday that no amount of caffeine can counterbalance the drowsiness that comes with those pills. So today, I will just do my best to sit still so that I can write without pharmaceutical assistance.

Sam had his (tardy, I realize) four-year-old well visit yesterday. He gained three pounds and grew three inches in the last year, which leaves him at the exact same spot on the growth trajectory that he was last year. He's in the 10th percentile for height and 25th percentile for weight, just like his mommy. I kid.

Overall, he's a very healthy little guy. He took three injections of various vaccines like a *complete* trooper. At 34, I think I would have acted out more than he did! The doctor did acknowledge that his resistance to direction (like that euphemism for stubborn and hyper?) is probably something that we should start to address directly so as not to affect learning going forward. He does not have any actual delays in skills, but he simply does not want to practice things like writing and coloring unless he decides he's ready. He even told Ms. Elaine that he didn't need to practice his letters because "I'll do that when I get to kindergarten."

I'm going to call the district again this week and see if they can do an observation of him. I'm more confident than I was six months ago that most of this is seated in his need for control, which the doctor and our social workers have agreed is related to attachment. When you lose so much at a young age, the psychological need for control can be stronger than it might be for another child. That's all to say that I'm pretty sure getting some advice on how to work with him will help quite a bit.

The eating part of our day continues to be just hideous, in my estimation. I'm not going to lie. If I could afford to have someone come to my house for the sole purpose of feeding my child, I would hand them my wallet and go eat my own dinner free from whining and abject disobedience. Again, I kid. Well, maybe not. The not-so-good-for-mommy news was that the complete refusal to eat any kind of real food may continue for another YEAR or, dare I say it, even TWO YEARS.

I want to believe that sibling rivalry could convince Sam to try something other than chicken nuggets and pasta, but I probably should not hold my breath.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Things I Love

I love these lists for some reason, so it seemed appropriate to steal the Things You Love list from Kim's blog.

Song you love: Amazing Grace
Word you love: family
Academic subject you love: Spanish
Hobby you love: Digiscrapping
Type of baked good you love: cookies
Type of sky you love: cloudy (weird, I know)
Beverage you love: coffee
Vacation you love: Colorado
Restaurant you love: Tortilla Press
Way of getting around that you love: weird question... car, I suppose
Person you love: Rob and Sam
Room in your home (or ideal home) you love: once it's done, my kitchen
Movie you love: Breakfast at Tiffany's
Book you love: Pillars of the Earth
City you love: Dublin and Chicago
Future plan you love: New baby!
Form of communication you love: Facebook
Junk food you love: ice cream

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Along with School...

...come germs. We typically have disease-free summers in our house, thank goodness. Rob and Sam both then find a way to snag a few germs once back at their respective schools and have yucky, nasty colds sometime in late September. Lucky me, I get it last, but usually even worse than they do.

Well, it took Sam all of two full days in school to develop his first bug. Rob did say that on the very first morning, Sam lined up to go to the breakfast room right next to a kid that had what we grossly refer to as "snot slugs" coming out of his nose. Yuck. Why people send their kids to daycare with actual green sludge leaking from their bodies is beyond me. I suppose I should not take for granted that we have an easier time managing sick days with our jobs than many people do.

In any case, we had to miss dinner with Brad, Cristin and Shane last night and I'm sadly still on the fence about another birthday party this morning. I think Sam could handle it, but I have such a hard time deciding when to keep him away from other kids -- especially for stuff that's "optional." I have a feeling we'll go so as not to disappoint Sam or the birthday girl, and I will spend hours running around behind Sam with wipes.

I wouldn't be as worried if Hurricane Hanna weren't headed here any time now. I am quite sure the party will be inside, which means more kids will be in range of Sam's sneezes!

I just asked Sam how he was feeling. He said, "I'm a whole lot great and just a little bit sick." At least he's not whining!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

First Day of School

Today was Sam's first day back at school for true Pre-K. We were admittedly a little nervous because we felt like last year's teacher had sort of labeled Sam as a difficult kid. We just didn't know what today would bring with a new teacher and a drop kick back into a strict routine.

We started the day with having to open the door to Sam's room around 6:40 to *gently* wake him up. Somewhat like Eeyore (as Nonni would say) he rolled over and groaned that he did not want to go to school. I reminded him that all of his friends would be there and that there would be a whole room full of new toys at his disposal.

He countered with, "Mommy... are you going to drop me off?" (He knows that when I take him, he goes in later, which he likes. Daddy has to rush more than I do in the morning.)

When I assured him that today was special and that both Rob and I would be accompanying him down the long hall to the Eagles' room, he scrunched up his brow and asked if I could also be there to pick him up.

I told him that was the plan, and he bounded out of bed like he had springs in his tushie. He cheered, "All right then! I'm READY to go! Let's get going to school, Mommy!"

I could not have asked for a better start. He was a bit too excited for breakfast at home, but did pose for the requisite photos (which are not uploaded because the camera battery was near-death before I got it plugged in) and happily crawled up into his carseat, ready for school.

Being the experienced Sam parents that we are, we figured the proverbial other shoe was about to drop. I estimated that moment would occur right as Rob HAD to leave in order not to be late on his first day.

To my delight and surprise, he bounced down the hall, happily greeted the new teacher and barely looked back at us when he saw who was in the nursery already. He waved at us and kept on chattering to Adam.

Rob was a wee bit nervous that the new teacher already acknowledged that she knew him to be a child that "needs incentives" to behave. I said it was because she has dealt with him in the breakfast room for years. Well... we both waited to see who was right when we picked him up today.

As we arrived, Miss RuthAnne said very clearly and definitively "Sam. Was...." that was all we needed to hear before glancing sidelong at one another and bracing for a bad report.

Oh we of little faith. She finished with "WONDERFUL TODAY!" The caps are not mine. She said it with THAT MUCH enthusiasm. Seriously. I wanted to skip out of there. They still nap in the Eagles room, but those children who do not sleep are expected to sit quietly and read or rest for at least an hour. Well... My brilliant child sat on his mat without moving or needing to be coddled (which he is a big fan of and asked for daily in the Owls' room last year) for almost TWO hours without a single syllable or incident.

I. could. not. believe. it. I'm not sure Sam has ever been awake AND quiet for two hours. Ever.

Even though this is getting long, I have to recount another new nightly event in our house. Sam is well aware at this point in his young life that he is adopted and came home to his forever family on an airplane from Korea. He has asked lots of questions about which type of plane our new baby will come home on. He even asks if we will drive over the Ben Franklin Bridge when we go to meet her or him... You get the idea. He asks for specifics.

Well, I described exactly what we would do the day/night the new baby comes home. It occurred to Sam that the same scenario played out the night he flew home. So, he asks us every single night now to re-enact his homecoming. He pretends to be on a plane. He announces when he's at the gate. We excitedly wait for him to come off the plane. He crawls and goos like a baby, jumps into Mommy's arms. We exclaim how thrilled we are to finally meet him. We pretend to take pictures. We discuss who else is there to meet him. I give him a fake bottle to calm his crying, and he then moves on to Daddy who rocks him to sleep in about 15 seconds.

I wonder how long this evening routine will last? It makes no difference to me. It's finally sinking in that he has a story of the day he became part of our family and I think it's good for him to be able to imagine what it was like.

The most amusing part of tonight's little play was that I asked who he was on the plane with. We've explained in the past that he lived with his foster mom, Mrs. Lee, in Korea and that a nice lady named Mrs. Kim let him sit on her lap on the way home. Well, he told me tonight that Aunt Kim is always on the plane with him! I think it's adorable that he thinks she was the one to take care of him and make sure he got home safely!