Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happy 8th Anniversary Andy!

12 years ago, we met and fell in love, I was 19 you were 21.
10 years ago we bought our pups, Sophie and Kaia... and you asked me to marry you.
9 years ago you graduated with your BS.
9 years ago I graduated with both of mine.
8 1/2 years ago I started teaching.
8 1/2 years ago I totalled my car on the freeway.
8 years ago you graduated with your MS.
8 years ago we moved out of our college town and closer to family.
8 years ago we were married and celebrated with friends and family.
8 years ago we both started new teaching jobs.
8 years ago you bid farewell to your Saturn and bought your beloved truck.
7 1/2 years ago we bought our first home.
4 years ago we found out we were pregnant.
4 years ago you moved from teaching high school to teaching junior high school.
3 years and 4 months ago we became Mommy and Daddy to our beautiful son.
3 years ago I quit my job to stay home and take care of Fischer while you worked to take care of all of us.
8 1/2 months ago we became pregnant with our sweet little girl.
2 1/2 weeks from now we will get to hold her in our arms... a family of four (actually 6 with Sophie and Kaia).

I look forward to our next eight years of marriage and the eight after that and the eight after that and the eight after that and the...

Happy Anniversary Andy, I love you!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Now I know my ABCs

Out of the millions of alphabet books out there, today I'm loving Tomorrow's Alphabet by George Shannon and Donald Crews. It's a different spin on ABC books and the traditional "A is for apple". I love the thought process involved, and the possibilities for further learning, discussion and activities. The book begins with "A is for seed, tomorrow's apple". Each 2-page spread goes on to show a before and after, or a change... such as "B is for eggs, tomorrow's birds" and "R is for grapes, tomorrow's raisins".
At first, I thought the book was much too confusing for Fischer, if my goal was for him to understand the correspondence between letters and sounds. There are better ABC books for that, but now that he is a bit older and seems to already understand letters and sounds, this book opens up some fun dialogue and thinking for him.
For older kids, I would just love to make a class book and get them thinking along this pattern. I found a fun one here that a 4th/5th grade class made (click on the pictures to see the full 2 page spreads). There were also some interesting ideas for extension activities and discussion on this site.

Fischer really enjoys letters and of course really digs the old favorite Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault, and Lois Ehlert. The simplicity and rhythm of the story seems to snag students of many ages. We also like listening to the songs of it on youtube.

For a unique visual treat, we also really like The Hidden Alphabet by Laura Vaccaro Seeger . Very cool, although probably a bit difficult for the littlest of readers to really identify all of the letters. Once they are familiar with their letters, this is a great one. It is a fun change in perspective and example of optical illusions. There are so many wonderful alphabet books out there... What's your favorite?

Now, for the tiny DVD lovers out there, Leap Frog's Letter Factory is surprisingly enticing.It does a really fun job of introducing the letters and teaching their sounds in a memorable way. It happens to be one of Fischer's faves.

When I was teaching, my students LOVED Gaiam's Yoga kids and especially their ABC video. What a fun way to get a physical understanding of the letters! We'd watch it for inside recess or when we needed a little wiggle time. Although I do have to say that the video never actually fit into the slot of time I allotted and I always turned it off around "V"... now that never really went over to well with my students or the paraprofessionals in the room!

Monday, June 22, 2009

TiVo, DVR, PVR... how did I ever live without you?

Seriously! How in the world did we ever live without the digital video recorder? How would a person ever get to see their favorite shows AND have kids or a job or friends? People seriously didn't tape everything on their VCR, setting timers every day, did they? Did you? That's so much effort.

In high school my bestie (BFF's mom) often had to work on Thursday nights, it would be my duty to focus and watch all the shows so that I could re-inact episodes of Friends and Seinfeld to her on Friday (as we went on long walks past her crush's house in the most non-stalking manner).

In college, I just didn't watch TV. Til I met Andy, then we had a few shows that we were able to see once in awhile.... I think... he must have had cable. Later when Survivor started, we were taking a community ed Spanish class and had to drop out after only a few weeks... because we just couldn't miss Survivor! Our friends dropped the class for the same reason.

In fact, Survivor is the reason that I can't speak Spanish today. That and the fact that Andy keeps talking about buying the Rosetta Stone software and still hasn't. Spanish would sure come in handy with my next door neighbors. The other day, I went over with a fence slat and some screws to ask them to fix a broken slat on their side of the fence (so that my giant dogs wouldn't eat their wiener dogs)... and no one knew what I was trying to say. Thankfully there is a 11 year-old at home that is bilingual.

The year that we dropped out of Spanish, I was teaching elementary special education. My students ranged in grade from Kindergarten to fifth grade. They had intellectual disabilities of all types. One particular student, G, was in second grade and had Down Syndrome. His family only spoke Spanish in the home, however he didn't really speak Spanish or English. He used a combination of sign language, pictures and a little bit of verbal to get his point across, but mostly didn't communicate with anything much at school. Anyway, I started teaching at this school in January and had never met his family. As the year was coming to an end the second grade was having a big performance. They were to sing and do a myriad of other things. Well, G had been attending all of the music classes and was thoroughly enjoying them (although he never sang or did any actions), so I sent home a letter to let his parents know of the date, time and location of the program. Where am I going with this, you ask? I'm getting there. I didn't know if G would be there or not, but one of my assistants and I came to the performance to help him if he attended. Well, much to my surprise and delight, he showed up! He looked so cute in his dressy clothes and his slick combed hair. I ran right over to his family and introduced myself. "Hi, I'm G's teacher, Lisa." They stared blankly. Then, I said "I'm so glad that you were able to come." They stared blankly. I searched from person to person to see if anyone was understanding me. Then very smiley and animated, I say "G looks so handsome!" No response. Then business like, I say, "The program will start in a few minutes, G's part is toward the end". I get nothing from them, not even a flinch. By this time I am thoroughly squirming and wanting to shoot the older sister a mean glare (because she just HAS to know what I am saying and is choosing not to share) and I am getting more red in the face with awkward embarrassment... and desperately wanting them to understand me after I've repeated the above statements multiple times... Finally I reach far back into my brain to brilliantly pull out the little bit of Spanish I can recall from the few weeks before Survior started... and I proudly say "Me gusta el chocolate!"


What in the hell did I just tell them I like chocolate for? Now completely beat red, I slink away with G in hand to await his performance. To make matters worse, while waiting for G's songs, I recounted the entire story to my assistant... repeating the word chocolate a hundred times... And you know what happened? G got up on stage for his songs and as big as day continuously signed the word CHOCOLATE and pointed at me in the front row the WHOLE TIME!

I just had to pray that his mother didn't send him to school with chocolate for me on Monday!

In conclusion, the DVR could have saved me a lot of embarrassment and maybe I would know Spanish now! So now, nothing embarrassing ever happens to me (yeah right) and I can record every show I want to... like whatever the big announcement is on John & Kate plus Eight tonight. I don't even watch that show... but I can record it... you know, to keep up with current events.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

All about my dad...

Fischer's thoughts on his Dad:

  1. I like when he makes me chocolate milk

  2. I like when he makes me water.

  3. I like when he plays with me like blocks and Lego's.

  4. I like to go to the grocery store with Dad.

  5. I like to weed and dig with him.

  6. I help him with his hockey laces.

  7. Dad's good at putting on my new sandals.

  8. Dad's favorite treat is doughnuts.

  9. Dad's favorite snack is beer and chips.

  10. Dad knows how to make green beans and stuff like that.

  11. Dad likes to eat with us.

  12. Dad teaches his students at work.

  13. Dad likes to make hockey time and work out.

  14. Dad saves us from anything.

  15. Dad smiles when we are home.

  16. Dad smiles when he has doughnut holes and strudel bites.

  17. I love my Dad.

  18. Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Writer's Block

I seem to be having a terrible time coming up with something to write about these days. I start to think of things, and then can only think of a sentence or two OR I plan out an entire thought-provoking (yeah right) post in my head while I lay in bed at night, and then can't think of it in the morning. So I thought I'd brainstorm out all of the little thoughts, in hopes that a deep and powerful post will be around the corner.

  • Fischer has his new big boy bedroom furniture and twin bed. SOOO cute! He's been a little anxious to fall asleep in it the past few nights, but it is getting better. He is still worried about monsters... even though we've reassured him that monsters are afraid of dogs, therefor there is no way we could have any monsters in our house.

  • The baby's room is coming together beautifully. My mother-in-law painted it pink and green to compliment the bedding. It is so sweet and girlie in there. I am soo NOT girlie, but I'm lovin' this!

  • She'll be here in less than 4 weeks! I'm scheduled to have a c-section in less than a month!! I can't wait to see her. Hopefully upon seeing her we may actually come up with a name for her!

  • I have something called Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction which is making life a little waddly these days. Basically, my pelvis is moving and separating. It often hurts to move and it is the worst while trying to turn over or change positions in bed... which I feel like doing about every hour. It also makes walking difficult, especially when I overdo it like today (t-ball, farmer's market, Costco, Home Depot). It should slowly go away after the baby is born. I'm worried about having a c-section with this because the drugs could mask the pain and make me hurt it worse and/or being immobile for an extended period of time can exacerbate it also. I've got to talk to my OB next week about it.

  • I also injured my knee (doing nothing... I just knelt down on the floor) and now have something called Lateral Patella Plica Syndrome which should be remedied with anti-inflammatories. I went to my sports med doc yesterday and he prescribed Celebrex for 9 days, saying that it won't hurt the baby. I couldn't get a hold of my OB to double check that, so I called a doctor friend. He said to definitely NOT take the Celebrex in the third trimester because it could cause premature closure of the fetal ductus arteriosus and renal ADRs in the fetus. Additionally, NSAIDs are linked with premature birth. So I guess, now I need to talk to my OB about that and whether or not a cortisone shot in my knee would be a safer route.

  • Andy and Fisch harvested a huge bowl of beautiful juicy strawberries from the garden today. Andy is continually amazed at the difference in flavor between ours and the grocery store's. Yum! We've been chowing them down like crazy.

  • Slugs were taking over and completely consuming everything in veggie garden... I went out early in the morning to find at least 30 slugs in my little green bean bed, half of the green bean plants were totally missing! We're not talking about a few holes in the leaves of this plant or that, we are talking about complete - without a trace- consumption of green bean plants, cantaloupe plants, cucumber plants, watermelon, etc. So we had to forgo being completely organic in order to save the crops. I bought Sluggo, which I found in the organic section of the garden store... but still. Of course I put that stuff all over right before we had 2 straight weeks of rain...so who knows. I do think it helped a little, but I may have to reapply.

  • I think that I am one of the only people enjoying all of the overcast skies and rain this summer. My big pregnant body is loving the cooler June temps.

Well I hope that dull list sparked something intriguing for later. Happy rest of the weekend to you!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The ants are marching...

all over the sidewalks, in the grass, on the patio, through the vegetable garden, in my living room, in my bathroom... What in the world? Anybody have some fantastic ideas about ridding our home and yard of ants safely (for Fischer and the dogs)?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Muscle Juice

Fischer dumped out his huge jar (Costco-sized pickle jar) of little Lego's onto the family room floor and began to play. I took this opportunity to check my email (not more than 8 feet away). Next thing I knew Fischer sets the "empty" pickle jar on the table next to me... but it wasn't empty. It contained a liquid.

Fischer: "Here Mom, here is some muscle juice for ya."

Me: (Staring... thinking about whether or not he'd had a cup of apple juice... realizing we don't have apple juice...) "Um, what is in the jar?"

Fischer: "Muscle juice"

Me: "You need to tell me what is really in the jar." (and please don't let it be what I think it is)

Fischer: (silence)

Me: "Fischer, what is in this jar?"

Fischer: "Shhh, I'm thinking!"

Me: (bug-eyed) "What is in the jar?"

Fischer: "It starts with a puh puh puh P."

Me: (secretly proud that he knows his letter sounds... freaking out that it is indeed what I was dreading) Calmly, "You peed in the jar?"

Well, this goes into a discussion about whether or not this was a good thing to do or a naughty thing to do, where pee is supposed to go, and what should happen next. He agreed that it was naughty but thought the consequence should be to "just keep playing".
As he was walking to his bedroom for time-out, he wanted me to promise not to wash it out until he came back. ??? After time-out we poured it in the toilet and he washed his hands. Then he says:

Fischer: "Can I have a potty treat now?"
(See, I reinstated the potty treats because he stopped initiating having to go to the bathroom and was waiting till I noticed him dancing around and forced him to go. So, he gets a potty treat if he thinks of it on his own, goes potty and washes up all without me having to tell him to.)

Me: "NO! Are you kidding me?"

Fischer: "Well, I thought of it all by myself!"

Me: "Did any pee get on the carpet?
Fischer: "No, (beaming with pride) I just stuck my penis in and filled it right up!"

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Rockin' in Reno

Fischer and I went to Reno for a few days to visit my brother and sister-in-law. We hadn't seen them for sooo long. It was so fun for Fischer to spend time with his Uncle Matt and Aunt Jana... he loves them! I don't think he really remembered them other than from pictures and from us talking about them... so this was great!

Fischer and I drove out there with my parents. It was quite the long drive... but Fischer was busy with movies, snacks and fun (MamaBarb is a great entertainer). Grandpa was able to stay on course with three... yes THREE GPS devices going at once! When all three would start telling him where to turn... he'd start saying "Girls, girls, don't fight!".

The highlight of the drive for Fischer was probably helping Grandpa get gas, and the lowlight was when he tripped and fell at a rest stop while racing his grandma! He skinned his knees and they HURT! After that, he only wanted his daddy and he wanted to go home!

Once we arrived at Matt and Jana's, it took Fisch a little while to warm up... but then he started having a great time... unless he started thinking about his knees again. :(

We all had a wonderful visit. We love playing at their beautiful new house, Lake Tahoe and the pool. We ate lots of great food and did our fair share of bonding.

Fischer loved spending so much time with MamaBarb and Grandpa. He played hard with Aunt Jana.I think he was in awe of his Uncle Matt.We can't wait to see them again late this summer when they come to visit the new baby. BTW, Aunt Jana gave the baby the most adorable and hilarious teeny tiny pink bikini! I can't wait to take her picture in it!