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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Spring Dancing

The sun came out!
Finally giving Olivia the chance she'd been waiting for to wear her new "mint julep" summer dress. That I got from Goodwill for a whopping $2.19. I love me some Goodwill.

And now for your viewing pleasure, and a little-girl fix for those of you who only have boys (ahem)...

The first video is of her ballet class and is a minute long. Olivia is on the far left. I love her mom and pop dance studio: it's such a hole in the wall and the instructor still uses her old albums. As in good old-fashioned records. On a record player. And they sometimes skip. It's like a dance lesson and a flashback into the seventies all rolled into one.


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The second video shows the girls practicing their tap dance recital number. It's about two minutes long and Olivia is second from the left...

I just have to point out that this is a beginners' tap class and they still have five more rehearsals until the recital! Luckily, you might say. But just see if you don't think they look so cute you wish you could reach through the screen and gobble them all up.



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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Week with Grandma & Grandpa -- and the Night We Had Some Tea.

It rained like, the first half of their stay. Lots of board games were played...
Olivia showed off her whistling. (She's already loads better than the rest of us combined!)
... they watched cartoons with Grandpa on his computer.
Of course, Grandma read lots of books... (Some were even to her grandchildren!)

And Grandpa was finally able to finish reading "Black Beauty" out loud to Conner -- two years after they first started it! (I missed that photo op.)

Mmmm, Graeter's Ice Cream!
Toward the end of their stay mom and I finally got some antiquing in, starting with some stores in Lebanon. (Well, one antique store, but it was a good one. We kind of got a late start.)

We also made it to the open-air flea market off of I-75. HUGE! It's a bit rough around the edges, but you can certainly find some good deals. We didn't even go through half of it. We had to leave before I spent any more money...

Then we went to our Happy Place: A bookstore with a coffee shop. You know you're with me on that one.

When the rain let up a bit, Grandma helped Olivia and Peter develop their batting technique.
Conner wasn't about to be left out of the fun.

The day they left, Grandma and Grandpa stayed long enough to watch Olivia's first T-ball practice before starting the long (14-hour) drive back to their home in Kansas. Aren't they champs? That's devotion for you.

Yes, it was raining again. But it didn't dampen Olivia's spirits at all. She was sooo excited to start her newest sport.

The Dayton Tea Party

These photos are mainly for my sister, who I know was quite interested in the Tea Parties being held around the nation on Tax Day. We attended the one in Dayton! Along with 6,000 8,000 other people, according to the local news.


I took pictures of as many signs as I could, as best as I could with two little munchkins wondering, "Where is the party?" and not at all impressed with where we ended up.

A good number of the signs were denigrating Obama specifically and his policies. But I ignored those: that was not at all the point of these demonstrations, despite what the mainstream media's headlines may have told you.

Besides, the more I listen to the news and fail try to keep up with the political issues, the more I realize that no one in Washington seems to be speaking for me. I do believe I may have to start registering as an Independent.

Speaking of feeling disenfranchised, the guy in the photo below kind of looks like Sayeed from Lost, don't you think?


"Get your filthy hands off my money!!" Too funny.

And my personal favorite...

"The Stimulus bites." The only thing funnier would be if the sign had been put on a yapper.

We were all excited to be there, really. Especially Conner. "Why do I have to go?" He had no desire to understand what all the fuss was about. He changed his colors a little bit when everyone was talking about it in school the next day and they thought it was cool that he'd been there.
Considering the number of people who showed up, the whole scenario was rather calm. The speakers were very difficult, if not downright impossible, to understand from the back of the main crowd. Plus, we couldn't see them. Not that it would have done any good to sit at the front of the crowd with kids in tow. We really went just to experience it all first-hand, and I am glad we did.

Now, there was the occasional brouhaha going on, but of course the second I decided to record some video it all died down. The lady in the video with the sign, "Honk if I pay ur mortgage" was cracking us up, along with the guy going around selling "Obamacards". That's capitalism at work, baby.


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The crowd had just been chanting before I started the video. We weren't going out of our way to brainwash Sean-Peter, honest.

We didn't even try to stay for the whole thing. "We came, we saw, now let's go get coffee."
Besides, everyone knows...
Maybe we should send some more to the people in charge of our tax dollars.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Watch Erin on the Rachael Ray Show Tomorrow!

My friend Erin from $5 Dinners is going to be on the Rachael Ray show tomorrow! (Tuesday, April 21st.) As the title of her blog suggests, she's all about preparing economical meals, and she got herself a gig up in the big city to tell all about it on national television.

Erin wrote to the Rachael Ray show several months ago, not long after she started her blog, in response to a segment the show did with Whoopi Goldberg where they were discussing the idea that it is more expensive to eat fresh produce and healthy foods. Au contraire. Erin immediately wrote in disputing the very notion, then promptly forgot all about it.

Until last month when Rachael Ray's people called her! Then came to her house! Then invited her to New York City to be on the show!

My heart goes all a flutter just thinking about it. I have no idea how she got herself through it all without fainting, except that she's way more with it than I am. I say again, Erin, don't forget us little people!

Check your local listings for the show. In the Dayton area it's on at noon. And if you have a life, you know, set your DVR.

I for one plan on doing both: My DVR will be set, and as soon as my youngest child gets on that school bus at ten minutes before 12:00, I'll be in my car heading over to Erin's house to watch it live. Along with about fifty of her other closest friends. *wink*

***

Oh, and if you haven't checked out 5dollardinners.com, you should. It's a phenomenal blog and really will motivate and give you ideas on how to save on your grocery bill.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sean-Peter has officially graduated from private speech therapy. He has simply met all of his age-appropriate goals that his speech therapist set for him.

If someone had told me a year ago after he was diagnosed with his verbal apraxia speech disorder that there would ever be an end in sight, I wouldn't have dared hope.

I really, truly, was bracing myself for a long journey. I was mentally preparing for possibly homeschooling, at least initially, not just for the sake of his academic progress but also so he didn't begin his public education unduly judged in a social network of peers while his speech caught up. Last June I was contemplating my need to learn sign language, for Pete's sake! (Pun intended.)

His speech journey is not ending: it's just on a developmental path right now. We will have him reevaluated when he turns five (in seven months), specifically to assess his articulation, sentence formulation, and prosody.

I will always have one ear tuned to any future implications that this disorder may have on his language skills, particularly as it affects perceptions of his learning capabilities. (e.g. As he struggles to "spit it out", someone not familiar with him or his history may think he's struggling to understand the question rather than simply working on sequencing the sounds he wants to use to express himself.)

His occupational therapy sessions will continue, probably at least for the next six months, for his sensory integration development and tactile sensitivity issues; and we will continue his therapeutic listening at home.

And I will continue to encourage his self directing in improving his articulation skills in the areas he still struggles, using techniques I have learned from Melissa.Just the other day he self-corrected his "l" sound in a word to say it more clearly, to "use his tongue" to make the sound. I praised him, "Good job making your "L" sound, Peter! How did you learn to do that so well?"

"I learned it from Miss Muh-lissa!"

Thank you, Miss Muh-lissa! I will forever be grateful that God put you in our path.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Trying to Get My Groove Back

Now, I know that like, a third of this country just got dumped on by a Spring blizzard. But it was still a bit disconcerting to come back from Texas, where we were wearing shorts and sunscreen, to Ohio, and see this.

I felt a little bit like Olivia here, only without all that energy.

What to do? What to do? I seem to be spinning my wheels and looking down to find I've been riding on a treadmill all day and have gone absolutely nowhere.

Have I always been like this after a trip? I'm sure I have. Except that nine months is by far the longest we've ever gone without traveling somewhere, for some reason. I seem to have lost my Travel Mojo.

Or maybe I'm just getting old.

Traveling that often probably sounds excessive to some of you, but always living away from relatives -- and often in places that offer so many things to do and see -- we have found ourselves on the road quite a bit.

Which is still better than finding ourselves in the air, and I say that even following this recent road trip, where we covered more than 2000 miles.

I appreciate all of your comments and suggestions from my last post. Especially a couple of you who felt so strongly about your opinion that you had to comment about it more than once. *wink*

I do have something in the works, although so far those "works" are all in my head. I do hope I get my Writing Groove back quickly; I belatedly looked at the calendar and realized that my parents' visit is coming up. "Oh, that's this weekend!" And I don't know how much writing I'll do while they're here. Too many other, more important things to take care of. Like, oh, antiquing, just to throw something out there...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Me-Ma

We've had a wonderful visit this past week in San Antonio. Truly, we could spend another week here and never run out of things to do and people to see.

It's hard to leave John's mom, who hadn't seen Conner since he was just a little punk, and Olivia since she was a baby. Sean-Peter, she was getting to know for the first time.

Becky had been a bit concerned how the kids would take to her. But she needn't have worried: They clung to her like stink on poo. (But in a good way.)

Sean-Peter, for one, was quite taken with his grandma."When I'm all growed up, I want to marry Me-Ma."

How cute is that?

Of course, he also says things like, "I broke my tummy bone." And, "The cold air makes my legs feel warm." So take it for what it's worth: You know, a little guy cute as the dickens and twice as ornery just trying to express himself.

Before we even left her house this evening he was saying that he missed her. I think I see me some Me-Maw withdrawal symptoms in my future.

I have so much about this trip I'd love to blog about after we get home and I do like, oh, 20 loads of laundry. What do you think, one longish post? Or bits and pieces over time?

One longish piece ... might be kinda long. (Or not.)(You know, depending on my mood.)

Bits and pieces ... I might experience Bloggers' ADHD and lose interest before I write everything while it's still fresh in my mind.

So we'll see. If you have an opinion, feel free to chime in. Aside from my apparent obsessive need to write in this blog (as evidenced by this late hour *ahem* with a long day of travel ahead of us tomorrow) your comments really help me to keep this up. No pressure or anything.

So glad we got to visit with you, Me-Maw. We're going to miss you.