Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hoch Hoch Hoch!

Some of you don't know this, but I am certified to teach German.  Scary, right?  One thing I do remember about all of my German classes was our "birthday" song, "Hoch soll sie lieben" (Long may she live).  We would raise our juice glasses high and chant "Hoch Hoch Hoch" (which I believe means 'cheer').   Anywho...that was all to interpret my title : )

Up in our little slice of Texas (down for most of you) we celebrated Oktoberfest this past weekend.   {Mom, you have to come next year.}  Now, not everything was up to the Germans standards BUT all in all it was "sehr gut"  (very good).  They had a live German band, that even included the necessary German cheers (to toast one another with our beers).  

 Anna may have even been "discovered" there.   She was so moved by the music, she just had to dance!   You can't tell from the video, but she drew in quite a crowd around her (you can hear the hollers and 'you go girl' in the background).   At about 55 seconds she finally stops to look around her and gets a little stage fright : ) 

After Anna took off her dancing shoes we checked out the market, and even watched a train go by!

Adults weren't the only ones that partook of the beer.   Root beers all around for the kiddos.  (or as Eli put it, "a beer that floats")

There were even local animals for the kids to pet.  (Again, I don't know how German this was, but we sure had fun!)  

This where is starts getting REALLY questionable.    They served sno cones out of a pirate ship (this is typically down the street from us, but they must of moved it for the big event).   Given a choice between a Streusel or a sno cone Eli chose a sno cone....wonder why.

Regardless of some questionable attractions, we had a good enough time to shout, "Danke Schoen" on our way out : )

Thursday, September 22, 2011


"Fun" is a word that Anna has used quite a bit the last couple of weeks.   Why?  Because we've had tons of FUN, of course.   Now that they are both in "school", I may be on to something.   With 10 hours to myself every week, I've been able to reconcile in my mind that the time I do have with them needs to be somewhat purposeful.   (and then the time I don't have with them I can do the 'chores', selfish indulgences, etc. that sometimes conflict with FUN).   
So like any teacher, (yes I was one at one time, and like to feel like I always will be on top of being a mom), I've started to do lesson plans on Sunday nights.   I map out the "have to's" that week (school, dr. appointments, therapies, play dates, etc.) and then with the wiggle room (typically the afternoons) I try to plan something FUN, and with purpose (even if the purpose it to just have q.t. with my kids).
One pitfall I want to be reminded of is, I used to be VERY schedule minded.   So schedule oriented that if anything or anyone got in the way of my schedule, GOD HELP THEM.   This stressed everyone around me out, so then I went the exact opposite direction the last couple of years.  We'd wake up and   Instead of living, I felt like we were just chasing our tails and we were directionless and I would never have the drive or energy to do any of the activities I wanted to do with my kids.
This time around I am going to try to find the happy medium.   I will have something prepared/planned to do with my kids, but if something were to come up I will just let that activity go, or save it for another day.  I will also try to be gracious with myself.   My role is more than to just have fun with my kids.   I also have other responsibilities that may need to take priority and the kids will I'm sure have their own fun...I think being bored is good for kids and allows them to be creative.  Eli has had some great ideas while I've been busy doing something else ; )    
So I thought I'd share some of the activities we've done the last couple of weeks that my kids (and I) have thought were "FUN".

(Video of us having fun)

*Pillow towers.   We took all the pillows we could find on the first floor and piled them in the living room.   Then we climbed/jumped all over them.

*Rainy Day activities.   No, we haven't had too many actual rainy days, BUT I mean activities that you have that you pull out when the kids are bored/ have nothing to do.   Presents they received that need some work putting together or something you typically keep out of site is what I use.   For example, last week we put out their circus tent! 

*Sidewalk chalk: we made a town on the driveway and practiced writing peoples names.  

*Cooking: This week we are making granola!

*Nature Walk: We found sticks & are planning on making trees with play dough leaves.  

*Blocks: We made a river using construction paper and then built a bridge/town around it using our blocks.   

***Fall back ideas: when I don't have enough energy/time to plan something, some great fall back ideas are the Library, and a playground!*** 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Elisms (+ a little Anna)

I'm sorry.  I've been TERR*I*BLE about posting this particular blog theme and I know it's a fave.  Some of these are so terribly old, but I still have to share them.   If nothing else, I would love to go back and laugh at these with the kids some day.

*Upon entering our car (where at times it feels like we live...) Eli sniffed with his nose and said, "It smells like zoo animals".   Gift cards for car detailing are welcome anytime. 

*Before Eli's birthday (like months before) he was describing what he wanted his cake to look like.   He said, "I want Hans Solo  and Lando on top".   I said, "Who?  Who's Lando?"  Well...this is him. 
(In case you didn't know he is Hans Solo's 'wing man' in the movies)  I was wondering where in the world I was going to find a Lando cake topper and honestly felt I may need to put a gun in Obama's hand, but thankfully found a figurine on ebay : )    

*Some times he gets his measurements wrong and says things like, "Miles and miles ago I went to my friend Grayson's house."   Or, "I weigh 576 inches".    He's trying.

*This one makes my heart melt a little.   At @ midnight I hear Eli race out of his room, down the hall, down the stairs and then open the front door.   I hopped out of bed and went after him and found him distraught.   He must of messed with his clock and the alarm was going off in his room.   He thought it was the fire alarm.   (I still am so proud of him!)

*We saw a preview for the 'Little Mermaid' and he said, "when Anna was a 'big' girl that was her favorite movie". 

*We've had some QT with Grandaddy a lot lately and Eli adores him.   He's even started to pick up some expressions from his Grandaddy.   When he's doing well on the Wii he say, "yeah, baby".   He also has said, "I'm going to get that bad boy" and "holy smokes!" .     Still makes me giggle.  

Little Miss Anna is communicating her little personality too : )   I'm looking forward to the next year!  

*Instead of saying the word slide she says, "Weeeeeeeeeee", whenever we see one. 
*She started using the words, "fun" &  "cool" right around when she went on an all day shopping spree with her Aunt Reebs and me.  
*She says "OK" to pretty much anything you ask her.
*We've always told Eli to give her "space".   She finally is speaking up for herself (other than crying) and is saying, "base, brover.  base."    
*I've said this before, but she likes to sit...a lot.   She will make ANYTHING a seat and will drag and plead for anyone to sit beside her because that just makes it even more enjoyable.   In her pleading she has learned the word for "sit", only it comes out like "s*it".   So if you didn't know any better, you'd see a little girl pointing at you and saying "s*it".   Poor little thing; at least she's cute.  

Saturday, September 10, 2011


I just realized that so many of you don't have a facebook account/ don't use facebook and that is the predominant place I post pictures.   Even for those of you that do use facebook you may want a full size copy of something to print/download and the shutterfly account is the place to do that*.   There may be more pictures than you will ever want to see there but ever since I lost Eli's first year photos I've stored them online, so deal with it.   We are now updated through August (which is also the above album if you just want to stick with that) 

*Click on the link to the right of the page (the shutterfly link) and use the password "warren".

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Texas Tuesday

Ever since we've moved here there have been so many times that we've said the phrase, "only in Texas...".   I thought I'd keep a running log on our blog of all the things we've discovered here.   NOT that they aren't this way anywhere else (although most of the time they aren't) but these will just be things we've noticed that are different from our life in St. Louis.  The first one is dentistry.  Yes, dentistry (not that we didn't have dentists in St. Louis).   Dentists seem to be EVERYWHERE here, almost more than doughnut shops.  For that reason, they advertise like crazy to get your business and offer promotions, groupons, you name it.  

The first time we noticed it was while we were living in Plano and we received numerous postcards int the mail telling us to get "FLOSSED".  You can check out their website here .  It seemed so edgy and cool, why wouldn't we want to get flossed?  They also were offering free teeth whitening for life! If you think that's awesome, then what about VAMPIRE VENEERS?  Next time you are trying to impress or spice up that love in your life, they can help.  (Every woman wants their own personal Edward) I ALMOST was on board with driving to Plano every time I needed to get my teeth cleaned (or meet cool people, or get fashion tips, or to just be awesome in general) until I realized that they were not alone.   There are other dentists here that make it cool to have your teeth done by them.   Since there are so many not all of them take this marketing approach; others make it seem like they are a kid haven, and others make it out to be a spa experience.

So, what have we decided on?   After much analyzing and comparing (and double checking with insurance) we decided on one that takes multiple approaches.   We are going to a family dentist that ALSO provided teeth whitening for life.  SO next time you see me, if I notice you staring at my gorgeous smile I'll recommend that you too, "get flossed".  

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sensory processing revisited

Its been awhile since I first posted about Eli and his Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). I found the above video while I was looking for some specific advice, I think it does a pretty good job of explaining the basics.  I wanted to give a mini update on Eli since so many of you have asked about him and how his therapy is going (and so I can document his progress!) He was reevaluated here in Texas which was actually really helpful.  They did 2 separate evaluations on him: 1) Miller Assessment for Preschoolers (MAP) and 2) Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration (VMI).   I'll break up his results on both: (if you want to skip this mumbo, jumbo just go down to the **** when I give you Eli's specific recommendations)

MAP: The MAP is designed to identify children who exhibit mild, moderate, and severe pre-academic problems which may affect one or more areas of development.   It first tests 27 'academic' items and then tells us how he performs compared to others his age.   Eli's overall score was "GREEN" meaning he is within 'normal' limits. {I knew he was pretty stinkin' smart, but it's nice to have it affirmed}

It then tests 17 categories within the Foundations and Coordination Index.  This had to do with neurological and neuromotor aspects of basic development, including a child's sense of position and movement which they believe are basic building blocks necessary for successful learning and the development of complex skills.    This is where he is a little off and where they hope to work on improvement so he is able to reach his mental capabilities.  

His specific problems (which a lot of us can relate to) are
*Foundational and Coordinating Movements: he struggled with performing tasks with his eyes closed (touching his nose, stepping in place, walking a straight line, marching his feet quickly while sitting in a chair)
*Complex Tasks: It took him longer than most to get a bead through a flat maze after it was demonstrated to him.  

VMI: This test is a developmental sequence of 21 geometric forms, which are copied with paper and pencil.   The primary purpose of the VMI is to screen for learning and developmental problems in the area of motor skills.   Eli scored a 55% which is slightly above average : )  

The therapist then tested his reflexes which if poor in conjunction with other delays indicates poor sensory integration.   Eli did have some concerns in this area (the bug pose and the superman pose in particular). 

****All in all he was average/above average.   This is GREAT news.   So you may think (like I did) that we were done.  No problems.  I'm just an over reactive mother.    But, no.   His therapist was concerned about how scattered he was across these tests.  On some tasks he was way above his age level, and then on others way below.  That is why we had an average.   She also was concerned by his sensory behaviors he exhibits at home (as am I) such as movement sensitivity, and the way he's under responsive/ seeks sensation (hitting, throwing, yelling, pushing).   His arm flapping is becoming more frequent as he is processing new and more advanced information and while his imagination is taking off.   Since adequate processing skills are prerequisites to the development of important feeding, motor and social skills she thinks therapy is recommended.  She's afraid (as am I) that with his exposure to more areas of heightened sensitivity (i.e. school and sports) that he will be mislabled and misunderstood due to his sensory processing difficulties.   In therapy she will use a combination of neurodevelopmental, sensory integration and cognitive strategies.  

My personal goal is to assess how he does in "school" this year.  If he is behaving normally and not disrupting other students/the teacher, AND not coming home completely unglued after holding it in all day, I will reevaluate his continued need for therapy.   At home we are setting up a "therapy" swing (or one like it that I found at Ikea) that helps to "repave" the roads to his brain.  We also want to get a swing set for the backyard (didn't you see the 'homework' in the video?).   I also hope that his participation on a sport team (starting soccer this fall!) will help with his hand/eye coordination (ok, maybe not hands but feet) and motor processing.  While I still don't understand this disorder fully, I do know that my gut/instinct is telling me to continue with this therapy.   I want him to be as freed up as possible to be Eli without any traffic jams : )   Thank you all for your continued support.