Monday, December 19, 2016

Happy 40th Birthday, Ryan...

Today my amazing husband turns the big 4-0. Originally, I had planned to post the top 40 reasons why I love him, but then I was like "no one will read all of those", so I narrowed it down to the top 5.

5) He sets a wonderful example of how a Godly man should be for both of our children. Every night at bedtime he prays with and for them.

4) He works hard. The man rarely stops moving, except when he is asleep. He is the example of how hard work does pay off.

3) He puts up with my craziness and still loves me. There are days when he comes home and I am on the ragged edge. Instead of getting irritated with me, he lets me unleash my crazy and then apologize without holding it against me.

2) He has a great sense of humor. He says he's a fall baby because winter doesn't start until December 21. He isn't afraid to laugh at himself or be silly with kids.

1) He makes sure we are always taken care of. He does all of the maintenance on our house and cars and is teaching it to the kids so that they can learn too.

Happy 40th Birthday, Ryan, we love you!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Escape Room...

This year Ryan turns 40 (actually tomorrow).  He didn't want a party or anything special, but 40 is a pretty big deal and I wanted to do something special for him. We had watched an episode of the Big Bang Theory where they do an escape room and solve it in 15 minutes. Ryan had mentioned that it looked fun, and I actually remembered it!

In August I started looking up the various types of escape rooms, locations, themes, etc. Originally, I had wanted to do a zombie one but I could only find one in Chicago and in December, who really wants to drive downtown?

At the end of November I found one that seemed do-able, it was in Schaumburg called : Outbreak- Find the Cure. I waited and eventually a Groupon and Living Social deal came around and I booked the room.

Yesterday we did the room. What a fun time! It got a little stressful at the very end when there was 7 minutes left a d we had 2 clues to solve, but we did it and escaped with 4 minutes to spare.  I want to thank Tracy and Eric Takeda, Steve and Jill Capito, and Cari Lombardi for braving the weather and meeting up with us. Thank you to Jaime and Bill Patrick for joining us wandering us use their house afterwards for pizza and cake. And thanks to my mom for watching all 5 grandchildren so we could "adult".  Ryan enjoyed it a lot and I think we all had a fun time.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Good News and Not So Good News...

We have been busy since Thanksgiving.  I feel like all I do is drive from this appointment or therapy or lesson to that one.  On the positive side, Juli was dismissed from Physical Therapy for her knee last week; all she needs to do is continue her exercises at home.  Yay!  Monday's are now free for the moment!   We went to see her orthopedic doctor this past Monday night, and he said she can now fully participate in PE.  Another reason to celebrate!  He even gave her the cautious okay to sign up for Irish Dance lessons (after he said an emphatic no to gymnastics and karate), with the "if you dislocate you can't do it anymore" speech.  In swim, Noah was moved to the highest level and they want him on the swim team (yikes!).  Juli stayed at the same level, but she conquered her fear of jumping in to the deep end this swim session.

Onto the not so great news.  This afternoon I sat in on Juli's IEP meeting.  She is making some great strides in areas.  She smashed several of her speech goals (that's my girl!).  Her personality continues to dominate and she is quite the social butterfly (I honestly don't know where she gets that, as her dad and I are huge introverts).  However, she is still behind with her reading and math.  She is slowly making gains with both, which is a good thing because we worked our asses off on it this past summer.  Our fear is that she will regress over the summer, so Juli will be doing the extended school year this summer.  I haven't told her yet, she already hates school so much right now, so I will wait until it gets a bit closer.  I know that this is something we have to do to make sure she gets caught up to her peers, but it breaks my heart that we have to do it.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

If I Had One Wish...

School came easy for me, except for math. School came easy for Ryan.  School comes easy for our first born.  School does not come easy for Juli.  Over Thanksgiving break several things happened.

1) We had parent-teacher conferences with both kids' teachers.  Noah's went very well.  Juli's went as expected.  Some positives were that her reading scores had increased, she is almost to the point where she should have been at the start of the school year (all that hard work during summer and during this school year is paying off, yay!).  However, math continues to be her biggest weakness.  Adding and subtraction just won't click in her mind.  We brainstormed some new strategies and came up with one that we hope will get math to click in her brain.

2) Juli had a giant meltdown about school on Saturday.  She woke up in a foul mood on Saturday morning.  We continued to anger her when we stuck by our rule that she had to earn screen time by completing her xtra math and reading.  What started as a temper tantrum transitioned into a full out meltdown after she was sent to her room.  After allowing her some time to cool down, I went up to her room to talk to her.  That's when she told me how much she hates school because it's so hard for her to read and do math.  She begged me to not make her go anymore.  I pulled her into my lap as she cried and tried to kick and hit me.  For 20 minutes I sat on her bed while she screamed about hating school and tried to kick me.  Eventually she was done and wilted into a puddle of quiet sobs.  My heart broke for her and I wanted to cry myself.

If I could wish for anything, it would be to make school easier for my little girl.  She knows that she is different from her classmates.  She knows that she is behind. She is too little to already hate school.

So I guess what I am asking for is prayer. Prayer for Juli to learn math and to keep reading. Prayer for Juli to stop hating school.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


This year, I had the opportunity to be a mentor to a new teacher.  I was chosen to mentor a brand new teacher, fresh out of college.  Her name is Elise, and she is a fantastic human being.  She is sassy and bright and very excited to help students learn.

80's day, isn't she cute?
Mentoring was a two way street.  I helped her and she helped me.  She shared new labs, worksheets, videos and powerpoints.  She also introduced me to the world of snapchat.
My 1st snap!
Isn't this frightening?
She is one of the hardest working new teachers we had this year (actually all of the new science teachers we hired this year are phenomenal- that's my shout out to Farias and Woods).  She didn't take a single day off, not even when she was sick!

Elise, you were a joy to mentor and while I don't think I really did much to mentor you, I want you to know that I am so very proud of you and all you accomplished this year!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Migraines and Piercings, Oh My...

About 3 months ago, my good friend from school, Bernadette, showed me her Daith piercing. I asked her why she decided to get pierced. She told me that she had been doing her research (and if you know Bernadette, she never does anything that she hasn't fully researched) and read several articles that said Daith piercings can help alleviate migraine headaches.

Immediately my spidey-senses came alive. I have had migraines since I was 14 years old, which means I have had them for over half of the time I have been alive. I began doing some research of my own.  Last month, I asked Bernadette how it was going migraine-wise, and she said she has had 2 migraines in 3 months as opposed to 2 migraines a week.  So, I talked to Ryan about and he gave me the go ahead to try it out.  At this point in my migraine journey, I am willing to try anything to help me out.

So, I found a place that did Daith piercings and had good reviews (I didn't want an infection and to have my ears fall off) and scheduled my piercing for Friday the 13th. The day arrived and I arrived for my piercing. A man named Bear was my piercer and he was very kind and friendly, I could tell he knew what he was doing. He walked me through the procedure and opened all his instruments in front of me to show me they were sterile. Then came time for the piercing. I will be honest with you, I wasn't sure how much pain to expect, but it barely hurt at all. He did a great job and now I am sporting these for the next few months until they are healed and I can pick out prettier jewelry.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Happy 7th Birthday, Juli Rose...

 This girl turns 7 today.  

It has been a roller coaster of a year! It began with the anxiety of starting 1st grade (she chewed her fingers until they bled- we discovered the benefits of chewelry for children with anxiety).  We knew she would love 1st grade, because she got the teacher we prayed she would get, and her confidence has soared in ways we hoped it would.  Her speech has improved and her communication has gotten better as well.  Most people who meet her don't know she tested and falls on the spectrum, and while the sensory processing issue still comes into play we are better equipped to handle it now.

She loves going to OT.  At the start of the school year she got a new therapist at the place we go to outside of the school day.  Ms. Stephanie.  Ms. Stephanie works her hard, but lets her have fun too.  When I showed her the video clip of Juli riding the tiny bike with no training wheels on Monday, she had tears in her eyes.  She knows how hard of a skill it was for Juli to master, and how hard Juli will have to work to transition to a bigger bike.  With Developmental Coordination Disorder, there isn't a set standard of what you will and won't be able to do, but Juli is determined to do it all.  She also got to meet some special friends in November who were doing the Tower Climb with us, the Watsons.  Juli loves Ms. Shari and Mr. George so very much and she bonded very closely with Mr. George who also has to do OT due to a spinal cord injury.

She gave us a scare in February, when I got the phone call at work that no parent wants to receive: "We are taking Juli by ambulance to the hospital. She had a seizure and was unresponsive in the classroom."  I drove like a crazy lady and of course, hit every red light on the way to the hospital.  She doesn't remember much from that day, but her principal rode in the ambulance with her, and 2 days later both her teacher and her special ed teacher came to the house to make sure she was okay- she scared them pretty badly too.

She loves to jump and sing.  Most days you can find her on the trampoline jumping and singing to all sorts of songs that she puts on.  But if she catches you recording her, she will give you the stink eye!  She also loves to sing in the shower...

Happy Birthday, Punkin Horsie, we love you so very much!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

My Baby Boy Turns 9 Today...

Everyone tells you not to blink.  That time goes by so quickly.  I didn't believe them at first, but I do now.  Noah turns 9 years old today.  It was just yesterday that I held him in my arms and we rocked in the rocking chair and listened to Plumb's song, "In My Arms".  Now, my baby boy almost comes up to my shoulder, and while he still snuggles in my lap, I can't just swaddle him and hold him like I did when he was a baby.

There is so much I want to write about you, Noah, but you always tell me that it's embarrassing, so I will keep it short and sweet, with only 10 things.

10.  I love that you love to create. Right now you obsessed with the sinking of the Titanic and took it upon yourself to build yourself a Lego version of the Titanic.  You also love to build and you spent the entire day building your K'Nex Ferris Wheel.

9. I love that you love to read.  You constantly have your nose in a book, and you carry 2-3 books with you everywhere you go, in case you finish one or get bored reading one of them.  Your favorites include Harry Potter (but you can only read up to number 3, even though you want to read farther), the Zombie Chronicles, Big Nate, Humphrey, the 13 story treehouse series and the Jedi Academy.

8. You love all things Harry Potter, just like your mom.  We can talk about Harry Potter all day long and never get tired of it.  I can't wait until we go to Universal Studios and get to experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter together.

7. Besides Harry Potter, Star Wars is your favorite.  You are a true Jedi.  You were so excited to get to miss the half day before Christmas break to go and see star wars with your dad and your cousins.  In fact, you were so excited after the movie, that you even blurted out about Han Solo as soon as you saw me.

6. You love to play guitar.  You are doing such a great job with your lessons, and were so excited when your teacher taught you part of the theme to Harry Potter as well as Darth Vader's march.  You aren't a fan of practicing every day, but if you could practice every other day you would be a happy camper.

5. You are a wonderful swimmer.  You work so hard to perfect your dives.  You have an amazing backstroke, you leave everyone in the dust even though you are one of the shortest kids in your level.

4. You love your sister and are a good big brother.  As soon as you got to the hospital the day of her seizure, you ran up to her and held her hand while she laid on the bed.  You kept trying to make her laugh while she was miserable and you made sure to bring home her valentine's because she missed her valentine's day party at school.

3. You love your cousins.  You guys have a really close relationship and it's fun to see you all play together.  It's even funnier to see you guys try to talk to each other on the phone or over the app on the kindle.

2. You love your grandparents and great-grandmothers.  You enjoy sending your grandparents text messages and talking to them on the phone.  You enjoyed going to Florida with them last summer and doing the Disney experience with both sets of grandparents.

1. You have the best heart of any kid around.  You desire to help everyone and if you could, you would volunteer at Feed My Starving Children every single week.  It makes your heart hurt to know that there are kids who go hungry in the world.  You love going to SouthField Big Kids.  You don't like when you have to miss going because someone is sick or you are sick.  You love to learn about Jesus and it shows in your actions.

Happy Birthday, Baby Boy, we love you so very much!