Saturday, April 19, 2014

Storey Lately


Storey has a huge personality.  HUGE.   She is loud and asks a million questions and sings all the time and asks a million more questions and wants to be the star of the show all.the.time.  Sometimes it's exhausting.

Which is why she naps every afternoon.

These are some of her shenanigans as of late:
Storey has been watching Zak and I do various exercise videos and decided she wanted to exercise too. So she put on her "sports bra" (which is actually a half tee), Can't exercise without the proper support! 

Last month I found a pair of cowboy boots at a consignment sale. They are about 3 sizes too big but Storey insists on clunking around in them almost every day.   Soon after the purchase came the much anticipated Rodeo Day at school.   This girl was in heaven.  She is really getting into the whole Texas pride thing!

Speaking of Texas, Storey had show and tell at school. Texas themed. Because we are in Texas and Texans are taught to be proud of Texas from a very young age. Storey took a paperweight with the shape of the Great State inside. I asked her what other kids showed. She said one brought a picture of bluebonnets, another one a brochure from Space Center Houston....oh, and then there was the kid that brought beef. BEEF.   I asked her what he said about it and she said, "Oh he hasn't been able to show it yet.  He just put it in his cubbie."   Um....

Storey is obsessed with the Berenstain Bear's books. She is constantly telling me that we need to change things in our home to meet Mama Bear's standards. A few nights ago, Storey sat us all down to review the "Family Politeness Plan" that she, er...Mama Bear, put together. It consisted of many rules and consequences that we have not, in fact, implemented since then.

Aunt Leanna mailed each of the kids a letter. Storey was SO EXCITED to get mail. She sat down right away and replied. And included the seeds from the apple that she had just eaten. Because, why not?

From her most recent class book:

Friday, March 28, 2014

Autism is a real thing.



While in Phoenix, we ate lunch at Cafe Rio (of course) and I overheard this conversation from the next table over where Jakson and Storey were sitting with their Aunt Megan.

Aunt Megan:  Storey, don't kick your brother under the table.
Storey: It's okay, he likes it.   He has autism.
Megan: Um, I don't think that's true.
Jakson: Oh, it's true.  Aunt Megan, autism is a real thing.
Megan: Not what I meant....


Monday, March 24, 2014

Road trip (mis)adventures


When I was in college, the idea of a road trip evoked grand plans.  Hours of singing along to great music, few stops, relaxing moments when it wasn't your turn to drive, enthralling conversations, a change of pace....  the journey was almost as great as the destination.

Road tripping with children in tow is an entirely different story.  Unless of course you love to clean barf (or other bodily excrement) from car upholstery, think it's fun to listen to children fight/whine for several hours on end, and enjoy answering the question "are we there yet?" three hundred million times in a 24 hour span.  Not an exaggeration.  I used to think that was a stereotype (how can every child possibly ask the same question??), but no.  It's not.  Absolutely true.  They teach this inside the womb apparently in some sort of "how to totally annoy your parents" pre-birth class. 

Can you tell we just returned from a road trip?  Probably not.  So.....we just returned from a road trip and I will again vow to fly everywhere from now on.  I think I've vowed that several times, but this time I mean it.  AW.FUL.   Between the luggage flying out of the car into the middle of the road as we drove and Zak not even realizing it until I started yelling at him, Storey peeing all over herself, Jakson spilling an entire milkshake in the backseat, the hotel room reserved on Priceline that smelled like it hadn't been cleaned since Reagan was in office (we did not stay), and two nights of driving until 3am (which, of course, the children stayed awake for despite being drugged), I think I may have reached my threshold.

Needless to say, the destination definitely trumped the journey on this one.

Especially since the destination looked like this.   Talk about the opposite of a hectic car ride.

We got to spend time with some of our favorite people.

auntuncle cousin1 cousin2
We spent a couple of relaxing days with my Grandma in Snowflake playing at the park and sitting around the kitchen table, cards in hand. The trip was completely redeemed after our stint with the Norths in Phoenix. We never laugh so hard or eat so good when they aren't around. Come to Texas.

Jak and his "first (and best) friend" Natalie.  These two kill me.  It literally hurts my heart when I watch them play that we don't live nearby.  They just pick up where they left off.  And never notice that they are about a foot in height difference. 

On the trip out to AZ, Jak had been watching a movie for awhile and must have glanced out the window to discover a new terrain he hadn't noticed before.

Jakson: Look at the mountains! Are we in Phoenix???
 Zak: No.
Jakson: We are still in Houston??

Are there only two places in the world? Houston and Phoenix? Apparently we need a few more geography lessons for Family Home Evening.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

I do my little turn on the catwalk



Storey comes up with the craziest poses.  I have no idea where she gets her love of the camera....oh wait, yes I do.  Her dad.   It does make it super easy for me to get great shots of the patterns I have tested out though.  This is the second time that she's going to be in the shop listings for Heidi and Finn as advertisement for a digital pattern.  I guess it pays to be a ham.

The dress I made from an old bed sheet.  It was the perfect weight fabric for a little summer dress.

I am definitely going to make a few more of the Pintuck blouse for the upcoming summer months.  It was the first time I've ever made my own bias tape (besides for quilting) and it was a lot easier than I thought it would be.  Normally I improvise when the instructions call for bias tape and figure out a different way around it, but Christine's instructions were really easy to follow. 

I am so excited to be testing another pattern for Christine this week (a coat this time).  More awesome poses to come!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Parents just don't understand.


I've decided the thing that I like the most about taking a parenting class is that it makes me a more purposeful parent.  I'm making more conscious decisions about my reactions and getting more creative about consequences that actually fit the action. 

For instance: Today Storey unbuckled her car seat while we were driving, which is a big no no (she HAD to get a cracker that fell).  Rather than lecture her, I reminded her that it was very dangerous and because of her decision she was going to get a consequence.  I couldn't think of anything right away, but as we pulled into the garage, I spotted her old car seat (the 5 point harness kind).  I let her know that because of her choice, for the rest of the week she would be back in her old car seat which is more difficult to unbuckle than the booster seat she currently uses.  She was not happy, but I think she will get the point after sitting in that "baby seat" (as she calls it) for a few days.

And lest you believe that Storey is always screaming and disobedient, tonight she shut herself in my bedroom while I was making dinner and then came out to inform me that she had a surprise in my room.  I discovered that she had made my bed and left a pink paper heart in the middle.  Cute.

In other parenting news, I was able to use the "empathetic response" that we learned in our last class today when Jakson got in the car after school and showed me his broken glasses.  It was only a matter of time....

I wanted him to own the problem, so I expressed how sad I was that it had happened, threw in a "that really sucks," and then asked what he was going to do about it.   Right away he said that he would just wear them broken.   Nice.  Only a boy.

He then said he wasn't sure what to do.  I asked if he wanted a couple of ideas.   Maybe he could buy some gorilla glue and try to glue them back together?   Though it might not work.  Or he could call Walmart and ask about the warranty on the glasses?  But that might cost him some money as well.  He decided to call Walmart.  It was kind of hilarious to listen to--he told the lady at the eye center that he had broken his glasses and needed to find out if he could get new ones.  I could tell that the lady on the other side was a little confused as to why a child was calling her.  When she started asking for insurance and birth dates, I took over the phone, but left it on speaker.  I explained that he had to call because he needed to take responsibility.  Thankfully, she caught on quickly to that and told Jakson that it would be free this time, but he would owe them $55 the next time.  Did he have that kind of money?   He replied that it would be a lot of chores.

Side note: Actually Walmart's policy is that the frames are under warranty for the first year and can be replaced as many times as the kid breaks them.  Which is exactly why we went with Walmart for his glasses.  After that first year, it's $55.  We still have awhile.

Jak was excited that the replacement glasses would be free, but now his problem was getting to Walmart.    First, he asked if I would take him.    I told him that a trip to Walmart was not in my plans for the day and he would have to pay me $1 for gas.   I suggested that maybe he could walk there (he said, "too far") or get a friend to take him.    He took my phone and said he was going to call his friend Daly.  Well, Daly lives about an hour away and Jak doesn't know his phone number, so quickly that scheme was nixed.  Then he said he would call the Bishop.  I'm sure that's all the Bishop needs---a phone call from my kid asking to be driven to Walmart.  I don't think that's part of his job description.   Fortunately, he doesn't know the Bishop's number either.    In the end, he decided on "Miss Mandy."  With a little help, he found her number on my phone and called.  No answer (though I spoke to her later and she would have charged for gas too).    Sadly, his options had run out and he begrudgingly was stuck with me and my $1 gas fee.

There's a happy ending to this story-he got new glasses for free and I earned $1!  Who wants dinner?

Monday, February 17, 2014

My kid would never....


One of our goals this year was to take a Parenting with Love and Logic class.   I was trained with the Love and Logic method when I was teaching and felt like it would be something beneficial to relearn with Zak to help us out when dealing with the kids.   Mid-January, I got a flier advertising a Love and Logic course from Storey's preschool.  It was fate.   So then I told everyone I knew.  The majority of the people attending are from our ward.  Mormon night at the Methodist Church.  :)

Unfortunately, it's not a miracle class and my parenting has not improved all that much, which means my kids (well, really one kid) haven't stopped screaming... 

Five days after parenting class began:
Storey screamed at me for a good 10 minutes tonight, to which I answered "I know" and "Thanks for sharing" (the "brain dead" answers you are supposed to give when kids are arguing) in a very boring voice.   It didn't work.  I got tired of it after awhile so I dragged her to her room and shut the door.  Still a lot of screaming, but muffled by the door, which was nice. 

Where do they teach that stuff in the class? 

One week after parenting class began:
Storey had been reminded several times to get her lunchbox and a jacket  (do you notice pattern here?  Storey IS the reason for the parenting class.  This girl is a screaming mystery).  She remembered the lunchbox, not the jacket.  Unfortunately we didn't realize this mistake until we were in the car line at school and I wasn't about to turn around and start over again.  Of course, this sent Storey into a screaming fit.  She yelled that "everyone was going to make fun", she was going to "die",  "it's not fair!!" (her favorite),  "all the other moms are nice",  and "please, please, please, please, please, I said PLEASE!!!"  Oh, what fun.

To all of her screams, I replied with my statements again: "I know", "What did I already say?", "I'm sure it is".   I guess I was overusing "I know" because she finally screamed at me, "Quit saying 'I know!!!'  Does that count as a win on my part???

Finally she calmed down a little and I told her that I would be willing to go home and get her jacket if she paid me for my time and gas--to the tune of $2.  Not a big expense to you and me, but when you spend envelope only contains about $2.11, that amount hurts.  She thought about it for a little bit and decided that she could probably survive the taunts of her classmates (though I doubt very much that the other five year olds even notice whether or not she has a coat).    After a few seconds she turned to Jakson and asked if she could wear the extra jacket he had in the car.  He said, "sure" so she wore her brother's large coat to school.  And then wanted to wear it every day after.  

That tactic may have backfired.

Two weeks after parenting class began:
Storey had been told repeatedly to stay in her room and read for quiet time.  After finding her in Jakson's room, she lost the privilege of reading and was supposed to lay silently in her bed.  After breaking that rule, she lost her most precious---Monkey (side note: this is the only punishment we have ever been able to find that actually effects her in any way.  She just doesn't care about anything else).  Losing Monkey is kind of like losing your arm.  Or someone stealing your first born.  It's rough.  Needless to say, she was upset. 

After "naptime" was over, she came in and asked me if she could have Monkey back.  I told her that Monkey was going to sleep with me that night (that nasty thing would actually not be getting anywhere near my bed.  I can't remember the last time it was washed) and she could have it back in the morning.   This was devastating.  She begged and pleaded, but I told her "no means no."  Then she asked if maybe she could earn Monkey.  

Hey, sure.  My toilet needs to be cleaned, the bathtub wiped down, the counter tops scrubbed,  and you can clean the window seat, make my bed, and load the dishwasher.    So she did.  After every job she asked if she could have Monkey back and I told her "I'm still thinking about it" and sent her off to do the next chore.  A chore that I then did not have to do.     

I could get used to this (and lest you think I'm the wicked stepmother, I did give her Monkey back...eventually). 

Obviously this parenting class has made us all better people....

Saturday, February 15, 2014



firstgame About four years ago, I enrolled Jakson in swim lessons.  We went to the public pool for our first lesson and Jak took one look at all of the people, covered his ears and screamed.  For the full 30 minute lesson.    That, and other similar experiences, convinced Zak and I that Jak was probably not destined for sports, especially not team sports.

This year he started playing soccer at recess with a couple of the older boys at his therapy clinic (school) and then began asking if he could play on a real team.  I was extremely hesitant-I didn't want to put him in a position to be teased, I was worried I would find him in the corner in the fetal position during every game, I was worried in general about his unpredictability.  I wrote a blog post about it and received a lot of encouraging words from parents.  After a bit of research and some (I believe) divine intervention, we were able to find a league with little "in it to win it" type pressure and ended up on a team with other kids from our church congregation.  In fact, Zak is coaching with one of the guys from church, who also happens to have a son on the spectrum.   God is absolutely in all of the details.

Even with the ideal soccer team (and coach), I was still a little nervous this morning before Jak's big game.  I absolutely should not have been.  Jak was amazing.  He scored the only two goals of the game, ran after the ball, cheered for his friends, and loved every minute.  And definitely no fetal position.  After the game he told me that now he has to learn how to do a header.  Awesome.

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