Taking the Scenic Route

Wednesday August 31, 2005

31st August 2005

Wednesday August 31, 2005

I found this interesting link on Babywearing in a disasater zone.  I am not sure that the people who need this can see it, but maybe people going down there can see it and help some people who are trying to parent young kids in a disaster area.

http://www.mamatoto.org/

If you are like me and start bawling every time you hear somebody getting choked up, turn down the volume when the clips run.  Evidently, she is missing a number of family members still.

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24th August 2005

Wednesday August 24, 2005

Looky What We Got!

Our mail was quite exciting yesterday!  Yvonne & Bob sent us a guitar!  Not just any guitar, mind you, but a beautiful acoustic Fender guitar and everything we need to hook it into our computer and record music!  She also sent us Grandpa Doc’s prized microphone.  He wouldn’t let ANYBODY touch this thing because it was so precious to him.  What an amazing gift!  She said she was going to send Zach a guitar in exchange for doing a webpage for her, but this was really something!

Bob wrapped it to mean business too.  Evidently, he ran out of tape halfway through the project and had to run back into town to get more.  Then they ran out of tape again before they could close up the accompanying box.  That sucker was secure!

An example Bob’s handiwork

 

Zach doing a “Sound of Music” impression.  (Check out the ingenuity…the box perfectly covered the guitar case, but left the handle so people could carry it properly.

In the box was also a nice tuner, the microphone I mentioned, a teddy bear for Zane, some M&Ms with little train engines on top (Zane loves trains), some animal crackers, a make-up kit for me, and these cool propeller stick things (you rub the stick and the propeller spins…an old fashioned toy).  Zane thought the propeller things were about the coolest thing in the world and actually was able to keep it going (although it worked better when I held the stick and he rubbed it). 

Bob had worked on the guitar to make it easier to play (so the strings weren’t too far away from the neck) and put some very high quality strings on it.  They also packed a few extra strings for future use too. 

That evening, Zach finally got to play for a while.  It was so wonderful.  His Alverez got ruined when a pipe burst in our apartment a few years ago and caused the neck to twist.  He still played it, but it was hard on his hands, some of the strings dragged on the neck, and was generally frustrating to play.  This was a dream to play.  We pulled out the Alvarez for Zane to fool with because he would NOT be denied any play time.  Through the course of the evening he played with the Alvarez, a kazoo, a recorder, and a few rhythm instruments with Zach.  It was so much fun. 

I look forward to many more concerts in the future.  What a blessing!

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21st August 2005

Sunday August 21, 2005

Zach’s Show

Zach’s show was a riot last night.  120 people, a portion of them the Red Hat Society group.  They laughed, applauded, interacted with the actors (including responding to lines of the actors during the production).  It was fabulous.  It is a dinner theater where most of the action takes place in a space between tables, so the crowd is really in on the action without the separation that is there when it is a stage show.  It was so much fun for them.  (also hard to keep a straight face for the actors).  It sounded like so much fun!

I finally saw the show last Thursday.  It was good, but the crowd was smaller and not nearly as interactive.  I would have loved to come last night, but they were sold out and it is a long drive out to the regular venue.  It was great to finally see it.  I was really proud of Zach.  He did so well!  I was able to guess the ‘murderer’ and why, but it was largely a process of elimination.  I knew Zach and Robert weren’t the ones, and was able to make some guesses.  I thought it was cool I was right.

Zane Stuff

Zane has been much more into reading the last few days.  I am really happy about that.  He keeps bringing books to Zach and me.  It is a great thing.  I spent many months reading to him, even when he didn’t seem to be paying attention so it is a relief to see the transition from no apparent interest, to limited interest, to initiating reading.  He is also slowly talking more.  (or at least being more understandable…he has always babbled non-stop when it is just the three of us)  He is also handling being corrected a little better.  For example, when “chin” sounds closer to “chair” and I re-iterate “chin”, instead of getting frustrated he will try the word again, pronouncing it correctly.  It might take him a minute or two, but he doesn’t seem as disturbed by it not being perfect as he used to.  It is progress, and I am happy.

Zach also read something recently in one of the magazines mom got us about increasing right and left brain connections.  (He is very right brain dominant…advanced in visual spatial skills like puzzles and drawing, but behind in left brain skills, like verbal skills and communication)  It said that drawing a picture and then talking about the picture helped.  Perfect for us!  He loves to draw, so we make a point to spend a while discussing the drawing and getting him to tell us about the drawing.  We can’t always understand him, but it is getting better. 

Playing computer games is also helping his ability to follow directions and it is spilling over into his non-computer life.  Since a computer simply doesn’t ‘go’ unless you follow directions or do things in a specific order, it has the ‘patience’ to wait until he does it the way he is supposed to, with no emotion involved.  If he does something ‘wrong’ it simply doesn’t do anything, but he is rewarded for doing things ‘right’.  His ability to follow complex directions has really taken a leap since he is playing some on the computer most days.  He also has moved from preschool software to kindergarten.  I am amazed at some of the things he is able to do.  For instance, one of the things has a “rhymes with” game.  They show a picture of a frog and ask what it rhymes with, showing 6 different options.  Without hesitation he will pick “log”.  He does this over and over again with all of the different games.  It is amazing to me.

One funny thing.  When Zane got frustrated with something, he sarcastically declared “Great Joy!”, exactly the same way Zach does.  *snort*

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20th August 2005

Saturday August 20, 2005

Kntting Mamas, could use some input

Trying to design some knitting.  I want to knit a “take home outfit” for the baby.  (take-home outfits have the same ’status’ in our family as a Christening dress would in families that baptize infants….just a family tradition.  It is the main saved outfit from babyhood).  In order to do this I either need a pattern to base my design off, or just some measurements.

I was going to try and find a dress pattern and just make it longer, but all the Debbie Bliss patterns I have on hand  (one whole book. lol) start at 6 months.  Baby would drown.  I can’t find anything for 0-3 months that can really be modified well. 

Does anybody have a pattern for that small of a baby that would be useful for getting the measurements?  I need to know the chest circumference, arm circumference and length, and size of neck hole.  I am guessing that 15-18 inches from armpits down would be enough to cover the feet and maybe even cinch it closed.  A newborn shirt/sweater pattern would work too, if was one that was meant to go over the head so I could get an accurate chest circumference.

Is there something else I am missing?  I would love to hear input from the more experienced knitters out there.

I am thinking about using KnitPicks Shine on this, but am not set on that yet either. 


edited to continue with some yarn musings:

On another note.  If it is a girl, I have the cutest dress pattern I want to use for Easter.  I am looking for a basic vest pattern that I can modify the heck out of to make a coordinating vest for Zane.  Knitpicks also had some great sock yarns that has me itching to try socks, but I want to be a little more educated in sock construction before even attempting that. 

I am also 2 scarves behind because I got some novelty yarn to make them and HATED it.  I really wanted to love it because the color combinations were absolutely perfect for the intended recipients, but dread working with it.  One of the disasters from the yarn is a pathetic looking scarf end where I tried to combine some Paton’s cha cha with Lion’s Fun Fur.  Bad, bad combo.  It was supposed to be funky, but instead it is just fugly.  Plus, both yarns are a big PITA to work with and together it is a nightmare.  Uhgg.  I found a neat ladder yarn at KnitPicks that would be a good replacement for one of the people.  Has anybody worked with ladder yarn?  Is it ok to work with?  I am almost afraid of novelty yarns now after that disaster.

One other “In Search of yarn” is for a bright yellow washable wool yarn.  I have some acrylic for a project, but would really prefer washable wool.  It would suit the project so much better and the acrylic would make a great sweater for Zane.  All I can find is pale, buttery yellows and I want a more school bus type yellow.  (would need to have a grass green, bright red, and black in the same kind of yarn, but those don’t seem as hard to find)

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17th August 2005

Wednesday August 17, 2005

Update on PPD Neighbor I wrote about earlier

She is doing much better.  She is seeing somebody and is getting family support.  She doesn’t seem nearly as overwhelmed.  She still has times where she is frustrated, but so do I. lol.

On a really good note, she has decided to finish her high school diploma.  I found out that you can’t get your high school diploma through the public school system, even in the adult education outlets, unless you have completed your sophomore year in high school.  She has to go through an online place to do it because she dropped out during her sophomore year, not completing it.  She has started doing the program already.  She showed me her homework to see if it looked alright, and I made the passing comment that ‘oh, this looks like an applied psychology class” (the class name was odd and I was curious what the subject matter was).  She got really excited.  She said she always thought psychology was really hard, and more of a ‘geeky’ subject that only the smart kids took.  She had been doing well on the online quizzes and was really excited to find out it was a ‘real’ subject.  (note to self:  never underestimate the power of your words on other people.  I just had no idea how intimidated she must feel, at the core of her being, to be attempting this.)

She was told by the person there that, although it is a 3 year program, if she spends 3 or 4 hours on it a day, she can probably graduate in 6 months or so.  I think she has been working on it for more like 5 or 6 hours a day…when ever her dh is home, for the most part, so she is right on track for making it sooner.  She also wants to go to college.  In some ways we are the perfect people to encourage her.  When she gets down about how long it is going to take, she has two people here who can point out that she will only be 26 or so when she graduates college.  That might seem like a long time or like she will be ‘old’ to her at 21 years old, but it is really young in the grand scheme of things.  Plus, it wasn’t until we were 26 and 27 that we returned to college, and Zach just graduated a year ago. 

Her husband is being supportive, but he is more of a “let’s get the high school degree before we even think about the college degree”.  I understand that, but I also understand her needing to look ahead and talk about what college classes are like, how the college system works, how she can fit it into her life with being a mom, and what she wants to get a degree in.  She needs to solidify that it is a valid dream for her to have and that she is capable of doing it.  She is a very ‘verbal’ person and processes her thoughts by talking about it over and over again, so she sort of needs more than one person to talk to or she is going to wear them out.  lol.

I have a feeling that I might be doing some tutoring in the next year or so.  I know I can help her with her high school and some college stuff, and Zach has volunteered to help her with the math that is over my head when she gets there.  (His minor was in math and one more semester would have allowed him a double major in math and computer science, but it wasn’t worth it). 

I am really proud of her.  She is fighting a lot of internal obstacles to even attempt this, much less keep at it.  She is fighting every person that told her she ’wasn’t good enough’ and all the statistics of women who marry early and have kids young.  She is doing it with a strength I don’t think she knew she had until she made herself try.  She is an inspiration to me.   

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17th August 2005

Wednesday August 17, 2005

nosykiss, if you are out there, please email me.  I saw that your blog was down and there was no place you could leave comments, so I am hoping you will see this.  I am assuming by your phrasing that you lost your baby.  Please email me if you need to talk.  I have been through miscarriages and am totally willing to be a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen.  I am so sorry!

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16th August 2005

Tuesday August 16, 2005

Don’t post for a week and here is my 3rd post today.  lol.

We found this rug today at Home Depot for only $19.  I have seen the sucker as high as $100 online!  It covers most of the middle of his bedroom and it is so cool!  I also finally found a retractable clothes line.  Such a simple thing, but I have been trying to find one for nearly 2 years now.  It seems like something that should be easy to find, but I haven’t had any luck until today.  Happy day!

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16th August 2005

Tuesday August 16, 2005

Oh, I forgot to mention, FEEBEE IS BACK!  WooHoo!  They have been having problems with their ISP vs their blog software and I have been missing her.  Welcome back to syberspace my friend! 

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16th August 2005

Tuesday August 16, 2005

I have really been neglecting my blog lately.  I have had a good week or so though.  We got our financial aid money.  We had a few hitches, but were able to get it.  Same with the food stamps.  I finally got some action when I started asking for his supervisor.  Still waiting on my “proof of benefits” statement to be able to turn in with my paperwork for our YMCA membership, but hopefully it will find it’s way here soon. 

Zach got back his teacher evaluations.  His overall score was ‘very good’.  WooHoo!  Most of the “things he could do to improve” were things that weren’t possible.  For instance: ”would like to see the instructor put in code and show the output in another window”, which isn’t possible on the system he uses for class.  The other one was because he sits during some of the lecture.  He can’t really stand and do it for portions of it because he is doing things on the computer, which is on a low desk and he is tall.  He would spend the entire class with people staring at the balding spot on the top of his head instead of speaking to the class if he stood. Plus, his back would and neck would be insanely sore after lecturing and hour+ bending over, so that isn’t going to happen as long as he is assigned that particular lecture hall.  Most of the comments were very positive.  Great notes, interesting class, well organized, knows the subject very well…stuff every teacher wants to hear.  I am really proud of him!

Last week, after the ultrasound, mom and I went out to eat (Italian Gardens…Yummy!) and then maternity clothes shopping.  She got me 2 or 3 t-shirts, a pair of jeans, a track suit type thing, and a maternity belt.  Sweet! It was a really neat “girl’s afternoon”.  We don’t go out, just the two of us, very often.  Later in the day, we went to Sam’s for her to get some shopping done and Zach and Zane met us.  Zane went around with us while Zach went to CompUSA to look at monitors.  (we have been borrowing a monitor from a friend for one of our computers and he needs it back…we told him we would return it when we got our FA in and could replace it).  Zach managed to wheel and deal for one of the floor models and got a fantastic price.  (it was the last in stock and they weren’t getting any more)

We also had a ball sitting at home, with the phone, and calling the utility companies and such and paying everything in full.  That feels so good!  We were able to call around to try and get a better car insurance rate too, and will be going in to get the paperwork for that tomorrow.  (We are dropping Geico for American Family…about $450 less a year.  The car insurance + renter’s insurance and it STILL is that much less.)

Within the last few days we also were able to order some books online.  A computer book for Zach, a parenting/teaching book for me (teaching right-brain/visual spatial learners), and a few books for Zane the we have been wanting.  I can’t wait!  We did the super-saver shipping, which means it takes forever to get here, but at least it is a lot cheaper than going to the bookstore. 

We also ended up having to order Zane’s bedding.  I discovered, much to my dismay, that if you want ‘boy’ bedding and are not into sports, nascar, batman/superman, or surfing, you are not going to find anything in the stores.  (I wanted somthing with a pattern to hide stains better so solid wasn’t a great option) I found a bed-in-a-bag from target that had road/car theme that I liked and was reasonable, so we just ordered it.  After using a 10% off coupon we found online, it took enough off the price that the shipping only ended up being $4 over the original price.  Once that gets here, we are going to have either my folks, Robert, or our neighbors help us go get the twin mattress & box spring.  I found one for $99.  I am sure they will try to upsell us, but I am sure that it will be fine.  He falls asleep on tables, chairs, and over toys….I am pretty sure that he isn’t that picky.  lol.  Anything is better than the one that is currently in his room…I slept on that mattress when I was his age and it was probably used then.  He is seeming to want to transition to his own room and the timing is good.  I don’t want him to feel ‘kick-out’ when the new baby is here.

I am still waiting on picking up any yarn.  I am not convinced enough that it is going to be a girl to invest in yarn quite yet.   If I still don’t know in a month, I will probably go ahead and buy so I can get started, but might make at least one boy or gender neutral thing too, and then sell or trade which ever is the wrong gender for some diapers or something.  I am digging out some of my patterns and designing some things in the intervening time though.  I know I want to get some of the Debbie Bliss knock-offs (and maybe some others) from KnitPicks.  (they are a direct-to-customer company so they don’t have nearly the mark-up of most yarns, and I have heard good things about them).  I really do want to wait until I know the gender to make soakers though, since I get hand-dyed yarns for that.  However, I probably won’t do soakers for the newborn period when they poop so much. lol.  I am excited to get some baby things on the needles!  I am wanting to make Zane a sweater for Christmas, and a hat and mittens that match his coat.  If I can figure out how to do socks, that is what I want to make for Zach this year.

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11th August 2005

Thursday August 11, 2005

Ultrasound

I went in early this morning for my “big” ultrasound.  She had problems getting good pictures because the babe kept moving around and what she did evaluate, she wouldn’t tell me.  She just said the Dr. had to review them first.  So, mostly a waiting game.  It took FOREVER.  It was around a half and hour long.   She wasn’t sure of the sex because the legs were together and the baby wouldn’t stop moving, but she said she would lean towards a girl.  However, she told me that if I buy anything leave the tags on, keep the receipts, and don’t wash it.  lol. 

I am really tired, so I am just going to call that enough of an entry for right now.  It was a good day today though.

The pictures

 

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  • Zane's age

  • Zane is 15 years, 7 months, and 21 days old
  • Zora's age

  • Zora is 11 years, 7 months, and 25 days old
  • Random Quote

  • There is no such thing as inevitable war. If war comes it will be from failure of human wisdom — Bonar Law

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