A Week In Pictures  

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I've been intrigued for awhile by the idea of any one of the versions of Project 365 in which you take a picture a day for a year. Knowing my perfectionist tendencies though, I've been afraid to commit to doing this, as I'm afraid I'll beat myself up if I say I'll do this and then forget or start slacking.

Then a couple of weeks ago I had an idea - I'll start slowly by trying to take a picture every day of the summer, as identified as Memorial Day to Labor Day. The problem is now trying not to be a perfectionist about what album I choose, or picking just one photo for the day, or even about the photos themselves. This is going to be a challenge for me.

Even though I'd planned to start on Memorial Day, I have a couple of cute ones from Saturday and Sunday too, so I think I'll start there.

Saturday, May 23, 2009.
Playing on the deck in a bucket of water.

Sunday, May 24, 2009
Being artsy in my backyard.

and here's where I already have trouble choosing one photo to represent the day. So here's picture number two - Paige and her quarters (she's been getting a quarter every day she feeds the cats in the morning) that she used to go buy a beta fish. She got a red fish, named it Ariel, and insists it is a girl (even though it is not.) Poor gender confused fishie.

Monday, May 25, 2009
I've already posted this one, but I love it. New sandals, and she's wearing pajamas too, by the way, to go out and play.

Tuesday, May 24, 2009
Only a couple days in and I didn't have a picture! I knew this would happen. So I had Roland take one of us.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Paige has been having trouble with constipation, and thus is scared to poop on the potty. She tried on Wednesday, so we made a big deal out of it and made Pillsbury Cinnabon Cookies. "I tried to poop on the potty cookies" didn't sound so appetizing, so Michelle suggested "Courage Cookies." I like that and think it might be something to do every time we do something courageous around here. We'll see.

Thursday, May 28, 2009
I took Paige to story time at the library. The local library is having a story night every Thursday for a few weeks, and the stories are being read by "local leaders." Tonight's story was read by a fireman. To explain the first picture - last summer, I think it was, Paige fell down in the library parking lot. To stop her crying, I brought her over to these flowers outside the library door, and told her they were "Feel Better Flowers." They've been the Feel Better Flowers to her ever since - she tells me all the time she wants to smell the Feel Better Flowers. Tonight she wanted to smell each one, and helped me to take this picture.

Picture number two:
The fireman read two books about dragons (as they breathe fire) and then a book about firemen. Then the kids did a craft, making a really cute fire breathing dragon.

Friday, May 29, 2009
I had a bad day at work, and didn't have a picture yet, so I asked Roland if we could go get ice cream and took this blurry photo there. I'm thinking I don't want all of the pictures to be of people or events, I want some to be objects or items that represent the day.

So I've actually followed through for one week! Wish me luck for week two.

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"Momma, Let's play animal shelter."  

Monday, May 25, 2009

Many kids like to pretend, and take part in dramatic play. Many kids want to play house, or school or the like. My daughter? She asked me on Monday if we could play "animal shelter."

I believe that's probably because since her birthday in February we've been a foster family for the local animal shelter and have had many cuties come visit us, such as these:

Left to right: Nirvana, Dora, and Doyle. Doyle is actually now our kitty. Michelle couldn't part with him.

The kitties come to us and we take care of them until they can go back to the shelter to be fixed and to go to their "forever homes" as we call them. So far we've had eight kitties in and out for various amounts of time.

If you'd like to read more about our fostering adventures, Michelle's started her own blog:

The Animal House - Adventures in Fostering.

Here's Paige riding the "horse" at the animal shelter.

Of course all of this is even more fun if you can play it outside and in your pajamas.

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Getting to Know You...  

Paige: "My new shoes are a little bit afraid."

Momma: "Why?"

Paige: "Because they don't know me yet."

Fair enough. :)

Happy Memorial Day Weekend.

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Our Sleeping Story - Part Two  

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I was nervous about having to take Paige to a branch of Boston's Children Hospital, to go to their sleep clinic. As much as I hate to admit it, hospitals make me a little nervous. My friend Michelle went with us, which was great, because I was anxious and our directions weren't great.

We finally found our way to where we were supposed to be. Paige got weighted (35 pounds) and measured. Finally we went into a room and met with a nurse practitioner who asked us lots and lots of questions. Paige was really good, although she wanted to chat with the nurse practitioner, and before too long told me she was bored and thirsty. But all and all she was really good while the lady talked about our family history, sleeping habits, all kinds of stuff. Then she went to talk to the doctor. Of course, we'd mentioned that Paige had a dream where Daddy had a sword at Mommy's throat, so when the doctor came in, he had to ask if Paige was seeing violence in the home. Um, no.

Anyway, the doctor told me that I (or Daddy) am a "sleep association" for Paige. She's associating needing me to go to sleep. She wants me to stay in her room until she falls asleep, so when she wakes up in the middle of the night and I'm not there, she wakes up and is upset because she thinks she needs me to go back to sleep.

The doctor went on to set us up with a "plan" that includes no more naps for her, and no more radio. (On our car ride home she heard me mention that and started crying, saying, "but I can't sleep without my radio" and I started to feel really bad.)

So the doctor talked a little more and then left us with the nurse practitioner to make a "plan" with Paige. Basically, I'm going to bed with Paige for a couple of weeks, and sleeping in her room (on the floor next to her bed) all night. If she sleeps in her bed all night, she gets a sticker. Then we move to that I'm allowed to do "chores" outside of the room while she's falling asleep and then I'll come in and sleep in the room all night with her. For a successful night then she gets two stickers. Then we move to her spending nights alone - possibly starting with every other night. Then she gets three stickers. We go back to the hospital in August.

So, I haven't been around as much because I'm on Paige's sleep schedule now. We wake up together, and we get put to bed together, with Roland tucking us both in. :) Paige is thrilled...and I think in the next couple of days we'll be ready to move to me doing some "chores" while she falls asleep. I think that step is going to be hard, because she's really enjoying us being roommates.

The other issue is that Paige's sleep cycle is off - she wasn't normally falling asleep until after 9, sometimes much later. So the first few nights we kept her up until 9:30 or so, so she'd be exhausted and fall right asleep. That is working, but a four year old who is being kept up later and no longer takes a nap can get a little cranky, let me tell you!

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Aloha Friday #5  

Friday, May 22, 2009

I am an intensive needs special education teacher. I work with students with multiple physical and cognitive challenges. I'm finishing my second year working in an elementary school, and next year they are moving my program to the middle school. There are several people - custodians, secretaries, cafeteria staff, teacher's aides, specialists (the gym teacher, the art teacher), classroom teachers, etc, who have been very accepting of my students and have also helped me out during my first two years working in public school. I'd like to give out some little thank yous to these people, but, obviously, I don't have a lot of money to spend.

My question is, what is the most memorable/thoughtful thank you note/gift that someone gave you?

I know you don't have to spend a lot of money to do something nice. I tell people all the time that a simple "thank you" goes a long way. But I wouldn't mind some ideas on maybe how I could add a little extra touch to my thank yous.

For more Aloha Friday, go to An Island Life.

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Our Sleeping Story - Part One  

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I've spent LOTS of time online researching sleep issues with children, and looking for sleeping tips for Paige. Nothing seemed to be helping. We recently saw a specialist, and so I thought I'd keep track of our journey here, in case it might help someone else.

Two months ago, after several restless nights, I called Paige's pediatrician about her sleeping (or lack there of.) I knew there were several things that could be causing anxiety, leading to her not wanting to go to sleep. We have recently moved into a new home, she has a "big girl bed" for the first time, and she's in her own room for the first time. However, once we got her to sleep, we had trouble keeping her asleep. She woke with night terrors and nightmares. She would often end up needing to move to our room in the middle of the night, sleeping on a little foam Ariel sofa beside our bed. She has been having issues with constipation, which I thought might bother her more at night. She turned four, and monsters became prominent. There was so much going on, I wasn't sure what I was battling any more - getting her into the bed, keeping her there, getting her to fall asleep, getting her to stay asleep, getting myself some sleep?

We tried soothing bedtime routines. We tried having music on, the fan on, special stuffed animals that watched over her, dream catchers, nightlights, pictures of us on the nightstand next to her. We had just bought some walkie-talkies after I read a suggestion about having her have some so she feels she could contact us at any time. The ones we got didn't work so well, so we didn't get too far with that.

I read A LOT online about nightmares, night terrors, bedtime anxiety, monsters, etc. Most recently, all that seemed to work was Super Nanny's Sleep Separation Technique. The idea here was that one of us would sit on what became known as the "sleeping pillow." We would not talk to Paige, but we would sit there, on the pillow, near the bed, until she fell asleep. We would then move the pillow a little bit further away from the bed each night. According to Super Nanny, eventually you can move the pillow to the door, and then out the door. Paige would only let us get just so far away with the pillow, before she'd ask us to move it closer to the bed again. But this seemed the only way to get her to go to sleep, accompanied with a children's benedryl tablet each night to help her wind down.

This still wasn't perfect, however. Paige would often take a long time to settle down, and I could be sitting in her room for over an hour trying to get her to sleep. If I thought she was asleep and tried to sneak out when she wasn't asleep, she would cry and call out for me to come back. One night I talked to her about trying to go to sleep, and she told me, "I don't know how." My poor girlie was exhausted, as was the rest of the household - and cranky too. Many nights she'd go to sleep, only to wake up in the middle of the night looking for me, or for whoever had sat with her that evening to go to sleep. Some night's she'd want me to sit in her room in the middle of the night to get back to sleep. Other nights she'd end up in my room for the rest of the night.

Then, last Monday, we finally had our appointment at the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders.

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Aloha Friday #4  

Friday, May 15, 2009

I've been tired this week - we took Paige to a branch of Boston's Children's Hospital on Monday to try and get to the heart of her sleeping issues. The result is a plan that starts with me going to bed with her and spending the night in her room. I've been meaning to blog about it, but right now most of my time without Paige is when I'm at work.

In the meantime, I thought I'd take it easy today (I'm home sick) and participate in Aloha Friday.

My question this week is stems from the fact that I look at a lot of blogs, books, and magazines, and being a visual person, I come up with tons of crafty projects I want to try, or things I'd like to do with Paige, or recipes to make. However, I don't know how to best organize what I want to do, and then I can't figure out how to make time for any of it, or how to decide what to do when. Does anyone see my perfectionism sneaking in here?

So my question is, How do you keep track of all the projects you'd like to try, and how do you decide what to try when? I've been trying to decide if I should have some sort of "To Do" list or something. I guess I could use your organizational help here!

For more Aloha Friday, go to An Island Life.

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Thursday List  

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I really like treasure box idea.

This fruit salad looks like a fun idea.

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What Does This Say About Me As A Mother?  

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I wanted to post this last week, but last week was crazy. I suppose a Mother post is ok for Mother's Day though, huh?

Last Friday when I got home from work, I got out of the car and looked around. There were dandylions everywhere. My first thought? "Look at all the dandies! Paige will be so excited to pick them!"

Paige spends most Friday nights at Grandma's, and then Grandma takes her to dance class Saturday morning. So Paige didn't see all the dandies that afternoon.

The next day, Saturday, was a "watch day" at Paige's dance school. After watching Paige's class, we were getting ready to leave when the next class was lining up to go in. One of the girls in the line for the next class had a dandylion, and I thought, "that's so cute, she brought that in for the teacher." The teacher oohed and aahed and told the little girl how beautiful it was. Her mother then looked at the teacher and told her, "She tried to give it to me. I told her it was a weed and to throw it away. So she said she was going to give it to you."

Maybe I was experiencing some PMS, but I started to feel very sad about this. Didn't everyone know that when little kids pick dandylions for you, you take them, say how beautiful they are, and when the kids aren't looking, then you toss them? Isn't that just what you do?? Somehow this lady didn't get what I thought was one of the unwritten rules of parenthood.

Later, as Roland and I were out running errands, I asked him, "what does this say about me as a mother?" and told him the story. In response he produced a couple of wilted dandylions from his side of the car and told me Paige had given them to him. To which I said, "that's right! When your child gives them to you, you keep them, and then throw them away later. That's just what you do!"

I find it sad that the mother of that little girl didn't appreciate the thought behind the "weed." But maybe that's just me.

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Aloha # 3.  

Friday, May 8, 2009

Just when I was getting pretty regular about posting, I had an exhausting week at work, full of IEP Meetings, parent meetings, and finishing state alternate assessment portfolios. I was exhausted every day. So, hopefully after I get a little rest, I can have a little more blog time. I'm trying not to feel "guilty" about not posting on my own blog. But we all know how much of a struggle that can be, right?

In any event, it is time for Aloha Friday.

In honor of Mother's Day, my question is: What is your favorite memory of you and your mother?

Happy Mother's Day to all. :)

For more Aloha Friday, go to An Island Life.

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Aloha Friday #2  

Friday, May 1, 2009

I have a four year old daughter who is an only child, and who has TONS of energy. That usually makes me her BFF, and I generally do not have a lot of energy. Most days I try to be a "good" mom and take her outside to let her run around (I often compare raising Paige to having a large St. Bernard puppy - she needs lots of room to run) or to do "projects" or play games, etc. with her. But some days I am doing all I can just to survive the hours between getting home from work and putting her to bed. When I'm really exhausted or not feeling well, that's when I find myself suggesting a video or tv show to her. Although I'm not against her watching (appropriate) TV, I sometimes feel bad that I'm the one suggesting she watch it, just because it'll keep her busy and I can sit still for a bit.

So my question is this: What are your best tips for entertaining energetic children when you are sick, exhausted, feeling brain dead, (all of the above?) or just want a minute to breathe?

For more Aloha Friday, go to An Island Life.

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