Sunday, October 31, 2010

She finally wants to be a princess..... OGRE princess.
1. Because there is no shiny/scratchy/satiny/slippery/lacy part of this costume at all.
2. Because she wanted me to paint her feet green. Not her face, she only wanted sparkly "really mommy lipstick, NOT CHAPSTICK, Mom, real lipstick" on her face. But she was obsessed with green feet. (No, I did not paint her feet green.
3. Because she wanted her daddy to dress up like Shrek. And Firstborn was supposed to be Prince Charming (he certainly has the hair for it). Secondborn was supposed to be Donkey and Thirdborn was supposed to be Puss in Boots. I was to be the Evil Fairy Godmother. We could have made this work so well......except The Love Magnet did not tell us her complete Halloween fantasy until right before it was time to go to Trunk-or-Treat at the church. Oops. Sorry, sweetie, even the Evil Fairy Godmother can not make costumes magically appear that fast. Maybe next year.
Other oddities:
The Love Magnet had it in her head that it couldn't be a proper Halloween party without a cheese ball. Where does she get this idea? She is not really into them. I don't even think she fully understands what a cheese ball is. But she was determined that we absolutely had to have one for her class party. She had to make do with apples and caramel like everyone else.
The Love Magnet wished everyone a Happy Halloween. The checkout at the grocery store. The crossing guard. The neighbors. All. Month. Long. Do you think she will be disappointed tomorrow or move smoothly into wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving?
Should I be concerned that TLM thought I would be perfect as the Evil Fairy Godmother?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Homemaking grade - F

I attempted peach butter for the first time. I should have known that it wouldn't work well when I first prepped the peaches. They clung to the pit (whoops, forgot to check for freestone), and they just didn't smell peachy enough. It took twice the prescribed time amount to cook those down in my slow cooker. House smells great. Peach butter only made 3 1/2 pints, too sweet, and it doesn't taste peachy.

I should have stuck with apple butter and pumpkin butter. I know how to make those with success.

May I just add here that I haven't bottled ANYTHING this year? No applesauce, no peaches or pears, not even grandma's salsa. I didn't bother to make strawberry or raspberry jam (still have a little left in the freezer from the previous year.) No one touched the plum vanilla jam from last year- that won't be made again. Grandma S would be rolling in her grave - I haven't even put veggies in my freezer. My garden is a bust. Mr. Wonderful wants to till it all under and forget it next year....until I sung to him the Primary song about planting a garden. I think the song is cheesy. But it got the point across - we plant a garden every year. Period.

I haven't attempted a major new recipe since school started. Most of my cooking has been from memory. Tonight is Dijon Chicken Stew with Potatoes and Kale - perfect for the windy, rainy day we've had. And I can do that from memory, too. At least I still can do nutrition.

Laundry pile? What laundry pile? mean that mountain over there?

It's Halloween. Dust and cobwebs are really in vogue right now.......sure.
(psst -I resorted to buying costumes this year, because I just don't have the mental energy to put anything together.)


Okay, so homemaking grade is shot for the semester, but I do get decent marks for mommy-ing. I still read books, check homework, and make sure they are wearing something clean and comb their hair before they leave for school.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Quality (study) time

The past two weeks have found myself and Thirdborn hitting the books. I have whatever over sized tome open, surrounded with binders full of notes, trying to type furiously on my laptop. Thirdborn has the latest stapled pages of homework. What should take him 10-15 minutes takes him two hours. But I have to hand it to that kid - he buckles down even when he doesn't want to.

Tonight while I am trying to get a project done, he works on spelling words that are in cursive. We have to write them in print so he can read them (remember, I was able to eliminate cursive as part of his I.E.P.). Some of the sentence structures are hard for him to figure out in order to determine the missing word from his lengthy spelling list. He asks for help when he gets stuck (which is nearly every word).

Math goes better this week. Now that he understands it, he breezes through his math pages. Thank heavens. He needs that confidence booster of being able to do it himself.

Huge breakthrough on the reading front tonight. He has a timed reading page he works on every week. At the beginning of this week he was reading 70 wpm. Tonight he read 112 wpm. He has never gone past 80 before. He was so proud of himself. I was proud. Mr. Wonderful was proud. Thirdborn can't wait to tell his teacher and resource teacher because he knows they will be proud, too. It's a huge moment for my kid who has dyslexia.

I feel bad that he has to stay up so late to finish his homework. We've tried working earlier, but The Love Magnet is a huge distraction. It is just easier and better for Thirdborn to wait until she is in bed.

I think that he likes the one-on-one time with me. We cuddle together for reading. We work side by side on our individual assignments. He might stop once in a while to check on what I am doing, particularly if it involves pictures or video.

Last night he became fascinated with the chapter and notes I was studying about craniofacial anomalies (i.d. cleft lip/palate). He asked intelligent questions. I showed him pictures of embryonic development and he was utterly fascinated. He asked if having a cleft lip/palate hurt. We talked about the social and psychological ramifications of having your face look so different from everyone else. He ended up telling his teacher at school and his tutor at the learning center today about cleft lips/palates. Nothing wrong with his brain. Get him curious and he loves to learn.

I think he has now added plastic surgeon to the list of what he wants to be when he grows up; along with forest ranger, conservationist, zoologist (specializing in raptors, of course), and National Geographic explorer and photographer, and inventor.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Mr. Wonderful whisked me a way for a relaxing weekend. No work phones. No textbooks. No notebooks. No GRE. No kids.
The kids were in good hands so off we went. It was quiet.

We dined here. We ate this. (Because my Cookies will want to know these details)

Our room was a bit froufrou for my taste, but it was comfortable. I loved it.

We breakfasted on smoked trout hash on our own balcony...

with this view.

We went hiking. (I really need to invest in decent hiking boots.)

And found our dream spot for our future cabin.

One of these days.....
In the meantime, I am now relaxed and ready to conquer.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Midterms week

I can hardly believe that the semester is half over. This has been the hardest semester ever, not just due to the material, but getting ready for the GRE and applying to different schools. I have not written my Letter of Intent yet and need to get busy. I have 3 letters or rec and need two more. Papers to write. Projects to start/finish. Observation hours to accrue.

The Love Magnet woke up this morning acting ornery. Sign #1 that something is afoot. She has had a runny/stuffy nose all week. Sure enough, she now has a fever on the day I am supposed to take a midterm in my Assessment and Intervention class. It seems like every single virus that comes around the neighborhood hits her harder than anyone else. I emailed my prof, who graciously will allow me to take the exam tomorrow or Friday morning. As long as I don't talk to my classmates about the exam. Not a problem.

I'll have to use this day to work on GRE, catch up on laundry and dishes, and perhaps even put a dent in the office that never stays clean for more than 24 hours.

I can do 'hard' for 2 1/2 more years. My question is: Can my family stand for me to do 'hard' for the next 2 1/2 years?

Saturday, October 09, 2010


Today was the 2010 Boise Buddy Walk. The Love Magnet was so excited to her friends there. Cutie Boy here is in our ward. We love his family to pieces.
And Cutie Boy's sister M. She is another favorite of our family.
We met on the steps of Boise State Capitol to listen to the governor's wife start us off. The First Lady brought the new First Dog along. He was just as popular as she was.
Just a small part of the crowd at the Capitol. It was a great turnout!

The Love Magnet had her sign as was ready to go.
We walked from the Capitol to Julia Davis park. It was so much fun to walk in the middle of the street. See that cute girl next to Mr. Wonderful. Jess is my friend from school. She is learning to be an SLP, too. She brought her boyfriend along. I definitely approve of him, Miss Jess.
We also had Erin from my school with her husband Ian, and Daisy with her friends. I love these girls who will be graduating with me in May. It was so sweet of them to support us.
There were also news people lined up along the side of the street taking pictures.

Thirdborn and Doggie girl took care of TLM and made sure she didn't run to the other side of the street. It was tempting because there were lots of people waving and cheering at us.
Secondborn held his sign up. Firstborn did not. Apparently, waving a sign that says "Spread the Love" is too embarrassing for that teen.
Cutie Boy and his mom offered The Love Magnet a chance to ride. She was thrilled to accept.
(Do you see what I mean? Cutie Boy is CUTE!)
Second and Thirdborn did the best they could to make sure traffic on the cross streets could see the signs. Many cars were honking their support and drivers and passengers waving at the Buddy Walk crowd. For every honk, we cheered and waved back. There were so many smiling people. No one seemed to mind that they had to wait while we passed.
The Love Magnet ended up riding the rest of the way.
We ended at Julia Davis Park with bounce houses, games, entertainment, pizza from The Idaho Pizza Company, and prizes. Many, many thanks to the Treasure Valley Down Syndrome Association for a great Buddy Walk!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Day 3: The Love Magnet teaches gospel doctrine

(the latest pic of my family)

Yesterday and today we watched General Conference. My fave talks were by Elder Gong and Elder Holland yesterday, and Elder Arnold today (I knew Elder Arnold when I was a child and my daddy called him Merv. I can't tell you how I remember that. Now, Daddy, if you didn't call him that, please let me know.)

We have a tradition in our house: after each talk we pause the DVR and ask the kids "What is your take-away?", meaning 'what can you take away from this talk and use in your life?' After they answer, we throw a couple of pieces of candy at them. (Jolly Ranchers were the popular choice this year.) Each of the boys usually gives us one or two sentences (aka bare minimum) about the general topic or something that resonated with them.

Not The Love Magnet (who is leaning on my shoulder, whisper-reading this as fast as I type, that smart little cookie).

She would insist on getting her turn at "Take-Away". Then she would stand up (the boys never stood up), clear her throat (a-HEM!) and talk as if she were marathoning a gospel-doctrine class.

TLM: "We should choose the right and make good choices because we love Jesus and I am a child of God and we need to help him by having prayers and sing Pi'mary songs at Conf'ence and be nice at school and pay attention and ...."

This would go on for a few more sentences, after which she would in "in the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN!" Then we could hand her some Smarties (her favorite) and start up on conference again.

She also sang along with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, discreetly directed with the conductor (she also does that to me in Primary), and alternated between snuggling up next to Firstborn (because he had the softest fleece blanket), or Thirdborn (because Doggie-Girl stayed close to him for both sessions.

I tried to get her interested in some Primary and Conference games for kids online to help her be reverent while the rest of us watched Conference. It lasted for one talk, but afterwards she preferred to listen to the talks, too. I could tell she was listening: in the midst of her sharing-of-testimony during Take-Aways, she always listed something to do with the speaker's topic.

Never underestimate what a child (who happens to have Down syndrome) understands.

And go check out the talks by Elder Gong, Elder Holland, and Elder Arnold. Better yet, just watch all three sessions (4 if you include Priesthood session).

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Saturday Mornings with The Love Magnet

The Love Magnet: Good morning, Mom!

Me: Good morning, sweetheart. Did you sleep?

TLM: I wake up now . Thank you for dinner last night. Thank you for movie last night. Thank you for bek-fust.
Me: um, sweetie, I'm sorry. I can't make pancakes this morning. I am trying to do my homework. I have a lot. Can you eat cereal or toast this morning?

TLM: Oh, okay. Thank you for toast, mom. Thank you for Pi'cess Fwee-o-nee-ah costume for Hall'ween.

TLM: It Hall'ween today, mom?

Me: No, Halloween is in 29 more days.

TLM: Oh. (looks at fingers and toes) Thank you for nail polish, Mom. Thank you for pajamas. (gives me a big hug and kisses my cheek). I go eat bek-fust now, Mom. Thank you for bek-fust. (she heads downstairs)

This is a typical Saturday morning. The Love Magnet is always in a good mood when she gets to wake up on her own. She then comes in my room, cuddles in my bed, and thanks me for everything that pops into her head.
It's a gratitude fest.
Are you a grateful Love Magnet?

Friday, October 01, 2010

Are you a Love Magnet?

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October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. I am committing to blogging every single day this month just to make my life even more raise awareness of Nondisjunction Trisomy 21. You know it as Down syndrome.


Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. 1 in ever 800 babies has Down syndrome. That equates to about 500 births per year in the United States.

There are more than 400,000 people living with Down syndrome in the United States.

People with Down syndrome are not always happy. My daughter knows when she is being treated cruelly, snubbed, made fun of, and teased. She is also the most forgiving person I know. The Love Magnet also understands friendship, kindness, generosity, and compassion. Hence her nickname.

Be a Love Magnet this month. (We'll explain more in future posts.)