Note: If you do not already know who I am, then you are advised to turn back now, lest ye die of boredom. This is not the blog of someone who is trying to become a famous blogger. This is meant as a memory bank for our future and as a way for our out-of-town families to keep up with the goings-on around here. I am increasingly bothered by the permanence of the internet, particularly in regard to children who have no choice in the matter. As a result, I intend to keep things pretty matter-of-fact.
I’m glad the boys went out to play in the first snow of the year, because it looks like it’s the only snow we are going to get that hangs around more than four hours. Possibly another dud winter on our hands. At least I won’t have to scramble to figure out how to clear snow off our driveway. That’s for another year. Money spent on snow removal supplies and/or services: 0. Amount of stress this has caused me: 0. Procrastination wins again.
Henry has an educator/therapist coming to the house once a week for an hour. We’ve had two appointments already and the third one is this Friday. We are just getting into the swing of it, and are getting mixed results. I need to do better with our homework. The strategy so far is basically to stimulate him in different ways and to try to get our foot in the door by teaching him basic sign language. Teaching him that attempting to communicate pays off for him. Trying to meet him halfway since he feels that talking is too hard for him to attempt.
Stephen has wasted no time becoming obsessed with zombies, swords, and all things little boy. He also loves to play Twisted Metal 2 (PS1) and can start the game by himself. Then, after he remembers that it’s too hard for him, he comes back upstairs and plays “Twisted Metal” with his toy trucks. A friend of the family gave us a kid-sized drum set, and Stephen seems to enjoy it so far. He keeps forgetting it’s in the basement, and then when he sees it he says “I forgot about my drums! I’m so happy!” as he runs over to play with them. He picks up everyday phrases that sound adorable coming out of a toddler. “Don’t worry, I can handle it.” And my long-time favorite “That’s all right, Dada. It’s not your fault, it’s my fault.” haha Keep it up, kid; you’ll go far.
We just had a cold run through this house. It affected all of us at the same time except Stephen was maybe 2 days ahead of us. We were supposed to have some busy days at the end of this week, but everything’s been cancelled. We have been so lucky regarding illness and these children (for nearly four years running), so no real complaints there.
Had a great Valentine’s day this year. Did our traditional Olive Garden romp with the children. NOTE FOR NEXT YEAR, we didn’t have to wait one second for a table at 4pm. Although, part of the fun is putting in your name on Valentine’s day when your name is Valentine. GET IT? Then they call “Valentine” when your table is ready and everyone in the waiting area is confused.
Running out of things to say. Henry turns 2 in a week! The rash of Valentine birthdays is upon us.
The good thing about only making one post per month is at least I have a lot to talk about. We drove (apparently this makes me insane to do this) to my parents’ house for Christmas. We had a really good trip. Two evenings spent at “the pub” (my neighbor’s house). The Valentine Family Bluegrass Band was in full effect. Actually it was our first two rehearsals ever. Let’s just say that we had fun but nobody who was in earshot of us had fun.
Looking back through some posts on here, I see that I was rejoicing in the fact that Stephen was fully potty trained two months ago. That was true for about two weeks. Since then, we don’t have nighttime down. At all. Daytime is good, even though he always waits until the last second.
We are having an “Early Intervention” firm assess Henry. Actually it’s not a firm, but a county service. He is 22 months old, does not communicate, and barely responds to communication from others. He doesn’t point. He has no way to say when he’s thirsty or hungry. He hardly pays attention to his surroundings. The initial evaluation was a week and a half ago. She gave Henry a preliminary test (by asking his parents a bunch of questions) and kindly informed us that he scored a 0/50 on the language portion of the assessment. Yeah, that’s why we called you. Anyway, it actually went well and the lady was very nice. She says Henry is floppy. “Floppy Baby Syndrome” is basically a way to describe naturally low muscle tone in an infant/toddler. This can have many side effects such as delayed walking and speech. The follow-up, more in-depth appointment is this coming Wednesday. It’s hard not to let things like this consume your life.
Finally got cold here. Little snow. Little freezing rain. Didn’t go above freezing for 4-5 days.
Since we’ve moved here, I’ve sort of gotten into a rut in many areas. I’ve been taking care of the kids and phoning everything else in. I think I just convinced myself that it’s too hard and too time-consuming to take care of the kids, and I don’t have to do anything else. Example: Showering only 2x a week or so. Example: Never ever ever cleaning the living room. Example: Slowly getting up later and later every day. I could provide a thousand examples probably. The point is, I’m trying to get better. I’m trying to be better. I’m chock full of typical character faults that I’ve been trying to hide from myself for too long, I guess. I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure it out. With the exception of our Christmas trip, the last 6-8 weeks have been sort of a personal unraveling. Now I’m trying to put it back together in a much better way. I feel kind of dumb that it took me 31 years to figure some of this stuff out about myself. I’ve got to be the least self-aware person on earth. I don’t even know when I’m hungry half the time (true story). I also feel like my wife and I have kind of pushed each other to the side and I am going out of my way to get that relationship back. So far it’s been such a rewarding experience. It feels good to be a nicer, better person to the people you love! No surprise there.
I’ll have some Christmas pictures to post soon enough. Seems like I’m always a couple months behind on that. Sigh.
This picture with poor-to-no smiles and my children looking off away from the camera? It exceeded my expectations.
We did something two nights ago that we haven’t done in a long time: we took both children to a restaurant. And it wasn’t horrible. Henry (aka The Blond Tornado) is double trouble. He only has one speed and it’s destroy. Basically we have a 21-month-old who is as big as a three year old and acts like a baby. He weighs 32 pounds and can only say mama sometimes with intense coaching. It’s…. interesting? Challenging? And honestly a little bit worrisome. We tried to take the kids to see Santa on Saturday at 4:30pm, but the line was too long (shocking). We immediately gave up and took the kids to the playground, and eventually ended up at Red Robin. Then we went back the next morning before Santa even opened and parked near the front of the line. Much better.
Stephen has been doing speech therapy for close to six months and the difference is pretty amazing. Yesterday my wife was unbuckled in the car for a moment, turned around trying to get the movie to play. The moment she put the dvd back in, Stephen began admonishing her. “Okay, mama. It’s fixed. Put your seatbelt back on.” Of course this is a two-edged sword. He constantly says whatever and rolls his eyes. He called me an asshole the other day (that one I can rightfully blame on the wife). Yesterday we told Stephen he could have a toy if he did a nice smile with Santa and didn’t stick his tongue out or do the white power fist. He cooperated to a small extent. He earned a toy. Jaime bought him this take-apart toy truck with a power drill and a few screwdriver/nutdriver adapters. He’s been taking apart his truck and putting it back together ever since.
Other things happened. We hosted a decent sized Thanksgiving… my immediate family, Jaime’s parents, a friend of their family. Pretty good food too, probably because I only made one food item. The Mercado/Lynch wedding happened. It was nice, especially me setting up the squeaking chairs. My best man toast at that wedding happened. I only obsessed about it for a week leading up to it like a crazy person. My parents came up for the weekend to watch our children (and our home, pets, etc) which was a lifesaver.
Today is one year since we moved into this house. We had moved some other stuff in the days leading up to the 17th, but this was the first day we slept in the house. Speaking of that, my parents also came up for that weekend a year ago which was a lifesaver.
We are leaving for Georgia in five days. Having Christmas down there with my family. Should hopefully be all of my cousins in the same room at the same time — twice in one year!