Thursday, October 30, 2008

PHOTO ESSAY: That Time of Year Again

This time last year, we had the van packed up with everything that truly mattered to us, on the edge of the evacuation zone, waiting for the call telling us we were next to escape the wildfires. We had gone to the pumpkin patch that morning, and dealt with the crazy winds that(unknown to us and to the owners) were about to blow a wildfire down into the valley and burn down the patch, and the adjacent Christmas Tree farm not four hours later!

This year, we had been told about this really great pumpkin patch out in the country, inland from us. It was called Oma's Pumpkin Patch, and it was so homespun, I felt like I was back in Ohio.

They had wagons all over the place for carting pumpkins and small people. Papa Gus was glad to oblige!

There was a sledding mountain inside a feed barn made out of cotton seeds. It was soft but not as slick as one would like. Still great fun to climb around on!

The kids loved the petting zoo, and Luka LOVED the "lambies" as he is wont to do. (For those not in the know, his "lovey" toy is a lamb named Lambie that he has to keep with him at nearly all times.

They hay bale maze looked so fun, I had to duck inside and join them.

Noah honed his skills at bowling with basketballs and calf milking bottles. We got to see a calf on wobbly legs that had been born just a few hours earlier.

They had all kinds of games of skill, including roping fake cows, tossing games, throw things through the hole games, a big hill of sand and a hundred toy dump trucks, all kinds of farm equipment you could climb up on and inside of, play grounds, hay rides, and nearly anything else you could imagine!

Daddy and Luka tried out the four wheeler. Luka has taken to giving two thumbs up and saying, "Awesome!" lately.

There was a long tunnel made of tractor tires. Ethan enjoyed hanging out in there.

Noah joined him and kicked up the dust.
It was nice spending a little holiday time with Mima and Papa!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Welcome Invasion

Mama: Okay, so on Thursday afternoon, Mima is coming for a couple hours with some friends of hers that Daddy knew when he was going to school in Yugoslavia. They are coming a long way and I want you to be on your best behavior.

Noah: Uh-huh.

Mama: Then on Friday, my friend Dan is coming for a couple days, and he might stay at my other friend's house, or he might stay here. Either way, I am probably going to go out and visit with my friends for awhile over the weekend.

Noah: Uh-huh.

Mama: Then, on Saturday, Daddy's Aunt Elsa is coming to visit for a few days and she is going to be sleeping in the office, so that will become her room and I don't want you guys playing in there all the time when she is here, okay?

Noah: Okay.

Mama: Okay.

(beat... beat...)

So... what's next? A zombie invasion?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sweet and Simple

I've been meaning to write this post for awhile, and keep putting it off. Things are going to get busier and busier though, what with the holidays and shopping and visits from friends, dental stuff I have to take care of...

But every time I am rushed and crazed, it seems something comes around that gives me a little peace and happiness, and though I am not one to get all "into" jewelry, I actually got all giddy about winning a lovely necklace recently, and I wanted to show you.

I used to enter blog giveaways like a fiend! But then I gave that up to more wisely spend my time. But I ran across a giveaway at for this gorgeous, sweet necklace, and so I spent a few minutes to put my name in. My first giveaway in months, and my only one.

I was shocked a couple days later when I got an email from SimpleMom saying I had won the thing! And I have barely taken it off since opening the simple, charming box it was sent in. And I get a crazy amount of compliments.

Lisa Leonard began making jewelry so that she could work at home and be there to raise her boys. She is inspired by nature and artists and poets, etc. Her stuff is simple and elegant. Natural and clean-looking. She will make you a piece with all your kid's names on it that you will be proud to pass down through the generations. Go check out her stuff. She has a great blog, too.

Thank you, Lisa. And thanks, too, to SimpleMom, which is a great resource for decorating, menu ideas, holidays and such for the busy mom.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Nurturing Dorkiness

I have been thinking lately about kids and clothes, and popularity...

I was one of those somewhat dorky kids in high school. Not pretty, not the right clothes, tried out for plays and ended up building sets. Chose being last place on the swim team over running for student council. Hung with other dorks, played Dungeons and Dragons with my brother's friends...

Yeah... you getting it now?

But I think I turned out okay. And so did my other geeky friends.

When I got to college I flourished and noticed a lot kids who were "popular" in high school kind of found themselves adrift in college without their cliques to define them. Not all of them, but a lot of them. These were often the kids who ended up on drinking binges all through college, who often lived their adult lives glorifying the good old days in high school.

I used to curse the fact that I dressed so dorky. If only I had gotten the right perm (!!!), had enough money to get the right clothes (or could FIND clothes like the cool girls wore!) that all would have been right with the world in high school.

But I turned out okay.

Now that I have kids of my own, I feel like I have this need to dress them all cool, and because boys' clothes are BORING, I tend to steer toward funky clothes, shirts with little skullies on them. I get drawn to dressing my five year old like a skate punk.

But then I started looking around at the skate punks in my neighborhood. They gather in the park to smoke cigarettes, clearly skipping school just to sit around looking bored. And we have actually SEEN them do drug deals in the McDonald's parking lot, and I wonder if dressing my kid all "cool" will LEAD him to hang with a group of kids that will steer him down a path I don't want him to take. You know... maybe if his fashion allows him to fit in really well with a bunch of kids who swing to far to the left or to the right, he might end up in trouble of one kind or another.

So, let's see... I don't want him to be TOO preppy or TOO punky, too popular or unpopular... maybe more... middle of the road!?

More... Target? More JC Penneys?

I mentioned it to my husband and while I was contemplating that maybe my parents dressed me just dorky enough... had allowed me enough shopping money each fall to just barely fit in, but not TOO far in (or too far out), Michael began to see where I was going with this.

He suggested maybe it would be a good thing to develop Noah's current interest in Star Wars.

Maybe move them all slowly into Star TREK when they get a little older. Dust off the 20-sided dice and the Monster Manual and see whether they are more drawn to Paladins or Magic Users. Buy them the full set of Lord of the Rings books.

Show them the wonder of the pocket protector!!

Yeah... I'm okay with my kids being dorks. All the coolest people used to be dorks.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Separated At Birth

Okay, enough about behavior problems and fish oil.

I found this website you just gotta go check out. It's called Totally Looks Like, and it pairs up people in photos who look alike. Some are dead ringers and some are just funny. I went through every page in their archive laughing at the pics. It's one of those reader-submitted sites so there are lots of posts.

Check these out:

Something Fishy: Omega-3s for ADHD

I've been doing a good deal of research into ADHD and some of the alternative therapies that are used to treat it. There are of course lots of ideas and home remedies for those who are looking for alternatives to amphetamines and also side-by-side therapies which sometimes allow folks to lessen the amount of medication they give their kids.

There are some, like St. John's Wort, which when tested, have proven to not be beneficial in any way, but I was happy to come across a couple therapies that really seem to be making significant positive changes in the lives of many ADHD kids and adults, and have some research to back them up!

One of those is removing foods which contain certain dyes and preservatives from the child's diet. Another is adding magnesium and zinc. I haven't looked into either of those too much, but have done quite a lot of studying into fish oils which contain EPA and DHA Omega-3 fatty acids. These have been shown to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

Well, it seems it was found that kids with ADHD seem to have a severe deficiency in these fatty acids compared to the average kid. So, folks tried giving ADHD kids supplements and were thrilled to see that it helped them with focus and impulse control (but not so much with the hyperactivity).

I looked deeper into the issue and found lots of ADHD moms saying (in forums) that they had read somewhere and agreed that a 7:1 ratio of EPA to DHA in the oil was ideal and you want to give the kid about 1000mg of EPA a day.
While I was only able to find Moms who seemed to support this ratio and no scientific evidence of it being the best, it seems that many of the companies making fish oil for kids adhere to this ratio as opposed to the nearly opposite ratio for heart health.

It takes anywhere from 7 days to three months to see results but folks who stick with it seem thrilled with the results. Enough so that they are willing to keep forking over the bucks to buy the supplements with just the right ratio.
So, we decided to give this a try. We had gone out and bought a couple bottles of chewable gummy supplements before realizing that there is an ideal ratio to take. So, since this is a process of building up the acids in your body, we figure what he is getting won't hurt and that we will go through what we have before buying the ones with the correct ratio.

Michael and I have decided to start taking it too, since we are not eating any fish on a regular basis.

I, personally have had an odd heart arrhythmia since I was a teen, have had occasional painful joints for years, and the hubs has suggested that some of my odd quirks could be signs of (often genetic) ADHD. Well, it seems the three things Omega-3 are good for? Well, it's heart health (lowering your cholesterol!), inflammation of joints and ADHD!! YAY for me!

If you are interested in which brands fall into the ADHD therapeutic ratio, let me know and I can point you towards a list (if I can find it again.... sigh...).

I have to say that Noah came home with a note from the teacher mentioning his positive attitude today, which just thrilled me to no end. Could be coincidence but I will take it!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Did I Never Explain This to Him?

We have been working on Noah's behavior issues with a new method that I described in an earlier post. It's a kind of ladder chart, with levels the child can climb up or slide down. Each level has a privilege that he either gains or loses depending on which direction he is going.

So far, its worked really well. As soon as we instituted the new ladder/1-2-3 method, he went to the top and stayed there for days, displaying a great attitude, being kind to his brother, having good meals.

The little snag we have run into is that he pretty much STAYS at the top of the ladder with full privelges! He keeps earning the ability to move up but he is already at the top! He wants to know if he can go up above the highest rung and I keep having to say no.

I told him that I was really proud of him and that he has been a wonderful boy lately. He has been kind to his family, very helpful, has had a great positive attitude, and hasn't even HAD much anger to "talk through with words". I made sure he understood how proud we were of his efforts.

He responded with,

"You mean... ...this is how... ...ummm..
...I am... ...ummmm...
...supposed to act?"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Little Homeboy

Noah comes running into the kitchen where I am making dinner.

Noah: Mom? What's that kind of music where they talk instead of sing?

Mom: Rap Music.

Noah: Oh yeah, that's right. Mom?

Mom: Yeah?

Noah: Rap music is TIGHT, yo!!

And then he giggles and goes running off.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Easy As One, Two, Three

So, we have dived head first into Behavior Modification techniques for ADHD, although without going to a specialist. I have read (or skimmed) quite a few books and web pages and forums looking for tips and techniques that work best for other parents in the same boat.

What I never realized with ADHD (and a reason that I balk at the diagnosis) is that these kids apparently come with a lot of anger issues and behavioral problems. I thought it was just happy hyperactivity or gaze-out-the-window-dreaminess. I worried he might instead be bi-polar or something because I was seeing depression and mania, aggression and sudden anger. But apparently, these are common occurrences with ADHD.

We found something that is working pretty well for us so far. Even though I am one to loathe stickers, charts, and behavior games of all kinds.

We settled on a version of a tactic that worked so well with his (fabulous) kindergarten teacher last year. It's a kind of ladder chart with steps from 1-10. I came up (with his help) with 10 privileges that he has in our house, and each step adds one or removes one from what he is allowed to do. With each offense, rule broken, etc, he moves down a notch, and with each good behavior, he moves up.

He comes home each day with a red, yellow, or green card telling us how his behavior was that day and he goes up one with green, down with red, and stays level with yellow. If he walks out of the house on time in the morning without trouble, and on time, he moves up. If he shows kindness to his brother he moves up, etc. (As long as its NOT done so that he CAN move up!)

I gave him the option of choosing which level he should begin the method on, and of course he chose level 10 - Full Privileges! And I have to say he has spent most all of his time up at the very top of the ladder since we have begun it. But then most chart methods start off fabulous and go south eventually, so we shall see.

We also initiated a "counting" process based on the 1-2-3 Magic discipline approach by Dr. Thomas Phelan. Very simplistically, you say "That's one" when anger, backtalk or disobeying occurs. "That's two" when it occurs again immediately afterward. On "three" they get a time out, but for us, we move him down a rung on the ladder and he loses a priviledge. Less time outs for us, and now we use them only for hitting, extreme rudeness and for cooling down from a rage.

This method is nice for ADHD kids because it gives two warnings instead of the one he was always failing to heed or sometimes even notice. Gives him more than one chance to realize what is about to happen and get himself under control and make a shift. And while we did make rules, you can count any kind of undesirable behavior.


Noah: Can I go play with the water hose before dinner?

Me: No, we are just about to eat and I don't want you to get all wet and muddy.

Noah: Oh Pleeeeeeze!!????

Me: I said no, honey.

Noah: WHY NOT!?

(and instead of saying "I just gave you the reason why not!" or "because I said so", I now can simply say "that's one" and keep chopping vegetables.)

Me: That's One.

Noah: I won't get wet, I SWEAR!!!

Me: That's two.

Noah: grrrrr.... FINE!

No arguing, no raised voices, no letting him get a rise out of me, no explaining myself more than once or justifying my reasons. Counting tells him that whatever he just did is not appropriate. No fuss, no muss.

Pray it lasts.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Nothing So Good as Visits from the Grandparents

Check out other Wordless Wednesday Participants here and here.

For those just popping in, my blog is about raising my three sons, two of whom are twins who are well into their terrible twos, and the other a five year old who just recieved a diagnosis of ADHD, and all of the craziness that goes with both of those things.

It's also about my love for photography, photoshop, and my sweet husband. I grew up in Findlay, Ohio and now live in San Diego with my happy chaotic family. If that sounds at all interesting,
bookmark me and stop by again sometime!

I know...

yer busy WW-hopping right now.

Me too!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Dancing Machine

I don't know if this video will upload as we are having trouble viewing it on our computer but I had to give it a shot. Also, you must forgive us for the tipped-over video. I am sure anyone who has video on their point-and-shoot camera has made the mistake of thinking "Oh! This would look better in portrait mode!" and tipped the video over on its side.

But again, we think the genius of our son is worth the tipping of your head and the embarrassment we must wallow in for you to see this.

We also think it will give the grandmas a good laugh and let folks who don't really know Noah, see his true personality.

This was taken when he was watching homemade Lego stop-action videos on youtube, and one of the videos had this song that made our boy just HAVE to get up and dance. I'm not sure he even knew he was being taped.

Please tilt your head to the right for more viewing pleasure... and also forgive the darkness.

Okay, apologies done. Enjoy!