Life here is…well, never dull! NaBloPoMo # 14 November 14, 2011…I’m not doing another Ricki Lake prompt!

Today I chaperoned a field trip for the first time. Shelby and her class are participating in learning bocce through the Special Olympics. She’s not competing…but she was MVP, she had the highest score of the day (really it’s a team score but her team got a point from her every time and she was always closest to the ball). It was actually really fun except the part about Shelby hanging on me all day. I wanted her to be more engaged and participate more. But I’m going to chaperone again next week.

In other Shelby news, back in October we took her to the East Carolina University Speech and Hearing Clinic to have her evaluated to see if she was able to use a speech generating device and with assistance getting one. We were thrilled that despite Shelby’s initial reluctance (and that is a mild term) to participate, she quickly found a device that works well for her. We just received our device today and will be back at ECU to get it programmed and learn how to use it in a couple of weeks. We are thrilled at what kind of doors this will open for her. Because she is still non-verbal, the key to opening up her communication skills lies from  now until age nine. We realize Shelby may never talk or communicate as effectively as a normally developing child, but we are excited that we may be able to reduce her frustration and open her up to a world of academic learning.

AND Shelby earned two awards during her school’s awards day last week. Her bus driver gave her the “safe rider” award and her teacher gave her awards for “excellent progress in independent work and sign language.” We had a conference last week and I was thrilled to learn she loves her class her friends and her teacher. Shelby often gives “squeezes” to acknowledge she likes you. She will squeeze your arm or hand. I found out she is seeking children out in the class for squeezes which is good and bad. Obviously, there are some children who do not want to be touched, hugged or loved on. But it shows that Shelby has great affection for her classmates and that is very important.

In Joey news, after a bout with croup we are giving daily preventative breathing treatments. It’s not exactly fun for anyone, but we’re doing what has to be done. He is pretty good-natured about it and doesn’t complain. Right now he is battling a nasty cold (as is Will). After three nights (and days) of listening to him cough and knowing the Vicks Vapor Rub and cool mist humidifier were unfortunately not doing the job, my father-in-law went today (while my in-laws were babysitting the boys) to a local Wal-Greens and consulted with the pharmacist who gave him Zarbee’s Natural Cough Syrup. Made of all “real” ingredients it is like a miracle syrup. Instead of non-stop coughing, Joey coughs maybe five times an hour! What a dramatic improvement.

Joey is also learning to embrace his left handedness.  We have struggled with proper grip and coloring, etc because Joey is a lefty in a family full of righties. And he loves to do everything exactly like Daddy does. He also has completely graduated from the training potty to the big potty. He still has to use a stool to rest his feet on, but that’s understandable!

Will is doing very well in general, despite his cold. He is really enjoying “writing” and “reading.” (I’m not formally teaching them to read or write, but thanks to Sesame Street and Electric Company he is slowly learning how to sound words out.) We are busy with books and imaginative play. Especially now that he and Joey have seen Cars 2 and it is quickly becoming Will’s favorite of the two. Will loves the character of Francesco Bernoulli and tells us he is “Franchecko” quite often!

Jeff started last week at his new school. So far, he likes it. The commute isn’t as “terrible” as his old one was and he likes sleeping in his own bed and feeling more connected to the kids during the week. His best friend’s father passed away last Tuesday and Jeff was able to make it to the funeral which was Friday and fittingly with full military honors on Veterans Day. Jeff was not home for our bout with roto-virus but he wasn’t spared either. He was sick up in Goldsboro all alone. But he was a trooper.

I’ve been busy trying a few new things every week. Last week we began making and using our own homemade dishwasher detergent. We used Elisa’s basic recipe here. One common complaint we had heard from others was the non-toxic residue, film, cloudiness  etc it left on dishes. Jeff had a simple solution to try. Add one tablespoon of lemon juice to the vinegar in the rinse agent part of the refrigerator. He figured the film had something to do with the pH being too far in the “base” range and needed to be neutralized a little which could be done by adding an acid. We don’t use actual lemons for our juice because they are so expensive, but the generic store brand of lemon juice. We’ve been thrilled with the results. We are currently on the hunt for a local source for the only missing ingredient (Fels Naptha soap) for the laundry detergent recipe that Elisa ( ❤ love that girl!) uses. I also have started to add some new recipes to our mix. Thanks AGAIN to Elisa for this awesome dish. The only thing I played with was I added yellow squash to the onions to get a colorful veggie in there. Jeff (because of his history as a chef) is notoriously hard to please and he was thrilled. His pronouncement that “this is a keeper” was well deserved! This coming Sunday we try this with our chili and hopefully will have leftovers to make Thanksgiving stuffing with. And, of course, I started this novel writing thing


One last note, I really would love it if everyone would please head over to Allison’s blog A Broken Fortress to enter her giveaway. Allison is totally inspiring to me as she created her own home business via etsy while being a great stay-at-home mom to her baby girl Annamarie. I fell in love with her etsy shot particularly the whale lovey and minky owl…go see what your favorites are!