Friday, December 26, 2008

Someday, this will be funny

I told Greg I wanted to buy the boys a trampoline for Christmas, mainly for Ryan. He loves to jump and it is always very therapeutic for his sensory needs. They do lots of jumping during his therapy sessions. Last year we bought a blow up Diego jumpy house that broke within 2 weeks so I knew I didn't want to go that route again. I searched and searched for the perfect one and found this trampoline. It has a handle bar and it plays music and it had a volume control. Perfect!

It arrived in a very thin box so I knew there was going to be lots of assembly involved. I warned Greg and told him I wanted the trampoline and easel put together for Christmas Day. Greg's friend Justin decided to come over and help. Ethan had just gone to bed and I was nervous he would hear us so instead of taking everything over to Justin's house, they decided to put it together in our bedroom.

Leigh and I sat with some margaritas, just listening to the obscenities coming out of the bedroom (keep it clean, this is a family blog. ;) We knew to just stay out of the way and let the men be men. Finally after an hour and a half, it was put together. Fabulous! Now I can get the rest of the presents that were hidden in the closet out and set it all up. Greg picks up the trampoline, only to find it wouldn't fit through the door. Knowing how long it took to put the stupid thing together, we tried for 30 minutes to get this sucker out of the door but it wasn't budging. We decided to take the door off of the hinges because it would surely fit through the door frame. After getting the door off and proceeding to pull one of the hinges out of the door frame, we realized it was still not going through.

So, Leigh and I decide to take a look and realize there were 2 long screws holding the handle bar onto the frame of the trampoline. If we just loosened these and bent the handle bar down, it will go through. Sure enough, 10 minutes later, the trampoline was in front of the tree.

So husbands, listen to your wives. We usually have a simpler solution. :)

Christmas 2008

Christmas has come and gone and we are all extremely tired but thankful that we didn't have a repeat of last year's Christmas. The boys have loved all of their gifts. Ethan loves his new Wii games and the Battleship game. He already beat Greg at it! Ryan loves his Little People race track and both boys love the trampoline. Best purchase, I mean, best present Santa could have ever brought!

Our favorite quotes from the day:
Ethan: "I can not believe my eyes" when he opened his Battleship game.
Ryan: "Oh my goodness! Wow!" at just about everything.

Later in the day, Greg's mom, sister & grandmother came over, along with Aunt Leigh & Uncle Justin. Greg made a fabulous feast with ham, dressing, glazed carrots, bread pudding and I made my cheesy potatoes.

Both boys had a great Christmas and we have one more Christmas to go at my parent's house.

Here are some highlights. And yes, Ryan has a sucker in just about every picture.
Just after Santa arrived:

Ethan with one of his favorite presents

Ryan, checking out his trampoline

The aftermath

Christmas # 2

Greg and I decided long ago not to exchange gifts this year. We decided cards were it this year, as neither of us really needed anything. As the day went on, I had given up hope that Greg had bought me a card so I decided to give him mine. A little bit later, he came clean and gave me a beautiful and very sappy card. I loved it. It was perfect. We were hugging and he told me there was something else written on the back of the card. I look and there are two 4-digit numbers. I immediately knew what it was. Flight numbers. I burst into tears because I wanted this so badly but didn't really think it would fit into our budget this year. He is sending me on a weekend to visit some girlfriends in NJ in February. These are my mommy message board friends. We are truly like sisters and I miss them so much and can't wait to see them!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

All ready for Santa!

Well, almost.
The boys are so excited. We put out food for the reindeer,

picked out cookies for Santa,

had our annual picture taken in front of the tree with our matching jammies on,

and even left a carrot for Rudolph to enjoy all to himself.

Now for the hard part. Getting them to go to sleep!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


OH MY GOODNESS is the phrase of the day. I will get to that in a second.

I am sitting here, overcome with emotion (yes, again) at the incredible generosity of people in this world. I just came home from Ryan's Christmas party at school. Some very special person made a donation so that all of the kids at the school would receive a gift from Santa.

I got there a little early and although Ryan was clinging to me for dear life (he doesn't do well with changes in his routine and me being there was a big change) he showed me how he sang the days of the week & months of the year. I had no idea he knew those but I am told he tells his teachers, every day, what day it is. I was amazed.

After a couple of songs & books, Santa finally arrived. He was fabulous. He was patient and kind and let the kids come to him when they were ready. I wasn't too surprised when Ryan wouldn't sit with Santa but he was so happy to get the big present Santa had for him and of course, the one thing Ryan was waiting patiently for, the Candy Cane. We had to open the candy cane right away and he thoroughly enjoyed it as we watched the rest of his friends sit with Santa. For once, Ryan was patient.

Then it was time to say goodbye to Santa and open our presents. "It's a box!" "I wonder what it is" "Oh Wow" Ryan was excited. He received a huge Mr. Potato Head set and a new Diego video, a little Christmas tree notebook & chocolates. With his hands over his cheeks (think Home Alone style), he kept yelling, OH MY GOODNESS. Then he walked over to his friend, I, looked at his present and said OH MY GOODNESS. He continued around the room to each of his friends. It must have been Ryan's phrase of the day. He was very excited to receive his present but he seemed so happy for his friends as well.

I wanted to get a small gift for each of Ryan's classmates. We bought books for everyone and made little goody bags. I would hand him the bag & book to hand to one of his friends and he would say Oh MY GOODNESS and then pass it on. So incredibly adorable.

Today was the first of many Christmas' Ryan will have and it just makes me so excited. To see the excitement in his eyes today makes me even more excited for the big day.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ethan's Gingerbread House

I bought a gingerbread house kit (ya, I don't make homemade gingerbread) a while back and Ethan has been begging to make it. We finally had some extra time this afternoon (the laundry could wait) before Ryan got home and we had so much fun. There was icing & candy everywhere but he was so happy with the final product.
So.....drum roll please.
Ethan's first attempt at his very own gingerbread house.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Budget Friendly Gifts

In order to stay budget friendly this year, I tried to come up with an idea for a gift for the boys' teachers that wouldn't break the bank. A friend of mine told me about these adorable M&M jars and I knew that was what we had to do.

First, you separate the M&M's by color. You don't have to do this but I think it looks so my prettier.

Then you layer each color of M&M's in a mason jar.

We still have to decorate them and attach the poem. Cute, yes?

How do you say thank you, to someone so sweet?
You take the colors of the rainbow and add them to a treat.
GREEN is for the inspiration you give to me each day,
BLUE is for your patience in showing me the way,
ORANGE is for your warmth and your caring style,
YELLOW is for the way you can always make me smile,
RED is for my heart that you have touched this year,
Thank you for celebrating all the colors of my rainbow.
Your guidance, love, and friendship have surely helped me grow.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Unofficial results

Ryan had his evaluation at the preschool today to see if he qualifies for services. He cried when I left the room but overall did great.

The good news is that he qualifies and he is in the school. He can start as early as January 14th but we are going to wait to decide. We love it so much at Easter Seals that I would hate to disrupt Ryan's world any more then I have to. This will be a very hard decision for us. Obviously, we will do whatever we think is best for him.

The bad news is that he didn't qualify for speech, which is the one thing we thought would get him in. I am shocked and not really sure what to think. I won't get the official, written results until January but that fight that I was so hoping I wouldn't have to do, might just have to happen.

So now I am in advocate mode. I guess it is time that I open up that huge book on Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that has been staring at me. I need to be sure I am aware of all of Ryan's rights and our rights as his parents.

Anyone BTDT? Any advice?

Breakfast with Santa

On Saturday, we had breakfast with Santa at Ethan's old preschool. Ethan was very excited to tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas this year and we got to enjoy some yummy pancakes. Don't my boys look adorable in their matching sweaters? Yes, I am "that" mom. :)
Here are some pics. Sorry they are a bit wonky. Still trying to figure that out.

Ethan & Santa

My big boys

Ryan wanted nothing to do with Santa this year but we did catch this great pic of him

Then we came home and decorating our tree. Now if only I could keep Ryan out of it.

Ryan's big day

Ryan has had a couple of big days and has another one ahead of him today. He has his evaluation at our school district to see if he qualifies for services. If he gets in, he will stay at Easter Seals for the rest of the school year (because we love it there so much) and then start at the special needs preschool in the fall. I just can't see him in a typical preschool yet and I know he needs this. I am prepared to fight for my boy if I need to but I am hoping it doesn't come to that. At the very least, they should provide him with some therapies, speech and possibly occupational therapy. Wish Ryan luck!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Easter Seals

I have posted in the past about the school that Ryan attends. He goes to Easter Seals. Ryan has been blessed with fabulous teachers & patient therapists while attending there. We have been so incredibly happy with the progress that Ryan has made and I know that Easter Seals has been a huge part of that. He has learned his colors, letters, numbers, counting, shapes, etc. He learned that he can do the things I always knew were in him. He learned that he doesn't always need mom right by his side. He continues to work on playing with his friends and learning to taste new foods but I know his teachers & therapists are by his side, encouraging him.

All of these services have been free to us. I am not 100% sure where they get all of their money (I know some comes from the county MRDD funding) but I know they rely a lot on donations. If you are looking to make a donation this holiday season, I would ask that you keep Easter Seals in mind. They have been such a blessing to Ryan and to our family. Donations can me made online here.

If you are looking for another way to donate, they also have a Christmas tree set up in their lobby with items written on ornaments that they are asking for. A lot of families at Ryan's school are struggling right now and need a little help so they are asking for these donations to help them through this time. Things include diapers, wipes, toothpaste & canned food.

I am filled with happy tears right now as I just learned that some very special someone (or company) has made a very generous donation to Easter Seals so that every child will get a gift from Santa. I know a lot of the kids in Ryan's class will not get a Christmas so this was a huge thing for them and I know all of the teachers are so appreciative.

Thank you to Easter Seals for making a difference in my child's life. I can't thank them enough.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I've been tagged!

I have never been tagged before.
Okay, so I wanted to do a meme.....and if I tag you below you better play!!! Post this on your blog, answer and then tag 5 other people.....ready....GO

1) Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both

2) Real tree or artificial? Artificial....I have never, in my 32 years, had a real tree.

3)When do you put up the tree? Usually the first full weekend of December

4)When do you take the tree down? within a few days of Christmas

5)Do you like eggnog? ewww

6) Favorite gift received as a child? My Cabbage Patch doll, Darcy. My mom still has her.

7)Hardest person to buy for? This year Ryan! We have everything already so it has been hard coming up with new and exciting things for him.

8) Easiest person to buy for? Ethan....anything and everything Star Wars

9)Do you have a nativity scene? No, but I wish I did

10)Worst Christmas gift you ever received? The granny panties my neighbor gave me when I was about 12. She had the best of intentions but not the gift I was expecting.

11)Favorite Christmas Movie? A Christmas Story

12)Favorite Christmas song? Jingle Bells

13)Travel at Christmas or stay home? Home! Sometimes we head to my parents but it is only about a 35 minute drive

14)Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I don't think so

15)Favorite ornament theme or color? no theme but we have burgandy & gold ribbons & bulbs on it with other ornaments thrown in.

I am going to tag.....



Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's getting cold out there!

And thank goodness flag football is over. We were blessed with great weather, up until the last 2 weeks. Then it was freezing. The kids didn't seem to care though. I had the occasional complaint from Ethan but he went out there and ran his little heart out. Here is his official football picture.

Ethan really loved football, much more then I expected. Now he says he wants to play tennis. I have no idea where that came from.

Since Ryan goes to school in the afternoon, I make him lay down for some rest time in the morning before the bus comes. This is how I found him today.

Me thinks he has been building too many forts with his big brother. He worked hard at it though. He pulled all of his blankets & stuffed animals off of his bed and used his very own KozyPal cart cover as his pillow.

Last week, Ryan & Silas had the whole house to themselves, for a couple of hours. I was finishing cleaning up the kitchen and they went upstairs to play. They were being way too quiet and as I went up to check on them, I could hear giggling and chattering. I have always said that Silas & Ry have their own language. Silas speaks very clearly and Ry is trying very hard but Silas always seems to know what Ryan is saying. He is such a smart boy. Anyway, I thought for sure they were up to no good but I found them, in the fire truck tent, reading books. They looked so adorable together. When I first walked in, they were sitting side by side but I think I spooked Silas and he quickly went to the other side of the tent.

Greg and his friend, Justin, have a competition going to see who can get to the most Apple stores. Silly, huh? Well, I decided that since I knew neither of them would most likely get to the one I was at, I had to take my picture to prove it. So here I am, at the Apple store in Buffalo, NY. Take that!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hug your loved ones a little tighter tonight.

I belong to a mommy message board. It consists of about 100 women, scattered across the country. Most of us met while planning our weddings on The Knot. We have several get togethers throughout the year and my friends that came to visit last weekend, are all a part of this board.

We received some horrible news today. One of our friends lost her husband. He worked with heavy machinery and there was a horrible accident. I never met him but I know he was a great husband & father. He leaves behind his wife, Andrea and two young children, Jacob & Sydney. I know that our little community will stand by her side and help her through this. Please keep her family in your prayers & thoughts.

ROW - Matthew R. Suddenly, November 15, 2008, beloved husband of Andrea R. (nee Gordon) Row; loving father of Jacob W. and Sydney R. Row; dearest son of Roy and Virginia Row; dear brother of Gregory, Jeffrey, Christopher (Wendy) Row; survived by many nieces and nephews. A Memorial Service will be held Wednesday at 11 AM at the KENNETH HOWE FUNERAL HOME, 64 Maple St., East Aurora. A reception to follow at Wales Center Fire Hall. Flowers gratefully declined. Memorials to Wales Center Fire Dept., 12300 Big Tree Rd., Wales Center 14169.

I am so thankful for being able to make the trip to be with her. There are 9 of us that are going to be there, to hug her and help her through this.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My smart 2 year old.

Click here to see a video of Ryan. If you can't make it out, he starts off counting in Spanish, singing Row Your Boat and then counting in English. This all from a boy who didn't say any words 10 months ago. He will be three in January.
Ry Video

Monday, November 10, 2008

A whole lot of everything.

It's been a while since I blogged. The boys are both very much enjoying school. Ethan had his last football game yesterday and has the playoffs this weekend. It was freezing and he was just running around, trying to keep himself warm.

The boys went to visit Grandma & Grandpa over the weekend. A few of my girlfriends came to visit. We had the best time and Greg was the best husband ever. I "kicked him out" to his best friend's house on Friday night and he showed up Saturday morning waiting to take our Starbucks order. He was our chauffeur Saturday night and drove us around. Sunday morning he ran out for another coffee run and Panera. He even slept on the floor in the basement on Saturday night so we didn't have to kick my sick friend out of bed. (And she had a bug, not because she drank too much.) He was so awesome and didn't complain too much about being outnumbered. Although, I am pretty sure he had just as much fun as I did.

Here are a few pics from the weekend:

Cammie & Ryann at dinner Friday night

Scoutie made a new friend

Going out Saturday night: Ryann, me & Amy

Me, Ryann & Amy

Our attempt at a group shot. This was Sunday morning. We were exhausted, not drugged.

Another great weekend, with great friends. I miss them already. And I realized that I love to play hostess. It actually gets me to get my house clean.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Sorry about the weird formatting of the pics. I will see if Greg can fix that later.

Here are some pics from Trick or Treat night!
Ry the monkey. This is the costume that Aunt Leigh made for Ethan a couple of years ago. I was so excited that it fit Ryan so perfectly.

Ethan with our neighbor

Even Greg got festive and pulled out his Superman costume.

My money is on Darth Vader

Warning: Lots of bragging inside below.

Ethan came home from school and was all excited to tell me that he got a certificate. We were in a hurry and I didn't think much of it and of to lunch we went to meet some friends. When we got home, he showed it to me. My boy was Student of the Month. This means that his teacher thinks he is the best student ever.....ok, I might have made that up but a mom can dream. This does mean that his teacher thought he completed all of his assignments to the best of his ability, helped another student in need and put forth a constant effort to improve academically. I asked him if he knew what the certificate meant and he didn't really get it so I explained to him that his teacher thought he was doing his very best at school and was a nice friend to his classmates. I think he got it. Greg and I are trying to come up with a reward for him for being such a great student.

Ethan can be very shy so I was very nervous when he first started school. I thought for sure he would be "that kid" crying and me having to push him on the bus. That first day he got on the bus like he had done it a million times before. His confidence & maturity have far exceeded our expectations and we are only 2 months into school. His teacher has always had glowing things to say about him but I was really reminded with how great of a boy we have when he brought this home today. We are just so proud of him.

And I can't brag on E without mentioning Ryan. He is doing great. He absolutely loves going to school and is always running out the door when I tell him his bus is coming. He is only 2 and recognizes most of his letters & numbers and can now count to 20 in English and today he surprised me by counting to 10 in Spanish. I had no idea he knew that. I think I have Dora & Diego to thank for that one.

So that is enough bragging. We are just so incredibly proud of both of our boys.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Some random pics

Ethan, Ella & Jack enjoying the nice weather.

Ryan, just after a hair cut

Ethan, showing off his Star Wars Lego creation

How Ry prefers to wear his hat, borrowed from Si

Ryan & Silas--fun in the sun