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.....