Sunday, June 29, 2014

On Strollers, Mini Buses and Dora's Yellow Socks

It's Sunday, which means it's time for some questions and some outfits!

1. How often do you take public transportation?

Not at all these days.  We are a one car family though, so when we need to go somewhere and Paul isn't here I load the kids in the super stroller and we walk:

Sadie usually walks most of the way, but on walks that are say... three plus miles,
she usually starts to get tired and then I'm thankful for the "extra" seat.
Most of the places I've lived in the US haven't had great networks of public transportation and so, outside of taking BART into San Francisco in college, I have never used it much.

Which means that usually when I think of public transportation I think of my semester at University of Cape Town which involved taking a couple of "mini buses" to get from the house we lived in to school.  This usually involved cramming about 16 people into a van made to hold far less than that amount, while speeding along with a man hanging out the window yelling the bus's destination and looking for more passengers to squeeze in (one of these days I'll have to tell the story of the time my roommates forgot to pick me up from a rugby game and I had to take a mini bus home at night {a no no} and ended up having a guy pick me up and throw me over his shoulder before I managed to fight him off and get away).

When my parents visited they didn't rent a car the first day because they knew I used the buses to get around and had been fine.  After the first day in which the driver pulled out a milk crate for my dad to sit on while we careened through the city, and I counted back change for the driver since his assistant wasn't there, they were ready to try driving on the wrong side of the road in a rental.

2. How many cousins do you have?

Between my parents combined six siblings I have 12 first cousins scattered from one coast to the other.  We've always lived fairly far apart though, so usually at least a couple of years passes before we see each other.

3. Have you ever fired a gun?


4. Do you ride roller coasters?

When I'm not pregnant!

So that answer came to mind because there's a Walt Disney World photo contest that Sadie and I entered with this photo:

And even though there's probably a one in million chance that we'll actually win the seven night stay at Walt Disney World I found myself thinking "and I'll be pregnant again!  And won't be able to go on any of my favorite rides!"

Likely because the last time I was waddling around the Magic Kingdom (before we moved out of the Florida and lost our resident's passes...) I looked like this, which pretty much meant that all the fun rides, which Sadie has been big enough to ride since she was three, were out of the question:

...which meant no fun rides for me!

This picture also happens to be at 24 weeks, which is what I am right now and makes
me feel slightly less abnormal about looking basically full term at this point.
5. What's your favorite flower?

I was going to say something like daisies, but since a new flower store has opened at the end of our street Sadie has been insisting that my favorite flower is roses, every single time she glances over and sees the sign for flowers in the window.  And her reaction to my answer of daisies was that it was ridiculous and obviously my real favorite is roses (preferably pink roses, I think).  So to dodge the outrage of a certain someone intent on buying roses we just won't mention the whole daisy thing, okay?

Sadie in a dress covered with what might be my favorite flower,
which was my very first experimental sewing project when
I started to teach myself how to sew clothing.

6. Are you allergic to anything?

I'm really allergic to penicillin and sulfa.  It's not pretty.  At all.

Once during the time when I worked in an aquarium store I was treating a fish tank (at home) with sulfa because the fish were sick and I reached my hand in to adjust something and suddenly there were hives rapidly climbing up my arm.  That's when I began to realize that the allergy really bad and not just when I took the medicine orally.  So I steer clear and can't handle the stuff at all.

And every time I have anything with aspartame I start to slur my words, half of my body goes numb, I act like I'm drunk and I have a migraine to beat all other migraines.  Not sure if that's an allergy or what but... I'm pretty paranoid about checking for aspartame in anything that might potentially have it. And I'm not a fan of all the new names they're selling it under.  I'm just thankful that so far there's still a PKU warning on products that contain it... so I'm always on the lookout for that.

Now on a totally different note, I did manage to snap a few pictures this morning after Mass for WIWS.

I'll start with Patch who wore the only pair of pants that stays around his waist without his little snappy belt thing (which I put in a "safe" place where I'd always be able to find it and... you guessed it... now can't find it...).  He was a handful during Mass but when Paul whispered to him "Boomer... you be good to Mommy!" he responded with "mmmmkay...." and was better for approximately five minutes:

He did spend a good deal of time giving Mae's monkey backpack kisses:

Mae wore the only piece of clothing that she wants to wear these days.  I'm hoping to steal it away at bath time tonight to wash it again... because she pretty much wants to be in this 24/7 and I have to be stealthy to sneak it downstairs.

She spent Mass in Paul's arms saying the word:  "yellow" over and over and over again.  I think it's because she played with that Dora doll in the picture so much that the yellow socks have now worn off.  When I told Paul after Mass that that was my theory I was rewarded with a huge smile and more talk of the missing yellow socks on the way home in the car:

Sadie wore her new favorite outfit and a pair of shoes that her sister picked out for her and insisted she wear.  While Sadie was putting them on Maggie stood next to her and squealed "Come on!!!!  Come on!  Come on!!!!" impatiently because apparently her sister was not moving quickly enough for her:

I wore a dress from Thred Up that I bought before finding out I was pregnant and that I had completely forgotten about!  And that is our Sunday so far!

For more WIWS head over to FLAP!  To join in the Answer Me This fun join Kendra at Catholic All Year!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Misconceptions about Discipline and Autism

There are a lot of misconceptions floating around out there about individuals on the autism spectrum.

Sometimes it seems odd (to me) to be writing about them here because I'm not an authority on the subject.  Over the years I've tried out various hats in the blog arena but I would say that as the years have rolled along it's become more and more clear that I'm a mom blogger like thousands of other mom bloggers out there.
Besides, my daughter hasn't even had her diagnosis for a year.

It was a year ago this month that I first began to face some of my concerns, that I first filled out and filed paperwork through the state with my local school district for testing (who, by the way, still hasn't contacted me to set up testing, despite their letters promising that I'd hear from them in September of 2013).  Thankfully, in September her doctor recognized that something was going on and immediately ordered further testing for her.  The answers quite suddenly began to pour in, in the form of report after report and those results became increasingly less shocking simply by virtue of their consistency.

Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself though.  I began writing about how I don't really feel qualified to write about autism... and yet it's a frequent topic here because it's a big part of our lives. And more than ever tonight I feel compelled to write about a specific facet of the misunderstandings that abound when discussing life on the spectrum, after receiving a comment in the comment box that in some ways perfectly expressed some of the most popular and common misconception that are out there.  In many ways I'm very thankful that the comment was anonymous, because I don't want to single anyone out, and yet I think it's important that the topic be addressed because it's a thread I've seen running through so many conversations involving autism and especially autistic children.

The comment basically expressed surprise that Mae isn't potty trained yet, since she's three.  When I responded that I doubted the reader was a regular reader (because I did assume that the commenter didn't know she was on the spectrum) and the commenter responded that they have read the blog and that they knew through my writing how smart Mae is and that if I "put my foot down" and gave her a "swat on the tush or time out" she'd be trained in two days.

The hormonal and pregnant mama bear in me may have made a brief (or not so brief) appearance at the words " Don't let her play you she is not a dumb girl! And it is beneath her dignity as a Christian to soil herself at such an old age." but then I reminded myself of the reason that I have blogged so openly about our journey since her diagnosis.  

I'd like to shine a little bit of light on misconceptions just like this one and so I sat back and took a deep breath and tried to gather together all that I learned in the last nine months since I began reading everything that I could get my hands on about life on the spectrum.

I'd say that one of the most popular misconceptions out there is that through incredible discipline (or even corporal punishment) a child on the spectrum can be made to act like a neurotypical child.  There's a strong belief from many out there that if you just spank an autistic child or guide them in a firm enough manner you'll somehow squeeze the autism out of them.  This expectation is probably especially strong in the many cases where the person on the spectrum does clearly demonstrate their intelligence in other ways.  After all, if they're that smart, they should be able to control these other aspects of their lives that often seem so out of control.  

However, when you begin reading the writings of autistic adults it becomes instantly clear how false these ideas are.  I've read writers who describe the difficulty of controlling their bodies, the reality of having every nerve overloaded and working to control that surpluss of information, and who speak of the incredible effort it takes just to take control of the many sensory messages that their bodies are receiving and mold that information and force their thoughts into actions or words that would very likely be simple for a neurotypical person.  

My words describing their experiences fall short, and I'm sure there are many out there who could express it so much more clearly and eloquently than I'm doing right now, so bear with me.  Or better yet read autistic bloggers (if you check out my blog roll listed at the top there's a section with autism blogs).  Read about their struggles in their own words if you're at all interested in understanding life on the spectrum.  That is absolutely the best place to start.

In reality, parents of kids on the spectrum will likely wince, either internally or externally when they hear the claim that it's mostly a matter of discipline, because they know that that simply isn't the case.  And honestly if you've really spent any time with a child with autism the idea becomes patently ridiculous.  If you've watched your child struggle to find a word, a simple easy word to ask for something (and likely come up with nothing) and dissolve into tears of frustration because they can't express themselves, you know that what's going on goes far beyond simple discipline and determination. 

Unless of course you believe that there are many individuals out there simply pretending to have a disability because... it's fun?  I think we can all agree that's not it and that these challenges are very, very real.  There are brilliant non-verbal autistics, there are intelligent individuals who express themselves amazingly with the assistance of technology, and there brilliant individuals who will never be able to live on their own (often these categories overlap) and that is not because navigating in a world where so many of our interactions are based on spoken words is so pleasant that they just decided to go that route.  

I've heard a few people compare the difference between an autistic brain and a neurotypical brain as a difference in operating systems.  When I watch my children play it's clear that Mae's brain is not wired quite the same way as Patch's, although it does seem to be slightly closer in many ways to her big sister.  Things that are easy for Patch are harder for her, despite the two years she has on him.  Perhaps one of the most amazing things I've noticed lately is watching her watch him master something and then watching her go over and try to copy his movements, which at nineteen months are already often easier for him to control than they are for her.  

To put it in another way, the things Mae has been working on mastering include actions as simple as reaching across her body (crossing the midline) to pick something up.  This week she was also working on taking the cap off of a marker and on drawing horizontal lines (vertical lines are easy, but horizontal lines?  Not so much...).  

Things that may seem so simple to many people out there, are tasks that she is diligently working on mastering after hours after therapy.  Most of us probably can't imagine spending nine months in therapy, six days a week and still struggling to reach across our body to pick something up.  So intelligence doesn't necessarily mean that everything is going to be easy peasy. 

Brains, even neurotypical brains, don't necessarily work uniformly. Being a math genius doesn't mean you'll be a brilliant writer.  And having a passion for putting puzzles together doesn't mean that a child has the bladder control, or the mental space to master that task, while simultaneously processing a sensory overloaded world.

I imagine Paul would laugh and roll his eyes if he heard it implied that I was lax on discipline.  I tend to run a pretty tight ship around here.  If I have a concern in the discipline area it's likely that I'm too strict.  Maybe we can say that it's just my INTJ personality creating order in a world of toddlers and meltdowns.  And interestingly enough none of that has changed a thing about the neurology of Mae's brain.  I do know that Mae has made me more patient and understanding.... both things that I most certainly needed and have benefited from.  

That doesn't mean, however that over the years Mae has spent plenty of time in "time out."  It's actually her refuge.  It's where she goes when she's so overloaded that she can't handle the sights and sounds of the worlds.  Sometimes she cries and demands to be put in time out and I sigh and hold her hand and lead her up to her room, where she quickly closes the door and curls up in her bed and blocks out the too busy world.  

By the world's standards I've been changing diapers for a while (six years now without a break... and let's face it, that's stretching on into the undefined future... which I suspect is filled with diapers galore.).  Yet I don't think I'm the one who has the greater of the challenges here.  Changing diapers for a little bit longer than the norm hasn't killed me yet, and I'm fairly sure that it isn't going to.  

In fact, I suspect that it might be good for my soul.  Serving those who need it in this basic way and not pushing a child to her detriment because I imagine something would be more convenient for me is, I can't help but thinking, very much a part of this path that I'm stumbling and tripping down.  

My job, is to help her guide her through the challenges that she'll face, just as I strive to do with my other children.  My job isn't to shame her when she doesn't hit a milestone in a socially acceptable amount of time.  It's to be there for her when she triumphs and to hold her hand and help her when she needs me.  
No, I won't be telling her that any facet of her amazing little self, with her particular brand of challenges, is somehow below her "Christian dignity."  After all I very much believe that she was created with this neurology and that it is very much a part of her journey on this Earth.  I don't believe it's a mistake or that her struggles are somehow shameful.  Instead her struggles make days like today, and make moments that might seem small and inconsequential to others, like using the potty for the first time, into triumphs.  And if there's one thing that having a child on the spectrum has taught me, it is that life is so much sweeter with these tiny triumphs, that may seem absolutely ordinary to the outside world, popping up at every turn.  

Our Big Girl...

Somebody used the potty today for the very first time.

And was very, very proud of herself.

I have no idea how long this process will take, but I do know that she got to go out to get strawberry sorbet today (and I was really impressed with cold stone's allergy measures) and was beaming as she walked down the street!

Theme Thursday: Swim!

It's Theme Thursday again and this Thursday's theme "Swim" feels like it's actually been the kids personal theme for this summer (or at least their daily goal).  Not that actual swimming goes on in the three itty bitty baby pools in the back yard.  But there is splashing and the girls pretend to be mermaids while Patch stomps around dragging shovels and rakes here and there because he's apparently to busy to be bothered with fun in the pool.  

And of course there's fun.  Lots and lots of fun!

Head over to Clan Donaldson for more Theme Thursday fun!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

To Change or Not to Change Doctors: Pondering Mae's Latest Appointment

Yesterday Mae had her well child checkup and I geared up for it, feeling as though I was getting ready to go into a battle.  We've been to our doctor's office a lot lately, weekly more or less, and I knew what the challenges would be.  It would start in the waiting room.  We'd walk in to a room full of quietly sitting children and Mae would be instantly overstimulated.  She's see the chairs and the mural of fish on the walls (have I mentioned she loves fish?) and likely start bouncing off the walls while I attempted to hang on to her, while assuring the front desk that our insurance and address and phone number had not in fact changed in the last three weeks since we last saw them.

After a solid half hour in the waiting room we'd be escorted back.  They'd tell Mae to take of her shoes to be weighed, which would result in hysterical tears and screaming and thrashing for as long as the shoes were off of her feet.  There aren't a lot of things that she freaks out about (or that can instantly cause a complete meltdown), but taking off her shoes is at the tippy top of the list.  After struggling to get her weight and height I'd put her shoes back on (the screaming would stop, but the crying would likely continue) and carry her back to the exam room to wait another forty five minutes for the doctor.

I'll admit, after last years well check, where they pretty much focused on the fact that my kids were "nearing" the range of being "overweight" and peppered me with questions about their diet, while ignoring the fact that you can actually see the muscles in Mae's stomach because she's so strong, I was not really looking forward to this years appointment... especially since our favorite resident is moving on to her own practice this summer and moving out of state.

The actual appointment was more of a mixed bag.  We got there and I clung to Mae's hand while telling the receptionist quickly that nothing had changed.  She handed me six pages of paper work to fill out instead and looked at me like I was slightly insane when I asked if I could give it to the nurse in the room, because it was really hard to get it done in the waiting room.  Finally I added, "she's autistic and being in this waiting room tends to be really, really hard for us" which was fairly evident by the squealing and thrashing going on on the other end of my arm, and she nodded and had me promise to complete it before we left.

We made it to a quiet corner and I pulled out crayons and a coloring book and a pencil (the pencil was the bribe for the appointment because she loves pencils but doesn't usually get to have them outside of therapy because way too many of our books are filled with pencil drawings) and held her on my laps while sitting on the ground, while attempting to get started on the forms with my other hand.  It was a shorter wait this time, with only three incidents of attempted climbing of the walls, and when the nurse came out I began to assure Mae that while we needed to take her shoes off to get weighed, we'd put them back on as soon as we were done.

Thankfully, this nurse remembered us and said "you know what, those shoes are so light I don't think they'll make a difference!  She can keep them on!"  Less fortunately, Mae was already anticipating what was coming and the tears had started (although we did avoid a complete meltdown).  After weighing in at 39 lbs and measuring 41 inches we headed back to the room where we got a tearful under arm temperature and sat down to wait for the doctor.

I let her have the water on a trickle in the sink and she spent a solid ten minutes washing her Dora doll while letting me know that the coloring books I'd brought were so ten minutes ago.  We battled over whether the lights had to be turned on (they do) and whether or not she could play with the tools the doctors use to check ears and eyes (no) and also the doctor's little spinning seat that she was so attracted to (also no) and I twirled her around in my arms and sang songs and let her have the water on a trickle because for some reason the sound calmed her and she'd freak out whenever I tried to turn it off.

When she tried to climb just about every surface in the room I pointed to a sign on the wall that said "no climbing" and said "look, they even have a sign" and she would stop and smile to herself and I'd have a solid 10 climb free seconds before she made her next attempt.

The doctor came in and I couldn't help but be disappointed because I was secretly hoping that her regular doctor would still be around, but it seems we've been thrown back into the "whatever resident is there" (or basically a new doctor each time) mix.  It can be hit and miss.

The doctor of the day came in and was friendly.  I had my packets and folders of test results and her various programs with me just in case he needed them.  We went over the developmental milestones she was missing (always lovely) and I said "yes, the tests have generally come back putting her at around 18 months" and then found myself explaining what ABA was (I wasn't totally surprised) and what OT is (okay, I'll admit, I started to lose some faith in him), and then found myself being mildly reprimanded because I can't "let her get away with things."  The "things" he was thinking of, he explained, was "wasting water," (for my readers from dryer areas, we aren't in any sort of drought here at the moment, after a long intense six month winter it's still raining basically every single day... inches and inches of water that floods the street in front of our house).

I didn't point out that having a trickle of water on had saved us from a screaming meltdown for the forty minutes we'd waited for him to wander in, and that I'd spent that forty minutes enforcing every other rule under the sun.  There are battles that I pick and choose.  At home that pretty much comes down to she can wear whatever she wants.  If she wants to wear her bathing suit of tutu around the house and they're clean, I let her.  At the doctor's office, the stressful, meltdown prone doctor's office, that means I let her put the water on a trickle and play in it (there was no mess at all, she just ran her doll under the little bit of water coming out of the sink).

Seventy minutes after our scheduled appointment time we were on our way... but I'll admit, I think I need to find a place that's a little more consistent, at least for Mae's appointments.  The not knowing what OT is was a little disturbing to me when speaking with a pediatrician...  The water comment annoyed me... but not knowing pretty basic information that's pretty important to her treatment has me leaning towards going someplace else.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sadie's Sixth Birthday!

I'd been asking Sadie for a few days to think about what she wanted to do for her birthday and by the time the big day arrived (after telling just about everyone she saw for the whole month beforehand that it was "almost her birthday") she had some ideas about what she wanted.  Here's how the big day unfolded.

Her day started bright and early at six a.m. with g.f. oatmeal topped with strawberries, while watching Prima Princessa Presents Sleeping Beauty.

Once she finished her breakfast she changed out of her pjs and into her tutu and danced around the room.  After a few minutes Patch joined in and finally Mae came over (after checking to make sure every last strawberry in the room had been eaten) and they danced back and forth across the living room.  It was still early when the ballet was over (and Paul had gotten home after 3 am from work) and I was hoping to buy him a little more time to sleep while resting a bit more after late night baking/decorating/present wrapping and so Sadie picked a second movie to watch and settled on Annie.

At 10 we rousted Paul from bed and headed to the Zoo.  Sadie selected her Princess Elsa dress to wear for her big day.

One of the cutest parts of the day might have been when Patch (who had slowly made his way across the parking lot) finally caught up with us near the entrance to the zoo.  He looked up and saw Mae and actually stopped and did a little dance in place with a huge smile on his face, which was especially funny since he'd seen her in the car not five minutes earlier.

At the zoo Sadie had a plan.  She started by heading straight to the pony rides to ride Peanut:

Then we walked over to the train (Patch and Mae's favorite) for a few laps around the train circle:

Last year Mae sat as far away from everyone else as she could.
Yesterday she snuggled as close as she could to her sister and cuddled up to her side.

After that it was time for a camel ride:

We went to lunch at the restaurant of Sadie's choice (McAllister's):

Once we finished lunch we made a quick stop by Walmart to pick up a bat for the pinata and then headed out to the lake for some swimming:

We went back home to break open the pinata:

Even Patch gave it a try:

Mae couldn't be convinced that there wasn't going to be swimming at this portion of the party (I helped her get dressed three or four times and then decided that the duck would be making an appearance in the part pictures):

Once the pinata was broken open I encouraged everyone to go over and get candy.  It took some convincing.  It definitely wasn't the stampede I pictured.  Patch and Mae both waited for me to hand them two little candy packages and then took them over to eat them by the picnic table.  Sadie filled a little bag most of the way to the top with candy and then, when asked if she wanted more said that she thought she had enough:

After that we went back inside for presents.  Patch started to get the idea of opening presents:

Here's Sadie hugging the doll I made her:

And she loved her ballerina water globe:

Then it was time for dinner and cake!

The wall in this room drives me crazy.  It was like this when we moved in.  I tried scrubbing it but the paint actually washes off if water touches it.  I tried covering it but Mae rips down posters... so at this point I'm just tolerating it... 
And finally she talked on the phone and on Skype before bed:

It was quite the day.  And I did spend the day thinking "I can't believe my baby is six!"  Now I can't believe that seven is only a year away!

Answer Me This: Bathing Suits, Tattoos I Wish I Didn't Have and Communion on the Tongue

1. When's the last time you got a new bathing suit? 

It was 2011 when we moved to Florida and I used all the credit card points that I had at the time to buy a few clearance Land's End suits.  It was a good choice when moving to a place where we were at the splash park as often as not and there was a good chance I'd be chasing someone through the water who wasn't quite ready to go home at the end of the play session.

2. Who made the last incoming call on your phone? 

Everyone wanted to talk to the birthday
girl yesterday!  (A sneak preview
of the pictures I'll get around to posting
later today from yesterday's birthday!)
I am 99% sure that it was my mom after my phone went dead while Sadie was talking to her, and that that call went to voice mail because my not-at-all-new phone was just worn out from all the talking that went on yesterday.

My phone goes dead a lot.  I am just not quite attached enough to the idea of cell phones and having a phone with me all the time to remember to charge it when I should.

Although I have gotten better since on any given day there's a good chance I'm going to be getting a call about a doctor's appointment or from a therapist about an upcoming appointment or getting a call from our case worker like we did this last Friday to hear that we may finally be getting in to see a speech therapist (although the words "probably before October" because of paper work needing to go through were mentioned, which would mean altogether a 12 month wait from the time we began waiting, which totally doesn't show how much work has gone into making it happen because everyone has really been working on our behalf to try to get her in... but lists are long and speech therapists have been hard to find!)... so I'm slowly becoming more responsible at making sure it's plugged in at least every couple of days so that I don't miss anything.

The child who finally after
three years of trying to convince
 every priest she meets that she's old enough
to receive has finally stopped
sticking out her tongue trying
to move up her first communion date.
3. If you receive communion, do you receive it in the hands or on the tongue? 

On the tongue.

When I first went through RCIA we were introduced to receiving communion in hand and that's what I did.

Then Paul began receiving on the tongue, but I was too nervous about being one of the only people in our parish (and being a brand new Catholic) to make the switch with him.

Then I realized that having a baby was the perfect time to make the switch because I had no choice, with my always full hands, and could finally do what I'd been secretly longing to do for quite a while.

And now that my hands are always completely full and I'm usually trying to keep Mae from attempting to steal the chalice from the priest it really couldn't happen any other way!

4. Do you have a tattoo? 

Yes.  I have a few (or 23-ish).  I went through a phase.  I think you could probably call it a tattoo addiction. I just liked getting them.  Yes, it's probably weird.

I've had some of them lasered off  a few times (like the one pictured below) but it takes more than a few times for them to disappear and laser removal is expensive so more treatments have been moved into the indefinite future.

Thankfully most of them are mostly hidden.  Except the one on my neck (ek!  Stupid 22 year old mistake) and ankle, most people would never guess...  The one on my neck bugs me the most because... well... it's on my neck.  It's hard to miss.

And I feel slightly ridiculous walking around with "warrior" tattooed on the back of my neck while dragging around three kids.  Hopefully the dozens of students we run into on every single shopping trip who can read it at least get a laugh out of how ridiculous it now looks:

I felt much, much cooler when I got it after getting my black belt.
5. How many dinner plates are in your house? 

Not very many.  My sets of china that we were given at the wedding are still back in California and that's probably a very good thing because plates and cups and bowls have a tendency to shatter around here.

When you have a kid that can rip giant bolts out of walls, destroys metal baby gates like it's nothing, and has actually broken the legs off a metal heater, glasses and plates really don't stand a chance.  My guess would be maybe 10 (assorted) dinner plates are scattered around the kitchen after yesterday's birthday waiting for me to get up the energy to fix the post-birthday mess situation that I was too tired to deal with after cleaning the rest of the house last night.  There definitely isn't a single complete set of anything glass anywhere inside the four walls of this house!

Our destroyer of all things glass.
6. Do you have an accent?

The girls and I drove across
North Dakota by ourselves back in 2012...
It was a couple of months before Patch was born
and was quite the adventure!
I tend to think I don't.  However, growing up in California a lot of people had trouble understanding the way that I say any words with the letters "ag" in them.  So words like bag or sag or hag or dragon or wagon all come out a little bit differently because I tend to (okay I couldn't even pretend to do otherwise even after careful coaching form friends, until at least college) say "ag" words like "egg."  So dragon sounds like "dregg-on."

I had no idea where it came from until I realized that my mom does it, as does my grandpa who's from North Dakota.  And sure enough, whenever I take those linguistic "where is your accent from" tests I get "North Dakota/parts of Minnesota" as the result, despite the fact that I'd never stepped into North Dakota until after I'd turned 30.

And how has it been passed on after all this time?

 The other day when Sadie and I were working on spelling and vowel sounds I carefully sounded out an ag word saying the a sound the traditional way and she looked at me, shook her head and said "I think you meant to say 'bag'" (with the same -egg sound I still use unless I'm thinking very, very hard to be understood.).  So it looks like even though three generations have been born in California there's still a little bit of my grandpa's accent being passed along from his childhood in North Dakota.

For more Answer Me This head over to Catholic All Year!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Happy Sixth Birthday Sadie!

The First Year

One Year Old!

Two Years Old

Three Years Old

Four Years Old

5 Years Old