Friday, August 31, 2012

That's What Solana Said - August

Solana, I saw your principal yesterday and she told me, "You must be Solana's Mom! She looks just like you!"
-Really?  What else did she say?
She said that we have similar glasses.
-What else?
She said that she loves having you at her school.
-Yes! That makes me so happy I could just throw this pile of shirts you're folding.
Please don't. So you know your principal? Do you ever talk to her?
-In the bathroom.
In the bathroom? Why do you talk to her in the bathroom?
-Because she was going to the bathroom and I was going to the bathroom at the same time.

Of course. Doesn't every kid talk to their principal no matter where they may be?

For some reason, I asked Solana to help me clean the kitchen. She never does this but she found herself helping one day recently. All she did was scrape the compostable food into a bowl and bring all the dirty dishes from the table and counter to the sink. After finishing her task she exclaimed, "Whew! I'm tired Mommy! I can't believe you do this every day!" I giggled to myself knowing that I wouldn't be doing it every day for too much longer.
Upon examining her new school backpack: "It's so huge! There are zippers and zippers! I could fit a whole cake in there!"

That's What Chloe Said - August

In the van on the way home from Texas Monty was trying to get the Cheerios that Chloe was dropping in her seat. "Daddy! Monty's going to eat my butt!"
New way to get what she wants: "Pleeeeeeease." It's worked a few times already and I wonder how much longer it will last. It's darn cute.
When I tell her to do something: "Ok Mommy. What you say so."
Favorite phrase of the month: "Where ______ going?"
-Mommy, where you going? Where am I going? Where is Solana going? Where is Daddy going?
She asks this when we're not even going anywhere. I'm trying to teach her to say, "Where is Daddy?" but it's just not sticking. So, for now, we're always wondering where people are going. 
And if she's on her way to do something naughty she'll say, "Mommy, where I going?"
Chloe is practicing her ability to disagree. She'll disagree and say "no" to something even if she wants it. For example:
 I checked out Pete the Cat from the library because her teacher said the class really liked the book. Excited to show it to her I expected her reaction to be something along the lines of, "Mommy! I know that book from school! I love Pete the Cat!" But when I showed it to her she didn't seem to recognize it. Then I suggested we read it before nap. She ran away and hid crying out, "No Mommy! No Mommy! Don't read Pete the Cat!" Confused, "Ok then Chloe. What do you want to read?" "Ummm. Pete the Cat." Then she happily ran back, sat on my lap, and participated in the story.
If we're telling her to do something she doesn't want to do: "Don't talk to me Mommy! Daddy stop talking!"
Chloe's turning naughty. By the way, I've started using time-outs when she refuses to do as I say. Usually it's because she doesn't want to get ready for bed or doesn't want to come to the table to eat. She runs away and hides. She doesn't like time-out but I guess they're working because as soon as I sit her in time-out she starts begging to do the thing I wanted her to do anyway. I'm pretty sure in this picture she's saying, "Mommy, I don't want time-out! I want to lay down for you to change my diaper!"

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Chloe is 3!

Chloe turned 3 just a few days after starting preschool. It was a pretty quiet birthday this year. We decided not to have a party but rather just celebrate as a family. That turned out to be a good call because my allergies have been miserable. There's no way I could have put together a party.

Chloe's celebration began with her first contact loss on the way to school. :-) Then she and her new friends enjoyed mini carrot cupcakes with cream cheese icing. I replaced half the all purpose flour with whole wheat, replaced all the oil with apple sauce and skimped on sugar. They were yummy and completely guilt free. At least that's what I told Chloe's part-time zumba instructor teacher. She must have believed me because she ate four herself. Haha!

I was miserable that afternoon so I didn't bake another cake. Instead, Dave brought home cupcakes that were really fun! We had pizza at home and sang to Chloe. She loved it!

Solana dutifully joined in on the cupcake eating. Oh the responsibility of being a big sister.

Her birthday was Thursday. We continued the celebration on Sunday with a trip to the Cincinnatti zoo.

 I'm not sure why there were hoola hoops all over the ground but Solana loves to hoola hoop. It was a welcome break for Dave to drink his beer in between all the wagon pulling.

This was pretty funny. The sloth really wanted Dave's phone.

Solana got to feed the giraffe. It was a quick experience. She got one cracker and the giraffe ate the cracker before Dave could get the camera to focus. She thought it was pretty cool.

We just missed the train and had to wait a whole 10 minutes for the next one. Daddy came to the rescue. The challenge was then finishing the cones in the 5 minutes remaining because we weren't supposed to take food on the train. Dave and I helped (because we're good parents like that) and somehow managed. :-)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Preschool Going Well

4 Signs Preschool is going well:

1. I went to the school to train the nurses on contact removal in case of emergency. Everyone was falling all over themselves over how adorable Chloe is. Her teacher stayed to watch the training. At the end she said goodbye to Chloe. Nose to nose and in that quiet low pitched voice one uses to talk to a baby she says, "I will see YOU tomorrow." Chloe leans in for a kiss and her teacher kissed her back. Chloe doesn't do that to everyone. Obvious adoration from both sides.

2. I dropped off cupcakes for Chloe's birthday and had a chance to observe Chloe with a couple of other children from her class. Her teacher explained that these two girls are older (almost 5) and have self-appointed themselves Chloe guardians. They were helping her put her backpack in her locker and advising her on what to do next. They were hovering like little big sisters and obviously felt a sense of responsibility for Chloe. Her teacher said she wanted to work on teaching them "buddy" skills so they can help keep an eye out for her on the playground and when walking in line, etc. Chloe was eating up their attentions.

3. Teacher pulled out a series of four photos she had mounted on a poster board and described them to me.
Photo A. Chloe playing blocks with a little boy who happens to be wearing binoculars. (Teacher explains that Chloe hinted to the little boy that she wanted the binoculars.)
Photo B. The little boy has taken the binoculars from around his neck and is helping Chloe put them on.
Photo C. As Chloe wears the binoculars the little boy holds them up to his eyes demonstrating to her how to use them.
Photo D. Chloe is looking through the binoculars but instead of looking up and out she has them pointed down toward the ground. The little boy has squatted low so that she could see him and he's smiling and waving into the binoculars.
My heart melted as the teacher explained the series of photos to me. She said that when she noticed them playing together she just got a feeling that she should grab her camera. Apparently, all the kids want to help Chloe. It could be her small size. I'm not sure but it's awesome.

4. There is an aide on the bus who buckles Chloe into her seat and monitors her and the other kids during the bus ride. In the afternoon it's a sweet little old man. On day 2 (after the bus driver, a 50ish woman, said, "Can we keep her?!?! She's adorable!") the aide said proudly, "She already knows our names!" On day 3 Chloe was exiting the bus and yelled, "Bye Mr. Brown!" He answered, "Bye Chloe! I love you!"

That little girls has the whole school wrapped around her finger in less than a week! She is somethin' else! I think she's handling the stress of a new situation pretty well. Why was I ever worried?

Friday, August 17, 2012

First Day of School!

The first day of school 2012 was an exciting one! Solana moved up from PVN to Stingley Elementary since she's a big 2nd grader now! And Chloe began PreSchool at PVS. Their buses are scheduled 5 minutes apart (7:33 and 7:38) so we all go out together to wait. I anticipated that putting Chloe on the bus might be emotionally difficult so I jokingly mentioned to Dave that I needed his support. He came home from work the next day that he was taking the day off. What a good husband :-)

7:30 arrived and we were running a bit late (that's my way) but I knew the buses would be running a few minutes late on the first day so we weren't as frantic as usual :-)

Look at these big girls!!!
 Solana strikes a pose.

 Bumblebee for Chloe Bea.

As it turned out, I was right about the buses being late. Solana's was a half hour late. We're not sure why but it showed up as our neighbor was explaining to us, "I just called Transportation and they said for us to just take our girls to school." Her daughter and Solana quickly boarded and then we realized we forgot to take pictures of them getting on :-(

The girls got pretty bored.

We called Transportation about Chloe's bus and discovered that her driver forgot about her! Actually, she was added to his route the day before and he forgot to pick up his new route that included her. He came back for her and she got on her bus an hour late. I was glad they sent him back out because she would have pitched a fit if we tried to put her in the van. 
 Here she is - excited to ride the bus! I think these pictures were taken simultaneously by Dave and me. There's a lady (an aide) who buckles her in and sits back there with her every day.

Day 1 down. Chloe's teacher called and informed me that it went well. She loves school and they're going to get her to the nurses office once a day for drops. This is just precautionary so that her eyes don't dry out at school causing her contacts to fall or get rubbed out of her eyes.

Solana reported a successful first day at Stingley but it's difficult to get too many details out of her so we'll leave it at that. She seemed happy so that's good :-)

Now to decide how I'm going to spend my luxurious 3 1/2 hours a day M-Th alone...Bonbons? Soaps? I'm not sure but I suspect it will involve lots of laziness and pampering. That's how it works when your kids go to school, right? I'm almost certain...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Motorcycle Ride with Daddy!

Dave's had his motorcycle since the end of March and finally decided he was ready for passengers. He went for his motorcycle test and got his official license! 

After a lot of research and online shopping he chose helmets for Solana and me. He wasn't satisfied with the first helmets so he returned them and got new ones. Solana's arrived first. I was a little shocked to finally actually see her on his bike. Dave's pretty neurotic when it comes to the safety of the girls. I suspect that anyone who knows Dave might be surprised to see Solana on the back of his motorcycle. But I know he's crazy careful with her and probably won't venture much farther than our neighborhood and its 25mph speed limit for a while. Plus, I doubt she'll be going on the back of anyone else's motorcycle any time soon!

Solana declared her maiden voyage to be the "best thing ever!" I can't wait for mine. My helmet should be here in a few days or so... We might hire Lia, our babysitter, just so we can go ride around!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Leila's Angel Day

 We celebrated Leila this weekend. Her angel day was the 11th. Three years ago we were miserable. Today we're ok. It's nice to be able to think of her with a smile sometimes. I didn't cry one single time this summer until the day before.  And this summer I lived, for the most part, in the present and not in the past. It makes me feel good to know that I can enjoy the thought of Leila and feel good about being her Mommy instead of sad all the time.

The girls and I began Leila's weekend with a visit to Miami Valley Hospital where we dropped off 128 Teeny Tears bereavement diapers for 64 families. The thought of donating these diapers in Leila's name really helped me get through this year. Leila's helping us to do something kind and generous for other grieving families and, while it makes me cry to type this sentence, it's heartwarming to help others during their saddest time. Families will cling to these special keepsakes the way I cling to the only little outfit Leila ever wore.

On Saturday we visited St. Albert the Great in Kettering. Right around the time the twins were born the church provided us an opportunity to dedicate a brick at their new tranquility fountain. Dave had one dedicated to Leila. After all this time we had never visited her brick. We stopped going to mass when Chloe came from the hospital and didn't know where the tranquility fountain was so it took a bit of wandering but we finally found it. Dave and Solana got there first. Chloe and I were slow to catch up. As we approached my heart was beating fast. I had this feeling of dread and fear like I was going to see something I didn't really want to see. It was weird. I took a deep breath and readied myself as we approached. And there it was. It was real. She's really gone and her name is memorialized on a brick. It's the one front and center before the fountain.

After Chloe's nap we sent Leila her balloons with special messages and then enjoyed some angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream for her special day. The girls were happy for the cake.

If she were here today Leila Marie would look a lot like her identical twin, Chloe Bea. Beautiful.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pre-School Open House - Yikes!!

We attended Pre-School open house last night. Chloe loved her classroom and wanted to go play before I could even sign in at the door. I think she'll do great! 

Observations: Her classroom doesn't have any obvious obstacles that would be challenging for her to see. Her teacher seems great. She'll probably be the tiniest kid in her class. (Ages range from 3-5 and she turns 3 later this month.)

Planning for the school year: We had her IEP meeting on Monday and she's getting 40 minutes/week with the OT and PT and 40 minutes per week with the Vision Therapist. She's also getting some time with the Orientation and Mobility folks but they can't work with her until the second week of school so I'll be taking her to the classroom and playground today so she can become even more comfortable and familiar with her environment. I'll also train the nurse and teacher on her contacts, drops, glasses, etc. I think we're good to go.

During the IEP meeting they asked if Chloe would be riding the bus. I had planned on driving her but they encouraged me to consider it because "they love it and buses are 22% safer than riding in the car." I also learned that the teachers actually put the kids on the bus and take them off in the morning and that made me feel better. Plus, I remembered that Chloe often asked to go on the bus when Solana would get dropped off at our house last year. "We'll think about it." Then we went to the open house and there was a bus sitting outside the school. We got on and checked out the 5-point harness. I had no idea! Chloe LOVED it and cried her eyes out when I took her off. Umm...she'll be riding the bus.

I suspect I'll be a crying my eyes out the first day I put her on it. Hopefully I can keep the tears at bay until they drive away. I can't believe this is happening! Wasn't it just yesterday that we brought her home from the hospital?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I'm so behind on the blog I don't know how I'll ever be able to document this summer! We've been so busy there's a lot to blog about!  Ahhh!

I think I will remember this as the summer Solana became a reading addict. Dave reads a lot and I try really hard to read a lot but usually only get 10-20 minutes in at night before I pass out.

She finished the fairy books and then moved on to Goddess Girls books. They're little kid novels about Greek Gods and Goddesses when they were in High School. My sister-in-law sent them and we put them aside thinking Solana wasn't old enough but she found them and, practically before we knew it, she read them all. After those she found a series called Pony Pals and became enamored with the idea of owning a horse. The speed with which this little girl reads these books is astounding. I often question her about them and she'll relate to me the entire story line, characters, and small anecdotes from the book in such detail that I can't doubt that she's reading and comprehending.

She finished the 38 book Pony Pal series in about 3 weeks and was disappointed when we went to the library and she couldn't find anymore. She pulled a book off the shelf and reviewed the list of books in the series insisting that she hadn't read them all so I suggested we check the catalog for the books she hadn't read. She listed six books I was impressed but not surprised to see that those books weren't carried by the library. It's an older book so I'm guessing those were lost and couldn't be replaced. I went to the reference desk to ask about inter-library loans and left Solana searching for a new series. When I returned I found her surrounded by a mountain a books! No kidding. She'd picked out 3 new series all having to do with horses and pulled every book from them she could find. LOL! I made her leave the Heartland series behind. I think it had boyfriend and girlfriend stuff in them. But I let her check out two others. She's insane and I'm a sucker for a reader.

This may seem ridiculous but I won't put it past her to finish them all before they're all due. She's so excited :-)