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Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Relaxing Long Weekend!

As I said before, we chose not to travel this weekend and spend the four days at home with just the five of us...and it has been wonderful!

Bruiser is in the midst of potty training and staying close has made it a bit less much as that can be with a sensory child...who never knows when he has to "go"! I love how he wears his underwear...backwards so he can see the pictures! I mean, really! Whoever thought to put the picture on the back?
Daddy and Tater made a homemade pumpkin pie...crust and all!

Here's our T-Day turkey! Daddy did a great job!

And here are a few shots of the meal!

We spent the actual holiday at home and in jammies until the middle of the afternoon. Friday we did a bit of shopping (because we are crazy like that!) and Saturday ended up being another lazy day. We did venture out to lunch and Target...where Bruiser had a screaming meltdown and had to be removed from the store by Daddy...not that we were surprised! Today we all headed to the Y for a break...Mommy centered herself with a bit of yoga, Daddy strengthened those muscles with some weights, and the kids played in the play area. Amazingly we are all a bit calmer today! After a quick haircut for Tater, I came home to continue on with my Christmas preparations.
And now...for a last burst of holiday cheer before we return to work and school...we are heading out on a chilly mystery trip! Pictures and details tomorrow!

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Little Touch With Celebrity!

Our children are the most wonderful amazing things that have ever come into our lives. We treasure each moment of our "long days and short years." That said, as I have shared before, our children do present challenges and hurdles we have had to jump over and adapt our lives to. Bruiser was diagnosed over the summer with a mild sensory processing disorder (SPD) with a focus on the vestibular area. And, now this past week, Sassy received her diagnosis for SPD, but with a focus on the proprioceptive area. Where Bruiser's issues focus on movement (tipping of the head, spinning, inner ear related things, etc.) and tactile and noise related things, Sassy's has more to do with body awareness and balance. This past week was hard. As hard as it was, I accepted having one child with SPD and dove head first into helping him. Then we got the blow about Sassy... and I may have reached a breaking point. It's so challenging to meet their daily, moment-to-moment needs as well as scheduling and getting them to therapies and additional group sessions. But, don't get me wrong, no matter how hard it is, I will do whatever I have to help them and give them the most normal life possible. (Just say a little prayer for my sanity once in a while!)

So as I was diving head-first into this whole new realm of our life, I pulled out all my SPD reference books and began to review all that I had read with Bruiser. And sitting next to my computer is the book "The Out-of-Sync Child" by Carol Kranowitz. And today, when I returned from a particularly difficult day of shopping with all the kids, I found this comment for my blog in my inbox:

"Mommy and Bruiser, it's so nice to see my book, "The Out-of-Sync Child," on your bookshelf! You may also be interested in a new book I just co-authored with Joye Newman. The new book is "Growing an In-Sync Child: Simple, Fun Activities to Help Every Child Develop, Learn and Grow" (Perigee, 2010). We include fun and functional activities that help strengthen sensory, perceptual-motor, and visual processing skills. They're great fun for kids and parents. I think you'll like it. Check out our website at

Blessings to you and your family,
-Carol Kranowitz "

I can only hope Carol knows how much her message meant to me! A comment from an "expert" on my little blog! Amazing! She turned my day right around!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Different Kind of Holiday

We stayed home this year instead of making the trek "over the river and through the woods" to Mimi and Papa's or Memaw and Pop-Pop's house. This isn't the first Thanksgiving we stayed put...but it is the first one that we were all alone and decided to cook the entire traditional dinner. Despite a bit of stress (there were still three demanding children in the house!), Daddy and I worked well together, sharing the responsibility of making the dishes. The 21 pound turkey cooked for a bit more than 5 hours and was super-yummy! The only major problem was that the turkey filled the oven and we couldn't cook the other dishes! Luckily our across-the-street neighbors ate earlier than us and shared their oven space so we could eat everything at the same time. By dinnertime, we enjoyed the aforementioned turkey, homemade mashed potatoes, Pop-Pop's filling, creamy corn, sweet potato delight (a la Aunt Crystal) and rolls. Daddy and Tater even made a homemade pumpkin pie that was fresh out of oven and gobbled by three little mouths (and one big one!) before an early bedtime!

It was a different kind of day. There was quality time with each of the children, two Skype sessions with family far away (and one even "shared" their meal with Sassy!), and a laid-back relax feeling over all. As much as we missed the time spent with family, we have been craving this time in our home, without overloaded schedules, to just enjoy one another.

Hope everyone had a fabulous day...whether you spent it with your small family or your extended one!

Bruiser's First Birthday Thank You Note!

Nordic Blue Collage Favorites
Unique party invitations and announcements by Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Basement Re-Do!

A few years ago, we spent many a winter night transforming our basement from a dismal space below the earth to a playroom. We didn't feel skilled enough to build walls and put in a ceiling but knew we needed barriers and storage. So we created "walls" made of storage shelves and enclosed with bead board. We painted the floor, added some color, and laid down a rug. All was good. It was used occasionally and was a great holding place for all the toys that didn't fit elsewhere.

And then the flood hit! We lost a lot of toys, the couch that we stored down there, all the rugs, and lots of random basement kind of things. So we emptied it, cleaned, added a new rug, and prepared to enjoy the new space with what seemed like a lot more space (minus the couch and some toys!). But as we anticipated Christmas this year and as we lived with toys surrounding us in the living room upstairs, we knew it was time to expand! We wanted the toys out of our living space and we know there are many new toys that will be arriving!

So here are results of our efforts today (when I probably should of been resting...but I can never pass up a chance to organize!):

Looking from the bottom of the steps
(Daddy's workshop area is behind the gate)
From the other side

View from the back

And looking toward the stairs
We are loving it...and so are the kids! Tater was so excited she was practically crawling out of her skin and Bruiser wanted to play inside instead of going outside with Daddy!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

...And Then the World Fell Apart!

And that is just what happens when Mommy gets sick!

Last weekend I had this annoying scratchy throat...and then it went away.

Then Tuesday morning I lost my voice...not the best thing for a mommy of three and a teacher of 23...during parent-teacher conference week!

Tuesday night I rested.

Wednesday I taught and had 15 parent-teacher conferences.

Thursday Daddy ordered me home from work and in bed all morning while our sitter watched the kids.

Friday I went back to work...because I felt better. Then I cleaned the laundry room, took Sassy to dance class and went to see the new Harry Potter movie with Daddy...and no longer felt better.

Friday night I spent 3 hours on the bathroom floor with a sick Bruiser.

Saturday morning I took Sassy to her therapy group and most likely infected all the parents in the observation room.

And the rest of Saturday...I lived on the couch and napped.

Wonder what tomorrow will bring? (Oh, and Daddy already told me I will be resting so that I can survive the short holiday week!)

And on a side note: Because I was sick, Daddy took Tater and did our holiday shopping so we have our turkey for Thanksgiving (which we earned for free because we spend so much on groceries!)...and I got to avoid that insane place! Yeah!

Shutterfly and Holiday Cheer

I love this time of year! As the holidays approach, I start making lists - gifts to give, things to decorate, people to send cards to, etc. We've already had our pictures taken for our holiday cards and I have been busy browsing Shutterfly to decide which card design works best for us. I have used Shutterfly for holiday cards, birthday invites and thank yous, calendars, photo gifts, and photo books in the past...and couldn't be more pleased! They offer so many options at such great prices...and it's all easy to navigate!

So are you ready for the card options? Well, wait just a minute...because as I was perusing the site, I found these beauties and have to share!

I love to wrap gifts and make them stand out just a bit from the rest! Shutterfly offers these fabulous personalized gift tags...and they just might have to find their way onto my packages this year!

And on to the cards!

In addition to lists, I start early thinking about our holiday card. I typically lean towards a photo card and in the past I have even crafted some of those fabulous family "letters" - just so I can brag about my little ones! Look at this alternative from Shutterfly! This is definitely in the running for the House of Sprout this year!

But then again, I might just simple and order something like this...

...and then include our blog address on the card and let everyone in on all the dirty little secrets from our house!

Shutterfly is currently offering bloggers fifty free holiday cards. Go here to check it out!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Visit from "Home"

Papa and Mimi came for a weekend visit and we enjoyed some relaxing days close by while Sassy continues to recover from her concussion. She is doing much better but seems to tire very easily...luckily there is one more day in the weekend before Mommy has to head back to work and leave her baby!

Today we went for a short walk on a nearby beach. The weather was one last taste of fall before the reality of winter settles in! Papa and I "shared" (aka "fought over") my new camera and had fun snapping shots of the kids!

Yesterday we spent some time outside enjoying the fall leaves and the cool weather before Bruiser got on the bus.

We are so happy to see her smile back!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Three Little Monkeys...

...jumping on the fell off and spent the day in the ER!
That's right! Sassy decided to jump off the top step of the ladder of the girls' bunk bed this morning and earned her second trip to the ER in as many months. I had just left the room to grab a stack of clothes to put away (as we prepared for Papa and Mimi's visit) and heard a thump...and then silence...and then screaming about 30 seconds later. It took me a good 20 minutes to determine that she had no broken bones but had hit her head...hard...on the wood floor after falling about 5 feet. When she started to get lethargic, I called the doctor who ordered us to the ER. As I was brushing my teeth (it was fairly early in the day!), she vomited...and that's when I had a pretty good idea we were dealing with a concussion. So I shipped the older ones off to the neighbor's and headed to the hospital to meet Daddy. It may have been the scariest drive I ever was a struggle to keep her awake! It got even better when we walked into the ER and she vomited all over me and herself...again. Four hours, a long snuggly nap, and CT scan later, we headed home to watch her and rest. That rest ended with another round of vomit...of course, all over me! Right now she is asleep and hopefully will rest comfortably. Tomorrow? Well, I'm home from school to watch her some more and hopefully we'll see a happier girl!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Tater went to a Glamour Party today...and love it! She was so excited to get the invitation to her new school friend's birthday...and she counted the days until it arrived! She had a BLAST with the makeup and jewels and sparkles, etc. Everything was right up her alley...or red carpet!



We may need to work on her technique a bit!

The "Princess" hairstyle!

Walking the read carpet!

The Glamour Girls!

Cake time!

Side Note: Tater got more quiet as the party went on and even more so as the night went on...we are a bit concerned she might be coming down with something. She has a few spots of eczema that she has scratched open and are looking like they might be starting to get infected...we're calling the doctor in the morning. So say a little prayer that she gets her smile and her spunk back soon!

The Missing Pumpkin Carving Pictures!

These were hiding on my camera...and I found them today!