Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Garden Update

Last month we started our little garden in the parking lot.  We started everything from seeds and we now have some large plants in our garden!

The zucchini and tomato seeds we planted have grown much larger than we expected!

We have countless zucchini blossoms:

We are anxious for some zucchini to grow on this monstrous plant!

Our cantaloupe has also taken off:

It started flowering last week and we are anxious to see if we get any melons out of this!

We have a bald spot in our section of the garden which is misleading.

There is a little strip of either chives or green onions growing in there!

The neighbors' gardens have also flourished:

It really is nice being able to look outside and see all the flowers the neighbors planted.  I also like the prospect of some homegrown vegetables to eat!  Next year I think we will plant some flowers in with our vegetables so we have some more color to look at!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympic Art Project

I had this great plan to track the United States' medals with Amelia this Olympics.  Let's just say plans changed when we started the project this afternoon and that is ok!

My original plan was to take a posterboard, draw the Olympic rings in the center and then have Amelia draw circles in either gold, silver or bronze to represent the medals the US won the previous day.  We'd be keeping up on current events as well as practicing with circles.  

Well, when I handed her the gold to draw circles she just drew.  Then she drew with the silver.  Then with the bronze.

When we finished I asked her if we should hang it up and she was so excited.  She ran right to the fridge and slapped it up with her personal magnet.

In the end we have an Olympic art piece that we will be able to enjoy for the remainder of the London games.  

I moved it to the pantry door where it is more prominent and she can see it from her seat at the kitchen table.

Amelia has shown interest in the Olympics even at her young age.  She asks to watch the "wimp-icks."  I know it is just because she enjoyed the opening ceremonies because she asks why it isn't dark so I explain to her that for now it is in the light.  She accepts that.  She likes the swimming best so far which does not surprise me since she loves water so much!

I think that we will give this project a try again in two years for the winter Olympics in Russia.  Hopefully we will be able to stick to the original plan!  If not, we will have another piece of Amelia-art to enjoy for those games :)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Birthday Weekend

Friday was my golden birthday!  I didn't do anything too exciting.  I worked all day and then had dinner of salad and lasagna at my parent's house.  It was day two of Joe not feeling too great.

He is teething and with that has come a fever.  It comes and goes.  Friday night while my mom, sister, Amelia and I watched the Olympic opening ceremonies Joe slept on my dad in the recliner:

His little feet were cold so her borrowed his sister's Dora socks...

Saturday was Jason's grandpa's 75th birthday and there was a surprise party for him!  I didn't have the camera out much but I got a picture of Farmer Joe:

and Amelia the puppy:

I had two cakes this year:

Amelia insisted we have birthday candles but we couldn't find anything but a tea light...

Friday I had a yellow cake with chocolate frosting (my favorite) and today we had an Izzy's Oreo ice cream cake!  Both were delicious! 

That's pretty much the highlights of our weekend!  We kept pretty busy but at the same time it was a relaxing weekend and the camera wasn't out much! 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Meeting Leyton

Sunday we made a special trip down to southern Wisconsin to meet baby Leyton!  

He was born almost a month ago and we didn't want to wait any longer to meet him!  Added bonus - our other friends, Lisa and Al, were there...it's been a long time since the three of us girls were together!

A favorite spot while driving through middle WI

We left early and arrived just before lunch!  We grilled, chatted and watched kids play.  It was a great afternoon!

Mamas with the boys

Dads with the boys
The "Three Amigos!"

Amelia is absent from all the group shots because she was too busy hanging out with Marie and Jordan's dog, Lucy.  You could not bribe her away from that dog the whole afternoon!

We headed back home in the evening so I could catch a few hours sleep before work yesterday.

I still can't believe that Lisa, Marie and I have four kids between us.  Crazy!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Peterson Reunion 2012

Today was Jason's mom's sides' bi-annual reunion.  Grandpa hosted again this year so we didn't have to travel far at all :)

This morning we woke up to a thunderstorm and our power had gone out so we were a little concerned because this reunion was outside!  By lunch the clouds had cleared and the sun was out.  It was humid but it was not raining!

Jason helped out with cooking again this year.  We had grilled chicken, smoked ribs, hot dogs, fruit and several salads.  

This year we took a large group photo of the descendants of Jason's grandpa's father:

Grandpa's first time holding Joe

Updated generation photo

Joey and Grandma Lynn

Amelia loves to play in water so, naturally, when the ice in coolers melted she splashed around in it...

...she also made artwork :)

She walked up to Auntie Liz, slapped her wet hands on her skirt and said, "hahahaha, my hawn, yo pon!"  Translation - "My hands, your pants!"  Too funny!  When she saw we all thought she was funny she gave several more of us hands on our pants.

Both kids fell asleep very quickly on the way home!  I guess that is what over-stimulation will do on a hot, humid afternoon!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bubbles and Bikes

Between the spurts of rain this evening we spent some time outside!

My mom and sister found this bubble mower, new in the box, at Goodwill this afternoon for $3.75!  Amelia loves it!

She could not stop running around with it!  

Amelia got a trike for her second birthday and it has been at my parent's house since then.  We've played with it there a bit but she has never really grasped pedaling.  Since there are several kids in our complex that ride their bikes at night I thought she might pick up on it if she had her trike while they were out there.

She pedaled, on her own, this evening!  She took off down the parking lot and told us she was going to Papa's house...30 miles away!  

I was a little concerned about getting her to wear her helmet.  She hasn't loved it in the past but we have stood our ground with her needing to wear it to play with her trike.  We want to get her used to wearing a helmet now so that she is in the habit of wearing it as she grows older.  None of the kids in the complex use a helmet so I thought for sure she would fight me on wearing it.  We got the trike out there, she pushed it away from me and started to get on so I said, "you need your bike hat!"  She turned around and said, "oh, my hey-oh-meh" and put it right on! 

It is nice to have a few more fun things to do outside!  I think she'll be a pro on the trike by the end of the summer!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

ASD Evaluation

Monday was the big day - Amelia's Autism Spectrum Disorders full evaluation at Fraser.

Playing in the waiting room

It went spectacular!

We received the greatest news we could have hoped for - they no longer believe she is on the spectrum!

Long story short - she has the cognitive capabilities of a 4-year-old with the speech and language skills of around an 18-month old.  This gap is causing her a great deal of frustration which is bringing out certain behaviors and characteristics in her that are classic "signs" of autism. 

We are relieved.  Life just got a little bit easier.  We still have a child we cannot communicate with but we don't have the uncertainties that would have accompanied the official autism diagnosis.  Her organization and "bossiness" is likely an attempt, by her, to control something in her world.  She has little to no control over anything around her because she is unable to communicate her needs to anyone which I'm sure only adds to her frustration - and ours.  

Our next step will be to have her evaluated by a speech pathologist to determine exactly which type of disorder we are dealing with so we can move forward.  The suspicion is that she will continue with the school district's pre-K speech program as well as having intense, individual speech therapy with someone at least once a week.

We will also need to continue practicing extra patience with her.  Getting angry with her will do no good.  Currently she is not able to communicate much of anything and instead of getting frustrated and raising our voices we need to take a step back, relax and try to work through tantrums with her.  Most are likely a result of her not being able to communicate something.  She doesn't deserve to be punished over that.  She needs patience.  It's hard but I know I have been getting better with it.  It takes practice and believe me, I get a ton of it between work and home!

I have been thinking about all that we have learned about autism these past few months and I remembered the differences between a medical and educational diagnosis.  For educators to label a child as having autism they need to be delayed 25% in two or more areas of learning.  Amelia falls into that category.  I am positive that the school would have eventually labeled her as having autism, therefore, limiting her.

We went to medical professionals who really dug into things with us, worked with us and saw more than just the delays in our child and autism has been ruled out.  They had several reasons that they do not believe it is autism, despite the fact that she fits a lot of the tell-tale "signs".

I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders.  We still have a lot of work ahead of us but it feels more manageable now that we are merely looking at a speech disorder vs her living with autism the rest of her life.  I am very thankful that this path we have been on has changed directions! 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

9 Months

Last Friday Joey was nine-months old!  Time is flying!

He had his nine-month well visit yesterday and, as expected, he is still huge!

Weight - 23 lbs 5 oz (95th percentile)
Height - 29.5 in (90th percentile)
Head Circumference - 48.5 cm (100th percentile)

Wearing size medium gDiapers and size 4 disposables
*We are on a hiatus from our g's...little man is a mover during diaper changes and we cannot for the life of us keep the inserts in well enough during his thrashing and rolling, so, we bought a case of disposables and will try g's again when it is gone. 

Clothing sizes are all over the place!  Mostly he wears 18-month clothing but some 12-months fit (mostly t-shirts) as well as a couple pairs of 9-month shorts and jammies!

First bottle accepted from mama

Still exclusively breastfed though we are working on weaning
*His high feeding demands along with his sister's high demands left a very frazzled mama by bedtime.  I only get about 5 solid hours with the kids each day and being spread so thin between them and keeping up with household duties was not working for us.  Being followed around the house with a baby who wants to be attached to you all night was not working.  For our sanity it was just time.  I am continuing to pump and we are using up the freezer stash of breastmilk we have.  I suspect he will need formula at some point and I have accepted that - finally. 

LOVES to eat!  His foods include sweet potatoes, zucchini, green beans, peas, carrots, corn, squash, mango, applesauce, pears, bananas and most recently raspberries

His bottles are typically around ten ounces a feeding and he eats between six and eight ounces of purees in one sitting - yes, that is a big appetite!

He has two teeth and I suspect there is a third on it's way - I just can't quite tell yet

He is an awesome sleeper!  He goes down between 8 and 9 and sleeps on average ten hours.  Dad says he is up with the sun so we are looking into black-out curtains...

Naps two, sometimes three, times a day.  His longest nap is in the afternoon and it is close to three hours usually

He started pulling up in bed just shy of eight months and he hasn't looked back!

He is very mobile - scooting, crawling, cruising

He loves to jump and bounce!  The jump-up is a favorite place for him!  

He babbles constantly

He is strong - really strong.  He can hold his own with Amelia.  If she wants something he has she sometimes cannot get it from him.  Jason and I have to pry things from his grasp one finger at a time quite frequently!

He enjoys swinging when we are at the park!  

He observes everything and is often very content sitting - as long as there is enough going on for him to watch!  If it's boring to him - watch out because he will be gone faster than you can say lickety-split!

He LOVES his sister...and her toys!

When she is not around - those ponies are HIS!

He is a happy, smiley guy.  A friend referred to him as "Jovial Joe" and I think it fits perfectly!

 We love our little Joe-Joe to pieces and are so thankful he is ours!  I can't believe he will be one in three short months.  Where does the time go? 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dinner on the Rocks

Tonight, Amelia requested to eat dinner on the rocks.

So we did.

I mean, really, what reason did we have not to?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I contemplated not even writing this.  It's not a happy story.  But there is hope.

Yesterday in a neighboring community a man killed his three young daughters.  Jason and I, along with everyone else we know, can't even comprehend how someone could do such a thing.  It's terrible.

Today a local business owner used his Facebook page to do something really quite amazing.  He posted that he wanted to raise funds for the mother of the girls to help with expenses.  He stated he would be downtown Hudson from 10-6 and set a goal to raise $10,000.

I text Jason on my break and asked if I should go down there.  He replied that he was already texting me to tell me to go.  So I went to give our humble donation.  We can't spare much but even a small amount is more than nothing I figured.

The entire drive downtown I was actually pretty nervous.  I wondered if anyone else would be there donating.  I wondered how my little check would even make a difference because $10,000 is a lot of money and so on.  When I got to the stoplight downtown I saw the makeshift donation center and while I waited at the light there was a steady flow of cars pulling in to donate.  I went and donated.  When I left there was a steady stream of cars.  The whole town turned out it seemed.

When I went I was shown where they were at in their fundraising.  $10,050.  I was shocked.  He hadn't even been out there three hours and the original goal was surpassed.  When I told Jason he said he hoped he could double that and do $20,000.  When I went online this evening I saw it posted that $30,302 was raised by this man, and the town, in just eight hours.  Triple the goal.

It just gave me a lot of hope.  There are still good people in this world.  A community raised $30,302 in eight hours for someone most of us have never met.  I just find that really amazing.  Despite all the bad that we are surrounded by in this world there is still hope

Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you. Deuteronomy 16: 17

No gift is ever too small.  Our small donation, along with the small and large donations of others, made a huge difference.  Remember that the next time you only have a small amount to give.  Giving is giving - large or small.

Link to news coverage of fundraising HERE

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Berry Chicken Salad

It's no secret that I am not the chef of the family.  When I do make things they are simple.  It can't get much simpler than this chicken salad we had last weekend for supper one night!

This salad only has three ingredients.

  • 15 ounces chicken, canned
  • 1/4 cup dried berries (our mix had blueberries, cherries and raspberries)
  • 1/2 cup mayo or Miracle Whip (we used light Miracle Whip)
*We had wanted to put celery in but needed such a small amount that purchasing it didn't make sense!

Mix them all together and there you have it.  Berry chicken salad for a hot summer night.  It takes all of five minutes to throw together - you can't really beat that! 

We had ours with Tostitos black bean and garlic tortilla chips.  

Since I am counting calories we figured out the calories in this chicken salad!  One ounce is just under 37 calories.  I had six ounces with sixteen chips (which is two servings) and felt full.

We made a second, double, batch and I portioned it out for work - easy lunch!

Yes, this is probably boring to most people.  Yes, I am sure there are plenty of other things that would "spice" this up.  I appreciate it's simplicity and the fact that it takes minutes to make.  I also like the fact that I was easily able to figure out calorie information.  It makes following my "Lose It" app a lot easier and a lot more accurate ;)

Linked to "Tasty Tuesday"

Monday, July 9, 2012

Weekend in Pictures

Our weekend was very different than we had planned.  We had a hotel Saturday night near Madison and were going to go meet some friends' new baby.  As I paid bills Friday night I realized I worked Sunday so we called and cancelled the hotel.  I'm not sure how I overlooked that shift but I'm sure glad I realized I had it before we were 4 hours away!

Saturday we went to Como Zoo.

Cool Kids :)

First stop - flamingos

Waving to her sea lion - aka "really big fish"

Photo with "Sparky"

Happy boy :)

Popcorn and vitamin water snack

Giraffes - fake and real...

The elusive snow leopard - you seriously never see this guy!

Bronze turtle statue

Preserved animal exhibit cages

Sunday I worked and we had dinner with my family.

Playing outside at Nana and Papa's house

While it wasn't the weekend we had planned we still had fun!