Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Little Puzzles

Being an aide to a special needs child can prove challenging. I'm so thankful for this job, but sometimes I feel so inadequate.

Nurturing and interacting with small children feels very natural to me, but when you take a 3-year-old with the capacity of a 9-12 month old (so I'm told), all of a sudden techniques that generally work don't work anymore, and you have to start thinking differently.

One of the teachers is so good about explaining how certain children process certain things and really offers a lot of insight.

I was playing in the play area with my little one and she came over and told me that this may be the most difficult area to work in. We need to teach these kids appropriate play: baby is hungry, let's feed baby; put the car on the track and make it go down; stack one block on the other, etc. as these kids often get into their own little world and don't play with toys with a purpose in mind. Interesting...and helpful.

Later on the playground, I got my little one to play for a long time in the sandbox, not just letting sand sift through her fingers, as usual, but actually scooping sand with a shovel into a pail.

There is so much I want to know and learn about this little one so that I can help her to the best of my ability. I think each special needs child is kind of like a one-of-a-kind jigsaw puzzle. They have their own secrets on how they work and the rest of the world has to figure them out.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Updating Before It's All Outdated


The girls started school on Wednesday and are thrilled to be able to walk to school. Mike had to be in charge of first day of school duties (his first time ever) because I started my new job that day. He did a good job. Even getting a photo of them with the principal (bonus points!)

Sis signed up for classes at the local community college and will start at the end of August. It's strange not having her around all the time. Since the move, she's moved in with her dad (only a mile away). Even when she was home, I didn't see her a lot, but at least we had a few minutes a day where we could touch base with each other. I miss that.

I started my new job as a one-on-one aide at a special ed preschool on Wednesday as well. I love it. I feel so blessed to have a job like this that's so rewarding.

I'm still working at the lodge, and yesterday as I went from my kid-centered preschool job to my adult-centered waitressing job I was struck by just how different my two jobs are. At one it's all about play and enthusiasm and simple words, at the other it's all about adult conversation, efficiency and being business-like. Kind of weird to have to shift gears like that all in one day.

Also on Wednesday, Bub and Cass came up to visit for the day. We managed to fit a lot into their short visit. We took a tour of some local caverns:

Wow, that's a really big....thumb

It was really hard to get a decent photo in the close quarters of the cavern.

We then came home and made pizza, then we walked down to the lake, and came back home and had pie and I cut Bub's hair. We had lots of laughs and fun times.

Bub was in love with the orange kitty, Princess

and Cass, who's allergic to cats, was a real trooper who loaded herself up on allergy meds so that she could enjoy them too.

The kittens are doing really well. Im not having to bottle feed them anymore. They're still on formula but I'm mixing some soft cat food with it now. They are climbing and running now and playing like crazy. They are so ridiculously cute. Here is where they like to sleep now with their "surrogate mother":

Consider yourself updated.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Like Butter...

That's what the walls in my livingroom look like. Well, that's actually the name of the paint color too. I love it. It's sunny and cheerful.

This room took a lot of work. First pulling up the old carpet and removing umpteen staples from the floor without damaging it, but so worth it. It was so neat to pull back the carpet and see this beautiful hardwood underneath.

Then we painted the ceiling and trim and the double hung windows (which are a total pain), and of course everything needed two coats.

Finally it was time for the yellow. What a transformation. This room just has a whole new feel to it.

My good friend and my niece helped with the painting. The first day my niece needed to leave and I had to go to work and my friend insisted on staying and painting my ceiling. Now that's true friendship!

The lady that grew up in this house stopped by and I showed her the floors. She says she remembered her mom waxing the floors. All the furniture would be removed and after the waxing her mom would give both her and her sister a pillow and let them slide all over the floor to their heart's content. She said they didn't realize at the time that they were helping to polish the floor.

After surveying the new improved livingroom, she also said that her mom and dad would be proud, and that meant a lot to me.

It's funny how much homier this house feels than any house I've lived in for quite a while. I think part of it is the fixing up, but there's just a homey feeling to it over all. This winter is still worrying me a bit - I'm just not sure how warm we'll be and I hate being cold - but I'm willing to give it a shot.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cat Tales

(I think I should just start ALL my stories with the line, "against my better judgement...")

My friend tells me that the folks where her daughter takes riding lessons have two kittens they found and do I want one? Well, I had been thinking of getting another kitten as a playmate for Sis' kitten as she's so wild and playful so I told her I would consider it.

Later that day we drive out to the ranch to look at the kittens. I know that there's a really good chance that if I'm looking at them I'll be bringing one home, so I'm prepared.

We get there and can hear them already as we get out of the car. I can't believe all the meowing is coming from these two babies. On closer inspection I notice that they're tiny, a lot smaller than I expected. The people say they found them a day or so ago meowing near the driveway. They say they've been feeding them regular cow's milk and moistened food. I know kitties shouldn't have cow's milk so at this point I'm concerned, and I know these people have barn cats they let breed at will, and that they're just anxious to get rid of these two so at this point I commit to taking both of them.

Our friend gave us some soft kitten food and as we drive the half hour home I can hear the babies sucking the juice from the food out of Moo and Nat's hands. It's fairly late, 9:30, so I figure I'll go home and research what I need to feed them and take them to the vet in the morning. As luck would have it I see our vet out taking her dogs for a walk on our way home. I pull over and acost her and ask if she wouldn't mind looking at the two babies.

Our vet is so kind and accomodating that she insists that we come to the office (which is right next to her house) so she can check them out and give us a can of formula to take home.

We found that the orange one is pretty good at lapping milk from a dish but the gray one was having trouble so we got bottles to feed with.

These poor babies were most definitely starving when we got them and once their little tummies were full, they calmed down and even began playing. My theory is that one of their barn cats was a young mama and abandoned the little ones. My friend said that the people wouldn't have bothered with the babies much longer so they wouldn't have survived had I not taken them.

These little ones are a lot of work right now, but they're so darned cute. The vet said that in about a week we can start them on soft solids and they already have the cat box figured out. They do miss their mama though. They suck on their blankets and even on our hands. I'm so glad that I took these little cuties home that night, even though they are so much responsibility. I hope that they thrive and that we'll enjoy them for years to come.

Friday, August 14, 2009

I'm a Push-over... But You Already Knew That

Yep, this is what we have at our house as of last night:
They're maybe 3 weeks old. We're feeding them kitty formula out of a saucer because they can't eat solids yet. So far they're doing ok. They try to nurse on us though, poor babies. I'll have to write the story of their arrival later, but thought this would be a good teaser.

Fixin' Up

Here are photos of the bathroom before, during and after. The during lasted a LITTLE longer than I expected, but I should be used to it being the wife of a contractor...but Mike finally finished it last night. Woo! (Oh and I should say that the during photo is not representative of how we've been living--the moldy lino was scraped out and I put down a huge area rug to cover up the wood that was underneath.) Anyway, here 'tis:

We used inexpensive adhesive floor tiles. This bathroom is huge, but the flooring only cost $70, with some tiles left over. We'll be reinbursed by the landlord of course.
I'd really like to paint the cupboards (can you believe the amount of storage!?). Any suggestions? I really like sagey green, but am not sure. The walls are white and gold marlite, so they can't be painted, and I wouldn't paint the oak cabinets where the sink is either.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Shopping, Swimming and Shaping Up

I took the girls school shopping on Monday. We took a quick trip out to see Grandpa and Aunt Tracy and visit the malls.

I tell ya, shopping with three girls is not for wimps! They are slave drivers! We shopped all day, going to several stores, driving all over town then came home and had dinner with Grandpa and they were ready for more so we went and closed the mall.

The next day I went to the thrift store and bought a few things I needed, then we spent time with Aunt Tracy at her pool. Here's Sis and Aunt Tracy's little dog Bridget:

and Nat and Moo tried to figure out how to dive:

Anyway, my one splurge was a pair of Skechers Shape-ups which claim to help you exercise while you walk. I needed new work shoes and I figure I might as well be exercising while I'm at work waiting on tables. I wore them for the first time tonight at work. They're nice and squooshy but I feel like I walk a little clunky.

I was going to go with the all black

but Sis said it looked more like I had hooves than feet so I went with the black and white instead

The bonus to their big curvy bottom is that it makes me just a bit taller. I'm not sure if their big curvy bottom will do anything for the curves on my bottom, I guess we'll see. In fact as I clomped around the dining room at work tonight I began to wonder if they're just another version of the ballet dancer's magic toe shoes---making me believe I'm getting an extra workout when actually it's all just in my mind. I guess time will tell!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Out of the Loopy, or Maybe Just Loopy, I Don't Know

So...what have I been up to you wonder? (At least I hope someone's wondering and interested in my fascinatingly mundane life.)

Well, the move of course (the elders of our church are awesome and didn't even complain about moving us again in less than a year), and painting and minor decorating (hung a bunch of curtains today, by myself even), cleaning up the old house (I love the Rug Doctor, he rocks, but actually he really sucks, and that was even more helpful), working way more than I want or need to (but that's the summer season for ya at a lodge in the mountains--make hay while the sun shines and all that jazz), and still waiting for the internet at my house (which is why I'm at work during my off time using the free wi-fi) and also cursing Comcast (telling them to shove it yesterday, and now waiting for DSL to be hooked up instead) and basically trying to regain some semblance of normalcy and sanity, because moving really takes it out of a person.

I'm really happy in our new place. It's really homey and has a good feel to it. When I have normal internet access again I will post the livingroom's transformation. Now I can't wait to do the kitchen, and the dining room, and the laundry and the office and Moo's room...yeah I have a lot to look forward to.

Plus I interviewed today for a special ed position but if that doesn't work out, the middle school wants me as a lunch lady, so I have employment of some sort starting August 19 when the kids return to school. Yay!

Plus I turned 45 on the 28th!

So no, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth, I'm here muddling through, and hope to be back to my normal routine soon.