Thursday, August 30, 2007

Traditions

One of our family traditions is to have a 1/2 birthday for our boys in the summer. Since both of our boys have late December birthdays...Peter's is December 28th and Liam's is December 30th, we want to make sure that their birthdays never get combined with Christmas and forgotten. This helps us make sure that they aren't getting one gift for Christmas and birthday combined.


Growing up my birthday was always a special day for me. When I was growing up my parents would always say that on your birthday everyone had to be nice to you. I always felt like it was a day centered on me and I LOVED celebrating my birthday. (I still do!!!)


I really want my boys to have the same experience. But the holidays get hectic and their friends from school are gone and not able to come to parties, so by moving their "celebration" they get to have a party with friends and get treated special for a whole day. Actually, in a way they are lucky because they still get cake and one present on their actual birthday and then later in the year they get to have a party and more cake and more presents.


Peter had his birthday celebration this last weekend and had a couple friends come for a sleepover. They ended up staying up until 2am and were up by 7am, but they seemed to have a good time. Peter got Legos, Pokemon cards, and a few clothes and was elated. I made him a homemade chocolate cake with homemade chocolate frosting. It tasted pretty darn good too!!!


My little artist



I wanted to share some of Liam's art with the blogger world. He is very happy with the job he has done on his art.








This second picture is a picture of Santa Claus. Liam says he has one "small foot" and one "big foot". The big foot is the circle on the right side of Santa.
I also wanted to show all what a great "cutter" he is. This was his first attempt at cutting a shape with scissors. Way to go Liam!!!!



Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Communication

As I noted in an earlier post, my youngest son Liam needs to go and see a speech therapist. I received a call yesterday from a woman that wanted to set up his screening. The problem is....I could barely understand her message because she had a very heavy accent and was speaking less than perfect English. I am not certain if this woman will be doing Liam's screening assessment or not. IF she is, I think I am going to have a problem with it. If I can't understand this woman, how is Liam going to understand her and how is she going to teach him to speak correct English when she can't even speak properly????? I just got off the phone with the same woman and it definitely sounds like she WILL be doing the assessment. I don't know what to do. I don't want to be seen as being racist, but I don't think that this will be a fair assessment of what Liam knows. ( The assessment covers language, pre K skills, balance, coordination, fine and gross motor skills, etc...). Having never met this woman I have no opinion of her as a person and am not trying to form one. But seriously....how can a person with such speech herself help and critically assess my child?????

Monday, August 27, 2007

All about Liam

Last Wednesday was Liam's first day at preschool. He did really well that first day and seemed really happy. On Friday when I dropped him off he was very clingy and said that he didn't want me to leave because he was scared. I got him involved in playing and then told him I would be back later. He kept playing, but had the saddest look on his face. It just about broke my heart. I love him so much and I cried all the way to the car!!!! When I picked him up his teacher said he had a good day and seemed to be having fun playing. That made me feel a lot better. I know that he will get used to preschool and being left, but it is still hard for me. I try to be brave for him and not let him see me sad, but sometimes it is hard.
When I was leaving his classroom on Friday his teacher asked me if he had a speech IEP in place. I told her he doesn't and she gave me a referral sheet to call to have him evaluated for speech therapy. Both Ben and I have been thinking that he would probably need speech therapy. I am glad that the teacher asked me about it, as I was hesitant to mention it. I hope that they can get the speech started soon. I can understand almost everything Liam says, but people who aren't around him a lot have trouble understanding him. I will be interested to see how they will help him and what we can do here at home to help him speak clearer. He's a smart little kid and I can't wait til I can hear him express all his ideas clearly.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Football scrimmage


Okay, I love football!!!! I admit it. I also love my kids. Today, Peter played in a scrimmage against Rancho Bernardo and he did VERY well. He got one hurry and recovered 2 fumbles. I am so proud of him. I can't wait until next week when he plays in the preseason game. It will be his first REAL official tackle football game.

(Peter is the one in the front of the line.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Teachers

Well it is official as of yesterday...Peter is going to have the same teacher as last year, which is the best thing that could have happened. ( His teacher is now teaching 3rd grade, last year she taught at 2nd/3rd combo class.) Ms. Ruth is an incredible teacher. She is able to teach to all levels of students and she makes all kids feel important. She is very creative and energetic. Peter did very well last year and he is very happy that he will have the same teacher.
As if getting the teacher wasn't enough...we also do not have to be in a class with "the evil twins". (Let me explain a little...the twins have harassed and bullied Peter since kindergarten, even in activities outside of school. They used to taunt Peter to the point that he would knock them down in kindergarten. In first grade, they were thankfully not in Peter's class, but found him on the playground and told him that he had to pay him $20 or they were going to tell the playground supervisor that Peter had choked a kid. I went to the principal and the parents had to go to school to have a meeting. We have been unlucky enough to be on many sports teams with them and they always taunt Peter. During the last baseball season, they hit Peter in the head with a baseball helmet on purpose and then laughed about it.) We had emailed the principal and teacher at the end of school last year and asked that the twins not be in the same class as Peter because of the problems and we got our wish!!!!
I feel like we really are having some good luck. I hope it continues.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Catching up

Wow, I just realized that I haven't blogged since Monday. Seems like this week went really fast for the most part. During the day the boys and I have played many board games and watched tv and just tried to stay indoors where it was cool. Wednesday I had to go get a tuberculosis test so that I can volunteer in Liam's preschool. (For those of you that have never had a TB test, you get a needle stuck in your arm and are injected with a small amount of TB and then you have to return to the doctor's office 2 days later to see if you developed a reaction to the shot.)
Thursday I took the boys to a movie...we saw Hoodwinked. It was a pretty cute movie. Then on Friday Peter and Liam played with friends and Friday evening Peter had his first scrimmage against the other Poway Mighty Mite team. Peter did okay, but he was a little tired from playing and swimming with his friends...so he wasn't as explosive as he can be....but he had a good time and his team won the scrimmage. Today we went to the annual Poway Pop Warner Walkathon. This is the football organization's main fundraiser. The kids walked 4 miles and then after the walk, each team sponsors a booth and the kids get to play games for a few hours. I have volunteered the last couple of years to help and I did the same this year. I helped check kids in and then sold tickets for the game booths. Liam did not want to go on the walk, so he stayed and helped me and Ben went with Peter to do the walk. After the walkathon they needed help picking up trash and Peter and Liam went around and picked up trash and earned a pair of movie tickets. So after the walkathon we came home and cooled off a little and then headed to the movie theater to see The Simpson's Movie. It was pretty funny. Tomorrow we are going to take it easy most of the day. Peter and Ben have to go to a cub scout meeting tomorrow night, but I think Liam and I will stay home and rest up for the week ahead.
Monday afternoon we will find out who Peter will have for a teacher in the fall. And after that Peter goes right to football practice. Tuesday, Liam has his preschool orientation in the afternoon right before football practice. Then Wednesday is the "big day" where Peter goes to third grade and Liam starts preschool. Thursday I am going to start back to work at my part time job. So I am going to take a deep breath tomorrow and gear up for what promises to be a busy, yet fun week ahead.

Monday, August 13, 2007

end of summer

Well here it is the last week of summer vacation. I have one last week to really have fun with my kids. I think that there will be trips to the park at least a couple of days. Maybe one last trip to Legoland if we can fit it in, and one last summer movie. As I consider all the "lasts" I also start thinking of all the "firsts" that are about to come. Peter's first day in 3rd grade, and Liam's first day in preschool. Both happen next Wednesday, August 22.
Peter is really excited about going to third grade because this year he will get to be in the GATE program and will have more challenges. He also is very familiar with the school and knows lots of kids, so he will adjust well I'm sure.
Liam is also very excited about getting to go to preschool. Ever since we toured the classroom back in April he has been asking when he can go there. I will be helping out in the classroom part time...once a week or so. Hopefully, he will adjust well on the days that I am not with him. He has never been to preschool, and other than going to another daycare room while I work for a couple of hours, he has never been away from me. I have never had to leave him with "strangers" and be farther away than down the hall. I think that I will probably have more trouble being away than he will have with me being gone. He will get to make new friends, which seems to come pretty easily for him. He'll also get to learn to sit still and learn all of his letters and numbers. I am excited to see how much he will learn.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

My week in review

I have been out of touch with the blog the last couple of days. I just haven't felt like I had anything to write other than whining and complaining, so I just took a couple days off. Today I feel a bit more positive about life so I am back. It was a little of a disjointed week for me though. I started off the week by going to the gym and when I was pulling into a parking space I scratched a parked car. I found the owner and he was nice enough about the whole thing. I felt so silly though. Later that day I was browning a pork roast before putting it in the crock pot and I put the roast in the crock pot and turned around to put the cook book away over the stove and I leaned over the still hot skillet and burned my stomach. Later that same day I was getting Peter and his friend to practice and when we got out of the car I was helping the friend get his shoulder pads on and he pulled back and I jammed my thumb. By the end of Monday I was ready for bed. Tuesday was a much better day, everything seemed to flow really well. Wednesday was Ben's birthday and I surprised myself by how much I accomplished that day. I even had time to make him a chocolate cake from scratch...boy was it good. Thursday Peter went to play at his friend's house and Liam and I spent the day playing a variety of games. I didn't get much done around the house, but it was fun to just play with him. Yesterday my day started off great, I found some computer games in the garage that I had been looking for and I got them loaded on the computer. After lunch I was all set to load the kids up to go to the grocery store and I couldn't find my keys. Then it occured to me...they were in the garage...which was now locked with a padlock and the key to the padlock was on the key ring with all my other keys. UGGGHHH. I called Ben at work and he came home and freed my keys.
Here we are now on Saturday and I am looking forward to a low stress, fun day. We are taking the boys to the horse races at Del Mar where they have the kids area for them to play. Peter and Liam's friends are coming too, so it should be a great day.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

menu

Looking at my week ahead I think there will be a lot of leftovers to eaten this week.
Monday: Garlic pork roast with potatoes and onions with bagged salad.
Tuesday: Leftover sausage and potatoes
Wednesday: Leftover meatloaf stroganoff from last week and salad
Thursday: BBQ pork sandwiches, veggies, and salad or coleslaw
Friday: Weeknight pork chili, veggies and salad

The BBQ pork sandwiches and the weeknight pork chili are both made with the leftover pork roast from Monday night which makes life really easy. Having a menu plan also helped a ton with grocery shopping this weekend. I didn' t have to run to the grocery store yesterday and I don't plan to go today either. Last week I was there almost every day grabbing some random item.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Tackle football

I have another busy week ahead of me. This will be week 2 of football practice every night. This week Peter gets to wear full pads and as he says "hit somebody". He has been waiting all week, well really all summer, to get to put on pads and tackle. I think that it will be a good use of his exhuberance. Peter is a great kid with a ton of energy and he plays like he means it. Tonight it looks like it will be a good night for a pork roast. I love coming home from practice and smelling supper cooked and ready to eat. Then for the next couple of days we will have leftovers which will we nice too.
Liam has really been enjoying Peter going to football practice because he's been getting to go play with a friend every night. They are almost 2 years apart in age, but they play really well together. They both love collecting sticks and spend a majority of their time running around looking for the "perfect" stick. His friend also has a swimming pool, so when they get hot they take a quick dip in the pool to cool off. I am thankful that I am a stay at home mom and that I have two healthy, happy kids. What more could a person ask for?

Friday, August 3, 2007

Names

Melanie over at http://Omahamama.blogspot.com just wrote about having a new nephew and noted that the parents are having a little trouble deciding on a name. It got me thinking about names and parents' responsibility when naming their child. First you think of names that you like and probably narrow it down to a few. Then you let others know what you are considering and you start getting "opinions", some people smile politely and say "they are all wonderful names", others might say something like "interesting choices" (which really means...WHAT WERE YOU THINKING????). And then there are parents and inlaws and aunts and uncles and....the family all has to weigh in on what the child should be called. Wouldn't want to people in the same family with the same name if the other person is still alive...Grandmas seem to be the most opinionated about the choice. But after gathering all this information, you feel more confused about a name than ever. And if all this advice isn't enough you start thinking about all the nicknames your child could be called, and what memories the names bring to you (maybe you knew a "Lisa" and she was a real snob...). One of the final considerations is whether the name will still sound good when the baby grows up...not only as a school kid, but also as an adult looking for a job. After all this you finally pick the "perfect" name. What an awesome responsibility and privilege to name a child.
By the way....I went through this process twice and here are the names of my boys:

Peter Anton Neill (aka Pete, Petey, super Pete)
William Xavier Neill (aka Liam, and to grandmas and grandpas...William)

Actually, naming Peter was relatively easy. Ben and I liked the name Peter, and it is not too common. Anton was my grandfather's name and he died when my mom was young so it is a nice way to keep his memory alive.
Liam was a bit harder. Both Ben and I decided early on that we liked the middle name Xavier, and so we started to try match a first name that would sound good. Both Ben and I have dead relatives with the first name "William" so we could have a family link there. (Also, my dad's middle name is William and Ben had an uncle Bill). Once we started thinking about William it became at better idea all along. One major factor is that we both like the name Liam and looking at William we realized that LIAM are the last four letters of William...good so far...also Liam is the Irish form of William...good again...If later in life Liam decides he would like to call himself Will or even William he could still do that...good again...then the advice. Both grandparents seemed okay with William, but didn't seem to care much for Liam. To this day my parents rarely refer to Liam as "Liam" but rather as "William", my sister does the same. It might bother me more that they do this if we lived closer, but I understand especially with my parents that they are just a little old fashioned and Liam is a bit of a new sounding name. (On our last visit to Nebraska, my mom addressed Liam as William and he looked at her and said "My name is Liam, not William".) So, perhaps the more he grows up, the more they will get used to the name.
No matter what they are called my boys are loved and always will be.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Ramblings about writing and reading.

Yesterday I entered an online contest to write a one-time book reader column for the online book club that I am part of. I am fairly certain that I will not be chosen as there are so many people in the club and I'm sure a few of them are better writers...but I wanted to try because I wanted to share my ideas with others. I guess that's part of the reason I started writing this blog. Aside from the fact that it helps me keep family and friends up to date on my life.
Problem is, I don't feel like I am sharing much that is of interest to anyone other than close friends and family. I look at other blogs and a lot of them seem to be about subjects that make a difference in some way.
I feel much more comfortable writing fiction. My brain seems to be able to make up all kinds of things. I get to live in a different world for a little while when I am writing. (Not that I don't love my real life....). I like being able to change things for characters if the plot seems to lead them a certain way. My current favorite author is Diana Gabaldon. She has an AMAZING way of putting you right into the middle of the story. You can get totally engrossed in the story and really imagine yourself there in the story. Her website is www.dianagabaldon.com . She has two new books coming out this year and I can't wait to read them.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007