Monday, February 25, 2013

Out, Out, Damned Strawberry Juice!

So I haven't been too "picture happy" lately, but Tess has.  Sometimes Tess asks for suggestions of what to draw, but she always rejects my lame ideas.  Not sure why I didn't think of the "strawberry-juice-as-an-owie"scenario myself.

In other news, both of our cars have been in the shop, we're bracing for sequestration, and Tess had a good second appointment with her brave teacher (if you overlook the fact that she majorly wet her pants during the session--isn't there something the therapist can do about that too?).  The therapist wants two more sessions with Tess before she meets with me.  Progress is slow.

 A girl and her mommy grocery shopping.  The girl has a little cart like the ones at Harris Teeter; the mommy is sporting breasts; and in an amazing stroke of luck, the little girl happens to have $5 to buy a doctor kit just like the one at Tess' school.

This very sad little girl is bemoaning an owie she just found on her leg while picking strawberries.  Little does she know that it's not really an owie; it's really strawberry juice!  Hate it when that happens!

 This scene shows a mother bird bringing a reluctant worm to feed her babies, which are about to hatch.  The calendar in the background is counting down the days to summer.  There is an owl in the tree, who is sad because he is nocturnal and can't sleep.

Summer beach scene.  The crab is my favorite, but the lighthouse is pretty spiffy too.   Ryan taught Tess how to sign her artwork with her initials.

And a holiday scene, complete with a snowman outside the window; an angel on top of the tree; and more mommy breasts.  Tess is striving for greater realism in her drawings.

This last one is a "special game" that Tess planned for FHE.  Tess' new primary teachers have introduced her class to the classic game of hangman.  Tess says she's very good at the game, which may have something to do with the fact that not many kids in her class can actually read.  
She chose the phrase, "I love God."  Her hangman is on the right.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Tess and I are having a hard time coordinating this blogging thing.  Here are a few recent Tessie drawings until we can get our act together.

After Drew trip to the ER, Tess wanted to know about the doctor who helped fix his owie.  Mainly, if it was a boy or girl doctor, what color skin the doctor had, what her hair looked like, if she had glasses, and if she was wearing a dress.  Then Tess decided to draw her own doctor picture similar to my description, including the dangling earrings she was wearing.  The little girl in the picture has an ear infection, so the doctor is going to look at her throat and her ears.  The lower right corner is a step thrashcan, because that's the kind of trashcans they have at doctor offices. Beside it is a box of tissues, which the girl is using.

This is the first page of an ambitious project idea to draw a book "about all the world and animals and things in nature." Her first entry is on the green tree frog.  The inset on the left shows "what it looks like as a baby" and then on the right is "when it's all grown."  "Because sometimes science books show that."  They are eating flies.

And last is a fancy cupcake shop with "shelves and shelves of cupcakes.  So many shelves they don't have to bake them, they just have them already."  The sign on the cash register reportedly says, "Stop and smell the cookies."  The workers are in the back dusting. The black menu board shows their offerings, though "it just has squiggles cuz sometimes they do that for words."  The green sign above shows customers the way to the restroom.  The pink items at the bottom are stools for the customers to have a seat.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Day at the Park; Night at the ER

Friday, February 8, 2013

Good Help

I had a call from Tess' therapist early this morning, letting us know that an appointment time opened up Monday nights at 5:15!  Woo hoo!  So Tess won't have to miss Valentine's Day or any school at all!  Hallelujah!

After that call, I was thinking about how often we have been blessed and had prayers answered through individuals with a specific skill set, educational background or experience to help us with the unique challenges we have faced.   I think of our of Shady Grove doctors and Drew's doctors at Children's National Medical Center and from the Netherlands who specialized in CMTC.  I think of Tess' preschool teachers who understood what she was going through and her kind and patient Primary teachers at church.  I think of our realtor and mortgage agent who knew how to help us when no one else could.

We certainly do our part to seek these people out, but just the fact that they exist--that they are out there to be found--is something I'm immensely grateful for.  I appreciate the time and effort they put into learning, studying and developing the expertise we needed in those situations.  And the fact that all these people are where we are, available and accessible to us, is no doubt a blessing from Heavenly Father.

It is with a faith and just a tiny bit of desperation that I'm hoping this therapist will be able to give Tess the help she needs.  Her first appointment is on Monday!

No school today, so I took the kids to the playplace at the Mall and out for lunch.  Our tag-along is Sebastian, a cute kid just a month older than Drew, whose mom had a baby last week.  It's funny to hear Drew chatter away to him, trying to point out everything he thinks is interesting.  

In case you're wondering, yes--those are climb-on replicas of a Civil War cannon, Monticello, and a Jamestown ship.  There is also a climb-on Cardinal and little climb-on crabs.  Viva Virginia!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

"Brave Teacher"

A self-portrait of Tess going to her preschool.  She is walking from the car dropoff with her tote on the yellow line into her school.  (She doesn't really have to cross two lanes of traffic to get there, though).  The school playground is shown in detail on the right, complete with the yellow slide, swing, monkey bars and the bouncy car and motorcycle at the top.  She included the cross at the top of the church, and you'll notice that someone is even waiting to open the door for her, to her great relief.

So I had my intake meeting with Tess' counselor at Phoenix Family Counseling & Play Center today.  I liked the therapist.  She has a lot of experience working with anxious children and she seemed to think she could make good progress with Tess.   She showed me the therapy room, stocked high with art supplies and toys of every kind.  It looked like something Tess would get excited about.  I talked with Tess about the therapist.  After considerable thought on how to present this, I decided to tell Tess she is a "Brave Teacher."  Someone who teaches kids how to be brave if they feel worried a lot.  Tess first wanted to know what the Brave Teacher looks like--what color hair, skin and eyes.  She wanted to know if she had glasses, "Cuz lots of doctors have glasses."  Then she wanted to know the "shape" of her eyes.  Heaven help me.

Her most pressing concern was whether I would be there too.  I told her I would wait in the office for her to finish in the playroom with the "Brave Teacher."  She was not happy about this and wanted to know if the door would be closed, how many doors, and what color the doors are.  

I think I may have won her over with my description of all the art supplies and toys.  "I think I want to do painting the most.  Can you do more than one thing if you want to?"

She also liked that her Brave Teacher's name is "Maureen."  That put a smile on Tess' face.

Only problem now is that I realized her first session with be next Thursday, which means she'll miss Valentine's Day at school.  What to do?  What to do?  
We may never sleep again if she misses Valentine's Day.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Tess picked a candy necklace from her Brave Basket today.  
Drew is going to be hounding her until all the "geen" candies are gone.

Monday, February 4, 2013


Today Tess worked on signing Valentines for her preschool class.  This meant signing her name 20 times in a row.  I told her she could do a few every day for the next week and she said, "That's OK, I can do them all right now!  I'm fast as a chipmunk eating 100 nuts really fast!"   
And she was.  She finished the whole stack in about 5 minutes.  
Good thing she didn't have to write her last name.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sprinkles & Glitter are in the Air!

So, are we kind of over the picture-a-day thing?  Good.  I haven't been too snap-happy lately.  And I have more than one picture for today.  It was an idea--not a great one, but an idea.

So we spent Saturday with Nana & Papa, and Nana had a whole slew of Valentine's activities planned. Tess donned her "Kitchen Chicken" apron and got baking with Nana.  Drewster Rooster joined in decorating Valentine's cookies.  He has become quite the little helper in the kitchen and he had a great time frosting and liberally applying red sprinkles.  

Tess has become a master cookie cutter and decorator.  Nana kept a close eye to switch out the knives Tess couldn't resist licking.  

Drew's not much of a cookie eater.  
But he loves candy, so he had his fill of red and pastel-colored sprinkles.

Then Nana & Tess got into some serious crafting.  They made beautiful, elaborately decorated Valentines and some cute fuzzy Valentine critters.  The good news is that Nana should only be temporarily crippled by the hot glue burns on her fingers. 

We have lots to love and be grateful for!  We miss and love each of you!

Friday, February 1, 2013

January 2013 Tidbits

Frequent new Drew phrase: "Me too! Me too! Me too!" That has to be the second child's anthem.

Tess' response to the dusting of snow we got last night: "Oh wow! The earth left us a surprise last night! Sure hope we have some carrots!"
Drew's response: "Ooooo! Ice good!"

I've talked with the therapy clinic for Tess and her therapist is supposed to call soon. Every time I think I'm overreacting, Tess has another episode or bad night. It just reconfirms she needs more help than we can give her.

"Juice drink."

Drew's new favorite phrase: "Down dere." He uses it to point out the location of objects. However, it's not particularly descriptive because he uses it no matter where the object is located. "Drew, where's the moon?" "Down dere."

Tess: "I feel like I'm in Utah" (i.e., on Utah time--one of the countless reasons that she gives for not being able to sleep)

Tess has been in need of new church shoes, but we haven't had any luck finding ones that will fit her narrow feet. She was complaining before church that her shoes were too small, they didn't feel good, there's no way she could go on. She slowly limped her way into the church with dramatic flair. I told her to stop being so dramatic and that she could take her shoes off when we got inside. When she took them off we discovered that her heel was bloody from being rubbed raw. I had to send Ryan home for her summer sandals. Proud mothering moment.

We were pulling out of church, when Tess said, "I bet the people in all the other cars a wondering why our clothes look so pretty."

Tess has a new name for her baby doll: "Riz-anya." That rhymes with lasagna.

We were getting ready for a Family Home Evening lesson on Jesus, the Good Shepherd. I was having Tess dress up like a sheep and told her we were going to play a surprise game.
Tess: "I just want to know one thing for the game--do they have to kill me?" We'll save that for an Old Testament lesson.

Drew has fallen asleep every afternoon this week. He dropped his nap ages ago--he must be going through a growth spurt or something.

I went to a birthday lunch at a friend's house today, and my children are impossible. All the other kids are perfectly content to play with toys in the other room. Mine are clingy and climbing all over me. Drew erupts into tears if I so much as take a few steps away from him. I don't know what I do to make my children like this.

Lots of new words from Drew these days: squirrel, pig, bunny, couch, just to name a few. Anything I want him to learn, I just set Tess to task on it. She's great teacher and he loves learning from her.

Drew can now tell you that he is "TWO!" and Tess is "FIVE!"

Any time Drew spots a flame, fireplace or candle, he yells out "Birfday! Birfday to you!"

All of our coaching is starting to pay off. Drew now knows animal sounds for a cow, dog, kitty, bird, duck, and chicken. He also knows the colors green, red, orange, blue, purple, and sun.

Drew has perfected the art of the pout. He lets you know when his feelings are hurt by dramatically casting down his eyes and poking out his lower lip. He may let it tremble a few moments before starting in on the tears. If he still doesn't have your attention, he may drape his body over you in a languid swoon. If the case calls for instant reaction, he can do a dead drop to the ground in seconds flat, as his whole world just popped like a giant balloon. If he gets what he wants, it's amazing how quickly he recovers with a happy, "K!"

Tess had sudden outburst of a meltdown on the way to school. "There's something I don't like about school!" Apparently a teacher she doesn't know keeps saying "Hi" to her in the hall. She sounds like a pretty awful lady. Sometimes Tess pretends not to hear her, or Tess runs into the room so she won't see her. Tess wishes she would just "go away and stop saying hi." I suggested a better alternative might be to give a smile and say hi back, but that suggestion didn't go over well. When I dropped her off, Tess was in full-fledged tear overdrive. Should be a good day at school.

Tess: "You can give signals for what food you want for dinner. This is pizza [she draws a triangle in air], this is macaroni [she draws a smile in the air], and this is spaghetti [she draws a swirling line in the air]."
Ryan: "Where did you learn those signals?"
Tess: "From TV. I learn almost everything from TV."