Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Milestone Movie

Another milestone was reached today for both of the boys: they saw their first film in a movie theater! While we had considered taking Cameron before, we never felt confident taking both of them together until the latest Veggie Tales movie, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, was released. Our family loves the Veggie Tales; besides having Christian morals that accompany every storyline, the writers are extremely witty, and they typically include some very catchy songs as well. We knew that we could trust that this movie would be suitable for both of them and not have to worry about any questionable dialogue or scary villains. I think I would rate the experience a success; Connor was very well-behaved for almost the whole first hour (which is longer than Eric and I expected), and Cameron was enthralled with everything from the actual theater itself to the yummy popcorn. Connor was so cute in the beginning of the movie; he said, "Uh-oh!" in all the right spots, clapped to the music, and said, "Yay!" when something exciting happened. When he got antsy (and the distractions of snacks and milk were exhausted), I took Connor out into the "hallway" of endless movies, and we ran up and down the long halls for a while, looked and the brightly colored self-serve candies, giggled and chased each other until I had tired him out enough to go back in and watch the remainder of the film. Cameron had to be reminded to whisper a few times, but he was so happy to be there that it was hard for him to stifle his excitement. He usually asks us to go to a "play place" when we tell him we are taking him somewhere (we have been to a few indoor playgrounds this winter), but on the ride home tonight, Cameron asserted, "Going to see that movie was funner than any play place." Even I can forgive the grammar when the sentiment is that sweet.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toewalking

When Cameron was about two years old, we noticed that when he got excited, he went up on his toes. Eventually, we realized he was walking on his toes the majority of the time. When he entered preschool last year as a three-year-old, his teacher suggested we intervene by having his gait evaluated. So, I made an appointment for him to see an orthopedist at our local children's hospital. (Side note: His doctor turned out to be the same doctor I saw as a teenager -- 20 years ago -- for chronic back pain. Delaware really is a small state.) The orthopedist and his intern evaluated Cameron and diagnosed him with idiopathic toewalking. We were relieved at the diagnosis since continued toewalking can be a symptom of some serious conditions: cerebal palsy, muscular dystrophy, and autism, just to name a few. Naturally, we had guessed this would be the diagnosis, but we also received some good news in that his Achilles tendons were still quite flexible and not tightened much by his habitual toewalking (which is not often the case). The doctor prescribed physical therapy, and I was instructed how to stretch the heel cords every day.

Unfortunately, after six months of these at-home exercises, his toewalking had not improved an inkling. So, over Christmas break, we had a re-evaluation at the orthopedist. He agreed that the exercises had not been successful, so we were sent off to have Cameron's legs casted for leg braces. Lucky for him, orthotics have come a looonnngg way since I had a back brace. He got to choose the design and colors of the braces, which really helped with his level of anxiety. (It also helped that they had an outer space design that resembled Cameron's newest obsession, Planet Heroes.) I have to say, for a little boy that is usually quite dramatic, he was so serene and even angelic through the entire process. A few days ago, we had an appointment to have his braces fitted. He was actually excited to get them! Here they are:

You can't actually see them on Cameron yet, because the most frustrating part of this story is that I have been to six stores attempting to find shoes that will fit over these suckers. They have to be a wide width sneaker with ties (and that combination is easy to find in infant and adult sizes, but not so much in his toddler size). Wish me luck as I continue my pilgrimage for new wide shoes this weekend. More importantly, wish Cameron luck that these braces will correct his toewalking, and that by June (when he is evaluated again), he will be able to take them off. That would be a wonderful outcome!
P.S. Update: We were able to find shoes over the weekend at New Balance (they have extra wide widths with ties and slipped on without too much extra effort). Of course, Cameron didn't like the ones that were on sale for $19.99. He liked the ones that were not on sale for over twice the price that had to be special ordered. But hey, if it means he will happily wear them, I will happily pay for them.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Reading is FUNdamental

This has become my new favorite book. Let me take you back to a glorious time ...oh, one whole week ago. Every night, Connor and I would read books (or "bookies" and he often says) until his bedtime. It was a time-honored tradition. It was fun. It was meaningful. It was one of the best parts of my day. And now, it might be over. Okay, I am being a bit dramatic, but he now realizes that the beginning of "book time" signals the beginning of "bedtime." He screams, kicks, he runs around in circles taunting me as I try to entice him with a favorite story. Once I get him to engage in the story, I usually have him. But I never had to be this creative to trick my little one into reading before. He loved it as much as I did. The above story is a cute one: Mommy tries to figure out what in the world is troubling her little Pookie (sidenote: that is the nickname Eric and I use for each other....awww). The mommy in the book makes up all kinds of silly things that could be bothering her little guy, but he keeps insisting "no," and she finally begs him to tell her why he is so upset. Little Pookie's reply: "Um...I forget." I know Connor might forget all his tantrum-like behavior once we begin reading his books, but it still makes me sad. It's one more thing that reminds me that he is no longer a little baby, even though he will always be my little baby.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Blogging 101

Since I have just begun my own blog, I thought I would share with others of you who may be novices one of the nicest features of a "blog." While it is an online journal of sorts, it also encourages audience participation. See the little link under each post next to the pencil icon that says "0 (or 1 or 2 or 3) comments"? If you click that link, a pop-up window will come up that enables you to comment on every posting. You don't have to sign up for anything to do it! (If you already have a Google or Blogger account -- or any account listed in the choices -- you can use that if you want.) But for the vast majority, simply write your comment, then verify the letters given by typing them in as you see them (this prevents spam on my blog), and simply put in your name where it says "nickname" (you can also list a website where it says "url," but you don't have to worry about that). Then click on "publish my comment," and voila! You have added your own two cents! It is also fun to read the comments of other blog visitors simply by clicking the comment link. So, I challenge each of you to let me know you were here and leave a comment! Otherwise, how will I know that you visited? (Okay, so several of you emailed me or actually told me, but this way is fun, too.) Go ahead and leave a comment if you are reading this so that I know I gave adequate directions. I have to test my teaching skills outside of the classroom every once in a while! :)
P.S. And don't forget to vote in my new poll! (As for the last poll, Christmas won as the most favorite holiday, and Thanksgiving came in second place.)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Wishin' I Wasn't Already Missin' Christmas

I absolutely love Christmas, and it seems to go by so fast that I am admittedly sad when it's all over. And since I didn't even begin blogging until after the holiday, I am entitled to more Christmas pics, don't you agree? I also have always loved stationery, and I was particularly pleased with the way our cards turned out this year. It was on a nice, heavy, semi-glossy cardstock, and it was very easy to create on the American Greetings site (I cannot take credit for its design). Here is the front: And here is the inside:

We get the boys at least one new ornament each year, but considering the name of my blog, I thought you would be interested to see the obligatory peanut (purchased a few years ago):

And here is the companion piece, a pumpkin, just added this year:

Christmas Eve was so much fun and filled with anticipation:

Can you tell they were excited?!?

But soon it was off to dreamland, with visions of sugarplums, no doubt. Nighty-night, sweetiepies.

Hope you have as many happy Christmas memories as we do!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Not Quite Picture-Perfect

Here are some of the "B Team" Christmas photos. The first one with the boys hugging isn't so bad until you notice that Connor is clearly trying to escape, and the background was the majority of the picture. The next two with the presents were interesting. The photographers gave these to the boys to pose with as props. No...they were not meant to be opened. Oops! They are 4 1/2 and 1 1/2; what did they expect? I love the way Connor is looking to Cameron in the first one like, "He's doing it, too, so it must be okay." I also love that the box Cameron has says it is to be delivered to the portrait studio only. The last one shows Connor as he was throughout most of the shoot -- running around. Oh least we got a few keepers out of it!