News 2007

12.14.07 - Christmas - Day 2112 / 1136

Just a brief Christmas update.

Adam has been introduced to Candy Land and he absolutely loves it. This is what's interesting between the two of them - while Adam caught on immediately to the concept and how to play the game, Owen seemed to have a little trouble 'getting' it when he was this age. Adam has a much more imaginative play style while Owen is more physical and analytical. Owen loved to play with Legos (and still does) but when he was younger he wouldn't play with them. Only create something then break it down to do something else. We never introduced him to action figures but we've always had the impression he wouldn't know what to do with them, or would lose interest fairly quickly before moving on to something else. He's had Little People figures, and figures we got from Happy Meals, etc so he had them around, but he always went back to building Legos, or running around the yard. Adam, on the other hand, will play with playsets properly. He will create scenes and have characters interact with each other. Owen had started to do this and I wonder if he's learning this from Adam, or is it just that he needed someone to play with. We also wonder if his speech problem in his early days held him back in this regard.

For a special treat we decided to go to the Ringling Bros Circus. We had visited the Circus World Museum a few weeks back so it's been on our minds; that and the fact Owen and Adam probably didn't understand anything they saw there. We didn't tell them where they were going until they got there and their little eyes went wide at the sight. Adam got a little antsy at the acrobatic bits but otherwise enjoyed the experience. If asked he will tell you he saw "tigers and horses and zebras and doggies and elephants... but no cows."

We're having some issues with Owen's kindergarten. Beyond the annoying re-introduction of silly noises (which we thought we beat when we put him in Montessori) and words like "underwear" being used as examples of compound words, his teacher has been "out sick" seven times since the start of the school year. That's essentially one day out of every other week. It also means there is a substitute there and we all know how classes with substitutes would go. The staff got very defensive when this was questioned, but other parents are starting to talk about it while we wait for the kids to come out after school.

We can't believe the amount of paper they send home with Owen! At least three pieces a day reminding us of this and suggesting that. Owen's Holiday Party just before the winter break will be the third party they've had in his class so far. We're hoping the nonsense will end when he moves into 1st grade.

Meanwhile Adam still loves his school. One of Owen's new friends went to the same preschool as Adam and his mom comments that she never had any behavior problems - until he started kindergarten. We're not sure if we'll put Adam in Montessori next year. There's a new Goddard school opening soon much closer so we're considering that. We can't use Adam's current school as a permanent option as it's more of a pre-school for stay-at-home moms. They only do two-three days a week, and only half days. This is actually a great environment as it completely eliminates the kids who get dropped off at 6.30a and picked up at 6.30p and the subsidized kids who, together, consisted of the troublemakers at Owen's original pre-school.

Both boys have started indoor soccer for the winter. When he was Adam's age Owen was taking a gym class. While these places exist here they are not at convenient times for us to take Adam so this is a great opportunity for him to run around and play physical games with kids his own age. Owen was apprehensive at first but since there is only a handful of kids in his class he doesn't feel outnumbered and has a lot of fun. Our only complaint is that the place doesn't seem very organized. But it gets them out of the house and active during the winter.

Finally we have a new video up. It's Adam singing his favorite song. As usual, he was belting it out until I got the camera then he was no longer interested. We had to bribe him.

- New video!


11.08.07 - Adam's THREE!! - Day 2076 / 1100

The big news is that Adam has turned three! Lately we look at him and think 'when did he get so big?!' His speech is much more advanced and coherent than Owen's ever was at this age. He asks a lot of questions and has no problem stating his opinion on something.

He's been going to preschool two days a week and has a fit on his 'stay home days.' All he wants to do is go to school. He has lots of fun there, is making friends of his own, and every day comes home with some project he's made.

Adam has started playing with Owen's 'little legos' now, so we're preparing for the fighting. Adam loves to snap bricks together and play with the little Lego people. He'll only play with the happy looking ones, tho. He won't touch the mean looking ones. He's also very good at creative play. He loves to play with the Little People figures and walks them around and gives them voices and they have conversations with each other. Owen never played like that. All Owen wanted to do was build things and fly things around or push Hot Wheels cars. He's had little interest in figures.

Owen's had soccer for the last several weeks. More than just running around now, he has practice on one day then Saturday's are game days. Now they are learning team play and learning the basics of playing the game proper. He enjoys it but he would be a much better player if he concentrated more and would go after the ball more. He's afraid of getting kicked.

He's started kindergarten now. Montessori in the mornings still, then proper kindergarten in the afternoon. He is far more advanced than the other kids in his kindergarten class it's practically play time for him. Many of the goals required of them are skills Adam is capable of doing (like counting to 20). But he's getting to know kids in our neighborhood finally; friends he will be growing up with.

We took our first formal vacation as a family finally recently. We went up to the Wisconsin Dells in the off season. Growing up I felt the Dells was a tourist trap, and still do, but we all had a three day weekend and wanted to do something other than sitting around the house. We found a nice lodge with huge rooms on the river, away from the noise of the strip and had a relaxing weekend. Owen wants to go back for his birthday.

For Halloween this year the boys went as Batman and Robin (after a little convincing). They looked very cute and Adam got a lot of compliments on his Robin costume. And lots of parties and parades to attend.

And finally, Owen had his second trip to the dentist. Apart from a mishap in which they confused him with another kid and wound up numbing his tooth, it went very well. No cavities again!

- Updated Adam Growth Chart
- SIX pages of new pics!
- Updated Monty's page


08.11.07 - Attack of the Cicadas - Day 1988 / 1012

The cicadas arrived this summer. We didn't really have that many around us, and they didn't last as long as other places but that didn't stop them from causing terror. Adam was on the deck having a popsicle and one landed right on his finger!! With a look of sheer terror on his face he screamed. He's been afraid of the tiniest fly ever since. "Fly on the table!! Fly on the table!!"

The biggest news right now is that Adam is potty trained! Not 100%, but close enough. He has been out of pull-ups for several weeks now, even at night... especially at night! He's better at telling us he has to go potty when he's in bed than he is during the day. Owen has done wonderfully in trying to help out. If he hears Adam calling for us in the morning Owen will go to him and take him to the bathroom and help him go. Once he actually woke Adam up to make sure he went in the bathroom and didn't mess his bed.

Adam is still going to physical therapy to help him with his mobility. While he has made definite improvements we don't think we'll continue it for much longer. They just make him do the same things week after week, nothing ever new. We have stairs at home he can walk down, balls he can catch, and obstacles he can jump over.

Adam has been at summer camp two days a week over the summer and he absolutely loves it! He never wants to leave and on his days off he asks if he can go (we have to tell him it's closed). He will be starting two days of proper pre-school in September, but we are trying to get him in for a third day since he's doing so well.

Owen has been enjoying his summer camp even more than he does regular school. He is doing excellent in his reading. The concept seemed to finally click with him and he is having an easier time making out the words. He has even started attempting to spell words on his own. We've signed him up for a Kindergarten Preparation class, designed to make sure kids are on track for Kindergarten. There's only three other kids in the class but Owen is so far ahead of all of them that it's almost a waste of money. But he enjoys it and it's after his regular school so he is getting used to a full day of school.

Owen recently completed tee-ball and he was quite the athlete. He seemed to take it much more seriously than most of the other kids. He tried to hit the ball as hard as he could, and raced around the bases as if his little life depended on it. He has just started playing competitive soccer. No more just kicking the ball around, they're actually going to try to win games. While he loves to play soccer, we'll see how well he does in playing the game properly.

We recently went biking as a family. I went out to the trail and saw a number of kids Owen's age doing it so I suggested it. The path is a 5.5 mile loop. I pulled Adam in a bike trailer and did two laps while Yvonne stayed with Owen and did one. Owen did GREAT! Though he complained he was 'exhausted' the entire time and didn't stop talking he was in a good mood the whole time. He had a ball.

Monty certainly loves the boys. During a recent thunderstorm Monty found comfort sleeping in Owen's tent under his bed. During another one Monty curled up next to Adam's bed, and, later, was found to have climbed up into the bed and curled up at Adam's feet!

Current struggles involve: not being able to sit at the table and eat without distracting each other, Owen's one-sided view of sharing (ie: you have it, i want it, if you don't give it to me now you're not sharing and i'm telling mom), and Adam becoming a very terrible two.

- New pictures


07.07.07 - Half Day!! - Day 1952 / 976

Today Adam is exactly half Owen's age! To celebrate we took the boys to the park to take some pictures.

- New photos


06.17.07 - Owen reads, Adam goes to school, and Monty goes... blind - Day 1932 / 956

In late April Adam was walking around barefoot and we realized his right foot wasn't looking right. We never noticed before because he always wore socks in the winter. He's a clumsy walker - always looks like he stumbling and about to fall over but he never does. As a baby he'd crawl with his right foot at an odd angle. We never thought much of it but seeing his foot like this made all the pieces come together. We took him in to see a specialist who recommended physical therapy for a few months. It's nothing we're overly concerned about -- he just needs help getting his foot back in alignment. In addition he had some occupational therapy done which he did very well at. We're told he was the most cooperative two year old they've had.

Both the boys have always sung along with music. The differences are Owen tries to sing along even though he doesn't know the words so there's a lot of mumbling. Adam, who is in the car more often and hears the songs more can actually sing along, tho it's often just key words of the song. He can be very clear. Additionally, Adam starting singing along with the music (ie: "dee dee dee deeee") -- something Owen has never done.

Adam has also just recently started SCHOOL!! Summer camp, really, and for only two days a week. But it's essentially school to him and it means he's out of the house two mornings a week! Owen's proper school year has ended and he is now in summer camp/school as well. In the fall he starts kindergarten and will be gone all day!

Owen has recently started reading! Montessori has been teaching phonetics and he's been working with the Bob series of books at school. Now that the year has ended we've bought him a set from a different series to work on over the summer.

We've started Adam on potty training. Nothing aggressive, just getting him used to the idea. He's gone a few times but isn't entirely into it yet.

Owen has started tee-ball recently and he seems to enjoy it, even tho there is a lot of standing around and waiting. There are two whole pages of photos in the photo section!

Finally, poor little Monty has started to loose his eyesight. He's doing very well, however. He might trip over a toy the boys left laying around, but he navigates the house very well. More info on the Monty page.

- FIVE pages of new photos!
- New pics in the Art Club section for both boys!


04.15.07 - The Fifth of Owen - Day 1869 / 893

Owen turns five! Guess what he wanted to do on his birthday? Go to Chuck E Cheese? Nope. He wanted to go out for breakfast! (his teacher was mighty impressed).

We had two celebrations. A small one opening up family presents at home on his actual birthday, then, over the weekend, we had a proper party with Owen's friends. He had a Hot Wheels themed party and it was held at the preschool where he took his cooking class. It was well organized and all the kids had a ball!

Owen had gotten a lot of new Legos for Christmas. One of the first things we did was build a small Lego city. We had about five buildings before he took it all apart. But this created a burst of creativity on his part. Since then he suddenly seemed to 'get' the whole process much better. Now, instead of asking us to buy him sets he sees in the Lego catalog, he tries to copy them with the Legos he already has. When we told his teacher about this she said that it was 'unique.' He comes up with a number of interesting things with his Legos. Usually, however, they turn out to be some sort of gun, or 'army guy' related thing. Of course, this didn't stop him from asking when we could go to the Lego Store in Chicago to spend his birthday money!

Owen's teacher often remarks at his intelligence and uniqueness in the things he does, says, and understands. For example, at right is a picture of Owen at school. His teacher had sent it to us gushing about how amazing it was that he was associating the pink boxes with numbers and that she had never seen this before. We didn't understand what the big deal was until Yvonne's mother (a teacher) pointed out that most 4-5 year olds can only count to 10. Owen, here, is demonstrating that he comprehends that 6 is a bigger number than 5, etc - something most small children don't fully grasp yet.

His teacher says he came in one day and was talking about the planets and such and, being impressed by this, was asking if that's what we discuss at home. No, actually we let him watch CyberChase, a science cartoon on PBS, occasionally.

In the Fall Owen will be starting Kindergarten. It's a point of frustration that kindergarten is only half a day. Owen has been ready for a full day at school for quite a while now. So he will start his day at Montessori, then go to his kindergarten in the afternoon.

Owen recently had his first trip to the dentist! Before he went we sat down and discussed what the dentist would do. The assistant told us he did great, wasn't scared at all, and had no cavities!

Owen will soon be starting the cooking classes he enjoyed so much last year. We asked if he wanted to start a Kindergarten Prep class where they learn about using computers, etc but he only wanted to take cooking class. He will also start T-Ball soon.

Adam's speech advancing at an amazing rate. At the start of March I noted "One day he's saying 'bed!' the next day he's saying 'Doggie in bed!'" Now, just a few weeks later he's saying "Mommy, can I have more bread, please?" He's not always that correct in syntax, though. He still says things like "No! This way go! Now!" But every once in a while he will just surprise us.

We are now on our THIRD Baby Tad doll. Adam's original lasted about a year and a half, then he adopted Owen's, which lasted about six more months. So now we are on Baby Tad the Third. The first nap I tried to give it to him, but he pushed it away and said "Owen's frog." He cuddled it, tried to get it to play music and when it didn't I told him it was broken. He laid there a moment and said "New frog, please."

It's almost hard to believe but Adam will be taking summer classes as well! Two days a week going through sessions such as Water and Sand, Cooking, Music, Cars Boats Planes & Trains, Dinosaur Stomp, Zookeepers. Then, in the Fall, Adam will start going to preschool two mornings a week. I almost can't imagine what it will be like to not have a little one demanding attention. We won't be putting him in Montessori straight away. Instead he will be attending the preschool Owen takes his cooking class and Adam is having his summer school at (we kinda wish we had found this place two years ago). Once Owen goes to 1st grade we will move Adam to Montessori.

- New pictures!
- New Art Club for both boys!


02.19.07 - Big Boy Adam - Day 1814 / 838

Adam is officially a Big Boy now. We've moved him out of his crib and into Owen's old train bed. We've been having problems with Adam's diapers leaking for, well, ever. We don't know what it is - no matter how we put the diaper on him or 'position' him he still pees all over himself at night. Sometimes more goes on him than goes into the diaper. Then he wakes up screaming "Wet!" and, at 4.30 in the morning there I am changing him out his pj's, and changing the sheets in his crib as fast as I can so he won't wake up too much, then try and convince him to go back to sleep. So we decided to move him to the bed earlier than normal (Owen moved at 2y 5m, Adam is almost 2y 3m) just because changing the bed would be easier.

He was SO EXCITED to see the train bed! While I was getting the parts out of the basement he would grab the side wheels bits and push them back and forth saying "choo choo!" And while I was putting it together I couldn't get him to stay off it. At nap time he just wanted to play, but eventually he did sleep in it. We left the crib up for a couple of days in case there were problems, but it was immediately apparent he was never going to allow us to put him down in it again. He's since been very good at staying in bed. In fact, as with Owen, he behaves the same as if he were still in the crib. A couple of times I've gone in there to see him playing with his books, but he has never come out of his room, or even tried.

Owen's reaction on seeing the bed, however, was just about what we expected. "I hate it! It's MY BED! I WANT IT!!" We offered to give Adam the cool bed with the slide and CD player, and tent underneath but Owen wanted both in his room.

We'd like to listen to music in our house. We really would. But we can't. As soon as ANY music comes on Owen takes it as a cue to start dancing. It's not nice dancing. He used to dance very well, and was very cute doing so. Now it's nothing but jumping up and down, running around the entire downstairs, jumping on the couches, grabbing Adam and swinging him around the room, etc. We always have to shut it off after about ten minutes. Adam isn't innocent either. He takes Owen's lead on everything. He mostly jumps up and down, causing a thunderous BOOM every time he lands. It's too much. Listening to music in the car is completely different. The two boys listen and sing along ("she loves you yeah yeah yeah!") and dance by bopping their heads.

We used to tell Owen he needed to start being nice to Adam because soon Adam was going to be bigger and stronger and he's not going to allow Owen to push him around anymore - he's going to start pushing back. Well, that time has come. Adam has no problem smacking at Owen when Owen bothers him, or tries to take something away. Owen isn't liking this at all and his first impulse is to start wailing and crying and come running to us. Owen has become quite the crier. He cries at just about anything. Adam brushes past him and it's "WAAAHHHH!! Adam hit me!!!" Adam has no problem biting Owen, or smacking him on the head with a toy car. The Terrible Twos are here.

We've been keeping watch of Adam's two front teeth. As time went on they did grow significantly darker. We called the dentist and were told to wait about a month after the change in color started. If they were still discolored we should bring him in. If they start to change white again he's probably ok. It appears that his teeth are changing back. So we wait some more. When Owen goes to his first dentist visit this summer we'll have the doc look at Adam's teeth as well.

Adam is doing great in his speech! Every day it seems he comes out with a new phrase or word. And he always says 'please' as well. You can tell he tries hard to say the word right. He recently went from saying "Owis" to "Owen."

He is also doing great on the stairs. He's getting better and better at walking up them, which we're not crazy about so we keep close watch when he does this. Coming down he is still sliding on his belly (and, man, does he go down FAST!). He never tries to walk down the big staircase, but will do so down smaller stairs, like those into the garage, or off the deck.

Recently Owen had Daddy Day at his school, where the fathers spent an hour in the classroom with the children. We observed the children singing a song ("All I Really Need" by Raffi, which we've heard Owen singing at home), we attended Spanish class, and the children had each pre-chosen two favorite activities to show us. Owen chose Word Building, in which he is given a set of objects and he needs to collect the letters which spell the item. Each have a shared vowel sound (jet, bell, peg, hen...). Owen mentioned a few weeks back that his teacher said he was doing so well at Word Building he could now start writing. He was very proud of this. Owen's other task was Mighty Minds, a sort of puzzle where you need to arrange shaped pieces into a form found in a book. During this Owen's teacher came by and mentioned that Owen does so well at this she is going to get out the next highest level book; a book she's never had to get out before. She mentioned Owen excels spatial recognition, and is unique in that he has speech as well. Typically a child is best at one or the other, not often both.

Owen was off school for two weeks for winter break. We were sort of dreading this but it soon became a blessing. With no one else to play with Owen was 'forced' to play with Adam. The result is much more co-operative play between the two of them. We went from about 5 minutes of playing in the basement before someone started screaming, to an hour or more! In the two months since this things have regressed a little. Mostly it's Owen stomping up the stairs to report that Adam tried to take the truck Owen was thinking about playing with later.

We've had more of a proper winter this year with some significant accumulation. Owen and Adam are just loving it! Sometimes they just pretend to shovel here and there, other times they take some large construction vehicles and push them around the deck. We finally managed to get Owen to go sledding. I had shoveled all the snow off the deck into a huge pile on the lawn, then pushed Owen off it on the sled. He enjoyed this so much he was willing to try going down the big hill at the park. He wasn't afraid at all this time (tho he had trouble walking up the hill).

Monty is doing pretty well. It took a while to find an insulin dosage that worked for him but now he's happy and renewed. He was losing his hair for a while, which might mean he has Cushings disease, or it could be a side effect of the diabetes (both are very similar). See Monty's page at left for details.

Added -
- New pics!
- Moved all of 2006 logs into the menu bar at the top of the page.
- Monty's page continually updated