Wednesday, June 22, 2011

baby lucas is (summer) school bound

my little man is off to pre-k summer school tomorrow.  this will be his first time in a classroom and...

i do not feel ready for it.

i will be able to sleep tonight because:

it's only for 4 hours.
it's only 3 days a week.
it's only for a month.
and, most importantly, it's with one of our most favorite people, miss mandy.

updates to follow...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

profile: isaac

it has become necessary to record some recent notes about isaac.  why?  

reason 1:  he seems to be undergoing some kind of personality-growth spurt.

reason 2:  he finally fell asleep tonight after shouting, "i hate this family!"  and it broke my heart a bit.  

passionate declarations of all types are isaac-trademarks.  sometimes, the context is clear.  other times, like earlier today when he said,

"i cannot push people in holes!  in deep holes!"

it is less so.

one thing is for certain.  he has strong feelings that intersect sharply with a flair for the dramatic.  

also certain, his appearance on "inside the actor's studio" will be riveting.  

although i enjoy most of isaac's performance moments, his leading-man roles are the funniest, and most endearing.  

scene 1:  isaac takes my hand while riding in the car, nuzzles his face against my arm and says,

"i love having a crush on you."

scene 2:  isaac taps a tutor on the shoulder, and says,

"this little kangaroo is looking at you, holly."

holly:  "what little kangaroo?"

isaac smirks and hops up and down.  (seriously no idea where/how he came up with that...)

when not trying out pick-up lines, isaac likes to tell jokes and ask a lot of questions.

today's questions were tricky ones, like:

"what am i smelling right now?"


"why is that baby crying very far away from here?"

many of isaac's jokes are the result of accidents, or like a couple of weeks ago, serious questions...

isaac:  is soap disgusting?

me:  what?!?!  no!  soap is good!  

isaac (unmoved):  well, it's disgusting when you eat it.

and, you know, that seemed inarguable.  

also inarguable, i love having a crush on that kid.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

boys of summer

yesterday, auntie tia took us for our ride in her jeep, felix.  we couldn't fit lucas, so he stayed behind with oma.

the sun beat down.  the wind whipped our hair.  jacob asked to push the "close button" over and over again...

we got icees and drove back through loomis.

and i wanted summer to last forever.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

you spin me round

isaac commandeered jacob's neon glasses

as summer started to settle in today, we found ourselves:

listening to dead or alive.

eating root beer floats.

making a gigantic mess in every room.

and having a water bottle fight with one squirt bottle filled with water, and one filled with method antibacterial bathroom cleaner...

essentially, a water fight for germaphobes.

also worth noting, jacob is breaking in his "sleep boots" as i type this.

he was fitted for night splints a little over a month ago in the hopes that we can reduce his toe-walking.  although, i'll miss his tippy-toe-prance, i know that this is the right thing for him.  and i'm crossing my fingers that he will have sweet, sweet dreams while his rainbow-foam and car-printed splints work their stretching magic.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

welcome, summer

ok.  technically, it is not summer.

but school is out.

the sun finally showed up.

and, although we've never felt more scholarly...

we're going to go ahead and call it.

it's summer.

today, to mark our first day of vacation, i made the "big, pink cake" that i promised jacob.

dear summer, make a wish

admittedly, it's lacking in aesthetics.  but it made up for its homeliness with handfuls of chocolate goodness (handfuls is accurate because lucas and i ignored our forks).  

jacob sang a modified birthday song and cut the cake when i wasn't looking.  isaac ate his entire piece within seconds.  and lucas basically re-enacted his first birthday, including getting cake in his nose.  


isaac, wishing i would take the picture already
lucas, ditto isaac

cake + kids + sun + free(ish) time = welcome, summer.  

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter 2011

my three boys, Easter 2011

i cannot believe another Easter has come and gone.
in a lot of ways, Easter was more bittersweet this year.

luckily, the sweet parts were very sweet.

i decided to make a bow tie for each of the boys since isaac had been so disappointed
that only lucas got to wear one last year.
isaac specifically wanted his bow tie to be purple and yellow, as an homage to his 
alter-ego super-villain, the shockaroo.
finding a purple/yellow fabric that wasn't terrible, was a little tricky, but i think i like what
we came up with.  

jacob wanted his bow tie to be red because that's his favorite color.  
admittedly, the control freak within me wanted to veto that because it didn't seem Easter-y enough.  
i got over it, though, and he kept his bow tie on until bed-time 
and was disappointed when i had him take it off.  

lucas didn't care that i made him a bow tie, or what color it was.
he did wear it, though, and that won him enough points that 
he was able to get away with jumping on the trampoline for several minutes without
pants on.
we had to draw the line, however, when he removed his underwear and peed 
(on the trampoline).
that kid is shameless.
(shhhhhh...i kind of love that about him.)

after our annual egg hunt at grandma and poppa's house, 
we headed home to watch "tron" and make
Easter dinner.

i'm pretty sure that i won't remember much about the food.  
but, i hope that when i think back, 
and remember this Easter,
that i will remember feeling...



and, maybe, a little triumphant.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

spring break 2011: the beginning

it is spring break.  and...

we.  are.  thrilled.

the first thing i heard when i opened isaac and jacob's door yesterday morning was,

"spring break cancun, yeah!!!!"

and, though we have no actual plans involving cancun, we do have quite an agenda:

sky zone -  isaac
fiji -  isaac
make bow ties -  me
make shocka-suit for the shockaroo -  isaac
miniature golf -  jacob
park -  jacob

some of these will be easier to accomplish than others.  and one of them, we just completed yesterday.

(ragain and lucas have yet to submit their wishes.)

i feel relieved to have all 3 boys at home.  even though, we had a rough 45 minutes or so, last night.  

it's 9:30 AM, and we're still in our pajamas.  we have an egg hunt this afternoon.  and we have blueberry coconut cheesecake bars in the fridge.  

practically paradise.   

Monday, April 4, 2011

monday says "uncle"

                                                       lucas, sticky with melted chocolate   

first of all, let me wish you a happy autism awareness month.  it is april.  we have just celebrated our fourth world autism awareness day (april 2nd, as declared by the united nations).  my family and i, along with many of our friends and family have lit our porches and homes with a blue light to raise autism awareness.  it is a small gesture.  but hugely important.  

i will write more about it.  but not tonight.

secondly, the photo above was taken moments after lucas announced, "mom, i love chocolate."  

to be clear, lucas has gained a lot of language.  but the moments where he makes spontaneous statements, that aren't limited to requests or referencing of objects that he's looking at, are really rare.  they're the kind of "getting-to-know-you" sentences that give you an insight into what someone might really be thinking about.  or is really important to them.  and i reacted like you might if you were on a first date with someone who you were desperate to have a something in common with... 

"i love chocolate, too!!!!"  

my gushing could have been embarrassing, but there were limited witnesses.  

and now for today's stats:

one- promise to go to the park after school made quickly to prevent a before-school meltdown.  kiss on each hand of each twin as i walked them onto the schoolyard.  old gentleman who winked at me.  puddle-filled bathroom, after jacob decided to re-wash his hair in the sink after he'd had a shower.

countless- ounces of dr. pepper.  instances of near-tears. (me)  times forcing lucas to put his pajamas back on after he got water on them.  regrets over speaking harshly to the boys, even though i intended to give them a fun movie night. 

smiles given when- lucas climbed on my lap and watched a "how to make a paper boat" tutorial.  i had all three boys under covers while i read the fourth chapter of "the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe". and, when isaac and jacob, while locked in a vicious neck grip, had this conversation,

isaac:  "say 'uncle'!!!"

jacob:  "say 'cheese'!"

i am lucky.  and i am ready to put this day to bed.  

oh, and later this week, i have the opportunity to talk to a group of ladies about autism... fingers crossed for me, alright?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

tucked in

my mom brings this rug over for her dog, shiloh, when
she comes to babysit.  lucas always hurries to find
nemo to tuck him in, you know, in the "anemone".

the twins are both sick.  they've been sick since sunday. 

feverish.  congested.  cranky.

the weather commiserates.  

gloomy.  gray.  rainy.

but the week cranks on.  tutoring meeting for lucas, planning team meeting with tutoring company and regional center, and last night, a meeting for a new autism "project".

i like new projects.  i like the renewal of hope and purpose.  and i like the energy and the shift of perspective.  

in one of my favorite documentaries about autism , a particular dad says something about the realization that your child has autism and that's it.  forever.  my heart always sinks when he says that part.  not because it resonates with me as true.  

but, because it doesn't.  

even though, i understand the heartache that made him say it.  

can i tell you something?  for me.  when it started to get lighter.  when i got my bearings.  when i could see straight.  when i could breathe without the word autism catching in my throat.  i saw the tiny platform, high above the ground, that my little family huddled on for what it was.  

a jumping off point.  

not the summary.  or the resting place.  it was the start of our trajectory.  and in the distance.  maybe beyond where anyone can see, is where we'll end up.  maybe it will have only been a few feet.  maybe a few thousand.  but that tiny, precarious platform was not "it".  and it is not "forever".  

and i am grateful to know that.  

at this moment,  i feel movement in the autism community.  there is a stronger commitment to awareness and an urgency to forward positive changes.  and there are moments when i get to be a part of that.  and i am lucky to have those moments.  i am even luckier, to get to think about them, from a warm spot at home.  tucked in with my sweet little boys, and an upturned icee on the carpet.    

***in response to the autism-related events and reading that i've been doing.  also, with an eye on the approach of april, as autism awareness month.    

Monday, March 14, 2011

last weekend, and last-last weekend

in a cage fight, between last weekend and last-last weekend, i think i know who would emerge victorious... but, you tell me.

last-last weekend:

we took the boys to the san francisco zoo.  they had fun.  we had fun.  we took family photos and looked toward the camera.  we saw a hippo, both in and out of the water.  we got souvenir pennies.  and rode a speedy little train.  we stared (sort of endlessly) at a colony of peacocks and admired their confidence.  we were not stalked by the snow leopard.  (that part was important.  the sacramento zoo snow leopard has us on its "if-i-ever-get-out-of-this-enclosure-i'm-gonna-eat-you" list.)  

good times.  see below.

last weekend:  

we took the boys miniature golfing.  for the first time.  ever.  

i blame saturday's good weather.  and the 7+ days of amoxicillin.  combined, they created a sense of invincibility.

as the photos may indicate, we had no interest in observing the rules of miniature golf.  

we did not keep score.  we did not line up the ball.  we sometimes swung the club like a baseball bat.  we sometimes clocked our little brother in the head.  we yelled into the lights that looked like megaphones.  

on the bright side, we made it through all 18 holes.  we did not cut into anyone else's game.  we didn't throw any of the balls.  we didn't recall any of the many episodes of america's funniest home videos where someone gets hit in the groin with a golf club, and try to re-enact it.  

i think we get bonus credit for that last one.  

and super-bonus credit because we learned something new.  we forgot (temporarily) that this type of activity might be really hard for us, and we did it anyway...

so, maybe, we have a tie.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

home is where the hard is

although my day was rough, it wasn't nearly as terrible as my play-on-words title.

tuesdays are many things.  weekly tutoring meeting day.  wash-all-the-sheets day.  occasionally, election day.  and back-to-business day, because frankly, monday is usually more of a survival thing.

this tuesday was all it could possibly be.  i woke up feeling really disoriented.  that feeling lasted well into the morning when one of the tutors discovered me sitting semi-conscious in front of the laptop, earbuds half-in (i hate stuff in my ears), covered in powdered sugar (mouth, shirt, pants, etc.) and watching a middle-aged man lip synching to mariah carey.  in retrospect, this was actually one of the high points.

the low points went more like:

*  jacob has been refusing to say goodbye to me in the morning, instead preferring to say "thank you".  after extra prompting this morning, he modified it to "thank you, mrs. lippy".  it shouldn't bum me out, but sometimes, it does.

*  ragain's morning appointment turned into an all-morning-until-time-for-work appointment.  this was lame all by itself, but more lame because it meant no opportunity to run to the grocery store to get some child essentials.  apple juice = nectar of life, to lucas.

*  did i mention laundry?

*  i had to give compliance instructions to lucas for the better part of his morning shift.  this isn't hard, it's just time-consuming and vaguely disappointing since he only responded to 3 of my 9 directions.

*  the weekly tutoring meeting for lucas was geared toward familiarizing him with time-outs.  it's necessary, but setting your child up to get a time-out over and over again is rough.  especially when he has no idea why you're suddenly such a stickler about him listening to you the FIRST time you say something.  at first, he didn't seem that upset.  and it was sort of funny watching our director try to stay impartial as lucas kept saying, "why, martin? why?  let's play 'go play'.  martin.  martin.  why?"  but by the end, he looked exhausted and sad.  and i felt like a jerk.

*  lucas runs away from me when we walk out to the car to go pick the twins up from school.  he was still kind of anxious from the time-outs, and i couldn't really blame him for wanting to get away from me, but it freaked me out because i couldn't catch him right away.

*  the escape-attempt rattles me almost until i start crying, then i start the car and realize i'm out of gas.  mental expletives ensue.  crying almost erupts.  i settle down in time to not find a parking spot at the school.  (i thought people liked WALKING on nice days)

*  get kids.  get gas.  get milkshakes.  lucas conks out.  wake lucas.  balance milkshakes.  herd boys and backpacks inside.  direct shoe placing, hand washing, backpack hanging, get shorts for isaac who hates to wear pants any longer than required, grab homework folders, sort paperwork, choose incentives and pull boys to the table.

*  homework.  kids hate it.  i hate it.  we sit in front of it for 2 hours.

*  tutors come and leave, taking their delightful iphone apps before jacob can earn them.  this results in an inconsolable jacob.  luckily, isaac was right there to write the note in the photo (above) and stick it in jacob's face to end the sobbing.  shockingly, this tactic failed.

*  dinner, showers, nail care, new sheets on beds, chocolate mousse for dessert (eaten by 1, declared disgusting by others), vitamins, melatonin, book, prayer, lights out.

*  more laundry.  dinner for me- bag of kettle corn.

now, because i hate to leave things on a bad note, i will tell you...

k brought me a jamba juice and didn't laugh when i showed her my future craft projects.  

lucas and i eventually made up.

isaac listed the virtues of wal-mart during dinner.  hint: toys, candy, food and underwear.

jacob hugged me extra tight when i picked him up from school.  then he hugged lucas.  i guess he could tell we both needed a hug.

***tomorrow is the first official walk meeting of 2011!***

Monday, February 28, 2011

crazy hair day

a flame-haired isaac & purple-maned jacob

crazy hair day is officially awesome. sure, it was raining. and really cold. and during a random week in february. but, still, awesome.

isaac told us that he wanted his hair to look "like fire". i don't think we achieved that...but we had fun trying. and his hair was actually astonishing to look at.

jacob did not want his hair to be touched. at least, initially. he started to warm up after seeing isaac's technicolor hair. ragain sealed the deal by showing him how easy it was to wash the colored hairspray off. that's when he said, "purple". we tried to persuade him to add another color, but jacob tends to be a fan of the less-is-more ideology.

with the big boys off to school, those colored hairsprays just begged to tint our little blondie-locks. and, in spite of hating all hair-related activities, like washing, cutting, brushing and gelling, lucas was instantly on board. he picked purple, too...

would it be wrong to make this permanent? because, i might love it. LOVE.

i mean, look at it in the sun!!!!


anyway, after picking up the twins from school with lucas and my mom, we headed out to t.j. maxx.

side note: until very recently, i hated t.j. maxx because i do not enjoy digging through piles of remnants. however, it seems that lowering my expectations (to zero) is really what makes this particular shopping experience enjoyable.

anyway, i was looking (vaguely---and with zero expectations) for a kitchen rug and i was running out of places to look. so, i thought maybe a far-flung t.j. maxx might be just the place.

it wasn't.

however, while looking (digging) through the kitchen utensils, and holding onto jacob and lucas, a woman with a cart comes behind us. i was mostly unaware of her until she said, "great hair!"

should i remind you? this was my merry little band at that point:

i laughed as i turned to look over my shoulder at her, and said, "yeah, crazy hair day at school."

she laughed, too. but then looked sort of confused. she started to walk away, and then said, "uh, you have great hair, too."

then, i looked confused. but she was already gone. and i couldn't clarify whether or not she meant to compliment my disheveled ponytail and baby-bang-feathers. i think i might have been better described as sloppy, or war-torn.

i might have talked myself into accepting that maybe she thought i DID have great hair. but i didn't have time to get too high on her kindness, because as i dumped my finds onto the counter, tried to help isaac to pay for his souvenir and still keep my smile from slipping straight off my face, the cashier gave me a look of concern and said,

"looks like you have your hands full."

and for a second, i felt the weight of it. my messy hair. my slippery smile. my sometimes-short-temper. a stranger's guess that i don't have it all together. the mile-long to-do list that is waiting for me at the start of every day, and how i won't get it done. my failures and weaknesses and frailties. a reality that is hard, and different.

and as quickly as it settled on my shoulders, i took a breath and smiled. i nodded at her and said, "indeed", before bobbing out the door with my rainbow-colored lovelies and our collective great hair.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

the best medicine

i am not feeling well. there is some sort of swamp in my head...

just ask k, who i mistakenly texted instead of ragain last night. i thought i was asking ragain to pick up some "sweet treats" for me on his way home. but, really, i was speaking (cryptically and affectionately) to k. and because she is a dear friend, she left her warm house, late (late!!) at night and fetched a ginormous drink and snack from sonic for me. thanks, again, k!

a get-well-soon heart from isaac

isaac has done his part to perk me up, as well. while i was slouching on the couch last night, he colored and cut out a heart, then came and put it on my shoulder. he also delivered an "i'm sorry letter" for various misdeeds the night before...

it says: "dear mother, i'm sorry for oweing you in
apologey about being naughty!"

and, just this moment, ragain walked in with an armful of snacks, including a box of the always exquisite le petit ecolier cookies. and, i just wonder, how can i help but get well soon?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

oh, valentimes

yes, yes. i know. i misspelled valentines. but, on purpose. artistic liberties and everything.

anyway, february has added further proof that 2011 might really be our year. i submit the evidence for your review.

our valentine photo shoot: lucas, jacob
and isaac.

exhibit a: we completed our annual valentine cards with relative timeliness. it was not our most creative year, but the punctuality may have compensated. isaac was very excited by the arrival of valentine's day this year. he addressed one of his classroom valentines to "maddy-cakes" and although i pointed out that he might want to use her given name of madelyn, he assured me that "it's ok. i call her that. she'll like it." we haven't heard from maddy-cakes' parents, so i'm going to assume no harm, no foul. he also made several homemade valentines for jacob's former teacher, in addition to writing me a love letter for an assignment. i love a romantic soul, don't you?

exhibit b: our laptop was "fixed" for 2 hours. then, "broke" again. then, was FIXED, again. total cost... zero. if you see becky at the roseville apple store, feel free to give her a kiss from the blackard family. if you see ragain, who negotiated the gratis repair from becky, give him a solid pat on the back. we're gonna have words if you try to kiss him.

exhibit c: february has been a sweet feast. lemon-raspberry cheesecake, moose munch, key lime gelato & graham cracker sandwiches, coconut cookies, red velvet cupcakes and girl scout cookies. xoxoxoxo

exhibit d: lucas shocked me one day by singing this song out loud. it felt like a gift to my heart and i wish i could have folded that moment like a note in my pocket.

the next day, he got frustrated when i made a phone call in a parking lot after promising him a happy meal, and shouted, "hey, mom! let's play drive the car!" i really appreciated his mary poppins spin on getting me to hang up and drive.

exhibit e: jacob discovered the marvels of mc hammer. he has fully embraced "too legit to quit" and likes to shout "break it down!" during "can't touch this". this makes me laugh and cry at the same time (aka putting one foot into crazytown).

exhibit f: i may have convinced the boys that showering in our room is more fun than taking a bath in (and flooding) their bathroom. how did i do it? as isaac says, "i have absolutely no idea". budding genius or exploitation of a novel environment? you decide.

exhibit g: i still believe this is our year. i also believe in the power of positive thinking.

there. i rest my case.