Friday, February 22, 2013

Family, Friends and SO Much Fun!

This week has been vacation week for all of us but Evan. His school is on a different schedule so he isn't off, but he did take a self declared vacation day yesterday. We have had a jam packed schedule, but all of the running around and exhaustion has been very worth it. I wish I had had someone to video all of the new experiences that the kids had because I want to remember the joy, excitement, fun and love that I have seen on their faces as we share in all of the wonderful activities of the week with our family and friends. Almost all of my pictures are from my phone because I didn't want to take time out of the fun to get my camera out.

We started off with a Valentine's Day "tea" party with some of our favorite people. Abbie was kind enough to host this fantastic dinner that was filled with great food, fun projects and baby bunnies! The kids were so excited.

 Who needs a sippy cup?

This was way cool. It's candy corn dough that they could play with and shape into anything they wanted. We had hats and animals and Evan put a cookie inside of his and then made a ball. 

On Sunday, the boys had their first ski lesson. Evan was nervous and didn't want to do it, but in the end, he did get out there and declared at the end that "he didn't like it only a little bit". Braeden however, loved it! They start a three week session tomorrow and Roman can't wait until he can actually do some skiing with them. 

Evan decided he was done for the day!

The biggest highlight of Evan's week was attending his first high school basketball game. We can't usually go because they don't start until 7:30, but since it was vacation week, we took all three kids and they had a blast. Evan sat mesmerized and cheered as loud as he could. He also groaned loudly when things weren't going our team's way (which unfortunately was the majority of the time). But I could have watched him all night as he soaked it all in. His friend Brayden explained the game as it was happening and watching the two of them was priceless. Braeden was less excited about the game because he just wanted to go out and play on the court when it was all over. I thought Maggie was going to fall asleep because she was snuggled so far into my neck in the first half. But the second half she came alive and mimicked everything the cheerleaders did. It was very funny to watch. 

After the game is the real fun for the kids. 

We also got to celebrate Ethan's birthday twice. I am a firm believer of making the absolute most out of a birthday, so two parties when you're a kid is the best! His family party was over the weekend and then he took a few friends to lunch and a movie on Wednesday. The kids were hilarious making faces and enjoying being at the mall without their parents.Well all of the kids except for Ethan and Braeden.. It was a great time and the kids were all really well behaved so Stacy and I had a great time too!

We have had such a fabulous week and it's not even over. We've got more ski lessons and another birthday party still to go. I think we'll all be glad when Monday comes and we can go back to our regular routines and rest a little bit. I wouldn't trade this week for anything though. I have learned new things about my children, watched them marvel at new experiences and had more fun than I can remember in a while. It's been wonderful. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Geared Up and Ready to Go

Last night we took the boys to get their helmets and goggles for their first ski lesson this weekend. Because it's close to the end of the season we are opting to rent skis to make sure they like it and so that don't end up having to replace them next year if they need something different. They were very funny picking out their helmets. Evan knew that he wanted orange but didn't want to take more than a minute to try them on. Fortunately he was good with the first one he tried.
A satisfied customer!

Braeden wanted blue but the one he tried on was huge! It looked like a snowmobile helmet and I was afraid that he'd fall over because he wouldn't be able to balance with it on. He actually ended up with the same one as Evan in a size larger. 
It's hard to tell that he is super excited about skiing.

Not to be left out, Maggie had to try on a helmet as well, though she won't be starting until next year. My guess is that eventually she will be the one who enjoys skiing the most. 
She looks like more like she's going rock climbing..

I can't wait to see what will actually happen at the lesson. I think Braeden will run with it. I never thought I'd say that about Braeden regarding anything, but he is really excited about trying. Evan, well only time will tell. He may try and he very well may not. We'll see!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Winter Fun

The blizzard of 2013 has come and gone and we are all survivors! I would say we are very lucky with where we live because we only got a couple of feet and the roads were passable shortly after the storm subsided on Saturday. I feel very badly for the people in Connecticut where both Roman and I use to work who got anywhere from 35-40 inches. They are still digging out and many roads haven't even been touched by plows yet. I really can't imagine that. They missed a week of school early in the year due to Hurricane Sandy and now they are on day 2 of being out due to Noreaster Nemo. Like I said, I'm really glad we live here now. It's beautiful and besides the freezing rain we are getting today, it's a total winter wonderland.

Clean up took a little longer than usual

The kids have been out sledding and playing and have a fantastic time enjoying the many activities that snow provides. Roman always snow blows to the swing set because our swing set gets no rest. Evan did a full flip (by accident) off of a swing yesterday and landed face down in the snow, but 20 inches of fluffy snow does a  lot of cushioning and he wasn't hurt at all. Thank goodness. It was actually pretty impressive. Imagine a gymnast dismounting from the parallel bars, but belly flopping instead of landing on their feet. 

Today is back to school despite the terrible weather, but I don't blame the districts for being open. With vacation coming next week we really need to get some days in! I'm hopeful that the snow will stay for a while so we can get lots of sledding and playing in before it's gone. We're planning on taking the boys skiing for the first time next week so all of this new snow is perfect timing. I am curious to see how they'll like it, but it's something that Roman's family has done his whole life and he really wants to kids to love it too. Yay for winter fun. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Geographic Tongue

Until last July I had never heard the term Geographic Tongue. But one day in the spring Stacy asked me if Evan had burned his tongue. I didn't think so; he hadn't complained about having hurt himself recently. I looked at his mouth to see what she was seeing and saw that there was a part of his tongue that was bright red and looked like it was missing all the texture usually visible on the tongue. He said it didn't hurt and I waited for it to heal. But it didn't. Instead of going away, it moved around and we ended up watching as his tongue became blotchy with circles appearing in random spots. It seemed like it should have been uncomfortable but he kept saying he was fine. When we went to the dentist in July he identified the condition as Geographic Tongue. He told me not to worry, it doesn't hurt or bother people who have it.

If you haven't noticed on this blog yet, I AM a worrier and I DID worry. Along with the appearance, it seemed that Evan always had excess saliva in his mouth and he struggled with speech. It's very possible he has a speech issue aside from his tongue, but I was almost sure that the two were somewhat related. I let it go for a while because I assumed it was something that we just had to deal with. Every time I looked it up on the Internet it said the same thing: it's a benign condition that is annoying but doesn't cause pain. Never treatment options, just the fact that it would come and go. I don't handle the idea of solution-less problems well.

Finally, last week I was laying in bed with Evan and having a very frank conversation with God. I kept saying over and over, "you have to help me, I can't live with not being able to help him. There has to be something somewhere that will help me help him". After he was sleeping I started looking up Geographic Tongue on my phone again. But this time, I found this website:

It was not created by a doctor, but I was excited that it was finally new information and the possibility of being able to treat the condition. Even if the man was a quack, I was going to take a chance that what he was writing about might work. Of course the website was a link to an e-book. Thank goodness my phone has a Kindle app. I downloaded the book and read most of it that night. 

What I discovered reading was that the condition is often linked to vitamin deficiency. The vitamin most specifically linked to it is B12. The other two main deficiencies are iron and folic acid. He discussed that in his research, it often showed up when children were between 2 and 3 and starting to make their own food choices. Totally logical! It is also not uncommon in people with Crohn's or Celiac Disease because of the absorption issues. There is not medical proof to the claims that Tim McMahon makes, but his basis is incredibly logical and because he was a sufferer of geographic tongue for much of his life, I was willing to try what he suggested to eliminate it for Evan.

The book suggests starting by trying Lil' Critters gummy vitamins. They have 200% the daily value of B12 for a child between 2 and 4 years of age. I wanted to go out and buy them that night!! Whatever might help my child needed to be tried immediately. No joke, within 3 days of starting the vitamins, Evan's tongue was starting to clear up. His tongue is normal right now and looks just like the rest of ours. Maybe it's a timing issue, but I don't think I can recall a time in the last year or so that his tongue has appeared "healthy". There have been dormant times when there weren't many blotches or it only appeared swollen without patches, but never like this. He is thirsty a lot and I think it's because his mouth feels dry without all the excess saliva. It has also helped him with his speech a ton. Seriously in only a week he's trying to say many words that he has struggled with since he began talking. I think he is able to move his tongue around in his mouth more comfortably so it's not such a struggle to formulate the words and sounds. I am SO proud of him.

If you know anyone who has this problem and has been told that it's just something to be lived with, I strongly suggest checking out the website. The book I read deals specifically with children, but he has also written books to help adults. I am very grateful to have found a way to help Evan live more comfortably. I will keep praying that it is the vitamins that are making a difference and not a coincidence that things look so good right now. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed too!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Nearing the End of a Generation

I have been very lucky during my life to be surrounded by family. Unlike so many, I have always been blessed with three generations in my daily life. Now that I have children, we are up to four generations! It's quite remarkable and I know for certain that I am a better person as a result. I realize that lots of people feel lucky to know their grandparents, never mind their great-grandparents and great aunts and uncles.

Sadly, the last of my grandmother on my father's side siblings died last week. Aunt Esther (my great-aunt) was 92 years old and had been a part of every holiday and special event that I have celebrated my entire life.

We feel very fortunate to have had her with us for as long as we did. Her 92 years were lived simply and in good health. She was a strong woman who lived a fairly solitary life. She lived in the same house for all 92 years! Many changes occurred in that house over time. Babies were born, tragedies broke hearts, and the residents that lived with her changed several times. It was the family home from the time that their parents immigrated to the United States and was a functioning farm when her parents were alive. I don't remember it ever being a farm in my lifetime but my father has many great memories of days spent doing chores, turning farm animals into pets (that did not end well), and playing with his many cousins all over the land. My earliest memories are of Aunt Esther and Aunt Rose living in the house. Neither of them ever married, though Rose had a man that she was very much in love with, but was unable to get her father's permission to marry him. We often jokingly referred to the two of them as the Baldwin Sisters from the Walton's, though I can be positive that the two of them were not making moonshine in a back room. It was a gathering place for family and visiting them on Sunday mornings after church was something I absolutely loved to do. We could always count on them to buy from us when we were selling Girl Scout cookies or doing fundraisers for school. They loved us as much as our grandparents did and we knew it.

It's difficult to comprehend that my grandmother is the only member of her family left. I can't even imagine how hard that is for her. During the course of my lifetime she has lost 3 sisters and a brother. Other siblings had also died before I was born. It takes an incredibly strong person to keep carrying on as pieces of your life and history are taken from you year after year. The Ladzinski Family has been in our town for over 100 years and I know how grateful we should be, and I am, for the time we have had with them all, but it's still so hard to let go of what has always been.

The years to come will continue to bring changes for us all. The house will likely change hands, but hopefully will stay in the family somehow. We will have to create occasions to get together with the extended family because the heart of our connection has now been lost. I know personally that I am not willing to let go. I will make a point to stay in touch and make plans to gather us together. Even though our lives are all busy, we need to do it for those that are gone. They would want that for us. We may not be able to gather where we always did, but the place is not as important as the connection we all need to feel to one another. We are the newest generation and we must carry on.