Friday, May 30, 2008

Okay, so don't judge me for being a bit of a sell-out. I just had to try one of these pre-fab blog templates and it was so easy! And I like it a whole lot more than the red, white and blue. I know it didn't last was driving me nuts. So, I'll just go with this for a while.

It is already dreadfully hot here. And a bit humid, too. Yesterday after playing outside (in the morning, too), Benjamin was sitting at the table eating his lunch. He started rubbing his forehead and saying..."I am sooo sweaty." It made lunch pretty appetizing.
Part of the problem is that our backyard has no shade except the patio, which isn't really where a kid wants to play. Until we plant some trees, I think it will continue to be "soooo sweaty", even in the morning.
So, I thought for the summer time we could make Fridays "Fundays" with an outing of some sort (besides Target or HEB or the usual suspects). The boys will always have something fun to look forward to, and in July Daddy can even join us. KISD gives them Fridays off in July. Originally, I thought about driving out to my parents' house today, but it sounded like they had a lot going on. So we went to a duck pond on the Central Texas College Campus. I stumbled upon this list this morning and found the pond on there. I thought this list was pretty cool..just for kiddos with both the boy's reviews and his dad giving his take as well. This may be our entire Friday Funday activities list.
The boys loved the pond. We even drove through McD's as a treat since I was trying to make the day a little not-so-ordinary. Made for a fun picnic.
Here is a glimpse (okay more like a photo essay) of our day...

This was the Welcome Committee. They wasted no time in rushing over to greet us.

Huge and scary looking, but actually quite friendly.

"Mom, can I please take this ridiculous-looking hat off?"

Benjamin's buddy...he followed him all the way up the bridge (pictured below).
Sweet boys.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

An Exceptionally Clean Kitchen Floor, or at least now it is...

I know...two posts in one day! Craziness.
Perhaps this should be titled...More of Benjamin's Adventures; I got a few emails and comments about the bathroom adventure that I thought the title would let everyone know that he's up to that funny business again! And for the record, my kitchen floor is not something I am a big stickler about, it is a little on the neglected side (that is for all of you sillies who teased me about my bathroom...c'mon now, bathrooms harbor the most yucky germs!)
I am starting to struggle with Benjamin and his naps. If he takes any nap at all, he will literally lay in bed for hours unable to fall asleep at night (even after a hard day's play). If he doesn't take a nap, he is either a)a total grump by the time his supper hits the table or b)if we should venture out that evening he will no doubt fall asleep in the car and then not in his bed, etc. etc.
But, he still needs a little something in the afternoon, at least quiet time. Funny, I had just gotten off the phone with Deborah about this nap situation when this little incident took place.
Benjamin was having his "afternoon quiet time". Today he read books and eventually asked to watch a show in the living room. While he was in the living room, I was working on a friends' blog on the computer (this is a whole other post entirely about my possible new business adventure, but that's for another day).
Benjamin comes trotting into the room singing...
"I did it. I did it."
Mommy: "What did you do?"
Benjamin: "I did it."
Mommy: "What is IT?"
Benjamin: "On the floor."
Immediately I think, he either had an accident or threw up (the tummy bug has resurfaced in our home this week so that wouldn't have surprised me).
Benjamin: "Come and look."
Mommy: "Where are we going?"
Benjamin: "Follow me."

I go into the kitchen to be greeted with this:

Oh, Landy (to borrow one of Arly's expressions). I was a little frustrated because on the one hand the kid was so proud of himself for this...self expression? On the other hand...Oh, Landy.
Mommy: "So what did you use to do this?" (My mind is quickly envisioning my new Sharpie marker that came free with the pack of Solo cups that he was so fascinated with on Sunday when I opened it.)
Benjamin: "This." He points to one of my dry-erase markers that attaches to the fridge magnetically. A sigh of relief.
After a long chat about where we use markers and where we don't, the end result was this:

He did a great job, too. I have a hard time keeping this floor clean, but I may be enlisting his help from here on out.

Getting Started

Camp Hope called and Benjamin will officially begin his Occupational and Physical Therapies next week. We will be driving to Waco once a week for a couple of hours. We also have a meeting Monday morning at Timber Ridge to receive their results from his evaluation with them.
We're ready and excited for him to receive these great services from Camp Hope! His Occupational Therapist (OT) is named Shanna and was kind enough to even give me her personal cell number to call anytime I had a question or concern. She is pretty much in charge of us from here on out with Camp Hope. I don't think we could have hand-picked a better gal. we go!
Thanks again for all of your wonderful support!

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Official Beginning of Summer

It looks as though summer has officially begun. With 100-degree-plus weather this weekend, two cookouts and a whole bunch of watermelon consumed by a three-year old, summer is officially in full swing in the Dominguez household. And two little boys are certainly enjoying it.
It feels like we've been going non-stop this Memorial day weekend, but it's been a blast. Our class at church had a cookout Saturday night and we all had a great time over at Steve & Becky's. Jonathan especially enjoyed showing off his sunglasses.
Benjamin turned into a watermelon-eating machine at our own cookout yesterday for our LIFEGroup. We had 27 people here for a really fun time last night. David had one smokin' grill (literally-- I wished I had a photo of it!); and the kitchen was hoppin' with homemade ice cream, cupcakes, burgers & doggies, and some great dips that everyone brought. Fun times.
Today we have just taken it easy! We did head over to the Luby's in Temple for lunch. And while the boys were napping (or pretending to), David and I worked online planning out our beach vacation coming up in June. We can't wait to get away for a bit. With his schedule jumping around the calendar this summer, we think we finally have nailed down a week in June to get away and another week in July to hang out at home. We promised ourselves we would get in some good family time together this summer and it looks like it will work out. David's mom and dad are also going to get to come and visit us at the end of June. It has been tough being further away from them, especially with gas prices on the up and up (and up and up and up).
So, welcome, Summer 2008! We hope you're a good one.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

If it's not one thing...

This post will probably sound like it was composed by quite the Debbie-Downer, but bear with me. Blogging is somewhat therapeutic in a way, at least to me it is.
I try really hard to be a flexible person, but in a way, I know deep down that I thrive within the confines of my daily/weekly routine. I get a little, well, emotional, when things are out of control. And I feel as if I may be reaching that point. So while Benjamin is quietly playing with his cars and Jonathan is down for a short nap, I thought I would blog a know, for therapy's sake.
This week started off, But nothing too dramatic. We knew going into Monday that we needed to get my car into the dealership, the check engine light came on Friday night and didn't want to magically go off by itself. So we ended up being without my car for two days while the repair was done. Of course the factory warranty expired at 36,000 miles and we were sitting right at 36,600 (isn't that always the way?). So, we had to use the extended warranty and actually fork over a deductible. Oh well.
Because of the lack of a car Monday, David's truck was doing double duty as we shuttled from the dealership, to the grocery store, to Rancier Middle School, to Killeen High School. David had to be in several places at once for school events Monday night. He got out of his last meeting late and so we hurried to try to get him the truck in time only to have to just drop him off due to the fact that his school is half an hour from our house during rush hour. He would have had the truck only we thought I would need to pick up the car and he probably couldn't leave from work to get me...blah, blah, blah. But, instead, the car spent the night over at the Chrysler place and we drove around Killeen for over two hours. The boys were actually very cooperative about being cooped up for that long. A little Sonic goes a long way with our bunch.
I feel really bad for David this week because literally it has been a late night every night for him. That's just how it goes around the end of the year. It is nothing new to us, we just miss seeing him a lot. Around here, Wednesday nights being church nights aren't really taken into account either. David had a late meeting last night. At one pont, we thought we might have been able to all make it to Belton for church so the boys and I hung around here for him. But he didn't get home until well after seven, so we were completely MIA last night in B-town. I hate that because we really love Wednesday nights at church.
We moved our refrigerator (actually my dad helped with this big time--thanks, Pop) on Tuesday. We just swapped the one from the kitchen for the one in the garage purely for logistical purposes. I am just not a side-by-side kind of person! I noticed there had been some water on the floor in the garage right next to the entrance to the laundry room. I figured since the water was not hooked up in the garage, the remaining water in the line of that refrigerator was just draining out, no big deal. But it seemed like it wouldn't dry up. The laundry room floor seemed to stay wet. I kept putting down towels only to soak them. Odd. Then last night we noticed on the other side of the laundry room (there is a small hall between the laundry room, our room and the living area, (pictured below in its current state) little wet spots on the carpet. We thought maybe Benjamin hadn't wiped his feet from the garage rug which was still wet from what we thought was the refrigerator. But it seemed really wet. Hmmm. We just chalked it up to not watching close enough when Benjamin came in and out and went to bed.

This morning, not only was the carpet wet, but it puddled when stepped on. Okay, something is definitely wrong here. This was a lot more water than was on the surface of the carpet last night. We started realizing it was coming up through the carpet from the foundation. What in the world? Not only was the carpet wet, but the tiles in the entry hall, the laundry room towels were soaked and the garage floor still had water around the door. And all of these walls surrounded...the air conditioner! That was our culprit. We think the pan has overflowed and backed up under the foundation and now into the house. The carpet is really gross and I pray it doesn't have to be replaced.
I am now sitting in a very warm house (we don't want to run the thing to back it up even more) waiting on a repair man who said he would come sometime between now and four. Sigh.
I know in the big scheme of things this truly is no big deal. But right now it is so frustrating. I just thought I would vent a little. Thanks for listening/reading.
On a side note, we started a new reward system for Benjamin! It seems to be going really well so far. (Thanks for the tips, Becky!) Our old system was very broad and didn't mean much to Benjamin. The new chart works in conjunction with our new "House Rules." And, just to clarify, today's reward is not a new computer....that is just a symbol for computer time to play a game! Although, Daddy did get a new Mac notebook for work which he brought home last night so I could drool over. I am slightly jealous.

UPDATE: The good news is the AC problem is fixed. The bad news is the gross reality of what it was. The previous homeowner installed a French drain in the back yard shortly before we bought the house. For some odd reason, they routed the drain pipe for the AC into that French drain. Soooo...when the French drain backs up, so does the AC...into our house! However, the repair guy just cut the AC drain off where it is supposed to be and we are back in business. I just love that there was yard water in our carpet. Benjamin helped me steam the carpet all afternoon. So far, so good! And Arly...I will be heading to Starbucks in the AM-- great idea! But my car is fixed, I'll be driving!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What a fun weekend...

We had such a great weekend. Friday night, the boys and I headed over to our friends Becky's & Steve's for supper. David had the end of the year, "Eighth Grade Dance" that night. Cade and Benjamin are buddies and had a really fun evening together, keeping all of us entertained as well.
Cade has a Powerwheels called "The Grave Digger" that the two of them spent a great chunk of the evening driving back and forth across the backyard in. They drove it until they wore the battery down!
We just had a blast eating a delicious supper on their patio and watching all of the kiddos have a fun time. They are a super sweet family.
Benjamin and Cade cruising!

I'm not exactly sure what is going on in this photo. If I remember correctly, I think Benjamin may have backed them into the fence and Cade was trying to navigate their way out of it.

Saturday was a big day for us! We got a new truck-- well, new to us! My dad actually got a new truck. My parents are really sweet, generous people, and gave us their old truck! Well, okay so Benjamin did pay them a dollar for it (they drive a hard bargain, I know). We're excited to have a truck again! We did bid our "Exploder" Happy Trails that same afternoon when we took it to Austin and sold it. We have had that car since shortly after we got married so we were a little sad to see it go. But, at 10 years old and 138,000 miles, it was probably time. Although at some point, we thought...should we go for the 200,000 mile mark? Nah.
Grandpa's new wheels.

Our old "Exploder" sitting next to David's new ride.

Today was just a typical Sunday. Although, I finally remembered to take our camera to LIFEGroup tonight. The Rogers family made homemade ice cream for a treat with all of the toppings. The boys loved it! We really are enjoying our LIFEGroup. We have an awesome bunch!

The kiddos of our LIFEGroup ooohing and ahhhing over the ice cream set up. Great job, Jo & Chris! You guys know how to make a mean bucket of ice cream.

This is our friend Beth and Jonathan. These two are buddies and always seem to hang out at LIFEGroup. Beth reminds me so much of our Aunt Arly. Super sweet girl. And I love that she is just like me: we have never seen any of the original Star Wars episodes! And we're pretty okay with it. I think David was a little stunned tonight that I am not the only non-Star Wars person. Although something tells me that he and Brian may cook something up for Beth & I in the future.

Overall, a great weekend.

Friday, May 16, 2008

An Exceptionally Clean Bathroom, or at least it is now...

I actualy have a story to "get down" before I forget it. Seeing as how I use this blog as my scrapbook of sorts, you all are very sweet to read my silly play-by-plays of motherhood.
Yesterday morning ended up getting a little wild. Miss Kylee was with us and the boys were in rare form. As in, complete goofballs.
This may be a little TMI for some, but here goes...
Benjamin said he needed to sit on the potty for a while...blah, blah, blah. Sometimes I think he uses the bathroom as an escape when things are a little wild around here. He would sit in there and read for an hour if I let him. Usually he reads his favorite book...the Bible Bedtime Stories from Uncle Dan & Aunt Syndi (we should retitle it, the Bible Bathroom Reader).
I kept asking if he was done and I got very stern "no's" on each visit. I was in the process of getting Kylee down for her nap and Jonathan up from his and dressed, etc. that Benjamin may have had too much time for himself in the bathroom while I was running around the house.
"I'm all done," came echoing from the bathroom.
I went in to find him standing in the middle of the bathroom, all ready to go. This is unusual because he has a hard time getting off of his little potty seat on top of the big potty (I know TMI; I don't think I have ever typed the word potty so much).
As I surveyed the bathroom, it looked like it had been wiped down with a really soapy sponge...everywhere. Even the rug looked soppy and soapy.
"I cleaned the bathroom." He said this very proudly so I didn't want to shatter the moment. This was a little difficult for such a weirdo control-freak like myself. When I do clean the baths (not as often as I should, I will admit), I am a little OCD about it. David once told me that when I clean a bathroom it looks as though it was just installed by the home builder. I think he thought he was teasing me, but that was a huge compliment. I'd take that over "You look nice" any day of the week!
"WOW! You sure did clean the bathoom. What did you use to clean it?" I asked.
"Your brush." As he said this, I figured he meant the brush I scrub the tub with, but I couldn't figure out how he got it out of the cabinet because of the child-proof locks.
Then I saw it. The toilet brush was laying on the floor next to its holder in a puddle of....toilet water. Afer a few more questions, I put the whole thing together.
He would dip the brush into the toilet and then "clean". Over and over. With a potty that he hadn't flushed. I was absolutely horrified at what the bathroom was literally soaked in.
The bathroom was out of commission until after Kylee went home and it could be "reinstalled". I put a child knob on the door and pretended like it never happened until the end of the day.
We had a discussion about which brush gets used where. But I did tell him that I am always thankful for his helpful attitude and appreciation for cleanliness.
Just another chapter in motherhood.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Just Catching Up

I have a few minutes while everyone is napping so I thought I would try to catch up on the blog!
I want to start by mentioning that I had a great Mother's Day thanks to David and the boys. We went to early service (I know, even I made it out of bed before six on Mother's Day, very unlikely as most of you know how I love my sleep!). Jonathan made his first trip to the nursery (without us being the attendants). He was Mister Talkative and was getting a bit difficult to wrestle with. After class, we went to my favorite restaurant...Luby's! Again, I know some of you are rolling your eyes, but I just love the place. Lori and I indeed had a meal plan there in college. David thought I was joking when I first told him that. It's true, and many of you can vouch for it because I sometimes took you there (kicking & screaming?). Jonathan was a one-man comedy routine at Luby's, but all of the older people sure got a kick out of him. He learned all about the wonders of blue Jell-O and that it can bounce on a table-topper. Benjamin loves to go through the line there and "pick out" his lunch. The boys stocked me up on Bath & Body Works loot and David got me my favorite Yankee candle (Iced Herbal Tea, so yummy).
Monday was Benjamin's other evaluation at Timber Ridge Elementary. He did great again. It was a shortened version of our trip to Camp Hope. We don't really have anything to report about it. The committee there has to meet and then they call us and let us know if Benjamin needs their services or something along those lines.
The storms around here have been pretty crazy lately. Wednesday morning we thought "the big one" was coming with the rain actually going about eight feet up into our front porch to pound on the storm door. Last night we ended up scooting out of church pretty quickly to try to beat another storm to Killeen and get both cars in the garage. Usually David's car sleeps on the driveway, but we are about to sell it and I would sure hate to have to fix hail damage in the process of all of that. When we were turning onto hwy. 121 at 8:06 to head home, the radio said that the storm would hit Killeen at 8:36. We had exactly thirty minutes to get home, unload the kiddos, move the lawn mower and a few outdoor toys and squeeze David's car in (our garage is ridiculously small). We did it all and then just had rain and lightening! Not that I am mad or feel jipped by any means. It was just Murphy's Law.
Today it is sunny and nice and we were finally able to step outside again with only getting moderately muddy!

Friday, May 09, 2008

One Great Day

I can't even begin to describe how wonderful yesterday turned out! Benjamin had the best time at Camp Hope and I can't wait for him to visit them again.
Where do I begin? First, a big thank you for your thoughts, prayers, emails, calls and visits. We appreciate you all so much. It was great to know we had so many prayer warriors out there for us yesterday! I think I actually had a huge smile on my face the entire time we were at the facility because I knew how blessed our time there was!
We had three appointments in a row for the evaluation. Our occupational therapist, Shanna, was in charge of the overall evaluation. She was wonderful and Benjamin took to her immediately. He spent about an hour and a half with her. I was able to sit in each room he went to and watch the entire process-- which I found very interesting and informative. They encourage parents to stay in the room with the kiddos during the therapy.
During our time with Shanna, she watched him play and would give him little tasks to perform. These tasks included everything from building a tower of blocks, stringing large beads on a piece of yarn and taking off his shoes and socks without assistance (an obstacle we have always had). She talked to me a lot and asked me a lot of questions. She also had him draw shapes with different colors of crayons and let him play with a whole bunch of silly putty.
Shanna took us next to meet with Becca, our physical therapist. With Becca, he worked on his gross motor skills: jumping, running, throwing and catching a ball, pedaling a bike and jumping on the trampoline. We discovered that his sense of balance is a little off and while watching him run and walk, Becca told me his gait was a little unusual. The tricylces that they let him use were great! He has always had a difficult time pedaling a bike or tricycle (which is a part of these "issues"). The bikes there were built completely differently and he did wonderfully on them-- and loved the experience of pedaling instead of getting frustrated like he usually does. He also really took to one of those glider/scooter things and did a great job on it! We are thinking that purchase is next on our list for the house.
Last, we met with the speech therapist which is where he really excelled. He really made me proud as I watched him in this session. His retention, auditory processing and comprehension were on the level of a five-year-old! He does have a few small speech issues that are very easy to correct. Like a lot of three-year-olds, he forms an "F" with the "TH" sound, which is very normal. He also puts a "T" on the end of words that end with "N". These small little speech items will be easy to correct if we just stay on top of him whenever he does this.
I should probably explain that since we did an evaluation at Camp Hope and not with a Developmental Pediatrician, we did not receive a "label" diagnosis, just the tools to help with each obstacle he faces (what we were really looking for anyway). However, after visiting at length with Shanna, after her review of what our pediatrician's office sent over and after she observed Benjamin for three hours, she let me know that our hunch and our pediatrician's hunch of a possible case of Asperger's Syndrome was "spot on." She told me that at Camp Hope they are not allowed to use the "A" words (as in Asperger's or Austism). They simply provide the tools to help kids cope and work through a variety of challenges.
Our insurance, for now, has approved us for twelve sessions at Camp Hope with another evaluation of our progress at the end of those twelve sessions. All three of our therapists said that after twelve sessions and an evaulation, he will still need their services, that is just how the insurance does things. Camp Hope assured me that he will be able to come as long as he needs to and insurance will cover it. For now, they are going over the evaluation with a fine tooth comb and will be contacting us next week sometime to set up his therapy to follow probably the week after.
I just fell in love with Camp Hope yesterday and could see how much they already cared about Benjamin. It was a very relaxed atmosphere, not clinical at all. It was a place filled with laughter and smiles. They were patting Benjamin on the back and giving him high fives as we left. David had a mandatory meeting yesterday and was unable to join us, but I can't wait until he gets the chance to see Benjamin "in action" at Camp Hope. He was super disappointed that he couldn't be there. He was also sad to miss the promised trip to Chick-fil-A that Benjamin told all of his therapists about. After three solid hours of therapy, he certainly deserved a trip to his favorite place! We ate at the one in Temple (the one in Harker Heights opens in July...woohoo) and he took note of all of the Chick-fil-A billboards between Waco and Temple and said..."There's those Chick-fil-A cows. We're almost there!"
The ironic thing is that David also received a call from KISD yesterday while Benjamin & I were in Waco. They are ready to start Benjamin's evaluation at the elemetnary school on Monday morning! So, we will be going over there for that then! He explained to the school all about Camp Hope and it sounded like they were excited about that path also. The school wants to see all of Camp Hope's evaluations as well, to have that much more information on Benjamin.
The ball is definitely rolling. And it seems to be rolling in the right direction, too! I'm sure I'll have even more information on Monday to report.
You must really care about us if you read this entire post! It was quite lengthy. Thanks for the support. We feel it abundantly.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Busy Times

Well, I have hesitated to post this, because as you know, after I mention these appointments our insurance gets goofy on us. But, I think it is safe to say we are having Benjamin's "BIG" appointment on Thursday. He will actually have three appointments in a row at a place in Waco called Camp Hope, which isn't exactly what it sounds like. It is an actual doctor's office with therapists and so forth. They do indeed run a camp as well with Hippotherapy for lots of kids. (BTW, hippotherapy is actually therapy with horses, not hippos.) This first session should be able to give us an idea of what we are looking at. We have realized, over the last few months, that we are not looking for a label, just tools to equip Benjamin with to help him thrive in different aspects of his life. We are excited for Thursday to get here!
Starting yesterday, I started keeping my friend Rebecca's baby, Kylee. She will be hanging out with us most weekdays for the month while Rebecca finishes out the school year (she teaches across the street at "our" elementary school). The boys seem to be enjoying having a little girl around! Jonathan is very curious about her and wants to "pat" her all the time. He has even started saying "babeeee" when he sees her. Benjamin is very loving toward her and always wants to help with her bottles and checking on her while she naps. Below is a pic of Kylee and Benjamin.
Last night ended up getting a little crazy. I was a little down to hear that my dad will be needing some radiation treatments toward the end of the summer. Many of you know this already, but my dad had prostate cancer about a year and a half ago with surgery following pretty quickly. The doctors were pretty confident that they had "gotten" all of the cancer at the time. But, lately his PSA levels have risen a bit. To be on the safe side, they want to start radiation around August.
Around 11 or so last night, David got a "school call" that needed his attention immediately. He ended up heading up to his campus for a while and getting home sometime after midnight. All in a principal's day. I felt bad for him because he had to be at work early this morning again for the same matter. He runs on fumes towards the end of the school year.
So we are staying a little busy right now (who isn't?) and trying to maintain our sanity. David has a little bit of time off this summer and we are carefully plotting out what to do with it to make the most of it and spend some time together as a family. Hope you all are maintaining your sanity this time of year, too! Please think about us on Thursday. We appreciate all of the support so much.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

A Special Evening

Last night was special for us.

It was the first Friday in May, six years ago, that Kristi and I went out on our very first date together. We had a great time that evening, and talked about it some last night, too. Seems like a long time ago now, but it's also hard to believe how much has really happened since then.

If someone had told me that night, "Six years from now, you'll be with her, having fajitas on the patio with your two little boys before going out for ice cream," I would have been very happy. And, I am.

Kristi, thanks for a great date, and for everything else since!