Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ready for Suzuki

I could be more productive than hiding in the kitchen behind the baby gate. I am sitting on the floor in front of the heater with my laptop, in my pajamas, and listening to the dishwasher hum and swish while I alternately type and stir the chex mix in the oven. I am not feeling very ambitious but I have a TON to do, including pick up the entire house, wash all the dishes that my sister left me when she came over and made a birthday cake at my house, and also at some point in time get dressed so I can get a haircut and pick up two prescriptions. I can barely breathe and I didn't sleep much as a result. I have been without allergy medicine for about three weeks now, and I had a few Zyrtec D around that I took once every three days for the past week so that I wouldn't die in my sleep. Those ran out a couple of days ago and I am SO relieved to hear that my insurance company finally processed the "annual pre approval" of allergy medicine. It would be logical for me to just see this coming and get it done in advance, like before I run out, but I take allergy meds only seasonally, which end up being spring and fall for me (and for the kids it seems) and therefore when fall hit I was unprepared and only had a few days of meds left. Well, what I didn't realize at the time was that my insurance requires paperwork and preapproval of all allergy meds not just once, but ANNUALLY (Grrrrr!) and therefore I had to go through the whole process again. Call the pharmacy, who told me to call the doctor, who then called in a script to the pharmacy, who then ran the script through insurance, who then declined it. The pharmacy calls the doctor, then me. The doctor must not have followed up so then a week later I am calling the doctor because the pharmacy is telling me the insurance still isn't approved. Fast forward another week and I call the insurance company and it is approved (this morning) and now I am hoping that I can pick up the meds this evening or tomorrow at the latest. I can barely breathe and it just makes me miserable. OTC meds just don't do it, and then there is the whole hassle of taking a D allergy med, so that when you want to GET the medicine you have to buy only 15 days at a time (in case you are trying to make meth you know) and how fun is it to stand in line every 15 days at the pharmacy with two toddlers to buy overpriced meds that you would rather just get monthly at the pharmacy anyway? Oy.

So by this point in time my nose is plugged solid and my head feels like it's a giant balloon and my ears are sore and feel all clogged. You all know the drill. And the poor kids are on Claritin D, and it isn't touching Marek's snot, which just proceeds to stream down his little face. Poor kid. he probably feels crappy too.

What else is new. Well, not a whole lot. Ardyn starts her first ever Violin lesson tomorrow. We found a very inexpensive used violin from Shar Music (online) which was recommended by our Music Teacher. It's a 1/10 scale violin and it is adorable. The Violin was about $50 and because she is young her teacher recommended a fiberglass bow (less chance of breaking, costs less) and so we have everything, including the Suzuki book one. I started reading a few books this week geared towards parents of Suzuki students. I started with "To Learn with Love, A Companion for Suzuki Parents" and although I enjoy it, it has many references to the other book I had wanted to read, so I thought I should pause the first book and start reading Dr Suzuki's Book and part biography, "Nurtured By Love, The Classic Approach to Talent Education." I am really enjoying Dr. Suzuki's book very much, and some things that he says give me "aha" moments.

My favorite so far has been regarding right handed people. Being left-handed, I can fully appreciate the need to adapt yourself to everyday life in a right-handed world. His approach to teaching everything, including music, is that Talent is not BORN or inherited. It is learned and taught. Every child has the ability to be talented and we should give each child that chance by beginning to teach them at a young age, when they are most able to learn and absorb new things. We don't give children a "choice" to learn their language. They learn their "mother tongue" or native language by repetitive exposure and immersion in the language. We expect that they will learn to talk and therefore we patiently and determinedly teach them. If we teach children music the same way, without asking if our child is "talented", we give each child and equal chance to excel in music, and in life.

Think about right handed people. Are they born right handed? Perhaps. I don't think Dr Suzuki believes that, but I have seen in my right handed child and my left handed child a preference very early on. However, I have learned through the years to do MANY things (the majority of things really) right handed, and some things with both hands. This isn't because I was BORN right handed, but because I was taught to do both, and immersed in a world that is essentially right handed. A right handed person doesn't usually exercise their left hand and practice using it, but anyone who has can tell you that practicing and regular use of your non-dominant hand will result in being able to use it, sometimes ambidextrously or interchangeably with your dominant hand. When I decorate a cake I switch hands continuously, depending on whether I want strength, control, or a different angle of approach on the cake... and I do the same thing with my artistic endeavors. I learned to play pool and sports right handed, cut with scissors right handed, but I still prefer to write and do certain things, like play guitar, with my left hand. I wasn't BORN right handed, but exercise and practice has enabled me to use it every single day.

So the point he makes is that talent and ability, especially when related to music, but when related to anything in life, can easily be learned. As long as you are taught at a young age and use practice and repetition.

Some people dislike all his methods, particularly the fact that he expected students to play their pieces without music. In the beginning, when teaching children that can't read, he teaches them by ear. For example, you may not be able to read music, but you can plunk out Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on the piano if you know it by ear. Same concept. But he DID teach children to read music later, when they were able to read... but he also expects them to play a piece so much that they can play it without looking at music in the future. He wants them to play and not look at their fingers. He wants them to KNOW what is right (fingering wise, tone wise, etc) and not just be reading it off paper. The theory behind this is that once your ability becomes second nature, you can focus on the emotion behind the music and not just fingering the notes. So there has been plenty of controversy surrounding his teaching method, but the book itself explains much and is interesting to read.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tractor Flashcards

I realize now and then that Marek is SO far behind. I feel badly. But the child doesn't want to sit down and learn colors or numbers or letters or shapes. He is interested in taking things apart, hooking up tractors, and playing with things that have wheels. While Ardyn knew all these "basics" and could count in english and spanish by 17 months, Marek is 2.5 and knows pretty much nothing.

I had an epiphany today that perhaps I could make these things appeal to him, by making the colors into flashcards, the color of tractors. I found a free coloring page printable and colored thr tractors basic colors and printed them out. Then I cut them apart, laminated them, and punched holes in them in the corner, and attach them together with a zip tie (they can't get these apart, unlike a binder clip or shower curtain ring.)

He is napping now but I plan to pack them into his backpack that we take with when we leave the house, in hopes that we can pass some time learning colors and things.

Poor kiddo.
I don't claim these as my own, but in case they might help someone...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Here is a little bit of insight into the reason that I seem to be staying up so late even though I'm so very tired. An hour ago I attempted to get ready for be. I decided to read a little bit of Middlemarch by George Elliott because I can only tolerate a little bit at a time before I get bored or my mind starts to wander or I find that I'm reading the words without really even internalizing anything. Sure enough I was able to read a small amount of Middlemarch before I got bored and I decided to switch to one of my new books about the Suzuki method of teaching music. I have been reading with the lights off because my iPhone is backlit and I don't have any problems so I decided with my switch to Suzuki to keep the lights off and of course when I went to look for my book light which is normally right next to my bed, It was missing thanks to the little hands of Marek. I had a feeling that it was behind my nightstand so I attempted to reach my arm down there and feel for it when I accidentally knocked over my entire glass of water down behind my nightstand- up against the wall and all over the electrical cords for my iPod dock and my alarm clock and my lamp and my Himalayan rock salt lamp. Good times. So I frantically tried to pull the nightstand away from the wall and get behind it with a towel to wipe up the water before causing some type of electrical malfunction and in the process of that I stepped on a tube of Desitin that was sitting on the floor next to the bed (along with the spare wipes and a couple diapers and I keep nearby) and squirted the tube all over the floor all over my notebooks and all over a stack of books also stacked alongside the bed.
Of course much if not all of this was my fault but it immediately took me back to Marek and his meddling in my nightstand and losing my book light. When I finally had everything wiped up and all the notebooks as clean as I could get them I retrieved the book light and before turning it on realized there was a good chance that he had left it on. The battery could be dead so all of this work could have been in vain. Luckily the light turned right on but it was then that I realized I had wasted 30 min. trying to get the book light and really at this point time I shouldn't even be reading anymore but should be going straight to bed.
So as soon as I lay down my mind started thinking of all the fun things that Marek had done today.
The first thing that came to mind was the entire yogurt smoothie that he dumped into his car seat which then led to him losing his pants because they were covered in yogurt and me taking his car seat completely apart and taking it to the car wash when I should've been visiting grandma Mona while Ardyn was at school. While I was at the car wash Marek was with daddy because he had no car seat and he proceeded to chew a whole big chunk of the finish/veneer off of the footboard of Ardyn's bed. Not an hour later I caught him trying to plunge the toilet in the bathroom.

Add to that his normal activities like climbing up the table and getting into cupboards and unloading things every time I turn around, and you have a pretty eventful day. When I left tonight to go see a movie I warned Evan right away you have to keep your eyes on him because he has been incredibly naughty and getting into everything. Especially things that he's not supposed to. This week he found half a blue crayon and colored the dining room floor which is wood and the Culligan water dispenser and the front of the game cabinet and also on the side of the woodwork in the living room. Sometime recently he must have found a pen and written on the bathroom wall and today when I lay down with Ardyn to read her story I saw that he had carved the inside bed rail on her bunk bed with a pencil. I also opened up my calendar planner to discover that he had scribbled all over it at some point in time and every time that I go to my sewing table I find something else that he has written on- usually a pattern or notebook or a scrap of paper. When we go to church if I turn my back for a second he has signed his name in the guestbook, which usually is on top of everyone else's name- and the guestbook is on a low table which is at his perfect level - the problem being with the fact that there's always a pen there, for convenience of course... but it is just a little too convenient for Marek and apparently too tempting.
Two Sundays ago after church, Ron happened to catch Marek trying to open up the guillotine type cutter that was in the church office and luckily saved him from cutting off something important- and we did discover that there is a lock on that but I guess I do need to maybe ask about putting a note nearby or on it that reminds people to lock it because now there are little kids running around and the church office is right in the open im the foyer and that scares me a little bit. I try to watch them but it is practically impossible to talk to anyone and keep my eyes on them both.

Well, hopefully I can get some sleep now :)

Meagan ~ via blogpress on my iPhone :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Kidspeak... When I turn 9

Ardyn said "mom when I turn 9 I am gonna be a Rock star. And you have to buy me a car. And daddy will follow me so I can go to a concert. When I 9, you will drive my car and I will ride with you.

I also want to be a construction site people. I am gonna use a digger to pickup rocks. And I am gonna be a police officer. And a soldier. With the sharpest sharpest sharpest sword.

Okay mom?"

Meagan ~ via blogpress on my iPhone :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Multiplying like.... well.... rabbits!

This has been such a bizarre couple of days!

Most of you facebook friends know that Tuesday was Ardyn's Very Special Person Day at school, and as part of VSP Day you get to bring something for Show and Tell. Ardyn chose her bunny Licorice, which is some type of Netherland Dwarf bunny that we got free. So everything is planned and the kids are in the van, and we borrowed a pet taxi carrier, and I pull out front and go to get the bunny.... and the bunny, is GONE. Gone. For real. Like door to bunny run wide open and no bunny around. So I go inside and I look at Evan and I said "You are NOT Going to believe this." and he says What, and I say, "The bunny is GONE. gone." and he was like "You are KIDDING Me." and then after a pause, "You are KIDDING me!" Yeah. today. Show and tell, I am bringing my bunny to school day.

So poor Ardyn, was hysterical, and helped me catch a chicken. And Show and Tell went well with Ginger, who is actually more sociable than Licorice.

So we started the quest for a new bunny, and I decided that this time I was through with "free bunnies" that someone else wanted to get rid of. I wanted a bunny who was calm and relaxed and loved to be held and social. I wanted a bunny that was cute and that we picked out ourselves. I wanted to be picky. We have all bunny supplies that a person could possibly need, and a nice big hutch with a run, and so I thought, this time, we get a good bunny. One that I am not secretly hoping doesn't have a long healthy life. Like, when I was in the pet store and saw vitamin drops for bunnies and saw the label talk about longevity and health and thought "those aren't for our bunny" I realized that I wasn't really in love with Licorice. Sad but true. I LOVE Animals, but I still need to take into consideration that I am not equipped to be my own animal rescue center :)

So after lots of research, I was very fond of Flemish Giant bunnies. I was a little worried about the size, because I felt like it was almost like taking on another DOG. But the positives for the breed were so POSITIVE that I started searching. I finally found a few leads and they lead us right towards several Flemish Giants raised at Boggio's Orchard in Granville... that had been babies in early spring of 2011, and were now happily hopping around but for sale.

I thought we would wait till next week to go see them, but today we had nothing going on, and the woman in charge of bunnies mentioned that she was having surgery tomorrow and would be gone for a while. So we packed up and ran over to the orchard and picked a gorgeous silver-grey Flemish that is oh so fluffy and tame and sweet. It's a girl, and we had a hard time naming her today, which is unusual for us. We opened the baby name book to girls and right away saw Briar or Brier and it made me giggle because of Br'er Rabbit, and because the Disney Movie "Song of the South" is my favorite, and has Br'er Rabbit as a character, and also it was sort of a "meant to be" because we had a really moving sermon this past Sunday by Pastor Mary Gay that included references to Br'er Rabbit. So Briar Bunny she became. Ardyn was right on that.

So, the bunny came home and watched TV with Ardyn on the couch for an hour, and then hopped around while we ate lunch. Then I took her out to check out her hutch and she seemed pleased. The kids and I lay down for naps and got up just in time to get to dance class, when Ardyn started INSISTING that she saw Licorice in the yard. I told her she was nuts, and then 20 minutes later, sure enough, Licorice was in the yard. Oh. Boy. Suddenly we have TWO Bunnies. But of course I couldn't catch the bunny. This seems to be a pattern. But really, it's not to saddening because I don't really WANT two bunnies, and I can't put the two together because Licorice is a male and Briar is a female, and we don't need TWO Bunnies, let alone MORE Bunnies. Oy. So Ardyn is hysterical because I can't catch Licorice, and I explained that we can't HAVE two bunnies and that Licorice doesn't want to be caught, and that we will see him around the yard when he wants to come around and that if we DO catch him, we will have to find him a new home. She finally seems okay with that. And so I text Evan and tell him who showed up again and he was like NO WAY and then I called my mom and told her that she could now say "I told you so" because we suddenly sorta have two bunnies.

And then Evan said that he tried to catch Licorice while we were at dance and that it wasn't possible. LOL. So fast forward to 9pm and there is a knock at my door and a neighbor from several (SEVERAL) houses down the street (way down the street) asks if I have lost a bunny because he caught it. Oh boy. Looks like I will need to find a place to stash Licorice for the night. So I go to the guy's truck and he jokes that I will need to identify bunny and I say well, he's all black, and he is small, it's surely mine. And he shows me the cage and guess what, It's NOT my bunny. We are both shocked and he is a little sad because now HE has a bunny, which isn't mine, which means he HAS A bunny. LOL. What are the chances that there are two black domestic bunnies loose on my Street? LOL. Amazing. So after looking again, I say "nope, not my bunny" because it's more brown/black and a different breed with shorter ears and bigger eyes.

After he leaves I panic a bit in case it really WAS my rabbit and since I spent all day with a Flemish Giant, what if I suddenly thought that mine looked different. No. No no. I tell myself that I spent several minutes today trying to catch licorice and that I know what he looks like. That bunny looked NOTHING like Licorice. So, apparently there is a serious bunch of bunnies running around here. I just hope that Briar stays right where she belongs, because we seriously adore her. She watched Rio with us tonight and sat and watched us eat our supper. I put a box with a rug inside for her to hang out in, and she loved it. She ate lettuce leaves and carrots :) She's wonderful.
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