Friday, August 29, 2014

The Dentist!

This week the boys had their 6 month dental exam.

We have the most fantastic, kid and parent friendly dentist anyone could ever ask for.  It's like Disneyland, only at the dentist.  Each exam chair or table has a television screen on the ceiling where the child can either choose from a handful of movies to watch or play Super Mario Brothers.

For routine cleaning and exams they have a large, open room with roughly 6-7 of these chairs and no barriers between them.  Works fantastically well when you have 4 boys being seen at once!  Git r done!  And they pretty much don't book anyone else when we come in, so we kind of have our own private appointment with lots of staff available.

The Bunny is a pro.  He actually looks forward to going to the dentist.  I'm thankful as he's already had to have some work done and has more to do.  He's got it all figured out.

Hannes, poor Hannes.  He really has issues orally and this is why we struggle with meals.

He kept batting the hygenist's hand away when she tried to clean his teeth.  One tooth at a time, he would freak out, she would stop and rinse, and then try another.  I ended up having to hold his hands down through the process.

He at one point scolded her and said, "Don't you ever do that to me again!"  


Poor buddy ended up having to have some tartar scraped off his lower teeth.  They're all coming in jagged, which makes it harder for effective brushing.  There were 5 of us (yep, I had the legs) holding him down while the dentist did her thing.  I can't blame him for being upset.  If you've ever had tartar scraped off your lower teeth, you should be able to sympathize.

Lammy did super great through the cleaning and the flossing, but he's 7 and still hasn't been able to cooperate for x-rays.  After another failed attempt, they talked about sedating him at a seperate appointment.  I asked if we could just try the "nose" and see if he'd cooperate with a little nitrous.  With 3 women working on him in a dark room, smelly nose on, Lam made it through enough to get 3 out of 4 images they were looking for.  It took 20+ minutes for those 3, but we're calling it a success!

Monkey was way more amazing that I thought he would be.  That blue-raspberry toothpaste was good enough to eat and so once we got through the initial "ew, what's that weird thing you're putting in my mouth" freakout, he all but fully cooperated.  The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse was playing on the tv above which aided in the success of all of this.  Plus it kept him occupied while I was dealing with the middle boys' ordeals.

All in all, it was exhausting, but we did it!  I'm not sure what we'd do about a dentist if we didn't have these people.  Seriously, they are so accomodating and understanding.  We are very thankful.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Birthdays, The Monkey's Diagnosis and Lam's New Glasses

I wanted to start this by saying "It's been a full week" but truthfully I could start most of these blog posts that very way.

Here is this last week in review:

Lammy's 7th birthday was this last weekend.  We had lots of friends, yummy cake and ice cream, and great presents.  He was thrilled to get a whole bunch of glow sticks and chocolate/peanutbutter candy.

Birthday Boy Breakfast

After church, we took a birthday trip to the park for some fun. 



Oh and I did some couponing!  I haven't done any of that for a while (coupons aren't what they used to be) so I was thrilled to find such a great deal.  What you don't see is the 20+ boxes of cereal I paid only $1.27 each for.  Lammy will be so happy!



Our little Monkey was evaluated this week for an Autism Spectrum Disorder.  I never thought in my wildest dreams we would have 3 with autism.  We were told he more than met the requirements for an ASD and that they would write up the formal diagnosis paperwork and have it to us next week.

Although they don't use this term any more, he fits into the category of what used to be called "Aspergers".  Hannes falls on the same part of the spectrum.

Truthfully, I saw signs of it quite a while ago, but with him constantly interacting with Lammy, I just assumed he was picking up on Lam's behaviors and pushed the idea aside.  He is better than most on eye contact, super affectionate, and so I guess I assumed he was "normal". 

But like this blog title "Normal is a Setting on The Dryer", normal is what you make it to be.  Our "normal" is full of adorable, extremely intelligent, super quirky little boys.  God has great plans for these 4 and I'm blessed to be part of the ride.  :-)


Lammy has new glasses!

He looks so grown up!  I'm hoping this will help him to focus more once school is back in session.  His eyes are about 20/40, so not too bad, but enough that he can use the help.  They say that when a child with autism has behavior problems, often something as simple as aiding eyesight or hearing can make a huge difference.  I'm hoping so!

He was so cute at the Costco just after he put them on.  We were walking down the main aisle and he kept stopping and informing all the strangers that he had new glasses.  Big grins and everything.  The Vitamix demo guy was pretty great about it.  :-)  So cute!

Hannes says to the gal at the checkout, "This is my bully, and he's also my brother.  His name is Lammy."

Licking the Feet

Every kid has his or her quirks.  Usually something that is a mere annoyance until it's shown in public and then the parent panics, thinking the world is going to think their parenting skills are lacking.  Nose picking comes to mind.

But then there are our children.  :-)

We are a family where quirkiness is the absolute norm.  Where behavior has no bounds and common sense doesn't exist. A group of people that if you didn't know better, you'd think scheemed to see which of the 4 could come up with the most random, stressful, embarrassing, or unpredictable act of "whatever".  As if they were in a contest to see how quickly they could make The Mamma gray.

The Bunny:

Actually there isn't too much to say about the Bunny in this department.  He's a pretty normal kid in this area, however...

He's always too full to finish his meal, but I'm constantly finding food remnants in various places of his room, the car, and his pants pockets.  Petrified cheese, crumbled crackers, half eaten hamburger buns, rotting apples... milk.

He can't handle throwing anything away.  We had tears once about a chicken nugget box.  "We could use that for something!"  This boy is not lacking for toys, he pretty much has all a kid could want and more.  I don't get it.

Regularly blurts out awful, random, superloud noises.  Just because.  Usually while in some confined space like the car.  Or in the hallway at church during services.

Sleeps in day clothes, under 4 blankets, in July.


Complains about 90% of all meals given to him.  Not always just a whine, but often a full on loud, teary, flopping on the floor freakout.

Oh and the whiny freakouts.  He will do them anywhere in front of everyone.  Anything that rubs him the wrong way, is not what he expected, or causes him to be discontent will result in a response not unlike that of a child having his fingernails pulled out with pliers.  He's our smallest boy on the growth scale but definitely the loudest.

But just because he's the loudest, doesn't mean he likes noise.  He cannot handle being in a classroom full of loud music and children.  Go figure.

Within a sentence or two of confronting a stranger, Hannes makes sure they know that Lammy is autistic and that "I'm only a little autistic".  He then proceeds to speak to said person about all sorts of random things, and won't allow anyone a word in edgewise.  (It's kinda cute really.)  Things like, "We don't have a sister" or "I know two swear words" or "I'm in the second grade, in a high functioning class, at 'fill in the blank' school, and my address is blah blah blah and my mom's social security number is..."  You get the idea.

(It will be interesting to see the first time he answers a telemarketing call... Hee Hee!)

Everytime something gets bumped, scratched or hurt, he either licks the wound, or if it's not easily located by the tongue, his finger and then wipes the wound with the wet finger.  It's so gross.  :-P

Can't seem to remember what in the public bathroom is clean or dirty.  Hubs hates to take him into the men's bathroom because, well, use your imagination.  It's not much better in the women's either.

He's also quick to tell us his bowel issues in detail.  I remember not long ago a loud Hannes yelling at us from the bathroom saying, "Mom.  Mom!  I have diarrhea REALLY BAD and am DEFINITLEY going to use A LOT of toilet paper."

Hannes has a thing for handling his "parts" in public and anywhere else.  He's the kid in the front row (because he's short) that has his hands down his pants, dancing like crazy, during the Christmas Program.

He will find a favorite food and beg you to purchase it again.  When you find it on sale, and buy enough to fill your fridge, he takes two bites and decides the flavor is too strong.


Can't handle you being in the car without the heater vents pointed a certain way.

Can't handle having arm rests in the "up" position in the car either.

Hates having his hand held.  When you are in a situation when you absolutely have to (because he's misbehaving in public or whatever) he screams at the top of his lungs, "OUCH!  YOU'RE HURTING ME!!!!!"  Over and over and over.  We usually get great looks from other adults when this happens.  :-/

Changes his underwear 2-6 times per day.  Just because.  Then borrows Hannes' when he runs out of his own.

Doesn't like to wear clothing, except underwear.  He often leaves a trail of clothes the minute he walks into the house.

Has to sleep with the overhead light on, in a pile of stuffed cats.

He also can't stand having someone else's items in his room.  If it's in there and you're saying "Goodnight", he will insist you remove the item(s).

Lamb is "allergic" to anything he doesn't like to eat.  Which is a lot.

When he gets upset he often says something like, "I'm going to stick you on the power lines, barbeque you and eat you for lunch."  He has no idea the severity of what he just said, but it's still creepy.

Smells his hands ALL THE TIME.

Recites snippets from washing machine videos on Youtube.  This is his favorite one.  He can tell you the manufacturer names of most of these.

If allowed, he would spend hours watching other peoples' dirty clothes agitate.  I'm not sure why people even record this, but there are sure a lot of videos to choose from.

He also walks up to random strangers and asks them what kind of washing machine they have.  Then tell them they "should really get a Whirlpool."

Will say things like, "What did you just say?"  After you answer his question.  Even though he's standing right next to you.  His hearing is fine.  He just does it because.

Must use the bathroom everywhere we go (this is a new one).  He's interested in knowing the brand names on the porcelain.  If you tell him no and that he just went 2 times at the other store just 5 minutes ago, he makes sure everyone in the store knows that he has to go to the bathroom and that you aren't letting him.  Oh, and that because you aren't letting him go that he's going to die.

He often doesn't have a lot of common sense when it comes to rough housing and otherwise.  It's like he thinks he's 4 years old and no bigger than anyone else.  If you've seen him, he's our biggest kid.  Big, blond, took after the German/Norwegian side boy.  We have to keep a close eye on the Monkey when they play together.

The Monkey:

The alphabet is what he lives, eats, and breathes.  Everything is associated with the ABC's.  EVERYTHING.  Meals, play, television, books, conversations, potty time, you name it, he brings the ABC's into it.  Sometimes numbers make an appearance too.

Has to go down or acknowledge all the numbers on the aisles in the grocery store.  If you don't do it in order, you hear about it in a big way and there's no getting over it until you go through the paces for him.

This can also be seen in his alphabet singing or play.  It's a big deal when someone moves his alphabet blocks or write something wrong on paper.  If it's not his way or in his plan, he freaks out.

He also insists on having the same pair of shoes every time we buy them.  We're successfully trying to break him of this as they no longer make that particular pair.  :-(

Licks his fingers and draws the alphabet on just about everything.  Windows, walls, car bumpers.

Has a thing for rubbing his face and putting his mouth on the linoleum of the doctor's exam room floor.  Not sure why just that floor, but that's his thing.

Has been known to vomit at bathtime over fear of being wet.  :-/

The hands are in the mouth often, and typically just after he's handled the toilet.

As you can see, we don't do family dinners out, or go to the mall, or really go out much of anywhere public these days unless we absolutely have to.  Just the grocery store is often a 2 parent task.  Of coarse with all the quirks (and this really is just a snippet) they do have some pretty amazing attributes as well.  That post will be published soon.   :-)

"Mom?  Can I flood the toilet?"  "No, you cannot flood the toilet."  "But why mom?  I've never flooded the toilet before."

Monday, August 4, 2014

Weekend Update 8/2/14

Bunny's Show at the Fairgrounds

This lucky boy was given the opportunity to participate in a 4 day horse show event at our local fairgrounds.  Out of 4 classes, he took home 3-4th Place ribbons and a 5th!  (He also got to spend all 4 days with his very special "Gramma Chicks".)

He looks so little on this horse, but has absolutely no trouble handling him.

Gorgeous Morgan horse named "JJ"


Lamb lit up when he saw the horses come in.  He then decided it would be good to finish the show with some loud wailing from the bleachers.  When you're only one of 3 groups of spectators in an entire arena, and the seats are all metal, you get noticed pretty quickly if you make any noise.  :-/

Hannes thought it was just ok.  He rides too, but REALLY wants to ride Western.  Hannes is kind of a thrill junky and will probably be super great at barrel racing or something that involves a fast horse.  

Snapped this pic just before the rains hit.  There was a hefty thunderstorm sitting RIGHT over us.  Spooked some of the horses a bit.  Overall he had a great weekend and is looking forward to his next show in a couple of weeks!

Sunday:  An "Off" Day For the Lamb

I'm not sure what's gotten under this kiddo's skin lately, but he's just been a handful.  Sunday morning started off bad right from the start.  He has this thing about calling people "stupid", or "stupid butt", or "poopy butt", or any variation of such related words and telling them to "shut up" over and over again.  He's also started saying, "Oh Shed".  :-/

The problem is, he struggles shut it off when he needs to, resulting in huge responses from his not so patient siblings.  I think he likes to get a rise out of them and so he continues on, thinking it's funny.

Not so funny though when he decides to share some of this behavior with the Nursery Director at our church.  After removing him from the classroom, he decided he didn't like that and took a swing at her head.  He then proceeded to launch a giant spit ball at her.  We got through 1st service (where he wasn't the best behaved either) and decided to head home after 2nd service music.

Sunday evening wasn't much better.

The Monkey is starting to use these words now too.  (Thanks Lamb).  I love summertime off with the boys but I'm really looking forward to this next school year to start.  They need the structure big time.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Garlic Mac n' Cheese

I'm allergic to cow's milk so we often try to modify recipes to keep me from going nutso.  I was able to eat just about everything until my early 20's so I know what I'm missing.  It's a bummer.

We had a staple growing up called Aglio e Olio.  (The g is silent and the e is barely said)  It's basically noodles dressed with sauteed olive oil, minced garlic, and salt.  So basic, so cheap, and SO yummy.

Anywho, one day I was joshing for some mac n cheese and a lightbulb went off in my head.  I'm allergic to cow's milk but not sheep or goat, and I had a huge block of pecorino romano in my fridge from Costco.  (Pecorino means it's made from sheeps milk.)  "What if I just shredded a bunch of this onto hot aglio e olio noodles?"  Oh man, it totally hit the spot.

Pecorino doesn't melt as well as other cheeses, so don't bother trying to get a gooey, liquidy cheese, just grate a very generous helping over your hot noodles and you'll be in business.  :-)

Here's the basic recipe:

  • Pasta (Most use spaghetti, but you can also use penne, farfalle, orzo.  Anything will do.)
  • Finely Minced FRESH Garlic or Granulated (Don't used jarred, it totally loses it's punch if you do.)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pecorino Romano (Cheepest at Costco.)  OR Mizythra Cheese, which is different but equally yummy.  :-)

Boil up the noodles.  Typically 7-8 minutes depending on the noodle type till "Al Dente".  While they are cooking combine a good size splash of oil with the garlic, some salt, and a very tiny bit of water in a sauce pan and warm.  This infuses the oil with that yummy garlic.

Strain the noodles and either place in the saucepan (if it's big enough) or return to your pot.  Coat with the oil mixture and serve.  If you find you are short on oil, you can always add more afterward and sprinkle a little more garlic and salt onto the noodles.

Plate it and then add a big helping of shredded pecorino over the top and serve!  You can microwave it for 20-30 seconds if you want to try to melt it some, but it's good just as it is.  Often I'll sprinkle some oregano onto it as well, just to change it up a bit.

Buon Appetito!



Oh wait, I should be crying right now, right?  My last baby is potty trained and so comes the end of an era.  An end of 9 years of diaper changing the cutest little baby boys ever.  An end to diaper bags, baby wipes, blow outs, and stinky trash cans.  Am I upset?


As my Father in law pointed out the other day, each of our children took an average of 4 years to potty train.  This equates to 16 years worth of diapers over 9 actual years of changing them.

The environmentalists must hate me.  :-)

I feel free.

The Monkey took extra long to figure out that this was going to be an ok thing to do.  He was 4 last April.  I really think he was just afraid of getting his legs wet.  (Plus he liked being the "baby".)

       Here he is freaking out just last week.

We were down to our last 2 pull-ups.  I had my phone in hand, ready to call the Hubs to have him pick up some more on his way home.

Then I decided otherwise.  I've had it with forking out $20 here and $20 there for these stupid things that end up in the trash.  Seriously, $0.25-$0.35 in the trash every time he goes potty.  It was ridiculous.

So we dug our heals in and it worked!

Now he's doing it without being reminded, all on his own.  It involves a lot of chocolate rewards afterwards, but I really don't care.  I'll supply him chocolate as long as it takes to keep him using the toilet.

Yay.  :-)

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