September 22, 2008

Day 15: Home Sweet Home

We had a 10 hr drive ahead the last day, so we got up early to hit the road. I thought the sun rising over New Mexico was beautiful:

That last day of driving was tough. The kids really started falling apart, but after 15 days of it (almost all of which we drove several hours a day) it was understandable. We were all tired, and I don't know which member of the family wanted to be home most.

I calculate that we drove around 3800 miles, but it was worth it. We had our first real family vacation, and I look forward to many more!

Day 14: Let's Get the Heck Out of Dodge

We didn't have to go far out of our way, but we did actually make a slight detour to cut through Dodge City on our way home. Dan was indulging my desire to be able to say, "Let's get the heck out of Dodge." And then I was so tired the next morning that I didn't remember to say it until we were on the highway!!!

When we originally left CA, we were taking it nice and slow, but once we said our last good-bye to someone we knew, all we wanted to do was get home! We travelled from Dodge City, KS, to Gallup, NM, on Day 14. That's 9 1/2 hours of driving, not counting breaks. That's LONG. If any of you have the Cars soundtrack, then you've heard of Gallup, New Mexico, in the song "Route 66":

"Well goes from St. Louie down to Missouri
Oklahoma City looks oh so pretty
You'll see Amarillo and Gallup, New Mexico
Flagstaff, Arizona don't forget Winona
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernadino

Would you get hip to this kindly tip
And go take that California trip
Get your kicks on Route 66"

It was easy to see where the creators got their inspiration for the movie. We passed through several real "route 66" towns, and it was like stepping into the movie:

Tires and car repair:

Need some gas and refreshments?

Getting some souvenirs?

And there were even weird looking hotels all down the strip, just like Sally's Cozy Cone Motel:

We really had a very "Cars" themed drive because much of the terrain looked just like the movie does. Timothy actually thought we saw Radiator Springs. We already owned the movie, which of course the kids watched on the trip. But Dan surprised us by buying the soundtrack a few days before we left. We all enjoyed it, although Timothy always asks me to skip the "slow songs"!

Day 13: Goodbye, Wichita, Hello, Dodge City

Christi's was our last stop of many friends and family. We headed due West to Dodge City, KS. They have a little historical/tourist area called Boot Hill. We saw...


"The town"

a "saloon"

and even cowboys (KS, not TX)

We got back to the hotel exhausted. I found myself staring off into space when Dan said, "Alicia, you look sad." You guys, I just starting bawling. I cried for a while, too, because I had just had an amazing 2 weeks, and I didn't want to say good-bye to so many people I care about. It doesn't lessen the fact that I enjoy living in San Diego, but sometimes I want those people who are special to me (and spread out everywhere) to live a little closer. I feel blessed to have people in my life that I miss when they aren't around.

Day 12: On to Wichita

On Day 12 we finally headed West for the first time. It was on to Wichita to visit my dear friend, Christi, and her clan. For some weird reason, I didn't take many pictures, but to refresh your memory on who this is, here are pictures of our San Diego Zoo trip when they visited in May. Timothy and Josiah have so much fun together, and here they are making pizzas together...

In case you missed it, Timothy looks like he is throwing up a little in his mouth. Clicking on the picture makes it big and you can see it. He presses on!

My favorite thing in the next picture is Josiah's tongue. Again, if you can't see it, click on the picture to enlarge. He's directing the spoon with his tongue like how we twist our body to make a bowling ball avoid the gutter!

Way to go, Josiah-the cook always gets to taste. And kuddos to Timothy for touching the cheese!!

The boys love each other, but they don't have nearly as much fun as Christi and I do. We went walking that night, and I can't help but think how much I would enjoy walking with her every night. The next day Dan watched the kids, and we got to have a girls day! Thanks, honey.

Day 11: More Family Time

More pictures the next day...

Did I not say how adorable my niece is?

We are missing Danni!! That makes me sad, but here are the female generations. On the couch is Dan's mother, Penny, and her mother, Grandma Jackie. Don't Samantha and Corinne look cute in their matching outfits?

Me and my Baby Girl.

And there is my beautiful family. Oh, I love them.

Day 10: Family Reunion

We had a fantastic visit with Dan's family! (I know it sounds redundant, but this trip had so many highlights!) My father-in-law's family is spread out over the country (New Hampshire, Florida, and California), and we all made it back to Girard at the same time!! He has three sisters that we ADORE, who were all in attendance, and we had all but 3 cousins (who were missed most definitely). We reserved the city park, which is just beautiful and has a mini-amusement park for kids. So cute! Aunt June was the resident photographer. There are tons of wonderful pictures, but I had to narrow them down somehow.

Samantha decided she was afraid of the kiddie rides, but she was belly laughing watching Timothy go around on the teacups:

We convinced the entire Smith clan (actual blood Smiths)to all ride the train together. I think that ended up being 15 people (only 3 of whom were kids). Even Dan's 85 yr old grandfather!!!

Four generations of Smith men. Eventually Timothy will learn that Smith men don't smile for pictures.

In our immediate family, there are 3 sons. These are the 3 daughters-in-law (Danni on the left, Christen on the right).

This is Christen's daughter Corinne, my only niece!!! Isn't she adorable? She's even sweeter in person. She's 7 months younger than Samantha.

Splish splash-can you tell this trip had a water theme?

Timothy calls Dan's dad Poppy, which we just love. This had been a long exhausting day.

September 21, 2008

Day 9: Playdate!

We all went to the park to play hard before Dan and I had 4 more hours of driving ahead of us. It was like old "playdate" times!

Samantha LOVED dress up:

Girls rode in the van, boys in the car:

Reminds me of the opening credits to Yes, Dear where they go to the beach with so much kid gear...

They all enjoyed the train.

Taking turns holding hands.

I can't get over what a big girl Kinley is.

Hot day, thirsty bunch!

Look at these 5 beautiful children!

Next stop...Girard, KS!

Day 8: Travel to Fort Smith, AR

After East TX, we headed due north through Oklahoma, and just across the Arkansas border to visit our friends Tonya and Chris (and kids). We lived in Little Rock at the same time, and they moved away 10 months before we did. Let me tell you what...I LOVE this girl, and it was so great to see her! The kids enjoyed each other so much. It's funny because Kinley and Timothy were "buddies" when we all lived in LR, but things have changed. Timothy and Caedmon were just two peas in a pod, and Samantha was Kinley's little doll. Samantha LOVED having so many girl things around!! The adults stayed up late playing Scattergories, and I have never laughed so hard playing that game.

Day 8: Switch Flops Product Review

Before we left East TX, we went into town, had delicious Mexican food, and looked in several shops. In the pharmacy (remember small town), were some sandals called SwitchFlops. They were not cheap, but so cute and unique (plus, I was on vacation!) I just had to have them!

There are 3 different types of the basic sandal: traditional flip flop, a wedge, and a kitten heel (which I don't see on their website) in basic neutrals. I bought a black kitten heel because I already had a black flip flop and wedge. I live in San Diego-sandals are the attire for everything and we wear them all year round! But here's the cool part about them. The strap that goes over your foot can be "switched out" by Velcro in a variety of colors and patterns. It's so fun, and they have turned out to be very comfortable. My SwitchFlops came with a black/white design, and I bought The Mandy which has gone with everything in my closet! Click here for a demo!

TX/KS Trip Days 1-7

This is the last day of summer, and I have a goal to finish blogging about our summer vacation. Just to get current, here are the previous days...

Day 1-Tucson
Day 2-Van Horn & McDonald Observatory
Day 3-Austin (Sheila et al)
Day 4-Dinosaur Park
Day 5-Mom's & Grandma Pearl
Day 6-Kung Fu Panda & Dallas World Aquarium
Day 7-Dad's & Fishing
Day 7-Swimming
Day 7-Wall-E

That actually helped me even to get back in the mindset of this trip. Wow it was a great time! On to Day 8...

September 15, 2008

Timothy and School

I'll try to keep this short, but since so many of you have prayed faithfully for me I wanted to give you an update on Timothy's 3rd week of school.

Monday-met w/the School Psychologist. He had a couple of inventories for me to fill out. One of them has a home and school version, so he will compare my observations and the teacher's. I also met Timothy's Speech Therapist. She implements social skills in her therapy, which will help Timothy to know when to speak (taking his turn in a conversation). She will also focus on verbalizing his feelings before losing control in anger.

Tuesday-phone call from the counseling intern about another "incident". This was the second time Timothy refused to draw something AND refused to go sit in the quiet area to read as an "alternative activity". He was in the counseling office to cool down, which he did and was able to calmly complete his drawing assignment.

Wednesday-got angry because he wasn't first in line at the warning bell. He was sent to the counseling office again, and I hadn't even left campus yet! The intern and I were able to talk in detail. Our basic plan is that I will be called each time Timothy has to leave the class. He will get a "second chance" to re-enter the class, but if I have to be called again it will most likely be to come get him. I have thankfully not even had to be called sense that Wed morning episode.

Thursday-the counseling intern (by the way, the school has 1 full time counselor and 2 interns for different ages) will be starting a support group for kids and Mrs. F has put Timothy on the list for that. I'm really so excited about all the different opportunities he is getting!

Friday-I had not left campus yet (Samantha plays on swings for about 5 minutes after Timothy goes to class) and heard Timothy crying as the class walked to the all school assembly. I didn't intervene because it was during school time. Mrs. F told me at the end of the day that mostly Timothy had a great day. That crying incident was this: Timothy saw groups of big kids (remember, school is K-12) walking and he started backing up. He told her he was scared. She said, "Come on, Timothy, it's okay." (and admitted to me she should have realized a trigger was coming). He cried, but obeyed (which is great)! Then they got to the assembly, and he kept covering his ears saying, "It's too loud." She let him go to the nurse's office and read books during the hour long assembly. He did fine the rest of the day back in class.

So we take all of this one day at a time. I am continually thankful for his teacher and all the staff in place around Timothy that support him and really show care to him. The counseling intern is a nice guy who works well with Timothy. Friday afternoon all the kids in his class got a "6th grade buddy". Timothy said that his buddy read books to him and "even did the monkey bars with me, mom!" So cute!!

Monday Night Football!!

I can't wait to watch the Cowboys play the Eagles tonight!!! Because I'm in San Diego, the Cowboy game is not televised every week. We didn't get it last week, but I get to see this week's game (Mon Night Football) and next week's game (Sun Night Football). Yippee!! We're having frozen pizza for dinner, and I AM SO EXCITED!!!

September 12, 2008

Quick Update

It's been a busy, but happy week:

1) Timothy's school week has been great. He's had a few meltdowns, but no notes from teacher. I continue to feel like she and I are a team. We are also hearing bits and pieces of what he is learning in school. He explained to me yesterday that when we see an exclamation point, "we have to read with excitement!" That's mommy's favorite punctuation mark!

2) Samantha and I have had so much fun this week. Monday I went to a craft time and she got to play. Tues was story time at library. Wed we met at playground, and she got to play with Caedmon. Yesterday and today we just hung out shopping. (She got to pick out her very own apple to eat). Plus twice every day she gets to play on the Kinder playground at T's school. She is loving life these days and acting older by the second.

3) On Wed we had an AWANA parent orientation. In Sparks this year, they're starting new curriculum for the kinders, and it looks really cool and modern. I look forward to this year, and I wish Samantha could start Cubbies right now! The director has a great idea for discipline issues. They don't want to ask a child not to return (because it is an evangelistic outreach of our church), so if a child acts up, they ask the parent to come to the class for a few weeks. I love it! I anticipate spending some extra Wednesday's there.

4) Timothy started karate yesterday. Karate is good for kids with sensory and self-control issues, as long as he can make it through the classes. I found a program that allows me to pay weekly and doesn't require uniforms. He absolutely loved it!! He listened, he was focused, he didn't get angry when he was told to move his foot to a different spot. At the end, he said, "Mom, I want to wear a white belt." I told him that if he makes it 3 weeks and wants to keep coming back, then we'll buy him the uniform. He said, "Okay, good, only 2 weeks more to go."

5) I'm leaving for a Women's Retreat today at 4:15 today. I haven't been to one in 7 years! I'm looking forward to it.

Hope you all have a blessed weekend! Talk to you next week!

September 9, 2008

CF Update: CF Trust Calendars

The United Kingdom has the "CF Trust", which is the equivalent to our "CF Foundation". Lorraine Barnes, mother of 2 boys with CF, has a wonderful fundraising idea...calendars! She asked for pictures from anyone who has CF, and because I think this is a great cause, I sent her a picture of Samantha! The calendars will be out later this year, but Lorraine has put a slide show together. Just click here for the slide show. As you can see by the 20 minute video, Lorraine received an overwhelming response! When I watched it tonight, Samantha was at the 4:12 mark. And the picture I submitted to the calendar is the picture I decided on for this contest, which completely personifies Samantha's personality. The quality of the picture is not great (I had to zoom in a bunch), so if you can't really see it on the show, here it is:

Next month: Quarterly CF Appointment

September 8, 2008

Timothy had a Great Day!

Mrs. F said Timothy was great in math, reading, recess, everything today! He actively participated and was even a helper today in the class. For that, he earned the "Star Student" certificate today. He was jumping and giving high fives to his teacher and me. He even pumped his fist and said "Oh yeah, I did it!" Victory!

Many thanks

The outpouring of care and concern for our school situation with Timothy has been amazing. Thank you so much for your kind words and obvious prayers. Dan and I attend a small group that Timothy loves and has attended for a year. The last 2 Fridays prior to this last Fri, we had to be called out of class. Something huge is going on inside him right now, and it's tough timing starting Kindergarten. This past Fri when we showed up, we made sure the director knew how our Fri morning had been at school. She looked at us determinedly and said, "This is not a physical battle. His teachers and I love him and are praying for him continually. We're going to get through this." He ended up doing wonderfully that night, and even got the "star student" prize. (I'm sure that was for positive reinforcement more than anything). I'm just so thankful that other people in Timothy's life care about him. I have also felt the prayers for me as I have had much more peace this weekend than I have had in a while.

So here's the most recent school update. I received a call from the school nurse about an hour ago. I totally dreaded what she was going to say, so I was relieved when she started with, "I've got good news." The school psychologist observed T in class today. He had very positive things to say about T and thinks they can hold off on the referral (to a medical/mental evaluation) for now. He has some classroom strategies that he talked to the teacher about and wants to talk with me about next Mon (his only day at the school). He thinks half-day Kinder may be needed, but wants to implement some of these strategies first. Of course I'll know more after a thorough meeting with him. I'm excited to do whatever it takes to help Timothy succeed, and am thankful once again for a school that seems to want that as well!

September 6, 2008

Movie Recommendation: Space Chimps

Timothy and I went with Amber & Caedmon (one of my best girlfriends and her son, who is one of Timothy's best buddies) to see Space Chimps! I don't think Amber nor I had big hopes for our own enjoyment, but we knew the boys would like it. And it was free on base, so not a big deal. Well it ended up being adorable-cute, funny, sweet, had "inside jokes" for adults. We all enjoyed it thoroughly. Isn't it great to watch our kids develop relationships?

September 5, 2008

1st Week of School is Over

I wish I could say that after day 1 the rest of the school week was uneventful. Quite the contrary. So as not to overwhelm you with details, here's the snapshot of the week:

Day 2-note home from the teacher

Day 3-note home from the teacher

Day 4-called by nurse around 10 (an hour into school) today to please come pick up Timothy

All 3 incidents were completely different scenarios, but they did all create the same reaction in Timothy "I DON'T WANT TO DO THAT!!!!" All three scenes happened in the morning. He has had very good afternoons, evidently.

No, this hasn't been a purely horrific experience, but it sure has been an emotional one. I am grateful that...
  • He likes his school (I really dread the morning we have to battle GOING to school).

  • He likes his teacher (and I do too).

  • I've already made a kind friend...a mother of another boy in T's class.

  • The staff has a hands on approach to this. They will be meeting on Monday to create an "action plan" for Timothy (yes, that stings). The nurse and teacher told me they will be recommending half day kindergarten. I think that will be great, but it takes a very special circumstance (because of district issues) for a child to get it.

  • Both his teacher and the school nurse (who took a thorough history of Timothy today) care very much. They are practical, and I have yet to get that "can't you fix your son?" tone.
Please pray for our situation. God knows what's best for Timothy. I just need to trust Him!

September 2, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Computers

For more Wordless Wednesday go to Five Minutes for Mom.

Kindergarten Pickup

I got to school about 10 minutes early and parked behind 2 other parents of kids in T's same class. We all recognized each other from this morning, so that was cool. Two parents who were already there picking up their kids greeted me with, "Your son is so tired." One of the moms told me he had just been complaining of being cold (remember it's 80 degrees and there's no A/C). Thankfully, I had placed a lightweight jacket in his backpack "waiting for October", and this kind mom helped him put it on.

I don't really know how his day went. No news is good news, right? He told me met a friend named Zach in the other class and 2 older boys (his school is K-12). I received no calls or notes from the teacher today. They assembled a book entitled, "I like red" today, and Timothy read it to me on the way home. He felt very proud when I said he could read it to the whole family tonight as one of our 3 bedtime books.

One last topic: food. I wasn't sure how many snacks they would get today, but I planned for lunch and 1 snack. I think he ate his snack, but he only ate his sandwich for lunch. He didn't eat the yogurt, banana, or PB crackers. He has never eaten big meals by any means, but I think I expected him to at least eat something besides just the sandwich.

I won't be giving a play by play each day, but I needed to at least get day one down! It's over, and I'm alive to write about it!

Kindergarten Drop Off

I've been anxious about T starting Kindergarten because his sensory and anger issues have escalated recently. That combined with his school's complete lack of organization (due to massive reconstruction on campus) made today a bit stressful. Phone lines were completely down last week, so there was no way to meet his teacher, see his classroom, or have any type of Kinder orientation. In fact, when I drove over there on Thurs last week, the secretary explained that they hadn't determined teacher assignments yet. God loves me too much to give me any possible thing to hold onto for security short of Him and Him alone!!! I've had to admit my anxiety-I'm just anxious! But I am determined to say, "He's yours, Lord," every time I start playing the possible scenarios (of course all bad ones) in my head.

Here's how the morning went:
  1. Timothy wasn't on the list for either Kinder class (there is one K and one K-1). A trip to the office resolved this quickly. The recruiter wrote a note saying Timothy was registered. I was given the option of which class, and I chose the straight K class. I don't know why exactly.
  2. For blogging purposes, I'll call his teacher Ms. F. She has been a 6th grade science teacher for several years, and this is her first K class. She seems nice (and patient), but this will be a transition for her surely. She has 17 animals at home, and will bring a science/animal emphasis to the class. There are 2 guinea pigs in the room (they got to pet one), and the kids will be putting a fish tank together over time.
  3. There are 2 Kindergartners with peanut allergies, and at least 1 of them is in his class. Timothy's main source of food is peanut butter, so we would not want any child in danger!!!! The nurse will be coordinating with the parents of those kids and the K teachers to figure out how that will play out.
  4. Sensory wise it was a rough start. As you can imagine, it was total chaos with this morning essentially being Kinder orientation. There were 21 students (that's BIG here), and almost as many parents. It's also a warm day in San Diego, and our schools don't have A/C-he looked like he was wilting. And during the opening activity (that parent's were welcomed to watch) the kids shared 3 things they love. Ms F. told them to hold hands while all the kids told their 3 things. I've never seen Timothy able to hold hands that long with anyone! He did it (which I'm proud of), but that kind of sensory stimulation is so overwhelming to him and it showed.
  5. Our presence. At one point in circle time Timothy came to me and said, "Mom, I want you." He's never been a clingy child (maybe the opposite), so this is just his way of saying, "I'm in sensory overload, and I need to be safe." I held him for a couple of minutes and then was able to talk him into going back to the group. When the teacher assigned them their desks, she handed out a coloring sheet. He immediately looked for me, "Mom, I need help." He is very insecure about drawing, and he responds disrespectfully when he's trying to avoid it. Thankfully, we worked on that during our Aug "home school kindergarten", and I think that helped him this morning.
He's going to be exhausted! I'll keep you posted on his first full day!

September 1, 2008


Okay, we wanted to do something fun as a family before school is upon us, and we say good-bye to these beach days of summer. Dan had a great idea to take a trolley ride, so we jumped on our nearest stop. We really had no other plans but riding the trolley, which is what made this day great! It was like we were really on vacation because we didn't have to be anywhere!

Click to play Trolley Day
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox scrapbook