Friday, August 31

the bale elementary playground

we live about a block away from bale elementary. and the bale elementary playground is on our way to savvy kids, the daycare that the kiddos used to go to. pretty much every morning and afternoon this summer, hiba would ask if we could go to the bale elementary playground. since it was usually 407 degrees outside, the general answer was "sure, someday that sounds great!". well, last week i made the mistake of telling hiba that we could go to the bale elementary playground on thursday. not that i didn't want to go, but i didn't want to be so committed. but the thing about hiba is once it is said, it is set in stone. she told most people that she saw over the next three days that on thursday we were going to the bale elementary playground. there's not really a "pencil that in" option.

so, last thursday evening, we went to the bale elementary playground. i'm not sure it lived up to all it's hype, but the kids did have fun and enjoyed watching football practice, cheer practice, swings, and making new friends.

Thursday, August 30

turns out, she has a brain

last monday, hiba had an EEG to look at suspected seizure activity. we have been noticing some staring spells she's been having, where she will just trail off from talking or just stop what she's doing and stare off, not really focusing on anything, and then she'll snap out of it and be fine. one time i was able to rub her face and she didn't react, so we decided to get this looked into.

the super fun thing about EEGs is that they work a lot better if the child is "sleep deprived" so it will hopefully trigger seizures, if that is in fact what is happening. so besides having an EEG scheduled in the morning on both hiba and matthias' first day at a new school, which was a little stressful in and of itself, add to that the task of allowing hiba five hours of sleep the night before. have you ever intentionally had your four-year-old only get five hours of sleep? yeah. me neither. it was not every on my top ten mother-daughter activities. our plan was that i would take the night shift and keep her up and jason would get her up early in the morning. i had plans of making cookies until midnight, looking at books, eating popcorn and watching dora till the wee hours of the morning.

but, in fact it was not too bad (at least not on my end). we had some friends over for dinner, so that took up some time and provided entertainment for hiba. then after matthias was asleep, we hung out in the back yard with our neighbors and just let hiba hang out with us. we took my kindle and she played games and just hung out. we had popcorn and some other snacks, but didn't have to work too hard to keep her up. about 10:30, she wanted to go inside, but we managed to stall her and keep distracting her until about 11, when she was ready to go to bed (as was I). so we went inside and she had a bubble bath and then we watched on episode of diego, to try to keep her up a little longer. she was trying so hard to stay awake! she kept singing along and trying to answer all of diego's questions, but finally gave in about 12:35 a.m. and told me she was ready for bed. i gladly obliged.

jason got her up about 5:30 a.m. and they went to get donuts and then played at chick-fil-a all morning. i took matthias to pre-school at easter seals, which thankfully went very smoothly. then i swung by chick-fil-a to pick up jason and hiba and we were off to ACH.

i don't know if it was because we were the first appointment or if they really are super efficent, but the neuro clinic was on time, friendly, and great. hiba did great getting all the little wires stuck to her head and was super cooperative. she is also very competitive, so anything they asked her to do, like blow on a pinwheel, if she didn't want to then jason would try to do it better and then she would do it and obviously always be the best. as soon as they turned off the lights, she went right to sleep, and she was great when they woke her back off.

and the super good news is she passed. turns out, she does have a brain (jason kept asking her if she thought they would find one) and she does not have epilepsy. kids and adults with pervasive disorders (autism, aspergers, adhd, etc) sometimes have staring spells or blank looks that may look like seizures, but there was no indication that it is seizures in hiba's case. i was very happy to hear that, because it is one thing that now we don't have to worry and wonder about. and hiba was glad to confirm that she does, in fact, have a brain.

Wednesday, August 29

little rock staycation

wow, so life has kind of taken over and i'm way behind on this thing.'s to the start of catch-up. :-)

first off - july 31, jason and i celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. it's hard to think back to 8 years ago. it seems forever ago and just yesterday all at the same time. around our anniversary, jason read this article about a couple who got married really young and wonder how they survived it. it's a great little piece, and even though our situation was quite different from theirs, i do look back and wonder how we stayed together. it is by the grace of God, that's for sure, and i am so thankful for that. i think it's pretty great that we met when i was 17 and we are still happily married today. yes, we have our ups and downs, our fights and differences, but he is still my best friend and i can't even imagine any other person that i would want to be doing life with.


so, for our anniversary, we don't get each other presents (although jason did get me a dozen orange roses - my absolute favorite - because he is a super sweet over-achiever like that), but spend time away from life, which was just perfect this year. it was perfect timing and such a needed break. life and work and kids have gotten a little crazy, so to have a whole weekend to think of nothing but ourselves - well, that was perfect. we decided to just stay in little rock and see a couple of places we've never gotten around to and just relax. we wanted to explore little rock's local gems and see what this city has to offer. i had full intentions of being a full blown tourist and taking pictures all weekend, but i think i only got this one:
jason not looking at the camera while waiting for dinner

we started off friday evening with dinner from kBird, the best food truck in little rock. well, ok - i have heard of a lot of other yummy ones i want to try, but this was delish. he makes thai food and it was probably some of the best thai food i've ever had. (in fact, i'm pretty sure i've tried each weekend to get jason to go back. it hasn't worked yet, but i am determined to eat there saturday.) we got a hotel room for the night, just to get away, so we took our food and went to the hotel and enjoyed cable tv, the pool and hot tub, and not having to clean up after ourselves. total bliss.

saturday morning, we checked out B Side, a local favorite for breakfasts. we had heard great things about it and it did not disappoint. nothing will ever really replace cathy's corner, our all time favorite breakfast place, but it was a good substitute for little rock.

after breakfast, we decided to check out the arkansas arts center. it was pretty good. i am not a super huge fan of art museums, because i don't have the patience to appreciate all that they are, but jason loves them and so i tolerate them. as far as art museums go, i was impressed. we got there right as a tour was starting, which was nice, since i have zero knowledge about anything art related. and a tour did make it much more enjoyable because we got a lot of background knowledge we would not have gotten just looking around by ourselves.

next, we strolled on over to the central high museum. it was really neat. it is crazy to think of all of the historical significance and everything that happened right there. if we live in little rock long enough (who knows if we will...) that is where our kids will go to high school. i would definitely recommend a stop if you are in or around little rock.

after central, we were starting to get hungry, so we headed over to root cafe, a local place that lots of friends have raved about. and again, it did not disappoint. the atmosphere was fun and original and the food was delish. it is definitely on my list of new favorite places to eat. we stopped and got some coffee at boulevard bread, a local coffee place to kill some time before our next stop.

and our next stop was little rock's only "legal" distillery. we took a tour and learned how vodka, gin, rum, whiskey and bourbon are made. it smelled kind of bad, but it was fun to learn about the distillery process. did you know that gin is basically vodka infused with juniper? yep. did not know that.

so then we went home and took naps. well, i took a nap, jason watched olympics. that may have been a highlight of the weekend. an uninterpreted nap with no agenda that i needed to wake up for. after i woke up, we decided to go see a movie. we settled on the dark night and rushed over to the theater....and then realized that we went to the wrong theater and had 45 minutes before the movie started. oops. that may have been my fault. so, we watched about 30 minutes of ted before the dark night started. it was pretty funny and definitely a movie you don't have to know the whole story line to enjoy.

sunday we slept in, enjoyed a big breakfast, and went to get the kids. it was a great weekend. i enjoyed getting to see a little bit of little rock and intentionally enjoy some of the local gems we have heard about. i enjoyed not having the kiddos for three days and being so happy to see them when i picked them up. i enjoyed spending a whole weekend with jason with nothing to do and nowhere to be so we could just make it up as we go along. i'm so thankful for him and that we've got 8 years under our belt and hopefully many, many more to come.

Thursday, August 9

the great divide

we put hiba and matthias in separate bedrooms this week.

i'm a little sad and a little happy about this. first, we don't really have a guest room now, since our house only has three bedrooms. this just means a little more effort and rearranging when we have guests, which isn't really a big deal. more than that, i'm sad that they don't have that shared space anymore. when we had their beds in the same room, there weren't toys in that room, so at night it was easily just for sleeping (and unfortunatly jumping on the bed, waking each other up, pulling clothes out of dressers, etc., etc., etc.). and then we had the playroom, for their toys. and even though they each had their own toys, the space was shared and there was much less of a possessive feel. to be honest, it did lead to a lot of fights, but i think it was good for them to learn to share, both space and possessions.

but now, they each have their own room, with their own space, and their own toys. there are some shared toys in each of their rooms, but for the most part it really is hiba's room and matthias' room.

the theme of matthias' room is apparently "plastic toys"

hiba LOVES her new set-up

at first it made me sad, but then the first night of putting them to bed was glorious. matthias has the habit of basically not falling asleep until a good hour after he goes to bed and if we put hiba to bed before he was a sleep, shenanagins ensued. which meant that a) we had to put matthias to bed at 6 p.m., b) we had to deal with shenangins at the end of every long day, c) hiba had to stay up much later than she either wanted to or needed to, or d) hiba went to bed in our bed, which made her less than happy and was usually a fight. so, with a space of their own, bedtime comes earlier and so far mornings come just a little bit later.

and, i do think it is important for kids to have things that our theirs, either space or possessions. it helps them learn even more to share and be gracious, because it is not so forced. it helps them take ownership if they have more control over whatever is theirs. it gives them space to be alone if they want to. so all in all, i am happy with our new arrangement. 

Monday, August 6

the potty train, take 2

so the elusive potty train has finally arrived at our house! super exciting to all of you guys, i know.

matthias has been in pre-school for a few months now, and his teachers have been a little obsessive about potty training him. i think partly because he is so huge. i mean, really. he weighs something obsurd like 42 lbs., so i completely don't blame them for not wanting to lift him up on a changing table on a regular basis. which, in turn, was great for me because they did most of the work. a few weeks ago, his teachers let me know that he was regularly going to the bathroom at pre-school and loved the reinforcement of suckers.

but, no luck at home. i would ask him, super excitedly, if he wanted to try to go potty and he could have candy/stickers/ice cream/whatever his little heart desired. and the answer was usually a panicked, screaming, cry "nooooooooo!!!" as if sitting on the potty was the worst thing in the entire world.

and then i found the trick. matthias is borderline obsessed with playing games on my phone or kindle. and when i say borderline, i mean fulll-fledged, wake up at 5:30 a.m. and sneak in to the playroom to play on the kindle, throw a kicking and screaming fit when it's taken away obsessed. so, one day i told him that he could play on my kindle if he went potty. first he threw a big fit and then a few minutes later, he walked into the bathroom, took off his diaper, peed in the potty, and proudly told me. awesome. so he played for five minutes on my kindle, and then went and peed again. and now, he just goes potty and gets to play and is super cooperative about being done after 5 minutes when we tell him.

so we found the motivation, and now it seems to be clicking (knock on wood!!). he had his fair share of accidents this weekend, but overall i would call this on the "success" side, which is a huge improvment from the epic fail that took place last time we tried this. again, it has been super nice having the help at pre-school, because they have told me to stop sending him in diapers so it's not confusing to him, which i think is great. also on the plus side, his shorts all of a sudden fit again! finger's crossed - we might have a full-blown big boy on our hands now!

"i'm a big boy!!"