Saturday, February 27, 2010

Winners, genius moms (that would be you) and Max's new name



I was blown away by the response to the post on sharing your therapy-play tips, where commenters could win a $50 CVS/pharmacy gift card. Us mamas are so creative, if I do say so myself! We learned about lentil therapy, yogurt therapy, PVC pipe therapy, iPod therapy, makeup therapy, big brother therapy, shaving cream therapy, dollar-store therapy, straw therapy, Jell-O therapy, origami therapy, Silly Putty therapy and the very unique "long-suffering cat" therapy. You guys even impressed the pros; one play therapist said she was going to pass ideas along to her parents. So yay, mom experts!

The 10 randomly-picked commenters who will each receive a CVS/pharmacy gift card are Carla, Kathy, Mary, Shelley, Kristan, Em, Junior, Ferfischer, Jennifer Thayer and Reese Dixon. Congrats! And a tremendous thank you to CVS Caremark All Kids Can, an awe-inspiring program dedicated to helping children with disabilities. If you haven't yet checked out what they're all about, please do.

In other news, Jailen is going to be getting that fun dome from the second Special Needs Swap Shop. Jessica, please send a photo of him using it!

If any of you have gadgets or enabling devices to offer up for kids with special needs, e-mail me and I can list it in a post. Also, let me know if any of you need something in particular; several readers are in the market for Pony walkers.

Last news flash of the day: Max is now referring to himself as Purple Max. We are not allowed to call him just "Max" anymore. It can't be long before he asks us to legally change his name.

Friday, February 26, 2010

"Mommy! If you don't let me watch TV I'll call the police!"



There are days when you think caring for your kid with special needs takes so much out of you. And then there are days like today, when you're cooped up with the kids because it's a slushy, icy mess outside and suddenly it occurs to you that your child with special needs is actually the easier one of your two. A few choice quotes from a certain five-year-old:

"Your teeth are yellow."

"You are a cranky lady!"

"Waaaaaaaah! I hurt my nose on the window!"

"I'm. Wearing. My. Pajamas. All. Day."

"See if I care!"

"Come on, big boy, let's box!"

"I'm only drinking juice! No more milk!"

"Waaaaaaaah! Max stepped on my toe!"

"I am NOT going to listen to you!"

"Time outs are for babies!"

"My belly hurts! I want pizza with PEPPERONI! It'll make it feel better!"

"Waaaaaaaah! I want to watch TV!"

"Maaaaaa-aaaaaax, you like BLACK! Only BLACK! Max doesn't like purple!"

"I said I want PEPPERONI!"

"You're NOT going to leave me home and go on the Disney Cruise! I know!"

"Waaaaaaaah! Max pulled my hair!"

"I don't like you!"

"Hey, you got a penis!"

"Mommy! If you don't let me watch TV, I'll call the police!"

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A giveaway for parents of kids with sleep problems


I've written before about the kids sleeping in our bed—on November 3, 2008, to be precise. I haven't said much about it since because nothing had changed.

But Dave and I were getting increasingly fed up. Two adults and two kids in a queen-size bed isn't all that fun, or conducive to good sleep. It's not conducive to lots of other stuff, either. So Dave and I came up with a plan.

First, I went to a local store and bought a Cloud B Twilight Turtle (above). I'd seen it advertised, and it looked cool. It projects a starry night sky onto ceilings and walls in three colors—blue, green and amber. Heck, I wanted one for me.

Then I ordered Pillow Pets. The kids had seen them on TV and were asking for them. Call us suck-ahs, call us desperate parents, whatever. We got Max the purple hippo, Sabrina the dalmatian.

Last, and this was Dave's brilliant/desperate idea, we blew up the Aerobeds we keep in the basement and put them in Max's room.

Then I told the kids that we would sell them to a traveling circus if they did not sleep in there.

OK, I didn't really.


In the last few weeks, the kids have happily gone to bed in Max's room. The Twilight Turtle stars and moon are mesmerizing—Sabrina likes to try and count them. The kids think the beds are fun, and the Pillow Pets are cuddly.

OK, so the kids still end up coming to our room in the middle of the night. But this is half the battle, won.

I asked The Cloud B peeps if they'd be game to spread the sleep love around, and they offered up two Turtles as giveaways, each worth $34.


Or you could get the ladybug version, if you'd like.

You can also get 15 percent off Cloud B products now through March 18, 2010, by using the code MAX-0210.

To enter, just leave a comment about your child's sleep habits...or lack of habits! Also, mention whether you'd like the turtle or ladybug.

BONUS ENTRIES: After you leave your main comment, do a separate comment for each of the following that you have done:

Follow Cloud B on Twitter
Follow LoveThatMax on Twitter.
Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with your Tweet time stamp (translation for Twitter newbies: click on the time below the Tweet, which shows you the URL). You can use this Tweet: A #giveaway for parents of sleep-challenged kids: Win a Cloud B Sleep Turtle or Ladybug from @LoveThatMax, http://tinyurl.com/yknvam2
Become a fan of CloudB on Facebook
Subscribe to the To The Max feed; you can do that here, or another way, and leave a comment saying how you subscribed.
Follow this blog on Blogger.
• Become a fan of To The Max on Facebook.

This giveaway is open until Thursday, March 4, 11:59 p.m. EST, and is for U.S. and Canadian residents. I'll pick the winners via randomizer.org, announce the winners the next day, and alert you by e-mail. Good luck!

We are sooooo crazy. And you?



Parenthood may be fun and exciting and a never-ending adventure but spontaneous, it's not. Even leaving the house—something that once involved grabbing your purse and going—becomes a ten-minute ordeal of getting the kids bundled up, making sure you have the kiddie accessories you need (diapers, wipes, snacks, Epi-Pen, toys, juice boxes), strapping them into their car seats, running back into the house because you forgot their favorite DVD/doll/purple object.

Life can feel like the opposite of spontaneous when you have a kid with special needs, because things take extra planning. Like figuring out whether the place you're going is amenable/accessible to your child. Revolving your schedule around your child's feedings. Revolving your schedule around your child's therapies. Revolving your schedule around your child's...schedule.

Sure, sometimes on weekend we'll spontaneously go somewhere with the kids. And there are bursts of spontaneous fun, like making up silly songs or games. But I miss being able to pick up and go whenever, says this overscheduled mom.

Last night, for the first time in a while, Dave and I did something spontaneous. OK, we didn't fly to Vegas or get "Max and Sabrina forever" tattoos on our chests; we decided to get a babysitter and see a movie. On a school night. G-A-S-P!

We had cabin fever. The sitter was free. So we headed out to see Shutter Island. That movie was strange, let me just say, but it didn't matter.

We felt like two kids who'd snuck out.

It was awesome.

What's the last spontaneous thing you guys have done?

Photo by Guy Fawkes

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The second Special Needs Swap Shop



This is LJ, the sixteen-month-old little boy who got Max's old Pony Gait Trainer. His mom, Jenn, blogs about him at Updates on Lewis Jack. Like Max, LJ had a stroke and seizures at birth. As Jenn wrote to me, "We have a beautiful, strong boy who brings us much joy; and we have been doing everything in our powers since to make sure he is happy and has the best intensive intervention plan in place as possible. It's an evolving thing- keeping our hope as we make our way through the unknown."

LJ reminds me of Max at his age—that smile, those cheeks. I was thrilled to see him sitting in Max's seat. I hope it helps him learn to walk in the same way it did Max. Go, LJ, gooooooooooooooooo!!!! Drive like a maniac! Make your parents have to catch you!

Now, if any other moms reading this have a Pony or gait trainer they no longer need, please email me about it (lovethatmax@gmail.com) and I can hook you up with other moms whose kids are in need of one. FYI, I mentioned to one mom that it might help to get in touch with the local United Cerebral Palsy association in your area and see if they have any ideas about loaners you might be able to get your hands on. You could also ask the company that makes the Pony, Sammons Preston, about trying one out, here's a list of current national sales reps. The company's phone number is 800-475-5036. And, with the help of your physical therapist, neurologist, whoever you can rope in, see if it's possible to have them write letters to persuade your insurance company to get one. That's what we did. I am not sure how things work if you do Medicaid, jump in if you have any advice on getting kids equipment that way.

Next up for grabs on the Special Needs Swap Shop:

The "Dome Alone" from Enabling Devices. This thingie really helped teach Max cause and effect (you press the bubble, the confetti swirls around as "Love Me Tender" plays) and also encouraged him to use his hands. This company has great toys, but I find it a little hard to justify their prices. So, here it is, free! I'll pick a random commenter to get it.

If you have a gadget or piece of equipment for your child that you need or would like to give away, email me at lovethatmax@gmail.com.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Giveaway winners, and an insanely amusing video



First off, the winners of the Sprout Lend A Helping Hand DVD are Preemie Miracle and Kristie. Congratulations, and may your kids learn to help out around your home beyond your wildest dreams. Perhaps you could train them to come to our house and make me breakfast in bed? I like my eggs scrambled.

So, I spaced on giving away the two DVDs I bought of that amazing documentary Shooting Beauty. The winners are Colleen and Bethany. Enjoy! It would be awesome if you shared the film with other parents who'd appreciate it; it's worth spreading around. Courtney Bent, the director, says that if you're interested in purchasing a copy or arranging a screening, e-mail shootingbeauty2009@gmail.com.

Ok, now, about the video that I randomly found online: If you like Cadbury Creme Eggs (I have a mild addiction, nothing that would require a 12-step program), you will be amused by this video. Your kids will be even more amused. Even if you can't stand those eggs, you will surely be amused. More power to the people who have the time to do this sort of thing. Maybe you could come to my house and make me breakfast in bed? Cadbury Scrambled Creme Eggs?



Photo by Katie

Yes, my kid with special needs is still like me



Lately, everyone has been saying that Sabrina is a mini me. It's true: We look alike (round faces, curly hair) and in many ways we act alike—we're both strong-willed ("stubborn," some might call it), energetic, feisty, observant, chatty. "High maintenance," someone named Dave might call it.

I can't think of a time when a person's compared Max to me. Not once has anyone said, "Wow, Max has your determination!" (he does) or "Max has your giggle" (ditto). Nobody's really compared Max to Dave, either, except to note they both have good hair (and, hey, I don't underestimate the importance of good hair).

I wish people could look past his disabilities and see the kid there.

Max can't talk so well, but he has my wicked sense of humor; the other day, Dave got annoyed at dinner and shook his head and Max imitated him, a huge grin on his face. Max also has my stubborn streak; when he wants something, it is not easy to deter him (especially when it is purple). He has my can-do spirit; he may have trouble using his hands but he'll try and try and try to pick up something until he does, even if he's literally just hanging onto it by a pinky. And he inherited Dave's sweetness, something I see in his smile.

Listen, I'll take those "Wow, Max is doing really well!" comments any day. They give me a lift. But I'd be extra thrilled to hear someone say, "Wow, Max is so much like you."

I'd love to hear how your kids are like you. Please, share.

Heads up, Tammy over at Praying for Parker, one amazingly grounded mom, just did a post in response to the one I wrote about observing the woman with Down Syndrome at Whole Foods. Tammy has a different take on mourning the past, and looking to the future. Check it out.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The first time's great, but the second? Even sweeter



Over the years, I have spent a lot of mental energy yearning for Max to do things: take that first step, say that first word, feed himself for the first time, ride a bike for the first time, say my name for the first time. All those firsts that other parents eagerly and giddily anticipated, I waited for with anxiety. Because it was never a sure thing that Max would do any of them. I took nothing for granted.

Every single first has been a euphoric experience. You know the feeling: It is irrefutable proof that, yes, your child IS capable of doing the very thing you've been dying for him to do (and, perhaps, the very thing doctors doubted your child would do). I've whooped, I've cried, I've done a crazy happy dance, I've kissed the ground that Max walked on. Yes, I got down on his bedroom floor and kissed the hardwood. There have been smaller but still significant firsts, too. Like the first time Max nodded. And the first time he said the consonant "D," a tough one for him. And the first time he swung a bat.

But then, there's been the inevitable letdown following Max's firsts, as they have not immediately lead to seconds and thirds and fourths. After Max does something for the first time, he tends to not do it again for a while.

I think this sort of thing happens with typically-developing kids, too. It's just that when you have a kid with special needs, you put a lot more weight on those firsts. And when they don't repeat themselves right away, it can be quite the let-down. For me, the second time Max does something is even more of a bigger deal than the first. And the third. And the fourth. Because they mean that Max is truly getting something.

Take the potty training. Before I left for the Blissdom conference, I was so excited that he'd peed. He hasn't done it since and I was bummed, even though I knew it was going to happen on Max's own timeline. Then last night, he pooped on the potty—perhaps you heard my screech "MAX POOOOOOOPED ON THE POTTY!"? And let me tell you, that was even more exciting than his first potty success.

Another major second happened last week. Back in the summer, I wrote about how psyched I was that Max had attended a carnival at his school, despite his fear of crowds and loud noises. And that he tried his first mojito. Kid-ding! In December, I took him to a school holiday sing-a-long. No problem, I figured. But I couldn't even coax him into the room. It was doubly disappointing, because I had thought we were over the crowd meltdowns.

So I was dreading the Valentine's dance at his school, held belatedly last Thursday night. It sounded awesome—music, crafts, cupcakes. Yet all I could picture was Max running down the halls, wailing, which is exactly what had happened at the sing-a-long.

Only this is what went down.


When we got there, Max wanted to go to his empty classroom and hang at his desk. Dave and I let him; we figured that if we could ease him into things, start off quietly, maybe he'd be OK.


Sabrina was fascinated to see her big brother's class, and made sure to leave her mark.


Then we lured Max into a room where they were making crafts. Luckily, there were purple feathers to be had. Wow, was he proud of the picture frame he made. He took off with it, squealing, and showed it to everyone he passed in the hall.


He made sure to show it to his friends, too.


Then he ran into the indoor gym and found one of his best friends there.


Sabrina was having a blast, too.


Why can't they be this nice to each other all the time?! Oh, right, then they wouldn't be siblings.


And then, OMG OMG, Max ventured into the gym, despite the crowd and loud music, and found his BF again.


He hugged him. He kissed-slurped him, too.


He found another friend and hung with him. Sabrina, by this point, was the one wailing. She was getting mad that Max was dissing her for his friends. Then a song came on that she liked and she started jumping around and dancing with me.


Later, Max had a cupcake. Oh, what a night.

At the end of the dance, Dave had to haul Max out of there kicking and screaming because he did not want to leave.

I don't think any of us could have had a more unexpectedly enjoyable night.

Do you know what I mean about the firsts/the seconds/the thirds?

If you haven't yet shared your therapy-play tips, so you can win a $50 CVS/pharmacy gift card, please do!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A big purple "Thank you!" Plus, escape from momhood



After Max started his purple phase, Joyce from Class of 2008 mentioned a book called I Love You the Purplest. It sounded great, and I kept meaning to get it for Max. And then, this, from The Department of Amazing Coincidences: A sweet woman who reads this blog, Alexandra, e-mailed to say that the author of the book, Barbara Joosse, lives in her town, and could she and Barbara send a signed copy for Max? Meanwhile, literally a few days after that, another reader, Mo, mom to adorable Oia, e-mailed me to tell me about the book; she used to read it to her kids when she was a first grade teacher. Clearly, Max was destined to own this.


Look what arrived, gorgeously wrapped.


The kids were so excited to open it.


The inscription read: "For Max the Superhero—what "color" are you? Talk about a hypothetical question!

Dept. of Amazing Coincidences part II: One of the boys in the book is named Max. Max got such a kick out of seeing his name and saying "M-A-X!" The story is lovely, the illustrations beautiful.

Eternal thanks to Alexandra and Barbara, two Good Eggs.

In other weekend news, today I escaped our house of germs for an afternoon with my friends Hedy and Wendy. I sort of sprung this one on Dave, which was a little weasely of me, I'll admit. I just told him I was going out with them, and neglected to mention it was lunch and a Broadway show. We saw Hair, and it was glorious.


At the end of the show, part of the audience got to go on stage and dance around to "Let The Sun Shine In" as the rest of us stood and sang it.

It's been going through my head ever since. Enjoy!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Appreciating our kids: a video you won't forget



Here's part two to today's post about savoring our kids' cuteness: this video clip of author Katrina Kenison reading from her book, The Gift Of An Ordinary Day. Thanks to Alexandra for the heads up; it is powerful, and especially meaningful to this mom of a kid with special needs.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Savoring the cuteness



Does it ever occur to you, as you're watching your children doing something particularly adorable, that you'd better enjoy their kidliciousness now because soon it will be gone? I had one of those moments last night. I wasn't feeling great (thank you, strep throat), but then Max came out of the bath and inexplicably wanted to wear Sabrina's pajamas. Not just any pj's—her tiered pink Dora nightgown. Who was I to stop him from cross-dressing?


Then Sabrina, not to be outdone, wanted to wear Max's pajamas.

Then both kids just sort of rolled around and giggled and acted silly, and the whole time I was thinking, Wow. That is just too much cuteness in one room.

I don't take these moments of child bliss for granted. I've written before about how early on in Max's life, I was so consumed by accepting he had issues, dealing with his issues and freaking about his future that I couldn't enjoy the yummy baby that he was. I still worry (news flash), but I'm truly able to enjoy his cuteness.

Whatever challenges our kids have, they are not the least bit cuteness challenged. Especially when they are wearing their sister's tiered pink Dora nightgown.

OK, gush: What's the last cute thing your kids did that made you all melt-y?

If you haven't yet shared your therapy-play tips, so you can win a $50 CVS/pharmacy gift card, go right ahead!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Share your therapy-play tips, win a $50 CVS/pharmacy gift card



Ever felt like you could be a professional therapist? Uh-huh. After seven years of sitting through speech, physical and occupational therapy sessions with Max, I've picked up a lot of tricks of the trade. Not that I've got the experts' skills or training, of course, and not that the insurance company would pay me $100 bucks an hour.

Since Max was a baby, I've come up with my own, fun ways to help him with his challenges; there's nothing like Silly Mommy Therapy. Lately, we've been doing the "Blow out the birthday candles" game. Max hasn't yet gotten the hang of blowing and controlling his breathing; once he does, sounds and speech should come more easily. So I hold up 10 fingers and ask Max to blow out each "candle," putting my fingers down as he blows and humming the Happy Birthday song. Sometimes Max snorts through his nose, sometimes he lets out a little trickle of air through his mouth, but he's trying and he thinks that game is a laugh riot.

We also like to play "The mommy and the boy in the mirror." (Max has always been fascinated by mirrors; there he is above at nine months admiring his cuteness.) We sit in front of a mirror, both of us staring into it. I say a word and then Max has to repeat the word as we look at each other in the reflection.

What kind of games and play activities have you concocted to help your kids with their challenges? Share your favorites in a comment! I'll randomly pick 10 commenters by midnight on Friday, February 26, and CVS will send each one a $50 CVS/pharmacy gift card (good for online, too). Priceless: all the stuff we can learn from each other.

You know how much I enjoy cruising the aisles of CVS, but I appreciate that place even more since I found out about CVS Caremark All Kids Can. It's a five-year program that's dedicated $25 million dollars to one goal: making life easier for children with disabilities. It supports nonprofits that help kids learn, play and succeed in life, and raises awareness about inclusion. (CVS has other grants programs too.)

All Kids Can regularly partners with major organizations like Easter Seals; this Saturday, Houston's first fully inclusive playground is opening at Eastwood Park thanks to Boundless Playgrounds and funding from All Kids Can. If you're in the area, the grand opening is from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and there will be free face painting, a wheelchair basketball game and free health screenings. I wish there were an inclusive playground near us; do any of you have them?

OK, go ahead, share your bright ideas, therapist mommies! And please leave your e-mail if yours is not on your blog.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Max says his first sentence (and it's a doozie)



First off, thanks to everyone for the amazing dose of perspective on yesterday's post about the woman with Down syndrome at Whole Foods. As Joyce wisely said, the main thing we want for our kids is happiness. So true. And, Gina? Max running a lavender farm? A purple slushie mobile? A "Purple Pit" store? The thought of that made my day.

While I was off at Blissdom, Dave taught Max something new that's really stuck. While I'd been hoping he'd show him how to make phyllo-crusted salmon and coconut layer cake, Dave had other ideas.

Last night's conversation:

Me: "Max, you can't sleep in our bed, you have to go sleep in your own!"

Max: "Reee i isss: Nooooooooooooo."

Translation: "Read my lips: Nooooooooooooo."

I stared at an adult with disabilities, and wondered if I was seeing Max's future



I am sitting in the Whole Foods food court. I sometimes come here to work during the afternoon, when it's impossible to get stuff done at home. Sabrina is constantly by my side, wanting to go on the computer and mess around. Small wonder—she sees me on it all the time. "The Apple [computer] doesn't fall far from the tree," Dave likes to say.

So, here I am in Whole Foods. A woman's cleaning the tables. She has Down syndrome.

I watch her from behind my computer screen. She's pretty, with short, swingy brown hair, and precise in her movements: tear off two paper towels, fold neatly in half, spritz the table with cleaner, wipe in small circles.

As she sprays and wipes the tables, she is murmuring to herself and smiling. I wonder what she is saying.

I return my eyes to my computer screen, only I do not really see it. Because my mind is racing and I am thinking only about whether this is the sort of job Max might have someday.

This was not my plan for my child. Not that I had a specific plan, but it vaguely included brilliance, a top-notch college and a high-powered job. It did not include cleaning tables, mopping floors, pushing the mail cart around an office or other jobs I have seen people with disabilities doing.

Quit thinking like that, I command myself. How absolutely awful and demeaning to impose your idea of "success" on her. This is her job. It is a respectable job at a nice place. She takes pride in what she's doing.

Oh my God, if you write about this you might tick off the people with disabilities who read your blog. They will think you are slamming them.

But I am not slamming them. This is about a parent's latent grief. This is about letting go.

Seven years after Max's birth, I still mourn the loss of the child I expected, even though I love and adore the child that he is. And I think that is something you can only understand if you are a parent of a child with disabilities, not an adult with disabilities. Seeing an adult who's handicapped is a shock to the system, the same way I feel when the toy catalogs for disabled kids arrive in the mail, or when I am at the play area in the mall surrounded by kids clambering all over things and there's Max, struggling to climb a step. Except that seeing an adult who's disabled is even more unnerving; it is my fear of the future staring me in the face.

I have accepted Max the Child with disabilities; I have not yet come to terms with Max the Adult with disabilities. I will grow into it, I know, in the same way I grew to understand and accept Max's challenges. But right now, it is too difficult for me to grasp. And too painful.

I know that other moms have similar feelings. A reader recently e-mailed me about a friend of hers with a disabled kid who got livid when her son's counselor suggested that he could be a bagger at a supermarket.

I look up again and see her smiling sweetly to herself.

And suddenly, in the middle of Whole Foods food court on a sunny winter afternoon, I am getting choked up.

Crap.

Stop it. Just stop it, I tell myself. You do not know how Max will turn out or what his abilities will be. Who knows what will happen. Whatever he is like, whatever his abilities, he will be OK.

And then, I am calm again.

And she is still cleaning: tear, fold, wipe.

And she is smiling again.

And she seems perfectly content.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Kid goodies giveaway: a DVD that encourages kids to be more helpful



OK, so the kids are not going to start cleaning the house or whipping up dinner after watching this Lend A Helping Hand DVD, but they will get some great food for thought about how to better help others.

Sprout's Band of Bloggers recently sent me the DVD to check out. It has an all-star cast—we're talking Barney, Angelina Ballerina, Bob The Builder, Fireman Sam and Thomas & Friends, and it's hosted by Kelly and Chica from The Sunny Side Up Show. They're part of Sprout's Let's Grow DVD line. The stories are all about what it means to be helpful, caring and a good friend. Sabrina best loves the Angelina Ballerina episode in which Angelina gives away one of her old dolls, then regrets it. Max is fascinated by the Fireman Sam story, which involves chaos surrounding a broken washing machine and lots of helpers. I think the stories have given the kids new perspective; as Sabrina says, "It's good to help other people because...it's good." Hey, we're getting there.

I have two Lend a Helping Hand DVDs to give away. To enter, leave a comment about how your mom taught you to be helpful in this world. One thing my mom used to do when we were out is escort little old ladies across the street; to this day, I do the same. Although once, someone thought I was about to mug her and slammed me with her purse.

Note, you must leave your e-mail address if yours is not visible on your blog.

BONUS ENTRIES: After you leave your main comment, leave a separate comment for each of the following that you have done:
• Follow Sprout on Twitter.
Follow LoveThatMax on Twitter.
Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with your Tweet time stamp (translation for Twitter newbies: click on the time below the Tweet, which shows you the URL). You can use this Tweet: Win the Sprout DVD Lend A Helping Hand, two winners, ends 2/22, http://lovethatmax.blogspot.com
Subscribe to the To The Max feed; you can do that here, or another way, and leave a comment saying how you subscribed.
Follow this blog on Blogger.
• Join the To The Max fan page on Facebook.

This giveaway is open until Monday February 22, 2010, 11:59 p.m. EST, and is for U.S. and Canadian residents. I'll pick the winner via randomizer.org, announce the winner the next day, and alert you by e-mail. Good luck!

Top Mommy Olympics sports



Morning dressing/breakfast/school drive triathlon

Freestyle toddler wrestling

Competitive complaining

Wet bathroom floor luge

Speed poopy-diaper changing

Clutter vaulting

Pediatrician waiting room endurance activity

Synchronized meal prep

No-you-do-it Daddy fencing


Got any to add?


Photo: National Archive/Spaarnestad

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I love Valentine's flowers, but what I love even more is...



These are the beautiful roses Dave sent for Valentine's on Friday. As always, it was thrilling to see the UPS guy standing at the door with the oblong box, exciting to open the box and arrange the flowers, and lovely to read the sweet note that came with them.

Last night, we had Chinese food for dinner and it was the biggest mess because Max decided he wanted to transfer egg drop soup from the plastic container it came in to his purple bowl with his purple plastic spoon and we let him—good use of his hands. Then he picked up the container and tried to slurp the soup from it and we let him—good drinking! The he tried to transfer some mei fun from the container to his purple bowl, and we let him. (Do you see a pattern in our meals?!) So there was a big, soupy, noodle-y mess on the floor and table.

It was getting late and I had to run out to Target and find us a new comforter, since Sabrina had puked all over ours the night before (she had a bug) and it was unsalvageable. "Honey, try to clean up some of the mess, I'll be back in a half hour," I said, and dashed out.

When I came home, it was all cleaned up. All of it. Dave had even put the dishes in the dishwasher instead of leaving them in the sink.

I have to say it, I appreciated that even more than the flowers. Which freaked me a little—am I getting unromantic?! Well, no, I still love and appreciate flowers. But being thoughtful in an everyday way is even more meaningful. As in most households, I'm pretty much the one responsible for keeping it in shape. And when Dave pitches in, well, it's hot.

How about you? Do you love something a little more than flowers? (And remember, guys, this is G-rated blog!)

Friday, February 12, 2010

I love you, Mommy...Always (aka more purple adventures with Max)




One adorable card from Max.


One cool necklace that Sabrina brought home from arts and crafts class. I said, "Oooh, I can't wait to wear it!" She said, "But I want to give it to Amelia!"


One package Max spotted a woman carrying at CVS today. He ran right up to her, gestured at it, gestured at me and said, "Ur-ul!" I knew he meant, "I want to give that to my Mommy for Valentine's Day! It's purple!" because he'd already tossed into the cart one pair of purple reading glasses he'd made me try on and a purple bear that said "I love you!" on its belly. I burst out laughing.The woman didn't seem to know what to make of us.

In other Valentine's news, Candace and Angela each win the pretty necklace from The Vintage Pearl, and Melissa, Skgaff, and Janet "Grammy" Harold win a big gift box of Sweethearts.

Happy Valentine's Day from us to you!

Makes me happy to just look at this



...and I need that happiness because during these last two snow days, the kids have been fighting, pulling hair, hitting and yelling stuff at each other like "AAAAARGH!" (Max) and "I DON'T LIKE YOU ANYMORE!" (Sabrina). Max has one advantage over Sabrina, which is that he can easily grab hold of her hair and prevent her from moving until I pry his fingers off (and he has the world's tightest grip, mostly because of the cerebral palsy but partly, I am sure, because of his determination to exact revenge).

Watching them brings back memories of fighting with my sister and all I can say is, it's a wonder we each still have two eyeballs and all of our teeth.

Dave dug up this photo from the depths of his iPhone, taken when we were at the shore in September. Do you think it would help to print it out and wave it in the kids' faces the next time they are engaged in battle? I am only half-joking here.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

And the winners of the Fannie May gift tower of chocolates are...



Congrats to MOMFOREVERANDEVER and dispatcher_kristy for each winning a True Love Valentine Tower from Fannie May. Enjoy and don't eat it all at once! He, he.

Didn't win? You have until tomorrow to enter for The Vintage Pearl necklace and the gift boxes of Sweethearts.

Play-Doh cupcakes and other snow day fun


The view from our bedroom this afternoon. We haven't had snow like this in seven years, the year I was pregnant with Max. There were a couple of blizzards right around my due date and I kept worrying I wouldn't be able to get to the hospital.


In the morning, the kids decided to make Play-doh cupcakes.


Max insisted on putting his in the oven, then he made me turn on the oven light so he could see what was happening in there. And, yes, it's awesome that he was using both of his hands.


Voila!


After lunch, we ventured outside.


Max loved holding snowballs.


A bunch of teens were hanging out down the street from us, and Max went right up to them like he was one of the gang. A kid let him do a snowboard run.


This tree looked so pretty.


Sabrina's new favorite phrase: "Kiss my butt!" Lovely.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...