Jonathan

Jonny in the middle

Sometimes it’s easy to overlook Jonathan.  Isaac’s the oldest and gets to do everything first.  Ben is special (or exceptional as Bennie would say) and automatically gets so much of our time and attention.  And, at four years old, Jonny is SUCH a middle child.  One of my biggest worries about having a child with special needs is not having enough time or energy to devote to my other kids.  Fortunately, Jonny has a loud voice and a stubborn streak, a (usually) sweet and loving disposition, and a good sense of humor (if you like potty jokes!) so he doesn’t get overlooked for very long.

Sometimes (perhaps foolishly) I let him borrow my digital camera.  I am always interested to see what sorts of things are important to him.

Dad and Ben 1Jonny feetDaddy and Ben 2BerriesBikeSkyBenji

The picture of the lovely blue sky was taken last week after we had almost a week straight of rain.  He took a picture of me too, but 90% of it was occupied by my midsection.  Since this is my blog I reserve the right not to post it!

Starting First Grade

First day of first grade 

Isaac started first grade today!  Doesn’t he look sharp in his crisp new uniform?

Yesterday afternoon we all went to an open house at his school.  He was able to meet his new teacher, drop off his school supplies, get familiar with his new classroom, and hang out briefly with some of his friends.  His new teacher seems like a very nice lady.  (AND she’s a big Lord of the Rings fan!)  There are so many neat things in his classroom: even a calendar to show who lost a tooth in which month.  All the same, Isaac is a little apprehensive about going back to school:

Open house 1 

He’s a good student who behaves very well in school, but let’s face it.  Given the choice, he would much rather stay home and play video games all day.

Jonny and Ben also enjoyed open house.  Jonny took several photos of his own, but that’s for another post.  😉

Open house 2

Here are Isaac and Ben after Isaac got home from school today.  I guess they missed each other.

Home at last

Whatever Works…

Yum! 

This week I’ve been off work yet again.  I’ve been enjoying this time with Mark and the kids, even though we haven’t gone anywhere fancy.  In particular, I got to spend a lot more one-on-one time with Ben.  I am realizing just how much of his daily routine I am missing.  He is continuing to progress – he can sit unassisted for about a minute or two at a time now (but still can’t catch himself if he topples over), and here he is shaking a rattle for the first time (we don’t have too many that his tiny little hand can grasp).  He was so proud of himself!

Ben with rattle 

Here he is playing with a new spinning toy.  He loves it.  He scooted himself up very close to it so he could play with it with both arms:

Ben with spinning toy 

This week I was able to participate in all Ben’s Early Intervention sessions which is a rare treat.  Mark usually tells me what happens in the sessions, and I read most of the little yellow notes that his therapists provide, but it’s not the same.   For me it is so much better when I can be there in person.

One of Ben’s goals with Occupational Therapy is to eventually eat by mouth.  We have been working on this for a year or more, but hit a roadblock of sorts a few months back when Ben rejected having anything placed in or around his mouth.  His OT, however, is so patient and so good with him.  Slowly, she has persuaded him to start taking small tastes of food by mouth again.  This week, I mentioned to her that Ben seemed to tolerate objects (e.g. toothbrush, washcloth, fingers, etc.) in his mouth during bathtime.   So she suggested bringing his bathtub down to the living room to see if he would be more receptive to eating.   “Whatever works,” she said.  She was very patient with him…and he did great!  

So the first and last photos in this post were taken of our oral feeding session last night…in the bathtub, and with his singing flowers that Auntie Dawn gave him for his birthday (he also loves these, thanks, Auntie Dawn!)  Again he did very well; he did not fuss or gag once, and by the end he was smiling and giggling.  I hope we can get back on track with his oral feeds.

“Whatever works” is going to be my new motto!

Ben eating in bathtub

Hamburger Buns and Nectarine Cobbler

Ben at Farm

It’s been quiet around here lately.  I’m off again this week, but mighty disappointed at the cold and rainy weather we’ve been having for the last 3 days.  Why couldn’t it be like that when I was at work last week???

Aliyah returned from Trinidad on Sunday night, and the boys are very happy to have her back.  Isaac is boring entertaining her with his Legend of Zelda music.  He already knows how to play several melodies on the piano, so I’ve officially signed him up for piano lessons.  I hope he enjoys them.

We went to the farm of a friend on Saturday for a party which is where I took these pictures of Mark and the boys.  We saw lots of corn, but no animals.  Isaac wanted to explore the cornfields, but Jonny was having a meltdown…

Mark Isaac Ben

Isaac and Jonny

I decided to try a couple of recipes this last weekend.  First, I made these hamburger rolls which turned out GREAT.  They were very hearty:

Homemade hamburger buns

Then I made a nectarine cobbler which didn’t turn out quite like I expected (this being my first time making cobbler).  The crust puffed up HUGE and somehow swallowed up the nectarines.  It was still quite tasty coupled with vanilla ice cream and Mark’s delicious dulce de leche:

nectarine-cobbler.jpg

Here’s the recipe for the hamburger buns:

Read the rest of this entry »

The Park…and some Cows

Boys on Monkey Bars 

Over the weekend, we took the boys to the park.  Mark went early because he had to attend a soccer coach training session (he will be coaching Isaac’s soccer team this fall).  By the time I got the boys all ready to go, it was after noon!   And it was hot!

Mark and Ben at park 

Isaac didn’t want to go to the park at first, preferring instead to stay home in the air-conditioning and play video games.  But all that changed once he saw the monkey bars.  All three boys had a great time.

Jonny swinging from barsCentral PA cows

There was a herd of cows in a field immediately adjacent to the park.  Our boys have all been born in central PA and have never really seen a cow up close, so we decided to fix that.  (However we didn’t get close enough to be zapped by the electric fence).  While Jonny and Ben were interested, Isaac was summarily unimpressed.  He took one glance and said, “OK, now we’ve seen them.  Can we leave now?”  For a country boy he has no respect for livestock. 

Isaac and Cows

Salt-Crusted Tenderloin and Blueberry Tea Cake

Mark stitches 

My husband Mark and I are big Food Network fans.  One of our favorite shows is “Good Eats”, starring the most awesome cook in the world (in my opinion, anyway), Alton Brown.  Beef tenderloin was on sale at our local butcher shop, so we bought half of one.  Prior to seeing Alton preparing tenderloin on his show, we might never have attempted cooking it for fear of ruining such an expensive cut of meat.

We made Beef Tenderloin in Salt Crust; a great recipe we’d tried once before.  Basically, the tenderloin is surrounded by fresh herbs and wrapped in a crust made of flour, egg white and lots of Kosher salt.  Sounds crazy, but boy is it good!  On the outside, like Alton says,  it looks like an ugly loaf of bread, but the meat inside is to die for.

Tenderloin 1 

We were just getting ready to sit down to dinner.  The only thing left to do was to slice the meat.  Unfortunately, the electric knife jumped out of Mark’s hand, clattered to the floor and sliced his right middle finger in the process.  So dinner was interrupted for a couple of hours.  Three stitches later, Mark is doing just fine.

We finally sat down for dinner, and the meat was moist and flavorful.  And no, we don’t like meat well-done.

Tenderloin 2

Blueberry Tea Cake

We had this Lemon and Blueberry Tea Cake from an Emeril Lagasse recipe afterward.  I was inspired by all the fresh local blueberries for sale in recent weeks.  I am not usually a person who likes fruit-containing desserts, but I thought it was very good, especially when served warm with vanilla ice cream.  I’d better hit the gym every day this coming week!

No Wonder They Like Daddy Better!

No means no 

I recently took the boys grocery shopping at Wal-Mart one evening.  On the way home, Jonny and Isaac kept pestering me over and over to eat snacks (Oreos, Cheese Nips, etc.) in the car.  I told them no because it was after 9 pm.  Still, they persisted.  Finally, fed up with all the whining, I said, “Stop asking!  Mommy is in a ‘no’ mood tonight, OK?”  They thought about that for a moment. 

Finally, Jonny piped up, “Is Daddy in a ‘yes’ mood?”

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