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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Oh, Duck, where's our pictures?

On the last day of Duck's travels (for a couple days at least, then he's off again), he has sent us no pictures at all!  Naughty Duck :p  The kids are kinda disappointed but they made sure to send Duck at least one photo.

Princess Duck decided to help with the chores :)

What do I do with all this extra time?

It feels so weird not to be going to feeding therapy.  We've been going since December, almost three months total.  Most weeks we hit our three times a week goal but there were a few where we did one or two visits instead.  Three visits doesn't seem like much but with travel time and the actual visit it was about two hours per visit.  Six hours a week.  Many times it put us in a time crunch, having to rush home to pick up the Busy Little B and then go right back to the therapy center for his appointment.  I look at my schedule for the rest of the week and it looks so empty :p  It isn't, really, but seeing "feeding therapy" on the list takes a big chunk out of my mental calendar so NOT seeing it?  Frees up all that space in there ;)

This is an excellent problem to have :D

Monday, February 27, 2017

Duck is finally on his way home!

He started out his day still heading south for Texas:

Miss Iz got out one of our ducks and asked me to take a picture of him with her in the background:

And then Duck was on radio silence for the rest of the day!  He reached Texas and then had to wait a bit to see if he was being sent to Louisiana or heading back north to North Dakota.  If he was sent to North Dakota, we'd get to see him at least overnight.  We finally got the word that he was heading back north :)  He's in Oklahoma right now, enjoying Steak N Shake (we are very jealous--we don't have that where we live!) and his big comfy hotel room :p

One of our favorite apps

One of our current favorite apps is called Our Home

We were searching for a good, free app that we could use to keep track of points.  At home we have been using either a whiteboard or a paper chart but if points were earned outside of the house, we would often forget to add them at home.  Plus, the motivation isn't quite the same when you hear "when we got home" versus "here's your point!".  S found this one in the app store and thought it looked like just what we needed and he was right!  At 11 he's starting to take more responsibility around the house and for himself so he has the app on "his" phone (my old phone loaded with some games he doesn't want his siblings interfering with) as well as mine so as he completes tasks, he can check them off.  He also sometimes checks off his siblings tasks.  We use it to track chores as well as random good behavior points (positive reinforcement--Miss Iz is still bragging about the three points she earned at PlayLand for being a great big sister to Baby W and Colby).  They can use those points for prizes at different levels.  Miss Iz likes to hoard her points because just having them makes her happy.  S likes to turn them into money.  My Busy Little B just wants toys.

The kids were really excited about setting up the app because you can assign a different animal to each person and then choose a color.  Miss Iz insisted everyone get an animal and a color, even Baby W--she absolutely loves clicking off his chores when he does them (he puts away his own shoes, puts laundry in the dirty clothes basket, and is very quick to pick up liquid medicine syringes if they fall on the floor).  I'm pretty sure she's more invested in him earning points than in her own.

I really like the fact that I can customize the task list.  They have preset chores listed but I can input my own to tailor the lists to our needs.  Tasks can be set as a one time thing or on a schedule.  I use the scheduling tool for S because as the oldest, he has a set list of things he does everyday and then "extra" things he can do if he wants to earn more points.  I tend to add things as we go for the younger kids because while they often do the same chores as part of their routine, their age and attention spans and need to randomly nap sometimes interfere with chore time ;) The only complaint I have (and complaint is too strong a word--its more of a minor inconvenience) is that when I am adding a new task and start to type in a chore, the app's suggestion list only has their preset tasks.  No matter how many times I add the exact same custom chore, it never pops up in the suggestion list so I have to type it in full every time.  Like I said, a minor inconvenience but it sure would make me smile if in a future update, it saves and suggests my frequently used custom labels!  I tried just using the present label that was closest to what I wanted done but my kids tend to be extremely literal and it threw them off to have the chore listed as different from what it was supposed to be.  So I'll continue to type them out every time.

So far, I only use it for kid chores but it has more features (tasks around the house, groceries, etc) that look useful and I'm hoping to slowly incorporate them into my organizational arsenal.  My schedule can be so hectic and I rely on various apps a lot to keep track of things so it would be nice if I could consolidate all those different tasks and apps into one!

And in case you are wondering, this is not sponsored, I have not been asked to review the app.  I doubt they have any idea who I am ;)  But it has been so useful to us and we like it so much, I thought I'd write about it! 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

We are starting to think poor Duck will never make it back home!

Duck started was working his way north today so he could meet up with yet another Big Truck so he could turn right back around and head for Texas again.  When the kids woke up, Duck still hadn't sent a picture so they sent him one:

Introducing Adventure Duck!  He has a little compass so we figure he's an outdoor enthusiast, hiking through the woods and bird watching or something :)  He decided to help made a Duck Adventures post ;)

Duck sent us a picture back that he had reached the Missouri state line.  My Busy Little B was so excited about this picture--he certainly does not take after me.  He loves bridges, I, however, do not!

Our next picture came from Army Duck.  Baby W fell asleep on my lap and I think Army Duck got confused--he thinks he was storming the mountain but it was just W's head ;)

Duck finally met up with the Big Truck in Percival, Iowa and then it was time to head back to Texas!  They made it into Missouri and are hoping to hit Texas tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Miss Iz had a dinner date with Adventure Duck :)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Kid Adventures got a snowy day!

After those gorgeous couple of days we had where we didn't even need a coat, the cold and snow came back :p

The next day we had a delay in school start times so everyone got to come along to Miss Iz's appointment.  It sure was cold when we went out to the truck!

And of course when Duck saw the ice and frost and snow Army Duck was dealing with, he sent us a picture of his weather:

Oklahoma was warm with blue skies and sunshine.

After Miss Iz's appointment we came outside to some sunshine of our own but we couldn't compete with the warmth of Oklahoma :P

At least we didn't get as much snow as they initially predicted!  The 7-14 inches ended up only being a couple of inches

Duck, though, couldn't help himself and rubbed it in he had the better weather ;)

Who knew Sam's Club hot dogs were so exciting?

My kids all love going to Sam's Club.  Why?  SAMPLES!!!!  They were quite disappointed the other day that not one single sample was in sight.  Because they were on holiday at school, we went during the day in the middle of the week instead of the usual weekend trip (technically my trips are usually in the middle of the week when I only have one kid underfoot but when they go with me, its typically on a weekend when there are samples everywhere).  The disappointment of not getting to try food they will love in the store but refuse to eat at home was short lived, however, since I let them visit the deli for a hot dog before we left :D  Pretty sure I will never be as excited about a Sam's Club hot dog as Baby W, though!

My kids had another big disappointment when we left, though :(  They love to hand our receipt to the door checker and usually the checker puts a big smiley face on the receipt (one guy even put glasses on the smiley face the day Miss Iz was wearing her glasses!  I could have kissed him because its a fight to get her to wear them and she thought it was so cool he liked her glasses enough to draw them).  THEY LOVE IT! But they've been told they can't do anything but mark off the receipt so no more smiley faces :(  I'm sure there is a reason that makes a lot of sense to the powers that be but my kids sure will miss one of their favorite rituals :\

Friday, February 24, 2017

More Duck and Kid Adventures!

Compared to the last few days of Duck and Kid Adventures, today was boring!  Duck did what he does everyday--be on the road.  The Kid Adventures Army Duck helped with groceries ;)

Duck traveled from Nebraska to Missouri today.  Only one picture, though, from a rest stop about 35 miles from Kansas City.

Here at home, we had back to back to back appointments, a trip to the medical supply store for more thickener and then loading up on supplies for the upcoming weekend before the storm hits (boo! snow!).

Who wants another specialist?

We thought Baby W's ears and sinuses were finally clear back before his MRI--then the MRI itself showed he still had fluid in the ears and mucous in his sinuses but he didn't appear to be ill so it was a wait and see game.  He developed a really minor sniffly nose.  We were waiting it out, seeing if it would develop into something more, hoping it would clear up so we could finally go and get the vaccines we've been putting off due to illness since December.  I thought that this was our week!  We'd pop in, get shots, be done with it!  And, then Baby W started going off food and drink, being extra fussy and clingy, not sleeping well, and then telling me his ears were an "owie".  *sigh*

Sure enough, an early morning run to the pediatrician shows that we have yet another infection.  Antibiotic four.  At least another two week delay in vaccinations (if he's even well by the recheck!).  We now have a referral to ENT and an appointment set up with them for a week away.  My Busy Little B could not keep the fluid out of his ears either and had to get tubes when he was three (the Year of Surgery--2012 saw all the kids having surgery of one kind or another!).  I don't know if this is the route W will  have to go down as well but I sure do hope the ENT can at least help us finally beat all these infections! 

Waiting rooms are no longer fun

For the longest time, W slept away our time in various waiting rooms.  Then, he was more alert and people watched.  Then, he was active and walked and explored--everything was new and exciting and he loved being in waiting rooms.  Now, though?  The bloom has worn off and he finds all the waiting rooms we are stuck in just plain boring and he is always on the lookout for something new and fun.  A few days ago, he discovered one of the waiting rooms installed a plant!  Its a fake bamboo with fake dirt and some rocks scattered on top of the fake dirt.  The rest of us barely gave a thought to it but Baby W turned it into twenty minutes of entertainment!  He examined the rocks, felt them, showed them to me, dropped them back into the pot to hear them click against each other, banged them together, and shouted "ROCK" whenever one of the ladies behind the front desk looked over at him (and I then heard smothered laughter from their area, every time).

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Adventures of Duck, Trip Three Day Three

Duck was up early again and on his way!

They crossed into Texas today which means Duck drops off the building and heads north again.

Time to head back north!

Miss Iz found some more of our ducks (Princess Duck and a second Army Duck) and had grand plans to bring them along on our own Kid Adventures today but then she forget them at home :P

But that's okay because original Army Duck was already hanging out in the truck

We went to a kid's STEM exhibit at the museum today and much fun was had by all :)  Army Duck ended up staying in S's pocket because all of them were too busy having fun to get him out and take pictures with him ;)

Duck made it to Nebraska to spend the night.  Unfortunately, he doesn't get any time at home this trip--he won't even come close to us!  He met another big truck driver in Nebraska and in the morning they head south to Texas again with another building.  If their travel permits keep them on the interstate, the big truck doesn't need the escort so the building came down the first two days of the trip alone to meet up with Mr. Piper and Duck to get the building down south faster.  Tomorrow they will have parts of the trip off the interstate, though, so the timing is right for the big truck to meet up with the pilot truck ;)

What happens when you finally get some decent weather?

You run for it and find something outdoorsy to do!  We've had a patch of warmer weather but with all the snow and ice melting, it has been far too muddy to do much of anything outside.  We decided to drop by the zoo and take advantage of their non-muddy and non-flooded paths ;)  It was warm enough to be out but not warm enough to be out for long but the kids didn't care--we told them we'd come back when it was warmer to see more and would just do a small loop that day.  They were so excited just to be there that they didn't even put up a fight about leaving after half an hour :)

First stop was the Dwarf Mongoose.  The kids thought they were so small and adorable.  Mr. Piper and I couldn't stop asking each other "Are them mongooses?"  (Have you seen the Snoop Dogg video narrating the Mongoose/crocodile encounter?  It is my favorite and no matter how many times I see it, I laugh and laugh and laugh.....).

Baby W's favorite was the tiger.  It was very active and vocalizing and W insisted we go back to look at him again before we left.

There is a buffalo farm (ranch?) a few miles from us but its hard to see them clearly driving past so the kids were pretty excited that we were able to get up close to a small herd:

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Adventures of Duck, Trip Three Day Two

Duck started his day much earlier than we did!  Because school is on holiday, we slept in (sort of.  These kids don't actually sleep in but they did watch cartoons so mom didn't have to get out of bed so early so.....).  Duck, however, was up before the sun and on his way!

Baby W had physical therapy at home so Duck had time to send us a few pictures on the road before we got going ourselves.

The kids decided today was a perfect day to send Dad their own Duck photos so Army Duck came along.

It was a beautiful day so we took Army Duck to the zoo! Because the tiger was Baby W's favorite last time, we went to see him first and Iz held Army Duck so he could get his picture taken with the tiger (basking in the sun in the background):

Our next big stop was the farm where Baby W discovered another favorite--the red pandas.  They were really active so he really enjoyed watching them :)

Miss Iz was fascinated by the porcupine:

All the Big Kids decided to show Army Duck they are family so they hatched from an egg with him ;)

The goats were fun to watch--one kept putting his head through the "window".  The kids fed him some treats and we petted him and even after we ran out of treats, he kept pushing his face to the window and enjoying some ear scratches.

A lot of the animals were off exhibit because even though it was a nice day, it wasn't nice enough for them yet.  But some had their winter quarters open so we could still go in and see them.  This tortoise was on the move while we were there and he moved a lot faster than I thought he would!

The giraffes were outside in their winter pens enjoying the sunshine.  I'll bet they'll be glad to move back to the big Savannah area when the warmth comes back, though :)

Another exhibit we spent a long time at because Baby W loved it was the meerkats :)  They were all over the place and made him laugh with their running and jumping and wrestling.

And of course my Busy Little B couldn't resist a silly pose :)

Baby W spent most of the trip in his stroller--he can walk a good distance but we covered over three miles and that is too much for him :p  He spent a good portion of the ride like this:

It look so uncomfortable to me!  But he used to sit in his high chair with at least one leg up on the tray.  His OT thinks it might be because his hip flexors are tight and so holding his legs down and together to sit properly might not feel the best.  We have been working on stretching and aligning his hips and he rarely puts his foot up on the high chair tray anymore but I guess he needed those feet up for his long ride.