Saturday, July 31, 2010


We unleashed Parker (literally) for the first time at the baseball field last night.  Typically, he's only been off leash in the dog run, but he's pretty obedient and Dave has been itching to play fetch in a big field :)  We made sure that there were no dogs, squirrels, or people around, and then the playing began:

Parker sits and waits . . .
And then he runs like the wind . . .

                                And pounces . . .


Other times were not as successful, as Dave had to lead Parker to the ball . . .

Or just give up on Parker entirely, and fetch the ball himself . . .

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Snack Trap

The other day we went out for a walk and I gave Maya some cheerios in a snack trap.  A snack trap!  I wanted to shout to passersby (seriously, did you know that was the plural of passerby?) :  "Hey!  Look at my kid!  She can eat cheerios all by herself!  So shut it!"

 (Why did anyone have to "shut it"?  I have no idea.  But in my head, I was celebrating and needlessly trash talking at the same time.)

I was so excited that I stopped to take a picture:

And then the celebration ended, as she shoved 28 cheerios into her mouth and panicked (which I also captured in a photo):

I knelt next to her (taking deep breaths) and waited as she scraped out a few with her fingers, swallowed a few whole, and managed to chew one or two.

That was the end of our (very short) time with the snack trap.  (In all seriousness, after talking with the OT and the feeding therapist, they think that she doesn't have the fine motor skills to pick up only a few pieces to eat at a time.  Most toddlers either have the motor skills to put a few in their mouth at a time, or the oral motor skills that let them compensate if they shove too much in at once.  She doesn't have either, so we need to help her by giving her a few pieces at a time.)

Tomorrow is Dave's last day of summer school, and Maya can't wait to have him home for a month :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The weather outside was frightful*

So, we stayed inside this afternoon and frolicked in the living room, while the rain poured down outside.

First, it was time for arts and crafts . . . our first ever try at having Maya sit at her art table (a hand-me-down---many thanks!).  How adorable is she, with her little feet dangling in the air?


(Yes, she has bells around her ankle.  How else would we know where she is?  . . . Ok, kidding, I put them on when we were playing with her music toys and then she got mad when Dave tried to take them off.  So we had to listen to jinglejanglejinglejanglejinglejangle for longer then anyone human should have to outside of December.)

I told Maya that art means you have to put the colors on the paper.  She went with the literal interpretation, and spent most of art time putting all of the crayons onto the sheet of paper, then dumping them off, then putting them back on, etc. 

After art time, it was time to play with Parker, and the tunnel.  Parker is looking---um---rather big these days.

                                                                                   "Parker? Is that you ? When did you get
                                                                                        so big?!"

So Parker has played with & done some training with the tunnel, and Maya has played with the tunnel, but this was the first time they played with it together.  We had a fun time, especially around 1:25 :)

(Try to overlook my attire, as I was wearing an old, large t-shirt of Dave's to cook in, which just stuck around for our lazy afternoon)

I just paused while typing this when I looked up and saw:

Clearly, Parker wants more tunnel action :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Date night & change of (email) address

Last night my wonderful husband set up a date night for us!  (Thanks to his parents for babysitting Miss Maya & making it possible.)  We headed out to the Melting Pot, which is an old favorite of mine (I first encountered it when I was living down in Baltimore).  I love interactive food, I love long, multi-course meals, I love being out and relaxed :)

(FYI, that's a wine flight in front of me---3 smaller tasting glasses of wine.  Although I like to cut loose, I don't sit down for dinner and order wine 3 glasses at a time.)

Also, I changed our contact information . . . we now have a brand new fancy blog email address.  You can contact us at: :)  Please contact us.  Let me know your thoughts, comments, questions, etc.  Some bloggers do occasional posts where they answer reader's questions, but I have no questions to answer.  I know you people are out there, feel free to shout us out.

Oh, and there are also all of these buttons underneath the posts.  They're supposed to make it easier to spread the word and share posts that you enjoyed.  Do you have friends with a child with special needs, or someone losing their hair, or you just think we're so fab you want the world to know?  Then use one of the buttons and spread the love.

(I think the buttons would be particularly helpful to share a post that you found to be amusing, like this one, which is the blog's most popular page to date!)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Maya's got the munchies

Well, ladies & gentlemen, Maya is now nearly 26 months old and we are seeing a lot of feeding progress :)  One of the crazy things about working with her is that she goes from not doing something (for months and months) to suddenly just doing it.  So for month, we work on chewing, work on chewing, and not much happens . . . but within the last month or so she's an eating champ.

Some things she's tried:  blueberries, bananas, peaches, strawberries, cereal bars (loves them!!!), cheerios, scrambled eggs (not a fan), cheese, pancakes (her daily breakfast), lasagna, cheeseburger, toast, crackers, graham cracker, goldfish, bbq beef, crab cakes, mashed potatoes, ice cream. 

And I'm probably forgetting things.


I've been a little down this week, a lot going on in my head, and a lot of hair falling off of it---ba dum ching! (um, that's how google told me to spell a snare-cymbal combo---not so sure about it)   We're kind of not making a lot of progress in a lot of areas (physically, for one.  Come on, Maya, you can stand up---stop being afraid and go for it!) . . . but the feeding stuff is great.  Finally, progress :)

And here's a video clip from the park this morning (if you're a fan on Facebook, you got an early peek at the video this afternoon!  You should all join our FB page for sneak peeks and bonus chats!).  Check out Maya chowing down on Cheerios:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Look away--I'm hideous!

(title ring a bell?  You may remember it from here.)

(Warning: This post is continuing a series on my hair loss.  It's not really funny or witty.  If you want to be amused, go here instead.)

The time has come for a hair update.  I returned to the dermatogist on Monday morning (thanks to Dave's mom for babysitting) and the news is not so great.   While the prednisone slowed my hair loss to a near halt, you can't stay on it forever (it can actually have some pretty nasty side effects).  So about 2 weeks after ending the medication, I noticed handfuls of hair shedding again, and thinning/bald spots on the top.  (Side note: The doc said that the side and back of my head still have "really thick hair" . . . maybe I can invent some sort of crazy comb-over situation?)
On Monday I had another round of cortisone shots (I couldn't count, but I would guess between 50-70).  Also, she suggested I try out Rogaine (and stay tuned for next week, when I join Hair Club for Men).  I bought the Rogaine but haven't tried it yet. 
Seriously, these pics aren't pretty, but if you're interested, here you go:
Eyeing a sprout (or spout?) of new growth up top.  (Dave thinks the still-unfilled frames in the bathroom are the funniest part of the picture.)

The way I used to part my hair---most of the loss has edges around this partline now

Um, scary

On the upside, the new hair growing in is coming in nicely (this big dark patch in the middle is all new).  On the downside, the new hair is only about an inch long.  If all of the hair on the crown of my head falls out I will have the world's most ridiculous mullet.

This is the new way to part my hair, with less bald areas showing:

And there you have it, folks.  As you can see in the zoomed out pics, I still have hair.  As you can see in the close ups, I'm losing a lot.  I shed some tears about it again this week, but I feel better now.

I think that when you're afraid of something (like losing all of your hair) it's easy to stress about it constantly and let the fear live in some part of you.  I learned a while back that you have to "confront the brutal truths" and still "maintain absolute faith"  (I apologize if I'm messing that up).  So, pictures taken and examined= brutal truth confronted.  And now it's time to move on again, and try to laugh as I move through my day, picking the constantly dropping hairs from my shoulders, clothes, etc etc.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

"Ma'am, can I see your ID? . . . Oh, come now, you must be joking"

Let me start by saying that if you've ever been embarassed to show someone your driver's license photo, then this post will make you think "Alright, at least mine isn't that bad."

If you're a fan of the blog on Facebook, you would have seen that a few weeks ago I said "Spent the morning getting Maya a non-driver ID at the DMV. Imagine trying to get a DMV picture of a 2 year old---not pretty. And probably literally not pretty, either (we'll see when the ID arrives)."

Well folks, without further ado I present to you . . .  Maya's (non-driver) license:

This is the awesomest ID of all time, for the following reasons:

1.  The picture is spec.tac.u.lar.  It kind of looks like she is recoiling at the sight of the DMV employees.  "No!  Get back!  Stay away from me, you unhelpful DMV people!  I am obviously too cute for this place and I've got to get out of here!"  (The poor kid was being held up by Dave--that's his hand in the lower left corner---legs dangling, suspended in space.  She clearly had no idea what was happening, and this was photo attempt #3.  That's right, it took 3 tries to get a picture as good as this one.)

2.  Please notice the gigantic, bold, red "UNDER 21" next to her picture.  The next time I get carded buying beer at the grocery store (that happens all the time, since I obviously look so young) I'm totally using this ID.  I would love to watch the chaos that unfolds as the 16 year old cashier tries to wrap her head around the situation.  (Seriously, if there is anyone selling alcohol or cigarettes, or monitoring admission into bars and casinos, who might think that the girl in that picture could possibly be 21, their responsibilities should be immediately revoked.)

3.  I had to write "Not able to sign" where her signature should be.  I really really wanted to give her a fat toddler crayon and have her scribble, but the DMV lady didn't look like she had a sense of humor.  And I think that if you mess with them, they "lose" your paperwork real quick.

4.  This ID is good until she is 7.  7!  I really feel for her if we're going through airport security when she's, say, 6 years old, and has to show this ID to security.  

Just an added bonus here, but when I uploaded this picture and showed Dave we had an extra laugh when we realized that my painter's tape (used to cover sensitive info) has left the phrase "Ass ID" at the top.  (Totally an unplanned accident!)  Yeah, that seems about right.

(PS: If you haven't already, check out the Facebook page!  You don't even have to be on Facebook---you can still view the page (with extra pictures and stories).  If you're a member of Facebook, go ahead and click like.  You know you want to.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Whistle while you work*

I'm working on something . . .a little essay of sorts.  I've been rolling it around in my head for, oh, 6 months or so . . . that's about the time that it takes for me to plant an idea.  Starting jotting down my thoughts yesterday, so it should probably show up here in a month or so :)  Ok, probably sooner, but that's where my "blogging" time has been disappearing to . . . I haven't forgotten, I've just been laying a foundation.

Here are some random pictures from July:

Maya loves Stew Leonard's.  We've been heading there since she was 2 weeks old (when she went in the Ergo, a la the pics at the bottom of this thread) and we call it "Uncle Stew's".  For those of you not in the tri-state area, it's a specialty store and they even have a little farm in the back (where this pic is).  Lots of samples, robotic animals----what's not to love?

We stumble into good times wherever we go . . . here, we were walking in Central Park to kill some time before feeding therapy.  We saw some kids singing on a blanket and were watching from a distance when the leader of the party called "Hey, we're having a free music class, would you like to join us?"   Before I had time to think about it, Dave was halfway across the field to her.  Maya must think the world is a party :)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Success! (and a near fail)

Parker's evaluation today went fabulously :)  He was his typical adorable self, friendly (but not too friendly), obedient, and polite.  He made it into the therapy dog program and did so well that we get to skip the first half of the classes (level 1 is "Basic Obedience", level 2 is "Therapy Skills")---way to save us some cash, Parker!  We'll start the therapy skills class in September, and once he completes the 5 sessions we'll be a certified therapy dog team.  We'll volunteer one hour per month, and more details will come as I learn more about the program.

Speaking of therapy, Dave almost undid months of feeding therapy in 30 seconds the other night, by attempting to feed Maya a spoonful of blue cheese (which would have probably induced vomiting and caused mistrust of all-things-that-come-on-a-spoon):

The picture is a little hard to make out---Dave and I were eating really hot wings (yum).  He was simultaneously feeding Maya some jarred baby food, and the multitasking proved to be too difficult . . . luckily, when he dipped her baby spoon into the blue cheese we both realized it (and burst out laughing) before she got a taste.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Parker has an evaluation tomorrow!

I'm beat and don't have much of an update in me . . . but my mom now has a working laptop in the hospital, and I don't want to hear any crap from her about not updating, so here you go: (Love you, mom!  Keep feeling better :) )

Tomorrow afternoon at 1:45 (send us good vibes) Parker & I will be meeting with a dog trainer for a large therapy dog organization in the greater NYC area :) 

His temperament & basic obedience will be evaluated to see if he would make a good therapy dog, and if we're a good team. (I think we are.)  If he passes we'll find out about attending the therapy dog classes, and what the therapy dog commitment would be (if seems like it will be an hour per month of volunteer work). 

We took him to IKEA with us today, here are 2 pictures:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Magnetic chalkboard wall, part 1.5

It's part 1.5 because I haven't actually done anything else.  It's too hot to add paint fumes to the air, and I've been busy with other stuff.  Maya, however, was shocked to see the changes that had transpired during Monday's nap:

What the heck is this?!

And tape?!  On the wall?!  Oh no, mommy.  Let me just take this down for you.

One of the errands that I ran yesterday was to pick up Parker's monthly flea/tick prevention medicine.  I didn't want to walk him to the vet in the heat, so I had to weigh him at home.  I nearly fell over trying to get on the scale.

Hmm, I think he's grown a bit since we got him---what do you think?
4/23: 21.8 lbs                                                              7/6: 44 lbs!

Finally, and most importantly, my mom had surgery today.  If you have any good thoughts/prayers/vibes to spare, please send them her way.  Best wishes for a quick and speedy recovery, mom!  I know that if you end up getting internet in the hospital, you'll stop by here!

Monday, July 5, 2010

How to make a magnetic chalkboard wall (pt 1)

I've decided to try out using a picture communication system with Maya.  She understands so much of what we're saying (that's called "receptive language"----hers is very good---vs. "expressive language", which is the ability to talk and express yourself---she has none), but she can't really tell us anything (except for some signs, pointed glances, making noises, etc.).  I want to give her the ability to communicate with us, and using pictures (which can be pointed to, lined up to create schedules, handed over like trading cards, etc) works really well for a lot of families.

So I printed little picture cards (here are some examples) and laminated them----but Maya likes playing with the cards so much that I don't think she's understanding the point of them.  My sister said that we could buy magnetic paper and print the pictures on that---then use them on a magnetic wall----sounded good to me!  So off we went to Home Depot, where we got the supplies.  Phase one was completed today.  This is a super simple project, and you can easily do it at home. 

What you need: small paint roller with roller pad, Rustoleum magnetic primer, Rustoleum chalkboard paint, a small paintbrush (for edges and corners), painter's tape (I like the thick kind), a paint tray (if you don't have a paint tray, you can cut off the bottom of a cardboard box and cover it with aluminum foil)

Side note on painitng & aluminum foil: Foil is the best painter's tool ever.  I always have a sheet on the floor to put my paint can on, and an extra sheet for wet brushes, etc.  It makes clean up really easy.

What to do:
1. Tape off the area to paint.
(This is the larger wall I'm painting)

2. Paint a zillion coats of the magnetic primer.  Try to look stylish in case someone comes along to take your picture.
(This is the smaller wall I'm painting)

3.  Um, that's as far as I've gotten :) 

Actually, at this point if you wanted your newly magnetic wall/door to blend in, you could cover it with any normal paint you wanted.   Rustoleum also makes "White Board Paint" too---so you could cover the magnetic base with that and then have a wall that you can use wipe-off dry erase markers on! 

Tomorrow (or tonight) I'll be coating ours with chalkboard paint so that we can draw on it, too.  I'll let you all know how it works out.

Oh, and here's my favorite 4th of July pic---Maya & my mom hanging out and giggling on the steps in NJ:

Actually, I had one other 4th of July pic that I really liked---I posted it up on the FB fan page---check it out, and "like" us (officially) while you're at it!

Friday, July 2, 2010


We kept her rear-facing for as long as we could, but the child is just too tall!  Here, Maya gets her first forward-facing car ride . . . I think she likes it :)

(As always, if you only see a white area with a "play" button underneath it, click the play button and the video will start)

Also, don't forget to check out the post below and "Like" us on FB---we've only been there one day and have 65 fans!  

Thursday, July 1, 2010

You know you're a fan. Let's make if Facebook official :)

Alright, everybody, LISTEN UP!

We've started a "Fan Page" on Facebook for the blog.  It's called "Uncommon Sense Blog" and you can become a fan just by clicking on that little button on the upper right side of this page.

Why become a fan?  Here's the thing . . .  it takes some time to put a blog post together.  I have to upload pictures, weed through them, upload them to blogger and move them around.  Then type something up, hopefully something entertaining, and post.

Facebook updates?  They take no time at all.  A few seconds, maybe.  The storage space for pictures is unlimited, so I can upload a lot more stuff (and faster, too!).  Random silly stuff happens to us all the time, and Dave says "You should blog about that!" but I never have time, or it wouldn't make for a full posting . . . this is the stuff that I'll throw up on the fan page.

-There is a mockingbird a few blocks away who sings a car alarm, like the full sequence.  It's awesome.
-Dave wore his shorts inside out to the park today, and then took 7 minutes to fold (and refold, and refold) our picnic blanket that zips up, causing me to laugh so hard that I fell over (literally)
-We may have broken up a marriage by misdialing a phone number 2 days ago (longish story)

Plus, maybe we'll have some heated debates about things----I'm going to start collecting cans and bottles from around the 'dale to start cashing in for $?  Any feelings about that?  Think I'm turning into a bag lady (or a genius?)?   All this and more will be on the FB fan page.

Dave says that I can't get out of the blogging cage until I get some serious fans, so please start "liking" us.  You know, officially. 

In other news, Parker has added this chair to his repetoire of favorite places to sit.  I can't wait until he starts falling out of it . . . which, from the looks of things, should be any day now:

Oh, Maya's making such great progress in feeding therapy that we're now having her eat dog food:

(Actually, the pic on the left was a training excerise to have Parker learn that if Maya wasnts to play with his food that's too bad for him, and he needs to back off and wait.  And the pic on the right?  Well, what can I say.  (Ok, for real, the bag was closed---it was just a funny picture---don't send hate mail!))