Friday, April 4, 2014

Pinewood Derby Car: Swiss Army Knife {Cub Scouts}

Pinewood Derby Swiss Army Knife by MomsGonnaSnap
Last week I shared Anthony’s Pinewood Derby car for this year:

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Now it’s time to share handy hubby’s car! Yes, he made a Pinewood Derby car. Some of the scout dads were together one night and decided it would be fun. They would all make them and race against each other. Turns out, it was all talk. Handy hubby was the only dad to build one!

The boys painted their cars together. Hubby is clearly working hard!

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After the first coat of paint… You can see he made the standard Swiss Army Knife components - scissors, a knife blade and a screwdriver.

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It’s all in the details! Hubby added a little key ring loop, built a teeny tiny wooden tweezers (the gray piece showing in the lower right corner) and a toothpick (goes in on the other side)

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My hubby is super creative, right?!?

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Here’s the end where both the tweezers and the toothpick go in.

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They had a great time working on their derby cars together! I wonder what ideas they will have next year?

Monday, March 31, 2014

A Month in Photos {February 2014}

2014 February b
February brought more snow and more cold. This has been the winter that will not end!
School Carnival
Blue and Gold Banquet for Cub Scouts
Hubby’s Half-Marathon
Friends over to play
Polar Cub Camp
Snow days
Birthday Parties for Friends

Want to see more pictures? You can find me on Instagram here.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Minecraft Sword Pinewood Derby Car {Cub Scouts}

Pinewood Derby Minecraft Sword by MomsGonnaSnap
Anthony loves to come up with unique Pinewood Derby cards. He often has really grand ideas (like a fire breathing dragon!) and this year he changed his mind a few times before deciding to build a Minecraft Sword car.

Handy hubby always lets Anthony draw a picture of his car and then does his best to cut out the design. The sword worked out pretty good!

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Anthony chose the colors, and he was very specific about which colors to use. Hubby used a spray primer (that’s the gray) to give the craft paint something to stick to, and then we let Anthony just start painting.
He’s in his PJ’s, which is why he’s not wearing a shirt…

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The car is upside down in the photo below. Anthony wanted to paint both sides. You can see the lines where the wheel axles (nails) will go.

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Just a little bit of paint…

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Ready for race day! The boys went to the post office to weigh Anthony’s car so they could determine how much weight to add to the bottom. You can just barely see the weights in the photo below.

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Here are the weights on the bottom. They also drilled a hole through the end of the sword handle and slid some round weights in there too.

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More to come about race day!

Here are Anthony’s previous Pinewood Derby cars: last year’s Batmobile and from the year before

Friday, March 28, 2014

He’s still running! {half-marathon}

A couple years ago handy hubby started running. Initially it was for exercise and to drop a few pounds, but as it turns out, he actually seems to enjoy running!  His last big race was Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth last June, but he has continued to run and has maintained his ability to run pretty solid distances. Since he is able to head out each week on approx 10 mile runs, it didn’t seem to take much training for him to run another half-marathon. I know, I know, easy for me to say – I typically sleep in while he runs! In any case, I’m super proud of him for his dedication to running and continuing to push himself to stay in such great shape!

It was a SUPER cold day (maybe a high of 8 degrees?) so there was no way I was going to take Anthony, find a place to park, walk to the finish line and stand around waiting with him. Sorry, hubby, we didn't see the race finale, but we did our best to support you! Before the race I had checked out the route and figured out a few good locations to be waiting to cheer him on. The first stop was in a park, about 1.5 miles into the race. We were able to cheer for him and we didn’t even have to get out of the car! Perfect!

He’s the guy in the neon yellow jacket with the black pants with a white stripe – near the center of the picture below.

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We were cheering as loud as the two of us could – he obviously heard us!

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Hubby knew we were planning to be at two locations, so we surprised him with a 3rd location in-between when he was expecting us. I believe this location was 3-4 miles into the race. Anthony thought the swing would be a good spot to wait, but then he decided the swing was too cold. It was FREEZING cold!!

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Here he comes!

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There were a few other people watching the race by us and everyone clapped and cheered for every runner. Of course that got Anthony cheering too! 

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High fives for dad!

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Anthony really wanted to join him, but hubby was running too fast at this point!

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There he goes!

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This was taken at our last stop – Anthony was able to run along with him for a little bit!

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Definitely a blurry pic, but I had to include it to show hubby’s eye-lashes and the ear-cycle hanging by his left ear - BRRR!!!

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Almost to the finish line - about 1.5 miles to go!

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At this point, the next big race he’s registered for is the Tough Mudder this summer. Until then, he is continuing to run during this freezing cold winter we have been experiencing. Run hubby run!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

It’s not “just” ADHD


When I started this blog it was a place for me to share what’s going on in our lives. Fun family activities, changes we are making to personalize our home, etc. As of late, I have been pretty quiet. For several reasons, really. Partially because our lives have been pretty busy, despite our attempts to simplify. We really haven’t been working on home improvement projects, or taking off on lots of family adventures. We have mostly just been spending as much quiet time at home as a family as we can and focusing on Anthony.

I have been debating whether or not to write about this for a long time, since I really don’t feel like it’s totally my story to tell. However, after what we have learned this past year, I decided I should definitely use my blog as a platform to share with, and educate, our family and friends.

Around this time last year, Anthony was diagnosed with ADHD. Now, if I’m totally honest, I really didn’t see it coming. Which I have to admit is pretty embarrassing, considering I have worked in the field of special education for 12+ years, and have had a variety of experiences working with children with ADHD.

Pre-diagnosis, Anthony had been demonstrating some pretty challenging behaviors, and with my experience in special education, we were able to try lots of different strategies to support his behavior at home. For the most part, the attempts were unsuccessful. School was experiencing challenges too, but had not suggested the idea of ADHD to us. We began working regularly with a Child Psychologist and one day she said, “Have you thought about attention?” and my immediate response was no, definitely no concerns about attention. He can focus on all kinds of things - Like reading! The boy can read like no other. Then a few weeks later, when meeting with another specialist, she said, “What about attention?” Again, my thought was no, absolutely not. It couldn’t be, right?

Well, immediately after that appointment, I took Anthony to a nearby pizza place for lunch. We sat near the window and during that meal, something just clicked. I realized that Anthony couldn’t sit in his chair to eat his pizza. He was on his knees, half laying on the table, climbing in the window sill, standing on the floor, etc. He was all over the place! This particular pizza place also has a few TV’s up in the corners near the ceiling, and when Anthony pointed at a big picture hanging on the wall, in the middle of all of the activity of falling off his chair, and asked, “What’s wrong with that TV?”, I just knew. It was attention. Once it clicked, I could see it in every single routine at home. Getting ready to go somewhere, mealtimes, getting ready for bed, etc. It was so incredibly obvious - I couldn't believe I hadn't noticed it before.

My initial response to the diagnosis was “Whew!” at least we know what’s going on so now we know what to do. Unfortunately, it really hasn’t been quite that simple. We have experienced lots of highs and lows over the last year, but I'll save all that for another day.

As an educator, I (unfortunately) had the perspective of “It’s just ADHD”. I knew what ADHD looked like in a classroom. I knew that with appropriate accommodations and support, children with ADHD can be extremely successful in school. I have worked with many students with significant inattention, or hyperactivity, and sometimes both. What I didn’t understand, was really how ADHD could impact a child (and family!) at home. It’s truly life altering. I really didn't understand how the behavior component was so intertwined.

As an educator, I also knew that strategies found to be effective for behavior are often short-lived. What works beautifully today, may not work tomorrow. You always have to be a step ahead of the game. This has definitely been true for Anthony. He has been keeping the school staff and us at home on our toes.

I found this graphic a few months ago, and while it doesn’t perfectly describe Anthony, it does give a pretty easy to read snapshot of what ADHD looks like. You’ll notice the graphic suggests 2 types of ADHD, however there is a 3rd type – combined inattention and hyperactivity which is a blend of both sides of the graphic. Anthony has been diagnosed with ADHD - combined type. Anyone who knows him, could look down and pick out character traits from both sides of this graphic that apply perfectly to him. I especially love the strengths!

An Inside Look At ADHD Infographic
If I have learned anything in the last year, it’s definitely that ADHD is not “just” ADHD. It is so much more.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Another (unwanted) Anniversary {Adoption}

Here we go again. Today, March 1st, marks 4 years that we have been waiting to adopt #2.

Four years.


There is no way to make that sound like a short amount of time. We also can’t say that the waiting has been easy. We have a 7-year-old who is dying to become a big brother and all we can do is tell him how much we want to make that happen too.

Earlier this month we finished up our annual round of paperwork and made the trip to the adoption agency to update our home study. Hours of time spent on paperwork and meeting with the adoption agency and checks written to maintain our status of ready and waiting. At the meeting to update our home study, we found out there is only ONE family who has been waiting longer than us. One. We asked for feedback (again) and they couldn’t give us any ideas about why we haven’t been chosen yet, it’s just a matter of a birthmother deciding we are the right family.

At this point, we are all set to wait another year.

Think Positive - 7 years ago today we received our first phone call about Anthony! School was canceled because of snow, and I just happened to be home when his birth-grandma called and started the process.

We are so thankful for that phone call and the craziness our family has endured in the 7 years since we brought him home. We will be celebrating Gotcha Day later this month!

Please know that we appreciate the love, support and prayers we receive from everyone. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you hear about a potential situation.

When we have updates, we will share them.

Until then, we wait.

More about our family waiting to adopt here.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Month in Photos {January 2014}

Janurary 2014
At the beginning of January we escaped to the Florida Keys for a few days and then boarded a cruise ship in Miami and headed to the Bahamas. We were hoping for a week of beautiful weather, but that proved to be extremely hard to find. We had some warm days (70’s), but lots of rain and rough seas on the ship. We even had to skip one of the islands because the weather was so poor. Boo! If you look at the ground in the picture above with the cruise ship, you’ll notice that it’s all wet thanks to the rain we had on our day in Key West, Florida. It was RAINING when I took the photo in the bottom center (of hubby and Anthony) – we were the only ones really out walking around in Nassau, Bahamas. We had to though, because Anthony’s godparents were just on a cruise and in Nassau the week before us, and they had created a scavenger hunt for Anthony! They had written a note on a playing card and hidden it, and then they put together directions (with pictures) to use to find the card. It was tricky with the rain, but we found it! During our few days in Key Largo, we decided to visit an alligator farm in the Everglades (on our ONLY sunny day!). We had a blast! The crazy ear protection was to protect our ears from the loud engine on the airboat during our tour looking for alligators through the swamp. The water level was pretty low and we actually ended up getting stuck and needing another airboat to come out and rescue us. It was an adventure that we will always remember! I’m not sure if our day in the Everglades was the highlight of our trip because we had so much fun, or if it’s because it was the only day when the sun was shining!

The month of January was full of….

Florida Keys
Pokemon Cards
COLD days (4 days of school canceled due to the cold)
Piano Lessons
Nassau, Bahamas
Polar Cub Camp

Want to see more pictures? You can find me on Instagram here.