Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Upside Down Poddy Time

My kids LOVE their iPods.

I love their iPods.

They are a great way to give me a break and help save them from their anxiety and hyper-arousal issues.

Sometimes they even help fulfill their sensory issues.

Like when Baby watches Toy Story 3 while hanging over  chair upside down with her head pressed into the cushion.


Pressure, vestibular and visual sensory input.

Inside, outside, upside down... Poddy time is lots of fun!

Monday, February 27, 2012

From Special to Octopus in a day

In Sister's class the kids who have birthdays in the summer months get to celebrate their birthdays on "special days" during the school year. This' was Sister's Special Day and she was so excited.

She was so excited and anxious to tell everyone about her favorite things. Here Miss Charlotte is helping her tell about herself in front of her class. (I love seeing Sister's "nervously happy" hands in this picture.

This grin, basically, sums up her whole day.

Then she got to pass our her treats and coloring pages. (That's Baby off to the left... she was happy to share the day with her.)

I wanted a fun activity for the kids to do in class so I asked my sister, Jessie to draw up this characature of Sister for a coloring page. I added some words to it and emailed it to the teacher and they got them all printed up. Sister was so proud and excited that everyone was coloring pictures of her.

Sister even got to go into her "inclusion" class (inclusion is where she goes in with her mainstream peers) and pass out her treats and coloring pages to them. It was really fun for me to see this class because I haven't really seen her interaction with these kids and it was so sweet and endearing to see the love they all have for Sister. The teacher even had the whole class draw pictures for Sister and sent it home with her in a book. So sweet!

It was such a fun experience for me to see Sister being so confident in both of her classes, to see how much she is doing on her own and how smart she is.

It is so wonderful to have times like these that make the hard times easier because it wasn't long after this that in the tub she had a complete and total fall-apart when I washed her hair.

She had decided that her wet hair looked like an octopus. I thought that was funny.... she didn't. The world ended right then, and there was no consoling the octopus-haired girl. She was melting down and there was no brushing, drying, pony-tailing or braiding the "octopus do." It had been done and there was no going back.

So, through tears, flailing, and top-of-the-lungs-screaming I was able to get her dressed and wrapped in a blanket for a good rock in the rocking chair. It took about 15 minutes, but her screaming finally subsided down to a loud whimper and we were able to move forward.

Lessons learned:
Every girl needs a "Special Day" every so often
Don't ever laugh when a girl has an octopus hair day

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Light Before the Dawn

Last night was one of those nights.

The kind of night where Baby decides that sleep is an option and not a need.

When she first woke up it was only 12:30am so I gave her a sippy cup of milk and went back to bed.

Ten minutes later, "Maaaaahhhhhhhmmmmmmmyyyyyyyy!!!"

I went in and made sure that she was tucked in, her diaper was clean and dry, her pajamas weren't twisted, her bedtime toy still played music, gave her a kiss, told her goodnight and walked out with her almost full sippy cup and placed it back into the fridge.

Two minutes later, "Aaaaaahhhhh.... Maaaahhhmmmmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!! Eeeehhhhh..."

This time I took her iPod into her. (Hey, I need my rest even if she doesn't.)

I think I had about an hour of rest and then, "Maaahhhmmyyyyyyy, mmmmmaaaaahhhhmmmmmyyyy!"

So this time I go in and lift her out of her bed and take her out of the room so she doesn't wake Brother and Sister. As we are leaving she says, "[Brother]. [Sister]," clear as day. (Their real names, of course.)

I take her out to the front room and we read some books, cuddled, read some more books while I listened to her say, "cow", "dog" and "quack." I get tired and lay down while she pulls at my face, pokes my eyes, yanks my hair and stands on my tummy all while she giggles and I grunt because that is all I have the energy to do.

Finally I think that maybe she has had enough awake time and I grab her almost full sippy cup out of the fridge, take her back to bed and lay her down with her cup in hand. (At this point, for any of you dental hygienists out there, I just want sleep, I don't care about tooth decay at the moment, just sleep.)

I lay down in my bed and look up at the clock to see 3:30. My mind starts to think about the previous moments with Baby (you know, because now, I am awake...) She said "mommy" several times, her sister and brother's names, was "reading" to me from the books and even said some of the words!

And there was the light.

She is really starting to talk.

Real, actual words that I can understand.

Not always functional.


But they are her words.

I start to dose off in a happy slumber before the dawn comes.

"Rachael. Rachael. [Baby] is waking me up."

That's was Sister's voice.

She calls me "Rachael."

It's actually quite funny and everyone really seems to get a kick out of it.

And even though it was 4am I was happy to hear it.

I was up with my two girls for a bit listening to them jabber and talk with each other and was just beaming with excitement about communication and what a huge milestone it is with each of my children. You just don't realize the blessing of speech until you really have to watch some one try to do it.

Baby finally went to sleep at 6am in my bed.

Sister was happy to be alive and awake (4 - 5am is her usual waking time) even though she has a sore throat and pink eye —no school for her.

Brother was tired but compliant enough to obey his groggy mother as he got ready for school.

When I got back at 9am I laid back on the recliner in my coat and boots and zonked until 11am.

The girls slept too.

Throughout this day though I have been trying really hard to see all the "light" in my children and really pay attention to all they are accomplishing.

As a parent of children with special needs you can get stuck in a rut of looking at all they can't/won't/don't do. It's not from being negative, it is almost a trained thing as you try to get all the services they need for school and life—you have to prove what their needs are so they can get as much help as possible.

So at the end of a long day of seeing the negatives, challenges and trials...

it is a beautiful thing to be given a light in the darkness that reminds us of the dawn.

This picture is from over a year ago, but it is fun to see when Brother was feeding Baby.
This was one of those "light" moments.

Come on People!

Turning 35 is no easy task...

OK, I really didn't have to do much, but my 35th year sure brought many experiences and growth.
-I grew up a LOT
-my whole life changed
-my faith was challenged and grew
-I learned more about myself and others around me
-I came to the realization of who really cares for me
-I also learned who truly cares for my family
-I have come to accept my limitations and embrace my abilities
-I have learned how much I value the people in my life

 AND... I have enjoyed laughing through it all so...

on the morning of my birthday when I woke for my morning potty break (smile) I was pleasantly welcomed this face in the mirror...

This really gave me a good laugh. My mom really went all out on my card this year. She actually chose this character for the front because me and my childhood friend, Susan, used to impersonate game show hosts... you had to be there but, we were hilarious!

My card got better when I saw what was inside:
And then, just when I thought the card couldn't get any better my mom read it to me with the accents she had in mind when she created the card. Ha! Just imagine it...

Then I got to go to a dance that night with Marc where I was able to see many friends from our old neighborhood and even took pictures. I asked Wayne to take our picture so we could commemorate the night of my 35th.
I had fun taking pictures and wish I could share everyone's but I will only share my sister's. She is my youngest sister so she can't protest what I put on my blog... tee hee.
She should feel special that her photo appeared on my birthday post...

Next day we went on a mini date because Marc and I didn't get to spend much time together on my birthday and he made me take these pictures of myself to remember the day by and he specifically requested my two smiles... he says I have two smiles that he loves and apparently these are them. (Anyway, enough of my cheesy pictures... I feel like I have just joined the ranks of cheesy Facebook profile pictures... mmm, maybe not...  I think I need to do the profile pucker for that, maybe I will try those sometime and post it for you. OK, enough of me teasing Facebook.)

The next day got even better with a birthday celebration with most of my family. It was good to be with family and have a great dinner and conversation.

But, my favorite part was singing and blowing out the candles on my cherry pie turnover.

Watch and listen closely for what my mom wishes for at the end...


After 3 hours of trying to load the video, I give up!

I will try again tomorrow... wait, it is tomorrow! Go to bed!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I just left you hangin'

Sorry 'bout that...

I have many good excuses/reasons for my non-blogging this week.

1) Trying to get back into "real life" gear
2) Getting 2 children to transition to school after bliss at the beach for 10 days
3) Falling apart because of the transitions
4) Catching up on work, laundry and cleaning
5) Stressing about whether or not the bank of the second mortgage on the short sale house will finally return a phone call so we can (hopefully) close by March 14th
5) Planning a photography opportunity at our old neighborhood Valentine's Dance
6) Sleeping as much as I can squeeze in after a fun-packed Florida Vacation
7) Turning 35 (That took the most work)

So, there you have it.

I have a lot to catch up on but I will not start on that tonight. Instead, I will show you some of the pictures that I love from the trip that I never posted.

Some random favorites

Berry and Sister were, basically, inseparable the entire trip so Tynelle just couldn't resist buying them matching outfits...

Kilwin's has the BEST coconut icecream you will ever have! We just had to go there twice (smile)

The flight home went really well and all the kids survived. Marc really had a good time sitting with Sister
(she would even hold his hand)

Me with the other two! I was really proud of all of them, they did so well! Even my dad survived.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Florida Family Photos

Tynelle was kind enough to bring her cool camera to the pier and we took eachother's family photos.

This first one is actually my favorite of us because... well... it just is...

Canoeing on the Ocean

I never thought about canoeing on the ocean, but today Daniel introduced it to us and we loved it!

Baby, Sister, Brother, Marc, me and my dad all got a turn in the canoe.

Did I say my dad?


My dad has been here with us! His first time in Florida and he is having a great time, mostly excited to be here with his son.

I had a lot of fun... obviously!

Marc is pointing at the dolphins! We saw lots of them but I didn't get any pictures, just video...

My dad in shorts (smile)

my dad and Daniel taking the canoe out

this is my favorite picture of the whole day - Dad and Daniel out on the canoe and a beautiful sunset

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A video just for fun!

This just makes me smile.

And I really like the song.

the song is "It's Real" by Real Estate

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

... it happens, even on vacation...

We went to a really cool park yesterday, one of the coolest ones I have ever been to.

Or so I thought until a bird pooped on my head.

Yup, right on my head,

that splattered on my camera,

that splattered on my thumb,

that splattered on my shirt,

and, of course, down my shirt.

Now I don't think the park was cool anymore.

My kids had fun though.

And later we went to the pool and the beach so I am still having a great time.

It was really windy at the beach so we had a great time flying kites.