Wednesday, April 29, 2009

All About Aidan

I've been wanting to post this for a week and haven't taken the time to upload the video, so I cued it up to load overnight!

Aidan is almost done with Kindergarten and it is just amazing how much he has learned this year! Doug and I couldn't be more proud of his academic achievements. Prior to Kindergarten, he was really on the cusp of learning to read- he was very interested and eager to learn, but I just didn't know the best way to teach him so I panicked and didn't try. Once he got to school, it seemed like his teacher really helped him figure it all out quickly. He met all of the reading goals she set for the class this year and he also excelled in math so he earned a place in the Principle's Math Club.

Most of the time, Aidan has a great attitude towards others and is a very friendly, outgoing, kind kid. He is funny, creative, and very entertaining. Lately, he has been telling us that he wants to be an artist when he grows up, though he did tell Papa that he wants to be an Army guy when we saw him last week. He is very supportive of his brother and encourages him. He really enjoys having a sister so much more than I imagined he would. I love hearing him talk about their futures!

We have had challenges this year with his attitude towards us. He really pushes our buttons more than anyone and it has taken a lot of strength to work on that behavior. I think the stress of school and being tired from working so hard there has caused most of his attitude issues. Plus he is a child that gets very grumpy if he goes without food for long, always has been that way. For such a skinny little kid, he sure eats a ton!

Aidan is looking forward to a few things this summer: he wants to learn to ride his bike without training wheels, he is excited about playing t-ball and going to the Y to swim. I hope that we can get to the library for story time often so we can keep up the reading. He is into Junie B. Jones and Captain Underpants books right now, so we will have to check more out. He has been eager to grow our own food for the past two summers, so I hope we can grow something this year.

Tonight is Aidan's school music concert and Doug and I are excited to see his class sing. Aidan has been singing the songs to us so much that I think we will have to bite our tongues to keep from singing along. Aidan, we love you!

Wordless Wednesday: Cheeky Monkey!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Weekend Shots

I carted the camera to my mom's house and only got it out once. Ooops. I took a couple pix of Doug working on the deck on the first day, but I really should of taken one before we left so we could have a record of the progress they made.

Doug spent the weekend cutting the support risers for the staircase and began the assembly.

I tried to get a nice photo of the kids with Nana so she could have a current photo for Facebook. That was fun!

And Aidan took one of the three ladies.

We had to hide out in the basement Sunday afternoon when the area went under a tornado warning. We had to keep reassuring Aidan, he was pretty freaked out about it. We reminded him that Nana and Papa's house is made of bricks and who's house was the strongest in The Three Little Pigs? Luckily, the storm went by quickly, though we did have to drive home in rain the whole way. We saw lots of lightening and flooded fields, but kept the kids distracted by rocking out to XM Radio HairNation and First Wave as well as listening to me read aloud from the Captain Underpants book I bought for Aidan.

Ahhh, back to the grind! I ended up buying enough summer clothing to merit a full load of laundry. Hopefully it all fits and lasts till school starts in the fall.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Doctor Updates

Aidan: it is just allergies making his eyes red and itchy. Duh! Luckily my Ped gave us a big box of children's Claritan samples so that ought to make the co-pay worth the trip!

Ella: I missed her vax's due when she was 7 months old because she had the cold then ear infection. So she got them when I took Aidan in. She was not a happy camper. I also made her next well baby visit appt for next month.

Sean: Doug took him in for ear tube surgery this morning. I was feeling pretty bad about not going along, it's the first time I haven't been there with him. I just couldn't imagine getting out with Ella and Sean that early in the morning, plus it would be hard to focus on Sean's needs post op with Ella there. Doug said Sean was a spitfire before they took him back, just playful and happy. I packed a backpack with books toys diapers and a snack for afterwards. I also made sure Doug took Sean's baby blanket (given to us by Denver's Children's Hospital after his admission and diagnosis there.) I've taken that blanket to every surgery Sean has and we use it for naps still. Anyway, Dug said he was glad to have it and they took it to surgery with him.

Tubes went in fine, doctor said there was a lot of fluid and yucky stuff behind the drums so it was good timing. After they gave him back to Doug, Doug said Sean was very grumpy and wanted me and wanted to get the heck out of there. He was happy to see me when he got home and has been in a great mood since.

We are off to visit my family this weekend. Doug is hoping to get the deck staircase built for them. I'm hoping to get some summer clothing shopping done for the kids. I think I might have more fun than Doug. :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Early Ed Where I Live

RK asked several good questions about how the Early Education/Preschool system works where we live. Too many for me to squeeze into her comment sections so I am listing the answers here. I'm lazy like that. ;)

1. Some of you have mentioned looking for a preschool for your child who is about to turn 3. How does your city or district or region handle this? Do they assign a school based on your home location or do you have choices? For you that have kids in the 3-6 range, how often do they attend school and how have you felt about it?

In our city, it is generally assumed that your 3 yr old will go to the Early Education Center for preschool. You can request your child go to a different preschool if you want, but the EEC is (in my opinion) the best preschool in the area. All the teachers have master degrees in education, the student to adult ratio is very low, class size is small, the facility is nice and well-maintained, and the children receive all their therapy sessions there during the school day. You can choose how long/often your child attends, but they do make recommendations based on your child's needs.

Sean has been going M-F for the morning session since he turned 3. I am going to ask about having him go 2 full days a week next year to help him get used to going longer days. Our kindergarten is all day 5 days a week and I worry that those long days are going to be hard on him. He really wipes out by noon at preschool. Sean has one more year at EEC before kindergarten because of his Fall birth date.

2. Does your EI service provide equipment for you? Like walkers, specialized feeding things (Z-vibe, jigglers), or Sure Steps or orthotics? I've heard some even do things like swingsets!

Our EI gave us feeding tools (z-vibes, NUK brushes, massager, maroon spoons, dipper spoons, cut-out cup) and loaned us a few things that we used until he outgrew the need (hip huggers, heavy weighted walker, Bumbo seat, foam wedge for his crib mattress, exercise ball.) The PT referred us for Sure Steps and gave us applications for grants for it, then she measured him for inserts after he outgrew the SS and ordered those for us but we paid for them.

3. How does your EI work as far as payment from parents? Is it on a sliding scale based on income? Or is it a free service to everyone regardless of income?

We do not pay for any EI therapy. They do bill Medicaid if your child qualifies for it, otherwise it is state funded regardless of income.

4. For those of you with 2-year-olds, have you had opportunities to attend training or information sessions about how to prepare for the transition to an IEP? What are you doing to get ready for this transition?

No, there was no training for IEP. I really didn't see it as that big of a difference from the IFSP. All I do to prepare is try to arrange child care for the kids so I can focus on the meeting. I never take the team snacks or bring special things either. I have Sean's next IEP next week, maybe I will bake something this time?

5. And finally, how often do you have therapy and what services does your child get currently?

When Sean was in home-based therapy the first year of life, we lived in a different county. He had one hour a week with his PT, one hour a month with our service coordinator, one hour every other week with OT and saw ST one hour every six months.

The county we are in now believes in parent-directed therapy, so they send one therapist who covers all areas of therapy to see you once a week for about 45 mins. She quickly goes over different things for you to work on and does a little with the child each week. I was disappointed in the approach they used and would of liked more intensive therapy. However, we would of had to seek private therapists and tried to get insurance coverage for it.

Right now, Sean has his therapy at school. I don't know exactly how long the sessions are, but I know he does feeding therapy every day (during snack time, probably 15 mins), sensory group once a week, PT once a week, a language group once a week. The class works together on a lot of the skills he needs to improve: gross/fine motor, and language (teacher uses English, Spanish and ASL consistently through the day.) The class is 50% IEP kiddos and 50% peer role models.The waiting list to be a peer role model is several years long (I just added Ella to it last week) and parents have to pay for those kids to attend. We paid for Aidan to attend there and he really learned so much from the time he was there.

Phew! If there are any other questions, let me know!

Well, rats!

I got the boys off to school and work this morning, then caved into the temptation for Starbucks before heading home for some quiet time with Ella. I noticed a message on the machine- Aidan's school nurse called to say I need to get him. His eyes are red and itchy so she needs me to find out if it is pink eye or allergies. I am betting allergies because my eyes have been itchy the last couple days too. Doug said his eyes were itchy this morning. The nurse said the pollen count was really high yesterday.

Sigh, we are headed to the dr's at 10;50, so he is home for awhile. He was mad about leaving because he wanted to take his reading test today.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Soaking in the Vitamin D

At last! The sun has found us! We had a beautiful afternoon yesterday- warm, no wind. Ella, Sean and I played in the back yard before Aidan came home from school so I snapped a couple of pictures of Ella enjoying the warm day.

When Aidan got home, the boys had fun playing t-ball and had Daddy set up a baseball diamond in the yard for them to run. Sean was cracking us up, he'd hit the ball, then go after it and carry the ball and bat around the bases with him. LOL We are going to have to work on that part before t-ball season starts next month. I sent in the registration forms for both boys to play this year. I am trying to line up stuff to keep them busy! I have the library story hour schedule and the come & go crafts schedule. I hope to talk Doug into swim lessons for the boys also.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ahoy thar Maties!

We had a fabulous time at Sean's school carnival on Saturday! Grandma Janice took a break from her busy tax season recovery to join us for some fun. The carnival theme was "Under the Sea" and the kids could come dressed as pirates or other sea themed costumes. Our boys will use any reason to go out in public in a costume, so they were happy! We were worried about the weather holding up, it was super windy and did end up raining near the end. I took a few photos when we first got there, but then got too busy playing the games and carrying Ella around to take more.

"I'm searching for treasure in this here seaweed."

"My friend, Sarah, warned me about clowns."

"Arrgh! This box maze is leading me to the booty!"

"Why does this maze smell like some one's booty?"

There were lots of games, 2 blow up bouncy things, the school playground and a silent auction. Phew! We easily spent the two hour there having fun. Ella Roo even got to enjoy the swings for a bit. Wouldn't you know that I forgot to take a photo of our Whale game! It was the backdrop for a putt putt golf game called "Whale in One!" Cute!

Sean behaved fairly well considering it was held during his nap time. We only had a few "flop & drops." He adored the box maze and must of climbed thru it a dozen times. He also liked playing with the sand art station and made a little sand art whale to take home.

We had another super fun afternoon on Sunday, but I forgot to take my camera so no photos. Our church has a young families monthly dinner get together. This month they decided instead of meeting for dinner we should get together at Dillon Nature Center to participate in the Family Fun Fitness Race. It was held in the afternoon, and again we avoided rain and had perfect hiking weather.

The park was set up with 10 competition stations, and you had to use a map and clues to get to each station. Once there, you had to complete a task to get the next clue. Very fun! The tasks ranged from shooting foam darts into a birdhouse (Sean and Aidan loved this, but it took Doug's marksmanship to get it in), casting a real fishing pole and reeling in 2 plastic fish, jumping rope for a minute at the Wedding Nook, doing the Chicken Dance in the Duck House, and running in place to burn off sugar under a Sugar Maple Tree.

I just really loved being outside, walking through the nature area with my family and having fun with them. Ella was in my Mei Tai and took a nap for most of it. I bought new rubber boots for the boys, so they had a blast squishing in the mud along the trails. Sean did tire out and wanted to be carried a while, so he and Ella and I cut out of the last three stops. We went and watched the ducks and turtles at the pond instead.

After everyone finished, the families all drove over to Dairy Queen for cones. Perfect spring day!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mennonites Last Night, Early Ed Today

We enjoyed the Mennonite Relief Sale "Feeding the Masses" super last night. I'm lucky we got to stay for it, because when we got there and saw the line to get in, Doug was ready to leave. I was amazed how fast they got people fed and can't wait to hear how many ate there. The line took 40 minutes to get through and kept moving the whole time. We tried a little of everything, some Mennonite dishes we'd never had. Aidan didn't find much he was willing to try so he filled up on carrots, celery, and homemade bread.

We managed to get to the indoor children's playground just a few minutes before they deflated the blow up bouncy toys. Sean isn't a big fan of those, but Aidan loves them. After that, Aidan wanted to try to dunk the guy in the dunk tank and managed to get him on the third ball! Sean kept signing & saying "ball! ball! ball!" So we paid for him to give it a try. The vendor let Sean stand pretty close to the target and take many, many shots at hitting it. Even though he came close, it didn't trigger the dunk. So the vendor lifted Sean up to the target and let him hit it with his fist! Sean was so excited to see the guy splash into the tank! He ran around getting high fives from everyone.

They had a auction table set up for children to bid on toys and Sean fell in love with the fire truck from the Cars movie. It was difficult to explain to him that we couldn't just buy it and go. I will have to keep it in mind for future gift giving.

This afternoon we are going to the Spring Carnival at Sean's school, the Early Education Center. We'll get to see the Whale in action! The kids can come dressed as pirates or other sea themed costumes, so we need to dig out some pirate gear for them to wear.

I am hoping to take Sean in to order a new pair of glasses. His first pair needs to be fixed and I think it's time we get a backup for these frequent tune ups!

Have a great day blog readers!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Wouldn't you know...

today Aidan brought home from school a slip of paper asking each family to send $1 to donate to the March for Babies fundraiser.
Kiwanis-Kids have taken an interest in supporting this cause to do away with birth defects.

Real nice. Aidan attends one of the only two schools in our district with resource rooms for SN children and Sean will go there when he starts kindergarten. So all the parents of the SN kids at that school got a slip asking them to donate to a cause that will "do away" with birth defective fetuses. Wow.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Do You Support the March of Dimes?

If you have a child with Down syndrome, do you support the March of Dimes?

I used to always believe that the March of Dimes was a wonderful organization that made huge advances in helping prevent infant loss and treat preterm babies. I whole-heartedly supported them and added my change to collection jars.

A couple of years ago, some one pointed out this statement to me.
Is the March of Dimes conducting research on Down syndrome?

Some March of Dimes grantees are investigating why errors in chromosome division occur, in the hope of someday preventing Down syndrome and other birth defects caused by abnormalities in the number or structure of chromosomes. Other grantees are investigating the role of specific genes in causing the brain abnormalities associated with Down syndrome, with the goal of treating the mental retardation associated with the disorder. An international team of scientists has mapped all the genes of chromosome 21. This information eventually may pave the way for treatment of many features of this disorder.

"Hope of someday preventing Down syndrome."

That statement causes me to stop and ponder. Is this the research funding I want to support? An organization that thinks the best way to help those with Down syndrome is to make sure they don't exist? I'm not comfortable with that. I accept my child for who he is and Down syndrome is part of who he is. I do not wish that people with Down syndrome did not exist. Do I wish his life was easier sometimes? Sure, I wish every one's life was easier at times.

I also wish the March of Dimes would fund research that improves the life of those with Down syndrome by addressing issues they face not by addressing why they are created.

I wish I could support the March of Dimes for the good that they do in other areas, but I just can't. I don't want to see that $2 paper shoe that reads "Donated in honor of Sean Minner" to be used to make sure that others are not born like him.

Telling it Like it Is

Yesterday, Tricia of Unringing the Bell issued a challenge to all readers to post a photo right then and there of what they look like or are doing. As I was reading her blog, the kids were playing around after school, being silly, so I decided to give it a go. Once i got the camera out, the boys begin to beg to use it, so I decided to let them take the picture for me.

Here's what Aidan saw.

Then Sean had a turn. Don't get woozy!

Then I attempted the impossible- all three kids at once.

When I got out the camera this morning to upload the photos, they wanted another turn. Sean took a cute one of Aidan getting dressed (I had to delete at least 4 photos of Aidan putting on his underwear. Yikes! Little nuts don't need close ups.)

And Aidan took photos of Eleanor and Sean.

And finally, I took one of the two boys before they headed off to school. Phew, good thing we have digital cameras or I'd go broke on film processing!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Task Chart

Last semester, we were having difficulties getting Aidan motivated to get himself ready for school in the morning. He's always been a slow mover first thing so we were constantly having battles getting to school on time. His teacher mentioned that he was having trouble at school getting things done in a timely manner and suggested we both make task charts for him to help him keep on track and remember what he needed to get done.

The preschool the boys went to/Sean goes to, had these simple picture activity strips around to help kids learn the order of the day. I used that idea to make one for us so the boys can see what needs to be done before school and after school. Aidan offered input on what he wanted me to add in (for some reason he felt it was important to note that he always needs to go potty right after school.) We also set up the rewards for getting things done on time (computer in the morning and TV time before bed.)

To make the chart, I bought a regular piece of poster board, then attached one side of sticky back Velcro to it in a traveling pattern. I searched online for clip art images or actual images of the tasks we do, then printed them on card stock. I sealed the square pieces in clear packing tape so they'd hold up longer and then stuck Velcro to the backs. Then stuck them to the board in the order we try to get things done. There are gaps of time that we keep open for our flexibility but the routine things are on the schedule.

Both boys enjoy using the chart and get excited when they get their steps all done without prompting. I hope to build on it with more tasks as they get older and less specific steps as they get used to doing the routines without prompting.

Easter Fun

Photos from our weekend at home, shared with Doug's family.

Uncle Curt supervising the egg dying on Easter Eve.

Sean intently coloring an eggg before dying it.

Aidan enjoying the best part of his Easter Bunny.

Sean gave it a taste, but quickly spat it out and said "Yuck!"

Ella working on her dance moves in her tutu from the Easter Bunny.

The kids after the egg hunt at church. Ella was not interested in joining the group.

A poor attempt to get the kids to take a nice photo together at Easter dinner.

Family photo with Grandma, Grampa, Uncle Curt and cousin Mackenzie.

Relaxing at home with Daddy.

And with Grampa.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

E.N.T. is Dynomite...

E.N.T. is outta sight!

er, yeah...

Well, I called it. Ding ding, it's time for tubes round three! I took Sean (with Ella in tow) to our wonderful Ear Nose and Throat specialist (Doctor E) today and it was confirmed that Sean is missing a tube and has clear fluid in one ear. Good news is the infection has cleared. I had them check his chart to remind me when this current set was put in: May 23, 2008. Didn't even last a year. Dr. E says that he will use t-tubes this time, which are designed to stay in for 2-3 years, with check ups annually.

Surgery is scheduled for April 24 at the oh-so-fun check in time of 6:30 a.m. This year Doug will have to take him solo, since I do not want to try to manage Sean and Ella that early in the hospital by myself. I Will stay home with her and get Aidan off to school. Last year I think I got him in and out and home right as Aidan was heading to school. Dr. E is swift!

I am so glad I booked the infection follow up with Dr. E directly and didn't waste time going to our Ped first, then to referral. I'm glad that Dr. E gets us in when we need it!

Finished our Family Room!

Our new carpet was installed yesterday and we put the furniture back in last night, so our family room project is complete! I am really happy with the color- it's so warm and cozy. For the first time in the three years we've lived here, we finally have curtains on the sliding glass doors. The carpet is so nice and soft- perfect for playing on with the kids. I even came up with a use for the odd closed-in interior window- I had Doug cut some shelves so I can use it as a photo display nook. Aidan and Sean's favorite part is the carpet tube that the installers "forgot" to take with them. It makes a great shoot for golf balls and doubles as a didgerdoo or an alphorn. Unfortunately, the carpet was one day late, as Ella took a face plant on the wood sub floor the night before. She will have a much softer landing now for more of this:

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sean Coaches Ella on Crawling

Pork Chops and Applesauce!!

Well, maybe not pork chops YET but Sean's teacher sent home a video of Sean self-feeding applesauce today! He fed himself three bowls! Woo hoo! Granted, applesauce isn't a big stretch in the texture aversion issues he has, but it is a new flavor and it is somethig that 1. other kids/people eat 2. is available in many resturants and 3. isn't manufactured by Gerber. :)

Go, Sean, that's my big boy! Go, Sean!

There's a couple parts where you can see him grimace it down, but overall he must of loved it. After his usual lunch today, he asked me to give him a slice of bread. He wanted Ella to hae one too, so I tore it in half for them to share. He took a few tiny nibbles out of his, chewing and swallowing them down. I am really starting to feel some hope that he is going to be able to eat regular foods by the time he starts kindergarten. One more year of preschool to keep working on this and I think he is going to do it!

Ella Roo, 8 Months Old

Time is just whipping on by and my little stinker is already 8 months old now. She is such a sweet baby, so smiley and good natured. She wakes up happy, puts up with her brothers' noise and doesn't mind going with the flow.

She is knee-deep in seperation anxiety, but is okay if she can see mama. It's hard not to laugh when she bursts into tears just because I walk away to go get a drink. I try to keep her happy and cart her along with me where ever I go.

She is just loving feeding her self! I can't express how well Baby Led Weaning has worked for us. I am so glad I am not fighting to get a spoonful of runny, sloppy baby food in her mouth. I'm not worrying if she didn't eat x amount of said sloppy food. I'm glad that I don't have to stress out because we don't have a certain baby food on hand for her. She eats what we eat, as long as it is healthy for her. No nuts/milk/eggs/honey yet, not til after 1 year old or later on most of those. She's tried a little yogurt, but she wrinkled her nose at it. I have a cute video of her eating asparagus to post when I can get it loaded on my computer.

Eleanor is quite the acrobatic breastfeeder. And going through the distracted nurser stage. Mama is not allowed to talk when Ella Roo is nursing or she will pop off and give me the stink eye. She is easily distracted by her brothers or any other interesting noises in the room. Luckily she has been going easy on the biting while nursing, she quickly learned that mommy doesn't like that! She still has just two teeth, but those little toothers can hurt.

She is getting very mobile. She can army crawl, twist, turn and scoot to where she wants to go. She has started figuring out hands-knees crawling and I think will be speed crawling within the next month. She is trying to pull herself up to things, but then takes an abrupt fall over when she wants down. So she has officially given herself several noggin bruises.

I took her to get photos done to mail out in Easter cards. Unfotunately I was running about a week behind so they won't get out before Easter. Ella wore a knit bonnet and sweater set that was made for my aunt when she was a baby (some 60+ years ago.) Ella was a wonderful little model and had many cute photos for me to choose from. So, I will end this post with a few favorites from her session.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Too funny- The Doobie Diaper!

Ok, ok, so yes cloth diapering is good for babies and good for the environment. But is also fun. Collecting cute diapers to use makes the task of cleaning bottoms entertaining. In the CD community there is always a "hot new diaper" that everyone wants to get and try. This year it has been Goodmama fitted diapers. I even admit to owning a few that I bought a much lower price second hand.

Anyway, today I was reading along about the latest GM buzz and had to LOL about an apparent oopsie they made! They released a diaper in a fabric they called SK8 4VR (skate forever) which they intended to be a hip, boy-ish look like this:

Unfortunately, they didn't look too closely at the whole bolt of fabric and missed out on other details of the design! It is sprinkled with drug images: joints and cocaine references (the eight ball and razor blade.) Just what every hip baby wants to wear! You can buy the rare Doobie Dipe here! $95.00!

When asked about the diaper, the company representative said:
When we purchased this fabric, we did not know those were drug-related images. To be perfectly honest, none of us here at goodmama are familiar with drug symbolism. To us, the supposed marijuana image looked like a pool stick, which went in hand with what we thought was just a normal 8 ball. We were highly embarrassed to discover this fabric had not-so-innocent representations. We were notified by customers of our gaffe, and have since offered a full refund no questions asked on these diapers. Trust me when I say we do not in any way support the drug industry. Some people however do not want to return them and find them a subject of intense humor at our expense :/ You can be sure that from here on out we are being extra careful about the fabrics we select. We stopped production on this particular fabric, but unfortunately we cannot force everyone to return the diaper. Many have, but as you can see on hyenacart, not everyone felt that returning it for a refund would be nearly as fun as showing off our mistake.

Oh man, I can't imagine a company that designs clothing for infants making such a huge error. This was really one of the funniest things I've seen in awhile.