Tuesday, May 24, 2016

2012 Digital Scrapbook--Finished!!

Oh, hello blog.  You're still here.  Perhaps I will start sharing my creations again, and posting updates on the kids.  For now, I thought I'd share that my 2012 book is finally done, and I've even gotten a good start on the 2013 book.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree...

Before I dive into Christmas, I have a wee confession to make.  I let myself get waaaaaaaaaay behind in my blogging (like  I do) and so to catch up, I got a little tricksy.  Rather than cram a bunch of posts in back-toback-to-back (which makes my OCD twitch, for some reason) I slipped a few back-logged entries in between the others, around the times that they would have been posted had I been more on my game.  So, in case you missed them, the Halloween post is here, and the visit-to-the-dentist post is here.  Now, on to Christmas!

Brandon's command Christmas party was a two-for-one this year: they had a party for the adults in one of the smaller hotel ballrooms, and at the same time, had childcare a party for the kids in one of the nearby hotel conference rooms.  And, before they officially kicked things off, the kids got a surprise visit from Santa.  He spoke to each of the children, and "brought" a special toy for each one (supplied by the parents earlier in the week).  Elora had no problem saying hi to Santa, but miss Kaylie wanted nothing whatsoever to do with him.  When it was her turn, she wouldn't even look at him--until we told her that he had a present for her.  Even then, she held on to me even as she reached with the other hand to take the gift from Santa.

Once Santa was gone, the DJ played about 20 minutes' worth of kid-friendly music and let the kids dance on the dance floor before sending them all back to their room for their own banquet: fruit punch, chicken nuggets and french fries.  :)  I'd been a bit worried that they wouldn't handle it well when Brandon and I left, because it was a strange place and strange people, but they were fine.  In fact, Elora burst into tears when we came to pick them up at the end of the night.  

The adult party was pretty standard: catered dinner, raffle prizes (Brandon won a fancy-schmancy knife), and loud fun music.  I enjoyed myself, but spent most of the evening sitting still, chatting just with the people who happened to be near me.  Brandon was much more social, and had a great time.  We stayed until about 11, when I'd had as much as I could handle.  I hated to drag him away, but well, I wilt pretty early these days.

We went one afternoon the following week to pick out our Christmas tree.  They had candy canes for the kids, which the girls loved.  Both girls wandered around, though Elora was the only one really looking at the trees.  She kept going from one tree to another, saying things like "Ooh, what about this one?!"  I ended up choosing a small, but well-shaped tree, and Elora gave her full approval.  :)

We got it set up that evening, but waited until the next day to decorate it.  Brandon helped me get the lights on the tree, then set about capturing the evening's events on camera.  The girls, for their part, were excited to help decorate and anxious for their turn to participate.  And the poor things had to wait for me to do the lights twice, because I wasn't happy with the placement the first time around.

Elora did help me with the garland, and she "helped" me with keeping Kaylie out of trouble.  Any cautionary comment that I made to either of them, Elora repeated.  It was adorable, and a little exasperating.  The imp.

When we finally got the the ornaments, the girls were almost rabid to get started.  We did some of the generic glass ornaments first, and then moved on to their ornaments.  (You'd be surprised how many they've managed to acquire in only a few years!)  They loved everything about it.  Except, perhaps, for the waiting as I unwrapped the ornaments.  Elora seemed to be taking some care with where she put hers, but Kaylie had just 2 branches that she'd deemed acceptable and all of her ornaments went on one of those 2 branches.  And though they could reach higher up the tree, neither one put any higher than about the second row of branches.

We got about a third of the way through when I called it a night--for them.  I went back to it after they'd been tucked in for the night, and not only finished the tree, but put out the rest of our Christmas decorations as well.

Ta-da!  Perfect.  :)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Peek into Kaylie's Therapy

On days when Brandon is home early enough that Elora can stay home with him rather than coming to therapy with us, Elora usually chooses to stay home.  And I have learned that on those days, if I play like a mouse in the corner, I can go back and observe Kaylie's therapy without distracting her.   And yesterday, it finally occurred to me to try getting a video of their session.  The audio isn't the best, unfortunately, but you will definitely get a good idea of what they're doing for half an hour, three times a week.  I couldn't get them to upload directly to Blogger, so I uploaded them to Photobucket instead.  Here are the links:
Jennifer really is amazing with her!  We hit the jackpot, when we were assigned to Jennifer.  I could not have chosen a better therapist, or a better match for Kaylie, if I had personally interviewed and hand-picked someone for the job.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Childhood Apraxia of Speech

(The video has nothing to do with the post, it's just cute.)

Kaylie has been attending speech therapy for about 6 months now, so I thought it was about time for an update.  We had her hearing tested back in August (about 3 months after starting the therapy) in an effort to determine whether a hearing deficiency, however mild, might be contributing to her slow speech development.  Not only did she pass the hearing test, but she cooperated so well that the lady doing the test commented that she is rarely able to administer the whole test to children so young, and that Kaylie responded normally to all of it.  So, that pretty well ruled out a hearing deficiency as a cause for Kaylie's speech delay.  With that possibility eliminated, Jennifer became fairly sure that it is probably childhood apraxia of speech, a cognitive disorder in which there is a disconnect in the planning process of speaking.  According to the site I linked above, "children with apraxia of speech have great difficulty planning and producing the precise, highly refined and specific series of movements of the tongue, lips, jaw and palate that are necessary for intelligible speech."   In other words, her brain has a hard time telling her mouth how to form the necessary sounds for speech.  It sounds really scary, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit freaked out when Jennifer first shared her suspicions with me.   Kaylie is really too young for an official diagnosis, but from what I've read about apraxia and what I've observed about my child, it fits.  Even if we later find that we're wrong about the core problem, then this at least gives us a plan for how to move forward with her therapy now.

In the three months since then, Elora and I have stopped going into therapy with Kaylie.  In the beginning, I think it was good for all of us to participate, because it helped Kaylie to become comfortable with Jennifer, but it had become obvious that Elora and I were just distractions.  We've also added a third therapy session each week, and the additional day seems to have flipped a switch somewhere.  She has improved so much just in the last month or two!  She's gaining consistency where she was once erratic, and is adding completely new sounds to her repertoire.  She is not only talking more and more, but she has become so much more willing to try new words!  This may seem like a small thing, but for me, this is the biggest indicator of just how far she's come.  

For my part, I cannot even begin to say how proud I am of her.  It is a little heart breaking to watch her struggle to wrap her mouth around some new sound, or combination of sounds, and sometimes I catch myself wondering why my beautiful, intelligent child must work so hard to do what comes so naturally to most other children.  But there is no "why", it just is.  So we're working with her, and encouraging her, and celebrating every victory with her.  To see her sweet little face just light up with joy and pride when she's able to say something new is just...well, there are no words.  :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Back to the Dentist!

The girls had their second check up with the dentist a few weeks ago, and this visit went just as well as the first!  Well, mostly.  They sat together in the seat again, and they were just as well behaved, and just as cooperative as they were before.  (In Kaylie's case, she was even more cooperative!)  The only shadow over the visit is that Elora has developed a few teensy, tiny cavities.  The dentist and hygienist both assured me that cavities are very common in young children, because the enamel on the baby teeth is much thinner than that on adult teeth, and especially when the teeth are touching, as they do in Elora's mouth.  And I know that I have terrible teeth ( a mouth full of fillings, ew!) and I don't think that Brandon's are much better than mine.  But, I still feel like I've failed my daughter.  We could have been a lot more diligent about tooth-brushing than we were, and what if that had been enough to prevent those cavities?  Am I doing enough to help her develop the necessary habits to keep her mouth healthy in the long-term?  I'm doing my best to squash the doubts and self-recrimination, and channel that energy into stepping up our game at home.  Kicking myself won't help Elora; being diligent about her oral care will.
The dentist advised us to have the cavities filled, and I went ahead and made the appointments to do so.  She said that if left unfilled, those cavities can spread quickly and lead to more serious issues.  Between what she told me, and what I later read online, I feel that our safest bet is to have the teeth filled, even if there is some debate about whether it's really necessary.  And even if I do hate that I'll have to make her go through that awful process.  But, better a few fillings now, than extractions a year or two down the road, right?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Lightening Review, October* 2013

*Disclaimer:  When I say "October 2013", what I really mean is Halloween 2013.  Here are all of our activites for the second half of October crammed into one lightening-quick post:

We went to the Hickory Ridge Farm Pumpkin Patch to get a pumpkin or two.  I had the girls each choose a smaller pie pumpkin, because I knew I would be cooking them down for baking.

We also rode the pony, walked the corn maze, ate kettle corn, played in the bounce houses, went for a hay ride, and played on a hay bale mountain.  It was great for the girls, and I found myself wondering...why did we not do this until our last year in this area?

We had a Halloween dry run the weekend before the big night, and used it as an opportunity to get some stress-free photos and play in the leaves.

We    Brandon and the girls   Brandon carved the larger of our two pumpkins while I took pictures and the girls supervised.  Elora at least tried pulling out some of the pumpkin guts, but Kaylie wouldn't touch it!!!

And finally, we went trick-or-treating with Lydia and Little James.

Brandon had to take a 3 day trip for the class he was taking, so he couldn't go with us.  Rebekah and Big James were in Florida visiting family.  We missed them, but holy cow, we had a great time anyway!!

See, super fast!  Yes, I might have glossed over a few things, but you got the highlights.  :)