Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Horses
















This is the girls on the horses at the Fourth of July celebration.

Fourth of July


We stayed local and celebrated in our historic downtown. Everything was free and the girls had a great time. A got to bounce in a jumping thing and K made a sand art bottle. Both of them got to ride ponies/horses. We ate carnival food and then settled down in the back of the van to watch the fireworks. They had just finished when the rain poured down so we were lucky. It was a wonderful and relaxing day since we cancelled suit therapy for the day. Our thanks go out to all the men and women who have served and continue to serve our country. A special thanks goes to my brother Stephen, retired infantry in the USMC.


Here's a picture of the girls on the Fourth of July.

Fourth birthday

















K had a wonderful fourth birthday. We celebrated at Grandma's house. She had an angel food cake with blue whipped cream on top for the "ocean". Then we put ocean creatures on top. She thought it was great. It was a water birthday and she received a swimming pool, a swimsuit, and some swim accessories. She also got a toe piano (you're supposed to play it standing up). This is a great toy for her because she can lay on the floor and roll around on it to make all kinds of music.

Bench sitting






















Well, let's just say she's not a big fan. Some people say that suit therapy is just torture. I think K would have agreed at this moment. Fortunately, the receptionist who has fallen in love with K brought her a banana and after a 30 minute screaming session, K finally quieted down.

Suit with helmet
















These are some pictures of her in the whole suit (with the hat). We didn't use the cords on the hat because she's just getting used to it. The rest of the cords, however, are adjusted to help her body move in space better and give her some support in her trunk. They also provide resistance which is good for when she is walking.

Suit Therapy


This is a picture of K in her suit. Here is what's called "the spider" because of the 8 bungees (4 in the front and 4 in the back) attached to her. She really enjoys a game they play where they push her down to the floor and she has to lift them back up. This works on her extensor muscles in her back and her head control. Then they lean her all the way back and she has to pull up to a standing position. This shows her in the suit. Also, she is wearing knee imobilizers just for some stability. She does love this game, but it's very tiring for her.

House update


This is our house....we took this picture before we made our two week vacation. While we were gone they tore it down because they put the garage on the wrong side. Major oops! By the time we returned, however, it was back to where it was when we left. We are glad that the mistake was now rather than later. Hopefully, everything else will go very smoothly.

Pennsylvania trip


We went to Pennsylvania after West Virginia and had a wonderful time. As always, it was great to see the family. We didn't do as much as we had planned to do while there because both K and myself were sick, but we still had a good time. We went to the Philly Zoo and to Dorney Park. The girls loved the zoo. K's favorite was the elephant. A's favorite was the polar bear. My favorite was the tortoise with a disability. He was so cute. He broke his leg a while back and it never healed properly so they put him up on a dolly and strap it to his back. This gives him mobility! It was so exciting to see. This is a picture of him. A also loved going to the candy store. My favorite trip was Dorney Park. I love all the wild rides.

Granny and K


It's obvious to me in this picture just how much K loves Granny. The feeling is obviously mutual. We learned in our visit that Granny's job around the house while growing up was to take care of Junie, another little boy with cerebral palsy. Because of this, she feels right at home with little K and takes great care of her. She even got down on the floor to play with her and kept her well-fed and happy during our entire visit.

Hiking in WV



We found all sorts of interesting things when hiking in WV with Mims. That was the highlight of A's trip. She found some bones of animals and decided she wanted to be a palentologist. Then, she found a dead beaver (who was shot by a local) and decided she wanted to be a veternarian. She was very saddened by the beaver, but it opened the way to an excellent conversation about conservation and the circle of life. This is a picture (albeit not a very good one) of a heart shaped pond on the left that A thought was very cool. On the right is a picture of her holding a caterpillar on a stick that she found. She liked to hold them, but didn't like them to move while she was holding them. Mims helped her pick up quite a few of them. She wanted to rescue the caterpillars by moving them off the road. The outfit is one that she and Mims picked out together. She loves it!

More Dress Up
















A on the left with an outfit she picked out herself. Can you tell she has a wild streak? On the right is K the skunk.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Dressing Up-WV


We are currently visiting family in West Virginia. They are opening a shop with all sorts of knick-knacks, balloons, ceramics, and costumes. We took the girls to the shop which is still not open so that they could try on some of the clothes. They may even be pictured in the shop's advertising brochure. The picture above is A in her "French girl" outfit. She's not too keen on the hat, but she loves the costume.

Friday, June 09, 2006

House 3


Here's the beginnings of the basement with the reinforcement bars. Still no floor....we hope to see that poured next week.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

House 2

They are digging the trenches around the outside in order to put the reinforcement bars and pour the concrete.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

House Progress


Well, they've put the boards down to get ready for the foundation.

Exercise and good health

I have now lost approximately 42 pounds and 38.5 inches. I have lost 4 pant/dress sizes. I feel like a new woman. I am proud of myself for taking time for me, but I am also proud of my family for letting me do what I need to do in order to be successful with my exercise and diet. They have been so supportive and I look forward to reaching new goals.

Camp Hollywood

...where everyone's a star. Both of my girls are attending and loved it! Everyday they have a movie theme. They do arts/crafts associated with the theme, science projects, cooking, music, etc. Yesterday, they did Charlotte's Web and they brought home the cutest pigs made out of a coke bottle. They both made friends and both had smiles on their faces when I arrived. Even better news, DH and I had the chance to go to K's IEP meeting without having to find childcare and then we went to lunch afterward which is a very rare treat. It was a wonderful day all around.

School Update: K

Things are always a bit challenging when you're talking about IEP meetings (Individualized Education Plan for students with special needs). We had one at the end of the school year for K, but left with a bad taste in our mouth. K met none of her goals or objectives for the 2005-2006 school year. At the meeting, she was placed in the same sort of setting. After much deliberation, we contacted the head of the early childhood program and asked for a new meeting. We met and discussed some alternate placements and felt much better about the response from the school and the staff. I look forward to meeting her new teacher and seeing a change with her in a new environment. My one concern is that she will be attending school with kids who have more disabilities than the kids in her class this year. I want to make sure she will be continually cognitvely challenged while learning her communication device and preparing for kindergarten.

School Updates: A

Well, school is out. I met with A's teacher the last week of school to find out how she did on her end of the year testing. She scored a 100% on her final in math and a 98% on her final in language arts. I'm just amazed because math was definitely one of her weaker areas coming into the school year and now it has become a definite strength. She scored a 5 on her last writing sample which is the highest score you can receive in 1st grade. As for her standardized testing, she scored at the exceeds level in both math and reading. She scored at the meets level for language arts. She missed the cut off for exceeds by just 10 points. I was very pleased to see this...especially the math which means our hard work with her is paying off.

As for socially, A has made lots of improvements. She really is a charming young girl. Karate has been such a benefit to her character and her self-confidence this year. I hope she will continue with it for a long time to come. A made a couple of friends this year at school, although her teacher let me know that her closest friend was the one she fought with much of the time. A is looking forward to going to a new school next year and I am looking forward to taking her. I am sure that the time we spend together in the car coming and going will strengthen our relationship.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Dream car

Cool car, cute dog and me....what a day! This was at the tea. A girl can pretend. (:

Well, she's three











Ky is three so I guess that's the only excuse I can come up with for her looking like this!

Romeo and Juliet

So I assistant directed a play this year and had a blast with it. The only down side was that I was away from my family an awful lot over the past few months. To them, I say thank you very much. I look forward to helping again next year. The students were awesome and everything came off without a hitch. Pictures to come.

A's prolific writing

A's teacher sent home some of her school work from the year and the most impressive thing she sent was this writing about our trip to Disney World. I'm copying it letter for letter.

"Guess what! My family and me went to walt disney world it was spictaculure! I loved it so much. And also I went to clear water beach! And guess what I got my clthes all wet! and my shoes filled with sand! I felt very uncoufurterbull! so I asked for a towel! but that's nto all I fineally got dry! after I finish Disney I go to the hotel and sleep. The first day at Disney Wolrd I rode a ride called Goofys barn fun! The roller-coaster goes up then down then sideways. That was increteybull and fun. And also I herd the increatbulls music. That was super. After that I rode on a other ride. That was a fun song to listen to! Also I saw a show at Cinderrela's castale and she got to be crwed a princess! And on the 3rd day I went on a ride called the dinouosour. But it was a scary ride so I got the sivers! But my mom wasn't scared. And neither was Grandma or Y (our friend who went with us). So I siad I didn't like it! Because it would Scare your pant's off I tell you. Bcause there was a scry dinousur. So that's why I didn't like it. So my mom siad I don't have to go on it again. But then we went on a not so scary. Also on the 3rd day I went on a ride called The Twierly macien. That was fun too. And also I saw Jasmine (backward J), and Bell, and snowwite, and Cinderealla! and they all looked Buteifull! My favrite was Jasmine (backward J again). And I also saw Aliadin. After that I saw Butey and the Beast. that was a fun show to! But I relly loved space moutin. Because I went on it 2 times. But I liked it a lot. I also enjoid (backward j again) the rock'n roller coaster. "

She used hyphens to split words in there too which I thought was pretty impressive, however she split the word wherever she wanted. She even put a period on the next line once connected by a hyphen.

Driving Magic

So the three year old wants to drive. I took her to a horse farm this Saturday where they teach children with disabilities how to drive a horse from a carriage. They have a lift in the back of the carriage and they hook them in. I saw a young lady driving with her feet. She had one rein around each ankle and when she wanted the horse to go left, she would pull with her left foot and vice versa. It was amazing. K didn't actually drive this Saturday because I didn't take her chair, however we did do some networking. We met her new speech therapist. We also met a chiropractor so maybe we can start going there again. She'll be going back next Saturday with a friend from school and she'll actually get to drive then. We'll keep you posted. I didn't take any pictures this time, but I will when she's driving.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Tea Party/Mother's Day


For Mother's Day, my mom's Sunday School class had a tea party and I had the pleasure of attending with her. We had a light lunch at a wonderful little cafe. The food took forever to arrive, but when it did it was great! Then we went to one of the ladies' house and sipped tasty tea. The weather was poor so we had to move inside, but it cleared up long enough for us to get some nice pictures. I feel so very fortunate to have a mother who is so giving, caring and loving.

At home, I was treated very special also. My husband cleaned the entire house and it's still clean a week later! A wrote a poem, typed it on the computer and even created a picture on the computer. I plan to have it framed so that we can put it up at the new house. K decorated a flower pot with sponges. They also made breakfast in bed for me. It was lovely and I felt very appreciated.

Romeo & Juliet

I'm assistant director for the play "Romeo and Juliet". It has been a challenging experience, but very fun and unique. I offer many thanks to my family for allowing me to stay many late nights at school to help with this. We will put on the play this Friday and Saturday. I look forward to seeing the fruits of our labor.

K's new IEP

So we had her new IEP. There were both negative and positives as there often are. The good news is that she did have a good teacher. Her cognitive skills continue to be on target and she did learn quite a bit about typical preschool things. Unfortunately, the difficulties she has (motor, expressive communication) were not mastered as I had expected. We discussed some new placement options. This year she has been in a class for kids with a variety of disabilities. It would certainly be better for her if she could be in a class with children who were all orthopedically impaired. I am working to see to some changes for next year to address this. I'll keep you posted as we work towards that end.