Thursday, February 28, 2008

Meetings, meetings, fifth disease, and stomach flu

We had parent teacher conferences for both school kids (four core teachers and one kindergarten teacher), a PT session for Kay, and a meeting with Taylor's high school enrollment counselor. I am glad that is over. We spent the better part of two days in meetings.

All the teachers said our kids are great though so that is always nice to hear. Taylor always gets the same report - he is so smart, wonderful, helpful, we wish we could clone him. Cam is so smart, imaginative and kind but a little sensitive (same report we got for Taylor at that age). Cam is more artistic though and has better handwriting (ha,ha sorry Taylor). That child never stops drawing.
Cam's art work:

An angel
A boy
Lost Hopkins frog
Self portrait
Another boy
The sun and the butterfly

I am still recovering from high school enrollment. Wow, wasn't he just in kindergarten. He is so together though. He will be fine. He is taking college prep courses for all his core classes. So geometry for math and CP science, history and language. He is also going to take computer programing and possibly Latin. He is applying to take zero hour as well so he can have an additional hour of school each day to fit in extra classes. After all this college should be no problem at all.

Kay woke up on Friday morning with a 101 fever and bright red cheeks. She was super cranky all day. Saturday same thing but she started vomiting as well. All weekend she was miserable. On Monday I called to get her in to the doctor. I suspected she may have fifth disease. The red circles on her face had gone away but she was starting to get a rash on her neck. Dr. Fox gave her some meds for her tummy but there is no treatment for fifth disease. You just have to wait and let it run it's course. Tuesday she was covered with the rash. I let her run around in just a diaper and gave her lots of baths with cornstarch. That helped some. She spent most of the weekend alternating between meting into a puddle of gooey sadness and erupting in trembling volcanic toddler rage. At least she didn't get scarlett fever. That also happens to be going around school. I didn't think people even got that anymore. Go figure.

Cam comforting little sick sister.
Happy time in the sink bath again.
Not so happy rash on her back. It is kinda hard to see in a picture.

We didn't go for a play date at Aunt Sarah's this week. She may never want us back. During last weeks visit Kay screamed and we had to bolt out of there pretty quick. Cam and I didn't help clean up as well as we should because we were in a hurry to get Kay out before she gave everyone a headache. Then on top of all that we unknowingly exposed all the kids there to fifth disease. Yeah, it's one of those happy little illnesses that is contagious before any symptoms show up. Once the rash comes and lets you know something is wrong it is no longer contagious. Nice huh?
Maybe she will let us come play next week. Hopefully no one there will get sick.

I got two days off again this week. So I finally finished my house cleaning projects. Happy Happy Joy Joy! Now if we can just maintain it will be a perfect world. I sorta skipped sleeping Wednesday night but it's all good. Back to work tonight. Maybe I should go take a little nap.

Clean Kay's room
Clean Cam's room
All the removed toys to be sorted make Mom and Dad's room a big mess. I finally got everything sorted and now our room is clean too. When we moved in Cam unpacked by dumping all the toys out on the floor. They got scooped into baskets and stuffed into closets until I finally made time to actually find a place for everything. That has been on my to do list for a while.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I can get a lot done when I have 2 days off.

Day 2 of my "weekend" (my weekend is Tuesday and Wednesday if I am lucky and don't get called in to work) I finished cleaning most of my house, got Kay's new braces, took Kay and Cam for a play date at Aunt Sarah's house, spent some quality time with Cam and re-attached the trim in the hallway. We also bought and installed a new faucet for the kitchen sink.

Old faucet.
Installing new faucet.

Enjoying new faucet.

Today was Kay's day to be grumpy. We spent so much time running around she was a bit wound up and wouldn't take a nap. She had fun at Sarah's though. Sarah and Courtney are doing great. They have the house looking really nice and are fixing up the bedrooms and bathrooms. I didn't see that part of the house because it was in various states of demolition but I am sure it will look great when it is finished. They always pick such cute colors.

Amber was also there so Cam got to play with her daughter, Marie. They play really well together. I guess that will probably be one of the last times I see Amber since she doesn't work with Jeff anymore and she is moving out of Sarah and Courtney's place. She was showing me pictures of Marie when she was a baby. Weird coincidence, Amber is God-Mother to Mike's (my ex boyfriend from high school) daughter. So she is showing me pictures of this girl and then Sarah says "Yeah, that's Mike's daughter". Apparently Amber is close friends with the girl's mother. Weird and very small little planet we live on huh?

Watching the balloons at Aunt Sarah's house.

She caught one.

Cam and Marie.
Babies! A gaggle of kids.
Playing duplos.
Kay asleep in the car on the way home.
Cam too. Silence is golden sometimes.

Kay loves her new SMO's they have butterflies on them and purple straps. When Dr. Gary took them out of the package she yelled Ba-flies then hugged them. I am glad she got her bigger ones because she started toe walking about a week and a half ago. Not a good thing. I am trying not to panic but it is something to monitor. She is low tone not high tone so she shouldn't have the toe walking issues. Hopefully it is due to her old braces not fitting so well and will stop now that she has the new ones. Maybe she is just practicing being a ballerina.
Kay's new (bottom) and old (top) SMO's. You can see how much bigger the new ones are but when you consider she had the first pair for 9 months her foot really didn't grow that much. I guess she will just have small feet. I am a size 5 or 6 so I guess that's not too surprising.

Kay's new shoes and SMO's. Scary how expensive something so small can be. Total cost for SMOs and fittings - 2,582. Thank Goodness for my excellent insurance benefits. Our cost 40.00 for the shoes.

So when we get new SMO's of course we have to get new shoes to fit them. So off to Brown's shoe company. This time they had some of the special super wide shoes with pink and silver trim. She was so happy. She really wanted the sandals with butterflies on them but she liked the sneakers too. Also, I had a pair of pink Chucks I got from a garage sale before I was even pregnant with Kay. I was hoping I could find a use for them. They happen to fit over her braces as well. They are not as supportive but OK for sometimes wear. They are so cute.
Kay dancing away from me because she knows I have the camera.
Kay running past me because she knows I have the camera.

Piano break. Finally caught her running towards me. That girl is hard to take pictures of!

Cam had been feeling left out because of my spending time with Taylor at the high school and with Kay while he is at school so we had a Mommy and me date. He picked going out for Rusty's frozen custard and renting a movie at Hastings. I also bought him a book. We had fun. It was nice to get to spoil Cam a little. I don't get to spend enough time with him with my work schedule being so crazy.
Cam enjoying his custard.
Kay enjoying my custard, the little thief.
Reading Cam his new book.

When we got home he was my big helper. He helped me nail in the trim in the hallway. I had to take it off when I pulled up the carpet. Now the hardwood floors look really nice with the trim put back on.

Cam, my helper, put the nails in the holes and helped hold the hammer.

It was another really nice day. Hopefully Kay will not be so cranky tomorrow. I think we are gonna try to go play at Aunt Sarah's more often now that I sorta know how to get there.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Today was a really nice day.

Taylor on the bench at the big high school.

I had the day off. I have tomorrow off too so I wasn't in such a rush to get everything done all at once. Kay and Jeff and I went out and had lunch together. I think Kay liked having us all to herself for a bit. She also enjoyed cookies and rice and finger painting with sweet and sour sauce.

When we got back home Kay found a marker and redecorated the house. I am really laid back about stuff like that. Marker V. Walls is just one of those things that happens when you have little kids in the house. That girl is fast though. She colored one entire section of wall, 3 pictures hanging on that wall, the TV, the TV stand, the cedar chest, some paper, a ball, a balloon, some wooden blocks, all the rest mats, 2 chairs, a few other toys, her face, arms, hands, feet, shoes, and outfit and the toy piano. Everything was purple and orange. I should have taken a picture before I cleaned up because it was one impressive mess. It all washed right off with a little water. Washable markers are wonderful.

We got most of the rest of the cleaning done too because Jeff and Cam were helping me a lot. I love having a clean house but I also understand that I don't have a lot of free time. I am trying to let it go. It doesn't need to be perfect it is more important to have quality family time. The kids aren't going to remember that the house was spotless all through their childhoods but they will remember spending time together so that is what I am going to focus on. I would like the house to be clean enough to avoid being condemned though.

When Taylor got home I took him to NHN for the course fair. It wasn't real informative because it was so crowded and you couldn't really hear what the teachers were saying. We decided to go off and find our own fun. So we renegades went on a scavenger hunt looking for funny teacher names. I figured we would learn our way around the school that way. I actually went to school there once but it was still Longfellow middle school then so it is very different now remodeled as the high school. I couldn't even recognize the place. It is gigantic. We kept getting lost. We wandered for a long time and I am still not sure we saw all of the building.

Here is what we did learn. Lots of people have giant fros at NHN. Words like boomchickawowwow and persnickety playboy make Connor LOL and LMAO. The bathrooms are painted really cool colors.

You can find lots of fun hiding places.
Taylor's favorite hiding spot near the library.

Even though I am old I can still appreciate juvenile humor. Weiner -- Ha, Ha!

We learned how to be fancy.

Things that make you fancy -- drinking tea, wearing a suit, winning a writing contest.

Some teachers hate cookies.

Taylor got to see what it's like to ride on a zamboni-ish floor waxer.

Kids can get away with stuff if they have an “adult” with them. Shhh! Don't tell anyone I let him ride the whatever it is while the custodian was distracted.

Some of the teachers do have really funny names but they can be hard to find.

Mr. Pigg

Maeder -- Darth Maeder and Tow Maeder



Seriously? Is there really a teacher named ILL? Guess we will have to find out in August.

Taylor is really good at thinking up funny poses and settings for pictures.

He may be laughing but I think he just fractured his spine.

Drama Lama

We got to meet the mascot.

Pick your friends. Pick your nose. Why not pick a timberwolf's nose.

They don't actually offer AP classes until junior year but Taylor can take college prep English during his freshman year. They have fake babies with computer chips that tell on you if you don't take good enough care of them.

They have a class called reading for pleasure where you can read books -- lots and lots of books. That class happens to be taught by Ms. Claudia Swisher who was one of my teachers back in 9th and 10th grade. She is awesome and she remembered me even though it’s been like 19 years since I was at West with her. She gave me a big hug and said “Oh my goodness you turned into an adult. How did that happen?” Then I said “Yeah, and how did I end up with a 14 year old getting ready to start High School?” She was so excited to meet Taylor. She said she would take care of him and that he would hang out with her just like I used to because she is still in charge of teen volunteers. I think Taylor and I both felt better after seeing her. I know she will look out for him and he knows he can find her if he has any trouble. Thank Goodness he isn't as shy as I was back in the day.

When we got home we ordered pizza as a surprise for the kids. We don't eat out much or have food delivered much so it was a nice treat for them. Cam was very sleepy and was having a rough day. I think he was sad because I went out with Taylor and didn't get to spend much time with him. I helped him and Kay with bath time then we drew some pictures. Taylor was helping him make a chalk outline picture. So he was lying down and Taylor was tracing around him. It came out really cute but Cam kept saying it wasn't quite right. He gets a little conflicted when he is tired. Even when you do what he wants it isn't really what he wanted. So he was sent off to bed. That was the only not so great part of the day. I told him we could do something special tomorrow. We are going to go to Aunt Sarah's for a play date. Then I told Cam he can pick something special for just the 2 of us. So we will probably get ice cream or a happy meal then color some more pictures. He is quite the artist.

I am feeling really happy. Life isn’t always easy but it is very good. I think it is really important that I had a special day just enjoying an ordinary day. I look forward to another one tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Reflecting on how far we have come.

Kay and Cookie are so excited it is graduation day!

In the pirate ship

Playing with the beads

Well, this is the carpet. Kay really likes the carpet because it has butterflies on it. This is how she learned to jump. Can you jump on the kite? Can you jump on the butterfly?

Playing with the wall train

W sitting in the play house

I can put myself in the cabinet

Playing with one of the big toys

When someone tells you you can't do something it's only true if you believe it.

I am reflecting on how far we have come in the past year.

A year ago I had just quit a job I had for a very long time but was unhappy in.
We were just starting to realize the extent of Kay's gross motor delays.
Jeff had also quit a job he was unhappy in.
Things were looking uncertain.

In the past year we have both found jobs we enjoy. Kay has gone from having a gross motor delay to being ahead of the game. We have moved to a new house we love. The kids are all doing amazing. They are growing so fast.

I have also been thinking back 5 years ago. When we were first starting our Signing Time journey. I had always wanted to teach my kids ASL. I was having trouble finding fun programs that were real ASL. I looked to the internet to find some fun, helpful, and accurate ASL videos. I happened accross Signing Time and watched some of the clips. I was debating spending the money. We had already bought the Joseph Garcia program and Cameron was just not showing as much interest as I would like. What if I spent all that money and he didn't like it? He had been signing about 15 signs but wasn't picking up new ones. Little Cameron wandered in and signed train from seeing the clip on the computer one time. Sold!

They had just finished volumes 2 & 3 so we got the 1-3 gift set with the music CD. When they arrived Cameron was not yet 2 but he took off with his signing. He was signing everything on the shows and it sparked his interest again.

Cameron was struggling with ear infections. I started to wonder if it may be affecting his hearing after he ruptured both ear drums. He could still hear some things but was strugling with understanding. One day I was talking about a farmer and he thought I was saying hammer. I showed him the sign for farmer and he understood. What a blessing to have signing in our lives. He may not be able to hear everything but because of signing he could still understand and communicate. Wow I thought what a coincidence. We started signing just to give Cameron an advantage and because Taylor had been learning some sign from the interpreter at school (he had a Deaf classmate). Now signing was really saving us from feeling cut off from our child. If he was hard of hearing it was not even a complicated transition. We were already signing.

Eventually the damage to Cameron's ears healed and his hearing returned to typical levels. We continued to sign. When Kaylynne was born we signed to her. She signed back and grew bigger but did not walk. She was diagnosed with mild hypotonic cerbral palsy. Because of her low tone she just couldn't control her little legs well enough to make them walk. Her little feet were severly pronated.

So we started with early intervention and physical therapy. They were really surprised by her testing because her gross motor was 6-9 months delayed but her fine motor was advanced. She could hold a pencil with the correct grip when she was not quite a year old. She could sign perfectly clearly. She had no other decernable delays. She just needed to work on her walking.

I think about Rachel and how she has gone before me with a child who is Deaf and a child who has CP and spina bifita. Her experiences have been different. I have learned from her though. It is good to have someone who has already done it that you can look to for an example. Someone who is having similar experiences that you can talk to.

How far we have come. I didn't know when I started this journey that I would have a child with hearing difficulties and I didn't know I would have a child with CP. When Rachel talks about her girls she says they are perfect, nothing changes with a diagnosis. They are what they are. She is right. When you get the news you may be scared, you may wonder what the future holds but your feelings about your child do not change. I wouldn't want them to be any other way, Leah or Lucy or Cameron and Kaylynne, they are perfect. How blessed we are. I have learned so much from this journey.