Monday, November 12, 2018

Birthdays, Snow, Scripts, and Name Changes

Patrick's birthday came and went and was a success!

He had school, because it wasn't on a weekend, so he got to see his friends.

When asked what cupcakes he wanted to bring he said PJ Masks, of course but then asked that there be Princess Cupcakes for the girls. The store didn't have princess cupcakes so he took a dozen pink Poppy Troll cupcakes with him instead, and they were a big hit.

And then he had a PJ Masks birthday party with our family at Chuck E Cheese after playing at the local science museum waiting for Mae to get done with therapy, that afternoon.

Both were lots of fun.


A certain someone did briefly try to make a break from the birthday party after the cake, I think because she was a little overwhelmed, and I was surprised that she was tiny enough to fit between the bottom of the booth divider and the floor (when she went down there I thought, "at least there's no where she can go"), which meant she nearly made it to the door, which was right on the other side of the wall of booths, and would have if I hadn't managed to catch hold of her boot. 

Oh well, it just added a little bit of extra excitement after the cake, and she went on to have a lot of fun playing games with the other kids after her attempted elopement.  Moving on...



Winter has arrived in Michigan and bundling up five kids to go out and play in the snow gives me a renewed admiration for any of the kids teachers. Especially the little kids teachers. I have no idea how going out to recess must work in a kindergarten or preschool classroom, where all that snow gear must take an hour to get on, based on how much help the 3-6 crowd around here usually needs with this sort of thing.


Even Patrick, who is getting pretty good at handling some of his snow gear, still needs helps with the trickier parts that he can't quite get on his own.

So it takes us about thirty minutes of prep time to get everyone ready to go outside.

And I don't open up the door to release the first kids into the cold, until everyone is ready, so that the first kids aren't complaining that they're cold and ready to come back in, just as the last ones are ready to go out and ready to play.

I've learned my lesson from years past.


However, this lesson doesn't make getting ready particularly fun, since the four year old was the first one dressed and must have asked "when are we finally going to go out" at least seventy five times, before I'd gotten Patch, and then Maggie, and then Tessie, completely bundled, from head to toe.

Thankfully Sadie can get ready entirely on her own.


I'd forgotten that one of Maggie's scripts, which I hadn't heard in an entire year, was "swim in the snow." She hadn't though.

Within ten minutes of coming outside, after reminding me that it had been too long since she'd had a shake at McDonald's and after we'd gone through that script enough times to convince her that I'd understood sufficiently, she announced that she was ready to swim in the snow and then went through her script about the Bubble Guppies swimming in the snow.

It was pretty great.

I love her memory and how she can call up a script that she hasn't used in a year in an instant, in the correct situation.

And I love that I got that script on camera. I've watched it back so many times. It's one of my favorites.



And lastly here is the video with the update on the sleep study and the surgery.

It basically tells the entire story of the sleep study and the ENT appointment and everything that led up to them, which was more or less in that last blog post, with less dramatic pictures because Youtube thumbnails kind of need that:



And I know I said that was the last thing but there's one very, very last thing.

A bit of blog house keeping if you will.

For the past several months I've been thinking really very hard about changing the name of my blog so that all my pages have to same name, so that I'm not operating under a bunch of different names, which can be kind of confusing.

I've always struggled with naming, well really anything that isn't a child.

Naming kids has always been easy for me.

Naming blogs and other blog like ventures? Not so much.

The last time I changed my blog name lots of people let me know they hated it.

And some people let me know they liked it.

Which was okay. You've got have a thick skin in blogging or vlogging or doing anything online and blogging has definitely been slowly helping me work on that for the last decade.

The thing was, I really wanted to like my blog name. And I liked the newer name more than the older one.

But when I finally came up with my vlog name I actually and really loved it.

It just clicked and felt right as a description for the last decade of my life since becoming a parent.

So I am going to be changing the blog name on Facebook to a name that matches the vlog (at least in part... it won't have "vlog" in it). And maybe I'll eventually add it to the banner here, since my blog here has been living without any sort of a name posted anywhere for quite a while.

And that's what I'm up to at the moment.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Six Years Old Today

Today Patrick is six years old. 

Later I'll have time to write more but I have to run to get ready to get him off the bus.

But I just started scrolling back through photos on the blog.

And I put together a post of pictures.

All but the very last one are pictures from the blog over the years. 

I can't believe how fast this has gone by and how much he's grown.

My big six year old! 



















Wednesday, November 7, 2018

She Used Her Words and Asked

The other day we were driving to Nani and Bopa's house for a typical Sunday lunch when suddenly a small voice from the backseat said:

"Go on the swing please?"

I turned around, surprised.

"What?"

"Go on the swing please? Swim in the pool please?"

My parents do not have a pool. So she giggled after the second part and then said "swing please?" again. "Swing please?!?!" in case I hadn't heard the first three times.

I agreed and immediately texted my mom to tell her the news of the request, rejoicing that Maggie had used her words to ask for something that she wanted.

Because she has words. She has quite a few of them. But she doesn't usually use them to tell us things like how she's feeling or what she's thinking, of even what she wants beyond when she's hungry or when she wants to use the restroom or go to sleep.

Or demanding I script about Bubble Guppies.

And swinging on the swings is none of those things.

It was every bit as wonderful as she imagined it would be:




Even as pictures taken from the video they're all a little blurry because she was such a blur of motion the entire time she was outside having so much fun that she could hardly believe her luck.

I particularly love the almost upside down moment.

And then she got cold enough (even after I got another bigger jacket for her) that she told us she was finished and ready to go inside and so we did.

But we are definitely going to have to get in as much swinging as we can before it gets into the negative numbers temperature wise. Because our little mermaid is our least likely to brave the elements to spend more than a few moments outside when it's really cold.

So we'll swing as much as we can for now and have as many fun moments like this before the snow keeps her mostly inside for the winter. Or we'll see if the swing can tempt her to bundle up with the other kids to sneak outside!

arrives!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

She Needs Surgery

Usually I try to match up the blog and the vlog, but today, for once, the blog is going to be slightly ahead of the vlog because I haven't even had time to sit down and make a video yet.

Yesterday we drove down the University of Michigan's Children's Hospital so that Sadie could have an appointment with the department of Otolaryngology. When I'd gotten a message on a Saturday from an office identifying themselves as Otolaryngology I had to google to see that these were the ENTs that the pulmonologist from the other Children's Hospital had requested her regular doctor refer her to after the sleep study.

The sleep study had showed that she had zero apneas.

Zero.


After Tessie I had almost felt like that was impossible.

Because with Tessie "good" sleep studies were talked about in terms of stopping breathing five times an hour. It was hard to imagine a world where someone didn't stop breathing at all, all night long.

It was harder still because I knew that I'd watched Sadie stop breathing  when she was a tiny baby and had it dismissed by our family doctor as paranoia and periodic breathing pauses in an infant, which I had accepted until Tessie was diagnosed and that gene was discovered that Paul and I both had, and then those long drawn out pauses had seemed a little more worrisome to both me and her doctor.

But I'll admit when we went to the hospital yesterday I thought we were more of less in the clear.

Except for one thing, that I was slightly hopeful about, because I thought we were in the right place to get her help, and if she got help maybe the kid would finally be able to breath properly.

Mott Children's is pretty spectacular.
I told the nurse and then the doctor that our oldest kid is perpetually stuffy. I said it could be allergies, that the new allergy medicine the pulmonologist prescribed is helping a bit, and that prescription flonase maybe helps some, but that the general stuffiness remained.

Sadie insisted that she could and always has been able to breath through her nose but I shook my head.

I don't think she knows what it means to breath through her nose because she never has. I explained the 18 ear infections in the first two years of her life and said that I thought something was and always had been wrong with her nose, but that I guessed they would tell me that in a minute when they looked.

They looked at her tonsils and said they were perfectly normal and said that they would check her adenoids but that even if they were a bit enlarged that it was unlikely that they would do anything because slightly enlarged adenoids in a ten year old don't cause many problems.

At ten the adenoids usually have started to shrink and so we went to another room with another chair with a huge screen with a camera on a wire and Sadie sat back nervously and clung to my hand.

And then everyone was very quiet after they'd looked at both sides of her nose until finally I asked if it was blocked.


"Yes," the doctor said quickly. "It's between eighty and ninety percent blocked."

This will very likely improve her speech because it's likely that this has been a key factor in the nasal quality of\a lot of her words. And it will improve her sleep. And stop the snoring and wild thrashing that happens all night as she tries to breath while she's asleep, but can't.

The doctor talked about a study they're actually doing at the hospital with people who have one good night during a sleep study, who actually do have obstructive apnea, because that one night is just a picture of one night and people still have bad nights (which is exactly what we've seen at home with Tessie on her monitor).

So, she will be having surgery in the near future to breath more easily.

And in somewhat related news she's grown the half inch that she needed to grow to officially be five feet tall.  She was pretty thrilled about that. She would love to be taller than me by summer.

She's still got a ways to go for that though.

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 And in totally unrelated news I made this video, because it was fun and kind of silly and there's always a chance it's going to go disastrously wrong.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Cutting Off My Hair and Talking About Armchair Internet Psychologists

I can't really blame Maggie for the impulse to find a pair of scissors and chop of her hair every time it gets to her shoulders because last night I did the exact same thing.

I could wait until it gets long enough to tie up in a bun all the time again, because that's the only other way it doesn't drive me completely out of my mind all day long.

After having it irritate me every .2 seconds for the past week I knew that it was time for a change.

Even when I was getting ready to cut my hair it kept being staticky and sticking to my face every few seconds and I couldn't get this whole job done quickly enough.

Here's about two seconds before I started snipping away.

In my Halloween pajamas and penguin Christmas pants, of course.

In fact when I walked upstairs to show Paul he didn't even notice my hair because my pajamas were so distractingly "loud."


Now I was really committed. No turning back:


And I realized this morning when I went to write this that I had absolutely no normal photos to share for the blog.

So.

I have this.


I've already found a few uneven pieces that I've fixed since I finished it. And I feel a thousand times better.

I guess I do understand Maggie's hair cutting impulses a little bit better.

And I probably should ask her if she wants me to cut her hair any time it starts getting near her shoulders...

-----------

In totally unrelated news this is a topic I've been meaning to talk about for a while because, being on social media and blogging for so long, it was something that I'd experienced a bit, and it was interesting to me.

And I know other parents with more verbal kids experience in their day to day lives all the time, not just on the internet:

Friday, November 2, 2018

On Flu Shots, Halloween, and Tessie Only Recognizing Me Sometimes

We survived all the rush and business of October, which I think is one of the busiest months of the year and I noticed something interesting about a certain Miss Tessie in the midst of all of the goings ons.

She only seems to recognize me when she expects to see me.


When I go to pick Tessie up from school, she happily runs to the door and focuses on me in the small group of parents and smiles hugely.

She'll run straight up to me now and lift up her hands to be picked up excitedly.  When I pick her up from OT she'll see me walk up to the door and the exact same thing happens. 

Joy and excitement are evident the second she focuses on my face.

But twice now I've showed up at places she didn't expect me to be and disrupted her regularly scheduled routine.

"Tessie! Hi Tessie!" I said. No response. "Tessie, Mommy's here." Nothing. I get down next to her and touch her arm. She looked at my face. No reaction. Totally blank. 


This has happened multiple times now. And each time, after talking to her, and touching her shoulder, and getting no response, I finally kissed her cheek.

And then she snapped to attention and turned her little head around fast and starred at my face.

And then she broke out into a huge smile and wrapped her arms around my neck and hugged me excitedly.

Before that, even after looking straight at my face, she seemed to have no idea that I was there.

So I think we definitely have some facial recognition problems, where she can recognize those of us she knows well, if she's expecting us, but has a little bit more of a challenging time if we aren't in the situations that she expects us to be in.

When I kiss her it seems to help her recognize that it probably isn't her teacher or her therapist and then she finally realizes that it's me.
------------

On a totally different note, Halloween was fun! 

Maggie loved being a doughnut and even marched in her schools parade this year, which wasn't something that she was quite up for last year, so that was pretty exciting! 


And I made a video about a subject that is near and dear to my heart!

Last week we went to the public health clinic to get our flu shots (because vaccines don't cause autism, not one little bit) and today I made a video talking about why flu shots are so important to me.

Once you've been hospitalized with the flu, it just isn't an experience that you soon forget!



And this video is a bit of me talking and a whole lot of our two nights of Halloween fun!



And this is just one random day with a whole lot of business!



Hope you all are having a great start to your November!

Can you believe it's already November?!?!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Super Tessie's Super Progress

Tessie has a new word. 

She has learned to finish whatever she's doing very quickly, usually a puzzle or game of some sort and when she does she slams down the last little piece in place and says "done!" to announce that she has finished her work and is ready to go and play. 

One of her therapists told me about it earlier in the week and her speech therapist confirmed that she definitely said it during speech therapy after quickly putting together a puzzle. 

I believe that means she has "mama," "da," "down," "go," "did it," and "done," now for a grand total of seven words. 

I'm 99% sure that the "did it" is echolalia, or Tessie repeating something that she hears often (basically adults saying "you did it!" to her) but I'm still totally counting it.

I have to say that I'm rather proud of her rushing through her work to go play. Or at least I could relate to it.  It reminds me of my kindergarten report cards that informed my parents that I rushed through my work and wasn't at all careful at anything, so that I could be finished without whatever it was that we were doing and be the first one to go play.

When Tessie is at school she's asked to do about four things, that take about thirty seconds, in between playing. They are usually some of her favorite things, like stacking things, or putting together puzzles, or putting things in other things, which are all things she likes to do at home for fun.

Her OT and speech therapist visited her school a couple of weeks ago and told me that they were amazed when they watched her work because she was so speedy, which both surprises me a bit and not at all. 


This weekend she suddenly decided she wanted to make eye contact with me. Constantly.

She kept catching my eye and grinning hugely.

It was brand new and shocking and amazing.

And she apparently also thought it was highly amusing because after locking eyes for a few moments she would giggle like she'd just heard the funniest joke.


I was inspired by one of my favorite autism channels to make Tessie a sensory bin from Dollar Tree.

And while I knew there were a lot of neat sensory toys at Dollar Tree I did not expect it to be the smashing success that it was with every single one of our children.

They all loved it.

They all want one of their own now.

I think I have to hurry and make Patch one before his birthday in a few days because he was that excited when he saw Tessie's and played alongside her with it.

Even as an adult, I have to admit that when I was making ,it was a lot of fun!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Onion Ring Victory by Millimeters

A certain mermaid had a minimum day the other day, which meant that the school bus dropped her off in front of our house at lunch time.

It also meant that we were off schedule.

Being off schedule is perilous.

Maggie adores her routine. She loves structure.


And not knowing exactly what is going to happen next is her idea of an extremely stressful situation. Even if I've explained in detail exactly what is going to happen next.

This time, because I'm not new at this, I'd explained that when she got home from school she and I were going to go out on a date, just the two of us, and that the date was going to involve a milk shake.

We pulled into A&W and picked a booth as far from any other person as physically possible, which at that moment was quite far. And I ordered a shake and burger for Maggie and a grilled cheese for myself and an order of onion rings for the two of us to split.


What happened next was a hilarious dance in which she kept subtly shifting the onion rings closer and closer to her side of the table, while not actually taking them because we'd talked about sharing them.

I have to say, I was pretty impressed by her self control, although the onion rings did ultimately end up in front of her.

I'm calling it a victory because it took an entire half an hour before the plate was shifted that far by millimeters and she didn't ever actually protest me taking any of our shared side.

And then came the best part.


After her brothers and sisters got home we went to Nani and Bopa's house and she got to try out the rope swing for the very first time ever.

And it was amazing.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Beer, Milkshakes, and an End to Migraines

On Tuesday there was a copy of the latest edition of the magazine The Week sitting on the coffee table at my parents' house.

Maggie swooped down upon it and before I could say a word she had ripped off the back cover and was proudly clutching it in her hand.

"Oh it's fine, it's just a Sam Adam's ad." Bopa said as I asked Maggie for the fifth time to put the magazine down. She listened, retreating with her ad still clutched in her hand, gazing lovingly at it. I tried to see what was so interesting. There was a bright blue backdrop, with what looked like a tree, and I thought maybe there was a moon on it, which would definitely catch her attention.

"Why did you want that one?" I asked.

"Milk shake!" She said, pointing at the beer.

"Oh, she thinks the Sam Adams is a milk shake." I explained to my dad.

And that was the end of it.

Or so I thought.



The next morning she came downstairs dressed for school, rocking her blue doughnut high tops, and stood in the kitchen doorway.

"Soup for lunch please?"

"It's already in your lunch box. See." I showed her the can of ravioli that I had packed for her to take for dinner at therapy.

"Put in beer please?"

"Did you just... What? Did you ask for a beer for lunch?"

"Yes please. Beer please?"

"Because you think beer is a type of milkshakes?" I stood up and stared at her.

"Yes please?"

"No. Beer isn't a kid drink. Beer is not a milkshake." I glanced at the Sam Adams ad clutched in her hand and was certain she would be taking it to school with her since it had suddenly become her favorite item in the entire world.

Maybe I should email her teacher once she was out the door, I thought, and then promptly forgot in the rush of getting Tessie to school and doing all the other things on my check list for the day.

But this definitely proves something.

That child can read.




Because beer is something rarely purchased around here, and I'm 100% sure that she didn't know that that's what was on the ad when she tore it off since she was saying "milkshake" when she told me about it the first time.

And so her third big demonstration of her reading skills involves asking for a beer at lunch, thinking it's another name for a beautiful golden milkshake.

Hopefully she didn't try to ask for it again at school.

------------

In totally unrelated news, after two decades of migraines, I haven't had a migraine in over two months now. And it is amazing. And I stumbled into this personal "migraine cure" of sorts totally by accident. 

I have no idea how it's working (and I'm sort of impatient for my next neurology appointment) but basically I was donating plasma twice a week, and realized, after a month, that my weekly migraines (that are knocked down to once a week with preventative migraine meds) were totally and completely gone. 

I have no idea if it's the tiny amount of blood thinner they use, or the actual process of removing that much plasma, or what, but I know that I've had headaches since I was eight and many migraines a month since I hit puberty and that this is amazing. 

I made a video telling the whole story, but that, in a nutshell is how it happened, for anyone short on time who was curious. 



And I finally shared this fun day of getting to go on a field trip with James' class to the pumpkin patch.

I absolutely love how many fun farms there are to visit in our area!


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Struggle to Find the Perfect Costume When You Aren't Small Anymore

It was not easy finding a costume for our oldest

I snapped these pictures the day that Sadie's costume arrived in the mail.

She wanted something very specific. It had to be very pink. She wanted to be a fairy. Preferably a fairy butterfly. 

But when we went to the various stores for Halloween costumes she would have really settled for anything fluffy and gorgeous. 

Every time we passed a beautiful little girl princess dress she asked "is that in my size?"


And of course it wasn't. At just about five feet tall, she is one size away from juniors in the kids clothes section. The biggest princess dresses were eights or maybe 8-10s.

So we headed over to look at the juniors costumes and she was completely unimpressed.

I pointed out one dress that was made to look like the Big Bad Wolf, that would match Tessie's Little Red costume and she rolled her eyes at me as she headed to another part of the store sighing "MOM!" under her breath in true tween form.


The other kids picked out there costumes, with Maggie latching on to her doughnut in .5 seconds, and Patch grabbing his Catboy of the wall less than 1 second after that, and after thirty minutes of searching for something that was pink or princess-y enough and failing, we headed home to the internet.

And we found it.

Of course Tessie was a bit disappointed she didn't have her Big Bad Wolf to go with her.


And when it arrived everyone but the Pink Doughnut tried on their costumes.

I was a little nervous about what this meant about Halloween.

Was Maggie over Halloween?

Last year she loved it.

But when it came time to go to the zoo I simply said, "Trick or Treat" and she slipped into her doughnut costume before ten seconds had passed and was clinging to Paul's hand ready to get some candy.

She just wasn't ready for a photo op.

The girl doesn't get dressed up for no reason.


Pretty sure Tessie was of the same opinion when they took her school pictures.

Not sure this picture I snapped of her school picture (since kids who only managed to sit still for one photo don't get the "buy the download option" or I would have jumped at that chance) captures it, but Tessie's eyes are totally furious in this at having to sit still for one second while they snapped this.

Now I understand why they only got one photo of her.


She was obviously in a mood about picture day.

But her curls looked great.

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I was a teensy bit nervous about talking about this, because people love to hate ADHD (or say it doesn't exist) but as it looks like I'll be taking another kid in for an evaluation in the coming months (although I didn't know that when I made this video) the timing of this video is sort of perfect:



And here is a much shorter fun video of taking the kids out into the fall woods behind Nani and Bopa's house in their costumes the very first time they tried them on. I love seeing James the Dragon zoom around on the rope swing!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Video Evidence of the Mermaid and the Penguins and a Very Happy Maggie

Was there video footage, you might have wondered, of the mermaid incident, with the penguins?

Well, not of the mermaid flying through the air.

But yes. There was immediately afterwards.



Of course there was. Because I was taking little videos of the Halloween Zoo fun and there was no point in the night when she was having more fun then when she had safely delivered her pink mermaid doll in to the penguin water.

See that smile:



I think the only fleeting moment of unhappiness was when she realized that she was going to have to leave to go and do something else, because she would have like to stay there with her face pressed up against the glass forever, loving watching the mermaid yarn hair float amid the rocks, at least until closing time.

But it was time for the tractor ride, and to report her mermaid flinging crime to the docents.

There never was a happier pink doughnut in all the world than our pink doughnut that night.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

A Mermaid Swimming with the Penguins?

Last night we went to a special autism event at our local zoo. The zoo is amazing in that it has monthly autism events that are always great.

There are two every year that we really don't want to miss, and one is the winter lights event, and the other is the Halloween event that they had last night.

The regular Halloween event is on the weekends and is always jam packed with people. And in the past that's what we've gone to. This time though, we actually signed up for the autism day, which seemed like something we needed a bit more this year although I think we were all wondering if it was a good idea when we drove up to the city and the sky opened up and began to pour.


But by the time we got there the rain had turned into a misty sort of drizzle that was fine to walk around in, and the night was definitely a success with our kids.

Especially a certain mermaid, for whom the highlight of the night wasn't the candy or the games, or the doughnuts and cider. It wasn't even the snow leopard that had come down from her perch and was sitting on a rock right next to the edge of her enclosure, or the tamarins, who she loves, who had had their babies.

The high point of Maggie's night was when she was holding hands with her dad and she used her left hand to launch her mermaid doll high up into the sky. It flew up and up and up, over the glass of the penguin enclosure, and over the rocks and landed floating in the water.


Her face lit up. She giggled. She glowed. It was clearly the best thing that had happened to her since two years ago when I was changing four day old Tessie into her baptismal gown the day after we left the hospital, and she managed to sneak two tiny mermaid dolls into the giant baptismal font at our parish without anyone noticing (all while holding hands with someone who was making sure she wasn't climbing in... she is fast and sneaky!).


We went and explained it to a docent. We didn't need the mermaid back... but we thought they should know... in case a penguin tried to eat the pink yarn hair or something like that.

When we came back from the tractor hay ride there was a soaking wet pink mermaid doll waiting for our giggling pink doughnut, who was still on cloud nine from her penguin pool victory.

She was thrilled to see her doll, back from it's penguin adventure.


Zero lessons learned I'm pretty sure, even though the doll is not yet back in her hands, as it's in the washing machine.

The other highlight of the night was when she saw a boy from her school. Both of their face lit up. He came right over with his therapist. Neither of them had any words to say but they happily looked at each others costumes and touched hands, before moving on with their nights to separate activities. It was very neat to see them acknowledge each other so happily though.

------------------

Tessie has a favorite word and she is using it very, very effectively to let us know what she wants. 

When Maggie was tiny she used "come on" for everything. Tessie uses "go."

The other day I set my camera down when we were playing outside on the swings and started to swing with Tessie on my lap. Then I'd stop the swing and say "ready, set..." and I would wait for her to say "go." 

She immediately caught on about what I was waiting for and I am so excited to share this little two minute video of Tessie saying her favorite word! 


Friday, October 19, 2018

Tessie and All The Awesome Things She's Doing

Earlier this week I watched as Tessie threw a ball to Sadie and then ran over to her sister and tackled her in a hug. After a few moments of cuddling she stood back up and ran a few steps away so that they could play catch again.

I frantically texted her therapist. "She's playing catch with her sister!!!!!" 

I could hardly believe it as they passed the ball back and forth between the two of them, both missing it more often than not, but still thoroughly enjoying the game.

Then later in the week, Tessie, who knows that the word "Dance Party" means to move her body all around even if there isn't any music, because they have "practice parties" frequently to learn how to act at birthday parties and other social events, grabbed my hand and started to twirl around like a tiny ballerina, which was quite possibly the best part thing that happened all week long.


 Fridays are my favorite days of the week, though, because as much as I love seeing Tessie's progress from school, I love that both she and James are home on Friday's with me and that the only thing that I have to do is take her into town for a combination hour of speech and occupational therapy, where every week her therapist's talk about how much more she can do than she did the week before.

It's a pretty exciting time.

Perhaps the most helpful thing is that now when I'm getting her dressed she actually helps me push her arms and legs into her pants and shirts instead of acting like she's being attacked by the clothes and is frantically trying to get away from them.

That is huge. Especially with winter rapidly approaching.


And as you can probably tell from these pictures she's all set for Halloween this year. She's going as Little Red Riding Hood. She has been obsessed with Goldie and Bear, basically since she was born.

I think it's the song at the beginning, and when you have older siblings you sometimes get to be in a room with kids TV that's on as an infant, but basically any time it came on from zero months onward she was gleeful when that particular song would play, which was not a reaction that we saw very often, since she was so often totally silent and not very responsive to anything.

And she still loves Goldie and Bear now!

We didn't see any Goldie costumes, but when I saw a Little Red Riding Hood costume I knew that it would be perfect!

And here is a much bigger update about all the awesome things that our tiniest bunny is doing:

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

James' 4th Birthday: A Festival, A Train Ride, and a PJ Masks Party

I went a little overboard, documenting James' birthday.

But it was so much fun and he was so excited about every moment of it.

And everyone else was having so much fun too. 

That's why this is my favorite time of year. It isn't yet so incredibly cold that we're all cooped up inside most of the time, and it isn't so hot and humid that it's miserable to be out for too long, and I love autumn so much that I'm trying to squeeze every last moment out of October that I can, even as each day gets a little colder than the one before it. 

There were so many choices for activities for his birthday that picking what we were going to do was the hardest part.

We finally settled on the Tecumseh Appleumpkin Festival.

The main reason that we decided on this particular festival for James' big day was because they have a train and we could rent the caboose on this particular train.

We weren't quite sure how the girls, especially how a particular eight year old, was going to do stuck in a crowded train car for an hour. It might go splendidly.

But what if it didn't?

So the caboose was the perfect solution.

We needn't have worried.


She adored every, single, moment of the ride.

As did the littlest member of our family, especially once the train got rolling:


Once the train ride was over we went back to the festival, went on the fair rides (discovered the Maggie loves the Scrambler), and then headed home, where there were presents and cake.



And where one very happy four year old ended a very exciting, exhausting day.



A day that I split into not one but three videos, because it really was that big.

I'm so glad to have these already.