Friday, March 22, 2019

Humpty Dumpty, Brownies, Start of Spring

Anastasia loves nursery rhymes and songs and often uses them to express her feelings instead of being able to just say what's going on in her head. We're pretty certain this is due to her autism and just her way of communicating. So we adapt and learn her riddles.
For a while, she's been asking for a "Humpty Dumpty dress, priddle [pretty] please?" Thankfully it's spring! I found an Easter egg outfit with baby chicks all over. It's supposed to be a tunic and capris but it's more of a dress with ruffled leggings on her. I'm happy with it because it gives her room to grow. As soon as Anastasia opened it up she yelled "Humpty Dumpty!! Soft. On? Priddle please!" She wears it frequently and we've only had it for a week. 
Heidi likes cooking dinner with me and baking during weekends or at night. She's discovered while these tend to be chores they double as coping skills for her. Heidi still loves taking pictures, especially of the Littles. 
Sometimes she'll let the Littles help her out and we end up with fun memories like these. Heidi was making brownies and we got some frosting and sprinkles to top it off with. She frosted the brownies and divided the sprinkles between the 3 of them. 
Anastasia promptly ate all of hers, not a single crumb made it onto the brownies. Rowan would pour his allotment onto the very center of the brownies. They were very perplexed to discover we couldn't make more sprinkles magically appear, no matter how politely they would ask.
We've been enjoying the lovely spring weather by going to the neighborhood park any chance we get. It supposed to be chilly for this time of year, however, it's perfect spring weather to us. The preschool has a difficult time keeping jackets on Anastasia and Rowan while outdoors.
The park we frequently go to is small, however, there are benches, swings and a slide. Rowan and Anastasia are learning to play pretend. Right now, Anastasia likes to act like a puppy. Complete with licking people. Rowan will climb to the top of the slide, shouting "LOOK!! Rowan climbing the highest mountain!" 
Rowan and Anastasia ask me or Heidi to take pictures of any flowers we pass while we're out on walks. 
To which we happily oblige them. I figure it's more polite to take a picture and have a pretty memory then letting them pick the flowers and having them die in a day or two. 
The Littles are learning Yoga at preschool, Rowan has really gravitated to it. He just loves to get into yoga poses and sit in the sun. Anastasia is picking up deep breathing techniques for when she's flustered. I think it's safe to say they are loving their teachers and preschool in general.
I've also made a sad realization. When your child has difficulties with speech they can't have those adorable, yet incorrect, pronunciation of words. For example, Anastasia says "priddle" instead of "pretty". Or she has a baby T-Rex she has to sleep with at night, she calls him "Baby Wex".

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Rowan's 4th Birthday, Check Ups, and Pictures

We just celebrated Rowan's 4th Birthday on Sunday. We decided to open the presents in the morning because; Char had to work that night, Char had to study and a paper to work on. Bonus, opening them in the morning meant Rowan could play with the presents for the whole day.
One of his favorite surprises came from Grandma. It's a big battery operated train track set just like the one his cousin got for Christmas. At Christmas, those 2 little boys played with the train for hours. 
Rowan and Anastasia like to make human tunnels for the train to go under. They straddle the sides of the track and watch as the train goes under them. They played tunnels together for nearly an hour straight. 
Before Char left for work that night we had some birthday cake. Even though it was still daylight outside, Rowan wanted the lights off in the kitchen. As soon as Char lit the candles, Rowan promptly blew them out. 
We lit the candles again. Rowan let us sing all of the Happy Birthday song to him, without asking us to be quiet. That's huge! In fact, he was giggling the whole time. 
Anastasia is getting used to riding the bus and going to school. She still cries and pouts a little as she gets on the bus, however, she goes right to her assigned seat. She's also letting me do her hair in the mornings, which is amazing. 
Heidi Anne had activity day, it's a church youth program, this week. They played a variety of glow in the dark games. (I'm sure there was some lesson behind it all) but Heidi had a ton of fun, which is the important part. Rowan stayed up later than normal just to make sure Heidi came home okay. She brought the glow in the dark lights and he had a blast playing with her before bed.  
On Tuesday Rowan went for this 4 year well child check. He's 36.8 pounds (45th percentile) and 3 feet & 4 inches tall (60th percentile)! He was terrified at the thought that he'd get eye drops. As soon as the doctor came in he begged "No eye drops! Please!!" She kindly explained that she wasn't that kind of doctor. He didn't need any shots this round, but he'll get his kindergarten series next year. 
Oh! We had our first visit to the dentist in a long time. Once again, Rowan was worried about getting eye drops (I'm fairly certain those eye drops traumatized him). Rowan was not cooperating at all, wouldn't open his mouth, or even smile so the dentist could have a glance at his teeth. Anastasia would a least open her mouth for a short time. The dentist was patient and didn't push them, her goal is to get kids comfortable enough with the dentist. She saw enough to see there aren't any serious problems. We're going to practice examing their teeth at home and try again in 6 months. 
Heidi Anne's been doing okay. Since she is going to middle school in August she really wants her own cell phone. Char stuck a deal with her, she has to read a certain number of assigned books before her birthday in July and she can have her own phone. (It'll probably be one of those old school flip phones). Thus, she has been reading like crazy lately. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Anastasia's First Day of Preschool, Check Ups, And Fixed It!

Anastasia just had her 3rd-year checkup. She is now 28 pounds (the 5th percentile) and 2'9 (the 2nd percentile) but she's on the charts!! She also got her MMR vaccine, which means we're really free from being housebound. Here she is recovering from the shot. We haven't done many adventures outside the home due to the measles outbreak. Now if the weather would just turn to spring we can do more outdoor things. 

Anastasia's first day of preschool was last week. Rowan's afternoon preschool teacher loves having him around so much, she requested that Anastasia be in her morning class. She adores Anastasia, too. (I know, new standards require you to take off the coat, which I did. We're just waiting for the school to open and it was so cold I bundled her up.)
Anastasia was so excited to go to school like Rowan...until she learned that mom wouldn't be staying with her. She started crying as soon as we would pull up to the school. They let me take her into the classroom for the first few days but Anastasia would become inconsolable once I left. 
This week we started with a bus taking her to school and dropping her back off at home. It's made the transition to school much easier for Anastasia. (Once again, Rowan's bus driver offered to be Anastasia's transportation). Now they both have the exact same teacher and bus driver. 
Both of them love their new one on one time with just mom, however, Rowan and Anastasia miss each other a great deal. As soon as one is off the bus they run to each other shouting "You're back!! I MISSED you!" Once inside they just like being close together.  
The Littles have come up with a new phrase. "How's your name?" They ask this many times a day. I think it's a mix between "How are you?" and "What's your name?". They ask it very sincerely and only seem to accept "My name's good." as an appropriate answer. 
I was cleaning up the kitchen while the Littles were in the other room. They would run up to me every few minutes and say, "Dollhouse Trains." I was like "Yeah! Dollhouse and Trains are so much fun! Good job!" High fives would be given and off they'd go. After 20 minutes of this, I overheard, "Yippie Skippie! We fixed the dollhouse, Anastasia." I rushed to the living room to see what happened. Apparently, they turned the dollhouse into a train yard still under construction. They asked me to take a "Cheese!!" [picture] of the newly "fixed" dollhouse. 
Rowan has rediscovered his wolf hat from last winter. As recently as November 2018 he still hated to wear hats. Now he won't take it off. It could be a super warm day (we haven't had many of them yet but they happen) and he'll still put it on. He would leave "Wolfie" at school sometimes and be very sad. I got him another, similar wolf hat which is never taken out of the house. According to Rowan, the hats are "brothers". 
Speaking of brothers, Rowan keeps confusing the school staff by telling everyone he has a little brother at home. His teacher went through his file and it has 2 sisters listed. The teacher would ask Rowan, "Do you have a baby sister at home?" Rowan's response? "Yes and baby brother."
So I asked him, "Rowan, where's your baby brother?" He ran up to Cas, giving Cas a big hug, and answers "Cas my brother!" My heart melted a little.   

Monday, February 25, 2019

Anastasia's Birthday, Snow Day and IEP Meetings

It's that wonderful time of year where I have 2 kids the same age for 3 weeks. Everyone assumes they're twins anyways,  I just roll with it during this period. I've grown to love these 3 weeks because it shows all the progress Rowan's made in the last year and all the potential growth Anastasia can achieve. I've also learned that newly (insert age) is such a huge difference compared to nearly done with (insert same age). 
The Littles have developed a haterade of amateur singing. Sure, they sometimes listen to the radio or Pandora. However, if anyone tries to sing along you'll hear "NO!! No singing!!" being shouted by one or both of them. We tried to do a practice run of "Happy Birthday" but it ended when they got upset by the singing. I was pretty sure we were just going to skip the candles and go straight for the cake. As soon as Char started lighting candles they allowed us to finish the song.
Rowan promptly blew out Anastasia's candles, we relit them so she could make a wish. He then looked rather dejected when Anastasia received the first slice of cake. He kept looking at her plate, down to his empty plate, back to her cake filled plate. He didn't scream or otherwise show his disappointment, which is awesome! 
Then we opened presents. Anastasia got a purple and pink butterfly backpack (she started pre-school this week), some clothes, and a pink superhero cape. Since Anastasia and Rowan are so close in age I got him a picture encyclopedia book about vehicles, planes, and trains. 
Heidi Anne and Rowan had a snow day about 3 weeks ago. This was Heidi Anne's first snow day from any school, ever. It snowed about .5 inches but schools were closed since there are so few snowplows for a very large city.
Rowan has begun to hide under my blanket whenever he's scared or there are loud noises. 
So I bought out their last Christmas gift that was unopened. A pop-up tent. They both go in there just to hang out or Rowan hides in there when he's frightened.   

I have had 3 IEP meetings in the space of 5 days. I wouldn't advise anyone to do that, 1 alone is stressful enough. I was able to get 2 drafts ahead of the meetings that way I could preview the accommodations and recommendations for each child and make any of my own suggestions to help the meetings go more smoothly. 
I am loving this school district! I actually felt respected, heard, and part of the team. The school district pushed to give all 3 kids far more services than we were able to receive in Utah. 4 days per week of preschool (versus 2 days a week in Utah). More time for speech therapy, even Occupational and Physical Therapy are part of the Littles' IEP.   
Here's Char squeezing in family time while studying for another exam. We don't see much of him as of late since he's in grad school and working full time. So he gets lots of cuddles whenever we get to see him. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Heidi Anne's FIRST Blog Post

This will be Heidi Anne's very first blog post by herself. Heidi wants to be more involved in the blog. It's about her field trip to Olympia, the capital of Washington. She even took her own pictures on her new (cheap) digital camera for this post! 

Hi everyone this is my first Blog post. Today I am going to talk about my field trip to Washington State Capitol. It was 2 hours there and 2 hours back.         
The fifth grade was doing a skit about a case that happened in the state capitol. I was the judge in the skit. 
                       My teacher took the photo 

We took a tour around the state capitol. Here's is a photo of the chandelier.
We saw where the laws are built and passed.
There was also an awesome fountain.
I also sat by my by my friend Emma. She is so nice.
That is my field trip to Washington state capitol. Bye!!   

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Pacific Northwest Bucket List

I have a friend that really LIVES where she lives. What I mean is, she finds things to do with her family that typically only the locals know about. I don't know how long we're going to be here but I want to have adventures that will make lasting memories with my kids. If you see anything I should add, let me know! 

1. Ester Shore Park Farmer's Market (March - October)
2. Visit Fort Vancouver
3. Stroll on the Waterfront Trail on a Warm Day
4. Ridgefield National Bird Refuge During Bird Migrations 
5. Water Resources Education Center for a class
6. Go Salmon & Trout Fishing 
7. Moulton Falls Regional Park
8. Swim at Vancouver Lake Park
9. Go to the Beach!! 
10. Pomeroy Living History Farm
11. Portland Children's Museum
12. Portland Rose and Tea Garden
13. Take the Train to Seattle
14. Go to Seattle
15. Visit Mt. St. Helens Park
16. Go to Mt. Hood
17. Ride the Mt. Hood Train 
18. Pearson's Air Museum
19. Indoor Parks 
20. Bamboo Sushi - Portland

Friday, February 1, 2019

Measles, Flying Ostrich, Lots of Pics

We haven't really been doing much lately. It's mostly due to the stupid measles outbreak in the area. Currently, there are over 40 confirmed cases and over a dozen suspected. Here's what we've been up to while homebound. 
 Yesterday was the first time Anastasia went out in public since this measles crap started, which around the 9th of January. I couldn't find her records and didn't think she had received at least 2 doses. I received the records today and she is current! We went to the park to celebrate our freedom (and the warm, sunny day). 
Anastasia adores Rowan and has reached a stage where she takes his explanations of the world as gospel truth. For example, they were watching the little birds peck at some seeds when a big black bird appeared. Rowan shouted "Look Anastasia! An ostrich!" They watch in awe of this big bird, which promptly flew away. Rowan adds, "Ohh Anastasia! That a flying ostrich!" (She now calls all black birds flying ostrich).  

While most of the country was buried knee deep in the snow or in a polar vortex, it was (mostly) nice weather out here. It was so pleasant that the kiddos and I walked to the little neighborhood park to play. I don't know quite how long we were there. The only reason we left was due to a sudden deluge that caught us all unaware. I'm still learning that we're not in a desert anymore, therefore, I need to bring an umbrella every time I head outdoors. 
I've made a discovery, we're the odd ducks at the local park, however, there are a lot of people at the big community parks. Apparently, there is a difference between neighborhood parks and community ones. I hope to visit all the big parks at least once while we're here. I've even made a bucket list for the area. I don't know why but I was not this adventurous back in Utah. 
Rowan is currently in preschool 2 days a week. Hopefully, that will change after his IEP meeting in about 10 days. His favorite part of the day is when the bus comes to our door to pick him up. We just wait on the porch and as soon as he hears the rumble of the engine he is up and running to his spot on the sidewalk.  
Heidi has developed a love of birds. She feeds them nearly every morning with Rowan in tow. They sprinkle birdseed (with some acorns for Chubsters the squirrel), around the back fence and porch. Then they come inside, sit on the floor and watch the birds flock to feast. I think I'll get them some binoculars if they keep this up.