Monday, July 17, 2017

4th of July, Heidi's Birthday, Rowan's Arts & Crafts

Let's see, we left off just before the 4th of July. Char had work that night which meant we couldn't go to Grandma's house for a barbecue. We did have a mini barbecue at our house before Char left for work. That night the kids went to bed at their regular times. 

Then at 9:45 pm the fireworks in the neighborhood began to go off. I was just praying the babies would sleep through it all (which they did). Right by our house the whole street had gathered and everyone was taking turns lighting off their fireworks. I watched for about 15 minutes from the living room window, then went to bed myself. Do I know how to have a good time or what? 
The day before Heidi's birthday she had a cousins' party at Grandma's house. They played in the water, made cupcakes, and had a sleepover. Grandma brought Heidi back home the next morning

Char decided to take Heidi on a Daddy / daughter date for her birthday. They went to this nice burger place called Habit. Once full they were off to the movies. They picked the new Spiderman movie, which they both enjoyed. Char and Heidi were laughing when they came home telling me a bit about the movie. Thankfully, Heidi didn't give everything away, because I want to see it (in 3-6 months) and be excited about watching it. 

We also got Heidi her first mountain bike, complete with handbrakes and gears! She got a "cool" helmet because safety. Lastly, we got her a T.A.R.D.I.S poster to hang on the back or front of her bedroom door. She loves her poster. 
In the early evening we remembered we still had cake to eat, I snapped a picture before the candles were put in. As we were eating cake Heidi informed us she knows what she wants for Christmas. She figured it was to late to make a wish for her birthday when she blew out the candles. Heidi wants a wand from Harry Potter, more specifically Hermonie's wand. I'm glad she's really getting into the Harry Potter books / movies. 

We just got Rowan a new PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) book. It has over 200 pictures of objects, feelings, and verbs. We've just expanded his vocabulary options from about dozen items or actions to hundreds. Everyone's working on teaching him to use the words properly and not pick any picture at random. He's doing good and picking up actual words along the way. 

There is a little boy who's about 3, named R, at ABA therapy the same time as Rowan and they often do group therapy together. Almost everyday Rowan goes into the room and asks "Where he go?" R will respond with "R here 'Owan!" The other day, they were playing with the tunnel together and Rowan saw R and said "I see you!" They're adorable to see together. I love the way R says "'Owan!" every morning. 

Every day at ABA therapy they do an arts & crafts project. You'll notice they have a summer / beach theme going lately. 
This is a little beach, with pasta shells and a sand mixture similar to play-doh. Rowan was the most enthused one to participate. He loved playing with the sand. He thoughtfully placed each shell in it's spot.  
Here is a crab that he painted all by himself! The therapist helped to glue the arms, legs and eyes. 
This is his little island. He painted it by himself and did a few cool things while working on this project. While painting it the girls played music from Moana in the background. Rowan heard the music, shouted "Moana!" (Sure he can't say Mom or Dad, but troubles there). While he was painting he said the word "Blue". 

Just a few days ago we ran out of yogurt (a huge no-no in this house as it's 1 of Rowan's favorite foods). Which made me do an emergency run to the store with Rowan before his ABA therapy. Normally we don't bring Rowan to the store because the crowds, noise, overhead speakers all make him have meltdowns. Somehow there were no crowds nor calls placed overhead. When the music got to loud, he'd cover his ears. If we saw people he bent down in the cart and stared at the floor. We just ran in to get yogurt but he did amazing!  

Anastasia has overcome her food aversion, she pretty much eats what's put in front of her. I think she'll finally gain some weight. Which is giving her more muscle and pushing Anastasia closer to walking. She cruises, stands, and finger walks really well. Her psychical therapist thinks Anastasia just needs to have more confidence in her abilities.  

Anastasia is becoming quite vocal herself, lately. She likes to say "No way, No way, No way." She says go, just prompt her like Rory, say "Ready? Set?" she'll whisper, "Go!" Lastly, she's learned to say "More". 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Anastasia's Turn

I feel like I keep posting about Rowan's progress. I wanted take a minute and focus a little bit on Anastasia. 

Up until 6 weeks ago Anastasia could only tolerate formula and maybe some level 2 baby food. The kind for a 4-6 month old infant, super pureed. She had a nasty food aversion. It was a test of wills when it came to feeding her solids and she normally won.
About a month ago we decided to help her get over this once and for all (with some advice from a feeding / speech therapist). This girl seriously needed protein and to get some meat on those little bones. We got her a cute new high chair just for her (before then she and Rowan took turns in his high chair). We got a variety of dis-solvable foods; Cheerios, baby puffs, little crackers, tiny baby dis-solvable stars, yogurt bites, ect. Then we'd have her sit in the high chair and layout the bounty. 
At first she'd just put the food in her mouth and promptly spit it back out. But slowly the food started to stay in her mouth long enough for her to taste it. We'd leave her in the chair (with one of us sitting with her) for 30 minutes, several times a day. We wanted to give her time to choose to eat. Whatever stayed in the longest, Anastasia would receive more of that item.

Finally it just clicked, with baby cheddar puffs. Anastasia actually ate them. We'd get 1/2 a dozen of those cheddar puffs and let her eat as much as she wanted. Shortly there after, we introduced "Li'l Bits" which is baby food with actual bits of real food in it. We repeated the same process as before. 

She's now up to eating 5-6 containers of Li'l Bits a day (2 per meal) and snacking on easy to eat finger foods. We're working up to regular foods in the next day or two.
Anastasia is beginning to talk a little more. She waves and says "Bye Bye". She'll do this whenever she goes down for a nap or to sleep for the night. I love it! Every time, she waves bye to everyone in the room. 

She can say "No, No, No", Bye bye, Momma, and Dadda. She's a little behind in her in her speech, however, Jill (the speech therapist for Rowan from Early Intervention) is keeping an eye on Anastasia. If she slips further behind we'll be on top of it. 
Lastly, she's starting to walk, she'll cruise around the sofas in the living room. Anastasia will walk with assistance. We're thinking by Char's birthday she'll be toddling on her own. Here's to hoping and lots of physical therapy.  

Monday, July 3, 2017

Aquarium Fun!

The other day we went to the big aquarium down in Sandy. Last time we went to the aquarium was for Heidi Anne's 2nd birthday and it was at old place. It's since moved to a brand new (to us) building.  

I went to go wake up Rowan and found he was buried in a nest. Recently, he loves to surround himself with his, and a few of Heidi Anne's, stuffed animals. No matter how hot it gets, he must have everyone of them. 
We left the house before 9:00 am to get there right when it opened. We were hoping it would be less crowded for Rowan's sake and that less crowds would equal more time there. We snapped pictures of each of the kids on the ride down. 
Heidi Anne enjoys having a mini-van. She gets to pick anywhere in the back seat to sit. She now has dark purple reading glasses. She's reading along to the audio book of "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" while in the car.
Rowan just got new shoes today. Which he HATED when we put them on. We think that since the shoes are a different texture they just rubbed him the wrong way. 
Anastasia just sat back and enjoyed the ride. She'd serenade us with her lovely voice saying her new word "No, No, No" whenever it got to quiet in the car. (She's going to be rear facing until she's 3, I swear, she is such a light baby.)

We got down there a bit earlier then expected. We just waited outside until they opened. 
Plus we were also waiting for Grandma, Aunt L, and cousins G and little E. (Boy will I be in trouble if cousins start to have the same initials).  
We found Grandma and later Aunt L. We didn't get to explore all of the aquarium nor see a 4D movie. Hey, you've got to save something for the next visit, right? What we did see was awesome and loads of fun. 
We went to the South America exhibit. We saw toucans, huge catfish, sting rays, and loads of different fish. Grandma told the kids about her experiences with a variety of animals on her various trips around the world. 
Rory demanded to be freed from the stroller, leaving Anastasia all alone. So Heidi Anne, Grandma, and I took turns holding his hand / carrying him around the exhibits. 
We saw tiny poison dart frogs. Rowan surprised us by joining Heidi Anne on a replica of a frog. 
Here is an electric eel. Underneath the it was a demonstration of how the shock of an electric eel feels like. You'd place two fingers on the buttons and receive a shock equal to that of a 15 volt battery. Just enough to give you that pins and needles feeling in your hand.
In the Asia section we saw Heidi Anne's favorite wild animal. She did 2 different reports on this critter. It's a clouded leopard. She asked "Why is it called clouded when it's not grey like a cloud?" (I quickly Googled that question). I told her it's because of their large cloud like spots on their fur. Heidi Anne regaled one of the employees nearby the cage with all the information she's learned about the leopard. 
Fun Fact: I love the show Deadliest Catch. Char liked it before I did, and I would tease him that he was watching people fishing like an old man, never giving the show a glance. Then one day I was sick at home from work, when this cool show about crab fishing was on. I loved it. Later that day Char exclaimed, "That's the show you've been picking on me for watching!" 

I'm amazed at how big those crabs really are. I got a picture of a Japanese Spider crab. It was huge but there is nothing in the picture to compare it's size to. 
Rowan was running out of steam, so we quickly went through the Wild Utah section. Lots of fish, a couple tortoises, and these adorable river otters. Which were sleeping. Char tried a dad joke and told Heidi Anne "You know, that's where Otter Pops come from, right?" While Heidi just rolled her eyes it did make a random stranger laugh.  
We thought we'd push the limits and go to the playground zone. There were three different playgrounds, one was for infants, (just right for Anastasia), another for kids 4 and under, (perfect for Rowan), and lastly a huge maze for 5 and up (which Heidi Anne had a blast in). Honestly, it was like a play maze of your childhood dreams. 

Rory would do the obstacle course to get to the end with the slide. He'd sit at the top and say "GO!". It was rather crowded and I was impressed he spoke at all. He doesn't normally talk in large groups of people. Anastasia was walking with the help of Char and even played on the baby playground a little and went down the tiny slide.
After the aquarium we all went to McDonald's. Where Rowan impressed us once again. He liked apple juice from a juice box with a straw-without squirting it everywhere! You have to appreciate all the small victories in life.