Sunday, September 24, 2017

IDEA!, Forts, Sick Kids, Anastasia Speech Therapy

Sorry for the Anastasia overload lately. Heidi Anne only likes her picture to be taken on occasion right now. Rowan is a little whirlwind, constantly moving and hardly ever looks towards the camera. That just leaves little Anastasia. Isn't she adorable though?
Rowan has a new phrase he likes to say. He'll point one finger up in the air and declare "I have IDEA!" Sometime's it'll be shortened to just the word "Idea!", still with his finger pointed upwards. He gets so excited when he says it, I'd love to hear what exactly his ideas are. But alas, we can't at this point. One day we will, perhaps sooner than I expect. Who knows? 
This week has been filled with doctor appointments. Mostly, well visits and a sick kid appointments, that couldn't be put into 1 visit because that would be too easy. Here's Anastasia's view point on being dragged everywhere. She is done. I love that I can start playing with her hair! Now I just need to get tiny scrunchies, some cute clips, maybe a little bow or 2.  
On Tuesday Heidi Anne came home sick from school. We got her a doctors appointment. It turned out to be a nasty cold but we kept her home on Wednesday to be on the safe side. As you can tell by the picture taken Wednesday night she felt much better.  
We rearranged the living room and got some new decorative pillows. I've never had decorative pillows that actually matched the furniture before. (It's the little things that can make you feel like you're finally doing this adult thing right. Oh not the 3 kids. But decorative pillows). Well those suckers weren't on for more than 40 minutes when the kids realized "Hey, I can turn these pretty pillows into a fort!" And so they did.   
On Thursday the babies woke up with fevers over 100.5 F. (I believe they caught whatever Heidi Anne had). Forcing us to cancel their flu shot appointment. Which I'm sure they were heart broken over. Here's Anastasia after the Tylenol kicked in. 

As I'm writing Rowan is pretending to sleep. Complete with snoring sounds. 

Oh, Anastasia tried to play pretend early this afternoon! I was playing on the floor with her baby doll rocking it back and forth. (I play with her toys hoping it encourages her to copy me). Today, she came over, took the doll away and tried to mimic me. It's one of the first times she ever showed interest in playing with her toys "properly". Normally, she just tosses the toys down the stairs or throws them and chases after the object, just to repeat the cycle. 
 Friday was a long day. Anastasia woke up with a fever of 102. Rowan on the other hand was just at 98 degrees. I assumed he was better and sent him off to preschool. 

I came home for Anastasia's first Speech Therapy appointment. We mostly reviewed what she can and can't do, made a game plan complete with goals. Language Comprehension wise she's around a 9 month level. Everything else speech wise, she's around a 12 month old.  Even if we adjust for the 3 month delay, she should be at least a 16 month old level, she's still behind. 

Instead of letting this gap get wider, Jill wants to intervene now. The hope is Anastasia has been focused on gross motor skills that now she can turn her attention to her language development. There is still that possibility that she has autism, as she failed the toddler Mchat again. Yet, we have to wait another 2 months for it to be an "official" concern.    

About 3 hours after I dropped Rowan off at preschool, I get a text saying Rowan has a fever over 101 and was acting very lethargic. I went and picked him up early. I tended to sick babies all afternoon. 
Fast forward to later that night. Suddenly, Rowan's fever spiked to between 103.7 F-104.2 F with Tylenol. (The thermometer kept fluctuating between the two readings.) Char was on call for work, making it difficult for us to try the Emergency Room and it was to late for InstaCare. 

Char made a run to the grocery store to get Motrin, Gatorade, Pedilite, (in varying flavors). In a effort to push some fluids through him. It all must of worked because around 9:30 pm his temperature was around 102.5 F. Still high, but no longer in the seizure / brain damage danger zone. 
Saturday, everyone but Char had a fever at some level. It was mostly spent laying down, resting, making sure everyone was drinking fluids, and full of sick baby cuddles. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Wedding-Lots of Cute Pictures

Last Friday we went to Aunt S's wedding. Heidi Anne and cousins A & H all wore matching beautiful,blue and cream dresses.
I try not to post pictures of the rest of the extended family unless I have permission, which I forgot to ask for. SO here's a lot of cute pictures of my kids while waiting for the bride to come outside for picture time.  
The poor photographer had a hard time getting Anastasia and Rowan to look at the camera. Here's 1 cute shoot of Rowan (out of 20 plus pictures).
I adore this one Char took of Rowan and Heidi Anne walking around and exploring the gardens. 
Here we are at the luncheon. Anastasia and cousin E wore matching dresses. They looked so cute. The babies were obsessed with the carrot cake. The 2 of them had 4 slices total. 
Rowan became restless so Char and I took turn watching him outside. He loved watching the water run down the mill. He also liked running around outdoors.  
Heidi Anne got a flower headpiece. She was so well behaved all day. 
Char took a picture of Anastasia and me in Grandma's backyard as the reception got started. The photographer took a few pictures of all the little families in addition to the big family photos. I don't think our babies looked in her direction a single time. I had been wanting to do family photos for a while and this was the perfect opportunity.  
Here's a picture of my corsage. There was some more rosemary on it but Anastasia pulled it out. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Last Physical Therapy, an OT Session and Guitar Lessons

Anastasia had her last physical therapy appointment this week. She is officially a proficient walker (for toddler standards). Anastasia's been in some form of physical therapy since she was 5 months old. It's nice to move away from this phase of life. She has her torticollis under control, I still message her neck muscles to keep them loose, mostly out of habit. Then she was a late sitter, late crawler, and finally a late walker. That's all behind her now.   

Just as she got out of physical therapy, she's now into speech therapy. That's right, starting next week she'll begin her own speech therapy through Early Intervention. Anastasia is delayed in her speech even if we adjust her age. Instead of letting the gap get wider and wider Rowan's speech therapist, Jill, wants to intervene now. We're hoping that Anastasia has been so focused on things like gross motor skills that she just couldn't devote energy into her language skills. However, now that the physical side is catching up she should be able to work on her speech. 
Anastasia has been inconsolable lately, if she were a a year or so younger I'd say she has colic. That's what its like in the house right now, constant crying. We've tried everything. She started having another crying fit while Rowan's OT, Vicky, was over. Vicky got out a compression vest for Anastasia to try. It's like swaddling but for bigger children to adults. It gives you the wrapped up tight sensation and since it's spandex it doesn't hamper breathing. I think she likes it. As you can tell from the picture she still isn't a fan of her shoes or socks. 

We had a fun experiment for OT. Vicky is working on Rowan's food aversions. What the plan was it to couple something he loves (yogurt in this case) with something uncomfortable (cereal). We crumbled a little bit of dry cereal at a time to his yogurt. Making it slightly lumpy and a little textured. He did so well we added a whole piece of cereal to a bite. To which he instantly gagged. We took a step back and just worked on crumbling cereal again. 

We also used other foods as dippers with the yogurt. We used graham cracker sticks, dried fruit spears, and teddy grahams. The goal is to expose him to new foods via favorite foods. 
Anastasia on the other hand will try ANYTHING. She's going to eat us out of house and home. I think she's just trying to catch up growth wise. Or she has a speedy metabolism and just can't get enough.  

Rowan has been doing amazing with his speech. The other day at ABA he and his friend R kept taking turns repeating what each other said. The therapists joked that they were worried the boys would be caught in an endless loop. 

Rowan's trying to repeat harder words or more words from a sentence. He knows a lot more than he says. For example, I was putting his laundry away and he named the objects on his shirts. "Ball, Tractor, Truck, Fire-ie (fire engine)." Then he points to a shirt and says "Robot!" I told him "I didn't even know you knew that word." He replied "That word."

I think it's amazing how a routine is started. Especially a nap / bedtime routine. It's seriously a series of accidents or you do something different 1 time and the child either hates it with a passion or thinks "I like this change, this is how it must go hence forth!"
Take Rowan's requirements to go down easier: 
1. Must have Cass the dog watching over him
2. Must have a plane or car to cuddle up with
3. Must have his blue & brown pillow
4. Must be wrapped up with his; light green blanket, light blue blanket and the dark green blanket has to be UNDER him. 
5. Have his quilt over him, unless it's nap time. Then no quilt. 
6. Has to be picked up once he's been wrapped up. Twice. He'll say "Up?" You cuddle him a few seconds. He says "Down." Promptly followed by "Up?" again. 
7. Put him down with his head resting on the pillow. 

Nothing will be in the same order when you go to get him. Stuff is every which way in his crib. (Except Cass, Cass will always be by his side). He's a terrible sleeper, constantly moving. I'm not looking forward to him moving to a big boy bed, I'm pretty sure he won't stay put. 

Heidi has officially begun guitar lessons. We decided she needed something of her own and wanted her to learn an instrument / have a hobby. I like the school we're going through. She gets a 30 minute private guitar lesson per week where they work on new cords, how to hold the guitar, different warm up exercises, new songs. 

On top of personal lessons you get at least 30 minutes in the lab, you can spend as much time in lab as many days a week you want. The lab is where the students work on music theory, ear tuning, caring for your instrument, etc. 

Heidi is practicing hard because they have a recital in December she wants to participate in even though she's new. They also have a year end recital in June that everybody performs in. If she works hard enough she can move up a level around June. It takes 8-10 months to reach a new level of skill and you get a medal for every level completed. It just takes a lot of work on her part. I'm encouraging her as much as possible, daily practices and all. So far she's loving it.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Baptism, Vacation, Busy Week

The other day I was pointing at pictures trying to get Rowan to name them for me. He was fairly silent until I pointed to a picture of a flower. I had my hand on the edge of the flower and asked "Rowan, what's this?" Without missing a beat he said "Petal." He was right, I was pointing to the petals in the picture. I told him "Yes!" I then pointed to the center of the flower, asking "What's this?" He replied "Flower." I sometimes forget how literal he can be. Preschool must be paying off!! 

Saturday we were going to Cousin A's baptism and then after that we went off on vacation for the weekend. Just Char and me, Grandma and Grandpa watched Heidi Anne and the littles for us.
Since we had plans and places to be, the kids were dragging their feet to get ready. Simultaneously, we were packing up a few last minute items and loading the car. Anastasia decided right then and there was a perfect time to throw a temper tantrum. (Murphy's Law is a given at our house, I swear.)
I never found out what the tantrum was about. However, I took a page from Rowan's playbook. Play nursery rhymes on the phone for her. Judging by the look on her face it seems to have worked. Finally, she calmed down. We were able to wrap up packing and getting ready.

We all went to Cousin A's baptism. On the way down Rowan was saying "Help? Out? Please? Down?" Pretty much he said every word he knows to voice his displeasure at being in the car seat for an extended period of time. Anything longer than 20 minutes is too much for him right now. Anastasia would randomly giggle, which would make him laugh. Then promptly back to "Help? Out? Down?"

Rowan sat well for the first part of the baptism but then he got rather fidgety. Char would take him out to run around the hallways or check out the classrooms. 
Soon afterwards, Anastasia decided she didn't want to sit still any longer. Char and I tag teamed between the 2. 1 of us (mainly Char) would follow Rowan around as he explored. The other one (mainly me) would bounce Anastasia on our knee, walk around the back of the room with her, occasionally letting her roam around. 
After the baptism the kids got into grandma's car and headed to Aunt E's house for a family gathering. Char and I headed off to Midway to celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary. Yeah, we've been married 11 years as of the 1st of September. Midway is where we went on our honeymoon way back when. 

We try to visit Midway during Labor Day weekend whenever we can because they have Swiss Days. It's like the official end of summer for me. We were lucky enough to have a hotel that offered shuttle service to Swiss Days because this year they charged $5 for parking. 
One thing I have to get is a scone. I love scones. There is always a food vendor that sells scones bigger than a plate. I had eaten a good quarter before I took a picture. 
There are numerous artist that come for Swiss Days. I love strolling around looking at the amazing creations. Normally, I can catch up with an old boss of mine who's an artist, but he wasn't there in person when we visited his booth. There were over 180 booths this year. (I heard that little fun fact on the news). We spent quite a bit of time just meandering around looking at the all there was to offer. Did I mention it was crowded?

We went back to the resort in time to see a wedding underway. We joked if we were dressed more formally we'd crash the wedding. We were right next to the reception area. According to Char it went on until 10:30 / 11:00 pm-ish. I dropped off the face of the Earth around 9:15. I know how to have fun on vacation. 

I almost forgot to tell you, I slept through the night AND slept in until 7:00 am. The next morning we had breakfast at the resort restaurant. I had bread pudding French toast. It was delicious. While we ate we saw some of the wedding party from the night before there as well. 

We choose to visit Park City that morning. I sadly left my phone in the hotel. We went to the outlet mall and window shopped. We walked around a cute little park. Then we went out to a sandwich shop for lunch.  

We went back to Midway. We walked around the resort, looked at the pretty gardens, went to the crater hot springs, to cap it off we walked to the top of the hill surrounding the hot spring. We just ambled around and talked a lot about the past, present, what we hope for the future. It was nice to spend time together and not always chasing the fastest toddler. 

We played with the idea of going back to Park City and see the 8:00 pm showing of Dunkirk. Until I realized, that's late and I'm getting old. I think this meme describes me fairly accurately. 
We drove into Heber for dinner. Funny story. Our Google Maps kept saying "Eber" when it's pronounced "HEE-ber". Heber will forever be referred to as "Eber" from now on. After that we watched a movie in the comfort of our hotel room. 
On our way back home we saw a hot air balloon taking off. I snapped a quick picture. At that exact same time my cousin posted to FaceBook that she had seen a hot air balloon on her way to work. What are the chances?
While it was a much needed vacation this is the face that greeted me when we got to Grandma's house to pick up the kids. (I know, she needs a hair cut or at the very least something done with the hair in her eyes.) I'm trying to train her hair to part on the side, but it keeps going all over the place. 

Tuesday we had speech therapy with Katie. She hasn't seen Rowan in over a month. As of the last time we meet, Rowan wouldn't speak a single word in front of her. Just his humming talk. Today, he was naming barnyard animals, telling her what sounds they make. Trying to repeat whatever word she last spoke. He even played a matching game and some puzzles with her. 
Katie was impressed at his progress. She said his repeating of words or phrases is a great start but now we just have to teach him to vocalize what it is he actually wants instead of "playing parrot". (Her words, not mine. I love that he will even attempt to speak now). 
In other news, a brush fire started near our house. It's burned 6 homes so far and the mandatory evacuation order is just 3 miles from our house. But it would have to burn quite a bit of city streets, 2 hills and numerous houses before it comes close to us. We're just suffering from the nasty smoke filled air. Everyone in the house had coughing fits today / night. 

Well, that was a sleepless night. I kept waking up every 90 minutes - 2 hours to check on the status of the fire. The moon was eerily beautiful last night. It was full, bright, and marigold in color due to the smoke. Currently, the fire is only 5% contained, but it's going away from buildings and the evacuation zones have decreased. Also the interstate and highways have reopened.
Rowan had a shock at pre-school / ABA therapy today. He heard his therapist voice from the other room and started heading towards her. When Shay came around the corner she had a different hair color and new hair cut. Rowan took one glance at her and ran back to me, looking confused at her as she spoke to him. Rowan was like "You SOUND like Shay BUT you look different, yet somehow similar..."

He had a great day at pre-school. Shay's supervisor (Rowan's BACA) was there for her monthly review of his progress. She was blown away at how much he was talking and attentive Rowan was in his tasks. 
While Heidi Anne and Rowan were at school, Anastasia and I ran some errands. Next we came home and played. Then cleaned. Just to play some more when everyone else came home and messed everything up. Ah, life with 2 toddlers. At least they're adorable.    

Monday, September 4, 2017

Vets, Therapy Sessions and Playing Pretend!!

Monday was busy, like insane busy. I took Heidi Anne to school. Came back to take Rowan to ABA. Then we had 1 of 2 vet appointments for the pup that day. We went to the first appointment to check on Bunny's hips, it came back that she suffers from Hip Dysplasia on her left back hip. Meaning, she has an abnormal formation in her hip causing slight pain. It could lead to arthritis down the road as she gets older. We're going to start her on some supplements to preserve what cartilage she has while she has it.

Next we picked up Rowan from ABA and off to another vet appointment. This time to check Bunny's eyes. Luckily, they were both perfectly normal. Which was some good news after the hip dysplasia bomb shell.    

In other news, Rowan is starting to play pretend! Right now he only plays pretend with Heidi Anne and his friend R at preschool / ABA therapy. He'll pretend to sleep or put baby dolls to sleep with Heidi Anne. At preschool, his friend R gave him a shovel and told him "Owan, we're going to dig our garden." Rowan followed R's lead and played along! Those 2 get into trouble together. I love that he has made a friend at pre-school / ABA. 

Oh, I have another sign of him playing pretend! In preschool they played red light / green light. It took a few rounds but Rowan actually played along. He even stopped on red light.  Then ran as fast as he could on green light. 

Tuesday was Therapies day, we had Rowan's Speech and OT. Plus Anastasia's physical therapy session, which is probably close to her last one.

Jill was first to arrive. She was blown away by Rowan's progress and is already impressed with his pre-school. We've noticed he tends to have scripted language, meaning he says the same phrases over and over, no matter the situation. For example, he'll say the following when looking for an person or object. "Where go?" Looks for the item, then states (very excitedly) "There is! I found it!" Even if he doesn't find the thing he'll still say "I found it!" 

Jill believes that these scripts make communicating more bearable for him and less overwhelming. He's also starting to mimic. Playing the "Say [insert word]" about half the time he'll try to say the word. Right now he'll say and sign the word "more" leaving us to scramble to discover what it is he wants "more" of. It could be more water, more food, to watch a show again, all we know is he wants something.

Jill wants us to focus on semi-scripted speech with him. Where he has a given beginning of a sentence that starts out the same and he can add the object at the end. We'll be adding the phrases "I want...." "I see..." and "I like..." to the start of OUR sentences and hopefully he'll mimic this and add it to his scripted vocabulary. The main goal being, instead of just using the word "more" he'll replace it with "I want oatmeal" or  "I see plane" to express his needs more adequately.

Vicki the occupational therapist came just as Jill was leaving. Vicki brought a dry sensory box with her for Rowan to explore. A sensory box can be filled with dry rice, dry beans, dry oatmeal, dry pasta shells, anything dry with different textures for children to play with. Vicki's was dry beans with little dollar store animals hidden inside. Rowan had to dig through the beans to find the animals. Kind of like an interactive I Spy game. He was up to his armpits, digging around a box the size and depth of a shoe box.  

We heard his script of "Where go? There is! I found it!" each time he found or buried an animal. I loved hearing him talk that much. Have I mentioned how I adore his happy, little voice? He would get super excited he'd pull out an animal so quickly that beans would go flying every which way. 

While all of this was going on Debbie was watching Anastasia's progress in walking. Debbie came in and Anastasia walked to the gate to greet her. Debbie was thrilled. She had Anastasia fine tune her skills by walking with socks that were too big, over obstacles, and helped stop Anastasia from eating the dry beans Rowan would spill. Debbie wants to see her another time or two before discharging Anastasia, just to make sure she has this whole walking thing down.

Rowan will eat 2 bowls of oatmeal and 2 yogurts for breakfast right now. I'm glad that he's starting to eat more, even if it's just more of his "safe" foods. Anastasia will eat 1 bowl of oatmeal and 1/2 to a full cup of yogurt. If I blow on Rowan's food for him, sometimes he'll try to copy me. Only instead of blowing on his food to cool it down, he'll puff out his cheeks, no blowing. Just inflating his cheeks. It's cute, but he ends up with hot food. 
I learned a funny thing about Rowan this afternoon. If you ask him what a Car says he'll reply "Vroom, vroom!" If you ask what sound do CARS make, he'll say "Beep, Beep! CRASH!!" I love that a car and cars make different sounds!