Friday, December 28, 2012

Steinbeck, lost in tissue paper.

My mom called this morning and said she'd found my copy of East of Eden in a bag of tissue paper. I've been without my main reading material since Christmas, and have been quite lost without it. I was sure my grandma (accidentally) stole it and took it back to Columbus with her...sorry, grandma. Not that I think she wanted to read Steinbeck's masterpiece, but I gave a book to her for Christmas and assumed she'd picked up my book instead of her book to take back with her. I've marked key passages and pages, so it would have been a very devastating loss. Well, I suppose worse things could happen. 

Moving on....

A tea party--of very small proportions. 


Tube feed + pirate ship = happiness
What is Isaac eating? Banana, chicken, beans, cod liver oil, coconut milk, and chicken stock. Yum. 

Isaac was given a Hexbug for Christmas. It's some kind of battery operated bug-robot that initially sounded like a silly toy to me, but as it turns out, Isaac treats it like his special pet and gets really mad if anyone touches it. He never signs that he loves us, but did sign that he loves his bug. So there, not so silly after all.

Isaac, giving Isabella an apology hug for throwing something at her hand.

The next post will be all about Isabella's fairy garden!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Let it snow

The snow finally came down (and since writing this a few days ago, there is even more snow). Isabella acted as if she'd never seen a snowflake in her whole life, and excitedly pointed out every object covered in snow (or barely covered at first, and even then she would exclaim, "Look at all the snow!"). Walter took her sledding Saturday morning before I had to leave for a wedding, and then she played outside at least three more times. She is such a snow bunny. During the summer she acts as if the sun is melting her body, but when winter comes, she is one happy girl.

Why is it that I used to spend hours playing in the snow and now the mere thought of going out there makes me chilly? I've become a wimp.

Our Christmas was very merry, how about you? Isabella was full of excitement, and thanked us profusely for everything we gave to her. Anytime Isaac was asked if he wanted to open a present, he said a quick, "no". Once he had a chance to see the unwrapped gift he signed 'stuck', because of course, every toy was stuck in each box, many requiring brute force to open. I'm thinking the makers of those boxes and things to secure a toy in it's box took Toy Story a little too seriously. I mean really, the toy is not going to come alive and jump from it's cardboard jailhouse.

Isaac's refusal to touch gift wrap, meant that Isabella happily opened every single present.

Oh my, I can't even describe how excited the kids are to have daddy home so many days in a row. Isaac is even asking for 'da' instead of 'ma' during the day. This is a pleasant break for me.

Walter brought home a "coloring book", some stapled pieces of paper with extremely pixilated images of some of the aircraft his company makes stuff for (I can't say much more than that...they make stuff and I'm not really sure what they make). I told Walter that chances are, some angry co-op was told he had to get this done. Either way, when all was said and done, these were the most colorful Apache Helicopters ever seen.

Have I told you that Isaac loves Legos? He spends a fair amount of time simply looking at the instruction booklets. Then, when he gets to the pieces and parts page, he points out each piece that is part of his project. There's a genius locked away in there.

Tracking Santa. Just ignore the fact that Isaac is playing with a box of batteries.

Playing with one of his new pirate ships with Opa...

The pirate ship has replaced the DVD player for feedings. We'll see how long we can keep that up.

My grandpa's Leland -Detroit Monorail, made in the 1930s...

I uploaded my pictures and saw this one that my brother must have taken while we were visiting Walter's family. Yes, those are clumps of snow.

Walter let me sleep in this morning and has been tirelessly playing Legos with the kids. Isabella built the Lego Friends Heartland Stable almost entirely on her own, and enjoyed making cookies and having a tea party with Aunt Rosie. I hope you are also enjoying a relaxing day.


Sunday, December 23, 2012


The year we were married, I couldn't imagine not waking up Christmas morning with my siblings, and walking down the stairs to see the tree and the presents, just as I'd always done. For that year and the next, we stayed overnight at my parent's house on Christmas Eve. Then we decided it was time to start our own family tradition, and create our own Christmas morning experience with Isabella, and now Isaac.

Something strange happens when you become an adult, and even more so when you have kids. I don't know about you, but I've started to remember things. Little flashbacks here and there about my childhood. Maybe the memories weren't as important to me before now, or I'm trying to recreate parts of my childhood for Isabella and Isaac. Either way, with Christmas quickly approaching, I'm looking forward to savoring moments, and faces full of excitement, and squeals of delight.

Some of my own winter memories:

My sister and I used to get so excited at the idea of my dad making a fire in the fireplace. Our job was to wad up sheets of newspaper (a very important task), and I'm pretty sure there was hot chocolate, or at least I hope there was because that would make this memory even better. Without a doubt though, there was a thermos of hot chocolate (prepared by my mom) that accompanied us when we went on our sledding adventures. My dad used to take us sledding at night, and we would sneak onto a golf course and trek through the snow in search of the perfect hill. It was always just the three of us, my sister, my dad, and me. We'd go down the hill a bunch of times, and then plunk down and sip hot chocolate.

Every Christmas morning we read a letter from Santa. He'd write about how much he enjoyed the cookies, and that Rudolf really loved the carrots. I eventually recognized my dad's handwriting as Santa's. I don't remember being crushed by that discovery (mom, correct me if I'm wrong). 

We're going to have so much fun with the kids this Christmas. In Walter's words, "Isaac pooped just in time for Christmas." Yes, our general family happiness is based on whether or not Isaac is constipated, so hooray, he spent an hour pooping at 4:30 this morning, so we should all be in good shape. I am rather tired today from being up with him most of the night, but I'm glad we are not in the hospital today. I thought for sure something must be wrong with his g-tube because all night he held his stomach saying, "ow, ow, ma, ow". And apparently I just missed the memo that he was constipated. Hmmm, how quickly this post went from family traditions to poop.

If I don't get a chance to write a post before Christmas, our family wishes you a Merry Christmas, and a wonderful time spent with family.


Sierra, Walter, Isabella, Isaac and Stella

p.s. Count this as your Christmas card from us.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Quick post

I am so glad Isabella thinks "we're ready for Christmas" just because we have a tree set up. It's a good thing she doesn't have greater expectations for how our house should be decorated, because I fail in the decorating department. We did makes cookies (I'm pretty sure I ate the majority of them. I promise I won't make cookies for your Christmas present. I swear, people have issues with my baking!).

Unfortunately, this is the extent of my post. I haven't been sleeping well, and am having a hard time putting together a coherent thought. Thankfully, Walter will have two weeks off, and I am looking forward to family time, and getting lots of needed rest.

This little man hasn't been sleeping well either. I put him in his chair and then started the blender and he slept through the whole thing. The blends I make for Isaac are mixed on the soup setting, so it goes and goes for 90 seconds of extremely loud blending. He didn't budge.

Last night she was on an adventure, and here she was asking Stella to join her. I also noticed the squinkies were set up in very deliberate rows, and casually asked what was going on with them..."Oh, they're having a search party for Tinkerbell and another fairy." Clearly.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Leaps and bounds...

It is unseasonably warm, here in Ohio. The kids are outside playing and Isaac, who usually confines himself to the back porch, bravely and tentatively, put a foot in the grass, and then the next, and before I knew it, he was walking across the yard. I couldn't hold back the tears. It looks like next summer will be so much more enjoyable, and I can't wait to watch him explore.

My little man is really coming along. This week he talked on the phone for the first time. His first conversation went something like this: Ha (hi), go, ya, no, ya, go, Ba (bye). There were hand gestures that went along with it, and I'm his mom so I'm allowed to brag and say that witnessing the whole thing was ridiculously cute. And I'm going to embarrass my husband, and tell you that he said hearing Isaac talk on the phone almost made him cry while he was sitting in a lab at work. We wait and wait for these moments, which only adds to the sweetness when they do finally happen.

We're working on teaching Isaac how to get dressed. Obviously, we never had to spend a moment teaching Isabella anything about getting dressed. She's been a pro at it for way too long, and I had to give up control on picking out her outfits before she turned two. Hence the wide array of fashionable attire that you often see pictured on this blog. A tip to moms who want to maintain some control in this area: buy tops, bottoms, tights, pants, skirts, that are (relatively) within the same color scheme, and chances are, whatever your toddler happens to put together as an outfit, will look cute and not (completely) bizarre. Also, the shoes matter. They must be comfortable, they must be able to walk quickly (I say this because I don't believe in walking slowly, so she has no choice other than to keep up) and have the potential to walk for long distances in them, and they must go with just about anything. Example, Isabella's cowgirl boots. Everybody loves her red boots (they are pretty fabulous), and they just so happen to be quite comfortable. Other good shoes for kids, Robeez and See Kai Run are two of my favorite brands, as well as, Stride Rite. Oh, and no flip flops. Isabella can't stand that I have made this a rule, but they break all of my shoe rules, so I don't even entertain the idea.

Back to Isaac...I never really gave any thought to having to teach someone to get dressed, but Isaac firmly believes that getting dressed is a form of torture. On the off chance he's in a good mood and I can make the whole thing a really funny game, it works out well. Otherwise, he says, "Ow, ow, ow, OW!" for the duration of dressing. Not only does he think it is torture, but he will not sit up, stand up, move an arm or leg, during the process. Think, jello. So, we've been trying to teach him to help push his arm through sleeves, and lift up a leg so that it can go in his pants, or show us a foot for his sock. If you're in the same predicament with your child who has special needs, verbal cues really help. I talk him through each step, encourage him to help me by moving his body parts to appropriate places, tell him he's a big boy and can put his arm through the hole, and stuff like that. He's getting much better. Now he will help zip and unzip his jacket (we're working on lessening his tactile defensiveness--basically, this means he doesn't like to use a strong grip to touch things), and he will lift up his foot for a sock, and will periodically give minimal effort in pushing his arm through a sleeve, all the while saying, "Ow, ow, OW!" 

This morning was one of those morning in which my kids played together beautifully. They entertained each other for hours. This allowed me to get a bunch of research done for a project I'm working on, and it was nice to see Isaac follow Isabella all around the house, excitedly following her every command.

She "read" about thirty books to him... various places throughout the house...

I am almost done with our Christmas shopping. Isabella was very excited to wrap presents for Stella, Lucy, and daddy.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My tooth may be melting, what's up with you?

When you become a mom, people start reminding you that you need to take care of yourself. Then, when you have a child with special needs, they tell you that even more often than before. But by that point, you're already drowning in appointments and scheduling, that the mere idea of scheduling something for yourself seems like way too much work. And anyway, when I ask someone to watch my kids, I want to do something more fun than go to the doctor. Like, take a nap. 

I've been putting off a couple appointments for myself. I probably should go to the doctor and have this weird numbing sensation checked out that I get in various parts of my body. It's been happening for about five years, so what's the rush? Dr. Google diagnosed me, and it isn't pretty, so I'd prefer to just pretend it doesn't happen. But I did finally go to the dentist. It has been two years since my last dental appointment. Take it from me, don't wait that long. It was painful, and I don't consider myself a wimp when it comes to pain, so trust me on this. Apparently, I have a tooth that may or may not be melting from the inside out. Am I part of a science fiction film someone didn't tell me about? If so, please remove me from the cast of characters. Of course the dentist told me this, and then was all like, "yeah, we'll just keep an eye on it, and if it gets worse you'll need a root canal." Sure. No big deal. 

Math time with Tangrams. 

I was really excited to see that Isaac was actually trying to cover the pictures with some of the appropriate shapes. We try to quiz him with colors and shapes to see if he has an understanding of either. It's usually hit or miss. One day, I'll excitedly tell Walter that Isaac matched all of the colors and shapes correctly and the next day it's something like, so, you know when I told you that Isaac knows his shapes and colors? I'm gonna take that back. Either way, he's working on it. He doesn't have the verbal capacity to tell us if he knows shapes or colors, though we are trying to learn signs for colors.

At physical therapy this week, he took two steps while wearing his braces. He was bribed with bubbles and an iPad for those two steps. In case you're wondering, we don't have our iPad yet, but we are starting to use a picture communication system on the iPad at therapy.

So far, it's been another mild winter. I'm so glad Walter convinced me he should build this tree house. I often check on Isabella when she's outside and find her talking to herself at the very top. She has such an amazing imagination.

Thank you for reading my advocacy post. I've meant to say something on previous posts and forgot. I had double the hits on that post from what I normally get, so I do appreciate that so many of you read it, and possibly shared it with friends and family. I'm still quite new to the unexpected journey that we are on with Isaac, but my goal is to share with other parents that this special adventure has its challenges and hardships, but there are so many blessings along the way, and in the midst of it all, we learn how to fight for our children. So thank you, for reading, and sharing.