Monday, October 17, 2011

The Great Pumpkin Patch

I love fall in Colorado.

The skies are bright blue, and the weather is warm enough (usually) to play outside without too many bulky layers getting in the way.

This weekend was perfect fall weather, and a great day for the pumpkin patch.

When we took Claire last year, she was fairly unimpressed by everything.  The animals didn't catch her interest and getting pumpkins was just an opportunity for us to make her sit in the dirt.

She still wasn't all that interested in the pumpkins this time either, but she loved the lambs.

Friday, October 14, 2011

21 months and 19 weeks

Things have been busy in our world, but not blogging exciting, just plain busy.

Me: I'm at work four days a week now.  I miss my extra time at home with Claire, but I'm grateful that I had 21 months of only working three days a week.  It also means that my one day off during the week is packed with EI appointments, phone calls, shopping and anything else that comes up.  I'm adjusting to the new schedule, though I do feel more hurried and scattered, if that's even possible.  Claire doesn't mind the change at all.  She LOVES going to school/daycare, and can't get enough of her friends and the teachers.

I am just finishing up with a Hanen class too.  The class focuses on communication, not speech exactly, but teaches you how to interact with your child in a way that encourages them to take turns and have "conversations".  The program teaches you how to modify daily routines and play times to give your child more opportunities to communicate.  It's been a great class, and I'm glad I took it, but it's held two hours from home, on a weeknight.  Yet another long day!  I have one more class left and I'm bummed that it's over, but can't wait to have that evening at home again.

Claire:  Little miss is just doing wonderfully.  We are still celebrating her first steps, and we've been practicing whenever we have the chance.  She's taken a few more steps, but nothing quite as spectacular as in that PT appointment.  **Edited to add:  Last night I set her in the middle of the floor again and quite a few times she would walk between Darren and I with 3-4 steps!  :)

We are at a break in Claire's extra appointments, and that is very welcome.  I have a hearing re-screen set up for December, but otherwise nothing until her 2 year old (!!!) appointments in January.  We are busy enough with her weekly EI appointments and monthly private therapy that I don't have the energy for much else these days.

Claire's signing vocabulary continues to grow.  She has over 35 signs that she uses on her own, with quite a few more that she will mimic.  Earlier this week I had the opportunity to meet the school district's teacher for the deaf and hearing impaired children.  I asked her about sign language resources in our area (there aren't any) and she offered herself!  She loved Claire, and was so excited to see her signing.  We are in the process of getting our IFSP modified, but then this gal will meet with us once and month just to teach us new signs.  We already have plans to go to the park and the grocery store to practice signing.  I am so excited for this opportunity!!

Clairey just cracks me up.  She is such a hoot and the things she comes up with never cease to amaze me.  Her newest "trick" is to ask for milk.  We walk to the kitchen, open the fridge and she immediately goes for the cheese, yogurt, or whatever else looks  good to grab.  Apparently I need to teach her some more food signs.  :)

New Baby:  First of all, this baby doesn't have a nickname yet.  Claire's was Pip and we called her that all the time.  Nothing has really stuck this time around.

We declined the 2nd trimester blood work, and instead have a full days worth of appointments set up in a couple of weeks.  We will have a very through level two ultrasound (with the same doctor we saw with Claire) and a fetal echo (with Claire's cardio).  We know both of these doctors well, and feel very comfortable with this decision.

One of the biggest perks to being pregnant again is feeling the baby move so much earlier.  This little one's wiggles became noticeable around 15 weeks, and Darren was able to feel him/her (see why we need a nickname!) last week.

I've been feeling great, except the muscle cramps that showed up last week.  I know a lot of it is all the time sitting.  Between my desk job and all our travel time in the car, I just get stiff.  I've been getting up and moving, consuming bananas and drinking lots of water, but if anyone else has other suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Last night I realized I'm almost half done being pregnant and we haven't even thought about names.  Since we won't find out the sex, we need to have at least one boy and one girl name.  Darren still likes our boy name from Claire.  I was undecided on it when she arrived, and for that reason was glad she was a girl. Since we had a really time agreeing with Claire, this is something we need to start thinking about!

And to finish things off, a kiss from Claire.  :)

(Please ignore the beer can in her lap.  Darren decided if she was going to rummage in the fridge every time it opened she might as well carry his beer to the living room.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Yesterday was a crazy, busy, hectic day, but it was the most amazing of days too.

I've been trying to schedule as many of Claire's out of town appointments on the same day as possible.  These days include a lot of travel time, and it makes sense to have a full day.  Yesterday was filled with four appointments, five hours of drive time and one very exhausted and sore mama when we finally got home.

One of our monthly appointments is PT.  Our PT, Pat Winders, is amazing.  To say Claire is resistant to PT is an understatement.  If you can get her to try an activity three times, that is success.  Pat is always coming up with new ways to keep Claire happy and engaged.  Some days are better than others.

Yesterday was great.

One of the bigger gym rooms was open and Pat thought a change of scenery might help.  We played on the slide, climbed on the foam steps and had a great time without Claire realizing we were even working.  Between all that playing, we set Claire up to take independent steps.  This has been the focus of our PT sessions for at least the last four months.

Claire stood, with Pat kneeling behind her for support, and she walked to an exercise ball propped against a mirror.

These weren't the lunging, did her feet move before her hands touched type of "steps" we've been getting for a while.  These were actual, not touching anything, countable steps!!

I needed a day like that.  I've been so overwhelmed with work, appointments and pregnancy hormones that tears have come easily lately, and they haven't been happy tears.

As Pat and I were talking she mentioned that Claire's standing balance was so much better,and she wondered if we'd be able to stand her in the middle of the room and have her walk to us.  Not really expecting her to do it, I stood Claire in the middle of the floor and she took four steps to me.  Now those tears were happy tears!

Usually PT ends with Pat and I talking, and with Claire staying as far away from Pat as she can possibly get.  Pat makes Claire work hard, and it's rare that she leaves a session happy.  Yesterday's session felt different to me, and apparently it did to Claire too.  For the first time ever at the end of a session, she crawled over to Pat and gave her a big hug.  I thought Pat was going to cry a few happy tears too.  :)

I hope this is the breakthrough Claire needed.  Physically, she'd have been able to walk months ago.  This has not been a strength issue.  She just hasn't wanted to walk.  Now, I don't think anything can stop her.


Just a few pictures from our time at the park last week.