Wednesday, March 31, 2010

27 weeks, 5 days complete (taken on 3/28/10)

Completely full of energy one day, wiped out the next! Feeling that sweet little baby in there all the time and wondering who he/she is...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Magic in the woods

March 18, 2010

Just at the end of our road lies a magical place made of mud and streams, leaves, trees and just enough sunshine... I watch these two children play there and think about how lucky I am to have them in my life. Whoever would have thought I would feel such delight to watch my 2 year old bend and scoop up icy cold water?

Or the elation I would feel when she stood in a stream and watched the water run over her feet, observing something so simple yet so complicated...

And there is a point at which one must realize that there have been too many trips to the local cafe for lattes when your children start playing coffee shop in the woods...

Sipping a pretend ice cold decaf latte...

Cake making complete with candles and "Happy Birthday" songs...

I truly love Spring and all that it holds in it's wisdom...

Joyous boy who is just 2 days away from turning 5!

And finally, in this open air they work as a team instead of tugging and taking from one another...

We came home and they had lunch and went down for a nap. I picked Arden up from school and told her of our morning fun and she was ready to get in on it too!

She was content to sit there and talk to us... about her day, about the woods, about anything we would listen to!

We managed to get Chris to step away from his computer and come out with us. Here he helps Walter find the biggest piece of moss he can carry for a roof to a fairy house...

This is the man I love... and as we go through a challenging time there are moments when I feel so hopeless and frustrated, lonely even and then the gray lifts off and I feel joy, and thankfulness, knowing that after all of the assholes I dated I could be doing much worse.

I'm quite certain that if you look closely you might just see a fairy in that little fairy house...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Walter Turns Five!

Early morning birthday table ready to go! Walter told us the night before that he wanted to be able to open his presents in the playroom instead of at the table. (He must have known he was getting something big!)

Beautiful birthday window (by Chris!)

Playroom all ready! I even found wrapping paper that said "Hoppy Birthday!"

The birthday boy comes down!

Making a wish for himself!

Claire helps him open his card...

"Space Pajamas!"

The girls are excited as he is opening the big one! Unfortunately it's just a big boring brown box...

We tell him what's inside and he is perplexed about how we got this huge box delivered to the house without him knowing!

It's a giant bounce house that *just* fits in our bonus room! He's a bit overwhelmed! (We got this because we knew it would be good for his core strength and fun!)

Off to Walter's current favorite breakfast place...

Back home with full bellies we set up the bounce house outside and have some fun!


Walter requested a "hot dog fire pit party" and here it is! We invited some close friends and had a really nice time. The weather was beautiful too!

The children bounced so much and for so long that they had to find other uses for the bounce house! Here it is some sort of ship!

Happiest 5th Birthday Walter! We are wishing more great things for you this year! (Homemade cannoli cheesecake!)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Day of Walter...

In an effort to show a bit of what a day can look like for Walter's therapy...


Bright and early we're off to the public school for occupational therapy (OT) and speech therapy (ST). This is a 45 minute appointment that's shared by the 2 therapists. The OT has him for the full 45 minutes and the ST has 30 minutes. If he were attending school I would have it specified in his IEP (Individualized Education Plan) to have it separated but in the interest of the school being a 15 minute drive one way from our house we bulk it up. I left Claire at home on this particular morning with Chris, although I can't always. It's a lot easier on me when I can as Claire gets into everything Walter does and it makes it harder for him to focus. Arden was at school.

Here he is with his OT, Maria... what she does with him changes all the time but for this session she helps him roll over the yellow peanut on his belly to get to an object to try and pick it up with his left hand. This is helpful for back extension (muscles!) as well as weight bearing on his arms. He has hemiparesis cerebral palsy and his left side gives him a lot of trouble.

She shows him a card with an object on it and then he has to find it. This helps with hand eye coordination too!

After a bit of prompting to his left hand he is able to open it and pick up the object. This is really hard for him to do. He cooperates for 3 objects but then protests and switches to his right hand.

Next up is warm up for a game of catch... Maria calls out a color of frog for him to point to with his left hand and he does it! It helps him to be on his back as his arm is more supported and the spasticity in his left hand is a little less than usual in this position.

Here is his "mitt" (a big velcro landing pad!)

It's a challenge for him to get the ball off and you can see here how he opens his mouth he is struggling to balance it all out...

After the first 15 minutes the speech therapist joins us... she had a sweet little baby a few weeks ago and we are lucky to have her back! Walter is currently working on the "sh" sound with her. He has the "s" sound down pat and is starting to get all the other S blend sounds with a pause in between, ie. "sn", "sw", "sp", "sc", "st" So for an example, when he says the word "snow" it comes out like, "s" brief pause, "no!" The "sh" sound requires lip rounding and protrusion which is going to take a lot of work though!

He can be quite the jokester wise guy with this particular therapist!

Here she tries to show him how his mouth shape should be...

After the initial introduction it's onto practicing other S blend words and each time he says one he gets a magnetic chip to put on this sheet. He loves doing this and works really hard to get them just right in each little circle. His favorite part of the game is at the end I pretend to be upset that the chips are all over the place and tell him to quickly clean them up. The ST gives him a "magic wand" and he cleans them up quickly while laughing!

What the heck is he practicing here?! It's not what you think! There is a little ball in the basket that if he blows just right (breath control, lip rounding, lip protrusion) he can raise it and have it hover over the basket... too hard of a blow makes it shoot out onto the floor. A few months ago he couldn't raise the ball at all so he's doing really well!

A quick snack at home and then our new guy Tom comes. Tom is a senior kinesiology student at a local college. I recently realized that we can't do everything and that I don't want to be Walter's therapist, I want to be his Mom. He currently sees his physical therapist (PT) once a week (75 minutes) and as good as she is it's just not enough. We work with him a little each day doing a few minutes of stretches and some walking with his braces but like most everyone in this world he could really benefit from more exercise.

I asked our PT and she recommended posting a job at the local college's kinesiology department. I decided to have someone come in and work with Walter 3x a week on stretching and strengthening. We interviewed 2 different guys and Walter felt really strongly about Tom.

Here is Walter with Tom... it's good for Walter to have a male other than his Dad to work him! We've been sending them up into the bonus room so they can work without the girls interrupting them.

While they were busy I took the opportunity to take Claire outside to try and learn to peddle her tricycle...

She's just starting to be able to do it too!

Claire really likes Tom and wants to go upstairs with him and Walter so I had to bust out the big guns, paint!

Even more fun is getting to do her own clean up!

While we were busy doing that I went upstairs at the end of the hour and found Walter doing this...

But he was really just hiding his eyes for Tom to hide something for a game of Hot/Cold!


Found it!

After this was family walk, dinner, bath time and bed!