Thursday, September 30, 2010

Daydreaming


[Lex at the park, enjoying our warm Fall weather.]

I have a concert this weekend.

That means rehearsals - lots of them.

My mind often wanders while I am sitting in rehearsals. I know that I am supposed to be focusing on the music, but what can I say, I like to daydream. And it's easy to daydream during rehearsals because I am just playing the violin - which is second nature to me - as opposed to doing something like swapping out Elisabeth's Mic-Key button, which is not second nature to me (not yet at least).

So yes, while I am rehearsing I'll be daydreaming; daydreaming about upcoming birthdays and Halloween costumes and sweet faces like this:



How lovely.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cousins

* Elisabeth and Madelyn *
(these two cousins were born just one day apart from eachother)

Then:

[April 2009]


Now:



[Yesterday]

[Elisabeth kind of looks like a mad scientist in that second picture. Her hair is completely unruly!]


**Also...my sister, who lives in Los Angeles, reports that is was 115 degrees on Monday! 115!! At the end of September!!

All I could say was, Holy Heat Batman!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Brush-o your Teeth-o"

We knew that there would be great advantages to enrolling our children in a dual language program; being bilingual would be beneficial with college, careers, and traveling.

We also knew that there would be one great disadvantage: we wouldn't have a clue what they were saying.

Last night Alexandra was rambling on and on in Spanish. And I mean on and on (for like half an hour). Finally I went and got the video camera. My favorite part is about 43 seconds in when you hear Donald yell in the background 'brush-o your teeth-o' to Alexandra. Ha! (I told you we don't speak Spanish).

Before Alexandra went to bed I showed her the video and asked her what she was saying; something about us needing to pick up garbage or we would have to write sentences.....


Monday, September 27, 2010

Queen Elisabeth's Birthday

* The Birthday Queen *



Ruler over her mother's heart...



Keeper of her sister's adoration...



Beloved by her loyal subjects far and wide.



Welcome to her royal party.



Gifts from across the kingdom.



Decorations of stately elegance.




The opening...



and demonstrating of presents.



(With help from big sisters and cousin Lindsay, of course.)



And last, but not least, cake!









And that is how a Queen turns 3.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Elisabeth's 3rd Birthday!

Have you heard the rumor? Is it true?
That today Elisabeth says goodbye to two?

Yes, yes, that's a fact, indeed.
Goodbye to two, but hello to three!


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Happy 3rd Birthday Elisabeth!



***Portrait courtesy of Photography by Lee Ann

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Know Who You Are

I forgot to mention...

There was one area (when they did Elisabeth's evaluation a few weeks ago) where Elisabeth scored in the 2-3 year old age bracket. I don't remember the 'technical' name for it, but it has to do with being aware of yourself; she is aware of her hands, she is aware of her feet; she understands when someone calls her name; she knows who she is.

How interesting, that out of the million-gazillion areas in which she was tested, this was the one place where she shined.

It reminded me of that scene in The Lion King where Simba is lost (emotionally) and his father, Mufasa, appears to him and tells him to 'remember who you are'.

I would say that is one of life's most important lessons; know who you are, understand who you are. And how amazing that my Elisabeth, who is still a baby in so many ways, knows who she is. That although she is trapped in a body that limits her knowledge of this world, her spirit is fully aware of itself.

Yes, she's got the important things all figured out.

And I can't say I'm surprised.

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Happy Birthday to my big sister, Kristin! I love you!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Annual IEP and other things...

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Yesterday was Elisabeth's IEP (Individualized Education Program) meeting. That's where I go and meet with her team and we talk about where Elisabeth is at and where we want her to be one year from now.

Speaking of her team, I am so grateful for them...all of them...her teacher, her aide, her physical therapist, her occupational therapist, her vision therapist, and last - but not least - her speech therapist. Whew...that's a lot of therapy. But how wonderful! How wonderful that she was born in a time where there are abundant resources and people ready and willing to help her achieve her fullest potential; people who have been trained specifically in the areas that she is lacking.

So back to the ol' IEP:

A week or two ago they evaluated Elisabeth so they would have a good idea of where she is at right now. Basically, she is in the 0-6 or 6-12 month age bracket in every area tested. But that's okay, because that means she is my forever baby. That's what I like to call her, my forever baby.

I was quite pleased with the objectives that they have set for Elisabeth in the coming year. They are goals that seem challenging, yet not unreachable.

Here are a few:

1. Elisabeth will begin to play with toys with pieces that she can take apart and put together (i.e. magnet toys) four out of five play sessions.

2. Elisabeth will demonstrate the desire to be picked up or attended to by raising her arms or making a sound or gesture four out of five play sessions.

3. Elisabeth will activate a switch to indicate cause/effect.

4. Elisabeth will use 2 hands to hold a medium sized toy for 1 minute for 3 separate therapy sessions.


In other news...

Elisabeth and I are hitting the road again today, you know, to make that 150 mile drive to Spokane.

Today's appointments involve x-rays, a CT scan, and a visit with her neurosurgeon to check up on her shunt. Her shunt has been plugging along perfectly since she was 1 day old. Let's hope it's still in good working condition. Fingers crossed!

In other news (again)...

While Donald and the girls were at soccer practice yesterday evening, Elisabeth and I went on a delightful walk. Here's a sampling from our stroll:

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In other news (as if this post wasn't long enough already)...

Happy 1st Day of Autumn!!!
My favorite season!!!!

Now we get to watch all that greenery in the pictures up there turn to beautiful shades of yellow and red and orange. Oh boy, oh boy!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Elisabeth's Gift

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Elisabeth lives a life full of limitations; visually, physically, and mentally. She can't climb on the jungle gym or run across the grass at the park. She can't watch Sesame Street or look at the animals in the zoo. And she can't understand about even the simplest things....like colors and shapes.

But in her life full of disabilities, she has been given a great gift...the gift of music. Through music there are no limitations. She is free to create it and she is free to enjoy it. From sitting at the piano and pounding to her hearts content...to hearing the brass band at the high school football game, music is Elisabeth's key to the world.

While Elisabeth and I are home during the days we set out on musical adventures. Just yesterday we were listening to Bobby Darin and the day before that Beethoven's 7th Symphony filled our home. Musical history provides such a wide range of sounds and genres and it is so exciting to think about sharing it all with Elisabeth.

Music plays another strong role in her life too; the role of a comforter. There have been many a hospital stay where I have had soft lullabies playing on the CD player; turning a cold, sterile room into a place that is familiar and welcoming. And I can't count how many times she has gone in for a CT scan and held still just because she was listening to the words of her favorite childhood songs (she hasn't had to be sedated yet for a CT...not once!).

Indeed, music has enriched Elisabeth's life in a powerful way. It has given her something to enjoy and something to understand in a world that - in most ways - she can't participate in.

And that is a wonderful, wonderful gift.


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***This post is an entry into a blog carnival hosted by Barbara at TherExtras.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Soccer Quotes to Remember

"Lorelai, if you get mad at someone out there, don't hit them with your cast."

-Donald (a.k.a. The Coach)

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***


"I've been waiting my whole life to do this!"

-Alexandra (in regards to playing goalie)

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For the record:
Both teams won!

Friday, September 17, 2010

I'm a little old-fashioned

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I came across this picture of lace curtains while perusing the internet a few weeks back. I think these lace curtains are most elegant; beautiful art that is illuminated as rays of sun come pouring through the window.

I am not going to be decorating my bedroom anytime in the near future (it's at the bottom of my priority list) but when I do get around to it (and someday I will) I am going to remember this picture. I know that lace is a little bit out-of-fashion these days...or perhaps old-fashioned is a better term to describe it, but who cares what's in or out? I say go with beautiful, and these lace curtains are beautiful.

Have a delightful weekend!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Our House at 7:55 AM

Breakfast Time

Traditional:

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and....

Not-So-Traditional:

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[Elisabeth's new button: Fancy-Schmancy!]

Whatever works, right?

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