A List Maker's Life: February 2012

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Student of You

You appreciate a good pink fix, yet will ditch it in a heartbeat to hang out in a pirate or cowboy costume.

You care like crazy about other people and what they think, but you shy away from letting them know  what you care about and what you think.

There are times your heart aches about not having a sister, yet you've made it so obvious that you would climb a ladder to the moon for any one of your brothers.

Teach me to say what I mean.  To explain it until the listener understands.
Teach me to listen. To listen until the theme behind every word spoken is heard.

Love is patient Mom.

I want to know how to feel like you do. 
How to share feelings without hesitation.
Continue to melt my heart.

When you weren't here at bedtime I forgot to say my prayers and sure enough I had another scary dream.  That means God really does hear me on the nights when I ask him to help me be strong and courageous and not to fear. 

May I continue to teach you to pray and learn to have the faith you do to trust in His answers.

I reviewed the chapter today about how much you prefer your family time and routines over extraordinary surprises.

No matter how we try to convince you that you deserve special attention once in awhile you still cringe at the thought of someone singing happy birthday.

I get lost staring into your eyes because they are undeniably beautiful to look at, but also because I want to know what you are doing with all the information they are taking in. 

I want to find new ways to encourage your heart, your relationships, your passions, your gifts, and your clever mind - all just as beautiful as your eyes, my love.

It took me 28 years to realize I was missing pieces of myself that I continue to discover in you! I will continue to study and I am certain you will continue to be a most amazing teacher.

Love you baby Hope!
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Friday, February 24, 2012

A Berry Special Celebration: a Strawberry Shortcake Sleepover

Anne Hope is celebrating her 6th birthday!  She requested a Strawberry Shortcake party and I was pleased to comply with plenty of sweet smelling, pink goodness!  We decided to let her try her first ever sleepover with a friend!  Her dear friend was very brave to stay away from home for the first time  and thankfully they are both lost to the land of sweet dreams in the pink fort Kevin built for them. 
They kicked off their fun tonight with a silly game of dress up while I ordered their pizza of choice and put the finishing touches on our cupcakes.

After dinner the girls mixed and measured a bath of berry scented play dough.  We used our favorite play dough recipe and added a package of unsweetened strawberry Kool-aid to the mix.

You know that yummy smell that stays with the Shortcake dolls no matter how long they've been around?  Well, that was our goal with the play dough.

We also had the ingredients to make some strawberry flavored lip gloss, but we will have to see what the morning brings.  The heavy eye lids tonight were my cue to move along to cupcakes and ice cream.

While searching cake ideas I saw the most amazing Strawberry Shortcake dessert , but since I have no experience with fondant I decided to come up with my own cake creation instead.  Anne Hope was plenty pleased with our strawberry cupcake arrangement.

{Simple and Sweet}

 Once they were washed and dressed for bed we did a little pampering.  The girls got stylin' strawberry manicures while we watched Strawberry Shortcake: Putting on the Glitz.

{Some with seeds...}

{...and some without}

Admittedly, it is pretty fun for this momma to recapture the delight of my own childhood favorite with my 6 year old Strawberry lover!  
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Get These Pigs a Blanket

24 little pink piggies were ready to travel to kindergarten, per request
Then the birthday girl got a snow day surprise. 
Now 24 pink piggies are on ice in hopes of still being edible on Monday :)
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Love is Your Love*

Happy Valentine's Day!

{sing it momma}

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* Couldn't resist the reference to my favorite Whitney Houston song, which we've been listening to a bit this week.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Working Quietly

Quiet boxes are still an effective tool in Anne's afternoon routine.  Although she really enjoys exploring her boxes on her own, I often join her to play along or talk about what she imagines doing with the contents in each box.  Since she is now able to decode simple readers I try to include a few in each of her boxes that she can read before or after playing with her other materials.  Due to Gabe's therapy schedules Anne does not get to each day's box in one week.  Here are several of the refills from our January boxes:
 {water beads and colored letter tiles}
  {playdough, nuts & bolts, easy readers about snow}
 {color word matching snowmen, easy readers about snow}
 {weather poems, velcro tip gloves with felt cut outs, bendable wires}
 {scissors, white paper, snowflake folding instructions}
 {snowflakes, dice, snowmen die cuts, blue strips of paper}
 {various greeting cards with seasonal scenes, months of the year cut outs, weather poems}
{Arthur books and paper doll character cut outs}
 {Betty Spaghetti}
 {easy readers about pizza, play food pizza & toppings}
 {constructions paper, glue, cut yarn}
 {colored pencils, activity book}
{scrabble tile letters, sight words}

Have you put together any quiet box ideas you could share in a comment? 
I am always on the hunt for new ideas.

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Shopping for Children - More for your Money

Those of you who are local,  may be very interested in stopping in to shop at the children's consignment sale at Central Wesleyan Church tomorrow morning from 8AM - 2 PM (446 West 40th Street). The sale is put on by the Moms and Mentors group at the church and this year it is being organized by a friend of ours.

She just told me today that there are over 45 sellers for this year's sale!  Everything is well labelled and sorted by size and color.  This sale is just as convenient as shopping a department store, but easier on the budget. In addition to clothing the sale features toys, strollers, baby gates, bouncy seats, carriers, and so much more (basically, everything you would put on a baby registry is available at even better prices than when you use the  babies r us promotional codes) Yay! I think that each consignor is responsible for pricing their own items, so prices do vary on items based on who is selling them.  However, it is still garage sale type pricing with a % of each sale going to benefit this local mothers' group.

It looks like it could be seriously dangerous for me to step foot in that room as I would find loads of adorable little outfits - in the sizes we have already donated - that I would want to purchase for no reason other than their cuteness.    In fact, as Gabe finishes up with outfits and toys we have been  - sometimes tearfully - boxing them up to ship out of our house.  I am pretty confident that by next year's sale we could fill half the gym with our things alone. Anyway...

There is no fee for entrance to the sale and there is plenty of room for strolling your little ones through the aisles.  So, if you have young children, and are free for some shopping time tomorrow, it is certainly worth your while to check the sale out!
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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Too Sweet Not to Share

I was gently reminded yesterday that it had been almost a month since I updated Gabe's blog and quite a bit changes for a toddler in a month.  It's true.  Since I had so much to say I thought I would cross post his update here on ALML for those of you who started reading way back in May 2010 when we first shared about our beautifully made babe.

Gabe is quickly adding words to his growing vocabulary.  Although we may be the only ones that recognize a majority of them he is beginning to use more phrases and is having fun exploring animal sounds.  As anyone who has spent time with him in January will tell you, "Woof!" is his best friend and his best word.

{sweet talking}

In the last few weeks we have been experimenting quite a bit with Gabe's diet in hopes of finding the right combinations for his digestive issues.  Just when we think we are on to the right balance of natural supplements we are tipped off to new research that suggests that maybe the right balance isn't right after all.  Thankfully Gabe has no complaints about eating. anything. ever.  and he cooperatively gobbles whatever is offered.

Last week we visited our ABM therapist a few times.  It is incredibly exciting to see the progress he is able to make in such a short amount of time when he is working with her specifically starting with the movements that he is already confident with.  I have embraced the idea of only working on movements he is already using independently.  I have defended the controversial, and somewhat experimental, stance on not using AFOs with our therapist and orthotists. We have had several conversations with our in home therapist where we do not see eye to eye on what Gabe should be practicing. I had quite a light bulb moment last week about Gabe's amazing progress and capability. When explaining my frustration to Rene about Gabe's IEP goal of standing for 25 minutes she asked me what our therapist would do about that goal if Gabe was walking by the next time she saw him.  It was just the reminder I needed {again} that despite Gabe's diagnosis I need to dream beyond the limits.

Oh... about that MRI!  Our last neuro appointment was in August and the MRI was in October.  There seems to be inadequate conversation between our doctor here and the doctor in Boston, and neither of them is willing to speak out independently other than to say "It looks ok."
Okay, no syrnx? Okay, how is the Chiari?  Okay, are the vents growing?  Okay, what is the next step?  We obviously still have a lot of questions.  Last week I decided to call for my own copies of the MRI films and radiology reports and Dr. and Dr. Gabe's Mommy & Daddy took our own peek at "OK."  From our untrained eyes we felt there were some good surprises and some expected bummers.  But, overall it will be okay:) We did call for a follow up with our neuro in GR and they were able to get us in for February to discuss our questions after seeing the films.

This week Gabe started a Parent and Child group session at the Conductive Learning Center.  It is a group program with one of his best buds.  We entered the two week session with the hopes of learning how to implement their proven techniques for bladder and bowel training for children with spinal injuries.  Although I  am glad to be learning the strategy, we are already seeing other benefits of participating in the class.  In the first three days I have really appreciated the chance to see Gabe: interact with another child his age, see empathize with each other as one or the other of them cries, mimic his peer, become increasingly more comfortable with his instructor, follow directions, stick up for the things he doesn't want to do, participate in small group fine motor activities, paint, play, experiment, serve his own snack, drink out of a big boy cup, copy movements with his mouth and belly, chase his "woof", shoot hoops, and be downright determined!  I have to admit I have never had as many reservations about trying something with Gabe as I did about this session, but I already feel  the effort to be there with him daily is worth it!  Speaking of needing constant reminders, this class is reminding me{again} on the many pieces of Gabe beyond the gross motor skills we spend so much time focusing on.

However, tonight we bought him a sturdy walk behind toy.

{sweet walking}

No words. Just tears, smiles, and thanks to Him who is able to do more than we ask for or dream of - infinitely.  To Him be the glory in Gabe's life forever.
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