Friday, March 27, 2009

Wonderful welcome home

Today the girls, both canine and human, and I made the trip back home. Kinlee does not travel nearly as well as Braska did at that age, that is for sure, but overall, they did well. Both trips, down and back, had stops at about halfway for a hold-over feeding for Kinlee. And it's only a 2-hour trip!! She doesn't go to sleep and snooze the whole way as I'd like, so we adjust. When she starts to cry, Braska yells at her, and if Kinlee doesn't stop--which she doesn't--then Braska melts into one of her previously rare crying fits. Then the dog barks at both of them. It's good times. So even though I prefer a straight-through trip, we stop and calm them all, then we continue on.

When we arrived home today, there was a very delightful surprise here to greet us. A sweet bouquet of flowers.

It might look simple to you, but to me it's absolutely perfect. I knew immediately that there was thought behind it, and I'm all about that kind of thing. I called M right away and told him we were home and that I loved the flowers. And he confirmed that I was right in thinking that he'd planned this little bouquet very carefully.

There's the rose for me.

A carnation for Kinlee...

And, my favorite detail, a tulip for Braska...

Many of you will know why that tulip is so special. For those that don't, read this. We like Holland, and especially it's beautiful flowers.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mommy report: Words, words, and more words

Braska has taken off with her speech in the last month. She's been mimicking, for the last few months, everything that's said, in person, on TV, in the store, etc. But now she's using the words, identifying what she wants, "labeling" as the ST calls it. We were all excited when she first looked at the TV when there was a cat food commercial and said, "Cat! Meow!" Then in the next 4 days there were another 6 words used, and we just kept looking at each other like, "Holy Cow?!?" We started keeping a list, so we wouldn't forget, and so we could reinforce them. It got to where we were adding new words, sometime 2 or 3, every day. I'm just plain blown away by this, let me tell you. She's cracking us up with the mimicking still, and we really have to watch what we say or what's on the TV, since she doesn't so much have an "appropriate" filter. She just says it if she hears it.

She's come a long way, also, in completing her words clearly. Nose is now nose, not just "no." Sheep has the SH and a clear P on the end. Bottle is plainly two syllables with the appropriate sounds in both. We're to the stage that when she will allow those outside our house to hear her, they can actually understand her. That's pretty fun, I must say.

Her teacher at school has said that she's just talking up a storm at school the last few weeks. She was all shy the first few, so I'm pleased that she's getting comfortable enough to chat with them. Some uses are more inconsistent than others, but all of these on the list have been shown properly more than a few times. Here's what she's got so far... unfortunately, we've not been successful getting much good video yet, as she's not so cooperative at performing, but she uses them as she needs them.
  • Cat: Especially when she sees them on TV or a movie. And she yells this one!
  • Drum: She requests her water drums when she gets in the bath, and she has an ice cream tub that she uses for a drum as well.
  • Bubbles: This has recently been a request from the PT, as Braska found them in her bag and wanted some bubble action. She also identifies them when asked.
  • Nose, Ear, Hair: She prefers to identify these on bodies not her own.
  • Picture: This is what she calls the camera. She says it when she grabs the camera if it's been left within reach and when she looks up to see it pointed at her.
  • Movie: This is said, generally with animation, as soon as she gets in her carseat in my car. There's a DVD screen that she uses on longer trips. She seems to think they are all long enough.
  • Bottle: Every time Kinlee gets a bottle (when we're away from home for a feeding), Braska has to get in on the action, come grab the end of the bottle and identify what she has found. She has a tendency to want to take it out of Kinlee's mouth, but we're working on that part. One step at a time!
  • Car: One of her puzzles has a car piece, so it gets identified when she plays with it. She will answer, "What is this?" for that piece too. And sometimes when she's looking outside at the front door she'll say car when one goes by. Oh, and of course, when we go to the garage to leave, she lets me know where we're supposed to go.
  • Puppy: She doesn't seem to like the word "dog" so it's always "puppy" instead.
  • Sweet: This is her word for a hug lately. She'll lean in and cuddle for a second and say "Ohhhhh, sweet." I think we must have said this and not realized it. She also does this to Kinlee in the morning when she comes to say hi.
  • Nice: When she pets Kinlee's head, she says, "Niiiiiiice." We have told her repeatedly to "be nice" so I guess that's where she got it.
  • Bless you: When someone sneezes, including herself, she greets with this. So funny to hear.
  • Wash: This is used whenever she's done with eating, or if I wipe her hands when getting into/out of the shopping cart or something.
  • Bouncy: She loves this one, and it's all for Daddy. They have a knee-bouncing good time in the evening, and she hardly lets him sit down after work before she starts insisting, over and over and over... "Bouncy!!!"
  • Poop: This one shocked me, but when I get her out of bed in the morning, if she has messed her diaper, *most* of the time she will tell me "Poop." It's not 100%, but it's been pretty consistent.
  • Bib, Tray: When it goes on before eating, and when it comes off...she labels them each both times.
  • Door: Any door, she goes to it, knocks, and says, "Door."
  • TV: This is what she says sometimes when she gets in the car, instead of "movie," and she hands me the remote in the morning after breakfast and says, "TV!" (sometimes TB) as she knows it is time for Sesame Street.
  • Makeup: This is what we call her Aquaphor that we use on her face (also arms and legs, but then it's "lotion" which, I's confusing). Anytime she sees the container come out, she yells "makeup!" and occasionally it sounds like "nakeup" for some reason.
  • Bath: If we forget to close the bathroom door, she stands at the side of the tub, knocks on it, and says, "Bath" over and over until someone removes her or complies with her request.
  • Diaper: Everytime we change her, we ask, and she answers. And if she gets into the diaper bag and empties it, she labels each one as well.
  • Brush: A comb or brush gets called a brush. And she will take it and attempt to comb/brush whatever hair is near. She usually tries to do her own RIGHT after I've done pigtails or something nice and neat.
  • Shoes/socks: These are favorites of hers. She taps on them and labels them as we put them on her or if they are left on the floor. And if we put them both in front of her and ask her to give us one or the other, she will get it right. I love that!
  • Hat: This one almost always is both a sign and spoken at the same time. And it usually comes up when Daddy shows up with one on.
  • Pat pat: This one is for Kinlee. She will lay her hand on K's belly and then lift just her fingers and pat, telling us what she's doing. I think it's quite interesting that she doesn't lift her whole hand.
  • Glasses: She occasionally will just touch her glasses and label them. Or when she's around Grandma or others with glasses, she'll label them and grab, but she's better about not taking them off of the person. She also says "glasses on" when we put hers on in the morning.
  • Mommy: She has taken to patting me on the arm and saying it, just the last few days. She doesn't use it to request my presence yet, like from her crib or anything.

A few other fun things that we do every day are her ABCs, when I say each and she repeats them all. She's now able to give the following letter on about 6 of them. We also work on numbers 1-10 (10 is her fave), and she will do 2 and 3 when given 1 to start with. And she now has a few animals that she knows sounds for: Cow, Sheep, Cat, Bear, and Horse. She can say the word and then answer, "What's a ____ say?" with the right sound. Bear is our favorite, because she says "raaooor" with a very bored and un-scary tone....a very mild bear, for sure.

We are very pleased that she's doing so well. As most of you know, every kid is different, including kids with DS. Every kids has strengths and areas that they struggle with more. Braska's strength is her speech/communication, whereas gross motor (walking, standing) is her area of great struggle. No matter how that changes or evolves, we'll still celebrate all the accomplishments and continue to work on areas that need more help.

I hope to have video to share of some of this soon!

Monday, March 9, 2009

1 Month

Is it true? Can it be? One month old!

That's worth doin' a jig!

Miss KiKi spent some time resting in the big chair with her little protector today.

Highlights this month: Birth! And finding a workable schedule, feeding "alternatives" (see post below), lots of introductions, and her first smiles just in the last few days (pics soon)!

We made it to one month in good shape, and it kinda went quick! Here's to many more...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Finding a groove

**FYI--There is a picture link to Kinlee's blog in the left margin below Braska's picture link. For those of you who wanted a direct connection...there ya go!**

I'm really not keeping up with this blogging stuff like I'd hoped, but hey...what else is new!? Me? Learning something different than I had planned? No way! I know there are a particular few of you who especially enjoy these epiphanies of go right ahead. The girls are both in their beds sleeping right now, I just got out of the shower, and I've got about 40 minutes to say hello to blogworld and pick up the living room before the PT gets here.

How are we? That is the most popular question. Depending on it's context, there are several answers...

Physically--We are all well. I'm feeling pretty good, much better than I have for months since all that pregnancy aching is gone. The girls have been healthy. M is finally feeling better after having a couple rounds of frustrating symptoms. My net gain for the pregnancy was 8 pounds, and I've lost 22 or so as of the 3-week mark, so I can't complain. Now just to get my appetite in order... I've been famished lately! Breastfeeding is not a topic I'm one to discuss, usually, but it's going well and I'm even storing up a supply in the freezer for later, so that's encouraging. I did learn a valuable lesson about what I eat affecting Kinlee... poor kid.

Mentally--I'm good! Red Raspberry Leaves capsules ROCK! For being such a skeptic about herbal remedies and such, I'm sure a believer in this particular one. If you've got hormone-related symptoms, either with PCOS, pregnancy (morning sickness!!), PMS, postpartum, or whatever, try these. They can't hurt you (according to physician and pharmacist that I consulted) and in my case, and several others that I've now come to hear from, they have been amazing! I've not had any panic since the day I started them, and after the following day, I've not had much of the anxious stuff at all. That's really really really great in my book! The dose on the bottle is 2 capsules per day, but I started with 3 twice a day when I was at my worst, then I've dropped down to 2 twice a day right now, soon to drop to the maintenance 2 per day. Again, this was checked out with the pros. (Now, having worked in medicine for many years, I have to add the disclaimer that I'm not making any guarantees and I'm not a doctor... but if your issues are hormonally driven...I'd say give it a try!)

Maternally--I'm slowly figuring out how to be the mom to two girls, how to have time to be a wife, and how to sleep in small nuggets of time. In all honesty, I think we have been way blessed and fortunate. Kinlee is SO good, and she is much like her sister in ways that many swore wasn't possible. She's very easygoing, rarely cries unless she's hungry, and then it's such a quiet and short-lived cry. She sleeps well in her crib ,and at night she's taken to a 4 hour schedule for the most part, and I'm loving that. Both the girls travel well when we need to go out. Kinlee is happy to have a bottle or the "real thing" either one and does great with both, so what's not to like about that?!? I am sure there will be days when I crumble and want to run away, but thankfully, the last week or so has been quite manageable.

**Ok, both girls just woke up at the same time, so I'll have to adjust... time to wrap up**

Overall, we're just finding our way to figuring out how to be a happy family of four. So far, so good. Again, thanks so much to all of you who have sent cards and gifts and goodies of all kinds. We SO appreciate you all, and one day I might get caught up on my thank-you cards!!