Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Ash and Wren turn 3!

Ash and Wren turn 3!

Because Ash and Wren's birthday falls at the beginning of December, we combine it with the In Laws Christmas and celebrate both together. It's wonderful to see family members from out of town and for the girls to see and reconnect with their extended family. The birthday cake is made by a local bakery and is done in the colours requested by the girls with many of the cartoon characters they asked for.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

A few pics and a video from a successful OT session recently. For the first time Phoenix declared "I do it myself!" when asked if she wanted help.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Grade 1 update

Life is roaring along and is busy for us all. Phoenix is finally settled into the routine of grade 1, which has taken all this time since school started in Sept. The teacher and aide have noticed a big turn around in Phoenix's willingness to engage in school work and try new or hard tasks. Phoenix started the year reading B level books and has recently moved to C level and last night a D book. I tell her the new/unfamiliar vocabulary and she reads it back to me with the rest of the sentence. We generally have to do "mine turn/your turn" for her to engage and try, but when I do that she is usually more cooperative. Last night I had a hard time getting her to focus because she wanted to talk about the sand and the snow from the books instead.

Despite a 2 year focus on OT and hand strength (which the OT attributes to incredibly bendy hyper flexible hands) Phoenix still cannot write with a pencil at all. They have introduced a AAC iPad for her to type sentences on. I think this is a great move and I am super excited to see what my girl can do to show her knowledge!

Phoenix has recently started to show an intense interest in wearing make up. Which shocks the heck out of me because I don't wear make up at all. Yesterday morning Phoenix went into my bathroom drawer, found an old mascara and tried to put it on her eyes. She's also been going into my bathroom and asking for make up for the last few weeks. Santa IS being asked for make up this year. I know she is 6, and others may not agree with this step, but if she wants to be a little girl and wear make up, I don't see the problem.

Some Halloween Photos

At a recent hearing test Phoenix did an amazing job and still has great hearing (which we suspected was the case)

Saturday play time with Ash L and Wren R while P was at home chilling on her ipad. 

Jen got one nice picture of Wren while out at a DS dinner and dance. 
Look at what a beauty she is destined to be!

And some painting pictures from recently

Ash here, lips pursed in concentration.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

What is life like lately?

Life is busy!! Full time working mom with 3 kids is no joke.

Phoenix is in grade 1 now. She has a 1:1 aide and is doing great. They are going to trial an AAC program called Touch Chat with her. I'm excited about this because even though P does a good job of expressing herself, she doesn't necessarily have the skills to be able to communicate what she's learning. So the fact that she can learn a program to express her knowledge is AWESOME.

This is a cold Saturday morning. It was too icy to go out so the kids asked to bake.

There was probably as much flour on the table and ground as in the bowls...
Wren on a cold weekend
Ash proudly showing the ice she's eating.

Ash and Wren sharing ice
Painting day!

I gave Phoenix's room a small makeover and painted the back wall gray and then added a purple stencil pattern
There was an agricultural fair recently so we went for hay rides and turnip digging! So much fun for the kids to see the horses.
Ash (back) and Wren (front) decided to go "swimming" in the bathtub. 
Tooth brushing time for Ash
Ash twirling in her pretty dress
Wren twirling in her pretty dres

And this classic toddler adventure. Beware the quiet!

I feel guilty for not putting time aside to blog, but there also seems like there is less to blog about. Life is plugging on, Phoenix keeps on making small gains as we work on her hand strength with the OT at home. Our big goal right now is independent dressing. We've stocked up on the greatest invention ever: jeggings, which allows Phoenix to pull her pants up and down without worrying about buttons and zippers. She's a big fan of picking her own outfits and does a fantastic job of coordinating colours.
The other interesting thing is that Phoenix has been asking me to put makeup on her. I probably wouldn't be so surprised about this if I wore make up at all, but I don't. After showering Phoenix asks me to blow dry her head (also surprising since I don't ever use the hair dryer!) and put make up on her. She's 6! So while I know it's early, I think Santa is going to be bringing Phoenix (tasteful) makeup to wear at home. 

Monday, 23 May 2016

Some home reading

We do home reading with Phoenix about 4-5 nights a week. We almost always read books before bed,  but I can't always convince Phoenix to read aloud to me. We get books sent home from school as part of their home reading program. Sometimes we get to them, sometimes, depending on what else is happening that night, we don't. I also have a few sets of levelled books that I bought at Costco. The set we read has books from level A to C. The books we get from school are level B, up from level A which she started at. For anyone not familiar with levelled reading, this is a great reading level for a child in kindergarten to have, let alone a child with a developmental delay.

Tonight I got Phoenix on video reading a level A book. This is one she likes a lot and requests to have me read to her. Night time isn't the best time to be challenging Phoenix with her reading. She's tired, she's had a long day and she has been working hard all day. So I frequently have to read the page first and have Phoenix read it next. You can hear her try to get out of reading, but she eventually comes around.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Wishing that things were different.

We've recently put Ash and Wren into swimming lessons at a local pool. Mike takes Wren on Monday and Ash on Tuesday and I am left with the remaining 2 kids to hang out with after dinner.

Last night I took Ash and Phoenix to the backyard and pushed them on the 2 seater swing and then we walked to the park to have a play before bed. While I was pushing the swing I reflected on how nice it was to just have 2 kids for the evening and how there is much less conflict between the kids with one of them removed. 

What I realized last night was that at no point did I wish that anything was different. 

When Phoenix was in her younger years I would fantasize about what she would be like if she didn't have DS. 

When the twins were newborns I would fantasize about what it would be like to only care for one newborn.

In both instances this kind of fantasizing was just a reflection on how hard things were for me. With Phoenix, my distress had to do with the depth of work that I needed to do on myself. With the twins it was more of a reflection of how physically and emotionally draining it was to care for 2 babies at once.

Nevertheless, 6 years on from Phoenix's birth and 2.5 years on from my twins birth, and I don't wish anything was different. It wasn't my children who needed to change. It was me. And I have.

So I don't wish things were different. I don't wish Phoenix was different. I can't, because I don't want to reject the awesomeness of all three of the little people whom I have the privilege of raising.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Just Listen

What's the positive in this?

I've witnessed a number of situations lately where I've listened to people tell hard stories of things which are happening to them. Abuse. Cancer. Poverty. Angst. Depression. Anger. Hard stories. Painful stories. Sad stories. And this is what I hear very well meaning people say:

What's the positive in this?
I die a little inside when I hear platitudes like this.
I cringe.
And when I think back to times where I have been in pain, or going through difficulty or dealing with pretty heavy shit, I feel ANGRY about this sentiment.
Because its OK not to see the positive.
Because its OK to just acknowledge someone's shitty experience.
Because its OK to just empathise.
Because its OK to just listen.
Just Listen.
Don't fix. Don't counsel. Don't turn it into something it's not ready to be.
Don't ask: "What's the positive in this?"
Just Listen.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Feeling grateful

Today was another day where I got to reflect on how grateful I am to have the life I have. A friend is having difficulty finding a daycare placement for one of her children, probably because the child has a disability. It's a totally discriminatory   practise to deny the child a spot because of their disability, but somehow these businesses are getting away with it. It's something I would fight, like this mom is, if it was me experiencing it. 

What I reflected upon instead was how fortunate we are to be in the position to have a stay at homeparent. To be in the position where we don't have to worry about daycares and discrimination. To have one of our children's parents to be at home during the day to bake cookies, make dinner, organize our house for our renovation and to manage many of the day to day demands of running a household. 

I'm in the unique position that the person doing all of this isn't me, but rather is the kids dad. 

We've had Phoenix in a daycare and in a dayhome in the last and both have been wonderful experiences. When the twins came along money was absolutely the primary factor in having Mike stay home. Child care for 3 kids would be astronomical. Probably around $3000/month. Way more than we could afford if we wanted to keep the roof over our heads. 

So today I was feeling grateful for having a stay at home partner. Having 3 kids who are thriving. Having a mom whom I see every day and eat dinner with every night. Thankful for home cooked meals and cookies that I don't have to make. 

Thankful that I know my kids are  being cared for while I'm out pursuing my passion. 

I'm also thankful for a number of students who have thanked me recently  for the time and energy I've put into them. I don't consider myself overly close to these students, but I have consistently greeted and shown interest in them over the last 3-4 years as they have come and gone as is typical in my school environment. These students both commented how they liked my presence, felt cared about and felt like I took an interest in their lives, which I did and still do. 

As teachers we don't always get feedback about how we have impacted a students life. I know I do make an impact. I know students feel accepted and encouraged. I try my best to help students feel successful and to plan school work students feel good about doing. 

I also know that my role as Phoenix's mother greatly impacts my feelings about my students and how they all have potential to contribute meaningfully in this world in some way. That's not nothing. 

And here's a picture of Phoenix from this past weekend. She's a natural on the tractor. 

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Photo update

I know it's been a super long time since I've updated. As you can imagine, life with twins, a 6 year old, a full time mom and a dad doing stroke rehab is busy. I've but putting my energy into many different places, and at the end of the day I just want to chill, watch some TV, catch up on my chores, have a conversation with the husband, and go to bed. So that's what I've been doing.
We are in the throes of terrible twos. So much so that the days are marked by the brief moments of peace, harmony, and quiet play. Parenting is hard, and parenting twins is harder. Phoenix is wonderful by the way. She's still the easy kid and is doing well now that she is halfway though kindergarten. We are all looking forward to the full days that grade 1 will provide and can only hope that her aid time will remain the same, as I credit this for one of the reasons she is doing so well.
That's all I have time for now, so without further ado, here are some new pics of the girls:
 Ash and Wren peeking at Grandma's phone
Ash and Phoenix with Uncle Fred at the dinosaur museum

Phoenix and her OT trying some fine motor activities

Phoenix loving her swing

Wren, Ash and Phoenix who all decided it was dress day!
Visiting the cat house in rural Alberta

Swinging in rural Alberta

 Shopping with Wren and Ash
 Ash and Wren hanging out on the coffee table
 Phoenix and mommy date night
 Phoenix teaching her sisters her letters
 Ash and Phoenix with the playdough
 Phoenix's 6th birthday cake! Princess Sofia themed.
The birthday girl in all her beauty