Wednesday, October 31, 2012

31 for 21 - Happy Halloween!

I've started using the Blogger app lately, mainly because we're having Internet trouble & I have service in my phone regardless of whether my house Internet is working or not. I'm uploading a few pictures but I'm not sure what order they're going to come up on the app. Anyways, here goes!

One picture is of K in her costume - she has been hounding me for at least a couple of months to be Scooby Doo!

Another is of the vegetable skeleton man I made for snacks for my 2 younger girls Halloween parties at school today. It was a fun idea that a friend of mind posted on Facebook & a great way to at least get a few veggies into the kids today before they left to go trick or treating.

The last photo is a pumpkin that my friend's 9 year old son grew. It is the largest pumpkin he has ever grown & although be usually sells his pumpkins he was determined that he needed to donate both the pumpkin & his time carving it (with lots of help) to the local extended care seniors residence. The pic doesn't do it justice but I'm estimating it is about 3.5 feet tall. Pretty good for these short Canadian growing seasons!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

31 for 21 - T'was the Night Before Halloween.........

& all through the house, such a ruckus was occurring it was too scary for a mouse!

It's 11:40 & I escaped from last minute Halloween creations,  Halloween treat organizing, kitchen cleaning - yes I know there's a 1/2 eaten plate of food on the living room floor - the table was covered in a costume that needed another coat of paint still so we couldn't eat there. Okay, one quick blog post & back to making my costume - I haven't even started yet!!!  KEEP CALM & CARRY ON  right?

Here's some pics before I go:

 This is the pumpkin that T & K carved together
This is the same pumpkin after K decided she was old enough to carve a pumpkin using a steak knife!  Oops.........You can bet I watched a little more closely after that!

The finished products

Monday, October 29, 2012

31 for 21 - Growing like a weed?

Here is a picture of our informal growth chart.  We measure all of the kids on the doorway between our onsuite bathroom & walk in closet.  It's a pretty sophisticated method which seems to work well for us:)
The other day I heard K in there & peeked in to see what she was doing.  K had the measuring tape & a marker in her hand & was attempting to measure herself.  I helped our & this is what I discovered:
Notice how much K grew in the last 6 weeks or so?  She just had quite a growth spurt & I guess kids do have them randomly but the thing that frustrates me is that I often hear parents say that their kids grew when they gave them this supplement or that vitamin. Maybe I shouldn't expect her growth to correlate with her vitamins, I know they should be for general, long term health but it sure would be nice! We were more sporadic than usual with K's vitamins towards the end of the summer as we got busy with several mini holidays.  Then in September I decided to give K a break from her vitamins altogether & to reintroduce them slowly to get a better idea of the effects.  I had only restarted K on any vitamins the day before I took this picture.
What are your thoughts & experiences on this?  Do you notice many specific changes when your kids are taking different supplements?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

31 for 21 - Zip lines & high ropes

A few weeks ago we took the girls to a high ropes course. K was too small to go on the big course but had a great time on the kids course. About a year ago, K was too nervous to sit on my kitchen counter! I'm so proud of her for getting over that fear. She did a great job navigating all of the obstacles & even went down the zip line by herself!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

31 for 21 - iq Testing

We have decided not to allow iq testing for K. I admit, I'm kind of curious as to how she would do but I'm also afraid that she would be denied the few bits & pieces of help she's received through the school. I'm not concerned about OT & PT but I do like the speech therapy (even though they are few & far between) as well as some of the supplies like the Handwriting Without Tears program & oral motor tools we're able to use through the school.

Here is the response that I wrote on the subject on an online forum today:

I have watched this subject with interest whenever it has come up on various boards over the last few years.

First of all, these tests are generally not designed to adapt to kids with any sort of speech delay. If your child has any speech delay it will be noted as a cognitive delay.

Iq tests are only indicative of your child's ability to take the iq test & only an indicator of that ability on the the actual day of the test - they may score higher or lower if doing the test on another day.

These tests are often used to deny services if the score is higher or to "prove" that a child doesn't have the ability to learn certain things if they score lower.

I see no reason why my daughter can't be tested in the same way as her older sisters in order to identify her strengths & weaknesses in order to teach her appropriately.

The Canadian Down syndrome Society has released a position statement in this subject:

I will be providing a copy of this to the school when it comes time for me to refuse this test.

What are your thoughts on iq testing?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

31 for 21 - The Thinking Mom's Revolution

This is a blog that I have been enjoying lately. It is written by a group of moms who have kids with autism. These are wise, insightful, mama bears who fight for their kids & best of all................The Thinking Moms get me thinking too!

I think the following link is the blog that really made me realize that these ladies & I were on the same page. This blog made me laugh but at the same time I totally understood - it was posted just a couple of days after I showed up at K's preschool with a bottle of homemade, organic cleaner for them to use to clean tables at snack time so it was very timely for me.

& here is the link to their homepage.

Friday, October 19, 2012

31 for 21 - Just one of the Moms

I wrote this blog post back in July when K took swimmimg lessons but never got around to posting it.  I actually wrote a post on K's current swimming lessons a week or so ago and posted it here in case you're interested in reading it.

I've been writing this post in my head since Monday morning when K started swimming lessons. I've written it & rewritten it several times in my head as the events of the week have progressed. It started out as a much different story & although there were times this week when I was very frustrated, the week improved dramatically & I have to say that I am content with the final version that I am able to write.................... & very proud of my little girl!

Last year K passed her preschool swim lessons last year so on Monday morning K started swimming lessons in Level One.   She was in a group with 8 other kids. One little boy is a few months younger (but a lot taller) than her & the rest of the class ranged between 6 & 8 years.  The lessons took place in an outdoor pool.  Unfortunately, K can't stand up even in the shallow end because it is still too deep. There are 2 separate swimming lessons each day.  The first was in the shallow end & the second was in the deep end with life jackets on.

 Within about 10 minutes of the class starting, K pulled herself up on the edge of the pool & took off from the instructor.  With 8 other kids to worry about the instructor couldn't very well be running after K all the time.The pool is fenced off so I ended up leaving the spectator area where all the other moms were to watch from the edge of the pool so that I could return K to the pool when needed.  K wasn't upset about going back in & paid attention for a few minutes but then would get out & run away again.

The 2nd thing K was doing was acting very helpless.  The girl who has jumped off the side of the pool & bobbed up to the surface with a grin since she was barely 2 years old was waiting for the instructor to hold her hand & gently help her pop into the water without letting her head go below the surface. K is very comfortable in the water,  Here is some photographic evidence of her swimming in case you are interested - she looks so little & cute here!   When she was supposed to be jumping into the pool K would wait until the instructor held out her hand & gently helped her jump in without even getting her head wet.  When the kids were supposed to do a front float, the instructor helped her again & didn't let her head go into the water. K wasn't the only kid that she was being careful with but it was understandable with the kids who were nervous about the water - K is  not.

My little fish wouldn't even put her head in the water when asked to!   She passed the previous level with flying colors & only a week before her old instructor insisted she was very prepared for level one.

I was a little surprised at K`s behavior & tried to figure out why it was going so badly.  When she took swimming lessons in a different indoor pool back in October she behaved so much better & rarely needed a reminder to behave or stay with the group. K has always had a mind of her own but lately has been testing the limits even more. My husband & I try to be firm about the rules however K knows that she can get away with a lot with people who don't know her so perhaps this was the problem.

Next I wondered if it was just a lack of maturity but then again, she did so much better 8 months earlier.

I was sure from the start that part of the problem was that there were 8 other kids in K's group.  By the time the instructor worked with each of the kids, K had stopped paying attention - some of the other kids were finding it a little too long to wait too. 

I think the fact that K could  not touch the bottom & had to hold onto the edge of the pool for most of the lesson was a factor too.  I am very proud of her for being able to do this for a full 40 minute lesson.

I have to be honest here & say that it bothered me to have to sit  inside the pool area & not be out with the other moms in the spectator area for a couple of reasons.   First - because I know K can behave better than she was.  2nd - Some of the moms know her but many do not.  I don`t often feel like people are judging K but when she is behaving badly but I know they sometimes think that it is because she has Trisomy 21.  Any other kid  could behave badly & they wouldn't bat an eye but with her they blame her extra chromosome or assume she doesn't understand.

Day 3 - I finally had a breakthrough.  I realized that the life jackets they were using for the deep water session were quite different than K`s usual floaty & probably much more awkward for K`s short arms.    Although K has been to this pool in previous years I realized that she was still a little nervous about not being able to touch the bottom.  It has been 11 months since she has been to this pool & the one we swim in all winter is a zero entry pool. I couldn't do much about the pool depth of course but I did talk to the instructor on Wednesday morning about allowing K to use her usual floaty.  Thankfully, she agreed that this was a good idea.

Suddenly, I had a new child.  No more getting out of the pool & running away & she had much more confidence in everything she was doing.  Most importantly, she starting paying attention & responding much better. I think the floaty made a big difference but I think the biggest problem was just the unfamiliar pool. By  Wednesday K was getting used to the pool.

Within 10 minutes, I realized I was no longer needed & went back to find a seat in the spectators areas.  It was good to be back & it was good to see K behaving appropriately like I knew she could.

K continued to improve dramatically during the next few days & by the end of the lessons she was one of the better swimmers in the group.  She passed all the areas except for the back float but again I think this is still just an issue with the pool depth as she does it at home.  I think she is nervous about jumping backwards of  the edge of the pool & worried that the instructor won`t catch her.

Next summer I plan to let K swim in the pool a few times before she starts swimming lessons. I'm confident that it will help her swimming lessons to go a lot smoother.

Just for fun I've added a short clip from our pool this afternoon.  I missed the first part of the dive (K doesn't jump anymore, she dives), but I think its kind of cute how she swims with her head underwater for a moment before she comes up for air.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

31 for 21 - I Warned You:)

I was pretty sure that I wouldn't be able to keep up with 31 for 21 & this week I fell behind. I'm 1/2 way through an exhausting but fun week. My suitcase is packed, kids are in bed & all is ready for a really early start for my oldest daughter JC's volleyball tournament so I I thought I'd try to write a quick blogpost.

I was gone from Monday to Wednesday supervising JC's high school camping trip. I got home yesterday afternoon just in time to shower & rush off to T's volleyball game. Today I was home until 3 before going to KJ's volleyball game then heading across town to JC's gam which took until about 7:30. Tomorrow morning we head to JC's tournament a few hours away. My husband was home looking after the kids until Wednesday when he went to a course in the city, leaving a few hours before I got home. He will meet us at the tournament, watch a few games & take T back home to her tournament which is on Saturday. K & KJ'S will have to miss Saturdays swimming lessons because I can't see how we can fit that in but at least they'll get to swim in the hotel pool. I hope you were ably to follow all that because I'm having trouble keeping up!

When things slow down a little I'll try to blog a little more consistently but in the meantime ill leave you with a pic of K playing volleyball.

Monday, October 15, 2012

31 for 21 - Big Kid Stuff

This is my first time using the blogger app so I hope it works!

That's me! And my oldest daughter, JC. For the next few days I am a chaperone on her grade 10 camping trip. I can't believe I have a kid in high school already! My husband is at home holding down the fort with the other 3 & it sounds like things are going well. We'll need a bit of tag team work on Wednesday as I arrive home & he heads off to the city for a seminar then again on Friday as I bring the kids up to the city for volleyball & he will take one or two home but I think we've got it all sorted out. what a whirlwind! In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy this quick getaway:)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

31 for 21 - More Light at the End of the Tunnel

It's 1:26 am - a rare night out with my husband & a few other couples. Technically I've missed today's 31 for 21 post but even though it's really late, I want to quickly share today's events. Oh my, I'm tearing up again! I'm so proud of K.   She started swimming lessons again today. I was holding my breath a little as she got started because she had a bit of a rough start with her lessons this summer & although we had figured it out & resolved the problem I still had some nagging worries. I know I shouldn't but I did...............K aced it today. I could not have asked for a better behaved little girl & although she was only about chest high to the rest of the kids in her class who all happened to be 1 or 2 years older, she fit right in skill wise. According to her instructor, "She did great!"

The light at the end of the tunnel is looking more beautiful every day!

Friday, October 12, 2012

31 for 21 - More First Aid Practice

K has a fascination with doctors & playing doctor which is pretty funny seeing as she is a little unsure about going sometimes. We try to treat most minor problems naturally at home & she is healthy so doesn't have to go to a doctor often - just the odd check up which now amount to only 2 or 3  per year.  She has been to the dentist more often lately though & thinks he is the coolest guy she knows! I do have to insert a little brag here. Last month she had a routine blood draw & although she was a little nervous, she did great they managed to draw enough blood on the first try!  She has always been tough to get blood from & usually it involves a couple hours of waiting & 2 tries before eventually dragging the wonderful doctor who used to work in a NICU out of his crowded waiting room to do it.

Anyways, K loves all things doctor & has for a while - check out this post for some cute pics of her practicing CPR.  Last week she found her older sister JC's manual from a recent first aid course & reads it & looks at the pics every chance she gets.  It is her most read book of the week with only the Sears Wish book coming in at a close behind. 

K was given this first aid kit & was thrilled from the moment she saw it.   Of course she had to be the doctor so she dressed up in her housecoat & told me that "The doctor would be with me in a moment. "  She cracks me up!  Where does she get this stuff from?

She then proceeded to empty out & inspect everything inside. 

Then she went in search of a patient.

 ............& of course I needed a few bandages on my owies.

Next it was her turn. 

Afterwards when I had to go make supper & she decided to fix her dolls.  She was so comforting to her patients &  I had to giggle when she told them "Come back again if you don't feel better soon".

Thursday, October 11, 2012

31 for 21 - Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

A while ago, another mom commented on her blog thatso far everything was going quite well with her little one with trisomy 21 & that she was "waiting for the other shoe to drop".
This was my reply:

This sounds so familiar. At first it was medical & health. By the end of the 1st year, & certainly by the 2nd, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief that, besides very minor concerns, we are fortunate that my daughter has been very healthy.

Then my concern turned to fine & gross motor. So far at age 4.5, K is doing quite well with gross motor & rocking fine motor. She is reading well & doing simple math.

I am so grateful to be 4.5 years into this journey & still wondering why people say life with T21 is hard. I'm sure for some people it is, but I think most of us feel like you - It really is a thrill, a joy & a privilege to parent my daughter.

Well,  now I'm over 5 years into this journey & still feel the same way.  It's true, I'm a optimist, a glass half full kind of a gal but still I just don't see that other shoe coming.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

31 for 21 - Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!!!!!

 I was the parent volunteer at K's school today.  It was drizzling a little when we arrived & we were so busy that we had no idea that it had snowed until we stepped outside. I did have the forethought to look out K's winter coat but she does happen to be wearing her barney rubber boots still.

 There's talk about skiing at my house already!

...............but I feel bad for my daughter T who has cross country running finals tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

31 for 21 - Fun Memory Building Game.

The Fist Full of Coins game was recommended to me by a member of the BrillKids forum.  I purchased it this spring & have been enjoying it ever since.

 We originally purchased it as a memory building game & it is great for that but we've also found that it is really good for helping K practice her reading comprehension skills.

The game starts out with very simple instructions & builds in difficulty from level 1 pictured above to level 4 cards in the two pictures below - level 4 cards are quite challenging even for my older girls & myself. Coins are given out after each attempt with the player receiving more for a success. If necessary, you could adjust this game in many ways to either target different skills such as having the instructions read out loud to the player rather than read it themselves or to modify it to be easier for younger players.

It actually looks easier when you see it already done below but as you can tell from the card above, there is a lot to remember.

The great thing about this game is that all of my kids can play together & even the older ones are challenged - very few games can cover the ten year age span between my kids.

Has anyone got any other great games to suggest?

Monday, October 8, 2012

31 for 21 - Sailing to Solutions

I just realized that I haven't posted about this cruise yet. Sailing to Solutions is a 5 night cruise which leaves Florida on February 25, stops in Haiti & Jamaica then returns to Florida on March  2nd.

This cruise has the most incredible line up of speakers!

If you have a child with T21, in my opinion, this is the most informative event you  will find. In the 5 years since K was born I haven't seen a line up of speakers that can compare to this.

I want to go so badly but I'm not sure if it is going to work out. By the time we pay for flights to Florida we are already doubling our cost. Hopefully it will work out & l'll see you there!

If you are interested, there are more details on Andi's blog here:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

31 for 21 - A Quick Update

Today will just be a quick update because we are on day 4 of a quick trip to visit with some of my family.  We are heading home tomorrow & I'll be posting some pictures & videos in the next few days but in the meantime, a few highlights:

We've met up with a couple other moms of kids with T21 & had a great visit with both of them.

We tried out a high ropes course. K was too small for the big course but did great on the little course & did the zip line by herself!

Today my older girls & I tried out a surf simulator for the first time. I had a blast! Again, K couldn't join in as she was about 6 inches too short but she enjoyed the wave pool,  & the river. Although the water on the river was way over her head, she did a great job of holding on to her pool noodle as she bobbed along the river.

Tomorrow we'll have breakfast at what I'm told is a fantastic breakfast spot but if you linger too long, the owner boots you out the door so he can free up the table for the next group! I'll have to see if the food is worth it!

Then the long, long trip home. The sad part is that it'll probably be me that starts complaining about how long it is before the kids!  Thankfully, they have always travelled well.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

31 for 21 - Sharing our successes publicly

I wrote this when K was about 4.5 & never published it because I just didn't feel like I was getting the words right.  It has been almost a year & I find that I am already starting to share more.  I still don't often start the conversation because like I stated later in this post, how do you start a conversation without blurting out "My kid has been reading since she was a baby."? However, kids K's age are now starting to do a little early reading so it comes up in conversation.   Anyways, here is what I wrote:

I never really planned to be public about our family life. Really, honestly, I am pretty content to just enjoy my family all to myself.  Early learning isn't the sort of thing that I even talk about much with people in our community, because really, how often does the subject of how well your 3 or 4 year old can read come up in conversation ? Only occasionally do I talk about it & sometimes it does lead to wonderful conversations. Like the lady this morning, who was also looking at books at the 2nd hand store (I'm sure I've mentioned before that I have to buy 2nd hand to keep up with K's voracious appetite for books:)!  We were both choosing very carefully,  & got into a conversation about the reasons why.  As it turns out, her soon to be granddaughter, through adoption, is facing some big challenges . I shared my blog addy, & hopefully, we'll get to chat again one day soon. I even have lots of early reading materials to share if that would help. But, back to my point. Unless I feel it will help someone, I  usually don't feel it is appropriate to blurt it out, so I don't bother. People are already noticing, but I feel that i have time to slowly change perceptions....& honestly, without carrying around video proof for people to see, I really truly don't think they fully understand. Their kids didn't learn to read until age 5 or 6, how believable is it that my kid started closer to her 1st birthday?  Often, I think when I say that K is reading, people think she can recognize a few words, or that she talks about the pictures when she looks at them. Slowly, as K is getting older, people are noticing anyways, & before she enters school, we will make sure that her teachers & anyone involved are aware of her abilities. It is interesting though, perhaps because of her sisters, most of the kids at school already often comment that she is the  "smartest little kid I know."

I have done a couple of public talks too, & really enjoyed it but both were to very small groups & one was in a community that is 3 hours away.

 K's accomplishments have amazed me enough that I think it is necessary to share which is why I started my blog.I think other patents of kids with Down syndrome should hear tye fantastic possibilitues not just the negatives of DS.  f I hear of any local babies with DS or other reasons for needing this knowledge, I am excited to share also, but in the  meantime we'll just slowly carry on, quietly changing stereotypes one person at a time.

So, how do you feel about this.  Looking back I think I'm starting to realize that I need to share a lot more than I am, but then again, how & when do I approach the subject? I'm only starting to get more comfortable sharing online!

Friday, October 5, 2012

31 for 21 - Question from a reader about reading & math

A while ago, a reader asked some questions about teaching reading & math to her son. I thought I'd post my replies in case it helps someone else.  I only have my response, not the original questions but it should still make sense.

I found it very tough to really know what K was learning until she was around 2 years of age.  I tried very hard not to test her knowledge so really didn't know until she started becoming verbal enough to read out loud. 

I wonder if going back to paper flashcards would help your son.  We only switched to Little Reader on the computer when K was over 3.5 years & already reading simple commercial print stories. It seemed like she didn't learn nearly as well from the computer as she did with a laminated flashcard.

Even now, if K does not want to be tested she will either refuse to read or be silly & say completely wrong words so it is possible that he resents testing.

My other thought is that if you are repeating things too much & boring him, he may be losing interest. 

If he is losing interest it may be helpful to show the cards more quickly like this:

Fast Flashing

.  Do you use a flashcard with a picture?  That may help keep his interest. Also using a few less cards along with showing them as quickly as possible may help.  Always try to quit before he loses interest.  This may mean doing shorter but more frequent sessions.

As for math, I'm not really sure what is best.  We sporadically did a math program but probably because I didn't see as much positive feedback, I wasn't as consistent. We did do math dots but I'm not sure how well she learned them.  K did teach herself basic numerals before age 2 though & is just finishing a traditional kindergarten math curriculum one year ahead of schedule. 

The other important thing to remember about Doman dots & quantity is that the ability to see & identify large quantities is a not a skill that stays with babies except in rare cases.  This is why babies often start out with this ability & then lose it before age 3. The whole point is to give them a solid basis for later math skills.  Even thought they may no longer be able to instantly recognize quantities, other math skills should come more easily. I do think that most kids retain this skill until age 2 or 3 though so this may not be the case with your son. There is a great thread on BrillKids about this with replies from IAHP themselves.

To be honest, I can only think of one typical child that seemed to have great success with the Doman math program. I'm sure that there are others but I don't think that it is that common.

K is still doing pretty well with math so it is possible that her early math dot program helped some but it is hard to say for sure.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

31 for 21 - Fostering Curiousity

We focused a lot on this when K was little. We explained things from the time she was a baby & very likely too young to understand. By the time she was old enough to ask questions, she expected us to explain everything!

We pointed out & labelled everything with spoken as well as written words when she was a baby too.

When she was at the age when most kids are asking why, her language was slightly behind, so we explained that too. We basically just tried to give her the answers to questions kids would typically ask at that age or perhaps than when they were even a little older.

We also stopped to look at things in nature & our environment & talked about how interesting they were.

We have the most fascinating conversations about anything from animals to antique vehicles to windmills.

Who knows if it was because of all of this or not but I now have the most curious 5 year old that I know!  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

31 for 21: Reading Comprehension

I have always heard that reading comprehension for kids with T21 lags behind their ability to decode words.  I have been earning my "teaching reading degree" as I go, so I didn't really know how to address this in the beginning. It's really been trial & error but I think K comprehends what she reads quite well now.

 I think one of the things that really helped is using lots of pictures on our flashcards.  Until K was about 3 or 3.5, we made all of our flashcards with the word on one side & the picture on the other. It was more work, as well as expense to make them this way, but she really understood the meaning of those cards. ....& she refused to look at anything that didn't have a picture on the other side. As long as there was a picture, she loved doing cards. Once we started doing the dolch words & sentences, it was much more difficult to match those words with pictures, so we didn't, but by then she had such a good understanding of most other words in the sentence that it didn't affect her comprehension. By then she also didn't mind some words without pictures as long as we still showed her some.

When  reading books, we talked a lot about the pictures & the specifics of what the text was about. We really explored the story to help give K a better understanding of it.

We also try to relate what we are reading to daily life, as well as to choose stories that somehow connect to what we are doing.  For example, if we were going on a trip to the zoo, I would try to find a story about the zoo.  Likewise, if we read a story about something that we can do, I will often try to do so.  For example, the other day, K read a story about a little girl who had a tea party, so we had a tea party too.

We have also used stuffed animals, puppets, toys, or even ourselves to act out stories as we read.
I notice that when K is reading, she will backtrack  reread a word when it doesn't make sense in the context of the sentence, then continue on with her reading.

K has a daily reader that has a short story with questions about the story after.  The stories are at a 2nd grade level. I notice that in the last 6 months, she is getting more & more of the questions correct on the first try, & after going through them once, she usually gets them right if we read the story & go through the questions later that day.

About a month ago, K had another neurodevelopmental evaluation.  Her vocabulary tested partway through the 3rd grade level & her comprehension is at a mid 2nd grade level. This was the first time her comprehension has been tested so I am pretty pleased.  I had been guessing at about this level though because when she reads for fun this is most often the level she chooses.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

31 for 21: Finding balance

 I wrote this post back in September after K's neurodevelopmental evaluation but never got it posted.  31 for 21 is going to be great for catch up on my unfinished blog posts!

 K & I just got back from an overnight trip that included a neurodevelopmental evaluation, and a visit with a good friend as well as a cousin that I haven't seen in probably 1.5 years?  Too long, whatever the case.  We went swimming, checked out a couple of malls, & enjoyed a trip to the zoo.  We crammed as much as we could in, didn't stop for a moment, & stayed up way too late!  We arrived home at 12:03 am this morning. Needless to say, we have had a lazy morning.

After breakfast, K asked to watch Little Reader, so I unpacked the computer & set it up for her to use.  She chose a playlist that I made up for her about a week ago.  Just by coincidence, there was a file on animals from Brazil, a number of which we had just seen at the zoo which made it all the more exciting. As a file about Thailand came on, she immediately jumped up & pointed out that country on the map that hangs on our dining room wall.  There were phonics files on words starting with im, ip, & ing which she read out loud as they played.  There were rhymes to sing along with as well as general knowledge files including a trip to the doctor story which helped so much during a recent doctor visit as she used to be quite nervous about going. 

When I looked out the kitchen window just now, I saw KJ hanging from the top of the monkey bars, & K climbing up the side. 

 I love the teal & pink paint the girls chose for the monkey bars!

Then the girls decided to have a picnic lunch under the trees in the yard......oops, I mean in a vast, wild forest.

The next little glance?  K and KJ were using a long narrow cement border that runs along one side of the yard as a balance beam. 

 Hmmm..............this picture is a good reminder about my lawn that is overdue for a mowing.

Next was a treasure hunt - the pirates of the prarie found quite a fortune!

X marks the spot for the pirate treasure- I managed to find some treasures around the house for the girls to enjoy.

I will be the first to admit that it is tough to balance all of our family's needs.  All of our 3 girls are involved in several sports, we have farm, I have business on our property, & my husband works in a job with irregular & during some times of the year, quite demanding hours.  Add K's neurodevelopmental program to this & life gets really hectic!

I appreciate being able to spend a day this way & know that:

A. K is enjoying typical things that every child should be able to do &

B.  That although she isn't doing any focused program activities today, that she is still learning in a self directed manner. 

There have been times when I wondered if we were doing enough program & other times that I worry that we do too much but days like today remind me that K is doing just fine:) 

Monday, October 1, 2012

31 for 21

It's that time if year again!  October is Down syndrome awareness month. 31 for 21 is a challenge to write 31 blog posts during the month to raise awareness for Down syndrome. Last year I did it back to back with Canadian Down syndrome awareness week for a total of more than 38 posts but I have been so busy this fall that I'm not sure I'll make the 31 posts. I thought I'd perhaps I'd try for 21? We'll see how it goes but in the meantime

Happy Down Syndrome  awareness month!