Friday, August 3, 2012

What Weve Been Up To

Its hard to believe that summer has come to an end already. In less than two weeks my older two girls will be back in school and the house will have turned into a private classroom for Vada. I have big plans for her this Fall! Since were already heading in the direction of Vada being potty "trained" that's the major goal that I have set for us both. Ive recently finished reading this book by Maria Wheeler called Toilet Training for Individuals With Autism and Other Developmental Issues. There's some helpful info in it and would be a good start, I think, for most parents in general but especially for those who do have a tot with developmental issues. Vada has been using the toilet about forty percent of the time in general but about ninety-five percent for pooping and that's huge!  

There are a lot of other things in the works as well but for now, since ive been neglecting to keep the blog updated I thought that I would do a huge photo recap of some of our basic summer days...


We recently dropped a session of PT for Vada. She is in this stage of moving all around, climbing, crawling and she has even begun a new scoot!, but she is not walking. In fact she hasn't really took any additional steps in a long time. At one point Vada was taking one and two steps at a time and we were all pretty confident that waking was close. We were wrong. In fact she has kind of stopped altogether. It would be concerning if she wasn't excelling in every other area of her life. She has new signs, she is feeding herself, she has picked up this new scoot, I haven't changed a poopy diaper in I don't know how long --because she has been telling me that she needs to poop before she actually does it and then we head to the bathroom!!! She is blowing our flip fops off this summer but walking, well for her, its the least of her worries and that's ok because we all know that she has all of the skills that she needs to do it, when she is ready, which is why we've gone to once a month for PT. Her therapist and I both believe that Vada isn't getting much out of the sessions right now so the once a month will be more for monitoring her progress. 

Just because the therapies are slimming out doesn't mean that Vada isn't pushed to move and learn here at home. This girl has three, very determined to teach, "personal trainers" living under the same roof! 

We put things slightly out of her reach, we make her come to us, we make things sightly beyond her current abilities and we do it all because we know that she can do what were asking her to do. We don't set her up to fail but to accede and succeed and she does, every time!


Weve been building obstacle courses throughout our small house to encourage Vada to climb (like she needs any encouragment there-- shes a monkey!), walk, stand and grow confidence in her own abilities.

And when she becomes discouraged, we encourage her even more.


We build forts for pretend play. 


I've watched my girls all grow a lot this summer but especially in Jasmine and in Kiliegh, I have noticed that their patience has grown tremendously. They adore their little sister and they truly enjoy teaching her. I couldn't ask for better children. (I could ask to skip pass the hormonal pre-teen stuff, but not for better children!)

Here, Kiliegh and Vada are playing with the Alex brand String My ABC's wooden beads.

These beads are meant for little hands to hold, lace with and learn letters with but they provide help with numerous other skills as well. They come in several bead selections like cars, sweet treats and my second favorite, animals!

Kiliegh loved showing Vada how to work the lacing rod into the beads. Vada still needs to tweak her skills but shes getting there!

Yep, shes getting there but she wants to get there on her own! And that's okay, she is persistent and head strong. Shes determined. :)

Kiliegh is persistent as well! She wants Vada walking almost as badly I do, maybe even more. Most know that Kiliegh and her biological father and I share custody fifty-fifty. That's one week at home and one week with her dad. Every week when Kiliegh comes home the first question is "Is Vada walking yet?", I always have the same reply for her and she is almost relieved because she doesn't want to miss this monumental milestone. That and she wants to be able to tell everyone that she taught V to walk!


Vada recently got some new training spoons and forks. They are from Piyo Piyo and they bend from right to left so they can be used with either hand. They help to promote self feeding. We have been working on Vada feeding herself for awhile now and she has been consistently making progress, that's why when I saw these I thought that they would be perfect!

Vada got to use her new spoon during breakfast with her scrambles.

She didn't miss that this spoon was unlike the ones that she had been using...

but she didn't complain either.

In fact, she really, really enjoyed the spoon... and the eggs!


Vada also started to like and eat yogurt. She has also started to eat them from these "to go" packs. This has been kind of fun for all of us to feed her.. don't ask why, I cant explain it, other than we are simple people who happen to be easily entertained.


It's moments like these when Vada's size really comes into perspective. She is growing yes, but in her sisters arms on this day, she looked itty bitty to me. 

I often make comments to people about how others judge her smallness and the fact that she doesn't talk in combination with her having Ds and automatically assume that she doesn't get whats going on. It's true. Most people don't realize how smart she truly is and how much she does understand and when I saw her seeing in Jasmines arms, I thought to myself, my baby. But she is not a baby anymore and everyday she is showing me how smart and capable she is. Like the other day we were at the store and walking through the show department. She began to sign shoes. When I noticed what she was doing I praised her for a job well done but then she began to sign dog and I thought what the heck! Where is she seeing a dog at. So I turned around in a circle not once but twice and then I saw the dog. It was a picture on a small box but she saw it and she was telling me that she understood. 

So it is times like these where I end up marveling in the fact that such an abundance of strength, beauty and wisdom is packed in such a tiny being that I proudly get to call my daughter.


For me, one of my favorite things to do for my girls, is their hair. Vada has been sporting the double ponies and french braids lately. She looks uber cute (imho) and receives all kinds of compliments on her super sweet "do's and I end up getting asked the same question over and over... Does she let me do her hair? Let? Uhm, sure... but I guess that depends on who your asking. Let's just say that she protests...


I made a new and delish recipe that is now, easily, one of my favorites! Corn, Basil and Barley Risotto. YUM!

It was a perfect meal for Vada to not only try out her newer bendable spoon but also her new Scooper bowl.

She was excited.

She gave her first try some great effort...

and then she got really hungry, signed all done and dug in!

Our raised garden has been growing quite well. We have some corn, which we will use to make relish preserves. We have carrots, jalapenos, ghost peppers, five different kinds of tomatoes, sugar snap peas, pole beans, sweet peas, pickling cucumbers, artichokes, brussles sprouts, five different kinds of herbs plus lavender and chamomile! 

When these pictures were taken all was well, however, since then rabbits ate my pole beans, the cucumbers took over the sweet peas and sugar snaps and my Brussels sprouts got some sort of root worm! Other than that, all is still well in the veggie department.

Before our sweet peas were taken over I was able to harvest some of them and since there wasn't enough to make a meal with what we had, I found another great use for them ... that's right, all things can be a learning experience...

We worked on simple directions, such as, "Put the peas in."

"Take the peas out."

"Put the bowl here."

 This was our first cucumber, since this was taken we have had over three dozen! Its so nice to walk out into your own yard and get what you need for dinner! Not for living in the city with a city small yard!

These pictures are more recent...


We decided that since our harvests are smaller, we would have some fun and do some canning. Our first canning adventures were in pickling the cucumbers. Justin made HOT pickles by adding jalapenos and Holy H-E-double hockey sticks, were they hot!


At the end of this month Vada will be put under sedation to have eight caps placed on her upper and lower back teeth. If you follow this blog than you know that Vada has had issues with these teeth since she has had them. If your new to my blog or you have just happen to run across it than you can read a little about her teething issues here. Even with the teeth troubles we still are working on getting Vada to enjoy (not fighting) getting her teeth brushed. We've tried brushing her babys "teeth" and now we've moved on to bigger things... 

Yep, that was fun and while we still struggle with brushing Vada's teeth it is getting easier. 


Kiliegh and Vada have both gone through swim lessons this summer... but not in this pool... this one is just for keeping cool and different kinds of small play.

Vada is SO happy being in water! 

She shows no fear.

And no mercy!


We took a trip to Texas to see my foster parents and then to Wisconsin to drop off at Jasmine Camp Forest Springs for a week. Justin's brother and sister and their families came to visit. Vada has had two professional photo shoots, one to be in a calendar and the other to be in a traveling art gallery. Kiliegh has been doing her dance and swim lessons. Jasmine not only had camp but graduated from youth group to Catalysts at church and will soon be "kidnapped" for a fun filled day with her new "older and wiser" group. Plus, she is currently doing her second year of College for Kids. VBS finished last week and so did enrollment for school (which I happened to have forgot and now have to wait until the first day of school to do it!) School supply shopping is next week and even I am excited to do that! We have met some amazing people along the way (see Meeting AprilCourtin'The Girl Who inspired a Playhouse and keep your eyes out for the posts on us meeting Rachael Coleman from Signing Time and Beth Moore who we didn't actually meet in person but who I saw live with some good friends of mine.)

Summer has been a fast paced adventure for all of  us this year and I am sure that I will end up doing another large post here soon because I know that I have left numerous activities out of this one but for now, I am going to call it quits and go play with my girls!! 

1 comment:

April Vernon said...

I love seeing what you all are up to. Your house sounds a lot like our house with obstacle courses and a constant drive teach and learn. I love the new eating utensils! We are going to have to try some!!