Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Girl Who Inspired A Playhouse

Today, my family and I had the privilege of meeting GiGi Gianni - the girl behind the first playhouse and the spark that ignited the other thirteen Playhouses throughout the United States and in Mexico. In my eyes, she is a superstar and so is her family! It was an honor to meet her, to have my daughters meet her and to see her Mother again. I am so proud to be a small part of GiGi's Playhouse and to have such a wonderful place such in our community.

It was a dinner night for our local Playhouse and many people came to eat, have fun but mostly to meet the girl who inspired a Playhouse. GiGi  (and her mother, Nancy) gave a touching speech tonight, together the make quite a team! ...

***A special thank you to Kelli for taking these photos for me while I recorded the speech.***

This is GiGi at our local Playhouse. I wasn't there when this photo taken -  I copied this photo from Facebook.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

More Signs, Homemade TherapyToys and Reading Too

Vada has two newer but favorite signs that she likes using, "wash hands" and "book". I think her love of water is one of the reasons that she enjoys the potty training process, she gets to wash her hands afterward! (So technically, if you throw in her sign for "potty" and "poop" then she actually has four favorite signs.)

When V is tired she signs "book", its really sweet. We read before her daily nap, as well as before her bed time and of course we read throughout the day as well but V knows what we do when its time to get ready to go to bed. So yesterday, when V signed "book",  I took the opportunity to introduce her to her new fish book that we all made for her. She loved it too!

Today, V grabbed her fish book and handed it to Kiliegh. I guess she wanted her to read it to her. It seems to be a hit and Kiliegh seemed really proud of the fact that she helped make this book.

Also last night the girls and I played with a homemade slot box that we made for Vada. It's good for her fine motor skills. We gave her the XL buttons that I ordered from Oriental Trading Co. and I cut slots in an old fiesta box. We'll do this for a couple of more times and then I'll start to find smaller objects and use a different box with smaller slots. For now, this was fun for her and her sisters and I were cheering her on every step of the way!

Jasmine juggles

Some Newer Signs

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Vada dancing to Katy Perry

Extreme Shopping and Homemade Predictable Books

There is a local consignment shop that I use and that I love! All of our toys that don't go to Children's Therapy of GiGi's goes here, as well as all of our gently used but unwanted clothes and household items. I love consigning and I love looking through thrift stores for clothes of my own, its fun and sometimes you can find some really great things..., like today.

Cookin' Cookies Game, New $8.88. I paid $1.99.
Old Macdonald Counting Snap Game, New $12.00. I paid $2.00.
Easy Subtraction Fun-To-Know Puzzle, New $9.99, I paid $2.99.
Photo Matching Color Puzzle, I don't know it's original cost, it's from Germany though and I have attached the link to their site, just in case your curious.
3-Scene Sequencing Cards, New $312.68, Used $90.00, I paid $2.99!
 Match & Learn Mathematics, New $5.98, I paid $4.99 (ehh.).
Match-It Math, New $12.71, I paid 2.99.
Match-It Numbers, New $12.99, I paid $3.99.
Sequence Letters board game, New $12.03, I paid $2.99.
Chutes and Ladders Game Rug, New $14.72, I paid $8.99 (this was an accidental purchase. I liked it, ut it in the cart and then as I was checking out and going through things at the register, I sat this aside in the "no pile". The cashier grabbed it and I didn't know until I got home.)
Buddy Bear and Bonnie Bear Books Opposites, set of five, new $43.95, Buddy Bear Comparatives/Superlatives, set of five for $43.95, totaling $87.90. I paid $4.99 for both sets! 

 I don't mean to "toot my own horn" but I ended up with a final bill of $38.91 today (if my math is correct). Since I had $33.00 in in-store credit, what could have been a $267.11 bill (or more), actually turned into a $5.91 bargain extravaganza. Take that extreme couponers! Toot! Toot!

Speaking of learning (because all of the above can be used not only for fun but also for educational purposes),  I finished another book for Vada last night.

It was a whole family project. The girls and I colored the fish.

Justin did the Photoshop work.

I did the cutting, pasting and with Kiliegh's strict supervision... 

I also did the laminating.

One of my favorite blogs is We Can Do All Things: Teaching My Daughter With Down Syndrome. In one of the mom's more recent posts she shared her idea of making predictable books. Everything this mom does for her children is so simple, yet, I am always amazed at what she has thought of. That's why I have become a blog stalker of hers!

I added a tiny twist to our predictable book. The word "fish" is often whispered around or even signed so that Vada doesn't hear or see the word being used. She. Is. Obsessed. With. Gold Fish Crackers. Obsessed!  So, I thought instead of using bears like the mom from We can Do All Things, that I would use fish instead. I'm trying to show Vada that "fish" comes in many, many forms and  that you can't always eat them! 

The book reads like Eric Carle's Brown Bear, Brown Bear book and other than the color change every page reads the same. Predictable and easy to remember! I had the Brown Bear book for Jasmine and Kiliegh but somewhere it has become non-existing in our collection of books. That's okay though, this one means something to all of us. We made it together. 

Since J and K did so well with their predictable book I think that V will as well. With J and K both, they memorized their book quickly and felt as if they could read. So they not only learned their colors but their self esteem was boosted with the sense knowing how to read. I look forward to that moment with Vada. After a few times of reading this book I may begin signing the colors because Vada is a girl of little speaking words but is full of signs. (She has well over thirty functioning signs! I have to update our videos of her signs but updating the videos may not happen until fall..., we'll see.)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Gingerbread in July

I'm not even going to pretend that I like gingerbread cookies because I don't and I'm not overly anxious for winter to come again either. What I will say is that this is the sweetest cookie ever! 

The funny thing is that this was my nieces outfit. She wore it a couple of years ago for her Christmas photo. She looked pretty freaking cute herself! Anyway, we get handed some of her out grown clothes from time to time and this fun outfit was one of them. We have had it forever and Vada gets lost in it's yummy goodness but so much that taking a picture has never really worked out too well. 

Today the girls and I were going through all of V's stuff and we pulled the Gingerbread outfit out and thought that we would give it a go and guess what... Now, it's too short! HA! 

Vada could have cared less that she was wearing an outfit that was now "high watered" on her, she was having fun! 

She liked laying on her belly and making movements like she was making snow angels. I guess she was in a festive mood as well..?

Pay no attention to the nasty primer walls and scuffed up baseboards, they have only been this way for ten years. I have it on good authority that they will soon be replaced with beautiful color! Uh huh... well, see!

I think that she looks like a little brown penguin in this photo! 

Killiegh said that Vada reminded her of a Build A Bear, all soft and cuddly and made just the way you want. I couldn't have agreed with her more. Vada is everything I want and more!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sweet Ryan

 A month ago The Roberts Family found out that their son Ryan, who at the time was around eighteen months old, had only weeks to live. Ryan was diagnosed with Down syndrome at birth and later with an inoperable congenital heart defect. Knowing that they were weeks away from losing their sweet boy, Ryan's parents together created a bucket list for their son. 

Ryan's bucket list consisted of simple things that his parents wanted Ryan to be able to experience while he was still here on Earth. Things like riding a bike..,

driving and receiving his first speeding ticket.., 

and yes, even having a beer with his Dad, in Ryan's case it was a root beer. 

These things are often over looked because they come so naturally in life but for the Roberts they knew that their son had a short window of time to experience them and so they began to check off his long list of things to do.

 Ryan did indeed experience a great deal of life's many blessings he also helped to inspire the Worlds largest Banana Split Party.

 With his family by his side Ryan was able to check off many experiences from his bucket list. Sadly, however, on Sunday July 8th, 2012, Ryan passed away. His mother posted this on her Facebook page the day of his passing, 

 "At approximately 12:10 while I held Ryan in my arms and daddy held him as well - surrounded by so many who loved him Ryan drew his last breath. He is without oxygen, medicine, tubes, wires, and HURT - he is at peace," 

Sweet Ryan, you have done more in your short nineteen months of life than most will do in their many years of living. You have inspired and taught. You have helped others see the greatness and beauty in Down syndrome and you have left a memorable impression on this word. The world truly is a better place because you were in it. 

Please keep Ryan's family in your prayers as they go through a journey that no parent should have to go through. 

If your interested in sending your condolences to The Roberts family, you can send them to:

The Robert's Family 
158 Amsite Rd. 
South Fork PA 15956