Friday, August 22, 2008

First day of school

Wow! I'm pooped. I always forget how much stamina it takes to stand all day in front of children who have to be told how to do absolutely everything.

So we got first day pictures of:

Cheesie going to Kindergarten - she couldn't quit blinking --- just like her dad

Blondie in first grade - I really need to cut those bangs.

and T-Rex ready for 4th grade - won't let me cut the bangs

Yes, Big Al went to middle school and looked perfectly wonderful, but left about 20 minutes before I remembered to take her picture. I'll have to take a fake one and say it was her first day of 6th grade in like 20 years. Everyone came home happy (I came home with the most exhausted body EVER), and poor Blondie had to go to two hours of therapy right after school. They took pictures, but I don't have them yet.

So whats up with therapy? I don't think we can get the Saebo yet because Blondie's fingers are too tiny, but we are going to do the exercises anyway without it. We bought a bunch of pool balls (the ones that you put in the water, not shoot with a pool stick - OH, and thanks for the idea Shelley) and she practices picking them up without the brace. She is getting better at letting them go, but can't always make it happen on demand. I'll try to post pics this weekend of our version at home. I am going to also buy a larger constraint thing from pedi-wrap and have her start wearing that more when we eat. She can actually poke things with a fork now, and is learning to drop her elbow down to raise her hand up - again, I'll try to post our efforts this weekend.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tomorrow school starts

Tomorrow school starts, not just for me, but for all of the girls. I started my new job last week, so last Wednesday, in honor of my last day of just doing "mom stuff" I took the girls to the Children's museum here in town. I thought the older girls would be bored, so I gave them the option, but they chose to go. They really surprised me by each helping a little girl to have more fun. It was great to watch them all together.

We (okay they.... it was made for kids not me) climbed in the guts of the giant boy named Eddie.

Gathered eggs...

Checked out the fire truck...

Thought about driving in 4 years (YIKES), and gassed up...

We milked the cow....

Shopped at a miniature Piggly Wiggly (do you notice two hands on that cart?)...

Became dentists.....

Ater that we went shopping because EVERYONE needed shoes for school, and one for soccer. After that we grabbed some fast food, drove over to my mom's house and hung out with her for awhile. It was a great day for me to end my summer with because the next day I WORKED MY BUTT OFF in my classroom, as well as the next day and Saturday as well.

Sunday I took "off" for Cheesie's 5th birthday party. A lot of family came over (although we missed you Nat) and we had a little party. She received a lot of great gifts including a much coveted mp3 player (now she won't have to keep stealing Big Al's - and bonus for Cheesie - T-Rex was quite jealous). We had a lovely dinner, and lots of great conversation.
For the past 3 days I have been in meetings, and continuing to work my butt off. Tomorrow is the first day of school, and everyone is excited. They are all in bed, clothes picked out, backpacks ready, and lunches almost finished. We'll see if the excitement continues at 6 a.m. when I haul them all out of bed. I'll try to get in the swing of blogging again, hopefully my stress level will even out (HA - probably not until June). I do promise to update more than once every 10 days - now lets cross our fingers that I can keep that promise.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Future Olympic Divers?

Okay, maybe not Olympic, but this is the FIRST TIME EVER that Cheesie jumped off the diving board by herself. Big round of applause please. During swim lesson this year she would NOT jump off by herself, but let her coaches drop her in slowly by holding her arms and stretching her like taffy. Brian took the kids to the pool while I stayed home and did some much needed purging of the playroom (shhhhh).

(video should go here, having technical difficulties)

Blondie LOVES jumping off, but has difficulty with the ladders and getting out of the pool, so we usually have to hang out there waiting for her. She usually yells "CANNONBALL" and then does a regular jump.

(video should go here, I'll try to figure it out tomorrow)

SAEBO UPDATE: So the therapists went to the Saebo training, and are worried that she may not be big enough to get the pediatric small size yet. It should fit fairly snug, but Blondie is very tiny, so her OT measured today, and the PT will measure independently tomorrow, and then we'll see. Meanwhile Tonya (OT) rigged up a shower rod, rubberbands, and a painter roller, along with some lovely rainbow ribbon, to create a gliding exercise THING. It is based on something they saw this weekend. OT is trying to engineer something to work in the meantime, but folks, I can see the possibilities. The guy who gave the class told them how to make this thing, so it isn't like she's just blindly doing her own thing - she is so great. Blondie has 3 separate exercises and does 10 reps of each a couple times a day. Her arm is strapped to the paint roller, and she moves it back and forth between the two large rubber bands. I can see it working all of those upper arm muscles - hopefully it will help her get a little stronger in the shoulder and upper arm so that when she is ready for the Saebo she rocks it. Once we get the Saebo we will have to set aside TWO 45 minute periods A DAY ( 'cause I have ALL of this free time with nothing to do) to really be effective. We are very dedicated to this possibility. I'm thinking that if I take it to school with me and then as soon as she gets to my room put in on her, have her move balls or whatever the exercise might be, clean my room have T-Rex and Cheesie simultaneously work on their homework before walking out the door to therapy, girl scouts, archery, soccer, fencing, or tennis. Then in the evenings Brian can work with her (because I'll be at archery, soccer, fencing, or whatever Cheesie decides to do this year) for the remaining 45 minutes. Will it work - I have no idea. I keep thinking that if we get this sleepy hand moving, and then maybe consider constraint therapy then just maybe she will be the superstar of the rehab world and be able to use the left hand. Crossing my fingers, cross your too please.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Excuses Excuses

I didn't intend to take such a long break from blogging, but life does get in the way. Although I don't report to work until next week, I have had to go to trainings, and then got sucked into working in my room. In addition we've gone to dentist appointments, the zoo, the pool, the movies, etc.

One other thing we did a few nights ago was to make SMORES. The girls have been asking us to do this for about a week, but every night we have thunderstorms, so FINALLY we were able to do this. I accidently found a new setting on my camera that "stitched" the three pictures of Cheesie together, but overall it's sort of cool.

Therapy yesterday was great. Even though Blondie walked into therapy with a FILTHY shirt on (I wasn't paying attention until I started taking pictures - honestly I DO usually pay attention to what they wear) and her therapist started taking pictures. She did a bunch of weights (1 and 2 pound) with both hands, and then was scooting around hitting targets with "sleepy hand" doing the scooter pulling. Brian and I are very excited that our wonderful therapists are giving up their weekend to go to a Saebo training. Saebo is a brace that stroke patients wear, and since the easiest (non-negative) way to describe kids like Blondie is "like a stroke" we're hopeful that it will help. She has so much upper arm strength, that I want as much of the lower arm as possible. I've been told that the most we can hope for is to maybe hold things in that hand, but not much else. With this new brace I am hopeful we can get back more than that - I'm not expecting full strength, but I am hopeful for intentional opening and closing. Take a look at another great kid that we know using her Saebo. We met Cameron last year in Baltimore after her hemi, and are thrilled to see her doing so well. Cameron has a bunch of videos on youtube because a camera crew from Europe followed her around (search youtube for half a brain). She is close in age to Blondie, and we are glad to know kids like Jessie and Cameron so that Blondie knows she is not alone in this. I think in the future it will help them all.

Speaking of Jessie, she went home yesterday from rehab, and is now officially in her home in Texas. Other kids continue to go through the surgery, and I'm thankful that they continue to do so well. Check out the hemi foundation on the links to learn a little bit more, and make a donation.