Tuesday, March 29, 2011

School Pictures

Today Aiden had his first school pictures ever taken. I have been so excited about this, imagining us years from now proudly displaying his cute preschool photo at his high school graduation open house. I imagined how it would start off the entire book of photos taken all the way through school, how he will change over the years until you can see a glimpse of what he looked like as a kid, but without the photo to prove it you wouldn't have guessed it was him. I dreamt of his cute crooked smile showing a little bit of his front two teeth, one which is pushed up further than the other from a combination of sucking his thumb and a chair falling on him when he was a baby, his huge eyes and eyelashes that seem to open the world to him, and his cute little button nose. I expected ooo-ing and ahh-ing over his sweet little pictures and trying to decide which one looked just right to send out to all our family and friends.

What I didn't expect was for his "rudiculus" (or ridiculous) faces to be captured on film digital image forever.

And that's just what happened. His teacher warned me right before she handed me the photos that he just wanted to make ridiculous faces, so they let him do that and then they had him smile for real. I want to know why I didn't get any of the smiling photos?!?

I do have to say that the upper left picture isn't a ridiculous face, but his "I'm shy and not sure what's going on" face. I love that face!! But the rest are pretty goofy, so it looks as if he didn't stay shy for too long! What a funny boy!

So, once again, my children are teaching me a lesson... don't imagine grandiose scenarios that would never come true in a million years, instead get the most outrageous picture to torture him with when he's a teenager! :) Ha ha! I love you, Stinker!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Family Fun Day

Normally, our days are spent feverishly running from one thing to the next. From the time we wake up, until the time we go to bed we are busy with school drop-off and pick-up, errands, therapies, etc. I feel like at any given moment I'm juggling 12 different things and trying to keep everything together and on schedule. This hasn't always been the case. 

When Aiden was little, we didn't have much of a schedule except for what time naps started. We had the freedom to do what we wanted, when we wanted. It was wonderful! Often times, we'd just pick up and go to the library, Zoo, Children's Museum, or just for a walk around the block. We also used to have PJ days, where we would spend the day in our PJs, ignoring everything else that needed to be done, and just play the whole day away. It was great!

With the addition of Aiden's school and Maddie's therapies and various appointments, we don't have much unscheduled free time, and the free time we do have is mostly spent playing catch-up with things we have neglected due to our schedule.

Lately, I have been feeling overwhelmed by how on-the-go our lives seem and have felt like I just can't catch-up to everything. Then, last week Maddie had an appointment at the Down Syndrome Clinic at The Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and it was determined that we need to add Occupational Therapy into our schedule. I nearly lost it. This will be our 4th therapy every week. Don't get me wrong, I love our therapists and the work they do with Maddie. Even if it seems like we're not making much progress, I know in the end it will make a world of difference in Maddie's quality of life down the road. However, I just want those days back that I had with Aiden and I want Maddie to be able to experience them, too. I want to be able to pick up at the drop of a hat on a suddenly warm day and go to the Zoo. I want to drop in at the library just because we have nothing else to do that day. I want to wake my kids up from their naps and go on a walk because it's sunny out and we haven't seen the sun in what feels like months. I want to wake up and decide that we can put our errands off until tomorrow because what's important today is to stay in our PJs and play all day long with my babies, and that's exactly what we did today. It was heaven!!

I know all of the appointments we have for Maddie are going to give her the best possible start that she can get, but having time to be a family is also what is best, not only for Maddie, but for the rest of us as well. I know that in the coming months things are going to get pretty hectic, but you can bet that I am going to be building these fun days into our schedule from now on!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Look Who's Signing!

When Aiden was born, I was interested in learning some basic sign language to help him communicate with me. I learned a few things like "milk", "more", "eat", and "drink", however he really never needed them. Then, when Maddie was born, I decided that I was going to be more aggressive with learning sign language since there is a high likelihood that she will have some delayed speech. When she was less than 2 months old I took a Baby Sign Language class and was waiting for the readiness cues they said to look for.

She started waving "hi" and "bye" a few months ago and since then, I have been working on teaching her "all done" and "more". Well, at 11 months she nailed them, and quickly! Here are some recent videos to prove it.

A few weeks ago, during a particularly hard session of physical therapy, Maddie was getting frustrated and turned to Diane, our PT, and signed "all done" to her. It was so cute and so funny! Unfortunately, we were not "all done". At the end of the session Diane said to Maddie, "Ok, now we're all done" and she signed it again and smiled and clapped! Like, "Yes! Finally, we're done!".

And, she also loves a good game of, "How big is Maddie?" Even though I'm super proud of Maddie's "so big", my favorite part of this video is Aiden and his exasperation over trying to explain to us that Maddie is not, in fact, "so big". He's so funny!!

We're now working on "help" and "play". Those are a little harder, but I bet she picks up quickly, just like she did with these!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Spring Break

This week was Spring Break for Grant. We thought about trying to get out of town for a little while, but unfortunately, we just had too many appointments and a few that we couldn't cancel. So we decided to make the best of the time that we did have and do things around the Pittsburgh area that we haven't gotten around to doing yet. 

One of the things on our to-do list was to visit Lilliput Town Center. Basically, it's a miniature town made out of playhouses that are designed to look like real buildings. There was a market, a coffee shop, a theatre/tv studio, a doctors' office, a mechanic, a train station, and Aiden's favorite, a fire station. 

Aiden spent most of his time fixing cars, 

shopping at the market,

and putting out fires.

Maddie entertained herself by playing with her baby doll, whom she has fallen in love with (however, the dolls could never replace her beloved monkey).

(Please notice her big Buddha belly... I'm totally in love with it!)

Aiden had a blast, and I loved watching how excited he was about being a fireman! 

Then today we had big plans to go to the Carnegie Science Center since we've never been there, but last night it was predicted that we were getting 4-8 inches of snow (On a side note, I want to mention that we didn't even get 1 inch. At the most it was a dusting, which has mostly melted. Oh well.). So, we decided that we would have a day were we just hung around the house. 

I can't remember the last time we didn't have somewhere to go, something to do, or someone coming over and it was the most wonderful day we've had in a long time. I felt like we were able to reconnect as a family. We played with blocks and babies, built tents and towers, baked muffins and napped. There was very little whining or crying, and mostly just playing and smiles and laughter. We ordered pizza for dinner, got both babies bathed, jammied, and then read books. The kids were in bed by 8pm, happy and content. Then Grant and I spent the night watching a couple of TV shows. It was a perfect day and one that I will use to refuel me when I'm feeling stressed and hurried.

I'd still like to visit the Science Center, but I wouldn't trade today for anything! Tomorrow we go back to our real life and our Spring Break will be over. Grant goes back to work and things go back to normal. Next week is extremely hectic and I'll be away from the kiddos for most of the day Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, but today was enough to help get me through when I'm missing them! Best. Day. Ever.

Monday, March 7, 2011


So I promised that big things were coming, and they did. However, I didn't get around to blogging about them.

Maddie's birthday came and went. We had a big celebration planned, but unfortunately had to cancel it the morning of, due to Grant having the flu. I actually don't think I've ever seen Grant so sick before. He doesn't get sick very often, and when he does, it's usually just a little cold that he manages to fight off within a few days. However, this time he was out for a few days with a fever and just slept most of the time. Needless to say, everyone else proceeded to get sick as well for the next four weeks! Ugh! I'm so ready for spring!!

Here are some pictures and video from Maddie's birthday.

Maddie's Smash Cake

I just realized that the candle is in backwards... oops!

Birthday Girl!

I'm hoping that I'll be able to keep up with blogging again and that it won't be a month until there's another update!