Saturday, April 26, 2014

Final Baseball Game

Eli had his last baseball game for the season this morning.
The team played well, but they lost, eliminating them from the post season. Eli was mostly at third base and pitcher this time around, proving once again to be a pretty solid utility man. This was not just Eli's last game as a Yankee, but his last as a Pinto league player; next season he'll be in the Mustang league. That's kid-pitch...crazy!
One positive of being eliminated: swim team starts on Monday. Now we don't have to fit both sports in at once.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Family Band

Eli has played with the worship band a few times at church; several occasions in C3 (the kids' service) and once or twice with Lehr in the main service. This weekend, however, Maddux joined him on stage! She hasn't really expressed much interest in participating in the service so far...even when she was taking keyboard lessons, she preferred to play in her room rather than give a 'concert' to Lehr or I. (Very contradictory to her personality, I know.) But she begged to go to Eli's rehearsal with him since she'd been singing along in the laundry room every time he practiced the songs on the drum set. Lehr obliged, and Eli (ELI!) encouraged her to sing with the vocal team that week because she was good. (ELI said that....shock and awe!)

As it ended up, the only other singer was a mom we know well. She was very patient and encouraging with Maddux, and by the end of the rehearsal, not only did Maddux participate, but she was not scheduled to sing on Sunday as well!!

There were moments of greatness, there were moments of randomness; all in all, Maddux did well for both services. The first service found her wearing her big floppy white hat (no video) and really getting into the hand motions. The second service found her fidgeting a little less, but no more hat. Eli was great, showing how much hard work he'd put in all week.

So so proud of Maddux for taking up this responsibility. So so proud of Eli for showing his sister love in a way he very rarely does.

Sidenote: the week after her debut, Maddux was out on the back deck with her easle....this is what I found later:

Monday, April 14, 2014


 We actually remembered to dye eggs this year! Though Eli wasn't really into it. I even found a 'tie-dye' kit to use, but after doing one egg, Eli opted to play outside.
The day before Easter was supposed to be our neighborhood egg hunt, but rain caused a cancellation. That meant that we had 30-40 prepackaged eggs waiting to be hunted. Luckily we had planned to have some friends come over the next afternoon, and those friends have two young kids. Before they came, I hid some 'hard to find' eggs the kids received from Grandma Cathie and Grandpa Jim. I think I had as much fun as they did! The eggs were colored to blend into outdoor landscape: total success. There were only 12 eggs, which I re-hid three times, and each time it took at least 10 minutes to find all eggs (sometimes with big hints from Mommy).
When our friends arrived, the adults hid our eggs (we had 30ish and they had at least as many) all over the back yard. Then all four kids collected for the better part of our time before dinner. No egg hunts for Ruby this year, but the kids shared their (empty) eggs with her.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Game Ball

Eli had a late game tonight, meaning only one adult could attend while the other stayed home with the girls so they could have a normal bedtime. Since it was so nice out, I asked to go so I could take pictures. Amazing night. Amazing game.
Eli played really well. His glove recently broke down, so he's been experimenting with some others in the last few weeks. Tonight he ended up using the new one he got me for my birthday. He didn't have much of a chance to practice with it, so there were a few fumbled catches at first base in the first inning. But he went on to hit a double, hit another one almost out of the park (RIGHT at the fence!), and make several outs at first. One of the best plays of the night was the catch he made in left field. There was a strong pop fly hit deep, almost to the wall, and Eli made a diving catch for the out, shocking everyone. Grins from ear to ear.
Appropriately so, Eli earned the game ball. (The coaches do their best to make sure every boy earns at least one ball per season. That sometimes means the ball doesn't always match the play.)
On the ride home I told him how proud I was of him. He worked hard to have a good game, but the best part was how he learned from the mistakes he made in the first inning or so and moved on. Eli has struggled in teh past to 'move on' from small mistakes, often times letting them get the best of him for the whole game. Tonight was the opposite; he totally rallied, as did the team, and Eli's team came back to win after being behind and then having a very close game for a few innings.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Happy Trails

Over Spring Break, Lehr and some landscapers cleared out a bunch of the land we have just outside of our back fence. The kids play back there often and Lehr has always wanted to create a fun space for them over there.
After the land was cleaned up (not totally cleared, but 75% of the 'junk' removed), Lehr laid down some walkways that he repurposed from our 'old' backyard. They fit perfectly in the initial part of the trail created. 
Maddux was a big fan of playing over there before this, but now that it's cleared, she's over there even more. The other day she and Lehr went out there with a bunch of wood and a level and started plans for some type of playhouse. Life is good.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Roller Skating

What a fun spring break! The kids and I really enjoyed several days of just hanging out and having fun. We mostly played in the yard and at the house, but on Tuesday, I did take them roller skating. Eli went once when he was four, but nothing since then. Maddux has been in the cul de sac since she got her roller skates, but she'd never been to a rink.

So. Fun.

Eli was less steady on his feet, requiring the use of a PVC 'walker' with wheels on the bottom to help with balance. Maddux zoomed right along, only falling a few times. Since I had Ruby in the backpack carrier, I opted to stay in tennis shoes. Both kids skated for almost two full hours and talked the whole drive home about going again some time soon.

As luck would have it, Lehr took Friday off and we went again. Since Lehr's knee still isn't in the best shape for skating, he held Ruby while I skated with the kids. I invited the kids' friends, so there were five total kids on skates.

So. Much. Fun.

Eli and Drew were the oldest of the five by at least two years, but they were the least steady on their feet. Too funny. Maddux was probably the best again; that girl has great balance on skates, even though she tends to be klutzy on solid ground.

One Of Many Talks

We initially chose to not have a sit-down formal discussion with Eli and Maddux about DS, but a few months into school, I had a fear that a child that saw Ruby may have some connection with DS and mention it to one of the kids, catching them off guard. In an effort to be proactively 'in charge' of the distributor of info for them, we brought it up during dinner one night. Nothing over the top, but just a 'hey, you know how ruby gets PT each week, that's because she has something called Down syndrome'. Very light, very generic, but we introduced the term. Since then we've had a handful of little conversations, but they've all been very little and not focusing on the science of it, or anything beyond Ruby right now.
 I got the opportunity this last week to be (hopefully) a calming voice for a local mom whose unborn child was recently diagnosed. Since that opportunity came to me via email while the kids were with me, I chose to share why I 'checked out' for a few moments to answer said email. I talked with Eli and Maddux about how they know that Ruby has Down syndrome and I asked them what that meant. They said "PT' and Eli added that she may learn things a little slower. I then asked if that was a big deal and they both said no. I tried to explain how it's not, but some adults (like me!) think it's a big deal if they don't know a Ruby...they get scared sometimes and this mom was scared. I asked them what I should tell her to make her not scared..if they had any advice. One of the questions I asked them was "How would you tell one of your friends to play with a baby with Down syndrome?" Eli shrugged up his shoulders and said in disbelief, "Like any other baby!"

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Therapy Update

Ruby is still rocking through her many new things every week! Speech Therapy is going well; she is still eating all types of textures and temperatures with no problems, and the therapist was impressed with small improvements she's made in her eating 'techniques'. She is babbling a lot more now too: "b" and "bl" sounds. One of her therapists said to start working on her pincer grab with finger foods. When we put them on her tray, she uses her third and fourth fingers to rake them up and get them into her mouth. I've tried many different strategies, but she hasn't responded successfully to any of them. Our least favorite was taping her hand/fingers. She didn't mind it at all, but she also didn't have any success. We'll keep trying things....
Physical Therapy is moving along well too. Ruby is not crawling or army crawling, but she is progressing with so many other things. When she's on her stomach, I barely have to prompt her at her hips to get her to pull her knees in so that she's on all-fours. And she will hang out on hands and knees a lot longer, even rocking back and forth. From that position she will also push back into a sitting position all on her own. Ruby's protective response is immproving too; from a kneeling position, she will catch herself in all fours when she 'falls' forward most of the time. Finally, she sits on raised surface (bench or upside down bin) well and is working on pulling standing from that surface.