Thursday, April 30, 2015

Maddux Says The Darndest Things

Not much set-up needed here. Just another absolutely awesome exchange with my daughter as she prepared for her shower a few minutes ago.
"Please be careful when you take my hair band out. That part still kinda hurts from my bruise."
"What bruise?"
"You remember when i walked into the wall?........well, actually, there are probably lots of them up there because, yeah, well, you know."

I do. That girl walks into walls often. (And, yes, I've had her eyes checked.)

And then she followed that up with a conversation about her Field Day plans for tomorrow. I asked her if she had to partner up with a classmate. She answered yes, but that she wasn't sure if she got to pick her partner or if her teacher would pick. As expected, she told me that if she got to choose, she would pick D (her best friend). I jokingly asked if she thought she'd get to be partners with D if her teacher picks (the two are often in trouble for talking). She laughed and said, "No. Mommy, this is play partners, not 'be quiet' partners.......If it was that, I couldn't be partners with ANYone."
She speaks the truth.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Therapy Update

I recently realize something. Even when Ruby isn't racing towards her next milestone, she is still moving in it's direction. Sometimes slowly and silently, so much so that I don't even recognize it at first. That girl....she's amazing.

What can I say....she's all over the place! Ruby is walking constantly, pushing herself to go further and faster everyday. She still fatigues and will 'drop' to a seated position when her legs run out of steam, but she is never down for long. Her walk is so fast sometimes that I would almost call it a run. Ruby is also riding/pushing around her new bike. She can totally get on and off of it by herself too, which takes more balance than I thought she had.

Ruby is currently able to sort colors, sometimes even with differing objects. She plays this game with me where I think she understands that the red ball and the red button are both red, but she puts one of them in the yellow bucket just to test me. It's all in the way she gives me this sneaky look as she does it, as if to say, "Your move, Mommy." We are also working on threading big wood beads and pasta onto a cord. She does pretty well with that most of the time.
Random signs keep popping up because Ruby is very interested in mimicking these days. She will sign "cow" and "horse" and "cracker" and a few others, even though they don't have a lot of every day relevance for her. She is making more word approximations when we read books together too....that is very cool. Finally, Ruby is starting to follow 2-step directions. (Ex. Pick up the egg and bring it to me.) To be fair, most of these directions are very predictable and related, so they may not be a fair test. That's to say that when I ask her to pick something up and bring it to me or pick up the cup and put it on the table, the secondary action is often an assumed action after the first. But I'm still giving Ruby credit.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cleaning Lady

That girl.
In the last few weeks I have often found her trying to break into the cabinet under the kitchen sink. That's where we keep a big bucket of white rags for the inevitable spills that come from life with three kids (and meals with Maddux). She will reach in and grab one and then take off, randomly wiping spots on the floor or cabinet doors.
It's almost like a security blanket of sorts because once she gets ahold of one, she doesn't want to let it go. I love it. I love it. I love it.
Of course the day I choose to take photos of this cleaning-love, she is wearing a dress-up 'gown'. Very Cinderella-esque.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Dinner with Grandparents

While Grandma and Grandpa were in town, Eli and Maddux begged them to go to Ted's Montana Grill. We seriously never go there (maybe twice in their entire life?), but when my mom comes to town, Eli insists on it out of tradition. (Kind of a self-fulfilling prophesy.)

This year it was all four of them, and Maddux and Eli dressed up in their new clothes and all for the occasion. I have been assured that the kids were very well-behaved and chatty in a very awesome way. A few nuggets I heard about afterwards:
  • Maddux asked Grandma, "Can I get the $15 bacon buffalo burger?" I can only imagine that this comes from a conversation I had with them recently about manners when someone else takes you out; we discussed the importance of being aware of how much things cost so as to not order the most pricey thing on the menu.
  • Eli commented to my parents and Maddux that the waiter was great, "He is seriously the best waiter I think I've ever had!" My mom encouraged Eli to tell the waiter, to which Eli refused, likely out of embarrassment. So when he returned to the table, Maddux said, "You are a really good waiter!" When he thanked her ('little lady'), she said, "My brother was going to tell you, buuuuuuut (quick look at Eli, who is embarrassed) he didn't."
  • A conversation about Ruby came up and both kids raved about her as a little sister. Eli said she was the best little sister in the whole world. Maddux said she just loves her so so much. She said something to the effect of, "I know she has Down syndrome, but that doesn't matter cuz she is the best best best." Both kids talked a little about DS with my parents and confessed that they both worry sometimes that people will make fun of her. That's another conversation we've had recently, but I didn't realize it was weighing so heavily on their minds.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

80's Day

Eli and Maddux's school has gone into spirit day overdrive. There are dress-up days all of the time right now. And I love it!

Today was 80's day, which I didn't even realize until the kids came home. Eli started talking about it during snack....he started formulating his plan about a boom box to wear on his shoulder.
By bedtime, Eli had made a cardboard boom box, created a blingy necklace, and gathered his clothes for the morning.
We didn't have as much creativity surrounding Maddux's get-up, but I think Lehr did a smash-up job of fixing her hair, 80's-style.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Junior Golf Course

Eli has long since enjoyed the sport of golf. Lehr sawed off an old golf club when Eli was younger - maybe four - and Eli's been putting and hitting around the yard every since. Whenever Grandpa Jim and Eli are together, they go to the driving range, and the last few times have resulted in 9 or 18 holes.
When Masters week rolls around, Eli's fondness for the game increases, as one might expect. This year it was heightened even more because a visit from Grandpa Jim coincided with Masters week. So not only did they visit the local par 3 course, they also created a course in our front and back yard. It was all Eli's idea (so I've been told), but Grandpa definitely helped in the manifestation.
So El's "Junior Golf Course" includes a sign, tee markers for each of the ten (five, repeated) holes, and a flagged 'hole' in the front yard. Eli chose five different spots in the front and back yard to tee off from, all aiming towards the same hole. He even named one of the holes "Azaleas", just like in Augusta.
While Grandpa Jim was here, there were a few days that the duo had an early tee time. Since then, he's hurried through his homework each day to get four or five holes in before the rain hits, or before soccer practice. On his own, Eli even changes into proper golf attire (a polo shirt and plaid shorts) before hitting the links.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Roller Rink Rockstars

Last spring break, I took the kids roller skating for the first time. They loved it so much that we returned to the skate rink a few days later with the Marshalls. That has stuck in the kids' heads for the last year and they've been talking up our 'tradition' of skating with the Marshalls over spring break for the last few weeks.

On the last day of spring break, the older kids and I joined our friends for an afternoon of craziness. All five kids laced up their skates and fell around the rink.

All except Maddux: she soared around.
Eli, Drew, Davis and Emmaline used the PVC pipe 'walkers' for a little bit, and then they mostly-fell-sometimes-skated for a bit, then they mostly-skated-sometimes-fell for the rest of the time.
Eli was just as unstable on his feet as he was last year. He smiled the whole time, but he didn't spend more than a few steps on his feet each time between falls. In addition, he couldn't help but dance to each and every song that came through the speakers. That didn't exactly help his balance.
When it came time for a few games, Maddux joined in immediately. She lasted a decent amount of time in their balloon tag games. Then they announced that they would be doing races. She stayed on the floor and lined up with the 6-10 year old girls. When they lined up, Eli called out her name; when Maddux looked over, Eli gave her a thumbs up and said, "Win!". (Color me shocked...Eli doesn't typically encourage his sister!)
The staff skater counted them down and they took off, with Maddux in the lead. She held her lead for almost half of the race before she was overtaken by one girl. Smart girl that she is, Maddux didn't back off. This was a great strategy because said girl tripped a few paces after passing Maddux. She was rewarded for crossing the finish line first with a slushy from the snack bar.
Just before the races, Eli and Drew traded in their skates for roller blades. They seemed to be a much better fit for Eli; he suddenly had better balance. That doesn't mean he didn't fall any more, but he and Drew were able to make it around the rink between falls in the blades.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Big Kid Day

When my parents secured their travel plans to stay with us for Spring Break, one of the things Lehr and I planned to do was take the older kids out all day and do things that are a little harder for us all to do when we have Ruby with us. Once Grandma and Grandpa arrived, we let Eli and Maddux help us pick some things to do that day.
We started out at the skate park; both Eli and Maddux skate boarded. It was a beautiful morning, so we stayed longer than originally planned, but no one was complaining. Eli even shocked us by trying something very new, all motivated by himself! He rolled into the pool, unassisted! The first time he came down, Lehr was there to catch/steady him, which he needed. But then he realized what he did wrong and how to change it, so when he rolled in the second time, Lehr didn't touch him. Then he did a third and fourth time and went back and forth up the sides a few times. On the last one, he fell pretty hard (he wasn't wearing knee pads), but after a short break he was back out there.
We stopped for a quick smoothie and then drove to our favorite mountain biking spot. We go there often enough, but I usually just hike with Ruby while they ride. This time we all got to ride. Eli ate it on the BMX trail, causing him some pain, but all in all, it was a great ride through the trails and on the BMX section.
Lunch was next on the list: we stopped at a pizza place to share a quick pie before hiking. We didn't hike very far...maybe 2 miles...but we did get down to the creek. This is something we do with Ruby a lot, but she is not big enough to sit on the rocks in the creek yet.
The kids started talking about playing tennis while we were hiking back. We grabbed our rackets and went to the courts in our neighborhood. (Let it be known that none of us actually plays tennis, so this was to be mostly a chase-the-ball type of activity.)
Finally, we were all exhausted and dinner was on our mind. We knew we'd have to go to the house quickly to clean up, but we didn't want to upset Ruby by letting her see us after being gone all day only to leave again. The kids were amazing; they even conspired with each other to put on their new clothes from Grandma and Grandpa for our date out. We went to Grindhouse for our favorite burgers, and even let the kids share a milkshake.
Such a fun was really cool to be able to hang out with Eli and Maddux and focus all of our attention on them. We definitely will do this again!

Monday, April 06, 2015


In the last few years the older kids have become very fond of Easter Egg hunts. Not necessarily for the goodies inside of the eggs, but for the hunt of the eggs themselves. Last year we stepped up the game and bought a pack of the nature eggs that look like grass and rocks. The kids had time trials to see who could find all of them fastest.
We had our neighborhood egg hunt the weekend before Easter. The kids helped put out eggs for the younger ones (including Ruby). Ruby did not get overly excited about the eggs: we had to wake her up from a nap for the hunt. Eli and Maddux found their 12 eggs and moved on to playing with their friends.
But when it came to our family egg hunt, they were all business. After church, we put out several dozen (empty) eggs in the backyard. Eli and Maddux ran around like crazy to find them all. Once they found them, we hid them again. And again. They even hid them for Grandma Cathie and Grandpa Jim to find. Egg-Mania.
After they finished with that, Grandma Cathie guided them in making chocolate 'nests' and decorating them with peeps and chocolate eggs. Yeah....they kinda liked that activity too.