Sunday, May 20, 2007

So blessed

I was thinking about my girls the other night. Whenever someone hears that both of my daughters are special, I get the "wow, you must have your hands full." Well, I do. Full of laughs, love, funny comments, silly dances and bad knock knock jokes. Like most other preschoolers, I guess. Yes, I get a bit more tantrumming than some moms do--sensory integration difficulties guarantee that. But, as the girls get older, things are even improving on that front.

The real reason I feel so blessed is that my girls are so close. Their disabilities and personalities are completely opposite from each other: Anneliese is an extrovert, Sophia is shy; Anneliese is silent, Sophia is a chatterbox; Anneliese will persist in engaging her sister, Sophia likes her own world.

When Anneliese can't explain what she needs, Sophia helps. When Sophia gets too far into her world, Anneliese pulls her out. Sophia's physical daring and monkey like acrobatics push Anneliese to emulate her sister, helping to develop those gross motor muscles that need strengthening. The girls learn by each other's example. Anneliese wants to follow her sister, and Sophia wants to have fun with her. Sophia and Anneliese are both learning to cooperate and share, something even their schools aren't seeing yet.

As I listen to them laughing and giggling for a 1/2 hour each night after tuck-ins, I know my girlies are happy, love each other and have a best friend. Right now, nothing is more important.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Harry Potter

I am geeked--Harry Potter is coming!! It is like the third British invasion. First, the redcoats in 1776, then the Beatles, and now, Harry Potter, both the book and movie this summer. Unlike the other two invasions, the Americans have been forewarned and are ready and willing to be engulfed.

And yes, I am in that number. I get Yahoo updates every time the name Harry Potter hits the news. I pored over the new Deathly Hallows book covers, looking for any clue to the plot. I held my breath when it was announced that Emma Watson might not return for the last two movies (breathe easy folks--all three leads are signed). And, I haunt blogs and message boards looking for answers to the REALLY important questions--is Snape evil or good? how will Dumbledore communicate with Harry now that he is gone? will Sirius communicate through the mirror he gave Harry? is Harry a horcrux? and what does Aunt Petunia really know about the wizarding world? And lastly, is RAB REALLY Regulus Black, or is that another red herring?

OK, you know I'm obsessed. Hopefully, there are others out there anxiously counting down to the next book and movie. After all, there's just something about Harry.

Summer is here--bring on the scrapping guilt!

Well, between spring cleaning and gardening, I have been a busy woman lately. Deciding what things to toss, what to donate, what to store. Packing away winter coats, sorting little clothes to see what doesn't fit, re-organizing closets. Outside, I am planting new perennials, fertilizing all my plants, pruning bushes and trees, digging out plants that didn't come back after a sudden freeze in the spring.

So, I have not had the time to scrap. About three weeks ago, I was a scrapping dynamo! I did a LO each night for a week. They were pretty good, too (if I do say so myself!). But I have been so busy, I don't have the inclination to scrap. After a day of working, I want to veg in front of the TV.

I do have a project in mind--an autumn album of all the fun stuff the girls did in the fall--pumpkin patch, hay ride, trick or treat, decorating for Halloween. Originally, I was going to do an 8x8 book--but, considering the number of pictures, I am contemplating using an 8x12 Baybox. Sigh. I have never done an 8x12 album, so again, I hesitate to start.

And so it goes. The spirit is willing, but the planner in me is weak. This happens every summer. Let's just hope I can finish the Autumn 2006 album before August 2007 rolls around.

"I am that hero...."

Well, we have discovered Veggie Tales in our home. And, it is a HUGE hit. We all find ourselves humming silly songs, and watching each new DVD with interest. But, the biggest impact has been made by Larry Boy, with his amazing suction cup ears. Sophia is in love. We had to run out to Agape (our local Christian book store) the other night to buy the Larry Mobile for her.

The positive side of the Veggie Tales invasion has been that Sophia is beginning to get a concept of God and the Bible. I picked up the VT bible story book to read to her--after each VT story are the verses from the Bible that the story was based on. She enjoys hearing that read, and having it explained to her.

I'm not sure Anneliese is as enthralled by the biblical aspect of VT, but from the giggles and the dancing she does while watching the show, I know that it is a hit with her, too.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Orca Love

Well, my daughter Sophia is animal crazy, and always has been. Her first word at 8 months was "hitty" (her early word for the cat). At 2 years old, she knew about12 farm animals and what sound they make. Nowt 5 years old, she can tell you all about the animals of the rain forest--what they sound like, say and eat (thanks Diego!). Her favorite day trip is the zoo. She also knows all the different dinosaurs by name, and will earnestly correct you if you misname when.

So, yesterday she came home from, school with a picture collage she made of Orca whales. Mommy, daddy and baby whale she tells me. Very nice. She played with them all afternoon--the next thing you know, she had her little bug catcher cage and inside was her pet orca whale, Richard (don't ask).

She mentions next that orcas are nice fish. So, I explain that fish breathe with gills and lay eggs to make babies, but whales have a blow hole and have babies in their tummies that are born and swim around. She accepted that and ran off to play orca.

Well, I should have known that wouldn't be the end of it--never underestimate an Asperger child. They are too smart for the average sleep deprived mom. Sophia tells me that she is going to be a mommy orca. I tell her that;s great. She proceeds to tell me she has a baby orca in her tummy. At that point, she sticks her stuffed mouse under her shirt, and then pulls him out. "See mama, the baby orca is borned."

What could I say? It was cute. Squirrelly, but cute. That's my girl.

Monday, May 07, 2007

A last thought for today...

I think I have been reminded recently of something important. Be happy for today. Tomorrow will never be better if you carry your bad attitude forward. Yesterday only looks better because you have forgotten how negative things may have been as time dims memory.

Lately I had forgotten to appreciate those around me. Maybe my reminder came from my daughters' new obsession with VeggieTales, and hearing the positive messages repeatedly. And how can you argue with a talking cucumber?

So smile and be happy. It is contagious.

How does your garden grow?

Am loving the spring time this year. When we bought our house in June 2003, the garden was overgrown and dying. After ripping up EVERYTHING except a lilac tree, a weeping cherry and 2 evergreen bushes (we ripped out approximately 25 plants and trees that were crowded or dying) we had to dig up the existing beds and add a couple new ones. We now add 5-6 plants per year. This year was a 2nd lilac tree, a barberry, 2 more bog rosemary and two flowering almond trees, as well as a few perennials.

My efforts are finally paying off. My little bitty burning bushes (no more than twigs when I planted them in 2005) are now over 2 feet tall and filled out. They have grown 4 inches this year alone.

My hen and chicks (sempervivum) are my special favorites, although Dave thinks they look like an alien life form. But I love them--my grandmother always had them in her garden, and I thought it was so cool that the main plant would send out little "chicks." Kind of like a succulent spider plant. So, when we bough this house, I got a few from a lady thinning hers out. From 8 or nine plants and "chicks" I now have about 150 and still going strong. I am currently moving them from their metal planter to shady areas to use as ground cover. I love them--they are a great reminder of my childhood.

Currently I have lilacs, rosemary and sage in bloom, or on the verge. My weeping cherry just got done blooming. I have tulips to plant for next year. My goal is to eventually figure out a way to always have flowers in bloom... What could make for a more beautiful landscape?

Success!! Soto's diagnosis confirmed.

Well, much to my surprise, the doctor came through. His latest letter spelled it out. Despite normal NSD1 scan, she has Sotos Sundrome. He spells it out in his second letter that genetics are NOT conclusive, so his diagnosis stands.

Yay! Talked to her Early Intervention physical therapist, HF, today. HF said she was not at all surprised to hear that Anneliese has an overgrowth syndrome. It was awesome to talk to a professional who was conversant with the disorder. Most of our family and friends do not understand what Sotos is, and it is hard to explain. But, frankly, the diagnosis is for the medical and insurance communities, as LeeLee is still the little ray of sunshine she was before the arrival of Dr I's letter.

We are starting to head into stormier weather with her moods. Unfortunately, she is getting more frustrated at not getting her way--dressing, food choices, being read to, watching TV, etc--we get the tantrum to end all. We are beginning to wonder if this is just a three year old phase (like Sophia had as well) or if we are entering phase 2 with Anneliese, now that she is asserting her autonomy.

Who can say?