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 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.

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.

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.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Therapy Update

Ruby is still rocking through her therapies....so 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.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dishwasher

A few weeks ago our dishwasher started giving us some issues, so we've been handwashing everything. As one might expect, dishes pile up QUICKLY with three kids, so I try to wash things right away, after each meal. It doesn't take long, but during spring break Maddux commented how she wanted me to not wash the dishes. 
A few days later, Maddux pulled out her step stool and asked if she could help wash the dishes. Of course I said 'yes'! I showed her the basics and she got started on the breakfast bowls right away. I picked up other things around the kitchen while she was washing, checking in with her every few minutes.
At one point I told her she didn't have to wash all of them if she didn't want to. She told me, "No, I'm going to wash them all because I don't want you to do it, Mommy!" Love. That. Girl.

Friday, March 21, 2014

World Down Syndrome Day

Today was our first World Down Syndrome Day (3/21) and we wore big, mismatched socks in support. (The goal was to bring attention to the socks so people would ask about them. Then we could tell them why we were wearing them and start a conversation, hopefully opening some eyes to the 'reality' of Down syndrome.) I briefly explained the reason for 3/21 to the kids a few days beforehand, touching on chromosomes and the numbers and the fact that Ruby has one more than us. I was hoping they'd be excited and want to participate; they totally wore mismatched socks 'for Ruby'. I was very impressed when they got home and we talked about the special day; Eli remembered some of the details very well. He even wore socks to baseball practice that didn't match.
Funny side story: when the girls and I were outside after school, I was still wearing my socks. Maddux remarked that my socks weren't really crazy because they were both black and white (one was striped and one was dots). I told her, "You be your crazy and I'll be mine." Without missing a beat, Maddux said, "Your crazy is plain." Called out by the queen...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Hard Work

I probably mention Ruby's hard work in 5 out of every 4 blogs....in case it's not obvious, we're kind of impressed by the work this girl puts in! Ruby's latest trick is pushing herself into a sitting position. She's been sitting on her own since before Christmas...somewhere in January she became a total pro at it, holding herself in an upright sitting position for at least three or four minutes at a time.
In the midst of working on her four-point hold (aka crawling position), we've shown her how to get into and out of hands-and-knees. Into: she is on her stomach and she pushes up with her arms (think 'up dog'), then I give her a little support at her hips and she pulls her knees under her. Out of: she's in hands-and-knees and I gently push back on one hip and help her walk her hands back into a seated position.
Over the weekend she was working hard in the bath one night. I had her on her stomach in shallow water (the girl likes to 'swim'!) and she kept trying to anchor her knees and push back to sit up. So the next day when I was working with her on her elevated four-point (hands up on a thick book or other taller than the ground surface), she kept pushing herself to the side to sit without any prompt from me. Fast forward a few hours when all I had to do was get her into hands-and-knees and she'd push back immediately. *By the way, when I aide her hips up, she barely needs my assist. That girl's abs are STRONG!
I got a quick video; it shows the natural progression of us working on it and then her doing it on her own. However, it was shot in reverse. The working on it part came later in the session when she was exhausted. She started out with success and then started to fatigue (which is when I started to assist her). This girl is a rockstar!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Pressure

Since the beginning of time, or at least time as far as Eli's concerned, we've seen the struggle with anger. He is a very happy kid; people are always commenting on his ever-present smile. But if he's overly tired or frustrated, he can lash out. We have definitely seen him come a long way in controlling his anger behavior, but he still has his moments. (Don't we all?!)

Unfortunately, this season we've seen this manifest on the baseball field. When Eli gets to his 'point', he is not listening, argumentative over EVERYthing, and very much in the mindset of finger-pointing. This is Eli's last season in the pinto baseball league, meaning he is the 'big kid' on the team. We talked to him in great length about how cool an opportunity it is, to be the example for the team. Normally, he's a great sportsman and doesn't get down on himself or stress out too much about the game. However, we've had two games where that wasn't the case. The first time wasn't too bad; he missed a few balls and got a little upset, but turned it around. The second time, I almost pulled him from the game. He missed a few balls at first base, and then got called out at second on a close play. He came back to the dugout very frustrated and mouthed off to me about 'the ump saw it wrong'. (This is a BIG point of contention for Lehr and I as we've seen too many boys in this league 'blame' the coaches or umps. Not okay.) When Eli is in this state, there really is no reasoning with him, but I very calmly and very sternly let him know that his reaction was out of line and he needed to turn it around. (We talk all of the time about how his 'job' is to play and have fun and the ump's job is to make the calls. Right or wrong, the ump is RIGHT.)
Eli calmed himself down and the game continued, but Eli's example for the team was poor at best. No, he didn't call out the ump in a public way. No, he didn't come back to the dugout and yell or kick or throw things. But his attitude of expecting nothing but perfect plays from himself was starting to happen too often for our taste. And while his reaction in that game wasn't overboard, we don't want to ignore something that could escalate. I love that he takes his performance seriously, and I love that he strives to be the best he can be. Our disagreement comes in the purpose of mistakes. I try to remind him that 'sometimes you win and the other times you learn'...he doesn't like that too much.
I had a loooong talk with Eli on the way home. (It was just the two of us in the car.) He was receptive to everything I was saying because he'd totally calmed down by that point. I reminded him that baseball was a game that was intended to be fun. At the end of it, I told him that I would be talking to Dad more about it, but there would not be anymore baseball (practices or games) if we saw anything close to that on the field again. Lehr had the AWESOME idea the next morning to have Eli do a little research as part of his consequence. I don't remember all of the details, but Eli had to dig around on a few baseball sites to find out the stats on some of his favorite players (those that are seen as very successful). Then he needed to define a batting average and what an ump's job is. It was followed up by a big talk with Lehr about the 'assignment' and about what happened. We have not seen any issues like that again this season. Score one for Daddy.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

MORE! MORE!

video
So we've been working with Ruby on a few signs, and then started focusing just on 'more' about a week ago. I didn't expect much since both other kids didn't start till closer to a year, with just as much pre-work from mom and dad. Last night Maddux and I were eating dinner outside with Ruby when, as I cued Ruby to sign 'more' to receive a puff, she did!! And to make sure it wasn't a fluke, I prompted again, and again, and again...all with success! I didn't want to disrupt the moment too much by running to get the camera, so I just grabbed a few examples with my phone while feeding her with the other hand. Amazing!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Airborn

Eli has had four games so far; one last weekend and then three days in a row this weekend. Each one has been on a beautiful spring-weather day....we love it!
I've been shooting as much as I can during the games. I was especially excited for our last one because Eli was playing against his BFF's brother. So when said brother got up to the plate in the first inning, I fixed my lens on his batting stance and started shooting him. Wouldn't you know it, on the second swing he hit a monster of a high line drive to the far side of second base. I turned my head just in time to see Eli jump from his spot between 1st and 2nd all of the way over to the ball and catch it midair for the out. He seriously was parallel to the ground!
Even after the game, coaches and parents from both teams were coming up to Eli to compliment him on the amazing catch he'd made. Eli earned the honor of 'team captain' for that catch; he gets to wear the team sweatband until the next game.

The photographer in me wished so much that I could have gotten that shot, but I think Eli will remember that catch for a while, even without the picture.