wordless wednesday

back to backpacks

we are counting down the days until caroline starts her new school. 19 in fact.  summer has gone by so quickly. i am not complaining. i prefer the fall time, when schedules are routine, it gets darker earlier, and the flying bugs go away.

caroline and i are going school shopping next week with her cousins. as you can imagine, we are super excited about school shopping this year because the new school does not have a uniform. how awesome is that. this is a first for caroline. clothes purchased can now be colors other than navy, white, and red! she can wear jeans, tees, and active wear if she wants. so fun. can't wait to see what she ends up getting. though i have a feeling it will be mostly active wear. wish i could get jeans on the girl.

i took a peek online at backpacks just to get an idea of what's out there.

my favs for caroline are:








what i like and what caroline likes usually ends up being two completely different things these days. i will definitely share what she ends up with and we can see if it is anything close to my ideas above.


feets in sneaks

not sure if it had to do with OT, or it was just the right time, or possibly because it was her own idea... whatever the reason, hadley wore sneakers all day today. sneakers! on both feet. rubber soles. velcro fasteners. a princess and lights. she wore it all. 
she asked me this morning for light up shoes like lauren (school friend) has. i said, "sure, we can get some today," thinking she'd either change her mind or forget. two hours later she asked again. so off to stride rite we went. i had no idea where else to get overpriced shoes w lights on them. as soon as we walked in i asked the sales clerk for the sneakers with lights. then i saw hadley point, without hesitation, to a belle pair. she tried them on and didn't take them off for the next five hours. she wore them out of the store. not her flip flops. 

tomorrow will be the real test. i still have the receipt. today could have been a complete fluke but I really hope not. 

people don't usually think twice about a child in sneakers. that's probably the most common, most popular shoe for all kids. as you know though, that's not the case in our house. so our kid wearing the normal childhood shoe is huge. such a great shoe for her to run free in, as a child does. a shoe that is so much safer on a playground to climb in. a shoe that is great for playing soccer in. and to her, it's just a shoe now that doesn't shake, is tight thanks to velcro, and happily sports fun lights when she takes steps. 
it's just so exciting. 

she didn't know i was taking her picture here or she probably would have removed the sneakers. with her, if you point anything out even in a positive way, she'll usually remove or undo whatever you're commenting on. so we've learned to not do this with her. it's very hard sometimes.

we were headed out to a friend's 50th birthday party and she was still wearing her new sneakers. you can kind of see one poking out from under her dress. 

we will see what's to come of the sneaks on her feets ;) 
i will keep everyone posted 


a few days after

I can not even begin to thank everyone who took the  time to read my last blog post about hads and spd. the outpouring of love and support was amazing. encouragement, people, goes a long way with me. the boost gave me something to run on. and when I have a boost, the kids really benefit. so thank you. i encourage you to stick around and see how our journey continues.

our weekend was a super busy one that involved a lot of activity. on saturday, the girls and i hiked at the old roswell mill with my sister, brother-in-law, and their two kids. it was a beautiful but very exhausting hike. we've actually never hiked before but definitely want to do it again. i need to do it again and more often because there is nothing like physical work to smack you upside the head and tell you just how out of shape you are. and by you, i mean me. i am so out of shape. i was sweating nonstop and breathing pretty hard, and i don't think i saw caroline sweat or look tired even once. it was pretty sad actually. note to self- you need to exercise more!  saturday evening we had my sister-in-law and her two kids over for some playtime. on sunday, the husband and the girls rode bikes at a park nearby our house. seeing how i don't have a bike, i was voted off that ship so i ran instead. i tried to keep up but that didn't last long because as mentioned before, I AM OUT OF SHAPE.  after that, we swam. so a lot of activity indeed.

we did manage to get in a few sensory activities at home as well (i am counting the hiking and swimming as sensory work). the girls played with whipped cream on cookie sheets. in the past we have done this with shaving cream but thought the edible part of whipped cream would add some fun. hads took her time warming up to it. at first only putting her left pointer finger tip into it. then two fingers, still only the tips. then she tasted it and tasted it and tasted it some more. this was a first for her. she usually squeals at the site of whipped cream but i guess because she played with it first, it changed her view. now maybe we can start getting it on our milkshakes again? finally, hadley was able to get two whole hands in the mess. she wasn't crazy about it at all but she did it. it always helps when her big sister is involved and having fun, too.

 i told caroline to "smell" the whipped cream. she fell for it! 

they are so fun together


all in a day

so i've been delaying a post about this for a while because i just didn't know where to start, how to write it, or what to say. every time i thought of a way to start out writing, it just didn't happen.

i am just going to type and see what comes out.

at hadley's 3 year well visit with her pediatrician i brought up my two concerns with hadley, which were her clothing issues (read about that here) and how she still puts everything in her mouth. both of which were issues in there own right. the clothing since she definitely doesn't dress weather appropriate and the mouth thing was a worry because i didn't want to see her choke on anything. she was putting toys, rubber bands, jewelry, coins, fingers, feet, etc in her mouth still, like a baby would. i didn't think that was the norm for a 3 year old. her ped recommended we get hadley evaluated by an occupational therapist. easy enough.

her first OT evaluation was 2 hours long. basically they had me fill out lots of questionnaires on had's behavior and they watched hadley do an array of activities from playing with beans, to finger painting, climbing, riding, and walking.  all to see what she could do, how she did it, and what was her reaction when doing certain activities. her evaluation resulted in had's diagnosis of sensory processing disorder. i can say i was and i wasn't surprised by this. i really thought hads had issues with those two areas but kind of just thought that was all there was to it. once they said sensory processing, it kind of made sense. as i started to read up on it, i could see that she really fit into the category. a lot of the things that i just chalked up to being toddler behavior or hadley quirks were really indicative of this sensory issue.

obviously all of her issues with clothes, shoes, and "moutheness"(great new word) are a result of this and were of no surprise. how she doesn't like to feel certain textures on her skin, not liking clothes or her shoes to "shake," as she calls it, and not liking the way any bumps or strings feel in her socks are all issues of hads. as are pushing her pant legs and coat sleeves up. all of these things i could see how they put her into the spd category. it was things like walking on her tip toes, picking her nose till it bleeds(which she does nightly to put herself to sleep), not letting us kiss her, not being overly touchy-feely with us, bothered by certain smells (sadly, she was quick to tell me to look the other way in the morning because i smelled. nice, right), not liking loud noises and covering her ears with her hands in reaction to it, being a picky eater, not liking her hair brushed or styled in anyway that involved clips or bands, chewing on everything, forcefully and randomly crashing into me, hanging on me, and quick to tantrum when something is just "off" in her eyes are all things that hads does that are in line with spd as well. i am not sure why i did not put that together sooner.

hadley is about 4 sessions into her occupational therapy. we are learning a lot. we immediately started the wilbarger brushing therapy at home. of course her therapist taught us how to do this because i had absolutely no idea what to do. we were supposed to brush her arms, legs, and back every 2  hours and immediately follow that up with joint compressions. joint compressions could be done manually or simply by having her jump up and down. however, seeing how the husband and i both work full-time, we would brush hadley in the morning and then twice in the evening. we did try to stick to the every 2 hours of brushing on the weekend. we did it like this for the first two weeks. now we try to remember to do it a few times a day or even once a day when we are terribly forgetful parents. hadley really enjoys this brushing technique. i think it both soothes her and gives her the sensation her body craves. i am hopeful that this method will eventually improve hadley's clothing issues, which still exist. i don't expect immediate results but do see some positive changes already in her.

hadley is a sensory seeker so her OT involves a lot of heavy work like pushing heavy items(bin w beans in it), pulling herself on a scooter using her arms, bear crawls, crab crawls, rope climbs, and lots of jumping(floor or trampoline). all of these things give her body a sense of pressure on her joints that it seems to crave.  her OT suggests hadley do these types of things everyday, aiming for at least one big stint of heavy work for 10 minutes. some days we hit the mark, others not so much. it just isn't ingrained yet and i don't naturally think to make my 3 year old girl do heavy work. then her behavior shows me otherwise. when she is quick to be mean or to have a tantrum, it is then i realize that she hasn't done any.

we are in the process of trying to get our playroom set up so that it is a place where hadley and caroline both get to play and have fun, but also suggests heavy play for hadley. we have a ball pit, slide, sensory table (which is a water table with dry pasta in it right now), and a ball to bounce on. my next additions to the room will be a swing and some scooters. i think in the end the room will be encouraging of active play, which both girls benefit from.

here is the thing though. i am nervous about sensory issues. i don't want my kid, who already has so many health issues, to have anything else major on her plate. i don't want her to have any long term issues with learning, making friends, or even eating. i don't want any other diagnosis to come along with this one because so many of the blogs i have come across show children with spd who also have either or both autism or adhd. i am selfishly praying that hadley's only other hurdle on top of her asthma and reflux is the spd. and i am holding out that OT will take care of a lot of these issues. maybe that isn't fair of me to say i don't want spd or anything else of the like since i know so many other families deal with so much more, but when it is my kid i am talking about, i don't want her to deal with anything. i want life, and all that entails, to come easy to her. i want to be able to understand her and what she thinks and feels. i don't want to have to guess like we do now with her asthma. if there are going to be issues, i prefer clear, concrete ones that have clear, concrete solutions. anything outside of that is just hard.

i don't think hadley's sensory issues let her stand out in a crowd. i think you'd have to spend a certain amount of time with her to see them but they are there and make things tough. one minute she is happy and laughing, the next she is full on tantrum and not very consolable. we really have a hard time distinguishing what is just basic 3 year old toddler behavior vs the spd thing. i do remember three being the hardest age with caroline when she was little so it does act as a good reminder that this age is generally tough.

i am a little overwhelmed by it all. i really want to set my kids up for success. here is why i am overwhelmed though... because there is just so much that you have to do and be great at for your kids to be their best. so normally on any given day as a parent i would have to encourage imaginative play, work with them on basics like numbers and letters, sing and read to them, paint, color, draw, write, glue, cut, trace, etc. that is a lot. now on top of that let's throw in hard work... so pushing, pulling, jumping, running, crawling, and climbing. and the brushing. also the normal daily things all kids have to do like eat, sleep, and basic hygiene. are there even enough hours in the day? how on earth am i going to accomplish this all in one day for two children? i am already drowning a bit and so, of course, fear i will fail the girls. and the worry. there is lots of that. i worry about caroline again. hadley requires more attention but caroline craves attention. i don't want her to ever feel left out or overlooked.  man, this parenting stuff is the toughest thing ever. how do some moms make it look so easy. i can't hide it. it shows in my grey hair and wrinkles that i am overwhelmed.

but once i take a deep breath and step out of my pity party, i can somewhat see everything as a big picture type thing. i realize i just have to do the best i can for both girls one day at a time. that is the reality i need to live in. that is how the girls will both be successful as individuals.

back to hadley and spd, it stinks. wish it wasn't there. we are going to keep her with OT as long as we can, we will do heavy work with her at home, and we will wait and watch to see continued growth with and for her. we sure love this girl a lot, when she is happy, mean, funny, sad, angry, silly, whatever. she is an amazing package and we are so blessed to have her.

here is a first. may not look like much to your average eye, but to my eye i see a girl who is wearing two braids in her hair for he very first time ever. baby steps. yes, please!


oh-so-many pictures

i don't know where or how you store your photos but mine are everywhere. for the first 5+ years of caroline's life, i put all of our images onto cd's. who uses those anymore! ok, i admit it. i do. the husband does make fun of me for it.  the last 3+ years i have been dropping our pics into iphoto at work. just recently i started the arduous job of dropping all of my cd's into one place on our pc at home. i think i have about 7 to go so i am almost there. so all of our family pictures are broken up and scattered a little bit here and there. i have been telling myself for a while now that i would organize everything into one safe place. so i researched hard drives but needed one that was both large in space and compatible with a mac and pc. i, in my usual nature, procrastinated over and over.

then steps in my sister. she tells me about this great site she is using called picturelife and how they have  been storing their photos there for years now. my favorite thing about it was that she would show me pictures taken on that same day from years before. i adored that feature and that is pretty much what sold me.

so... i am now in the process of organizing all of my memories into picturelife, the amazing cloud storage place. cloud storage? i am still wrapping my mind around the concept. so far i have my iphone and mac downloaded. next big project will be at home getting all my pc images into it. then i will have my dream come true... all of the girls pictures in one space for safe keeping. there is something so fulfilling in organization! wish i embraced that feeling more, i'd have a very organized home if so.

now i can pull out fun pics from the past like these cuties

i barely remember them so small!

remember those early days of baby food. what a short stage for hads that was

she will always be an accessory queen. i adore her smile and her style