Wednesday, October 31, 2012

31 for 21: Halloween!!!!!

Today turned out to be a great day!!!! Ella did great and was not too scared at all!! Here is my doctor before heading off to school.  Super cute!!
I some how ended up in charge of Ella's Kindergarten class party.  Here she is doing a cake walk.
Eating some snacks and a sucker at the same time, lol.
More snacks : )
I had 4 moms come up to me at the party and tell me how their little girls talk about Ella all the time!  I told one of them that that I love that and it makes me so happy, she said "it makes me so happy too!"  I love integration : )  Ella and two of her little friends!
It was so cute, and seriously almost made me cry every time, little girls and their moms kept coming up and asking to get a picture with Ella. 
 Ella dancing to a skeleton song.  I wish I would have recorded this, it was super cute!
I love where Ella is at right now!  Her teachers and therapist are all so impressed with her and truly enjoy working with her.  Her special ed teacher told me today that she looks forward to coming to work everyday and seeing Ella!  She asked if we could have an IEP meeting at conference in a couple of weeks because Ella has met all of her cognitive and speech goals that were written in May. AWESOME!
Here are my doctor and skeleton prisoner before heading out trick or treating.  Ella was a little afraid to stand next to Bubba but got over it surprisingly quick!
Out trick or treating.  I couldn't believe how unafraid she was. Whew!!  She did tire out after about 20 houses so she sat in the van with Daddy while Hunter and I went to about a billion more, lol.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

31 for 21: Happy Halloween....I hope

Poor Ella. She is very scared of Halloween this year. I'm not sure what happened. She has not been afraid in years fact there isn't a whole lot that she is afraid of period. She hates all things Halloween this year.

She does not like Jack o Lanterns.
She does not like cartoons about Halloween She does not like our neighbors house that has a few decorations out (they only have some pumpkins over their lights and a little ghost) every time we pass she covers her eyes and says it's a haunted house. LOL
She HATES her brother's costume.
She hates to talk about costumes at all.
When I put her to bed at night she is now afraid of the dark and I have to leave the hall lights on.
She sometimes cries in bed and says there are monsters in her closet.

I don't know if Ella is just more aware of things, like fear, this year or what. We have had a lot of conversations about pretend this year. Like monsters are pretend etc. I'm not quite sure that she is grasping that concept or not. She does try to comfort herself though..she will say "Mommy theres scary monster in my closet. It's pretend right?" Poor baby.

I am really really really hoping that she has fun tomorrow at her school party. I hope that there aren't any scary costumes (it is a Kindergarten class after all.) I also hope that she enjoys trick or treating tomorrow night....maybe just maybe the candy will be enough to make her want to go : )

I have to admit I'm a little scared to walk around with Hunter this year too..he is creepy!

Monday, October 29, 2012

31 for 21: Extra Activities

Ella has tried and done a lot of extra activities these past few years.  I think that I feel the need to have her do things.  I'm not sure how to explain that really.  I guess the best way is to say that Hunter has always done stuff.  He started soccer when he was just a tiny little guy in Texas, started t-ball when he was 4 (and has pretty much stuck to both ever since, though he took a year off of soccer last year but is back at it this year) and this is his third year of Boy Scouts.  SO, I guess I think if other kids are doing....stuff....then Ella should be too.

I always have the best of intentions going into an activity with her, and I always think that it will be something that Ella will LOVE.  Things are usually pretty rough when we start an activity but I know Ella and I know that most of the time she will settle into the routine of it and then she will do great. 

We tried TopSoccer a couple of years ago, when Ella was 4.  It didn't go so well, and she never really settled into it.  She loved the idea of going every Wednesday and was always excited to put on her soccer gear (after all she has had to sit on the sidelines and watch Bubba play all these years) but once we got there that enthusiasm was gone.  She had a sweet sweet teenage girl paired with her as her "buddy."  Perhaps she needed a buddy that wasn't nice, lol.  Let's just say there wasn't a whole lot of soccer being played.  It was a lot of hiding in Rubbermaid containers, laying in the goal, and a whole lot of saying "NO!"  Parents were not allowed on the field and it was like torture for me to watch Ella behave that way.  I hated it.
 Ella and Riley at the awards ceremony....too funny : )

We tried dance class when Ella was 4, that lasted 1 class I think and I decided that Ella was just not ready for it.  Then we tried again when she was 5.  Ella LOVES to dance.  I do not believe ballet is her style though.  That class was a whole lot of waiting around for your turn, which isn't really Ella's thing, lol.  When they were actually rehearsing their dance for the recital she was awesome, the rest of the time not so much.  I ended up having to go in to class and stay in there to give Ella the stink eye when she began misbehaving.  Lets just say Ella was not the worst behaved child in that class, not even the 2nd worst.  But, I would do it all again just to watch the joy Ella got out of performing on stage at the recital.  That child LOVES the spotlight and the crowd loved her!  So many people came up to us after the show to talk to her, it was pretty awesome.  I decided this year that we are not doing dance though....if we could just skip the months of class and go straight to the recital I totally would!

                                    All made up for dress rehearsal

Then there is t-ball.  Ella has done 2 summers of t-ball.  I both hate and love it all at the same time.  I love that Ella is participating in a sport that I loved.  Ella does awesome at batting and running the bases, she really has a lot of fun.  BUT, the standing in the field playing offense...not so much.  In her defense t-ball is horribly boring unless you are playing pitcher, 1st base or catcher (which she HATES because it is so hard for her to move in the equipment which is so big on her.)  When she does play pitcher or 1st base her attention is pretty good, otherwise it's a struggle to get her to stand in her spot.  Mommy gets a good workout every game because I get to stand in the field and fight with her.  I often wonder if it's worth it.  I try really hard to keep my frustration in check but it's hard.  I just want the child to behave.  The other issue we have at t-ball is her new (this past summer) extreme heat intolerance.  As in the child's face gets puffy, beat red and blotchy and her body temperature actually begins to rise.  Who knows if we will do it again.  When Ella likes it she really likes it, but when she doesn't...oh boy.  I'm undecided as to whether she will play this summer or not.  Probably, but we will see!

The first she was SO little

2nd much better at hitting and running
                                          But fielding was still a challenge : )

Then there was Girl Scouts, Daisies to be exact.  That, to me, was not fun at all.  Ella's attention was horrible (a lot of that had to do with her Graves Disease and her levels being totally crazy.) She wasn't able to do a lot of the crafts, fine motor wise, without a lot of help. Which she doesn't like.  She did love the idea of Girl Scouts. She was excited to go right before we left.  She would tell the boys that we were going to GIRL Scouts and not Boy Scouts and no boys allowed.  But she would typically fall apart behavior wise while we were there.  We would come home exhausted. She loved seeing her friends but not worth it the frustration, for me or Ella.

We have been to Special Olympics Young Athletes a few times.  I think it is a great program and is being run by two awesome ladies.  But, Ella never wants to go.  I will ask and she says "no I hate it Athletes."  Now, she likes to say the word "hate" a lot.  It doesn't mean that she actually hates it, lol, but she isn't excited to go.  I think there are just too many people in the gym doing too many different things.  Her focus isn't great there.  I would go more if Ella at least acted like she wanted to go....not to mention Hunter doesn't like going either and he usually gets drug along because Chris is at work so that doesn't help. I really wish she liked to go because there are a lot of parents there I would like to visit with.

This year (school year) I decided that Ella wasn't doing any extra activities, outside of therapies of course.  But as usual something came up that I thought man Ella sure would love that.  This time it is gymnastics.  A special needs class in fact.  We have only been 3 times so far but I have to say this is the most excited Ella has ever been gotten about an activity.  Every morning when I get her up she says "gymnastics today?"  She really seems to enjoy it.  So far so good!  Now that's not to say that her behavior is perfect or that she pays appropriate attention the entire time, but she is doing well!  The class so far is 5 kiddos.  Two occupational therapists run the class, so I don't feel so angry when she doesn't listen.....they know what to expect, ha!  I think this class is great for building strength, especially in her shoulders which have always been pretty weak.  I have been AMAZED at her strength so far!  I really hope that she continues to love gymnastics, I think it will be good for her!!

                         Yeah..that little kid upside down...that's Ella!  Wow!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

31 for 21: Past Halloweens Part 2

2009 Hunter is a SWAT Officer (notice a reoccuring theme here?) and Ella is Cheerleader

2010...yep Swat Officer AGAIN and Rapunzel

Trick or Treating....Ella is becoming very disgruntled with the wig.  It came off very soon after : )

Saturday, October 27, 2012

31 for 21: The costumes of past Halloweens

My sweet baby Hunter, 7 months old  2004

 Hunter at 1 1/2 years old   2005

Hunter 2 1/2 years old and Ella 2 months old   2006


Hunter age 3 1/2   2007

Ella 13 months old       2007

Hunter age 4 1/2    2008
Ella age 2     2008
Awwww.  Ella and Riley at the Guild School
I wish my babies were this little again
Hunter 5 and Ella 3   2009   Hilariously (and accidentally) inappropriate

Friday, October 26, 2012

31 for 21: School spirit

Fridays are spirit day for Ella's school and the kids are supposed to wear their school shirts. I am so glad I bought her a shirt because she LOVES it!!! She gets so excited on Friday mornings to put on her shirt jumping up and down and shouting "MY KINDERGARTEN SHIRT!!!!!"
And who wouldn't love her school?  I was chatting with the principle earlier this month and she asked me to get some facts together for her for Down syndrome awareness month.  This past Friday she put the facts in the school newsletter....

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month!

Down syndrome is a genetic condition that occurs in one out of every 691 live births.

Individuals with Down syndrome are born with 47 chromosomes instead of the usual 46. They have an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. It is the most frequently occurring chromosomal disorder.

Down syndrome is diagnosed either during prenatal testing or shortly after birth. It is often thought that babies with Down syndrome are only born to older moms, but over 80% of these babies are born to moms under the age of 35.

Despite some common misconceptions people with Down syndrome are not always happy. They have feeling just like everyone else!

Children with Down syndrome have low muscle tone. This means that their muscles are weaker and don't have the same stamina as their peers. It also means that they have to work much harder to do everyday tasks. This low tone effects everything from coordinating all the muscles needed to speak, the muscles needed to do fine motor tasks such as writing, as well as their large muscles used to walk and run. With the help of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy children with Down syndrome will be able to do the same things that their peers do it just takes a bit longer to train those muscles!

A person with Down syndrome can have a mild to moderate intellectual disability but there is no limit to the potential of individuals with Down syndrome!

Many people with Down syndrome are going to college and have jobs. Never underestimate them!

Children with Down syndrome are more like other children than they are different. They enjoy the same activities that all children do. They take dance class, play on sports teams and most of all they love to be included!

I love it!!!!!