Thursday, January 31, 2013


The accused:


…and her accomplice:January5

I’m honestly not sure which one started it, but I’d put money on Piper being the instigator.  It was definitely one of those mommy moments when I had a hard time not laughing at them.  The palms of Piper’s hands were even covered.  And then Addy came sauntering down the hallway looking like this, and I couldn’t hold the laughter in any longer.DSC_0055

I took them in to the bathroom to clean up.  This was Addy’s reaction to her new style:DSC_0061

She was not thrilled.  Horrified, I think, actually.  She was out of that bathroom as fast as her little legs could take her. 

I seriously wonder what she thought she was going to look like.  I mean, she had to have an idea after making her poor baby doll her prototype.DSC_0062

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Piper the Teacher

Piper has really started settling in to the classroom routine the last few months.  She talks about seeing Miss Patty and Miss Marilyn as she’s getting ready for school, she’s excited to see her classmates in the morning, and is proud to show us her “projects” when she brings them home. 

Piper is a very good mimicker.  She loves to take a role of someone and replicate it in her pretend play.  She pretends to be a mommy, a doctor, a cook, a driver…  and teacher!

I caught these the other day at the park.  The girls were playing- Addy, apparently, did something that was a “thumbs down decision,” and needed a speaking to…January

And today?  Just ignore the fact that it’s the middle of January and my kids insisted on wearing shorts (and no, Addy doesn’t have a shirt on, either...)  Maybe that’s why they wanted their winter coats on?January1

Good gravy, I love these girls.  I truly treasure watching them interact and play with each other.  They have this uncanny ability to understand each other’s thoughts and anticipate each other’s moves.  It makes trouble-making very easy.

I fear for the teenage years.

First Cocoa

After an arduous afternoon (read: 15 minutes) in the snow, the girls retired indoors to enjoy a nice cup of “hot” cocoa. 

Although skeptical at first, drinkable chocolate, in real cups, was deemed an appropriate treat.


Duncan wondered what was so exciting and asked if he could have some, too.  Addy wasn’t so sure- check out that glare!DSC_1139

I think that the girls only had about two ounces of cocoa; they savored every. last. drop.  Piper is, usually, such a good sister to Addy.  She noticed that Addy had less than she did, so she wanted to share with her.  Messy but oh so cute!January3

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Addy Loves the Snow

Addy’s love of the snow, 2011:P1130213[11]

Addy’s love of the snow, 2012:DSC_1052

At least some things don’t change.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Friday, January 11, 2013

Kitchen Helpers

After the girls got up from their naps this afternoon, I decided we needed to make some cookies.  I’ve been wanting to try a brown sugar cookie recipe for ages, but haven’t had a chance. 

Piper always insists on helping.  She’s such a good stirrer.  “’tir, ‘tir, ‘tir” is her favorite thing to do in the kitchen.  So much so that last week when we went to Ikea, I bought her her very own kitchen utensils for the big kitchen.  And, obviously, if Piper finds it fun, Addy has to partake, too.

I didn’t plan it very well, though, because there was really only one step that they could help with.  Bummer.  But they did a great job “’tirring” the flour and soda together.  I was afraid that my kitchen would be covered in flour by the end, but they did a great job keeping it in the bowl.  Even with two whisks at the same time!


After I decided they were done with their duties, I couldn’t bring myself to make them get down.  I found a box of old macaroni noodles in the cabinet that expired two years ago and let them play “cooking” with them. 

Addy was…  hesitant…DSC_0842

…but she got over it.DSC_0843

Then the fun really started.  I think they played nicely, together, for at least a half hour.  They poured into each other’s bowl, stirred, dipped, moved…  Very few noodles hit the ground.  I was impressed!101D51005

Until they started getting bored.  And realized that feeding them to the dog was much more fun.

I learned that there are a lot of elbow macaronis in a pound of noodles.

…Know what they girls use in the kitchen?  It’s the Learning Tower- and I LOVE it.  The pedestal part can move up and down to adjust as they grow.  It’s like standing on a chair, except it has a surround so no one can fall off.  Obviously, two kids can fit very comfortably.  They can crawl themselves up and in with very little effort.  It’s a seriously awesome invention.  Piper loves to help in the kitchen- this makes it so much easier!  My only beef with it is that it is rather large, but it tucks into a corner and we don’t notice it any more.  DSC_0830

Cooking is a lot more fun with my sous chefs!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sie Center Visit

I always look forward to our trips to the Sie Center for Down Syndrome here in town.  The visits usually make for a long day (this time, especially, since Piper had her check-up with the ped right afterward), but we get a lot done, see a lot of people, and leave with a lot of information. 

I (and Piper!) usually enjoy our visit with the fabulous Pat Winders the most; we always leave her with new tips and tricks for The Big Next Thing.  This time it’s more distance pedaling on the trike.  Piper could do at least three pedals on her own before she got distracted.  She showed off with her ability to walk up and down the back corridor stairs (several flights!) without blinking an eye.  She ran and ran and ran; Pat was thoroughly impressed with her speed and her “advanced gait” for running.  She, of course, didn’t need to tell us that Piper’s fast.  At least when she wants to be.  She jumped on the trampoline, climbed in the rope room, and snuck up the slide.  She did get a prescription for arch supports, called Hot Dogs, for her to wear in a pair of tennis shoes when she’s really active, like long trips to the zoo.  She said that it should help with fatigue, and just help her slightly flat feet.  Sounds good to me! 

We also saw the speech therapist.  I don’t usually get any new information from this part; pretty run-of-the-mill and information we already knew.  Still, it’s nice to have another set of eyes to make sure we’re not missing anything obvious.  We left her with a new diagnosis- “Mixed Receptive/Expressive Disorder.”  Meaning that she understands WAY more than she can say.  No big surprise there- it’s been that way since day one.  It is nice, though, when someone else can see how much she actually understands.

Last, we saw Dr. Hickey, who’s in charge of the clinic.  He’s never spent a whole lot of time with us- usually less than 15 minutes.  He always says that he loves our ped (and this time he said that she’s who he refers everyone to), so I kind of figured that it’s because he knows we’re in good hands.  And also that she’s never had real significant health issues to discuss.  This time, though, he spent a good 45 minutes with us.  He started out going over her development.  To sum it up, he said “Whatever you’ve been doing with her, it sure has worked!”  He watched her play, watched her interact, and watched her communicate.  He said several times that she’s “age appropriate” in her language (not speech) and cognitive skills.  Coming from him, I took it as a huge compliment! 

But what took most of our time with him was discussing Piper’s “little” pneumonia episode this fall.  He was pretty concerned about it for several reasons.  First, kids shouldn’t get sick at that time of year.  If it had been now, in the middle of cold/flu season, he wouldn’t have thought so much about it.  Second, her swallow study was clear.  He said that even the notes of the study said that everyone expected it to be abnormal.  Third, she was so sick.  I don’t like it when the phrase “severely ill” passes a doctor’s lips so many times in a single conversation.  And, finally, because she has the underlying airway abnormalities from the intubation trauma.  He suggested we see pulmonology, just to get their take on it all.  He couldn’t figure how she’d never been sick before, but be able to get that sick that fast.  Her preemie airways could, potentially, be playing into this, but her lungs should be mature at this point. 

Piper’s motor skills, in all areas, took a major plunge when she was sick.  It took a while to get her stamina and coordination back, but it was quickest.  Speech has been slow going at school, but at home she’s been back for several months.  Fine motor, however, took a severe tank.  I blame part of it on the fact that she wasn’t able to bend her right arm for two weeks because of the PICC line.  She learned to make do with her left hand, and then forgot which one she was supposed to be using.  I talked to her OT at school and begged her not to let Piper use her left hand- she’s a righty, and if we taught her to be a LEFTY, she’d be really screwed up.  She still hasn’t gotten back to using an appropriate pencil grasp, but she is mimicking marks slightly better than she was right after she got sick.  It took a good four or six weeks to get her to use her spoon and fork as well as she had been (without us reminding her to use the right hand.)  This, of course, got us a referral to the occupational therapist who’s attached to the center.  But, the interesting part of it all, is that, apparently, when a kid is “severely ill” (there was that phrase again), it can affect two areas of he brain- the part that controls the fine motor skills and the part that’s in charge of visual-spatial skills.  Although there’s not much research on it, he thought that was probably the case with Piper, and that it’ll just take a while to get things back working the way they should be.  I’m excited/nervous to see this OT; I really want a referral to someone who could see Piper once a week, because I really think she needs it.  It’d be really nice if we could just see her!

So, in short, we got referrals to 16 hours worth of appointments for the month of January- a three hour pulmonology visit, a three hour OT assessment, and an overnight sleep study.  Wish us luck!


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Back to School!

Today was Piper’s first day back to school after the break.  We’ve been talking about it for a few days, just to be sure that she was ready to get back.

We talked about her friends, her teachers, and the fun things she’d get to do when she got back.  She was appropriately riled up Monday night- she wouldn’t go to sleep and kept talking about "’cool.”

Even with all that, I was (only slightly) apprehensive about how she’d handle being back.  I was nervous that yet another change to routine would be hard on her.

I was wrong.  So, so wrong.

After I picked her up, she laughed all afternoon long.  Just constant giggles.  And dancing.  And giggles.  After school, I got glowing reports from her teachers and speech therapist.  Today was the first day that the preschoolers got to go to real gym in the big school- Piper “loved” it.  She had snack- of course, she loved that.  But the biggest development from today?  Her teachers were flabbergasted by the amount of vocalization she did today.  Don’t get me wrong, Piper “talked” at school before, but her in non-voicing, lip-syncing (and signing) ways.  And only in an as required way.  But today, today she talked.  A lot.  She repeated what was asked of her.  She spontaneously spoke.  She talked to her friends, answered questions, and participated in the songs.

I never, not ever, thought someone would use the word “chatterbox” to describe Piper.  Not as a preschooler.  Eventually, sure.  But not yet.

Today, Piper earned a new title.  And I couldn’t be more proud. 


Teaching Grandpa






Monday, January 7, 2013

Addy’s Big Kid Bed

In an effort to eliminate the frustration that Addy is, seemingly, plagued by on a day-to-day basis, I’m trying to give her as much independence as her 30” frame will allow.  Potty training did wonders for her attitude- it was an eye-opening experience to see how much she changed.

Right now, she’s working on dressing herself.  She can get her panties and pants on by herself, but only about half of the time.  I’ll occasionally catch her walking around the house with a pair of panties on, but both legs through one hole.  And the entirety of her pants drawer emptied, because *obviously* they’re broken if she can’t get them on the first time.

It’s a work in progress.

We also decided that it was time to give a toddler bed a try.  I’m hoping that maybe she’ll sleep better if she doesn’t feel “trapped,” but I’m not sure if it’ll work or not.  Either way, she LOVES her new bed.  She was definitely ready.  She’s so proud of herself!  We sometimes have a night where she doesn’t want to stay in bed, but, really, it’s been pretty easy.  I try and remember to put a gate up in her doorway, but mostly to keep Piper from waking her up first thing in the morning. 

On days, though, when we forgot to put up the gate, there’s nothing sweeter than the sound of both girls running down the hallway toward our room, giggling at the tops of their lungs. 

Life is sweet, but can someone explain to me how she got so big so fast???


Back to our regularly scheduled programming

I feel like life has been a whirlwind since Piper got sick in September.  I feel like I haven’t had a chance to sit, much less do anything “just because.”  Blogging took the backseat to everything else (even though it was the one thing I hated not doing…), and I felt guilty for it.  After all, this is the documentation of the girls growing up.  I finally had an epiphany about six weeks ago to NOT feel guilty about it- and in order to do that, I decided NOT to blog, at all, until after the first of the year.  After the Christmas decorations were put away, and after our last Christmas get-together was over.  Then I could get caught up, I’d have the time and energy to enjoy it, and set a new goal to get back into it on a regular basis again.

So, there you have it.  My excuse for being MIA, and my explanation of the onslaught of posts you’re now about to face.  I apologize if you use Reader, and I really wouldn’t bother going back, but I print out my blog, and want those pictures there, too!