Thursday, July 17, 2014

duck wranglers

I've always wanted ducks. 
Not sure why...I just always did. They're cute, and funny, and what's more entertaining than a big, deep *quack!*?
So.
I got some. 
We got some. 
 Just two.
For now.
 The kids love them! But even more...I think they love the kids. 
They follow them around everywhere. 
 The two littlest are so funny with them. Hailey loves these things. She is always playing with them, and picking them up whenever she can. They weren't easy to catch for the first couple weeks though! We're going into week three now, and they're much more tolerable of little hands all over them.
 Ben is so rough. He's actually pretty good at picking these guys up, but then he just drops them. Sometimes they're lucky and they plunge into their little pool, but usually it's a short drop to the grass. 
Poor guys. 
 Hailey wanted to name them Donald and Daisy. 
So cute, right?! 
But, we don't know what gender they are! 
So...I think we're sold on Ritz and Triscuit. The Quackers. :)
I can't take responsibility for that idea. I heard the cracker name idea somewhere and thought it was so clever!
 See how big they are already? 
Crazy.
 Silly girl!


 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

summertime dirty faces

That's what our days end with, and the bedtime routine starts with. 
Summertime dirty faces.
And legs.
And tummies.
They are all a mess. 
If my kids are clean at the end of the day, there is definitely something wrong. 
I'm blessed to have extra dirty clothes, and a brown ring in the tub to wash when they're all asleep. 
It's proof of a well-lived, good day.

Monday, July 7, 2014

ben and lucy

Lucy knows she can get what she wants from Ben. 
 Even if he does a lot of teasing first. 
She sits under his highchair like a dog until he drops something - usually on purpose.
 It's entertaining, that's for sure.
 He almost fell of the stool a couple times this time because he was laughing so hard!
 She eventually got what she wanted, then decided it wasn't worth the work for more, and left him alone.
 They are quite the duo, I tell ya. 
Lucy keeps him entertained, and he keeps me in stitches! 
 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Brailler!!

video
The brailler is here! 
Hanna has used a brailler a total of two times - ever, so we are in the very beginning stages of getting to know the machine. 
All I know is she is going to catch on so quickly, and it is going to be awesome for her. 
I am still so amazed at the support we got from our fundraiser.
I think I owe everyone at least a short video of how well she is already doing on it after using it for a total of maybe ten minutes. 
This kid. 
She blows my mind. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Friday, June 20, 2014

GOAL!

This morning we reached our goal for Hanna's SMART brailler. 
I still can't believe it. I am completely floored, and overwhelmed, and humbled, and inspired...
 that so many people reached out and were so kind and generous in helping us to get this amazing piece of technology for Hanna.
Some of these people were family and friends, and some were friends of friends, friends of family, and some complete strangers.
It's absolutely incredible. 
I can't repay everyone, but I can pay it forward, and that's exactly what I intend to do.
I can't thank everyone enough.
I have no words. 
It took 3 days.
THREE.
Social media really is a crazy thing! 
Since everything moved so fast with the fundraiser, I thought I'd move fast with the purchase.
The sooner she gets her hands on it, the sooner we can get her learning on it! 
So.
I bought it tonight. 
Now we just wait for the delivery. 
We cannot be more excited!! 

 

storybook gardens

 Since it was the last week before school was over, Michelle and I decided to take off for the day with our littles and take advantage of the quietness of a fun little attraction. My mom also came to add to the fun.
My mom and dad took us as children, so it's neat to go back with our own kids. 
Of course, just because we thought we were going at a good time, the place was filled with kids enjoying their year end field trip.  
Oh well. Can't win 'em all.
 Ben thought he was pretty smart with the big jug. He wanted nothing to do with his own cup after he got hold of Michelle's.
 
Of course we needed a froggy photo op, and then we let everyone play at the pirate ships. No photos here. It's a mental breakdown waiting to happen at these playgrounds. There were so many kids, and as soon as one kid reached the top, they'd disappear behind the wooden walls. It was insane. I was more than happy to retire from the playgrounds and set up for our picnic.
 After we finished eating, we made it to the splash pad, and we were lucky because by this time, the school buses were all packed up and gone. We basically had the pad to ourselves!
 Hailey and Hanna are big water sissies. Hanna stayed snuggled up with my mom the entire time, and Hailey found entertainment in other ways...

 After drying everyone off, we walked through the section with all of the miniature houses and buildings, and the kids got a real kick out of them...

 ...while my mom helped a very tired little man get comfortable for his sleep.
 Before we left, my mom treated everyone to one ride, and they all chose the elephants.



 We needed at least one group photo...
 and of course we had to hit up the Tweedledee and Tweedledum stand-in. 
I was more than ready to venture back home after our day, but Michelle and my mom went to the children's museum on the way home. 
Nope. Not me. 
I enjoyed a nice quiet ride home with my iced coffee and sleeping kiddos in the back seat. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

braille update

It's time for another quick update here, so today's the day. 
She had her teacher come to the house yesterday, as she does about every two weeks. Although the instruction is quite spaced out Hanna catches on and remembers everything!
Maryse was so thrilled with Hanna's attention and work she did yesterday, that they went all the way up to the braille letter "i". First Maryse would make the letter and then Hanna would do the same. She went from A to I being shown once, without any additional prompts. They use something similar to this, except their's is white and blue for higher contrast:
Source:http://www.ideas-unlimited.in/techbraille.html 
  As Maryse was leaving, she also said that she is very excited how well Hanna's doing. She also thinks that Hanna can see probably the same amount as she can, but more colours. Maryse has become accustomed to using braille, and doesn't use her vision as much as she would without all of the aids and products (talking clocks, calendars, etc). In Hanna's case, she uses her vision more than anything else. This is why some people can't even tell that she is visually impaired. This is great, but we're trying to get her more used to using and relying more on her touch so that she doesn't get visually fatigued as often, and as fast. I actually have to tell her not to look at the braille lines in the book as she touches them.
This makes sense why Maryse doesn't use her vision as often as she could. I'm sure she would get fatigued pretty fast as well.

So, braille is going better than I thought it would. We had a rough patch for a while because Hanna had a bad attitude about Maryse coming. I think she was getting bored, honestly. Now they're doing some fun things, and Maryse really shows and praises Hanna when she gets things right, or is on the right track, and I think it's making a huge difference. 
I'm pretty excited about it. 
Also, the fund we started for the SMART brailler, is already half way to the goal!!! I am completely floored with the generous response we're getting. 
I couldn't be more grateful.  
 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

fluff ball fun

The kids are finally allowed to start handling the kittens. They're trying to climb out of the box now, so I took that as a sign of them being ready to explore.
They are so cute. 
I was hoping we'd have families lining up at the door hoping to bring home one of these little guys, but that was an unrealistic wish. 
Quite honestly, they will be a fun addition. All four of them - including Lucy will be living outside. We will get them all fixed so we don't end up being that house responsible for the local uncontrolled feline problems. 
Right now though, we will keep them inside. As long as they're staying semi-contained, which won't last too much longer, I'm sure.  
The girls are great with the little fur balls, but Ben is a different story. He's becoming quite the little rough, destructive monster. Matt's described him as the "claw crane" with the kittens. Basically picking them up from the box by the head, and swinging his arm around and dropping them out. Poor little things! He'll be good once we work on him a bit, but for now, the kittens are basically quarantined from him. :)

More cute fluffy pictures coming soon!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

the benefits of being tiny


SMART brailler

Well.
 
I recently read about the SMART brailler. It's just like the old school, heavy brailler, but now features a screen with audio feedback that shows and speaks the letters. 
Crazy right?! 
Here's a link with a video and everything you need to know about this amazing new product. http://www.perkins.org/smartbrailler/videos.html#smartbraillerintro
 
Right now the SMART brailler is 20% off until June 25th. 
I am trying to get my hands on one of these for Hanna before the sale is over. 
I also found out that I can put together a fundraiser page to help us come up with the money to purchase one. 

Normally, I wouldn't dare to ask anyone for a cent, but this is important. This is Hanna's education, and it will be a huge benefit for her to have one of these. As I stated in this post, Hanna's got her work cut out for her learning both print and braille. This brailler will help tremendously, using both at once. It's amazing. 

Please visit my fundraiser page here, and share it for me.
This kid deserves any help she can get.
 She's an amazing little girl who is going to do great things one day. If we can help her in the process, we're going to! 
Wish us luck, and please share the page!
Here it is one more time.
Thank you so much! 
 

Friday, June 13, 2014

days of summer

 The kids are loving summer break so far. We've been done school now for a couple weeks, and I couldn't be happier to take a break! The weather's been perfect with high 70's and low 80's with a nice breeze. Not too hot, and not too chilly. Perfect for playing in the water for a little cool-down. 
Well, if you're Gracie or Ben that is. 
Hanna and Hailey couldn't care less about water unless it's 90 degrees.
 Gracie gets over to mom and dad's as often as she can to swim whenever Kristyn's there with her kids. I'm so glad she loves swimming so much. 
Ben loves water. He hasn't been in the pool yet, because I haven't braved the water temperature just yet myself. I'm sure he'll love it though!
 I'm sure we'll get Hanna and Hailey in there too once I start going in with them. 
For now though, I'm trying to get them brave enough to use the sprinklers or hose. 
  We've been eating picnic lunches outside as often as we can, and Matt and I are getting a lot done in the yard. See that brown grass in the above picture under Ben? There was a 30 foot pine tree there in the winter! We moved the tree, and laid the sod. You'd never know it. 
We're cleaning up a lot of landscaping around here, and Matt totally rebuilt the shed.  
 We're waiting for word from a friend to tell us when their ducklings hatch, so we can make them our newest pets, and we're having a blast with the kittens. There's a lot going on around here.
There's never a dull moment!
 Everyone's doing well.
Hanna can pump a swing higher than my head totally on her own, and Gracie's been teaching herself some gymnastics. 
I can't keep my eyes off Hailey, and she recently got in trouble for drawing on the van with a sharpie. (Matt is totally to blame for that one!)
 Ben is Ben. A happy guy. Growing like a weed!
These days are the best days. I'm enjoying every second of them!