Sunday, November 28, 2010

tis the season

The girls are loving the holiday season so far. Gracie figures she should spend Christmas Eve at Nanny and Pappy's since we don't have a chimney for Santa Clause, and Hanna is so into the lights. We'll be driving through town, and all you hear from the back seat is "wow! wow!".
Gracie knows almost every Christmas song's lyrics, while Hanna hums the background music. It's pretty entertaining. I could have my own little vocal band.
 This weekend we put up our tree, and both girls fully participated! Hanna was right in there with (you guessed it) the lights, while Gracie took charge of the decorations. Hanna put some up too!
I was in charge of the popcorn string, and at the end of the night, we had a masterpiece.

Friday, November 26, 2010

gracie toots

I'm posting twice today, so don't miss the one below.
But I was just going through some of the videos I have of the girls, and I found this one. Hanna's probably about 9 months old, so that makes Gracie just over 2.
It's sure to at least make you smile. You have to watch til the end, and make sure your volume is up.
The funniest part is how hilarious they both think it is.
Makes me laugh every time watch it.

Snoezelen Room

First of all, thank you thank you thank you to everyone who commented on the last post! It's still not too late if you haven't already. Remember, one comment = one dollar for Canine Assistants!!

We finally got to visit the CNIB office yesterday! We had our Early Intervention playgroup at the office because Jody has been working her butt off and wanted to show off the two new Snoezelen rooms she's been working on.
A Snoezelen room is pretty much a high-sensory room for a relaxing environment for special needs children, or adults. They use them for people with Alzheimers, too.
For our little playgroup it would just be a fun place for the kids to play. There's lots of lights and toys, and I figured Hanna would love it.
It was only us (Gracie, Hanna and me) and one more mom with 2 boys there. We hadn't met before, so it was nice that it was just us there this time. Jody had the rooms open for two days, so the rest of the group went the other day.
Gracie made a buddy with the oldest of the two boys. He was four, and they played great together. The younger boy was 18 months, so a good age for Hanna, and he was a sweety pie! It worked out well!

You can't tell in the pictures, (even though I wasn't using flash on purpose) but the rooms were pretty dark. There was a black light so everything white glowed (glew?) blue, and there were fibre-optic lights everywhere, and the bubble tubes were a hit for sure.
While we were there I also got a catalogue from CNIB to look at some of the products available. Pretty neat! There's even talking watches.
I can do a braille course online for free, so I also got some information on that.

Mom started selling Christmas trees again yesterday, so we visited her and my dad on the way home. I think we'll get our tree this weekend and get it decorated. 

I hope everyone's having a good Friday! 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

a good cause and easy way to help!

When we first found out about the condition of Hanna's eyes, we immediately started thinking about her future. About the opportunities she may have because of her disability, and also, of course, how things will be harder for her, too.

When we thought more about the permanent and probably non-correctable eye condition, we also thought about guide dogs, a type of assistance dog, and how beneficial it would be if she could one day work with one. I have seen what kind of work these dogs do, and it's amazing. For a few examples, you can check out Becky's blog here, Dog's Eye View here, both guide dog blogs, and Cura's Corner, which is a blog about a service dog, here.).

Anyhow I was contacted about the Bark it Furward program the other day and knew immediately that I could at least try to make even a small difference. And lucky for all of you, my lovely readers, you get to help! More on that in a sec.

So what is the Bark it Furward movement?
Well I'm glad you asked! It's a program created to raise awareness and funds for Canine Assistants, which is a non-profit organization that trains and provides service dogs for children and adults with physical disabilities and other special needs. They are also the Milk-Bone® brand’s charitable partner since 1997. For almost 20 years, Canine Assistants has provided 1,000 service dogs to people across the country, therefore giving them the chance to have more independent lives.

There are so many people in need of a service dog, but depend on Canine Assistants to pay for the lifelong care of the dog. Which includes food, and vet-care for those who need financial assistance. Canine Assistants creates sponsorships with companies like Milk-Bone®, and depend on generous and private donations to help pay for the training of these very special dogs starting when they are only two days old!

The Bark it Furward program was created by Milk-Bone® brand to educate others about the amazing work being done by Canine Assistants. So, by writing today about this special cause, I'm helping to raise awareness and maybe even some much-needed funds to provide assistance dogs for people with disabilities! How could I say "no" to that!

And here's where you come in!

The best part.

Ready for it? All you have to do is comment on this post. That's it. Any old comment, and Milk-Bone® will donate $1 to Canine Assistants! Pretty good deal, I thought.

Since my baby could one day be partnered up with one of these amazing dogs, I'm taking this one personally. I would love it if everyone who reads this post would comment. Each one makes the program $1. It's the only way I can help, so please help me to help Canine Assistants! Every dollar makes a difference!

Monday, November 22, 2010

indoor tents...

their favourite thing right now.
Read in them.
Sleep in them.
Or just plain lay in them.
It makes a quiet day for mama.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

not-so-perfect thumbs

Recently, we're starting to notice Hanna's thumbs getting in the way more than ever.
Even though we're trying to get her to use mainly her right hand (where her thumb isn't as crooked), there's obviously still things she has to use both hands for.

Example: turning pages in a book.

She's got down turning board pages perfectly one at a time, but actual paper she has a hard time turning only one page.

Think about it for a second. Imagine opening a book, and turning the pages. You need those thumbs.

Now, look at how Hanna does it. Obviously this is a board book.

This is a good picture to actually see how bad her thumb has gotten as it's grown. You can see how it can get in the way.
Do you think she cares?
She doesn't know any different. She's happy as can be!

 And likes to "eat" the pictures of anything edible.
 I guess she couldn't pick them up fast enough!

Maybe one day we'll be able to take that extra joint right out of there and rid her of the little unnecessary pain in the rear...but to do that, we would have to wait until her little hands stop growing, and at that point she'll probably be so used to it, it would do more harm to change it. I guess we'll have to wait and see!

Right now though, I think she's pretty happy...even with not-so-perfect thumbs!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

a night out, and a recommendation

Last night I did something I don't usually do. I went out with Yuli. Just Yuli. Usually the kids come with us anywhere we go, but this time, I decided to leave them behind.
We went to Cirque du Soleil! It was awesome. Seriously, never seen anything like it. I recommend it to everyone.
I don't know how these people do it, but I came to the conclusion they're all made of rubber.
Anyhow it was an awesome night, and my baby was still up when I got home at 11:30.

Remember she sucks on her tongue when she's tired? I think she has the cutest smile when she smiles through the sucky face. :)

Oh yeah! I wanted to mention too, since we're talking about recommendations, to check out Wonderbaby. I love this site. It was the first one I found when I started looking up resources for blind/visually impaired children. 
Right now Amber is having some holiday giveaways, and there is some awesome stuff there. Check out the giveaways, and enter for me, since they don't ship to Canada. :) Check out all that the site has to offer, because there's some really helpful information on it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

just too cute

Today as Gracie is handing me a Santa mug:
"Mama, I'm thirsty, can we make some Christmas cheer?"

Monday, November 15, 2010

seriously, that's it?

Last night, something HUGE happened.
My daughter,
my snuggly,
three and a half year old
little girl,
slept in her own bed.
Until four something this morning.
You wanna know how we did it?
We took out the Christmas decorations and she found a snowman nightlight.
That was it.
She said "I have a great idea! I can put this in my room and I will have good dreams in my own bed!"
And so she did.
Here's proof.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Please pray for baby Hunter

I met a family online a little while back and fell in love with their new son, Hunter.
Him and his family need all the prayers they can get right now, so please send them their way.
You can read Hunter's story and see updates by clicking his button in my sidebar. If you blog you can also grab his button to help spread the word.
Please at least keep them in your thoughts during this hard time. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

this and that

Jody came by today to work with Hanna. She brought some big knobbed puzzles and a shape sorter to see how she'd like them. She's never been very interested in puzzles, so we keep trying different ones.
One of the ones she brought today was just four animals and each one had a different texture. She seemed to like it.
Matt took Gracie out for a while, too, so we had some time alone with Hanna which I think made a huge difference. 
She was more focused on what we were doing, and more willing to co-operate with us and do what we were asking of her.
She was really nterested in the shape sorter. Of course every time she got one right it lit up and played a song, so she really enjoyed it.
We decided that we will start a lot more pre-braille activities with her as well. She may not even need to use braille, (we don't know yet) but I think it would be a great thing for her to learn anyhow. We notice that she doesn't use both of her hands as much as she could also, so these activities will help with that as well. 
Another thing I've been noticing is she favours her left hand, which is the hand with the very crooked  thumb. It gets in the way. My mom and I started to get her playing piano recently, and we're really pushing the right, so maybe we can train her to favour that one, because she really enjoys the piano. I guess we'll have to wait and see.
Jody also put in a referral for the CNIB library today too, which I'm excited about. (Thanks for the reminder Britt!) It's a free program where you get books in the mail, and when you're ready to return them, you just throw them back in the mail and they send you more!
We'll be getting a call from the local Talk 2 Me program in the next few weeks to schedule an appointment to have an assessment done on Hanna's speech development. They will probably just send us home with a list of things to try for a while first, and then let us decide if we want to work with a speech therapist down the road. I'm all for more tips and tricks, and as much information as I can get, but I don't think we should be worrying about her talking right now. We'll see how it goes anyhow.
And that was our day! We got a lot done in the hour and a half that Jody was here...and of course she was very pleased with Hanna's progress like always!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bob Seeders

Gracie's biggest concerns right now are making sure Christmas music is constantly playing in the house, and making sure Daddy doesn't mulch the leaves, so she can add every leaf that hasn't fallen yet to her pile that now is twice the size of the one in the picture below.

This year she isn't all about Bob Seger. Or... maybe you remember Bob Seeders? Nope, she doesn't think he's "tool" anymore. She's all about the goofy ones. You know, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas. The ones that get a little bit annoying after a while. That's okay though, we've got quite a variety on there now, so we're both happy. 
Hanna's happy with all of them. She's already humming Jingle Bells. 
I know it's a little early for Christmas, but around here, we welcome it early. Soon we'll get our lights up outside (which is a first at our new house!) and then snow!
Bring it on!  

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

2 year checkup

Yesterday Hanna had her appointment with the pediatrician for her 2 year checkup.
Her measurements are:
height: 80cm
weight: 17lbs 11oz
HC: just a smidgen more than last time. :)
Her head and her weight are the same amount way off the charts small for her age, and her height just slightly under the 3rd percentile.
We've already decided that numbers don't mean anything, so we were happy with these.
Her dr. was very impressed with her anyhow. He gave her the rest of her 18 month shot (he and I both like to delay at least a little with her since she's so teeny) and she cried. She stopped right up though and said a big "yeah" when he asked her if she wanted a cookie, which he got a kick out of.
He was really happy with her development, and is sure she's going to be very talkative. :) We'll see about that one.
Assuming everyone stays healthy, we wont be seeing him now until the end of May, for the new baby!
No more appointments for this little girl until January, when we go back to SickKids (which I'm not looking forward to)!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


 Halloween is always such a fun time in our family. Since it fell on Sunday this year, my mom made a dinner of appetizers. Mmm! Egg rolls, chicken nuggets, tortilla chips, cheese and salsa, and many more finger foods!
Everyone ate as they could, while they got themselves and the kids ready to trick-or-treat.
Matt and I and the girls were the first to arrive at my mom and dad's, and they told us they bought new "statues" wink wink for Halloween.
Gracie was like "oh. okay..." and you could tell she thought something just wasn't right.
It wasn't until Bryanna and Austin got there that these "statues" started acting funny. They changed positions and even walked around. Eventually, they cranked dance music up and danced like fools in the kitchen.
Obviously we knew what was going on. It was Timmy and my cousin, Patrick trying to scare the kids...and they definitely succeeded.
While we were all hysterical, pretty much on the floor laughing, every one of the kids (more so the three oldest) were crying and screaming and hiding under chairs from the "statues" that were alive!
Eventually we had to tell them to calm them down, but it was fun while it lasted.
After all the drama, we hit the trailer and my dad (punk-rocker/zombie) took everyone for a hayride around the neighborhood (all my family's houses).

Just a few pictures this time. Blogger isn't co-operating.
I'm sure you can tell we had an awesome time, anyhow.
I hope everyone had a great Halloween!