Tuesday, September 30, 2014

braille progress!

I'm still trying to get into a good routine with Hanna in the morning, trying to change things up just enough to keep it interesting. 
For the last couple weeks we've been starting with braille practice. We take out the brailler, a sheet with the braille alphabet on it, (which is seen under the activity she's working on in the video), and her activity. (Not sure what I should call it!) I stole a little paint palette from my mom and ripped the little balls off of a few paddle balls, and I had a perfect accessible braille cell, just like the one Maryse uses with her.
She makes the letter first, then feels the "real" one on the paper, then types it on the brailler. It's great practice for her, and it's really sticking. 
I told her I'd take a video of her if she could make me the letters as fast as she could, and she did a great job!
She learned "F" today, and our goal with Maryse is to know up to "J" by the end of November.
I think we're well on our way to making that goal!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

printing progress

She did these all by herself, aside from me helping her with "n"s in the top one. 
Not bad, eh?
It's coming along! 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

michelle's family photos

I wanted to share some pictures I took for Michelle (my sister). She wanted some family pictures of her and the kids, and I think some of these are really cute. How could they not be with models like these?!

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Between dance and piano, therapies and school, you'd think we have enough going on. Maybe I'm nuts. 
I can't have one in something, and not the others. 
They all had a choice this year (out of a few options)as to what they wanted to try. 
Gracie wanted to take swimming lessons. She's a fish at my mom and dad's in the summer, and she just wasn't ready to be done with the water for the year. 
We registered her for a Red Cross Swim, and she's in a class of three. 
It's perfect for her. It will make her more confident, and it's basically one on one because of the small class. 
She wasn't feeling 100%, since if I have something, everybody has it, but she really wanted to go. She tried to make me believe that she wasn't sick so that I wouldn't make her skip it, but I could tell she wasn't right. 
She was a bit uneasy when we got there because she didn't know what to expect, and she got a little upset at the beginning of the class. It didn't help that the other girls in there were very hyper and bold, and I think she felt a little out of place. She ended up having a great time though, and finished up the class with a giant cannonball, so I think it's safe to say she loved it. 
I'll have pictures next time to share here as well!   

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Hanna had her first day of piano today. 
My mom, being the hero she is, brought her because I was under the weather, and really didn't want to pass anything around.  My mom also knows her, and was comfortable bringing her and introducing Hanna.
Aleda, her teacher, wants to get to know Hanna and get a good idea of how she should best teach her, so she's seeing her twice a week for a couple weeks, then only once a week. 
So far, Hanna loves it, and loves Aleda. 
This will be great for her dexterity, strength and finger isolation. 
 I hope she continues to enjoy it, because it will be so beneficial for her! 
Hopefully next lesson I will be able to sneak a few pictures to share.
Oh yeah, and my mom brought me home a special icey treat on her way home, just so that I could pass on to her, what I had.
Thanks mom.
...and sorry!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

tiny dancer

Gracie and Hanna both got their fair share of dance, so I wanted Hailey to have her turn as well. 
Even though it costs a small fortune, and she's very young, I wanted to do it now while she's still so little and wont get any moves right, while I can still see her little chunks through her tights. 
I love baby chunks!
Anyhow, she had her first class today and she loved it! 
She cozied right up to her teacher, and made sure to sit or stand beside her at every moment. 

 The cuteness is overwhelming. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

just a little hanna update

My girl. She is doing so well. She's excited for school every single day - although not always co-operative for very long (she has an attitude some days), and she is learning so fast.
 She's got a lot on her plate. She's learning to write with her brailler, write with a pencil, read with her fingers, read with her eyes, math both visually and tactically, and she does it all with a happy face. 
She enjoys our morning routine and listens well while we go through out health and science books. For the past three days she has told me all about how her bagel with cream cheese is giving her protein for muscles and fiber for energy. :) Close. Gotta give her credit for at least paying attention! 
She's a funny kid. 
My mom takes her once a week to work on different areas that we don't focus on every day at school. Today, they made me a necklace! Her fine motor skills need lots of work, so stringing is great for her.  They also drew a picture of that necklace making sure to colour in the beads in the correct pattern. 
She was so excited about this necklace! After dinner she says to me "Ok. I'm gonna put this in a special spot" *puts it on the kitchen island* "and then you make sure you wear it tomorrow for school when you're my good teacher. Ok?"
And she will make sure I don't forget. 
Ben had an extra amount of dinner in his ears tonight, so while he was having an extra long bath, Hanna comes in with a book. She says "Alright Mama. I'm gonna read you this book. Ready?" 
After she "read" it a couple times, I talked her into waiting until bedtime, so I could give her the attention she deserved. 
Sure enough, at bed time it was the first thing on her list. She ran into her room, jumped on her bed, and called me in. 
"Mama! I got my boooook!"
The girls and I all went in and she says "Ok, now everybody just be calm and listen to me read. Ok? Alright everybody? Just. Be. Calm." 
 I couldn't hold back the laughter. She laughed too, with a smart-Alec look, obviously knowing I was laughing at her. And soon enough we were all laughing! She is so funny!!
The things she says now are just so grown up. She's a smarty pants!
I wish I had the time to run to the computer to document here every time she says something off the wall, because, man. It kills me!
She's quite a riot.
She's even just acting more grown up. You always hear that six a milestone, and I believe it. She's not even there yet, and I see it!
  She's starting piano next week, and I can't wait to see how she does. Finger isolation and strength are both a huge part of brailling, so on top of being something she's going to love, it's going to be so good for her, too. 
I'm proud of my little Toot.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

picture of the day

My munchkin. If she's outside, you can bet she has a cat in her arms - whether the cat likes it, or not.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

swing built for two

 We have a baby swing for Ben that is tied to the big willow about 30 feet up. This makes for a very long stride, and way too much fun for the older kids to resist.
I'm always spinning and swinging someone on this swing, and it honestly comes close to some sort of carnival ride. 
Hailey fell asleep inside, so Hanna and Gracie went out and figured out how to make the swing seat more than one. 
Oh boy, did they have fun. 

These were taken when they were barely even moving - after all of the crazy, dizzy inducing swinging.
Silly girls!

Friday, September 5, 2014

animals and storms

 We all love our little furry and feathery pets. 
But even better, they all love eachother too! It's so funny to see the kittens and ducks play. The quackers clean the kittens by pecking their fur really fast, but some kittens like it more than others. One of them just bats the duck in the face when he does it and then the duck quacks back as if he's yelling at the kitten. It's actually hilarious. The kittens are now even warming up to Koda.
That took a surprisingly long time.
There was a nasty storm the night before these photos were taken, and that is a tree branch down in the background. Everyone gathered there to check it out.
It fell into the side of the house directly on the girls window which was luckily closed from the rain, and wasn't heavy enough to cause any damage, (except to my pretty hostas) thankfully. 
I remember the luxury of a fallen tree or branch big enough to climb on as a kid. It was a big bummer when my dad finally took the chainsaw out to clean it up. 
The girls will be disappointed when Matt does the same with this one soon. 
How things change as we grow. Now, instead of pure excitement of seeing a fallen tree, all I see is danger to my family and house, and damage to a perfect tree. Not fun at all.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

first day of school

Today we kicked off school successfully and happily. 
I think we'll quickly get into a nice routine this year with Hanna having a schedule right next to Gracie. 
All three girls started their day this morning with breakfast, followed by getting dressed, teeth and hair brushing, and chores. Gracie's in charge of feeding the animals and Hanna and Hailey make sure their room is clean for the day and the bottom bunk is made. 
After that, Hailey joined us at the table for our morning calendar/weather time and some reading from our health and science books, and then she was happy to go and play. Ben is going to be the trouble this year. 
We'll work on him. :)
 If we can do every day like today, I think our year will be perfect. Hanna was happy with everything she did and stayed focused the entire time because I kept each subject short and sweet. 
She worked for 2 hours, which I think is plenty. 
 Gracie did great and is excited to start cursive writing this year. She's looking forward to writing "fancy notes to people". 
We kept it simple today and didn't get right into the big stuff. I did short lessons and kept things fun because I want her to love being home for school. I have to start out right if I want this to work. She's such a good girl and I really want her to enjoy the entire experience.
I'm hopeful that she's going to do just as well this year as she's been doing - while losing a little bit of her one-on-one time with me because Hanna is now in the school picture. 
They did great together today, and kept to their own work. I think if I continue to do the first morning work as a group, it starts things off in the right direction, and they're happy to focus on their own work after that. 
So far so good anyway!
 It will be a busy year!