Monday, November 29, 2010

The Thanksgiving Tour 'O the South

I haven't blogged in about 10 days--I know. But this time there is a good reason. We have been gone from KC since a week before Thanksgiving on our family tour of the south land. We dropped the dog off in Joplin with my parents for the week, got some sleep, and then made a 7hr journey to Hallsville, Tx--where Brian is from. We had a fabulous time! Livi did great, I wasn't a total moron and actually packed enough of everything, and Brian got back to his roots:

This is Brian and his dad cutting down a tree for fire wood for the winter.
Livi had an awesome time catching up with Nana and Papa and actually convinced them to come brave the KC winter for Christmastime:
Sorry, Nana. I know you didn't have time to get ready this morning. Too much cuddling going on.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving we left TX and drove 5 more hours to Fort Smith, AR where my sister and her husband and my parents (and my sisters adorable house just screaming for Christmas decorations) were waiting on us. We stuffed ourselves again on Thursday with a lovely feast and had the best time laughing and carrying on:

No I am not posing as Mrs. Clause, mother. Just simultaneously decorating and waiting for stuff to come out of the oven. Geez.

Uh, I have no cutesy introduction to this photo. It just is what it is:
Sorry, Mal. Hate to do that to you. Well, don't HATE it...

After that there was actually another stop in Joplin on Friday to pick up the dog and have Thanksgiving with the grandparents, my brother and sister-in-law and uncle, but by then we were so stuffed and tired that we forgot to take pictures. Sorry.
We got home on Saturday, watched the Pigs beat LSU (GO HOGS!), tried to rest yesterday, and then showed up for PT and OT this morning at the hospital at 8:30. It started out well. Yes, this is the "well" part. There are no picutres of the "not well" part also known as sleeping through OT. Andrea (our awesome PT) is working on walking with Olivia. She, of course, is making Livi do all the work, which is why she is so upset. Livi did take a few steps on her own today with a walker. YAY:

Doing well.

And beginning "not well".

I do have some more things to say, but am exhausted as I'm sure you are from reading this and will post later. Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Look, hand!

Sorry we've been so negligent. We are in the throws of the holiday season early at our house, unpacking from the lake and repacking to see Nana and Papa for the first time at their house this weekend. We will also be seeing Uncle Thomas and Aunt Amy for the first time in almost a year and a half! We can't wait! So, driving 9hrs away warrants more planning and laundry. Thats what we've been doing.

We have also been busy being awesome this week--well, Olivia has anyway. Last week at OT she took 5 bites of applesauce from a spoon! She did great the first two bites and was kind of half out of it for the next few, but we are so proud and I will be taking the camera this week to PT and OT. She did NOT go in the pool as planned for PT last week because she was already sleepy (from lots of appointments earlier that day) and the water temp in the pool is enough to make anyone drowsy, so we'll try again this week.

Yesterday Olivia had whats called an Assistive Technology Evaluation. There are lots of tools and thingamagigs to help kids like Olivia make decisions on her own and act more independently. She has used whats called a "switch" before. I think I have told you about it, but it can hook up (with the proper technology) to anything that is either battery powered or plugs in and with a click from her hand she can make music go on toys, turn the Christmas lights on and off, turn the TV on and off, choose options that say things for her like "I want a song" "I want to read a book" and whatever we record them to say. Its really complicated and awesome, so I'll just leave it there.

There are lots of different kids of switches. A lot of them look like a little mouse for a computer and she touches it to make things go, then picks her hand up and has to touch it again to make it go again. Yesterday during the eval they got out a switch I had never seen before. It look like a joystick with a vice grip on the end to attach to different things at different angles. Yesterday we attached it to the tray on her kid kart. To make it go she can either hold the joystick switch, bump it (because it automatically spring back), or lay her hand on it if we turn it sideways. The following pictures are amazing because Olivia is working on a computer program that allows her to make race cars roll across the screen when she touches the switch, which she did on her own yesterday--a lot.

That red thing is the switch. They wrapped it in red mylar so its easier for her to see and interesting for her to feel with her hand. She is not looking at the camera because she is watching the cars.

No, its not Christmas at our house. Christmas and therapy usually look the same. :) Here she is looking at me, I'm pretty sure telling me how cool this is and how awesome she is!

You can see one of the race cars here (which also have cute little numbers on them) and how we can position the switch so it is super easy for her to access. She just gives it a little nudge. That is Kathy in the background too. Our awesome vision teacher who we just adore.
I know this post is longer than my usual. If you read so far please bear with me for another second. Yesterday I was amazed to tears to see my daughter take steps towards independence. For most kids that begins with mobilizing themselves, and we're on the road to that, but Olivia has not been allowed by her own body to choose things for herself hardly ever. (Excuse me, tearing up again). Teaching her how to make decisions on her own and watching her learn to carry them out is my dream for her and this is one of the first steps. I am so proud of my beautiful daughter. She works very hard day in and day out for very little result, but she keeps trying and she is becoming stronger and more independent as the days go by. I cannot say enough good things about the professionals in our lives who help me help her. Thank you, thank you, thank you Kathy and Tammy and Sherri and Andrea and Janelle. Who knows where we would be without you. You inspire me to inspire Olivia.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Weekend at the Lake

A huge thank you to some long-time, wonderful friends of the family who offered up their amazing new lake house for our family to use for the weekend. We had a wonderful time bonding with nature and eachother. It was a much needed weekend vacation for Brian and I, especially, coming off of a two-week stay at the hospital for Olivia. We were really blessed to have some time together away from the city and everyday pressures and were allowed to focus on our family. I don't want to brag, but I did catch quite a few fish, though the biggest fish goes to my mother on our last night there. What a stud! Here are some pictures from our fabulous time. Enjoy!

Family shot

My man!

Me and my sister, preparing for battle.

The dock--and quite a view!

Halloween pics