Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tagged

My fellow blogging friend Lisa tagged me as a "True Authentic Mom" - Thank you Lisa!
I've been tagged for a couple of things once or twice before, but I've never actually done it, so I'm going to really try this time, because I really love being a mother, and I think that this will give me an opportunity to talk about why.
So I'm supposed to list 5 things that make me a true authentic mum, and then tag 5 people to do the same.

So...in no particular order...

1. Several times a day at random moments I am overcome by the urge to smother at least one of my children with kisses! I can't help myself! They are just too cute! One day they won't let me do it any more, and I will be so sad, but for now they think it's hilarious, and I get to kiss those adorable cheeks and tummies!

2. I find it almost impossible to not talk about my children, even when the person I'm talking to might not be interested...!

3. I worry. We always used to make fun of my mother for worrying about us too much, but now I understand :)

4. I always thought I would have maybe 3 or 4 children, but now that I have two sweet children, there is a big part of me that would LOVE to have 6 or 7 :) I just love motherhood. I love how my heart and my capacity to love seem to grow with each child. I love how I want to be a better person for the sake of my children. I love how challenging and rewarding it is, and how I am always having to learn and grow myself as I figure out how to be the kind of mother my children need. I love watching my children learn new things. I love how my heart just melts whenever they are sweet and kind to one another. I could go on and on and on....

5. I can sleep through wind, rain and thunder, but one little whimper from Avery or Brogan and my eyes are wide open.

Before I tag anyone else, I just thought I'd mention a couple of things I admire about Lisa as a mother, since she was the one who tagged me.
1. She has a talent for finding joy in everyday things, and takes the time to instill that talent in her children.
2. She encourages her children to figure out what it is that they love.
3. She absolutely adores her girls.
4. She makes her home a beautiful place, as well as a place where creativity and imagination can run rampant! (Just take a look at the girls' bedrooms!!) Every picture I see just makes me think that her home would be such a happy place to grow up!
5. She is organised. That is something I aspire to, not only for myself, but I also think that I would be doing a better job raising my children if I could just be a little more organised!!

Now! I tag:
Sarah
Helen
Alli
Katy
Stefani

I won't be even slightly offended if you don't want to do it - as I said, I normally don't do these things myself :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Owen and Avery

Yesterday Avery and I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting Owen and his mom Michelle!
Michelle created and runs this wonderful website. I had visited her website and read a lot about Owen, and Michelle had read some of my blog too, but it wasn't until a few months ago that we realised that we lived in the same area! Then yesterday Avery had a morning appointment with her physiatrist in Christiansburg, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get together and introduce our little ones to each other in person!
On the drive down to the doctor's office Avery and I were talking about Owen, and she got quite excited about meeting him! She had a bit of a headache before we left the house, and she was telling me that her shunt hurt (which is what she says sometimes when her head hurts, and I hate it because it always gets me nervous!!!), and I told her that we were going to meet another little boy with a shunt just like hers! She got quite excited about that, and wanted to know if his shunt was going to be gray like hers...!! (This morning I was asking Gabe if he told her it was gray, because I think it's actually white, and Gabe says that she probably thinks it's gray because it looks sort of gray in the picture she's seen.)
Avery thought Owen was super cute! A few minutes after we arrived, we left for just a moment to get some hot chocolate and a snack, and Avery couldn't wait to get back to "Baby Owen"!! She kept on talking about how cute he was :) And she was right - Owen is adorable! He just makes you fall in love with him the minute you see him :)


Although it might look like Owen's got his hand in Avery's mouth here, that's not the case! He's doing a happy dance :) I think he liked Avery too :)

Another thing they had in common besides their hydrocephalus was their fascination with the giant Christmas tree at the mall!
Posted by Picasa

For me, it was just as wonderful to meet Michelle as it was to meet sweet Owen! While Avery and Owen have had different experiences with their hydrocephalus, and both have different additional diagnoses, there is something comforting being with someone who can completely understand and relate to the joys and challenges of raising a disabled child. Both these amazing children began fighting before birth with congenital hydrocephalus, and while they have experienced different setbacks and challenges since coming into this world, they have both come so far and acheived so much.
It was a joy to meet Michelle and Owen. It was exciting for me to meet Owen especially at this time when he's at the beginning of a period of developmental leaps and bounds, and I can't wait to see what he's doing next time we see him! He had surgery just over two weeks ago to reduce the size of his skull, and they started seeing vast improvements in his physical development even from the first day after the surgery! I'm excited about this, and I've only just met him, so I can only imagine how proud and excited his parents must be!!!
Please, if you haven't already visited FetalHydrocephalus.com, take a moment to stop by and read about Owen. He really is one amazing little boy!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hiding

This morning I left the children in the playroom and went to the bathroom.
When I came out, the children were nowhere to be found...
I looked in every room upstairs, and then I heard whispering coming from the linen cupboard...


Posted by Picasa

video

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rainy Day Picnic

Both our children seem to love the space in between the curtains in our bedroom...
I would say this is strange, but I do remember finding places like this quite magical when I was little....
The other morning Brogan was following Avery around the house and they both ended up here!
Apparently it was time for a picnic, and this was the perfect place for a picnic on a rainy morning.


Posted by Picasa
video

I love moments like this when my children are perfectly content to sit, play and share together.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Jumping and Sliding

We've been having some lovely warm days here in Roanoke recently, so we've been taking advantage of it while we can!

video
I like how Brogan laughs when Avery falls down, and then how he falls down too. He really does love his sister and wants to be just like her. It's very cute :)

video
Brogan is just figuring out how to go down the slide by himself, and is quite proud of himself for it! He still sometimes gets himself stuck in positions that my body can't even get into...one foot at the top of the slide and one at the bottom...but he's getting better and better at doing it! Avery is of course a pro, and likes being able to show Brogan how to do things he can't do.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Singing

I've decided that maybe this will be a video week for our blog.
I've been trying for a long time to get a good video of Avery singing.
This is actually quite the task, since most of the time she will not sing on demand, and she certainly will not sing if there's a camera anywhere near! So I had to be sneaky to get even the little snippet you're about to watch!

video

First off, a few reasons why I love this video clip:
  • That high pitched little voice she does is adorable, and is the voice she uses when she's having pretend conversations with her toys, or for any imaginary play. So cute!
  • The way she stops as soon as she spots me in my hiding place with my camera...
  • The way she looks behind her just in case there's any chance I was videoing somebody else!
  • The way she continues to mouth the words but won't sing out loud anymore.
  • Her hands.
  • Her hat. She sometimes rediscovers an old toy or hat or something, and she wore this hat all day for 3 days.
A while ago I watched a really interesting show on PBS called The Music Instinct: Science and Song. One of the things I found most interesting was a small segment where they talked about a link between the corpus callosum and musical ability. They have found that in general, the most talented of musicians tend to have rather enlarged corpus callosums. This is particularly interesting to me because, as part of Avery's hydrocephalus, she has what's called hypogenesis of the corpus callosum. Meaning that it's only really partially formed. So it makes me wonder whether it goes to follow that she will not be the most talented musician. It also makes me wonder whether some kind of music therapy would be beneficial to stimulate that damaged part of her brain...an interesting thought....

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Copy Cat

Anything you can do I can do better...

video

...or at least cuter!!

(no offense Gabe.....!)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Fall Fun!

Guess who loves playing in big piles of leaves....

Avery...

...and Brogan!!


And their favourite part? It's the
Crunch! Crunch! Crunch!

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Last day of Hippotherapy

I haven't written about hippotherapy at all this season, and today was the last day! How sad! But Avery has been doing wonderfully. She's been riding every Tuesday since the beginning of September, and of course has loved it again! Her horse's name was Sugarfoot, and she adored him :)

New this season has been the introduction of a a proper saddle, for the sole purpose of standing up in the stirrups:
When she first attempted this, she could only stand up for a couple of seconds, and then would fall back down again as soon as Sugarfoot started walking. It's hard work, because of course, not only is it standing up on something which is moving, but it's also standing with her feet about a foot and a half (?? How wide is a horse??) a part, which is hard for a girl who naturally has a scissor gait.But take a look at how far she has come:
video


Meanwhile, Brogan befriended one of the other horses. He gets so excited being so close to such big animals, but this was the first week he plucked up the nerve to actually touch one! And he was gentle too...made me wonder why he can't be so gentle with Avery. Maybe it's because he's quite confident that she's not going to bite his fingers off...


As a special treat at the end of her therapy session today, Avery got to go off into the woods on a trail ride! She loved it!


She also got a special Champion trophy from the lovely Healing Strides people! Her first ever trophy! She was very proud, and thinks that the picture on it is a picture of her and Sugarfoot.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Halloween

Ward Trunk-or-Treat
This year for Halloween, Avery was a bird! We came up with the idea weeks and weeks ago, because Avery flaps her arms a lot, and sometimes when she realises she's doing it she says "Look! I'm a bird flying away!" and she points up to where she's flying :) So I asked her if she'd like to be a bird for halloween, and she loved the idea :)
Brogan was a puppy. He is already the recipient of hand-me-downs....I didn't have time to make 2 whole costumes, so he got Avery's cat costume from 2 years ago, and I made a black hood with dog ears on it.
However, he was not a fan of the hat. We were lucky to get even one photo of him wearing it since he just wouldn't tolerate it! Notice that Avery is flapping her wings in this one :)
It was raining, so the trunk-or-treat was in the hall!

Avery flying!
Posted by Picasa



Brogan's make up did not last long, and he ended up looking like some sort of zombie. Also, he HATED having it done...it wasn't worth it!
Posted by Picasa

HALLOWEEN NIGHT!
For the real trick-or-treating Avery and I decorated her toy shopping cart to double as a candy basket and a walking aid!
It worked even better than I imagined it would!! She was so excited about it, and she thought it was so fun to walk around with her shopping cart! I think it also helped that she was involved with the decorating of the cart - she helped me stick on the bats and the spiders and the pumpkins - and one of the pumpkins was drawn and coloured by none other than Avery herself, and she also watched me put all the cobwebs on it. I think all of that had a lot to do with the fact that she was so excited about using it!
The cane would have been too much work. On the uneven pavement she would have had a hard time, so I would have had to hold her hand, and she wouldn't have been able to look around and enjoy herself because she would have been having to concentrate on not falling over.

We went to our old street to trick-or-treat to see old friends and show off our children :)
Posted by Picasa

video
A video showing what a good job Avery did with walking with her halloween cart!
So proud :)