Monday, September 1, 2014

Ellie's First Day of School

Yes, I am an entire week late with this post.  Last Tuesday, yes a Tuesday for some ridiculous reason, Ellie started school.  Due to her late September birthday, she is receiving another year of preschool instead of entering kindergarten this year.  I am secretly, well I suppose not so secretly anymore, thrilled.  I am not ready for my baby to be a kindergartner.  Plus, Andrew and I both feel that another year in preschool will be very beneficial seeing as so much of the first 1.5 years were dedicated to behavior.

Every day this past summer, Ellie woke up and signed "school" and said "*ss" while signing "bus".  I suppose we need to work on those b-words seeing as she was screaming "*ss" for the whole world to here.  She takes after her Mama.

So imagine her delight when Chunky Chicken learned that she was really going to school!  Only, there was no bus.   The confusion was evident on her face.  She had her flashcards and crayons and plopped down in the middle of the driveway to wait for the bus.  With a lot of cajoling, mom and I finally got her into the car.  Oh, I didn't tell you that my mom was visiting?  Drew was out of town on business and I was still having A LOT of back and hamstring issues.  My mama flew down from St. Louis to help us out and she was indeed a big help.  My house was finally clean! . . . for 24 hours.

Anyway, there was no bus because transportation services had down that she was in the early morning class.  In June, after school let out, Ellie's teacher told us she was moving to the late morning class.  This wasn't conveyed to the transportation team until the week before.  I received 4 phone calls tell us that her pick up time would be 7:18am.  School would start at 9:45am for her.  True, the school is within walking distance and ordinarily this wouldn't even phase me, but I just got off crutches!  I can still barely drive because pushing on the gas pedal requires the use of my hamstring.  Anyway, it took a few days and the bus kinks were finally worked out, much to Ellie's delight.

As we arrived at school on that first day,  Ellie nearly dragged my mother into the classroom.  She was that excited!  My mother tried to get a picture of me and Ellie at the door, but as usual when it comes to mother-daughter pictures, she was more intent on running away. . . to the classroom.

As you all know, my little girl hasn't been eating.  All of that changed with the start of school.  My little Bearity-Bear ate all of her lunch two days in a row.  Peer pressure!  Routine!  The last two days she only nibbled a few bites, but that is still progress! It was such a joy and relief to know that she was finally eating!

At the conclusion of the first week, the teacher and aide have informed me that Ellie is doing very well.  She is following directions.  My jaw dropped with that one.  She is listening when she is told "no".  Another shocker.

This year, The Bear is going to float into the typical pre-K classroom.  It won't start for another few weeks, but I am eager to see how she does.  It is a bit risky because she has to walk down the hall and not run into Mr. M's 5th-grade class and proclaim him to be a "dada".

Finally, no week would be complete without Bear getting into trouble.  This time, there was an attack by the dreaded fire ants on the playground.  Fortunately, this fire ant incident only results in 6 bites, mostly around her waist band.  They looked pretty nasty, but seem to be clearing up without any signs of infection.  [see this past spring's incident]

I am excited to see what this year will bring and I must say that I am very happy to see the Ellie Bear is happy to be in school again!


Ellie's First Day 2012-2013
Ellie's First Day 2013-2014
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Monday, August 25, 2014

The Big Fat ADHD Adderall Post

It has been 8 months since we first started Ellie on Adderall.  If you are new to this blog, please read here and here to get the full background as to how Andrew and I came to this decision.

After trial an error, we finally found the right dosage in February.  As in the first two doses did nothing.  Nada. Zip.  It was like giving her a sugar pill.  So girlfriend is a bit tolerant.  Eh, no surprise.

Anyway, AMAZING things have happened since then.  It is as though a cloud has unblocked the sun and my Bear is thriving.  To think that we were so scared to take that step and now I wonder why we didn't start as soon as she turned 4 years-old?

For starters, this happened!


This would be before she decided to practice her artistic skills on our living room chair.

Because she is able to sit still without eating the writing implements, we have seen great progress in her fine motor skills. She can actually grasp a crayon or marker perfectly.  She is still scribbling, but we are starting to see some purposeful horizontal and vertical lines.  At the end of the school year, if her OT placed her hand on top of Ellie's, she was able to write her name!  Now, coloring is a favorite activity of hers.  No paper or writing utensil is safe from her little hands!



Another major advancement is her communication!  Because Ellie now has the ability to attend for short periods of time, she is able to learn signs and tries to string them together.  She is now able to watch our mouths and try to imitate sounds.  It is all very garbled and her "hi" still sounds like a scream, but she tries to say bus [*ss], juice, cracker, car, ball, baby, bye, dada, mama, cat [ack], mouse, Mickey [icky], and yes.  Oh and the all important "cookie".  The word "open" still sounds like "a-baby" which I still don't understand why, but at least we know what it is.

As the school year drew to a close, Ellie was starting to progress cognitively.  This is because the main goals in school were no longer to stop her incessant, purposeless climbing or to get her to sit for 5 seconds in group.  With the Adderall, she could attend and therefore absorb her surroundings and learn during circle time.

Doesn't everyone keep flashcards in their backpack?

A big concern for many parents is "will this make my kid a zombie?" or "will this change her pseronality?"  For Ellie, the answer is no.  Girlfriend is still very sassy, spunky and quite ornery.  She loves to get into trouble.  She practices her selective hearing when she doesn't want to do something.

That would be our electric bill

We still see this, but it is purposeful and without a possessed look about her.



The main side effect that we have seen is decreased appetite.  She did lose 1.5 lb initially, but was stable up until a month ago.  Her most recent weight loss is related to her GI issues.  Pre-GI, she wouldn't eat until the afternoon when her medication would wear off.  She would eat a large afternoon snack, a large dinner, and a large bedtime snack!

We have tried drug holidays on the weekend and it was disastrous.  For her (and for us).  She would be outside and want to play in the sandbox, but she just couldn't.  She had to run, climb, and spin around.  She would keep returning to the sandbox and then frustrated because her mind would tell her otherwise.  It was devastating to watch.  It was as though she finally knew what she was missing.



The school year will start in just a few days.  With her late September birthday, she will have another year of Pre-K.  I am really excited to see what this year brings!
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Monday, August 18, 2014

Giving Your Child a Voice through Sign Language & Signing Time Live

Moving on to the Ellie Bellie Bear!  Chunky Chicken has recently been trying to talk.  This is huge!  Up until now, her primary mode of communication has been American Sign Language or ASL.  This has given her a means to express her wants and feelings.  Providing a child with a way to communicate decreases tantrums and decrease frustration for both the child and the parents.  Still, even with her emerging speech, Ellie signs and does pair the signs with sounds.



We starting teaching Ellie sign language when she was just 9 months old.  Now, Andrew and I did not know any signs.  All 3 of us were learning.  Rachel Coleman's Baby Signing Time was recommended.  Catchy songs featuring babies and toddlers signing capture Ellie's attention.  While she had great difficulty signing due to her fine motor delay, at just 9 months old, she was able to understand sign language.  As she got a bit older, we started to introduce more than basic signs through Signing Time!  Another Rachel Coleman Series.  This series was featured on PBS and we recorded all 26 episodes.  To this day, Ellie still requests to watch them.

Surprisingly, Signing Time is how my daughter first learned to Sight Read.  Rachel posts the word on the screen before introducing the sign.  I believe this is what helped my daughter learn to read.  If I write "school" or "cat" or any other word down, she will sign it or try to say it.  She can also read the names of the episodes when we scroll through them on our computer screen.

Ellie at Signing Time Live!


This weekend, we had the privilege to take Ellie to see Signing Time Live! with Rachel Coleman.  To say that Ellie was mesmerized is an understatement.  All morning we told Ellie that she was going to see Signing Time in person at a auditorium.  I don't Ellie really got it because she kept bring me the TV remote and asking for Baby Signing Time.


Signing Time Live! Austin, TX


As we watched Rachel, it became apparent just how many signs Ellie knew and that she truly had the songs memorized for she signed each song.  I also enjoyed the performance and was shocked that I too had the songs memorized!

This video is rather embarrassing as you will all get the privilege of hearing my "excellent" singing.



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For those who are interested, I will be holding another fitness challenge in September.  Pick your program.  These lovely ladies used the 21 Day Fix with Shakeology.  Email me with questions: annatheurerfitness (at) gmail (dot) com


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Beachbody & Post-Baby Weight Loss through the New Mama Fitness Group

As I am sure you all figured out, I have drastically change my lifestyle.  My activity level.  My eating.  This has lead to not only weight loss, but better sleep and decreased anxiety & depression  and you all know my upward battle with anxiety and depression.  Also, I have a lot more energy to keep up with the Bear.  She is a wild little thing!


Check out my friend's guest post on her weight loss journey after having 3 kids!



Here I am nearly 5 years post-baby and I just now got my pre-pregnancy body back and now my college body back.  It just goes to show that it is never too late to change your ways.  Taking that first step is the hardest and yet, is the most important.  I could not have done this without the encouragement and support of my friends and other beachbody coaches.

I still cannot get over my transformation. 

This is why I am so excited that we are starting a Baby Mama Fitness group on Facebook.  This is a group for all moms no matter how old your children may be.  There are brand new moms with wee little bambinos and then people like me who are nearly 5 years out.  We offer support, fitness ideas, recipes, and tons of encouragement because let's face it, we all fall off the wagon!  You do not have to do beachbody workouts or purchase any programs!



All I ask is that you create a FREE beachbody account with me.  I promise that I will not try to sell you anything.  As a coach, I want to help you reach your goals in the best way possible.  It is not about pushing products!  Creating an account with me helps me to keep track of everyone :-)

Here is the link to create your free account and to get added to the New Mama Fitness group:

http://www.beachbodycoach.com/annatheurer


If you have any questions or if you would like to purchase beachbody products such as Shakeology, 21 Day Fix, PiYo, T25, etc., please do not hesitate to contact me at thechroniclesofelliebelliebear@yahoo.com or visit my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/annatheurerfitness




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