Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bouncing Ball

For months, Ellie was on waiting lists for physical therapy outside of Early Childhood Intervention (ECI).  Last month she had her evaluation through Seton’s Children’s Therapy Gym.  Many of you know how I feel about Seton, but seeing as they pretty much run Austin & she hit the top of their list first. . .well anyway. . . today we had our first physical therapy visit.
Ellie is doing so well!  She is a little superstar on the gross motor skills.  She has such determination and drive even if she thinks going into “downward facing dog” will lead to standing.  (sorry, no picture b/c she goes “ker-ploop” onto her butt before the image is captured).  

ECI had us doing "tunneling" exercises.  I do not think this is what Jan had in mind.  Ellie is carrying that blanket around the same way Sophie carries her bone.

A few years back Andrew got a blue medicine ball that is excellent for toning your abs.  You know, the large ones that people can use to sit at their desks with?  The problem is that it would not maintain enough air to stay firm for more than 30 seconds.  I never in a millions years thought that I would be using this ginormous exercise ball with my infant daughter.  
The medicine ball plays a huge roll in both proprioception (knowing where your body is in space) and in abdominal wall development.  Ellie sits on-top of the ball and we move in large circles in slow motion seeing if she can keep her body upright.  While lying on her tummy on-top of the ball, she is to reach up and behind her, thus stretching the obliques.  Then we are to roll forward so that she can pick up a toy from the floor.  Finally, we roll back so her feet are planted on the floor.  Hum. . .perhaps I need to be doing these exercises for my post-baby abs.  

Little Miss Standing.  Ellie wants to stand all the time.  She gets excited and claps.  To clap, she must let go.  Therefore, Ellie falls to her butt when she claps.  She also sticks her bottom way out and she locks her knees.  The therapist has us doing all of these supported stand movements to make her hips, glutes, and legs stronger.  I am to help her cruise, squat (my thumbs are behind her knees and fingers on the front of the lower thigh, knee, and shin), shift weight onto each leg--side-to-side, and forward, stoop-&-pick-up toys, and stand on each leg.  No tippy toes, no straight leg locking, or butt sticking out.  
More proprioception training. I have some static hold exercises that I physically put Ellie through to help her become aware of her joints in space.  
Might I mention that PT occurred during nap time.  Yep.  I didn’t really have a choice in the date or time--waiting list, remember?  She did great for the 1st half our and then cried for the last half.  She then slept for 2.5 hours!  Sleepy Bear.  

Monday, August 30, 2010


Ellie loves brisket so much that she feels like she shove both fists into her mouth.  Thank goodness!  Andrew would had a heart attack if Bear-Bear didn't like brisket.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Visit to Plano

Ellie is almost crawling!!!!!!

More about that later.

We took a nice trip up to Plano to visit Andrew's Mama Dunja & Papa Charles.  We also had the pleasure of seeing Drew's younger brother Tom, his wife Michele, and their daughter Haleigh.

During this all-to-short visit, Ellie decided to accomplish a few more milestones.  She is now using her legs to get into a stand.  After standing, she has this look of excitement and starts clapping.  Yay!  Clapping!  Yay! She is now able to hold herself into all 4s and crawl forward up to 6 times before collapsing into her army crawl/inchworm.  That means her abs are getting stronger.  Seriously, that Friday ECI therapy session gave her some abs of steel.

Here are some pics from the visit.

You are correct, that is a dog interrupting my photo shot.  Look at how happy Baby Bear is with her Papa C!  He is so funny :-)

Grandma Dunja had Ellie laughing so hard that she couldn't keep her eyes open.

Awah Dunja, Papa Charles, & Ellie Bellie Bear

Ellie is startled by Uncle Tom (Left)

Uncle Tom & Aunt Michele brought over Ellie's birthday present.  She absolutely loved the tissue paper & the bag.

Ellie & Cousin Haleigh

Snuggle Hugs!!!

Ellie modeling her fancy European shoes from family in Croatia.
Do not fear, I am teaching her that ladies keep their legs crossed.

Ellie kissing"the baby".  The nurse in me thinks it looks like Ellie is performing CPR.
(Notice the long string of baby drool, yuck!)

Who needs baby toys when there is a puppy bone?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Disabled to Enabled

I have started to follow a blog that one of my on-line DS support buddies posted.  It suggests removing the word "disabled" from our vocabulary and instead thinking about "enable".

What an excellent concept!

ENABLED Kids From Disabled to Enabled is a blog  written by Natan Gendelman who has been working with children who have neurological disorders (DS, cerebral palsy, pediatric stroke, etc) for over 23 years.   http://www.enabledkids.ca/

He states that developmental milestones such as sitting up or in Ellie's case crawling & standing may be "instinctive" for many, but for children with neurological disorders, these tasks  need to be broken down into small, sequential steps.  No kidding.  It is "instinctive" for Ellie to arch her back to do things which I have been informed is "not normal" and "atypical". Consequentially, in therapy, we have been breaking things down for Ellie to encourage her to use "the correct" muscles and body parts to achieve crawling and standing.  Hence, the reason behind the abs of steel exercises that we have been working on.  Right now, I feel like I am beating my head against a brick wall and I am sure Ellie feels the same way when I make her do another sit-up (okay we call it playing) that results in screaming and back arching to escape.  Anyway, this Natan Gendelman goes on to say that "my belief that repetitive exercises aren't the answer. . . "  Hum.  I am not sure that I agree with that statement, but it is intriguing. For now, I guess we will continue down the path of repetition, demonstration, and breaking things down into small, sequential steps.

So, I seemed to have gotten off the subject of this post. . . this blog has some interesting information and personal opinions shared by Natan Gendelman.   He is an excellent communicator and I like his idea of changing disabled to enabled.  I also appreciate his "Don't let your child get written off as a hopeless case.  You're not just a parents-you're your child's best therapist & advocate."  I agree.

Reference: Gendelman, Natan. ENABLED Kids.  Viewed August 18, 2010 at http://www.enabledkids.ca

Buddy Walk 2010: Team The Ellie Bears

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mastering the Steps

I know that I have not been as diligent as usual in posting, but I have an excellent excuse.  Ellie Bear is mobile!!!!  She is keeping me busy and gone are the days of plopping her on the floor for a sit & play.  She much inchworm every where and try to pull to a kneel or a stand.  Her biggest thing is going after all of the night-lights so those have been removed.  Also, we have been super busy this past week with Awa Grandma visiting from St. Louis.  Pictures of the visit to come soon.  Did any of you see that crazy Cardinals fight with the Reds?

These series of photos were taken at the entrance from the foyer to the living room.  There is a drop-down step into the living room.

Going Down the Step

She made it!

Climbing up the Step

Up the Step

Finding great joy in banging the dresser knobs.

PS Grandma Dunja, recognize the shorts?  Awa Gma, recognize the shirt?

Andrew & I would like to thank you for your support!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Down Syndrome Buddy Walk

Dear Friends & Family,
September 16, 2009, Dr. N: “I want to tell you this before any of the nurses say anything to you.  I think that your daugher has Down Syndrome.”  A few hours after giving birth to a beautiful little girl, these are the unexpected words we hear.  Our little daughter whose name we had not even settled on now had a label.  Down Syndrome. Trisomy 21.
On Sunday October 24, 2010, my husband, daughter, and I will join hundreds of others in the Central Texas area to bring about awareness and raise money for the Down Syndrome Society of Cental Texas [DSACT] by walking in the Down Syndrome Buddy Walk.  By making a pledge to our team “The Ellie Bears”, you are supporting the acceptance and inclusion of people with Down Syndrome of all ages. This walk is also in association with the National Down Syndrome Society [NDSS].
We have a personal stake in this particular event.  Our beautiful daughter Ellie has DS.  Not only do Andrew and I want to help her, but also the many other children & adults with DS along with their families.  
Approximately one child out of every 700 live births has Down Syndrome.  A recent study suggested that up to 92% of fetuses with a possible diagnosis of Down Syndrome are aborted.  A person with Down Syndrome happens to carry an extra chromosome--the 21st chromosome.  True, they may be slower at accomplishing tasks and slower at development, but they do indeed develop the same as everyone else.   People with Down Syndrome are sons, daughters, aunts, sisters, uncles, brothers.  They can have gainful employment, get married, and be contributing members of society. 
Our goal is to raise at least $500 this year.  The funds raised will go towards local programs such as school inclusion towards secondary & post-secondary school options, support groups, and on a National level, health care research and legal policies.  Please help us reach that goal and show your support for Ellie with your pledge.  Your donation is tax deductible. To donate, you may visit the link below
If you wish, you may contribute your time in participating in the local  1-mile Buddy Walk on our team “The Ellie Bears”.  This walk features hay rides, petting zoo, and a Joe McDermott concert.  To register for the walk, please visit the link below and click “join an existing team” then  join “The Ellie Bears”.
The Theurer family thanks you in advance for your support. Every little bit helps our cause. Please contact me with any questions or comments about the Down Syndrome Buddy Walk.  I can be reached at (512) 401-0053.
You are more than welcome to circulate this letter to friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors.  Any help is much appreciated.
Anna, Andrew, Ellie Theurer
The Ellie Bears
We need your help now!  Help The Ellie Bears with DS Awareness and the Buddy Walk on 10/24/10!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Who's That Bear?

It's an Ellie Bear!

These pictures of Elle Belle were taken in our front yard.  They were taken in the same spot where Andrew & I stood in our wedding costumes with Rodeo as our photographer took pictures.

April 12, 2008
(note Rodeo's dressed up in his au-natural tux and red bow-tie)

Oh here we go again. . .Mom's got the camera
Time to put on my game face.

I love my stuffed Hippo from Uncle Matt

Yum!  Fiber!

(don't worry folks, I did not let her eat the grass)

This is my "Thinker" pose.

Well, I guess I better smile at least once.

Happy Holidays

May you all have a wonderful, safe, healthy, and relaxing Holiday season full of laughter, love, and copious amounts of coffee!