Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Die Die! and Lights



There Ellie and I were at Quizno's with my girlfriend Jess and her daughter Grace.  Ellie started frantically screaming "DIE  DIE!" at every patron.  Rather than being mortified, I was chuckling.  Okay, howling with laughter.  The customers turn to look at this little banshee-screaming toddler telling them to "die" only to see Ellie smiling and waving.  They quickly understood that Ellie was exclaiming "bye-bye".



As you can see, we have been working on Ellie's "D"s and "B"s.  Clearly we need to work more on refining those sounds.



On another note, it has been a while since I last documented Andrew's DIY endeavors.  Oh yes, he is still incompletely doing things around the house/yard.  Our house was build in the late 1970's, back when these light fixtures were considered extremely fashionable.

This antique is in not one, but TWO bathrooms.


Jealous?  Yeah, you should be.  Look at that fancy chain holding up that pendulum.  Look at the beauty of that crinkled glass.  Check out the rust, it is so in right now. You're right.  Blah!  After YEARS of saying he was going to replace those bad boys, Andrew finally on a whim bought new light fixtures.

Check out the totally awesome wallpaper that refuses to be removed no matter what I do.  It is stubborn.  More so than Ellie.


There.  Much better.  Much brighter.



Die-Die




Photobucket

Monday, February 27, 2012

Ellie Bear Picnic & How to Eat an Orange

We have been having some food struggles with Ellie recently.  Typical toddler behavior for sure.  That exertion of power.  The struggle for control.



For the longest time, if she threw the food, that was it.  No more.  I would offer her a couple choices and if she refused them both, so be it.  I am not a short order cook.  Actually, I am not a cook at all, but that is another story.  If Ellie didn't eat, fine.  I would try again a few hours later and that was that.  I gave her choices of food and it was her choice whether or not to eat it.



Until she lost weight.  Weight gain has been a constantly struggle for The Bellie Bear since 18 months of age.  The age that Ellie learned to run walk.  This girl is on the go all. the. time.  Even while sitting she plays with such gusto that I am certain she is burning more calories than I do running.   The Boney Chunky Chicken zips all over the place and is always climbing (this is part of her sensory processing disorder).  Ellie Bear needs to eat more calories than the average adult due to her caloric expenditure.  Anyway, she fell off her growth curve, drastically.



Unable to fatten Ellie us the usual dietary ways due to a milk intolerance that leads to spiting up resembling an exorcism, I started getting creative with Ellie's almond milk--adding in coconut oil, peanut butter, a banana, and flaxseed all pureed into a smoothy.  I am sneaky like that.



Another tactic recommended by our ECI therapist was to change mealtimes up a bit.   We had a freak day of 92 degree weather and I declared it a picnic day!  I gathered a blanket, my camera of course, and boxes of food.  Ellie and I sat, okay I sat and Ellie wandered, in the front yard under our great oak trees and are you ready?. . . The Bear ate an entire graham cracker.  Without throwing it.  It took her an entire 20 minutes of sauntering about the yard with it, but she ate it.  This from the girl who lives off raisins.



This past Friday was our 2nd nutrition consult and Ellie has gained back her weight plus a 1/2 pound!  I think it was the almond milk shakes :)

Photobucket

Friday, February 24, 2012

Forget Me Not Friday: Stacy


Look at this beautiful little girl!  Doesn't her face just capture your heart?  Don't you just want to snuggle and smother her with kisses?  I know I do.  I first learned about Stacy on Facebook. Yes, Facebook.  Her picture was posted on my friend's wall stating that Stacy needs a home ASAP and that she is already in an institution.  My heart lunged into my stomach.  What?!  No one has come for this sweet girl?  So dear friends, I am begging you to please help me find her mama--whether it be by reposting this post, circulating her picture on Facebook, or praying your heart out, please let's help get this girl rescued from the institution. 

Here is what Reece's Rainbow has to say about Stacy.



Stacy

Girl, born October 2006 

What a little doll!  Stacy has already been transferred to the institution, she needs a family quickly.  She is tiny and needs to come home!

These new photos were taken through the window by one of our adopting families.  "Oh my goodness, is someone looking at me?  Is that my mama?  Could it be?  Oh….no.  Why do I get my hopes up?   :(  "

Stacy is in a region where the 10 day wait is often waived. Married couples only, large families and older parents welcome.  Stacy can be adopted with several of our other children. 
$3746.97 is available towards the cost of my adoption!




Finally, I want to share a precious picture with you.  Can you guess who this is?


It's TABITHA!!!!!  Look at how much my little daughter-of-the-heart has grown up.  She is just precious beyond measure.  She is looking more and more like my Andrew.  While I rejoice in seeing updated photos little Tabby, I look at how much she has grown and it is just a reminder of how much her forever family (she still needs one) has missed.  It is a reminder of how long she has been in an orphanage without a family coming for her.  



Photobucket

Seven Snippets Friday

Seven Snippets Friday is an awesome blog hop hosted by my dear blogger buddy Andi at Bringing the Sunshine.  Today's photos are brought to you by Instagram (because I was too lazy to lug my fancy camera around).


1)

Ellie, the Farmer in the Dell

I used to write research papers.  Tons of research papers.  In nursing school, we would write care plans, more care plans, research papers, and more care plans.  I even composed a fabulous thesis on the "Psychosocial Impact on Siblings of Children with Cancer".  It was riveting.  It was kind of thing you would want to read before bed because it was not only uplifting, but it guaranteed to put you to sleep.  I would write until every single little knuckle in my fingers was sore.  I thought that for sure I would have carpel tunnel by the age of 30.  Here I am at 31 and my fingers, hands, and wrists seem to be functioning okay.   Now, I don't know if some of you have noticed, but I blog.  A lot.  Almost every day.  I am still in shock over the amount of writing I do considering the fact that I firmly believed that after school, I would never write again.  Ever. Well, aside from documenting care in patients' charts.  I am sure that I have a point to this paragraph, but right now it eludes me.

2)

I am adopting this kitty.  I do not know who she belongs to,
but I am claiming her as a part of my brood.
 Shhhh, don't tell Andrew.  I am on the verge of becoming "the crazy cat lady".


My mama is coming for a brief visit this upcoming week.  I am EXCITED.  Some of The Bear's therapy sessions are placed on the back burner so that we can just visit and enjoy each other's company.  We have no major plans other to visit our favorite British coffee shop called Friar Tucks Pantry.  I have not been there since Mom's last solo visit.  It is an absolutely delightful cafe run by a woman from, well, England--hence the British component of the British coffee shop.  Yes, I realize that many people in England drink tea, but did you know that before tea, coffee was the drink of choice?

3)

The reason for my Keurig obsession

Speaking of coffee, I carried on a romantic relationship with my French Press.  It brewed perfect cups of coffee that would help catapult me into my morning routine.   That wonderful glass carafe that I seemed to shatter every 3 months of so could create such a wonderful cup of java.  I believed that nothing could come between us. . . until Andrew bought me a Keurig for Christmas.  I love my Keurig.  I love my French Press.  I guess you can say I am two timing.

4)

Chalk? What chalk?  I didn't eat any chalk.


Every so often I find it difficult to not compare Ellie to other children her age.  Typically developing children and children with Down syndrome.  I know that I should not compare and yet, I do.  Yes, I am guilty and it really serves no purpose.  It isn't fair to Ellie.  Rather than getting down about it, I have taken a step back and compared Ellie to herself and let me tell you, this little Bearity Bear rocks.  In just two months, she has experienced a communication explosion!  For starters, she now points.  You know, uses her index finger to point out something of interest or to indicate something she wants.  This is amazing!  Also, Ellie finally calls me mama and she started saying dada.  In the past 2 months, she has added ball, bear, more, moo, blue, green, and yellow to her vocabulary!  I am one proud mama bear!


5)

I want to be this flexible.  I mean, seriously, can you imagine if I were to rest my leg on the table like that?
 Oh, people would frown upon it?  Hum.  I still want to be flexible.

Over the past week, I have really sat down and figured out my barriers to eating well and barriers to working out.  I have discovered that I really only have a very small window of opportunity to work out during the week--in between Therapy #1 and nap time.  I have also discovered that I get bored.  Twenty minutes on the bike/elliptical/treadmill is about my limit and that is after listening to music, reading a magazine, and watching the TVs.  Boredom wins out and I leave.  I have no accountability.  Therefore, I have decided that I really need to take more classes because you can't really leave in the middle of a class (well you can, but that would be rude and I prefer to be polite).  The problem is that almost all the morning classes are completed before I even enter the gym and then there are no classes until the evening.  Ah, a dilemma.  I have looked into other gyms and unfortunately, cost is a huge factor.  I made a beautiful comparison chart for you, but when I try to add it to the blog, it looked all disjointed.  Speaking of gyms, if you haven't read about last week's poop incident, you really should.  It is hilarious.



6)



 The Chronicles of Ellie Bellie Bear along with other excellent special needs blogs has been nominated for the Circle of Moms Top 25 Moms with Inspiring Families.  I encourage you to read some of the other nominees for their stories are very inspiring.  Can't decide who to vote for?--vote for all of us (especially for Ellie Bellie Bear!) as you can vote for multiple blogs and you can vote daily.  So please please pretty please vote for us by clicking on the emblem above (or on the emblem in the top right side bar)!  Thank you!
7)


My dear friend Deanna Sader is still hosting her GetAway GiveAway in hopes of raising money to bring home her daughter Charity from Eastern Europe.  It is really easy to enter for a chance to win a 3 night vacation anywhere in the Continental US.  Click here to learn more about it.  Act fast because the GetAway GiveAway drawing will be held on March 1, 2012.

I saw this idea on a couple of blogs and I thought I would give it a whirl.


Photobucket

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ellie the Diva and Mr. Potato Head to teach body parts



Apparently, the Ellie Bear knows when she is being recorded.  Just look at how she acts all diva-like in the above video!  What a little ham!

We have been working on body parts for a while and for the longest time she only knew "head".  Since introducing Mr. Potato Head both in our home and in ABA therapy, Ellie has come a remarkably long way.  She now knows tummy, shoes, and ears.  Nose and mouth are about 50/50.  Talk about progress!  Now, we just need to work on her mouthing the Mr. Potato Head parts because you know, those eyes are rather tasty :)

Also, did you notice that Ellie is POINTING?!?!?!  Whoo hoo!!!!

What new things are your kiddos doing?


Photobucket

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Retards. A Letter Template

I cannot even tell you how many times I have settled down to enjoy a good book, be sucked into the story line, be captivated by the carefully crafted characters only to be slapped in the face by the use of the word retard or retards or retarded.

The word r*tard is brandied about so easily and without a care and frankly, I am quite sick of it.  Many people have said to not get my shirt off about it and to grow a thicker skin and yet I wonder, what if it was the n-word or fag?  Would my reaction then be warranted?  Why can we not start treating the r-word the same way?  Why must we, as a society, roll over and let media outlets (remember GQ Magazine, Democrat Braun, The Change Up, and The Descendants, just to name a few) make flinging around the r-word acceptable and commonplace? Why can we not fight?  Because, united together, taking a stand, I believe that eventually, sometime in the hopefully near future, the r-word will be viewed as both offensive and discriminatory.

After having crafted too many letters to count with regards to the derogatory use of the r-word, I have decided to stick to a template that can be used for authors, actors, movie directors, etc.  The underlined areas are those that need to be specific to the person you are writing to.  I feel it is especially important to not stoop to their level but rather to speak respectfully and perhaps most importantly, to put a face to the person they are degrading, in this case, my daughter Ellie.

Dear P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast


Retards.  That is the word in your book Marked on page 16 that completely jumped off the page for me.  That is the word that made me want to stop reading your book and any sequels even though I was already captivated by your characters and completely drawn into the story. 


"Dustin and Drew were retards--totally immature beer-brains."  


You know more than anyone that words have power.  Unfortunately, the word retard has more power than you believe.  Like the words n*gger and f*g, any version of the word r*tard is very offensive and derogatory.  


You see, I have a beautiful, inspiring daughter who has an intellectual disability or in the medical sense of the word, is mentally retarded. My little girl has Down syndrome.  Ellie is charming, engaging, and full of mischief.  She is a complete joy to be around (unless she is in the middle of a terrible two tantrum).  However, I know that at some point, someone will call her r*tarded.  Someone will call her r*tarded as a means to hurl an insult at her.  As a means to belittle her and hurt her.  When she hears this, she will understand the full meaning and grasp that she is being made-fun of, insulted.  Yes, Ellie is indeed slower at learning new tasks, but she is not stupid.  She is not an idiot.  Stupid. Idiot.  Perhaps those are two words that could have been substituted for r*tards in your book. 


I am hopeful that as you wrote "Dustin and Drew were retards--totally immature beer-brains."  in Marked on page 16  you were most likely not singling out those with intellectual disabilities and yet, that word cut me to the core.  Again, words have power.  They have the power to inspire.  They have the power to hurt.  Our future generations learn from social media which as you know includes books. They are learning that it is okay to brandy about the word r*tard as a means to insult someone. I cannot be the first and only person to have felt this way and I am asking you to please, remove the r-word from your vocabulary.  Treat it the same way as your would the n-word.  Think about my sweet daughter and others like her who have caused your no harm.  Use your wonderful ability as an author to make a difference and set a good example.  


If you would like more information on intellectually disabilities or on Down syndrome, please do not hesitate to contact me at thechroniclesofelliebelliebear@yahoo.com or you may visit this National Down Syndrome Association at http://www.ndss.org


Sincerely,


Anna C Theurer


http://ellietheurer.blogspot.com
http://www.facebook.com/stopdisabilityslurs


My one letter may or may not make a difference, but imagine if all of you spoke out.  Imagine these authors, writers, producers having to face the whole force of us.  Many words that used to be thrown around are no longer acceptable in the media or society.  It had to start somewhere.  Now it is our turn.

Since writing this post, I have had some people bring up an excellent point about media censorship (thanks for the feedback!).  I would just like to clarify that I am not asking the authors to remove the r-word from their book.  I am respectfully asking that they become more aware of just what the r-word means and to recognize that it is truly offensive.  I am suggesting that they choose more appropriate, less derogatory words that do not poke fun at a particular group of people-a group of people that may not be able to stand up for themselves.  I truly appreciate all of the feedback and your views.  Thank you!

Photobucket

Monday, February 20, 2012

Poop Happens

The antics of Ellie Bear often leave me laughing so hard that I cry.  Big fat tears roll down my face as I try to gain composure.  She is a cheeky little thing with so much spunk and energy that I many times think "this must be payback from when I was a little girl".  Come on, we all know Ellie gets her sass and hyperactivity from me.

Me, hyper?  Never.  I am the picture of tranquility.


Ellie's most recent antic or disaster, if you'd like to call it, has me laughing now, but at the time, I was a bit mortified.  I am warning you, if you get squeamish, now is the time to stop reading.  If not, carry on!

It appears that Ellie is trying her best to limit my attempts at working out.  I thought I had finally gotten her accustomed to the gym day care only to discover that incessant crying, screaming, and flailing isn't the only way to get recalled to the Kid's Club at 24 Hour Fitness.



For the past few workout sessions, I have heard "Will Anna Theurer please report to the Kids Club" in a loud, booming voice on the overhead speaker.  I always feel like I am in trouble.  As though I must report to the Principal's office.  While Ellie is no longer throwing epic tantrums that can rival that of any two year-old, she has however rescheduled her bowel routines to coincide with my workouts. (I know she is doing it on purpose)  That's right, just as I get into my grove on a heavy piece of torture device gym machinery, Ellie poops.

Thanks Ellie.

Glad to know you are regular.

But Mama, everybody poops.


However on Thursday, my mortification climaxed (yes, I said "climax") once I reached the Kids Club to change Ellie's diaper.  It appears that Ellie took advantage of a lapse in staff supervision and helped herself to the contents of her diaper.  Oh yes, there was poop everywhere.  It was as though she painted herself in doo-doo.  It was a nasty, foul-smelling stink bomb all over her hands, shirt, and face.  Yes, her face.  Apparently, Ellie decided to sample her little cow patty.




The looks on the staffs' faces were priceless (hey, maybe you should have been watching her a little better. Seriously, it looked like Ellie spent a good 15 minutes perfecting her poop-art).  I am left wondering "will they ever let me back into 24 Hour Fitness?".

On the plus side, at least there were raisins in her stool so it wasn't completely unhealthy.  (Gross, I know!)


I am so ashamed!

Don't forget to spread the Bear Love and vote for Circle of Moms Top 25 Most Inspiring Families by clicking on the link below.   You can vote daily and for multiple blogs.  Thank you!

http://www.circleofmoms.com/top25/Top-25-Moms-with-Inspiring-Families-2012

(Okay, so here is the rest of the story.  I arrive to the Kids' Club and the care providers are not doing anything-as in they are not stopping Ellie from her continued attempts at poo art [might I add that there were only 4 kids total to two care providers].  I start to wipe The Yucky Bear down with an entire package of wipes and I find out that I cannot get into their bathroom because it is locked.  Meanwhile, both caregivers are just staring at us.  I firmly ask them to unlock the damn bathroom door unless they want more poop everywhere.  They finally unlock the door and I ask them to hit the lights.  I continue to scrub down Ellie with another package of wipes, change her into another adorably, insanely cute outfit and then high-tailed it back to my elliptical machine leaving Ellie in their "safe" care.  I think the staff wanted me to escort my dear daughter out of the Kids' Club, but no, the way I look at it is they should have been watching her closer.  Today, I returned to the gym and fortunately our favorite, usual care provider was there.  There were no poop incidents aside from the diaper that I had to change 10 minutes into my workout.  I am debating on only working out on the days when our favorite care provider is working. )
Photobucket

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Great Sensory Input: sand and water

There is something invigorating about sea air, sweet-scented blooming flowers, and eating outside without being under attack by mosquitos.  . . in February.



No, not in Austin!  We high-tailed it out of the Lone Star State and headed out to Seal Beach, California.  Home of sandy beaches, trendy restaurants, 70-degree weather and Andrew's father.  Hmm, perhaps I have all of that reversed.  Okay, we went to visit Andrew's father and turned it into a fun-filled, relaxing, family vacation!



One of the perks about the hotel being 3 blocks from the beach meant that the Toddler-Bear got to run upon the sandy shores before lunch and after lunch every. single. day.  We didn't even have beach toys and yet, this little water baby was perfectly entertained.

I can't tell if Ellie likes the beach.
Ellie stole  borrowed these toys from another kiddo.


Our daily jaunts to the beach made me realize just how much sensory input our little motor-craver was receiving.

Ellie is practicing her dance moves.  That middle one has me thinking of "Stayin' Alive".

Little granules of sand sift through fingers and toes.  The added muscles, toe grabbing, arch raising needed by little feet to walk among the shores.  The feel of a salty breeze across the face.  The cold waves lapping up against tiny toddler legs.  Wet sand.  Dry sand.  Cold water.  Tasting the sand. All of these aspects create wonderful, effective sensory input for the sensory seeking child.



Now, I realize that not everyone lives near a beach. Goodness, we live in the suburbs of Austin.  That is why I am ordering the Toddler Bear a sandbox like this:

Sensory-Integration in a box


I am all about a covered sandbox.  Our neighbors have outdoor cats and I don't want them getting all confused about the litter box.


If you do find yourself in Seal Beach (just near Long Beach), be sure to check out the playground that sits just across the parking lot.  There is nothing better for a sensory craver--sand, water, and swings!




Don't forget to spread the Bear Love and vote for Circle of Moms Top 25 Most Inspiring Families by clicking on the link below.   You can vote daily and for multiple blogs.  Thank you!


Photobucket

Friday, February 17, 2012

Seven Snippets Friday

Seven Snippets Friday is a blog hop hosted by Bringing the Sunshine.




1)

We spent last weekend in Seal Beach, CA visiting Andrew's father.  It was fabulous and relaxing.  It made me realize just how much time I spend on the internet.  I have decided that I am going to try and cut back.  Wish me luck because I am already failing miserably!



2)


How was everyone's Valentine's day?  What did you all do?  I have nothing against Valentine's Day.  We just didn't bother to celebrate it seeing as we just dropped a fair amount of moohla on our mini-vacation. Ellie did draw a little Valentine and gave a card to her father.  Ellie also had a sweet little Valentine, Wyatt!  He is her future fiancĂ©.  However, Mr. Wyatt is a player and sent Valentine's to several young ladies across the globe.

My Valentines


3)

My aunt Peggy is in the hospital with pneumonia.  As many of you know, my aunt Peggy is a wonderful woman who also rocks an extra chromosome.  Prayers for her speedy recovery would be greatly appreciated it.

4)

It has happened again.  The dreaded pregnancy mishap.  I am not pregnant and no, I did not recently have a c-section.  I was in Zumba class and this well-meaning older woman in front of me was worried about me slipping in my "pregnant condition".  Seriously?!?!  I am assuming that many of the people in the class must also believe I am pregnant, but to actually say it to me?!  This is the second time in one month that someone has asked if I was pregnant.  Maybe I am and just don't know it?  Nope, I am overweight. I feel  defeated and gross.  I carry all of my weight in my stomach.  I am what is referred to as the "apple" shape.  Text book case, really.  Recall that I am build like a chicken.  Anyway, I was in Zumba class to get rid of the spare tire.  I will go back.  I just feel so self-conscious right now.

This pic really sums it all up.  (Well, minus the bikini)


5)

At the beginning of the year, I mentioned that we (as in me and possibly Andrew) are undergoing a "lifestyle modification".  Essentially we are doing a diet but it is life-long.  As in forever.  Because, I need to live forever to watch over my Ellie Bellie Bear.  We have/had plans to eat better and move around more.  I am already pretty active because of the Chunky Chicken.  She NEVER sits still.  Ever.  I never sit still (hum, sensory motor cravings seem to be genetic).  Now that The Bear is doing well in the gym's childcare, I have been working out there 3 x week.  It is not ideal, but I am trying to fit in theses workouts in between therapy #1, naps, therapy #2, and the occasional doctor's appointment.  Clearly, I need help with the diet.  I keep slipping up.  I love cookies and sugar.  If it is in the house, I will eat it over a healthy meal. I hate to cook and with our busy schedule, I have limited time to cook.  I am a horrible cook (trust me on this).  There is butter.  Lots of butter.  When I do cook Andrew does things like look into the pot, add butter, add salt, add butter, add cheese, add butter, and add some more butter.  In his defense, my meals tastes horrible.  That means I am thinking of trying out some meals through Jenny Craig or My Fit Foods.  There is no cooking involved.  The calories are already counted.  The glycemic index is taken into account.  I have to get control of my "pregnant-appearing" belly and I want to be healthy.  To have more energy.  To not be scared of diabetes or heart disease.

Perhaps there will be more fish in our diet.

6)

Spring cleaning.  I am starting early.  Prior to marrying Andrew, I moved every 1-2 years after high school.  I became a pro at keeping my belongings to a minimum and packing all of my priced possessions in a car for cross country moves.  During the last 5 years with Drew-Drewbies, I have accumulated so much junk  many belongings.  Add that to the pre-existing junk belongings of Andrew's and now the excess baby toys and supplies that were Ellie's, our house is over flowing with unnecessary things.  Stuff.  Junk.  It has become my mission to every month attack one room of our house and purge the items we do not &/or rarely use.  They will either be tossed or donated to the ARC (Goodwill is so yesterday, the ARC is awesome).  This past week I have packed up over 5 HUGE boxes of books for the library.  Books that I had every intention of rereading, but have not gotten around to. I have cleaned out my desk.  My office closet scares me.  Anyone want to clean it out for me?

7)

Why is it I can never come up with 7 things.  Help me out here.   Tell me what your Friday Snippet is.




Don't forget to spread the Bear Love and vote for Circle of Moms Top 25 Most Inspiring Families by clicking on the link below.   You can vote daily and for multiple blogs.  Thank you!


Photobucket