Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

We would like to wish you all a very safe and happy Halloween!

So who is the Bear?  Obviously she is Texan Sofia the First.  Clearly!  After all, what is a princess without her cowgirl boots and a hat stolen from her best bud Jack?

Also, please remember the following:

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ellie Visits the Pumpkin Patch

"I do it myself!"

Two years ago I got Ellie the board book Biscuit Visits the Pumpkin Patch through  She has always enjoyed the book, but something clicked this year.  All the other years we would go to pick out pumpkins and she would just stare at them with her look of "what-is-all-the-hype-about?".

This year was different.  She loves pumpkins.  She sees them at the grocery store and must check them out.  She enthusiastically painted her pumpkin this year while my mom was visiting.  Verses last year where she tasted the paint and signed "all done".

Awesome Alert: Ellie did not consume any paint during this art session!!!

Over the weekend our local Ds organization [DSACT] had a little shin dig at a pumpkin patch for kiddos ages 0-6 years-old and their siblings.  It was fabulous.  Bear lasted 45 minutes.  Let me repeat that FORTY-FIVE minutes.

We had to intercept a few times as Ellie tried to bite into those mini pumpkins like they were apples.

It was just like her Biscuit story and girlfriend knew exactly what to do.  Grab a wagon and start loading it with pumpkins.  Attempt to steal other people's pumpkins. Er, wait, that wasn't in the book.  She knew that we needed big pumpkins and little pumpkins just like in the book.  It was amazing to watch the gears shift into place.  The connection that she made.  I am so proud of my girl.  And proud of my husband for lasting 45 minutes at a pumpkin patch.


Monday, October 21, 2013

30 Seconds

This past Sunday was gorgeous.  A rare day without crippling Texas heat.  A perfect day to be outside and enjoy the weather.

I took Ellie to a nearby park to run off some of her energy that seems to know no bounds.  An energy that seems unique to 4 year olds.  The type that us old mama bears wish we had, but will never attain.

This park is shady, has a playscape that Bear can scale, and a little trail made of crushed granite.  It is all enclosed so Ellie can run to her heart's content relatively safe while this mama bear strains her muscles attempting to keep up.  While on the trail, Ellie stopped, spontaneously reached over with her sticky, dirty tiny hand and grabbed my not-so-dainty hand.

We walked hand-in-hand.  Mother and daughter.  It was beautiful.

It lasted all of 30 seconds before she stripped off her boots and ran off all while throwing tiny pieces of gravel to and fro.  Yet I got my 30 seconds of pure bliss. Thirty beautiful seconds that I wouldn't have traded for the world.  The most precious gift.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Happy Tears

As  I am sure you could tell by yesterday's post, I was feeling pretty frustrated and defeated.  Then, today, I opened Ellie's school folder and found this Fantastic Pumpkin:

Look along the side of the photo. . . here is a close up:

There is hope!


Monday, October 14, 2013

Frustrated with SPD and ADHD

I have said it before and I will say it again, sometimes I think that sensory processing disorder and ADHD are the pits.  Ellie is so driven by her sensory and motor cravings that they are affecting her learning.  Her everyday life.  She is capable of so much and yet, she is impaired by her impulsivity, her lack of attention, and her mouthing behaviors.

I am frustrated.  I am angry.  SPD and ADHD are negatively affecting my daughter.  We live with this day to day and most of the time I accept it as just is.  This is the way life is.  Then, something small (or large) happens and I have a mini-mental breakdown.

notice most the tops are missing from the crayons.
Guess who did that?
Last night I was attempting to cook dinner (I know this cooking concept is shocking).  I am not a great cook and I rely on the crockpot a lot. As in 2-3 times a week.  I just toss everything in, turn it on, and pray that it all turns out.  I often forget about side dishes and I was quite proud of myself for buying fresh green beans and crushing a bit of garlic.  I shall be a good wife yet!

Which brings me to the following:

The TV has become my babysitter.  

I loathe it.  I want her to sit quietly and play, but the kitchen island and table are too tempting for Ellie to climb and so Sofia the First on the TV it is.  As I attempted to saute the green beans and shred the crockpot roast with a fork, Ellie pushes me aside and signs "color".  Now, most of you would think this is a great thing.  Coloring!  A great time occupier!  Developing fine motor skills! A budding artist!

I would give anything to settle my Ellie Bear down with brightly colored crayons and harvest creativity.  Yet, I cannot.  She eats crayons.  I kid you not.  At 4 years-old she still eats crayons.  Not mouths them, but eats them.  A stick of crayon. She actually craves crayons.  They are crunchy and waxy at the same time.  They satisfy some rather intense oral craving that she has.  I cannot leave her alone for even mere seconds with a single crayon because she cannot battle the compulsion.  A five minute crayon session can result in the consumption of 4 whole crayons.  Trust me, I know this.  I must sit directly across from Ellie during a coloring session. (It isn't just crayons.  She bites the tips off of colored pencils, eats chalk, and licks paint brushes and don't even get me started with markers as she not only bites the tips but also gnaws right through the plastic, but crayons are her preferred medium).

I could not even let her color.

chewed up white crayon

So I cried.  Sobbed is more like it.  I felt like an epic mother failure.  What kind of mother forces her child to watch TV when she just wants to color?!  Why can't my kid be like other kids and be able to color?  Sensory issues are robbing my daughter of her creativity.  They are preventing her from learning to color.  Learning to draw even the simple horizontal and vertical lines.  How can she ever learn to write her name or draw a stick person if we cannot get writing implements out of her mouth!? Why must things be so difficult for her?  Will this ever go away?  and will I ever be able to get dinner on the table?

Random Ellie pic:
The family that DIYs together is the family that stays together.

*As I look back over this post, I realize it is more about SPD than ADHD.  I will write more about how ADHD affects Ellie in a later post because believe me, ADHD Bear's biggest battle--affecting day-today living, learning, social relationships, and even speech development.*

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Minnie Mouse Birthday Party

A few weeks ago we hosted a Minnie Mouse Birthday party.  It was essentially a huge playgroup with Ellie's closest buddies.  I forgot to ask permission from the parents to include photos of their kids so you must resign yourself to seeing only photos of Ellie.

Welcome to Ellie's Bow-Tique!

I made this tutu.  She wore it for about 5 minutes.  The 5 minutes it took to snap a few pictures.  It took me must longer to make this tutu.  That being said, a photo can last forever.

I ordered this personalized shirt from a vendor (doodlebugdesigns) on Etsy.  I really like how it turned out.

Complimenting Minne Mouse hairbow--Me!  I found the ribbon at Hobby Lobby.  Hairbows are super easy to make.  There are all sorts of super easy tutorials on Pinterest or you can just Google to your hearts content.

So the Bear had the outfit.  That she didn't even wear to the party.

Random fact: I can bake. . . but it never looks pretty.  Yet, it tastes scrumptious and that is the important thing, right?  Right?  I found the Mickey Mouse cookie cutter on Amazon and used it to cut out rice krispe treats.  I melted Wilton's chocolate and dipped the ears into it.  I would like to thank my fabulously crafty friend Megan for this idea.

The cupcakes were baked from a new and awesome recipe.  Thank you, Pinterest!  

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes by Tide & Thyme and they do taste perfect.  The blogger's confections are gorgeous.  Like what you would buy from a bakery and pay the big money for.  Mine, as you can see, look like Ellie decorated them.  Which she didn't.  She would eat all the icing.  I thought that the pink sprinkles would add a little oomph.  Or at least distract you all from my icing mishaps.

The icing. . . well, go with your favorite icing recipe or better yet, buy it!

Anna's Vanilla Buttercream Icing

1 stick (8 TBSP) Butter, room temp
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
4 cups Powdered Sugar
3-4 TBSP Milk

Place the butter, vanilla, and 1 cup of powdered sugar in a large bowl.  I used a stand up mixer to blend for about 30 seconds or so.  

Alternate adding 1 TBSP of milk and 1 cup of powder sugar.  Mixing about 30 seconds each time or until well incorporated.

Beat for another 1 minute until fluffy.

Taste it.  Taste it again.  Perhaps taste it for a 3rd time just be sure it is okay.

My official taste tester.  Yes, she is sitting on the floor.  We didn't have enough chairs and table space for everyone.  

The birthday banner was another result of Pinterest.  There is a free template to print out on card stock.  It can be found here at Sugar Fresh Designs.   I found the tiny little pink polka dot bows at Hobby Lobby.  In a HUGE bag.  They are taking over my house so if anyone needs some. . . 
Target is your friend when it comes to party favors.  Especially the $1 section.  I found plenty of coloring books, stickers, and temporary tattoos in the $1 section at Target.  I found little boxes of Minnie Mouse crayons at Party City.  Each ridiculously bright pink Minnie Mouse bag contained a bow that I constructed with Minnie Mouse ribbon from Hobby Lobby.  Now don't be too impressed.  Bows are super easy to make and you get to use a hot glue gun.  Check out Google or Pinterest for instructions on how to create hair bows.

Seeing as no blood was shed during this shin-dig and everyone ate something, I consider the party a success!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ballerina Girl: The Special Needs Dance Class

For 13 years, I took ballet lessons.  I was not graceful and spandex was not the most flattering, but I loved moving to the music.  So when the opportunity arose for Ellie to be in a dance class, I rushed out and bought the little leotard, tights, and dance slippers hoping to pass on my joy of ballet to Ellie.

This is a special dance class.  A class where the teacher uses sign language.  A class where high school dancers help the teacher with the children.  A class where every child has unique challenges.  A class where Ellie is not the only hyperactive child running around like a wild banshee.  A class where she is not the only child wearing pull-ups (did you know that most dance centers require your child to be potty trained even if they have special needs? at least that is what I found.) There is a lot of patience and acceptance.  Two of the most important components of this class.

I am excited for Ellie.  She enjoys moving to the music and trying to mimic moves.  Also, I am hoping that she will learn to follow directions in this class.  Learn to decrease her impulsivity and wait her turn tippy-toeing across the dance floor.

How did her first class go?  She sat longer in the little circle time than her IEP dictates.  Success!  Then she spent the rest of the class back and forth running across the dance floor.  Little turkey!  She has a ways to go, but she smiled throughout the class and was worn out at the end.  Plus, they are letting us come back this week!


A mask for kids with Down syndrome

Do you hear crickets?  Yes, we are here!  We are alive!  We are safe and healthy!  We haven't been inside a restaurant or store since m...