Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How we wait

Waiting is boring.  We don't have as many appointments as we used to, so we don't have to wait as much, but it's still boring.  Here's how we pass the time in the waiting room:  (it makes me laugh around 25-30 secs in)

(This was Monday, while we were waiting for a big hearing test.  It determined that when she uses both ears, Maya's hearing is totally normal---for voices and for tones.  We weren't able to get any data on each ear individually, so we have to go back in 6 months-ish.)

Reminder: if you just see a white area with a "play" button underneath it, click the play button and the video will appear.  I don't know why this happens---if anyone who's tech savvy can help me out, shoot me an email!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer, with pictures

We love having Daddy home . . .

Future career paths for Maya:

Therapist (Grief Counselor?)
Prior to Father's Day dinner, Maya breaks the news to 3 unfortunate lobsters that tonight is not their night . . .  (while Parker looks on and thinks "Oh, I just can't bear to watch!")

Artist Extraordinnaire
We did an art project for Dave's last day of school (it says "Happy Last Day of School, Daddy!").  Maya created a masterpiece, and then destroyed in, in true temperamental artist style.

We inherited a kitchen from Collin & Emerson, which works perfectly with the pots & pans that she got for her birthday and loves playing with.

A taste for me . . .                                                            And a taste for you too, Parker!

Parker, it's story time.  Listen up! (Just noticed that the book that she's reading--The Big Red Barn, a fave here---is upside down.  Perhaps she wouldn't be the best librarian.)

(Side note: Parker loves that ramp.  Loves. That. Ramp.  Dave and I laugh every night, watching Parker's determination to nap at the top of the ramp.  He climbs up, lays down . . . slides down.  Huffs.  Lays at the bottom of the ramp and sighs.  After a few minutes, repeats the cycle.  Over and over and over.)


Summer began here on Tuesday night, when Dave returned triumphantly from the last day of school.  And it will continue for about 2 weeks, when he returns for summer school :)

Who has time for blogging when the days are filled with lounging, picnic blankets, and field trips in the car?  (It helps that we had 5 canceled therapy sessions this week, due to vacation, illness, and a doc. appointment----really feels like vacation with so much empty time!)

So, an update (for real) will come sometime soon, but today I'm enjoying lounging too much.  Soon to come, updates on:
-Maya is an eating rockstar
-Our dog is the teacher's pet that everyone else in class hates

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

She fed herself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This morning I was feeding Maya lunch.  We were working with blueberries, pancakes, and barbecue beef.  I was giving her little pieces of beef, putting it in her mouth, and she would chew and swallow.  I decided to give her a little piece on the tray to play with (just like we do every other day), and she shocked me by picking it up and eating it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


(By the way, if you just see a big white space with a "Play" button at the bottom, click the play button.  The video should start playing.  I don't know why that happens, but whatever!)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

To all the dads out there (including my own--Happy Father's Day, Dad!) Happy Father's Day!  Dave got cards this morning from Maya & Parker, and we celebrated with a ridiculous shopping trip.  For $2.16, we got all of this stuff (at the Container Store, Williams & Sonoma, Athlete's foot, and Gymboree).  Woo hoo!  (We had "free dollars", a gift card, and 2 exchanges.)  It was awesome.
(that's a pink toddler chair, 2 storage containers, one pair of Crocs, a t-shirt from Gymboree, and a Calphalon 10" pan)

It was also Parker's first trip to the Container Store, and the mall.  Earlier this week I summoned my best "fake it til you make it" courage and took him in to the bank and the post office here in the neighborhood.  Although the lady at the post office initially jumped off her stool to call out "Ma'am, ma'am, you need to get that dog out.  There are no dogs in here!"  I calmly replied "He's a service animal.  He has his vest on."  (Legally, the dog isn't even required to wear a vest, but it certainly helps make things easier) And she quickly said "Oh, I'm so sorry.  How can I help you?" 

(it says "Service Dog in Training")

The mall was pretty similar.  A security guard, trailed by the head of security (both with walkie talkies) were on us after we were in the mall for about 1.5 minutes.  They asked me to remove the dog, but after I explained and they saw the vest they pleasantly left (and they must have radio'd out to everyone else, because no other security spoke to us).  At Williams & Sonoma we went through it again.  We also got many interested looks, and served as quite the conversation starter for the people we walked by. 

Parker was a champ.  He was nervous and wanted to walk slowly, but some gentle reminder tugs got him to keep pace.  He did fine in all of the stores, and even the food court.

I'm having a hard time not feeling like a total imposter when we bring him out.  Since we've only done this twice, I'm assuming that I'll get used to it eventually.  My philosophical issue with it boils down to this:  He's not really helping us yet.  He's not "serving" or "working" when we're at the mall.  And I'm still not sure what needs/functions he will be trained to help Maya with, since we don't know what the scope of her delays/disabilities will be. 

However, if we don't start acclimating him to these situations early, then it will become much more difficult to do as time passes.  And since we want him to pass the public access test, he needs exposure and habituation to as many scenarios as possible.  While shopping today, he had his first exposures to: shopping carts, racks of clothes, smells of stores (think of all of the smells at the mall!), a parking garage, smells/sounds of a food court, iron food court chairs shaking and sliding on the ground, waiting in checkout lines, walking past walls of glass windows where he kept seeing our reflection, echos, larger elevators, etc.  There's no way that I can mimic that without bringing him out. 

I think I'll feel better about it when we start working on more service-y things.  Soon, hopefully.  Obedience stuff is progressing really well.  Tomorrow he's going to his first bbq (thanks for welcoming him, Sarita!) :)

To finish this off, a salute to Dave.  A fantastic dad, who loves to spend time with Miss Maya, and does the not-so-fun stuff (like diaper changes and difficult feedings) with the same enthusiasm that he does the fun stuff (like swimming, tickling, and making up silly songs).  He's the best.  Even though sometimes he doesn't know his own strength:

Saturday, June 19, 2010

25,000 page loads!

Just opened a bottle of wine to celebrate the fact that our ticker has crossed 25,000 :) 

Thanks to all of you readers who care about us, laugh at (I mean, with) us, share encouragement and witty words of wisdom.   While I love sharing our stories and sillyness, I also hope that this log of our life could possibly touch other parents of kids with special needs, dog lovers, toddler lovers, hair losers, etc.  Please forward it at will, link to us, email me at the contact address above, etc.


Ok, Dave told me to quit being ridiculous and get back to work.

What, isn't this how everyone blogs?

Ok, just kidding---this is me marveling at the size of Parker's new crate, which could easily house a pony.  Here we are, showing off the ridiculous size:

Thanks again, readers :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

We're in a happy place.  Can you tell?

Summer is soon to be here (Dave's last day is Tuesday), days are long, the puppy training has been going well, and Maya is a delight (after a few days of teething sadness).  Daylight lasts longer and our CSA has started again.  Just look at our loot from yesterday:

(snap peas, a head of green leaf lettuce, rainbow chard, spinach, arugula, garlic scapes, turnips and beets)

Maya ate part of a pancake for breakfast, is loving blueberries, and attempts to communicate more and more.  She also has resumed her love of hiding things.  Luckily, she only has one hiding spot, under her legs.  She demonstrated her superior hiding abilities when we played with chalk (thanks Shuffs!) at the playground yesterday:

                                                                                    Mama, do not look at my hidin' spot.

Ok, chalk, are you guys still down there?

No one will ever be able to tell where I've hidden it all:

More stories soon to come.  I have so much to share and never enough time or creativity.  Things on our plate include:  Maya has more advanced hearing testing coming up (again.  sigh), Parker gets his training vest and goes out in public (woohoo!), the walk to the CSA was ridiculous (in more ways than one), I'm working on a new communication system with Maya (in addition to signing), and I'm still planning on winning the lottery (I'm up to $0.41!).

Thursday, June 17, 2010

From Parker

Parker spends his days doing very exciting things, and thought that you might like to take a look . . .

He helps me move things down to storage . . .
Lady, I'm not pushing this thing.

He watches TV. 
(No joke, I was cleaning the floor and looked over and saw him like this.  He freakin' loves The Dog Whisperer.  I couldn't make this stuff up.)

He's not allowed to eat from the table . . .

But we take him out to hit the bar scene:

Oh, and he's getting bigger, bigger, bigger:

5.24:                                                                                6.17:

And here's some live action footage of Maya & Parker sharing a squirrel (it's not as gruesome as it sounds):

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I'm trying to tell you something

It's fun to watch Maya try to communicate with us more and more, through signing, sounds, and temper tantrums.  Well, the last one isn't super fun.  

We're working on encouraging her to make sounds instead of only signing.  She's pretty consistently saying "Mmmm"  or "Ma" for "More" and making some open-mouthed sounds for "Open".  She loves saying open----open food, open doors, open bags of toys.  Good things happen when you open stuff.

Here she is, first signing for me to open, and then trying to talk---note the big rounded mouth trying to make an O, and the fact that she does more than one syllable :)   Progress!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Uncommon Sense, the title

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a title :)

If you've been here since the beginning (that would probably make you my mom, or sister), this blog started as a pregnancy tracker, and a place to put pictures upon the baby's arrival.  Back then it was called "Our Growing Family" and was a simple place to update friends and family who were far away.

Sometime after Maya's arrival I changed the title to "Stuff from Us", since we were no longer a growing family.  When that seemed too mundane, it changed to "Who reads the title, anyway?" which was a fitting summary of my mild frustration at not being able to sum us up in a neat little title. 

Saturday, inspiration struck.

Dave has mentioned to me that when I work with Parker, things cross my mind that he wouldn't ever think to do (it's not that I'm brilliant, he's just never had a dog before, and I have good animal intuition).  I've asked him to point this out as it's happening---show me what he's talking about.  So Saturday afternoon, we decided to take Maya out on her bike, and I wanted Parker to walk close to her.  Kind of like this:

But sometimes hanging out changes to touching . . .

And sometimes touching changes to grabbing . . . (which is not cool)

(Grabbing is rare, but when it happens I think 3 things need to happen instantly.  1.  Parker needs to stay still, and trust that I won't let him get hurt.  He can't address the situation, he needs to let me.  2.  I need to respond immediately to get Maya to let go.  3.  Maya needs to realize that grabbing is not funny or a game, and practice petting gently.)

Anyway, we paused on our walk, and  Maya was petting Parker so nicely---but then grabbed.  I got her to let go, Parker ran behind me, and Dave was about to start walking again.  I stopped him and said that Parker needed to stand next to Maya and relax, Maya needed to pet him nicely, and we needed to give him some treats---otherwise Parker would think that if a kid grabs him the best thing to do is run away, and then we'll move on.  

Dave said "See!  That's it!  I would never think to do that.  It's simple, it makes sense, it just wouldn't have crossed my mind.  It's common sense, but it's like, UNcommon sense.  You have uncommon sense."

And I said "That's a great blog title."  :)

And the more I've thought about it, the more perfect it is for us.  Most of the compliments that I've gotten on the blog have to do with our uncommon sense.   We think outside the box to come up with uncommon creative ideas (hello, somewhat ghetto crawling mats, a weighted license plate for a baby walker, trying to train our own service dog, etc).  We might have an uncommon sense of humor, tending towards the darker/more sarcastic side, a little irreverant (even when you're losing your hair, you have to look on the lighter side). 

Maybe most importantly, we have an uncommon sense of perspective.  People have commented at how impressive it is that we don't get bogged down by some of our struggles . . . but really?  Things here aren't so bad (I mean, we have breakdown moments, but they are fewer and farther between).   State of mind doesn't have to be something that just happens, it's a choice. 

And so, I think we have a permanent name, brought to you by uncommon sense :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

But the loveliest of all was the unicorn . . .

So earlier this week I blew my hair out.  I like it straight much better than curly (it's cooler, more manageable, etc.) but it's easier to notice the hair loss when it's straight, so I've been alternating.

Well, imagine my surprise when I've finished blowing it out, and I notice that I have a very unicorn-esque horn of hair sprouting up in the back: (See it?!  Right in the rear of my part)

In a few more weeks it will be exactly like that dude from the Little Rascals:

So I realize that this sprout of hair must all be new growth. 

But it's a really thick patch . . .

so that must mean that there was a really big bald area . . . uh oh.

 I called my mom to demand an explanation----had she seen it (it's too far back for me to see in the mirror)?  Why didn't she tell me?  Her response "Oh, I may have seen that one."  Sigh.  I grabbed the camera to give myself an aerial view, and confirmed that anyone taller than me must have been getting quite a view:

At least you can see the thick patch of new hair growing in.  But, man, imagine how big that must have looked with no hair!  Yikes!

I returned to the dermatologist, eager to show off all of the new hair growing in, but she wasn't as impressed as I was (no fireworks or releasing of doves or anything).  She was somewhat concerned that I still have a a lot of hair falling out (join the club) so I was started on a course of prednisone in addition to the shots. (By the way, this time I tried to count the shots and got up to 56 before I gave up!)  Hopefully these steriods will kill off the rogue white blood cells that are attacking my hair follicles.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Soon to come

I've got some pictures stored up to share our week, but haven't gotten around to writing and uploading yet.  But I'm still here, and it's coming soon :)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Another day, another bucket of hair

Parker and I are now on a schedule where I attempt to remove hair from some part of his body about every 3rd day.  Sometimes I'm really ambitious (like yesterday) and we have a morning session and an afternoon session.  Other days, not so much. 

I'm of the mind that if you're willing to put in the effort to research and try something new, and you're not afraid of some failure, you can pretty much learn to do anything (I put that in bold because it's a pretty important life philosophy).  And having Parker around gives me daily opportunities to challenge this theory.  Most things are going well, but the dog grooming is kicking. my. ass.  Initially I thought "$80?!?  Every 6 weeks?!?!  Oh hellllllll no.  I can do this."  Now . . . $80 for a dog haircut seems kind of like a bargain.

Today I buzzed his body shorter (poor guy still gets so hot when we're out walking!) and did 1 foot halfway.  So 1/8 of his feet is done.  Not including toenails. 

Here he poses with the bucket of hair I removed today:

In other hair news, mine is still falling out.  A lot.  The bald patches are widening, despite the shots, extra vitmains, and medicated shampoo that makes my scalp all tingly.  When I shake my head it smells like a medicine cabinet.  BUT----as more hair falls out, new little hairs are growing in!  Check out the comparison pictures:

Before (5.15):                                                                   After (6.3):  (See the fuzz???)

Closer up . . . see, there's little fuzzy hair there.  Something's happening!

Before:                                                                             After:

I felt a little crazy taking the pictures at first, but now I'm glad to have them for comparison purposes :) 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Beach baby, beach baby*

Maya got some beach gear from the Clegg crew for her birthday, and Dave & I couldn't resist an impromtu photoshoot  :)

Maya: Oh Parker, you look silly!
Parker:  I don't want to talk about it.

Oh we will have so much fun at the beach!                                       And we will play with these toys . . .


Seriously, we are so bored.  Are we done yet?

Parker!  Stop ticklin' my toes!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Turning 2!

We arrived in NJ to a chalk "Happy Birthday" welcome, and 2 very excited little cousins who wanted to wish Miss Maya the happiest of birthdays . . .

But Maya wasn't so sure, and took a while to warm up . . .

Soon she was loving the backyard, and so were Collin & Emerson:

Hey Parker, let's play in this house . . .

No, no, we aren't allowed to climb out the window . . .

Get back here, you doggie!

Maya can walk now if two buddies hold her hands (my mom & I):

And Parker proves that he can "leave" his most favorite treat (cheese) with no problem:

Dave, Superdad & Grill Master:

Then Prince Parker said it was time for cake.

Last week, Maya's special instructor asked me how I thought she would react when everyone sang "Happy Birthday."  I said "Oh, we do music class every week so I think she's used to big groups singing.  I don't think she'll care.."  But Virginia said "Oh no, she'll realize that everyone is looking at her.  She'll react."

And she did.  With a combination of surprise, wonder, and bewilderment:

And Maya wants to thank everyone for their generous gifts, and for stopping by.  We even had the Hausers & two sets of neighbors come in to visit!

It was a perfect way to turn 2 :)