I was pretty set that we were staying in this evening. Until Amelia made our bed into a slide. That's when I realized we needed to go to the park. Again.
We went and she had a blast. As usual. Well, until some older boys started throwing wood chips at her. She came to me and asked me to play with her. I asked why, even though I knew why, and in the end she grabbed two handfuls of wood chips and marched right up to the boys and threw them at the offenders.
Yes, that's my daughter. We had a talk about not throwing things at people. Even if they throw things at you. The boys' mother heard and apologized and made them apologize. It was too late. Amelia was already running saying, "I go to my house."
Before we left the school grounds we stopped to smell some flowers and let Joe have his first, real grass experience.
I think he enjoyed it :)
While Joe explored, Amelia tried to climb this tree. With no luck.
Amelia's chair choice of the day was her mini Poang Chair from Ikea! We let daddy sleep in this morning because he let me sleep most of Sunday. Seriously, all I did was eat sleep and nurse Joe all day upon returning home from work. I felt lazy but I needed it! We've been passing some sort of bug around our house and I am just barely keeping it at bay. Jason hasn't been so lucky so we let him get some extra sleep today.
I was a softie this morning and let Amelia eat her breakfast in the living room while she watched Bubble Guppies. She had a " baby blueberry cake" which is just a blueberry muffin. I am totally fine with her thinking that it is cake :)
My choice for breakfast impacted dinner - which I had not counted on...
When I told Amelia that it was time to eat dinner she drug her Poang chair into the kitchen and placed it at the head of the table, sat down and started drinking her milk.
When I asked her how she would reach the table to eat her hot dog she made it very clear that she had a plan. She just stood right up and started to eat. I am hopeful that she doesn't try this tomorrow because this isn't something we will allow long-term! It was cute for today though :)
Just for fun - a picture of the kids at the park this evening :) I am so glad the warmer weather is back so we can spend time outside again!
Last week I challenged myself to get pictures of the kids interacting together. I did pretty well!
Amelia received a doctor kit for Easter and she spent Monday evening making sure everyone was ok. Even the blankets had their heartbeat and blood pressure taken. She got a little frustrated at Joe because he kept trying to grab the stethoscope from her!
When I feed Joe I sometimes have to ask Amelia to make him laugh or smile so I can get him to open his mouth. Towards the end of his mealtime I asked Amelia if she wanted to try feeding him and she did. She did pretty well! I did have to put a stop to it just when the food was about to run out because she gagged him pretty bad with the spoon on accident...
A confused and messy baby Joe!
I wanted them to sit together on the chair but this was the best Amelia had to offer me. I'll take it!
Tummytime :) Amelia is getting better and better at playing with Joey during his tummytime which thrills me for two reasons. 1) they are enjoying each other and 2) it gives me a chance to get one or two things done!
Amelia likes to give Joe baths when he is his baby tub. I decided to take it one step farther:
She was not thrilled at first but she realized that once we washed him he was done and she could have the tub filled up more and play!
I love the pictures that I was able to get and the fact that Amelia is getting friendlier and friendlier to Joe as time goes on. I'm still waiting on the day that she will hold him though! That will be a special day.
Yesterday was Marie's baby shower! Lisa and I spent Friday evening and Saturday morning preparing everything. We might have gotten things done faster but we had a couple of little buddies "helping" us out Saturday morning. (Friday Amelia was "helping" as well!)
It was difficult to remember to get pictures since I spent the entire game playing time in Dan's room feeding Joe because he couldn't focus with all the commotion. Then during gifts I recorded what she received. I did my best to document the occasion!
There was a nice turnout for the shower and Marie and Jordan got a lot of nice things they will need when baby boy arrives this July :) The mommy-to-be:
Lisa had gotten supplies to make a diaper cake for Marie. Saturday morning we assembled it together. My sister made me one when Joe was born so I kind of had an idea of how to do it. She had fun farm themed stickers and ribbon to decorate it. Lisa had the idea to put smaller baby items all over it!
Marie's favorite cake is Funfetti with rainbow chip frosting. That is usually what we make for occasions but this time we opted to order a cake from the bakery since we have three little ones between us. We got red velvet and it was tasty!
Joey partied too hard and passed out on the chair for probably about 45 minutes after most of the guests had left!
Three girls and three guys - one in utero :) They will be suck good buddies!
It was a fun afternoon and I enjoyed celebrating baby Howard! We are anxious to meet him and are so excited for Marie and Jordan! Amelia will have another little boy to get used to. Lisa's son, Dan, is baby #2 to her so I imagine baby Howard will be baby #3!
We started out our day with brunch with Jason's family. We didn't get to visit with everyone for very long because our group was at a long, long table. The restaurant was very crowded. Amelia was a little unsure at first:
Brunch lasted about an hour and a half. We didn't get any pictures. Last year we did pictures outside after we ate - this year it was windy and cold so we all pretty much just got in our vehicles and left!
After brunch we went to my parent's house. It was warm enough that we were able to do a small egg hunt with Amelia.
She found all 39 eggs Auntie Kim hid in the backyard! In them she got candies, spare change for her bank and Dora fruit snacks. Each one she found she shook by her ear - just to make sure there was something in it!
We had pancakes and french toast for dinner and just hung out. Joe was happy as a clam because there were 5 sets of arms to hold him so he was almost always being snuggled - which he likes. A lot.
Sweet boy on his first Easter :)
We got a nice family picture in the afternoon.
Auntie only had to take about two dozen to get one that turned out ok...
This afternoon, Amelia did a little decorating for Easter:
She had a Target gift card from either Christmas, her birthday or Valentine's Day - can't remember. Anyways, I took her shopping one evening and among the items she selected for herself were these gel window clings from the dollar section. Knowing her tendency to take them down and tear them up I left them on top of the refrigerator until today since we have a little man who puts anything and everything into his mouth...
She carefully applied each one exactly where she though it belonged.
I like how she kept both parts of all the carrots together but the bunnies' tails are off floating around to the left...
Who knows - maybe one day she will be an interior decorator!
I have taken lots of pictures with the intent of sharing them in several posts! Each night once the kids are in bed, I am ready for bed as well so I haven't shared them yet. So, here are some just to catch up on what we've been up to - all in one post!
Joey has been working on sitting up :)
I love this shot because he was so excited, started to tip and I caught him falling over and my hand going to grab him. This picture just makes me chuckle!
Amelia is back into bananas. She was never really not into them but for awhile there she would only eat a bite or two and now she finishes them again :)
Joey takes this funny paci during diaper changes...usually. This is one of two pacis that we have had a little bit of luck with. I'd be ok if he never took one but at the same time he wants to pacify so I'd love for him to finally figure out that that's what pacis are for!
Amelia closed her door one afternoon while I was nursing Joe. When he was finished I went into her room to discover this:
She had Morrison trapped under a crate! I remember when my sister and I used to do this to our cats growing up. The only difference was that we used laundry baskets :)
When I set up Amelia's room I put this rocking chair between her bookshelf and her book crate. I had always envisioned her sitting in the chair, reading. It finally happened! She was listening to the Lion King soundtrack on her new Dora CD player Nana found at Goodwill and she got herself a Disney look-and-find book, found the Lion King page and looked at it while listening to her CD!
One evening while I was doing dishes Joe was fussing. I asked Amelia to find him a toy so I could hopefully finish up the dishes. This is what I turned around to find:
Joe buried under a ton of toys! That Amelia, such a little helper.
Yesterday morning Amelia and Jason watched Ratatouille together :)
Yesterday evening Amelia and I stepped outside to blow bubbles before dinner and somehow we ended up at the park. I had not intended for us to leave our parking lot so she was in her pajamas from the night before with a winter hat, I was in sweats and a nursing tank and luckily I had Joe in the Baby Bjorn.
April is Autism Awareness Month and today is Autism Awareness Day!
Recent studies report that 1 in 88 children have autism. 4 out of 5 are male. If your child is diagnosed with autism there is a 1 in 20 chance that his or her siblings will also be diagnosed with autism.
Why am I blogging about this? Because Amelia has been unofficially diagnosed with autism.
What does that mean - unofficially... It means that we have been to the first appointment. We had a pre-assessment at the Fraser Center in Minneapolis and are currently on their wait list (4-6 months) for the full diagnostic evaluation that will determine where on the spectrum a child falls.
In a couple of weeks we are going, with my dad, to an Autism Spectrum Disorders 101 seminar that will, according to the flyer, better equip us to deal with the emotional challenges of the diagnosis and learn of community resources. A few consultations were also recommended to us to help with Amelia's eating habits and also to help us make transitions better as change is hard for her.
So, take all of that and it can be assumed that there is a level of certainty that she is autistic. How mild or severe? That is what the full assessment will determine. We are assuming that it will be towards the mild end of the spectrum and that is also what her doctor also thought when she gave us the referral.
Bottom line? We don't have an official autism diagnosis. We don't know where she may fall on the autism spectrum. But, in our gut, we know that she is autistic. There have been suspicions for over a year now. There is still some level of denial in both Jason and I but at the same time we know.
*** At our appointment last week Jason told the practitioner that it feels like we are treading water, daily, and barely keeping our heads above water. The week prior I told a friend that I feel like I live in a hamster wheel that won't stop. Two very different analogies that mean exactly the same thing. We are exhausted. The good news? There may be a reason as to why we struggle so much. With having a reason there will come resources to help us, hopefully, not feel quite so helpless and exhausted.
Amelia is a special little girl who is more work than I ever imagined a child would be. I now realize how incredibly valuable communication is. When you don't have it you don't take anything for granted. The half-words that she can get out these days are music to my ears. A lot of the time I know what she is talking about now. Mostly there is just something that she wants but that's ok because she is telling me, in her own words, what it is that she wants! Four months of speech therapy has helped her so, so much!
We are still trying to work through all of this. It may take awhile. I am looking forward to the seminar and consultations so that I can hopefully step off the hamster wheel and enjoy more than I am able to now. Educating ourselves is probably the best thing that we can do right now - so that is what I will do. It'd be nice to spend the night with my children and not be so focused on how close bedtime is. Bedtime means quiet..."me time"...and sleep.
Joe got a new toy today! Well, they each got a new toy but they shared Joe's during tummytime :)
I knew Amelia would like Joe's new toy so when I put him on his blanket to play with it I made sure I explained to her that it was his toy and that she could play with it with him - she couldn't just take it and claim it as her own. That is what she has done with all of his hand-me-down toys. To be fair, they were hers at one point.
I encouraged her to lay next to him and eventually she did!
She showed him the colors and told him, in her own words, what the animals on each key were. She even appeared to enjoy her time with him...
Next, the unexpected happened. She shared her Dora and Boots toys with him! In fact, she went through the trouble of removing all of his toys from the tray to line up her cake toppers.
I do believe we have made some progress! In fact, this evening, after dinner, the three of us sat on the couch for thirty minutes reading books. We did a couple of seek and find books and read a couple of stories from her Disney bedtime story collection.
Once her shower is finished it's time to get ready for bed. We have a big day tomorrow but more on that later this week :)
**We-Haw is what Amelia calls my sister. It started out as Ah-Hee, then it went to He-Haw and now it is We-Haw. No one is sure why.
Friday was my sister's 25th birthday! She came over to visit the kids and I. We went on a walk and ended up at the park :) Amelia could have stayed there all night swinging!
Joey had his first taste of playground fun in a tunnel!
We stayed at the park longer than we thought so we ordered pizzas for dinner. We seem to end up doing that almost every time Kim visits us...
Saturday afternoon we had lunch with my parents and Kim to celebrate her birthday as a family. We went to her favorite, the Mongolian BBQ in Stillwater. Joe sat in a high chair for the first time!
After our late lunch we went to a park in Bayport that we used to go to as kids (Jason did too!) Amelia is getting braver and braver at the park. This was the second day in a row that she climbed a rope ladder, alone!
Joe had his first taste of swinging. He thought it was great!
After the park we went back to my parent's house for cake and ice cream.
After cake Amelia and my dad fed the animals outside and then went to the school playground down the road. They were gone until dark. In fact, they were gone so long that we went out looking for them, fearing that something had happened! Everything was fine though. They were taking their time walking home and looking at the stars.
Sunday afternoon we went over to Jason's sister's house for a grill out with their grandma and a couple of their friends. Everything was so good! Liz puts out a good spread every time we are invited for dinner. We had to get our shopping done for the week on our way home so we didn't stay too late but we had a good time visiting!
All in all we had a busy weekend! It went by way too fast.