Saturday, January 29, 2011

And we have #2

Another success for Adam today. He said he needed to poop and confirmed he wanted to do it on the big potty. I was skeptical but hey, we'll do what he asks in this case. Sara was distracting him for a bit but he might have to get used to that for a while. Then he said he was all done and wanted to get down. Nothing in the potty. That's okay, he still told us and tried. He flushed the toilet and stood on the stool to wash his hands with Shannon. Then I went to put his diaper on and out dropped a teeny little nugget that was hiding between his cheeks. So he did go after all!

I'm really proud of Adam that we really haven't worked on potty training at all but he is showing good first steps of telling us he has to go. At this point, I think they are a little young so I am letting them lead and if they want to go, we try, but I'm not forcing the issue.

As a side note, this really isn't something I'm comfortable talking about, but it seems appropriate to celebrate the first. It's another step toward getting our kids to be functioning members of society, or at least accepted into activities that require the wearing of panties instead of diapers.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Adam peed!

I can't believe it and it was totally a fluke but Adam peed on the big potty tonight! We were getting ready to put jammies on and he said "potty." I asked him "you want to go potty on the big boy potty?" He shook his head and said "yes." We walked in the bathroom and he pointed and said "heater." "No, we aren't turning the heater's not bath night. Do you want to sit on the big potty?" He said, "Noooo". He tried the heater discussion again. I asked one last time about the potty and he said "Yes" so we stripped down. He sat there, dangling his legs, and watching Sara walk in and out of the bathroom. Then he tooted and cracked up laughing...and said he was all done. I helped him down and the front of the training potty seat was wet! We celebrated his very first potty in the big boy potty!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fun with balloons

The day before New Year's we went to a fun kids event that was a countdown to noon. They were so excited to each get a balloon on the way out that we had to come home and play with them right away. Sara thought it was best used like an exercise ball, while Adam preferred the punching ball approach. Adam's popped that night when he tried to bite it but Sara's is actually still holding up. It's a challenge sometimes for them to share it but we might as well start practicing early.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thanks, Early Intervention!

Our journey with Early Intervention has ended on a very sweet note.

Adam started physical therapy with Early Intervention in early July 2009, due to the tone (stiffness) in his legs resulting from his Grade III brain bleed at birth. Here is what he and Sara looked like around his first appointment with Sheri.

And now...

Sheri visited in mid-December and reported that Adam looked fantastic. She had absolutely no concerns with him any more and by looking at him, she couldn't tell he had any previous issues. There were a few of her tests that she had a hard time completing--she tried to chase Adam and see if he would run away or backwards to test his balance. Instead, he just climbed in her lap and said "hug." She doesn't usually run into that with the kids she sees! At the end of Adam's appointment, Sheri took a walk down memory lane and reminisced how tiny she remembered Adam being when she first met him. She couldn't believe how far he had come. I also soaked in the fantastic comments she made about Shannon and I as parents. She interacts with a lot of families and sees parents make the mistake of doing too much for their kids. However, she sees Shannon and I pushing the kids and challenging them to learn things and function on their own. It really touched me to get such praise from an outside observer.

Sheri's opinions were confirmed when another Early Intervention representative visited in early January. Julie performed a global developmental assessment. There were 7 areas in which she tested Adam and provided an age equivalent score. At the time of the appointment, Adam was 21 months old, 18 months corrected. She felt Adam was 19 months in the Adaptive and Cognitive areas. One thing that would have rated him higher was if he could drink from an open cup unassisted. We don't practice with that a lot to keep messes to a minimum so I'm fine with that.

Julie scored him at 20 months for Expressive Communication, 21 months for Personal/Social skills, and 23 months for Receptive Communication.

I am most excited that he received scores of 24 and 25 months for Gross and Fine Motor skills. Gross motor skills are the use of his large muscles for changing body positions, kicking, throwing, walking, running, and jumping. Fine motor skills involve hand and finger skills, hand-eye coordination skills, and the release/placement of objects in relation to other objects. It was the weakness of his gross motor skills that led Adam to first begin physical therapy through Early Intervention. Now he is actually performing ahead of his age. So awesome.

The total average of all his scores places him at the developmental level of a 21 month old, which is his actual age. It is the goal that a preemie can catch up to their peers by the time they are 2 years old. We are celebrating that Adam has not only met that goal, but met it early, and is actually scoring ahead of his age in some areas. Shannon and I are very grateful for the role Early Intervention has played in Adam's life and the time and care he has received from Sheri with physical therapy. We will continue to have him get tested in the Easter Seals program until he is 3.

Way to go, my boy!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sharing a crib again

The kids woke from afternoon nap a few days ago. Of course, the dog decided she had to go to the bathroom at the same time. So I put Sara in Adam's bed hoping that would keep her happy for a few minutes. She was so happy that when I came back, she didn't want to get out. She laid down next to Adam and said ni-nite. Funny to look at this picture and see them snuggled next to each other. Look at the comparison to just over a year ago...most days Adam's favorite sleep position is still face down, legs tucked into his tummy, and his but in the air.

Then I had the idea to have them peek between the slats of the crib. I thought it would be cute. It took me a minute to get them to understand what I wanted them to do. I pointed to where I wanted Adam to peek and he put his face there, then I pointed to where I wanted Sara to peek. By the time Sara made it to her spot, Adam had moved. I finally got them both to their spots and quickly snapped the photo. Excited to see the end result, I looked into the camera's display only to find the most pathetic looking faces. You would think I had left them in there all day. They really were having fun just moments earlier, I promise!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Adam's snuggie

After bath time, Adam spotted Shannon's Bradley sweatshirt laying on the couch and decided it would be the perfect blankie to warm up with. Just the right size - to the floor and covered his arms!


Another Christmas present arrived last week - the kids got a playhouse! My mom fell in love with them when she drove by the IGA in Eureka. It was a difficult decision picking the size and design. We caught a nice break in the weather for delivery when the rain melted the snow and then the cold temperatures froze the ground before the snow came back.

They are unloading it off their trailer on the road.

It came just as we were finishing breakfast and I had been telling the kids all morning that they were getting a house. When I saw the truck arrive, I got them out of their high chairs and went to get winter coats. They were running through the dining room, peeking out the front door, saying "house, house!"

He put wheels under it and then had this strange motorized contraption that pushed it all the way down the driveway and set it in place where I wanted it.

Here's a good shot of his machine. To me, it looked like a big roto-tiller. Then it had an adjustable arm with a pad for bracing at the top.

The kids weren't too sure what to think when they walked in their roomy 12x12 new house complete with functional windows and a front porch for lawn chairs.

It's in place and ready to go. We haven't played in it yet as the temperatures haven't been above 30 but the first opportunity we get, I'll take them out and show them around. It's angled nicely so we can see it from the kitchen window, as well as the dining room/outdoor deck. I work for a landscape company, Designer Concepts Landscape Architecture, so Ryan is working on a landscape design to incorporate a sand box and future playground/swingset. Lots of summer fun ahead!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Random Videos

This cracks me up. I started trying to shoot video of Sara. For a few days she had been taking a little blanket or diaper cloth and taking extra care to smooth out all the corners on the floor. Then she would lay her head down on it, put her thumb in, and say ni-nite. Today she decided to stand on it. The funny part came when Adam came behind me and said 'baby' because he saw Sara in the view window of the camera. Sara heard him and excitedly came over to see the baby, too. She just didn't realize that she was the baby he was referring to.

For some reason when they woke up from naps a few weeks ago, Sara wanted to play in Adam's crib.

Toddlers learning to talk can be quite comical. We work on lots of words lately, some more difficult than others. Sara tried her hand at "strawberry" the other day and didn't do too bad. I couldn't resist taping Adam's effort with "vanilla" when we were eating vanilla pudding. I'm not sure how many l's he got in there!

Wisconsin Sledding

My aunt has a built in sledding hill in her back yard with her septic system. Jordyn, Peyton, and Morgan came over and we all went out to give it a try. Sara noticed Peyton and Morgan had snow pants just like hers!

I'm not sure if Sara was cold or just not interested. She went down the hill once with Robyn and cried a little. She's always my daredevil going down the slide faster and head first and sideways. But today she preferred just to stand and watch or sit in my lap in the snow.

Adam, on the other hand...typically Mr. Cautious had a great time. I love this shot of his little hands in the air.

And then...she sent him down the hill by himself as I waited at the bottom thinking, 'I'm not sure he's ready for this.' You can tell by the look on his face he's wondering the same thing. He made it to the bottom. Granted he didn't volunteer to go again without the feeling of someone holding him but he didn't get upset.

What a pile to clean up of snow clothes for 5 kids and 2 adults!

Sara's post sledding activity. Wouldn't you love to be snuggled up in a down blanket, too?

Here is video of Adam enjoying a run down the hill with a crash landing at the bottom. I think he thought that was the best part!

21 month growth spurt

I am amazed at how tall the kids are getting lately! We measured them on Jan 2 when they were 21 months and Adam was 32 1/2". Sara was 32". They have grown about 1.25" in 2 1/2 months.

No wonder when we put a shirt on Sara the other day, it looked like she was wearing a white belt from her undershirt peeking through. That one went in the retired pile!

I think we might make it just a few more weeks before having to tear into the 24 month/2T clothes.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Christmas in Wisconsin

We got on the road early Christmas morning to travel the 4 hours to Wisconsin. I was thankful the kids woke up easily around 6. It was slow going at first until we hit the main roads. At one point, I remember seeing a sign that said "Slow moving traffic keep right". That really confused me because we were on a 2 lane road. Then I figured out there was another lane that was completely snow covered!

We arrived in time for the kids to play a little and walk off their car seat time before the mass of people arrived - 16 adults and 12 kids this year. Somehow we try to maintain some semblance of order with gift opening but I think the kids would rather just have a free for all!

The biggest challenge was when Sara saw someone else's gift that she wanted to carry around. It took some convincing to let her have it for a few minutes when they wanted to enjoy something brand new.

Here's Sara enjoying her new Puma tennis shoes. Adam was overjoyed to get a pair just like them with black/silver accents. If you know Adam, you know he LOVES shoes! They also got some books, cars, a dolly, socks, bath towels and tub toys, and a pop up puppy tent. I didn't get a great shot of Adam with his gifts - he was too quick to hold still for the camera!

Mollenhauer family Christmas picture 2011.

Shannon left to return home on Sunday so he could pick up Ivy from the kennel and I stayed behind with the kids until Wednesday to have some time with my family. We spent time shopping and had another get together for an appetizer party at my cousin's.

This little worm was one of the toys my aunt dug out. Adam can almost reach with his tip toes to pedal along but he likes to exercise extreme caution and thought it was safer to sit on his neck instead. Sara followed suit and occupied the back half.

One of their daily activities that they enjoyed was watching out the back door at the squirrels eating corn. Sometimes as many as 6 would arrive for breakfast and then they would have a round of tag before scampering off somewhere for a morning nap.

The kids did really well being gone from home so long. They didn't nap very well during the day but at least they slept through the entire night. Early morning wake up calls, but that was okay. Adam's word he learned while we were gone was "back" as in...Adam put that back. Sara's big new word? "Morning"

As for me, it's always like a time warp being gone that long. I forget the things that I left laying around and hoped some kind of magic fairy would have appeared and taken care of those things for me. Then I had a mountain of mail, bills to pay, laundry to catch up on, and bags of presents to unpack. I think we are still trying to get settled in since I was hit with a sinus infection last week.

Hope you enjoyed your holidays celebrating with family, as well.

Christmas in Iowa

I know, it's been a while. Things have been a little crazy at the Mollenhauer household lately and that means it's all about prioritizing. I've finally knocked enough off the list that I can get to updating the blog.

Christmas for us was extended time away, which started in Iowa. The kids and I left on Tuesday morning to stay with Shannon's parents for a few days before Shannon joined us to celebrate Christmas. The kids liked lounging in their new chairs that were waiting for them.

Between meals out for pizza and steak, they had fun play time in a tent and tunnel. I was surprised Adam would crawl through because the last time we went to open tumbling, he wasn't interested. Sara would get frustrated when she started going through and then Adam came from the other end. She would say "no, no, no" and back out to wait for him to exit.

Shannon joined us Thursday night and beat the snow. It snowed all night Thursday night, and all day Friday, the day before Christmas. The kids liked looking out the window at the birds and all the snow. Shannon and I were trying to figure out if the 9" were going to keep us from our next Christmas destination to celebrate with my family in Wisconsin on Christmas day. Thanks to Grandpa George's Bobcat, he was able to clear the long drive.

The kids definitely understood what presents were and that they were supposed to open them. It took Sara longer than Adam. And they thought they should open all the presents, even the ones that weren't theirs.

Sara got this baby doll. She about had a fit when Shannon couldn't get the box open fast enough to rescue her from all the zip ties holding her down. It didn't take us long to hide the hat, which would fall off every 30 seconds and Sara would request again "hat." It still amazes me to watch her with this doll. She wraps it in a blanket, carries it around, pats it on the back and rocks it while saying "shhhhh". How did she learn that? 21 months and already signs of a great mama to be!

Adam liked the new car he got. Lots of buttons to push. He quickly found the horn and hasn't grown tired of pushing it over and over and over and over again.

The kids also got some clothes, new sunglasses, and some puzzles. Adam also liked carrying around the soap dispensers I got and helping Shannon take all the drawers out of a garage organizer unit.

How can you finish Christmas off without pie? It took Adam about 2 minutes to devour his, scooping up all the whipped cream in one handful. For some reason, Sara decided she had to bend down and lick her piece while taking bites without picking it up off the plate. Future pie eating contest champion in the making! She'll have to improve on her time, though...10 minutes just doesn't get you in the top bracket.