Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Not-So-Annual Card Exchange

If you're new to this blog, I organize a card exchange for Elena (aiming for a late December delivery date)--she LOVES mail! More importantly, the exchange has been a great way to remind Elena that there are other kids out there like her--kids who wear braces, or wear glasses, use crutches (or other devices), who have siblings, friends, go to school, etc. etc.  The best part about it was I didn't say anything when she first saw your picture. But I could just SEE Elena's face recognize she was not alone in her struggle with CP. That is invaluable. It's been fantastic.

If you are interested, please email me (cpmom2009 AT yahoo DOT com) with the following information:

Your name (and/or child's name), child's age, diagnosis, favorite thing(s), siblings, etc.
You address (in full, including country)
How long mail will take to arrive from Virginia, United States (if you know) (particularly important for overseas mail)
What holidays you celebrate, if any, near the end of this year
Primary language--If English is not your primary language, we'll try anyway!

I will not share your email information OR addresses with anyone without your permission. This exchange is between E and you.

*NOTE: This is NOT a gift exchange. Sometimes people send little things, which is very nice--but never expected. We'd most appreciate a card, a message (or a drawing/doodle/coloring if writing is difficult), and a picture of your child. We typically send a card with a message (Elena writes some or all of it) and a picture.

November in a nutshell

I know I have been writing a lot about Elena's crouch, and surgery ideas, things like that.

I see it constantly--but there are so many great things that are going on right now--if you took a snapshot, really, the crouch/surgery/doctor things are the only real negative.  And that's pretty darn good.

Both E and Viv are doing well in school.  Report cards came out last week.  Jason and I were astonished at E's grades--she got three As and two Bs--and one of her As was in Math!  She has really been applying herself--and it shows.  We are so proud of her.  Vivian is simply rocking kindergarten and she loves it.  We are so proud of her too.

Drama Club is also going well.  The director tells me how well Elena is doing every time she sees me.  They are just starting blocking the show, so we'll see how that goes.  The Tea Party will probably be Elena's easiest part, as she'll be seated for most/all of it.  I love the way the director is finding ways to work with and around Elena's disability.  She also has her costume--we need to be sure it fits, but I think it will work beautifully!  E carpools with neighbors in the play after rehearsal, which is another opportunity to be around her peers.  It really is quite nice.

I've volunteered for some after-school sessions with siblings of Drama kids--it's a great way for Vivian to have playmates, and I bring building toys, games, and snacks to try to keep the kids happy. We are all really enjoying it, and I get to meet other kids and sometimes their parents.

We have a nice schedule of school, Drama, therapy, homework, playtime, bedtime on school days.  On the days off, we plan something fun--last weekend we met up with a friend of my parents who is an amateur astronomer (Elena is studying space right now!) and he taught them all about the moon, eclipses, star systems, telescopes, and gave them some fantastic pictures he's taken of distant galaxies and time-lapse photos of the lunar eclipse.  It was so awesome.  The weekend before that, we had a great afternoon with family friends (our kids are the same age and just love each other). This weekend E is going to a big game day at our friend's house--she'll be the only kid there, but I think she'll do just fine.

So, in a nutshell, life is really really good right now.

This month is just flying by...I need to get our Holiday cards started.  I guess that's up next!

Why am I always behind? October round-up

Life has certainly been busy here.  There is so much going on--school, drama, school volunteering (me), homework, therapy, doctors visits...and lots of fun.  October was a beautiful, fun month--so here's some of the things we did!

Random acts of Fall

We've been working hard on our Fall Bucket list.  Hot chocolate, stargazing, leaf raking/jumping, bike riding, making pumpkin treats, seeing's been great.  E can spend more time outside now that the mosquitos are gone for the season.

Leaf Pile Action!

Belvedere Plantation

When the girls were small, we'd bring the wagon and pull both.  Last year, they both walked the whole time--amazing!  This year, with Elena's crouch issues, I brought our double jogger stroller.  Not a great fit...but neither is her wheelchair.  If anyone has a good suggestion for a mobility solution when terrain is too challenging for a wheelchair, and can accommodate two small kids, please comment.  Both E and Viv are close to 40 lbs, FYI.

Anyway, we had an awesome time as usual!  Here are some of my favorite pictures!

Vivian insisted on standing on a little hill

Fam Sunflower picture!

We tried to do EVERYTHING this year--last year we ran out of steam for the corn maze.  With the stroller, Elena and Vivian lasted longer.  Elena had trouble in some of the same areas--keeping her feet on the tractor bike pedals, trying to get on the bouncing pillow.  We had some successes too, like navigating deep hay and getting a running start on the zipline.

Viv has a bit of a competitive streak

E loves the zipline

Ready Aim FIRE!

Both girls had a chance to fire the pumpkin cannon.  Vivian was the first one to hit the target!  She won a free bag of kettle corn!  Elena was chosen to fire the BIG cannon (they pick one child per hour)--and hit the target too, winning us another bag!  They were the only kids I saw there to win!

Falling off the ropeswing into the hay

 Vivian was chosen to be our guide for the corn maze.  She definitely got us lost.  Lucky for us, Elena thought it funny (instead of being too tired to see the humor) and we all had fun as evening came.

Where's Vivian?

My Pumpkins


I let the kids pick their costumes.  Normally they pick ones that go together, and this year was no exception.  Even though I am a classic Star Wars Nerd, I had no influence in their choices.  Yes, they are homemade--Viv's is mostly cardboard and paint (she refused to model for me, so the headpiece didn't fit on quite right) and Elena's is recycled plastic and paint, put on like armor with painted duct tape.  It worked out better than I expected!  No headpiece on Elena--I figured it wouldn't work out with her glasses, and this took so long to put on I didn't have time to put gold makeup on her face and make her crutches black.  No big deal.

E is C-3PO and Viv is R2D2

I expected Elena to last about an hour (previous years it was 2 hours), and she surprised me.  Again, 2 hours, and again, no carrying!

Vivian's Birthday!  

Vivian had her 6th birthday (!) celebration!  She chose a Fairy theme, so we made Fairy houses, played outside, and had a mini scavenger hunt.  Everyone enjoyed good food and great company and lots of playtime.

Dear Vivian,

Happy 6th birthday to you, my little ball of entropy!  You love fairies, legos, Barbie, and computer learning games.  You love being in Kindergarten, even though you read like a second-grader!  You are so helpful at home, and patient with the rest of the family (most of the time!).  Your favorite colors are still purple, pink, and white (in that order) and you want to be a veterinarian when you grow up!  You love baby animals, especially four-legged furry ones of all types.  You can't wait to lose your first tooth, and are looking forward to the cold weather.  I promise I will get you into a dance class as soon as I can!

We love you to pieces, sweetie darling!

Mommy, Daddy, and Elena