Oct 29, 2012

Happiness Week 43

We are counting down the days to Halloween. As always there is too much going on and I am left wondering why I do this to myself.  Really it is mostly self inflicted. I know I should keep things simple but I just can't stop myself even though it makes me miserable during the process. I'm going to try to write this week's post quickly so I can get back to my craziness.

In case you missed it here are the pictures from Ainsley's birthday "party" last week. We got the call on Ainsley's birthday that she got a coveted hippotherapy spot at Little Bit. I'll write more about this later but we've been on the wait list for over a year. I first heard about it when Ainsley was 2, so we've been wanting to do this therapy for a very long time. Steve has his last day at work tomorrow so then we will be officially unemployed. Yikes! The timing couldn't be worse to start an expensive therapy (this one is not covered by insurance) but that's life. She had her evaluation Tuesday and starts riding tomorrow. Let's hope Steve gets a job and quick so we don't have to quit before we even get started! Ainsley had a dental appointment. No cavities again, YAY! We got an ortho referral now that she's lost so many teeth. We know she will need braces or surgery at some point in the not too far off future. Adrian finished off his soccer season.

This week Evie turns in her Reflections Art Contest project, Ainsley starts hippotherapy, we have pumpkin carving, decorating and costume creating to do. Adrian is worried that kids will tease him over his costume and refuses to wear it to school (this makes me so sad and mad on many levels) so I have to have a Plan B costume. Have a safe and wonderful Halloween!

Daily Happiness Photos - Week 43

10/22 Making Someone Else Happy 
Do you remember when you were young and how exciting it was when your favorite band was coming out with a new album? Evie's been counting the days until Taylor Swift's album Red came out. She didn't quite have enough money saved since she spent $10 of her own money last week to buy Ainsley a birthday gift. She knew it would mean she would have to wait to get her beloved CD. I thought it was so self-less of Evie that I went to Target while she was at school and bought the CD for her anyway (and got the special Target only edition with extra songs) and surprised her when she got home. She will have to pay us back with her allowance but she doesn't mind. She and Adrian did their homework in her bedroom listening to the CD. It was so cute. She was so happy! Somebody once said the best way to make yourself happy is to make other people happy and I think there is something to that.

10/23 A Rainbow
I was out running errands on this blustery fall day, when the rain settled there was the biggest most beautiful rainbow in the sky as I drove across the valley.
10/24 Giant Bee
I love it when I find weird things at the thrift store, like this giant buzzing bee. It's eyes glow red and it vibrates which makes it move around like it's really alive. The kids and I debated if it was creepy enough for Halloween (I say YES).  Ainsley had so much fun pushing the button and loved it so much she wore the batteries down and now so it no longer moves.

10/25 Plan B
It's terrible when I get a "great idea" and then what it seemed would be simple is so NOT. I'm not even sure where the idea came from but I decided to add a haunted dining room scene to my Halloween decorating this year. I wanted a simple black lace spider web table cloth. Easy right? Not so if your table is ROUND. After spending hours looking at local stores, calling more local stores (when I realized it was a wild goose chase) and then scouring the internet I had to give up. But I found a large sheet in my blanket chest (the matching fitted sheet has holes) so I'm going to make my own creepy table cloth and it's free.
10/26 Crazy Ideas
I read on the internet how you can use tea or coffee to stain fabric to make it look aged. So I ground up coffee grinds in my Blendtec to make a sludge to soak my table cloth in. It looked like it was going to work perfectly and I had so much fun and was so pleased with myself. (But then you can't have your tablecloth smelling horribly like coffee so the next day I washed it and damn that Tide! It works too well and removed most of my stains that I worked so hard to make. So now I'm not so happy.)

10/27 ONE Rainy Soccer Game
Today was the last soccer game of the season so we all had to go support Adrian even though it was raining buckets. We've been so lucky and had uncharacteristically beautiful weather all season so really we have to be grateful. In a weird way I enjoyed it anyway. It was so sweet to see Evie hold an umbrella over Adrian and stand with him whenever he was on the sidelines. At the end of the last game when he didn't score a goal he was so sad and she gave him the sweetest hug which I caught with the most precious photo, but I didn't think he'd appreciate me sharing that with the world. I really hope they will always be so close. 

10/28 Soccer Trophy
The end of soccer season party was planned for today. There had been no mention of trophies so I was really happy when we showed up and they were there. Adrian loves his trophies. It's pretty standard custom that the kids all get them just for playing but his basketball team didn't do them last year and he was so sad about it that I went to the thrift store and bought him one for $ 0.99. I knew Adrian would be really disappointed if that happened again. We all had a great time at the party. It was a great group of families this season. 


To view a slideshow of the entire Happiness Photo Project click here. Confused about what this is or why I'm doing it? Click here for an explanation of what it's all about.

Oct 26, 2012

Ainsley's 6th Birthday

I spent the morning going through Ainsley's birthday photos for this post. I'll forewarn you there are a ton, but we have grandparents, aunts and uncles (and some friends) who I know will want to see them all. I think it's safe to say Ainsley had the best birthday EVER! I think we all really enjoyed it. In light of the fact that she doesn't really care much about birthdays and due to that Steve is going to be unemployed as of next Tuesday we decided not to throw any kind of party. I was going to keep it simple.

But then the party planner in me got an idea. It's always dangerous when that happens. I was at home cleaning the house so it looked nice for our night together at home. (Yes my house is frequently messy, I just try not to show that in my photos.) Ainsley had made a mess in her bedroom with the play kitchen so I was cleaning it up when I thought of surprising her with a matching doll birthday party. I really wanted to spend the night playing with Ainsley. I don't get to do that enough (you know how it is cleaning, cooking, homework, sports, other plans etc.) and I knew she would enjoy that and expanding the pretend play would make it extra special for her. It was so simple but worked. I think she had the best time as if I'd thrown the most amazing party and all it cost was $3 for 3 extra balloons for the dolls' table. It was brilliant if I do say so myself. You'll see.

Here's the play by play.

Her day started out with a visit from the tooth fairy. She didn't lose a tooth, but we had 3 that had fallen out over the past month that we never "turned in" to the tooth fairy. I also demanded asked Steve take the rail off her crib the night before (it's been on his honey-do list for a couple years) so she could wake up in a semi-big-girl bed without the crib rail. 

She LOVES it! She was SO ready for this. She will take off the humidity mask and pulse-oximeter probe by herself. Now she can get in and out by herself. I was worried that she might fall out and get tangled up in the cords she has to sleep with. She has a fallen out a couple times but I think she just needs to get used to it and will be okay once we have the money to buy her a bigger bed. Lord knows she's big enough. Her feet touch the rails. She's tall. I'm very happy it looks like we can avoid buying a medical bed (essentially a twin size crib) even though insurance would have paid for it. But we'll give it a bit longer to make sure she's "safe".   

She has had more fun playing with her quarters from the tooth fairy that you see her getting out from under her pillow (she remembered how it works). I had planned to take her to buy something but I think the quarters have better play value.

Evie leaves at 6:40 so she made this cute sign for Ainsley to surprise her in the morning since she wouldn't be able to wish her a Happy Birthday. I think Ainsley liked it.

Ainsley went off to school with her nurse. We sent mini chocolate cupcakes for the class. 

When she came home Evie was home to greet her and show her the "surprise" of balloons tied to the chairs in the dining room for our "party". We got a lot of smiles.

But then she starting signing "open". She wanted to play with them.

We had to wait for Adrian to get home so we could reveal the other surprise. 

Ainsley blazed on down the hall when she heard there was a surprise in her bedroom.

I had a birthday party setup for the dolls at her table using things we already had: tablecloth, china dishes, felt party hats, a plastic cake with candles. I brought in a purse from the playhouse dressup that was Evie's when she was little, and filled it with fun things to play with.



She LOVED the cell phone. I had to laugh thinking that now even our play cell phone is outdated. I still love my flip phone. She loved pressing the buttons and hearing the phone ring. She played with the money, cards, and put on "lipstick". 

We used the phone to pretend that her doll called her up to invite her and her baby to come over to her birthday party.  She loves pretend phone calls. 

We packed baby up in her baby carriage, got the diaper bag and purse ready and headed out.

Down the hall and back to "Samantha's" house.

Then we arrived at the party and Samantha invited us in.

 Ainsley cut the cake.

And fed it to the dollies.

It was a very fun party but we had to excuse ourselves and head "home" to our real "party".

Before we hit the road we had to feed the baby.

And change her diaper and pack everything up.

The real "party". Pie for dinner and a hamburger for dessert.

A couple close-ups.

I entertained the idea of homemade but Marie Callender's chicken pot pies are delicious. Good call, I was able to play while dinner was cooking otherwise it would have been another night with no playing.

I didn't make this either.

They called for a show of hands "who likes chicken pot pies". Kids are so funny, that never seems to get old.

The happy birthday girl.

Ainsley couldn't wait to get started. I thought this was so funny.

 But she did eat. A little chicken and she had gobs and gobs of Caesars salad. That is her very favorite. I didn't limit how much she could take, even though she didn't swallow it and I sat with her a half hour after everyone else was done while she enjoyed her birthday meal before we gave her a tube feeding.

Grandpa called to wish her a happy birthday and she had a great time "talking on the phone".

She had so much fun opening presents. She's at that stage where she wants to rip them open quickly and move on to the next one. It was quite funny to watch. Thank you to all of you who sent cards with birthday money for her "trike drive".  We'll continue to the collection through Christmas and hope we can raise enough funds.

Evie got an adorable Calico Critters school a few years ago, but darn it it didn't come with any school furniture and CC doesn't make any. So I bought a Playmobil add-on school set and it's perfect(good enough) so now the Critters can go to school just like Ainsley.

It came with a little chalkboard and a special pencil to write on it.

My mom always sends the kids the amount of money that corresponds to their age. She is so good about always sending cards for every occasion. They're always covered with cute stickers and special stamps so the kids love it.

Here is Ainsley opening her main present. Her "unlocked" communication device. It was pretty funny to see her reaction. I could tell she was like, "Hey I already had THAT!!! What the heck?!" For insurance to pay for the device the Android (Samsung Galaxy Tablet) features, i.e. Internet and games had to be locked out. They call that a dedicated device.  For $100 we got a code that allows us to "unlock" it and fully use it. 

Ainsley's actually pretty tech savvy and plays with Evie's IPodTouch all the time. So I knew she would really love this gift. I've been wanting it unlocked since we got it in May so that I could add some games that would help support speech. It was hard to wait. I was disappointed to find some of the SLP recommended speech games are only available for IPad but I still found some good stuff and loaded about 8 games to her device as well as a new beefed up Nova 7 vocabulary.

 This is an example of a game. It's called Connect the Dots 1 2 3. You touch the red dot and it says its name, then the next dot will turn red, and it "connects the dots" that way.

When finished it makes the picture and you can "color it" with your finger. It's awesome! And educational.

I'm really hoping that having some fun things on her speech device will encourage her to carry it around with her and she'll start using it more for communication. You can't use it if it's in the "other room" and never handy when you need it. Anyway...back to the birthday.
The kids wanted to buy her presents themselves and used their own money. I was so proud of them for being so generous. Evie got Ainsley Calico Critter squirrel babies for the school.

Adrian bought her some Matchbox cars which she loves to chew on (bad I know) and push down the tube. Adrian was so funny, he quizzed her on which one she liked best (Because I picked one that I thought she would like most.). He was worried that she didn't like the present because she blazed past it during the opening. I have sensitive kids. There always has to be some turmoil. But when Ainsley had fun with the cars then everything was good and Adrian could go to bed happy.

We tried to have her blow out the candles herself. She really tried. Someday.

I blew and they went out, but let her think she'd done it.

Isn't this cute, even inside the buns are white and the patty is brown?! I think the pound cake french fries and frosting ketchup are my favorite part.

I forced her to eat a bite of cake. I wish I could say she enjoyed it. But she was happy that I made a big deal about it. Now that she's swallowing table foods I couldn't control myself. I'm sure some day we'll laugh about how she hated cake.

Finally the party was over and I cut a balloon free for her. She had so much fun with it.  She loves balloons.

She and Adrian goofed around before bed with their balloon and cars.

I've never seen so much smiling. I think she had her best birthday ever!

I'm sorry but the Remlinger Farms photos will have to wait. We're headed out the door to therapy in 20 minutes.