Friday, April 27, 2012

Free Wednesday!

The first Wednesday of every month, a few museums in the area have free admission!!! My neighbor, Monica, and I have taken advantage of this deal as often possible since we found out.  We’ve been to the Exploratorium once and the Bay Area Discovery Museum twice now. Kim and Maggie have a lot of fun. I can only find pictures of the Discovery Museum … I think we took Monica’s camera to the Exploratorium. So come explore with us!

DSC_0023Two cute friends found some wonderful xylophones to play on.  Maggie found some bamboo, she liked the different segments. And that bottom right picture is of one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. There are steel rods of varying heights jammed into a tire with a bar around the top to keep them in place.  Then there are different sized washers around each rod.  You pull the washers up the rods, as they fall back down they catch on the ridges of the rods and make a fantastic tinkling sound. Each rod has a different note, because of their different heights. I love it. I’ve always wanted to learn how to weld so that I can make things like that.xyloThese frogs were fun for the girls. Kim (neighbor), Katelyn (Maggie’s second cousin), and Maggie stepped on the black plungers, which would then pump air out the mouths of the frogs in the tubes, making super fun bubbles!bubble frogsThere are just a ton of different activities for the kids. (clockwise from the top right) There are huge foam blocks for building, a pirate ship where you can dig for treasure in the sand, a gravel pit with hand operating cranes to move the gravel, and a rain stick attached to a lazy susan, which Maggie LOVED spinning.discoverThere’s a boat room where you learn about the effects of water currents and air flow on boats.  It’s meant for older kids, but she really enjoyed feeling the wind from the wind machine.  Not much interest in the flags, but maybe she will next time.DSC_0025Again, just the coolest stuff! A HUGE log, with room to climb through, the coolest little house/maze made of growing vines, a fun “spider web” to climb in, a canoe carved from a tree, some matching games where they just had fun sitting at a little table their size, these great “blocks” made from branches cut into small pieces, and the last ones are my favorite, and Maggie’s.  There is a toddler area, where you have to be under 42 inches to go in so there are no big kids running over the little ones. They have an area with different types of floor. In the bottom left and middle pictures you can see two of the textures.  The black is just a bunch of little rubber bumps, like those Adidas sandals that were cool when I was in high school, the blue in the background is some memory foam, and there was also some foamy scratchy stuff, a lot like a dish scrubber.funIn the toddler area, there’s a sweet little river that descends height so the older kids can play in a different spot from the younger, complete with fish and frogs to play with and water proof aprons to save their clothes!  As you can tell, there’s some fun splashing involved.waterWe really love taking advantage of the free days at the museums in our area. You should find out if they do it in yours. And here’s to hoping orange juice will save Maggie from my strep throat._MG_4148-3

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Eggs that go *BEEP*

Easter is a wonderful time of year! The weather is finally starting to get beautiful, flowers blooming and grass is for-reals-green. We had the wonderful opportunity to attend an Easter egg hunt put on by a local family. The son, Daniel, is now 16 years old and was in charge of the activities this year.  His family has been hosting this at their beautiful home since he was 3 years old.  We were able to meet a lot of the local blind children and their families.  A few of the teachers of the kids came as well.  It was really so neat to see so many different people with a similar obstacle in their lives. 

We met one couple that were very similar in situation to us, with the most adorable little boy.  He was almost 2 years old and having a lot of the same problems (like not wanting to walk) that Maggie did at his age.  It was great to be able to comfort them, knowing that he’ll move past it.  We were then able to receive the similar advice from people with children older than Maggie.  She’ll get used to it, or get over it, or just deal with it.  Most of them are picky eaters. Sigh. I guess that’s just something we’ll have to deal with.

The egg hunt was super neat!  They had these small electronic devices that beep when you plug in a battery, inside a normal plastic egg.  A few of the parents helped hide them around the yard, then they let the kids loose to go find them. It was so neat to watch the older ones run off in search of eggs. There were a couple eggs that talked as well.  “Come find me! I’m over here!”  Maggie was able to find one near the fence pretty quickly, and she was satisfied.  Once she had an egg she was happy. 

Watching the other kids was just a treat. One girl, maybe 10 years old, walked close by us near the end of the hunt and told us she’d found 14 eggs, then asked us to point her in the direction of more.  Her dad had put a blindfold on her younger sister so that she had the same advantage as the other kids in finding the eggs. It was really cool to watch the blind sister help her seeing sister find eggs.

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One of my favorite things was having Maggie show her cane to the older children.  It’s the smallest cane that Laurie (Orientation and Mobility specialist) has ever made.  They were all so surprised at how small her cane is!  One boy, about 7 years old kept saying, “Wow, mine is much bigger than this. It’s just so small!”  Here’s Laurie and Maggie.

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Maggie and Daddy.  They had a great little play structure in their yard. It was the perfect place to hide the eggs for the older kids.DSC_0230-2

Easter Sunday we had a little get together at our house.  Brandon’s cousin and his family came over, as well as our neighbors.  DSC_0926-2We love our little one. She’s just so sweet!DSC_0909-2DSC_0901-2We had a little egg hunt in the yard for the girls; 2, 2 1/2 and 3 years old.  Maggie found 2 eggs this time!  DSC_0874-2I left one out after packing up all the Easter d├ęcor.  Maggie still asks me to hide it for her to find. She really enjoys it.  They’re really just small maracas anyway.

Family fun times!

So my sister Alecia made the awesome decision to serve a mission for our church. She will be gone for a year and a half to Indiana to teach people the joy of the gospel.  I decided I wanted to see her again before she left, so Maggie and I took a trip to Utah.  Maggie did really great on the plane.  We talked about it a lot the few days before we left. So going was neat, she used her cane to feel all the different things in the airport and a bit of the airplane.  She fell asleep about half way through the flight, so that made it even easier.

We were able to spend time with a lot of family, playing games and chatting.  Maggie loves her aunts, I think mostly because they love her so much.  I honestly didn’t see my daughter for the couple days we were there unless she was screaming or sleeping.  We got to go to the fantastic dinosaur museum at Thanksgiving Pointe.  DSC_0176!Maggie had a great time, especially digging for dinosaur bones in the sand.  Here she was picking it up and sprinkling it on her knee and laughing. She’s so funny! 

DSC_0260-2We finally got a picture with her and her Jeffery Great Grandparents.  They are always so kind to let us stay with them when we come visit.  Someday I’ll grow up to be like them.  Totally selfless and very family oriented.DSC_0268!After Alecia was seen off to the Missionary Training Center, my family drove Maggie and I back home.  The kids are all on spring break, so they decided to finish it off in California; a good choice in my opinion.  We stopped at Sutter’s Mill and did a bit of panning for gold.  This is a huge passion for my dad, so he had a lot of fun.  I even found a few tiny flakes!  Maggie just had a fabulous time walking around in the gravel.  She loves the sound, and picking up the small rocks.DSC_0414!Once home we did some touring of the city.  Stopping at the beach, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, DSC_0595!and even venturing into a submarine!DSC_0708-2

DSC_0720-2DSC_0744-2All in all, Maggie was glad to be home again, and very glad to spend time with her Grandma Jeffery.DSC_0749-2I love family.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

We are blessed

So we're at the park. Maggie is having a session with Laurie, her orientation and mobility specialist. It's been great! We've talked about all the different things we're walking on - grass, gravel, cement, finding twigs and dandelions. Lots of fun. Laurie brought out an adult cane so Maggie could hear her tapping and follow after. A park maintenance man is driving through and asks us to move off the trail so he can get out. No biggy, we move to the grass. He parks the truck, and come asks if we're doing a lesson. Why yes, we are.

Now I really like it when people show interest in Maggie and her adorable cane and want to know more. I like helping people to understand that not everyone is made the same, and it's ok. That they don't need to treat Maggie any different, and that she's super smart. Also, she's blind, not deaf. You don't need to yell for her to understand. That's a different topic though.

This man whispers, "Is she blind?" Now, she is walking with her cane, and Laurie has a cane as well. What else would be happening?

Eyes rolling in my mind, "Yes, she is."

"Wow!" He mouths. "Can I ask an off the wall question?"

"Sure." I'm expecting: how did this happen or can they fix it, but no, he wants to take a picture.

He's asking Laurie, who points to me, and explains that I'm the mom, it's up to me. Having never been asked this, I hesitantly say yes. Maybe he's just a picture person, someone who tries to document everything he sees. She's cute, and it's different to see someone so little with a cane.

Then he proceeds to tell me, "I want to put it on my wall at home, to remind my family that it could be worse."

...

WHAT???? EXCUSE ME?!?

Things are not worse for us. Things are awesome for us! Things are sometimes a little bit difficult, but they are not worse. We have happiness and health; family and friends that love us. We have a church that teaches that we are here for a reason, that life on Earth is a part of God’s plan, and that we can find happiness if we only look for it.  I’m married to my best friend.  He has a great job that he loves, and makes enough money that I am able to stay home to raise our daughter. How lucky is that? We have incredible support from the schools in this area, giving Maggie everything she needs to learn how to understand and navigate this crazy, scary world.  Best of all, we have Maggie.  She is so bright and happy, so full of joy.  She is interested in everything, wants to learn more and more, to see how much information she can shove in that cute little head.  From what I can see, she knows no limits. She’s so brave, so loving. We love her so much. How could you not? Look at this face! DSC_0600 After getting over my shock, I said to that man, “It’s not worse, Maggie shows us how to make the best of everything.  She’s so happy.”

I’m satisfied in my response, I guess.  I just wanted to let him know we don’t think of it as worse. I wanted to tell him everything I just said, but I don’t have the courage to confront people in that way.  He stayed for a few more minutes, watching and talking with Maggie. She walked over to him and just started talking away, then shook his hand when he left. She is teaching me already.  I was so frustrated with him, I needed to just let it go.

This wasn’t the first time someone said something stupid, and it wont be the last. People say things not meaning anything negative or harmful, those don’t hurt, they usually just make me smile a little. It’s when people tell me its so sad, so heartbreaking, so terrible. It’s not. Why would you say that? Is that how you want me to think of it? I’m not ever going to. We are a happy group. To quote a friend, don’t poop in my cheerios. ;)

Forgive and forget. Move on, and remember the happiness and blessings.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Scrapes and Screeching

A few weeks ago at school Maggie was walking in the little playground, just 10 feet from me. I thought, “She’s getting near the edge, I’ll go get her soon so she doesn’t fall.” And in one quick moment, she had turned toward the edge, run to it, flipped over it and landed face first on the concrete. Yay! Tears and crying with guilt all around; the result, a scraped up face.

 

As you can tell, she’s really torn up about it. :)scratch1The day after. Not so bad. Not much left of the forehead. It scabbed on her nose a few days after but we’re all good now (three weeks later) It’s amazing how something so little can get my heart pumping so quickly!

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So I’m pretty sure she loves the sound of herself screeching.  It’s the one sound Brandon won’t tolerate coming out of our kids.  We’ve been working on ways to convince her to stop.  She knows we don’t like it. Things she says after she’s done it, “Screeching is a bad choice.” and “What’s the rule with shreeking? Don’t do it.” And my all time favorite, to the song – “If you’re happy and you know it, no more shreeking, no more shreeking.”  We’ve been putting her in time out if she goes overboard, which is a good motivator, because she hates it. 

I learned from my friend Monica, to make her stand with her hands against a wall.  This way she can’t be holding any toys, has to stay standing and for seeing kids, they can’t see what’s going on around them and get distracted.  It’s very effective. I heard recently though that you shouldn’t put your children in time out because it’s an unrelated consequence to their action. Sigh. So what is a related consequence to not wanting to go outside or come back inside if she’s out? Or really to any change happening to her situation.

How do you discipline your children?