Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Night Chit Chat: Valentine's Day

Hey Humble Readers...

I confess, I had a rough couple of days after Pippin's speech assessment.  I know that it's nothing but good that we are seeking help at this early stage, and that the likelihood is that he will be caught up developmentally by the time he starts school.  It was just difficult to know that my wee little mister is going to have a tougher road than I would have hoped. 

We have actually already seen a few small improvements in just the last few days of being very intentional with him.  He sort of plays peekaboo now, he can point to his ears when asked about half the time, and he's already vocalizing a bit more (that might just be wishful thinking on my part).  Pip also really got into watching some of the Olympic figure skating and would spin and spin until he fell down and then he'd laugh like crazy. 

Valentine's Day was a big hit in the hobbit hole.  Because we are housebound so much at this time of year, I really try to make the most of the small celebrations.  Anything for a break in the normal routine.  Ginny and I decorated the house with some craft foam hearts, and some sparkly heart garland (Thank heaven for the dollar store!).  We also created a little centerpiece for the table with some jars filled with cinnamon hearts (Ginny loves how they make her 'tongue tingle') and a little mailbox for their valentines. 
Our little centerpiece

The wee-ling's valentines were small bags of m&m's with a tag that said
"Mommy & Daddy love you more&more every day!"

I made a special dinner for us, crab Rangoon stuffed salmon, roasted potatoes, and steamed asparagus.  And for dessert, I made a chocolate espresso ganache tart topped with raspberries.  It was so yummy!  Both of the wee-lings chowed down like mad on all of it.  Pip particularly enjoyed the salmon (mental note - make more fish for my wee mister). 
Dollar store fake rose petals made for some fun times.

The ganache tart!  Yum!

My Beloved is now on vacation for a little over a week.  I'm so happy... between year end stress and overtime, and his course work, he has been stretched super thin lately.  Of course it doesn't help that he hasn't had a vacation since the summer of 2012 (other than when we went to K-town a year ago for GG's funeral, but I'm not counting that).  We've both been lazy the last couple of days, napping and not doing much except watching the Olympics.  We do have a few plans for this week, including a day out for the two of us without the wee-lings.  I'm also hoping to tackle a few of my bigger spring cleaning projects while he's home too. 

On to tonight's chit chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading - I finished the Sabrina Jeffries romance novel (not as enjoyable as some of her others), and then went on to read Escape by Carolyn Jessop, about her life in and escape from the fundamentalist polygamous Mormon sect where she was born and raised.  Her life truly was harrowing (married to a man more than 30 years her senior at age 18, as the fourth wife, she and her children were subjected to horrible emotional and physical abuse), and the fact that she managed to get out and gain custody of all eight of her children is nothing short of miraculous.  Now I'm re-reading Ride the Wind, a fictionalized account of Cynthia Ann Parker's life after she was kidnapped by the Comanche in the late 1800s. 

Watching - Downton, and I might watch an episode of Salvage Hunters from the dvr if I feel like staying up later. 

Listening To - My Beloved blow zerberts on Pip's tummy, Ginny singing bah-bah black sheep. 

Cooking/Baking - Tonight was a honey-garlic roasted chicken, mashed taters, roasted broccoli, and yorkies.  I'm looking forward to tomorrow night... I'm going to do a large pork shoulder low and slow in an apple cider braise, and we're going to have it for a few different meals.  Yum!

Happy I Accomplished This Week - Ummm... I can't think of anything.  How sad. 

Looking Forward To Next Week - going antiquing with my Beloved, getting a few things done around the hobbit hole.

Thankful For - My Beloved.  It was eight years ago on Valentine's day that we were matched on eHarmony, and I have been thankful every day since for his presence in my life. 

***Bonus Question***  If you could have Carla (our Chit-Chat host and seamstress extraordinaire) make you anything what would it be?  There's a really groovy wallet and cell phone case that I've seen on pinterest several times and I would love to have one.  And Carla always has the best combinations of fabrics, I'm sure she would do a beautiful job. 

This was posted as a part of Carla's Sunday Night Chit Chat.  Please click over and check out what the others are chatting about tonight. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Verdict

Hey Humble Readers...

Don't fall off your chair... Yes, I'm writing two days in a row. 

Pippin had his speech therapy assessment today.  The speech pathologist had him play with a couple of different toys, and asked me a lot of questions.  What sounds does he make when he's happy?  What types of sounds does he make when he's upset?  Does he like music?  Does he point out his body parts when asked?  Is he a loud little guy or is he quiet?  And on and on and on. 

She was particularly happy that I had brought a video of Pip making some of his usual sounds.  (Thanks again, Rain, for the suggestion!)

At the end of it all, we got her take on things.  Ultimately, it's a good news/bad news situation.  The good news is that we sought intervention early, as many parents wait until their children are three or older to seek help.  There are resources and support available, and we are willing to do the work. 

The bad news is that his speech is categorized as a severe delay, and his understanding delay is considered moderate. 

I have to say at this point that I feel slightly vindicated.  For several months I knew that something wasn't right, but so many people in my life told me not to worry, Pippin would talk when he was ready.  I knew that he was struggling, and I'm glad I pushed to get him assessed.  Trust your mommy-intuition!

The plan, for now, is pretty much centered on my Beloved and I.  We are going to be working on labeling everything in Pip's world... verbally, of course.  We had already been doing this a fair bit, but now it will be a lot more intensive.  The speech pathologist said that we'll be 'giving him the answers' rather than asking the questions (not asking 'what's this?' while holding his cup, but rather saying 'cup' over and over).  We need to simplify our communication with him, from sentences down to key words. 

She said that she really wants to see Pip using more gestures (he has only a handful of gestures that he uses regularly) and she wants him to be a noisier little guy.  We will be working on sounds (animal sounds, car sounds, etc) along with simplifying our communication with him.  Again, these are things were doing already, but just being much more intentional and intensive about it. 

Next, we are on the wait list for a three month program (called It Takes Two To Talk, from the Hanen Center), primarily for the parents, that will give us more in depth tools on how to help Pip.  It won't likely be until May or June before we are able to take part, but at this point I'm just glad that we have some forward momentum. 

Our speech pathologist really gave me a lot of really good feedback, and encouragement.  Ultimately, no one can make a child talk.  It's all about giving him opportunities to mimic and repeat what he hears.  Also, the fact that he doesn't talk is in no way an indication of a lack of intelligence.  He's a bright and curious little boy (I knew that, of course, but it was good to hear an impartial observer say it), and is just slow to talk. 

She's going to be sending a copy of her report to me and to Dr. B, our family doctor.  She told me to call if I ever have any questions, or am in need of suggestions, or just need to bounce ideas off her. 

Overall, I'm pleased with how things went today.  Did I like hearing that Pip's delay is indeed 'severe'?  Not even a little bit.  But I'm glad to know that we have a plan, and are moving forward. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sunday Night Chit Chat: Back Into The Deep Freeze

Howdy Humble Readers...

Whew, that was a rough week.  The crud that landed on my Beloved and I is finally starting to ease.  I can breath easily, but the cough still keeps me from getting a good night's sleep.  Thankfully, other than Pip getting a touch of the sniffles, the wee-lings have been relatively untouched this go round. 

Winter has decided that it's not done with the Shire, not by a long shot.  We have been under an extreme windchill warning for the last two days.  We haven't gotten much new snow at all since the beginning of January, but it's absolutely frigid out there.  We actually decided not to go to church this morning because, even though my Beloved and I are feeling moderately better, the prospect of bundling the wee-lings and ourselves up was just too daunting. 

I forgot to mention last week that Pippin's hearing test went really well.  He only missed one tone out of the whole test, and that was right at the beginning when he wasn't really sure what was going on.  We have his speech pathology assessment tomorrow morning, and I'm curious how they are going to help us help him.  I took Rain's advice and recorded Pip making many of his usual sounds to show the speech therapist. 

The wee-lings and I watched the opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics, and I made a bit of a game out of it with Ginny.  She has a placemat with a map of the world on it, so during the parade of nations she would try to guess where they were from.  She only knows a few countries (we added Russia to the list this week), but we had fun and it was a great way for her to get engaged with the Olympics. 

I was feeling well enough on Friday to go out with the girls to celebrate JJ's birthday.  We went to a new-ish place in town (I had a really good burger), to a movie (the Monuments Men... wonderful movie!  Made me so thankful that I've been able to see so many great works of art in museums around the world), and then out for drinks at an Irish pub with a VERY loud band.  We had a lot of fun and laughed a lot.  I always love getting to spend time with them. 

Potty training is still an ongoing process with Ginny.  I think we had a minor victory today.  Ginny claims that she 'went stinky' in the potty.  I was in the living room, and my Beloved was putting Pip down for his nap, so we don't know for sure (if she did, she cleaned herself up really well).  She's gotten very independent about going.  She usually only needs assistance with dealing with buttons and zippers after she's done.  She hasn't had a wet accident in weeks now.  Of course, we are still using diapers at night and nap time, and Pull-ups when we go out. 

Enough rambling.  On to tonight's chit chat.  Here's what I'm...

Reading - My reading binge has come to an end.  I haven't been able to focus on reading hardly at all this week.  I'm still reading the trashy romance that I started a week ago.  Now that I'm beginning to feel better, I'm hoping to get back into reading more.  Next on the list is a biography from a woman who left one of the polygamist sects we hear so much about in the news. 

Watching - Other than my usual Sunday night trip to Downton Abbey, I've been watching a lot of the Olympics.  I particularly enjoy the hockey and figure skating, but I was thrilled with the gold and silver medals won by the Dufour-Lapointe sisters in women's moguls. 

Listening to - I can hear my Beloved taping Pippin's diaper.  Yes, we've had to go back to using packing tape to keep him from taking his diaper off and making a huge mess. 

Cooking/Baking - Tonight was coffee braised short ribs with garlic mashed potatoes, roasted green beans, and yorkies.  I'm trying a couple of new-to-me recipes this week... chicken Florentine penne, and chili garlic pork.  I have a special dinner planned for Valentine's day, although I still need to decide what I'm doing for dessert for that night.

Happy I Accomplished This Week - Ummm, the wee-lings were fed, read to, and bathed.  Oh, and I managed to run the vacuum.  That's about it. 

Looking Forward To Next Week - Getting back into a normal routine, Pip's appointment tomorrow, and celebrating Valentines Day with the wee-lings. 

Thankful For - Relative good health.  I am such a wimp when I get sick, but knowing that it will go away and I will feel better is such a blessing.

***Bonus Question*** What lesson did you learn this week?  Never trust that a toddler won't do something just because it seems unlikely.  Pip, even with packing tape or duct tape over the tabs on his diaper, has once or twice managed to take his diaper off.  And he's fast about it too.  I'll put him in the playpen while I go to the bathroom or into the kitchen to make lunch, and in just that short amount of time he'll have his pants and diaper off, and have managed to make a mess for me to clean up. 

This was posted as a part of Carla's Sunday Night Chit Chat.  Pop over and check out what the others are chatting about tonight. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sunday Night Chit Chat... Sort Of...

Hey Humble Readers...

This won't be my usual recap of the week, or Sunday Night Chit Chat, as I am totally under the weather.  My Beloved brought home a wretched cold earlier this week, and it took up residence in my respiratory system a couple of days ago.  I'm a bit of a mess.  But all things considered, this is my first cold since October, so I'm thankful to have such a long stretch of relative good health. 

I've been reading a lot again this week.  I finished Blood by Lawrence Hill, and it was AWESOME!!  I loved it, and I so rarely read non-fiction.  I want to put some more thoughts together on it, and give you the full run down.  Then I went on to read The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom.  It was a very good story, although I thought that the actual writing was a bit weak.  Set in the late 1700, the primary character is a little Irish girl who loses both parents on the voyage to America, so the captain of the ship takes her to his plantation as an indentured servant. She's given to Belle, the slave who runs the kitchen house, and is raised by the slaves who work in the big house.  It follows Lavinia, the little girl, as she grows up trying to walk the line between the black family she loves and the white world where opportunities lie.  As I said, it was a good story, but I had some issues with the actual writing (choppy, repetitive in places, a lot of showing rather than telling).  Next, I'm onto a rather trashy romance novel, but it's light and entertaining. 

Well, that's about all I have the wherewithal to write tonight, Humble Readers.  I'm going to watch Downton and then head to bed.  Hopefully, I will sleep well tonight and feel a bit better in the morning.