A Journey with Love and Laughter

Read about our family as we journey through life as a family, with siblings, school and spina bifida, and lots of fun and laughter along the way!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Reading and Writing

Nick continues to work on his typing.
He has to write out at least one sentence and some sight words and then can also write out what he wants. We set up the computer when he is doing his bathroom routine.

March 13:
I went on the rides.

At school he uses a program called WordQ. It cues what he is typing and he can use the mouse to hover over the word and it will read it out. If the correct word is there he can either click on it or pick the number with it.

March 14:
I want to grow up to be a ninja turtle.
Nickolas Ridding 

We did the words a couple of different ways. The sight words he would pick which ones and copy down. That was working on his typing and learning where the keys were.

March 16:
I went to the museum with Jennifer, Devon, Lucas and Katheryn.
I liked the mummies.

But we also worked on sentences; what did Nick want to write about? What did he do today?

March 19:
I went to the movie theatre with Daddy, Austin, and Uncle Brad.
We saw Sponge Bob Squarepants.

He also liked writing his name, and Katheryn's name. Katheryn is one of his first words that he knew how to spell. One day I was bringing him downstairs and he just started naming off the letters of her name. I had to get him to repeat it before I realized what he was spelling.

March 20:
I went to McDonalds 

As he got better at the typing I stopped helping him as much with the letters. Instead of asking him what he wanted to spell out and telling him the letters for him to find, we started sounding out his words.

March 22:
I went to grandma ridding apartment
I had an Easter egg hunt

Maddi and Austin came for dinner

I have noticed a huge improvement in his spelling with this. All day we work on spelling like this. And it works, of course, the other way around too. With his reading. Sounding out letters and words.

Our newest word to sound out... and Nick did it successfully... is Booyakasha

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Lost Tooth

The day came today that Katheryn has been waiting for, for over a year!
Her first lost tooth!

All of her friends at school have lost multiple teeth and she wanted to join the toothless-smile club. But at almost 7 years old, her teeth are stubborn and just did not want to budge (Nick's are the same, not showing any sign of being loose at 5 1/2).

But a month ago whether determined by nature or accident (there was an incident with Katheryn holding onto her seat belt with her teeth) she finally had a wiggly one.

And at a family dinner it finally came out! Katheryn was on the lookout and said she thought it might come out because "Papa Bartley always makes lots of food".
And it came out with a mouth full of food. So I made her spit out her food (which grossed out Uncle Jamie) and we found it. (and yes that is an Elsa costume she is wearing... just because)

 Katheryn was very excited to put it under her pillow before going to bed. The tiny tooth is under there.

Kyle and I were not sure what the going rate for the Tooth Fairy is. All we could remember was the Modern Family episode where $100 was accidentally left by the Tooth Fairy (and this is a favorite show of Katheryn's).

I thought the Tooth Fairy would leave a loonie and Kyle thought $5. And of course a new toothbrush. So I googled it and found it is a common question (I think I got 25 cents). In the end the Tooth Fairy decided the first tooth is special and left a nice crisp $5 bill, brand new toothbrush and a certificate (in the shape of a tooth of course)

 The toothfairy was even nice enough to leave the tooth for mommy to keep.
Katheryn was very excited when she woke up and saw what the Tooth Fairy had left for her

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Social Butterfly

Katheryn's birthday party is coming up in a couple of weeks. She got to pick 5 friends from school to come.
She came home after she handed out her invites to say that she wrote out invitations for 3 other kids and invited them. So we made 3 actual invites for these kids as well. Katheryn came home from school with 3 other hand-written invitations from other kids including a birthday in June, November and no date, but at one boys house #22.

We were home one evening and I answer the phone and hear this little voice say "hello". In the background I hear a mom say "ask for Katheryn".
Katheryn got her first phone call!

Katheryn was funny on the phone. Bluntly saying "who is this?" and then "what do you want?"
The conversation improved after that.
We put the phone on speaker because Katheryn was having problems hearing her.
And I got to listen to the cute conversation as the 2 girls made plans for the next day.

I didn't actually realize that her first social call was a milestone.
But it totally was! (at least from the parent perspective)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Teddy Bear (and turtle) clinic

We got to go to the Teddy Bear Clinic again. We went to the first one 2 years ago, and missed the one last year when the kids were sick. They were very disappointed and have been talking about the Teddy Bear clinic.

Since it is at my work. I'll put a plug in for Rouge Valley Health System.
The teddy bear clinic is held annually at Rouge Valley (this is the 3rd year) for children to learn and interact with routine medical procedures as their teddy bears get checked out.

First Elsa bear and Raph got signed in and we wrote out their arm bands

Measurements and weight were taken

And some vital signs.
Temperature and blood pressure, and Nick listened to his heart

They had some toys to help to breathe and use muscles.
After surgery it's important to take big breaths. And Child Life Specialists (like Alex who put the whole clinic on) have fun ways to help breathe and distract from pain.
When Nick had his surgery in August, I talked with Alex about some resources she had to help with the recovery.

We learned about taking blood and started an IV on Raph as well

Then it was time to learn about surgery. Nick was not very interested in the surgery table. Been there done that, I guess.

Nick dressed his Turtle up in the funny hat and mask that Mommy got to wear.

We practiced giving medicine to Raph

We also did some testing. Looking at what a CT scanner is like.

And looked at some cool pictures of the brain.
I talked to Nick about the ventricles in the picture and what his were.

They also got to put on a cast, and play with the casting material.

We also did some testing. Looking at what a CT scanner is like.

And looked at some cool pictures of the brain.
I talked to Nick about the ventricles in the picture and what his were.

There was a local photographer taking pictures for the Scarborough Mirror. He took some pictures of Nick at the CT pictures, and Katheryn at the surgery table.

Kyle said that the clinic was very unlucky for the bears. They went in for just a check-up and left with surgery and casts and IVs and had CT scans done.

Until next year!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Swimming lessons

We signed Nick up for swimming lessons for the winter.
This is the first alone lesson. We have always done mom -child classes, but he has outgrown that.
Group classes, and even semi-private classes are out of the question. He needs someone one-on-one who is there with him all the time.
So we booked Grandview special needs private swim lessons. So it is individualized and with people who have experience with different needs and abilities.
Nick has been very interested in swimming. He loves being in the water. He swims every week at school, and in the summer at the cottages.
He is independent in the water with his floaties on.
These pictures are from parents day when we were allowed to take pictures (and sent Katheryn out with the camera)
I want to see how we can get him out of his floaties. And he doesn't use floaties in his swim lessons.
He still needs support to keep up and concentrate on his kicking, but not too much support.

Nick has been using pool noodles to give the support but still let him put his face in the water and move his arms.
And he can balance in the water with this decreased support to move himself.

Putting his face in the water is one of the goals. Nick will do everything to try to trick and not put his face in the water.

He is getting stronger and more comfortable in the water. He isn't relying so heavily on his floaties and in the shallow water he moves around without anything on.
Nick has also been floating on his back and front, kicking and swimming. His arms he doesn't move so much still.


We got Nick's report today, he is in the Sea Otter level in the preschool Swim Kids, and has a couple of things to complete to finish it.

We have signed him up again for the spring swimming session. His goals that are left for the Sea Otter badge (or sticker) are front float and recovery, front glide, back glide and 1m front swim.

 We have signed Katheryn up for swimming in the spring as well. Unfortunately on different days (Grandview swim is only on Friday). Seeing how well Nick is doing with private lessons, we decided do private for Katheryn as well.

The kids are looking forward to all the swimming the will get this summer!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Writing and Education

We've had the finale of our appointments from last month. We had psycho-education testing 

The writing aids appointment is with an occupational therapist. We brought some writing samples and times with us. She did some testing to see how Nick was typing and his typing speed to be able to compare it.

In the end we got to take home a computer that is similar to his computer at school. We want to practice daily and use sight words and practice typing.
Nick has an hour of time in the evening that is perfect to set up the computer and let Nick type.

This is an example of what Nick has typed

Nick spends some time looking for the letters, but he is liking doing typing and is motivated.

The key to everything involved with Nickolas is motivation.
Nick has to want to type and write. And even if it took 45 minutes to get that sentence and words out, he still did it. And was so proud of himself!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Katheryn's Day Out

Katheryn has been feeling a little left out lately.
Nick has had a bunch of appointments and missing school. When that happens I try to make it fun for him, but that means that Katheryn thinks that appointments are fun. And she wants some.

School is not a problem. Katheryn is doing great, all of her work comes home at 100% and her report card was great. So we asked Katheryn where she wanted to go for a day out.

She picked the CN Tower. Nick went in November after an appointment and a day on the town.

Katheryn was very excited to be out with just Mommy and Daddy. I know that she feels left out sometimes and it makes me sad. I know that I can't take her with us for every appointment, but Kyle and I can try to balance my time between both kids.

Katheryn had a great time with both her parents to herself!

She was much braver than I was in regards to the glass floor!

Even pretended that she was falling!

She was reassured that the floor would be strong enough to hold 35 moose

We had fun looking at all of the buildings we knew in the area. And this was our view for lunch

 I wanted a picture with Katheryn as well.... this is her no more pictures face.

Katheryn really enjoyed her day out!