Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow Days

Note from Peanut:
It snowed in southern N. Carolina today...

I didn't know what to do with the day, except stay inside, keep warm, and oh maybe drink from my Nuby cup by MYSELF! I only took 1 little sip, but I held the cup all by myself and everything! Before long I'll be holding my cup in the morning when I eat breakfast and even on long car rides when we go up north.

Note from Patti:
I've been working so hard to get Peanut to hold her own cup and just this morning she decided she'd give it a try without any help from me. She picked her little cup up by the handles brought it to her mouth and took a big sip. Of course I've been trying to get a picture for proof all morning, but she only did it that 1 time. Every moment she gets a little closer. I couldn't be more proud of her right now. But who knows, maybe she'll decide to crawl today too...

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy Heart Day

Today is exactly 1 year from the date that Peanut endured open heart surgery at just 4 months old. It seems so long ago, yet when I look at the pictures post-surgery it still brings a surge of emotion to the forefront of my thoughts. A year ago today, Peanut was given the opportunity to be a strong baby: to thrive, to endure, and to live the life God blessed her to live. Peanut is doing unbelievably well. She is strong, healthy, and happy. Today, Bradley and I are thanking the Lord with all we have for everything that Peanut has accomplished in her short little life. She's a beautiful testament of God's love for His creation. She embodies a spirit of love and hope which is evident each time she shakes her little shake and smiles her warming little grin.

Peanut had open heart surgery at 4 months old. It was a day that I would never ever wish upon my worst enemy. The emotional roller coaster of that day, and those leading up to it, are more taxing than anything I have yet to experience. We had family and friends for support, but no one could provide the same comfort as giving it to God. And all in all, she survived and so did we. We left the hospital with her 5 days after her surgery with tears of happiness in our eyes.

Peanut is a blessing to our lives and to those that she comes in contact with. To those that may be reading this that are awaiting a major surgery for your little one, please know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The road isn't always easy, but it's a road that God knew you could handle. Find peace in His grace and mercy and rejoice in knowing your little one is safe in His care.

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Anyone for a game of telephone?

Yep, telephone...

First I talk...

Then it's your turn...

That's telephone. :-)

Thanks for playing!

Friday, January 15, 2010


Lack of communication could be considered a leading cause of frustration for anyone who has something to express and is unable to do so.
Help Me Grow explained to Bradley and I, way back when, that the first signs of communications was Peanut mimicking our mouth movements. They suggested doing oral motor exercises such as opening and closing our mouths, blowing kisses to her, and even sticking our tongue out at her. Help Me grow explained that the goal of these different exercises was for her to mimic our actions. And she did!

Then enter sign language, an invaluable tool, in my opinion. I have worked with several non-verbal children throughout my time as a behavioral therapist. When I found out that Peanut had Down Syndrome and that many children with DS will have a delay in verbal skills, I knew that I wanted to teach her sign language.

I really felt that just the basics were necessary since the ultimate goal is for her to use spoken language, but I can't deny the fun we are having learning new words together. Way back when, we really only used mama, dada, and eat. She slowly started picking up signs and the first one that she used consistently was "all done". She very quickly realized that if she didn't want to read, play, or even eat she could sign "all done" and that would be the end of it. As a result, we have very few tantrums because she is able to express when she's had enough of this or that.

Peanut is about 16 months old and has a variety of words in her repetoire now: all done, mama, dada, eat, drink, more, bath, apple, kiss, sleep, and milk. She has also started stringing words together. For example, she will sign "more eat" and "drink milk". Pairing words is a huge accomplishment for any child at 16 mo. old, so we are very proud of her.

I started early with sign language. We have flashcards (either that I've made myself or bought) throughout the house labeling items that are common place. I use sign language when I talk to her, even if she doesn't know that particular sign yet. I've found Babies First 100 to be a great resource for me to learn new words. For Christmas, Peanut received 3 Signing Time videos that Peanut and I both enjoy watching.

Here's a picture of Peanut signing sleep when is was her nap time.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Using the "r" word

Upon reading one of the many blogs I follow last night I was reminded of how much I dislike the "r" word. I am saddened when people use it for comic relief or as simple slang. I'm sure I used this word in the past without a second thought and that saddens me more than anyone might ever understand and the fact of the matter is that words hurt. Anyway, I don't always have the best approach for talking to people about things that have hurt me but I stumbled across this letter that a blog-friend wrote to her friends and family. I liked ti so much and thought it was direct, yet kind. I asked her permission to re-post the letter to my blog to encourage my friends, family, and anyone else that might stumble here to stop using the "r" word, so here it is...

hi everyone,
i was hoping i could ask you all to try something for me. first if your not aware october is Down syndrome awareness month:) not sure if you all know but with the diagnosis of Ds the child will have mild to moderate retardation, so on behalf of that, well and the sake of my feeling and my sons,... i was hoping you all (not saying anyone does) could not use the word "retarded" or "retard" as slang.
i know that before max i wasn't really aware of what that word really means and how much it hurts loved ones and people with mental and physical retardation to hear. i don't mean to lecture or offend anyone, and i know it seems like now a days you have to be careful to say anything, but i was hoping for me (a friend) you all could just work on your awareness of how and when you use that word. and to say... please don't use that word around me and my son wouldn't have the full effect as to try to not say that word at all, to only do it half way kind of defeats the purpose, at least that's the way i look at it. i really hope people (you.. my friends) don't feel i am over doing "my child has a disability" but I really feel everything i do is for my kids, and sure i didn't plan on have a baby with Ds, but i do so that changes things for me and i guess for the people who love me (that's you) at least i feel it should. so if you all could just try this out for me i would greatly appreciate it.

oh one last thing is to not feel bad if you let the word slip at first to change a habit is hard especially one that your not fully aware of. the big thing is that you'll try, it would mean the world to me.
-your friend

Thank you for taking the time to try to change a bad habit,

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Sunday, January 3, 2010


I'm really excited about this year to come, well maybe just for the end of this deployment. It's ironic that last year around this time Bradley and I were anxiously, yet patiently waiting for Peanut to undergo heart surgery. We were torn between wanting her to be healed and not wanting her to undergo such an invasive procedure at just 4 months old. She had her surgery on Jan 26th. Now this year, Peanut and I and anxiously and impatiently waiting for Bradley to return from this deployment. This is his 4th tour including several separations because of school or training commitments. Bradley and I have spent more time apart than we have together, but this was the 1st time he left not only me, but a baby behind. It has been a learning experience for both of us and I hope we won't have to endure another tour for at least little while anyway. I've taken endless pictures and sent many updates so he knows all about what Peanut and I have been up to, but nothing can compare to actually having him here. Yay for this year to come! My family will be back as one! ;-)

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Soon to be crawler

I posted a couple of weeks ago a short video of Peanut rocking on her knees, with my assistance. She's been having some trouble pulling her left leg out from under her. I've been pulling her leg out to help her figure out what to do with that little leg of hers. She's slowly but surely getting the idea. As she's learning to pull her legs out from under her and rock on all fours, she's being set up to crawl. She's not quite there yet, but she's so very close.

Now, people have been telling me since she was 10 months old that she was so close to crawling. Therapists, family, whoever; mainly based on her age and what other kids would be doing around that age. I agreed and simply pushed it off because I really didn't think she was there yet. But now, I see a light. This evening she pulled herself across the length of our upstairs hallway. It's not a huge hallway, but it's a good distance and she did it. All by herself! I see her low crawling and rolling and pulling her little legs up under her. She's really so close now. Please say a quick prayer for my little peanut.

The hallway we were practicing in

Pulling her knees under her

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Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

What a year indeed. Complete with buying a new home, moving to another state (again), a deployment, and Peanut's heart surgery. It was a full year indeed. I'm looking forward to 2010 and the excitement that is has to offer. Bradley will be back home, Peanut is healthy and happy, and I am just me. Happy 2010 to all my blogland friends.

My New Year's Resolution: To let it go and give it to God. If I've ever been hurt by someone or something I am challenging myself to "let it go". When I struggle and fall down and look back with sadness, I will "give it to God" If I've ever hurt you, said something out of turn, or just been wrong about this or that I challenge you to "Give it to God and let it go". He's more powerful and compassionate than we will ever be, but with him we will all be empowered to live in his image. Let us all be redeemed in 2010!

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