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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Learner's Permit

Emma has been spending a lot of time in her power chair now that we have the fancy new minivan to help transport it.  She is getting really good at driving it and I've started to let her drive herself around indoors in areas where there is a lot of room - like Target, hospitals, the mall, etc.  These are harder areas to navigate since there is not as much room for error as there is with the great outdoors and Emma is rising to the challenge.

Here are some videos taken of her driving.

The first one is from April and we were in Target.  You can see she isn't driving much and had a harder time hitting the switches in her head rest to move the chair.  We adjusted the head rest a bit and it helped her get better with driving.

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The second and third are of her driving in the hospital hallway while Julia was doing a physical therapy session.  As you can see she is doing much better and is interested in getting up close to things and touching them.  In the one video she stopped at the wall and touched it and the railing.  She is very curious about touching things since she now has the power to do that in her power chair.  I had no idea she wanted to touch so many things or I would have had her touching things before!

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I have more videos of her outside but the computer is slow today.  Right now we are at the point where she can drive from the back of our driveway to the front.  This is major progress.  She also has been driving around outside near the kids when they are playing without running them over (mostly....I keep the kill switch close at hand to ensure no casualties!).  The one thing she keeps wanting to do is drive out in the street so we are working on teaching her no street.  It's funny - she is going through the same stages using her power wheelchair that toddlers go through when they start to walk.  They bump into things and learn how to avoid bumping into things.  They try and run in the street and {hopefully} learn not to go in the street.  They run away when parents tell them to come here and Emma is doing all of this.  When it was time to come in the other day and Chris told her to drive to the back of the house Emma drove in the other direction because she didn't want to come in!  And she gets mad when we take control of the chair to move her somewhere she doesn't want to go.  Emma is starting to get the hang of navigating herself in this world and it's so wonderful to see!

Of course, when there are people to be watched she often comes to a dead stop to observe all the going ons but even that is starting to get better, too!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Warp Speed

Where to start???  Maybe I should update the header to reflect the scorching temperatures we are seeing now rather than the blizzards we had in the winter?  Not tonight...

This spring flew by at warp speed.  Here are some highlights:

Julia made her First Holy Communion and we had a gathering of friends and family at our house afterwards to celebrate the big day.


Julia's softball season and Emma's baseball season ended on high notes.  Both girls loved playing with their team and enjoyed all the action associated with it.  They also enjoyed the snack bar at the field, as did nearly all the other children that attended games from what I could see!


Julia completed 2nd grade and is now officially a 3rd grader.  That time sure is going by fast!  So fast, in fact, that I didn't get an individual last day of school photo - gasp :-)  I did manage to capture a last day of school with one of her best buddies while they were all smiles.  Her buddy is moving to a different school next year and the day turned to tears since they will miss each other.  We assured the girls that we will continue to plan play dates and have had a couple including a sleepover already.  

Julia started making her "special desserts" after dinners.  One night she made strawberry shortcakes and it quickly turned into some fun with our food.  I love silly second - oops, third! - graders!


Emma graduated from Kindergarten.  She will start 1st grade at our {more} local school in a mainstream classroom and will have her language arts and math classes with the children in the learning specialist classrooms.  It covers the same curriculum as the classroom but goes at a slower pace which will allow more time for Emma to hear and process the information through her CIs and then respond at her slower pace due to her slower motor control.  We are praying that her 1:1 aide will be hired by the district to work with Emma again, but that is very much a prayer at this point in time.  Emma did a tour of the school and met the learning specialist teacher and told us that she is "excited" about her new school.  Emma is doing well with telling us her feelings on her talker - and that has me excited!




We found out that the tenants that were renting our old house bought a new one.  We decided to list the house for sale again in the hope that are hoping for a quick and uneventful road to a sale and settlement.  So far, it's not as quick as we hoped but we are still optimistic.


I ran a 5K!  Chris loves running and has been asking me for a couple of years to start running so he could cheer me on at the finish line.  This year I have been focusing on my physical health and decided to go ahead and put aside my hate of running and surprise him by running a 5K race as a Father's Day present.  I used the Ease into 5K program that is an app for my iPhone and only told him about it a week before the race.  He didn't believe me at first and was really excited when he realized it wasn't a joke.  After running for about a month I joined up with my neighbor and we try and run together since we run at a similar pace.  We entered and ran the race together and probably had the biggest cheering section as our families came out to cheer us on!  The girls joined in the fun by participating in the children's race that went off before the 5K.  It's was a lot of fun and I'll probably enter another race in the Fall when the weather is a bit cooler.

We had the opportunity to go to a Phillies game with our support group from the hospital.  We were able to spend some time on the field and meet a few players and talk with our host, Ryne Sandberg and his wife Margaret.  They were so nice and easy to talk to and it was an amazing opportunity and fun night out!  The Phillies won in extra innings - 5 extra innings to be exact.  Needless to say we didn't stay for the entire game but were happy to hear we won when we checked in the morning.

We have also been busy checking out a couple new exhibits at the local science museum, attending summer parties, a fundraising event for a local charity, a family wedding and a couple wedding showers, along with spending long nights outside listening to the neighborhood children play and giggle and ask if they can stay out just a little bit longer.

Yes, our life is full.  No wonder I haven't sat down and updated this blog!  We are hoping you are having a similarly fun summer!