Tuesday, July 31, 2012


It feels like all I'm hearing about lately is back-to-school stuff.  But I don't feel a bit like we are ready for back-to-school and that's fine since the girls won't start the Fall semester for at least another 4 weeks.  That leaves us time to:

  • Get Emma's secondary health insurance (Medicaid) reinstated.  Apparently our state thinks she moved out of the state and kicked her off.  We didn't move and have no plans to leave the state now or in the future, so of course we filed an appeal along with paperwork proving we still live here.  Nothing has happened since I filed so that warrants more trips to the public assistance office, calls to advocacy groups and me growing more gray hairs.  Fingers crossed this is cleared up.....again.  Yes, again.  They did the same thing in April 2012 - 3 months ago - but they responded quickly to my appeal then.  Why do they keep thinking we are moving?  
  • Finish up Emma's re-evaluation for her IEP.  I wanted her to stay in the developmental delay classroom since she really started to make progress on her goals and have a major focus on communicating with the ECO2 communication devic(WHY oh WHY does her Medicaid have to pick now to kick her off?  Right when we are in the process of trying to give her a voice via the ECO2 with ECOpoint computer???!!!!!).  The team was in support of this.  I also want to supplement that with with a wonderful typical preschool program I found in our neighborhood a few days a week.  The school is a great fit except it seems like I can't garner support for a one-on-one aide for the typical preschool placement - and Emma needs a 1:1 in order to participate in the curriculum.  Apparently the school is by law required to only support one placement.  We are working this all out and will need to agree to a placement soon if Emma is to start school on time.  We also need to revise her IEP since it expires the first week in September.  I see even more gray hairs in my future!  Stay tuned....
  • Take a vacation.  We didn't take one yet outside of a day trip here and a night away there.  We have something planned for August and are looking forward to a bit of time away.  Some sun, fun on the beach, a few drinks and maybe I can fend off all the gray hair trying to sprout from my head!
  • Make a little money.  I'm thrilled that I'm now working part-time for a former co-worker at a really cool company!  The work should take a few months to complete so I'm not getting back into working full-time or even for an extended period of time.  This will be just enough to get my feet wet in corporate America again while still managing to keep the girls out of day care - something very important to both me and Chris since feel Emma is making the best progress under our care.  And I'll be honest and say that it will be helpful to have the extra money.  The nice thing is that if the company likes my work and I enjoy working for them there could be the opportunity to extend the project to other areas.  For now I'm taking it one thing at a time.....
These girls are worth all the advocacy, sleepless nights and gray hairs.  Don't you agree?!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Back Out and About

This weekend we had some rain which brought a bit of cooler weather.  Thank goodness because for the first 19 days of July only 2 days were less than 90 degrees and there were many days over 100.  Our poor Finnegan pretty much had to hang inside the house with our window air conditioning units on and only went outside for ridiculously brief walks before she begged to go back home.  

We were a bit antsy to get out of the house for some exercise so we headed out for a bike ride near the river.  It's one of our favorite family activities and this time we took a different path and found it was well suited for our picnic lunch.  While stopped for lunch I took a moment to capture some photos of the kids in a good mood.  Emma has not been her usual happy self for a few days and so it was nice to get outside and have her in a good mood.  Let's just say we all - including Emma - needed a break from her whining!

Julia also wanted to take photos so I showed her how to work my camera and she took to it immediately - snapping shots left and right.  Many of them were very good!  

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer Happenings

This summer is going by so quickly!  It doesn't hurt that we have been keeping very busy.  That is BUSY!  But in a fun way...my house is on the messier side, the kids are getting too few baths (isn't swimming all day long sort of the same thing???), clean laundry is more often than not pulled from a basket rather than the closet.  It's a summer for having fun and making lasting memories because the children will only be young for such a short time.

I've been taking lots of photos and am behind on editing them.  And I totally fine with that!  But I do want to share with you some of our fun in photos - edited or unedited, I don't mind!

First up:  The Beach.
We had loads of fun at the beach and boardwalk in early June.  It was one of those days where I had a great book in hand, the girls were watching a movie on the iPad in the back, and Chris was left to deal with the traffic.  Seriously the best man EVER!  We got a spot on the same side as the beach, right in front of the handicapped access to the beach and directly across the street from the hotel Maura was staying at - and there weren't even stars out to align to make that happen!  The girls continued their love affair with the ocean and it couldn't be helped - the sun was hot, the water was refreshing without any jellyfish sightings and there was barely a seaweed strand in sight.  We hit the boardwalk in the evening and Emma loved all the lights and action.  Julia loved hanging out with her cousins.  And they both loved the rides.

Jumping the waves

Julia wrote out all our names
Daddy was the hero when he agreed to buy the girls popsicles.
Jumping the waves 
Playing a boardwalk game.  We didn't win.

Emma was so happy to ride the boats with Elizabeth

Next:  Dutch Wonderland
The truth about this amusement park is that it is perfect for little children and fantastic for parents.  It's just the right size to walk around, has plenty of rides you can go on as a family, and is not over-stimulating.  It's geared towards children probably aged 9 and younger?  I don't know, maybe a bit older?  What I do know is that I might shed some tears when my children outgrow this park.
They have a fabulous disability program where Emma gets a wristband and it allows her to go on rides from the Exit area without waiting.  You can also go on the ride 2x without getting off.  This is very convenient for a ride like the Log Flume that you can never get enough of!  I don't recommend using this option on the Tilting Turtles....trust me on that one!  As Emma gets bigger and heavier this sure is a perk.  Additionally, Emma can go on most of the rides there with the exception of the real kiddie rides where they go on by themselves.  Truthfully, though, the girls were't one bit interested in the "kiddie" rides.
As usual, we went up the day before and checked into a hotel to enjoy the Preview the Park feature of our entrance tickets.  You can enter the park 3 hours before it closes the night before you use the tickets for the day admission.  Since it was warmer and colder weather (horray!) planned for the following day we decided to use our preview time to hit the waterpark.  There is a lovely park with so much for little ones to do but our little ones were only interested in going down the enclosed water slide tubes.  Over and over and over again.  Thankfully, there were very few people there at the time of night we arrived so we didn't have to wait long at all to ride the slides.  There was only the matter of climbing the 51 steps with a wet, slippery, giggly, leg moving Emma.  We planned ahead for this and brought a backpack carrier for her, but since there wasn't really a line and it was a bit cumbersome to put her in and out of the carrier Chris decided that it was easier if he just carried Emma up for us.  I did carry her a couple of times to give him a break, but he did most of it and my back was thankful for that.  We took turns going down the slide with the girls as it was only a 2 person raft.  I think we went down that waterslide at least 10x until we were all exhausted and decided to call it a night.  There is a rule that you need shoes to go down the slide and Emma didn't have shoes.  Long story, but suffice it to say that she loves to leave a shoe behind everywhere we go - she has a major Cinderella complex!  The manager was called to see if they would make an exception so we didn't need to go back to the hotel and they were very nice to come and talk with us and provide Emma and exception.  The accommodations for children with disabilities at Dutch Wonderland is just wonderful.  Seriously!  Emma can go on so many rides there that she is turned away from on the boardwalk and carnivals.  Did I mention we love that place??!!!!

This year we went with friends and we had so much fun together!  The coasters and log flume were definitely favorites.  I think Julia went on the larger coaster about 7 times and Emma went on the smaller coaster at least 6x with Julia going on a few more than Emma.  We also went on the Log Flume 4x and the large slide for about 10 slides with Emma over the course of the day.  There are a lot of steps to carry her up but her giggle is more than enough payoff.  We had so much fun we'll have to see if we can get there again sometime later this summer.

The girls were excited to see Duke as we entered the park.

Most Days:  Lazy Mornings.
The girls like to sleep in when we don't have anything to do early in the day.  They also take a bit of time easing into the day.  They get that from me and I'm thankful that it is a trait we share.  I often find them relaxing with a show on the iPad together and Emma is getting really good at sitting in the corner of the couch spending this morning time with Julia.  They also like to sit in the recliner.  I captured this the other day - our messy house with my girls spending a quiet moment together in the morning.  I love this photo in that it gives a glimpse into our "down" time.

Once they are more awake they are sillier.  Like this:

And that's it for now.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Still Here

We're still here and I have loads that I can catch up on, but we've been busy having fun!  So, I'll make this a bit of an update in pictures.

Julia finished her first year of Kindergarten.  She has grown in ways I couldn't have imagined!  When asked about her favorite classes she remains a PE (gym) fan.  For her least favorite activity it was on Wednesdays when they go to the Meeting House for Meeting for Worship because "it's so boring just sitting there.  It's so hard to sit still."  Hopefully she'll grow to appreciate the silent worship in the coming years.

We had a few weeks break between the end of the school year and the start of camp today.  We spent it sleeping in, playing barbies, swimming, reading, and taking our usual field trips.  We've been to the beach, the boardwalk, on an Amish buggy ride and spent 1.5 days at Dutch Wonderland which really is a Kingdom for Kids that it professes.  We've partied with our neighbors and seen some fireworks and it's not even July 4th yet.  In short, it's been a blissful month!  I hope the remainder of the summer is as fun as it has started out.