Thursday, September 17, 2015

Our Wedding

To Mike,

I'm forever grateful for the years you and I have spent together and am so excited to see where this life takes us as husband and wife. How wonderful to think that God gave me you.  He let us cross paths right when I needed you the most, right when I felt least deserving of anyone like you- someone who is noble, stable, giving and trustworthy when it comes to a relationship.

I vow to never take you for granted, to always appreciate the way you live your life dedicated to Keegan and me, to always make sure your needs are cared for in the same, selfless way you care for mine, and to never fail to love you unconditionally. 

You are quite simply, my rock, my biggest fan and my number one supporter.  You believe in me and my wishes and goals, you strive to always make me feel happy and important and you are the reason I feel safe, secure and loved.  You are the definition of loyal, loving, dedicated and hardworking, everything a man, husband and father should be.  The effort you put into making your family your top priority is one of the most special qualities you have. 

I don't tell you enough how much I appreciate you.  You are the best partner I could have ever imagined and I'm beyond blessed that we get to do this married life together. Thank you for being the love of my life.  

P.S. I've never seen you look more handsome 

.. ( well,  except for maybe softball uniform season ;) ) I love you!

Beautiful Pictures by: Stesha Whitney Photography

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Preschool for the Win!

Honestly, all my worries and reservations about preschool seem so pointless and miniscule now that the first two weeks have passed us without tears.  I am so pleased with this outcome and could not be any more thankful.. fingers crossed for a wonderful year!
We made these cookies the day before preschool started,  as a snack for after the day was done.. A fool proof way to get him excited!
Keegan's first day went very well, and by that, I mean no tears when I left ;)  There were tears from Mommy as I was driving away but, hey, that is just a given.  The only time Keegan became upset was on the first day when it was time to put the toys away and join circle time.  Poor guy just loved all the new toys to play with! Lol Since that day though, there has been no trouble transitioning from activity to activity, and I even got a report today that transition to circle time was independent after clean up, meaning no coercing from the teachers to get him to come over.  

When I picked him up the first day, the only question he answered was what he ate for snack... "Cheese and Milk".. I acted excited but..... yuck.  Supposedly there were options of watermelon, cookies and cheese, but he only wanted cheese and milk, soooo... ;)

Keegan's therapist shortened her days coming to the house to a half hour a week, but she also spends a half hour or so at school on Thursdays to help bridge any gaps the teachers have with his speech and to help him with speaking to other kids (repeats what she believes he's saying.)  At this age, it is mainly parallel play but a lot of these kids are chatterboxes!  I cried happy tears while reading the first report I got back from his therapist about him interacting and speaking and playing with the other kids because that's what I was worried about the most!  Sometimes he is so reserved around new children and people and will often put his head down when people ask him a question.  I couldn't be more happy that it doesn't seem to be the case in school.
I've watched his every beat these past three years, I wish I could just peek through the window and watch him all morning.  *Crazy Mom*  I so love that our therapist is now my fly on the wall and reports back with what he played with, how he played, with whom he played with and my favorite, how he sang along and interacted during circle time!!!  Couldn't be more proud of him and I'm so excited to see where this school year takes his speech and confidence!!  

Some exciting speech realated things: Keegan's stutter has subsided for now (that was probably due to an abundance of new words into his speaking vocabulary and he just couldn't keep up fast enough .. pretty common with speech-kids like himself) and he has spoken his first sentence.. A question-sentence at that!!! He does a lot of "where" questions like "Where my 'pu-er' at?"  (computer, aka leap pad) "Where Bear go?" etc. Small but HUGE steps for my big boy!!

Thanks for everyone's reassuring and helpful words during the stressful days leading up to pre-school.  It was much needed and appreciated at that time.

Last minute laugh: I try to make an exciting breakfast for him on school days to make the day extra fun, and since I made this..
..he wants pancakes for every meal!  Fine by me ;)

Have an awesome weekend!

Friday, August 28, 2015

To My Baby- On Your First Day of Preschool

Well, here we go.  Your first day of preschool is upon us.  I’m not quite sure how this happened, since just the other day I was accepting your tiny body into my arms for the first time.
I was scared, then.  Were you?

It was a whole new world for both of us:  a world full of selflessness and exhaustion for me, a world full of uncertainties and helplessness for you, yet, that world we were scared of soon became a world full of life and vibrancy and smiles and giggles…
We made it through, didn’t we?
We figured things out and made it through together.  It was my job to comfort you, to love you, to sing softly and hum songs in your ear, to cradle you in my arms and assure you everything would be okay.  It was your job to giggle and smile and squeal with delight to assure me that we were doing just fine…

And… we made it through.

Now you and I are about to venture into a whole new world just as we did that day you felt my embrace for the very first time.  We were in that adventure together, weren’t we?  But, this is one adventure we will have to take separately, at least for a little while. 
You are about to enter a whole new world of school. 
A world where you will probably feel the same kind of uncertainty you felt your first day on earth, but I’m quite positive that your world of school will soon be filled with the same life and vibrancy and smiles and giggles that filled your world with me. 
I will still be there at the end of your day to hug you, to whisper comforting words and hum in your ear when things seem uncertain or you feel vulnerable.
And you know what?
I might need those hugs as well.  This is new for me, too.
You’re my first child and we’ve learned a lot in the three short years we’ve been together.  But, what I haven’t learned, is how to leave you in the care of someone new.  I don’t know how I feel about not being your only teacher.  I don’t know how I feel about not being available to be your voice when you can’t seem to find it yourself… 

But, we’ll both be okay, won’t we? 

You’ll make friends who will love your giggle and your mischievous grin and I’ll be happy to see you learn and thrive with others.  This is just one stepping-stone into the many new worlds you will face, and just so you know, as long as you need me, I’ll be there.  Maybe not at the exact moment you call or the very second uncertainties arise, but I’ll be there.  And although I won’t be showing it, I’ll probably be needing you, too. 
           Stesha Whitney Photography

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

If I Could Keep You Little..

So, I’ve been second-guessing my decision to send Keegan to preschool this year, like extreme, hard-core second-guessing: thinking about it all day, praying about it all night kind of thing.  This book, “If I Could Keep You Little” by Marianne Richmond, brought on an epiphany, one that I think I needed.
I had bought this book on a whim: cute illustrations, short n’ sweet, and it seemed to have a cute message, but what I didn’t realize until I finished reading with Keegan, was that it probably wasn’t made as much for children as it was made for mommy’s, just like me.  …Mommy’s who are sending their babies out into a different world for the first time, mommy’s who have a hard time wondering how their child’s going to do in the care of an unfamiliar teacher in an unfamiliar setting surrounded by unfamiliar children, or, Mommy’s who simply have a hard time wrapping their head around the fact that their children are growing up!  It’s really a good encouragement for all the in-denial or worrywart moms ;) Ugh, SO. ME. 

Just wanted to share this book and how it seemed to make its way into my life when I needed it to the most!
It was the kind of reassurance I needed, that I can’t keep him little, he needs to blossom himself, and a few hours a week away from me isn’t going to harm him………. 
It isn’t.
He’ll be okay.
 I’ll be okay.
BRB going to read the book again….

To my Keegan:

If I could keep you little, I’d keep you close to me.  But then I’d miss you growing into who you’re meant to be!
-“If I Could Keep You Little” by Marianne Richmond

-I can’t wait to see you become YOU!  Although you may still be “little” for a short while, bit by bit you will need me less and less, and that will be a bittersweet time for Mommy.   I can’t keep you little or close to me forever, but, I’ll always be there for the times you to decide you need to stay close to me.    

Love you, Mommy

Friday, August 7, 2015

Creamsicle Cookies

If you're craving a sweet, and creamy summer cookie, look no further!  This morning we made one of our favorite sweets, Creamsicle Cookies- all the flavor of the ice cream treat, packed inside a cookie.  
So easy and quick to prepare, the only thing you have to worry about is not eating the whole batch.  Seriously.

What you'll need:
1 box Duncan Hines Orange Supreme cake mix
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
6 Tbsp orange juice
white chocolate chips

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Mix the first four ingredients together
-Fold in the chips (I don't use a whole bag, probably 2/3)
-Bake 10-12 minutes and ENJOY! ;)

These are one of Keegan's favorite to help with because the steps are so simple.  We have, for the most part, been eating healthy and making wise food choices, but you have to indulge every once in awhile.  Why not treat yourselves!!

Have an extra sweet day ;)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Chores for Toddlers

While I don't have a set schedule for our days, I wanted to have something set in stone to help with Keegan's responsibility, helpfulness and independence, so I decided to assign him some CHORES.  What a dreadful word for me growing up but so far so good for our three-year-old.  With that being said, a three-year-old's skill level can only go so far, so the chores are limited and still quite fun for them, but I think it's important to learn responsibility at this young age.  
There are currently three chores on his chart every morning, sometimes two, all supervised, of course:  Feed the dog- Bear, water plants, and clean the door windows where Bear rests his nose :)  The last one is a favorite, because what kid doesn't love a squirt bottle full of liquid?!  For this, we use The Honest Company window cleaner, a safer alternative to the chemical based cleaner, or you can find a similar recipe to make your own, here.  As he finishes a task, he "checks" the box off next to the list of pictures I draw for him on our chore chart.  I bought a cheap white erase board and made it more fun with some washi tape, can't beat an opportunity to craft! ;)  After breakfast and teeth brushing, we complete the chores before the fun can start, except for on the weekends.  Weekends, there are no chores!

Amongst other things Keegan volunteers himself for doggy duty quite often.  Don't ask me why but he seriously loves helping and hey, I'm not about to complain about that, but this chore in particular needs extreme supervision...... LOL! Occasionally he will help with the wash, dishes, and preparing meals (pulling grapes off the stems, washing fruits and veggies, tearing lettuce, etc.)  and everyday he must help pick up toys, make bed and put dirty clothes where they belong.  Believe me, the three chores on his chart don't always get done with a huge smile but for the most part, Keegan is a great helper and I'm thankful for that. 

These are just some ideas and I don't ever MAKE Keegan do the helpful things like supper and dishes, but he knows that it is his job to complete the chore list and that's wonderful enough for me.  You can't make a child want to help, you just have to guide them to find it in themselves to want to be a helper.  

What kind of chores did your children have at this age?
Have a wonderful day :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Counting and Number Recognition

We have recently gotten to the point where Keegan is confident in counting out loud, so I really wanted to start focusing on number recognition to give him a face to the name..  (is that the saying?! Lol)  He gets frustrated or loses interest when he has to count those little dots, etc, so I’ve been trying to come up with a bunch of activities to help us along in the process.   

We have had this Melissa and Doug puzzle since he was two, but at that age, it lost his interest quite quickly since it is a bit more difficult.  We have started breaking it out again and I know it is helping! Puzzles and books- Keegan’s favorite way to learn!

I also took a chance at this book and we love it! It has numbers on each page, lots of options to count and .. trucks/construction for Keegan, win-win!  This Little Quack book is very simple and is one that we’ve been reading for a long time.  The counting only goes up to five, then counts backwards to one, so it’s not too overwhelming. Keegan also received these Dr. Seuss number flash cards this past Easter, and although they aren’t his favorite activity, the characters keep his interest long enough to do a little learning. 

How can I forget these counting bugs?  In school we used to have small bears that were similar to these and I was obsessed!  The bugs turned out to be a big hit with Keegan as well, because they aren't just limited to counting- they can be used for any type of play!

There has also been an extreme mixture of rainy days and way too hot days this summer so we’ve been seeing a lot of our felt board!  I have a few counting-out-loud activities for it and quickly threw together some rinky-dink number blocks to help with recognition..  The lady bug is really a hit! Here's a couple ideas and you can find some other counting/fun felt board activities here.

-For the birthday cake, we always decide how many candles we're going to put up, count them and then sing the Happy Birthday song, which is good repetition for his speech.

-Here's the number blocks I threw together with felt scraps.  :) First we put them all up and count them then I will leave a few on the board and ask him to point to a given number.

-And the lady bug, which has 20 spots. We can put on or take off however many we want to but we must always count the spots as we go!

What were some of your tricks for number recognition? Keegan is always observing and always absorbing even when I think he isn’t so I don’t like to dwell on how much or how little we worked on each day, but I always would love some ideas as to what has helped others! 

Have a great day!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Gravitational Insecurity

So, within the past few weeks that I have posted, we have learned some new things about Keegan.  Number one, he has developed a slight stutter and number two, he suffers from  gravitational insecurity- both unrelated.   

Over the past few weeks, Keegan has been involved in swimming lessons at our town pool with very little swimming and very much crying on his part.  It was terrible to watch but some days were better than others so I wasn’t sure if there was something internal going on, or if he just plain ol’ didn’t want to do it (like lots of kids his age.)  I’ve come to the conclusion that it was probably a mixture of both.  Some days when the instructors would take him around the pool, or move him around too quickly, he would tense up and freak out and he couldn’t quite seem to catch his balance in the pool or on the pool steps.   Then began making up excuses when the water made him cold that he would have to go to the bathroom, his belly hurt or he wanted to go home.  One day I had enough of the screaming (15 mins worth) and told him if we are going home, we are taking a nap and boom the tears stopped and he participated in the rest of the lessons without another whimper.  So here I was confused as to what to do, "Is this really hurting him or is he just stubborn?" We were both also very worn out from four weeks worth of 'traumatizing' lessons.

I brought my concerns up to Keegan’s occupational therapist and explained to her times, other than lessons, when I would notice Keegan tense up and silently freak out- very similar to convulsing: on rides at an amusement park, occasional unexpected movements while being held, the sliding board, going too fast in the grocery cart/down the steps, etc.  He likes to be crazy by himself -jumping all over the place and running around, but when he is not the one in control of his own movements (in the water, someone holding him, a ride) he gets very sensitive and in a sense, unaware of where his body is at in space.   She suggested he had some gravitational insecurity, which stems from the vestibular system (inner ear/balance.)  These types of children feel distress or anxiety when in a position or action they are not accustomed to or comfortable with.  It’s hard as a parent of this kind of child because here when I thought I was trying to help him, I was most likely pushing him to do something that he suffers from.  There are definitely ways of helping in small doses while being sensitive to Keegan’s feelings and tolerance.  I have lots of reading up to do and studying and I am so glad I have his therapists to confide in.  I really had no way of knowing that this had a name or even a way to fix it, I honestly just thought it was something he would grow out of.  I can’t wait to start helping him and I’m just sorry this help hasn’t happened sooner. 

As for swimming lessons this week, joint compressions, prayers, an explanation to his teachers and Grandpa coming to lessons, they were a breeze(well, compared to other days! Hoping for more days like this!!!)  Joint compressions are very helpful when it comes to body awareness and awareness in space. I gently put pressure on his main joints by pushing them together (elbow, wrists, knees, etc.) for ten seconds.  We do these every morning as well as deep pressure lotion massages, regardless of what the day brings.

I will elaborate more on the stutter another day, but was curious if anyone had any experience with gravitational insecurity… I only found out about it this week and I’m interested in learning more about it and how to help Keegan.  I just have to remember to respect his needs and his limits and to help build his confidence and trust.  This boy…. Always keeping me educated ;)!!

To my Keegan,

“Whatever it is you imagine to be, I’ll just be so proud you belong to me”
I’d Know You Anywhere by Nancy Tillman

I’m always proud of you whether you can or quite simply, can’t.  We CAN do this together.  We CAN overcome your fears together.  And that way, you can do anything in this world that you imagine. 

Photo by Stesha Whitney Photography

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Toy Car Wash

We had a wonderful and busy Easter weekend and have an important weekend coming up:  a special little boy is turning three!!!  I did choose a Dr. Seuss themed party but it’s not going to be anything huge and spectacular, just enough to get Keegan excited over the theme.   Here’s a family picture from Sunday… super windy and cold.  Looking forward to warmer days.

I wanted to share an activity we have been using as a speech therapy tool -> our very own Car Wash!  Matchbox size, only ;) 

 I had no real directions to making it, I kind of just came up with the idea from a shoebox and tweaked it as I went, so there are no directions but you can use it as inspiration for your own design! I also just looked on Pinterest and they have some pretty cool ones floating around!

The only rule for this car wash is that the cars have to pay with “tickets.”  The tickets that we use are speech therapy flash cards, which have a picture of an object or action and its name.  Keegan must say the word on the card before the car can go down his track and into the water to get washed and go through the actual station.  This has been one of my more successful attempts at mommy speech therapy which I’m thankful for because this car wash didn’t just come together in a couple minutes ;)
I used a wrapping paper roll as spinners to spin sponges around, which comes in contact with the car making it spin through the wash without manually pushing it through yourself.  You would be in control of the rolls, they can go back and forth and around in circles, letting you control how to push the car.
I’m hoping it’s something that Keegan will appreciate as he gets older, and who knows, maybe I'll end up tweaking it a bit more, right now he just likes to "wash" the car then watch me spin it through!
Here's a short video on how it works:
Sorry for the awful, fast-paced, zoomed-in quality, it was a one-lady show... everyone was in bed and apparently I am clueless on the proper way to upload videos to a blog.......... ;)  Always something to learn!

Anyways, we have so much fun with this and I’m so looking forward to the weekend and celebrating the most special person in my life!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Easter Themed Speech Ideas

The week of Easter is upon us!! I know the day will come and go in a flash just like every other day I anticipate, but so I’m excited for Keegan to see what the Easter Bunny brought him!

I thought it would be fun to tie Easter-themed stuff into mommy speech therapy and we’ve been doing some really fun things, one activity which I transformed from the websites below..

Awhile ago I found a bunch of AWESOME YouTube videos featuring ideas and activities to promote speech, all done by Teach Me to Talk’s, Laura Mize, a pediatric speech-language pathologist .  
 These videos can be found on their YouTube channel or on the actual Teach Me to Talk website.  She seems like the sweetest lady and has a bunch of awesome ideas!!!
The activity I’m focusing on in particular, I got from her Tupperware blocks video, but I’m using plastic Easter eggs as the block replacement. 

I started by finding objects around the house that Keegan is familiar with. I also bought some of these small baby animals, that fit right into the eggs.  We open the eggs by first prompting Keegan to sign or say “open."  The egg “cracks open” and we see “what’s inside.”  I make sure to repeat these words each time we go to a new egg, because the familiar phrases will help Keegan  know what’s coming next and he can feel comfortable and confident with talking and joining in.

We then name the object and if its something we use, like a key or a small cup, we perform their actions, or if it’s an animal we make the appropriate sounds, if applicable…… because I couldn’t tell you how to make a zebra sound ;)
What’s a really cute idea is to act like the animals are then going to sleep in the eggs when we close them back up, we practice this by saying “Sssshhh” “Night-night” “Bye-bye,” all phrases that we use during our everyday life.  That is Keegan’s favorite part, pretending they’re going to sleep.. he gets a kick out of it.  Sometimes he’ll tell me that they are cold, and we go get them blankets, too sweet lol

During therapy this past week, Keegan’s therapist did something similar with the eggs except she hid them and we went on an egg hunt!  We sang a song: 
“Going on an egg hunt, egg hunt, egg hunt!  Going on an egg hunt!  Looking for some eggs”  
 After a couple times of singing the song, we would leave out the last word “eggs” to prompt Keegan to say it, sometimes he did, sometimes he didn’t ;)
There were objects in each of the eggs and Keegan would shake, shake, shake it and find out what was inside then put them in his basket.

We also have different sized eggs, so sometimes we’ll categorize them by big, medium or small and even the color of the eggs, all while working on our words and sounds.. so simple!

Sorry, no fun pictures of the activity to post, because when my focus strays, so does Keegan’s! But here’s a cute one of my little sidekick, napping.
Have a great day!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Fingerprint Easter Card Craft

Does anyone else feel like their days are blurring together?  I need a planner. Or two. Too much to do, so little prepared time ;)

Today before therapy we did a little Easter craft.  Last night I drew some baskets onto a 4x6 piece of card stock and we used those baskets to hold our Easter Egg Fingerprints!!! 
I love how they turned out, especially with the twine bow I glued on.

Too adorable and a great gift to send to loved ones.  If you don't want to draw the baskets, there's plenty of images online you can print off to use. 

Some helpful tips to keep in mind:  
-Using Keegan's finger prints instead of thump prints was easier to handle.
-Don't expect every card to look good.
 -For us, we only did a couple at a time and took some breaks.  When its not painting according to Keegan's agenda, things aren't fun ;)

Have a wonderful day :)

Monday, March 23, 2015

It's Okay to Be Different!

I remember the day Keegan recognized for the first time, that his words do not sound how they are “expected to”.  Nothing can take his look of sadness and embarrassment out of my head.  It was a moment where I was left wondering “How do I fix this? How can I make this better?”  The road to getting therapy was already on the way but I realized there was something else I had to do: my own research and my own duty as a mother to teach him and let him know, “It’s OK!” Sometimes it seemed as if hearing those words from me just made it worse for Keegan so I found plenty of blogs, and articles with recommendations on how to help kids cope or understand that there is nothing wrong with having difficulties or differences.  Here is a great book I found (geared towards toddlers) that parents can read to their child, disabled or not, about how it is 100% okay to be different!

Awesome book with cute illustrations.  I find it’s a good starter-kit for conversations about being different.  From my standpoint, it’s the parents job to elaborate from this book, when they feel their child is ready, and really talk about how no one will ever be the same size, how everyone has strengths and weaknesses and quirks, how not everyone celebrates the same culture, religion, or is the same color and that’s what makes the world an awesome place!  Everyone is unique. 

 There is something else I wanted to share with you guys, other blogs with a great message to give.  But first, I’ll elaborate.

Guaranteed, when Keegan goes to school, whether he has his speech disorder or not, he would at some point get his feelings hurt by another child, its just what happens, unfortunately.  But despite the inevitable, I fear for him, for his confidence, for his pride, for his heart because it will be hard.  I have seen first hand what happens when a young child hears Keegan talk.  Nothing negative yet, but in one instance, all play was stopped and all talking was halted and all innocent toddler eyes were on Keegan.  He felt it and knew it.  He felt the confusion and each time a situation like this arose, he became embarrassed.  I pray that although he has a good support system at home, with family and with his current therapist, he will be able to find a good support system at school, too.  Yessss it’s a few years away, so I have to breathe, but just the same, I’ve decided to start preparing myself for some (maybe) tough times ahead. 

(Let me just add, not all kids look at Keegan weird when he talks.  Some kids.. esp his cousins.. are happy to listen to him, and I love that!! Even though they might not know exactly what to say in return after Keegan’s done talking.. lol!! )

Yeah, it is a shock when a child hears Keegan talk for the first time, they can’t understand him and that is confusing to someone who is young and who is not used to that.  I know this, so I tried to come up with different ways to handle and respond to those situations….and I’ve practiced these scenarios over and over in my head plenty of times, so if the time ever comes where I need to use them, I’m prepared. I hope…. !!

 -“He sounds funny.” 
-me :“He does seem to speak a little bit differently than you and me, but that is his way of talking.  He is trying very hard to learn how to say lots of words and he is doing a great job!”

- “Why does he talk/sound like that?”…..
-me: “Sometimes, things are just hard to do.  It may be hard for some kids to read, walk, ride a bike, even eat certain foods.  All this kind of stuff takes practice.  Speaking is hard for Keegan and he is practicing a lot to make his words sound just like yours and mine and is doing a great job.” 
***I think it’s a good idea to definitely show other children that although some kids might be different they all enjoy a lot of the same things.  For example:
“Keegan likes dragons, dogs and movies.  Do you like any of those things? Maybe you can talk to Keegan about what you like about them, I think he would like that. “

I hope I never even have to use those made up scenarios in my head, but who knows!

..In my opinion, it is always okay for children to ask questions but it is never okay for them to be rude.  
This is why I wanted to share blogs and articles I stumbled upon a few months ago.  There is some really really good content on them and I find myself coming back to the sites often.  These entries in particular gives ideas on how to talk to your child about those with disabilities and to not shy away from those kinds of situations.
Here's a good blog dealing with kids and sensory needs/behavior 
Happy reading!!!! :)

I vow to teach my son that sometimes people aren’t nice, they will do and say mean things, but you must not succumb to that.  You can’t dwell in the fact that someone was mean.  You must always remember it is most important to forgive, and know that you are more than what your voice sounds like, what color your skin is, what you look like, if you can walk or you can’t- it’s how you treat yourself and others that matters most.  God will guide you and protect you when you feel you can’t.  Know how wonderful you are and everything will be just fine.


To my Keegan,
Hold your head high and don’t be afraid to march to the front of your own parade.
-Nancy Tillman from Wherever You Are, my love will find you

You are my role model.  You have taught me many things, one of which is to ‘be you’.   Ever since you were teeny tiny, you have done everything at your own pace, your own way, your own time.  I think that is wonderful and refreshing and inspiring.  Never stop being you and never stray from who you are.  I’m enjoying watching the parade you’re in and can’t wait to see what comes next.

Love, Ma

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Toddler Boy Easter Basket

Happy Wednesday!
These past couple days have been filled with appointments, brainstorming, wedding planning, wedding shopping, much needed wagon walks and a BIG realization that Keegan’s third birthday is less than a month away! What?!  So cliché, but how can time seriously go this fast? I usually have all of his party details organized by now but I have been slacking big time.  I’m also leaning towards a smaller get-together this year so I’m unsure if I want to have a theme or not.  If we’re doing a theme, Dr. Seuss all the way, but we will see.
When I asked what he wanted for his birthday, Keegan said, “Ummm, ee tay,” while pointing to his mouth, which totally meant he wanted to eat cake! Smart cookie.  Of course Mommy will make you a cake for your birthday ;)  He was also happy with the books and puzzle suggestions I offered, lol…
For his birthday, Keegan is getting a very big and special gift he’s sure to enjoy, but we’ll have to wait and see what that is ;) ;)

While my party planning is MIA, my gift buying is not.  I officially have Easter and birthday shopping completed! Here’s a look at most of the major goodies going inside our boy’s basket this year.

-The lift-flap book features bugs-- right up a little boy’s alley, and the explorer’s kit with a child friendly magnifying glass and tweezers will go perfect on our adventures through the woods by our house.
-These 12-piece M&D jig-saw puzzles are challenging, but do-able enough that Keegan doesn’t retreat from frustration.  Love these!
-Also, who can resist adorable spring clothes?! Bring on the warm weather!

The Easter bunny will also be gracing Keegan’s basket with new undies, bubbles, PlayDoh and stickers, but no candy! Lol He will most certainly get enough of that from grandparent bunnies, I’m sure. (Maybe I’ll sneak M&M’s in some eggs)

Can’t wait to share some of the crafts and activities we’ve been coming up with, and a very special book I got for Keegan this week!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Felt Board Introduction

When it comes to Keegan, an almost 3 year old, there is no structure and scheduled speech time (as much as I want there to be.)  He simply doesn’t allow it and will catch on no matter what, so that’s why pressure is off and we learn through his play, books, songs and nursery rhymes, really anything with predicted text that sets him up for success.

I feel as though I have found something that is the best of both our worlds- a felt board!!!  The board we made this winter makes me feel as if Keegan and I are doing a more structured activity but yet it still gives the playtime feeling that Keegan wants, so it is a perfect component to our mommy speech therapy. 

Then the fun begins! There are so many endless possibilities and we have so much fun with this board.  At first, it was a new activity, so it took Keegan awhile warm up to it and also to realize how to stick the pieces (felt sticks to felt) but now he loves it! Fun, AND a learning tool?! Win –Win!

I have made all of our felt pieces myself from the small pieces at the craft store, but there are some Etsy sites out there that have beautiful pre-made pieces you can buy.  I absolutely love this kind of stuff: brainstorming what activity I want to make, creating it through the felt, everything! If you make the pieces yourself, I found its best if a very sharp scissors is used, hot glue to glue some pieces together, and fabric paint to make eyes, etc.

Today, I’m just going to focus on the nursery rhymes/songs that we are working on but there’s plenty more to come!  When singing and doing the rhymes I make the pace slow so it's easier for Keegan to catch up and/or join in.  Some of these might be self explanatory, but I put the lyrics just in case ;)

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
“Five little monkeys jumping on the bed,
one fell off and bumped his head
Momma called the doctor and the doctor said
‘No, more monkeys jumping on the bed!’ “

Now there’s four monkeys jumping on the bed, three, etc.

Way Up High in the Apple Tree
“Way up high in the apple tree
Five red apples smiled at me (use fingers to show how many)
I shook that tree as hard as I could (pretend to shake the tree)
Down came an apple (point down with finger)
Mmmmm, it was good!” (rub belly)

Elephants in the Bathtub
“One elephant in the bathtub going for a swim
Knock knock (knock on the board)
Splash splash (clap hands)
Come on in!!!” (bring the next elephant in the bathtub, up to 5)

Raffi’s Going on a Picnic remix lol

If you’ve ever heard Raffi’s song, “Going on a Picnic” it sounds semi-similar to this, but I made it so it’s constantly repetitive, one item at a time, which in my opinion, makes it easier.

My version:
“Going on a picnic, leaving right away
if it doesn’t rain, we’ll stay all day
Did you bring the __________?
Yes we brought the _________!
Ready for a picnic, here we go.”
..repeat with the next picnic item..

Ahhh!! I love it! These are so fun regardless of who is playing with them… I’m even thinking of making a doll dress up activity for me… LOL!!!!
There are more felt activities on the way so stay tuned ;)