December 25, 2008

My brain is full of sugarplums

Sometimes Hannah will talk to her brain. She says things like, "Good job, brain!" when she has figured something out. Or, "Come on, brain, you can do it." when she's struggling with remembering something.

Tonight, after brushing her teeth, she reminded me to put out some cookies for St. Nick.

H: "I know Mom, we could leave Santa a carrot for his reindeer!"

Me: " A carrot? Who taught you about that?"

H: "My brain taught me. It's my friend."

Then, while Katie went to tuck her in bed:

K: "Good night, Hannah"

H: "Good night Katie. Don't forget sugarplums dancing in your head."


Pictures of the day:

No more gingerbread nudist colony.

A. She's really tall.
B. That tree is very small.
C. It's a weird illusion.
The correct answer is C. Please mark corrections on your papers.

The two red-heads.


Puppy love.

I wasn't allowed to post the REALLY silly pictures of the sisters, so I settled for this one.

I also wasn't allowed to post the dancing siblings. Isn't she beautiful?
Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2008

Hannah's Shenanigans

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Dashing through the house....

Wow, the days are speeding by so quickly! Our gingerbread house stands undecorated as if construction was halted due to an economic down-turn! It is completely naked, and quite lonely.

There is so much to do, that likely won't get done. Surprisingly I'm not too stressed by it. We've been having fun spending time together, and even if it isn't our traditional 200 cut-out fancy decorated sugar cookies, we're still having a good time!

My parents were here over the weekend. They usually make the trip up from South Carolina, stopping at our house first, then heading to see my brother and his family in Philadelphia for Christmas, then on to my sister's house in NYC, then back here for New Year's on their way back home. They came a little early so they could catch Hannah's piano recital.

Hannah did very well at the recital (and, for my first piano recital, I did pretty well too!). We all were a bit worried about what would happen, since Hannah had a shut-down at the piano earlier that day. She has done this before, but just during regular practicing. I don't know how to explain it thoroughly, and I can't tell if it's just stubbornness or if she really "freezes". She was ready to have a "practice" recital, and James and I sat on the sofa as the "audience". She walked up to the piano, did her little bow, sat down, got her hands in position, and then didn't play. For many minutes. We gave her some time, then encouraged, then inquired, then pleaded, then grumbled. She just sat there, having some kind of internal conversation with herself. She completely refused to play anything. I know she was listening to us, so she wasn't really "shut down", but she apparently could not get herself together to even play a single note. I told her to "play one note, any note" and she would not do it. It was SO frustrating! This was only 20 minutes before we were scheduled to leave for the recital. I really can't figure out if she was just being stubborn (a good possibility) or if she was just stuck. She seemed to be enjoying herself, her power, over us. It's true, you can lead a kid to a piano, but you can't make her play it. (Has anyone else experienced this with a kid with Ds? I'd love input.)

So I ended up yelling at her (good mom that I am). I sent her up to her room, and followed quickly behind her. After a few sharp words, I helped her get dressed into her beautiful holiday dress (picture coming after Christmas Eve...I didn't get a good one at the recital). We came downstairs, took a deep breath, and tried again. Success!

We all breathed a sigh of relief when she confidently walked up to the piano, sat down and played her best. She played Away in a Manger, and our duet was O Come All Ye Faithful. Since she's the only student with special needs in the studio, she has quite a few fans. Nobody yelled out "Brava!", but it was clear the audience was appreciative of her hard work. She loves being "on stage".

We also did a Thanksgiving Sequel. Kate has not made it home for Thanksgiving for the past 4 years, so we did it again.

It was quickly followed by Christmas (by a matter of a few minutes!).

My mom and I gave each other the exact same thing!

Parents are off to Philadelphia, and we *might* decorate the gingerbread house! Or it might wait and become a Valentine's house.

December 19, 2008

Catching up

Guess who's come to town? Kate arrived home last night, only missing one flight (not bad for flying out of Minneapolis in the winter). I put her to work right away, making chocolate dipped pretzels.

Then Hannah took the camera to document her handiwork.

And her fish.

(Yes, he is getting big, but he's a little magnified from the glass. Yes, he lives in a vase.)

And the stockings await...

Kate caught us practicing our duet for Hannah's piano recital tomorrow!

Hooray! We made it through without mistakes! Let's hope it works out that way tomorrow!

This afternoon we had a little reindeer fun!

Hope you are having fun preparing for Christmas!

December 15, 2008

The Doctor is "IN"

Poor Mickey. Though he doesn't look unhappy, he must be very sick.

As a gift, a friend gave Hannah some feeding tube supplies. She was thrilled! She was most impressed with the Giant Syringe! She saves that for her critically ill patients (usually Bunsen, the dog).

This was the first time she needed an IV for a patient. I like her impromptu IV pole!

Thanks Jennifer for the fun!

December 13, 2008


We had a great time in New York City! Hannah really enjoys traveling, and is a good sport about going with the flow. It helps that we have a special needs stroller for her to use when we have distances to cover. She can walk just fine, but she has low stamina. So when we go on big trips, like Disney or NYC, we bring it along. It is a pain to use with the subway, since we have to collapse it to go down the stairs, but you can't beat it for hiking city blocks!

It was a busy time for my sister's family. With three kids in three different schools, and two more who are homeschooled, the schedule is a bit chaotic! Add in several hours of ballet rehearsal and/or performances for one child, plus various activities for the others, and, just for fun, add three houseguests as well and it gets exponentially more difficult to manage!

On our first day in the city my sister took the girls (Mary, 10, Maggie 7, Hannah 10) to a production of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. After the show we met up and went to see the windows at Lord and Taylor and Macy's, then hurried home to meet Stevie after kindergarten.

Some of the windows had Nutcracker themes, which was fun to see!

Thursday was very cold and rainy, so we stayed home and played all day long! We had a silly face contest:

(Mary's hair is in curlers preparing for the evening's performance)

I won one round.

Maggie was the Grand Prize Champion!
Thursday night was cold with a harsh rain. It was miserable, especially considering we were navigating independently. After the A-train and the 1-train, we were supposed to find the M-66 bus. Fortunately, my mom found a cab before we found the bus! Unfortunately, it was the cabbie's second day, and he didn't exactly know the best way to get to our destination. And worse, he crashed into another cab while driving the way NYC cabbies drive. No injuries, and surprisingly, no major damages. At least we assume so since the cabbies got out and looked over their cars and then just got back in the cab and drove off. It was dark, cold and rainy, so I'm not sure they could see much anyhow!

We got the the theater one minute before the start of the ballet!

It was wonderful! Mary looked splendid! This production of The Nutcracker had some complicated choreography in the opening party scene. Mary was dancing on stage for at least a half hour. She obviously was having fun on stage--her smile never left her face! I wish we had been allowed to take a picture of her, but there are tight restrictions on photography, even backstage, so all we have is Mary after the fact, when Hannah was giving her a bouquet.

We left on Friday, and were missing cousins as soon as we left! We have to wait until the summer to see them again. I know that, for those of you playing along at home, you cannot believe that we did not have one major mishap on this trip! Maybe we're starting something new here!

December 8, 2008

Away we go!

This will be our last trip of the year, and boy are we excited! No, not because it's the last, but because we are heading to New York City! My sister and her family live in Manhattan. That's five kids and two parents in a three bedroom apartment. It's a close-knit family!

Hannah's closest cousin is Mary, who is the middle child. They have been very close through the years. (If I had more time and patience, I'd put a cute baby picture of them together--they are 8 months apart. But since I haven't really packed yet...and we have to be out the door before 8a.m., I'm opting for sleep instead of hunting and scanning!)

Mary is a ballerina. Last spring Hannah and I went to NYC to see Mary in a production of The Sleeping Beauty. Here they are after the ballet:

Now Mary is performing in The Nutcracker--we are SO excited to see the ballet, and all the cousins! Hannah is so proud of Mary, she always calls her "My Best Cousin". I'm sure when we return we'll have lots to share.

December 7, 2008

Camping out

After a disappointing Cowboys football game, Hannah retreated upstairs. She decided to go "camping".

She said, "I'm an old sad sick lady."

Then she ate some Halloween candy (I knew it would become relevant again!), and suddenly, "I'm not an old sad sick lady anymore! It's just me, Hannah! Candy made me young again!"

December 6, 2008

Photos by Hannah

Hannah's friend Elisabeth came over for a sleepover last night. They had lots of fun playing American Girl dolls and Webkinz. Later they watched "Annie" on DVD. That kept them up late enough that when the finally got to bed, they both conked out right away. They didn't even wake up until 9:30 this morning! Now that's my kind of sleepover!

Hannah took some pictures of the evening.

This morning I heard some giggling. Upon investigation, I found that Hannah discovered the confiscated Halloween candy (I shoulda thrown it out!). She filled her mini-claw machine with the candy and dumped out her piggy bank. They weren't even planning on eating any of the candy, they were just practicing their "claw skills"!

Elisabeth is so much fun--we can't wait until she can come again!

December 4, 2008

The Narrator

All morning long Hannah spoke in narrative.

Some samples:

Mom: "Nan, it's time to get dressed."
H: "'Okay, Mom', said Hannah."

(clothes are now on, time for hair brushing)

Mom: "Meet me in the bathroom for your hair."
H: "'I'll be there in a minute', replied Hannah politely."

(brushing out tangles)

H: "'Ouch!' cried Hannah unhappily."

(going downstairs, the dogs following her, each one passing her on their way down)

H: (in a dog voice) "'Step aside, Hannah,' cried Hazel. 'Thank you, Hannah,' said Bunsen."

"'You're Welcome.' replied Hannah."

December 3, 2008

December 2, 2008

He did it!

Chris just received his acceptance letter to The College of William and Mary!

We are very excited for him!

The funny thing is that this afternoon I was in Williamsburg and I bought a W&M T-shirt to have ready for him--being the positive thinker that I am (sorta). Perfect timing! He hadn't checked the mailbox, so Hannah brought in the good news. William and Mary was his first choice school. He is planning on majoring in Biology and/or Chemistry and wants to go on to medical school.

Whew! Another kid ready launch! He has been a good student, and we're proud of him!

I have to say, getting a college acceptance letter is really really fun, especially for homeschooling moms. Besides SAT scores, it is pretty much the only job feedback there is! Twelve years is a long time to work at something and never get a review or report card!

November 30, 2008

Tagged or not, I'm it!

Since my brain is still recovering from the exceptional food intake over the past few days, I am stealing an idea I saw on another blog. It was a "Tag! You're It" kind of thing. The task was to look at the fourth picture in the fourth picture file on the computer, and write about it (or something close to that, I think...). If you've got a blog, do a show and tell too, and leave me a comment so I can come and see what secrets your fourth file shows!

So here it is:

This picture was taken on New Year's Day 2006. We were in the Atlanta airport, waiting to fly to Tampa. For Christmas that year, I got my first digital camera. It was Katie's last year at home, and we wanted to do something fun together as a family, so we went on a cruise to Cozumel and Grand Cayman (and probably somewhere else too, but I've forgotten). I had already taken a nice picture of these two patient kids, so, as usual, Hannah wanted to make silly faces.

We had a great time on the cruise. Hannah went on a submarine ride, and the older kids took their first scuba lesson. We snorkeled, danced, played games, ate well (except for the last couple of days...rough seas. Eww.), and had fun!

Wow! Chris has grown so much in three years! What a young 15 year old he was! Hard to believe that two weeks after this picture was taken he started his first semester at the community college! That's kinda crazy, don't you think?

Here's the picture I took just before the one above:

On another Chris note, I am so HAPPY to be able to say that he is currently PAIN-FREE for the first time in nine months! He's been going to a chiropractor three times a week for the past month. His residual back pain from the fractures is gone, and he's working on gentle exercises to gain more range of motion. We are so thankful for this blessing!

I hope you all have had blessings that have made your Thanksgiving holiday wonderful!