Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Year in Review

We spent a lot of time indoors to avoid the frigid winter temperatures. Faith
is enjoying playing PlayStation 3 with her adaptable controller.
Talking to Rob's parents on the computer during the USA vs. Canada hockey
preliminary game during the Winter Olympics. The USA beat Canada in a huge upset! Also in February we celebrated mine and Rob's birthdays.
Faith was busy at school in March. She went to Sylvan Learning Center for a
Dr. Suess event, went to Mandan for AgDay and also had a school program.


Part of our Easter celebration included Faith flying a
kite for the first time! In April, we also participated once again
in the Great American Bike Race with Faith's team,
Faith's Fantastic Ten.

If you look closely, you can see that Faith lost her first tooth! Also in May,
Faith treated her me to a Mother's Day Spa in her classroom and she went bowling with her class on one of their last days of Kindergarten.

One of Faith's favorite summer activities is walking down by the river.
In June Faith also started summer school called Camp Edventure.
Our trip to Regina, Saskatchewan. Faith's favorite part of the
whole trip was going swimming in the hotel pool!

Another favorite summertime activity for Faith is going to the zoo.
Also in August, my little girl somehow became a first grader!


Faith gets an iPAD! She is also doing better than we expected attending
school full days. We also made the decision to give her a break from all therapies outside of school.


Faith celebrates her 7th birthday with friends at one of
her favorite places - Papa's Pumpkin Patch!


Stirring cookie dough instead of going stir crazy as November proves to
be a very cold, snowy month.

Faith and her family had a great year in 2010 and are expecting
more great things and many blessings in 2011. We pray you
and your family has a blessed New Year as well!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits

Christmas is over. The joyous holiday ends once again, just as it does every year. And now we will all try to catch up a little before celebrating the start of a New Year.

The holidays continue the day after Christmas in Canada with Boxing Day. So on Boxing Day we tried to communicate via Internet with Rob's parents and sister. Unfortunately, Skype no longer works for us, which we aren't sure why, so we resorted to using Yahoo Messenger. It wasn't as good as Skype but it did the trick. We got to see Grandmother and Grandfather, Auntie Johanna and even Joh's new cat, Ruby. When we asked Faith if she liked Ruby, she answered very honestly, "No I don't like that cat." We think she is partial to Joh's other cat, Lucy, whom Faith has actually met in person.

Talking to Auntie Joh
Also on Sunday, Rob had fun putting Faith's Toy Story 3 Train set together. Yes, I did say Rob had fun. Faith had only mild interest. She would rather play her new card game with her mom. If you look at the picture of the completed train, you will notice the blue train tracks. These tracks did not come with the Lego train set. In fact, no tracks came with the train set! Thankfully Rob still has his Lego tracks for the train set he had when he was a kid! I really had my doubts this new Toy Story train would be drivable on these old tracks, but it worked!

Building the Toy Story 3 Lego train set

Yesterday, Rob had to go back to work and Faith and I had a visit from my sister Tesa, her husband and two boys. As soon as the kids saw Faith's Toy Story toys, they were all over them! They had a nice pit stop on their way from Pierre, South Dakota where they started out that morning to Watford City. They plan to go home to Lincoln, Nebraska on Sunday the 2nd, all in one shot. Hopefully the weather will cooperate for them!

Faith is still not yet fully over her sickness. This morning she was coughing and still sounding very congested. She also has a slight fever of 99.2. I called the doctor today to see if I need to take her in again. She is already on day seven of her antibiotic. I just thought she would be more recovered than she is at this stage. I'm still waiting for the doctor's office to call me back. I'm hoping her pediatrician will call me this evening, which he sometimes does. If not, I suppose I can try again tomorrow.

We are supposed to be getting a big storm this week with 12 inches of snow. If it's true, I guess we'll just hunker down as we always do and wait for the New Year to arrive!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day

Merry Christmas Daddy and Faith!

This stocking was a gift from one of Faith's aides at school.
It came as a kit so that Faith could create her own stocking.
Isn't it adorable?

It wouldn't be Christmas without our Happy Birthday Jesus Cupcakes!

Let the gift opening begin!

Faith opens her Toy Story 3 Lego Train set!

Gifts from my dear Canadian in-laws!
The impressive coffee gift basket Rob got from my parents!

Spending our Christmas evening at some friends' house


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sick Days

This week has been quite the week with Faith missing three days of school due to being sick. She started getting sick on Sunday and didn't sleep well at all that night so I kept her home on Monday. Tuesday she actually seemed to be getting better and I was hopeful about her going to school on Wednesday so she take take part in all of the pre-Christmas festivities at school. But Tuesday night was a horrible night for sleep and we both ended up sleeping until 11 the next morning to catch up.

Yesterday I finally took her to the doctor and here she has not only a sinus infection but an ear infection as well. Poor girl! So of course now I am kicking myself for not taking her in sooner. The the thing with Faith though is that even though she is sick, she doesn't act sick. She's still smiley, still laughing and yelling, still her cheery self. If I had a sinus infection and an ear infection, Lord knows I would be anything but cheery! And even when she just has a simple cold, she doesn't sleep well. But Tuesday night I knew something was wrong when she not only didn't sleep well but she cried a lot throughout the night.

It was kind of cute when we did go to the doctor. She was actually excited about going. She thought she was going to see Dr. Ocejo though, whom she just loves but we couldn't get in with him so we had to go to the walk-in clinic. We told her it was going to be a surprise who we got to see.

We got in fairly quickly and the nurse who took our info was actually one of the nurses who helped take care of her in the NICU. She seemed glad to see how much Faith had grown and how well she was doing. After the nurse took her temp and turned to her computer to input the information, Faith beat her to the punch by asking, "Any medications?" The nurse laughed and said, "Wow, she knows the drill!"

Later, a very subdued, very laid-back Dr. walked in and the first thing he said to her in a very monotonous voice was, "Hi, Faith. I'm not as exciting as Dr. Ocejo." Boy was that the truth! Dr. Ocejo usually laughed with Faith, joked around with her, tickled her, even head-butted her but not this guy! He was the anti-Dr. Ocejo! Faith still seemed to like him though., especially after he complimented her on how well she spoke.

After we received our diagnoses and got our prescription for antibiotics, we ventured down to Pediatric Therapy and got to hand out a few Christmas cards to the receptionists and a few of Faith's therapists. We also had a nice talk with our friend, Jacey. If anyone can turn a Dr. appointment into a fun thing, it's Faith!

After we got home, Faith wanted to play on her computer keyboard so she could pretend to be a nurse and put in my information. She asked, "What's your first name? Can you spell that? And your phone number?" She would make a great receptionist one day!

So, our getting ready for Christmas has been on hold for this week and I guess we'll see how Faith feels these next couple of days before deciding to do things like going to church and going to a friends house for Christmas dinner.

As of right now, I'm having a nice, relaxing time catching up on my blog and other writing while respite care is here to take care of her. I'm listening to my new Susan Boyle "The Gift" Christmas CD. It's really good and has many of my all-time favorites, including Do You Hear What I Hear, The First Noel, O Holy Night and Away in a Manger.

The Gift


Friday, December 17, 2010

Some Progress

We recently received Faith's report card of sorts called, "Annual Goals, Short-Term Objectives, and Periodic Review of Services." Which basically lets us know how Faith is doing with her therapies and special education/academics at school. These are the goals that we set up for her at the beginning of the year when we did her Individual Education Plan (IEP).
Getting ready for school
 I was so happy to see that in each area, she is making "some progress." In Occupational Therapy, they have been working on self-feeding. This has been a challenge for her as it involves fine motor skills. She does have some high tone in her arms so she has to work through that in order to bring the spoon directly to her mouth. Her therapist in this ares says that Faith does fatigue during this exercise but that she is really motivated to work hard.

One of our goals is for Faith to begin to read. I am so proud of her that she knows all of her letter sounds and at school they are trying to get her to recognize her first set of sight words. Faith is more auditory than visual so one thing they are doing to help her learn to read is to mount a laptop computer to her chair. The computer has all of the reading materials that her class uses which enables her to not only see the text but to hear it as well. She is then able to push her buttons to turn the pages on her own.

Another area she is working on is physical therapy which involves walking in her gait trainer and also driving her power chair. Her goal is to drive from her classroom up to the gym in as fast as time as possible, with the least amount of stops. There are a few times she has gone the whole distance without any stops! Another improvement she has made is that she no longer just drives around in circles!

Besides all of these activities, she also has speech, time in her stander, computer lab, library, music, and time in her classroom. What a busy little girl she is! No wonder she doesn't want to do anything or go anywhere when she gets home!
I am so thankful for all of the help that Faith receives at school and that each person there is doing their best to help Faith reach her fullest potential. Both Rob and I are so proud of her!

Faith lying on the floor relaxing with her iPAD

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Field Trip

Today Faith got to take a field trip to the Belle Mehus Auditorium to enjoy "Singing in the Season" put on by the Central Dakota Children's Choir.

It worked perfectly to drive Rob to work then go to the auditorium to wait for her class. I was a little unprepared for the number of kids there were in attendance - every first grader in the Bismarck/Mandan area got to go on this field trip! After we met up with Faith's class, we sat in the beautiful auditorium and enjoyed the concert.

Faith was a little nervous when the lights were turned down and during all of the applause but all in all I think it was a very good experience for her.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits: BURR, Bison Football and A Visit from Grandpa

The cold weather this past weekend pretty much kept us indoors. I would have loved to take Faith out to do some shopping but with her being all bundled up and her current growth spurt, it makes it harder to transfer her out of her chair into her seating system in our car. Oh how I am praying for a van by next winter!

On Saturday Faith and I watched the exciting but heartbreaking NDSU football game as they played Eastern Washington in the quarterfinals for their NCAA division. It was a great game and Faith had fun laughing at me as I yelled, cheered, jumped and danced. Every time I got excited she yelled, "Did you win yet mommy?"

Unfortunately no, I didn't win as the Bison lost in overtime. Oh well! They had a great season, one in which they weren't expected to get so far.

NDSU during one of the many highlights of the game
We did manage to get the rest of our Christmas decorating done, which includes our little Christmas tree that has survived the last five years or so. We also achieved our major goal of getting our gifts and cards sent off to Canada so that they arrive by Christmas Day. Usually we are late as I don't get in the mood for cards and gifts until mid-December!

Our cute little Christmas tree
On Sunday, we had a great family day as we hooked up Faith's buttons to the PlayStation 3 and played Wheel of Fortune! It was so much fun and I can see an improvement in Faith knowing what buttons to push and when to push them. She's great at spinning the wheel and she loves to buy vowels!

That evening, Grandpa Mike showed up bearing lots of gifts! He joined us for supper and of course we heard lots of stories about all the oilfield activity in Western North Dakota. He said many of the workers that had come here from the south left because of the winter weather. They are very short-handed and the people who do work and stay to work end up working very long days. Dad had just worked a 17-hour day in his truck the day before driving down to Bismarck.

We had a great visit, although Faith and Grandpa had to compete for talking time! The next morning, I got to join dad and my aunt Gail for breakfast at Perkins so it was fun to catch up with her as well.

Faith and Grandpa enjoying some bonding time
Have a blessed week everyone and be sure to stay warm!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits

We've been waking up to some beautiful scenery with the frosted trees

Because of the snow storms last week, we had a few rough days of getting Faith to school and back. Thankfully, my friend Tina was able to help out with her van and also one of our neighbors, who also has kids at Centennial, was able to push Faith up the hill one day. Rob and I both think that maybe it's time to get Faith on the bus. I thought it would be easy enough, since the bus goes right by here every day and that all I would have to do is make a phone call and it would happen just like that. Not so fast, I learned!

On Friday, I had a meeting with Faith's special education teacher and she explained that to get Faith on the bus, her IEP team would have to meet and decide that because Faith doesn't have the necessary transportation to get to school, she will have to be picked up by the bus. Even after all parties agree that Faith needs to take the bus, it is not guaranteed that the bus will come right to our door to get her. Which makes no sense to me, since it is often our parking lot and sidewalk that is the hardest to get Faith through.

Also on Friday, I attended a meeting where Faith's instructional aides were getting trained to help Faith use her buttons to operate a laptop computer which is eventually going to be mounted on her chair at school. All of the reading tools that Faith's class uses are going to be downloaded onto her computer, which will be another way of helping her learn to read. It was fun to see the excitement in Faith's face when getting to use her buttons to operate the computer!

Joining us in that training session were two University of Mary students as part of a mentor program for those wanting to work in some way with special needs children. One of them is an occupational therapy major and the other is studying social work. It is a wonderful program that allows students to get a first-hand look at some of the challenges and the joys that are involved in having a special needs child.

Also last Friday, despite the storm that dumped about six inches of snow on us, we had our CP Support Group Christmas dinner at China Star. Rob came in late as he had to drive from Selfridge, South Dakota in the crummy weather. At the restaurant, we got a nice surprise that our friend, Susan who works at China Star, has moved back to Bismarck from Indiana! Faith will be so happy to see her!

Over the weekend, Faith and I got out the Christmas decorations and started to decorate. While decorating, we played the CD I made a couple of years ago that Rob titled, Cari Jean's Essential Christmas Songs. Faith thought many of the songs on the CD were too sad and she wanted to listen to her favorites over and over again - Feliz Navidad and Jingle Bells.

The Jingle Bells on the CD is a swing version by Denver and the Mile High Orchestra. When Faith was smaller, I would have her in my arms and dance around the room with her while listening to that song. I even did some swing moves with her where I swung her to the left side of me, then to the right, than between my legs. There is no way I can do that now! But we were being silly and singing and "dancing" to the song and then she yelled, "You Rock Mommy!" And every once in a while throughout the song she would yell, "Break it down now!" and I would yell back, "Hit it Faith!" We had so much fun!

Another high note from the weekend was that the NDSU Bison Football Team beat Montana State and will be traveling to play Eastern Washington next weekend in the quarterfinals for the NCAA subdivision! The game is going to be aired on KFYR and a few other stations in North Dakota and also on ESPN. LET'S GO BISON!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Just Ducky

Faith has the sweetest, kindest, most generous instructional aides EVER! Recently, the school's 6th graders held their annual rummage sale. I of course forgot to send money along for Faith to buy something so her aides took it upon themselves to buy something for her.

During the winter, I normally put these little pink booties on over Faith's orthotics to keep her feet warm, but this year they were pretty tight and hard to get on. The booties are soft and have Velcro on the sides so they were easy to get on her feet even over her orthotics. I can't find any boots like that anywhere and it's impossible to get regular boots on over her orthotics. Well, thankfully her aides found the perfect solution to keep her little feet warm this winter!

Her new slippers are just ducky!

Everyone gets a real kick out of Faith's duck slippers!