Busy Springtime!

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It’s been a while again since my last post. Time for more bullet points!

• The weekend of April 20th we went to Iowa to visit Carrie, Adam, Isak and Hans. The boys both have April birthdays and were having a joint birthday party on Sunday and we didn’t want to miss out! The kids had a lot of fun playing together like they always do. Annika and James just love playing with Isak! At bed time on Saturday night Annika read to the boys instead of the parents. We have a great picture of that special time. I can’t find my camera cable right now or I’d share one of them with you. That night after the kids were in bed the four adults sat around playing games and talking. It was a great, fun evening spent together. Sunday was party day. It was great to meet so many of their friends in Iowa and the kids had a great time at the party. There was kite flying and of course cake and it was a great spring day with plenty of outdoor fun. What more could the kids ask for!

• The next day, Monday the 23rd I flew to Myrtle Beach, SC to attend a conference for work. I was there until midnight on Thursday. It was a long week without seeing my husband or kids. Work itself went just fine and thank goodness for Skype and Gramme’s! We used skype each day so I could see my babies faces and Gramme was nice enough to help Kris with the kids when Kris had to go to work.

• Annika has been saying recently that she wants to be a movie star when she grows up. When the summer parks and recreation brochure came out recently Annika flipped through it and saw that a local theatre group was going to be performing “The Wizard of Oz” and Annika decided she wanted to be in it. Of course she wanted to be Dorothy and we told her that wasn’t going to happen. We attended a family information night and all was going well until they said that each kid auditioning would have to sing a song (could be twinkle, twinkle or something similar if they wanted) as well as give a little speech. Annika was fine with the talking but couldn’t get over her fear of singing at the audition. So, her first starring role has been shelved. There is however a community education week long Cinderella play camp going on in April that she might do. There is singing involved but it’s much more laid back and during the day only whereas the Oz one was a huge time commitment. I think the Cinderella one will be a good introduction to theatre for Annika and if she likes it then we can pursue more opportunities for her.

• Levi turned 2 years old on April 28th! We celebrated that afternoon with Nana, Papa, Grandpa, Grandma, Gramme, Auntie Krystle, Uncle Pierce and cousin Ayla. Levi was spoiled (of course!) with many great gifts including a new trike that he LOVES. He doesn’t peddle but loves taking walks and being pushed around on it. We also had cake of course and he needed a bit of help to get his candles blown out but that’s OK. He still loved the cake. I asked him what color he wanted his cake to be and he answered with “lellow” so a cake with yellow frosting it was. I can’t believe my baby, my last baby, is two. He’s not a baby anymore. He’s a toddler and it won’t be all that long before he’s a preschooler. Time really does move so fast. I will miss having babies…but not enough to do it again. Hee!

• On Monday, April 30th, Levi had his two year check up. His official stats are weight was 26 pounds, 13 ounces which puts him in the 34th percentile. His height was 37.5 inches which puts him in the 98th percentile and his head circumference was 18.6 inches which puts him in the 15th percentile. I have a tall, slim, small headed child. Well, that’s nothing new! If you double his height at 2 that is supposed to be an indicator of how tall he’ll be as an adult. 37.5”x2 = 75” which would make him 6’3” as an adult! The pediatrician declared him the perfect child in every area except one – speech. Levi doesn’t say many words at all and doesn’t use his words to communicate in any way. He says ma and uh-oh but if he wants something he grunts and points and leads you by the hand to what he wants. If we ask him to say some words, he’ll try. We can get him to say yellow, please (said as an “sssss”), up (sounds like “pp”) and some others. There is no dada, no car or baby or truck or puppy or any other typical words that toddlers say. We have a speech evaluation appointment set up for Thursday, May 17th to see if he needs some early intervention. I’m pretty sure he does. I had a dream that he said “I love you, mommy.” I can’t for the day that he does. Right now when you ask him to say “I love you” he gives you a hug and pats your back. It’s not all bad, just not verbal. The other night Kris asked him to say I love you when Kris was leaving for work. Instead of verbalizing, Levi took Kris’s hand and placed it on his cheek so that Kris’s hand could cup his face. Adorable but not verbal.

• We purchased a playset for the kids in early April and last week Kris finished assembling it. The kids love it and I’m so happy we have one for them. Last night Annika even ate her dinner sitting at the table in the playset. I foresee many hours of outdoor play time this summer. Now if we could get rid of the infestation of ticks in our backyard that would be even better. We’ve instituted nightly tick checks and we usually find one or two. The woods behind are house are the likely culprit and they’re spreading to our yard from there. I don’t want to resort to harsh chemicals to control them, especially with my kids and dog out there, but maybe we’ll have to do that just to keep the ticks at bay.

• We scheduled a playdate with Ryan and Erin for Saturday, May 5th so they could help “christen” our new playset. We’ve played on theres for hundreds of hours and we wanted them to come play on ours now that it was done. Unfortunately it rained the afternoon they came over so very little playset playing was done. However, the kids had a great time playing in the house. There was hide and seek and they played in the basement and in the kids’ rooms and everywhere in between. Jeff, Maria and Charlie joined us for dinner that night and then we sat on the couch and the adults chatted while the kids played. It was a great afternoon and evening and I hope we can do it again soon. It’s important to me to keep those relationships alive and healthy not only for our kids but for us too!

• One day last week I came home from work and found Kris in the backyard with the kids. Also there was Amy next door with her two kids, Jessie from across the street with two of her kids and Mark from across the street with his daughter. All the kids were enjoying our playset and Amy’s sandbox. I was so excited to see this impromptu playdate! That is exactly what Kris and I wanted when we purchased it. We want our own kids to have hours of fun on there but we also want to have lots of friends in the neighborhood who all come to our house to play too!

• Last weekend I had a garage sale on Friday and Saturday. I made a couple hundred dollars, most of which has already been spent. The kids got their April and May allowances. A few dollars went to the neighbor for advertising. Some went to Krystle for her items that sold. And a good chunk of it went to Kris so he could buy Diablo III. I hope at least some of it makes it to savings for the house as we do have a patio we’re saving up for! But the garage sale itself went very well and I was able to meet a bunch more neighbors during it! It was also great to have a three day weekend away from work and the weather was perfect so it was enjoyable to spend both days outside. And what didn’t sell has already been carted away to goodwill. There are a couple bigger things that were saved to try to sell on Craigslist but it’s great to have the “garage sale corner” of the garage cleared out. Now we have to organize the garage a bit better, buy more shelving and get it cleaned up a bit more so both cars can get back inside it along with both motorcycles, all the kids toys and still have room to move around!

• It has taken me so long to get this post written that now I can talk about Levi’s speech some more. Yesterday we had Levi’s initial speech evaluation. There was very little Levi interaction during this one. It was more of a question and answer session for Kris and me. They asked us a range of questions about more than just speech. Can he use a spoon to feed himself? Does he do pretend play? Will he mimic facial expressions? Can he open a door? Etc. They noted that it seems Levi is on track developmentally in every area except communication. Oh, he can communicate, just not verbally. He’ll use gestures (pointing) and grunting and leading to get what he wants – he’s effective – but it’s not verbal. In order to qualify for speech services he needs to be more than two standard deviations below where a typical two year old is for speech. Given the very large range of a just barely two year old, they’re not sure if he’d qualify yet. But, they are going to come back and do a full evaluation to see if he will. The full evaluation will likely be four 1-1.5 hour sessions at our house with a nurse and speech pathologist assessing everything one-on-one with Levi. It will seem like playtime to him. All of this plus the final report and recommendation of services (if any) must be done within 45 days of when I made my initial call to them for help. That means the evaluations will be done within the next couple of weeks. It will be interesting to see what they have to say and if Levi qualifies. We think he needs help. We’ll see if they agree.