Friday, February 25, 2011


It is Friday night and we're all so glad the weekend is here! Harding got a haircut this afternoon, asked the stylist to fix his hair "crazy", and was quite full of himself when Trip took this picture. Shelby was in a silly giggly mood all evening. Looking forward to a couple days home with these precious kids....

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

what happened to my baby?

Shelby's teacher emailed me these pictures of her on the playground this afternoon. Where did our baby go? She looks like such a big girl here!
And check out the use of her left hand.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

random update

Constraint therapy update:
Shelby has started to use her left arm a whole lot to reach out for things. She has also gotten really good at carrying toys with her mouth, which is not the goal of this therapy. Our girl is resourceful, that is for sure. Shelby still struggles with using her left hand though. Last night, she was reaching out for my father-in-law's glasses, grabbing them, and throwing them on the floor. To the detriment of his glasses, John let her play this game repeatedly, and she got some good practice with grasping. I'm thinking that in the week we have left of constraint therapy, those fine motor skills are going to really develop. I am home with her this morning because a) I really miss her, and b) Beth is coming over for a PT session. Shelby does her best therapy work at home, so I'm hoping we'll have a good session together.

This whole 3-week-casting-with-daily-therapy-appointments thing has gotten me reexamining my priorities. I wish I had more time with Shelby. With the economy in the state that it is in, I know that we are incredibly blessed. Trip and I both have good jobs and I get excellent health insurance through the state (which is a must with Shelby's medical conditions). Trip's job has enough flexibility that he can go to many of Shelby's weekly therapies. Shelby is at a great school and her teachers and therapists are wonderful. We are blessed to have my parents and Trip's parents nearby--they are always more than willing to help out and we couldn't do it without them.

However, juggling and organizing everything can be exhausting and I really miss my kids. On days when teaching is tough (and let's face it, I teach middle school, there are those days), I long to be with my daughter who has some special needs and would probably benefit from having more time with me. But that is not really an option for us right now. I do know that there are things I can change though. I have realized that teaching full time and taking two graduate classes is WAY too much for me and my family. I will definitely be scaling back on my counseling classes in the future. Until then, I'm taking one day, week, and month at a time, attempting to make the most of the time I do get with the kids, trying not to be too hard on myself, and counting my many blessings.

Monday, February 7, 2011

our "Houdini" girl

Shelby's little houdini maneuver with the cast has me a bit unraveled! It was tricky to schedule the casting appointment and to get her daily therapies with 2 different OT's and 1 PT set up for the whole three weeks.

The cast went on last Thursday, and she was understandably grumpy and frustrated for the first 24 hours because she couldn't figure out how to sit herself up or commando crawl with her right hand constrained. But the cast did not hold her back for long, and she was moving around at full speed by Sunday. She also stopped fisting her left hand the first day and was using "lefty" to turn the pages in books by day 2.

She started fisting lefty again as soon as the cast was gone, but Trip said she could still turn the pages with that arm tonight. I hate it that some of what we have already accomplished has been reversed and that we have to start this inconvenient and frustrating process over again on Wednesday. Shelby certainly won this battle.


With help from a classmate, Shelby liberated herself from her cast today (2 and a half weeks ahead of schedule). This was supposed to be a non-removable cast. So much for that.

Needless to say, she was very pleased with herself, and was in an exceptionally fine mood all day.

We have another appointment on Wednesday to re-cast her.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

dinner with the Alexanders

Trip and Bill were childhood friends. They are still friends today and we are lucky to all live in Asheville together now. Bill's wife, Laura is great and I think it is pretty neat that our kids are becoming friends now too.

Harding and Sofi
All the children ganging up on Uncle Matt

Maya is one of the few kids that Shelby will allow to hold her. Notice the beautiful braid in Maya's hair? A very talented lady did that. ;)
Thanks for a fun evening and delicious dinner Laura and Bill!

Covington visit

Last weekend, after Saturday school (yuck), we loaded up the car and drove to Covington, GA for the 25th anniversary celebration of Mr. Billy's (a.k.a. the Reverend William B. Wade's) ministry at First Presbyterian Church. It was a whirlwind of a weekend. We had a wonderful dinner at the Wade's on Saturday night and saw many dear friends. We spent the night at the Krieger's and enjoyed catching up with them and watching Harding follow Ian and Anderson all over their house. We went to church Sunday morning, had lunch at my great aunt and uncle's house, then returned to church Sunday afternoon for the Mr. Billy celebration service. I was one of the speakers (along with my sister and my long-time friend Emily) and was incredibly nervous, but we did just fine and it was great being back at our home church and seeing so many people who have been influential in my life. If interested, here is a great article from the Covington News about Mr. Billy:
A quarter-century of service

On the way back, we drove by the house I grew up in to show Harding. It looked beautiful and I was happy to see kids playing basketball in the driveway. I hope they didn't notice me taking pictures from the car. I loved growing up in this house and seeing it brought back some great memories.We also drove by the two houses that Trip grew up in (his parents built both of them on their own), but I couldn't get a good photograph. Good times. What a nostalgic weekend!

MLK Weekend

I just downloaded pictures off of my camera and realized I have some blog catching up to do. We were supposed to drive down to Atlanta for Chris's birthday, but the whole city was covered in a sheet of ice. So Chris, Grant, and their cute baby Riley brought the party to us and we all spent the night at my mom and dad's house. It was nice relaxing and getting to hang out with sweet Riley. I love being an Aunt!

Here, Harding and Riley helped my mom empty the dishwasher.
Harding's mission in life is to make Riles laugh.
My mom got a train cake pan for Christmas. This was our first attempt at decorating it.
Chris, why don't you guys just move to Asheville? We miss you!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Constraint Therapy, Round 2

About a year ago, Shelby had 3 weeks of constraint induced therapy (CIT). In layman's terms, a cast was put on her favored right arm to force her brain to learn to use the left arm. It was amazingly successful and Shelby started using her left arm for the first time during that three weeks and continued afterwards. Here are the blog posts we did about it:

Anyway, Trip and I have decided that Shelby is ready to do casting again. Her left arm has gotten stronger and she isn't fisting her left hand nearly as much as she used to. We're hoping to accomplish a couple things through this round of CIT with Shelby: develop some fine motor skills with the left hand and learn how to play bilaterally.

We are really looking forward to seeing Shelby increase her strength and skills with that left arm and hand during the casting period. However, I am not looking forward to dealing with Shelby's frustration and wrath over having the cast on! She can be pretty stubborn.

Oh well, she is ready for this therapy and the cast goes on tomorrow. Shelby will have PT or OT every day during the three week period. We'll keep you updated.