Friday, November 29, 2013

Viva Las Vegas

Who doesn't love a vacation in November!?!?!

The sisters and I planned a trip to Las Vegas for my parent's 40th anniversary that was in June.  Not like Hangover Las Vegas but more like, warm temps, sightseeing, family visiting, staying up late drinking wine in our rented house - Las Vegas.  It was a great time.

Luke was not able to miss the whole week of work so I flew with all 3 kiddos by myself.  This is what Luke likes to call "self induced chaos".  Thanks to lots of prayers, iPad time, suckers, and bribes - it was actually pretty chaos free.

My 3 crazies
My parents were already there when we landed so they picked us up from the airport and the fun began!  My aunt and uncle and four of my cousins live in Henderson, a suburb of Las Vegas.  They have lots of littles amongst them so it was really fun for the kids to get to play together!

Several of my other relatives traveled to Las Vegas to celebrate Thanksgiving as well so we had a big 'ole get together.  These used to be a common thing with the Mugan cousins before everyone grew up and moved away.  I loved our little reunion and so did the kids....most of whom were too busy off playing to be part of this picture.

I was super excited when my cousin John's wife Maggie told me they were coming to Las Vegas from Phoenix.  John and Maggie welcomed their 3rd son almost a year ago and found out he had Down syndrome when he was born.  John and Maggie are two of the nicest people I know and Pete is lucky to have them as parents!  I was so excited for Clay and Pete to meet each other.  Seriously, cuteness overload!

Wyatt REALLY wanted to see desert animals on our "desert trip" but unfortunately, a petting zoo was as close as I could come up with :/

This picture is ESPECIALLY awesome because for some unknown reason, Clay has been a little leery of papa for the past several months.  Apparently after 2 vacations with papa, Clay decided he was pretty great after all!  

The trip to the Hoover Dam was surprisingly really fun.  I hadn't been there in 10ish years and appreciated it's awe and beauty much more at 31 than I did at 21.....probably after a long night of no good.

The kids thought it was pretty cool, too.  There favorite part was "touching a mountain"!

Luke was able to join us on Thanksgiving and we were all thrilled to see him!  

Spending Thanksgiving all together in Las Vegas was so special because we haven't celebrated together with my sisters since before the men in our lives were even in the picture!

A morning sister and bro-in-law run

More memories in the making....

Our little travelers! 

I am so thankful for these opportunities in life.  To leave our "norm" behind, explore, and discover.

Travel and sister time is good for my soul ;) 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Clay the almost TWO year old!!!

I can't believe Clay's 2nd birthday is less than a month away!  Where has the time gone?  I still feel like I just had a baby.  Is that excuse no longer legit!?  How could it have been two years ago!?

In the last few months, Clay has really turned into a full-blown toddler.  Yes, he may still be working on the walking thing BUT he gets around just fine and into EVERYTHING.  No cupboard is safe, climbing up on the coach and attempting to dive off the back is one of his favorite activities, and the tantrums....oh the tantrums.  Let's just say Clay is very familiar with time outs.

Boycotting naps has become more and more frequent lately, as well.  Don't worry.  I don't believe in kids that stop napping at such a young age.  It is a phase.  Power through.  Stay consistent.  There WILL be naps at our house!  On a recent "no nap day", I went into check on my babbling boy and found this.

Clay had figured out how to get his socks and pants off and unsnap his onesie.  No wonder he wasn't sleeping; he was working hard!  Thank goodness the diaper was still on!  Lord help us all. 

 Sleepsacks have seemed to curb this habit for now.  

On a positive note, his occupational therapist would be so proud! ;)

Clay is definitely my most stubborn of the 3.  He knows what he wants and he isn't afraid to fight for it.  Lately this has been independence.  This is both amazing and yet so sad; mama is losing her baby ;(

 Clay tries so hard to "keep up" and I admire that in him more than words can express.  He has low muscle tone EVERYWHERE which makes EVERYTHING he does more work than we can even imagine.  Simple tasks like climbing stairs, eating, and speaking are not so simple for him but he isn't about to let that show.  I have been told again and again by his many different therapists how motivated Clay is.  Kids with low tone are often, well, lazy.  They know how much work is involved and just don't want to do it.  That is not the case for our sweet Clay!

Clay has been doing so good at self feeding and using a big boy plate.  Look at that determination!

Mr. Independent aka Batman, picking out his own snack.  If I try to help at all during this important decision making time, all hell will break loose.  Trust me.

Pretend play has also become a great skill Clay has been mastering.  He loves to feed the baby dolls, push the the cars around making "bbbbrrrrrr" (engine) noises, and play house.

Coffee anyone!?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ankle Braces and an Awesome Walker

Clay's new physical therapist, Erica (who we LOVE), recommended that Clay get fitted for ankle braces.  His low tone combined with pronating (rolling in of the feet and ankles) makes him feel less stable when he stands, therefore making wanting to take independent steps a scary thing for him.

There are two places in Omaha that specialize in these braces so we made and appointment and got him fitted.  It was easy and simple; they just measured all around his feet and ankles and told us they would arrive in a few weeks.

When they came in, I took Clay back in to make sure they fit him right, etc.  Clay has super tiny feet; he wears an infant size 3, which is normally a 6-12 month shoe.  This is where we ran into some issues.  The braces add quite a bit of bulk to the width of his foot so none of the shoes we had would fit over the brace.  I hit the stores and tried on like 500 million different pairs of shoes on him and NONE of them fit over the brace without me going up to a size 5, which were huge boats on his feet.  We came home empty handed.

I asked several moms from my Down syndrome group and they had some great suggestions.  Either a basic, lace up shoe like Converse or a "skater" type shoe that tend to run wide.  It already takes me 3 hours to get everyone's shoes and coats on around here so a lace up did not sound too appealing.  We set out to find a "skater" shoe that came in a small enough size and found them at our 3rd store - Walmart!!  I hate Walmart...but I am loving them right now for ending this crazy search.

These shoes are adorable and fit over the braces great.  I did size up to a size 4 but they seem to fit him well.  I sewed on some additional velcro to the ends and they are perfect!

Clay doesn't seem to mind them one bit and does seem less wobbly in the ankles when he has them on!  
You can barely see the braces and they blend in well with his socks
Extra velcro sewed on

Not only does he have these awesome new braces BUT check out this walker Erika (the PT) brought over!!!!  The traditional walkers that you push out in front of you are so fast for Clay and when he is able to keep up, he walks hunched over, with his arms out straight in front of him.  This is not teaching proper walking form.  He does great with his new wheels and is SOOO proud of himself!

Disclaimer - he has slippery jammies on in this video and had just got his new walker!

It is hard to get a good video because he is so fast but here is a little something....

Leaves Please!

We had a fun little photo shoot in the backyard last weekend.  These 60 degree days in the middle of November are so awesome. 

We raked up a big 'ole pile of leaves and set the kids free.  I have very fond memories of doing this as a child.  It is like the one time your parent's say "here, make a big mess of the work I just did".  How can you not have fun with that!?