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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Speechless Speech Therapy!

Here is a picture of my girls in their new "valentine" nightgowns (and Tessa really liked hers, she's just mad, of course, that the camera is out) and some other random pics for you to enjoy while I vent about the woes of my insane morning adventure in taking Tessa to her speech therapy evaluation.

We have determined that Tessa probably needs some speech therapy... and on her preschool teacher's referral, we signed her up for this free program through the school district that starts speech therapy with kids 3 through 5. So today was Tessa's initial evaluation screening. Let me preface this story by saying that Trav was supposed to be off work today to watch Tanner while I took Tessa. But, it's the last week of the month... he had to go in. The evaluation appointments are booked two weeks in advance, and so I figured I'd just take Tanner - surely it would be okay.

Well... we arrived on time (shockingly) and walked in to have three therapy ladies waiting on us. Tessa immediately buried her head in my lap and refused to speak to any of them. Luckily, one of them was very kid-friendly, and pulled out some small blocks, built a tower and asked Tessa to knock it down. This pleased Tessa... and so she warmed up.

The same lady began asking specific questions about pictures and wanting Tessa to identify things as a means of getting her to say certain words. Tessa complied. Things were going good. I was relieved. Tessa was cooperating and doing what they were asking. Tanner was sitting in his stroller and was happy, and I frantically filled out the program's paperwork hoping he'd stay that way until I was done. After about 15 minutes, they finished the screening. Tessa scored low and they wanted to do "further testing". At that point is when things started to go downhill.

On another side note, Tanner makes this noise... it is somewhere between a grunt and a scream, and it sounds awful and is very loud. He uses this sound to voice his dismay with various things, but primarily seating arrangements. So, just as one of the ladies was pulling out a new stack of "paperwork" for me to fill out, Tanner begins making his "noise". At this point, the lady working with Tessa pulls out a new book of pictures for her to look at, and Tessa promptly climbs down from the table, walks over and informs me she's "done", and is ready to go home. Great...

I put the papers aside and try to coax Tessa back into working with the lady and doing what she asks. Tessa is ignoring me and the therapy lady, and instead, she now begins jumping around the room counting squares on the rug in English and then in Spanish (we were watching Dora before we left), and needless to say, the therapy people were not impressed.

All this time, Tanner is in his stroller making his "noise" just getting madder and louder. So, I pick him up out of the stroller. He's squirmy... he wants to crawl. The lady with the paperwork (who is growing very concerned that I'm not getting that finished) encouraged me to "let him down" and he'd be fine. The room was pretty open with some room for him to crawl, and so I did.

Now, the lady working with Tessa has had no luck getting her refocused on these pictures. So she reaches into her pocket and pulls out a whole bag of little glittered "Scooby Doo" stickers. Score! Tessa is thrilled. However, as the lady begins to tell her she can have a sticker if she'll look at the pictures and tell her what they are, Tessa ignores her and decides she'll just help herself to a sticker now instead. So, as Tessa is reaching for the stickers, the lady pulls them away and then spills the whole bag... Glitter stickers - everywhere. Therapy lady - very annoyed.

So at this point, I set aside the paperwork I'm trying to finish filling out, and go over to see if I can get Tessa to cooperate. By now the original lady working with Tessa has called her coworker over for back up. They're going over Tessa's file and realize that she is 3 and not 4... they seem relieved... and pull out another book to try. But unfortunately, Tessa is still steadily ignoring all of us and the pictures we're asking her to look at, and has now moved on to playing with the headset attached to the hearing test equipment.

One of the ladies takes the headphones away from Tessa, and of course, Tessa gets mad... and as I'm going to pick her up and give this one last try, I hear Tanner (who has all this time been playing quietly under the table) cough. Just as I look at him, the cough turns into a gag, and with that he barfs up pretty much his entire morning bottle onto the therapy room floor.

The three therapy ladies gasp and move back, Tessa keeps crying, Tanner keeps barfing. And as I'm cupping my heads trying to catch the barf and keep it from hitting the therapy room carpet (which was pointless) what do you think comes flying out of Tanner's mouth and into my hands?? A Scooby Doo glitter sticker.

So there I am on the floor of the therapy room sitting in baby barf, completely and totally humiliated surrounded by the three therapy ladies, who I'm sure were thinking that they do not get paid enough for this, as they were handing me paper towels. Tessa is now standing at the door crying, holding my purse saying she wants to go home, Tanner is covered in baby barf, my hands are covered in baby barf, and of course, all this and my paperwork is still not filled out!! As I tried to mop the barf off the rug, I told them I thought we probably should just "reschedule". Needless to say, they agreed.

So in two more weeks, Trav will be taking Tessa back to complete her evaluation - not me! I think he'll have better luck getting Tessa to cooperate with their requests. Once the initial evaluation is complete, the therapist will go to Tessa's school and do her sessions there. So hopefully I'll be lucky enough to never have to face those ladies again!!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Star Is Born!!

Here is Gracie's TV Debut!!

She randomly got the opportunity to be in this TV commercial via her Aunt Mandy, and we figured since it was a paying gig, we'd let her try. Well, she had a lot of fun doing it... and just looks adorable, if I do say so myself! I'm sure Ashley's Furniture sales will immediately skyrocket!

**Hit the pause button on the music playlist to turn it off so you can hear her sweet little voice on the video when you play it!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

From The Throne Room...

I am ever so pleased to report that Tessa has officially become "Queen of the Bathroom" at our house, and is hereby certified as POTTY TRAINED! Here she is (and that is a smile, not a grunt), in her favorite dress, perched on her throne in a picture that will likely be used to torture her throughout the rest of her life...

We started on Saturday, and while things did not go smoothly out of the starting gate... about five hours, a bag of M&M's, and a can of carpet cleaner later, Tessa and I finally seemed to be on the same page about what things should go where.

Now, of course, having a child potty trained is really only a big deal to the people previously responsible for changing that kid's diapers! So... while no one else probably cares - we are very excited!! And so a big "YEAH FOR TESSA" shout out to our big baby girl for her success, and most importantly for trimming about $40 a month off our Wal-Mart diaper budget!!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Bike Riding and Odd News...

Here are some pictures of Tessa enjoying her birthday present during our biking adventure last weekend. Tessa loves her bike... she hadn't quite mastered peddling yet, but...

Daddy showed her how....

After an hour or so, Gracie was riding like a pro... and Tessa decided she'd walk home and said daddy could ride her bike. Gracie says she'll be gald when it's Spring and they can ride "every day". We'll see...

Anyway... on a side note, I read the Yahoo headlines every day. Our computer sits in the space (and I do mean "space") between the kitchen and the laundry room. So every time I'm on my way to the laundry room (like five times a day at least), I have to stop and check the yahoo headlines and see if anything new has popped up.

I also have a bit of an addiction to celebrity gossip (a particular guilty pleasure being http://www.perezhilton.com/, who yes, I know, can be terrible!). But I especially love the news that is actually listed on the yahoo page under "odd news".

And on that note, I saw this posted under the "odd news" headlines Friday afternoon... and as a public service to anyone who missed this "news story" and thinks it might a good idea to tell a pregnant woman who is bellied up to the bar, ALONE, on Valentine's Day that she shouldn't be drinking... think again!

Thu Feb 14, 10:46 PM ET
ROCHESTER, Pa. - A woman who is seven months pregnant is accused of smashing a beer bottle against a bartender's head after she was refused another drink. Police said Keisharra Abercrombie, 30, assaulted the female bartender on Saturday after being told she shouldn't be drinking alcohol.

Police say Abercrombie also smashed a glass over the bartender's ear and head. Authorities said the bartender's ear was partially detached. A surgeon in Pittsburgh used two staples and 28 stitches to reattach the top of the ear. Abercrombie was arraigned Wednesday on charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, harassment and reckless endangerment. She was in the Beaver County Jail on $25,000 bail.

Could you even imagine that scene?? Okay, obviously, this is very sad - in fact, tragic really (especially for that poor bartender). And of course, drinking while pregnant is bad - very bad! But... I couldn't help but giggle as I thought about my many pregnant friends, and then myself at seven or eight months pregnant. I don't know, but it was probably likely that if some well intentioned drive through worker had decided to caution me about about the effects of excess french fry consumption or denied my request to "super size me" they might have suffered a serious injury involving that headset they have to wear...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Good Friends.... Good Times...

Tessa wasn't the only birthday girl last weekend. My sweet and dear friend, Kendra turned 40 on Saturday. And yes, I know, she doesn't look anywhere near 40.

I've known Kendra almost 10 years... and she's one of those unique and rare friends where it doesn't really matter how many miles away they get or how long it's been, when you see them again, you're just picking back up right where you left off. Such a gift.

We spent a grand (and kid free) evening that started out with pedicures and makeovers at the spa, and then on to a fabulous Italian dinner. Few people can make me laugh like Kendra... and I was so excited to get to celebrate her 40th with her!

All the festivities were courtsey of Kendra's hubby, who is getting some major gold stars for organzing the evening. It wasn't my birthday, but it felt like it!!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tessa Turns Three!

Our baby girl, Tessa Renee, turned 3 on Friday.

We celebrated Saturday with family, and invited our good friend, Cori, over for a visit to The Wonder Place, and of course, presents, cake, and ice cream! Here are a few pictures from Tessa's big day!

Lots of stuff to do at The Wonder Place...

Gracie is getting ready to put on a show at The Wonder Place with several fellow castmates...

Time for presents! Tessa got a new ride courtsey of Nana and Papa, and a new Cinderella gown from Aunt Mandy (which Tessa and I were equally grateful for... she wore her old one daily, and it had really seen better days at the ball).

Time for cake! A princess cake, of course... Tessa gushed like a princess and just couldn't stop smiling while we sang happy birthday to her!

Make a wish!!!

It's your cake... stick your finger in it if you want to!


Tessa had a great day!! And she's very anxious to try that bike out this afternoon... hopefully she'll agree to ride without her new dress!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mardi Gras Parade!

Gracie attends Pre-K this year, and it is a WONDERFUL school. They really go above and beyond when it comes to activities and fun stuff for the kids, and at the same time they are learning so much to get them ready for kindergarten.

Today they had a Mardi Gras parade, and of course, a party complete with King Cake and all... They children dressed up in costumes and paraded around the school block with an official police escort. Gracie opted for her ballet dress costume so she wouldn't have to worry about her "costume dragging while she was busy parading".

In true parade form, they had "real drummers" as Gracie said, courtsey of a local high school band.

The teachers at her school are so great! Full of enthusiasm! Here is Ms. Ross, (our friend and Gracie's teacher) in high parade fashion!

Here is Gracie hurling her beads at me while I'm trying to take her picture!

The kids threw beads, danced and clapped, and paraded around like pros...

Happy Fat Tuesday To All!