17/52 – Her & Him

A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2015.

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Little Miss 
: Sassy Little Miss! You had so much fun making it IMPOSSIBLE for mom to take a “normal” shot of you this week. But you know what? That makes this shot perfect. Why be normal when you can be you? And you is who we love the most. <3

A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, in 2015.

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Little Man : Oh yes, oh yes… this would be the face of a Little Man, finally outside and free, after being cooped up inside way too much this week. You were pounding on the door at 6 am this morning, begging to go out. I’m so happy that out-of-doors is where you feel at your best. You feel nature’s draw, you want every piece of her. That just makes me smile. <3

 Joining Jodi for the 52 Project

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Today, I’m grateful for…

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  • kiddos that are just itching to get out the door at 7 am regardless of the weather.
  • feathery moss hard at work, covering all the brown, making spring so lush.
  • all the rain we got this week, pushing buds open, renewing our hope.
  • centennial trees, still alive and thriving, aging with grace, teaching us about time.
  • climbing, running, touching, smelling, looking, tasting, being healthy and full of vigor.
  • the past and present mixing, for man and nature coexisting, creating worlds of wonder.
  • sticks and streams, all a child really needs to have fun. (echoing my dear friend Kim on this beautiful day.)
  • quiet moments that allow you to rediscover music you love, making you love it even more.
  • my babies sleeping while I write this, my husband happily tending to his bike in the garage, our lives soft and sweet, fully blessed.

What are you grateful for?

Posted in Cultivation, Family Life, Gratitude, Nature, Outdoors, Simplicity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Breakfast smoothies – another true sign of Spring

Breakfast and Little Miss don’t always go hand-in-hand around here. Unlike my son that eats twice as much as I do, she will peck at food like a bird. That is, until Spring comes around and the weather isn’t so frigid. See, one thing that will always go down is a good, fully loaded, breakfast smoothie!

“Then why not a breakfast smoothie year round?” you may ask. Well, you see, both my daughter and I have very weak kidneys so cold food in winter is not a great idea according to our TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) practitioner. So warm milk and cereal, pancakes and eggs make the bulk of our cold-weather mornings, but from April to October, it’s smoothies all around.

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What do I mean by fully loaded? Here is our basic recipe :

Fully loaded Breakfast Smoothie

  • 1 cup organic plant-based milk (my daughter prefers soy)
  • 1/4 cup of organic full fat plain goat milk or greek yogurt
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries (this morning was blueberries, strawberries and cranberries)
  • 1 dose powdered vegan kids probiotics (This is what we are using right now, but we will be switching to these in a few weeks.)
  • 1 TBSP Vegan Omega/DHA oil supplement (This is what we use right now, but we will be switching to these in a few days.)
  • 1/2 tsp Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (We use this brand)
  • 1 dose of liquid multivitamin (What we use – French only site, sorry!)
  • 2 TBSP of hemp seeds
  • 1 tsp of either pure maple syrup or raw honey

You can imagine how happy I am when I see her completely slurp up all this goodness?

Since Little Man isn’t all about the smoothies yet, believe it or not, all those vitamins and supplements go into what we call his “loaded applesauce”. But I guess you can get used to anything if  started at a young enough age!

What is your health regime? Do you have a breakfast hard-head? How do you get them to eat healthy in the morning?

Posted in Family Life, Food | Tagged , , , , | 37 Comments

16/52 – Her & Him

A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2015.

IMG_0868 (1024x683)Little Miss : We are shedding some layers this week and you have felt so free. You can run faster and longer, move your body in new exciting ways. It’s a whole new reality now : Sunscreen, eating outside, spending days with our neighbors, playing with their dogs, learning to ride your bike… Oh and the trampoline! How you have missed your trampoline. We are in for several months of extreme fun my darling. I’m so happy we get to spend this time together before you start school.

A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, in 2015.

IMG_0863 (1024x643)Little Man : You have been in full exploration mode. Like your sister, the thinner layers have meant a whole new range of motion that you are living fully. Time outside with you is still a bit challenging : You still run away from us and don’t always hear us calling you back and you get very hard headed about doing things your way and ONLY your way. But you have gifted me with a new fascination for handing me things you find instead of eating them and a sudden preference for holding my hand while walking and that just makes my heart sing. You will grow so much this year and now, we have all the tools and support to help you along the way.

 Joining Jodi for the 52 Project

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Sigh of relief

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Sorry for taking so long to give news, I know so many of you are probably wondering if things went really badly. Rest assured, they didn’t. Things are quite wonderful actually, but our day did run away from us with many unexpected events (including a trip to the emergency room for Little Miss to have 3 stitches sewn on her chin after a nasty fall at the park) so here I finally am.

The evaluation went really well. Little Man liked the therapist instantly. She was even able to sit him down on her lap for a few seconds 2 or 3 times. He was very comfortable around her. He was very interested in the toys she brought so stayed very concentrated and quiet. She was hoping for a bit more babbling to evaluate the sounds he was able to make, but she still feels she got enough info to write up a great intervention plan.

She said that most of the “quirks” could easily be explained by his speech delay and his partial deafness. Like she explained : If he can’t speak to tell us he doesn’t understand something and possibly can’t hear us well when we try to explain something, we probably make very little sense to him most of the time. This would explain why he plays so inappropriately with a lot of his toys. He’s kind of making it up as he goes.

This morning, we ended up hitting the used toy store for a few toys she recommended as well. Apparently, although his fine motor skills are way beyond his age (she says about 30 months instead of 22), he’s missing some of those early skills that would help him with putting together sequences of “events” that lead to “results”. (Like shape sorting, stacking, button pushing, pop up, keys and knobs type of things, etc.) Usually, these skills are mastered between 12 and 18 months. She explained that those early skills bring the brain to make that “2+2=4″ type of thinking. That is a necessary skill for word and sentence construction later on. We had gotten rid of all those thinking he was passed them and just not interested. But she said it would be good for him to go back and try to master these even if the typical age has passed. So we got a few this morning and will be working on that. Anything to help him catch up.

One thing she did say is that we will have to try to make him “work for things” a bit more. Since he’s gotten used to getting what he wants without saying a word, he probably sees no reason to do it. Which means a bit of tough love. Not frustrate him to a point of making him angry and creating a conflicting and hostile environment, but playing dumb a bit when he wants something. She gave the example of a a cup of water on the counter. If he comes reaching for the cup whining, just start pointing at a few things around what he wants to “delay gratification” by 5-10 seconds. She said that might just be enough to spark his desire to get his point across because we all know how much toddlers LOVE to wait and those 5 seconds can seem like an eternity to them. It will force him to re-evaluate his strategy.

She has recommended a follow-up with an occupational therapist for some of his sensory issues like the biting his hands and such. Just so it doesn’t become something he could really hurt himself with. But all in all, she doesn’t see the need to put in any recommendation for any autism or ASD related evaluation. You can imagine how very relieved we all are.

Her last recommendation was for us to really start sticking to one language with him (which we are horrible at because Little Miss prefers English). We will also look into play groups for him next year to get him in contact with kids his own age. If being told how something works is a challenge, maybe being able to observe more will fill in the gaps. She will be coming back in one week with the full intervention plan and some materials and resources for us. She was a very lovely, nurturing kind of person. She recommends we all see each other again for an in-home visit in 3 months. He will be 2 years old then and we can see where he’s at and if some of her recommendations will change. She said to continue with basic sign language if we have been getting good responses.

So now we relax! We let Spring unfold, we enjoy Summer… We are happy, we feel like we have done all we can. We will keep working on his food issues with our doctors, hopefully we will get answers soon, but now we breathe. Breathing is good.

After a long and well deserved nap for him, we headed for the bike path near our home. The temperatures reached 18’C yesterday (64’F) and after shedding many layers, I let him be free. I know I should have taken this opportunity to point and name, help him listen, try to teach, but I didn’t… we splashed and walked, turned and crawled, touched and tasted… The silence was nice. I think most times, he is teaching me more than I teach him. Learning to just be is the most important gift he will have given me.

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Tomorrow…

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… is the big day : Our in home evaluation with the speech therapist for Little Man. I’ve been trying to get a grips on my feelings about it all week and unfortunately, I’m still not quite sure. On one hand, I’m very excited! New tools and ways to get my little angel’s voice to sing. I’m looking forward to seeing him interact with someone else, to see how he will do (my son isn’t big on strangers) and I’m hoping that she sees in him great possibilities.

But there is a part of me that is scared… Scared that all these little quirks that we find so endearing, all those little strange ways he plays with his stuffies, that he eats his food, that he chews his hands when nervous, that he won’t play WITH other kids (instead plays AROUND other kids), that he won’t let anyone but us hold him, will raise flags. Flags that go way beyond being deaf. I know I don’t have to spell out the “A” word here, but it’s been on our minds. That is what has been hard to cope with this week. Funny enough, again, it’s not the prospect of the diagnosis, but the unknown.

We’ve also been running tests on his diet again. We’ve known for a very long time that he cannot have dairy in any form and we were fine with that. But he was still suffering from gastrointestinal distress more often than he should so we started eliminating things one at a time. We did soy for a few weeks without any real changes. Then we moved on to eggs, no changes again. Next was gluten and we are pretty sure we hit the jackpot. We are almost 30 days into an almost 100% gluten-free diet for him (we still use small quantities of organic spelt in some recipes) and suddenly he’s sleeping through the night almost every night, his skin has cleared up from almost all the rashes and eczema and he has calmed down quite a bit. He’s still all go-go-go, but he goes with a bit more focus now. And that is a nice change. But at the same time, it means more questions. So I’ve scheduled an appointment with our family doctor to ask to be referred to a pediatric GI specialist and get some food allergy tests done. I really think It’s time.

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But still, throughout the week there has been much light and fun : We went sugar-shacking with Little Miss’ preschool and the kiddos had lots of fun. As much as she loved the maple snow taffy, the horse-drawn buggy ride into the forest was the best. We watched Turkey Vultures hunt and saw snow geese flying North for summer. We listened to downy woodpeckers work away, collecting slow sluggish bugs from old rotting maple trees. It was a lovely morning treat.

We’ve been enjoying really warm weather this week, shedding layers and letting the sun warm our bodies and souls. We made bird feeders to hang around the yard, trying to bring in as many of our feathery friends in.

This week-end will be all about working on the gardens since all of them are almost completely thawed. We will be amending soil and planting cold hardy crops : That is right, the gardening season will officially start. What a grand adventure it always is.

But first let’s get through tomorrow… <3

Posted in Family Life, Gardening, Learning at home, Life, Nature, Outdoors, Seasons | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

15/52 – Her & Him

A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2015.

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Little Miss : Self directed play has always been a bit tough for you. You want our help, you want our input, you need to know that what you are doing is right according to our standards. How I wish you would always understand that you are smart, capable and wonderful. I see your confidence wavering sometimes, it breaks my heart. You will do so many amazing things. You will see… <3

A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, in 2015.

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Little Man : We are seeing more and more of a shift in you. What use to seem like random actions are defining themselves. We have started to see certain preferences and interests. I used to worry about the fact that you didn’t want to do any of the traditional toddler things, but the things you choose to do are just as amazing. Our home will have it all : art, music, sports… There will never be a boring moment. <3

 Joining Jodi for the 52 Project

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