Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my blog. If you feel inclined to comment on a post, just click on the "comment" link at the bottom of the post. I would love to hear from you! If you are new to my blog, check out the archived blog posts listed in the left column.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday, Happy Earth Day


Sylas ("Man of the Forest") is officially ONE! He enjoyed sharing his birthday with Earth Day...and celebrated with helping his siblings and their schoolmates clean up a beach that is near their school.

In the evening after dinner, Sylas got his own birthday cake to dig into. All of us anxiously anticipated how Sy would react. I asked him if he wanted cake, and he started kicking and waving his arms around. Sylas has never had cake before, but he sure reacted strongly to the word "cake". Kids must innately know that cake is good! He immediately slapped his hands down on the cake, and proceeded to lick the frosting off of his hands.


Although Sylas is still small, this picture is a little reminder of how much he has grown over the past year. I am working on a photo slideshow of his 1st year, and I will post that when it is finished.
I hope everyone had a enjoyable Earth Day...I would have to say that not only did we have a great day, but a very memorable first year...can't wait to experience the joys that Sylas' second year brings!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Last Day of Being "Zero"

One year ago today Sylas and I looked like this:

The day prior, Brett and I had flown over to Oahu and planned to stay until I gave birth. Sylas' due date was 2 weeks away. This was a VERY active day, and I probably walked a few miles. I don't know what I was thinking, but I sure was excited to actually have stores (like Target) to shop at, and we had yet to find a car seat that would fit our stroller. We ended the day with an stomach-stretching Italian dinner, and I had to stop and breath through a contraction on the way back to our hotel. I didn't think much of it, since I thought it was probably just another one of those annoying Braxton Hicks. Well, no I was in labor.

A few hours later I went to sleep...a few hours later I woke up with most definite labor pains...waited way too long for a taxi....finally arrived at the hospital but nurses acted way too relaxed and wanted me to fill something out, weigh me, probably measure my height!!...that all changed when they realized I was 8cm dilated!

I will say no more, since it is not his birthday yet.
We took pictures today to commemorate, as Sophie says "Sylas' last day of being zero".





Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Little Kickers




Above: Sylas enjoying the water at 6 mths
Below: Sylas reaching for toys at 10 mths




Sylas has been trying to crawl for many months now. The frustration is obvious...but once he is in the water, all the frustration is washed away. He sees a toy across the pool, and his legs ("little kickers" as we call them) move into action and off he goes to get his toy.


Prior to Sylas starting lessons at seven months, I had spent many hours reading about infant swimming on...of course, the Internet! I fortunately found a wonderful instructor in the area (http://humuhumuswimschool.com/index.html.), and although she did not have experience with special needs children, I had a feeling that she would be a perfect match for Sylas, and it turns out that she is. Both of my older children had participated in water baby classes (water exploration), but I never really thought an infant could be taught to swim. I read that in Australia and some of the European countries, swim classes for infants is not uncommon. However, I was worried that Sylas may aspirate pool water or get ear infections. This is what I have learned:

  • Fear of water is acquired as children grow older. Babies less than one year acclimate to water easier than older children. Sylas has always seemed relaxed in the warm water (90-92 degrees), he evens gets excited now when he sees water and starts to kick.


  • Swimming improves muscle development, cardiovascular systems, coordination, and fine motor skills. Sylas is less restricted by gravity in the water, so he is able to move easily despite his low tone. Sylas initially kicked his legs simultaneously, but now he is able to kick each leg independent of the other leg, this is a good example of improved coordination.


  • Teaching young children to swim could save their lives. No need to comment more on that!

  • Learning to swim builds confidence and independence. It is a great way to socially interact with Sylas and expose him to an activity that will provide social situations in the future.


  • Warm water and exercise helps improve appetite and sleep. Longer naps? Yes, indeed..Sylas naps much longer on swim days. :)


  • Improved cognitive development. We use a lot of repetition with songs and activities, Sylas knows what to expect next. We label each action, such as "Sylas reach" or "Sylas kick, kick, kick".

To teach Sylas how to hold his breath, we gradually (over weeks) adjusted Sylas to water by dripping it over his head onto his forehead. We would get Sylas' attention and say the same verbal cue each time, "Sylas, ready..go" and soon he was closing his eyes and mouth while we gently poured a small stream of water down his forehead onto his face. He caught on quickly. The next step was using the cue prior to doing a splashy jump, and finally he was ready for a brief submersion. After we cue him, he is never submerged unless we observe that he has closed his eyes and mouth.


In my experience with Sylas, I have not noticed more ear infections or aspiration. We watch his mouth closely to prevent him from ingesting pool water (he likes to lick it, yum), and we refrain from swimming if he shows signs of sickness.

The following video is from January. He is now able to submerge for two seconds, stay relaxed in a back float while I support his neck, and kick across the pool to reach a toy while we support his trunk. The best part is when he smiles and laughs...and he has been doing a lot of that lately!
video






Thursday, April 8, 2010

Happy Easter 2010



Here on the island, Easter is quite different for us. This holiday is not filled with extended family and our home is not filled with Easter decor (other than plastic and homemade Easter eggs). Very different than our experiences in MN...but not different in a good or bad way, just different.
Grandma Annie was visiting the two weeks prior to Easter, and initiated many impromptu Easter egg hunts with empty plastic eggs around the house. The kids would take turns hiding the eggs inside of the house, the game never seemed to get old. Here is a picture of my mom and Sylas cuddling after his bath:
In Minnesota, the kids always enjoyed going over to Grandma Moo Moo's house for her special Easter egg hunt. This year she sent the kids Easter goodies in the mail. They LOVE opening packages, especially packages with candy!
On Saturday, we were invited over to a friend's house to see her beautiful decorations. Our friend told us that she had a personal contact with the Easter Bunny and that he had made a special visit to bring them baskets.
Sure enough, after following the little stone road, they came upon their surprise.


Sophie's good friend and her sister were also invited...they always have a delightful (sometimes mischievous time together:)). Did you notice the 4th cute bunny?



Our friend also has 2 pet turtles, and Sam (the turtle lover) was thrilled to hold one.

Sylas had a great time and fell asleep...see top picture!

That afternoon, we got out the eggs, Paas kits and this is after we blew out and dyed the eggs:


On Easter Day, we decided to do "our traditional"worship service under our big tree in the front yard. Picture from last year:


Happy Easter!

Love,

Elena

Sunday, March 28, 2010

ALOHA!



Aloha, it has been WAY too long since I posted. Sylas will be one year old in less than a month, so I have some catching up to do! As we settle into our community more and more everyday, I find that I am not very good at juggling 3 kids, a dog, and a blog. Since Christmas, Sylas has experienced his first tsunami warning (we are up high enough, so no evacuation for us), first croup virus with a visit to the ER, and first tiny plane (8-seater) ride with major turbulence. He of course had no clue about the tsunami, had a hard time with the croup, and slept through the plane ride(despite his hysterical mom screaming every time the plane dropped!...Sam was amused). Note to everyone....make sure you know what kind/size of plane you are booking your tickets on.

Sylas has been hard at work perfecting his sitting technique. Although he is not crawling yet, he can sit nonstop for long periods. However, when he has decided he is tired of sitting, sometimes he just topples over which is not too good for the noggin. I usually put pillows around him just in case. He likes to stand up with assistance, and pivot around on his belly, oh...and of course, roll ALL OVER. He is a rolling machine.

The picture above is Sylas in Kona. Our good friends, the Dorenbushs came to visit us and we decided to journey, with 5 kids in tow, to the Big Island of Hawaii. Our intention was to visit the active volcano, but we soon discovered that staying at the hotel was enough "vacation" for us. We will return when the kids are older and have an appreciation of why their parents are making them walk near dangerous hot molten lava.

Friday, December 25, 2009