Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday Morning Fun

Riley takes a Gymboree class on Saturday mornings.  He LOVES it and has so much fun climbing up, jumping off and popping bubbles.  It is his kind of place. 

Running across the parachute.  He was having fun running through the bubbles today instead of stopping to pop them or stomp on them. 

He loved the butterfly dance.  These super cute butterflies are finger puppets and he danced the butterfly dance with the teacher.  The other kiddos were busy so he had the teacher all to himself and he thought it was great.

Crawling through the tunnel.

Once he made it through the tunnel he got to jump off the edge onto a big soft squishy mat.  It must have been 3 feet high and Riley thought it was great.  I think this was the fav today.

Today we were looking for flowers and leaves that were hidden.

We even had to climb and run across the bridge to find the flowers.

Once we found the fowers and leaves we put them in our bucket.  They were hiding everywhere today.

Look at me mom I ran away from my friends so I could shoot a quick basket.  Slam Dunk!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Catagory 5 Hurricane hits Spokane preschool

We had Riley's first teacher conference this morning. Wow is he ever busy at school. I absolutely LOVE his teacher and she shared some great stories of Hurricane Riley.
I'll go for the funniest first. He has friends at school. His little buddy Darius likes to play with him and they often sit next to each other at circle time and during centers. Well, apparently Riley also like to have Darius help him with is work. Picture the teacher leading an activity where they had cut out a football and had it setting on top of textured wall paper. The kids were supposed to turn the crayon the long way and push it across the paper getting the color with the texture of the paper below it. Well pushing the crayon across his paper to accomplish this task was both hard and not Riley's idea. So instead of working on his project, after the teacher corrected him from turning the crayon the typical way in his hand, he stops, looks at this buddy, sets his crayon down in front of his buddy and then starts tapping on his paper to show his buddy that he wants him to do his work. Apparently this is not the first time that he has conned his buddies into do his work but it was the most creative technique he has used. He learned that the teacher makes him do it over if he doesn't finish his work himself.

The teacher said she has two kiddos in the room the Riley has really become buddies with. One little boy has had to care for his little brother so much that it is just in his nature to help and nurture Riley and little Darius understands that sometimes it is hard for Riley but its ok and that Riley will learn how to accomplish things on his own if his friends don't do them for him. I worried that because there is only 1 other 3 year old in his class and the other kids are SOOO much bigger physically than he is that they would baby him just based on size. Apparently he holds his own.

So on to the amazing story. During circle time the teacher holds up each child's name on a flashcard and the children have to raise their hands when they see their name. The teacher does not read the names but they have to identify their own name and raise their hands. Apparently Riley not only knows his name but has started pointing to his friends when she holds up their name tags too. It isn't all of the kids in class but his friends that he cares about he can recognize their printed name and point them out. How totally amazing and wonderful is that!!!
The teacher had wonderful things to share about his social and cognitive skills. His biggest challenge is communication. He is VERY quite at school. She told us that when he is by himself or just with a few children with imaginative play areas like the kitchen he is more verbal. Even though he might be saying clearly understandable words he has the intonation and pauses like he is having a conversation. He is doing better repeating words and she insists that he attempts the verbal word when he signs. Did I mention how much I love this teacher!!!

We also learned today that he is getting 20-30 minutes of individual OT each week. This is so much more than we were originally told he would receive. We were under the impression that he was only working with the OT within the classroom setting. His room is also such a high demand group for services that he is getting extra speech time with a 2nd therapist that comes in to work with a language group? I guess I should have asked what the difference is between an articulation group and a language group? HMM good thing we see his private speech therapist today and she just happens to be his regular speech therapist at school too.

So after so much worry and stress I'm happy to feel like Riley is just where he should be! He has a great teacher and great therapists.

It still is amazing to me every time I think about these too little boys and how fast they grow, and wow are they growing. They are not only physically growing taller and heavier but the maturing and learning that is going on inside just makes a person go WOW!!! If you needed a reminder of God's hand at work just check these two handsome lil guys.

Rex and Riley December 2006

Rex and Riley December 2009

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

71 and counting

Wow my Dad turned 71 today.  I guess I shouldn't plaster his age all over my blog but hey its out there and I think its great.  Its hard to believe he's actually in his 70's but I guess its what his birthcertificate says.  I like to give  him a lil bit of grief that he was a late bloomer since he was 37 when I was born.  Though I'm the youngest not the oldest so I guess its not such a slow start. 

I thought in honor of dad's birthday I'd share some pictures of us over the years.  This task is easier said than done.  Apparently dad doesn't say cheese much for pictures........ah  that will change in the near future.  Get ready dad. 

Happy Birthday Dad.  I can't imagine life with out you.  You've waited patiently for me during all the best times in my life.  Waiting out in front of the school to pick me up from all my sports practises. Driving me all over the country the summer I rode the float for Miss Reardan. We certainly can't forget all the trips to the Dr after my knew surgery or the hours we spent trying to rehab my knee.  How many trips to Billings while I was in college??  My boys are super lucky to call you Grampa even if you do make them cry.

So for my dear blog readers that don't know my dad so well he isn't what you'd call a baby guy.  Riley was crazy scared of dad for a long time.  If dad would come into a room Riley would make a sad silent cry and fold himself in half to "hide".  (This would be odd if he hadn't done this for all men)  Well, one day when Riley was staying at Gramma and Grampa's when he was still small enough to take a bath in the kitchen sink my dad walked into the kitchen while Riley was taking one of these great sink baths.  Riley simply folded in half to hide......then came up supptering since he had put his head under the water.  Classic Grampa and Riley moment. 

Love you dad. 

Summer 09

Christmas 2009

Summer 07  Riley is about 7 months old

Dad waiting patiently in the waiting room for lil guy below

Riley William Nov 30, 2006

Christmas 2006

Celebrating Rex's birth Sept 2002

Fall 02 Rex and Grampa

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Happy 101

Hee hee hee I got an award.   My new sweet blogging friend   38 and Growing  gave me this award an what a fun surprise it was.  I'm a bit slow to get it posted but I love it just the same.   Traci has a great blog that you should check out if you haven't.  She is on a beautiful journey of self discovery.  I think we've been walking a similar path over the last year. 

  The award comes with only three rules. Acknowledge the lovely blogger that passed it on. Tell ten things that make me happy and share it with ten other happy bloggers.

Ten Things that Make Me Happy:

1.  My beautiful family.  I live with three handsome guys one is a bit taller than the others but they all have beautiful souls. 

2. Listening to Rex and Riley laugh.  I don't think there is anything better than the sound of children laughing.

3.  Hanging out with my friends.  I have the most amazing group of friends ever. 

4.  Reading a great book and  stepping away from reality for a moment.

5.   Listening to Rex read his book each night for school.  I hope he loves books as he grows. 

6.  The fact that we have finally found a community at church where I feel comfortable and part of the group.

7.  An appointment with my massage therapist. 

8.  Shopping with Angie the day after Thanksgiving.....well really anyday but that day is special.

9.  Watching Riley amaze everyone that he meets.  He has the greatest smile ever and he loves to share it!

10.  Did I mention how much fun my boys are.  I love to laugh and we laugh a lot around here!!!

Now the hard part -- what wonderful blogs to choose?

Tiffany aka Elasta Mom......

Kacey  aka  Ella Grace with the Pretty Face

Heidi aka Living in the Moment

Leyna aka My Life

Danita aka Ruff Life

Tammi aka The James Familiy

Kristen aka  Cayman

Just to make sure you all do have something to make you smile today here are some great pictures of the boys.  Gramma made the boys pjs and they decided to do some karate moves for me to show them off.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Share your home therapy play tips and win

I found this on a blog I read and thought I would share the fun.  Follow the link and share your own fun ideas and have a chance to win a $50 gift card.    Share your Therapy Play tips and Win

I know we have learned several tricks to "play" with Riley to get him to increase his skills.  There are so many families that have shared great ideas you should pop over and check it out.  I'm glad I stopped by to find a new blog.

Our current fav is jump off the furniture onto the bean bag chair.  SHH don't tell Gramma cause she'll have to fix the bean bag after we spill the beans. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Weight Weight Weight

Riley's weighted blanket is here and we were able to test it out last night. I'm SOOOOOO excited!!!! I'll back up to the beginning of this story for those who aren't on FB. Riley has been a restless sleeper for several months now. For the first maybe two years of his life Riley slept so much and so hard I had actually asked the Dr. if I should worry. Seriously at 1 he was still taking several long naps a day. Well he made such good use of the time he was awake the sleeping so much didn't hurt a thing so we just enjoyed the quiet time. In the last 6 months or so he has become very restless and it doesn't seem like he is rested at all in the morning. He wakes often during the night just long enough to cry for a second and then is back to sleep. There is just no way can he rest if he is waking that often. Well we recently started with an OT in addition to the therapy that he receives at preschool. She has used weight with him with a small blanket and also a weighted belt. He loved it! I started googling and reading more and more and it seemed that every article talked about the calming effects of the weights. Weighted blankets especially are noted for relaxing children and adults with sensory issues. I've found a great site with info and a pattern.......

The pattern has been the tricky part and ofcourse I didn't find the great article below until tonight.  My mom started this project after I whined a bit about how great it would be for Riley to try a weighted blanket and how expensive they are. She was visiting with a group after church looking for some ideas on how she could make the blanket and makes it washable well one of the ladies volunteered to take on the project and wow did she ever. In less than two weeks she has done a ton of research and we have our first version. We have since found poly pellets but this first version has a small river rock in it for weight. It had to be washable so that meant either removable weight if beans or rice were used or washable material for the weight......ya easier said than done.

Last night was the first night we were able to test out the new blanket and I was super excited. Riley seems to settle in easier and he certainly was quiet. I didn't hear peep once he fell asleep and that only took about 20 mins after we laid him down. Much better than the 2-3 hours of games he played the previous several nights. This morning he was much better rested and didn't have the dark circles under his eyes. I sure hope that we have found the magic ticket for better rest.


Riley snuggled in his bean bag chair with his new weighted blanket!!

Author: Linda McInnis
Download this article as a PDF. Facts about Weighted Blankets
and Directions to Make Your Own

by Linda McInnis

What Children May Benefit from a Weighted Blanket and Why:
My daughter with Rett Syndrome and Mitochondrial Disease would never sleep through the night. There was always something that set her off. A skeptic by nature, I never thought a weighted blanket could do much to calm a child. Boy, was I surprised.

Only those closest to my daughter have a remote chance of figuring out her ways. For instance, she doesn't flinch at the sight of a needle, but screams loud enough to wake the neighborhood if she has gas pain. Her weighted blanket calms her down by affecting her sense of movement and touch.

According to the research, children with sensory integration issues often have difficulties with Proprioception, which is the unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself. Have you ever had an ear infection and felt unbalanced or disconnected? You need a sense of equilibrium to feel safe. When you don't have equilibrium, you may want to lie down and cover yourself with blankets.
The touch system is also very important to address in many tactile-defensive children. Even children who are oversensitive to touch, especially when it is unexpected, often seek out touch or contact. A weighted blanket gives the child the opportunity to seek a safe way to experience touch stimuli. Deep pressure can be very calming, particularly for children who have difficulty with tactile processing. If a child has excess hand movements or body movements and you put a weighted object over them it may suppress that movement.

For example, with Rett Syndrome, many girls have hand-to-mouth repetitive behaviors. Many times I have seen that if you put the child to bed with a weighted blanket it is enough pressure to stop the hand mouthing. The same effect is seen with kids using lap pads to sit still to complete activities. Sometimes the weight is just enough to provide a tool to relax the legs. If you think that a weighted lap pad is not enough weight to make a difference here is a fact that may surprise you: your skin can feel touch as light as one-thousandth of an ounce, the equivalent of a mosquito's weight.

What to Look for in a Weighted Blanket:
My tip is to focus your research on three criteria: Weight, Quality, and Style.

Quality: The highest quality blankets are made using a quilted technique with each blanket weighted to 10% of the user's weight. The squares of the blanket should be evenly placed and no more than 8 inches by 8 inches. Fiberfill can also be added to the pockets to make the blanket feel soft on the user, like little pillows with weights. Lap Pads are usually weighted at a standard 2.5-3 pounds. Look for Lap Pads with channels that will distribute the weight.

Weight: The most important material in your blanket is the weights. Poly Pellets (Polypropylene) are a great weighting material that will not melt in the washer and dryer. You want to stay away from food materials such as corn, beans and rice. They may get moldy when washing the blanket. Aquarium rocks should also be avoided due to the tendency to rip the blanket material with sharp edges.

Tip: When you first hold a weighted blanket you will think it feels heavy. You will only get the true feel of the weight once it is distributed over the child.

Style: Choose fabric that your child will enjoy. If your child likes fairies, trains or dinosaurs, you want to get that fleece instead of trying to match the room. Whatever the child likes usually works best. I try to stay with a blue and purple color spectrum for a more calming color choice, although I've made many bright pink and red blankets that turned out well for children. For lap pads, standard blue is fine.

Tip: I like to tell the child: "Here is a lap pad; it will help you sit and keep calm." Or, "Here is your new blanket that will help you fall asleep and stay asleep all night." That way they get a verbal cue as well. I found the verbal cues work particularly well with children who have Attention Deficit Disorders.

Good Luck and Enjoy your Blanket!!

See the following for directions on how to make your own weighted blanket, or visit Special Need Creations to purchase one like the ones above.

Directions on How to Make a Weighted Blanket

by the Designer of Special Need Creations

Makes a 5 pound weighted blanket. Blankets should be 10% of user weight.


High quality thread

Fleece, 2 yards

Coordinating Flannel 2 yards. Use a solid color so you can see chalk better.

Muslin, optional, for a three material blanket

Sewing Machine

Small Scale

Tailors Chalk

Poly Pellets (only sold in some retail stores or online). Make sure they are Poly Pellets and not Polystyrene beads.




Take the two yards of materials and pin right sides together, leaving one long side unpinned.

Sew three sides together leaving long side undone and turn right side out.

Once turned right side out, do a nice top stitch around the three sides.

On back of one side of material measure a grid pattern with chalk, usually no longer than 5x7 inches per square. You usually end up with 40-70 squares.

Sew vertical rows leaving the horizontal rows open. You want to make sure you sew only the rows upward to the opening so you can fill them all.

Divide the full weight of the blanket by the number of squares to determine the weight per square. Don't forget to weigh the fabric first to subtract it out. You may end up with something like 2 ounces per pocket.

Fill Pocket by Pocket on bottom row only of horizontal row using a funnel. Add the calculated weight per pocket and a small handful of fiberfill. Pin in place. Make sure all the pellets are below your pins as you put them across the row. Sew the row closed. I use a double sewn row by row method.

Remove pins from prior row and fill the next line of pockets. Sew second line after pinning in pellets.

Continue to the last row.

At the last row, you can either sew the end under or use a serger. Either way, makes sure you double thread.

You can expect broken needles and a workout on your machine but in the end it's a nice project.

Visit Special Need Creations at for more information.

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