Sunday, August 23, 2009

Breaking News . . .Keller Huffman Completes First Triathlon!!

We're so proud of him! The kid is fast, and he's got a competitive streak! He finished strong and happy, but said he'll take a break before doing another one ;)

His transition area:

Marked up and ready to swim:

On the way out for the bike:

His personal cheering section:

Back from the bike:

Finishing the run:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Stay out of her way . . .

Marley had a re-eval done today by her early intervention speech teacher. The gains are just amazing--we are thrilled. We've seen her progress so much in the 7+ months she's been with us, but it was awesome to see the differences in her testing today. I know that having the love of a family has given her the opportunity to grow so much so quickly, but I also credit her stubborn streak and independent personality!!

On January 29th, when Marley was just a week shy of being 2 years old and had been home with us 20 days, her eval showed these results:

Gross motor skills: 13 months
Fine motor skills: 13 months
Receptive language skills: 11 months
Expressive language skills: 7 months

On March 26th, when Marley was almost 26 months old and had been home with us over 2 1/2 months, her eval showed these results:

Gross motor skills: 18 months
Fine motor skills: 16 months
Receptive language skills: 18 months
Expressive language skills: 12 months

Today, when Marley is just over 30 months old and has been home with us over 7 months, her eval showed these results:

Gross motor skills: 30 months
Fine motor skills: 27 months
Receptive language skills: 27 months
Expressive language skills: 24 months

Her expressive language is her biggest remaining deficit, and the challenge will be to help her with articulation so that she can be understood. She uses about 40 signs and verbalizes quite a bit, but her words are not clear because she still needs some time to learn how to change the way her palate works so that she can make different sounds with different parts of her mouth. She is only about 3 months post-repair for her palate.

She'll be attending a special preschool program 5 mornings/week starting after Labor Day, with the hope that having intensive class-based services will help her finish catching up in those remaining deficit areas, with lots of speech and language services to close that larger gap in ability.

We are so proud of her for how far she has come so fast. She went from infant-like to terrible two at break-neck speed! We don't do things slowly around here, so she fits right in!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Catching up . . .

I've been absent from the blogosphere for awhile, but my computer time and personal energy reserves were depleted for awhile. You see, in early August, Dave packed up and left me. . .for a week of camping/hiking/concert-going in Oregon! The three kiddos and I stayed afloat, got into a good groove, and survived the week with minimal permanent damage. When Dave was on his way home, I called his cell because I felt I had to prepare him for a few changes around here. #1) We officially say "fart" now instead of "stinker", #2) His sons have become highly-skilled at peeing in bottles in the van on the side of busy highways, and #3) Marley has a recurring role on a little home movie I like to call "Time Out."

I'm going to post pictures of the past two weeks, and many of them. We've been doing some serious day-trips and have found that even though we didn't take a big vacation this summer, we've made some great memories. Enjoy. . .

The boys finished up their third summer of the Reston Runners Youth-in-Motion program.

Keller had his first non-cousin sleepover a couple weekends ago. We dyed rice and made cool 'I Spy' bottles, as well as a Rainbow Rice Box full of hidden treasures for Marley to explore. And yes, we did other sleepover stuff--like played Wii, watched movies, ate popcorn and stayed up too late! The rice ideas came from a friend's blog. Everytime Keller sees her blog, he whines that he wishes that he had a 'crafty mom.' Hey buddy, I can copy other people's ideas like nobody's business--that'll have to be good enough!

Last Friday, we did a kid swap--Marley stayed with my friend Diane and I brought her son (Keller's best buddy, Connor) along for a fossil-hunting day trip at Purse State Park. The fossils were abundant, but unfortunately so was the evidence that this remote little stretch of undeveloped land is being used by hooligans for partying. Gorgeous old pieces of drift wood were charred from beach fires, piles of Heineken cans littered the beach. It was sad to see such a beautiful spot along the Potomac being trashed. The boys were rather oblivious to it--the water was crystal clear and they swam, collected fossils and had a grand time.

On Saturday night, I took the kids to the free drive-in movies to see Hotel for Dogs. It reminded me of how we used to go to the Silver Drive-ins when I was a kid. We'd watch whatever G movie was showing, then we'd get in the back of Travel-All or Scout and curl up with our sleeping bags while my parents watched the grown-up movie. The kids liked it and we'll probably go this Saturday for the final summer movie, Desperaux.

On Sunday, we took a day trip to Brownie's Beach in Maryland for Dave's birthday. It is really beautiful and a great place to find fossilized shark teeth.

I took the kids to Flag Ponds State Park in Maryland today. About 1 1/2 hour drive, but sooooo worth it to have a pristine, empty beach to explore.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Marley has been home 7 months today!

I was going to write a nice long, sentimental post about all the ways that Marley has changed our family, and how well she fits in here. And then I walked in on this scene this morning, and figured it says it all . . .

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens "Solo Photosafari"

The pictures are cropped a bit due to the width of the old blog column (or maybe it's just the size photobucket defaults to?), but aren't they cool?! It is a truly beautiful spot, in the middle of a not-so-beautiful area of DC. I could've stayed there and photographed flowers all day!