Adventure With a Ranger

by Kayte

We’re already making the most of our new nap schedule and taking advantage of being able to get out in the mornings. Today we went on an Adventure With a Ranger in the Santa Monica Mountains. A group of families joined two rangers to explore the Rocky Oaks park. We reviewed outdoor safety, made animal masks while learning about wildlife, and hiked a mile-long loop through the park. The program said “Ages 2-7” but the hike was a bit much for Max & Lola, so we ended up carrying them the whole way. Good workout for mommy and daddy. It was a fun adventure for everyone and something I hope to do more of now that we have our mornings free.


Routine Change

by Kayte

Up until now Max & Lola have still been taking two naps a day. It’s been both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it gave me time to study for the CPA exam. A curse because that kind of nap schedule seriously tied us down.

Beginning in August I noticed that Max & Lola were ready for a single nap. It was rare for them to actually sleep during both naps. But we stuck to it until I finished my last CPA test. Now we’re switching to one nap a day which is a big schedule shift.

I had to coordinate the change with all four of our therapists, since our 1pm-3pm therapy time slot is now becoming nap time. Luckily everything worked out so now we have therapy in the mornings and naps in the afternoon.

I’m excited to have the mornings to be able to play; especially in this hot weather. 1pm-3pm is NOT the time to be outside in the summer. We’ll also be more in sync with most of our friends whose older kids are already taking afternoon naps.

The whole thing just feels more natural too. Lunch always seemed a bit forced after a two-hour nap (who gets hungry just lying there?) but now Max & Lola can work up an appetite for lunch and wear themselves out for their nap.

7:00am
Wake up! Diaper change and morning shakes.

8:00am – 9:00am
Playtime. We try to take advantage of the cool mornings to play in the backyard and take the dog for a walk. Sometimes we play inside and read books.

9:00am
Cook & eat breakfast.

10:00am – 12:00pm
With the addition of speech we now have therapy five days a week. It definitely keeps us busy but it’s been so fun lately and so good for the kids.

12:00pm
Cook and eat lunch.

1:00pm – 4:00pm
The big nap! I still have to see how this all plays out, but I’m hoping for a 2-3 hour chunk of time to myself. And now that the CPA is done, “me time” can actually be spent on things I want to do rather than studying.

4:00pm – 5:00pm
Playtime. We either hang in the backyard or play inside.

5:00pm
Cook and eat dinner.

6:00pm – 7:00pm
Playtime. Usually we take a walking walk with the dog, which takes about 45 minutes to get down the block and back.

7:00pm
Bedtime Ritual: yogurt, brush teeth, change diapers, PJs, sleep sacks, read books, white noise and out with the lights.


Breakfast

by Kayte

Max & Lola have been asking to eat at the “big kid” table instead of their high chairs. Brody doesn’t think it’s very big.

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Paradise Cove

by Kayte

Today we went to the beach to celebrate my new-found freedom. For the last 15 months I have been studying for (and taking) the four parts of the CPA exam. This morning I sat for the fourth test, and assuming I pass, it will be my last. (Results in a couple weeks.) It’s been a lot of work studying while wrangling the kids, and I’m looking forward to having a little more free time in our lives.

We had lunch at a little cafe right on the ocean, then spent the afternoon on the beach. The waves were huge so we weren’t able to go in the water, but Max & Lola had a blast playing in the surf, digging in the sand, and watching the seagulls. Max was scared of the kelp and Lola wanted to drink the seawater. It felt great to get out of the house and be able to fully relax without the weight of studying obligations hanging over me. I could definitely get used to this.


Fat Lip

by Kayte

Max took a hard fall on our walk yesterday. He landed right on his mouth. Here’s the next-day aftermath. Poor guy.

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Sunday Dinner

by Kayte

Cousins Ellie & Anna came over for family dinner.


Speech Session

by Kayte

Today’s speech therapy went better than last week. Lola was able to concentrate on two whole rows on two different worksheets, which was a big improvement over last time. We’ve also been practicing at home, and she’s much more willing to sit and focus for a few minutes at a time than when we first started.

I talked to the therapist a bit more and asked lots of questions. The purpose of the worksheets is not necessarily to perfect a “t” or “p” sound. Lola is able to make those sounds, but she has a tendency to leave off the end of words when she talks. So we’re trying to get her to slow down, focus a little more and close off the ends of her words to make them more intelligible.

We have decided to stay with our current therapist for now. Even if we don’t prefer her style, the main concern is whether or not it is effective. In the last month I have noticed a big boost in both Max & Lola’s language. They’re putting together 2-3 word phrases, using verbs & adjectives, and picking up a lot of new vocabulary. We’ve been working at it a lot at home, but the therapist is the one giving us guidance. So maybe it’s just the little boost that we all need.

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A Walking Walk

by Kayte

Daddy is the Walking Whisperer this week. We’ve been taking “walking walks” up and down the block. The first time ever sans stroller. Daddy and Lola take turns – he holds her hand for awhile, then it’s “Lola’s turn” to walk solo. She is so proud of herself.

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Peekaboo

by Kayte

What terrible table manners 😉


Tooth Tied

by Kayte

Max finally got his second set of canines. He and Lola both have a total of sixteen teeth. Now we’re just waiting for the last four molars to round out their full toddler-set of twenty.

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Slide

by Kayte

PT is so much fun these days. Max & Lola did lots of walking, climbing, jumping, and sliding! I feel so fortunate that we’re able to use this great facility.

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Articulation

by Kayte

Lola finally had her first speech therapy session today. It was just okay. Max has had two sessions already which has been enough for my gut instinct to kick in. I’m definitely not feeling this therapist, but due to some issues with our insurance I’m afraid we may be stuck with her.

On the one hand she is working toward getting Max & Lola to slow down and focus a little more, use their words instead of hands, complete a task before moving on to the next. All good qualities, except Max & Lola are pretty normal two-year olds and don’t exactly have an attention problem.

On the other hand, she keeps them strapped in a high chair for the entire session and tries to direct the activities based on what she wants to do, not what seems to interest Max & Lola. It’s completely not engaging. Honestly I’m bored myself 30 minutes into a session.

For example, this week the therapist wants Lola to work on annunciating the last consonant in her words. We’re supposed to practice using a “T” sound. Dot. Hat. Knot. Light. Net. The therapist gave us the following worksheet and we’re supposed to sit down and say the words and then stamp/color the pictures we’ve done. Lola pretty much wants nothing to do with the high chair, paper, or stamps. So instead I’ve been incorporating the activities into our play time. If we’re playing with a toy cat, I’ll have Lola practice saying “Cat.” It just seems so much more organic and natural than sitting down and doing what feels like “homework.” At age two.

I’ve talked to quite a few people about it and it sounds like there are two schools of speech therapy though. The first is very textbook, focused, directed, exercises. The second is more organic, incorporating learning into play. From all our experience with many different types of therapy I have to say I much prefer the natural/play approach. But unfortunately it seems like we may be stuck with the drill sergeant approach. Luckily Max and Lola are not so delayed in their speech as to make me overly concerned. I guess only time will tell if this more rigid approach is effective or not.


Neighborly

by Kayte

We ran into our next-door neighbor on our walk tonight and Max got to walk one of the puppies. He couldn’t have been happier!

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Baby Shower

by Kayte

We went to a baby shower for our good friends Trey & Corynn. They’re due in October so Max & Lola will have a new playmate soon!

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Bad Hair Day

by Kayte

We took Max & Lola to a new salon for their haircuts. I wanted to try bangs with Lola, but things didn’t turn out so well…

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…she looks like Jim Carrey in Dumb & Dumber. And I think Max might have a mullet.

Good thing hair grows back!


Wet Chalk

by Kayte

I let Max & Lola run around in the sprinklers, then we played with chalk in the puddles. It’s a technique we learned from our OT and it looks really cool. Almost like paint with really vibrant colors. Makes a big mess too!


Quite Contrary

by Kayte

Life with a toddler.

“Hat. Hat? Hat! Hat!?”

“No! Nope. Nope.”


Early Learning Center

by Kayte

In our quest to get out of the house for OT, today we found ourselves at a local Early Learning Center. The facility has a little library, a tree house, an art/drawing area, pretend play (dress up, kitchen, doll house, trains), music, and an outdoor space with a garden, sandbox, climbing structure and water play.

Max & Lola both had a blast. The sand and water were big hits, as were the kitchen, slide, and climbing things. Although it was a neat place, the OT said she prefers the sensory gym and the park, which both offer a lot more in terms of motion/movement. It’s always good to get out and explore new things though.

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New Shoes

by Kayte

Lola has inherited the impossibly long, narrow feet of her father. Every shoe store we visited told us they had nothing that would fit, but we finally found her a pair of real shoes. Lola hasn’t really needed them until now, but her little leatherette booties weren’t cutting it on the summer-hot pavement.

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You’ll notice in the above photo of Lola that the knee immobilizers have switched to her arms! The PT has been trying to get Lola’s arms out of high-guard/cactus pose, and the immobilizers did the trick. The interesting thing was how Lola’s entire gait changed when her arms were down. She walked much more naturally, with her legs more free. The girl is a PT puzzle.

Max had also grown out of my his favorite pair of blue Chucks. I was sad to give them up, until we found these cool new Adidas. The laces are elastic and fasten on with Velcro in one easy piece.

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Block Party – Take 2

by Kayte

The neighborhood held our second annual block party this weekend. Food, friends and fun!

The weather was very rare for a SoCal summer day – overcast, humid, and drizzly! Still 90* but it didn’t feel as hot without the sun (despite the humidity). It was a nice change of pace from the mini-heat wave we’ve been having.

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