Monday, January 30, 2012

Godspeed Little Man

Today our little boy is 17 months old! I just realized that I haven't done an update on him for a month and a half and so much has happened since then!
This little boy makes me so, so, so incredibly happy. There are really no words to describe the feelings he gives me... all I know is I love them. No matter how busy or stressful my day has been, he can instantly make it better. It's incredible. He's incredible.
And he amazes me each day with all he's doing and how smart and loving and just plain wonderful he is (not that I'm partial or anything).  I know I sound like a ranting momma when I write these things but I just want to remember (in writing) all of the amazing things he's doing each month... because, boy, does it go fast.

* Dax is completely task oriented. It's actually pretty ridiculous. I often catch myself just shaking my head and laughing at the things he does. Things have a certain spot and way that they should go (this includes the food on his plate.... which should not mix).  And if you mess with it... he'll fix it. He likes toys and experiences that have a direct result and that allow him to really see cause and effect. He's fascinating to watch.
* He ways almost 27 lbs and is 31 inches long! Such a chunker!
* He's great at scribbling. And he doesn't like to use crayons or markers... he much rather work with pens or pencils (which I LOVE by the way!) I think he'll fit right in at his new school in the fall :)
* Talking is insane. Like literally out of control. He repeats anything and everything you say.  He has a huge vocabulary of words now that he uses regularly (like 20+) and combines 2 words often (occasionally 3). Even his teachers at school comment on how vocal he is. I guess his screaming fits at 6 months old should have been an indication that he was going to speak his mind as soon as he could! Some of my favorite things he says are please, thank you, nah nah, strawbees, puppy, and chey chey.
* He absolutely adores his dogs! He officially calls our big dog by name (Sadie) and our little dog "Puppy". He never refers to her by name.... just puppy. It's precious. He will also let me know when their dog dishes are empty... he's a good brother :)

* My parents came in town last weekend and we made our first trip to the aquarium. We loved it! Especially the parts where we got to touch things in the water!
* He loves school. Just loves it. When we pull in the parking lot in the morning he starts saying "school school" and tells everyone hi on the way in. At the end of the day he tells everyone on his way out bye bye and blows kisses. The other day his little friend Blake was watching me get Dax's coat on him to leave and Dax said "bye bye Blake" and Blake said bye bye back and then they started blowing kisses to each other. Melt.My.Heart.
* Points to his eyes, nose, ears, head, mouth, teeth, tongue, toes, fingers, belly, and hair when asked.
* The boy is strange. He loves hats, shoes, and socks. Most toddlers really enjoy just taking these things off.... but he insist on wearing them most of the time.
* He has started really liking to play pretend. He loves getting bags (or anything with a handle for that matter), keys, or daddy's watch and walk around saying bye bye. He also pretends his food is a car and "drives it around on his tray. Adorable.
* We have a potty we've began introducing. We are not by any means beginning the potty training process.... just trying to get him comfortable with it. He enjoys sitting on it and once actually peed in it. He knows the sign for potty now so that's pretty cool :)
* Temper tantrums have got much better. About a month ago they were hard core. Everything led to a melt down... at least it felt that way to us. I've really worked with him on validating his feelings and using words with him and encouraging him to use words and showing him that there are other ways to get help or tell me what he needs. We still have them every now and then and I just try to breath and keep my calm and remember why he's having them.
* He loves to brush his teeth.... and will do it multiple times a day on his own. Speaking of teeth.... we now have two on the bottom, two top molars, and his two from middle teeth! We are slowly but surely getting there. We also went back to the dentist to check his battle wounds from his fall at daycare (read about that here). She said one of them might be a little stuck but she wants to see him back in 6 months when it has grown in a little more to see if we need to talk about surgery or anything. Prayers that that doesn't happen would be awesome!
* Likes to play with buttons, dials, doors, pouring, and scooping. I think he's going to be like daddy in wanting to know how everything works.
* Food has been interesting. This boy is picky... but in a good way I guess. It's a blessing for sure... but sometimes it's not very convenient. Restaurants don't always have the healthy options that Dax prefers... and good Lordy
* Will tell you the sounds of a cow, sheep, horse, fish, dog, elephant, monkey, lion, tiger, bird, and crocodile.
* Sleep.... oh precious sleep. Between teething and being sick we've had a lot of sleepless nights. This last week (he had RSV... which I'll talk more about in a minute) I spent two night sleeping on the floor next to his bed... waking up every 30-60 minutes with him. It.was.awful.
* He's really exploring movement with his body. He's walking backwards, stopping his feet, spinning in circles, and has started the rave-like motion with his hands. It's so fun to watch him explore his body!

Ok... now RSV. Ugh. So a year ago (almost to the date) Dax had a his first few visits the ER with RSV. Well Tuesday evening he started running a fever (low.. like 101). I stayed home with him Wednesday and took him to the doctor. Well the doctor couldn't really listen to his lungs because he was crying (he now has a fear of anyone in scrubs or white coat) and decided that maybe it was a nasty cold, maybe turning into bronchitis (this wasn't our normal doctor by the way). We got some antibiotics and headed home. Over the next few days the cough continued to get worse, runny nose continued to get worse, ear were draining pretty good (thank God for the tubes or I'm sure we would have had another ear infection), his breathing got really labored, and his fever spiked to 104 a couple times. We both knew at this point that it was RSV again. It was the same exact symptoms as last time. On Thursday he actually didn't eat or drink anything but a waffle all day. It was pretty scary because he was showing some beginning signs of dehydration, but luckily Friday morning he began drinking again. The difference between this time and last time was that Daniel was now experienced enough and comfortable enough to assess Dax at home and treat him ourselves (for RSV there's nothing you can do but watch their breathing and hydration). So we began giving him breathing treatments a few times a day, Tylenol when his fever got high, and lots of fluids.  I guess Daniel knew what he was doing (shhh don't tell him I said that) because Dax is doing better. Fever is down, runny nose isn't as bad, breathing is drastically better, and cough isn't as bad. RSV is no fun (it's actually super scary to me) and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this will be the last time we get it!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Toddler Spaces Part Dos!

Just like the living room, I try to change out toys in his room about once a month. I still only do quiet, calm toys in his room because we want it to be a peaceful, calm place. Most of the time we spend in his room is spent reading books. Really the only time he plays in there is for about 10 minutes before he falls asleep (at night time and nap) and if I'm working on something in there. He wants to be with us so he spends most of his time playing in his space int he living room. Here's a peek at his room right now....
 View from by his door.
View from the closet.
 Dax's closet doors are magnetic so we have letter magnets on it, along with a magnetic picture of Cheyenne (his cousin who is one of his favorite people), and we also usually have a Santa magnet on there too :)  He's a big fan of Santa
 So When I first put art up on Dax's wall I said I was going to rotate it out. But I can't get myself to part with any of it so I just keep adding to it :)  I do think it's kind of fun though to see how his art has progressed from 6 months to 16 months :)
 Reading space. Eventually I want to hang some fabric from the ceiling around this area and make it super cozy but I want to wait until he's just a bit bigger. So for now stuffed animals and pillows will have to do  :)
 These are Dax's shelves now. Few of our favorite books on the shelf, wooden stackers, wooden shape sorter, wooden bead toy, sensory bottles, and a couple cars.
And the last thing is the bookshelf. Here are some of Dax's books that he's not quite into yet, some wooden cars and wooden puzzles. The box is a sensory box. We have a few different ribbons of different textures, a sensory bottle with bells in it, some metal bracelets, and some puffy balls. Eventually I'll make some smell bottles and add them in there as well!

Well that's it for our newest updates! I know I love seeing pictures of other kids rooms so hopefully you enjoyed it too!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Toddler Spaces Part 1

So with the over abundance of new toys and gifts that Dax received for Christmas our house was in much need of some tender lovin care. So this past weekend I got hard at work and did some more work in both the living room and Dax's room. I rotate toys probably once a month but haven't been taking pictures each time (oops). But here we are today. Since this post is pretty picture heavy I'm only going to do one room tonight and the other room sometime in the near future
I wish I would have taken a before picture. This space in the living room was literally lined with toys from one end of the wall to another, just sitting on the ground. It was sad. Way sad. So after much love, introducing.... the revamped living room!
 Dax's entire place space! Looks much better than before!
 New shelves. Starting on the top of the shelf (left side) we have his wooden cars, abacus, train, wooden beads and stacking rings, ball basket, throwback phone, B-Links, food basket, homemade toys, basket of random things Dax has collected from throughout the house, and big dump truck.  The wooden box on the side of the shelf was a gift from my parents. It has different sorts of wooden toys inside and doubles as a chalkboard on one side!
 Dax's table set up with his nature basket, notepad, colored pencils, and wooden rocking horse like his :)
 This is Dax's random basket. Complete with things like a stethoscope, paper binders, chip clips, fake cell phones, and other completely random things.
 Ball basket.
 Cooking basket. Has a cake pan, spoons, and fake food in it.

 These cars are my favorite Target dollar section find EVER.

 Baby and boxes baskets :) Ideally this would be two separate baskets but I had to work with what we had.
Dax's farm and basket of animals.

So far this new space has been wonderful! It has stayed much cleaner (Dax can easily find what he's looking for minimizing random throwing around of toys) and there is such  a variety of materials that he can find something for any need he has.  Part two will be room updates..... stay tuned :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Boy Needs a Job

So toddlers are busy little people. Anyone that has ever been around them has probably figured that out within like 15 minutes. And I think Dax is even busier than most (he's sort of like his daddy... yikes). He is so inquisitive that he just has to be going all the time... or he might miss something. He tries to figure out how things work and once he gets his mind on something there's no changing it!  Well in the past week I realized that he was really seeking out task oriented activities. He's cut back from just playing with his cars or balls or climbing up his slide, and has started really sitting down and completing "task". Also, if he starts getting fussy or into things he shouldn't, I can give him a "job" and it instantly turns his mood around and gets his mind off of whatever he was previously doing. This tells me that he's bored just playing with his toys. He needs a challenge. The boy needs a job.

So with that in mind... I made a few new activities for Dax this week. Take a peek....

Activity 1 (Thanks to pinterst!):   Pushing puffy balls through holes you cut in the lid of a tub. This is great fine motor work and Dax loves it!  The first time I presented it to him I put the balls half way in the holes and let him push it in the rest of the way. But the next time he did them all on his own.  Keep an eye on your little one though because the balls are a choking hazard.

Activity 2:  Popsicle sticks and cups/tubes. While rummaging through my art supplies, I found a baggy of popsicle sticks.... and I already had random tubes out for Dax to play with. He loves putting the sticks in each of the tubes/cups and then dumping them out and starting all over. He also loves transferring from one container to another. He started out doing only one stick at a time, and quickly realized that would a little work he could do a handful. More great fine motor skills, eye hand coordination, work on pouring, and cause & effect.

 And Activity 3: Pouring and scooping rice.  Dax has been helping us feed the dogs lately. We use measuring cups to pour the dogs food into their bowls and he just really loves it. Well the other night he helped daddy.... but then decided that he didn't want to stop, he just wanted to keep scooping and pouring, daddy didn't want him to (because it's nasty stinky dog food and the dogs would puke if they ate all the food Dax was trying to give them) so needless to say, our strong willed, determined, task oriented little boy was not happy. I got out a couple bowls, different sized measuring spoons and cups, and rice and let the boy get to work on pouring and scooping. This was great practice with working his wrist. It was also a great sensory experience because he was able to dig his fingers into the rice and see how it felt. He also did some pretty good problem solving because he couldn't quite figure out how to turn his wrist to empty the scoops so he figured out that if he just shook it really hard the rice would fly out. This was a messy activity but since we did it on the tile we were able to just sweep it up when he was done and save it for another time.

If you have any task oriented activities I could do at home with our little man I would love to hear them, and Dax would love to try them out!

Friday, January 13, 2012

I'm A Big Girl Now

This week was 8-5 for me..... with probably 36 hours of that being spent sitting in a room being bombarded with the complexity that is the CAP.

CAP stands for Community Action Project, and is now my first big girl job. I'm only a week in and I think this place is perfect for me. My heart is completely happy. Completely.

CAP Mission Statement: "Improving the long term economic prospects for low-income children, their families, and the community in which they live."    Wow. Breaking the cycle of poverty.... now that's something to work towards.

CAP serves children (ages infants-5 year old) of families in the Tulsa community that are living in poverty. The care they receive is completely free.... paid for by the federal government, state government, grants, and private donations. But they care they receive extends further than a quality education. For the families of CAP children, there are a million other services offered to support their needs (nutrition specialist, family and children services,  nurses that monitor children's health, mental health specialist, disability services, just to name a few). Families are given assistance in filing their taxes (so they can maximize their returns), can participate in a first time home owners program, are given the chance to earn education credits leading to a career in nursing (job security), and can take courses on parenting.  And there's never a reason for a family to go without food or shelter or clothes. The supports for families are endless with CAP. Which is what it takes to truly help a child break out of this cycle.

Two-Thirds of low income children in urban areas enter school unprepared.

In Tulsa County, approximately 17,000 children live in low-income families.

Research in early childhood education shows that 90% of brain growth occurs in the first three years of life.

Education gap leads to achievement gap.

By the age of three, children of parents who went to college have a language development that is three times the size of children who parents did not go to college.

CAP really does focus on the whole child.... which is what I love. Which is what all education should be focused on.

I'll be in a two year old classroom and I couldn't be more excited. It's an age I love, with a clientele I love, with a mission I love. The company is great and treats their employees wonderfully. There is so much support for the teachers.... it's unreal.

You'll be hearing much more about this new chapter of my life as the pages turn. I have one more day of orientation (next Tuesday) and then I'll get to move on to my school and begin interacting with children. I'm pumped

Browse the website and check it out a little more... I think you'll love it.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

And She's Back....

After a 5 month hiatus, I'm back. Being completely done with school and student teaching has left room in my brain for the creative juices to start running again..... and Saturday it hit be head on. I have tons of projects pinned on pinterest that I want to work on, but yesterday I had to have a quick creative outlet that didn't cost a penny (because this week we have seriously been on a tight budget.... like tight... it's that weird time of year when we're waiting for Daniel's financial aid to hit the bank). So first off we started with some finger painting with Dax...
This was our first time to finger paint at our big boy table instead of the highchair and it went great. I started by putting small dots of three colors on his paper. He started out timid using only a couple fingers but quickly dove right in.

Then someone decided to try a little lick...
he decided that it didn't taste very good.... and didn't try it again :)
And these were the finished products.... masterpieces if I say so myself...

This precious hand print will be going in a frame in our living room... I'll post a pic of that when it's done.
 Well apparently watching Dax be creative wasn't enough.... so after he went to bed I began rummaging through my art supplies and decided to make a bunting for Dax's room. Since May I have been trying to decided what to do with Dax's window. It's a nice big window so I didn't want to cover it much with curtains.... and then this shade thing came with it (you'll see it in a pic in a minute, I'm not sure the technical name for it) and it blocked a lot of light out when it's closed (which is nice for nap time). Needless to say, no window treatment out there was making me happy. But a bunting.... now that would be perfect. Would add some color and happiness to the window without doing much to it. And plus.... every room would be a happier place with a bunting in it.
I had tons of scrapbook paper so I used some of those to make the flags.
Alene's Tacky Glue is my glue of choice for pretty much and craft project. I just put a super thin line on the tops of each flag and put the ribbon on.

And there's the finished product! I think it turned out super cute and I love all the colors! It was the perfect touch to the window, took about 20 minutes, and didn't cost a penny!  (And ps in the last picture you can see the mobile we made a couple months ago is still hangin strong!).

Well that was my creative outlet for the weekend.... hopefully now that I'm done with school I'll have more time to be creative

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Christmas Vacay!

Don't worry world.... the Freno family is still alive and kicking!  We just got back from a two week vacation in which we stayed with my parents.... parents who are stuck in the 1920's and have no sort of technology... therefore the only Internet available to me was a wireless connection known at "QueenB"  (I wish I knew exactly what neighbor this was... that names promises an interesting person) that I was able to steal, but it moved at the pace of a turtle so I didn't dare try to write in the blog.   But here's the run down on our vacation.... which was absolutely perfect in every way btw.

Vacation started the evening after Dax's surgery to get tubes put in his ears. This went absolutely perfect.
This was our boy after getting his sedative before they took him back for the surgery. We got to keep this precious little gown, socks, and doctor teddy.  From the time they took him back til the doctor came out to tell us he was done was a total of 13 minutes.  It was super, super fast. If anyone is in the Tulsa area and needs an ENT I highly recommend Dr. Vaidya.   After surgery we went into the recovery room with him and were warned by the nurse before we went in that little ones really don't react real well when they're coming off of anesthesia.... and boy was that true. For about 30 minutes it was on and off uncontrollable screaming and throwing his little body back. It was tough for both of us but luckily that ended pretty quickly and we were able to head home. For about an hour after we got home he would have short bouts of screaming but quickly began acting like himself. By noon we were actually on the road heading to begin our vacation with the family.   It's been 2 weeks now since his surgery and it's amazing the difference. He has always talked a lot so I never realized how his ear infections were effecting his hearing until the hearing test at the ENT before the surgery didn't go well. But since the surgery his speech has gone to an entire new level. He is really getting out beginning and ending sounds of words that I guess he wasn't hearing before. He can really communicate great now. He can also repeat pretty much everything we say. I'm so thankful we went ahead with the surgery.

Like I previously mentioned... vacation was absolutely perfect. It was 2 full weeks of family time (my dream). I got to spend a lot of time playing with my nieces and nephews,  catching up with my brother and sister, visiting with all my aunts and uncles and cousins, running around with my mom and dad, visited with my grandpa and mimi (a close family friend who is like a grandma to me), and most importantly I got to watch Dax build relationships with the entire family. He's now at an age where he actually really interacts with everyone (after he gets over his initial shyness) so that was a lot of fun.  He absolutely adores his cousins and mawmaw and I could sit and watch him play with them all day. It was really special.

Christmas Eve started out with the tradition of me making sugar cookies with my niece and nephew.
This is the third year we've done this and I look forward to doing it for many more years! It's one of my favorite traditions and I'm pretty sure it's one of theirs too. They pick some to take home and leave out for Santa at their house, we eat some at our Christmas Eve party in the evening, and this year they picked out a couple for Dax to leave out for Santa as well. I'm sure Santa loved them :)

Christmas Eve is probably my favorite part of Christmas. This is when I spend the majority of the day baking goodies with my mom and then in the evening my brother, sister, and all of my nieces and nephews meet at my moms house and have our Christmas together. Growing up we spent Christmas Eve at my mom's parents house and since they've passed we've done it at my parents. It's a really,  really special time. The 17 of us jam into mom and dad's living room and watch all the little ones open their presents and then the grown ups play dirty Santa.

Christmas Day was so exciting this year! Christmas is 10x better when you have kids that's for sure! It was really fun to have my parents there with us Christmas morning. Dax got some great presents from Santa...
 a rocking horse, a cleaning cart, a rocking chair, a table and chair set, one of the classic telephones, an abacus, puzzles, colored pencils, wooden cars,  and of course books. In the future when there will actually be a separation between Santa gifts and mommy/daddy gifts we'll be doing  4 things from us (something you want, something you need, something you wear, and something you read) and then a couple small things and one big thing from Santa. Santa also found some organic lollipops (i think from toys r us) so that was an exciting stocking stuffer! 
Daniel and I also got a lot of great gifts. I'm pretty sure his favorite was a Wii and mine was by far my necklace from Vintage Pearl...
I love it. The green is Dax's birth stone. I have already been eyeing what I would like to add next... I'm thinking something like this with mine and Daniel's name on it...
After Christmas morning with our little family, we headed over to my aunt and uncles house to celebrate with my extended family. There about 30 of us so that promised to be a good time! This year was a little different for us though. We usually always spend Christmas Day at my grandma and grandpa Wilson's house, but since my grandma passed in September and my grandpa is in a nursing home not doing very well we had to have it somewhere else. I was worried that it wouldn't feel like Christmas.... but was completely wrong. It just proved that us all being together is all that really matters.... not where we're at. I missed my grandma all day but wore the bracelet I had given her all day so that helped me feel like she was there with us.
From there we headed over to Christmas with Daniel's family. We had Christmas dinner and opened presents and just spent time together. Dax got some great gifts... and so did we. My second favorite gift was this awesome scarf hanger from Daniel's sister..
Absolutely what I needed! I've had over 20 scarves hanging on a couple hooks on the back of our closet door and it never failed that every time I opened the door to our closet about 19 of those would fall to the ground.  Now I have them all nice and organized.... and even have a few spots open still... guess that means I can continue on with my scarf collection :)

Well the last part of our vacation we stayed just as busy. Trips to the zoo, New Years Eve party with my family, date to the movies with my brother and sister and their spouses, playing with all of Dax's new toys (and ours), and even more visiting with family.  If I haven't said it enough, I'll go ahead and say it again.... it was perfect.

We've been back home for about 2 days now... and I already miss my family terribly.

Oh... and while we were there... I got some exciting news.... I have my first teaching job :)   I'll post more info on that in the next blog.