Saturday, August 27, 2011

Play Ball!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Look what HOLLAND can do!

It's easy, on this blog, to focus more on Eden's progress and accomplishments, and to sometimes gloss over what Holland can do. It's a blog. I only update a couple of times a month, and generally highlight only the most monumental events in our lives. Eden's disability is obviously more severe, and everything major milestone she reaches is celebrated as spectacular - which it is! She has to work SO hard to achieve the things that come so easily for most of us, and we rejoice so much in Eden's accomplishments.

But I don't want to overlook the wonderful and amazing things that Holland is learning and accomplishing as well. Holland has a disability too. She was diagnosed with mild hypotonic cerebral palsy when she was two years old and just learning to walk. She also has a mild left hemiplegia - meaning that the left side of her body is more affected and has developed more slowly than her right. She has made really great progress physically over the past few years, and is able to run, jump, climb, and generally do most of what other kids her age can do. It is easy for us to forget that Holland even has CP when it's just the four of us, because we have only Eden to compare her to. The only time it really becomes apparent to us is when we see her around her peers, particularly when engaging in a physical activity.

Holland has a hard time keeping up with other kids her age. When she runs, she still pumps with her right hand fisted, and with her left hand open out in space. We have to remind her to "use your left hand!!" She does a great job of climbing up the play structures at the playground, but has a hard time getting herself back down. When playing a drum beat, she can move her right hand about twice as fast as she can her left. She still has a hard time dressing and undressing herself, let alone her dolls and Barbies. She gets tired pretty easily, and at events that require a lot of walking, will still ask to be carried at least part of the time. Writing is also a challenge - she is able to write and draw nicely, but tires quickly and gives up easily. Attention and anxiety are also issues that we deal with - nothing severe enough to warrant formal diagnosis at this point, but challenges nonetheless.

I say all of that just to highlight the fact that Holland's accomplishments are a BIG DEAL to us too! She might not have to work quite as hard as Eden to do simple tasks, but she still has to work a lot harder than your average kid.

This summer, like last, Holland did two weeks of gymnastics camp and two weeks of art camp while Eden was at CLC. I was particularly impressed with how well she did at gymnastics this year. She was able to run completely across the gym, on a squishy padded floor, without falling! She was able to jump really high with BOTH feet on the trampoline, without falling! She was able to hold herself up longer on the bars! She was able to hold herself up on the rope swing! And probably the most notable difference was that this year she could walk the length of the balance beam without falling - she couldn't do this at ALL last year!!! :-)

Check it out!!

She also brought home some really cool art projects, and seemed to do a good job of making friends.

An elephant made out of glitter clay...

A bird, in his natural habitat, made from sand clay...

And a pencil sketch of her family...

Way to go Holland! We are so proud of you and think you are amazing too!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Stepping It Up!!

Just 3 weeks into her summer camp program at CLC, Eden walked out of her classroom at the end of the day pushing a Kaye walker with NO support. I was stunned, amazed, and oh so proud. I still am. It takes my breath away.

Her progress these past 4 weeks has truly exceeded all of our expectations. Walking with this Kaye walker was a long term goal in the back of my mind...something I had hoped we would work toward into her teen years. To see her doing it now, at the age of 7, is more than I had dared to hope.

I am so thankful to the staff at CLC for their dedication to helping kids like Eden achieve their fullest potential. It truly is an amazing place.

They have asked us not to take pictures or videos at the school, so we made this at the hotel tonight after dinner. Eden was excited to share, and said, "Are you going to post it to YouTube?" Then she said, "I am going to be very brave and smile for the video."

So here is Eden walking...very bravely, and with a smile.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011


Happy 7th Birthday to our beautiful girls! I cannot believe it has been seven years. It truly boggles my mind. Where has the time gone???

To celebrate we went on an overnight trip to Chicago and hit the American Girl Store. We also had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, saw a surprise performance of the Pinkalicious Musical, and went to the top of the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower - who knew?). Thank you to our wonderful family and friends who sent cards and birthday money to help make Holland and Eden's birthday wishes come true. It was all worth it to see their faces light up and to hear their squeals of excitement. It was so adorable to see Eden talking to her doll, showing her how to drive her power chair, and to see the look of pure joy on her face when people told her "Your doll looks just like you!" It made my heart so happy to hear Holland say with complete excitement, "This is the BEST day of MY LIFE!!!"

Holland reminded me today that I needed to put pictures on the blog and told me that I should write "This is the day that Holland and Eden got their very first American Girl Dolls." So here it is!

This is the day that Holland and Eden got their very first American Girl Dolls!