Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Holidays, 2008

What a great holiday we had! Daddy was off work for the WHOLE TWO WEEKS with Maelin and Mommy, so we had a chance to spend tons of time together! (I'm wondering if Daddy would rather have been at work? LOL!) We had several christmas gatherings, including christmases at Grandma Schmidt's house the weekend before the actual holiday, christmas morning at our house, Grandpa Les and Grandma Pam's house later on christmas morning, Gramps and Gram Minkstein's in the afternoon that day, and at Nana and Papa Gleeson's place two days later. WHEW!!

A couple of weeks before christmas, I took Maelin to the local Sears Portrait Studio to have her holiday pics taken. They turned out sooooo cute -- i had to share a few of them here! (And yes, i'm a rule-follower...i purchased the CD so that i could share these online!)

Coming up soon: CHINESE NEW YEAR!!

Mommy (and the gang)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend 2008

Thanksgiving Day brought us an extra special surprise -- tons of SNOW!! Maelin enjoyed playing outside in the snow with daddy (making a snowman, being pulled around on the sled) in the morning and early afternoon. Then we got ready and headed to Uncle Jon and Aunt Laura Gleeson's house for Thanksgiving dinner.

The day after Thanksgiving, Maelin and Mommy set up the Christmas tree. Daddy went hunting, so we figured out the lights (go girls!) and decorated the tree, as well. Maelin loved putting ornaments on tree -- all the blue ones here, all the bear ones's a bit of a 'sorting' tree this year!

These cracked me up, so i had to share them!! Maelin has been into her dress-up box a lot since Halloween. I'm not sure what this is, but i'll call it "princess pirate"!!

Now we're busy getting ready for the upcoming holidays...


Saturday, November 1, 2008

our little fairy

Happy Halloween!! What a totally fun holiday! Maelin remembered last Halloween enough to be really excited about the whole thing this year. And thankfully Daddy doesn't mind having 'pumpkin carving' on his list of responsibilities :) He and Maelin carved two...both of which were proudly displayed on the front porch until they rotted and attracted the bees. Ugh.

Here's our little goblin! This year Maelin when i asked Maelin what she wanted to be for Halloween, she said that she wanted to wear the fairy costume in the dress-up box under her bed - haha! A money-saver to be sure, but i really wanted to buy her something cuter. So i went on a fairy costume hunt and found this one at The Children's Place. I love that store :)

Maelin spent the morning trick-or-treating and scavenger-hunting at school, and in the evening we made the rounds in North Branch. We started at Nana and Papa's, went to great gramps and gram's house, stopped to see a few aunts and uncles, and then rounded out the night at Grandpa Les and Grandma Pam's place.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

the school pic

Ohmygoodness...could she be any cuter if she tried?!? I just love how her picture turned out this year! And just so you know, i ordered the photo CD with her school pics, so i'm legal having a digital copy of this :)

Things are going really well in school for Maelin. She's right back into the swing of things and loving school. I'll share a couple of cute stories, just because i can ;)

Last week she was saying/signing something that i just couldn't understand....which is really not common, because i truly understand about 99% of what she says/signs. She kept saying, "Where is the speech .....?" and i just couldn't get the last word. The sign wasn't accurate, the speech wasn't helping...finally i figured it out ... she was asking, "Where is the speech THERAPIST?" I didn't know she knew that word!! I was glad to have figured it out, and i was impressed at her growing vocabulary!

Here's another one: today i had a doctor's appointment in the morning, so there was a sub teacher for a couple of hours. When i returned, i found out that some of the students, including Maelin, had not behaved well during Morning Meeting time, and they'd had time-outs. I sat them down and told them that i was sad, upset and embarrassed about their behavior for a substitute. Maelin said, "You sad, Mom?" I said, yes, i was upset with their behavior. She said, "But you still love me." LOL!! Yes, my sweet...even when i'm sad about your behavior, i still love you to bits!!!

That's all for now...


Thursday, October 2, 2008

18 MONTHS :)

Happy one-and-a-half years to US!! Some days i can hardly believe that our Little Miss MaeMae has been home that long...and other days i just want to take a nap! LOL! Here's what we've been up to this past month:

We're back to school! Maelin is now in her 2nd year of preschool at the Michigan School for the Deaf, and i am her classroom teacher again this year. She is doing amazingly well...her language, both spoken and signed, is really taking off. I think her signed vocabulary is between 700-800 words. I lost track around 600! She is learning more and more spoken words but still relies on signing often, especially when there's any other noise around.

Look!! Maelin has glasses!! Here's the long and winding story: our journey into the world of vision problems began last spring. At our yearly spring vision screening at school, Maelin failed both the vision and acuity parts of the test. Uh-oh. The nurse initially diagnosed her with 'nystagmus,' which (as i understand it) is an involuntary movement of the eyes, which in itself doesn't impair vision, but doesn't have any treatment, either. Upon our school nurse's recommendation, i made an appointment for Maelin at a doctor in the Flint area who specializes in vision therapy. Getting her to do the eye exam was frustrating and comical - the kid can't see far away, and she can't see close up. For the problems seeing far away -- glasses! The problem seeing close up is called 'convergence insufficience,' not nystagmus. Basically, her eyes are working really hard to come together and focus on something up close, and therefore they shake. The doctor gave me the example of me trying to pick up a 20lb bucket of cement -- my arm muscle would shake with the effort (okay, my arm would break from the effort...!). Fortunately we've caught it really early -- most times it's diagnosed when kids are failing at reading in the 1st or 2nd grades. And fortunately it's treatable -- she needs vision therapy one hour each week for 6 to 9 months. Unfortunately, vision therapy is damn expensive!! We're not sure if our insurance is going to cover a portion of it, but we're hoping!!

Choosing glasses was somewhat of a nightmare. I tried to pick them out myself after the first hour-long vision appointment, but she'd had enough, and i was pretty overwhelmed by all of the new information i'd just received. We took Daddy with us the 2nd time, and Maelin was so uncooperative (which is really unlike her) that she almost knocked over a table at the doctor's office! We ended up going to the optical department of JCPenney's at the mall; we walked in, and Maelin put on the first pair and said, "That my favorite" and we bought them. LOL! They're somewhat purple (somehow i'm going to have to get over the fact that they don't match what she's wearing every day...i may need therapy myself...) and somewhat cute. My biggest fear was/is that the vision and hearing loses are progressive. Ushers syndrome is a scary prospect, but we'll deal with every ounce of everything that is Maelin with all the love in our hearts.

I guess that's all for now. Love to all :)

Mommy, Daddy and bespectacled MaeMae!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Wrapping Up Summer

Our last "hurrah" for the summer was a family trip to Crystal Mountain Resort, just south of Traverse City. We spent a week with Jim's brother, sister-in-law, two nephews (ages 6 and 3 1/2), parents, sister, and brother-in-law. What a GREAT time!! Maelin could seriously live there! Here's what we did:

We went swimming in the pool near our cabin for several hours each day. Maelin looooved the water, the slide, the fountains, the 'lilly pads,' and the deep water. She's still in a life jacket in water over her head, but she's a total fish and going to be swimming on her own soon! Here's a pic of Daddy coming down the slide with Maelin right behind him :)

The resort has a four-sided climbing wall with varying levels of difficulty. Maelin and cousin Jacob climbed allll the way to the top of the Level One wall (which was about 20 feet up, i think). It was so exciting to yell and cheer them on, and then scream when they finally reached the top to ring the bell!! I love that she's so adventurous and willing to try almost anything!

One day Nana, Papa and the three of us drove up to Sleeping Bear sand dunes for the day. We saw a couple of scenic lookouts, climbed dunes for a while, and went swimming in Lake Michigan. Little Miss Water Bug was in her glory...

Crystal Mountain is a ski resort in the winter time, so they have a couple of different ski lifts in operation. One night we all took the lifts up to a scenic walk and overlook. Here's our happy family :) It was a great week, and we're hoping to go again next year!

On the last Friday of our summer vacation, Maelin and i finally went on that trip to the Detroit Zoo that we've been meaning to do all summer! We went with Aunt Shelli, Uncle Darrin, and cousins Lauren (age 10), Drew (age 6), Adrienne (age 2 1/2), and baby Josie (8 months). We had a really great time, and i'm so glad we took time to do it before the summer got away from us.
We rounded out our summer with a great visit from Mama's friend Maureen and her two kids, Adam (10 days younger than Maelin!) and Allyson, who just turned one. The kids played, the moms chatted, and of course we went out to eat!

And now it's on to our next great adventure -- back to school time!!


Friday, August 8, 2008


Here it is -- our first big family vacation ever! Jim, Maelin and i flew to California on Friday, July 25th, to visit my friend Jan and her family. Jan and i have been friends almost our whole lives (legend has it that our moms met in a doctor's office while we were babies). We really try to visit each other every year or two, but for various reasons, it's been three long years since we last saw each other. What a great week we had with her!! She got to meet Maelin (aka Chatty Cathy), and i got to see her oldest son, 13-year-old Richie, again and meet her youngest, 8-year-old Jesse. Both boys were adopted, so we have lots in common :)

Daddy was DETERMINED to take Maelin to her first visit to Disneyland, so the three of us spent the day there on Sunday the 27th. Maelin loooooved all of the rides and sights, and we really had a great time. We couldn't resist the face-painting booth :)

On Monday the 28th, the 7 of us (Jan, her wife Lauren, their two boys, and the three of us) took the train from Claremont to downtown LA so that we could visit Chinatown. It was fun to walk around Chinatown, shop and see the sights. After the train ride back to Claremont, we drove daddy to the airport and dropped him off :(

While we were in Chinatown, Jan bought Maelin a traditional Chinese outfit that matched one she was wearing. Tooooo cute!!

On Tuesday (after the earthquake - scary for a midwestern farm girl like me!), Jan and i loaded up the kids and headed for the beach! Maelin had a faaantastic time playing in the waves! She spent almost the entire 3 1/2 hours in the water - didn't want to play in the sand at all!

On Sunday we're off to Crystal Mountain, Michigan for a week-long vacation with Jim's family (parents, sister and brother-in-law, brother and sister-in-law, and two nephews). We're looking forward to spending a whole week with Daddy!!

Shonda (and gang)