Sunday, February 23, 2014

This Winter: a disjointed summary

This has been the craziest winter of my life.  Just so busy -- good busy -- but filled to the brink.  We have had LOTS of snow and ice.

Thanks goodness for a warm fire.

 We have lost power twice, but this has made us all more appreciative of the light and heat we have most of the time.  

We have pulled out all of our toys, including the huge boxes of Playmobil.

And we have delved into some art projects we usually don't have the time to do.

I am glad to report that Elijah has moved on from playing games 24/7 (although he probably would continue if I let him..)

and he is interacting with the whole family.

Elijah and Ellie and Christopher are the 3 Stooges.  They play together all the time, and there is lots of silliness and messes along the way.  Elijah is the leader of the pack.

Elijah has even "done school" with us a few times.  I am not pushing it right now.  We had consciously decided to not worry about traditional "table work" for the first 6 months he is home, and just let Elijah absorb the language and our family life and culture.

But occasionally he has wanted to join us.  And, when he does, he has a remarkable attention span and, I must add, very neat handwriting!

Nicholas, almost 9, has taken the role of protector and leader.  
He has come so far, and we are so proud of him.  He is so responsible and careful.

Despite the frigid temperatures and heaps of snow, he plays outside every day.  He loves it.  

He leads the other boys, and sometimes Ellie, out to the back creek, and has had to perform a few "rescue missions" over the past weeks.  Don't worry, everyone is fine, thanks to Ranger Nick.

While Olivia does not usually come on the outdoors adventures, she is very busy.  She particularly loves fencing.  She is also into ice skating, and is taking a writing class at our local homeschool co-op.

I can't believe that she is almost 10.  She is already showing so many signs of budding independence and I realized that our years left with her at home will go quickly.  I love her so much.

Olivia is also really into cooking and baking, as well as sewing.  Here is a custard fruit tart she made.  Delicious!

This Chinese New Year, we were invited to Linda's house (our Chinese instructor) to celebrate.  It was such an honor to spend the holiday with a Chinese family.

Here is Christopher with Linda's husband.

Our boys felt quite at home, as you can see.  They are wrestling over a flashlight.

The three amigos, in silk.

Peter dared them to kiss.  They took the bait.

And then promptly wiped the kisses off.

3 of my Chinese treasures.  I am so lucky.

Here is Linda and her fabulous spread.  The food was so good.  I have tried to replicate some of her recipes.  And, all I will say is, I need more practice!

What a fun night.

Christopher is such a sweet, loving baby.  Everyone loves him, especially his siblings.  In their eyes, he can do no wrong.  

In the past months, we have started to worry that he is more delayed that we had initially believed.  He was still not talking at all, and seemed to have some motor planning and processing issues going on.  For instance, if you asked him to do something, he had trouble planning how to take that information and then act upon it.

Here is Christopher's Occupational Therapist, Ms. Julie, who is wonderful and comes to our home once a week.  Christopher loves her, and so does Ellie!

We decided to have Christopher start speech therapy with Ms. Suzy, the speech therapist that we have used for Nicholas, Peter and Ellie (Ellie continues to have therapy).

It has made a huge difference.

In the last month, Christopher has been using sign language without being prompted to do so (showing his understanding of language and cognitive ability to communicate!) and has even started using the words "baba" (bottle) and "dada."  

Most of all, we are just happy to see that he "gets it."  He needs a little help, especially with oral-motor issues, but he is on his way. We celebrate baby steps around here.

My kids are running out of patience with me as I type on the computer, so I will have to update you about Peter and Ellie in the next post.


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