Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dwindling Moments...

So, I have no uncommon excuses for not keeping things updated around Christmas. There will be a fun update on all of our December activities soon. But, until then, it should suffice to report that no one died while buying, wrapping, giving, or opening presents. The cards got out. The packages are still not mailed. And life will proceed at a quickly moving pace.

That is why tonight, I was blessed to have McKenna fall asleep while laying in my arms. I was reading a blog, talking to Berkeley, and she just wrapped her arm around my neck...and drifted off. Moments like these are dwindling as she grows older (four going on twenty-five)....and so I must savor them.

Thanks, Heavenly Father. I needed that little moment. She's been hard lately.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Pictures I just had to share....

So this will be kind of RANDOM (at best...) but there are some pictures that I have been wanting to share for awhile. I haven't quite figured out a way to tie them into other posts. we go! All in the name of humoring Mel:

I love this picture . Don't know why. Can't really explain it. I am quite "intimacy deprived" could be that. But this was awesome to me!

Who thought of this? And better yet....Who was able to create this with a computer? Soooo cool!

Never short of creating laughs at our house....
One day I was sitting in the livingroom and Berkeley just wandered out with this "get up" on. The photos may lead the average parent to ask...."How does a child create this look from the"dress up" box? " seems to be a combination of Sunday clothes (from her closet), and the "Doctor Kit" drawer accessories. Berkeley looked so serious, that it left me no doubt that my "crazy" gene had transfered over to her juuuuuuuuuust fine!
~I like to call this look "The Crazy Amish Lady".
I flew to St. Louis in October, for one of my best friend's weddings. I ran across one of the cutest window displays I'd seen in awhile. I just thought it was so fun. So I took a picture of it for you all:

Mini Denim Jeans! (Can you imagine the NUT that sewed all of those? Insane!) When this window display "expires".... some store employee is going to give these to her daughter...and that girl's Barbie is gonna be "set" with her new "jeans collection" for 2009! I'm almost jealous for Berkeley and McKenna right now, almost.

I took a "close-up" too
(cuz I know you're beggin for more!):

I love how each little jean is "posed and placed." So fun! Clearly I need to get out and have "big girl" time more often, since I came home with a picture of this window....and took no photos of the "famous ARCH". But this was my thought: There are probably TONS of great pictures of that arch online. I can look-it-up IF I need to see it again. But pictures of cute window displays...with MINI JEANS?

Well, I guess I could just go into the girls room and look through the Barbie clothes....
And finally....
The Halloween Costume McKenna just HAD to have in AUGUST...we purchased and she REFUSED to wear the wig at all. It was the thing that "made" the costume...since Kenna is brunette and Sharpay from HSM is blonde. However, she put the costume on WITH the wig a few days ago....and it was so cute! So I had to share:
She realized she forgot the ever important, LIPSTICK, so we had to capture that photo moment too.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"This Little Light of Mine ~ I'm Gonna Let it Shine!"

Berkeley, my seven-year-old, has struggled with Selective Mutism since she was quite young. This is a condition in which a child has major anxiety speaking in social situations. They may speak freely and in a normal voice tone at home, but anywhere else outside of the home can be a struggle. Children who suffer from SM can react to their anxiety by being completely silent or masking their real voice in an effort to "hide" themselves. In Berkeley's situation, she has almost always refused to speak publically...or she would speak in a very high "mousey" tone, which few could understand. This made things difficult when pre-school and kindergarten started. Near the middle of Berk's kindergarten year, we sought help through the school's speech therapist, a school counselor, and an outside source for therapy as well. She made huge improvements in the first grade and has done REMARKABLY well in second grade. She still occasionally struggles or hesitates to speak in front of her class or groups, but I can't complain when comparing to what things were like before.

For me as a mother, this has been really hard to watch a child go through. Always being incredibly social and verbal myself, I couldn't believe one of MY children would be shy or anxious about talking to anyone! In fact, I always thought my kids would have the opposite problem. It was also difficult for me to see what a fun, outgoing, free-spirit Berkeley was at home -- and then see her completely shut down. She was holding her true self from the world, and to me, that was tragic. She is a bundle of spirit, love, and humor when she is comfortable. I would look at pictures like these below.... and wonder why she couldn't just be comfortable in who she was:

This week though... something fantastic happened...

I got a call from a school PTA member. Berkeley has taken the "Grand Prize" in the K-2nd grade Literature category for the 2008 Reflections Contest! I was so surprised and excited for her! She would be so proud! But then the PTA lady dropped the bomb: "We were wondering if Berkeley would be willing to read her poem in the school assembly honoring Reflections winners- tomorrow!" Immediately I knew that wasn't about to happen --even on a good day for Berk. I explained Berkeley's speaking issues to the lady. She offered to have Berkeley read her poem on a video camera (and then they could play it for the school) if she felt more comfortable that way. It was worth a shot.

I wish you all could have seen that sweet girls face when I told her that she won! It was priceless. She immediatley asked....
"Am I going to be on t.v.?" I told her that there was no t.v. broadcast....but that she was invited to read it in front of the school the next day. She blurted out the second-grader equivalent of "Not just 'no', but HELL NO!". I explained the "video taping" option to her and she refused that too. But as the night went on...she was considering it. I couldn't believe it!

Sometimes our children will move mountains right before our eyes -- and Berkeley's mountain was before her. She came home from her Dad's that night, asked me to curl her hair for the video taping, put on some pink eye shadow and lip gloss....and recited that poem FROM MEMORY --right into the camera!!! I couldn't believe it. It was even very close to her normal voice tone! Truly she was not about to let her "big moment" pass her by in silence.

The next day, I was SURE she would decide to just "bag it" last minute. But we got up early....curled every stitch of her hair....and 'off' to school she went. The assembly came - they announced her name - and she walked up to accept her award. They played the video. She stood there while the crowd applauded...and I was a teary mess of pride! Even her past teachers were blown away at what they were seeing. It was AWESOME!! So many people came up to her afterwards, congratulating her and hugging her. It was a BIG moment. She had overcome something inside of her. Even if it was temporary, she had allowed her true self to be seen!

That night...she snuck into the livingroom after her sister had fallen asleep. She said to me with a smile..."I was kind of embarassed when they played that video for the school." I looked at her and said "Yah....but did a little, tiny part of you feel really proud too?" She shook her head "yes"-- and we talked again about how awesome that day was.

Tiny miracles. One day at a time. One proud little-girl and one VERY proud Mom.

"You did it kiddo! Way to go!"

Her film is below. It is a little dark in the background...but the sound is great. You may need to turn it up--but she speaks clearly. Enjoy it!