Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Horse Whisperer

Ain't no one's ever been able to break ol' Rody...

But some fellas just have to try...
Sakes alive! I've been thrown!


It might take a try or two.

But persistence pays off...
...and now they're faithful companions.

A boy loves his horse!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Lookin' Good!

Guess who got a haircut today?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Indoor Gymnasium

What do you do on a rainy day?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Speech Therapy

Today Anthony had his first appointment with his new speech therapist at the Artz Center.  We love this place-- Anthony has gone there for occupational therapy-- everyone at the Artz Center is so enthusiastic and positive.  We had been wrangling with our insurance company to get coverage for speech therapy for months.  It turns out that our policy specifically excludes speech therapy services for children with Down syndrome.  That's right- a child of the same age as Anthony, who is delayed in speech, would be eligible for services...as long as he didn't have Down syndrome.  That seemed discriminatory to us- as if they were writing him off as a hopeless case, someone who could not benefit from therapy, just because he has a disability.  And the policy is through my job, which is at a university hospital that has a Down syndrome clinic, whose staff refers kids with Down syndrome to the Artz Center for speech therapy! 

That made Mommy mad.  And you don't want to make Mommy mad.

After many calls and emails, and the help of the staff at Artz, we were finally victorious!  I received an email from the benefits office at my job saying Aetna had changed the policy and they were going to cover Anthony's speech therapy!


Paul and I were both able to attend today's appointment. We liked Juli, Anthony's therapist, right away.  She gave Anthony a chance to warm up to her and before long he was smiling and flirting with her.  She was very encouraging about Anthony's attempts to communicate.  Juli explained that our focus right now should be on encouraging him to vocalize more, and to treat any vocalizations as an attempt to communicate.  She said that before kids say their first words, they spend months babbling all the time.  Anthony does babble, but we want to increase it and to teach him that when he vocalizes he can make things happen. 

(Juli noted that Anthony likes to make things happen.)

This is our homework for the next 2 weeks:
1) Imitate Anthony
2) Treat any vocaliztion as an intent to communicate
3) Pair vocalizations with a physical movement (for example, when throwing a ball say "Ready, set... and then WAIT until HE vocalizes, and then say "Go!" and throw the ball). This teaches him that he can have an effect on his environment using his "words".

We learned a lot in our first session and look forward to helping our little guy improve his communication skills!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Birthday Visit to Grandma's

Not much going on at the Carsons' this week, since Anthony is recovering from his first ear infection : (
So here are some pictures from his visit to Grandma Jeanne's on his birthday last month:


Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Great Day for the...

Irish Soda Bread*

• 4 cups sifted flour
• ¼ cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt (Don't forget this! Once I did, and I can tell you it's important)
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
• ¼ cup butter
• 1 to1¼ cups raisins (depending on how much you like raisins)
• 1 and 1/3 cups buttermilk
• 1 egg, unbeaten
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 egg yolk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Grease a 9” cake pan.

Combine buttermilk, egg, and baking soda in a small bowl; beat with a fork or whisk until the yolk is broken. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, sift flour, sugar, salt (don't forget!), and baking powder. Stir in caraway seeds.
With 2 knives, cut in the butter until it is like coarse cornmeal (???). Stir in raisins.
Pour buttermilk mixture into flour mixture until it is just moistened. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth. Shape into a ball. Place in pan. Cut a 4-inch X deep in the center. Brush with egg yolk (beat with a fork first).
Bake 1 hour 20 minutes.
Cool for 10 minutes then turn onto rack.

*I always thought this recipe was from my father's mother, Grandma Mahon (nee Magarahan).  I liked thinking of her baking it over an open fire in a thatched-roof cottage back in the old country.  But then I was told that my mother actually got it from a women's magazine back in the 1960's.  Maybe the truth lies someplace in between.  Either way, it's good!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Animal Magnetism

"I am the magnet master!"

Monday, March 14, 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011

"Look, Ma, no hands (almost)!!!"

Standing up is fun!

It's easier when you have some help!

That's better -- both feet planted!
Hee, hee! Check me out! I'm standing!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Guitar Man

After Music Together class, the kids are invited to try out the teacher's guitar if they want to. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Growing Boy

Anthony had his 2-year check up today.  He's grown more than we realized!  He now weighs 23 lbs 9 oz, and is 33 inches tall.   It was great to hear he's healthy and growing strong!

Here he is looking at the fish in the waiting room at the pediatrician's office. 

Just this week, Anthony's been getting so much better at communicating what he wants.  It's very exciting to see.  He already had a very effective way to say "no", which is to wave one arm back and forth.  Now he does sort of a double arm wave to ask for help with something.  All of a sudden, he's been doing this all the time.  For example, he needs help to play with his See and Say toy- he needs someone to hold it while he pushes the lever.  Twice this week he picked up the toy and waved his arms to ask me to play it with him.  This may seem like a small thing, but it's actually a very big deal in his progress in communication.  He has never done anything like that before- directly asking for a specific thing by using a gesture. 

Right before I took the picture above, he was kneeling in front of the fish tank.  He wanted help standing up so that he could see better, so he looked over at me where I was sitting away from him and did his arm wave.  He seems so happy to be able to communicate and get a response- I think it's making him feel very powerful!  

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Helping Out Around the House

Anthony earns his allowance:

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Wednesday, March 2, 2011