Thursday, September 4, 2014

Goodbye Summer; Hello School

After our New York and South Carolina trips we spent the rest of the summer traveling back and forth between Little Rock and Monticello where we spent time with Natalie's Arkansas grandparents.  Below is a picture of Natalie touching the tooth of an alligator at a Monticello bank.  It was her idea to pose like this.
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We also made a visit to Natalie's old school where she enjoyed seeing some of her old friends.
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Sissy came for a visit and the three of us drove to Louisville Arkansas to visit my 96 year old grandmother.  It was a very wonderful, special time.
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We also made a visit to the zoo where Natalie got to see her very favorite "animal” - an owl. 
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We enjoyed riding on the new zoo train.
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...and the carousel 
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Since we were traveling for 90% of the summer, Katie and Louie had been staying at Newfoundland Doggie Camp.  Natalie was so excited to have them home (so was I :-). She was especially thrilled to be reunited with her best buddy Louie.
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Soon it was time for orientation night at Natalie's new school.  We were both happy to find out that four of her best friends from her old school were in her class.  photo IMG_0191.jpg

Dinner with more wonderful friends, Donna and Mitch
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Natalie was nervous, but brave when I dropped her off for her first day at her new school.  The little fashionista wasn't thrilled about having to wear a uniform, but she was rockin' it anyway. I stayed for a bit and watched through an observation window. The students sat on a carpet on their assigned seats (Natalie was lucky enough to be between two classmates from her old school.) As the introduction to the class was going on one of Natalie's classmates mentioned her grandparent recently died. Natalie raised her hands next and then told the group that her Daddy died. She was very matter of fact about it. We still talk about Gary almost every day and regularly watch videos of him and Natalie together. Even though death is a complicated subject Natalie seems to grasp the fact that her Daddy's love lives on. There is a children's book about this called "Always By My Side" that Natalie frequently asks to read.

Natalie's new school is absolutely fantastic.  Natalie has been going for almost 3 weeks now and she is very happy there.  Her teachers are wonderful!  

Natalie was recently tested for both Physical and Occupational Therapy. She still qualifies for both so she will continue to receive PT and OT for another year. Natalie barely qualified in PT, so I am certain that this is her last year of that. She started back in swimming lessons recently and will start dance class next Monday. She is going to a new dance school and will learn ballet, tap and jazz (all in a one hour class). I predict that the combination of PT, swimming and dance will help Natalie's gross motor skills catch up to age appropriate levels very soon. OT is going to take more time and a lot more work. Natalie's fine motor skills are still severely delayed. However, both of her therapists are amazed by the progress she has made. She is great about paying attention and working hard. I am very proud of her. Next on Natalie's agenda: Dancing With the Stars. She asks me every day how many more days until her favorite show starts.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Visit With the South Carolina Grandparents

Last month Natalie and I went to visit family in South Carolina.  We both had a wonderful time with Grandmother and Granddaddy.  Between this and the previous New York trip Natalie has gotten quite a bit of traveling experience.  She is becoming quite a pro.  I am very proud of her.

Natalie pulls her own little suitcase (full of toys) all the way through the airports.

Eating dinner at a Korean Restaurant

Flying Chopstick Airplanes

The Aquarium in Charleston

Walking in a pretend bog at the Children's Museum

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Day of Firsts at Coney Island

On our last full day in New York Natalie, Sissy and I took an hour long train ride to Coney Island.

On the way to a fun filled day

Natalie wanted to ride this swing ride which was rated "High Thrill".  Sissy and I both thought that the 100 foot assent into the air might be a bit much for Natalie's first ever amusement park ride, but Natalie was determined to try it.  She was not a bit scared.  After the ride was over she said she had fun, but that it didn't go fast enough :)
We rode a few tame rides.

Natalie decided she wanted to ride this roller coaster which was rated "Medium thrill".  There weren't any big drops - just lots of tight curves and super fast speed.

Natalie had a big smile on her face after her roller coaster ride and was ready to do it again.
She also rode the log ride which had a 40' extremely steep drop.  That was her favorite!

Natalie also experienced the ocean for the first time.  At first she was a bit scared of the motion of the waves, but after a short time she fell in love with it and it was hard to drag her away.  We played in the sand, looked for seashells and jumped the waves over and over and over.

On the Train ride home

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Brooklyn Children's Museum

Natalie and I had a wonderful time visiting The Brooklyn Children's Museum.  We went last year also, but found many fun new exhibits to explore this year.


The new sensory room was a big hit.  Natalie especially loved the hammock swing.  She buried herself in it and laughed hysterically while I spun her in big circles.

This year we discovered the interactive gardens.  My favorite part was the fragrance garden.  They had mint, geranium and other plants that you could rub between your fingers and smell.

"The driver of the bus says 'move on back'" (from Wheels on the Bus song)

Working the desk at the pretend theater

Making pizza

Eating pizza

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