Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How Much "Therapy" Do You Really Do?

Let's play Two Truths and a Lie.

I'm going to tell you three things, two of which are true and one of which is a lie.  See if you can figure out the lie.

#1   I am married to a preacher and we just celebrated 20 years of marriage.

#2   I have three daughters, one who will be attending college in the fall, one who will be driving in the fall, and one who will be 6 years old in the fall.

#3   At home, on my own, I do every single therapy technique suggested by Lily's speech, occupational, and behavioral therapists.

So.  Can you find the lie?

If you've spent any time around here at all, I'm sure it was easy to pick out the lie.  And even if you are new to these parts, but have a special needs child yourself, I'm pretty confident you can identify the lie.

So if you chose #3 as the lie, you are correct!

Here comes my true confession for today:

I don't do all that much therapy around the house.

Don't get me wrong, I want Lily to improve.  I want to see her reach her highest potential.  I want her to accomplish all kinds of things in spite of her diagnosis.

But I have to be honest.

I don't want to be the therapist.  I want to be the mom.  I want to have fun with Lily.  I want her to look forward to spending time with me.

Lily is at school Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM until 4:30 PM.  That is a long day when you're five years old, people.  Heck.  That's a long day when you're 42!

After all her hard work at school, the last thing I want to do in the evenings is drag out the matching cards, the puzzles, the magnetic alphabet letters, or the lacing cards and insist on more work.

Don't all kids, even our kids who need so much therapy, deserve some downtime?

Now, we do spend some time on Saturdays and Sundays doing our Birdie Boot Camp, exploring all kinds of therapeutic activities through play.  But I still don't really have her at the table "working" like she does at school.

I don't want to be the reason Lily doesn't become all she is supposed to be.  I don't want to be the one who holds her back.

Lily has about eight therapists in all.

But I'm the only mom she's got.  And I want to be a good one.

So I have to try to strike that balance between therapist and mom.  But if the scale tips one way more often, I'd rather it lean to the mom rather than the therapist.

What about you?  Feel like making a confession of your own?  How do you balance it all?  Thoughts?  Let me hear it.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Miss Manners

Are there any particular manners that you enforce (or try to enforce, maybe I should say) in your home?

Maybe things like, "Don't put your feet on the table!"

How about pants?  Are they optional at your supper table?

Or maybe you're a stickler for no iPad while eating. 

We really do try to have a little class around here but I'm afraid our standards might be a bit beneath Peggy Post's.

What about you?  What's mealtime like around your house?

Monday, February 27, 2012

News You Can Use - Volume 2

Here it is, folks.  My round-up of great stuff floating around the interwebs.

Electronic News:
Since so many of our kiddos need to avoid gluten,  Is That Gluten Free? is an iPhone and i-Pad compatible app that allows you to search it's database of almost almost 15,000 gluten free products to ensure that what you are buying is a safe choice.

If you haven't already heard about Gube, I think you're going to love it!  This app provides an interface of nearly 3000 pre-screened kid-appropriate videos - and more videos are being added all the time.  Think of it like a safe and searchable Youtube for kids.

Since we're on the subject of those expensive tablets, check out Friendship Circle's list of 14 iPad Cases for Your Child with Special Needs.  Actually, several of these cases would be great for anyone at any age and ability level.

Get Active News:

Another great post from Friendship Circle - 20 Bikes, Trikes, & Tandems for Children with Special Needs.  This almost blew my mind!  I had no idea there were so many options for our kiddos who might need a little extra help riding a bike or equipment to make bike riding even a possibility. I think Lily could master the Trailmate Mini Trike but I am in LOVE with the Buddy Bike!

Therapy News:

Need some insider tips on how to make the most of your therapy sessions?  Then Ellen, from Love That Max, has just the post for you:  Better Therapy Sessions for Kids with Special Needs:  Therapists Share! is full of all kinds of helpful information on how to get the most out of your therapy dollars.

Tax News:

Lisa over at Autism Wonderland tweeted this helpful article that you might have missed:  Special Tax Deductions for Special Education.  I actually attended a seminar recently on this very topic and will be sharing what I learned with you so be sure to check back.

Family News:

Just taking a moment to brag on my oldest... Ryley was recently asked by World Help, a humanitarian organization reaching impoverished people all over the world, to do a guest post for their blog.  Click here to read Snapshots from Guatemala and I think you'll discover who the real writer is in this family.

And just because I can, here are two cute pictures of the Bird:

Tooling around town, taking in the sights...

And demanding nicely asking me to put down the camera and give her more Sonic ice.

Have a great Monday!

Friday, February 24, 2012

My First Ever Guest Post!

Love That Max was one of the very first blogs I discovered when I started on my own blogging journey so it holds a special place in my heart.

Naturally, I was super excited when Ellen asked to interview me for, "This is How I Do It", her series featuring bloggers with special needs kids and their survival/sanity tips.

So head on over to Love That Max and see just how I make it through this crazy, awesome life with the Bird.

Click here to read all about it!

Have a great weekend and I'll see you Monday!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

No Big Deal Meals

Have you ever felt like this?

I definitely have.  

The proof?  

My oldest has the above picture pinned on her Pinterest board titled "Hey Mom!".  As in, a board full of pins that remind her of me.

Here's another one she pinned in my honor:


Basically, Ryley thinks I get tired of cooking every day and that I'd rather take a nap than almost anything else in the world.

I'd get mad but unfortunately, it's pretty true.

I would cook less and sleep more if it weren't for these pesky children running around here, demanding food and waking me up.

When Ryan and the big girls were gone for a week a while back, Lily and I happily ate cheese and crackers, cold cereal, yogurt, store bought rotisserie chicken and plain buttered noodles for supper.  I cooked one night that whole time.

And since I'm really the only person in my family with a desire to expand my palate, especially when someone else is cooking, most suppers are pretty simple around here.

No brainer dinners.

The kinds of meals where I can recite the recipe from memory and cook them practically blindfolded.  The meals my kids have had so many times that if I try to tweak something to make it a little more exciting, they proclaim, "Did you add something to this?  WHY did you change the spaghetti sauce??  It was just fine the way it's always been!"

Just fine.  The highest compliment desired by chefs worldwide.

So anyway, I've been going through my recipes trying to create a monthly menu in order to eliminate all the thousands of choices I've collected over time, per my post on the book, 7.  And 95% of the suppers making the "menu cut" are these no big deal meals.

Also, since Lily is in a phase right now where I cannot take my eyes off her when she's at home, quick and easy meals are the only way my family gets to eat supper these days.

Some of you might be in the same boat.  So I thought I'd pass along a few family favorites that just might make the cut at your house.  Then you too can cook supper on auto-pilot while chasing down a lightning fast child intent on wreaking as much havoc as possible.

Fun times.

Chicken and Veggie Gravy Over Biscuits
(adapted from Picky Palate)

1 can refrigerated biscuits, any kind
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup milk
1 can chunk white chicken, drained & shredded
1 can Veg-All mixed vegetables, drained
1/4 tsp. cajun seasoning
salt & pepper to taste
pinch of garlic salt

Preheat oven and bake biscuits.  While they're in the oven, whisk together soup and milk and pour into large skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken, veggies, and seasonings.  Cook, stirring occasionally until heated through, usually 5 or 6 minutes.

Slice biscuits in half, pour some gravy over top and serve.

Red Beans and Rice
(from Kevin and Amanda)
*I usually double this recipe*

1 cup long grain white rice
2 cups hot water
1 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 pkg (14 oz) smoked sausage
1 can red beans
Creole Seasoning

Add rice, water, and salt to a lidded sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Thinly slice sausage and drain red beans.  Add olive oil to large skillet and heat.  Add sausage, sprinkle with seasoning and stir occasionally for about 7 minutes or so, getting sausage cooked on both sides.  Add beans and stir til warmed through.  Add seasoning to taste while warming.  Serve red beans and sausage over rice.

Beef Tips
(from a friend of a friend)

1 pkg dry onion soup mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
small jar sliced mushrooms
1 cup regular or diet 7-Up or Sprite
2 lbs. stew meat

Spray roasting pan with non-stick spray. Add stew meat.  Stir soups and soda together and pour over meat.  Sprinkle mushrooms over top.  Cover and bake at 275 for 4 hours - no peeking! Serve with rice, pasta, or potatoes.

And there you have it.  Easy as pie.  So kick back, relax, and still feed your family well.  Or, at least, feed your family well.  Do any of us really get to relax??

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Budget Cuts

Every couple of years, Ryan and I sit down and take a look at our budget.

I know what you're thinking - "Man, they really know how to have a good time at the Rush house! How do they stand all that excitement?"

What can I say?  We live dangerously around here.

Seriously though, we look at what's coming and going through the bank account, taking a hard look at what we spend money on.  Then we decide which of those things need to stay in the budget and if there are some things we can decrease or eliminate altogether in order to save a few pennies.

When we did this a couple of months ago, we decided to take the plunge and drop our home phone service.  We also got rid of cable and invested in a one time expense for a Roku box which is now how we watch TV.  Please don't ask me to explain this - I have no idea how it works.  I just know it does and I no longer have to send $130 a month to Time Warner for internet, phone, and cable.  I started using cash to pay for our food (both groceries and eating out) which always helps cut out unnecessary purchases because I have an intense fear of getting to the check-out and not having enough money.

But there is one line item in our budget that some might consider frivolous but that we consider to be non-negotiable.


One night a week, Julie, our lovely babysitter who has certainly earned more than a few jewels in her crown since meeting our family, shows up at our house.  She hangs with the Bird, feeds her supper, helps her shower, and sends her off to sleep.  Then, if the big girls are around, they move on to really important stuff like watching Project Runway or Castle.  Or searching YouTube for the craziest videos or sharing stuff on Pinterest.

Ryan and I get to go out by ourselves.  Eat supper in a restaurant where nothing has to be unwrapped.  Go see a movie while it's still considered a new release.  Wander the bookstore or the outdoor mall.  Sometimes, we take the big girls with us and play mini golf or wander some of the funky shops downtown.

The point is that this line item in our budget is money well-spent.  I think I would rather give up meat than give up my babysitting money.  And that's saying a lot for a girl born and raised in Texas!

For us, babysitting is more than just babysitting.  It's mental health improvement.  It's marriage enrichment.  It's teenager enhancement.  And while it is an expense, it's still cheaper than therapy.  And Lord knows that budget line item is already maxed out on the Bird!

What about you?  Do you have any expenses in your budget that you never want to give up?  I want to hear about it!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Birdie Boot Camp - A Fail and a Win

Around the Rush house, we're still "learning to play", aka Birdie Boot Camp.  

This past Saturday, I decided to have Lily try painting with water.  

Simple.  Not much ahead of time prep needed from me.  And not all that messy.

And according to the Bird, not all that exciting, either.  

I think you can tell from the picture below that this was a total fail.

Next up on the agenda:  play-doh.  

This was more successful.  As long as Ryan and I were right there beside her, rolling out the dough, and demonstrating how to work the squeezy tool, she was game to play along. 

After watching me fill the compartments of an ice cube tray with little blobs of dough, she copied me and did it herself.  Good ol' modeling behavior at work... 

As is typical for Lily, she did "taste test" the play-doh a couple of times.  Then I had a stroke of genius (if I do say so myself!) and started giving her spoonfuls of crushed ice.  As long as I kept spooning that ice in, she kept playing with that play-doh rather than trying to eat it.

Then Ryan had to show off his mad play-doh skills and he fashioned a rough sculpture of Moses holding the Ten Commandments.

Or maybe it's Darth Vader.  Take your pick.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Never Give In... Except...

Last night was date night for Ryan and I.  

Our lovely babysitter, Julie, came over to hang out with the Bird while we went to a movie.

Most nights go off without a hitch.

Based on the following text conversation I had with my oldest, Ryley, last night was not a "hitch-less" evening.

FYI:  Ryley in white bubbles, me in green bubbles


Desperate times call for desperate measures.

All good parents know when to break out the youtube.  I'm just happy to know I've taught Ryley so well.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Too Many Choices

OK people.

As if Birdie Boot Camp isn't enough to keep me busy and teetering on the edge of craziness, I'm about to add yet another project to the mix.

I mentioned a month or so ago that I read a book called 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker.

The book just came out in January so odds are good you may not be familiar with it yet.

So here's the book trailer for those of you who prefer seeing what a book is about.  Of course, that leads me to wonder if you'll actually read a book if you can't even read the description of what it's about but I'll leave that up to you....

7 Book Trailer

If you'd like to read about the book in Jen's own words, click here to check it out.

Now, in my words, here's what I got out of the book in one simple sentence:

Lots of times, we complicate our own lives because we have too many choices.

I think most of us would agree that we all have a bunch of stuff.

And perusing the shelves of a bookstore pretty much confirms what we already know.  We can find tons of books about simplifying.  Scaling back.  Downsizing.  Dumping the clutter.  Organizing.

But this is where 7 differs in it's approach.  The author, Jen, doesn't suggest that we get rid of all of our stuff and become minimalists.  And she doesn't teach us nifty ways to organize all our things.

Rather, 7 was an experiment.  Jen simply eliminated some of the choices she faced every day to see if it made her life simpler.

So, in Amazon's words, here's what she did:

7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.

Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. They would spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.” So, what’s the payoff from living a deeply reduced life? It’s the discovery of a greatly increased God—a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity that transcends social experiment to become a radically better existence.

Sounds radical, right?

But here's what I love about the book - It doesn't have to be that radical.  Jen is not telling us to take this experiment and do it exactly like she did.  It's not meant to be a template.  

It's meant to get your wheels turning.  To help you identify some areas where you might just have too many stinkin' choices.  Then you can make your life easier by eliminating some of those choices.

Let me give you an example: 

I currently have enough recipes in my possession that I'm pretty confident I can't cook all of them before I die.  I have that many.  Yet I find myself still perusing online and looking at cookbooks.  And then when I sit down to make a weekly menu and grocery list, it becomes a headache.  See, my palate would like to try new things.  But my life right now doesn't allow me much time or money to plan these elaborate, new, exciting menus.

I need to eliminate some choices in the area of food.  Now, I'm not going to eat only seven foods for one month like Jen did.  But I can create a menu for a month of meals:  choose my favorite recipes and put them in a weekly rotation.  Each month, the rotation starts again.  I can even have a make-ahead grocery list for each week of the rotation.  

And then I can be done.

Removing all the endless choices of recipes will save me time and make my life easier.  

Think how difficult it can be to make a simple decision sometimes.  If we didn't have so many choices, it wouldn't be so hard to choose.

And that's pretty much what I got out of 7.  

While it can be wonderful to live in the time that we do, with all the choices that we have, sometimes, all those choices can complicate things.  Muddy the waters.  Make our lives harder, instead of easier.

So the project I'm embarking on is to take a look around at my life, my home, my calendar.  To look for the areas of my life where the abundance of choices is not actually helping me, but stressing me out.

And them I'm going to eliminate some of that abundance of choice.

And I'm not going to replace it with more choices.

I'm just going to let it be.

And breathe.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Different Kind of 365 Photo Project

I often think I don't take enough pictures of my kids.  Thank goodness for the iPhone or really, I don't know if I would ever take photos.  I honestly can't remember the last time I picked up a "real" camera.

But when I saw this come across Twitter, I was intrigued.

I think all of us have seen many different kinds of 365/52 photo projects, especially in the last few years.

However, this 365 project is just a little bit different.

Meet Maya and her personal project - Autism and My Daily Life.  Here's a brief description in her own words:

And as my crazy busy season wrapped up in my photography business, I began to settle upon the idea of a photojournalism project, the goal of which will be to paint a photographic picture of what autism actually looks like.  My main goal is to somehow portray how autism plays out in the banalities of family life, and not to create a Photoshopped, dramatic portrait of heroic individuals who have somehow overcome autism, or who have managed to turn their savant skill into something that made them rich, fabulous, or at least into an HBO movie.

So I am opening up my otherwise perfected photography blog to begin documenting the everyday lives of families living with autism.  And to kick it off, let’s start....  

Click here to visit Maya's blog, Maya's Eye Photography, and see the beginnings of her unique and deeply personal photo project.  

If you're anything like me, you'll be inspired by the pictures not because of how lovely they are, but because of the story they tell.  Which is exactly what I want out of my pictures.

What an awesome way to capture our special kiddos - not made-up or retouched or aiming for perfection.  Just a real look at the way it is. 

And that's a beautiful thing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love Sweet Love

It's Valentines Day.

So let's talk about love.

I don't know about you, but I love those silly little quizzes that you come across in magazines or online that reveal something about your personality.

Well, a few years ago, I read a book called The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman.  In the book, there was one of those fun little quizzes.  But this one was more than just fun.  I discovered my "love language", or the way that I prefer for someone to show they love me.

Mine was really no great surprise to me.  I'm an "acts of service" girl.  Nothing says love to me more than Ryan running the vacuum, filling my car up with gas, or unloading and loading the dishwasher.  Forget the flowers and chocolates.  Swish the toilet and I swoon.

The fun part came when I had my husband and kids do the quiz.  When I learned their love languages, I was able to show just how much I love each of them in ways that were meaningful and unique to them. This is knowledge I still use today.

If you aren't familiar with The Five Love Languages, click here to take the online quiz.  There's a quiz for husbands, wives, children, teens, and singles.

Take a few minutes and learn something new about your family.  Then use what you learn to love them just the way they like best.

Happy valentines days 2011

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Silver Lining

IEP meetings.  Endless conversations with health insurance providers.  Constant paperwork.  Special diets. Therapy expenses.  Finding a babysitter.  Night after night of interrupted sleep.  Budgets stretched to the limit.  Holidays.  Birthdays.  Travel - or lack of.  Dispensing medication.  Doctor appointments.

Have I got your stress level up yet?

Well, have I got some good news for you today!

It turns out, if you have challenges in your life, you're tougher than the average Joe.

If you've experienced a traumatic event such as a divorce or loss of a job or death of a family member or if you live with chronic illness, just to name a few, these kinds of life events, while still incredibly hard, can actually benefit you in the long run.

Mark D. Seery, Ph.D, a psychology professor at the University of Buffalo, studied the effects of these types of hardships on individuals.

Dr. Seery notes:

 “Experiencing some adversity may create a sense of mastery over past adversity, teach coping skills, establish effective social-support networks, and promote cell growth in brain areas relevant for coping,” he says. 

It’s similar to the way you get stronger after a workout, Seery says. “Just as the body requires exertion to improve fitness, there is no opportunity for toughness to develop if someone has never coped with stress; likewise, physical overexertion can be harmful, and too much stress disrupts toughening,” he says.

It turns out that old saying, "What doesn't kill you, makes your stronger", is actually true.

So take heart.

When you're in the middle of a difficult situation, remember that your body and your mind are changing, becoming more resilient in an effort to protect you and make you even stronger for the future.

That's a pretty good silver lining, if you ask me.

Look on the Bright Side

Click here if you'd like to read more about this study.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Man's Best Friend

We've all heard of service dogs.

But there's a lot of news going around lately about using therapy dogs for children with autism.

My local news ran a segment on the Austin Dog Alliance last night that was really interesting.  Click here to watch it.

While I am certainly not ready to take on the challenge of raising a dog alongside Lily, I'd be interested in going to classes like the one in the video.  I'd also love to set up a few times for the dogs to come visit at Lily's school.

Some questions for you:

Do any of you attend classes like these?
Do you have a specially trained therapy dog?

If so, please share your experience with me!  I'd love to hear more about it.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah Zip-a-Dee-Ay

My, oh my, what a wonderful day!
Plenty of sunshine, headin' my way,
Today is going to be a good day.

Want to know how I know that?

Because today is the second Thursday of the month.

And on the second Thursday of every month, my Moms of Special Needs Kids group (MOSK) meets.

Since I was invited to join this group by a sweet friend almost a year ago now, I have not missed but one meeting.  And that's only because we were in California for our very first appointment with Dr. Goldberg.

There is just something so incredibly amazing about spending a couple of hours with a group of people who just "get it".  People who know where you're coming from.  People who aren't shocked when you share your deepest, darkest worries and fears.  People who celebrate all the little (and not so little!) victories with you that so many others take for granted.

These ladies are my people.  My tribe.  My friends.  My heroes.

And when I spend time with these lovely women, my soul is soothed. 

I am one very blessed lady.  

I'm so fortunate to be surrounded by such a supportive community of friends.  Some I see in my "real life".  And some, I see through a computer screen.  Some, I can reach out and hug their kiddos.  And others, I see their precious children through pictures.

For those who I see often and for those who I may never meet, I'm so grateful to know that you are here, sharing this journey with me.


Today is a good day.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Guatemala Love

Twenty churches in the city of Austin have come together and adopted a village in Guatemala. 

Together we have built a water well, complete with pipes to carry it all over the village, a feeding center, (and the means to feed the whole village twice a week) greenhouses, houses, and we are currently adding a nice big addition onto the existing school.  

Ryan and the big girls spent last week there, along with about 10 other pastors, checking on all our newfound friends.  

Thought you might enjoy a peek at Pueblo Modelo.

This is my Reagan on the left, along with one of the pastors.

Reagan, teaching some ladies how to knit so they can earn their own income.

This is Ryley and our precious Ellie, a baby I met and fell in love with on my first trip.

Look at these precious faces!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Birdie Boot Camp - Session Two: Water Play

Lily has always LOVED playing with water in any way, shape, or form.  I'm pretty sure not many words are needed for you to grasp the fun you're about to see.  

"Hey Mom - check me out scooping up these colored ice cubes!"

"Hey - these ice cubes are pretty yummy."

"I can use that cool red cup, too?"

"Sink water is so tasty!"

"Good to the last drop."

"Forget the cup.  I'm going straight to the source!"

"I'm a pretty silly kid, aren't I?"

"OK.  That's it.  No more fooling around.  Off with the shirt.  I'm going in!"

"Now what exactly is this?"

"I hereby proclaim every day is water day!"

Monday, February 6, 2012

Birdie Boot Camp - Guidelines & Session One

If you've been following along in our little "learning to play" saga, you know that this weekend marked the official start of Birdie Boot Camp.

Just so we're all on the same page, I wanted to share a couple of decisions Ryan and I have made in the last couple of days.

First, Birdie Boot Camp will take place on Saturdays.  And that's it.  During the week, Lily's been in school all day and no one really feels like doing much of anything around here in the evenings.  Besides, between getting everyone fed, showered, ready for bed, and then getting organized for the next day, there's not much time for anything else.

Secondly, what we will be working on during the week, along with Birdie Boot Camp, is some "life skills".  We're going to start with having Lily bring her plate and cup to the sink after mealtimes, as well as put her napkin in the trash can. I think if we begin with a few small things, I'll see quicker progress.  Once that has become fairly routine, then we'll add another skill to the mix.

And lastly, we will still be using the iPad, just on a more limited basis.  That lovely little device gives all of us moments of respite throughout the day.  

And now, without further ado, I give you Session One - Painting with Yogurt.  You might notice in the first picture that we started off using some Q-tips to spread the "paint" around.  Those were quickly set aside in favor of using fingers.

Here's Lily checking in with Dad to make sure he's watching her work so hard.

It didn't take the Bird too long to discover this was some pretty tasty "paint".

And since every artist must sign their work, Lily personalized hers with a lick.

The finished product.

Next up on the agenda:  a nice, long walk on Town Lake.  This is one of our whole family's favorite Saturday activities so Lily was more than happy to participate in this portion of Boot Camp. 

Next up, we just fooled around with dominoes, little spinning tops, and some one inch colored cubes left over from my teaching days.

All in all, I would say that it was a good start for us.  Lily was sometimes happy to participate and sometimes took part very grudgingly.  It helped that we were sitting there painting and stacking alongside her.

She did wonderfully well at bringing her plate and cup to the sink and throwing away her napkin.  Of course, there was much cheering and hoopla when she did so I'm kind of surprised that she didn't attempt to throw away every single piece of trash she could find.

Don't you think she looks pretty doggone proud of herself? 

It may be a long road, this learning to play, but with a smile like that, it's worth every minute!

Be sure to check in tomorrow because we did one more activity that was the clear favorite and I've got some pictures you don't want to miss!

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