Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Coffeys' Visit 2016

We said goodbye to the last of our summer visitors last Friday. My sister Annette and her family visited from New York last week, and it was great to see them. It's always great to see the kids, because they grow and change so much in a year.

All of Annette's kids loved meeting their new cousin, Christian! Chandra came over several days while Annette was here, and her kids were so excited each time knowing they would get to play with Christian again. Even Kimball was excited to play with him, which kind of surprised me, but it made me happy seeing him sweetly play with Christian. Chandra is going to be going to New York in October when Annette has her new baby, because she doesn't have anyone to help her. My mom would love to go and help, but she can't leave me, and NY is just too far away for me to travel to. Annette was desperate for some help, so Chandra, knowing that she is in the best position of all of the sisters to pick up and go, volunteered to go to NY and stay with the kids when Annette has her C-section. The kids are SO excited that Chandra (and especially Christian) will be coming to stay with them.

I wanted to take some pictures with Annette's entire family when they were here, but we never got around to it. The day before Annette's family left, Chandra took some pictures of Annette's kids with Christian. None of them turned out very well, because it's difficult to get all three little ones looking and smiling at the same time. The first picture is probably the best of the five kids, even though it isn't that great.
Here are a few pictures of the little ones. Christian is almost a year younger than Annika and Lincoln, although he outweighs them by several pounds. It was impossible to get a good picture of all three of these guys.
They sure had fun playing together, though, and it was cute to watch them interact. I think the twins liked having a playmate that was more their size.
Kimball and Rebecah went on several adventures with their dadElephant Rocks State Park, Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park, a Cardinals baseball game, and a trip to a water park. It was awfully hot, so Annette stayed home with the twins who weren't feeling so well on those days. 

Here are some pictures of Kimball and Rebecah playing a game. I watched them out my front window. 
These sneaky little ones got into the pantry and helped themselves to a box of animal crackers. Finally, a cute picture of the sisters, Rebecah and Annika.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Christian: 11 Months Old

Christian turned 11 months old last Sunday. He's in the final stretch of his first year! He is such a big boy, and a lot of fun to have around.

He likes to look at books:
He's always on the move, which means you have to follow him around with the camera in order to get a decent picture. It's like you're stalking your prey in the wild!
Chandra takes Christian on walks most days, which tires both of them out. Chan and her friend took their babies swimming one morning. Christian liked that, too.
Christian does this funny thing where he scrunches up his face, and he breathes in and out (rather noisily) through his nose. I have no clue why he does this, but it always makes me laugh.
Just a few more weeks until his first birthday!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

"Carly's Voice"

SYNOPSIS: At the age of two, Carly Fleischmann was diagnosed with severe autism and an oral motor condition that prevented her from speaking. Doctors predicted that she would never intellectually develop beyond the abilities of a small child. Although she made some progress after years of intensive behavioral and communication therapy, Carly remained largely unreachable. Then, at the age of ten, she had a breakthrough. 

While working with her devoted therapists Howie and Barb, Carly reached over to their laptop and typed in “HELP TEETH HURT,” much to everyone’s astonishment.

This was the beginning of Carly’s journey toward self-realization. Although Carly still struggles with all the symptoms of autism, which she describes with uncanny accuracy and detail, she now has regular, witty, and profound conversations on the computer with her family, her therapists, and the many thousands of people who follow her via her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

This book gave me a real, eye-opening picture into the world of autism. What a complicated disorder! I think it's interesting that of the twin girls in the book, Carly and Taryn, one of them had autism and the other did not. That would be tough for the girls, especially for Carly having to see all the things she wasn't able to do or participate in that Taryn could.

I was so glad when Carly, who is nonverbal, was finally able to develop her "voice" through a computer (and later iPad). Technology is amazing! I must say, though, that communicating for Carly isn't as easy as it would be for a normal person without Carly's issues. It's a painstakingly slow process for her and takes a lot of focus and concentration as she tries to refrain from all of the flapping, flailing and hand slapping that she feels compelled to do because of her autism, sensory issues, anxiety, and OCD.

Below is a picture of Carly and her father, Arthur. He wrote the majority of the book, and Carly wrote the last chapter and answered some FAQs.
Carly and her long-time therapist, Howard:
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