Monday, October 17, 2016

Our Latest Adventures

I'd love to say we've been insanely busy and that's why I haven't blogged in forever, but that would be a lie.  I finished school mid-July.  Michael worked all summer long with no time off.  Mila's been happy and healthy.  When Mila is happy and thriving the furthest thing from my mind is this blog.  However, I should share and celebrate even during the euphoric seasons in our lives.  I got distracted with life.  It happens.

Y'all, the beauty of Colorado is insane.  Everywhere you turn, the views are incredible.  The picture above is basically in our backyard.  Do yourself a favor and visit this place.  You won't regret it.

One of our adventures was a late summer trip to Washington to visit my family.  It was relaxing and enjoyable.  We hiked, celebrated my brother's birthday, visited Seattle, ate tons of food, watched cousins play, and shared lots of stories and love.  I didn't take too many pictures.  Lets be honest...when you're so focused on snapping pics, you miss out on all the small moments.

Shortly after Washington, we ventured to Crested Butte, here in Colorado.  As Mila gets older, I convince myself that she will do fine on overnight trips.  Despite the 1,473 things I have to pack for her, no matter what-she'll sleep and eat the same way she does at home.  No matter where we go or the nice amenities we have access to, girlfriend prefers to be at her happy place.  Her happy place is our home, with her toys, laying around when she feels like it, free reign of snacks, and her dark, cold, noise fanned bedroom.  We try to recreate as much of her "normal" as we can, but traveling with any kid can be tough.  She typically is a great traveler, but after a few days the change in environment becomes obvious.  Her eating and sleeping becomes grim, she doesn't want to walk much, and she becomes a mute.  Even for a non-verbal kid, a complete mute is a big change.  We stayed in a cottage called the "love shack."  A tiny gingerbread-type house with everything we needed-including its yard sitting adjacent to the yummiest coffee shop.  Michael has learned when I travel, I need easy access to good food and coffee.  As long as he has wi-fi, we're golden.  All the restaurants and coffee shops were locally produced- which meant you wouldn't get these goodies anywhere else in CO. We hiked, biked, and took a few scenic drives. Crested Butte became my new favorite mountain town!

We decided to take family pictures this year.  We hadn't take any professional pics since Mila turned a year old.  It was definitely time and these were extra special for many reasons.  The most important being Mila is walking on her own!  I wasn't sure how she would do since we would be walking off trail to capture moments, but she did so good. Her first solo pic was sweeter than I could've imagined.  I'll treasure these pictures forever!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Mila James Turns Four

Four super fast, wild, crazy, unpredictable, adventurous, and joyous years.  Mila is 43 inches tall and 43 pounds.  Definitely our gentle giant.  The past several months have been filled with lots of walking, exploring, and maturing.

She finished her first year of preschool strong!  I got to review her IEP (individualized education plan) with her teacher and therapists at the end of the year.  Although Mila is still functioning below her age, she has made some incredible improvements.  She's accessing her environment independently and socializing with others in class.  She will stay in small groups and initiate play with her teacher.  She stays actively engaged during story time and will dance and move during music time (big surprise).  She will participate in non-prefered play for short periods of time, but wants to immediately follow with preferred activities such as rolling a musical ball.  She started to show interest in holding a paint brush and crayons-actually making appropriate marks on her paper.  She makes smooth transitions between centers in the classroom, leaving the room with the teacher to walk the halls, and washing her hands after diaper changing. She requires hand over hand with certain activities such as cleaning up after centers, snack, and washing hands after diaper changes.  She will walk for several minutes around the school on her own! She still requires assistance when climbing stairs and refuses to go down them.  She is beginning to navigate all areas of the playground.  Mila will be noticeably hesitant if she is uncomfortable in any situation.  She will sit and wait for assistance when she feels unstable on certain surfaces.  The sweetest ending to her school year was receiving a laminated book of Mila's memorable moments. Mila has made great strides within the last six months.