Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Weekend of Memories

This Memorial Day weekend we went to my hometown. It was a chance for Haley and her Dad and Big Sis and the rest of my family to meet my sister's new baby.

We picked Haley up from school a little early because we had a long drive ahead of us. Haley and her class had spent the day at the bowling alley and we picked her up shortly after they arrived back at school.

Haley enjoyed the drive. She saw lots of trains along the way. She also saw horses, cows, sheep and goats out the window of the Yukon. We got in late and went right to our hotel, the one that starts with an H.

The next day we went to my Aunt and Uncle's for breakfast. There were lots of people there already eating when we arrived. Haley made herself comfortable at a card table with her second cousins and I got her some food. They started talking to her right away, she didn't get a chance to be shy.

My sister noticed that there were horses in the field behind the house so we had to go out and see them. Haley enjoyed watching them and got to feed one of them.

Another branch of our family were spending the weekend at their cabin so we got into the Yukon and drove for a couple of hours to see them. We spent some time visiting and then had lunch with them. Haley sat on the porch and watched the bigger kids playing horseshoes. She wanted to join them, but I asked her to stay on the porch and she did.

She sat at a table and set her horses up and then proceeded to knock on the window and see who would answer her. She really enjoyed that game.

We got to ride four-wheelers after lunch. I thought Haley would like it because she likes Grandpa's tractor so much. She got to ride on the lead four-wheeler, behind my Cousin. The four-wheelers went much faster than Grandpa's tractor and the terrain was much bumpier. We went through a few patches of snow and some of us got stuck. It was quite an adventure. We stopped at a wide spot and asked Haley if she was having fun. She said she was, but when we asked her if she wanted to keep going she shook her head "No."

When we got back to the cabin and her Dad asked her about the ride, she said "Fun!"

On Sunday morning we went swimming at the hotel pool. I enjoyed holding the baby and watching everyone else swim. Afterward we went back to my Aunt and Uncle's for lunch. There were many more people there on Sunday then there were on Saturday. Haley found a place to sit and hold her purse and take it all in.

Whenever my husband or I or her Big Sis held the baby Haley was right there. She was reluctant to touch her at first, but she did gently touch her head a couple of times. She was very interested in her.

Haley wanted to go out and see the horses again, we went out and there were five calves in the field. Soon there were two horses and two riders. Haley got to watch some calf roping. She really enjoyed it, she clapped every time whether the calf was roped or not.

After some of my family left, Haley's Second Cousins invited her to play with them. They played side by side for a while and then they started playing with a Nintendo DS. Haley seemed to get along with them really well.

It was really nice to get everyone together. I hope we can do it again, soon.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What She Said

I got a phone call from Haley's school today.

They said that she wasn't herself.  She was slow to respond when they asked her questions and she was pointing to her head.  After lunch she wanted to lie down rather than go out to play.

I told the nurse that I would come and pick her up.  The description didn't sound that far off from normal to me, but if it seemed odd to them I thought I had better see what was going on.

When I got to the school she was waiting in the lobby with her aide. She stood up and walked straight to me.  Her first word was "Better." She didn't look unusual to me, but I took her home and told her to rest.  I asked her if her head hurt and she pointed to it.  I asked her if she wanted some medicine for it and she said "Yeah."  After she took a pain reliever I told her to take it easy and I made myself some lunch.

She wanted to eat too.

I got her about three separate snacks over a twenty minute period and then I told her that she was done for awhile.

She went upstairs to play.

A little while later she came down and showed me the horse she had in her hand.  As she walked past me I noticed something...

"Whoa, Haley.  Do you need your pants changed?

"Yeah," she said.

"Is that why you wanted to come home?


I actually think I believe her.

H is for Haley

One of Haley's IEP goals in school has been that she recognize her written name.  At first they wanted her to recognize it in uppercase block letters, then came the lower case letters.  Eventually she learned to write her name as well.

She recognizes her name very well now.

She recognizes the letter "H" very well too.  She recognizes it as her name.

When we get a package from FedEx it usually has an "H" on it.  I assume that it means it is a home delivery as opposed to a business delivery.  I don't really know why.  As far as Haley is concerned it means that the package is for her because it has an "H" on it and "H" stands for Haley.

She recognizes the "H" in other places as well.  She likes the new Holiday Inn logo.  It is just a big "HHoliday Inn" and to her it means Haley.

Today is my birthday.  My husband left a card on the kitchen table for me to find.  I opened it and Haley came over to look at it with me.  She pointed at a word on the card that started with an "H."  

"Haley," she said.  

"Actually it says 'Happy Birthday,'" I said.

I explained to her that there are other words in the English language that start with an "H" besides Haley.  I told her that happy was one of them.  

"Happy Haley." I said.

She marched around the house saying "Happy Haley, Happy Haley" for a few minutes.

Later when her Dad came downstairs we were standing in the kitchen talking and she brought the card over to show us.  I was excited, I thought that she would show off her new word to her Dad.  She pointed to the word Happy and said "Haley."

Her Dad said, "She thinks any word that starts with an H is Haley."

"Yes, I know..."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Happy Birthday to You!

Haley's Big Sis had a birthday.

I had been out of town so I hadn't done any shopping.

I know, LAME! 

Anyway...the night before her birthday she said "If you got me a YouCurl for my birthday could you just leave it on my bathroom counter in the morning so that I can use it before school."


Haley and I were about to head out to her Confirmation class so I just smiled at my daughter and left.  I thought that the YouCurl (that I hadn't bought) could be from Haley.  So after Haley and I went to her class and my choir practice at church we stopped at Target.

Haley likes Target.

She likes to shop at the $1 section at the front of the store.  She also likes the girl clothing section.  She was not happy with me when we quickly passed by them both.  I told her that we were there to get her sister a birthday present.  That got her going.  "Birthday.  Birthday.  Birthday," she said.  I explained to her that it was her sister's birthday and that we were getting her a gift that Haley could give her.  She just said "Shopping," in a very annoyed voice.

After we made our purchase we got back in the car and then she really had a fit.  Great big tears were rolling down her cheeks.

"Haley, tomorrow is your sister's birthday.  You can give her this present tonight.  Do you want to go home and put a bow on it?"

She seemed to perk up a bit.

"Do you want to put a bow on it?


"What color bow do you want to put on it?"


"OK, when we get home we will put a red bow on the box and you can give it to sister, do you want to do that?


So when we got home I got out the gift wrapping supplies and Haley picked out a nice red bow, she also noticed a tag in the box with her sister's name on it.  I thought that it was appropriate so I taped both onto the box.  I handed the box to Haley and told her to give it to her sister and say "Happy Birthday!"

I gently nudged her in to the living room where her sister was watching TV.  Haley just stood there.

"Haley, give sister the box and say 'Happy Birthday.'" I whispered into her ear.

Haley took two steps into the room and threw the box at her sister (who had been watching TV and not even paying attention to us) the box landed with a thud on her stomach and she jumped.

"Haley, say Happy Birthday."  I said.

Haley turned and walked out of the room.

How does the saying go...it is the thought that counts?  Hmmmm...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

National Train Day 2011

Saturday was National Train Day for 2011. NTD is an event organized by Amtrak to get people out and see what they have to offer. In Portland Amtrak assembled a nice array of their Superliners and Talgos. Of course they had some wonderful historic equipment most importantly including Haley's favorite, the Daylight.

This year Haley's Mom was unable to attend because of another appointment. That meant Haley and I could have a daddy/daughter adventure! Instead of surprising her like we did last year I explained the plan to her first thing in the morning. I told her we'd ride Max to Portland Union Station and we would see her Daylight, BNSF, a caboose and some other railroad equipment. I think having her understand the complete plan worked well. She was right in step with me through every part of the day.

At the station Haley and I walked around and looked at everything. Last year Haley was very nervous around the Daylight. I think it was because they were constantly blowing the whistle and startling her. This year they chose to blow the whistle at the top and bottom of every hour. This was perfect! I could easily warn Haley and get her prepared. The result was this year she was much calmer around the Daylight. I imagine many of the other kids were happier too.

I think her favorite thing was a BNSF locomotive. We spent quite a bit of time wandering around it, touching, and listening to its noises. In fact I ended up capturing the image in this post at the rear steps. Haley really likes the photo too. She stood by me the whole time I was editing it talking about her day.

Today she's still basking in the fun she had. She still reviews all the things she picked up yesterday and has been watching the video she bought pretty much non-stop.

National Train Day is good!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Trains Magazine

Haley's Dad here again. As a railfan I'm a subscriber to a couple of different railroad magazines. Haley really likes these because they are littered with pictures of trains. She opens each one and makes a first pass looking for the Daylight. If there is an image of the Daylight in the magazine, no matter how small or stylized, she will find it. She has a passion for that locomotive.

Her next pass is to identify other locomotives and which railroad they belong to. For the most part she can pick out locomotives from BNSF, UP, Amtrak, Sante Fe, BN, CN, and CP with little help. Some times prior paint schemes from these railroads confuse her a little. This is where Haley's Mom and I come in. We have to identify the railroad for her on any images where she doesn't recognize the paint job. This is OK, but after reviewing the same magazine with her dozens of times it gets kinda old.

Thursday the latest issue of Trains arrived in the mailbox. When I hopped into the car with it Haley had already noticed that I was carrying a new magazine. She asked to see it in her own gibberish. I handed it to her. That was a big mistake.

She has essentially claimed the new issue as hers. During the day it sits on our bar table so she can refer to it at any time. Every meal it sits between us and we have to flip pages while I identify railroads (and there are an abundance of unusual railroads this month!). At night it goes to her magazine cache in her room where it rests until she gets up. Needless to say I've had little opportunity to read it myself.

Why is this issue so compelling for her? The best I can figure is she loves the full page vertical image of SP4458, a sister Daylight locomotive to the SP 4449, pulling a freight train. Of course she doesn't know it is not the locomotive down in Portland, it's a Daylight locomotive and that is all that matters!

I'm very happy she has a passion for something. I want to read my magazine though.


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