Sunday, February 24, 2013

Cutie Patootie

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We are noticing more and more how Whitney loves information to be absolute.  Abstract thinking just confuses her.  At church, the children were asked, “what does Jesus do for you to show you that he loves you?”  One child said that he gave her a family.  Another said that he gave him a home.  Whitney signed, “Jesus died”, then sat down.  Yep, she knows the facts, but can’t understand the meaning behind things. 

On the same lines, schedules have become a very important part of her life.  They help her to organize her complex day into facts and calm her anxiety about each day.  She has learned that anything on the calendar is absolute truth.  If it is there, it usually happens. I walked by the fridge with our Martha Stuart calendar and saw that Whitney added something.  “Dannie come over” spelled correctly and everything.   Ha ha, my smart girl wanted her friend to come over.   If it’s on the calendar, it must be true.

Friends are so important.  Whitney wants friends desperately.  After a fun cheerleading practice with coaches giving her piggyback rides, and lifting her up into different fun cheerleading poses, she always says that her favorite part of cheerleading is her friends Lucy and Ally.  I’m so grateful for this cheerleading program.  It is a place where Whitney can be her self and feel a sense of friendship each week.  This photo of her and her friend Ally won the “Cutie patooies” award in the January issue of the North Gilbert Breeze newspaper.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Still making us laugh



This past week has been quite eventful.  My mother, Whitney’s grandmother, past away.  She has battled Parkinson’s for 40 plus years.  I am always interested in Whitney’s response to all of life’s changes.  Last night at the viewing, she stood looking at grandma for a few seconds before she realized it was her.  Then she excitedly signed “Grandma”.  Then she touched her face and signed, “cold”.  All of a sudden I see Whitney play “got your nose” with Grandma.  I mean, who does this?  Only Whitney.  When the casket was closed, Whitney had a look of concern and signed, “what is happening with Grandma”?  I couldn’t imagine what she thought about her grandma being put in a box with the lid closed.  I tried to explain that her body has died, but her spirit lives with Jesus.  She finished my sentence, “and with Gabby”.  I think she understands as well as a 9 year old can.

  Last week Whitney had her first Cheer competition.  She did great!  However, before the event, Whitney’s dad told her to do her “rocker hands”.  During the competition, when she was lifted into the air in a split, she whips out her best rocker hands and facial expression.  I was so busy taking pictures that I didn’t notice.  When I got home and pulled up the pics on the computer…there is was.  I couldn’t believe it.  Here’s the picture, I’m sure it will make you smile.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

THE CHAMPIONS

Yesterday Whitney performed with the CHAMPIONS, a cheerleading group for children with special needs.  Nine years ago, I would have never thought that this was possible.  After the performance, I couldn't help but stand up, cheer and cry.  This was only a parent show, but I was so proud of her.  Next week will be the first competition in her full uniform.  I was so amazed that she made it through 2 1/2 hours of waiting, practicing and performing in a room with over 500 people and loud music.  With her sensory issues, this was not easy, but she did great.  She has come so far!  Here is our favorite video clip.  Hope it makes you all smile.

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Friday, October 19, 2012

It's All About The Outfit




With Whitney, it’s all about the outfit.  When she started her cheer leading class, she insisted on wearing her only cheer outfit, an Arizona Cardinal’s cheer leader dress that was 2 sizes too small.  There was no talking her out of it.  Then today, we went to Schnepf farm.  She asked me for some farm clothes.  I told her that we don’t have any farm clothes.  How about some jeans?  After I got her dressed, I went to get ready to go.  I come back in and she has black winter boots, a pink bandana around her neck with a straw hat that she found in her costume box.  With Austin, my first born, I would have never let him leave the house with a costume on, but now, I guess I’m too old and tired to fight Whitney on this.  She has become an independent girl who knows what she wants to wear.  Even though her outfits sometimes make me cringe, she still makes me smile.




Friday, October 5, 2012




Whitney may be the most creative person I have ever met.  

 Her dad was watching golf on T.V. last week.  She found a small plastic golf club to play with.  She tried a few puts, but then, she turned her club into a hockey stick.  After that it was a back scratch-er, horse, gun and a pogo stick.  Later I was peeling carrots in the Kitchen.  She walked in, picked up two peelings and held them up to her ears like earrings.  She is always creating something. 

She also collects blues clues and Magenta dogs.  (Magenta is a character on the TV. show Blue’s Clues)  Austin, (Whitney’s 17 year old brother) sat next to Whitney and pointed out that she had 6 Magenta’s.  Whitney corrected him and said, “7”.  Austin said, “No look, 1,2 3, 4, 5, 6”.  Whitney put her hands up like paws, and stuck her tongue out like a dog and signed “7”.

 Photo

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

 Home from the Hospital!

We came home from Phoenix Children's hospital today after Whitney had a Melody Valve placed in her pulmonary valve.  Hospital stays are never fun, however, Whitney's personality continued to make people smile.  Whitney taught every nurse that worked with her a little sign language.  The wonderful hospital team brought her a countless number of dog toys, as well as dolls, movies and an iPad to play with.  She would actually sign, "I like the hospital, the hospital is fun".  Eventually her blood pressure would have to be taken, or blood would have to be drawn and she would sign, "I don't like the hospital.  I hurt, and I want to go home".  She signed several times, "I want to go home and jump on the trampoline with Nick".  She still can't walk because her leg is so sore, but she was thinking about jumping on the trampoline.  The most difficult part of our stay for me was when she signed, "Where was Gabby when she died?  (She knew the answer was "in the hospital")  She continued, "am I going to die?"  Then she signed, "I'm scared because Gabby died at Hospital.  Whitney's at hospital"  My heart ached with concern for her fears.  I also was amazed that she could communicate all of this to me.  I explained to Whitney that she was not going to die and was going home to be with her family, but she had a look of distrust in her eye.  I knew she wouldn't believe my words until she actually got to go home.  When we finally arrived home tonight, as expected, she was so happy.  She asked me what my favorite part of the hospital was.  After I answered, she signed, "My favorite (was the) two hospital dogs".  My heart is filled with gratitude for all of her wonderful Doctors,  nurses and especially Raulie and Tiger.  This picture was the smile that Raulie brought right after she had been so upset.  Love those dogs!


Saturday, September 22, 2012



Saturday is a Special Day

Today one of Whitney's previous classroom aids came to watch Whitney at cheer practice.  Before I put Whitney to bed she signed, "Whitney is happy when she sees Mary.  What made Mom happy when she was a little kid?"  Thanks Mary, for making Whitney happy today.  

Later,  I took a 20 minute nap while Jeff watched Whitney.  Amazing what a girl can do in 20 minutes.  She had colored blue feet on about 100 3x5 cards, and strategically placed them throughout our hallway.  She even taped one on my bedroom door.  I asked her what all of that was and she said that it was Blues clues walking.  Whitney used to cry whenever we would work on handwriting or even coloring as she has difficulty with her fine motor skills.  I think I will leave them out all weekend. They make me smile.