The Harnisch Family

The Harnisch Family

Jan 27, 2011

Snow, Sledding & Betty the Butterfly!

Today, the the girls and I played outside for a bit with Lauren & Dylan.  We were having a great time and I certainly would have loved to have snapped some shots with my big camera, however, Joe decided to take it with him on his work trip.  Sweet!  :-(

Oh well, have no fear, the trusty iPhone was near!!   :-)
 Macy was very much enjoying the fresh, crisp air  :-)
 Lauren & Dylan shared their little blue sled with Macy.   Awww!


 what a sweet Big Sister!  :-)
 Dylan's turn to "give Macy a ride"...weeee
and no worries, they were moving at a snail's pace!  :-)
 Lauren yelling "I'm on TOP of the World!!!"
Check out Little Miss Macy chillin' in the background.
 Macy taking a little rest under the big pine tree...oops, "she's fallen and can't get back up"
I did eventually assist her back into the upright sitting position, but not before, however, snapping a couple cute photos.  How could I resist??  tehe.

Below is a short video of us sledding down the neighbors awesome hill!
video
and another...
video

****
Oh and speaking of videos...I have a couple more I thought I'd share also!
Below is a clip of Macy rockin' out with Betty the Butterfly.  A B-Day gift from the Mallory's...do you think she likes it?  I can't tell  :-)
What a HAM!!!
video

A little more "Betty the Butterfly" action.
video


One more.  I can't help it.  This video below just CRACKS ME UP!  Since McKenzie turned 3, temper-tantrums and pitty-parties are a daily occurrence.  Below you will witness how Macy is affected, or I guess you could say "unaffected" by her big sister's whiny-ways.  tehe!!
Can't we all have this ability to simply ignore the craziness going on around us  :-)  
video
 
Kill 'em with Kindness right Macy!?!?  :-)
That is all...good night my friends!

p.s. -  hope these videos put a little smile on daddy's face, as he's currently out of town on business!

Pajama Day & new bible study

(this post is a day delayed due to typical distractions that come along with having kids)
McKenzie is not usually a picky dresser.  She will generally wear whatever I decide to "put on her".  Well, this was not the case today.  For, you see, Today was "PAJAMA DAY" at pre-school.  For some reason she decided to go all DIVA on me.  "No Mom, not that!!!"..."I can't wear those to school"..."I want to wear my priness pj's".  "Okay, Whatever!" I responded.  Unfortunately, the top to her princess jammies were in the washing machine, so after some fierce negotiations, she finally settled for the "Puppy Dog with hearts" jammies.  phew.
I thought pajama day was supposed to be easy!  :-(
When we arrived at school, she thought it was pretty cool that all her friends were wearing PJ's and even more cool that her teachers had dressed in their jammies too!
Macy was in the "jammie" spirit as well and stayed in her comfy-cozies as she was going to play in the nursery for a couple hours.
My sister and I started a new bible study today & as you can imagine the free child care which is provided, is certainly a benefit.
The 2&1/2 hours of McKenzie's pre-school time used to be "productively" spent either at Macy's private OT/PT/Speech sessions, at the grocery store, working out, or running other errands of which I'd rather not have my ancy 3 yr old tagging along.
I decided it would be just as productive to join this bible study group and really take some time to focus on ME and strengthen my relationship.with and understanding.of God.  Not just know and understand his word...but make every effort to "live" it.
To "fill my bucket" if you will!
Through this in-depth 11 week study of David, without going into too much unnecessary detail, my main goal is to dig a little deeper, gain a richer connection and at least come away with a few "take-aways".

Here are a few bullet-point-styled take-aways from yesterday's lesson (these are mine, I am not sure what the other gals "took" from our time together, but this is what stuck out and resonated with me):
1)  There is a difference between "appeasing" God and "pleasing" God.  On a personal note, my mind reflects on my style of parenting.  I think all-to-often, I try to perhaps "appease" my girls too much.  Maybe just do what they want to get through a specific situation, rather than put forth the full amount of effort/energy to just do something the "right/appropriate way".  Take the short cut...good "short-term", not.so.good "long-term" fix.  hmmmmm.  Sound familiar to anyone else?  Thought so, we are human after-all!  I don't think I'm alone here...I will try my best at "pleasing" them each day, rather than simply "appeasing" them.  Easier said than done, I KNOW!  :-)  But hey, it's something to think about.

2) A good leader doesn't just lead...he LOVES.  Again, I applied this theory back to my "mommy-style" afterall, this class is about what you make it and choose to get out of it.  I need to fill my mommy/wife bucket!...a good mom doesn't just "parent", she LOVES!

3)  Throughout the course of this bible study, the end goal is "SEEKING A HEART LIKE HIS".  If  you try to take on a job/task that is BIGGER than your heart, that alone will crush you every time.  When confronted with said job/task, it doesn't matter what condition your heart is in, it doesn't have to be "good"...it may be crushed, broken, bruised, calloused, on-fire, doesn't matter.  JUST BRING THE WHOLE THING!!!!  Again, breaking this down internally and thinking about myself and my situation, I can't help but think about the condition that my heart was in when Macy was born.  That first moment I held her in my arms my heart was about as PERFECT and as "on top of the world" as any heart could be...amazing how fragile and vulnerable our hearts are...crazy to think that in a matter of seconds mine went from perfect to broken, crushed & shattered upon hearing those two words that forever changed my world.  Down & Syndrome.  My heart is in a MUCH better place today.  In fact, it was quite resilient and bounced back to "good" status rather quickly.  It is still slightly bruised and a little bit calloused (who knows, it just might always be, we'll see), but all-in-all good.  Not perfect, but good.  In any case, it is what it is...and  
I make this promise to my girls...I make this promise to my husband...I make this promise to MYSELF.  I, today, tomorrow and EVERY day thereafter promise to bring my WHOLE heart into everything that I do as it pertains to the well-being of my family.

Thank you friends for listening to my rambling.  I've been carrying these thoughts with me all day and now that I have gotten them off my chest and "down on paper", I must say I feel better.  I am not a big believer in "New Year's Resolutions"....but since I have this statement written down and "published" here, I am going to try and genuinely live by this motto (this year at least)  :-)  Here's to putting a little more "HEART" and "PASSION" into everyday life.  Bringing my WHOLE Heart into every scenario.

Jan 25, 2011

IFSP & other stuff

We spent most of Saturday out at the Lake.  Thanks for a relaxing day & yummy dinner Mom & Dad.  While it was super fun to be out there during the snow storm (it's so pretty & calm out there this time of year), it was not super fun, however, to drive home during the snow storm!  But we made it.  We arose to 8 new inches of snow the next morning.  NICE!


After a nice relaxing weekend full of "productive nothingness", ...The girls and I had a fun "out.and.about" Monday.  pre-school, "Y", lunch date with Grandpa, Aunt Lisa, Brook & Ally, 4 hours at the Library and Volleyball.
Dad made me take this pic (with my phone) ...little sis trying on big Sis' snow boots!!  looks good Macy!  They're only about 10 sizes too big  :-)  By the time my phone snapped the pic, Kenzie had already pulled off her right boot.  :-(   tehe
Welp.  I had the kiddos all bundled up and ready to head out to the "Y" this morning...when I couldn't help but feel that Macy was burning up. Yup.  Fever's back.  She had a fever for a couple days last week, then it went away.  It's back  :-(  Hopefully it makes a quick and peaceful surrender like last time.

*******
IFSP
Last Friday, we had a meeting with Macy's Early Intervention Team.  All eight of us (minus a few) circled around Macy on the living room floor.  Binders and pens in hand.  It was time for her 1 Year IFSP.  A year ago, these initials would have meant nothing to me.  Now I know that IFSP stands for "Individualized Family Service Plan".  This is essentially a written document illustrating and detailing the goals set (by us) for Macy.  Her progress is noted regularly at her weekly "at-home" therapy visits and is "documented" semi-annually at these IFSP meetings.  It's nice to have each specific goal / milestone spelled out.  It simply serves as a visual reminder of what we are working towards.  It's comforting to reference it as it makes the entire process a little less overwhelming.  This document serves as a reminder that we are to take everything ONE STEP AT A TIME.  It helps us keep focused and on track.
Each day we go along, we simply "be" and live our lives...Down Syndrome is rarely a blip on the radar.  She is JUST a super happy, healthy, sweet baby girl.  Just that!
But then there are things like this that arise.  Motions we go through with Macy, that we did not have to go through with McKenzie.  It's just another reminder, that Macy is special.  She needs and will always need special attention.  I think it is still difficult for me to FULLY grasp and accept that this will be a LIFE LONG journey. setting goals, achieving goals, celebrating goals reached, etc, etc...
But that is just okay.  Bring it on!
Six months ago we set several goals for our Little Miss Macy.  Our close knit team of therapists laid out (and implemented) a few simple strategies and techniques that would help her acheive these goals and reach certain "age appropriate" developmental milestones.
And DID SHE EVER!?!  I could not be more proud of my little peanut.  Just when I start to perhaps compare her to other little one's her age, and perhaps begin to get a little discouraged with what she's doing, or more specifically "not" doing, we have meetings like this.  Meetings where we discuss (and celebrate) everything she IS doing.  Official notations are made that suggest she is progressing well and RIGHT ON TRACK with the expectations set forth.

Here are a few of her highlights/accomplishments over the last 6 months in specific IFSP areas (as spelled out by Lucy, her Primary Service Provider):
Cognitive Thinking Skills - Macy knows what actions to do with familiar songs including peek-a-boo, patty-cake, sooo big, and row row row your boat.  She also knows when Mom is not around and seeks her out.  Macy is initiating games with adults. She is knocking down blocks after they are stacked.  Macy will imitate rolling a car back and forth on a table, and will use a string to pull objects toward her.

Communication Skills - Macy is making a wide variety of sounds and babbles frequently.  She is sounding out things such as dadada, mama, ah, ugh, baba, making raspberries and clicking her tongue.  She is making sounds to get attention such as a coughing sound, growling or grunting.  Macy reaches for the person she wants and seemingly responds to her name.  She makes good eye contact and is very facially expressive.  Macy has imitated making the sign for dog after it is done.  Starting to imitate tapping her mouth while vocalizing.

Social / Behavior Skills - Macy is very easy to make smile and is very interactive with others.  She has not a problem with a non-familiar person holding her, but she does watch (and not lose sight of) Mom when being held by others.  Macy is very engaging.


Self-Help / Adaptive Skills - Macy is now eating smooth foods as well as solids such as wafers and small puffs.  She participated in oral motor activities with feeding time, and uses much less tongue protrusion when eating.  Macy received liquids through nursing and is not using a bottle or sippy cup at this time.  Macy is able to finger feed small puffs independently.

Fine Motor Skills - Macy explored toys with both of her hands.  She is able to grasp objects of all sizes and is starting to release objects voluntarily.  She is able to transfer toys from one hand to another, bang two objects together and will shake or bang objects on a surface.  She is now able to site in a high chair without supports (just anti-slip material on seat).  Macy is able to pull objects out of a container.  She is able to grasp small puffs and bring them to her mouth.  She uses a raking grasp on thumb side with right hand and a raking grasp on the pinky side with left hand to grasp the puffs.  Macy seems to prefer her right hand for picking up small items and bringing them to her mouth.

Gross Motor Skills - Macy is now able to push up on both arms when on her tummy.  She is able to push up onto hands and knees and rock.  Macy is sitting without support while playing and reaching for toys.  She is starting to move into a side sitting position and lower herself to the floor.  She is using trunk rotation and knee bend to reach over to sides.  Macy is able to stand briefly at a surface while holding on.  She is doing some reciprocal movements with arms/legs in crawling position with support.  Macy is starting to take some steps with hands held.  Macy is able to sit independently on a rocking chair/horse and hold on while being rocked.

Above is a listing of several things she has acheived in the last six months.  THAT's A LOT!  Way to go Macy  :-)
In another post, another day, I will share with you some of the hefty goals we have set for the next 6 to 12 months.

To some, this IFSP stuff may be interpreted as a "technicality"or "boring", etc...but I think it's important.  I feel we owe it to Macy to pay special attention to every detail that is going to contribute to her living a happy, healthy and productive life.  This is one small thing that proves to us that she WILL do just that!!!!!
 ******
But for now, friends, I gotta go paint and play stamps with my artsy three year old - "right now pweeze"!   :-)

Jan 21, 2011

Waterloo Class of '98 - Repeat Reunion

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of meeting up with 87% of my graduating class of 1998.  Our class was small but mighty.  We celebrated our 10 year reunion a couple years ago...but felt the need to do a "redo" due to the fact that a few people were MIA.  My good friend Mike (and fellow Oak Street alum) is now back from Korea...he has been serving our country, in Seoul, for seven + years.  He has been making "redo reunion" arrangements for several months.
The festivities began at good old Farmer Brown's.  Mike was craving some Nebraska Beef, so what better place to go right?  Then it was party time at a local establishment.  I have kept in "regular" contact with only a few of my classmates, but most of us have lost touch over the years (except for FB, which doesn't really count).  I must say, that even though I have not seen or spoken to them in SEVERAL years (many since graduation), I truly feel we were able to pick right back up where we left off.  Most of us attended WHS from Kindergarten thru 12th grade.  We spent our most formative 13 years with each other - when we were most "impressionable".  Making an impact on each other's lives in some way, shape or form and making us all who we are today.  I am so very proud of where I came from and who I grew up with and I would NOT change anything for the world.  We had some wild & crazy times...some downs, but WAY more UPS!  

I did not take my camera in, so I must credit my classmates for these photos...thanks Jenny & Adria!
 Jenny, Me, Tina, Adria & LeAnn
Logan, Christian, Paul, Me, Tina, Jenny, Travis, Adria, Mike, LeAnn, Jacob, Brandon & Justin.  This is not all of us that were there, as some arrived later.
Jenny & Me
Hi Jenny!  :-)  Me & Kerri are having an intense convo in the background  :-)  
Mike, Me, Nick, & Adria - THE OAK STREET GANG!  Minus a few of course. We RULED Oak St.  haha 

It's safe to say Me, Mike & Brandon were the "winners of the reunion" this year, as we closed the bar down.  Didn't get home until 2:30am.  YIKES, contrary to what "Mr. Korea" has to say, that's LATE!!  
6 hours past my bedtime to be exact (you do the math - I'm a loser)  :-)
*****
I thought I'd share a few pics from our original 10 yr reunion as it took place P.B. (Pre-blog) Days.
Jenny, LeAnn, Tina, Adria & Me
We did it all together...Volleyball, Basketball, Track, Band, Choir. so on & so forth.  Not only that, we knew how to party back in the day too...but hey, we were all very good kids!
This was only a couple years ago, but my how much has changed in ALL of our lives.  I guess that's life huh?
Steve, Jacob, Jenny, Me, Brandon & Adria
I must make note that, Tina, Adria & Brandon were the "Winner's of that reunion" - outlasting everyone else!  congrats guys  :-)
I think I'm kinda missing my blond locks.  We'll see what Spring has to bring.
In case this photo is not blatantly obvious enough...we felt it was important to, of course, pose for a pic by our class "brick" on mainstreet.  ha!
What a fun time we had   :-)

I hope it is not another 10 years before we all meet up again.  I see another re-do reunion in our near future perhaps, when Andy finishes up with Med School.  He missed both of these!!!  Andy - you had best get to planning and coordinating the details!  When & where?

Jan 20, 2011

What a week!

(I am cuddling with my snugglie, feverish Little Miss Macy as I write this blog entry...poor baby girl isn't feeling well that last couple days  :-(   No fun!)
Between our regularly schedules activities of Volleyball, M.O.P.S, Bunco, Cook Club, Early Intervention, Doc Appt, Bounce U, Gymnastics, a couple playdates, Swim Party, 3 Birthday Parties, a class reunion, church and working out, we've be runnin' these last few days.  And when we are not runnin' we are bunkerin' down trying and to lay low.  It has been SOOOO cold 'round these parts!  :-)
Now that I've been a stay at home mom for a little over 6 months, I am beginning to get the hang of this staying in and laying low stuff!  I am still waiting for that one day when we have literally NOTHING going on and NOTHING to do and NOWHERE to go.  One of these days, right!   :-)  According to my calendar next Tuesday looks promising.   hehe
There are a few fun pics I wanted to share from some of our past weeks' events...so enough with my "blog-crastinating"!  :-)

At Thursday night's "Cook Club"...PROM was the theme!  Yes, some wore OLD School prom dresses from back in the day.  My friend Leah wore her Cougar print prom dress from Junior year, too funny (I very much remember that night).  Sad thing is, it still fits her to perfection.  No surprise right?  I chose to don the pretty in pink number from my friend Nikki's wedding.  I was delighted that this "pre-baby" dress still fit me as well!  hehe.  Yes, we took a few pics...this is what you get when you hand your camera over to someone else (plus the flash battery was dying)...
 A few of us who followed the rules and dressed up like we were supposed to  :-)
The one pic that actually turned out.  Nice.  Not sure what we were trying to do here exactly?  Is it from Charlie's Angels perhaps?  haha  
I love you Leah!
*****
Friday morning we had a fun impromptu playdate with some friends.  A few of Macy's Down Syndrome buddies were there (Vollen, Tessa, Brady & Wesley).  Most of these guys also have siblings that are McKenzie's age, so these playdates are a lot of fun for everyone.  Especially for us mommas.
After that morning playdate, me and the girls met up with my friend Leah (pictured above in Cougar dress) and her little guy Charlie for some fun at BounceU.  My sis Lisa and her kiddos joined us as well.  FUN!!!  (Lisa took pics, perhaps she'll send them to me soon.)

*****************************
Later that evening, we met up with the Cooke's at a downtown hotel that happens to feature a kick-a$$, indoor waterpark - which happens to be the perfect size for our little ones.  It was a GREAT way to get out of the cold and enjoy some fun family time.
 Little Miss Macy models her brand new swimsuit!  Thanks Gordy, Shelly, Ash, Autumn & Mason, what a perfect B-Day present!  :-)
 Mommy's beautiful ballerina  :-)
 After being a little hesitant at first, she really started to LIKE the water  :-)
 Now what?
 Splish splash
 Hi Ally!
 Daddy & Kenzie climb up the big tower.  McKenzie thinks she's brave enough to go down the BIG-KID slide!
Check out that expression!  priceless.
 She said she had fun, but when I asked her if she wanted to go again...I got a "heck NO" response.  haha
 This place will be a lot more fun once Macy can run around with the rest of the big kids.
 McKenzie and cousin Brook checking out the big pool.
 JUMP!
 Based on this pool experience, I'm pretty sure Macy will be much more of a water-bug that her big sister.  :-)
McKenzie's always been super cautious around water.
 "Look Mom, I'm SWIMMING!"
 Making it go SPLASH!
 Gotch-ya!
Ready - Set - GO!  Go Ally GO!
The kids swam the night away...well past their bedtime mind you.
 Four very worn out kids = Success.
Mission accomplished  :-)
 Thank you Cooke family for inviting us to crash your "staycation" in Omaha!
McKenzie keeps asking, everyday, when we are going to go back.

*********
McKenzie's been talking about it all WEEK and the day had finally arrived for her to go next door to celebrate the twin's Birthday!  Lauren & Dylan are FOUR!    :-)
awww.  Here's a pic of the three besties...Lauren (love the smile btw), Kenzie & Dylan.  I am SOOOO anxious for Spring so that these little ones can get together more often!!!  They have so much fun running around together outside  :-)
 The party had a really fun Monster theme.  They played this really fun "oooey-goooey" game.
Lauren digs in the "slime" to find a special prize!
 Dylan's turn!  McKenzie says "eeeewwww".
What a super fun & creative game.   The kids loved it!!
 Zach watches and waits patiently for his turn.
 And he's off! 
I'm so glad that our other dear neighbor friend Zack was able to come to the party. (The twins mom had this be a "no food" party and had a "special" cupcake made just for Zach. 
This little guy is four and has a severe form of epilepsy.  He has been having a wide range of seizures several times a day for about a year now.  Meds were not working out too well, so his parents and doctors have decided to give the Ketogenic Diet a try.
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low carb diet, that in medicine is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control epilepsy in children. The diet mimics aspects of starvation by forcing the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates.  It is very strict and requires a LOT of discipline for not only him but his whole family.  As you can imagine Holidays, family gatherings and parties, where food is usually the "centerpiece" is challenging.  Too much temptation for a four year old to handle.  This is main reason he was not able to come to Macy's party last week.  Lynette & Doug are hoping that this life change will only be a few years, and the end result will be Zach being seizure FREE. 
Please hold him up in your prayers...we do EVERY NIGHT!!!!
--
The fun was just getting started and I wish we could have stayed longer, but we had to leave and drive to Lincoln for cousin Sam's three year Birthday party!
What a rough day huh?
*******
Here are some pics from Sam's fun party  :-)
 Sam got this really cool keyboard mat from Grandma & Grandpa.  All the kids LOVED it!  Well, to be honest, at the moment of gift opening Sam had a pretty strong preference for the dinosaur....but hey, all the OTHER kids loved the mat.  I know Sam will too once the dinosaur excitement wears off  :-)
 Macy & Harrison playin' a tune.
 Macy really REALLY got a kick out of it.  I think this kids got a gift for MUSIC  :-)
 Nevermind the taradactul flying in the foreground of this shot...Kenzie thought it would be funny to include him in the picture too this time.
 "Sisterly Love"??  I think so.
Cousin Autumn swoops in to rescue Macy from her "over-loving" sister.
 Singing Happy Birthday to Sam.
 "Don't smile Sam" Try very hard NOT to smile"  :-)
 Macy, Harrison, Ash & Autumn still having a good old time on the Keyboard Mat!