Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Nov '08

Mr. Vain?

Tonight I caught Wes kissing (or possibly licking) his reflection on the fridge.

Video of Wes kissing the fridge.

Nov '08

Chocolate Amore

John and I don’t get out on many baby-less dates, so tonight when we did we did it in fine style by attending the Utah Chocolate Show.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Let’s talk about the chocolate. Vendors everywhere are trying to sell you their stuff, which means tons of FREE CHOCOLATE SAMPLES. We purposely ate a light dinner to better enjoy the chocolate goodness. Utah Truffles alone had five different truffles to try. See’s candy had their chocolate mint truffles. Rebecca’s Chocolate had several different kinds to try. A new chocolate company called Chocolot (based in Ogden) was there and when I asked to try their English toffee the owner whipped out a fresh pan of the stuff that she had made earlier that day in a stage demonstration. I was happy to see Amano Chocolate because I’d heard about them but never tried their chocolate. They’re new and based in Orem, and they are fast becoming recognized all over the world. They’ve won a bunch of awards, and at a chocolate show in London this year they were the first American company to ever win an award for chocolate.

Moreover, there was chocolate popcorn, a chocolate fountain (I went back for seconds), and even chocolate coffee. Except it wasn’t coffee; it was cacao beans roasted and brewed like coffee beans and you drink it like coffee with cream and sugar–and it’s the nastiest drink you could imagine. But apparently if you like the taste of coffee it’s pretty good.

John and I splurged and took a class together on hand-dipping chocolates. It was a fun experience, although when John realized he had to get his hands dirty he hesitated momentarily, but got over it. We learned how to temper chocolate. You heat the chocolate up to at least 100 degrees, then cool it to 83-89 degrees, which is the perfect temperature for dipping chocolate. They provided a cool marble slab that they poured warm chocolate onto.

We swirled the chocolate around with our (very clean) hands on the slab until the chocolate was cool enough to dip the fondant centers in. Smearing warm chocolate with your bare hand is the BEST feeling in the world. Like finger painting, only better.

Plus, when we were done we got to lick our hands clean.

The actual dipping part is an art form that takes a lot of practice to perfect, so our chocolates turned out a little more sloppily than the examples the ladies did for us beforehand. Here’s what our chocolates should have looked like (done by the professionals):

In reality, John’s finished chocolates:

And mine:

(Note: Yes, mine turned out slightly better than John’s. And he admits it. I think it was because he was trying to get over the whole having-your-hands-covered-in-chocolate thing. Which, to be honest, most people wouldn’t mind at all. I could probably swim in a vat of chocolate and not mind it one bit.)

We got to bring home six chocolates apiece that we hand-dipped. But we’re waiting until tomorrow to taste them; we are so full of chocolate!

And finally, a photo of the little guy who missed out on the chocolate goodness tonight:

Nov '08

Milestones and Goals

This week Wes had an IFSP checkup where his therapists review how he has progressed over the past year and set goals for the next six months. He is doing so fantastic and progressing so readily. His physical therapist (who works on gross motor skills like crawling and walking) just comes once a month, and each time she comes she’s blown away by what he’s picked up since she saw him last.

Right now Wes can climb the stairs in a flash, and when he gets to the top he turns himself around and sits up and clasps his hands in front of him and smiles down at you with a super big I-am-so-proud-of-myself-Look-what-I-can-do grin. We have to help him turn around and slide down the stairs. He’s getting better at letting us help him slide down (he does a lot of it himself, but we still have to help him initiate the movement), and it will take longer for him to get the turning around part at the top of the stairs. But he’ll get it.

He’s mastered the art of throwing toys. It’s like a game; he throws, and then fetches. He can also roll a ball or toy to you, and he loves to play peekaboo. He loves it if he’s holding onto something like a blanket and you try to tug it away from him. It makes him smile really big and even giggle. While he’s really great at playing independently most all the time, when he’s tired he can use a good snuggle.

Some goals that the therapists set for the next six months:

– weaning off the bottle and drinking more from a cup. Wes likes to put cups to this mouth, but not for the purpose of drinking. I’ve tried sippy cups but he doesn’t get how to suck out the liquid. A therapist pointed out that I can remove the plastic filter in the sippy cup so it’s easier to drink from (but also not spill-proof anymore). I’ll try that.

– walking! Wes will be an early walker. This is funny to say because I remember how my brother and his wife were broken up that their son didn’t walk until he was 13 months old, and they felt like he was lagging behind in everything. So I guess I should clarify that Wes will be early in the world of Down syndrome, where the average age for walking is about two years. Wes is pulling himself to standing and likes to walk with help, but it will be a bit longer until he can do it on his own. BUT I really can see him walking in the next several months. He continues to amaze us all.

– better pincher grip. Wes just recently (in the last week or two) refined his pincher grip enough to where I can set cereal or pieces of food on his booster seat and he can pick them up and put them in his mouth. This was super exciting to me! Before, he could hold larger things like graham crackers, but now he can maneuver smaller things into his mouth. So he’s got the basic pincher grip, but the therapist will help him refine it even more.

I remember when Wes was little someone (another parent of a child with DS) telling me that the nice thing about having a child with Down syndrome is that you get to have a baby a little longer. At the time I couldn’t see how that could be a positive thing (maybe it was because I was sleep deprived at that start?). But now I can see what she means. Wes is fourteen months old and, while wildly accomplished as far as I’m concerned, is still a lot of a baby. And I love it. I see my friends’ kids, who are younger than Wes, and some of them seem so old and grown up. I’m glad Wes is what he is.

Nov '08


In addition to throwing toys (he’s got a terrific arm), Wesley’s other Great Talent is stacking. Sort of. He’s still working on the accuracy point, but for the past month or two he’s really taken to assuming that everything is a shelf and that he can put toys on it.

This week we got him his first set of blocks, and we’ve been working on the stacking business (see video below). Have you ever seen a baby so proud of doing something right?

Wes stacking blocks

Nov '08

Zumba Power & Wesley Power

I taught two Zumba classes yesterday and another one today. You know the class is working when after one class you’re sore, after two you’re really sore, and after three, well…I’m glad I have a few days off now.

Last night I taught Zumba to my ward’s Young Women group. They can really groove, those girls. Some of them wore funky socks and one had a boa around her neck. Some photos:

rent a car bulgaria

Also, here is Wes on Halloween at our Ward Trunk-or-Treat. Wes actually slept through most of it. He was asleep in his car seat, so we plonked the car seat by the trunk of our car where we were handing out treats. He never stirred, so finally we woke him and I dragged him over to the donut table for a glazed original and some apple juice. He liked the empty plastic cup a lot.

The other day I left him playing on the floor of his room while I went into our bedroom for a few minutes. I figured he was safe enough there. When I came back, this is what I found:

I guess you never can tell what a baby is going to discover when your back is turned.