Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Real and Raw- Special Needs

 I've really wanted to start blogging more about me personally on this page and not just the going ons in Alaska. It is my desire to reach out and connect personally, so I'm stepping out of my comfort zone and hoping to be embraced.

 If you don't already know, I have a daughter that is special needs. We call her Peanut. You can read about her miracle story. She has been diagnosed with microcephaly, which means small head, and cerebral palsy. Due to her brain trauma at birth, she has developmental delays. She is a tiny, fragile thing who puts up a fight.

 My youngest daughter is 2 years younger then Peanut, we call her Snugglebug. Snugglebug was born completely healthy. As she gained weight, I knew she would pass Peanut because Peanut didn't gain weight fast. Generally, Peanut was in the 3% for weight gain. That time has come. Snugglebug is a pound heavier then Peanut. That didn't bother me as much as I thought it was going to, but it still stung.

 The hard time I'm having now and I don't think I'm truly facing is that Snugglebug is going to pass Peanut developmentally and mentally. They play so well together right now. It's like they are on the same page. People constantly ask me if they are twins.

 A lot of "what ifs" cross my mind. What's going to happen when Snugglebug passes Peanut? Is Peanut going to be left behind? Or is it not going to bother me as much like the weight issue. I'm so sad when I see my Peanut having a hard time engaging other 4 year olds. No parent wants their child left out.

 What's going to happen when she is older? Will she have the life her brother and sister will have? Will she be able to engage other teenagers? Will she have friends that call her to talk? Will she have crushes? Will boys be interested in her? Will people find her as beautiful that I think she is? Will she be able to go to college? Will she be able to live on her own? Will she be able to get married and have a baby? All these questions bring pain to my heart because I don't know the answer. I'm afraid to know the answer.

 Parenting is hard. I don't have answers. All I can think about is what the neurologist told us, "peanut will tell and show you." The more I realize I don't have control of my life, the easier it is to let go and live. But it doesn't mean I don't have feelings through it. I'm sad and afraid for her. Then I look at her and how much she loves life. It brings gladness to my heart and I'm not as sad and afraid for her.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Alaska Museum of Natural History

  It had been awhile since I've visited the Alaska Museum of Natural History, like a couple of years! I'm so glad that we finally went back to check it out! If you haven't been there yet, it's off Bragaw and Mountain View Drive. MOUNTAIN VIEW DRIVE you are probably screaming in your head, it's really in a safe area, right off the highway. Go, it's a blast!

 As soon as you walk in you are met with a large woolly mammoth the kiddos can sit on. The price is affordable at $5 an adult and $3 a kid (3-12). There are great programs offered like Tinker Time, which is held every Monday from 10a-12p. There is a craft, activities and a storytime with a focus on a theme. This is great for the younger ones. 

 Imagine having a sleepover with this huge skeleton! That's right! You can have a birthday party at the museum! There are stuffed animals everywhere! Personally, I'd be freaked out. I was afraid of dinosaurs after I watched Jurassic Park, so I wouldn't do so well sleeping here. But I know some kids that would have a blast!

 The main reason why I love this museum is because it is so hands on. The staff encourage you to touch! There are only a few things that are hands off, but the signs are clearly labeled. It is so nice to not have to be on each kids with "look with our eyes, not our hands!" I can actually sit back and relax. I get to touch the cool stuff as well, bonus! The exhibits are really cool too. I mean look at the exhibit of the size of eyes above! Cool and gross!

 I'm a very visual and hands on learner so this museum is right up my alley! My kids love seeing all the stuffed animals and touching them. There are bright colors every where, so much to look at. This museum has a cozy feel to it. When it's slow and not a lot of people around, they let their sweet dog walk around. I love that, very Alaskan. It's cool to see all the artifacts that have been found in Alaska, right in our backyard!

 There is a dino dig where kids to search for bones and dinosaurs. I really like how a kid can have their own area. No fighting over the toys. There are chairs so the parents can sit and watch. In this little kid area, there are books, chalkboard, marble runs, and more for kiddos to play. FYI, if your kiddos loves dinos, this is a great place to see them in Alaska!

 This was my kids favorite thing to do, build a molecule! Of course they didn't understand what they were doing. They just wanted to see how high they could get it. While they were doing that, I actually got to read all the cool facts about the different minerals and rocks that were found in Alaska. In this area, there is a really cool gadget that allows you to get up close and personal! It's a microscope that shows up on the TV. So you can put the scope over rocks or your hands! You can show your kids all the dirt on their hands so they can see why its important to wash them.

 We definitely will be going back sooner then later. Especially when we are learning about fossils, animals, dinos or rocks for homeschool. Some advice, call before you go. There was a school group when we got there and it was a little cramped. Or go on Mondays for Tinker Time, it's a lot of fun. I like this museum more then the Anchorage Museum downtown, it fits our families needs right now. Grab your family and visit today!