Friday, November 8, 2013

Adelyn Rose: 19 Months

Actually, Adelyn is almost 20 months. I've been working on this post since Adelyn was 18 months.

Let's start with the updates. She had her therapy evaluations. Her motor skills have made a huge jump. She's always been about 3-5 months behind on things but this evaluation showed her being in the 15-18 month range on most motor skills. She's borderline for not even needing physical therapy anymore! We'll revisit the idea after the first of the year and decide (with her PT) whether or not she would benefit from continuing. I am a little concerned that although she may be on par now, she'll have difficulty achieving future milestones due to the hypotonia. Also, she's started to exhibit more sensory issues. She seems to be adversely affected by noise and low "whirring" sounds (think public hand dryer) and possibly visually stimuli - although we don't have that nailed down thus far. We sort of stumbled across these things by putting it together based on the places she seems to have behavior or mood issues. Her eating is hit and miss. She's sprouted a mouth full of teeth. In expressive speech (things she says) she was evaluated to be at a 12 month old level. That didn't come as a surprise. Her vocabulary has expanded slightly since I last posted but not a lot. She's started calling me "mama" all the time. I'm excited that when I say  one, she says "twwwoooo". And will repeat in a raspy voice "redrum" if someone does it first. This provides endless entertainment for us. We did qualify for speech an hour a week. A goal we have is adding 3-5 words a week, which I think would be awesome.

While all of the above is great and I'm happy to report how well she's doing, Adelyn is so much more than her diagnosis and prognosis. She has such a little personality that I rarely even touch on. Adelyn is one of the sweetest babies I know. She's always hugging, kissing and snuggling. She's so affectionate it's amazing. There is almost nothing better in the world than when she crawls into your lap, wraps her arms tightly around your neck and lays her head on your shoulder. I say almost because her big sister is pretty great at those things too.

It's not just family that she's affectionate with. Adelyn has no separation anxiety or stranger danger. She will love on anyone. As soon as the boss lady or boss man come here to pick up the little mister, she runs over asking them to pick her up and wanting to snuggle them. The women in the nursery at church know her by name and love her. On the bad side, she will go to anyone. Often asking strangers in the grocery store to pick her up or attempting to sit on strangers laps at The Great Wolf Lodge and The Renaissance Festival.

Adelyn has the most amazing smile and laugh. When she does either, her whole face lights up. She even has a fake laugh/squeal she does for Lily that Lily just eats up. Her big goofy smile is contagious. She's such a happy baby most of the time. And she's such a ham. If I'm just holding my phone or a camera, she starts cheesing and motioning for me to take her picture. If she knows your laughing at her, she will continue to do whatever she's doing. She'll even fake laugh right along with you.

Where Lily is my little dancer and always has been, Adelyn is my singer. She may not say much but that girl is always singing. The whole day is spent "lalala'ing" or humming. She's constantly singing. It's absolutely adorable because she has such a soft sing-songy voice. Her new favorite song to sing is, "nanananana batman". She started randomly singing it while painting a pumpkin and it was a-fricking-dorable.

I say, "most of the time", because Adelyn does have a harder side to her. She is demanding and sassy. She sat on the floor fake crying for 20 minutes the other day because I wouldn't let her play with the PS3. Something would distract her and she would stop, but the moment she noticed me she would start wailing again. When she wants to be held, she wants to be held that second. It doesn't matter to her if you're folding laundry, putting away dishes, cooking a hot meal or sitting on the crapper. You better pick her up or else expect the nose to scrunch up, the lip to come out and crying (fake or real) to begin. If that doesn't work, she moves on to screaming. It's not a pretty sight. She's been known to hit, push, and head butt her sister. Sometimes provoked, sometimes not. She's also started to get aggressive with other kids. I've talked to her therapists and they say it is probably related to her sensory processing issues but is also an age thing too. They've given me some great tips to help on both fronts. She's also stubborn. Just recently, she was trying to eat a magnet so Steve told her to put it on the fridge. At that point she dropped it on the ground, backed up to the fridge with her hands behind her back, crinkled up her nose at him and stared him down not budging. It's times like these that I have to tell myself that God made her this way so that she can concur any obstacles she may have to face. I tell myself that because I don't want to admit that she's me incarnate. The good news is that once she finally put the magnet back on the fridge, she was back to hugging and loving on us. Which, makes everything else she does null and void.

Adelyn is a full of personality - both good and bad. Just like her sister, she can take you to the brink of insanity and pull you back again in a moments notice. But, most of all, she's our baby - even at almost 20 months old.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Our Happily Ever After

I could tell you about the first night I met Steve. I could tell you how we were in a bar and locked eyes across a crowded room. The music stopped and everyone else disappeared. We spent the whole evening talking to each other and when it was done, I immediately told my friends, "this is the guy I'm going to marry". I could tell you this romantic, made for the movies whirlwind relationship we had that ended up with us riding horses into the sunset. I could tell you all that, but it wouldn't be true. The truth is nothing I've seen on TV or in the movies or read in a book. It's not the Disney Fairy Tale that all girls dream of when they're younger but it's our love story. 

It all started with just an average night at the bar with my aunt (and one of my best friends), Mary Anne. An old friend, TJ, came over to our table to say hi and we ended up playing darts with him and his drunk friend, Steve, all night. There was no instant connection. It was actually the opposite of that. He didn't exactly bode with Mary Anne and I. And....well.....I won't tell you what's he's admitted to thinking about the both of us after our first encounter. None the less, the 4 of us continued to meet up to play darts weekly. Sometimes going back to TJs house to play cards once the bar closed. But our lives went on outside of those nights. Steve seeing his on again off again girlfriend. Me doing the same. And at some point as those months passed by, things began to change. It's hard to pinpoint when or how. It may have been when I told TJ his friend was "cute but not very smart". It may have been when TJ announced that Steve was the only friend he had that he'd allow to date his sister. It may have been over countless hours of playing darts or Steve trying unsuccessfully to teach me to play pool. But, TJ stopped coming out and Mary Anne started going to bed earlier and then it was just Steve and I. Staying up way too late talking to each other. Talking about our families. Talking about our relationships gone wrong. Talking about hopes and dreams for our futures. Sharing our darkest secrets and greatest hopes. We cried on each other's shoulders, although Steve did more of the crying.  During that time, we also started spending more time together and less time with the on agains off agains in our lives. We became best friends. We spent almost every day together. So, it only made sense that a few months later (November 4th, 2006 to be exact) that we made our relationship "official".

From there it did become a whirlwind relationship. Exchanging "I love yous" within a matter of weeks; something I believe had been on both our hearts long before it crossed our lips. Within months we knew we were going to get married and started thinking ahead to that. While not formally engaged we started talking wedding plans for the future. Steve started to share my existence with his family; explaining to his dad, "she's like me with boobs". And his dad responding with, "so she likes comics?". Nope. We can't all be perfect (although Steve has gotten me to read one set of comic books recently). Christmas Day, 2007, just over a year from when we became "official", Steve handed me a big box from under the Christmas tree. I just knew that it was the robe I had been asking for. After all, he had already given me the digital picture frame and digital camera I had asked for. I opened the box to find it all but empty. Digging through paper I found a small jewelry box and looked up to see him down on one knee. He professed his undying love for me and proposed with, "I want to spend the rest of my life trying to make you as happy as you make me".

Just 10 months later, on October 25th 2008 we started our lives as husband and wife. Things still haven't slowed down for us. We had Lily in 2009, bought new cars in 2010, a new house in 2011, Adelyn joined our family in 2012 and 2013 brought another new mini van.

The past 5 years has had it's ups and downs. It's not perfect. We're not perfect. We bicker like an old married couple. We have fights that last for days. We aggravate each other. But, even more important, we still stay up too late talking and crying (still more Steve than me). We still share hopes and dreams and fears. We still share stories of our past that the other hasn't heard. We share our daily joys and let downs. We're still the team we were 5, 6, 7 years ago. We're still best friends. We still go to sleep each night holding each other's hand after 5 years of marriage. In the sitcom Friends, Phoebe is known for saying that Rachel is Ross' lobster because lobsters fall in love and mate for life. But, I like to think of Steve as my otter.

This is our love story. This is our happily ever after.

We tripped into a friendship.....stumbled into a relationship....
and fell into love

~ Holly Hebert, circa 2007 

Saturday, August 31, 2013


I feel like a lot of this blog has been dedicated to Adelyn. While I love having a place to sort out my feelings and express myself regarding this experience, I also feel like Lily deserves some love too. So this entry will be about her. My first daughter. The little girl who made me a mother; who made us a family; who changed us forever.

Lily. My first littlest love. She's so many things all rolled into 1. She's precocious. She's smart. She's sassy. She's sweet. She has the attitude to drive me to the brink of insanity and the smile to pull me back, all in an instant. She's my first miracle baby. The baby by all medical accounts wasn't supposed to be easy or even be here. I remember the day I got a positive pregnancy test like it was yesterday. I remember the threatened miscarriage. The crying at work. The hospital visits later in the pregnancy. The bed rest. The headaches. The swelling. The pre-eclampsia. But, most of all, I remember the birth. I remember how fast and furious it all was. I remember hearing, "it's a girl" and crying. I remember Steve crying too. Our healthy, chunky, dark haired, dark complected little girl (although it's hard to picture her now as anything other than a fair skinned, blonde haired bean pole). The little girl I had dreamed about. The little girl I had named when I was 16 years old. My beautiful, Lilian Mae.

And here we are, on the brink of her turning 4. The next few weeks are going to be big for her. We decided that she needed more interaction with kids her age so we decided to enroll her in pre-school. Her orientation is next week and the following week she starts. My first littlest love is starting school. I want to say I'm choked up over the whole thing. But, I'm not. It's so unreal to me. I look at her and still see the baby who would ask me, "where'd that parking lot go?"; who called fruit snacks, "snack fruits" and ranch dressing "narnch". I'm going to cry when she goes. I'm going to cry like a baby. But I know that I have to let her go. While she's a great big sister (most the time), she's had a hard time being the oldest. She craves big kid interaction. And I can't blame her. I am always telling her to play with her toys at the table or after Adelyn goes to sleep if she wants to play alone. I try to make her bedroom a good place to go and not be bothered by a pestering little sister who wants everything Lily has. But, it's not nearly as fun to be holed up in a bedroom. She's constantly asking to play with the neighbors or her cousins, but that's not always feasible. She needs a place where she can be her. Where she can learn and grow. Where she can play with kids her age. And even learn a thing or 2.

The same week, Lily has her first ballet class. She started dance last year but was in a "pre-school rhythm" class that promised to introduce her to all sorts of types of dance. While I don't feel that promise was kept, it did introduce her to ballet. It introduced her to a love and a passion. She's not exactly graceful. She doesn't have "raw" talent. But, she has a love for something that I'm going to encourage as much as possible. And, it again, gives her time to be a 3 - almost 4 - year old without the restrictions of being "the big sister".

It's not easy to sit back and let her grow up. She promised me when she was little she wasn't going to do that. But, it's been amazing to see the process as it happens. To see how much she's changed in the past year or even how much she changes day to day. She's so articulate and expresses her thoughts so well when she wants to. She has such a vivid imagination; she loves to draw/color and play "house". She's a mother through and through. She nurses her babies and changes their "cloth" diapers - newborn size disposable diapers that she insists on washing in her play kitchen sink. She tackles me with her hugs and isn't afraid to express her undying love for me and others and her love for God. She gets down on her knees and prays for others. She can tell you more super heroes than I can. She loves older music - anything from Elvis to Journey to Bon Jovi. She's turned into such a little person. But to me, she'll always be my first littlest love. My beautiful Lilian Mae.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Adelyn's Inchstones

Whether big or small, an inch makes a foot and a foot makes a mile, or in this case - a milestone 
Owen's Mom of Owen's Inchstones

It's been a long time since I blogged. The summer has just been too much fun to find the time to sit down and write. But, when we last left off Adelyn had just started crawling around on all 4s, was being evaluated for foot braces, was pulling up on the furniture and was working her way off baby food. So much has changed since then! If you're just joining us, feel free to read the beginning of our journey at Perfectly Adelyn and Perfectly Adelyn Pt 2

She got her foot braces in June. Those made a world of difference for her. I thought she was going to be upset over wearing them, but she loves them! The orthotist explained it to me like this: imagine trying to roller blade without having the skates tied up. Think about how unsteady you would feel. How hard it would be to do. That's what Adelyn was going through before she got the braces. Then she got them and it's like we tied her roller blades, so to speak. She's even gotten to the point that if she doesn't have them on, she gets upset. She'll find them and shake them at me while yelling as if to say, "woman, what are you thinking?! I need my braces on!"

After she got the braces, she really started taking off. She began by pushing things around the house. It started off almost accidentally. Where she would be putting her weight on the toy and it would move (since we have pergo floors) and she would follow it. Then it became a purposeful movement and she made her way around the house like a pro. She even started taking some unassisted steps. Her first steps were to her sister. Which, couldn't make Lily prouder. But, then last month she got Hand, Foot and Mouth. She was very sick for about a week. She spent several days on the couch unmoving. After that, she regressed a lot. She stopped walking all together; refusing to even push her toys and wanting to be carried everywhere. It was then that I knew I had to start really pushing her. I started making her walk everywhere. It started off as holding my hands and walking to her high chair for meals or to her bedroom at nap/bed time. Then she started walking on her own! As of the beginning of August, she is a full time walker. I don't remember the last time I saw her crawl. She's still unsteady outside on the uneven ground but we're working on that a little each day. She can make it down one house, one way and if pushed will walk back.

Her eating habits have made a 180 degree turn. Not only is she fully on table food, but she eats That girl amazes me with how much she can eat in one sitting. And she's not nearly as picky/sensory as she was. She'll eat almost anything. She's still a tiny little peanut but that's okay.

Her vocabulary is expanding. She's started calling me mama, but I'm still not sure if she knows what she's saying. Lily taught her how to say "ow" and "ouch" Although she says it all the time, so she doesn't quite know how to use it. She calls all cows "moooo". She likes to intentionally drop her food on the ground and call for Loela to come clean it up. She's started to say "Lily". When Lily recently spent the night at her aunt's, Adelyn walked around putting her arms up inquisitively saying "Lily". Well, her version of Lily at least. As if to ask, "where's Lily". She's trying to repeat a lot of what we say too. I already see her being as big of a talker as her sister is once she finds her words.

She's made some huge strides this summer on all fronts. We'll start therapy back up in the fall. Right now she's slated to have physical therapy, occupation therapy, speech therapy and the teacher. I cannot wait to see how much she grows and changes when we start that back up. I feel like every day she's sticking it to the man and I couldn't be happier.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A special kind of person

I've been told, a lot, that it takes "a special kind of person" to be a nanny. When I ask why they usually respond with something along the lines of "because I couldn't do that!". But, I don't really see how that makes me "special". I prefer to say that it takes a certain kind of person to do it. The kind of person who loves children. The kind of person who doesn't mind poopy diapers, feeding fiascoes and epic meltdowns. The kind of person who enjoys art, teaching, kissing boo-boos, building blocks & tents, playing dolls, playing outside, the list is endless when it comes to kids & their imaginations.

Yes, I am one of these people. That, in & of itself does not make me special. It just makes me a certain kind of person who does well at my job. On the other hand, I'm the type of person who can't stand (I would say hate, but if Lily could read & read my blog she'd yell at me that "we don't say hate in this family".) history, math, science and most other "left brain" subjects. I could not handle a chemistry job, like Steve has. I feel my eyes glaze over and my brain start to melt when he talks about work (bless his heart, he still tells me about it though). I'd never have an engineer job, be an accountant or work in IT. Just because I can't do these things, does it mean the people who can are "special"? No, we just have different aptitudes.

I just happen to be able to work in a job that I love and that I'm good at. It's not a job that is cut out for everyone. It's hard. There are bad days, really bad days. There are days when all the kids cry at once and I daydream about what it would be like to work in the "real world" again. There are days when I'm out of ideas on how to entertain the kids. There are days when I'm at my wits end and want to cry. But there are a lot of normal days. And even some great days. Just like any other job I've had. And I would assume, just like any other job you've had.

Truly, when I think about the idea that it takes "a special kind of person" to do something. The only thing I can really think of is the men & women who put their lives on the line for us. Whether it be military, police or fire. And I certainly know that I don't deserve to be in that category.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

These Little Moments

Today, Steve took the day off work and we planned to go to the zoo. It was a wonderful family fun day. We saw the animals, rode the carousel, had lunch and even watched a 4D movie. Most of all, we spent time as a family. Lily loves the zoo and Adelyn is finally noticing the animals and really started to get into it; pointing at the animals and making "ooh ooh" noises at the chimps/gorillas. It was about as perfect as a day could get.

It wasn't the first time we've been to the zoo. We've had a yearly pass since Lily was a baby and go as often as possible. I know I'll remember these outings; these moments. Maybe not everything that happened today. But on a whole, I'll remember our family fun days. I'll be able to remind myself of certain outings with all the pictures I take (and it's no secret I take a lot of pictures!).

But, today I had a moment that I pray I never forget. It was just a usual moment. Nothing particularly special about it as a whole. I was giving Lily a bath, like I often do. I washed her up and was waiting for the water to warm up to spray the soap off her, which again, is nothing out of the ordinary. But, as we waited, Lily kept sticking her hand in the cold water and then backing up while giggling. It was in that every day, ordinary moment that I looked at my daughter and remembered all the baths I'd given her. In her eyes, in her laughter I was taken back to the last three and a half years of my life. Of our lives together as a family. In an instant she was a baby again, then a toddler and now the beautiful preschooler she's become. I saw all the hopes and dreams I had for her when she was born; all the hopes and dreams I have for her future now. And I wanted to hold on to that moment. I wanted to hold on to the un-mundaneness of such a normal activity.

These are the moments I want to hold on to. The ones so spontaneous, so unplanned. The ones where you couldn't possibly have a camera or camcorder ready to document. And even if you could, it would never capture the emotion of the moment. I want to bottle up these times and keep them forever.

One of my biggest fears is that I will forget. That baths will go on as usual and I won't remember the time we had today. That soon everything will be back to normal. I'll be frustrated. She'll be acting out. And all of that will wash away how I felt tonight when I was giving her a bath. But, tonight, I held her extra close. And tomorrow, when she's being a turd (and I know she will be because she's 3.5), I'll try to draw solace in what happened tonight. I'll force myself to remember that these moments don't last forever. The good or the bad.

Our lives are made in these small hours
These little wonders, these twists and turns of fate
Time falls away but these small hours
These small hours, still remain
~ Rob Thomas, Little Wonders

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

26 And Holding

Growing up, I always looked forward to my birthday. I would randomly announce how many days until my birthday throughout the year. Usually starting on April 23rd, the day after my birthday. I always loved that it was a day all about me....and the presents weren't a bad addition either. This wasn't just as a kid, even as I got older I loved my birthday. In my mind it lasted a week, sometimes more. When I started going to the bars, it lasted the whole month. But, that was usually just to get free drinks. Every time we went out in the month of April I would tell guys it was my birthday. Not that I needed a ploy to get free drinks but it made helped.

Turning 25 was hard on me though. Probably because on my 25th birthday a friend said, "What's the worst thing about the day after you turn 25?" And then promptly answered himself, "you are officially closer to 30 than you are to 20". That stung. 30 seemed so old, even then. But, 25 was a good year. Then my 26th birthday rolled around and it was a great year. I decided then, that I wasn't getting any older. That I was going to hang on to my youth and forever be 26. It started off more as a joke. But, then it became a habit and lie I was going to carry on. So easy in fact, that I would have to stop myself from saying 26 when asked in a serious situation how old I was (like at doctors appointments). I would actually have to do the math. How old am I now.....2000 something minus 1980 something equals.....

With that came a lack of interest in my birthday. I still wanted to do something to "celebrate" but the day itself became just like every other day.

So, when this birthday rolled around, I really could've cared less. I didn't write it on the calender. I totally forgot about it the night before. I just expected it to be another day. Play with kids; clean; cook dinner; the usual. And it pretty much started out that way. I did have an appointment to get Adelyn's hearing checked. I wasn't worried about her hearing but at the same time, I was dreading the test. I couldn't imagine hearing something else was wrong with my baby girl. The good news is that her hearing is fine. She passed with flying colors but is asked to take the test again in 6 months if she's still not talking or talking much. That was the best present I could've asked for. Then, I got a package delivered to my front door. Steve bought me The Hunger Games movie and a Mother's Devotional Bible. Have I mentioned I love presents?! And these were good ones! Connor got picked up early so I was able to go with Lily to dance class (something I've not been able to do with my new job/schedule). Then my parents came over to visit for awhile. Then I had a few drinks with one of my best friends and the hubby and fell asleep snuggled up with him.

I am happy to say that it was a great 26th birthday and I look forward to many more.

Friday, April 19, 2013

From the mouth of babes

Last Friday on the way to a play date at the mall, Lily and I had the following conversation (I'll omit the parts leading up to this as they're inconsequential and would take waaay too much explaining):

Lily: Papa has a balcony at his house (apartment)
Me: No, Papa doesn't, you have to be up high to have a balcony
Lily: Well, Jesus is up real high in heaven. He has a balcony.
Me: *laughing* Yes, I bet Jesus does have a balcony.
Lily: I was with Jesus before you pushed me out of your belly?
Me: Yes, you were Bean, and then you came to live with us and when you die you'll go back to heaven to be with Jesus & God.
Lily: No, Mama. I won't be with them again. I won't die. (then matter of factly) Kids don't die, Mama.

This was a very humbling moment in my motherhood. This is the way it *should* be. Babies shouldn't die. Kids shouldn't die. No parent should ever have to bury their child regardless of that child's age. But, in that moment I was taken back to Columbine; to 9/11; to most recently (at that time) Sandy Hook. Of course, at 3, I don't feel it necessary to talk about these things with her. So, I somberly responded, "No, baby. Kids don't die".

Then, only a couple days later, the Boston Marathon Bombing happened. Lily's seen me watch the news. She asks what's happening and I explain that people were running and got hurt. That's all I can bring myself to explain to her. I can't burst this bubble she lives in right now. I can't take away that innocence that this world we live in is as horrible as it seems sometimes. And I wish I could live in that bubble with her. Where kids don't die. That they're not senselessly murdered, that they don't get terminal illnesses or die any other way. That they all grow to have babies & grandbabies & great grandbabies. No, I don't wish I lived in that bubble. I wish that was a reality.

I know that there will come a time when I have to explain the truth to Lily, just as so many had to do after the Sandy Hook incident. I pray that when that time comes, God gives me the strength and the words to help her understand the cruel world we can live in and to give her hope not fear. That, in the end, she still believes, as I do, that people as a whole are good people. That she chooses to change the world she lives in by loving others and doing good. Because as Romans 12:21 (NIV) says, "Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good".

Monday, April 1, 2013

Adelyn's Winter ONEderland!

I can't believe my baby girl turned 1. I thought Lily's first year went by fast, but this was even faster. Her first birthday party was amazing. It was winter ONEderland themed. Even though Spring was quickly approaching and it was a beautiful day outside, inside our house was decked to the max with snowflakes & penguins & balloons, oh my! The penguin beach balls are from Oriental Trading were used as both decorations and as favors for the kids.

We had a hot chocolate bar with homemade hot chocolate (thank you Pinterest & Mrs. Happy Homemaker for the recipe!), marshmallows, peppermint candy canes & whip cream. My second batch of stuffed pepper soup turned out delicious. And the piece de resistance? The most marvelous cake I've ever seen thanks to Nikki of Creative Confections with accompanying hot cocoa cupcakes with peppermint marshmallow frosting. The igloo on the top of the cake even lit up!

Adelyn looked gorgeous in her birthday princess outfit comprised of a tutu from Trish's Little Feet Boutique, a bow from Angelia's Boutique and leggings from My Little Legs.

The party itself was wonderful. We crammed more people in this house than it's supposed to have but no one seemed to mind. It's always so humbling to me to see how many people show up for these things. We had friends & family travel from near & far to spend this special day with us. I even had a friend take off work and I barely got to talk to her! It just means so much to me to have so many people love us, and love our daughter(s) that they would take the time out to celebrate.

As for an update on Adelyn. She is progressing well. She loves her OT & teacher. We've even started private OT with her Godmother & OTA extraordinaire. PT is another story. It inevitably begins & ends with tears. We keep pushing though and it's showing with all the progress she's making. It's like she just wants to stick her middle finger up in the air at anyone who says she can't do something. She is crawling on all 4s now. She's pulling up to stand on EVERYTHING. I don't remember Lily being a climber but Adelyn definitely will be. We're still a long ways off from walking and it's suspected that she's going to need foot/ankle braces because she stands on the insides of her feet. She'll be evaluated for that in the coming months. Hopefully if she gets those, it will expedite the walking phase.

She's still not talking but we're getting a lot more consonant sounds & babbling out of her. She's even began blowing raspberries so we know her mouth muscles are getting stronger. But, I would be lying if I said it doesn't hurt me that she doesn't call me mama. There's nothing I want more than to hear those words (with meaning) come out of her mouth. In the mean time, we're working on signing. She can sign fish, more, all done & milk when she wants to. Unfortunately, her sign for fish and all done are the same hand movement as when she's waving. As long as you take it in context it's not too hard to figure out.

Our OT wants her to be off all baby food in the next month. I've politely refused that. It's not that I'm not willing to work on it but she doesn't eat much in the way of regular food. She gets tired quickly when doing it because of the lack of muscles so she won't eat a lot in a sitting. It's not that I'm opposed to the idea. I am soooo sick of making baby food and would love to have her on all table food. But, she's already so tiny, the last thing I need is to have her fall off her growth curve because she doesn't eat enough to sustain her. Also, if she's not eating enough, I fear she won't be strong enough to work on all the things she needs to do. So, it's something that I plan to work on slowly. She already eats table food, it's just introducing it more & more as time goes on. I just don't think that 1 month is a reasonable time frame.

All and all, it's been an amazing year. She's grown physically and developmentally and that's all I can ask for. I can't wait to see what the next year brings for us!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Who has 2 thumbs and can BURN SOUP?

Who has 2 thumbs and can BURN SOUP? 


Yesterday I spent 3 hours prepping the stuffed pepper soup that I was making for Adelyn's Winter ONEderland party tomorrow (oh em gee! Adelyn is turning 1! More on that later though). I put it all in the pot, turned it on low and went to put Adelyn down for her nap. Not even 10 minutes later I walk out of her room to smell something burning....and Lily telling me the house is stinky. THE SOUP! THE SOUP! I stir it and can feel the bottom is burnt to crap. But, it can be salvaged, right. RIGHT?! I know! I'll drain all the broth and then add more and that should take care of the burnt part, right. RIGHT?! Nope. I tried it, adding more tomato soup to a small portion and tasting it. It tastes burnt through and through. So then I dumped 4 pounds of meat, 10 chopped peppers, 1 chopped onion, 15 cans of tomato soup, 2 cans of broth, a bag of rice, a head of cabbage, 3 hours of my life and what was left of my dignity from my teenage years down the drain. 

Thankfully, I have an overly understanding hubby and a draining bank account so I was able to buy the stuff and try again today. It came out wonderfully I might add! I can't wait for everyone to try it tomorrow. 

**I didn't actually burn the soup. I burnt the rice that was in the soup. But it burnt to the bottom so badly that there was about a quarter inch of burnt gunk at the bottom of my dad's favorite pot that I had borrowed from him. I thought it was the pot was as good as gone. Which, surely, would make my dad disown me forever. I avoided such a tragedy by finding THIS little gem on how to clean such atrocities using water, vinegar, baking soda & more elbow grease than I thought I could muster.**

P.S. If anyone can name the sitcom/character I stole my title from I'll send you some soup....and not the burnt stuff either. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Tiny (Cage) Dancer

Yesterday, on the way home from Sesame Street Live, a napless Lily started talking about what she wanted to do when she "was bigger". After having repeated herself several times, we finally deciphered that Lily wanted to dance in a cage. Sometimes it would be a blue cage. Sometimes a red one. She was going to do it this summer, she excitedly exclaimed!

I was horrified at the conversation. I wondered where I had gone wrong that at 3 years old, her visions of a career had quickly switched from being a "doctor who takes care of animals" to a cage dancer. Visions of her in go go boots, flipping her hair around à la 80s music videos (or Beyonce's Half Time show) ran threw my head. Clearly I had failed as a mother.

Then, out of no where it hit me. STAGE! We had been talking about her dance recital this summer. She wanted to dance ON a STAGE. Not IN a CAGE.

Whew. Crisis averted.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Many, MANY, Thanks!

There has been such an outpouring from my previous posts: Perfectly Adelyn & Perfectly Adelyn pt 2 (if you haven't read them, you can find them here and here). All I can really say is, WOW. I never expected to have so many people reach out to me with comments on the link or privately. I never even expected that many people to read it or care! I really am taken back by the whole experience.

So, I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who's taken the time to show their support to me, Adelyn and this family. It is truly amazing and I am so grateful for every message, thought, prayer and well wish. Whether you're a dear friend, family, someone I don't talk to very often or someone I talk to on a regular basis. All of your words were encouraging and uplifting.

Also, special thanks to those of you who said I was a good mother. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, the highest compliment you could give me is saying that I'm a good mother (and a good nanny!). You all touched my heart and made my day.

Thank you again, everyone. There really aren't enough words to express my gratitude. If Adelyn could read & talk I'm sure she'd say the same thing. And Steve is currently singing Alanis Morissette, "Thank You" to show his appreciation. No really, he is. I couldn't make this up.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Perfectly Adelyn, pt 2

If you're reading this, you've probably already read the first part of Perfectly Adelyn. If you haven't, you can find it here. Since the initial post, we've started our services. In the past month we've had 2 sessions of PT, 2 sessions of OT & 1 session with the teacher (we had a snow day the last time she was supposed to come). Plus we do an hour + of home exercises a day. Things are going great. Adelyn has gotten really fast at her army crawl; she's sitting in a side sit position (which is a big deal, I guess?); she can go from a laying position to a sitting position; she's trying to pull up on things and her core strength is improving. She's even signing "all done" "milk" and sometimes "more" and waving hi & bye. She's a little PT/OT all star!

But, the first session with the physical therapist was hard. For Adelyn (for obvious reasons) and for me. It was then I heard a word that I had never heard before. A word that I have incessantly researched in the past month. Within the first few minutes of our initial session, our physical therapist told me that Adelyn has hypotonia or low muscle tone. My first thought was "okay, that's what we're here for". We knew her muscles weren't toned and PT should help build that up. Right. Right? No, the low muscle tone she spoke of was not the muscle tone you think of when you think of exercise or weight training. It's not what you refer to when you say "I want to tone up my stomach or arms". Hypotonia is not something cured by exercise. It's not something cured at all. What Adelyn has is a neurological issue that involves the brain and the muscle receptors not working well. The best explanation I have found was this from Wikipedia (yes, I know Wikipedia is not an end all be all of information but this actually seems to explain what other sites are saying as well in more laymen terms for me):

"True muscle tone is the inherent ability of the muscle to respond to a stretch. For example, quickly straighten the flexed elbow of an unsuspecting child with normal tone, will cause their biceps to contract in response (automatic protection against possible injury). When the perceived danger has passed, (which the brain figures out once the stimulus is removed), the muscle relaxes and returns to its normal resting state."
"...The child with low tone has muscles that are slow to initiate a muscle contraction, contract very slowly in response to a stimulus, and cannot maintain a contraction for as long as his 'normal' peers. Because these low-toned muscles do not fully contract before they again relax (muscle accommodates to the stimulus and so shuts down again), they remain loose and very stretchy, never realizing their full potential of maintaining a muscle contraction over time. "

The good news is that Adelyn has very mild hypotonia. While it's nothing that she's going to grow out of, or be cured from, it's also not something that's going to disable her. Also, hypotonia *can* be a sign of bigger neurological issues going on including cerebral palsy, autism, seizures, etc. Because her case is so mild there's no reason to test for these things or believe that it's worse than what it seems on the surface.

As far as treatment goes, she will continue in the Early On program until she is at or above her age as far as milestones & expectations. Or until she turns 3 and ages out at which point she'll begin in a preschool program though our local school district. We're also looking into private PT/OT and possibly speech therapy after her 1st birthday since she only says "ba" and "da" and to no one in particular.

I'm not sure what the long term prognosis holds for Adelyn. Hypotonia has such a large spectrum and we're obviously on the lower end. The most common issues that Adelyn may face long term are clumsiness; difficulty with gross motor skills like running and jumping as well as fine motor skills like writing & cutting; flat feet; sensory perception issues and joint pain. Of course, we can't tell the future. She may have all of these issues. Or none of them. She may be a kid who trips over her own feet or she may be a prima ballerina. Only time will tell. We've already noticed is that Adelyn lacks self confidence. This is something that is associated in part with hypotonia (and sometimes sensory perception disorders, but Adelyn has not been diagnosed with that as of yet) is lack of confidence. As I understand it, because her muscles feel weaker, she doesn't feel as though they will support her so she's cautious to do any activity. Our occupational therapist has noted this on several occasions.

Her best long term treatment will be to keep her muscles strong. While this won't "cure" her, it will help support her joints and compensate for the low muscle tone. For now it will be activities at home with the PT/OT. Then, as she gets older it will be with lots of home activities and sports (horseback riding & swimming are highly recommended). We've always been good about keeping Lily active and in activities and had expected to do the same for Adelyn. We just need to make sure that we are diligent in our plans.

As for me. I'm having a hard time dealing with it all. I know that this doesn't take away from how wonderful she is. I know that she'll never know any life different than what she has (as opposed to someone going blind after being able to see for part of their life). It's still just all too much for my brain and heart to accept right now. I even set up an appointment with our pediatrician to confirm the "diagnosis". I kept thinking that the way Adelyn is progressing the ped would say that she was fine; just a bit delayed. It's the reason why I put off writing this. The reason why I've lost sleep thinking about the "could be-s". They reason I feel like there was still a strand of hope to hold on to. But the doctor shattered that when she agreed with the diagnosis.

What I'm trying to realize is that I have to stop looking up things on the internet. Dr. Google is the devil. I have to remember that she's more than a diagnosis. She's more than words on paper; words written on a screen. A list of symptoms, diagnoses and prognoses. The world is still as open as it was to her 3 months ago before all of this started. She's still a beautiful little girl who's smile can light up the life of anyone around her. She's still the little girl who thinks her sister is the greatest thing around; mama closing the gap at a close second and dada rounding third. She's still the little girl who beats the odds and does things everyone says she will have a hard time doing. She's still Perfectly Adelyn.

Monday, January 28, 2013

No Spend January

In early fall, I read on Facebook that my girlfriend was having a no spend month. The concept was simple, don't spend any extra money. You pay for bills and groceries and that's pretty much it. No extras. No junk food. No eating out. No renting movies. No "this was on sale so I HAVE to have it". Just.the.necessities. It's supposed to open your eyes to how much money you spend on crap.

I thought it was brilliant. I was sold. But when? When do we have our no spend month. October was Adelyn's Christening so we needed to buy stuff for that. November was Lily's Birthday and while it wasn't extravagant, it would still cost extra. Then December was Christmas. It was easy. January. The weather is crappy so we don't want to do anything anyways. It's right after Christmas so we could keep Lily busy with all her new toys. So when she would ask to "do something fun", we had plenty to entertain her without having to take her places. It was an easy decision. So I brought it up to Steve and he was on board immediately.

So we rang in the new year with a bang and geared up for a no spend month. The hardest part? Not eating out. We ate out/fast food at least twice a week, if not more. This meant we were to prepare every meal. No grabbing fast food on the way home from Lily's dance class. No going out to breakfast with Papa on Sundays. Just good ol' home style cooking. Did I even have enough recipes in my repertoire?

Well, it's almost the end of January and I am happy to say we did it! We had a mostly non spend January. Our credit card bill is significantly smaller than it was in December (which is hard to compare due to the holidays). Thanks to Pinterest we had enough recipes to last us. We got our movies from the library. Which we do anyway. If you haven't checked your local library for movies, you really should. They even have new releases! Well, ours does anyway. We took a niece or nephew every weekend. This helped us spend more time with our family as well as entertained Lily. We even had enough left over beer from our New Year's Eve party to enjoy a little relaxing of the adult persuasion. It was an all around success.

What's that you say? "Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater?". Yes, we did cheat a little bit. When we had our nieces/nephew over we got Little Caesar's pizza. It was actually cheaper to do it that way than it was to cook. But we never spent much (thank you $5 Hot & Ready!). Also, I went out once with my best friend for her birthday. I missed her Dirty 30 so I had to make it up to her. Besides, thanks to the firefighters we met, I spent less than $20. =)   But, all and all, we made it. Thirty one days (or will be at the end of the week) without spending money on stupid stuff.

The no spending doesn't end on Thursday though. We won't be as hard core about it, but this month definitely opened our eyes. We're moving forward with a new look on our spending. An inspiration on why we should say no. We now want to hold ourselves accountable for what money we spend where. We want to do other things to help us save money, not just stop spending. Finally, we plan to do more no spend months in the future - every quarter at least.

Whether this concept is new to you, or you've heard about it before. I think that it's a great thing for every family to do. It really does open your eyes to the amount of money you spend frivolously. If you need ideas on how to spend your time, Google it, there are so many great ideas out there.

So, what are you waiting for? Stop reading and start saving!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Unconventional Mother

I've already told you about how I've been called a a good mom but let me take a minute to tell you what *kind* of mom I think I am.

With Lily, I exclusively breastfed until almost 6 months. Then I continued to "extended" breastfeed until she was 18 months. Only then did I stop because I had to in order to start fertility drugs for our second baby. If not for that, Lily may still be breastfeeding since she was such a booby monster. And I would still let her despite the "norm" that our society had deemed. I made my own food. She slept in our room until she was 7 months old. I used a delayed immunization schedule.  I wore her in one of the many baby carriers I invested in. We refused to do cry it out. I rocked Lily to sleep until she was almost 2 years old and continue to rock her before bed.

I read every book I could get my hands on not only when she was born, but from the time we were trying to conceive until she was probably close to a year old. I researched EVERYTHING. Every choice I made was not made without some sort of background information. I don't think this made me paranoid. I just felt that if I was bringing a child into this world they deserved for me to make informed decisions about their upbringing.

I remember hearing, A LOT, how things would be different when I had a second. How I was making it harder on myself by doing things the way I was. I know they were all teasing and had good intentions. I know that "my" way of doing things is far from the norm. At least the norm that society projects and that my immediate friends and family adhere to. But, at times it made me second guess myself. I wondered if things would change when my second child was born. If I would take "easier" ways (not that I think listening to your child cry is easy for anyone!).

Enter baby #2. My dear sweet Adelyn. I can say that some things did change. I still breastfeed and will continue to do so as long as she wants.I nurse in "public" much easier than before. I would even do it without a cover if it didn't make Steve uncomfortable. I still make my own baby food. I still use a delayed immunization schedule, wear her, refuse to do cry it out, and rock her to sleep. I still research anything I'm unfamiliar with. There has been a lot of that when it comes to her development and things I can do at home to help her meet her milestones. At almost 10 months old, she's just moved into her own room after quite a struggle. But now I cloth diaper. I wanted to with Lily but living in our old house we didn't have the room for all the extras that came along with that. So, essentially, I'm making it "harder" on myself. Not "easier" as some people projected.

So, you ask me, what kind of mother do I think I am? If you look online, there are a lot of terms to describe my parenting technique. Crunchy. Attached. Natural. Over bearing. Maybe I'm some parts of all of them. But, I just see myself as a little unconventional. If you ask some of my dearest friends who live in the computer, they'll say that what I'm doing is normal for them. It's normal for a lot of women who subscribe to the way of thinking that I do. But, those women are not parts of my inner most circle. I only know 1 women in real life who extended breast fed. She's my current boss. I only know of 2 women in real life that cloth diaper. One is, again, my boss (who's more "crunchy" than I am!). The other is a friend who started cloth diapering after I did. She, also, had thought about it in the past but when I loaned her some of my dipes I finalized the deal for her (yay!).

What I do is far from the "norm" for some people. They look at me with questioning eyes. They wonder if I'm going above and beyond what I should. But, it's normal for us. It works for us. And when it all boils down, that's really what matters. I get that cry it out, disposable diapers, not baby wearing, buying store food is normal for others. It works for them and their family. I don't judge by any extent of the imagination. But for me, I do what's in my gut. And, I think, when it comes down to it, that's what make people think that I'm a good mom. Whether people agree with my choices or think I'm crazy, they respect the fact that I'm following my heart no matter how "hard" it may be for me. That I'm doing what is right for my family as it stands now.

So, no matter what you want to call it. Or not call it. In the end, I just consider myself a mom doing the best I can do at the moment.

Disclaimer: I used "I" when referring to a lot here. I am not a single parent. I have a husband who is an intricate part of this family. He deserves as much credit as I do in raising these girls. But, he will freely admit that he gives me the freedom to do the research and make the decisions when it comes to these things when it comes to the girls. I never make them without discussing them with him first but he always says that he trusts me and the research I've done. He knows that nothing is done with a half heart when it comes to our girls. Not that he washes diapers or goes to the monthly appointments that are required for the delayed vax schedule. ;)   I am very lucky to have someone so open and on board for the parenting decisions that we make!