Monday, October 31, 2011

October 31, part 2

Part Two: Isla is 5 months old!

Wow, five months old! I really can't believe that she has been with us for five months. It seems like just yesterday that we were impatiently waiting for her to be born.
Isla's latest trick is blowing raspberries. She makes a funny high pitched noise while doing it and she gets drool all over herself! But it keeps her entertained for long periods of time. I have a video of this...I will try to upload it sometime.

I really think she is a pretty mellow and happy baby. As long as someone is paying attention to her, she is happy and smiling almost all the time! She is also starting to do better with playing by herself...blowing bubbles, kicking her feet, eating her hands, playing with toys...she can entertain herself for quite a long time. I think that is a skill that is a necessity to learn early when you are the second child!

She is still not rolling over from her back to her tummy. I'm trying not to worry about that too much. I know there is a pretty wide range of acceptable ages for reaching the rolling over milestone. Especially since she had a rough start with her flat head and the subsequent neck muscle problems, I figured she would not roll over right away. She is getting much better with the range of motion in her neck. Still not quite there on the left side, but she has made a ton of progress in the past 4-6 weeks.

And the helmet? Really, it's not a big deal at all. I think we are on Day 11 today. She now wears it 23 hours a day, every day. The first three nights that she slept in it were rough, but the past few nights have been much, much better. She doesn't seem to notice it at all, and honestly, I don't really notice it at all anymore either. I'm surprised by how quickly I got used to seeing her wear it. Now, when we take her helmet off, I feel like she looks funny without it!

October 31, part 1

There is too much going on today! Audrey's third birthday, Isla's five month birthday and Halloween! I'm going to split today into three parts otherwise this might turn into the world's longest blog entry.

Part 1: Audrey is three!

Today, Audrey is three years old. I don't know how she managed to get so big so fast; the past three years have passed so quickly!
She had her three year check up on Friday. She weighed in at 31 pounds (55th percentile) and was 37 inches (39th percentile).

The nurse always asks about their temperment. Is she happy, content, independent, clingy or fussy? My answer: all of the above!! I think it is fairly normal for most kids this age, but Audrey's behavior and emotions are all over the place. Today was a prime example. She woke up super grumpy, but then she was super happy. Then she was grumpy again, and then she was happy again. Over and over again all day long! She is such a drama queen! =)

Some of Audrey's favorite activities right now are singing songs, dancing and drawing. She talks nonstop all day long. I can understand most everything that she says, but other people have a harder time understanding her. I am constantly amazed at the funny and clever things she says. She is also like a sponge...soaking up everything that she hears and then repeating it back to us.

For her birthday today, we took her to Build a Bear. I have always thought of Build a Bear as an expensive, out of our budget kind of place. But if you get the cheapest bear and no clothes, it is really fairly affordable and a fun outing with a preschooler. Audrey loved the whole experience!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

October 30

My poor blog has been neglected for the past few days. I'm going to try to get back on track.

Audrey's third birthday party was yesterday! I am the first to admit that I go way overboard on birthday parties. I am also quick to admit that I do it purely for selfish reasons. Yes, I want Audrey to have a fun and memorable party. But I know she could have a fun and memorable party without the theme and decorations and stuff! I just love party planning. If ever I could get a job as an event planner, I would LOVE it!

I do try to pick a theme that I know fits with what Audrey (and soon Isla) would like. Except for the first birthday party, which doesn't matter at all as the kids don't know what is going on. For Audrey's first birthday, we had a Little Miss Birthday themed party. For her second birthday, we had a goldfish themed party. At the time, she loved goldfish (both the real fish and the crackers), so it was a fitting theme for her.

This year, I picked a "Paint the colors of the rainbow" party. Audrey loves to paint and color and draw. So I knew a paint party would be a hit with her. And I have found so many cute rainbow ideas lately, that I thought it would be fun to incorporate them in some way as well. The result--my favorite birthday party so far!

These streamers (directions found here) were my favorite decoration. I wish I would have had time to make more because they were so cute and fun.
We had lots of rainbow colored food...

We had some paint activities for the kids. Face painting was a big hit with all of them, especially Audrey. She had a cupcake on one cheek, a balloon on the other cheek, a spider on one hand, and a rainbow on the other hand.

Paint with water. I don't know if the kids thought this was that much fun, but I liked it because it was not too messy!
And they also got to paint a pumpkin.
A rainbow cake would have been the obvious choice for a cake at this party. But I have not had the best experiences making cakes for Audrey's parties in the past, so this year I decided to stay away from cake. I was going to make rainbow cupcakes, but then I found boxes of Funfetti cake mix on sale at the grocery store and decided to take the easy way out this time!

Each kid did get their own paint pallette with a cupcake, and they could "paint" their cupcake with sprinkles. This idea (found here) was the basis for the whole party!
Audrey had been talking about blowing out her three birthday candles for months. This was a big deal for her...even though she couldn't blow them out!
In the past, opening presents with Audrey hasn't been the most pleasant experience. But this year, she did great. She was super excited about everything she opened (both toys AND clothes), and she thanked everyone who brought her a present.
While saying thanks to Mimi, she ran to give her a hug too!
Overall, I think Audrey and all her friends had fun at the party. Audrey was super excited and happy the whole time...until the party was winding down and we started cutting off the sweets. Then she completely melted down and lost it. I suppose that is to be expected after a busy day with not much napping and lots of sugar!

Isla's one year birthday party theme is already decided...only 7 months until the next party!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

October 27

It was Costume Day at Sprouts today. Lindsey and I had the brilliant idea of trying to get all the kids together for a group picture. We only got about 1/4 of the kids together and this was my best shot. Obviously, it was a huge success.

Audrey wore part of her butterfly costume. I wouldn't let her wear her new, special wings because I don't want them to break before Monday. So she had to wear some old dress up wings that we already had. She kept talking all morning about her Halloween costume. She would go up to other kids and say, "See my Halloween costume? Do you like it? I'm a beautiful butterfly!"

I really didn't manage to get any good pictures today. But here is Audrey with her buddies Spiderman and Raggedy Ann (aka Elliot and Anna).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October 26

Here's a little Halloween sneak peek for you. Does she look like a caterpillar? Because she is supposed to be a caterpillar. Hopefully, people will get the idea.

I already had the caterpillar idea started when we got the helmet, so I had to find a way to work the helmet into it. I got this stocking cap at the dollar spot at Target. It would probably look more like a caterpillar if it was red (a la The Very Hungry Caterpillar). But all they had was pink, and I was too cheap and lazy to look for something else! And the pink matches her helmet better. =)

Audrey is going to be a butterfly, but we didn't try on her costume tonight. The kids are wearing their costumes to Sprouts tomorrow, so I had to scramble around today to get everything finished for the girls.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October 25

Here are Isla's official "before the helmet" pictures...even though she has been wearing the helmet for 5 days now!

I think it is hard to get a good view of her flat head in a photograph. It seems so much more noticeable to me in person than it does in photos. So I just took a bunch of pictures from several angles to have a few points of view to compare with at the end.

My biggest fear is that we will go through all of this with the helmet, and nothing will change. Really, that would just be awful.

The orthotist says by the 6 week point we should be able to see a visible difference. So that will be our next set of pictures...we shall see if anything changes by then!

(You can also see the yucky rash she has on her face in these pictures. The doctor is going to prescribe us something to use on it, but she wanted to do some research first. Her normal prescription isn't optimal to use with the helmet.)

Monday, October 24, 2011

October 24

Today was day 4 with the helmet. All seems to be going fairly well. Isla doesn't act like she minds it at all. She was a little on the crabby side today, but I don't think that had anything to do with the helmet. She was the crabbiest during the hour this afternoon that I took it off!

She is still not sleeping in the helmet at night. I think that will start on Wednesday according to the schedule they gave us. She has woken up the past two nights in the middle of the night. Maybe she is just missing the helmet? I do wonder if she will go through helmet withdrawal when we are done with this whole process.

The only bad thing about the helmet is that it is irritating the skin on Isla's face. She already had dry skin/eczema on the sides of her face and forehead that flared up occasionally. But adding the constant contact from the helmet has made it worse. We are going to take her into the doctor in the morning to see if she has any ideas to help it get better. I don't want it to get so bad that she can't wear the helmet. I don't want anything to delay this process and cause her to have to wear the helmet for even longer.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

October 23

I think we have been home for about 20 minutes this whole weekend. That's what it feels like at least. Definitely one of those times when I wish I had a weekend to recover from my weekend!

I didn't take any pictures today, but we did have our pictures taken. We hired someone to take our family pictures for the first time ever! I feel fairly confident that I can take my own photos of the girls and make them look okay. But I can't take a family photo with myself in it! I really want just one nice family photo to print on a canvas and hang in our living room.

So, I was hoping that Audrye would be more cooperative about taking pictures if someone besides me was taking the pictures. But that was not the case. She was a bit on the ornery side during our shoot...not wanting to sit where we wanted her to sit or purposely looking away from the camera. And it's tricky to try to get a family picture with both an almost 3 year old and an almost 5 month old looking at the camera with their eyes open and a decent expression on their face! All the while I"m trying to help the girls sit still and look at the camera while keeping a nice looking smile on my face and making sure that my hair and clothing are in's difficult!!

All I want is one good family picture from this photo shoot, and I will be happy. It's a little different to be on the opposite side of the camera and having to wait to see what the photos look like!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

October 22

Today was Martha Stewart Fall Fun Day. I think this is the sixth year that we have participated in thsi day with our friends. Basically, it is a day that celebrates all things fall. We visit an apple orchard and a pumpkin patch that was featured in Martha Stewart magazine (which is where we got the name for the day).

I'm kind of sentimental about my pumpkin patch photos. There are two spots where I require photos to be taken. The first spot is these king and queen chairs. I have taken one here every year since 2007. I think it is fun to see how things have changed from year to year, so I put together this picture! (You can click on it to view a larger image)

In 2007, there were no kids in the picture. In 2008, I was 9 months pregnant with Audrey. In 2009, Audrey was almost 1 year old. In 2010, I was about 6 weeks pregnant with Isla, and Audrey was almost 2 years old. Today, in 2011, Audrey is almost 3 years old and Isla is almost 5 months old!

The second requried photo spot is this big pumpkin that measures how tall you are. Here is how Audrey has measured up the past three years:

Friday, October 21, 2011

October 21

Someone is excited about her new helmet!!! (Technically, the helmet is called a cranial band. But there is nothing band-like about is definitely a helmet!)
Isla gets a huge A+ for cooperating with the helmet today. For the first day, she only has to wear it for one hour and then she gets an hour off, then back on for an hour and off for an hour...and so on. She ended up wearing it for several hours at a time already today, because it wasn't bothering her at all. She even took two naps wearing it, and according to her helmet initiation schedule, she doesn't have to sleep with it until Day 4. So she is doing great! She really doesn't seem to notice it at all, except for when we are taking it off or putting it on.

For me, the helmet looks better on than I expected. I was really nervous about seeing her in it for the first time, but it wasn't so bad. It will take some time to get used to seeing her in it. But since she will soon be wearing it every day, 23 hours a day, I'm sure that won't take too long.

One thing I don't like is that it squishes her cheeks and pulls down her eyes. We need to work on adjusting the helmet and getting it to sit straight on her head. I think it is a tad crooked in these pictures and could look a little better with a bit of adjustment. We will go back to the orthotist next week, and she will refit the helmet and cut off more of it around her face. I think it will look even better when there is not so much covering her forehead and sides of her face.Isla made her big public debut tonight at a church staff party. It was a good first outing, because most of the people there already knew about the helmet. We didn't have to explain it to everyone. Tomorrow, we are going to an apple orchard and a pumpkin patch. It will be the first test to see how people in the general public react to her helmet.

It's funny how much my thoughts on the helmet have changed over the past two months. When we first found out about it, I was terrified. I was positive that we wouldn't go out in public with it on and that we would take it off for all pictures. Now, that just seems silly to me! We've already been out in public and taken pictures, and we have only had the helmet for about 9 hours.

I'm trying to be very vocal and open about all of this. More than anything, I just want people to understand what is going on with Isla's head and why we chose to put her in a helmet.(I need to take official "before" pictures that we can use to compare Day 1 with Day ??? at the end. I will do that soon!)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October 19

We chopped off Audrey's hair today! Well, when I say "we", I mean our hairstylist Jenni chopped off Audrey's hair. I think it is so cute! Her hair just gets kind of stringy and tangled when it is long, so I was ready for something shorter and different. I really do like it a lot, except that it makes her look so much older!

Tonight, when I was giving Audrey a bath, she said, "No, don't wash off my hair cut from Jenni!" I explained to her that her hair cut would still be there even after we washed her hair. Then she asked, "Will it still be there after bed?"

Audrey is all about being a silly model these days. Here she is posing and showing off her new do!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

October 18

We are taking advantage of the last few days that Isla has to wear her headbands. By the time she is done with the helmet, she will have outgrown many of them!

Monday, October 17, 2011

October 17

We are counting down the days to Audrey's birthday around here. Each day Audrey gets to take a circle off of her chain.There are two special circles on the for her birthday party day and one for her actual birthday. Having a birthday on Halloween means that we will rarely have her party on her actual day of birth. But I don't think Audrey is going to mind. When I explained this to her, she said, "Birthday...and birthday. Two birthdays! Yippee!"

Sunday, October 16, 2011

October 16

I fixed Audrey's hair in "princess leia" pigtails today. I just think she looks so cute with her hair this way. I wanted to take a couple of pictures before bed tonight, and Audrey was more than willing to pose for me. She came up with these poses all on her own!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

October 15

We started today debating whether we should call the doctor or take Isla to prompt care. Last night more diarrhea led to more screaming on her part...she ended up sleeping with me for most of the night as that was the only way I could get her to settle down.

But she started to act better late this morning, and she ended up having a pretty good day. Hardly any screaming at all and less frequent diarrhea. I hope this means that she is on the way to getting back to normal.
We decided Isla was fit to be out in public, and we took both of the girls to a friend's wedding. I wasn't so sure about taking the girls to a wedding as they generally are not kid friendly places. But they were really encouraging kids to come to this wedding, and it worked out pretty well. They had a candy bar and kids meals at the reception, which were fun things for Audrey. Audrey was SO excited about the wedding. She wanted us all (even Daddy) to wear pretty dresses. She wanted hers to be white and didn't understand when we tried to explain that only the bride gets to wear white.

Audrey did great during the ceremony, and Isla did too. It was a little harder for Audrey to be patient at the reception, as it was a long wait until we got our food and an even longer wait until it was time for cake! Thank goodness for iphones!
For the toasts, they brought out champagne for the adults and a Shirley Temple type drink for the kids. Audrey wasn't too sure about her drink.
Until she tasted it! Then she downed the whole glass rather quickly.
Congrats to Jason and Heather! Thanks for letting us share the day with you!