Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 30

It was a big day for Isla today. She had an appointment at Hanger for her second head scan. Finally time to see if that helmet has been doing its job!

It was good news...the helmet is most definitely working!
When we started with the helmet, her CPI (cranial proportion index) was 95%. Normal is between 83-85%. Today, the scan measured her at 89%! That is really, really good for being in the helmet only 6 weeks. Mary (our orthotist and the one who is in charge of all this) seemed very impressed by that.

You can defintiely see a big difference in her head shape. It is more oval shaped and less triangular. Her forhead is not as pointed, the sides are not as wide, and it is definitely rounder in the back. And it has only been 6 weeks!

So now, we will go back for another scan in 5 weeks (January 4). At that point, there is a good chance we could be done with the helmet after only 11 weeks. My goal was to have it off by the time we leave for our Florida vacation in mid-February. To be done with the helmet the first week of January would be so exciting!!!

But, there are a few things that may stop that. One thing Mary suggested to consider was whether Isla is rolling over in her crib at night. Without the helmet, she wants her to be moving off her back at night so that her head will not flatten again. After doing all this with the helmet, regression would be horrible! The problem is: she is still not rolling. She is so very close, but not doing it yet. She's still not a big fan of being on her tummy either. I think it might be a while before she gets to the point where she will roll over and sleep on her tummy.

So, she might still need to keep wearing the helmet past January...not necessarily to reshape her head but to prevent it from getting flat again. Then we run into another problem. She is growing a ton right now (which is why we are getting such good results so quickly). But by January, she will most likely be too big for this helmet. So if we want to continue with a helmet after that, then we will have to get another helmet. I really don't want to pay for another helmet at this point. So we will have some decisions to make in January about what to do next.

And one more concern today: the helmet is causing Isla to have bulges over her ears and what looks like an indentation on her face. It worries me that the helmet is causing these abnormalities because the whole purpose of the helmet is to get rid of any head/facial abnormalities!
Mary told us that the bulges are normal. It is called window edema, and it is caused by fluids that are being pushed around and cause swelling. It should go away after we have had the helmet off for a few weeks. She did do some adjusting of the helmet today, and hopefully that will help the bulges to not get any bigger.

As far as the indent on her face, Mary didn't thing it was anything permanent either. Most likely it is a combination of the way her face was before we started this and the fluids that are swelling in some places and leaving indents in other places. She also did some adjusting of the helmet on that side of her face to hopefully alleviate a little of the pressure there and prevent it from getting worse. The indent looks really obvious in this picture, but in real life I have a hard time seeing it.

Long story short...we are seeing really good results with the helmet. Aside from a few concerns, we are super pleased about the way her head is looking and really happy that we decided to go the helmet route!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November 29

I am super excited for Christmas this year!! It's fun to have our own family now and to begin our own Christmas traditions. Here are a few of our favorite family traditions during this time of year:

1. A real Christmas treeYes, they are expensive. Yes, they are messy. Yes, it would be easier to just pull one out of a box. But I grew up having a real tree every year, and I insist that we continue this tradition. When the girls get a little older, we might take a trip to a Christmas tree farm to cut down our own. For now, we just go to the market down the street.

2. The Advent BookWe received this book as a wedding present. The idea behind the book is that you open one door for each day in December and read a part of the Christmas story. Each night you add on more and more to the story, until the story is complete on Christmas Day. Daniel and I started reading this book together in December even before we had kids, though it is much more fun now that we have little ones to enjoy it with us.

3. Advent Boxes

In addition to our advent book, we also have advent boxes. I got these boxes last year from Stampin Up, and each day in December we opened them up and got to eat the candy inside them. This year, in addition to the candy, I am also going to add one activity for us to do on that day. Some of the activities are simple; some are a little more complex. Some are things that were already on our calendar anyways.

I got the craft ideas from this e-book, The Truth in the Tinsel. The book suggests ideas for a craft per day to tell the Christmas story. I love doing crafts, but that's a bit ambitious for me. So I just chose a few crafts. The crafts we do will coordinate with the part of the story we are reading in the advent book that day.

Without further adieu, here's my plan!

12/1: Make an angel craft
12/2: Get the Christmas tree
12/3: Go to the Christmas parade
12/4: Make an Elizabeth and Mary craft
12/5: Get out and read Christmas books
12/6: Popcorn and PJ party at church
12/7: Make a stable craft
12/8: Watch a Christmas movie
12/9: Ride the Christmas train at the mall
12/10: Visit Santa
12/11: Preschool Christmas program at church
12/12: Eat a candy cane
12/13: Make a baby Jesus craft
12/14: Put money in Salvation Army kettle
12/15: Watch a Christmas movie
12/16: Decorate a gingerbread house
12/17: Make a wise men craft
12/18: Take gifts to friends
12/19: Make a star craft
12/20: Drink hot chocolate
12/21: Wrap presents
12/22: Watch a Christmas movie
12/23: Make Christmas cookies
12/24: Christmas Eve service at church

We'll see how closely we follow that plan. I'm pretty good at making plans and pretty horrible at following through with them. But we're going to try this and see what happens. I'm sure I will take pictures and blog along the way as well.

Monday, November 28, 2011

November 28

I went to see Breaking Dawn, Part 1 tonight.

Now that I have confessed that to you all, I feel the need to explain my position on the Twilight franchise.

I read the books several years ago, long before the movies were made and before all the crazy Twilight hype. Twilight was so much better before all the hype. There are several book/movie series that are worth the huge hype that is made over them. Harry Potter? Worth the hype. The Hunger Games? Worth the hype (can't wait for that movie in March!!). Twilight? Not worth the hype.

Don't get me wrong...I like Twilight. The books are good. They are fun. They are addicting. I own all four of them. But I also understand they are not quality literature by any means. They are just a fun, guilty pleasure kind of read. All of the people who claim these books (and even worse, the movies) are the best thing they have ever read or seen are crazy! I read on someone's Facebook status that Breaking Dawn was the best movie they have ever seen...seriously! I have no words for that. Just know, that while I do find Twilight to be a fun source of entertainment, I don't consider it to be high quality entertainment. I understand its place.

So, with that off my chest, here are my thoughts about the movie. Anytime you watch a Twilight movie, you have to be prepared for two things. 1. Extreme cheesiness, and 2. the annoyingness of Robert Pattison (whoever thought it would be a good idea to cast him as Edward???). So once you adjust to those two things, the Twilight movies are kind of fun to watch, and often they are even funny, though not always intentionally so.

Breaking Dawn had a handful of moments that I would call good. There were many moments of cheesiness and several just flat out bad moments (the CGI werewolves with the voice over human voices...awful!). The book has some really far-fetched parts that make sense on the page but are difficult to pull off in a realistic way on screen. It was an okay adaptation of the book, but not something I would recommend to anyone who was not already a Twilight fan.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

November 27

Audrey got in some snuggle time with Great Grandma this afternoon.

We are back home. We had a nice visit with my family in Iowa. I was going to go back and try to catch up blogging the days I missed. But I changed my mind because that would require too much thought and effort on my part!

I'll summarize by saying that we had a good time, we spent lots of quality time with family, we got to know our adorable nephew better, we saw a few old friends, and we ate way too much food!!

Now it's back to the real world. I am not ready for Monday morning yet!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

November 24

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have more pictures from today, but I'm too lazy and tired to post them tonight. Maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

November 23

We are in Keokuk for Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to spending the next several days hanging out with the family.

I'm pretty sure I have the most adorable nephew ever. I didn't even get a great picture of him today, but still..he's just so cute!
He turned one last week, so we brought a present for him. Audrey was eager to help him open it! Audrey also kept giving him kisses (though it looks like she is trying to eat him in this picture).

Audrey did a pretty good job today playing with Josiah and sharing all the toys with him. She is definitely in big sister mode now, telling him what to do and trying to help him do everything!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November 22

Put one bow in Audrey's hair, and she will most likely pull it out within a few minutes. Put 10 bows in Audrey's hair, and she will leave them in all day long. Silly girl!!
And I had to include a pic of this little cutie!

Monday, November 21, 2011

November 21

I'm in my sweats, on the couch, under a blanket, with a mug of hot chocolate and a new book in hand. Sounds like a perfect way to spend a cold November evening!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

November 20

I'm thankful for two happy sisters! They crack each other up, and it makes me so happy!

Here's a cute picture from Daniel's phone. Audrey really likes to hold Isla lately. After she is done, she always says, "Thanks, Mom. Thanks for letting me hold her!"

Saturday, November 19, 2011

November 19

I made these turkey cookies for my Sunday School class tomorrow. I don't think they look too much like turkeys, but I have a feeling they will be a big hit with the two and three year olds. Audrey went to bed tonight talking about the cookie she was going to eat in her class tomorrow!

I also went to book club tonight. We discussed the book, Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin. Not my favorite book, but it was discussion worthy. We had a good discussion and a fun time, as always!

Friday, November 18, 2011

November 18

First: This is blog post #1001! I meant to make a big deal out of post #1000, but that was Wednesday's post and I totally missed it. 1000 blog posts! I really don't expect any of you to actually read all of these posts, as I am a bit long winded at times. But this blog has become a part of my daily life. I actually find it therapeutic to write about my helps me process my thoughts and keep a positive attitude. I also love having this record of our life, as well as a way to keep in touch with family and friends. To any of you who may have been around for all 1000 posts, thanks for sticking with me!

Second: I stink at these thankful posts. I truly am thankful for many things, but I am having a hard time writing blog posts and taking pictures of those things. I do at least have a post about Thanksgiving today though.

Audrey and I made this apple turkey today.As soon as we finished and I took a picture, she gobbled it all up!
I also bought two brand new books today. Though I am a book lover, I rarely buy new books for the girls, unless I am buying them as Christmas gifts. But I wanted some Thanksgiving books, because we didn't have any and all the Thanksgiving library books were checked out. So I went to Barnes and Noble (for the 3rd time this week!) and bought two brand new books (I did have a coupon though!). Here is what I bought:

This First Thanksgiving Day: A Counting Story
. This one is about the Indians and Pilgrims preparing for the first Thanksgiving feast. It's a fun, detailed book. You can count several different things on each page, as well as find a hidden turkey. Audrey enjoyed looking for the turkey (or chicken as she kept calling it), but it was kind of hard to find on some of the pages!

The Night before Thanksgiving. This is Twas the Night Before Christmas reworded for Thanksgiving. I wanted to get a book that talks about modern day Thanksgiving festivities, and this one was perfect.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

November 16

Isn't this the cutest Anne of Green Gables book that you have ever seen? I bought it at Barnes and Noble today to send to my 10 year old niece, who is stuck at home with the chicken pox on her birthday. Every young girl should have a copy of Anne of Green Gables!

I really just wanted an excuse to buy the book, because I am totally in love with the cover. They say you are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I disagree! I guess Puffin Classics has a whole series of these clothbound children book classics. I kind of want all of them, so I can stare at them looking pretty on my bookshelf.

This is not really a thankful post, but it did make me happy today. Just walking into Barnes and Noble makes me happy. I'm such a dork.

On a side note: Isla got her first tooth today! She hit this milestone about five months earlier than Audrey, who didn't get her first tooth until she was almost 11 months old.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November 15

I am thankful for Isla's great physical therapy session today. She did such a good job and cooperated with everything Shannon (her physical therapist) wanted her to do. She showed off how strong she has been getting over the past two weeks, and Shannon was really impressed and pleased!

I would say that she is now very close to normal (whatever normal is!) with her head and neck strength and range of motion. She is still just a bit tight on the left side, so Shannon wants to keep seeing her for a while longer and make sure she continues to make progress.

We took the helmet off for a few exercises, and Shannon noticed an obvious difference in her head shape. It is hard for us to tell if it is changing, because we see her every day. Her next head scan is in two weeks, so I'm anxious to get the official word on whether this helmet is working or not!

Monday, November 14, 2011

November 14

I'm thankful for good food to eat!

I made this for dinner tonight. She called it Pizza Sticks; I think I'm going to call it Pizza Bread. Whatever you call was pretty good! And really easy to make, since it uses frozen bread dough.

I used whole wheat bread dough. I'm sure it would taste even better with white bread, but it was still pretty good with the wheat. We will definitely make this again sometime!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November 13

I am thankful for warm weather and a beautiful day. We spent some time outside this afternoon while Daddy was raking. Audrey had so much fun jumping and playing in the leaves.

For the record, I don't even notice Isla's helmet in pictures anymore. And to think that at one point I said I would take all of our pictures when the helmet was off...silly me!

I'm also thankful for our neighborhood. Our neighbor came out to say hi and watch the girls play. She went in and got her camera to take some pictures too. Audrey was more than willing to strike a pose for her. Then Rosie invited Audrey inside...which always means that Audrey will come out with a bagful of Hershey kisses! Needless to say, Audrey loves our neighbor Rosie!

We have such a nice little block, and I'm grateful for good neighbors!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Recent Audrey Quotes

To Daniel: "I love you so much, Daddy. And I love Mommy. And I love Isla. And I love myself!"

I was making biscuits for dinner last night, and Audrey was helping me. Sometimes she thinks she should be able to do everything all by herself, so I was explaining that I needed to help her and we would work together....that was called teamwork. She said, "Teamwork? Teamwork is on Wonder Pets. We are doing the teamwork, Mommy...let's keep doing it together!"

Audrey was doing something obnoxious yesterday, and I said to her, "Just cut it out, Audrey." She looked at me serious and teary-eyed and said, "But, I don't know how to cut!"

It is true that she doesn't know how to use scissors. We've been trying to work on recently, but she just doesn't get the concept and she gets very frustrated that she can't cut. I do love how literal she is right now and how she applied it in this case. I definitely laughed and was not annoyed with her anymore!

Friday, November 11, 2011

November 11

I am thankful for a warm house! Even though I complain all the time about our house being cold (I think I just complain too much!). It is drafty and chilly in our house in the winter. However, I know it could be much worse, and I'm grateful to have a roof over our heads!

I am also thankful for this amazing blanket. It is huge and warm and comfy. Once buried underneath this blanket, it is almost impossible to get up and do anything!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

November 10

I am thankful to be able to stay at home with my kids.

I complain about it far too much, and most days I feel overwhelmed and incompetent as a stay at home mom. But when it comes down to it, I am truly grateful for this opportunity to spend pretty much every single moment with these two precious girls.

(For the record, I have nothing against working moms. There is sometimes the attitude among stay at home moms that being at home is superior to working. I really don't agree with that at all and don't want to come off as acting superior to anyone. I think there are pros and cons to both working and staying home, and I make no judgments against any mom who chooses to work...just wanted to make that clear).

On to some pictures and a video from today!

We went to Cherry Berry with a friend today. She has three older boys, and they were out of school, so they tagged along with us. It was a fun afternoon outing. I just have to write down Audrey's retelling of our outing before bed tonight: "We went to Cherry Berry today. Noah didn't play with me, he was too shy. Logan and Rylan played with me. Rylan helped me put on my jacket. He knows how." It cracks me up what sticks out in her mention of ice cream at all!!

She did enjoy the ice cream though...she was studying her spoon to make sure she got every last drop off of it!
Just so Isla doesn't feel left out: here is a video of her from this afternoon. She is at such a fun age. She is making all kinds of funny sounds, blowing bubbles, playing with toys, studying every move that Audrey makes. For now, it is great that she can't move or roll over yet; I am definitely enjoying this stationary phase. Too quickly she will be moving all over the place and getting into everything!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November 8

I am thankful for a great day at home with the girls. We stayed home all day, except for a quick trip to Sonic for a Diet Dr. Pepper for Mommy.

Audrey was SO happy today. All day long, she laughed and played and had fun. She didn't whine or cry or throw any fits. She kept hugging me and saying, "I love you all the time, Mommy."

Isla took TWO great naps today plus a third little catnap tonight. And she was her normal happy self during her awake times. She is starting to overcome these catnaps a little, and I think she is happier (and we are happier) when she gets a little more daytime rest.

I tried to take a picture of my happy girls with their Daddy tonight, but the girls weren't being too cooperative. I thought this one was pretty cute though!
Isla is starting to lose her hair. By the time we are done with the helmet, I don't think anyone will recognize her. Not only will she have a nice round head, but she will also be bald! They say the helmet does not cause hair loss. Most likely she would have lost her hair anyway at this age.
Isla is also trying to compete with Audrey for the funniest baby face in a photo contest. Not sure if she quite has Audrey's famous photo beat yet, but she is definitely trying!

Monday, November 7, 2011

November 7

I don't have a picture, but today I'm thankful for bedtime! Not really my bedtime, but the girls' bedtime. Tonight both of them were asleep before 7:45.

I love my girls, and I love spending time with them. But it is definitely nice to have a bit of quiet time when they are both sleeping soundly!

They are both pretty consistent about going to bed around 8:00 or so, which is great! Our next step is to figure out how to get them both go to sleep at the same time in the same room. And then to stay asleep for the same amount of time in the same room all night long. I think that is going to be a much more difficult task.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

November 6

I'm thankful for Little Miss Audrey. She is something else. I tell her that all that time, and she replies, "I'm not something else. I'm Audrey!"

She makes me laugh. She makes me want to scream. And then she makes me laugh again. Oh, the joys of a three year old girl!

Singing is definitely one of her favorite pastimes. She will listen to a song over and over and over again, studying the words until she can sing it all by herself. Right now, she loves all the songs from the musical Hairspray...and she knows a lot of the words to several of those songs (it may not be entirely appropriate for her to know all of those words, but at this point, she has no idea what they all mean). The Beauty and the Beast soundtrack is also a favorite. I uploaded this video to Facebook the other day...listening to her sing is one of my favorite things!

Friday, November 4, 2011

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November 4

I am thankful for the month of November. We had a CRAZY October, and November is looking to be much, much calmer so far. I am grateful for some down time and time to hang out at home with our little family.

We have nothing going on this weekend, so we decided to make tonight a family pizza and movie night. I was explaining to Audrey what we were going to do tonight: make pizza, watch a movie, eat popcorn, etc.

A few minutes went by, and then Audrey said, "Mom I gotta get my rolling pod."

"Your what?" I said, with no clue what she was talking about.

"My rolling pod. It's in the basement. I'll go get it."

So Audrey goes down to the basement and comes upstairs with a rolling pin from her toy kitchen. "Here's my rolling pod," she said. "I use it to make the pizza with you."

She is too funny! She did use her rolling pod, and we made some yummy pizza for dinner!
We popped our popcorn, ate it all up and now we are finishing Winnie the Pooh. It is just about bedtime for the girls, and then Daniel and I get to watch a movie too!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

November 3

I'm thankful for baby Isla!

She is a sweet little thing, though she does have her stubborn moments. Just ask our physical therapist (who said yesterday that Isla was her first real challenge in all her years of physical therapy)! The girl is happy unless you make her turn her head or lay on her tummy...then, watch out world!

She is making lots of progress in physical therapy though. Huge improvements from when we started! She still has a little ways to go in improving her neck muscle strength. And I'd like to see her start to do better on her tummy (the helmet has set us back a little there). But I'm thankful that she is developing well and appears to be a healthy and happy baby!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November 2

Today, I'm thankful for my computer. I don't really notice how much I use it until it is gone! My power cord died this morning. I can't count how many times today I went to do something on my computer. It's a little pathetic how much I use the computer...but I really do use it for everything. I'm grateful that we are able to afford such a luxury, as well as the new power cord that will be here tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November 1

Following Kellie's lead, I'm going to try to post one thing I am thankful for each day until Thanksgiving.

Tonight, I'm thankful for good books! I have spent the past 2 1/2 hours reading a live online chat with Michelle Hodkin, the author of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. I read this book recently and could not put it down! (Kellie, you need to read it soon because I need to talk to more people about it!). It is a young adult mystery/horror/romance book. Seriously, there are some good books in the young adult genre! Anyway, it's the kind of book that has more questions than answers. It's also the first book in a series and ended with a major cliffhanger. The next book doesn't come out for another year, so it's going to be a long wait.

I really do enjoy reading a lot. It's tricky to find time to read these days. Right now, prime reading hours for me seem to be between 10 pm and midnight, once everyone else in my house is sound asleep. Sacrificing sleep is worth it for the sake of a good book! =)

October 31, part 3

I really don't like having Audrey's birthday and Halloween on the same day. I suppose we don't have to do anything for Halloween and that could solve the problem. But so far, it's been fun to dress the girls up and go trick or treating with friends.

We just have to accept that it is going to be a crazy day! I wasn't sure if Audrey would be able to handle it all, especially since she was a grump for most of the day. ("I'm just having a hard time today," is what she told me all morning long).

She did a good job with trick or treating though...from posing for pictures to going up to the houses and saying "trick or treat" and "thanks." We walked around our block and Steve and Amy's block. It was fun!

Here are this year's costumes: a caterpillar for Isla and a butterfly for Audrey.

Cael (and Steve and Amy) went trick or treating with us for the second year in a row. Cael looked awesome in his airplane costume!