Sunday, September 30, 2012

September 30: The Weekend

I meant to blog all weekend, but it never happened.  So here is a recap of our weekend.

On Friday night, we met some friends for some frozen yogurt at Cherry Berry.

Saturday was a busy day.  Daniel spent most of the day with the girls.  I spent the morning helping to paint a classroom at church.  Then in the afternoon, I worked on another paint project:  making these cute play groceries out of wooden blocks.  We are going to use them at Sprouts, our playgroup at church that starts back up this week. I didn't quite get them all painted, but when the project is finished, I will post pictures!

For the rest of Saturday: I did a photo shoot with a family from church, ate dinner with my own family, met my friend Heather at Starbucks, then went to see a movie with Heather.  Heather and I have not had good luck in picking movies lately (The Campaign was our last failed movie pick).  This time, we saw The Master.  While well acted, it really just made no sense.  The movie ended, and we both looked at each other and said, "I don't get it."

Sunday morning was church as usual.  Then we went to Audrey's school for their Family Fall Festival.  Audrey was super excited about this event, and she was not disappointed.  They had bounce houses, games, playdough, face painting and stuff.  It really wasn't too fancy, but Audrey thought it was great.  Every time she played a game and got a super cheap/junky prize, she would jump up and down and run to show Daniel and our friends what she won. 

 Isla and I were waiting for Audrey to finish her last turn in the bounce house.  One of the bounce houses was Disney themed with lots of Disney characters on it.  Isla was pretty excited when she spotted Mickey Mouse!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

September 27: Isla and her Vestibular Sense

Isla seems to be back to normal for the most part this week.  Except for a couple of random, irrational screaming tantrums she has been having on a daily basis.  Maybe her ears still hurt or her teeth.  Or maybe we have entered the age of temper tantrums.  Oh, I remember this age with Audrey, and it was not pretty.  I was hoping my sweet, laid back baby Isla would skip over this phase.  But she is showing us that she definitely has an opinion about life and she can throw fits with the best of them!  Fun times!  =)

While she was sick last week, she discovered that it is really fun to lean back on pillows.  Now that she is feeling better, she just wants to fall back on pillows all the time.  Then she sits herself up and falls back down again.  Over and over.  It makes her smile every time (and me too!).

I posted a few days ago about how she is standing up by herself more often.  She is still sometimes standing up by herself, but it has not become a regular thing yet.  Still (still!!) if she realizes that she is not holding onto something, most of the time she immediately reaches out to grab onto the nearest person or object.  The girl just hates to feel unsteady or to even think about the possibility of feeling unsteady.  That is pretty unusual.  Most kids her age don't care one bit about whether they are stable or not.  They just take off and go, not caring if they wobble or fall. 

We went to physical therapy today, and it was not a great session.  Isla just cried and fought us every time we tried to get her to stand or walk.  Shannon is trying to figure out something that will make Isla feel more comfortable with letting go.  One idea is that it could be a vestibular issue.  (The vestibular system is the sensory system in the inner ear that provides a sense of balance...I had to look that up when I got home today). 

Isla always wants to be holding onto something, and we assume this makes her feel stable.  She doesn't really need to hold onto things to stay balanced, but in her mind at least, she is more balanced when holding onto something.  So Shannon thinks maybe we need to work on helping her feel more comfortable in unstable positions and movements.  So our new strategy is to put Isla in moving positions that are safe but not stable (sitting and bouncing on a ball, swinging in a swing, etc.) in the hopes that she will gain some confidence and feel more steady even when everything around her is unsteady.

I'm not sure that there is really something wrong with her vestibular sense.   She likes to be flipped upside down and to fall into our arms and to be spun around and other such rapid movements; it seems she should hate those things if she is having issues with balance and her vestibular sense.  But she is definitely lacking confidence when it comes to moving on her own, and she is overly cautious.  So maybe these new therapy techniques will help her get braver and feel more comfortable if nothing else.  So far, everything else we have tried has not been working, so I'm ready for something new at this point.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September 25: Audrey and Her Guys

I keep trying to get rid of stuffed animals and dolls in our house, but Audrey keeps playing with all of them.  So I guess as long as they are getting used, they can stay.  We call Audrey's collection of stuffed animals, dolls and babies "guys." 

When Audrey plays with her guys, it always entertains me.  I just love listening to the way she talks to them and makes up games to play with them.  In this picture, she lined them all up along the wall, gave them each three "pom pom" balls (after asking them what color they would like), and then invited us to come shop in her toy store.  Later, the "pom pom" balls transformed into the the coins we needed to buy the guys in her store.

Today, she wanted all of her guys to watch Tangled with her.  So she lined them all up again, this time in front of the TV so they all could watch the movie together.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

September 23: New Curtains, Dining Room Edition

Remember those new curtains I bought at Ikea a while back?  They have been hanging in our living/dining rooms for a few weeks now.  But I just got the house clean enough yesterday to take some pictures to post here!  =)

Here is a before and after look at one of the dining room windows.  The old curtains were super cheap ($7 per pair, on clearance at Target) sheer white curtains.  They didn't look awful, but they were pretty neutral and didn't add much interest to the room.  The new curtains, while not super wild, make a bolder statement, I think.

We chose to hang the new curtains higher and wider than the actual window, because every home design show or blog that I have seen says that is what you are supposed to do.  It definitely make the room feel taller.  Here is a picture I took while we were hanging them, showing the difference between the placement of the old and new curtains.
Once we hung the curtains higher and wider though, that wall with the bookshelf looked really crowded.  I have never been a fan of the bookshelf in the dining room, but we just didn't have anywhere else to put it (and I wasn't ready to part with my books yet!).  The new curtains necessitated that we find a new place for the bookshelf though, so we did.  We ended up sending most of our Bible college/Christian resource books that were on a shelf in our piano room to Daniel's office at church.  Then we moved this bookshelf into the piano room and moved that bookshelf to storage for now.  Why didn't we think to do that a long time ago?

The room and the curtains looked so much better when we got that bookshelf out of there!  I'm thinking a small console table or hutch in between the two windows might be nice someday.  But someday is very, very far away right now.
 I like interior design.  I don't claim to know much about it or be very good at it, and we don't have a lot of money to spend on projects. But I do enjoy decorating and re-decorating and then re-decorating again!  It's a good thing we don't have much money, or I would probably be wanting to redo our rooms all the time.  Instead I just have an ever growing list of projects that I would like to complete around the house...someday!

I consider our house to always be a work in progress, and I think it's fun to watch it evolve over time.  I'd like to do a better job of taking pictures of those changes.  I have this picture of our dining room right before we moved into the house:

Here is what our dining room looked like after we moved in.  This was in 2005.
I don't have any other pictures of our dining room, but it has gone through a few little changes over the years.  Here is what it looks like today:
And the view from the living room.
 A new dining room table would be high on my list of dining room projects someday (but again someday is very, very far away!).  We bought this one before we bought the house, and I really wish we would have thought through that decision a little better.  The light wood color and the size are just not right for the space.  But it serves it's purpose as a place for our family to eat meals together so I suppose that is all that really matters.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

September 20: Standing Up

Isla seemed to be back to normal today.  Thank goodness!!

She celebrated by standing up all by herself...for a really long time!

It started when I was taking her shirt off before bed.  I noticed that she was really steady, so I just let go of her.  And she stood there.  And kept standing there.  While I found my camera.  While I found my SD card.  She just stood there and watched me.  Then she played peek-a-boo with the shirt around her neck.  All while standing up all by herself.  It felt like she was standing there for an eternity, but it was probably closer to a minute.

After I got her shirt off, she stood by herself again.  For a long time again.  This time she also took a few steps towards me before finally sitting herself down.

I have known for a long time that she was physically capable of doing it.  It is so good to see her finally have the confidence to do what we all know she can do (and what we have been waiting for her to do)!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

September 19: Poor Sick Baby

Isla woke up this morning acting and looking much worse than the past few days.  She was just completely lethargic and did not want to do anything.  It was hard to get her to sit up or even lift her head up.  She was obviously not feeling well, and I knew something more was going on besides just getting a new tooth.

I spent almost the entire day holding Isla and trying to help her get comfortable. She just laid there with her head on my shoulder.  She slept a little, but mostly she just stared listlessly into space.

Audrey wasn't too happy about me being occupied with Isla all day long, but the day ended up pretty good for Audrey.  Tonight, she told me that it was the best day ever.  Because we felt bad that Audrey was getting ignored, Daniel took her out to Dairy Queen for lunch.  Plus, I let her watch just about as much TV as she wanted to keep her occupied and quiet.  Dairy Queen plus TV equals best day ever for Audrey.

I was planning to wait until tomorrow before taking Isla to the doctor, but I just got too worried about her this afternoon.  All day her breathing rate just seemed really fast; she was taking at least 60 breaths per minute consistently.  Combined with her listless, lethargic behavior, I thought we should get her checked out today.
The verdict from the doctor's office:  an ear infection, along with some kind of virus. Doctor wasn't too concerned with her fast breathing, as she said that is common with a fever.  (Isla's fever hasn't been that high though, around 100.  That doesn't seem high enough to warrant such fast breathing, but what do I know?)  The doctor was pretty concerned with Isla's lethargic behavior though.  She checked her blood sugar, and it was low.  That is understandable since she wasn't interested in eating or drinking much today.  Her recommendation was to take Isla to the ER if she is still acting lethargic tomorrow.  She recommended lots of fluids, which I have been trying to do but it has been almost impossible to get Isla to drink much.

After getting home from the doctor's office, we finally got her to drink about a half a cup of juice.  She took a little nap in Daniel's arms.  And then, all of a sudden, she was fine.  She sat in her chair and ate a little food at dinnertime.  Then she smiled and laughed and played and acted completely normal for the rest of the night.  She was a completely different girl from the limp, listless girl I held in my arms all day today.  Her fever went back down to normal all on its own, without any help from Tylenol. 

I have no idea what led to such a quick and amazing turn around for her.  Maybe that half cup of juice was enough sugar to give her some energy again?   I'm just hoping that things will start moving up from here.  I would love to avoid any more days like today.  I would also love to avoid any trips to the ER.  Even though she was acting more normal tonight, she still refused to drink anything else.  Maybe she has a sore throat?  We tried everything to encourage drinking fluids; we even pulled out her old bottle and tried to give her some Gatorade in it.  But she was not interested and refused to drink anything.

So, I hope that tonight wasn't a fluke.  And that she will wake up fever free in the morning, ready to play and drink and eat and get back to normal!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September 18

Poor Isla has not been feeling well the past couple of days.  She is snotty, and she just wants to spend a lot of her time laying her head down and being held.  Today she started to run a fever.  I'm thinking it might be teeth, as one of her top molars is finally breaking through her very swollen gums.  But she is really acting not well, so maybe it's a virus or something.  One of the most frustrating things for me about unwell babies is not knowing exactly what is bothering them.  It would be so much easier to help her if I just knew what was causing her to feel bad!

Despite not feeling well most of the day, Isla was pretty energetic and happy for a while this morning while Audrey was at school.  I got out the camera and wanted to get a picture of her standing by herself.  She has started standing unassisted more frequently the past couple of days.  I thought I might be able to get her to do it for the camera, but she refused to let got of the chair.  She is just barely touching it, and if she did let go, she would most likely not fall.  But holding on to something is just so important to her!

Notice how she is tripping over her pants.  These are size 12 months pants.  I keep trying to roll them and pull them up at the waist, but they just keep falling down.  I pulled out Isla's fall/winter clothes, and everything I have for her is 18 months or 18-24 months, because based on the way she was growing, that seemed like the most appropriate size.  She is going to be swimming in those clothes if she doesn't have a big growth spurt soon!

And here are a few more pictures from this morning.  Isla really loves to sit in chairs!

After these pictures, Isla started to get a little cranky again.  So we snuggled on the couch and watched Elmo videos on YouTube.  While it is no fun to have a little one who doesn't feel well, all of the snuggles from my baby girl are kind of fun!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

September 15: Audrey's Reading Chart

Audrey and I were super excited for her to participate in the summer reading program at the library this summer.  Early in June, we went to the library, picked up her stuff, and put her chart on the refrigerator to keep track of how much we read this summer.  Audrey was so excited about being able to earn prizes for reading books (or in her case, listening to books).

Then, we had a crazy summer and the chart was mostly ignored.  Finally, about a day before the library's program was ending, Audrey found the chart and got super excited again about reading books and earning prizes.  By then, it was a little too late to participate.

I felt bad, so I decided we could just make our own chart and pick our own prizes.  I made a chart with 100 spaces, and she got to put one sticker on a space every time we read a book (except for books before bedtime, we always read two books before bed each night and we did not count those in our total). 

I let Audrey pick her prize.  That was kind of brave as she could have picked something really expensive.  But she didn't.  She chose a Sleeping Beauty doll, which costs about $10.  I thought that was a very reasonable request. 

Because 100 books seems like a huge amount to a three year old, I added in some smaller prizes along the way to help keep her interested and motivated.  After 20 books, she got her very own slush from Sonic.  After 50 books, she got her very own ice cream.  (We make her share often, so getting her very own treat is a big deal!)

We completed her chart this week.  It took us about six weeks to read 100 books.  That averages out to about 2.5 books per we read two more at night before bed.  They say you are supposed to read 30 minutes a day to your kids.  I don't think it took us 30 minutes to read 4-5 books each day, so I guess we should be reading more.  But I felt like 100 books was a fairly big accomplishment!
Here is Audrey with her beloved prize!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

September 13: Lessons from Preschool

Audrey is having a good time at preschool, and I am having fun hearing about what she did each day.  It's kind of weird to not know every single thing that she does, but it is also kind of fun to hear her tell stories (and try to figure out what really happened).

She doesn't really like to tell me much right when we get home from preschool.  But she gradually tells us more and more throughout the day.  Especially today!  She just kept talking about school, and she spent most of the afternoon playing "school" with her toys and dolls.

At one point, she had all her My Little Pony figurines sitting in a semi circle in front of her.  She was holding up her The Little Engine That Could Book and was reading it to the ponies.  Her reading (aka memorization) of the book was quite impressive.  But what was even more impressive was her tone and inflection and teacher-like skills.  She kept stopping her reading to ask the ponies questions, like:  "Have you ever been on a train before?"  and "Do you think this train is going to help them?'  When she finished reading, she said, "Good job, boys and girls.  You did a great job listening."  It was so adorable.  I wanted to record the whole thing, but I knew she would stop if she saw me with the video camera.  So I snapped a quick picture instead.

They are learning about the color yellow this week in her class (she is in the yellow room).  Today, she could not stop talking about "amarillo" (the Spanish word for yellow).  I'm guessing she learned that word in school today.  She kept saying it over and over again, then pointing to yellow things and saying "amarillo" and laughing.  

Yesterday, Audrey was having a hard time doing something, and she was getting frustrated.  Normally she will just cry and scream when she can't figure out how to do something.   It is something we are constantly working on...getting her to ask nicely for help without any tears or screams or fits.   But yesterday when she was stuck, she said, "Mom, I need a helping hand!"  Another new thing she learned at preschool!

She was also singing a song today that went like this, "Hips and lips are what we do when we go down the hallway."  I had to ask her to repeat it several times to make sure I was hearing correctly...hips and lips??  But then she put one hand on her hip and one finger to her lips and started walking around.  I guess that is how they walk down the hallway at her preschool!

Other things she has done in her first three days of preschool:  learned how to write an uppercase L, painted several pictures and made other crafts, held the door for her classmates when coming in from the playground (she was VERY excited about this), and  received her first birthday treat bag from a classmate.  Fun times!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September 12: First Masterpieces

Last week, I let Isla color on paper with crayons for the first time.  She has scribbled for a few seconds with sidewalk chalk outside, but that's about it.  I remembered the doctor asking if they were able to scribble at this age.  So I decided to give Isla a little test of her coloring/scribbling abilities.

She passed with flying colors!  Check out her masterpiece:
 I didn't do much of anything to help her, except hand her the bucket of crayons and paper and watch her get to work.  She did this all by herself.  I was so proud!  It may seem silly, but it makes me feel good to see that she is not behind in every skill!  Her fine motor skills are really good, and I constantly brag about them because it gives me reassurance that she is showing signs of good development in some areas.  (Still no progress in the gross motor development though.  Despite the first steps she took last week, she refuses to even attempt to take a step by herself now.  Frustrating!!)

As I was watching Isla scribble with such skill, I remembered how horrible Audrey was the first time I gave her crayons and paper.  She refused to push hard enough to make a mark, and the whole experience frustrated her easily.   She was probably two years old before she could color a picture like Isla did above.

This week, we found Audrey's very first coloring/scribbling masterpiece.  It looked like this:  (if you look closely you can see a few marks down in the bottom right, and I'm pretty sure I had to help her make those little marks.)
The funny thing is that Audrey had her first experience with crayons and paper when she was 15 months and 5 days old (2/5/10).  For Isla's first experience with crayons and paper, she was also 15 months and 5 days old (9/5/12).  Crazy, I didn't even plan that! 

Friday, September 7, 2012

September 7: 15 months old

Isla was technically 15 months old last week, but she had her 15 month check up today.  She weighed in at 20 pounds, 7 ounces, and she was 29.5 inches tall.
 At her last checkup, I was shocked at how low her weight was (19 lbs, 7 oz).  That is not really an extremely low weight, but she was so chubby; I was expecting big numbers on the scale.  Again today, I was expecting the scale to say somewhere between 23-25 pounds (Audrey was almost 22 pounds at this age and Isla looks bigger to me), and I was so surprised to see 20 pounds.  Our doctor was a little surprised at Isla's size too, as her growth rate has been decreasing for the past few months.

I have always used percentiles from an online chart to record Isla's growth because our doctor doesn't always give us a number (and I like to keep track of those things).  Today I got the percentiles from the doctor and they are significantly different than what I have recorded so far.  For my records, here is an update on her official growth percentiles so far:

Newborn-- Weight:  1%, Height:  40%, Head:  26%
2 Months-- Weight:  5%, Height:  33%, Head:  44%
4 months--  Weight:  28%, Height:  44%, Head:  47%
6 months--  Weight:  57%, Height: 37%, Head: 70%
9 months--  Weight:  65%, Height: 39%, Head: 68%
12 months-- Weight:  47%, Height: 26%, Head: 68%
15 months-- Weight: 37%, Height:  15%, Head: 67%

With the growth charts, the percentiles really don't matter that much.  What matters (to the doctors at least) is that they continue to grow on the same curve and the percentiles remain consistent.  Isla's curve was moving up consistently, but the past six months or so it has begun to take a turn downward.  Not too drastic, but still consistently down.

This caught me off guard, because Audrey was always so consistent and right in the middle of the growth chart every time.  Most likely, this is not a big deal.  After a quick inquiry on Facebook today, I got lots of feedback from many others whose kids had similar drops on their growth curves without any problems.   Even though she didn't grow as much as we expected, she did gain one pound and grow one inch in the last three months, so I think she is most likely just fine.

Our doctor was most concerned about her height growth moving in the wrong direction.  She wants to keep an eye on her.  If Isla's percentiles continue to go down at her next appointment (at 18 months), she may want to run some tests.  We'll see.  Since lack of growth was a concern before Isla was born and since she has had some developmental delays, I think our doctor wants to be cautious and make sure everything is 100% okay. 

There is always something to worry about with our sweet baby Isla, isn't there?   Fortunately, up to this point, she has never had anything seriously wrong with her.  I'm praying her good health and ability to prove doctors wrong will continue!

This is a classic Isla face.  She just has this ornery, mischevious look about her, don't you think?
 I wrote an update a few weeks ago about some things Isla is doing now, here are a few more:
  • She hasn't really added many more words to her vocabulary.  I would like to hear her saying more, but it's early and she is not behind yet.  So I'm not worried yet.
  • She loves to point at things and say "huh??"  I think she wants to know the words for everything.  Even though she isn't really repeating words back to us much, I think she is still learning them.
  • She knows a few more body parts, including eyes and belly button.
  • She makes some sounds for different emotions:  "ha, ha, ha" for happy, "grrr" for grumpy, and "oh" for suprised/excited.
  •  I feel like she understands A LOT of what we say to her.  I am constantly surprised when I tell her to do something and she does it! 
  • Things she loves:  necklaces, shoes, the TV show Bubble Guppies, crayons, sitting in chairs, building towers, and imitating her big sister!
  • When she sees Elmo, she starts saying "la, la, la" (that is the opening to Elmo's theme song, and she knows this thanks to an Elmo phone that plays the song over and over again)
  •  She now has eleven teeth, including both molars on the bottom.  Her top gums are super swollen, and I expect to see those molars peeking through soon.  
  • Isla is not quite as chill and laid back as she once was.  She is learning to express her opinion about more and more things.  She is having some separation anxiety and doesn't always like to go to the nursery at church.  She is proving to be very stubborn at times!
  • Since my exciting news the other night that Isla was taking steps, she hasn't done too much more.  Yesterday, I got her to take some steps again a few times, but today she refused.  Anytime I tried to get her to let go and walk, she immediately sat herself down.  Frustrating, but I should have known better than to think it would be so easy!
Here are a few outtakes from our photo shoot today.   This was the first time that Isla would not sit still for me to take her picture with Raggedy Ann.  I think that shows big improvement in her development and movement...a 15 month old shouldn't be willing to sit perfectly still!

 And here's one more picture of my little show that all this talk about her not growing enough is just silly!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

September 6: First Day of Preschool

Audrey has been looking forward to this day for a long time...her first day of preschool!!

Here she is at school with her friend Anna.  They are super excited that they get to be in the same class!
This is outside of her classroom, the Yellow Room.
She seemed to have a good morning.  She told me that her favorite parts of the day were snacktime (she had goldfish and juice) and playing on the playground (she went down the slide three times and drove a car).  She also learned a new song, but she can't remember the words yet.  And she colored a picture.  Fun times!

I wasn't too sentimental about her going to school for the first time.  I'm really just excited for her, because I think she is going to love it.  But as I was driving to pick her up from school, I drove past the middle school where she will go (assuming we stay in this house that long).  Thinking of her someday being old enough to go to middle school did make me kind of sad. 

After school, we took her out for a celebratory lunch at McDonalds.  She is always a fan of going to McDonalds, but she has been asking for months to go to the McDondalds that has the inside slide.  So finally today we went to the McDonalds with the big inside slide.  Audrey ate her meal very quickly and spent most of her time playing in the playland with all the other kids.

Watching her fearlessly climb all the way to the top by herself and watching her talk and interact with all the other kids (who were complete strangers to her) made me so proud.  Not too long ago she was very clingy and refused to do much on her own without holding an adult's hand.  She is growing up to be such an independent and outgoing little girl, and I'm excited to see all that is in store for her this year in preschool!