Thursday, January 31, 2013

January 31: 20 months!

Isla is 20 months old today.  She will be two in just four months!  That is crazy!  She is a lot of fun right now, and even though she doesn't say much, she is hilarious!  She is super creative in how she tries to communicate without words, and it cracks me up.  Her facial expressions and body language are amazing.

She and Audrey are starting to play more together.  They don't always get along, but when they do, it is a lot of fun to watch.  Here is a video of them playing together.  They were supposed to be playing Ring Around the Rosy, but Isla kept falling down before they got to the "all fall down" part.  And it was cracking both girls up!

 Our doctor called this morning to follow up on the endocrinologist referral.  We talked a little more about the different measurements at Isla's last appointment.  She too was annoyed that there was such a big discrepancy in the two measurements.  She said she felt confident that her measurement of 31 inches was correct.  (Now, she questions whether some of Isla's earlier measurements were correct though.  Is she really growing or has she just been being measured inaccurately?  I'm thinking she needs to do some training with her nurses on how to measure toddlers, even though I'm sure it is nearly an impossible task to measure squirmy little kids.)

Anyway, the endocrinologist was encouraged by this 31 inch measurement, which pushes her growth curve back up again at 10%.  (I am really encouraged by this too!)  However, she also said she would be happy to see us and take a closer look at Isla.  Our doctor left it up to me as to whether we wanted to see the endocrinologist, but I got a very strong sense from her that she really wanted us to go ahead with the referral.  I feel like our doctor is not 100% certain about what is going on with Isla, and she wants the reassurance from a specialist so that she can be certain.  I feel the same way;  I am tired of all this uncertainty about whether or not something is wrong.

So we agreed with our doctor that we should go ahead and see the endocrinologist.  It might be a waste of time and money, as Isla did just show some improvement in her growth, but hopefully we can walk away with a definitive answer of some sort.   And our appointment is at 8:00 tomorrow morning, so maybe we won't have to wait too long!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

January 30: Restaurant Play

One of Audrey's favorite pretend games (besides playing school) is playing restaurant.  I made her a picture  menu the other day that she could use for her restaurant.  It was beautiful, as I am such a great artist!  =)  Audrey could actually figure out what most of these things were, which was impressive.

 While we were playing today, I decided that I could make a menu that looked a little better for her. 
  This didn't take long to make, and it was a fun project for me!

Inside, I put pictures of some of the play food items that we have.  Each item costs $1, and I made some play $1 bills out of construction paper.  So now we can have a little math lesson while we play.
I also made these little papers that Audrey could use to take orders.  Today, I would tell her what I wanted to order, and she would try to figure out what was the first letter of each item, based on the sound that it makes.  (We've been working on letter sounds lately, so why not work on it while we play?)  Then Audrey would write down that letter on her order form.
Audrey really likes having her own cafe, and she is requesting that I make a sign with "Audrey's Cafe" on it that we can hang on the wall above her kitchen.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January 29: Such a Good Day!

We have been having some problems with Audrey lately.  Mostly, she is just crying and whining a lot.  She will break down into tears and meltdown over the smallest and most unimportant things.  She has always been dramatic like this, but lately, it has been really extreme.  She has been doing the same thing at school, acting clingy with the teachers and breaking out in tears frequently.   Daniel and I have been really frustrated and searching for ideas on how we can help her to better deal with her emotions and handle life without crying about everything!

This morning, Audrey woke up with a runny, snotty nose.  Congestion in her nose has always been something that caused Audrey to be upset.  Immediately, I thought, "oh great, this is going to be a long day!"  Sometimes she just seems to wake up on the wrong side of the bed, and it is bad all day long.  And knowing that it was a school day, I was worried that she would be a mess at school.  Then, right before we walked out the door for school, Audrey slammed her finger in our front door.  She screamed bloody murder and continued to cry on the ride to school.  Once in her classroom, she was very anxious about everything she was going to do today, and her eyes were full of tears. 

I left her at school, and then I spent the morning annoyed and worried about how she was going to act at school.  I kept my phone close to me, as I could just imagine the school calling because she was throwing a fit and refusing to calm down.  (She has never done that before, and the school has never called before...but I just had a feeling that today was going to be that day).

When I went to pick her up, I was greeted by the happiest little girl with a huge smile on her face!  She immediately started to excitedly tell me all that she did at school.  I even checked with her teacher to make sure she had a good day, and she did great!  No tears!  I can't even put into words how happy this made me.  She started the day upset and in tears, but she managed to pull herself together, put on her happy face, and turn her attitude around.  I am so, so proud of her!!!

Audrey continued to be so happy and sweet for the rest of the day.  No tears, no fits, nothing but smiles and laughter and lots of fun!  She was so, so good.  I praised her A LOT on her good behavior and good attitude and happy face.  Then tonight, I let her have her favorite special treat before bed:  hot chocolate with marshmallows in it! 
Audrey spent most of the afternoon playing school.  She spends a lot of her free time playing school, which makes me think that she loves school even though she sometimes cries while she is there.  Here is a video I took the other day, when Audrey was pretending to be her music teacher.  It's kind of long, but I just think she is so entertaining when she is in "teacher" mode.  (Sorry for the view of all the trash and junk on our table.  I was trying to sneak the video, because Audrey gets upset if she knows we are recording her).
I love watching Isla in that video too.  Just smiling and spinning around in circles.  I don't think Audrey noticed that I was recording, but I have a feeling that Isla knew and she was trying to show off for the camera!

Monday, January 28, 2013

January 28: 65 degrees!

We took advantage of a warm January day by playing outside this afternoon.  It was rainy this morning, but the sun came out this afternoon.  It was just wonderful!!

While she was playing outside, Audrey kept saying, "Mom, I am having so much fun!"
Isla was confused when I took her outside without putting her coat on first. This is her new "pose" when you ask her to say cheese.  She cocks her head to the side, looks at the camera and cute!!
The girls kept themselves entertained for a long time by throwing their Little People princesses down the slide one by one.
If only it could be 65 degrees every day in January!

(I was just thinking that I blogged about a warm January day last year, and sure enough, I did!  Last year we were also playing outside in January on a warm 60 degree afternoon)

Friday, January 25, 2013

January 25: Isla's Growth

Here's the latest in Isla's growth saga.

We took her in today to get her ears re-checked and to check on her height and weight.  She weighed 21 pounds, 8 ounces (25%), which is up from the 20 pounds, 12 ounces (19%) she weighed three weeks ago after she had been sick.  I was pretty sure she had gained all that weight back because she has been eating everything in sight lately.  I'm really not worried about her weight at all; her tummy and legs are so chubby.  She has lost some weight when is sick and loses her appetite, but she seems to have no problem gaining it back.

The last time her height was measured was on December 21, and she was 30 inches long (5%).  Today they measured her at 30.1 inches (2%).  That made her growth chart look like this; she is just barely staying on the chart. 
 But then, our doctor came in and measured her again.  She came up with a measurement just over 31 inches, which is a very big difference.  An inch goes a long way at this stage and would move her up to 10% on the growth chart!  That would mean her curve is going up again, and that is what we want!  At the end of the appointment, I'm not sure which measurement they counted as the "official" length.  But it seems like that should matter, and I'm kind of annoyed that the measurements are so different.  I wish they would have taken one more measurement and then averaged the three!

In the end, our doctor wants a second opinion.  She says she has never seen a case quite like this (I remember our physical therapist saying the same thing about Isla...she is just unique, I guess!).  The doctor has diagnosed her as "failure to thrive" because of how much she has dropped on the growth chart, specifically in her height. 

But normally kids who are labeled "failure to thrive" are really skinny and in the lowest percentile for weight.  Isla is not too skinny, and while her weight curve has dropped quite a bit, she is still maintaining a fairly healthy weight.  Her head circumference remains normal and constant, which often is not the case in other "failure to thrive" cases.  The only big area of concern is Isla's height (and even that is up for debate with the different measurements they took today!).  Our doctor says she has never seen a case (at least at Isla's age) when the "failure to thrive" seems to be isolated to height.

In the end, our doctor is sending Isla's charts to a local pediatric endocrinologist.  That doctor will take a look at all these numbers and decide what (if anything) we should do next.  So, we just have to wait and see some more!   I just love playing the "wait and see" game...don't you?  I should be getting pretty good at it by now!!

We also decided to go ahead and set up a speech therapy evaluation for her.  So we are waiting to hear from Early Intervention about when that will be.  Isla has been doing better with her speech over the past week or so.  I would say she has a consistent five words now, and she has added a few more sounds to her repertoire.  But, that is still way behind where she should be, so we decided to go ahead with the evaluation.  I am feeling better about her speech abilities though, and I'm hoping that if we do start some speech therapy, it will be short lived.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

January 24: Such a Ham!

Isla was in the mood to pose for pictures today.

This morning we were at Barnes and Noble, killing time before we had to pick up Audrey from school.  Isla found a short shelf that was just her size (she loves to find little places like this to sit!).  And then she pointed at my phone and told me (meaning she said, "uh, uh, uh") that she wanted me to take her picture.  When I held up the phone, she gave me the cheesiest grin.  So cute!

Then tonight after dinner, she stood by the door and wanted to pose for pictures again.  She was showing off her roll leftover from dinner and her new favorite expression:  shrugging her shoulders.
 After taking the picture, she loves to come and look at herself on the screen.  Here are a couple more, but I won't bore you with all of them!  (especially since I was using my phone and they are out of focus.  I really need to make myself get out the big camera more often!)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

One Year Later: My Thoughts on Isla's Helmet

Isla wore a helmet for brachycephaly for three months when she was a baby.  It has been just over a year since she graduated from her helmet.

I was looking at her head tonight when it was wet in the bathtub and wondering how it compared to those helmet days.  Here is a collage of her pictures from her pre, during and post helmet wearing days.  Week 1 was October 2011, week 6 was November 2011, and week 13 was January 2012.
 I tried to get a picture of her head in the bathtub tonight, but it was hard because she didn't want to sit still.  (We don't have that pink Bumbo seat anymore!).  I definitely think she has lost that triangular shape that we worried about before the helmet.  It looks like a fairly normal shaped head to me!
 Notice how her hair is thinner on top.  The helmet completely covered her head except for a circle that was cut out on top.  Our orthotist told us that it was common for the helmet to cause hair to grow better because it locks in moisture.  When I look at her head, it really looks like her hair is thicker in the areas where the helmet touched and thinner in a perfect circle around the top, where the helmet did not touch.  I don't really know that her thin top hair has anything to do with the helmet or not, but I always wonder.  I'm ready for that hair to start growing though!

So one year later, and I can say that I am definitely, definitely happy that we decided to get a helmet for Isla.  I have come a long way in my thinking since I first found out that Isla might have to wear a helmet.  Her head looks great, and it was a much better process than I ever expected.  Through this blog, I have had contact with several people (strangers) who have been in the process of questioning whether a helmet is a good thing or not.  It has been great to be able to share our story with others and quiet their fears and uncertainties about how their child will be judged in the helmet.

Just for fun, here are a few of my favorite pictures of Isla in her helmet.  There was a time when I said I would only take pictures when she wasn't wearing it.  Silly me!!!  I'm so glad that I took pictures, because that three months was such a short period of time...I barely remember what she looked like wearing it!  She looked pretty cute and happy!

Monday, January 21, 2013

January 21: Book Club

I hosted book club at my house tonight.  We read A Walk Across the Sun by Corban Addison.  It is a book set in India about human trafficking.  It was not an easy book to read, as the subject matter is emotionally difficult, but I thought it was a great book.  It is an interesting story that sheds light on an important issue in our world today.  I would highly recommend it.

Since it was our first book club meeting of the year, I decided to go all out and fix an Indian dinner for everyone.  I made Chicken Makhani, jasmine rice, curried chickpeas, and naan bread.  Cooking Indian food was a bit of a stretch for me, because I am a picky eater and I usually don't like foods with a lot of flavor.  But everyone said it was good, and I even got brave enough to try it all myself...and it wasn't too bad!  Maybe I am outgrowing my picky ways at last.

Anyway, it was fun to get together with everyone and eat and discuss this book.  I love our book club!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

January 20: Crawling!!!

Tonight after small group at church, Audrey and her friend Cael were crawling around and acting like cats.  Isla, who is starting to follow and imitate the big kids more and more lately, wanted to join them. So, she got on her hands and knees and started crawling around too!  She didn't move very fast and she didn't get very far, but I think this definitely counts as crawling.  And it was the first time that I have ever seen her do it!
This shouldn't be a big deal for a 19 month old.  Really, we should have been posting this video a year ago! But Isla likes to do things on her own timetable.  Up next...talking!  At least that's what I think.  With Isla, you just never know.  It's possible she could be potty trained before she starts talking to us!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

January 19: Mudroom Bookshelf

The front door of our house opens up right into our living room.   I would love to have an entry way or foyer with a coat closet, to collect all of our coats and shoes and bags that always end up in the middle of the living room.  Or I would love to have a mudroom off the back door in our kitchen.  But I have neither, so we have to make do with what we do have.  

The home for our shoes is in our closets in the bedrooms upstairs.  However, in reality, many of our shoes usually end up here, piled by the front door and our couch:

And our coats have a place to hang by the backdoor in the kitchen or in the closets upstairs, but they usualy end up here, hanging on the backs of our dining room chairs:  (along with a dining room table that collects all kinds of junk, but that is a post for another day!)

When I saw this idea on Pinterest for a bookshelf transformed into a mudroom, I knew that it would be perfect for us.  We have an extra bookshelf, as we just moved a bunch of books out of our house and into Daniel's office.  We also have a free corner in the living room, where we could put the bookshelf.  So after thinking about this idea for months, we finally made it happen today!

Here is the final product.  It's really fairly simple, and I could probably dress it up a bit more.  But I am pretty happy with the way it looks and the organization that it provides!
I'm planning to put gloves, hats and scarves in the top basket during the winter.  This basket may also work as a place to store my camera and accessories, as I always want to have my camera accessible but not necessarily sitting out in plain sight.

The smaller basket is for keys, sunglasses and other small items that we want to keep handy on our way out the door.

Since we already had the bookshelf, this was a pretty cheap project for us.  I got the baskets at Hobby Lobby for 50% off, so they were only $12 total.  We bought three hooks to hang the coats, which cost $12.  Then we had to buy some adjustable feet ($4) to put on the bottom of the bookshelf to level it out, as it sits both on the carpet and the hardwood floor. 

So the total cost for our little mudroom project in the living room was:  $28.  Not too shabby!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

January 17: Tummy Time

Today, I kept finding Isla playing on her tummy.  After 19 months, she finally decided it wasn't so bad after all.  Crazy girl!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

January 15: Maggie

 For the past couple of days, we have been dog sitting for our old dog Maggie. 

We first got Maggie in August of 2005, when she was just a few months old.
Maggie was our "baby" for a long time. Before we had kids, she really was the center of our lives.  When I was leaving to go to the hospital to give birth to Audrey, I was crying because I was worried about how Maggie's life was about to change (and I was probably just a little bit scared too!). 

Obviously, after Audrey was born, Maggie stepped down a rung on our family ladder.  Then, once Isla was born, Maggie fell off the ladder.  It was just more than I wanted to handle:  taking care of two kids and a dog!  So we found a good home, and Maggie moved there in July 2011.

This week Maggie's new owner was going out of town and asked if we would like to watch her for a couple of days.  It was kind of fun to have Maggie around again, and really, it felt like she never left.  Hearing her little feet padding on the hardwood floors or her screeching bark when we come in the door, it just felt normal!
Audrey was a little uncertain around Maggie for the first hour or so.  But she quickly got over it and assumed her new role as Maggie's boss.  She loved telling Maggie what to do, even though Maggie never listened to her.  "Maggie, come here."  "Maggie, eat your food."  "Maggie, fetch!"  "Maggie, go outside."  "Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, listen to me!"

Isla was unsure of Maggie most of the time.  She liked to wave hi to her, and sometimes she laughed at her.  A couple of times, Isla got brave enough to touch her.  But Isla is still a little uncertain on her feet, and she hates to feel unbalanced.  So whenever Maggie would go running past her, Isla would get a little upset. 
 It was fun to have Maggie here.  It was fun to snuggle with her.  Snuggling with Maggie is like having your own personal heater!  It was nice to not have to sweep my dining room or kitchen floors for the past two days, because Maggie is like a human vaccuum cleaner.  She gets the crumbs before the even hit the floor.

But it was also nice to give Maggie back to her owners tonight.  Taking care of two kids is plenty of responsibility for me right now!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

January 13: Family Reunion Time

We didn't have an official family reunion this weekend, but it kind of felt like it with all the relatives in town.  It started when my Florida relatives decided to make a trip up to a visit.  Then we decided to go as well, and my Indiana and Ohio relatives came over too.  I have some fun aunts and uncles and cousins, and we all had a good time together.

My aunt Debbie, who always tried to convince us that she was our favorite aunt when we were kids, also tried to convince our kids that she was their favorite great aunt.  In all the pictures, Debbie is always surrounded by the kids!
It was a surprisingly warm day for January on Friday, so we all took a little trip to the park.

Friday night, the cousins all hung out at my sister's house.  My cousins from Florida, Kyle, Rachel and Logan are on the couch with Daniel.  My brother Seth, my sister Elisabeth, and my sister-in-law Katie are on the floor.  (My cousin Chloe had to skip out early to put her kids to bed).
It's always kind of crazy when the whole family gets together at my mom's house.  My mom has a big collection of toys, and the kids always want to play with every single thing at the same time.  With all the toys and all the people, it is always a full house.

My mom bought my girls and my niece Braxen pink/black outfits for Christmas, so we put them all together for some pictures...along with my cousin Chloe's kids Madalinn and Crosby.

 Overall, it was a fun weekend.  After leaving my mom's house feeling sick and horrible a few weeks ago, it was a much more pleasant visit this time around!