Thursday, February 25, 2010

For My Girls

I was sitting at an appointment with Lily the other day and I don't remember what question was asked of me exactly, but it struck me that is has been nearly 4 months since her last surgery and soon we will be coming upon her 1st birthday. We have come a long way since then. I can't imagine what my life would be without either of my girls. Which brings me to another story: This past October, after spending all day in the hospital with Lily after her surgery I was on my way back to the Ronald McDonald House and I was listening to some radio station when a song came on that I had never heard before. It wasn't more than 30 seconds into it that I was crying. It was everything I was feeling and everything I want my girls to know as they grow up. I don't think I could find any better words. The song was "Never Alone" by Jim Brickman with Hilary Scott and Lady Antebellum.

This is for you Ellie and Lily!! Love Always, Mom

Monday, February 15, 2010

She's On the Move!

Well, its that time!  Time to put up the gates and move anything breakable, non-edible and all else not appropriate for 10 month olds to insert in their mouth to higher ground!  Lily has started crawling and boy, is she speedy!  One day she was up on all fours and moving backwards and the next day she moves like she's got a fire lit under her little butt!  How quickly I have forgotten what its like to have a crawling infant...but it is all coming back to me now.  What an exciting moment though!  The last time Keystone worked with Lily they were giving us tips on getting her to crawl, but like always, Lily did things in her own time.  As many of you also know, Lily was not rolling over just a few weeks ago, but again, Lily has her own timeline.  I guess she never felt she needed to roll over, but now that she can move I guess she felt she had reason to finally do it.  And I think we finally have her sleep problems figured out...she is just one spoiled little girl.  But then again, for all she has been through in her short little life, she deserves to be spoiled.  And if that means I have to give up a little of my sleep to cuddle up with her, I'm willing to do it!  She is only young once and before I know it she probably won't even acknowledge that I am her mother so for right now I am going to soak up the cuddle time with her and let her be a spoiled little girl!

In other news we have signed Ellie up for preschool in the fall.  After looking at many different places we feel the best place for Ellie will be ABC Learning.  Although it is a little out of the way, I think the benefits for Ellie will outweigh the 10 extra minutes of driving.  When we stopped in last week she hid behind me and wouldn't talk or look at anyone.  By the time we were ready to leave, she didn't want to.  In other Ellie news, she continues to enjoy gymnastics, especially now that her daycare provider's daughter is in her class.  They were so cute walking in holding hands the other day!  I can't wait until open house so I can see what she is learning.  Check out the short video at the end of the blog of Ellie doing her somersault...what do you think?  Future olympic gymnast?

Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week has come and gone.  I certainly enjoyed reading everyone's posts throughout the week about other families on the same journey we are on.  We were able to make the trip down to Iowa City this past Saturday for the CHD Party.  It was nice to be around other families who also have children with CHDs.  There were games and snacks that Ellie really enjoyed.  Lily enjoyed showing off her new crawling skills and playing with the whatever bowling pins her sister would let her hold on to.  It is amazing that when we went down there Lily's doctor and other cardiology staff knew all of us by name. In addition to the games and snacks Herky and some of the Iowa football players showed up to play with the kids and take pictures.  It really was a great time!

On Friday, I got the chance to be a presenter in our 8th grade wellness class.  The students were just finishing a lesson on pregnancy so I got the chance to talk to them about congenital heart defects.  The students truly seemed interested in learning about CHDs and had great questions.  They were so attentive and quiet during my presentation (hopefully they weren't sleeping!)

On the homefront, we have taken a little break from any home improvement projects for the last couple months but I am certainly getting the itch to begin again.  I thought I would start simple with our very outdated brass chandeliers hanging in our dining room and stairway.  They certainly need something to spruce them up so after reading Thrifty Decor Chick's blog on using spray paint, I am thinking that is the direction I am going to go.  Now I just have to get my husband to take them down!!  If you haven't gotten a chance to check out her blog, I highly suggest that you do so.  She has some great inexpensive decorating ideas and do-it-yourself projects.

I officially sent in my Baby Signs Acceptance forms and am now a Independent Certified Instructor for Baby Signs.  My first class that I will be teaching will begin in mid-April.  If you are interested or know someone who would be interested please let me know.  I look forward to getting out there and meeting other moms/babies and having a great time.  Again, if you have any suggestions for other types of infant/parents classes please send you ideas my way!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Really? February?

Really, is it February already?  Not that I am complaining!  I would love to have green grass, sunshine and the warm breeze that Spring brings.  The time just seems to be flying by.  If you haven't heard already February is American Heart Month.  The American Heart Association sets aside the month of February to  raise awareness for research and education into our country's #1 killer:  cardiovascular disease.  In addition this Friday, February 5th is National Wear Red Day.  On this day you are encouraged to wear red to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke in women.  Show your support and wear red this Friday.

Wow!  There is a lot going on in February.  Iowa Governer Chet Culver has proclaimed the week of February 7-14 as Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week.  To raise awareness in my community I asked Mayor Roy Buol for a similar proclamation for the city of Dubuque.  Last night, with family and friends I attended the city council meeting and was presented with an official proclamation!  It was pretty exciting...and nervewracking as I didn't expect to have to get up in front of everyone and speak.  I made it very short and simple. Thanks to my family and friends for coming to support us.  Next week I plan on speaking to our 8th graders in Wellness class about congenital heart defects since they are currently in their pregnancy unit.  Most of them know about Lily and what she has been through in the past 9 months and they are always interested when I talk about her so I really think this lesson is going to get their attention.  It will be nice to step outside of the algebra/pre-algebra realm and teach something so close to my heart.

Lily had her 9-month check up on Friday and she is doing great!  She falls right at the 50th percentile for weight and 50th percentile for height.  She is meeting most of her milestones.  She holds her bottle by herself, plays pat-a-cake, uses the pincer grasp, starting to try to pull herself up on furniture.  She is still working on crawling forward.  She has definitely got the backwards movement down though!  Lily has also discovered the joy of splashing in the bathtub.  She started to imitate what big sister Ellie was doing last night at bath time and by the time baths were over I was soaked!  It was well worth it though.

Lily hasn't been sleeping well lately, which means mom and dad don't sleep either.  Since the beginning of January she has had two infections both requiring a 10 day course of antibiotics and my instincts tell me she has another one.  At her check-up on Friday the Dr said she still has some fluid in there but it should drain.  I don't think that has happened.  She has been waking up in the middle of the night screaming.  Sometimes there is nothing we can do to get her settled back down.  I really hate to put her on another antibiotic so tonight I am taking her to the chiropractor to see if he can't do something to help her.  I am willing to give it a try to avoid another medication added to our daily regimen so wish us luck! 

Ellie has become Ms. Independent!!  She nows insists that she must close the door and all adults must leave the bathroom when she goes.  Gosh, and don't you dare open the bathroom door either when she is in there or she will let you have it!  She continues to enjoy her gymnastics classes and this week is open house so we will get to see what she has been learning the past couple weeks.  Maybe one of these days when shows us her forward rolls she will actually go all the way over instead of falling sideways...she is so proud of herself though!

As I finally finish this post (it has taken me three days), I am asking for some suggestions.  I recently became a certified Baby Signs instructor and am going to be teaching classes at our local YMCA.  When I was speaking with the director of the YMCA I expressed my opinion that in the Dubuque area we really have no activity offerings for the 0-3 yrs age group.  I am looking at doing some other programming through the YMCA for infants and toddlers.  If you have any suggestions of activities you would be interested in seeing in our area or if you are in another area that has some great activities I would love to hear from you.