Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sesame Street

We haven't started watching this show at our house yet (Playette currently has no interest in anything but Signing Time and ESPN), but I enjoyed watching these clips and thought someone else might, too. Apparently, Sesame Street is great about including all kids, which I love.

The 80s-ness of it all is almost worth the click alone. Check out mom's stonewashed jumper dress in the first one.

Katie's baby brother

Cody grows a plant

Dany's fiesta

If you know of any others, please let me know.

edited to add:

Jessica drums

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

SAHD

BD has this week off from school, as does Playette, so they're out enjoying the day. First, they went out to breakfast and now they're grocery shopping, followed by who-knows-what.

It makes me happy, their relationship. It's awesome and just what I wanted for any daughter of mine.

When I was younger, single, and childless, I would sit sometimes and think of what I wanted in a future partner. Humor, ambition, common values...all things I desired. But even higher on my list was "potential to be a good father." It's a trait that I admire more than almost any other and one that, if it doesn't exist, is the quickest turn-off imaginable. (Why do some women even bother with men who have proven to be bad fathers? I don't get that.)

So, anyway, I'm glad my daughter has a daddy that adores her, that she loves right back, and I can only hope that it continues for the rest of their lives.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Tidings of Comfort and Joy



Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ok, so maybe I like it here a little.

I realize that I've complained about where we live from time to time over the last two years, but as I sit here 3000 miles away from the "winter wonderland" that is the east coast of the United States, where I spent most of my life, well, I realize that flip flops in December aren't such a bad thing. I don't miss snow. At all.

*commence throwing of rotten tomatoes*

Granted, the summers over there are actual summers and we'll still be wearing corduroys in July, but I guess it's all about balance. You take the good with the bad and there's always gonna be something.

I know this thought is not super-profound or unique, but it's what's on my mind.

I loved Lisa's article on "What is Normal?" and it makes me wonder "What is Perfect?" and why do I begrudge the fact that I'm not if no one else is either.

So...

I guess all the hosting we've been doing lately is just bringing me to a point of appreciation for where were are. This moment. Not where we were or where we're going to be. Just...now.

I like now.

It's not so bad.

Monday, December 21, 2009

All We're Missing is an Olan Mills Stamp

We were trying to recreate a cheesy holiday shot, complete with sweaters, a (faux) fur throw, and a blazing fire in the background, but what we actually got was, well, this:









Flirting with her Auntie's beau. Check out the head toss. She's a pro.


Mama's Punkin' Unkin'.



Friday, December 18, 2009

The Plot Thickens

Ok, so Playette has had this long-term congestion thing happening, right? Not sick-sick, but enough so that we've had a nebulizer perched on the arm of our love seat for well over a year. We use it when things sound more interesting than normal. I know Pulmicort and Albuterol up close and personally and I've even taught myself a device to remind me which one is for what. (Coughs: Pulmicort Prevents, Albuterol for Active)

We've done the "Baby Jessica."If you've taken a little one to have a chest x-ray, you know what I mean.

And you know what? Nothing. Yup, nothing. It's not bronchitis or her close relatives. It's not pneumonia. It goes away for a while and then comes back. My heart sinks a little each time I hear the croupy cough.

The last time we went to the Ds Clinic at Stanford, we mentioned this whole deal again and were referred to a Pediatric Pulmonologist. When BD came back from that appointment, he told me that is was recommended that Playette have an Upper GI study, a modified barium swallow study, and a sleep study done.

Over the last couple of weeks, we've covered the first two. The sleep study is on hold for now. I don't really want to go through that anyway, but insurance is holding it up, not us. Annoying to say the least, but whatever.

Anyway.

The Upper GI was...ugh. Playette hated it, but we learned that she doesn't have reflux so that's good and done.

I expected similar results from the Videofluoroscopic Swallow Study. Because I am spoiled and naive.

That VFSS is kinda freaky. I mean, it's not difficult, per se, but seeing your kid's skeleton on a screen and watching the liquid/food come in and go down? Well, yeah, like I said...freaky.

Turns out Playette does silently aspirate thin liquids. She's probably been doing it for a very long time. They're amazed that she's never had pneumonia (thankfully, there's only one set of bum lungs in this family) since she's essentially been "feeding" the bacteria in her lungs whenever she aspirates, allowing food to enter the windpipe instead of traveling down her throat and into her stomach the proper way.

Lemme tell you, in the grand scheme of things, not such a big deal, but as the OT was telling me that Playette would need to be put on nectar thick liquids only for the next 6-12 months, I felt myself reaching...over and over and over again into her box of cheese crackers, and bringing them to my own mouth. Emotional eater, I am.

Thoughts bombarded me.

How are we going to thicken her liquids at daycare? Oh, they won't do that for us; it's against the rules, isn't it? (cheese cracker) We'll have to go up there. Which one of us will go? How will we get away at 11:30 every day? (cheese cracker) Wait. What about snack time? They drink then, too. What time is snack again? (cheese cracker) This will never work. I'll just quit my job. Yeah, I'll quit my job and feed my kid thick liquids all day, every day. (cheese cracker) Crap. I bet that stuff's expensive. How are we going to afford that if I quit my job? (cheese cracker)

*sigh*

I finally snapped out of it and the OT was still talking and showing me that stupid video. "She there? She's penetrating? And right there? Right there, she's aspirating. That's not good."

(cheese cracker)

Fast forward...

It's been a week so far and we've started thickening. We've had an IFSP meeting, at which the daycare agreed to help us out on their end. Not the travesty I was imagining at all. We've got some Thick-It and I just ordered some Simply Thick that arrived yesterday. So we'll practice until we get it right.

Just like everything else.

If you have any experience in this area, please do share. I'd love to hear about what you've done, what products you've used. If you blog and have talked about it, drop a link in the comments and I'll jump right over.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Uncanny




Friday, December 11, 2009

The Day We Said, "Aw, Screw It."

So, we have this rule, right? It was developed when BD and I were dating and we went to Disney World together. It was a great trip and as single, childless people, we swore that we would never bring a kid there before they met certain criteria. And we would never bring a stroller. Never.

But, well, we got these Disneyland passes from a really good friend and then great-grandma had to work and couldn't watch Playette that day, soooo...

Here ya go:

(BTW, she's rocking a "Genetically Enhanced" shirt, inspired by that of Sheridan and a sweater that we love that was a gift from Gabby and her Phamily.)



















Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ugh


It's been out of control lately. I'm going to try moderating comments and see if that helps.

If not, I'll go to Plan B.

Next up...

I was trying to decide what to post first and then settled on going in chrono order.

That means it's time for race pics.


Pre-race pose. I don't know what we're supposed to be showing off here.




Hanging out at the starting line. It was coollld.




FNPT and I in the corral. She's typically a much faster runner than I am, but she agreed to keep me company and get me water and yell at me stuff. How awesome is that?!




Where's Crittle?




Mile 2ish.




Mile 8ish. We almost took each other out coming around that curve.




Some of our entertainment. Check out the awesome weather we got that day.




Coming around the bend. Note all the walkers surrounding me. I was not in any danger of winning this race, but dang it, I was gonna finish strong.




And then I noticed the camera and became deliriously giddy.






Race over, FNPT and I grabbed some snacks. At this point, I realized how much pain I was in. She wanted me to keep walking. I, on the other hand, wanted to curl up in a ball in the middle of the parking lot.




The Littlest One.




Post-race posing.



As I've mentioned before, prior to last spring, running was only something that I thought about doing. And they were never really nice thoughts either. I resented running and it hated me right back. I was sure of it.

Well, one day I decided to try. And then try again. I'd tried before, but the trying again part was what I had trouble with. Previously, every time I felt defeated, I moved on to something else. So this time I kept going. First, a few yards at a time Then, a quarter mile. Pretty soon, those quarters started turning into a mile. Then multiple miles. I complained and I cried (really, and more than once), but I kept coming back.

My body has changed (I was carrying 25 more lbs back when I started than I am now), my confidence has been boosted, and I'm actually proud of myself for once. I'm seeing the self I used to be and it feels good.

So, maybe I can encourage one person. I hope so at least. It doesn't have to be running. Maybe you've always had something, anything, that you just kept meaning to do but it seemed too hard.

Maybe now's the time to try it. And then try again.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Need help with your holiday shopping?

I know one way to make things much, much easier.

Just buy all your gifts via the Zoromski's online auction.

There's some really cute stuff over there. I'd like to try and encourage you to bid high and often. So let's go...

What grandmother wouldn't love a birthstone bracelet so that she can show off all her kids and grandkids?

Have a baby shower to go to? Check out this cool looking swaddling blanket.

Are you a scrapbooker? There are lots of things for you, too.

If you're got a girly girl in your life, there are really cute dresses and hats and tutus!

Perhaps you or someone you know would like some great photography to hang on the wall?

Do you know what a key fob is? I didn't until I checked it out and now I want one. Or five.

Lots, lots more over on their blog. All funds raised got to help bring Lily home as soon as possible.

In case you missed it, I posted their story here.

Fellow bloggers, please feel free to spread this info far and wide in support of this wonderful family.

Monday, December 7, 2009

And we're off!

This week is dedicated to the art of catching up.

So if you interested in 1/2 marathons, Disneyland, deliberately corny holiday pics, and/or the struggles of maintaining a two-year-old's hair, this is your week.

Don't say I never gave you nothing.

Today? The tree. I really didn't think anyone would want to see it. That's why I didn't post pics before. I mean, it's not anything you'd put in a magazine or anything. I just like it because...well, because it's mine I guess.

Tra-la!





And some of my favorite ornaments, just for fun.








No, really. That's all I've got today.

Seriously.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Learning, Future, all that stuff

Someone asked me the other day what I would like for Playette, ideally, when it comes to her education.

I think this video is a good example:



Now, I realize that full inclusion isn't the path of choice for all kids, so if Playette seems more frustrated than she is flourishing, then, of course, we'd have to explore other options.

But when she was born and I was still digesting the news of her diagnosis, I read something that put the thought into my head that she'd be able to do anything, just maybe not at the same pace as her typically-developing peers.

So, maybe she'd excel in reading and history-type stuff like I did, or be better at math and science like her dad, or maybe she'd forge a new path and be way into the arts...but is it so horrible if she doesn't do well at everything? I mean, not all that many of us do.

I sure don't.

That philosophy continues to comfort me when I have doubts and fears and anxieties, so I'll hold it tight. Maybe for just a bit longer, maybe forever.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Some More Signs

Ok, so my daughter officially has me beat. She knows way more signs than I do now. I'm having

Here's an update before I forget:

backpack
principal
home
ready
blocks
bed
pretend
paper
pencil
brush teeth

She even attempts to finger spell 'pen' and 'glue', which is just hilarious to watch because she can't sign letters yet. She moves her fingers around though, so, yeah. She kinda gets the concept, though even I can't tell what she means unless it's in the context of watching a ST episode. We won't count those just yet.

Which reminds me of something. While I think it's great that Playette is picking things up quickly, and I love when she makes people's jaws drop when she signs words like 'principal', I don't know...should she be signing words when she doesn't really know what they mean? I wonder what the point is, though...would I even be asking this if she were saying 'principal'?

Hm.

Probably not.

I do point out the daycare director and tell her that she's her principal though. Hopefully she's making a connection.

But, if not? Whatever. She's happy so I'm happy.

Aaand my baby girl just came over and signed 'more mama' while reaching up. Post over.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bah Hum...oh, forget it.

We put up a tree the other night and I must admit...I love it.

It's sooo pretty and Playette hasn't even tried to tear it down yet so that must be a sign that it's meant to be there.

The last time we put up a tree was in 2006. BD and I were newlyweds and we thought we had the perfect idea of how to tell our parents that we were expecting their first grandchild.

In short, we did it with an ornament.

Ok, so maybe it was more my idea. And it was dorky.

Hey, it worked.

The Christmas after that one, we had just completed a cross-country move so we decided to take up some family friends on their offer to spend the holidays with them.

Then, last year, we opted to get away from everything. So we had a different type of tree.

Now, though, it just seems like the spirit of celebration is back upon me. And before the holiday even. Typically, at the very best, I'm a late bloomer when it comes to this type of thing. You know how some people are all Christmas-happy while they're trick-or-treating? Well, I'm more of a January enthusiast, if anything.

You know, when stuff is cheaper and the pressure is off.

We had bought a tree either last year or the year before (I can't remember), after they were on super-sale at the Depot, and it just sat in its box ever since. So BD opened it up and, with the help of his sister, got to work assembling it while I tried to remember where everything else got stashed.

After a few minutes in the garage, I found most, if not all, of the decorations. I'm sure there must be more (I thought I had stuff that I had made as a kid somewhere and even some of the more sentimental things from my childhood, but those still elude me), but we're good for now.

Apparently, at some point, I bought winter-themed towels, a table runner, way too many gift card holders, and tons of glitter-dripping ornaments via two well-stocked kits as well as some impulse buys at the Hallmark display. Even I can't resist "magic"! And by "magic" they mean that it plays the SportsCenter theme song when you push a button. We balanced that purchase out with some classics. Don't worry.

All that to say, I really do love my tree. It's fake and pre-lit with dazzling white lights. There's a funky gold star that remains just a little bit askew, no matter what. There are noticeably no decorations within reach of a near-three-foot-tall person.

We're all covered in silver glitter and it's fabulous.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Flashback Friday: Thanksgiving

2005 - Dating and childless at the Grand Canyon


2006 - Married and newly pregnant. Too grouchy, tired, and hungry for photos.

2007 - Back in Arizona with a 5 month old Playette


2008 - Cruising along



2009 - Our little girly pirate who is now too fast and busy to be able to catch in focus a lot of the time. Check out that outfit though. Too cute! Thanks, M & K!



And then there was my attempt to get into the holiday spirit by dressing up like a present at the end of the night.



Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

When I think of what I am thankful for today, I cannot help but reflect on my life with Playette.

Someone recently told me, after learning of her diagnosis, that they were "sorry." I know that person meant well, but it's still difficult to hear. Because, really, we are so far from sorry. We are grateful. This little girl has done so much to teach us what's really important in life. She makes us smile and then double over in laughter. She has introduced us to so many other amazing families, bonded by what we all share in common.

I am so thankful that Playette was born exactly when she was, in 2007. I am grateful for people that paved the way so that parents like me would have fewer battles to fight. My heart is warmed by the friends and family that surround us, minds open and love abounding.

Things weren't always the way they are now for people born with Ds in the United States. The days when people were so overcome with fear or shame and placed loved ones in institutions, thinking that was the best place for them, are not that far behind us. The world we live in now, where so many more people (though far from all) are accepting of people with differing abilities, must have seemed like a world that would never exist back then.

So when I look at other countries that are not quite as progressive, seeing that people continue to abandon their children to institutions, I can't help but think, "That could have been us."

In a another time, in another place, that could have been us.

While I'm giving thanks, I include the Zoromski family on my list. I am grateful for their new daughter, Lily, and the fact that she'll be home with them soon.

Lily is 5 years old and she has Ds. Where she lives, in Eastern Europe, children who are abandoned like she was are placed into baby homes, better known to us as oprhanages. Typically, when the children reach the age of four, they are deemed not only unwanted but also unadoptable and are moved into mental institutions. From what I've learned, this is where anything more than the most basic of care stops. There is no love, no play. No hugs, no kisses, and little, if any, laughter. No one is reading to these children or attempting to teach them anything. As you can imagine, no child can thrive in this kind of environment. In fact, many die.

The fact that Lily is still in her baby home is amazing. Grateful for that fact, the Zoromskis have committed to adopting her.

You want to know the most amazing part of this story? The part that fills my eyes with tears every time?

When Brian and Michelle's daughter Ruby was born in May of 2007, so was her sister Lydia. The girls were identical twins, both very wanted, both diagnosed with Ds at birth. Unfortunately, and for reasons no one can be sure, Lydia was stillborn. Her family misses her very much and she is always in their thoughts.

Lily is also a twin, though fraternal. Her sibling that shared the womb with her did not have Ds as was taken home. Lily was left behind.

As my amazing friend Michelle has stated, "We are a family without a twin and Lily is a twin without a family."

If you are able to support this loving tribute to Lydia, I know that the Zoromski family would appreciate any amount you can spare to donate. The total cost will be approximately $22,000. The family is raising money and with their own sacrifices, combined with the support of friends, family, and perhaps even people they have never met, I am positive that they can reach their goal and Lily will be sitting at the table with Brian, Michelle, Karly, Braden, and Ruby next year, enjoying her first ever Thanksgiving meal.

If you are so inclined, donations can be made in several different ways. And, if you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to ask.

To learn more about Reece's Rainbow, the organization that helps adoptions like this one take place, please take a look at the video below.



Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Busy, Part I

So, I'm always saying we've been busy, right? But busy doing what?

When I got back from my two-week trip to NY, I had one day to rest up before taking on another challenge that Sunday morning.

Remember when I told you that I completed a 10K? And how I didn't used to be able to run 40 yards without crying and/or hacking up a lung?

Well, it was all in preparation for the Big Sur Half Marathon. The girl that used to have anxiety over "running" a mile ran 13.1 of those jokers.


You can see the "stuffed otter" that sucked any remaining energy out of my body at mile 10 at about the 1:28 mark in the video. He was a cute energy-sucker though. Right in front of the aquarium. Loved that.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day and I actually enjoyed myself.

I mean, of course at mile 1 when I was searching for the marker, sure that we'd run at least 2 miles by then, I never thought I would finish. I was scared that I'd bitten off too much, too soon. But then, after about mile 3, it got better. My toes weren't as cold, the view was amazing, and I was inspired by seeing the stellar athletes already on their way back to the finish line. Shoot, I wasn't mad. Good for them!

And when I saw BD, Playette, and a friend waiting at the turnaround around mile 8 with encouraging signs that included "Playette's Momma is Awesome"? Yeah, I kinda had to keep going.

Since I'd never done anything like this before, my original goal was to simply (simply? ha!) finish. That's it and that's all. Oh, and I wasn't allowed to stop running. Or use an iPod. ( <-- FNPT's version of torture, though she did make it up to me with a commemorative charm for my bracelet. Yay!)

I did it though. I set my personal record.


I'll post some more pictures soon. Promise. Though not the official ones because they always seemed to catch me with my belly hanging out and flapping over my pants.

Not. Cute.

Oh, and I really should try to run again because I haven't since the 15th. I would hate to end up right back where I was 7 months ago.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Up, Down, and All Around

That could describe so many things these days.

We've been busy lately. It's true! Also, what else is new?

There are things I want to talk about, but I want to post photos that are either in my camera or those of other people. And then there are other things that I would love to share that I just can't quite get motivated enough to type out. Then still, there are photos that I have with no words that are getting to be so old that it almost feels too boring to post.

So, yeah. All of that.

But today? Today I am here. And I will talk about the exciting nuances of my toddler's teeth.

That's right. Break out the snacks and settle in for...teeth.

Yes, that's the best I can come up with.

But, really, it is rather interesting. I've posted about these suckers a lot. No, really. A lot.

More than one probably should.

But I won't let that stop me.

First, it was all "Where are they already?" and then it was "Oh, here's why she doesn't have them yet" followed by "No, seriously, where are they?!" and then some "Oh, here's one" and "Maybe you'd like a picture?"

Well, I stopped counting the teeth at 6. I know for a fact that there are 6 in there. Maybe more. But I'm not going in to investigate. Nope, not me. I'll take her to the dentist instead. Let the people who get paid the big bucks take the risks.

So here's the deal with the post title. Those teeth? They're coming in any old way they please. You know the picture you have in your head of a baby with two front teeth? You know, either on the top or the bottom? Ha! That is sooo not happening over here.

So there were the molars. Those were first. All four, top and bottom, matchy-matchy. Weird timing, but I was ok with that.

Then there was this little guy.


He's been hanging out for a while. Or maybe "hanging out" isn't quite right. More like "digging in." He's the tortoise in this tooth eruption race.

So while Lower Right Central Incisor (like I would have a clue what it was called without the chart) was chillin', Upper Left Central Incisor decided to make a sneak attack.


From the way Playette keeps her hands shoved in the back of her mouth, I'm guessing we're gonna end up with close to a mouthful of these teeth things eventually.

At least I hope.

And maybe even sooner than later.

But I've been wrong before.

Am I still talking about her teeth? Gah!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Nothing Better

I got home from NY at about 11:30pm Friday. Playette was at home, long asleep and under the care of the babysitter when BD picked me up from the airport.

The first thing I did when I got upstairs was rush to catch a glimpse of my baby girl. In the light from the hallway, I was able to make out the shape of her body, on her belly, in the position that is so familiar to me.

I touched her hand and her fingers grazed my own. Careful not to wake her, I stepped lightly out of the room and softly shut the door.

In the morning, I heard her stir. I asked BD if he wouldn't mind going to get her. I wanted to see her walk into the room. I wanted to see if she would react at all to seeing me there.

She didn't let me down.

As she crossed the threshold, she looked up, checking to see if I was there, as I'm sure she did every morning for the previous two weeks.

This time, though, her face lit up. It brings tears to my eyes to think about it. It was like she was hoping that one day her view would be different and this time her wish came true.

She ran to my side of the bed as fast as her tiny feet would carry her. She smiled, she clapped, she reached her arms up to me.

I lifted her.

She put her head on my shoulder, looked at me, put her head on my chest, taking it all in and enjoying the moment.

She clapped some more, signed mama, danced. She framed my face in her little hands and stared.

There was no denying her happiness.

She stuck by my side as much as possible for the rest of the weekend. I tried to reassure her that I was back and wasn't going anywhere.

She missed me.

And I missed her right back.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Flashback Friday: Halloween

Obviously, I'm much better at this blogging thing when I'm not traipsing around the country getting into all kinds of stuff. I'm on my way home in a few hours though so WOOT! Can't wait to see my little family again.

BD sent me these photos last night from Halloween. I enjoyed looking at them and I hope you will too.

=====

Parents were invited to snack and the Parade o' Kids at daycare on the day before Halloween. Since it was my last day at work before leaving for two weeks, I rushed up there at 3pm, hoping to make it in time. My wig was hot and it was a really warm day, so I was schweaty. But I made it.

The kids were having their snack when I got there. Check out the spoon in one hand while the other hand grabs the food. She gets the concept, but she gets tired of the slower spoon-feeding pace after a while.

After that was done, I changed Playette into her Nemo costume (cutest costume ever, a hand-me-down courtesy of Jen and Boo). After the kids marched around the courtyard, we were done. I don't know what else I was expecting. A show, maybe? See, last year we missed out on all of this because we were in Kansas. But I guess there's not much else you can really do successfully with 15 2-3 year-olds at Halloween besides put them in costumes and march them around the courtyard. If that, as I noticed. Lesson learned.

Once that wrapped up, most people got their belongings and headed home. Not Playette. No, she wanted more snack. So she sidled up to the cart full of fruit and went to town. The teachers were ok with it since it everyone else was done with it and I was impressed that she was eating watermelon (ick), so I just sat back and waited until she was done. Maybe I should have stopped her instead of joining in with the blackberries.

Anyway, here are the pics.

Oh! And that scrunched up face she's making. That's her cheesy face. Tell her to say "cheese" and that's what you get in return.