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Archive for February, 2009

I have been a member of a diaper sewing board since before I was even pregnant with Alyssa. It is a group of women who have become such a large part of our lives. People who love our family even with many of them having never ‘actually’ met us. It is quite an awesome community and I am grateful it is a part of our lives. That being said, I have been quite fortunate to meet quite a few of the women on the board either through traveling or through them coming to Vegas. One of the women I have met is Samantha. She is actually the designer of many of the patterns that I sew to sell from and her whole family rocks! LOL! No, I am not trying to butter her up 😉 . I was out there at the end of last year and enjoyed every minute of it!

At any rate, Sam, her husband, and their two kids made a stop in Vegas on their way to California. Neil, Alyssa and I went down last night for dinner with the family and then Alyssa and I headed back today to go to the Shark Reef with Sam and her family. Alyssa loved the fish and she was incredibly smitten by the stingrays. I do believe if I wasn’t holding her that she would have been in the pond swimming with them! HA!

Afterwards, Tom (Sam’s husband) managed to get us into the restaurant inside the Mandalay Bay to walk around. They have an indoor encased waterfall and swans out on the terrace. It was truly amazing. Alyssa especially loved the waterfall. She kept touching the glass amazed that it looked like water…but it wasn’t LOL because the water was on the other side of the glass.

We had a great morning and it was neat to feel like a tourist for a few 😉

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A party fit for a princess!

Well, birthday number two was fantastic! Sure, we morphed Donna and Neil’s house into pink-ville and managed to have more pictures of princesses than of our own family. However, all in all it was a great day! I think i needs to be mentioned how very fortunate both my husband and I are. Really? How often is it that one spouse gets along with their inlaws? Let alone both spouses getting along with their inlaws? Rarity…at best. Couple that with the fact that our families actually get along and it is like some weird alternate universe. LOL. I remember at our wedding reception multiple people making comments that it was hard to tell where one family ended and the other began. It is just a really nice feeling to not have the stress of ‘oh no but what if soandso gets torqued because soandso is sitting next to them’ at every party!

At any rate, back to Alyssa’s party. Donna handled 80% of the food because she is awesome! She even got stuff to fill the goodie bags and other such odds and ends. I’m telling you, if you need help with a party… hit up one of our moms! Ha! My mom rocked the first one and Donna rocked the second one. Sure I am the lazy mom who doesn’t truly want to throw a big party, but luckily for Alyssa…her grandma’s are great. Alyssa and I got to Donna’s a bit early to help decorate (read: make the dining room look like a princess float exploded) and stuff goodie bags. I made a cupcake cake.

It was not perfect but it was cute and surely edible! Alyssa was not to sure about the setting up of the cake and the singing of happy birthday. However she looked oh so adorably stoic as she sat wondering what we were getting ready to do. LOL!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She really enjoyed the cupcake and actually swallowed a fair bit of it! Don’t be fooled by the picture. She still had enough energy to eat that cupcake, unwrap all her presents, and make it till nine with only a five minute nap!  The party went well! Close family and friends and just an over all good time! She had a blast and got some awesome stuff to boot.

Oh speaking of awesome stuff! We had gone to Toys R Us on her actual birthday and come across a “tot rod” which is a power wheel with a button on the end of the handle so the parent can control it. Then, later the handle comes off and the kid is in full control. She went NUTS for it, and really it is beneficial in helping her learn to balance sitting. So, we let her be frivolous with her birthday money! We went out to TRU that night and picked it up. She LOVES it. I mean, really…LOVES!

She would sit in it for hours if we let her! Luckily, she did have to go to sleep at some point. We left it in the car when we got home so she can ride it tomorrow at my mom’s house!

Overall, I think we all had a great day and at the end of it when all was said and done and all the princess stuff was packed away. There was still one smiling princess remaining 🙂 .

And now the second year truly begins….

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Feeding therapy day! Alyssa is kickin butt in this arena. Though, really, none of us had a lot of doubt that she would eventually learn to pick up  a spoon. I mean…really? She comes from a long line of good eaters. It was only a matter of time before she caught on. LOL.

She is eating stage three foods now with ease. Sure, some of the little bits of carrot or pasta try to make a reappearance on the spoon, but  most of them make it into her tummy! You can feed her with her glasses on now. Impressive stuff. Ha. We are supposed to move on to other foods and see how she does. Things like carrot sticks and bell pepper sticks and she is even supposed to try cap’n crunch. That should make dad happy, because there is no way she will eat the whole box!

This weekend is her birthday party. Should be lots of fun. We are keeping it simple this year. Her first birthday was awesome but just a lot of people! LOL. This year we are keeping it small and hoping to avoid a trip to the ER after. Poor thing had such the cold on her first birthday. Ah well, we’ll call this one a ‘make up’ birthday. Afterall, who doesn’t want a second excuse to make a mess with a cupcake?

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Happy V Day…

Well, I started slacking on updating but caught myself! LOL! I don’t know why it is so hard to stay on top of things. At any rate. This week was pretty decent. No appointments which was a nice break! We just kind of went with the flow. Did some shopping, cleaned, and sewed some. Spent Wednesday afternoon with my friend’s baby again. Alyssa enjoys her. I cannot wait until she is older and they can play! At this point she just wants to clobber her with kisses…and that can just turn into a slobber fest!

I don’t know if it is just my imagination or if it is reality, but Alyssa seems much more vocal this week. Some of it is good and some of it is mind numbing (why does the human pitch have to be capable of going so high?). I love when Neil comes home though because it is almost like she is telling him about her day. She goes on and on with squeals and shrieks. Even today when he got her up from her nap so we could head out, she popped open her eyes and started chattering away. I’ve been trying to echo the sounds she makes so that she hears them back. Sometimes we’ll get going back and forth and then she’ll just start laughing as if to say ‘mom, quit copying me!’ LOL!

We got out tonight for a “date night” and grandma and grandpa watched her. Good stuff. She was tuckered when she came home but we had my friend’s daughters for a couple hours so they could go out. So, now it is 1022… the kids are gone…Alyssa is in bed. Everyone in a good mood. I think it is time to watch a movie and end Valentine’s day on a nice happy note!

Oooh How about a picture! LOL! One of my dear online friends sent me a onesie a long time ago that says “Somebody in Spokane WA loves me!” and I finally got around to making it into a dress this week. It wound up being a perfect outfit for Valentine’s time and the message is so true :). There are actually a few people in Spokane who love her quite a lot! Thanks Cheryl 🙂 It is adorable!

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It’s Official….

 

She is TWO! After much of a fight, I got her to sit on the steps for a few seconds and look at me LOL! She kept wanting to look at the rocks on the steps! Each time she tried, she fell. Ah well, her balance has come a long way! I made her the shirt and thigh highs this morning and a friend of mine made her the shorts in Spring of 2007 if you can believe that! Still fit!

Today is a lazy day for us. She is taking a  nap and then we are going to go shopping. We are going to go to Whole Foods and let her pick out a cupcake. Heehee. I am making the cake for her birthday party at grandma’s in a couple weeks. So, I’m going the easy route today! Going to try to get some more pictures of her tomorrow in her outfit. I’m loving the big 2 🙂

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALYSSA!!!

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Two years old…

and a lot of years wiser. I cannot believe it has been two years. People constantly tell you that the time flies even when it feels like it is standing still. I remember driving home during Alyssa’s NICU days thinking and saying – “One day this will all be a fleeting memory, our bad days will be just something we remember.” I don’t think I truly believed it then. Those 18 days are still the longest of my life but somehow each week they seem a bit farther back in my mind. That is, until I stop to think. It is bizarre what the mind chooses to remember and what detail it gives to certain situations. I can still picture our little family in the NICU as if from a birds-eye view. It is almost like a TV show to me that I have watched the reruns of one too many times for my own good. I can remember the sensations, the constant knot in my stomach, the nurses looking at us as if we were idiots for laughing over a child who they had so little faith in, and most of all… I remember looking at that sweet little girl and dreaming of the day she would come home.
 
One memory that stands out amongst those first few days is when my mom and I were in the NICU at the original hospital prior to transporting her to level 3. We were holding hands and chatting about Alyssa. I was terrified, confused, and still in so much shock. Our seemingly ‘healthy’ baby was now sick enough to be sent to a hospital while I was still admitted to one on the other side of town. My mom was confident, every minute of Alyssa’s life, that she would make it through. In that instant, I was not so sure. I remember my mom squeezing me and saying something to the effect of “I know she will be OK. I just know it. As I was driving down here today I saw the most beautiful vision of her being pushed on a swing. Her hair was long and brown and just flowing in the sunlight. She will be fine.” I cried. I am now, again. It was what I needed and somehow my mom manages to still find the words I need when no one else seems to have them.
 
That was the first day of Alyssa’s challenges and the first day she set out to prove every doctor or nurse she met wrong. I am still so grateful for the day and a half we had with her prior to getting someone to listen to us about her seizures. If I had not seen her for that day and a half, I would have not known how strong she was. Even at her weakest moments, she always managed to show more strength than anyone could have asked of her. The first few weeks of her life were a roller coaster. There is absolutely no doubt about that. There was bad staff, there was awesome staff, and there were people who I scarcely remember. Each day ran into the next and Neil and I clung to every bit of hope we could muster. Our faith in humanity was restored. We for once in our lives got to take a step back and see only the good in people. We had people we had never met praying for us, sending us momentos to help us keep courage, and truly holding us up so that all we had to do was be there for Alyssa. We were. Every. Single. Day.
 
As she got stronger we used to sit and read, tell her of the local news, and laugh about things that were happening on the “outside.” Some of my favorite NICU moments were when we would sit and read. The OT had given us a book called “Run Little Monkey” which we brought and read each day. Neil would say a line in English and I would repeat it in Spanish. We would laugh about the fact the monkey never did learn any better. LOL. Ah well. Reading and recounting silly stories were what got us to laugh instead of crying. The only time we ever shed tears over her bed was when we were praying. Other than that, we went in there to have a good time for those limited hours we got to see her. As silly as it must have seemed to everyone else, it was our coping mechanism. It was how we dealt. I’m grateful for it now, looking back, that I have “good” memories of “bad” times.
 
Like I said, it is all semi-hazy now. It blurs together even though parts of it are so distinct. That is perhaps the easiest way to sum up watching your child grow. It is amazing to me that two years have passed. The second was definitely a bit easier on the heart than the first. However, each year presents its own set of challenges. The most notable difference between the first and second year. Alyssa made it through year one with minimal medical intervention. *Knocking on wood as I type* We joked for the first year that we had quarterly hospital visits. This year, was much easier to handle in that respect. We still see quite a few doctors, we added early intervention for last year, and she is still seizing daily. However, it is just part of the routine now. There are good days, there are bad days, and then there are just “normal” days.
 
Over the last year she has conquered so many hurdles that I could not even list them all if I tried. Right now, she is working on mastering eating off a spoon…by herself. It is so cute to watch her put the spoon in her mouth to simply receive praise. She knows we are going to grin like fools and proclaim “good girl” just to see her grin like a fool right back. Each and every week it seems that she is doing something “new” or something just a bit “better.” She does everything in her own time and as she does, she teaches me patience each step of the way (although sometimes… I run out LOL). This last few days she has been making noises I have never heard her make before and the look on her face when she hears them for the first time is something that makes me melt. It is a phenomenal feeling to get to watch someone discover things about themselves for the first time. I’m so grateful we get to walk through this with her. Even if some days I barely have the strength to walk, I know that we will get through it and the next will be easier. We will always have the security and strength of each other in this family.
 
As Alyssa begins her voyage as a two year old, she does it with so much determination that even I struggle to keep up. As much as she is “behind” she is so far ahead in my book. She is exactly who she needs to be, even if sometimes the rest of us struggle to see that. This last few months she has soared by leaps and bounds. It is truly astonishing to watch her take in the world around her. I wrote in a journal when she was in the NICU that  I thought she wold have an infectious giggle when it came. I could not have been more right. Her laugh almost brings tears to my eyes on occasion. She has so much on her plate, so much that she conquers daily to be who she is, and somehow…she glides through it with grace. Alyssa is a light. Period. She shines so bright and I struggle daily to do my best to make sure she gets a chance to shine. She is so blessed with people in her life who see HER and not IP. We are so grateful for that. So grateful that as she is growing and changing we get to see her as a child not a disorder. It is hard at times. We all want to stay on top of things, to know what is going on, where she is at ‘on the charts’…etc. However, at the end of the day, we all know none of it matters. We all know if we had listened to the charts, doctors, and medical reports, that Alyssa would not be who she is today.
 
Entering this third year with Alyssa, I am hopeful that it will be our best yet. I am grateful that we have been given this time with her. That all of us as a family grow a bit each year. This year, I want to focus on letting her be exactly who she needs to be and giving her every outlet that we possibly can. I know it is not going to be easy. I know that there will be challenges. However, I also know that as a family, we can take them on. I know that when I stumble for a day, Neil will be there to catch me. When Neil stumbles I will catch him, and most importantly we will both be there to carry Alyssa through to her 3rd Birthday. I cannot wait to see what she teaches us this year. It will forever astound me that someone who has yet to speak a word has taught so many people so many things that they could not have learned by reading a library of books. This year, I will try my best to be exactly who she needs me to be, because I am so grateful that she is always who she is… no matter what. Congratulations on everything you have done Alyssa. I want you to know. Mommy and Daddy are VERY proud of you!

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Alrighty then…

Saturday morning. Two days since I have written. I am TRYING to not let this slip. LOL. I always start a blog with the best of intention and then let it fizzle. A couple of not so eventful days, but I think Alyssa may be entering a growth spurt or cutting a tooth or SOMETHING. She has woken up between 3 and 4 for the last few mornings. I assure you, I am not friendly at that time of day. Thursday night she even managed to try Neil’s patience….which is a feat… that man has the patience of a saint. We have figured out through trial and error, she is done sleeping in our bed. She used to wake up mid way through the night and we would bring her to bed and she would pass out without argument. Now, it is a HUGE fight. So, we snuggle her for a bit and then when the fight is too much… back to her crib. She fusses for about 5 minutes and is down for the count. This morning she woke back up at 730 and was back to sleep before I finished making her bottle.

Overall, we’ve been trying to work with her with PT exercises. Getting her legs up under her. The thing with Alyssa is if she does it once, she is golden. Once she figures out how much easier something is, she runs with it. So, I know if we get her to four point crawl on her own once, she will master it in now time. Also, feeding is progressing. She constantly wants to feed herself. That would rock, if she fully could. She manages to get the spoon in her mouth, but the getting the food on the spoon (or even little dipper) is a challenge still. However, she gets a bit closer each day. It is a matter of controlling so many muscles at once and I know she has it in her. She just has to figure out which ones to use at what time. LOL.

Yesterday she was a crab (I’m assuming back to growth spurt or teething). However, today she is happy and smiley. Almost time for some breakfast and then I think we will get down on the floor and play. Maybe she will even entertain the idea of playing in the sewing room while I cut out some projects. . . doubtable . . .

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