Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Happy Birthday, Chris!

We're jumping for joy around here to celebrate Chris' birthday.

Happy Birthday, Chris! I hope this year treats you well and is filled with lots of love and happiness.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Family Walk

Last week I saw the first tree in the area start to flower, so that means Spring is finally here! With the nicer weather we've been able to take the girls out for a routine walk again. I took my camera along one night to capture some photos of this routine - because I'm sure there will come a time when the girls won't want to join us for our walks after dinner and I'll want to remember when they were younger and always were ready for a jaunt.

When we set out for the walk, Julia wanted me to take her photo and she was all smiles. Shortly after that, though, she didn't really want me to bother her by taking her photo. Apparently, her baby really needed a walk and I was crimping her style!

Emma loves our walks and is usually bouncing out of her stroller with excitement. The side effect of this is she often kicks off her shoes. I think she might be doing this on purpose, though, just to see us put it back on for her. What do you think?

And, no walk would be complete without Finnegan making a pit stop (or three!) and that's when I'm the most happy that it's a family walk and the pick-up duty falls to Chris. He seems to be much more thrilled with that job than I am - take a look.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Let the good times roll

Last weekend was wonderful weather so we headed to our local park for some fun. A couple of great things happened while we were there -

  • Emma was able to sit and swing in the bucket swing while holding her head upright with only a little receiving blanket tucked under her legs to keep them in a sitting position. She has never been able to sit in the baby bucket swing before, let alone swing in it, so this was a huge milestone for us. She didn't last too long in the swing, but we have all spring and summer to build up her stamina.
  • Julia caught up with a friend from pre-school at the playground and they had so much fun playing together. We don't usually run into people from school at the playground, so it was so fun to see Julia playing and interacting and just having a blast with the girls.

Friday, March 26, 2010

I miss my fish

About two years ago Julia won a goldfish at the church carnival. We put him in a clear vase and bought some food for the fish and I told her if he made it through 5 days I'd buy him a fishbowl at the pet store. Well, the fish held on for 4 days before we found him belly up. I haven't thought about that fish at all since his funeral - yes, we did actually have a funeral for the fish that did not involve flushing the toilet.

We were driving in the car last week and out of the blue Julia told me she missed her fish. To which I replied - What fish? I had completely forgotten all about the carnival prize fish but she had not. She told me, remember the fish we got when we went on the rides and took him home in a bag? And then I remembered. The fish from about 2 years ago! I couldn't believe she remember that fish.

And then I was looking through my photos and found this video of Julia and her fish and it made me smile.

While watching this I realized that Julia is the same age in this video as Emma is now and I realized again how far Emma has to go to catch up with her peers.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Week in Review

Where to start? It's been a whirlwind of a week!

Julia had a lot of fun this week. She went to pre-school for her normal Monday and Wednesday schedule, and we went to story time at the library on Tuesday where we made leprechaun puppets and heard stories all about St. Patrick's day. On Wednesday she had swim lessons and met another milestone in jumping in the pool without holding onto the instructors hand - YEAH! - and then we went to McDonald's to get Shamrock Shakes to celebrate St. Patty's Day.

On Thursday we had a Mommy/Julia day and went to see Lyle, Lyle Crocodile at the DuPont Theater. We had front row seats, met up with some friends, and she had a blast! When we went to the horse farm on Thursday evening she decided to play with the kids instead of walking with Emma and had so much fun playing basketball and playing with the "big kids." Have I mentioned that I just LOVE the atmosphere at the horse farm? It's one of our favorite weekly activities and I'm so happy they include Julia in a lot of the action.

Emma was sick for the majority of the week. The doctor gave her some medicine and she should kick the sinus and ear infection she has in no time. She also commented on how healthy Emma is overall and that the last time Emma had an antibiotic was a year ago! I told her I believe all the great food that Emma eats keeps her immune system in peak condition. The food and supplements make a decent dent in our budget each month and I think its completely worth it to keep our little one healthy! Listening to her cry and the sad, sad whine she had this week made me sad and I'm glad Emma is starting to be on the mend.

On Friday Emma was a bit happier so we went to Emma's craniosacral therapy and then up to the city to meet Chris for lunch and enjoy a bit of sun at Love park. The girls saw their first protest/demonstration at City Hall and Emma was thrilled with all the action. She is so funny when there is a lot going on - she doesn't want to miss anything! - she picks her head up from resting on the chair headrest and looks all around and moves her body forward in her chair to see all around. I love when she does this!

I've been playing with my new camera a bit more and trying out all different settings. As usual, the girls were my willing models. Here are some photos of our week.

Julia wanted to make Emma feel better, so she decided to read her a book.

It only worked for a short while before Emma remembered she felt awful and broke down into tears. Julia was dumbfounded at Emma's reaction and wanted to know why Emma wasn't laughing like usual when she reads to her.

Julia spent a lot of time choosing the perfect outfit for the play - from her dress-up box! She was sooooo happy to be dressed up. When we were in the car driving to the play she asked me how long she would get to dance on the stage and that's when I realized she thought she was in a dance recital and that is why she chose this outfit! When I told her we were just going to watch and not perform she insisted she wanted to perform on stage. My usually shy girl loses her inhibitions when it comes to dancing! Lucky for us she has her next recital in June and was content to know that she would get to dance on the stage again soon.

After the play, Julia learned to play hopscotch with the babysitter (while I had Emma at the doctor's office) and spent most of the evening showing me and Chris how to play. She has no recollection of me teaching her hopscotch last year at all! Notice she is still wearing her outfit - she kept it on all day including at the horse farm. With all the compliments she received, I expect she'll wear it again soon!

Emma joined in for a bit of hopscotch, but preferred to cheer everyone on from the sidelines.

We ended Friday with some painting outside. Julia painted a picture while Emma used finger paints to paint on the mirror during her OT session. It was her only session of the week since we cancelled most therapies so she could rest and recover.

As you can see, Emma was really pleased we held her OT session outdoors and Annette took it easy on her today. Have I mentioned that Emma has the BEST OT EVER???

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

The girls have the cutest shirts and headbands for St. Patrick's Day and I wanted to get some great photos to share, but it didn't quite work out like I planned. We took some photos over the weekend when we visited my parent's to celebrate the holiday and then I got sick and Emma is sick and so the photo opportunities were limited. However, I think they could still put you in the holiday spirit so I'm posting them anyway.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Emma and Pop-Pop, neither one is quite awake yet as I took the photo pretty early!
Julia and Mom-Mom. I love this photo!

Our girls.

As you can see, Emma is almost the same size as Julia so she has a hard time holding her but always wants to hold her anyway. When did my girls get so big???!!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Fever

It's been a long winter and everyone in our house is ready for some nice sunny weather. We're getting antsy to bring out the skirts and ditch the winter coats for a nice sweater or vest. This week we were treated to some wonderful weather and we took full advantage of it!

In addition to spending a day at the park, we spent a lot of time outside in the yard. We even were able to take a therapy session outside for a change of scenery! We hooked the Wingbo up to our swingset for one of Emma's occupational therapy sessions and I got a few tips on how to position Emma better to strengthen a few key muscles we are targeting. And, Emma just loved swinging outside!

Julia played on the swing set for a while, but then decided she just needed to run around. I love watching her run and play in the yard. Whenever I think of Julia as a toddler I always think of her in the yard. When she started walking she wasn't so steady on her feet and wanted to hold our hands and walk around the yard for ages. Now, she runs all over the yard and joins in games of fetch for Finnegan. How is it that she is getting so big so fast?

We have these lovely trees in our yard that dropped quite a few branches through all the winter snow. So, we decided to have a bonfire and roast marshmallows while we burned all the little sticks that were strewn throughout our yard. The girls love when we put on a fire and Emma was desperate to get into the marshmallow action this time around. Remember how she is demanding table food? Well, she demanded marshmallows! We had her roast one and I ate the skin and left the mushy part on the stick and held her on my lap and let her suck on the sticky section until it got to the point where I was nervous that she might chomp down and bite into the stick. She was a sticky mess and loved every minute of it. I did, too!

Julia is now a pro at roasting and eating marshmallows! I took some photos of her technique and just have to share the pics with you. I just love this little girl to pieces!

Julia is taking swim lessons again and doing really well. This week for the first time ever she jumped in the pool without holding onto an adult's hands. She is so proud of herself and we are so proud of her. We are going to look into private swim lessons for next session to see if we can have a private lesson that would cover Julia and Emma at the same time. Emma is anxious to join in all the pool fun and now that we have a swim collar for her we are looking forward to seeing her strut her stuff in the pool!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cashiers asking for Donations

Lately it seems like I can't go anywhere without someone hitting me up for a donation. This week alone there was a request for me to donate to the Children's Miracle Network, the Ronald McDonald House and to Help with Literacy for Children. Not to mention the boy who knocked on the car window asking for 75 cents to get home since someone stole his bike, but that's not the point of this post.

I believe in helping children, sick children and families that need a place to stay, and wholly believe in literacy. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to read and think the girls are on track to love reading as much as I do. So, I was really thrown by the request at the Dollar General today to donate to their Literacy for Children campaign. I mean, I thought that we should be teaching children to read in school. Are our schools failing our children that much that we are depending on handouts from people offering their spare change to teach our children to read? What is happening at school? Why are homeowners paying school taxes? Really, I'm concerned if there are that many children going through school without learning how to read that the Dollar General is taking up the cause.

I'm sure there is more than meets the eye to this request. I'm sure there are loads of statistics that can show the percentage of children graduating from school and literacy rates and all of this could further be diced by ethnicity, location, school district, income level. The truth is I spend a lot of time researching treatments for Emma and can't spare the time to go digging up these statistics to satisfy my curiosity.

So, I did the next best thing and gave them a dollar for the fund. I'm not sure how many children that dollar will help, but I'm an optimist and hope that America finds a way to give our youth a quality education that includes literacy for children with our without the Dollar General fund.