Sunday, November 28, 2010

So Thankful

In the last couple of weeks the girls were sick, then I was sick, we enjoyed our the Thanksgiving holiday and now we all seem to be feeling well.  I am very thankful for that!  And, that I'm getting a chance to update this blog/journal again with some thoughts that have been swirling around in my mind.  

Thanksgiving time the last few years has been quite a difficult time for me and my family.  Three years ago we found out the day before Thanksgiving that Emma was deaf.  We spent the Wednesday before and the Monday after Thanksgiving at the children's hospital with Emma between doctor appointments and hearing tests.  The appointments, the news, explaining it all to our family, digesting our options.....it drained all the energy I had in me.  Even today when I think of that Thanksgiving weekend I instantly connect with many of the feelings that were swirling around in my head that day.  

Here is a great photo I have from that first Thanksgiving we celebrated as a family of four.  It was the most gorgeous day!  This photo is taken in my in-laws back yard after Chris, Julia and I spent a bit of time at the park without coats enjoying the playground and taking a walk through the trails.  For some reason, I often think of this photo when I think of Thanksgiving - not just that Thanksgiving that year but Thanksgiving in general.  

On New Year's Eve of 2007 we found out the reason Emma was deaf was due to a Congenital CMV exposure and the diagnosis, tests, specialist appointments, etc. that followed didn't rock me as much as the initial shock of knowing our perfect little girl had quite a challenge ahead of her.  

Thanksgiving 2008 we had another long week of appointments at the hospital.  This time it was because Emma received a cochlear implant in her right ear just before Thanksgiving.  We were very thankful Emma came out of the surgery fine and were anticipating her CI activation in December. 

Thanksgiving 2009 we had another long week of appointments at the hospital.  Emma had multiple therapy sessions and also had follow-up appointments because she had received a cochlear implant in her left ear in early November.  Again, we were thankful she came out of the surgery fine, that she was able to get the newest CI technology for the left ear and were anticipating her CI activation that would give her bilateral hearing in December.  

This year we have a lot to be thankful for - and I think one of the things we have the most to be thankful for is evidenced in the fact that we didn't spend any time at the hospital outside of the one day Emma had her standing therapy appointments.  This signals to me that we have settled into our life a lot more, we have moved to a new place in our lives that relies less on the medical community and more on our social community where we can fully enjoy our lives as a family of four.  Gone is much (but not all) of the anxiousness and anxiety of the last few years and I'm honestly so Thankful to put that behind us.  

This week we lost a dear family member and he is sorely missed.  While I don't want to comment much on this sad loss, it did have me going through my photo library and looking for photos of him.  Along the way I journeyed through photos of me and Chris while we were dating, grinning from ear to ear in our wedding photos, enjoying our honeymoon, overjoyed at the birth of Julia and our first 20 months as a family of three where I took LOADS of photos of all her milestones and the everyday way she brought so much joy into our lives, the birth of Emma when Julia was only 20 months old and the joy we felt when we were finally able to hold our little Emma and our family of four felt perfect.  I also looked through the zillions of photos that I've compiled since then and I took a deep breath and said a prayer thanking God for all our blessings, thankful that our lives are filled with more smiles and laughter than tears (and, believe me, there were quite a few tears the last few years!).  

Six years ago Chris and I had no idea what our life would be like today and we still have no idea what life will be like six years in the future.  All we know is that we have today and that we are blessed.  

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Emma walked! and some cute Fall photos

Today was a gorgeous day and we took full advantage of the 60 degree weather.  I've been playing with my camera a lot and have wanted to get some good photos of the girls in the park and we had a chance to stop there after church this morning.  I was thrilled that Chris could join for the pictures because I was able to get photos of Emma without her in any equipment, which is something that I probably would not do if it was just me and the girls at the park.  

After our photo shoot we headed to a birthday party where I got to continue snapping photos, but the highlight of the party was that Emma took quite a few steps in her KidWalk!  We brought it in with us since both me and Chris were there and could it along with her stroller and boy were we glad we did!  Emma's walk made everyone smile and I was so glad my friends could experience the thrill along with us.  I actually have some tears in my eyes right now writing about it - it is so fantastic to see her able to propel herself forward and I'm so hopeful that the KidWalk will give her some freedom to explore on her own.

After the party we came home to bake an apple crisp and run about in the yard.  I couldn't have asked for a more perfect weekend.  

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Want to know what we were up to today?

Today was all about the leaves and enjoying the gorgeous Fall weather.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Hopeful Parents

I'm over at Hopeful Parents today.  I managed to pull this post together regardless of taking care of two sick little girls - Julia has a sinus infection and Emma has a sinus infection, ear infection and pink eye.  Yikes!  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It's Here!!!!!

We received a call on Tuesday that Emma's KidWalk arrived and so the girls and I headed over to pick it up right after nap time.  I was so excited I couldn't wait for them to drop it off later on in the week.  It was a beautiful day and I set about to adjusting the gait trainer for Emma's size and then putting her in it to see what she would do (note:  I will bring it to Emma's PT on Monday for him to check the sizing and make any necessary adjustments, but we couldn't wait that long to try it out).  

And what she did was mostly a WHOLE LOT of SMILING!  She loves this gait trainer and we have been using it a little bit each day.  Last night we even put Emma in it for our evening dance party.  At first she didn't want to get in it because she thought it would hold her back - and, she does love to dance in Chris' arms!  But, after a couple of seconds she came around and LOVED using it for dancing.  We were able to hold hands and spin around in circles together, I could have her standing in it and help her wave both hands in the air, she could run after Julia when she went down the hall, and then run back up the hall to Daddy's open arms.  It was AMAZING.  I think we all had some huge smiles on our faces last night.  

Ok, I have to disclose that Emma isn't actually moving independently in the KidWalk yet because it might sound like it in this post.  But, she is moving her legs to try and walk and moving them when I help wheel the KidWalk about.  Eventually, she'll get there on her own but it will take time.  In the meantime, it's so nice to be able to have her participate more fully in our activities without having to put her down sooner than either of us want because of my aching back :-) 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fall Attire

I've been looking at tutorials on the internet on all the cool things you can make with your sewing machine.  The first time I used a sewing machine was this Spring and I'm still learning how to use it and the girls love having me make things for them.  They aren't the least bit picky about missed stitches or crooked stuff and I just love how happy they are with what I make them.  

I saw this tutorial on the internet and decided the girls needed to have a turkey shirt for the Fall.  Mom has stopped a lot of her sewing and gave me lots of fabric that she accumulated over the years, many of it seasonal in nature since she was always so great about including homemade gifts each holiday season for the entire family.  Really.  Now I appreciate how much time and effort went into her gifts!

I looked through the fabric pieces and pulled together the perfect selection and set about making the girls turkey shirts.  I definitely am still a beginner in the stitching department, but the shirts look really good if you don't look too closely.  Both girls love wearing their turkey shirts and love to tell everyone that I made them.  Seeing my girls so smiley in their turkey shirts makes this Mommy's heart happy!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Making a list...

The toy catalog season has begun and making out the Christmas wish list for Santa is currently in full swing at our house.  Julia has been upset lately because she never gets any mail and Emma is always getting mail and packages - I don't think she cares that it's usually medical and products bills that are delivered to Emma because she would love these packages and notes to come to her.  So, when the toy catalogs started showing up I told Julia they were mail for her and now I'm wondering "what the heck was I thinking???!!!!"

Julia has been taking her catalog perusing quite seriously.  She pores over the pages of toys and play items and talks about the children playing with the items and has circled the items that she thinks Santa should consider bringing her.  She has even asked for a couple of items for her Birthday and had me agree to get her a musical ballerina jewelry box as her Birthday present.  

Our after dinner activities tonight consisted of looking through the newest round of toy catalogs and Emma wanted in on the action this time.  She really loves to look at all the children and babies in the catalog and it even seemed to me like she was picking out a few items that really caught her eye.  Hmmmm......guess we need to start a list for Emma, too!

Here are a few photos I snapped of the girls and they way they are looking at the catalogs just makes me laugh because they are so serious!  However, I am just so shocked at how OLD Emma looks in the one where she decided to pose for the camera - I didn't ask her to but she just loves to get her photo taken that she looked away from the toys to let me capture her gorgeous smile.  

Now, I think the next time we look through the catalog I'll ask them each to pick out a toy to buy and donate to the hospital for the holiday.  It's important to us that the girls really embrace the spirit of the season rather than getting all caught up in gifts and this will be one of many things we do to demonstrate the spirit of the season with the girls.  

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sitting up

We had three different appointments at our hospital on Monday.  None of them were back-to-back, but they weren't spaced out so far that we would leave the hospital and return again later.  When we have days like that I always get concerned that Emma might get tired - especially of sitting in her wheelchair - and we usually find different places to pass the time.  

One spot that is always high on our list is a visit to the hospital Chapel.  Emma LOVES the chapel.  We usually have it to ourselves and so I let her sit up on the altar since it is her favorite spot - I'm not sure if this is appropriate or not but it sure does make her happy!  The stained glass is so vibrant and she likes to bask in the sunlight coming through it.  Typically, I put down a blanket and let her roll all around on the altar for a while but on Monday I decided to see what she would do in a sitting position.  Emma can't balance too well in unassisted sitting so I don't often move farther than a hand's distance away from her, but I felt good about Emma's ability on Monday so I left her side to get my iPhone and take some photos.  I was thrilled to capture these photos of her sitting on the altar without me holding her up.  As you can see, she was very proud of her accomplishment.  She did topple from side to side a few times before I was able to capture the photo, but this is still quite an accomplishment for Emma.  Way to go!