Sunday, August 31, 2014

32 Weeks

So we've reached the 32 week mark and its been eventful/ non eventful depending on how you look at it. Preterm contractions started three weeks ago and have been particularly bad in the evenings so I moved to partial bed rest which means I sit - and sit, and sit for much of the day (hence the uneventful part)it's a hard thing for me to do. My sanity as a mother is found in exercising, getting outta least once in the day so I can see other people besides my little ones. With both these outlets closed to me I found I had a few emotional days that was beginning to take its toll on the whole family. In addition baby girl keeps dropping which means sciatic pain and poor circulation with daily leg cramps.

Mothers really are a barometer for the family and I realized that if I could not find a way of releasing the building pressure, it would be hard on everyone. So kent and I agreed to take acetaminophen and Niphedipine as needed, one day I would spend slowly doing the things I use to do (grocery shopping, cooking, library runs, etc) and then the following two days would be spent in the quiet of home with my feet up. It's really helped me to feel a lot more positive and we are all much happier as a family.

We recently had an ultrasound of Baby Girl. She's strong and from measurements about in the 60th percentile in size and weight. We've never had much luck with the 3D ultrasounds. All the kiddos hide their faces from us and baby 4 wasn't any different. She had her face smushed into the placenta using like a pillow. It made kent and I laugh, it explains why all our kids love doing that when they sleep, blankets pressed up to their noses as they're rub cheeks into the softness. When the ultrasound tech heard this was our fourth, she was determined to get a face shot for us and had me changing all sorts of positions and jiggling things around. Little girl was not pleased and kicked feet and arms in protest but she did finally turn her head and this is what we got!

It's so fun to see her little face. Not too much longer, another 4 weeks and baby girl will be safe to come!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Keila's First Day of Preschool

Children from the same family are each so different from each other. It is really obvious between Keila and Isaac. One is an extrovert and everyone is a friend even though he could never tell you the name of that child 10 mins later. The other is an introvert, choosing just one or two special friends who she knows inside and out and who's friendship she jealously guards as her own. For that reason school is ever so much more intimidating for Keila. A new environment, new teacher, new people to make relationships with .... She is so filled with anxiety about it that it has me anxious for her too.

The annual fathers blessing before school start was particularly important to her. I think she felt the peace of the blessing that assured her she would learn to love school and make new friends because this was her on the first of preschool:

We've had brief tears almost every morning while getting ready since, but she's come to accept that this will be a part of her life for a long time and so she squares her little shoulders and gets too it. At the end of her halftime day, she always relates something positive about her time there. She's realizes there are things she can't experience here at home and I can see her confidence growing. I'm so proud of her and so glad she is my little bug love. Here she's giving Eli some parting love....can't quite tell if eli is glad for the space from her ofttimes smother affection or if he's feeling a little blue at our very quiet mornings together!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ward Campout 2014

The weekend of Keila's birthday was the annual ward camp out our church does. It's always a nice break for me since most years I've been either pregnant or had a little one that was better off staying home. In the meantime the oldest kids go off with Kent for some memory making time. Here are their favorite memories:

- I saw a big green buggy the ones they use to make jewelry (I told her how Egyptians used beattles for that purpose).
- there was lots of people but I didn't play with them, I only like-ed talking to some of them
- I like-ed sleeping in my sleeping bag and I like-ed showing people the buggies we caught
- I like-ed that it raining, I liked my treats
- we went to buy my necklace and I like-ed Jerome

- my favorite parts of the camp out were the green bug, on the bottom of the bug there was gold on it. There was a wall made of rocks, sticks and pine needles and even flowers and plants. We made it longer - it was pretty long, as long as our old house!
-we ate s'mores and played with friends
- there were some electronic airplanes, one was a helicopters, from the Heatons. And there was one who had one that wasn't electronic, it was Bro Schill, it's made of foam and you throw it

I enjoyed the rain and talking with people. The domino game with the Welkers and Kathryn Webb was fun. I enjoyed reading books with them in the tent and snuggling with them in the morning. We stopped in Jerome and got Isaac a geode and keila a quartz necklace. It was a good trip.

I love that they can get out into the outdoors, that its cooler and electronics are inaccessible. They resort to the playthings of the past, nature, plants, other people. The simple life tends to really rejuvenate. I look forward in a few years when baby girl is older we'll be able to enjoy as a family.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Ladybug Birthday Tea Party!

Keila requested some one on one time with her best friend from Stepping Stone Preschool. We debated lots of play date ideas but it being the start of school, most things weren't doable so we opted for an intimate and 'cute' tea party. Most of the things I made a few days before (froze cookie dough, cut frozen bread for peanut butter sandwiches, etc) so it made it an easy morning so I could enjoying listening to their happy chatter. Kent took the day off so he could keep Eli out of our hair and the two girls had a blast.
Both of them are normally so reserved and quiet that I was thrilled to hear them talking so much. Keila screamed with joy at the ladybug stickers, "how did you know I love ladybugs!" Mona's reply, "oh, I just knew!" And they had fun building a nest for the chirping bird now named Cute Tweet. During tea time Keila was a good host, always eager to fill Mona's cup. At the end of it all, it warmed my heart to see both girls so happy and especially for my girl be so content despite her brother egging her on.
The day before we sang happy birthday to her and shared cupcakes with our favorite grandma, Helen Young. It turns out that Helen's dog, Buster, has the same birthday as Keila so we put a candle on his homemade dog treat and sang to them together. Helen's sister stopped by as well and we shared in our goodies and had a nice chat.
All in all, it was a wonderful birthday. I hope she felt our love and joy for her presence in our lives. Her gift was a ladybug habitat and when the weather gets cooler we hope to order than so she can see them metamorphosis into the bugs she so adores.
Happy Birthday Keila! You are forever my cutie bug-love!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Another School Year and Trimester

School has begun and while this Mama loves her kids, I was doing a dance of joy the morning of the 11th! You can always tell when summer nears its end, the amiability of the older two is sorely tested to the point where the mere sound of the opposing sibling will generate screaming and yelling until they are banished to their rooms to sulk and stomp their feet.

Isaac started first grade and was happy to see old friends from last year. He tested into a more advanced class and I'm excited to see the connections he'll make to others as well as the chance for his sponge like brain to soak up learning elsewhere. Here he is at the front door and at the school. Apparently they do a 'tunnel of hope' where parents cheer the kiddos as they walking in the first day. I missed it last year but managed to catch it on camera this time.

I love that you can see Keila peering through the window! She doesn't start preschool for another 2 weeks.

As for me, I've begun the third trimester! Currently I'm 29 weeks and feeling it. Baby has dropped further and contractions have started again and I find myself waking at night, the uterus hard as a rock and having difficulty breathing easily. I've been told to take it easy and monitor it. How one takes it easy when you have three children (two doing differing therapies) makes me laugh! I move slowly now like I'm a 90yr old with back issues. im seriously considering getting a walker of sorts and i have to laugh at the funny looks Eli gives me as i chose to slide bottom down the stairs while supporting him walking down. the days are much simpler but by 7pm I'm on the couch in a prone position. I see the doctor next week and I'm sure I'll be put on Niphedipine again, we just need to make it to 36 weeks....and stay sane! Wish me luck!

Speaking of Eli, the little man continues to amaze me in his progress. It's as the therapists all said, once he got walking down, many other area jumped ahead. One day out of the blue he began signing 'help' and 'down' clearly, he also makes the 'da' and 'na' sounds and will initiate signing to us when he wants something, particularly music. He was almost obsessive with the Frozen soundtrack which was fatiguing on many levels so we created his own Bubby playlist of more contemporary music. He LOVES dancing and listening to it and can often be found dragging the iPad to us, signing music and then tossing it our lap. I can rarely resist his eager smile and love watching him dance his little heart out.

We've also been working hard to help him in his independence. We practice helping him get dress on his own and he can be found doing it on any clothing left out by others. We work on washing our hands at the sink properly which he enjoys a lot - perhaps a little too much. One morning I found he had climbed into the sink and washed much more than his hands. After cleaning him up, new clothes and diaper I began working on the bathroom only to hear water running again. He had climbed into my bathtub and decided to try again. I swear I need to put a cow bell on him so I can keep track of his antics!

Here he is working on his feeding skills. His upper core and shoulders lack strength, you see it as he raises his shoulders to use his fork but despite that he does okay. Obviously he thinks he deserves a break!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Five Years with my Bug-love!

My little girl turns five in a week! The time has just flown by and I'm amazed at her growth. Ever since she was a little one, she has loved animals and bugs. My Little Pony has a character that she often mimics, saying, "What a cute little fella!" or mentions how 'ad-oi-able' they are. I have yet to fix that little speech slip as she seems to be on the verge of fixing it herself and I know I will miss it. Sunshine, our rabbit seeks her out and in her old age and Keila loves feeling needed. She has also become Helen Youngs (our adopted Grandma) personal dog trainer. Apparently she and Buster have the same birthday and Helen tells me that she does a great job at getting Buster to 'stay'. Her latest facination is with pill bugs, any bug really. She captures them in her bug jar and carts it around with her for the day until she lets them go to be with their family at night.
Notice how she has that same head tilt? She's just so darn cute that way!

She loves girly things, to a point. She is definately my girl and practicality takes precednce, which makes me sad since apparentley she has too many things to do to sit still and do her hair! But nothing cheers her more on a sunday morning to have a new outfit for church, I've taken to skirts and nice blouses to mix and match as much as possible to feed her need for variety. Spa time is one of her favorite times with me. Between the soaps, lotions, and nail polish topped off iwht lots of time to chatt with Mama one on one, she is one content gal.
A true introvert, she is slow to make friends, keeping to herself in play, quietly acting out on her own imaginary world. But if she finds a 'soulmate' she is fiercely loyal and extremely affectionate. For her birthday this year she wished for a playdate with only one friend, Mona her best friend from school.

Isaac has been both her idol and tormentor for years. She claims she can't stand him, but if anyone seems threatening to him at all, she's the first by his side. With Eli there existed a long period of jealousy, it was hard after all being caught between two brothers who needed so much attention. She's matured in the process though and now she is one of his favorite people. If she crawls into his bed and snuggles up to him, I'm sure to hear giggles that turn into loud peals of laughter from him. He has slowly brought out her nurturing side and with it is a anticipation of a baby sister that she already spends time talking to while she's stilll in the womb. After all, she's known about her for years, before Eli was even born and I'm sure theres a special bond there just waiting to grow.
There are times she is just so grown up with some of her phrases, "Excuse me Mama, there is something I want to talk to you about ..." but it's done in her little whisper voice accompanied by her head tilt. It always gets Kent and I a laugh and she reprimands us with, "What? I'm serious ...." So I quell the urge to laugh some more and attend to her moment of importance. She keeps her thoughts to herself so much that at times I underestimate how much she is watching, learning and capable of understanding. The other day there was some discussion about whether or not we would have another baby later. Somehow she understood enough about the birds and bees to coach it in terms of sperm, egg and doctors that it frightened me a little. Nothing gets by that one, that's for sure!
I'm so grateful to have this little 'Lily-bug' in my life. She is such a beautiful gal, both inside and out! I look forward to the years as our relationship grows and as we share the bond that only women can have years go by.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Extra Fun!

The annual Sharing Down Syndrome walk is not too far away. We are so happy to be a part of raising funds for such a worthy cause, I've learned my lesson from the past and began some fundraising a little earlier. SDSAZ was our first positive line of contact when we found out about Eli's diagnosis. The personal visit from Gina Johnson, founder of the organization, as well as nearly $200 in supplies to help in our new journey was like water in the desert and they continue to be of huge support in the form of free workshops and family activities. We're almost 40% of the way to reaching out goal of raising $500 and most have been done by selling homemade Chinese spring rolls and sugar scrubs. You can follow our efforts on this webpage as well as check out the Sharing Down Syndrome website. These are the spring rolls I make and freeze to sell and raise funds. I was so touched when I posted it to Facebook and the batch sold out within the a few hours! I already have over 40 pre-ordered, so it looks like my nights will be busy the next while! ;)
Eli has grown by leaps and bounds and at times I look at him in wonder as I see a little boy and a baby no longer. Since my belly no longer allows me to ride the plasma car with him, he hopped on and figured out how to steer and move himself. He's rather deft and will frequently zoom around the kitchen as I prep dinner. He has a new sense of independence I knew would come with walking, but it has given me a few good scares at time.
This shot is of him climbing the table to reach some leftover seaweed, a favorite snack of his. With very little in the way of verbal speech, he takes the initiate to fix his own problems. He's so silent though that I've learned not to be too surprised with what happens behind my back.

This video is another good example. While helping the kids clean up their toys, I suddenly heard the water running. I turned it off and took the little monkey out of the bathroom. This is what I caught on camera next.

Did you catch that impish smile? The word 'no' is not much of a deterrent in light of his curiosity. There isn't much this boy won't do, it just takes his time and his way. I'm so grateful for him in our lives! His extra chromosome not only makes him extra cute, but makes me extra aware of all the moments that life has to offer that gives real joy!