Tuesday, November 30, 2010

National Adoption Month and A Cause for You

Did you know that November is National Adoption Month?

It is a month set aside each year to raise awareness about the adoption of children and youth from foster care.

With that in mind, today, the last day of the month I have decided to ask you to participate in a worthy cause.

Through the blog Life. rearranged, people are raising money for one little boy in the hopes that he can one day find his Forever Family.

I first came across this little man shortly after having Eslea. While searching the Reece's Rainbow site, I paused when I saw his picture. He looked so much like my precious baby. My body physically ached for him. What I wouldn't give to make it possible....

I am so happy that someone else felt that same way. Not only that, she is on a mission to help Cliff find a home.

There are those of us in the world that have the drive to adopt. The will has been in me since I was 5 years old. It has yet to be possible. Money is a huge issue. Especially now with my own little buggie's medical issues.

But it is possible for someone. There is a family out there who will want Cliff to finally come home.
You can help. Just click on the link below and pray. Your heart will tell you want to do.
God bless.

Want other ways to help? Life. rearranged will be raising money through January 7th for baby cliff. Grab the button on my right side bar and add it to your own blog. Or simply, spread the word.

Thank you! Now go on...you've got work to do baby.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Look on Their Faces

Something strange is happening.
I have noticed that the people around are looking at me differently.
They are speaking to me differently.
People that once didn't seem to care to take the time to speak to me are stopping to chat.
They all want to know about Eslea.

How is she doing? How am I doing? How is it going? What is it like?
I see it in their faces. They know. They all know. They have all been told by one person or another. The word spreading like a brush fire after a long drought.
Their eyes show that they are struggling somewhat with the words they are choosing but they are fairly certain the right ones have made way to their lips.
They have heard. They want to know.
I try to make it easier. I begin by saying that she is great. She is beautiful. She is making it day by day.

Yet the look on their face is still there. They want to ask. To find out if it's true.
Again, I try to make it easier. I tell them that she was born with down syndrome and that she also struggles with a pretty severe heart defect, two holes to be exact.
Their face changes. Yes. That is what they wanted to hear.
But which was it? Which one were they most curious about?
I do not know for sure and probably never will.
It doesn't matter. For I am certain that what drives their curiosity is not the same factor that keeps me up at night. It's not the aspect of Eslea's condition that has me watching her mouth closely as she eats to make sure she doesn't turn blue.
So, I say something else to them. I tell them that she is perfect. She is as close to heaven as I can get on this earth and I am overwhelmed that I get to be her mother.

They can not know that what causes me the most concern at night has nothing to do with that tiny extra chromosome.
It is something greater. Something so very small that struggles every second to work efficiently.
It is her heart.
Yet every day it continues to beat.
Every night I thank my Savior for allowing me another day to spend with her....and that extra chromosome.

Regardless of what their motivation may be, I am grateful that people take the time to ask about her.
So thank you to everyone that ask. Thank you for taking the time to ask about my little buggie.

I am determined that sometime in the near future to squeeze me some sweet juicy baby thighs.
 Eslea's strength is in her legs.
In an effort to keep that as a strength, she takes part in baby leg presses.
It's not her favorite thing, but after about a minute of groaning and pushing she finally gets somewhere. That's right. That's my baby.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Finally Fall (9weeks, 1 day)

Happy Thanksgiving Eve. This time tomorrow night I will be full from a day of mouth watering treats and giving thanks for my overly stuffed tummy.

I spent the day with my two favorite girls. Ever so grateful that Eslea is with us this Holiday season. Remembering a time after my divorce when I was scared that I would never have any more children. That Emma, the joy that she is, would be my last.  I am an only child and more than anything I wanted a large family. I could have never imagined the blessing that was coming my way. Just 2 years ago I had to give up the desire to ever have another little girl. Yet now I am not only thankful for Eslea but also for my sweet husband. A year ago he and I went on our first date and have been together ever since. He is about as close to a soul mate as I can imagine. He is the best thing that could have happened to Emma and I. He is the best daddy Eslea could ever have.

Tomorrow is a day of Thanksgiving. With that in mind, my girls and I spent the day in preparation for tomorrow's festivities. The Thanksgiving table would not be complete without confetti made by little hands. I taught Emma how to use the paper cutters and she set off on a mission to fill a baggie full of fall colored trinkets.

Thanksgiving is also not complete without a homemade sweet. An easy treat that is a tradition for most families: rice krispies treats. Ours is made with peanut butter because well, it's peanut butter. Oh baby, everything is better with peanut butter.

Eslea loves to be outside and it is the perfect place to do our daily development routines.

1) Tummy Time
Good ole' tummy time. Today I plopped buggie on a quilt and tried to tempt her with colorful leaves to raise that tiny head of hers. Started with a pillow till she pushed herself off. She is strong like that.

2) Tactile and Visual: Leaves....again
When there are so many colorful leaves around, why not use them? First, I had her set those beautiful eyes on a leaf and follow it from side to side. I would take her hand and stretch out her arm to touch the leaf while saying "leaf" over and over. I swear the kid eventually grabbed it all by herself. I also let her spend time with her feet in the leaves. They make this great crunch sound which she loved to hear as she kicked those tootsies amongst the piles.

3) Copy Cat
Every day I try to spend time with my face as close to hers as I can get while making silly faces for her to see. I will do one expression repeatedly until she finally makes the face herself. Let's just hope that the old saying "your face is going to freeze that way" is not true.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.
Be Thankful. Love your family. Stuff your tummies full.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Doing it for myself (9 weeks)

Eslea is 9 weeks old today. I am tired of seeing doctors. I'm tired of all their opinions and prescriptions.
The fact is, most of what has helped buggie is due to the research Jason and I alone have done.

Three weeks ago, Eslea was admitted to the hospital because of poor weight gain and dehydration. Things that could have been prevented if just one of the three doctors that saw her would have made the correct diagnosis.
Eslea is getting better. She is getting stronger and bigger everyday. At her most recent doctor visit she weighed 9lbs 4 oz and is over 22 inches long. She continues to be happy and very active. With the exception of the cardiologist, I am giving Jason and I credit for this improvement.
I have spent hours researching and asking questions so that I can make the best choice possible for Eslea. When we were told to give her formula for half her feedings, we did. When we were told to make sure that formula was more condensed so that it had a higher calorie count, we did. When she started to have very wet stools for days on end and we were told to increase the formula, we did. When we were told to admit her to the hospital, we did.
Yet, now, we question everything. During the hospital visit we were told to stop breastfeeding and go to all formula.  We did not. We were told to continue using the same formula, we did not.
We have made our own path now for Eslea and we are starting to see a difference.
Because of that, my new goal is to share everything I learn with anyone that wants to hear it.
I'm going to use every bit of information I obtain from my graduate degrees along with my quest for the latest research to find the best possible treatments, therapies, prescriptions, doctors, etc for my child. And I don't plan on keeping that news to myself.

Now excuse me while I hop off this soap box I'm on...because...if you didn't notice earlier in the mist of my ranting I posted that ESLEA HAS GAINED WEIGHT! Yes, I'm yelling it! At the top of my lungs and from the roof tops!

The very first "things we love" to be added: 

Wait for it.....

Now, before you start thinking "breast is best" and that I'm being a sell out , let me say one thing....I know! But the fact is, my Eslea does need more calories per ounce than I can humanly produce. So, I do continue to nurse her for half of her feedings. But for the other half, we use Soy Formula. It is working and she is finally gaining weight. After many hours of research and talking to a few experts, I have found that there is a theory that almost all children born with down syndrome are lactose intolerant. Frankly, I believe this theory. Since she has been on Soy Formula, she is less gassy, less crampy and she is gaining weight. So, I stand by our decision to use formula. It is working!

Today's therapy:
We spent a lot of time outside the house today, so in addition to the activities I do daily....

1)Patterns: Sing Along
This is when I help Eslea recognize patterns through music. Recognizing patterns is essential for brain development in infancy. While in the car today there was one song I played over and over again. Yet, each time it was presented to Eslea differently. One time, the song was played exactly like it is on the DVD. The second time, her older sister sang along with the song (very loudly). The third time we clapped along with the song. The last time we played the song again in it's original form. Eslea was alert the entire time and engaged.

2) Visual and Tactile: Leaves
While at the park today, I made good use of the time Eslea was awake. I found a variety of leaves in various colors and presented them to her one at a time while saying "leaf". I than allowed her to touch the leaves and waited patiently as she attempted to raise her right arm in an attempt to grab the pretty colors.

3) Visual and Auditory: Children Playing
The park is the perfect place to stimulate those little ears of hers. I spent the few minutes of attention I had left with her telling her about her surroundings. Whenever a child came into her viewing range, I would let her know if the person was a boy or girl. If a child yelled or laughed, I would make sure to point out the sound to her and repeat it myself.

Yes, it was a busy day.

(Ummm excuse this picks below. I actually walked out of the house without my Canon. All I had handy at the park today was the camera on my phone. I know, right?)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Family! Come on Down!

This was the week.
The week I said goodbye to sleeping in late, afternoon naps, and hours of soaking in baby love.
This is the week I returned to work.

I really do love my job. There is an energy that can only be found from high school students and one of the joys of working around them is that they will gladly share that energy with you. It's empowering.

But I miss Eslea during the day. One of the highlights of this week is that some of my favorite people traveled many hours to come and visit sweet Eslea. And they, like everyone that meets her, fell in love.

So happy to realize that I captured one of her sweet baby smiles.
There is also a different type of energy that comes from family gatherings around the table. Like a warm blanket that wraps around your toes snug and tight, not allowing any of the cold air to sneak inside your perfect little foot cocoon.

Not so very long ago, I was the teenager with a 4 year old following my every move. That very same 4 year old and I developed a secret Sista-Sista handshake. Now, that little girl who followed me around has her own 4 year old in tow and she is passing that same secret handshake on to my little monkey.

Another cool night. The weekend is almost here.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Princesses....they're everywhere, they're everywhere!

 Nothing is better than the excitement of watching a little girl's eyes light up and the bounce that takes over her entire body as she realizes what she is about to behold.....Disney's Princesses on Ice.

Yes, today we sacrificed our Sunday afternoon so that Emma could watch till her little heart was full of Princesses swaying and gliding across an icy floor.
I must admit, it was pretty spectacular. I found my own leg bouncing with the music more often than I would like to admit.

The best part of it all was the amazement and wonder in Emma's eyes.
She was so wrapped up in the stories that she didn't want to let go of the moment.

Tell me why as parents do we give in to the desires of our children when at such events? I believe it's because we want them to hold on to that magical feeling for as long as possible. Bringing home bought trinkets is a small way to help them have that magic just a little bit longer.

So that you too can share in just a little bit of the magic from today...

My own little princess was a pooped little princess.

I am looking forward to the day that her younger sister can enjoy such merriment with us.
Until that time, Eslea can hold down the fort at home while sportin' some pretty stylin' onesies.

Yes, Eslea my dear....your daddy DOES rock!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Smoke, smoke, go away...

...that's it. No need to add the "come again another day" part. Just wishing it away.

Baby, it's dry outside and the fire has started. I think the worst part of the smoke being so thick outside is that you really do not want your children inhaling the fumes. Especially not the precious newly formed lungs of someone who already is struggling so hard to take in oxygen. Yep, I'm referring to Eslea.
I so hate to keep her inside all day. But I must.
She adores being outside.
It does not matter her mood. The minute we walk outside, she smiles and soaks up the sun.
If she's crying..it stops. If she's sleeping..she wakes up.
She's her daddy's girl I tell ya. She's happiest being busy and being outside.
Indoor entertainment has just had to do.

Despite the past few days of lung pollution, we've managed to have some good times.
Playing dress up passes the time quit nicely.

Now some random pictures taken by one cute little 4 year old monkey.

That's with a good old handheld auto 35mm.
I'm so proud.

Tomorrow is Sunday. Enjoy!