Friday, December 31, 2010

2011.01.01

It's a new year...


Here's what we've been up to in the last couple of weeks...

Fiona and I made a gingerbread house together. It was fun, but more work than I thought it would be! Fiona wanted to eat the house walls, and as much frosting as possible, but it turned out ok in the end.




We had a lovely Christmas with Ben's family. Christmas Eve was of course the traditional dinner and talent show at his parents' house. The talents this year were exceptional, including Fiona's "bottom dancing"...



We spent Christmas Day here, in our pyjamas. Ben's family came over and we opened presents together, and tried to polish off the Christmas cookies and desserts. We failed, but it was a good effort. Fiona quickly got into the spirit of opening presents, and found the whole thing very exciting!


She got some really great boxes!


Fiona was too excited and much too full of sugar to take an afternoon nap, and by the time everyone left (around 7pm) she was starting to get cranky. She was annoyed because I told her she could not watch a movie, and stomped off to her room, and turned off the light. I jokingly called out "goodnight, Fiona!' and finished saying goodbye to our guests. Once everyone was gone I went to check on her and she was curled up in bed fast asleep. A Christmas miracle!

We had a wonderful day and Ben surprised me with some lovely gifts, none of which required batteries, micro usb adaptors, or a network to function. Nice job sweetie :-)

So here we are - 2011. We took down the Christmas decorations today, and I think the girls will miss the dancing snowman. 2010 was a wonderful year filled with many happy memories. Here are some highlights...

- Adele came home from the hospital and we started life as a family of 4
- I FINALLY graduated with a Master's in General Experimental Psychology
- We visited Scotland for Adele's baptism
- We had a variety of fun visitors from far off lands
- Fiona learned how to wee in the potty!
- Adele grew bigger and stronger, and worked on learning how to do stuff.
- We got to know our "mommy group" friends better, and shared in some wonderful events, playdates, celebrations, and new baby joys with them.

Here are my goals for the new year... I had to include some that I hope are more achievable.

1. Take regular showers.
2. Fill in blanks in baby books for both girls.
3. Continue to try to cook more new and healthy foods.
4. Be more patient
5. Take more pictures. Get better at taking and editing them.
6. Crochet some stuff
7. Spend more time with people we did not see enough last year.
8. Get Fiona to poop in the potty
9. Go on some dates with the Ben
10. Eat twixes
11. Soak up every wonderful moment with my little girls.

Happy New Year everyone!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Season of Giving

I hope everyone is having an enjoyable (and not too stressful) Holiday Season! If you were in that crazy traffic jam trying to get into the Mall of America today, my thoughts are with you!

This year I am feeling thankful. I am constantly reminded of last year when Adele was in hospital and we were stressed out and worried. I am so happy to have her home with us this year, even if she is yelling in her bedroom after only taking a 15 minute nap. I am grateful for her happy spirit, and beautiful smile.

I can not imagine not being able to share her smiles. For her, or Fiona to have been born with a facial deformity that makes it impossible for them to smile. Luckily, if that had happened, we live in a country with good healthcare, and we have excellent health insurance, and she would not have had to go through life unable to smile.

So this Christmas, I am grateful, not only that I have two beautiful, healthy, smiley girls, but also that Ben and I are able to donate to organizations that can help families who are not as lucky as us. One of my favorite blogs Cake Wrecks is in the middle of a "12 days of Christmas" charity drive - every day they feature a charity and ask each reader to donate a dollar to the charity. That's all. Just one dollar. If you give a dollar a day, that's $12 dollars. But if everyone gives a dollar a day, that's a lot of dollars. Today they featured the charity Operation Smile which provides free surgeries to correct facial deformities in children, and they do some incredible things for children who would otherwise have to go through life without showing off their beautiful smiles. So if you have a dollar to spare (or even 12), think about contributing. Go to Cake Wrecks, and follow the link to donate. Smiley babies all over the world will thank you.



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Recent Happenings

This post will be in backwards chronological order, beginning today and going until it seems like I've rambled for long enough to send most of you into a comatose state...

Wow, December is speeding by! I can't believe it's the 14th already! The 14th was always an exciting day growing up, not so much because it's my Dad's birthday (sorry Dad! also, Happy Birthday!) but because it's the day we'd put up the Christmas tree, and once the tree is up, it's almost CHRISTMAS!!

Side note: because December is crazy I never manage to post even a card to my Dad, never mind a present, so as usual, this year, he got this...

And as a special treat this year he even got this!



Not initially included on Flickr, but now available as a bonus feature is this... the outtakes!




She's so cooperative!

Fiona loves all the Christmas decorations and lights on the houses, but doesn't seem to get the concept of asking Santa for presents yet. Or even who Santa is really. And to be fair, it's an odd concept. At bedtime tonight she was asking for a flashlight, and I told her she should ask Santa for one and she might get one for Christmas. She looked at me like I was nuts... Santa? Ok Mum, whatever...

I am almost completely done shopping, which is a minor miracle. I did almost all of it online, which was a lot of fun (more fun than battling the maniacs at the Mall) and now I have the added excitement of getting all kinds of mail. I still need to get something for the girls... I was going to get Fiona a trampoline, but we think it might take up too much space, so maybe I'll just get her a flashlight... and a lot of batteries.

On Sunday we went out to the Mall for a little while, just to get out of the house. If you're not there to shop, it's fun to visit :-) Fiona went on some rides and had fun seeing her cousins and eating ice cream. We got home, and it was bedtime, so I went to the basement to get their pyjamas from the dryer and smelled gas. Our hot water heater had not been working well, so we assumed that was the culprit and turned it off, then I called the gas company to see if we should do anything else. I was not prepared for her instructions... we had to leave the house immediately and wait in the car outside for the gas inspector to come and make sure there was not a leak and we were safe. So at almost 9pm we dragged our tired children out in 0 degree weather (that's -17C), loaded them in the car and sat outside for an hour, making occasional trips round the block to try to keep them asleep/entertained. I unearthed some toys in the bottom of the backpack, and Grrr and Fwroar had an exciting battle, but that only lasted so long...


Of course almost as soon as we're in the car Fiona starts crying that she needs to go potty. Luckily she had her night time diaper on so it was not an emergency but she did not want to go in the diaper, and was really upset. I told her I'd change her if she needed me to, and after a little while she insisted on having a new diaper. After some very awkward maneuvering I got her old diaper off, only to find that it was STILL DRY! You tricksy toddler, you!!

Luckily, Adele slept the whole time, so that helped.


Anyway, it turned out that the vents for the hot water heater were clogged with snow (more on that next) and once we cleared them off, it was back to business as usual.

Last weekend we had an epic snow storm, and although they did a great job of clearing the roads off, it's still kind of scary if you are one of those people who drives like an old lady, hunched over the steering wheel, sweating even though according to the car thermometer it's -15. Not that I am that kind of driver of course... Um. Anyway... there was so much snow that it even brought down the roof of the metrodome. Which is a big deal, I know, but come on people, it's not like it was a real roof! It was some kind of fabric tent and was held up by AIR!

Here's a picture of some snow, and Ben shoveling. We got almost 20 inches. And no, I did not even go outside to take pictures!



The last time it snowed Fiona loved playing outside, but it's been too cold recently. Here's a picture of her having fun back when it was warmer...

Those loose threads are... um... a style choice. Nothing to do with laziness at all...

I think this has dragged on long enough, so I'll leave you with a picture of the mug cosy I made for the playgroup secret santa. I have never made one before - it was fun! It's so cold here that even hot drinks need sweaters to keep them warm...



Monday, December 6, 2010

To Adele, on her first birthday...

Dear Adele,

I would have written this on your actual birthday, but you and your sister keep me pretty busy so I didn't get a chance to. On December 3rd you had your first birthday, and it was oh so exciting! A little over a year ago you gave us a big surprise when you decided you would like to be born more than two months early, and since that day you have surprised and amazed us over and over again.


When you were born it was pretty scary. We hoped everything would work out, but you were so very tiny and fragile. You amazed us at the moment of your birth by screaming very loudly, and we took comfort in that, but seeing you so small and weak with all your wires and monitors in your baby greenhouse was hard.

You weighed 3lbs, 2.8oz, and were teeny tiny. Grandma reminded me that I compared you to a butterfly, beautiful, but scary to handle in case I broke you.


Here you are at 8 days old. You already loved to look around and take everything in.















You did a great job while you were in the hospital - you learned to keep yourself warm and graduated from the greenhouse to your own little bed. You learned how to drink milk from a bottle, and you got better at remembering to breathe while sleeping, though we had a monitor for you for a while at home because you liked to test our reflexes from time to time. You came home on January 15th after exactly 6 weeks, you met your big sister, and got really, really good at breastfeeding. In fact, it became your favorite thing!


In the last year you have become a giggle monster - you love to be tickled, and for Fiona to blow raspberries for you. You roll from your tummy to your back, and have started to roll from your back to your tummy, but only when you absolutely have to. You love to read books and listen to music, and are  a big fan of toys that sing songs. You have started to sit up, and think jumping in the bouncer is very entertaining. You have 5 teeth, and make some very silly faces...


You love to be with me, and can be fussy with other people, but I don't mind. It's nice to have a little snugglepuss, and I know all too soon you'll be asking me to leave you alone  like your big sister does.


You have a smile that lights up the room and makes everyone else smile too. Your giggle could cheer up the Grinch, and you have a funny little sense of humor. You love your big sister very much, and she loves you too, even if she steals your toys.


Happy Birthday Adele, Dell-Roo, Tiny Love. We are so grateful for the joy and laughter you have brought to our family.

Now if you wanted to start sleeping at night, that would be cool. I might miss you at first at 10, 1, 3, and 5, but I think the time apart would be good for both of us.

Love you lots!!

Mummy
xxx

Saturday, November 27, 2010

ONE big party!

One year ago today I ended up on bedrest in the hospital after my water broke after only 29 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy. Six days later Adele was born, and today we got together with friends and family to celebrate her first incredible year of life!

Grandma made an incredible cake, and beautiful cupcakes...



We had the party at Grandma and Grandpa's and I thought I'd make life easier by getting sandwiches from Subway instead of trying to make a ton of sandwiches, after all there is a Subway right next to their house. Unfortunately I had a blonde moment and didn't check the actual location of the Subway I ordered from. We discovered this morning that it was, of course, the wrong Subway. Luckily it was not too much further... it would have been a disaster if it had been in the wrong state!

Adele was given some lovely gifts, and had so much fun opening them!




It was wonderful to get together with so many of the people who have been so important to us in the last year, and who have cared about and supported us as Adele grew bigger and became the sweet little smiler that she is today. We are so grateful to have you in our lives!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The snow that's coming, and snow from the past...

We've had some snow and ice and dangerous driving conditions already, but I'm getting nervous for tomorrow. The forecast is nasty, I need snow tires for my car, and I have places to go. I'm trying to cheer myself up by remembering the good things about snow... but other than how pretty it looks though a window when you're in a warm house, I'm not really a fan.

Ali came to visit us in Michigan in 2005, and we all drove up to Minnesota together to visit Ben's family for Christmas.


Two things stand out in my memory from that trip. The first is that we wanted to give her an awesome Chicago style deep dish pizza experience and stopped on the way home to get one near Chicago, not realizing that they sell them half baked for takeaway and you are meant to cook them at home... we knew it was risky trying to eat it in the car anyway (we couldn't stop because we had Brodie with us and couldn't leave him in the car) but trying to eat it half cooked was quite the challenge. We thought that the restaurant messed it up, but we learned later that everyone knows you're meant to finish baking it at home! Not a good experience!


The other thing that stands out is this... further proof that snow is a dangerous playmate.

video

My favorite part of this video, after the spectacular wipeout, is the small child (Ryan?) hurrying over to make sure she's ok!

I hope tomorrow's snow related experiences will be less unpleasant!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

She Sits! And the other one wees!

Adele had her first visit with the physical therapist for early intervention this week, and by the next day she was sitting unassisted for much longer than ever before! The PT gave us some different techniques to help her practice sitting and tummy time, and it looks like they work!


She still has work to do, but this is huge progress for her! She is using her muscles to balance more and using her hands for support and to push herself more upright. She's a super star!

We're working on having more tummy time, which strengthens her muscles and helps her to sit and roll over from back to front. She is not a fan of tummy time and rolls over to her back immediately. One of the things the PT noticed was that she prefers to roll to the right (Zoolander, you are not alone!) and to prevent this, suggested that we lie her against the couch to either force her to practice rolling left, or just work on being on her tummy more... she's not super impressed with this, but it helps!


The variety of things that the therapists want to see her doing that she's not doing yet is kind of overwhelming, but I am so incredibly pleased that she's already making progress. In addition to this, she has also begun using the 'pincer grasp' to grab little pieces of food. She's been choking frequently on non-pureed food recently so the only tiny chewy foods I give her are puffs, which dissolve really fast, but as soon as she discovered them she was a big fan. Sometimes she even gets them into her mouth!


Fiona is going through a non-cooperative phase, so it's been really hard to get any good pictures of her. Her big news though is POTTY TRAINING!! She has been in underwear all day for a week now and has not had any accidents. The liquid kind anyway. We won't talk about her poo issues :-/ Still, despite needing to work on that a little, I am so proud of her! It's been a long process, but she has suddenly developed the self control of a camel, and can go for far longer than Ben without going to the bathroom. It's still terrifying to take her out in public, but she's doing great!


Also, I made her a hat :-)


They are such amazing little girls!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Happy Birthday to Ben!

It's Ben's birthday today! I won't embarrass him by telling you how old he is but let's just say that if you multiply 4 by 9, he'll be that old two years from now. And yes, I double checked that with a calculator...

He took the day off work, and the girls both went to daycare this morning, so we got to hang out just the two of us! You might think that would be a good opportunity for some romance, but instead we went to Target and then I did some work while he nagged me to hurry up so we could go to lunch. And what a lunch it was! There's a sushi buffet next door to where he works that he has been excited to take me to, but it doesn't go well with kids and it's kind of pricey... well today was the perfect day to go!

(I didn't take this, it came from here, but ours looked very similar)

You order what you'd like off the menu and they bring it to your table, and then you just keep ordering more and more food until you're making this happy groaning noise and sneakily unbuttoning your trousers to give your tummy more space. It was so yummy!

Fiona gave him Toy Story 3. She was excited about it - it has a dinosaur on it!


I'm sure she'll be up bright and early tomorrow morning to watch it with him :-)

We had a party at his parents house - jointly with his Dad who is having a birthday next week. We had pizza and.. ICE CREAM CAKE!! Mmmmmmmm YUM!



I think the best part of the day for Fiona was licking ice cream and frosting off the candles...


And the best part for Ben was choosing a new phone for me and then getting to "set it up for me". He's been really excited about it and finding out that it was released today made this the best birthday ever. He's funny.

Happy Birthday Sweetie! We love you!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

11 Months

Guess who's 11 months old today...

This girl!


She's still working on her phone skills though...


She seems to be starting to feel better. The cough is less frequent and she's mostly back to being her usual happy baby self. She's still pretty congested, but her appetite is better and she's sleeping better. Not well, but that has nothing to do with her being sick ;-)

Happy 11 month birthday tiny love!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Haaaaaalloweeeeeeeen weeeek!

It has been a heck of a week. Here's a really long post about what we did... if you just want to see Fiona in her costume, feel free to skip to the end :-)

Monday: Awesome Fall/Halloween party with Mommy group friends. Fiona was Thomas the Tank Engine and Adele was a ladybug.

Tuesday: Adele began early intervention (EI) this week because she was boozing it up before lunch. Ok, no, not that kind of intervention. It's a system where the school sends out a team to assess her and make a plan to help her hit the milestones that she's a little behind on. Mostly she's behind on gross motor - she's not rolling over, and not sitting up yet. The big thing we'll be doing is just giving her more tummy time to strengthen her upper body, and people will come over every couple of weeks to check on her and suggest new exercises/activities, etc.

Also on Tuesday: Fiona moved into her very own big girl bed. Those of you who have been reading for a while may remember a previous attempt months ago to move Fiona out of her crib... it worked for a few days but then she really wanted to sleep in her crib again, so we switched back. This time instead of just a regular twin bed (that she kept falling out of) we tried a toddler bed with guard rails and she LOVES it. She just gets in, snuggles down and goes to sleep.

(That's the gorgeous quilt Grandma made for her when she was born)

Wednesday: I had a late night meeting at work and Ben took care of the girls. This is good because it reminds him of just how awesome I am. Unfortunately neither of them were in bed when I got home, but they were both still alive, so it was an overall success.

Thursday: EI follow up appointment. Playdate with friends. Flu shots for both girls in the afternoon.

Thursday night: Fallout from flu shots. Fiona cries whenever she sees her bandaid, but won't let me remove it. Adele is up all night miserable with a 103 fever.

Friday morning: Fiona doesn't want to take a bath in case her bandaid gets wet. Adele is crabby. She's had the cold and a cough for weeks and in combination with her flu shot ache and teething pain is in a baaaaaaad mood.

Friday afternoon: I make Adele an doctor appointment because she seems really sick. She's coughing endlessly, and frequently coughs so hard that she throws up all over whoever is holding her. Which is me 100% of the time. I am concerned that she's having some king of nasty flu shot reaction.

Saturday morning: As soon as Adele wakes up it's clear that she's really sick. She's wheezing - making this scary whistling noise - and coughing, coughing, coughing. I take her in for her appointment and it turns out she has bronchiolitis. This is when the tiny passages in your lungs get all full of crap causing coughing, wheezing, etc. She's more vulnerable to catching nasty viruses that cause things like this because her lungs are not as tough as those of a full term baby, and the worst part is that there's not much that that can be done, we just need to wait for it to run its course. Last night she was up for the majority of the night coughing and throwing up on me, and today the cough seems more infrequent, but more severe when she gets going. It's really awful, and exhausting for both of us, and it makes me nervous for what's in store for us over the next 5 months of winter.

Sunday: On a brighter note, today was Halloween! Fiona and I practiced how to trick or treat all day, and she was super excited to go out trick or treating with her cousins (and Daddy). Today is the day that having kids really pays off... she came back with a lot of candy!

(L-R Andrew - ninja, Fiona - Thomas, Emily - Cleopatra, Adele - Ladybug, Ryan - dementor)

Fiona loved her Thomas costume so much (thanks Aunty Cathy!) and had a wonderful time trick or treating. Adele and I were sad to miss it, but it was way too cold to take her out. Hopefully we'll all be able to go next year! Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Granny and Grandpa Visit!

My parents came to visit at the beginning of the month and we had a crazy fun time! Here I will present a collection of our activities, but I will only be talking about the ones that we took pictures of because, honestly, my brain functions so poorly in its exhausted state that without the visual reminder it may as well not have happened ;-)

One of the days we went to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. We had not been here before and it was really great! Here you can see Minneapolis' most famous image - the "cherry and spoon" sculpture...


Fiona loves to hide and jump out and yell "peek-a-boo!" and there were many opportunities for her to do this. In combination with being allowed to run around, she had a wonderful time.




Adele, as usual, hung out tied onto me and had a fun time observing Fiona and her antics. She's so easygoing, it's really fun to spend time with her!


Fiona's second favorite thing is trying to stick her hands into bodies of water... and we even managed to accommodate that!


Check out that giant fish!

On a different day we went to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. We hadn't been there before either and it was beautiful!

The leaves were all changing, the sky was blue, and some of the colors were incredible...


There's a sculpture there right now that is made by Patrick Dougherty - an artist who uses branches to make huge structures. Check out his website, really, it's amazing!


Fiona managed to find a variety of water features to paddle her hands in...



And found time for her third favorite thing... jumping off dangerous stuff!


And Adele, of course, hung out and was happy!

The other thing we did that I have photographic evidence of was going to the Zoo. It's always fun to go to the zoo, and this time was no exception, although this time Fiona was a little more batty...


Aaaaaaaahhahahahahaha. Man, I'm funny.

Other than that, we saw some bears and leopards up close...



And Adele hung out and was happy... and sleepy!


It was wonderful to have visitors!

We miss you Granny and Grandpa, come back soon!