Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Family Vacay

August 25-29 we loaded up Lee's truck and headed down to South Padre Island for a mini vacay. We went with Lee's parents and the added help with Elle was definitely needed for our little go go getter! I didn't take any toys for Elle to play with - only books and her flash cards. If you don't already have an LL Bean large tote - get one (plus Nina Garcia says that every woman must have one)! The thing is perfect for loading up books and toys for car trips. It sits right next to Elle and she can reach in and grab as many books as her little car seat will hold....plus it's made out of uber durable canvas...the thing is indestructible! We made it down to the island late Wednesday night and woke up early Thursday morning. The day was perfect and our morning walk/run was wonderful on the beach. Even the dogs got to enjoy a morning run. Later on that afternoon we went over to Port Isabell for some shopping.

Friday morning, Lee, Mark and I went fishing with a guide. Vickie stayed with the princess while we enjoyed a morning of good fishing.

Being Animal Print Friday, Elle was sporting her new bird outfit. I just love it! It has birds and eggs all over it and is just too super cute!

The last time we went down to SPI, Elle started crawling and pulling up and cruising all in the same weekend. We were hoping she would start walking during this trip. She didn't start walking, but she did start coloring which we have been working on forever!

Saturday we took Elle to Paragraph Books on the island and to some other cute shops on SPI. We found some great toys for Elle. She is way in to matching things right now and we found Animal Bingo. There are cards with the animals on them and you match the game pieces to the cards. Elle was in hog heaven playing the matching game with the animals! She also talked Big Daddy into buying her a new bracelet. She really did talk him into it - or rather "signed" him into it. I have never seen so many "pleases" and "yes please" signed by this little lady! We also had a few photo shoots!
We had such so much fun with ViVi and Big Daddy. No one wanted the weekend to end!

Monday, August 23, 2010

17 Months

I can't believe our little lady is 17 months old. Crazy that it has almost been a year and a half since we were blessed by our little angel. Since I haven't done an update in the last few months - here is what our little lady is up to...

- She is weighing in at 22 lbs and is 30 inches long
- She is in 12 month clothing and some 18 month clothing
- She is still a super picky eater and hasn't finished another jar of baby food since the first one she finished. We just haven't found that one thing she really really likes. Although, she will try anything at least once - which is good. She is still fed with the feeding tube.
- She is super active and goes goes goes all day long - with the exception of an hour long nap around noon.
- Her favorite thing to do is either read her books or play with her sign language flash cards.
- She is so super smart - she knows over 70 signs and will verbalize most of the words she signs.
- She loves to play the "where's game." She will sign "where" and we will ask her where something is (in sign language and saying it). We play it ALL DAY LONG. I run out of things I know the signs for! The easiest things to ask "where" are her body parts - she pretty much knows everything from her head to her toes.
- She recognizes same objects - she looks at a picture of a bear and will point to the bear toys in her room...pretty much anything she knows the sign for - she will put two and two together
- When she is playing with her sign language flash cards - she recognizes both the sign and the picture - so if the card is flipped over to show the sign you can ask her "where is the ____?" and she will find the flash card either way - with the picture facing up or with the sign facing up.
- we are working on recognizing the colors, letters and numbers....I know she will figure it out soon!
- She is pulling up on everything and will walk assisted all over the place. I heard a loud bang the other day when I was getting ready for church - I walked into the hallway and there was Elle - cruising up and down the hallway banging on the wall as she went up and down the hallway. We practice walking between two surfaces everyday - she can now take about 4 steps before falling. I know she will figure out this whole walking/balancing thing in the near future!
- She is starting to get a little attitude. If she is playing with something and you say it's time to put it up - she will hide the toy from you. She hides a lot of things - another one of her favorite games to play. If you take whatever it is away from her - be prepared for an all out hissy fit - complete with leg stomps and hands flailing around in the air. Most of the time she puts her hands on her cheeks and just cries the biggest alligator tears ever.
- She is still uber active with therapies and goes to physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy as well as gym class and pretty soon we will be starting music class!
- She loves to sing and sign "Jesus Loves Me" and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider." We have crosses on some of the walls in our home and she will crawl up to them and point and sign "Jesus." Melts my heart every time.
She is such a fun little girl. I laugh all day long at what she does. Everyday she learns something new and it is so exciting for both of us. We are so blessed by our little Elle Belle!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Another week....another illness

Well....Elle finally got over the puke monster and then was hit again with a nasty runny nose and cough. Last Tuesday (8/10/10) at gym class, one of the moms brought her daughter to class with a seriously runny nose. I really didn't think anything of it until Elle woke up on Wednesday with a runny nose. Ugh! Runny nose = puke in our house but thankfully we escaped Wednesday puke free. Wednesday night Elle woke us up with a terrible cough. I woke up first thing Thursday morning and made an appointment to see the pediatrician. I just love our pediatrician and her staff. Thankfully, she basically said that Elle had a summer cold and would be fine - just to watch her and make sure she didn't develop a fever. Come Saturday, Elle was feeling much better and we both needed to get out of the house so we went with Lee to his hunting camp.

Elle playing with the duck call - she's ready for hunting season
He needed to put up some game cameras and Elle and I wanted to see what The Moose Den was all about. We left early and got to his camp around 9:00am and were finished putting up the cameras by 11:30am. Elle's favorite part was getting to drive the mule! It made being outside in the scorching heat worth it!

We left Lee's camp around noon and headed over to my dad's camp 20 minutes away. Our intent was to go fishing but it was even too hot for the fish to even think about wanting to be caught! Elle was such a super trooper and hung out with Grampy in the shade while Lee and I tried to catch some fish. It was a pretty exciting day for Elle because she not only got to see cows up close and personal, but she also got to see horses and butterflies.

She had a butterfly on her shirt and when I pointed to the butterfly flying around she signed and said "butterfly" and then pointed to her shirt and at the butterfly flying around. She amazes me everyday with what a smart little girl she is! After fishing for a few hours we headed back to Lee's camp to drop off a 4 wheeler and so I could shoot a handgun for the first time. I'm not going to lie - I was scared out of my mind to shoot a gun. It's been 12 years since I even held a firearm so the fact that Lee was going to teach me how to shoot was pretty intimidating. Lee videoed me shooting the handgun and all I can say is that I was impressed that my arms didn't flap in the wind - thanks to lifting up a 20lb baby all day long!

It was a long day in the sun and wore us all out. Sunday morning we woke up and Elle had a terrible rash all over her that progressively got worse as the day went on. It was from her face all the way to her toes....worse than any other rash she has ever had. I was able to get in with our pediatrician on Monday and she said that the rash was most likely caused by a combination of the virus she had that gave her the runny nose and cough and possibly some plant she rubbed up against at the deer leases. Who knows. By Tuesday she was much better and we were able to resume our normal busy schedule.

Poor little baby - the pictures of her torso and legs are too gruesome to post
The rest of the week pretty much flew by. Animal Print Friday, Elle's normal sign language teacher returned after her summer break. It took Elle about 10 minutes to realize that Mrs. Katy was back to play with her. She was so funny when she put 2 and 2 together. She showed Mrs. Katy all her favorite games like taking all her shoes out of her armoire and then putting them all back in again and playing with her flash cards and reading her favorite book Brown Bear Brown Bear.

Animal Print Friday outfit - pink gingham with frogs all over it

The next few weeks are going to be super busy with appointments and other activities that are starting up. I signed Elle up for a music class that starts in September. I am so excited to see how she reacts to all the music. She is such a funny little girl. I asked Lee this morning if he ever thought that being a parent would be so much fun. Everyday she does something that makes us laugh - she is just such a fun little lady (even when she isn't feeling 100%)!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rocky Mountain High....

July 14-17 I escaped from the Houston humidity and went to Boulder, Colorado to visit one of my very best friends. Meghan and her boyfriend Tony graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in New York and decided to follow their hearts to the absolutely beautiful city of Boulder. I can't say that I blame them for choosing Boulder. It is beautiful! Mountain views, perfect weather and a community based around living a healthy life style. Walking and bike paths go throughout the whole city - so if you didn't want to drive anywhere - you could bike - safely. It was pretty awesome to see moms riding their bikes with kids in tow all over town. I can honestly say I came back inspired to live a healthier life style....it was absolutely fantastic!

I got in late Wednesday evening so we went back to her house (Tony was out of town) to enjoy some of Tony's beer...he's a brewer and brought home special beers that he had made. Let me just say that the moment I had that first beer I was trying to think of ways to get more of it back to Houston. Unfortunately for me, he works at a local brewery and they don't ship or distribute their beer....dang it....guess I'll have to go back....and take Lee and Elle with me.

View of the mountain as we were hiking
Thursday we went hiking in the morning and it was spectacular. The fact that Megs has mountains in her backyard where she can just take off and go hiking for the morning makes me want to be back there right now. I am definitely not in good shape so the trek up the mountain had my legs burning after just a few minutes. After our hike, Megs drove me around Boulder, we picked up some groceries and then we headed back to her house to get ready for the evening. In college, we became HUGE fans of a band named OAR. Just so happens that OAR was playing at Red Rocks on Thursday night and we just so happened to get tickets. We got to the theatre early to tailgate and it just proved to us how far we have come since college. We were surrounded by college students and while they were pulling out their Budweiser's, bags of chips and subway sandwiches, Megs and I were pulling out Orzo salad with dried cherries, kashi honey wheat crackers, and bottled beer (can't remember the name of it but it is definitely not your run of the mill beer...). Oh we have come so far....

Red Rocks was amazing and the concert was incredible too. Citizen Cope opened for them and were fantastic and then OAR came out and the place went crazy. It has been a long time since I went to a concert so to be in such an amazing place with such an amazing band and with one of my very dearest friends made the evening one I will never forget. Friday Megs had to attend a seminar in the morning so I walked the mile or so into town to a coffee shop and had coffee and breakfast. I could totally do that everyday! That afternoon after walking around the cutesy stores and stuff we went and saw Eclipse. Since we knew the boys would object if we dragged them to it, it was so much easier for both of us to go together. Awesome movie followed by an awesome dinner. Saturday morning we went to the local farmer's market and picked up fresh produce and a gift made by a hippie for Elle. I left Saturday afternoon and it was so sad leaving Megs. I usually tear up whenever I leave my friends and this time wasn't any different. I at least waited until I was inside the airport to tear up because Meghan would have laughed at me had she seen the few tears! It truly was an inspirational trip. Meghan is so talented in the kitchen - and she gave me a whole new perspective on feeding my family. We ate things like caprese salad and brushetta for meals and it was just as filling but 10x fresher and more delicious than the stuff I try to make for dinner at our house. The life style of Boulder just makes you want to be outside and be healthy! I wish that more of that mentality was here in Houston....and I also wish that it was about 10 degrees cooler and there weren't any mosquitoes! I absolutely can not wait to go back to Boulder - maybe next time I will be able to hike further up the side of the mountain!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Road to Recovery is filled with Turkey and Rice

The puke monster finally left our house last Tuesday. 10 days of puking and the dreaded "d" word and countless bottles of Pedialyte but by last Tuesday Elle was pretty much back to her normal self (thank you Walgreens for having a sale on pedialyte the exact week that we went through too many bottles to count).

on the mend reading her books

One of the perks of Elle having the feeding tube was that we were able to keep the pedialyte going into her...even if it sometimes came out. We resumed our normal therapy schedule last Wednesday and Elle even had her first session of speech therapy. I'm excited to see how all her therapist work together - each one bringing her expertise into Elle's course of learning. Our goal in speech therapy is to get Elle to verbalize all the words she signs. There are a few words that she exclusively signs and does not voice at all. We've been with her occupational therapist for almost a year now and her physical therapist for a little less than a year so Elle is pretty comfortable with them. She's not too sure about her new speech therapist. It took her 30 minutes to warm up to her but our sessions are only 45 minutes! Hopefully as this becomes a part of our weekly routine, Elle will become more comfortable with her new friend and start to show her verbalizing skills!

Animal Print Friday - her outfit has little fish on it. During lunch, she realized that the fish on her outfit matched the fish on the Goldfish bag. She kept looking back and forth to her outfit to the bag and signing "same" and then looking at me for the confirmation. It was pretty funny to see the light bulb go off in her little head at the recognition of two like pictures.

By Saturday, Elle and I were ready to get out of the house and do something fun so Lee took us for a morning trip to Galveston. I forget that Galveston is only a little more than an hour away from our house. It was so nice to escape and just walk on the Strand for a little bit and go in the cute shops. We were only there for a few hours and then came back home - it was a much needed quick escape.

they have the EXACT same hair
Sunday afternoon my brother stopped by to visit with Elle. What a great uncle to sit and read Elle all of her books...twice...maybe even three times (and the girl has A LOT of books). Around 4pm, Elle started to pull on her button which is a tell tale sign that she is getting hungry. Lee sat her in his lap and started to feed her some baby food. Let me add that in the past Elle has at most eaten 10 tiny bites of baby food in one sitting. We've never even gotten close to finishing a jar of baby food and we've tried every single type of baby food out there. And yes, we've also tried home made. Elle's a smart little girl and associates the tube with filling her up. So needless to say, we were absolutely shocked when Elle sat in Lee's lap and proceeded to eat 3/4 of a jar of baby food in one sitting. We think she was showing off for Uncle Benny. Uncle Benny left around 5:00pm and after he left Lee and I decided to see if Elle would eat anymore baby food. We sat her in her chair and sure enough, the kid finished her first jar of baby food! Whoo hoo!!!! Turkey and rice seems to be a winner for Elle! I sure did stock up on turkey and rice baby food when I went grocery shopping for this week!

yummo! Turkey and Rice
We are praying that Elle will continue with the great eating and improve day by day so that one day in the near future, we won't have to depend on the feeding tube any longer. That will be a truly amazing day!!