Sunday, August 26, 2012

Weekend Wrap Up - Big Steps

Wow!  What a busy weekend.  I think we've felt a little guilty that Kennedy has been stuck in the house so much.  Combine that with wanting to reward her for being such a wonderful big sister, we made sure that she had a blast all weekend, despite some lousy weather.  So in the past 48 hours we went to Busch Gardens, an indoor play center and the park.  I'm really not sure who is more exhausted. 

And there's one thing I always say.  There's a few ways to get Kennedy to do something. 
1) Blog about how she's NOT doing it.
2) Express concern to the therapists about how she's not doing it.
3) Stop practicing it.

As I mentioned in my last post, I felt like we weren't getting anywhere with speech and communication.  Kennedy has made it clear that she has a pretty good understanding of things.  She can follow simple commands and recognizes objects.  But we've been at a frustrating standstill with her language or signing skills.  Since I blogged about my frustrations the other day, Kennedy decided to prove me wrong.  She started signing eat and more this weekend.  Did I mention that we had cut back on the amount of work we were doing with signing, per our speech therapists suggestion.  And now she's going to start signing.  That's my girl! 

I also finally got a video of her walking with her push toy.  I've been trying to catch this on video for awhile, but I never seem to have my phone or video camera on me at the right moment.  Or when I do, she's so distracted by it, that she doesn't walk.  One of these days, she's going to be walking on her own!  I am voting sooner than later. 

And here are some photos from the weekend.

Mom, why does it always rain?

Oh my gosh the carousel is so much fun!

The elephants are really funny mommy!

It's been so long since I've been swinging!

Push me higher daddy!

Don't stop!

I love the swings! Can't we get some.

Catch me daddy!

Peek-a-boo people!

Oooooh!!! Catch me daddy!

Peek-a-boo daddy!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Settling In

Things are starting to return to normal in our house.  Well, as "normal" as life can be with two kids under two!  Everyone told me things would be different this time around.  I'm quickly seeing that.  Some things are easier.  Breastfeeding is definitely easier.  And I'm not spending all night trying to wake Caleb to eat, like we had to do with Kennedy.  Instead, Caleb keeps us up.  Some things are harder.  I'm quickly discovering that a baby with out a heart defect, wants to eat all. day. long.  All night sometimes too.  He's also a little bit louder.  Kennedy can vouch for that.  Everyone warned me that things will go a lot faster this time, and I'm already seeing that. 

Kennedy is settling in to her role as big sister very well.  She's gentle with her brother about 90% of the time.  We took a bit of a break from her normal routine and are getting back into working on our therapy goals.  I feel like we're making slow progress with speech, which can be frustrating sometimes.  But, at the same time, she's doing so well every where else, that I'm trying not to let it get to me.  Her big weakness used to be in gross motor and all of the sudden she took off with it.  I think once she becomes less focused on walking and gross motor, she'll start to make big improvements in speech.  She will eventually get there, even i it feels like it will never happen right now.

This article just goes to show that anything is possible and one day all of the stress over speech therapy, will be a thing of the past.  Just like Kennedy's open heart surgery is now a thing of the past. 

Here's some photos from the past week.

Hi blog people!

Making music and walking, I can multi-task like mommy.

What are you doing brother?

I have to do my makeup before we can go for a walk.

Practicing our drawing skills.

Look mom, I drew you a picture.

Hey mom, come and get me.

Peekaboo!  I see you!

Grandma you are silly!

Nap time.

Did you see my dress? How about my sandals? My toe nails are pink too.

What do you think of my pink car?

Goodnight blog reading people! 

Thursday, August 16, 2012


As we settle into life as a family of four, it brings back so many memories of what life was like nearly 18 months ago when Kennedy was born.  It's hard to believe that my little princess will be 18 months old in just a few days.  It doesn't seem possible.  I was fortunate to have my amazing doula here helping out yesterday, since I'm not supposed to be lifting Kennedy yet.  We watched the slideshow of Caleb's birth, and then scrolled through photos of Kennedy's birth.  Two of the best days of my life.  Looking back at both, Angie and I cried through each one.  But the memories of Kennedy's birth brought more tears.  I couldn't help but realize how scared I looked in the photos after the midwife told me that she suspected Down syndrome.  I felt guilty because I wasn't smiling in those photos.  I truly had a look of fear in all of the remaining photos, followed by photos of Kennedy in the NICU.  It was one of the happiest days of our lives, but also one of the most scary.  I still have regrets over how I felt that day and I wish that I had known just how amazing things would end up.  When I look at Kennedy now, I just can't believe what a little girl she's turning into.  Seeing her in the slideshow of Caleb's birth compared to the photos of the day she was born, it really hit me just how far we've come in what feels like such a short time.  We made it through a shocking diagnosis, feeding struggles, open heart surgery, and our little girl is happy and healthy.  All of those things, that I once felt like I couldn't survive, feel like a distant memory.  Kennedy's not a baby anymore, she's truly a toddler - though she will always be my baby girl. 

It brings tears of happiness to see her as a big sister.  She's getting better every day at being gentle with Caleb and even gives him kisses with out our prompting.  When she woke up this morning she stood up on the bed, peering over my legs to see what her brother was up to.  As much as I love the snuggly newborn phase, and I know it doesn't last long, I'm very excited to see their relationship get stronger as Caleb gets a little older and they are able to play together. 

Hey blog reading people!

Here brother, let me fix your blanket for you.

Kennedy had a great time playing with her cousins last weekend.

 Kennedy has been on what we call summer vacation from therapy.  Her therapists have still been coming, but she's had a bit of a break from the normal routine with mommy.  Here she practices walking with Grandma.

I've got this walking thing - I can even do it against a wall.
(Since this photo she's discovered banging things on the wall.) 

 It's ok Caleb, don't cry.

I'll hold your hand.  I promise, Mommy is coming as soon as she gets my snack.

Look at the sheep Caleb, these are my old friends.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Growing Up Quick

Hi Blog Reader People -

Mommy's pretty tired tonight, so I told her I would help her out with a blog post.  I'm sure you know that I have a baby brother now.  The whole big sister thing, it seems like a big job, but I'm really enjoying it.  You see, since I became a big sister I seem to have more freedom around the house.  And even though mommy's belly isn't big anymore, she's still a little slow and a lot busier than she used to be. 

I can get away with pulling more things out of cabinets, eating more paper, and making bigger messes.  Today I got into a bag of Tostitos, and once I finished throwing them all over the floor I sat down and ate them.  I'm so glad I'm getting all my molars first.  It really helps for stuff like that.  Grandma and Daddy have been home more this week, since mommy isn't supposed to be picking me up right now.  They seem pretty tired too.  Daddy says it's impossible to get any work done when he's taking care of me.  He spends most of his conference calls telling me no, and then explaining to people that he wasn't talking to them.  Yesterday he and mommy took me outside to play in my pool.  Since mommy was feeding Caleb, it was daddy's job to retrieve my balls every time I threw them out of the pool.  And when he turned around to get it, I climbed out the side of the pool.  He got pretty tired of that game for some reason.  Grandma lost me a few times today, I seem to be quicker than her too.  She figured out that one of my favorite places to play is in mommy and daddy's bathroom. 

As for my baby brother, he's pretty cool.  But he's got a few things to learn.
1) I'm not sure why he cries so much, he's got it pretty good around here.  And mommy doesn't make him do any therapy stuff.
2) He's got to figure out this sleeping thing.  I've always been a good sleeper and he's really disturbing the peace around here, especially at night.  Mommy can't even sleep in bed with me and daddy because Caleb stays up eating and yelling at night.  I'm trying to teach him, but he's just not getting it yet.
3) Patience.  He's not the only one around here who is hungry and needs new diapers. I don't eat nearly as often as he does, and I even feed myself.  But every time I'm hungry, he can't seem to wait two seconds for his milk.  And did I mention it takes him forever to eat?

I told mommy I would share a few pictures:

Oops, I'm sorry daddy.  Can you get my ball?  Again.

Sorry mom, I'm not really feeling nap time this afternoon.

Mommy says I look like a sumo wrestler here.  But I'm just practicing standing. 

After Caleb kept mommy up all night, this is what he did most of the day. 
Someday that boy will learn. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Kennedy is a Big Sister!!!

We are thrilled to announce that our family welcomed Caleb Alexander on August 6, 2012 at 6:50pm!  He was born at home with the same wonderful midwife and doula team who have been such a big part of our lives since Kennedy's birth.  Just as Kennedy's birth was, Caleb's arrival into the world was an amazing experience that we will cherish forever.  There was nothing like laying in my own bed, surrounded by people I love, and introducing Kennedy to her baby brother for the first time.  I have a few photos from the past week, and will definitely try to get back into the swing of blog updates soon.  Right now we're adjusting to life as a family of four.  Kennedy is more and more interested in her brother every day.  She's still adjusting to how to be gentle with him, but it's a tough concept to learn for anyone her age.  I'm sure she'll get there with time! 

A Sunday afternoon swim, completely unaware of how much life is about to change.

24 hours later, "swimming" in the tub while mommy was in labor.

 Taking a break from playing with grandma to visit mommy.

Mommy finally meets Caleb!
 Kennedy met Caleb, and went back to eating, so daddy took him to see her.

Caleb 8/6/12

Caleb 8/7/12

I'm the big sister, it's a tough job, but I can do it. 

Daddy and Caleb.

Kennedy loves playing with Uncle Sam.

Kennedy was less interested in Caleb and more interested in her "big sister toys."

A girl can never have too many purses.

When Caleb cries....Kennedy yells at him.  It's pretty cute.

Caleb 8/8/12

This big sister stuff is pretty cool after all.

Catching up on sleep...Kennedy still has to teach her brother about sleeping.

Caleb 8/9/12