Friday, August 31, 2012

The Patience Pill

This morning I needed a patience pill. (Although Jason would argue that even if there were I wouldn't take it. I have this weird "thing" about taking medicine - I don't like to do it.) This morning though, I really needed something. I have to admit, now that Jason is home, and that worry has lessened, the stuff that I've put on hold for the last few days came crashing down. I had to think about school, the class I'm taking, along with some other deadlines that I left to the last minute, so when Abby wanted one more snack, needed help changing the channel, and insisted I get her a "bigger drum", I didn't hold on to my patience.

I hate it when I do that.

It was quickly decided that Abby would have a better day if she went to child care for a bit. After some convincing she was excited to go, and off we went. The whole way there she wanted to make sure that she would be able to play "in Miss Corey's room" - it seems she has decided that the new woman they hired at child care is there just to play with her.

She did put the breaks on once we got in the building, but soon enough she was off to play with "her kids", and I knew that she would be alright - even better, she would have a happy day.

When I got back to school to get her (after getting some things done and taking the time for some much needed rest), she came barreling out of the room in her bare feet and took a running leap into my arms with a joyful yell of, "Mama!" It doesn't get much better than that. I love the fact that even though I was so cranky and short with her in the morning, according to her, all was forgiven by the afternoon. Abby doesn't hold a grudge.

It seems that with that wonderful greeting I'd found my patience, because I really didn't mind that we all spent about 15 minutes trying to find her shoes. The whole time we were looking Abby wasn't concerned a bit, she was too busy "cutting" the pretend food that she'd been playing with. Every time I asked her where her shoes were she would simply tell me, "Not now," and continue playing. Finally a sharp Miss Lynn found them in that bathroom, where Abby had left them earlier in the day.

I'm happy to say that the evening was much better than the morning. Sure she had a time-out, but I didn't lose my cool, and all was much better afterwards. We ended the day by snuggling and watching one of her favorite programs. I fully anticipate tomorrow being a better day, even without the patience pill.

Today was another day of no pictures, so I pulled out
one of my favorites! What a sweetie!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Home

With all of the craziness of the past few days I have been so impressed with how Abby is holding up. When I think about the fact that she went from being home for three weeks, doing nothing but trying to recover from whatever was going on with her, to having a 5, 8, and even a 12 hour day away from home, she has done surprisingly well.

Even though Bruiser woke us both up before 6 a.m., she ran with it. I'd barely even let him outside before she was asking for her ballet clothes and pink wig. While I stumbled around trying to make some coffee, she sat in front of the mirror and sang along to what she calls her "princess song" ("Call Me Maybe").

Soon enough I woke up fully and she moved on from the pink wig to the Rapunzel wig - and of course she needed to watch the movie as well. This was great because it let me run around and get things ready for Jason to come home. Before I left the hospital yesterday there was every indication that he would be home today, so I wanted to make sure that things were ready for him.

It was some time durning the morning that Jason sent me a text and let me know that they were checking for a blood clot. Apparently this can happen sometimes when you have an IV. Soon enough I got word, he had a clot - and wouldn't be home. To say I was disappointed was an understatement.

Mugging for the camera with Mrs. Goings. This afternoon they
both needed a break, so they escaped from the fray to Mrs.
Going's office for a Tootsie Pop and some Dinosaur Train.
With that news we put things into high gear around here. I needed to get Abby to child care so that I could head to the hospital and see what was going on. Luckily she cooperated. Once we got to school though she put the breaks on. Thanks to Mrs. Goings (and the fact that Abby found some scissors and paper to cut) she was soon distracted, and I was on my way.

After picking up some contraband (a sandwich from Panera - Jason was a bit tired of hospital food), I was off to see him. I was thrilled to see he was sitting up and perky, even giving his nurses a hard time. After a few visitors though I watched him "hit the wall", so I tucked him back into his bed, and disappointed that he wasn't coming home with me, I left to try to get some rest myself (and to try out the new metal detector we'd gotten in the mail, because when he had his "hand incident" his wedding ring went flying into the grass - it's still there).

It was when I was on my way to get Abby a couple of hours later that I got the news that Jason would be coming home. I turned the car around and was on my way. Now, we are all home, safe and sound.

Abby was thrilled to see Dada, in fact when she got home (thanks Auntie Kir), she told me to wait downstairs - that she wanted to go up and see Dada, "by myself". She didn't want Mom intruding on her time with Dada, apparently.

How nice it is to have us all here. I feel like a weight is lifted and that our house isn't as empty. I'm looking forward to a few days that are a bit slower. We still have things to do, and they will be busy days, but with Jason home they will be lighter and calmer days - at least that's what I'm praying for!

I took this one on Tuesday night. Abby and Bruiser were so
happy to see each other after a long day apart. Abby decided
to play the bongos for Bruiser, but she didn't want to stop hugging
him - so she did both!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Scattered

After sitting here for the last half hour, looking at the blinking line on a blank screen, I have come to the realization that my thoughts are so scattered tonight that I can't really find a focus for tonight's post.

My mind is primarily on Jason, who we thought would be coming home today. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. We both had our hopes up. He'd gotten his PIC line in (for his antibiotics, which he will need to continue on a daily basis for the next 2 to 6 weeks), he'd passed his breathing test (which meant that there was no oxygen tank coming home with us), and we'd even gotten the discharge papers handed to us. The only thing we were waiting on was the chest x-ray, which would confirm that the PIC line was in the right spot. While we waited I packed his stuff up and we talked about how good it would be for him to be home and in our bed.

Soon enough the nurse came in and let us know she'd gotten the x-ray results, and with them an explanation for Jason's breathing issues - he has pneumonia. I unpacked, Jason settled back in, and the nurse hooked him back up to the oxygen - he'd be staying another night.

My mind is on Abby, who misses her Dada. Tonight, after her snack, she came to me and said, "Mama, go get Dada, now!" She is ready to see her guy. Sure, she has had a blast the last two days hanging out with The Carters (Yep, she got to go tonight too - and those lovely people fed both of us when dinner rolled around), but I could see how tired she was tonight. She was a little crankier, and cried a bit more easily. I knew she was really tired when we laid down to read a book and even with the lights on she still fell asleep half way through it. I know tomorrow will be another long day for her away from home and so, I'm praying she gets good rest tonight.

My mind is on school. Last night I had my first "school" dream. This is typical of me. When school rolls around I will usually have a dream (or two, or three) where all the kids show up and I'm not ready to go. Last year I didn't have books for them, this year I didn't have desks for them. We start back on Tuesday, and still my room is as I left it in June. I'm not terribly worried, I know that things will get done, but it is one more thing to think about.

In essence my mind tonight is like buckshot - scattered every-which-way, but that's okay, I've been "scatter brained" before (just ask Jason). I do know that God is not "scattered" and therefore I know that all will work out according to His good and gracious plan, and that is one very nice thought indeed.

Oh Yeah! Abby got ahold of Carter's helmet and glasses.
She just keeps getting cuter and cuter.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Loved

Today I felt many emotions, but most of all I felt very, very loved - for the simple reason that we are incredibly blessed to have wonderful friends.

Today was surgery day, but even before our day began we were getting notes and messages from many  people letting us know that we were all being lifted up in prayer. I can't tell you what that meant to me. All across the country people were chiming in, and letting us know they cared. Amazing.

Our day began early. Jason needed to be at the out-patient surgery center by 7 a.m. - enter: The Carters. They were kind enough to let us show up in the wee hours of the morning and drop Abby off, so that we could get Jason to surgery on time. Abby was more than excited to leave the house at 6:30 a.m., in fact, I believe she was the first one out of the door, telling us to get moving, after all, she had Carters to play with.

Everything went as planned, and soon enough Jason was ready to be wheeled off to the OR. After checking that the surgery would only take about an hour, I dashed out for a quick coffee. I was back in record time. Strangely enough only about a half hour into the procedure they called me up to the front desk. The receptionist must have seen the concern on my face, because the first words out of her mouth were, "He's okay." She wanted to let me know that the nerve block that they'd given him hadn't taken, so they needed to switch to a general anesthetic. All this meant is that it would be about 40 more minutes before they called me back to see him.

Okay, I could do this, after all I did have an assignment due today for the class I'd started last week. So I got out my books and got to work. It wasn't that much longer when a nurse came out and asked for his c-pap machine. Jason is one of those "lucky" people that has sleep apnea, so I ran out to the car and got it for them. The nurse was smiling, so I didn't think anything of it. It wasn't until later that I found out they were trying all sorts of things to help him breath at that point.

Before long I had my homework done and commenced waiting in ernest. The surgeon had come out to explain the surgery, and how it had gone. The infection didn't look as bad as they thought, and even though he could see that several of Jason's nerves were badly bruised, none of the "casings" around them were damaged. The assumption was that there may have been some tearing, but since the casings were good, the nerves would heal in time. He also mentioned that Jason had had some trouble coming out of the anesthesia, but he was calm and not concerned, so I wasn't worried.

Another hour of waiting.

This time one of the nurses came out to let me know that they were still getting him breathing right and that now there was some concern about fluid in the lungs. They needed to wait for the x-ray to be brought over and then they would take a look. She told me that if I hadn't heard in the next half hour to ask the receptionist to let me know what was going on.

35 minutes of waiting.

I went to see the receptionist. She very kindly said she would go and check for me. At this point, I still was not too worried. Everyone else was calm, so I should be too, right?

Minutes later a door off the waiting room opened and the nurse motioned me in. Ah, yes, time to see Jason. Instead, I was ushered into a small conference room and asked to have a seat. As the nurse shut the door behind me she told me the anesthesiologist would be right in to see me. That was when Panic climbed up out of my stomach, and sat right down on the lump that had formed in my throat.

I tried, I really tried to concentrate on what the doctor was telling me. I asked questions, I filtered out the jargon and I tried to latch on to what had happened. Apparently, when they removed the breathing tube from Jason's mouth, and told him to take a nice deep breath, he'd choked somehow. He began coughing and his vocal chords spasmed. This caused them to close up and cut off his airway. Later Jason told me that they had to give him epinephrin in order for them to relax. This happened a couple of times, and they needed to keep him on oxygen. This choking had caused negative pressure, which then led to some fluid "leaking into where it shouldn't be". The solution? Weaning him off of the oxygen slowly, monitoring him closely, and time. In order to do this, they would be admitting him to the hospital for observation through the night.

I was proud of myself. I only got a bit weepy, and I held it together pretty well. Soon enough I was able to head back to see him. He looked beat - so very tired, but like the trooper that he is, he soon perked up and was even joking around with the nurses. Since he needed oxygen, he needed to be transported to the hospital (across they street - a whole 400 yards or so), via ambulance. Waiting for that took the longest.

While all of this was going on, the waiting, the stressing, the waiting, I kept getting notices that people were praying. Since Carters had to work, they so kindly dropped Abby off at child care. I was checking in with our wonderful child care director through out the morning, and she would keep up the assurances that Abby was fine, and that they were praying. Amazing.

Once I found out that Jason would be staying, I was able to talk with those wonderful Carters, and they assured me that Abby was taken care of. I wasn't to worry - and I didn't. They would pick her up, take her to their house, and wait to hear from me. Amazing.

Soon enough Jason was settled in his room, and there was a steady parade of doctors and nurses that came in, each time asking a variation on the question, "So what brought you in today?" Jason was amiable as they poked, prodded, and as he told the same story over and over. It was round about 5:00 when Jason looked at me and told me he was tired and in pain. He needed rest, and I needed to get a few groceries before I picked Abby up. It was time for me to take off and leave him to rest.

It was in the parking lot of Meijer that the day caught up with me. I'd just gotten off the phone with my mom and she'd given me one "Awww, Sweetie..." too many. I probably sat in my car (parked far from the entrance) for a good 10 minutes, trying to regain my composure. That was when the offer came in from The Carters, for Abby to stay for dinner (those wonderful friends had even gone out and gotten some gluten free spaghetti, just for Abby), and they would bring her to our house later in the evening. She was having a blast and I was not to worry. Amazing.

And still the messages that prayers were being said kept coming. Amazing.

Now, Abby is fast asleep, after a super fun day for her, Jason let me know he is in pain, tired, and missing home, but good otherwise, and as for me? Well, right now I'm feeling a bit spent, a bit tired, and, very, very loved.

Abby trying out Carter's new "motorbike", she's
looking pretty "bad" here, don't you think?

I asked "Rachel's Mama" how that pasta was.
The consensus was that it had a bit of a grody
texture, but Abby didn't mind - she literally
licked her plate clean - lovely!

The Carters. Amazing.
Thank you to all of our friends and family who lifted us up today. We are so thankful for all of you and the blessing you are to us!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Updates

In the last week, or so, our family has had quite a few things going on. I've had a few people send me messages, asking about how things were going, so I thought tonight I would give some updates - to basically tell you the rest of the story (or at least the developing story).

Uncle Mark

A week ago yesterday Jason's uncle was in a pretty horrible motorcycle accident. He was exiting the highway when, as best we can put together, he was cut off. Unfortunately, he was not wearing a helmet, so his injuries were quite serious. He made it though his initial surgery and they gave him several days to stabilize. He is a strong guy, an extremely healthy, strong guy, and so pretty quickly his blood pressure evened out and he began healing. Yesterday they took him to surgery once again in order to do his facial reconstruction. Nearly every bone in his face was broken. He came out of the surgery and now the waiting begins. As of yesterday they were keeping him unconscious. This week they will begin bringing him out of that and assessing the things that they cannot know by looking at him. 

Through all of this I have been reminded of how amazingly we are made. The power of the body to heal and repair, and the strength of the will to survive is humbling. I have also been aware of how fragile we are - how quickly things can change. Both of these reminders have caused me to be more thankful than ever for my family and for a God who welcomes my prayers and pleas. 

Abby

If I were a news station I might dub this summer the "Tummy Troubles of 2012". Around about day 10 of the daily diarrhea I was pretty discouraged - by day 19 I was panicking. What was happening? Why was Abby still so sick? With one week left of summer, would we be able to figure this out? Why couldn't my poor kid just catch a break? After going to the doctor we got some testing done and everything came back negative. The assumption was, it was a virus that she would have to work through. Jason and I decided that we would try a different diet and see if that made any difference. As of today we are on day four of a gluten free and lactose free diet for Abby. As of today we are on day two of no tummy troubles. Now, whether she has a wheat allergy or a milk allergy, I'm not sure, but right now all I know is that she is feeling better. To me that means we will keep going as we are for a bit. Maybe she needed the milder food to let her body heal, maybe it was running it's course anyway - I don't know. There may come a time when we get her tested and we try to reintroduce foods in an effort to pinpoint the problem, but right now I'm liking the status quo. 

Lesson learned? I will gladly pay $7 for a bag of gluten free pretzels, if it means my kid won't be up at two in the morning, sitting on the potty and crying because her "bottom hurts". 

Jason

It seems that Jason is making a name for himself. He told me tonight that when he went to the doctor's this afternoon for some antibiotics he was greeted with, "Oh, you're the guy that put the pitchfork through his hand!" Yes, on Saturday, while working in the yard, Jason stumbled and ended up skewering his hand with the pitchfork he was using. After pulling it out of his hand, he ran into the house and we all zipped to the hospital. They sent him home (after a tetanus shot) with pain meds and oral antibiotics, and a directive to see a specialist on Monday.

Today he went to see the hand specialist. Things were not looking good. They wanted to do surgery right away, but that needs to be done on an empty stomach, and since he'd had lunch it was a no-go. See, he has numbness in three of his fingers, and after a fever and swelling on Sunday it was no surprise that he also has a pretty nasty infection. They immediately sent him off to the hospital so that he could get a couple of IV antibiotics. Tomorrow morning we head back to the hospital so that they can open up his hand and take a look. The hope is to clean out the infection and repair the nerves that have been damaged. Did I mention it is his left hand? Did I mention that Jason is left handed?

Quite frankly this is still too "new" for me to find my lesson yet. For this I just ask for an avalanche of prayers, that's really what we all need right now. 

This is "an oldie, but a goodie" - one of my all-time favorite pictures of my
two loves!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Gooshy

Alright parents, you know those times when you look at your kid and, feeling all gooshy inside, you think: How is it possible that this amazing kid came from me? Well, today was one of those days for me. Maybe it is because we are not at home and I don't feel the pressure of the many "I-should-be-doing"s that plague me there, or maybe it is the fact that without all of her usual distractions Abby needed me a bit more today. Whatever it is, I found myself doing a lot of marveling at her today. Sure she had her moments, like when she threw a stomping fit because she had to wait for the pizza in the toaster-oven (the truly horrendous, gluten-free pizza I picked up today, which became the most expensive pieces of pepperoni I've ever bought, because they were really the only edible components of that thing), but that only lasted a few moments. She really was a gem.

There were so many things that "got me" today. Like the fact that we've removed some of her favorite foods, things that were staples in her diet, and yet she is rolling with it. While I was getting teary and feeling bad that she has one more thing to think about, she was smiling and telling me how tasty her apple was, or how her new cereal ("Gorilla Munch") was her "favorite snack". She even accepted my bluff that the ham I gave her, after the pizza debacle, was actually "pepperoni-ham" and went the extra mile to tell me how yummy it was. I love her resilience.

There was also the hour or so when we sat down to some serious pretend play. In that short expanse of time we "made" soup (cheese, tomato, pepperoni pizza, Cheerio, and Cheez-It soup that is), colored pictures, planted a garden, made a scarecrow, and drew family portraits. I love her creativity.

Finally, there were those times today when she would randomly and unexpectedly say wonderfully sweet things. It was while she was voraciously coloring Ernie's face that she told me she loved me, never missing a beat, and with no prompting from me, she was simply feeling love and wanted to tell me. Amazing. And tonight, as she sat at the kitchen table, filling a blank paper with color, she made it a point to tell me it was "a beautiful day, today." I love her sweet nature, and the gift she has to brighten my day with one simple phrase.

Yep, today I am feeling decidedly gooshy about my little girl - how could I not?

This morning, after a bath, Abby took her Big Wheel for a spin.

She did great, until she hit the gravel. She told me that
she was "stuck in the mud", and threw me the most pathetic
look imaginable. 

Then she got out the chalk and drew a finish line so she could
run some races. She's got some nice form, don't you think?

Yep - she makes me gooshy!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

When It Rains, It Pours

Days like today make me wonder if everyone has as crazy a life as we do. I would like to think they do,  for my own selfish reason that I would like to know we are not alone, but I wouldn't wish today on anyone.

As seems to be becoming our norm, Abby woke up at 2:30 a.m. with tummy troubles. I was a bit discouraged, considering what a good day she'd had (and that it was 2:30 in the morning), but I have to hand it to her, she was a champ. There were no accidents and after each bout (4 total between 2:30 and 6 a.m.) she quickly went right back to sleep. By the time we all lumbered out of bed, the storms had passed and Abby seemed to be doing better. Besides her lack of appetite, she was her normal, lovely self.

Along with all of this, the last few days it has become clear to us that we were having some issues with the bathroom right off of our bedroom. Today was the day that Jason had set some time to work on it (bless his heart!), and the more investigating he did the more he began to wonder if it had to do with our septic system. So, around noon he went outside to find the cap to the septic tank. Since this isn't something we do often, he needed to do a bit of digging. Along the way he slipped and ended up putting one of the tines on the pitchfork he was using through his hand. I knew something was up when I saw him take off and run to the front of the house.

As he wrapped his hand in a towel, I ran around getting Abby dressed and soon enough we were off to the emergency room. Usually when we are all heading to the hospital it is concerning Abby, therefore it came as no surprise that the whole way there (while we were stuck behind every slow-poke in town) Abby kept up a continuous cry/whine about not wanting to go to the hospital, which considering her history is understandable.

Once we arrived I tried to keep her occupied, while at the same time I tried to hear what the doctors were saying, a nearly impossible task. I used the old, "You're glued to your chair" line and that had her staying put, but when the x-ray technician came to get Jason she jumped out of her chair and formally introduced herself. What a picture she was as she oh, so genteelly presented her hand for shaking and told the woman, "I'm Abby, nice to meet you." That seemed to be her behavioral limit. So after yelling at us that the phone she'd picked up in the room we were waiting in was "MY PHONE!" Jason told me to take her home. So, that's what I did. In the end there were no broken bones and with an order to follow up with a hand specialist he was sent home with a wrapped hand, some pain medication, and some antibiotics.

From there the rest of the day was downright boring. Abby and I rested for a bit, while Jason and a friend investigated the septic situation a bit further (what a champ!). It was around dinner time that we decided having limited bathroom usage and a sick kid did not go together. So, Abby and I packed our stuff up and headed out to Nana and Papa's, leaving the boys at home to rest and recuperate in peace and quiet.

And now, Abby is quietly sleeping, and Jason let me know that he's off to bed as well, and I'm left to reflect on the day and think to myself: Did all of this really happen? As Abby got out of the tub tonight and we were heading off to snuggle in bed, she told me that it had been "a great day, Mama," I wasn't so sure about that, but then I had to figure that she may be right. After all, we are all okay - and that is indeed "great".
How can every day not be spectacular when you have this
face looking up at you and saying, "Love you too, Mama!"?

Once we got to Nana and Papa's the chalk
came out, after a few turns on the Big Wheel that is.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Changes in Abby's Diet

In many of my posts my aim is to share Abby's joy, and what an awesome kid she is. Tonight though, I am hoping to find some answers from those of you that know far more than I do.

In the last few days Jason and I have had numerous conversations about Abby's diet. I know that I'm no doctor, but I find it hard to believe that a virus would still be causing Abby's tummy troubles. It has been three weeks, and something needs to change.

Last night we talked about wheat - more specifically could it be possible that Abby has acquired a wheat allergy? We've done research, and seeing that children with Down syndrome are 25% more likely to have an allergy to wheat, got us to wondering. Now, since we are just starting to look into this I still have a whole heap of questions. Like, can these things just "pop" up after years of no problems?

So last night I shlepped out to the store and loaded up my cart with Abby friendly gluten free stuff, and this morning we started our experiment. I'd gotten her some cereal puffs ("Gorilla Munch"), that Abby quickly declared was her "favorite snack", so we had breakfast taken care of. The rest of the day went better than I thought it would. It was surprisingly easy to keep her on a no wheat regimen. Not only did we cut out the gluten products, but we also switched out her milk for soy milk and almond milk. We figured that whatever we did could only help.

I'm happy to say that Abby had a great digestive day. She had no accidents, and no diarrhea. Do I think we found what the problem was, though? I'm not sure. We will have to have a bit more time, and I would like to have some conversations with her doctor, but I'm just thankful for today, and that we may be on the road to some answers.

This is Abby doing one of her favorite things - getting Bruiser
going. This afternoon she decided to don her tutu (around her neck)
and then sing like an opera singer. This will get Bruiser howling.
She loves this.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Getting Ready

Usually Abby is all about staying home when either Jason or I are off to work, but tonight was different. As soon as Jason got home from work, I needed to head out for a back to school picnic at my school. I'm sure that Abby would have loved to come, but since she is still having issues, and last year I was so busy trying to keep her contained I couldn't visit with parents, we thought it was best for her to stay home.

Now, Abby didn't know what was going on at school, but she wanted to go with me anyway. The whole time I was getting ready, she was right next to me, insisting that she was "getting ready for work too." She has done this before, and I have to admit that there are times when I'm not as patient with her when I'm trying to do my hair and put my make-up on, but tonight I just couldn't resist that cute little face looking up at me, asking for some powder for her nose. So, after each application, it was Abby's turn: eyeshadow for Mom - eyeshadow for Abby, eyeliner for Mom - eyeliner for Abby, mascara for Mom - mascara for Abby. Now, before you start to imagine Abby looking like a contestant on "Toddlers and Tiaras", whenever it was Abby's turn to get "her" make-up I made sure to keep the lid on, or use a clean brush. It didn't matter to Abby though, she still wanted me to lift her up to the mirror so she could see how pretty she looked after we were finished.

As I got my clothes ready, Abby picked out an outfit for herself. She was just so adorable as she walked around talking about how it was time for her to go to work, and that she needed to get ready. Finally, we were both ready to go, and I have to admit that I felt a little bad that I wasn't bringing her along, but I knew that once I left she would have a great time with Dada.

She did have a great time, and when I got home she came running to me and made sure to tell me she'd been a good girl for Dada. As I was thinking about tonight's post, those few minutes when we got ready together just kept coming back to me. I love that she is such a girl, and I can just imagine how she is going to be in a few years when she insists on putting her own make-up on for real. I predict that the teen years will certainly be interesting.

This picture is from a while ago, but it seemed to
fit with tonight's post. She's quite the stylish miss,
isn't she?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Parlour

"The Parkerler! The Parkerler, Mama!"

These were the words that Abby greeted me with first thing this morning. Initially, I was really confused. I knew that Abby was trying to tell me something, but I had no idea what "parkerler" meant. Then she elaborated.

"The Parkerler. Ice cream!"

Oh, The Parlour! Last night Jason made the promise that after work today we would all head out to The Parlour for an ice cream treat. The Parlour is a famous ice cream joint in town. It has a long history in our community, and is well known for the 21 scoop monstrosity known as the "Dare to Be Great", which is free if eaten by one person (and yes, it has been done). Their other sundaes border on the decadent as well, therefore it is no surprise it is a favorite place of Abby's.

I've mentioned before that Abby has the memory of an elephant when it comes to certain things, and it seems that the promise of ice cream is one of them. Throughout the day she would ask if it was time to go yet, and when Jason stopped by the house around lunch to drop something off, Abby was all set to jump into his car and head out.

Finally, finally, it was time and Abby could barely contain herself. Since we were out running errands we decided to meet Jason there. As we waited for him to arrived I told her that she could ride home in Dada's car after our treat. Her response? "Yeah! Let's do this!"

I will say that as much as she likes ice cream, she likes people more. She could barely contain herself as she sat in that booth and paid close attention to everything around her. It was impossible for her to sit still. She just scratched the surface of her yummy treat, but she still had a great time. As I settled up the bill, Abby and Jason headed out. I had to laugh though when on the way out the door she plopped herself down next to a mom enjoying her ice cream and said, "Hi. How are you doing?"

Jason was finally able to pull her away and head out the door, making sure to hold her hand the whole way. Overall it was quite fun to spoil our dinners.

"Yum, Dada!"

Oh, so good.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

To the Doctor's We Go

Since today is Day 19 of Abby's "tummy troubles", we decided that a trip in to see the doctor was in order. Abby is no stranger to the doctor's office. In fact, I'm sort of on a first name basis with the receptionist. We were careful when choosing her pediatrician, we wanted someone with a good reputation, and someone we could trust. We found that in Dr. Tim. Abby loves Dr. Tim, so much so that there are times when she will ask to go see him, even when she isn't sick.

From the very beginning he was the only one that could get Abby to sit still for exams, and the only one that Abby would let anywhere near her ears. For some reason having that scope pushed into her ears was terribly frightening for her. There were times (when we weren't able to see Dr. Tim) that she would scream so hard that she would break blood vessels in her face. No amount of cajoling or threatening would work. So, we would grit our teeth and hold her down - sometimes while I cried along with her.

In the in-between times we would play doctor at home, using her play stethoscope and otoscope to check out her dolls, Mom, and herself. Along the way she learned that these initial checks were not something to be afraid of, that they didn't hurt, and actually, they tickled just a bit.

Today, as I made sure to put her hair up (for easier access), it was nice to know that she was going in prepared. We got there and she was all smiles. It seemed to be infectious, because as she happily jumped on the scale and raised her arm with enthusiasm for the thermometer the nurse smiled, commenting that none of the other kids she'd seen today were quite that happy to begin their appointment.

While we waited for the nurse practitioner (Dr. Tim was on vacation - how sad!), Abby played doctor and gave me a quick once over (which included a couple of hard raps on my knees - to check my reflexes, you know) before moving on to her pretend friends that I hadn't realized we'd brought along. Abby was excellent for the exam and only made Nurse Sue jump once when she started laughing, instead of crying, when it came to her ears. I couldn't help but watch her and think about how incredibly far we have come.

The consensus was that we needed to do a bit of testing, so tomorrow we are off to the diagnostic center. For now though, I am happy with Abby's great day and how wonderfully she has conquered a fear of hers.

As we were leaving she wanted to double check with me that we could indeed head to the store for a surprise, that she had been a brave, good girl. I assured her that we were golden, and that once again I was very, very proud of her.

Dr. Abby models her lovely gloves!

What a difference! There was a time when there
was no way that she would be up on that table.
Today she climbed up there all on her own.

When we got home from the store she stood in
front of the "picture tree" and waited. She wanted
a picture with her new doll.



Monday, August 20, 2012

Pray First

Some days there is a lot of external activity - running here and there, doing errands, playing dress-up, you know, basically trying to keep up with my active 7 year old. Today though, was a day when there was a lot of internal activity, in other words, I was doing quite a bit of thinking.

We got news late last night that Jason's uncle had been in a serious motorcycle accident. At that point we didn't know much. Throughout the night and during the day we got updates. He made it through surgery, he is strong and healthy, and now we wait for his body to repair itself. As yet there are many questions, the answers to which will come in time.

Along with the worry and prayers that were lifted today for him and for those that are caring for him, there was a sense of unease. Frankly, something like this drives home the point that our days are precious. It shakes that false sense of security that I have that tragedy touches other people - not me.

Therefore it should come to no surprise that today was filled with a few more hugs and kisses, and a few less, "I've-got-work-to-do's". Abby was a wonderful reminder to me today that we have a gracious and loving God, because even though she didn't have a clue as to my inner thoughts she was able to lighten them, like when she commanded us all to, "Pray first!" before we ate dinner, and then when she broke out into a song from one of her favorite shows:

Think happy thoughts, happy thoughts,
That's what you've got to do.
Think happy thoughts, happy thoughts, 
And a smile will come back to you.

So I'm going to continue to take Abby's advice to pray first and then to think happy thoughts, and if you would like to join me, our family would greatly appreciate it.

Happy Thought #1: Abby


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Abby's View of Work

Abby must sub-conscientiously know that school is right around the corner (a mere two weeks away - yikes!), because this afternoon she insisted we play "Teacher/Kids". This is a game she will pull out from time-to-time, and usually involves me, Abby, and several of her plush friends (today it was the two Snow Whites, Tinkerbell, and Pocoyo). Whoever is the designated teacher will begin with a spirited round of "Hello's" and then move to handing out pretend work, which is quickly done and declared to be "beautiful" by the teacher.

As we were playing today I (the student) started asking the teacher (Abby) some questions. It ended up being a pretty cute conversation. Here's how it went:

Me: How did your summer go?

Abby: Um...good!

Me: What did you do?

Abby: [making an "O" with her hands and bringing them to one eye] I used a telescope.

Me: Really? What did you see?

Abby: Dada

Me: What was Dada doing?

Abby: He was going to work.

Me: What does Dada do at work?

Abby: He colors pictures.

Me: That's it? Dada just colors pictures?

Abby: He draws circles too.

Me: Oh, well, what does Mama do at work?

Abby: Draws pictures.

Me: What do I draw pictures of?

Abby: People!

Me: Wow! It sounds like my job is harder than Dada's.

Abby: Yep!

Me: Well, what does Bruiser do all day when we are gone?

Abby: Comes to school with Abby!

Me: Wait - Bruiser should come to school with you?

Abby: YES!

Me: What would he do all day?

Abby: Color pictures!

Me: How could Bruiser color pictures? He only has paws.

Abby: [Momentary silence while she thinks about that.] Mama's the teacher!

There were so many funny things about this little conversation. First, that all anyone seems to do when they go to work is color pictures - oh, if only, right? I also had to laugh at the end when she pulled a classic "Abby" move. Whenever she doesn't have an answer for something she will immediately deflect. She will also do this when something is hard for her to do. There have been several therapists that have told us that when she doesn't want to do what they ask her she will begin talking about how pretty they are and try to charm her way out of having to do it. She's a smart one, our Abby is.

I tried to steer our conversation back to the question of Bruiser, but she was resolute - she would not be moved. Before long we moved on from our game of "Teacher/Kids", but that little conversation stuck in my head. So, as the weekend winds down, I would like to wish you all happy coloring at work this week - may all you do be declared to be "Beautiful!"

After her bath, Abby decided she needed to get some "work" done.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

When Abby Grows Up.....

When I was a kid there were so many things I wanted to be when I grew up. Everything from actress to pharmacist made my list of desired occupations. It wasn't until my third year of college that I finally settled on being a teacher (my poor mother!), and that was after majoring in psychology and then in business. I can only imagine what Abby's future holds, but if I were to guess by today's antics there are two jobs in the running.

"STOMP" Performer

Have you heard of STOMP? (If you haven't, go here.) It is a wonderful show where percussionists use all sorts of movement and materials to create a fascinating rhythm explosion. I don't think that Abby would like the performance, since it would probably be way too loud for her, but I bet she would have a wonderful time if she were let loose on the instruments. Today was a drumming day, and after being at a loss to provide her with a suitable drum I finally spied the clothes hamper and turned it upside-down. She loved that!

You can't see it, because she is drumming so quickly, but
she is holding two wooden spoons for drumsticks. Man,
that kid can really drum fast and loud!

I think she'd make a wonderful addition to the STOMP crew, don't you?

Superhero

Abby has declared herself to be a superhero on several different occasions, but today, she really got into it. She has the phrases down. She was telling us that she was going to "save the day" and would yell out, "Superhero Abby to the rescue!" She also shared a bit about her super-abilities. She told me that she could fly and be underwater at the same time! Now, if that isn't amazing, I don't know what is. She certainly has the stance down, as you can see by the picture below.

There is so much about this that is perfect: the power-fist,
the hand on the hip, the sparkly pink cape, the socks - not
to mention how wonderfully that toe is pointed!
I think she nailed this one.

Like many good superheros, she came up with her own outfit. I could easily see this working for her as well.

So there you have it....Abby's ambitions.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Independence

Maybe it was the fact that yesterday stared with a walk down memory lane as we all talked about favorite Baby Abby moments, or maybe it was the fact that I was able to spend another day getting a sewing project nearly finished, but today I was tuned in to just how independent Abby has become. Now, she has always had a mind of her own, but lately I've noticed that she just doesn't need me around quite so much - and that is a good thing.

Today I saw several signs of her budding independence:

  1. Playtime: Over the last week Abby and I have certainly had our share of playtime together. We've played Barbies and Disney Princesses, we've colored pictures, we've played doctor/dentist, and we danced to some pretty fun tunes, but she has also spent time playing on her own. Most of the time it is in the sunroom/playroom, but today she even went up to her room to play for a bit. Some of you with kids may think that isn't quite a big deal, but for Abby it is. This is the same kid that in the past has needed me in sight everywhere she has gone. There was no way that she would be in her room alone, without Mom to entertain her. I love the fact I can get things done, and I know that she is amusing herself. There were even a couple of times today when she didn't follow me to the bathroom - and that is huge!
  2. Helper Abby: One of my biggest cooking challenges is timing. I find it so difficult to have everything ready at the same moment, so that nothing is too cold by the time we sit down to eat. Tonight I got pretty close. It was round about when I was mashing potatoes, and Jason was checking the chicken, that I turned to find Abby wanting something to do too. Instead of trying to shoo her out of the kitchen (which would have been typical of me - useless, but typical) I gave her some jobs, and she did spectacularly. Tonight Abby set the table, with very little prompting from me. I simply handed her the tools and she did the rest. When I looked to see how she was doing everything was neatly in its place, knives and forks were laying straight on napkins that were pushed to the side to make room for our plates. She even was in charge of drinks and went to find out what Dada wanted with dinner. Now, that would be enough in itself, but she ate well - finishing all her chicken, and even cleared her plate when she was done. I was sure to tell her how very proud of her I was. It made me think about the countless times she does that stuff through the day. She knows now that when she doesn't want the rest of her popsicle, she is to put it in the sink, I don't have to remind her anymore. She's also gotten into the habit of throwing things out, without a reminder. A couple of days ago I had a moment of panic when I realized that she was no longer chewing the piece of gum I gave her. I asked her where it was and where had she put it, imaging it smashed into the carpet somewhere. Her simple response? "In the trash." Sure enough, when I went to look there it was. She really is becoming such a wonderful helper.
  3. "Abby do it.": Some of you may know that there are many times when Abby still refers to herself in third person (many of The Greats do, you know), and one of those times is when she is insisting she doesn't need my help. She will grab whatever it is I am trying to help her with and emphatically state, "No, Abby do it!" I have to admit, it isn't always easy for me to hand it over, knowing I could get it done so much quicker, but that isn't what is good for her, so I step back and let her try. This seems to be happening more and more, with anything from buckling her own seatbelt to tying her own shoes (which right now she just twists, but she will sit for quite some time "practicing" that difficult skill). She wants to give it a try and will happily remind me when I need to back-off. She is also willing to take my suggestion to give things a try when she asks for help. Often (mostly when she's looking for something) she will come to me without even giving it a go, today she asked for help and I told her that I would help after she gave it a try. She accepted that and went to look for what she wanted. She didn't end up finding what she was looking for, but in the process she found something better - we were both happy with the outcome.
I love seeing these signs of her independence and her maturity, and just when I thought I couldn't be prouder of my little girl, she goes and hits me with a day like today - marvelous!

She even helped Dada wash his car after dinner. Once again,
what a wonderful helper!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Funny Girl

Since there were several times when my little darling got me laughing today, and with all my complaining about sickness (which is still going on - but not as fiercely), I thought it might be time for some Abby humor. So let me fill you in on some of the funny and charming things that Abby did today.

Bath Time

This morning, since Jason didn't have any pre-work meetings (Did you even know those existed? They do.), we were able to enjoy him a little longer. The three of us snuggled into our bed, with Abby sandwiched between the two of us, and Jason and I took turns telling Baby Abby stories. As Abby listened to my story she would turn on her side to me, but when it was Dada's turn, she would flip over and give him her attention. It was a fun time. 

Having started our day this way, Abby had the story of how she would take baths in Nana and Papa's kitchen sink fresh in her mind. After lunch she came to me while I was doing something in the kitchen and so sweetly looked up at me. I couldn't help it and I gave her a hand jumping into my arms so that I could give her a great big hug. She gave me a wonderful Abby-Squeeze (which are the best ever because she wraps her whole self around you - splendid!), and then she leaned back, looked at me, and said, "Bath, Mama."

"Sure, you can have a bath," I replied, "let's go!"

"Wait!" she continued, "in the sink. A bath in the sink," she finished as she pointed to our kitchen sink.

That's when I stared laughing. Although she is small for her age, there is no way she would fit into our divided sink. She was completely serious, but soon forgot about her idea - she was too busy trying to get me to stop laughing.

Pie in the Face

One of my all time favorite movies is Singin' in the Rain. I grew up half in love with Gene Kelly, so anything with him in it was brilliant, but paired with Donald O'Connor made this one even better. If you have never seen O'Connor perform "Make 'Em Laugh" you have missed out. Abby loved it as well. I won't tell you how many times we had to watch that song (I lost count), but by the end of it I had to stop her from running up walls and flopping dramatically on the floor.

The funniest moment though was earlier in the movie. There is a scene when the female lead (Debbie Reynolds) is trying to hit Gene Kelly with a pie. In true vaudevillian fashion he moved out of the way just in time for the annoying female antagonist to get it in the face. I laughed, of course, but Abby got mad. She balled her fists, stopped her foot, and yelled, "Pie in the face - NOT NICE!" She was honestly really mad at the character. To her, hitting someone in the face with a pie is just not something that nice people do. I had to cover my face for this one - lest she turn her ire on me for laughing at her.

Goin' Fishing

Last week, in an effort to add some spice to the bland food that Abby has been eating lately, I came up with a fun game. I filled a bowl with small pretzel rods and Goldfish crackers. I then taught her how to use the pretzel rods to "fish" for the Goldfish. We cast the rod, then felt a tug and hooked our fish. Next, we reeled that yummy treat in, and finally we enjoyed the catch by eating both the fish and the rod. It worked, she thought it was a fun game and ate her snack. I assumed that the game would last for a few "casts" but that eventually she would give up and just eat her pretzels and Goldfish. Well, tonight I gave her the same snack and I watched her fish for each one of those crackers. What made it even funnier was that she did it without any fanfare - without any requests for me to watch. She just sat quietly, with her bowl on her lap and watched T.V., casting and catching as she did so. 

Here she is casting, reeling, and enjoying her catch!

Today we took a field trip to the fabric store.
This is always dicey, but Abby was an
absolute gem - and cute as a button to boot!
I needed something to do today, so I decided it was time to make Abby a new dress. She was thrilled to try it on, but
not so thrilled with the number of pictures it took to get just the one Mom wanted. In the first picture you can see she is mad at me (arms folded, because this was the 7th picture I'd asked for), in the next picture the goof came out and she started "modeling", and in the final frame I got what I wanted, but didn't bargain for how old she would look! 
We had a fun day, and I hope these few snapshots of our funny girl made you smile!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Groundhog Day

Alright, how many of you are familiar with the Bill Murray film, "Groundhog Day"? You know, the  one where he continues to wake up and relive the same day over and over again? Well, I've felt very "Bill Murray-ish" these past few days.

The last three days have followed this basic pattern:

We get up around 6 a.m. with Abby refusing to go back to sleep, but once Mom is up and moving, she decides a nice cuddle with Daddy would be wonderful. We hang out while Dada gets ready for work and then we wave him off. Next up: breakfast - for Abby it's a bowl of "O's" (a.k.a. Cheerios), and for me it's some EggBeaters, toast, and coffee.

From there I wile away the morning by doing a bit of housework and schoolwork, while Abby changes clothes a few times before settling on the perfect one for the day, and enjoys some of her favorite T.V. Soon enough lunch rolls around, which is followed by one of the day's baths (for Abby's sore bottom) and a time of "resting", during which Abby plays games on the iPad and Mom tries really hard to encourage a nap. It is usually the moment that Abby gets an inkling of Mom's motives that she will ask to head back downstairs.

The short time of quiet activities allows both of us to get a second wind though, and goofiness ensues. Today that consisted of putting on "disguises" and mugging for the camera, as well as singing loud enough to get Bruiser howling.  It is after this time that the day starts to drag. The hours from 3-5 seem to be the worst. Frankly, we are both a bit tired and bored - these are not our best hours of the day.

Finally, Dada is home, and then things start to move. It always seems that from the moment he walks in the door time speeds up. I can't tell you how many times we get done with dinner and realize that we are right around the corner from bedtime.

I guess in the scheme of things if I had to repeat a day this isn't a horrible one. Sure, Abby is still having a some "digestive" troubles, but they did seem to be less today, and that is a very good thing. I do know that tomorrow I will make it a point to do something a little different, even if it is just heading out for an afternoon coffee, because after living this day over for the last three days I'm a bit tired of it, and I'm sure Abby is as well - despite the fun we had.

This was Abby's first change of
the day. She wanted to "get ready
for work like Dada". Since Dada
wore a striped shirt today, she wanted
some stripes as well - this was the closest
 we could get. She also insisted on a bow,
which Jason did not add to his outfit.


This was during our silly period - as if you couldn't tell.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Little Miss Sensitivity

I have been aware for quite some time that Abby has a tender heart. She doesn't like to see anyone upset. There were many times when she was younger that when a baby started crying, she would join in the wailing. Now she just offers to go get them some medicine so that they can be "all better now". Sometimes, when I'm playing around with her I will feign sadness and she quickly will tell me that we are all done. She doesn't like to see someone sad.

Lately though she has been really, really sensitive. For example, this afternoon the FedEx man stopped by the house to drop off a package. Now, usually I will just let them leave it on the porch and get it once they've left. See, Bruiser tends to get a bit jumpy when it comes to strangers coming to the house, especially when Jason isn't home. He is in full protection mode and this can cause a bit of stress in the poor guys that swing by to drop packages off. There was even one time when the UPS man asked to give him a running start before I opened the door. Although Bruiser lets Abby do whatever she wants to him, when it comes to strangers he is pretty fierce. This afternoon, as usual, Bruiser started the loud barking that lets us know that someone is near. I didn't have much patience with him, and the third time he wouldn't stop barking, after I asked nicely, I may have raised my voice a bit. That's when Abby got mad at me and started crying.

Abby "comforts" Bruiser. At this point though
Bruiser was much more interested in the people
walking their dog by our house. 
I made sure that she knew that she wasn't in trouble, that I had just been talking to Bruiser, but it didn't matter. She sat by the door for a few minutes crying (rather pathetically), and wouldn't listen to anything I tried to tell her. She wouldn't let me comfort her, or even touch her. She just wanted to sit and cry. She finally stood up, when Bruiser came to find out what was going on. She put her arm around him and her forehead to his back - and continued to cry. I finally got it out of her that she was mad at me for yelling at Bruiser. I found myself apologizing to Bruiser, just to make her happy - it didn't work. Luckily, Daddy was on his way home, so she didn't keep it up for long.

So, from now on, I will have to be a bit more diplomatic when it comes to correcting the dog, otherwise I'm going to have to deal with his protector.

One of the many Bruiser/Abby Love pictures

Monday, August 13, 2012

Worry

Worry - what an absolute waste of time and energy - and yet sometimes I feel like by worrying I'm at least doing something when things are out of my control. Worry seemed to pop up around every corner today, and when I least expected it. Most days I can tell it to take a flying leap, but today was different. Maybe it had to do with the way the day began.

At six a.m. Abby once again got sick, and while it wasn't in her bed, she still didn't quite make it to the bathroom. (This morning I was thankful that the upstairs hallway is hardwood, not carpet.) Today is day 10 of her being sick, and I feel for the little peanut. As soon as I could I called the doctor and asked if there was anything else we could be doing. The answer was not encouraging. Apparently this stuff can hang around for up to three weeks - three weeks?!? 

My worry about her getting better turned into frustration and another "w" - "Why?" Why does this stuff alway seem to happen to Abby? Why can't she just get better? Why does everything have to be so difficult?

The whole day wasn't a great big pity-party, but I had to watch myself, least I fall back on those "Why's". In my better moments I did come up with some plans on how to help her out in the long run. I ordered some new vitamins and have some grand plans for healthier meals for all of us. Since I can't possibly follow her around and tell her not to put her fingers in her mouth, we need boost her immune system.

Besides the dashes to the bathroom, Abby really had a good day. She was her sweet self and flashed a lot of her beautiful smiles. So I'm going to focus on that and reflect on the good of today, letting Abby wash my worries away and keep learning to take one day at a time.

Abby treated me to a song today.

I loved her smirk here.

Abby decided that she needed a bit of a
rest, so she made herself a bed and took a
thirty second power nap!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Big Wheel - Keep On Turning

After a week of being cooped up at home we were all feeling a bit snarky today. Abby still wasn't in tip-top shape, but besides the occasional race to the bathroom she was acting like herself. In desperate need to see the outside of this house, we all piled in the car (sans Bruiser - poor guy) and headed out to Nana and Papa's.

Papa had mentioned that there was a nice surprise waiting for Abby and so with that on her mind she was very good on the drive out. She was absolutely convinced that it was a Jesse outfit (of Toy Story fame). Although we didn't have the inside track as to what the "surprise" was, we were pretty convinced that a Jessie outfit wasn't it.

It wasn't long after we arrived, and she'd bestowed her round of "smoochie-bugs", that she inquired as to the great surprise. We were lead back outside and she could barely contain herself when she saw the Big Wheel waiting for her in the back of Papa's truck*. Nana and Papa had been out and about this weekend and found a "certified pre-owned" pink and purple Big Wheel for their little angel. Abby hopped on that thing and started pedaling away. After the first two rounds of that big front wheel we noticed she was having more trouble than she should keeping the bike straight. Jason stopped her and realized that the the right bracket, that holds the "big" wheel to the front of the trike had broken.

Out came the duct tape.

As Abby wailed and cried about her bike, Jason and his dad tried to tape that bracket up as fast as they could. Abby was a big wet mess by the time that everything was a go. It was fun to watch her barrel down the driveway, and great to hear her laughing (after all that crying moments before). She did have a wonderful time on that thing - until we heard a pop and realized that into her second leg down the driveway the bracket on the other side of the bike had broken.

Out came the duct tape - again.

Once again the tears started and finally, the great weeping mess that was Abby, got off the bike and declared that she didn't want to ride it anymore. Well, as you can imagine, Papa couldn't stand for this and so he declared that he and Dada would head out to get her a new one - and that's what they did. With Abby still crying, the boys went off and Nana and I were left behind to distract her.

I looked for the sidewalk chalk as Nana pulled out a ball and bat. We did some drawing and some "batting", and even pulled out the Little Tikes car that Abby is slightly too big for. Before long Abby yawned, stretched, and declared it was time for a nap. We all trotted inside and were thankful that Abby was in better spirits.

Rapunzel/Abby
Soon enough the boys were back and along with the bike they picked up a beautiful Rapunzel wig. While Abby gazed at her long, lovely locks in the mirror, the guys put the new Big Wheel together. By this time though dinner was ready, so the decision was made to wait a bit before Abby was presented with her new bike.

Somewhere between the hair preening and dinner Abby lost her good mood. Each of mom's "suggestions" was greeted with an emphatic, "NO!", and we couldn't find just the right thing to get her in a better mood. You might be thinking that this would be a good time to pull out that new Big Wheel, right?

Well......

See Jason and I know our little peanut rather well, and we were fairly certain that if we got her outside and on that new bike, we would never be able to get home. We were winding down and packing up to make the trek back to our house, and we knew that in her current mood the potential for a major melt-down had grown exponentially. We made the executive decision to let it be, and leave the Big Wheel surprise for the next time we came out to Nana and Papa's house.

Despite the bumps in the road (literally and figuratively) it was a great time. As Papa gave Abby a helicopter ride out to the car we marveled at how quickly her mood and attitude changed. She giggled and laughed as the "helicopter" ran out of gas just in time to deposit her into her booster seat - ending our evening on a very good note.

So, we now have something besides the usual fun to look forward to the next time we head out to Nana and Papa's - a beautiful new pink Big Wheel.

Dad was ready to go before Abby and Mom were (big surprise)
and so he went to get the car washed. As we waited for him
we had a little impromptu photo session with Abby and Bruiser.

She had quite the grip on his neck - but he didn't
mind a bit.

Then she decided that she would set off to
rescue Dada, riding her noble steed.
Here she let out a yell of, "Yee-Haw!"


*It was pointed out to the author that Papa actually has a Ford Flex and not a "truck" as was stated in the above post. The author apologizes for any confusion on the reader's part.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dear Billy Joel

Dear Billy Joel,

In a few short years your career will have spanned a half century, I'm sure you can scarcely believe that. I've always felt that you were one of the few artists that remained true to yourself, and who wrote what you felt. Your music stood on its own, and didn't bow to fads. You wrote good music with catchy lyrics, and you proved yourself again and again.

It was "Piano Man" that made me want to learn how to play that title instrument, and I always thought that "Just the Way You Are" beautifully summed up what every girls hopes her love to feel for her. I even remember sitting in my room with my tape recorder and painstakingly listening to "We Didn't Start The Fire" in order to catch each of the lyrics you so quickly blasted through. In short, I have always liked your music.

In the years you've been a musician you have received many awards and accolades, and I'm sure thousands of letters from fans, but this letter is not to tell you about my love for your music, but about my daughter's.

Each night, as Abby lays down to sleep she requests one song more than any other - "Lullaby (Goodnight My Angel)". The simple tune, that is so beautifully sung by your soothing voice, settles her right down. With the opening strains she snuggles in and begins to breathe deeply. Sometimes she will ask me to join my voice with yours, but other times we both will enjoy the simplicity of the song by only listening, and most nights she doesn't even make it through the whole song before she is sleeping soundly. After a week of sickness, Abby has been through the wringer, and so tonight, as I sought to ease her pain and calm her tired mind I laid her in her bed, covered her up, and turned on "Lullaby". I rubbed her tummy as your voice filled the room and she soon settled into a peaceful sleep.

So, in short, I want to thank you for your beautiful song, and the comfort you give to my little girl through it. This mother is truly grateful.

Sincerely,
Abby's Mom

Yep, they're buddies alright.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Ta-Da!

Abby has been in the "look at me" stage for quite some time now - so long that I'm beginning to wonder if it is a stage after all. Even the simplest of tasks will trigger a, "Watch me, Mom!" Usually, I will "ooh" and "ahh", as is expected of me, and we move on. Tonight, Abby decided that she wanted to do some coloring. This time she wanted to make sure that I paid attention, so she climbed up on my lap and colored away. She told me to watch her and I did, suitably impressed by how well she was doing. At one point she said, "Look Mom, see how I'm inside the lines," and she was - inside the lines I mean. I was being completely honest when I told her how proud I was of her and how well she was doing.

When she was finished she held it up to me and said, "Ta-Da!" It was adorable. I loved how she punctuated her hard work with that wonderful exclamation. It drew attention to the work she'd done, and allowed me to acknowledge her performance. It made me wonder why we all don't do that more often. There are many days when I would love to yell out to someone, "Hey, watch me!" as I do regular mundane tasks throughout the day.

So, I've come to a conclusion. I'm going to take a page from Abby's book. I'm going to start "Ta-Da"-ing my way through the day. When I finish a sink full of dishes - Ta-Da! When I make a meal - Ta-Da! When I write a lesson plan - Ta-Da! I think we all should do that, what a fun way to get some much needed encouragement. Isn't Abby smart?

Pocoyo, Ellie, and Pato needed a bit of lovin' today.

Feeling sorry for her, since she is still battling a sour tummy,
I caved when she asked to paint. She did a great job of containing
the mess - to herself. 

By the end she was rather colorful - too bad you can't really
see the red paint that got in her hair. 
There you have it - tonight's post.

TA-DA!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Being Flexible

The plan today was that we would pack up and head out for a nice extended weekend at the family cottage. We were all looking forward to it. Frankly, we are in desperate need of some family time away. Abby was excited about the prospect of swimming in the lake, Jason was looking forward to some fishing and boating, and I was excited about a change of scenery. The fact that we haven't been to the cottage all year made us all the more anxious to get there.

Abby started our day early, she was raring to go at 6 a.m., but she seemed to still have a sour stomach. We made the plan that we would spend the morning straightening up the house, getting some laundry done, and then maybe head out in the afternoon, if Abby was feeling better. Unfortunately, as the day went on she didn't seem to be getting better. Mid-morning, when she had an accident, we were very thankful that we hadn't decided to do the three hour drive to the cottage, now that would have been horrible.

We changed our plans and began talking about things we might be able to do around home, if we never did get Up North. You might think with the delay, and possible cancellation, of our family get-away we'd be bummed, that the mood around the house would mirror the rainy, dreary weather of the day, but it didn't. We actually had a very nice day.

We were able to get some work done around the house (which felt really good), and find time to relax as well. Abby was in a great mood, despite everything, and enjoyed a low-key day of playing. Once again we are learning that it pays to be flexible.

Beautiful!

Another one of the pretty girl.

Yesterday, as I was getting ready for our visit, Abby spent
time reading a book to her dolls.

Then she decided to take a nap with them - apparently I
take too long getting ready.

Today Abby enjoyed some quality time with The Lorax.
It was so fun to hear her giggling along with the movie.

She loved the headphones!