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La Familia Hendrickson 2011 Jan-Jun

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La Familia Hendrickson 2011 Jan-Jun - Page Text Content

S: La Familia Hendrickson 2011 January through June

BC: To Be Continued

FC: January through June | La Familia Hendrickson 2011

1: TUESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2011 Welcome 2011 and My New Blog! For the past year and a half I have kept a blog for Chloe. It began as a way for me to keep my immediate family and closest friends updated on her NICU status, progress, setbacks, etc. The blog quickly became much much more. 1. It's a documented record of almost every one of Chloe's 148 days in the NICU and includes comments from the great friends who prayed and hoped for her healing along the way. 2. I got lots of great advise from experienced moms who cared enough to share their knowledge. 3. The blog became a sort of therapy aid for me. Deciding how to describe my emotions (and there were lots of them!) was cathartic and helped me become introspective in a way I'd never been before. 4. A way for me to make some fantastic blog friends - something I never expected! Chloe has been home for almost a year now and she's doing fantastic! We couldn't be more thankful for her progress and our many blessings. For a while now, though, I've been playing with the idea of starting a new blog. You see, I actually have another daughter. An equally amazing and wonderful daughter named Solana, who hasn't gotten much blog time. Often times I want to blog/brag about her but Chloe's blog just didn't seem like the right forum for it. My family in Texas loves to hear about both their girls in Ohio so Solana stories are shared via text messages and Facebook. Neither of those last, though, and I want both my girls to have a record or our memories to enjoy when they're older. So...as we begin a new year I also begin 'La Familia Hendrickson'. P.S. If you're curious about the palm trees I'll tell you the story... Our family vacation spot is to our favorite resorts in Mexico. Dave and I have been 4 times, Solana twice, and Chloe and Leila once (although we didn't know they were there, yet). We skipped our vacation this past summer since Chloe couldn't travel and we're feeling it. Mexico has definitely been on the brain. Two of our family photos from the last trip are labeled 'La Familia Hendrickson.' The palm trees are a sweet reminder of warmer days past and excitement for warmer days to come :-)

2: WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 12, 2011 Almost Snow Day We got dumped on yesterday! I was surprised and Solana was disappointed that a "snow day" was not declared by the school. Note: Her first and last snow day was spent making cookies. I'm sure that has something to do with her excitement for another one... :) I was told to expect 4-5 inches so I put a large plastic bowl outside early in the morning. After dinner I had a surprise for Solana. She got to make our dessert out of snow. Mix the following in a bowl (all to taste): Snow Cream Vanilla Sugar It was super yummy and super special. She loved it and I highly recommend it!

3: Chloe's Crib Antics "Ummm...Babe? I think it might be time to lower Chloe's mattress..." | THURSDAY, JANUARY 13, 2011 Name Change Dave just informed me that Mexican drug cartels identify themselves using the same naming convention that I used to name our blog. Seriously, dude? How does my husband even know that, anyway? I guess I need to come up with a new blog name. Hmmmm. Hmmmmmmmmmmm. Hmmmmmmmm. I'm stumped.

4: THURSDAY, JANUARY 20, 2011 Chloe's Coming Home Day Tuesday was the one-year anniversary of Chloe's long awaited arrival home. I remember that day so well. It was MLK day. Dave was home from work and we were working furiously to get the house ready. Every speck of dirt and dust had to be removed. We had an argument because I was freaking out about the temperature in our bedroom. It had to be a perfect and steady 72 degrees F (like the NICU) and Dave was having trouble making that happen. He put a space heater in our room and even had our furnace replaced. As it turns out, heating a 60's era house is not an exact science. Somehow Chloe survived and suffered neither heat exhaustion or hypothermia. Heck, she didn't even lose weight from her body working SO hard to keep it's temperature up. Whadoyaknow. Poor Dave puts up with a lot sometimes. (Side note: He gets a lot in return! Hehe) It's weird to think Chloe's only been here for one year. It seems like she's been here for much longer than that! Some people comment that "the first year just flew by!" I remember asking Dave, at Chloe's first birthday, if the first year seemed to go quickly or slowly. We both agreed that it was both. But now I'm thinking of her first year at home and it seems like the past year has gone by very slowly. There are a couple of reasons why I think this might be: 1. Because, even though I'm trying not to, I'm also counting in the first 5 months that she was in the NICU. 2. Because I'm actually home with her this time. I worked full-time and commuted almost two hours a day with Solana. I got to spent a whopping two hours a day with her for her first three years. Those years flew by. But I get to spend every luscious waking (and sleeping) moment with Chloe. Maybe that makes the year seem fuller? I don't know. But I do know that it's definitely been a full year! Chloe's homecoming day is printed on our annual Snapfish calendar. The plan was to celebrate it somehow. I didn't intend to have a huge party with balloons and presents or anything. Just maybe a cake...? But the day came and went. We included Chloe in our dinnertime prayer and I sauteed some bananas with butter and we all shared a special dessert to celebrate Chloe's special day. That's it. Nothing crazy. And I wasn't moved to do more so I was totally ok with that and I'm pretty sure Chloe was, too. The thing that did strike me on that day was how long ago it seemed we celebrated Chloe's birthday. That celebration seemed like it was AGES ago! The thought of managing a home life and a NICU life for that long seems overwhelming when I look at it from this perspective. Dave and I were so lucky. We had very differing views on how much NICU time was appropriate but we negotiated a visitation schedule that was acceptable to both of us. We were fortunate to afford a maid during that time and ate more fast food than usual. It was such a stressful five months. We tagged off when he got home from work and I'd get home sometime around 11:30 or midnight. I don't know how we made it through so well. I guess I figured out what this date can be - an opportunity to be grateful. Our little girl came home and is doing really well. Solana is happy and healthy. Dave and I are happily married. You can't ask for much more. | FRIDAY, JANUARY 21, 2011 Poopie Contact...Literally Last Saturday morning started out with an unexpected speed bump. As I was putting Chloe's contact in her eye I dropped it! Well, I guess it would be more accurate to say that Chloe punched it out of my hand. She's learning a thing called willpower and, while it's a great developmental stride, it does affect contact placement and removal. There's a tad bit more wrestling involved these days... | You should see us. Chloe laying on her back. Me next to her with my right leg across her chest and pinning down her left arm. My other leg pinning down her right arm. Both hands prying her eye open and simultaneously place her contact in her eye. One of my less than graceful moments. And somehow - with all those body parts in play Chloe managed to free her left arm and punch the contact out of my hand. I looked around but couldn't find it. And OF COURSE this was the one time I didn't pull all the sheets back to work on a clear flat surface. | Dave came to help look and as we were searching the sheets and Chloe's pajamas she gagged. I immediately sat her up and finger swept her mouth as far back as I could. Nothing. Then she gagged again and swallowed. I was a mess. "This isn't happening. This isn't happening. This isn't happening." | I was thinking about the fact that it was Saturday and, once again, we found ourselves without a backup contact. She would be blind all weekend. I called the optical shop to find out if they were open. Her backup lens had just arrived the day before and they're only open one Saturday a month. Then Dave snapped at me, "Don't call the optical shop! Call her doctor. She swallowed a foreign object!" Then a flood of fear swept over me. Of course! What was I thinking?!?! All the sudden I envisioned the hard contact trying to make it through her small intestines, getting stuck on the scar tissue from her formerly ruptured bowel (you know, the one at 19 days old that they told us she probably wouldn't survive), and ripping it open. We called the pediatrician and spoke to the nurse who would talk to the doctor and call back. I considered the castor oil in my pantry as we waited. Shouldn't we make her throw up? The doctor called back and said it should pass just fine. Don't feed her anything unusual.

5: Saturday came and went. Sam and Sophie were here to distract us from worrying. Sunday she had two BM's and voila! The contact was in the second one! Chloe seemed just fine and the wait was over . Yahooo!!! I'd never been so happy to be covered in poop in my life. WHAT a drama! The following picture is for documentation purposes only. I want to have this when I print this into a book so Chloe and Solana can't say, "No way! You did NOT do that!" It's pretty gross so you probably don't want to scroll down and look. Just warning you... (I'll even thoughtfully make the thumbnail small just in case you accidentally scroll past it. That's how considerate I am.) | MONDAY, JANUARY 24, 2011 First Trip to the Mall We went to the mall with Angela and her girls last Monday. It wasn't a big deal - just a way to get out of the house on a cold winter day. We listened to a kid's band for about 5 minutes but they were kind of lame so we all tagged along while Angela shopped. I pretended to be "cool mom" and let the girls run and scream like banshees through the junior clothes at JCPenny while Angela was in the dressing room. (We were the only ones there - that's what made me cool vs. obnoxious ;-) The best part was probably the Cinnamon Chai Tea Lattes from Saxby's (we're slightly obsessed with them). It was an unexceptionally really nice time. But the main reason I'm posting this is because I just realized that this was Chloe's first trip to the mall. Yay for Chloe!

6: MONDAY, JANUARY 24, 2011 Brewmeister Dave! Dave is brewing beer! He started his first batch a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday he transferred his Irish Red Ale from one carboy to another for its secondary fermentation. I bought him his brewers kit from a company called Northern Brewers. It came with a video. After watching the video we decided that you have to be a major nerd to brew beer. At least, that's what the video implies. Well, Dave may be a big ol' nerd. But at least he's a hot one! Here's the beer in its original carboy. See all the gunk at the bottom? There's a name for it but I'm not a beer nerd so I couldn't tell you what it is. He needs to move all the beer from this carboy to another one and leave the gunky stuff behind. | Gravity is doing its job and he has to make sure the beer doesn't splash into the second carboy. Air is bad for beer. | You can really see the transfer happening in this shot. And check out Dave's tattoo. He got it last year on our anniversary. The moon is for me because Cynthia was the greek goddess of the moon and there are two stars above the moon for Chloe and Leila. (He has a big sun on the other arm for Solana). | TUESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2011 Vision Specialist We had a visit from Chloe's new vision specialist (VIS) yesterday. We're receiving her services through the same Help Me Grow program that provides us an early intervention specialist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, and speech therapist. They all come to our house, which is fantastic, and they're all great ladies. I was skeptical about how much assistance the vision specialist would provide. Chloe's not blind and, in fact, the vision in her right eye is pretty good. My skepticism was banished within the first 5 minutes of her arrival. The VIS is visually impaired herself and, therefore, has first-hand knowledge of the needs of visually impaired children. She sat on the floor to play with Chloe and immediately noticed that, when sitting up, Chloe held her arms out/down (sort of forming an upside-down V) with her palms facing the ground. Chloe has been sitting up for quite a while now and seems pretty stable to me. But, when the VIS presented a toy Chloe's arms were down in this protective position. She explained to me that Chloe doesn't have the depth perception to look at a toy and feel confident about not falling. This explains so much!!! Chloe can sit just fine but prefers to crawl around and play with toys while laying on her tummy or back. She recommended that we give Chloe extra sitting support when we do vision play or just want her to hold and look at toys while sitting up. This will give her the opportunity to focus on the toy in front of her without worrying about falling to the side. We'll bring the Bumbo and the Boppy back out for this. I found this insight just fascinating!

7: She also noticed that Chloe tilts her head to the side when regarding a toy. That's because Chloe's eyes don't usually work together. (Remember that there's a huge discrepancy in the vision of Chloe's eyes.) She'll track with either eye but will usually prefer the right eye. We did notice her regard a toy with both eyes a few times so that's encouraging. We're going to start presenting toys from her left so she has more practice looking with her left eye and we'll pay close attention to the tilt to notice when she's using one eye or both. She also did an acuity test to determine that Chloe can see an object that's 3 inches in size from about 20 inches away. This is something for us to keep in mind during play. Some other suggestions were: -Consider a tactile program to give Chloe more information and body input. -Practice putting objects in and out of a container so Chloe can practice looking into something. -When presenting a toy at midline (centered in front of her face) give her time to use her eyes together. -Practice carpet to carpet transitions (crawling from one surface to another). She may have trouble determining the depth of a new surface. A great visit. I'm so glad I agreed to her services! My hope is that, by following her advice, we can improve Chloe's ability to use her eyes together and avoid inappropriate habits (like the head tilt) that could affect her physically* and socially** in the future. *The body is meant to be in alignment. A constant head tilt throws of that alignment and can cause pain and require surgery in the future. **People think it's weird when someone constantly tilts their head to one side. | Solana's fitness challenge at PVN. She did great and earned a medal at the end for completing all the stations 10 times. | Pretending to stand on her own and getting a huge kick out of it.

8: THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2011 Daddy's Girl - REVISED Chloe is almost a perfect baby. I say almost because there's something wrong with her. It's kind of a big thing, though, so it really must be addressed at some point. Chloe's problem is that she's...I can't say it.....it's too horrible......my sweet baby girl is.....A DADDY'S GIRL! How did this happen? I don't know. I never had this problem with Solana. Solana was a perfect little baby. She loved both her parents equally. But not Chloe. Chloe loves her Mama, for sure. She thinks I'm a hilarious clown and entertainer. I can make her laugh on a dime. But she makes it very clear that, when Daddy's in the room, I sit second chair to him. Chloe will not do the following: -Put her arms out to be picked up. -Give kisses. -Wave Goodbye. -Welcome people with screams of joy. Chloe will not do the above EXCEPT for her Daddy, that is! Oh woe is me. Where did I go wrong? How did I raise a Daddy's girl and how do I fix this obviously major problem created by erroneous upbringing? I almost forgot! This is almost an insult. Chloe babbles like crazy but her most favorite thing to say is "DaDa." She'll say it over and over randomly, when Dave enters the room, and especially after I say, "say Mama." I think she's said, "Mama" maybe twice...Little squirt! That's what Solana said - January Solana says the cutest things sometimes and I want jot some of them here so we can always remember them. I think I'll work on a post each month and then post it at the end of the month: 1/5/11 "It's a good thing Monty (our Australian Shepherd puppy) didn't eat my Christmas pencil because then Christmas would be gone FOR-EVER!" 1/27/11 While unloading her backpack after school Solana pulled out a little booklet she'd made in school. It was about the size of the palm of her little hand and had about 6 pages. Each page had one large upper-case letter (A through F). She showed me the book and said, "I made this book for Chloe at school. AND I ONLY WROTE IN BLACK so she could see it." This was one of the sweetest and kindest things she'd ever done for Chloe. I almost started crying but held it together and praised her for such a thoughtful gift. (Note: She was paying attention when the vision therapist was here and knows that Chloe can see better when pictures are high contrast.) Then she sat on the floor, put Chloe between her legs, and began showing her the book and singing the ABC's. Um. Yeah. I cried. Such a sweet loving girl :-) | MONDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2011 The Patch is Back Well, Chloe's sporting her favorite accessory again. While it kind of stinks having to put it on and keep it on every day (we're back to 4 hours a day) we're not terribly shocked. We saw signs that she was favoring her right eye quite a bit. The difficulty of getting the patch back on lies in the fact that Chloe was spoiled for a month and her independent spirit has only grown since we stopped using the patch. She's a little bit more feisty now and these things aren't conducive to easy patching. I've had to remove her patch-prying little fingers several times in the past couple of days. But I think she'll get used to it quickly enough. Her Mama has a strong will, too. ;-) Chloe's getting better at crawling up on all fours and sitting herself up. In the following pictures she's showing off her new skills (even with the patch) | Berenstain Bears There's a little theater called Towne Hall Theater right near our house in Centerville. They show live stage productions for kids and I've been meaning to take Solana forever! We finally made it this weekend and my friend, Kim, and her daughter, Sophia, joined us. It was ridiculously cheesy and amateuristic and I was gawking at the fact that I'd just wasted $25 on such lameless. But during intermission the girls said they loved it! Hooray! I was happy after that. We may just go back for another one. They're doing Pinkalicious in March. Solana loves those books! I may or may not offer up my seat to let Dave have a go at it. :-) Craziest thing - the girls wore matching outfits and it was totally unplanned. It was quite a big deal! | Getting Papa Bear's autograph. Did I mention that it was a musical? Autographs from Mama Bear and Sister Bear.

9: Here they are showing off their program. I don't think I was ever this affectionate with my friends when I was little. I think they're so cute the way they're always hugging and holding hands. | TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2011 Mom or Mommy? Solana, at 5 years-old, has taken to calling me "Mom." I don't think it was a conscious decision. It just seems to come naturally to her. And I suppose that's ok. But I don't want to be Mom. I want to be Mommy! I still call my mother "Mommy" and it's never occurred to me to do otherwise. I keep correcting Solana and she's more than happy to oblige but she slips all the time. The other day she called Dave, "Daddy," and then called me "Mom," within the same run-on sentence. I said, "Hey, why does he get to be Daddy and I have to be Mom?" I don't think I'm getting anywhere with this. Tell me. Is it possible for me to turn this around or am I just stuck? P.S. After posting and reading this I feel kind of silly and suppose maybe I should just get over it and be happy that I have a sweet little girl that draws pictures of me and writes "I Luv Mom" at the top. Oh well. Mom it is :-) | THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2011 Milestones for Chloe Chloe is knocking our socks off with her new abilities! She's crawling up on her hands and knees all the time now and, when placed on the floor, immediately crawls toward something/anything to pull herself up and stand. She's even starting to cruise along the couch with confidence. It took her SO LONG roll over and then sit up! But for some reason we speculated that she would really take off once she started crawling. Boy were we right! Her newest tricks include reaching for objects outside of her little prisons (ie. crib and play pen) and chewing holes in her crib. You can't see it in this picture but her pack n play stands right next to our kitchen table. Yesterday I caught her grabbing one of the chairs and pulling it down until it fell backwards! Who is this destructive child? Solana never did stuff like this! (I secretly love it :-) | This picture (below) was taken last month as she was just getting the hang of standing in her crib. Day before yesterday I left her in the crib as I brushed my teeth. She was happily standing with one hand on the crib and the other reaching for the mobile. All of the sudden, "CRACK." My head snaps toward her and I'm immediately flying Marvel-character-style across the room because all I see is Chloe flying backwards with two outstretched little arms clinging to the mobile that she just snapped in half and off the stand! I also saw, out of the corner of my eye, Solana doing a Dukes of Hazard impression and pretending our (King size) bed was the hood of a car. How did she fly/slide over the bed so fast? That little girl is going to make a great mother some day! I digress. We got there at the same time and, of course, Chloe was fine - already getting back up for another go. She's amazing. Then that evening I caught her grabbing the tapestry just above her crib. Even later that evening Dave said, "Yeah. Don't they say to take mobiles down once they can stand in their crib?" Hmm. Yeah. That makes sense to me now. | A blogger friend of mine, Melissa, once said that "prematurity doesn't end when they leave the hospital." She is right! I gave my dad a brief run down of all Chloe's specialists, therapies, exercises, etc. He was shocked and knew a bit of it but I guess you don't think of that stuff unless you're actually the one doing it. We work really hard for all these little milestones that healthy babies reach so easily. I'll tell you what, though, all our hard work and therapy sessions pay off! And the payoff of a milestone reached (and even every day activities) is all the more sweeter for the extra hard work we've put into it.

10: MONDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2011 Valentine's Day We're having a great Valentine's Day this year! The celebration began early at Solana's school. The students made Valentine bags at school and her teacher sent home a list of names so that the kids could write their own Valentines. They had all week to bring in their treats, filling their friends' bags more and more every day. Solana and I made crayon hearts (the same fun craft we did last year). She finally got to bring all her Valentines home on Friday. Out of curiosity, I looked at them and got to see a sample of her classmates' handwriting. I noted that Solana's handwriting is far superior to the other kids' handwriting. Now, I'm not saying that this means she's the smartest kid in her class. Just...that she's probably the smartest kid in her class... ;-) | The girls also received packages in the mail from Grammy and Grampy and Aunt Carol. Chloe loves her monkey! | Then my friend, Kim, offered to babysit so Dave and I could go out for dinner and we were excited for the opportunity. The problem was that we didn't realize how many other people would be celebrating Valentines Day early so we waited until the last minute to make dinner reservations. Our favorite places were all booked! But Dave did some searching online and found a French restaurant in Centerville - only 5 minutes from our house. He read that they specialize in using local ingredients and organic meats and the dress is smart casual. We decided to give it a try even though we know nothing about French cuisine. I was reminded that sometimes things really work out well. I can't even begin to say how AMAZING the food was. If you're looking for a very special restaurant in Centerville, Ohio I give my absolute highest recommendation to Rue Dumaine. It's located in the Sam's Club shopping center of all places! I never would have guessed the classy casually elegant restaurant inside. We had the best time and the best food. This is my new favorite restaurant and Dave hesitates to rate it over Flemming's but I'm going to go ahead and make the call for him. I think I know where we'll be headed for our anniversary... :-) | Meanwhile, Solana had a great time playing dress-up with Sophia and Chloe had fun keeping Kim on her toes! Thanks Kim! | This morning the girls and I woke to a surprise on the kitchen table. Chocolates for me, stuffed animals for the girls, and cards all around. Dave and Solana go out ever year to the local chocolatier and pick out chocolates for me. Solana loves it! The only problem is that I have no self control around those things. They're sooooo good! Yum yum yum! | We also surprised Dave with a cake. Yellow cake with cream cheese icing and strawberry filling. All from scratch. Solana helped decorate the top. This was my first cake with filling and also my first attempt using the convection feature on my oven. I was a bit nervous but it turned out great!

11: THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2011 Pennies for a Purpose Solana's school has been studying about Martin Luther King Jr. this past month and it turned into lessons about being a good person and helping others. The students were tasked with earning 100 pennies and bringing them in for a donation. Solana got a week off from her responsibility chart and instead earned pennies all week for doing chores and helping out at home. The grand finale of their lesson was a concert where they presented a check for $147 to the local food bank (all of it from pennies earned and donated by the children) and barrels of food donations sent in by the parents. The children then performed songs such as: Love Can Build a Bridge, Imagine, etc. They did a great job and learned valuable lessons about charity and being good citizens. It was great and the teachers did a great job organizing it. We are thankful Solana gets to attend such a great school! | FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2011 Dave's B-17 Irish Red | Dave's first brew is finally ready! We shared a bottle last night and it's really good! He's excited about it turning out so well and declared that his brew kit is the best gift I've ever given him. Yay me :-) It's an Irish Red and he named it: Dave's B-17 Irish Red I grumbled about the pinup girl but he reminded me that I said his beer labels should be a "guy thing." Sometimes I amaze myself. Did you notice the location of Dave's Brew Haus? Bluebell, Montana. Get it? About to enjoy his first taste of his first homebrew. | Dave's B-17 comes in three different bottles so you can choose based on how thirsty you feel.

12: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2011 Too Cute! She's just so cute sometimes I can't stand it! First time ever on the park swing. 2nd time on the park swing. Busted! Trying to make a quick getaway! | Playing in her oxygen tubing as I cleaned her contact. | Attacking Dave's electronics. She opened the DVD door. Oops! | Skinny Butt I can't believe her little bootie fits in that thing! I know a 6 month-old whose bootie doesn't even fit in there any more. (Not Chloe.) Hahaha.

13: WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2011 O2 Concentrator, Your Days Are Numbered! Could it be? Could this really truly be happening?!?!? Chloe's overnight study is scheduled for this Friday! She'll actually go to bed without a canula in her nose for the first time ever! (That is...the first time ever since her 89 days on the respirator ended. :-) Now, I'm not saying that she's woken up every single day with the canula in her nose. To tell the truth, I don't actually recall the last time she woke up with the canula in her nose. Maybe it was sometime around November...? Usually it's on her forehead, in her eye, around her neck...yesterday she had rolled up about three times in her oxygen cord in her sleep. And she sleeps about three feet from me! I'll be so glad to get rid of that thing. What they'll do during the overnight study is hook Chloe up to a pulse-oximeter. This is a machine that constantly reads her heartrate and the amount of oxygen circulating in her blood. You've probably had your pulse-ox taken before - it's the little thing you put your finger in with the red light. Chloe's will be taped to her toe. The readings will be collected and sent to her Pulmonologist and then he should give the order to stop her oxygen and finally get all this equipment outta here! Wish her luck! P.S. Chloe's 19lb 7oz. Our little grower is totally on the growth chart. Yay for Chloe! That's what Solana said - February 2/19/11 I was trying to let Dave sleep in a little bit while I fed Chloe. He pulled the sheets up and put the pillow over his head to block the light but was obviously having trouble getting back to sleep. Solana came in. "Is Daddy still asleep?" "No. He's awake." "Then who's that man under the covers?!?!?!?" Hahahahahaha! I don't know if she was trying to be funny or not but I started cracking up and she joined in as if she meant it to be funny. :-) 2/17/11 "Cats are like paper towels...except that they like to be pet a lot. Well, like DRY paper towels." 2/9/11 Dave tucked Solana in at night and then came out holding a blanket. "Solana said this blanket needs to be washed because she said it smells like 'Mommy's pee' or 'pickles'." I have no idea... 2/10/11 I finished vacuuming the living room and left Chloe playing on the living room carpet with Solana while I quickly put the vacuum cleaner away. Suddenly I heard Solana yelling in a chastising/motherly voice that only a 5 year-old big sister can muster, "Chloe! It is not appropriate for a baby to be on the kitchen floor! Mom! It is not appropriate for Chloe to be crawling on the hard kitchen floor!" As I hurried back to the kitchen Solana was in the process of luring Chloe back into the living room with a Cheerio and saying, "Ugh. What am I going to do with this baby?" I swear I don't say that! 2/11/11 Solana: I think I'll put this sticker on my clubhouse. Me: That's good thinking. Solana: You mean, "great thinking?" Me: Yes, of course. That's exactly what I meant. MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2011 Chicken! bawk bawk bawk Friday was the big night for Chloe's oxygen study. I put her to bed without her oxygen and then planned to come back a couple of hours later to hook up the monitor. When I came back, though, I noticed she was a tiny bit snotty and sleeping with her mouth open. I totally chickened out and decided to wait. I put her canula on and put her in her little popasan chair to sleep. "They're not coming to pick up the monitor until Monday, anyway", I justified. So we did the study last night (Sunday). I had a hard time sleeping. I wanted to watch the monitor all night. We used to put the sensor on the outside of her foot but she's grown and her foot's gotten a little fatter. I was worried that the sensor wouldn't be able to read through her chub so I decided to put it on her big toe. The monitor read 88% oxygen for the first few minutes and I got worried. I'd rather see 99%! Dave and I debated what to do and decided to try it on the outside of her foot but just as I peeled the extra tape off to change positioning it went up to 95%! I watched it for a few minutes and checked again around 3am and it was wavering between 94% and 97%. I'm not certain but I think that's good enough. I just hope it stayed up there all night - even when I wasn't looking. The oxygen supplier will pick up the monitor today and send the data to Chloe's Pulmonologist. I hope we hear from him this week! Fingers crossed!

14: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2, 2011 Chloe Needs Her Stylist This is what I look like before my personal stylist, Cyndre', works her magic. | Breathe Easy It's official! Chloe has been ordered off oxygen! Yahooo! The doctor has sent the order to the medical supply company and they should come pick up all the equipment soon. Yay! Bye bye huge oxygen concentrator! Thank you for your service. We'll miss the white noise you made with your rumbly engine and the huge amounts of heat you put off ~ especially in the summer. Bye bye pulse-ox monitor. It was comforting to have you around when we decided to lay Chloe on her stomach to help round out her head and we will miss your crazy antics. Beeping every hour of the night because Chloe wiggled her foot = hilariousness! Bye bye heavy D tank. It was so much fun lugging you around to doctor's appointments. I'm pretty sure you had something to do with my mystery shoulder injury last year. You'll be missed. Bye bye C tank. If only we knew you existed sooner. You're so much smaller and easier to carry than D and your little carrying backpack was adorable! Bye bye extra canulas. Thank you for waiting your turn to replace your snotty predacessors. Bye bye extra tubing. We're so used to making sure we don't trip on you. Will we ever walk into the bedroom at night without looking down to spot you? (And may we please use you as a kooky long straw or jumprope now?) Bye bye extra sensors and wrong sensors. Why did the medical equipment supplier always insist on sending the wrong sensors? We'll never know...but we loved you no less. Bye bye extra sensor tape. Thank you for attempting to keep the sensor on Chloe's foot - even if you weren't always successful. Surely we can find some way to recycle you. Homemade bandaids for Solana's over-dramatized scrapes....perhaps? Bye bye water bottle. You humidified the oxygen and you humidified it well. Thank you for never falling over and pouring water into Chloe's tubing her drowning her in her sleep. We really appreciated being terrified by the respiratory therapist who set up our equipment and told us that story so we kept you tied down extra tight. | I just put Chloe to bed without a canula. Such luxury! Now we'll need to discuss when she moves to the crib in her room. Yikes! | FRIDAY, MARCH 4, 2011 Milestone for Cyndi I don't think I blog a lot about Leila, how much I miss her, how I think about her every day and wonder what it would be like if she were here with us. The other day Chloe and I were playing in the mirror - waving to ourselves and having fun. Suddenly she was right against the mirror and looked away from it at just the right angle. I suddenly saw Chloe and Leila playing together side-by-side. I cried, of course, like I do sometimes. Mid-December to January was a particularly difficult time for me. I was severely, yet functionally, depressed. Bedtime was miserable and I spent hours upon hours laying there crying - re-living my pregnancy. I analyzed everything I ate, said, thought, and did; trying to determine what I did wrong and beating myself up for any perceived mistakes. I'd torture myself remembering the surgeries, the "I'm sorry" moment, my water breaking, the birth. And then I topped it all off with a thick slathering of guilt at being such an ugly unappreciative person. Why couldn't I just be happy and thankful for what I do have? I dreaded rocking Chloe to sleep, going to bed, and waking up. Those were the worst times for me when the bad thoughts invaded my head without so much as a knock at the door. I cried all day and through the night but managed to do it in secret so nobody knew. I didn't want to blog about my misery so I didn't blog at all. After the second morning of staying in bed way too long I called a friend who also lost a twin. She said all the right things within the first five minutes and then we talked for another two hours just for fun. Her name is Megan and she was my hero that day. Anyway, I've been feeling much better since then and still plan to talk to a grief counselor but not until I feel bad again.

15: Whew! I'm glad to finally clear the air about December. Somehow I feel like I've been lying all this time since I never addressed it. Now to the main reason for today's entry. Solana attended a birthday party today. It was a swim party and I sat on the bleachers with two other moms. I quickly learned that both of them have twins. They asked if Solana was my only child and I said that I also have an 18 month-old. Then I felt a little upset that I couldn't join in as another twin mom. "It's not fair that I have to keep Chloe's twin-ness and Leila a secret in order to not be a 'downer'," I thought. Then I said to myself, "what the heck!" I straightened my back and at the next appropriate opportunity, "Actually, Chloe's an identical, too." I quickly told how the girls had TTTS, we had surgery, lost Leila, 11 days later Chloe was born at 24 weeks, and spent 5 months in the NICU. "She's AMAZING," I said, "She may have chronic lung disease, brittle bones, vision problems, and developmental delays, but she's a firecracker and will probably be my tomboy!" It wasn't weird. I wasn't a downer. I did not compel them to say, "I'm sorry for your loss." It was natural and honest and it felt good! One of the moms went on to say how uncomfortable her pregnancy was because her twins were born at 40 weeks and over 7lbs each. Nothing. I recognized her insensitivity but it didn't bother me and I didn't judge her for it. I actually thought, "Yeah, that probably was pretty uncomfortable." The other mom said she'd love to meet Chloe because she sounds like 'somethin' else'. That made me happy. I don't know what came over me or how I was able to feel so footloose and fancy free today. I came home and told Dave right away about my experience. I was kind of emotional as I told him. My voice quivered and my eyes welled but it was more because I felt proud of myself. I know I'm not "over" the loss of Leila. I never will be. I'm not even "over" the difficulty of seeing or hearing about twins. It's like peaks and valleys, I think. Today was a peak - maybe the highest one I've experienced. I'm happy for myself and hope this feeling lasts...at least for a while. FRIDAY, MARCH 11, 2011 Big Baby Crib Well, I can't say it's her "big girl bed" because that'll be her toddler bed but Chloe made a big move this weekend, none-the-less. She finally moved out of her mini crib (and Dave's and my bedroom) and into her full-sized crib in her own room! We figured we'd make the move soon after the oxygen was gone but hadn't really made a decision on when that would be. The absence of oxygen seems to have given Chloe some freedom in her crib, though. She suddenly became a very active sleeper - rolling all over the place and bumping herself on the sides of her crib. I can't tell you how many times we've woken to loud bangs and subsequent cries the past few evenings. We decided she needs more space. Dave asked me to decide whether we move the big crib to our room or finally move Chloe to her room and, since her bedroom is right across the hall from ours and we have a video monitor, I decided it was time. The transition has actually been very easy. She cried for about 10 seconds the first night so I came in, laid her back down, and rubbed her back for a minute. Then she was out. The second night I laid her down wide awake and fully expected some crying but we didn't hear so much as a peep. Plus, as an added bonus, the darkening curtains we bought yesterday seem to be doing their job well. It's almost 8 o'clock and she's still sleeping! (Chloe's usually up by 7.) All-in-all I think this will be a good thing for everyone. Chloe won't wake up with Dave's alarm in the morning and we won't be woken by her every movement throughout the night. We no longer have to tiptoe around the room when we go to bed ourselves. And we moved the glider into her room so we have more space in our own bedroom. I sense some rearranging this weekend! As I rocked Chloe in her newly curtained room last night I told Dave, "This is the first time I feel like we really have a nursery! It was nice. | The glider's in Chloe's room now! We still need to get some things up on the wall but we're finally really using this room! Solana's wanted to pretend that she's about to feed Chloe for this picture... :-) | Chloe's big crib (used to be Solana's) and sticker decorations from Ikea. The new curtains. The sheer ones have pink polka dots. I love them :-) I'm not sure if the cat tower will stay or not. Hardy loves to go up there whenever I change Chloe because we visit with him after every diaper change. | Crashed out at 7:45am. Lovely.

16: The Artiste! The school district is currently hosting "Kidsview: Understanding the Art Experience." Solana's artwork was selected to be in the display and we couldn't be prouder. (I actually got so choked up while reading the letter from school that I had to hand it to Dave to finish reading it. Seriously! When and how did I become this mushy sappy mom?) Solana and I attended the opening reception on Sunday. Her art was part of the "H" Andy Worhol exhibit. There was artwork from kids in every grade K-12 in the district so there was a huge variety. It was great fun to find her artwork hanging on the wall amongst all the other student work. And I loved it that she ran up to her art teacher and hugged her when we saw her. (I was way too scared of my teachers to do that when I was in school!) Dave will take her again before the it's over. | SATURDAY, MARCH 12, 2011 Dave's Bitter Revenge We had our first taste of Dave's 2nd brew last night and were pleasantly surprised at how good it tastes! I love to taste beer but never drink a whole one. This one, though...I think I could. The reason we were so surprised at it's yumminess is because Dave messed up big time during bottling. He forgot to add sugar and that's a big problem! He had to carefully empty 5 gallons of beer from the bottles (without letting air mix into the beer). (It's a good thing he had extra bottle caps on hand, too!) I don't know how he did it but he managed to save the batch and good thing he did. It's lip smacking bitter goodness. He's getting good at label-making, too.

17: Sisters in a Crib | TUESDAY, MARCH 15, 2011 Mullet Do all babies (with hair) get mullets in the bathtub, or just mine? I had to dig up these old pictures of Solana because I keep thinking of her mullet every time I bathe Chloe. Granted, Solana's was a bit more dramatic, but they're still similar. They make me giggle :-) | Solana | Chloe | It's difficult to look up an old picture of Solana without spending a ton of time looking through them. She was so darn cute! These pictures are of her at 11 months.

18: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16, 2011 Jogging Girl I love to jog. I don't get to do it as often as I'd like but I usually make sure to squeeze in 2 or 3 runs a week. I'm pretty slow but I don't run competitively - just to stay in shape and get some fresh air. Plus, it's a great way to exercise our two Australian Shepherds. I love jogging with a buddy but haven't had a jogging buddy (other than the dogs) in years! Dave doesn't jog and my only jogging friends (our neighbors) jog way too fast for me to keep up. I ran a 10K a few years ago when we lived in Colorado. Two kids ran the race that day with their parents - a boy and a girl. I believe they were 8 and 10 years old. They.kicked.my.butt. Ever since then I've had it in the back of my mind that I would introduce Solana to jogging one day. I've been toying with the idea of doing it this year but don't want to turn her off from the idea so I haven't brought it up. Today SHE brought it up! She really wanted to go jogging with me after dinner. I figured we'd run 100 yards to the stop sign and turn back. So we put on our black stretch pants, laced up (or velcro'd up in her case) our sneakers, leashed up Monty (our 7 month-old Aussie), and headed out the door. I obviously let her determine the pace and we set off on our first mother-daughter jog. She looked really good. I tried to talk the whole time because I knew she would talk over any silence and I didn't want her talking when she should be breathing. "If you feel too tired just tell me and we'll walk. Do you want to turn back? Wow! I can't believe how far we've gone! You know, you've already gone way father than I could possibly have expected. We can stop any time. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth - all the way to your belly. This downhill part is fun. I like going downhill because it's easy on my muscles. We're coming to the uphill part. If you get too out of breath or your legs feel tired just tell me and we can walk. Do you feel ok? We're almost home. I like to run really fast at the end of my run. Do you want to do that with me?" I was a barrage of checking in and reassurance. She seemed to love it. I think she jogged for about 15 minutes straight. Unbelievable. We got home and Dave brought out Bluebell. I took off again with both dogs. When I got home I told him how far we went and he said she kept jogging around the house after she came inside! When I tucked her in she asked if we could go again tomorrow. Chloe gets her Synagis shot tomorrow. I'll check with the pediatrician to make sure it's ok for Solana to jog. She seems kind of young but I hope she says it's ok. After the soccer debacle in the fall it would be so awesome to learn that this is Solana's sport! | THURSDAY, MARCH 17, 2011 Making Baby Food I must admit that I did not make baby food for Solana. Making baby food seemed like the sort of thing that crazy people with way too much time on their hands did. Plus, how could anyone know what to feed a baby without the "Stage 1," "Stage 2," etc. on the label? Well, we've been watching some food documentaries over the past year and I've made some big changes to our diet: -Local and organic whenever possible -Less meat -Meats raised humanely by local farmers (pastured, cage free, grass-fed, hormone-free, antibiotic-free) -Lots of whole grains and legumes, etc. This diet is really working well for us. Dave's losing weight, we're going to the bathroom more regularly (and more quickly!), my skin has improved, and we feel good about what we're putting into our bodies. In order to give Chloe the benefits of our improved diet I needed to begin making her purees myself. I was intimidated but it's turned out to be a very simple and satisfying process. I swear that the food I make for Chloe is 10x more appetizing than anything I've ever gotten out of a jar. The peas are an amazingly beautiful flourescent color. The fruits smell wonderful! Everything's organic. And now that she's moved on to more complex meals I find that I can pretty much puree anything that we have for dinner. Chloe is having texture issues and will not self feed anything mushy or slimy. (Her vision therapist believes this has something to do with her vision impairment.) She only has two teeth so this leaves a limited amount of finger foods: crackers, cheerios, toast, broccoli, sweet potato fries...that's about it for now. She turned her nose up at: peas, carrots, scrambled egg, cheese, and bananas. I forsee pureed foods in my future for quite a while. If you're interested in making baby food you must check out wholesomebabyfood.com. This website tells you anything and everything you may want to know about making baby food. When to introduce, how to prepare, how to puree, how to store and for how long, nutritional value (vitamins/minerals), why they're good for baby (eyes, brain, muscles), and recipes for almost any food you can think of. | Another misconception I had was that I would need special equipment for steaming and pureeing baby food. There are lots of baby food makers out there and I considered many. In the end, I just couldn't bring myself to spend $100 on a tool that would be good for just a few months (little did I know how long Chloe would be on purees). I went with the $7 steamer basket, my blender, and these freezer cubes that I LOVE. Guess what. They work just fine and that's really all you need. I baked some of the fruits/veggies at the beginning, too. The food processor is also a good tool, if you have it, but you can get by with just a blender. I rarely use the food processor because it chops really well but sometimes I have a hard time getting the smooth texture that Chloe likes for most of her foods (this may be user error since I'm not a huge food processor, anyway). | In preparation for our upcoming Mexico trip (I'll blog about that later) Dave bought me this mini food processor so I can make baby food for Chloe while we're at the resort. I'm crazy about it! I can mix up small amounts of food in a breeze and it's such a small appliance that it doesn't take up much room in the dishwasher. The double blades are nice, too, because sometimes thicker foods get "stuck" in my blender. You know, the bottom stuff keeps blending but I didn't create a vortex so the stuff at the top just sits there and never moves down to the blade. This one doesn't seem to have that problem.

19: My final misconception was the time committment. It's really not that bad. I can't say for sure how much time I spend making baby food. It varies. I think I probably spent 1.5 to 2 hours a week max at the beginning. Now I probably spend 1 hour a week max. I make up a couple batches of fruit cubes to mix with yogurt for breakfast and those two batches will last me a couple of weeks. A batch of veggies and beans will last me a couple of weeks, as well. And now that Chloe's eating a lot of our meals it's just a matter of scooping her serving into the blender and whizzing it up really quickly as I'm serving our own meals. So if you're interested in making baby food I say, "Give it a try!" You'll probably love it! FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2011 Spicy Conversation Dave and I love spicy food. Solana does not. In fact, she even complains if she sees pepper in her food. I'm determined to accustom her to spicy food. This whole business of separating her portion while cooking or leaving out spicy additions from recipes is getting really old. The other night I made chicken tikka masala. It was AWESOME and I recommend this recipe by Aarti Sequiera (you can also read my rave review at that site). She has a show on food network and it rocks! Anyway, it has a whole serrano pepper in the sauce and is quite spicy. I cooked the chicken in the sauce and took Solana's piece out of the sauce so that it still had some sauce but not a lot (Dave and my portions were swimming in sauce). Then I put some ketchup on top of her chicken. Here's how the conversation went. S: It's WAY too spicy! C: Ok. You don't have to finish the chicken but you do have to eat one more piece and finish your veggies. S: Mommy, I do NOT like spicy foods. Why do you make me eat spicy foods? C: Daddy and I really like spicy food so I want you to like it, too. With a little practice, it won't even seem spicy to you anymore. S: I'll never like it. C: Oh, I bet you will. In fact, when you're a mommy I bet you'll want your kids to eat spicy food, too. S: I'll never do that. C: What S: Make my kids eat spicy food. C: Hahahahaha S: Hahahahaha (Solana takes one more bite.) S: Mommy!!!! You're right!!! I'm used to it and it's not spicy anymore!!!!! C: (giggling) See! Mommy's right sometimes. I knew you'd get used to it. C: (getting up from the table to clean Chloe). I'll tell you what. You don't HAVE to finish all your food but if you finish every bite on your plate you'll get a reward. S: What?!?! C: I'm not telling. You have to finish your food to find out. 3 minutes later her plate was clean and she got her toenails polished. Sometimes being a parent is too easy. TUESDAY, MARCH 22, 2011 Pinkalicious! Solana and I had our first ever mother-daughter date to Panera Bread on Saturday. Dave stayed home with Chloe during our date. Solana was so excited! And it was great to go out with and direct all my attention at her. That rarely happens. We both ordered the tomato soup and I had the Mediterranean veggie sandwich. Yum! Our window faced Centerville's main street and the building is next to a stoplight. We sat at the window and "people watched" the cars lined up at the light. The highlight was when Solana spotted a motorcycle. I looked up just as he spit a loogie (gross) and said, "Wave to him." Solana did and he waved back. That was soooo exciting. Hahahaha! She noted how amazingly fast he took off from the light but I think that was her imagination since he was behind about 5 minivans at the light (I think he did rev his engine for her, though.)

20: Kim and Sophia joined us at the show. The girls dressed up like Pinkalicious and really enjoyed it! It was much better than Bearenstein Bears, for sure! These pictures were taken in the basement during intermission. | I snapped a couple pictures of the girls but lady in front of me was sighing loudly so I stopped. And then, toward the end, I realized the show was running late. I decided to text Dave so he could get Chloe ready for bed and feed her. The usher came up and asked me to put my phone away. Wow. I think I was a smart phone hooligan at this show. So embarrassing! Fortunately, Solana didn't notice and we had a great night out! | WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2011 Jogging Girl take 2 Solana asked to go jogging with me again this weekend but then decided she wanted to stay in her pajamas all day. It was fine that she decided not to jog but she didn't get to stay in her pj's all day :-). She did ask to join me after dinner tonight, though. And she even asked to go farther than last time. I agreed. She jogged for 22 minutes straight! I went back out and jogged the same loop in 16 minutes and a pretty fast pace (for me). I'm guessing it was a good mile and a half! I think I might be making a size 11 running shoe purchase, after all! P.S. The pediatrician said it's perfectly fine for her to jog - as long as I go at her pace and let her stop when she wants to stop. | THURSDAY, MARCH 24, 2011 Amazing My sister, Leticia, called me today to tell me about one of her friends who has been following Chloe's story way back since we still had Chloe and Leila and were fighting TTTS. Unbeknownst to me, this friend (I'll call her 'Jane') continued following Chloe's blog even after the twins were born. Today Jane called Leticia to tell her that they're pregnant with identical twins that share a placenta (putting them at risk for TTTS). Because Jane knew all about Chloe and Leila's story she immediately asked her OB about TTTS and if she would be switched to a specialist. His reply was something like: Oh, that's very rare and you shouldn't worry about it. Knowing the dangers of TTTS Jane decided that simply wasn't good enough. She began seeing a specialist who immediately put her on bedrest (at about 20 weeks) and a high protein diet. Jane wanted Leticia to tell me that the only reason she didn't accept the first OB's flippant answer was because of our twins and the fact that we shared their story. I'm crying as I type this - unable to convey how it makes me feel to hear that. How amazing to know that we helped inform a mother so that she can do everything possible to save her precious babies! I pray that she has a long and healthy pregnancy! FRIDAY, MARCH 25, 2011 Chloe Update - Upcoming Surgery EYES Chloe will have another eye surgery on April 19th. This one is called strabismus surgery - a muscle surgery that will hopefully straighten out her left eye. Although she is using the left eye it's still significantly weaker than her right eye and crosses in pretty dramatically. She sees two pictures and probably has trouble putting them together. (She looks at everything with her head turned to the side - a sign that she's trying to align the two pictures.) We hope that her eyes will work together after the surgery. There are two muscles that the doctor can work on and he said he wants to be conservative; working on only one muscle. It's common to need follow-up surgeries. Chloe's Vision Therapist is certain that Chloe's vision impairment has had a significant impact on her development delays. In addition, her world will be completely different after the surgery so it may take several weeks for her to re-learn balance and distance. But, if the surgery works, her overall vision could improve dramatically. COMMUNICATION Chloe babbles a lot. She talks to everything! Her spoon, her teethers, her blocks, her books, her toys...you name it and she's had an in depth conversation with it. She's FINALLY saying "ma." It's strange to me because her vocabulary of sounds is extensive and I thought "ma" was one of the easier sounds for babies to make. She has to work on it, though. "mmmmmmmAH" She's trying to imitate words when we ask her to. Some words she's imitated are: Sissy (didee), Puppy (geegee), Kitty (geegee), Dada (Dada), Mama (mmmmmmA), Bear (beah). Something new that Chloe's been doing is performing a few actions when asked. She'll "Put the ball IN," "Gimme 5," "Touch (usually an animal or our touch 'n feel books)," "Will you give me a HUG?" "Will you give me a KISS?" She'll also clap at the end of every song and after everything she does. And she'll make the 'milk' sign (open and close her fist) when I say, "bottle" or "Chloe eat?" EATING We're still on purees and I think we'll be there for a while. Chloe still won't self feed anything mushy or soft in texture. The only change I've recently made is going from 5bottles/2puree meals a day to 4bottles/3puree meals a day. This is also forcing me to try a little harder on the sippy cup. Chloe will not hold the sippy cup to drink (only to shake and fling water around). And she'll barely drink from it. She usually just pushes it away from her mouth and tries to grab it (so that she can shake it and fling water around). I did hear a sucking sound last night, though. That was encouraging.

21: WEIGHT Chloe didn't gain a lot of weight this past month - only 3ounces. But she's at a respectable 20lb 7oz. We were having some difficulties with the bottle for a while and it could have been a number of things: -she's been teething and spitting up more, - she got a skin infection and went on antibiotics for a while, or - she's just trying to transition herself off the bottle and refusing formula. I'm hoping the new 4/3 diet will help to get her weight gain on track. I don't want any raised eyebrows the next time we visit Dr. Sobande, the pulmonologist. GROSS MOTOR Chloe is a crawling fiend. She loves her new independence and crawls all over the house. And boy can she boogie. She gave up any and all attempts at standing for a couple of weeks but I think that was because she was too excited about exploring the whole house using her amazing new skill of fast crawling. She's recently starting pulling herself up again. She'll crawl to and pull herself up on anything now. It's fun to see. We may not see the quick transition to walking that I had predicted, though, because of her surgery. The vision therapist warned us about that. For now we're just letting her enjoy crawling and not pushing the issue on walking. MISCELLANEOUS HEALTH Chloe got a little infection under her skin that won't seem to go away. Apparently, her skin dried out (probably because of her teething drool/snot) and some bacteria got into a little dry skin crack. It became infected. It looked like no more than dry skin, a minor rash, and/or pimples. For a month I thought it was dry skin, pimples, or food allergies and treated it with lotion, bag balm, neosporin, changed her diet to bland foods. It came and went, staying between her nose and chin. When it spread up her face so I took her to the doctor. She's finished a round of oral antibiotics, a round of topical antibiotics, and we're about to start a second round of antibiotics because it keeps coming back. I'm trying to not worry but I really hope it goes away for good this time! She had her final Synagis. Whew! Two shots a month for 5 months. Not fun. Chloe officially hates her nurses. And even though we only have to pay 10% of the cost it adds up when the shots are $3200 a month! And this final month was a doozie. She got two shots and then I had to take her in the next day for a third because they under-dosed her! I asked the doctor to smack the nurse who did that. Not cool lady! At least they caught it, though. We're almost through Chloe's second flu/RSV season without any more than a few cases of the sniffles. Very thankful! SATURDAY, MARCH 26, 2011 Go Ahead. Prove Me Wrong. Do your kids relish an opportunity to prove you wrong? Mine does and she's not even talking! I walked away from the table today during lunch and when I returned Chloe had grabbed her cup off the table and was drinking away. "Who gave her that cup???" I asked. Dave, sitting on the couch, shrugged and Solana looked at me blankly. Tonight at dinner Chloe took about 5 sips from her cup. And three of those sips were taken while holding the cup herself. Go ahead, Chloe. Prove me wrong when I say you can't drink from your cup yet. I don't mind. Little turkey. Oh yeah! And she ate two whole macaroni noodles at our neighbor's house last night! That is a Big...Deal! MONDAY, MARCH 28, 2011 Holey Socks-amole! Umm...she's still a crawler... | Pajama Day Solana's class worked really hard to fill up their jar with little pom poms. The reason they worked so hard was because a full jar would mean Pajama Day! They finally did it and they got their pajama day yesterday. Not a single kid in her class forgot to dress up for pajama day. | In honor of her first PJ day, Solana and I read Fancy Nancy Pajama Day the night before. She loves Fancy Nancy books. She loves reading. She loves words and she uses her new-found treasures regularly. For example, just the other day she told me that I should buy the socks in the Kohl's catalog. I asked her why I should do that and she replied, "Well, because they're fancy. And your clothes are usually, well,...bland." The pause was nice - as though she was trying to spare my feelings. I looked down at my gray sweatpants and gray T-shirt and had to agree that her usage of the word 'bland' was absolutely on point. Anyway....I digress...I'm good at that. One of the most exciting moments of the day was when Solana's class got to watch a movie and...get this...TAKE THEIR SHOES OFF! IN CLASS!!! It's amazing the things that excite kids. Leticia and I just had a conversation about this. She teaches 4th grade and her kids earn tickets that they use to buy things out of the prize box. Leticia buys treats and toys for her prize box but the *hot* items are things like: -sit by the teacher's desk for the day - take off your shoes in class - use a ballpoint pen for the day - wear a hat. I believe that kids thrive on routine. But also note that they're giddy over breaks in it. (They couldn't excite over a break in routine without actual routine, though...) I've heard numerous people complain that their kids have too many toys (myself included) and I think we focus too much on buying things for our kids. I want to focus on the little things that truly make my girls happy. Not the ones that get thrown in the toy bin and forgotten but the ones that create "I remember when" moments. I suspect that Pajama Day will be an "I remember when" moment for Kindergarden.

22: THURSDAY, MARCH 31, 2011 That's what Solana said - March 3/17/11 "You're the first ever funniest mother I ever met!" 3/22/11 Chloe is terrified of Elmo. We recently brought out the dolls and she turns tail crawling away as fast as she can every time she sees them. We decided to sell them so Dave was replacing the batteries shortly after I laid Chloe down for the night. He tested one and we think she heard it because we suddenly heard crying from her room. Solana declared, "That's not just any crying. That's Elmo crying!" 3/23/11 (excited voice) "We got a new bus today! And the floor is really blaaaack. And the seats have no hoooooles. And it's all cleeeeean. (quick change to super sad voice, head bent, pouty lip activated) But I miss the old bus. It was perfectly fine..." 3/25/11 "Daddy, why is Mommy laughing all the time?" We'll take that to mean that we live in a happy house and NOT that I'm loco en la cabeza! 3/31/11 "You're the first ever funniest mother!" (If she said it twice it must be true...) TUESDAY, APRIL 5, 2011 Eye Visits Times Two I noticed Chloe's right eye turning in Thursday afternoon. Her RIGHT eye. That's her good eye. This bothered me but I decided to wait until Friday before freaking out. Maybe she's just tired.... Friday morning her right eye was still crossed to I made an appointment for Monday. I took her in yesterday and the doctor was happy I brought her in. We have overpatched. He was surprised and happy that Chloe functions just as well with the patch as without. This either means she's getting really good at functioning blind or her vision is getting better in her left eye. This is unusual but, like he said before, most parents aren't able to patch as well as me. We're to stop patching and not worry. Her eye will go back. He wants me to watch her crossing and head turning until the surgery and report to him. I went home satisfied. Happy. Then I got a call from the technician. "Dr. Bloom has been thinking about Chloe some more and wants you to bring her back tomorrow. Do you have dilating drops at home? No? Ok. I'll call in a prescription to your pharmacy. One drop before bed and one drop in the morning before you come in. He was thinking about her laser surgery (she had ROP surgery in both eyes when she was still in the NICU) and decided to get a good look at her retina." Now I'm nervous. This is her GOOD eye!!! I'm glad he kept thinking about her and wants to get a good look. I wish there wasn't any reason to do that. I hope we get good news today. I'm scared we may not... Eye Exam Results Good news! Chloe's retina looks just fine! Whew! Dr. Bloom said he was just thinking a lot about her and probably being neurotic. I said, "Well, we'd rather make the trip again and know for sure." To which he replied, "Yeah, I figured. I know you well enough to know..." and then trailed off as he was writing in her file. I'll complete the sentence for him: I know you well enough to know... -that you're also obsessive about Chloe's well-being and wouldn't mind coming in again for a double-check. -not to mess with you because you'd pitch a fit if I missed something. -that you'd probably go home and do some internet research; then call me back with a million questions, anyway, if I didn't ask you to come back. Whatever it was he was about to say. I'll take it as a compliment. Very thankful for double-checking and for a good report! TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011 Eating Update Baby steps. We're progressing ever so slowly and this does not surprise me one bit. That's been Chloe's style from the beginning. She's always moving f forward - you just have to look very closely to notice :-) This is certainly how it's been with eating. Chloe will eat absolutely anything I offer her. Fruit. Vegetable. Meat. Cheese. Tofu. Bland. Strong Flavors. Spicy. You name it. She'll eat it. That is....as long as it's pureed. I've been trying to offer her new stuff but I've also been kind of lazy about pushing the issue. I figure she'll get there...eventually. Then a neighbor brought her 5 year old daughter over for a play date with Solana. Her daughter is also vision impaired and will only eat crunchy foods. Nothing mushy. Period. No mac-n-cheese. No mashed potatoes. No grilled cheese. Nothing. She mentioned an online support group that she reads and recently noted several parents with school-age kids who only eat pureed food! Goodness gracious! As much as I love making baby food; I really don't want to be doing it when Chloe's in the 3rd grade! Boy did that light a fire under my bootie! Here's the good news. Although she's still refusing outright slimy or mushy finger foods (diced banana or pear, for example) she's recently accepted a few foods that had me just about jumping for joy. -Chopped up pasta with bolognese sauce (I made the bolognese and chopped up the ground beef/pork really small.) This is the first ground meat she's eaten that wasn't pureed! -Scrambled eggs! She fed herself two bites by hand! No gagging or pushing it out with her tongue. She actually chewed (gummed) it up and swallowed! Yippeeee! Then, to top it off, I spoon fed her the rest of the egg mixed up with roasted root vegetable puree. She ate the entire egg! This was a huge deal. I've offered her scrambled eggs several times before. She's never tolerated one little bit. -Mexican-style chicken and rice. -She also fed herself a spoonful of peanut butter. (Embarrassing admission - I'd never let her feed herself with the spoon before.) -Halfway through this entry I stopped for lunch and made Chloe this recipe from a friend's blog. I chopped up some leftover pasta, cooked it in olive oil with some crushed garlic, broke an egg into the mix, scrambled, and finally mixed in a bunch of freshly grated parmasiano reggiano. She actually ate quite a bit! And the cool thing was that there was no "sauce" (ie. pureed vegetable) on it. It took forever and I think her little jaw is unaccustomed to chewing. After 30 minutes I warmed up a cube of pureed ranchero beans and added them to the mix and she finished it off more easily. All of these foods require chewing and she's willing to do it now. This is pretty cool.

23: Scrambled eggs with pureed root vegetables. Look at how chunky that is! Her faces were cracking me up. These were smiles, by the way. She really was enjoying it. I swear. | "Look Mommy! I just ate two bites of scrambled egg!" You can actually see some of it in her mouth :-) (Ignore the filthy bib. This is the ONLY time I've ever put a dirty bib on her. Hehehe) | A peanut allergy's nightmare. | Chloe gets her first taste of Life cereal. She's not shy about diving into Solana's bowl. | WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13, 2011 Onions Make Me Cry I love cooking with onions. I buy a bag almost every week. But chopping onions makes me cry. Not just harmless tears delicately sliding down my cheek. I'm talking streams of tears. And my eyes burn as though I just mistook the bottle of Tabasco for Visine. It's quite uncomfortable. Not to mention dangerous. Wielding a chef's knife while virtually blind - not cool. I recently learned a new trick to protect myself from those vicious (but delicious) onions. These are Solana's swimming goggles. I'll graduate to my old ski goggles as soon as I find them. I may look silly but this actually works! | "Face Painting" Solana went to a birthday party yesterday. The invitation stated that there would be "face painting and cake." I thought, "that's nice of them to warn parents that there would be face painting." At least we could show up with a wash cloth if we were heading straight to dinner or church right after the party." I imagined the face painting would look something like this butterfly we did on all the girls last year at Solana's butterfly party: I really wish I was a better photographer for this or that I had taken the picture straight away. She had red lipstick on and around her lips (to make them bigger). She had fake eyelashes drawn out the sides of her eyes. Black eyeshadow to resemble thick eye liner and purple eyeshadow on the rest of her eye. Seriously, she looked like a 5 year-old street walker. I was slightly amused because I knew it was just for the birthday party but also slightly apalled. The inspiration came from some dolls I'd never heard of - Monster High. Now, I know that lots of parents find these dolls harmless and absolutely adorable and I'm sure they're both. But I'd honestly much prefer to keep my little girl...well, a little girl. I don't really want her thinking about lipstick and eyeliner at the age of 5. Heck, she doesn't even know who Hannah Montana or Justin Bieber are. That stuff can wait. Totally. If she's going to reach beyond her maturity level I'd rather it be for something educational. The other day Dave and I smiled as we overheard her singing in her room, "I am! A PA-LE-ANT-OOOOOO-LO-GIST! I am! A PA-LE-ANT-OOOOOO-LOGIST!" That is cool. Hooker makeup...not so much. Speaking of Dave...he was cracking me up. I think he stared at me wide-eyed for about 10 straight minutes after I brought her home. He was beside himself. And just kept shaking his head. She asked if she could play outside as soon as she got home. "Why don't you go wash up" he suggested. (I knew he just didn't want anyone to see her like that. Hehehe) She thought he meant "wash your hands." We agreed not to say anything to her, though. We didn't want to make her feel bad or self-conscious. After all, it was just a birthday party. And to the mom's credit - Solana came home calling it "face paint" and not "makeup." :-) But still...geesh!

24: THURSDAY, APRIL 21, 2011 Strabismus Surgery Update Chloe's surgery went well. It was scheduled for 10:30am. She's usually had a bottle and breakfast by then so we were a bit nervous about fasting for that long. I've joked before, though, that Chloe could go all day without eating. She's never once fussed for food. And fortunately (or unfortunately) I was right. She didn't seem to notice a thing. Maybe it was the extra bottle that I snuck in at 11:30pm that was holding her over...hmm... Anyway, the surgery went well. She can't wear her contact for a week so she gets to wear her glasses. We had a new left lens put into her old glasses to act as a substitute for her contact (the left lens was only a bifocal before - meant to be worn over her contact). Check out this monster. It's just about the fattest lens I've ever seen! | Chloe's been a good sport about her glasses, though. She leaves them on for the most part. I noticed them falling off her face so I decided to save the 30 minute drive to the hospital and do the adjustment myself. Bad idea. All I did was tilt the pads so they dug into her nose leaving little red indentions. We went back first thing this morning and they installed a nifty "uni-bridge" to help keep her glasses on. Chloe's just about the cutest baby nerd you've ever seen. She seems to be getting around just fine, too. She's still standing and cruising as much as before. I don't think the adjustment to her "new world" will be as dramatic as her vision therapist made it out to be. Either that or Chloe's just a kick-butt baby! The only nasty side effect of surgery is Chloe's new ability to fuss. She came home crying at the drop of a hat. She obviously felt pretty crappy. Who could blame her? I found myself running around saying, "What's wrong sweet Chloe? What can I do to make you happy? Are you hungry? Do you want me to hold you?" You know when they cry in that way that makes you desperate to make them feel better? It ocurred to me that Chloe NEVER cries like that. Never even after her previous surgeries. This was new and definitely disconcerting. She got a couple doses of Aspirin and went to bed a little early. She was much better the next day and today. The only problem. All that running around I was doing for her crying...she took good notes. Little turkey! I was eating a piece of bread with Nutella today and she was trying to get it from me. I decided to tear a little piece for her and she got all angry because I wanted to put it in her mouth instead of handing it to her. (We were sitting on the carpet and I didn't want Nutella rubbed into the carpet.) She started flapping her arms up and down and yelling at me! I could hardly believe it. Who is this baby? But I complain in jest. I think a little 'tude is a good thing. I'll probably eat my words in a few weeks but I like this new side of Chloe. Her follow-up visit is in two weeks. It's difficult to say how straight her eyes are now. Her left eye looks pretty buggy through her coke bottle x3 lens. Dave thinks they look straighter, though. Here she is blowing a kiss on her way to bed after surgery - one of her newer tricks. SATURDAY, APRIL 30, 2011 That's what Solana said - April 4/3/11 Me: I'll fix your hair really cute today if you want...like a princess braid or something. Solana: Ok! Me: How do you want your hair? Solana: In a headband. Me: Oh. Well, I don't need to do that. You can put a headband in by yourself. Solana: Yeah, that's true. But thanks for offering Mommy. That was very generous of you. 4/6/11 Solana's helping me plant seeds in the garden. Every time I drop a seed into a hole she makes this weird spitting sound. I ask (kind of annoyed), "What is that weird sound you keep making?" She replies, "I was trying to beat box." I'm slightly confused but also feel kind of bad for my tone. "Oh...Of course...Great Beat Boxing!" THURSDAY, MAY 5, 2011 Solana's 6th Birthday! Solana turned 6 last Wednesday. We had a lovely three-part celebration. First, she had her number 6 pancake. This is a new tradition I started last year after seeing another friend do it.

25: Then Dave took her to the movies after school and she got to choose dinner. To be perfectly honest, I was kind of hoping she'd choose McDonald's. We don't go there anymore and she often asks for it. She chose Brio. I think it's a chain - an Italian Grill. Something like that. It's really good. We didn't want to go to Brio for three reasons: 1. We JUST ate there on Sunday. 2. Dave and I had fancy dinner plans for Thursday. We don't normally eat out three times in a week and I, for one, wasn't anxious to know what this would do to my weekly pre-Mexico weigh-in. 3. It's not super expensive but it's not cheap. Definitely not the kind of meal we eat twice a week. Dave tried to talk her out of it when they went to the movies. There's a sandwich shop at the Greene called Potbelly's that makes PB&J's (Solana's all-time favorite food) and he tried to entice her with that. But she was determined. I reminded Dave before they left to let her have the final say and he wasn't able to sway her (I think I could have). So Chloe and I met them at Brio. We sat down to order and what did she ask for? PB&J. Grrrrr. Of course, I wouldn't let her have pizza because she'd just had it Sunday (and would have it at Kim's house the next day) so her choices were limited. She ended up with spaghetti (which is what we had at home the night before). I was less than pleased but it was her birthday so I wasn't going to argue. The girl can survive one week of pasta/pizza overload, I suppose. Toward the end of dinner she declared that we'd definitely need to go to the sandwich shop next time we're out. Dave and I looked at eachother with heavy lids. Sometimes your kid knows how to drive you crazy - even on their birthday. Anyway, she got a dessert and was happy. Little squirt. | Chloe also enjoyed our dinner out. She only threw her glasses on the floor 3 or 4 times... The big celebration was Saturday. Solana had her birthday party at the Princess Tea Room. This was a big deal! Solana was very excited. First, we waited in the foyer for all the girls to arrive. They peeked out the door and screeched with excitement every time a car pulled up. It was soooo cute! | Then the went upstairs and each sat at their own vanity. | Upstairs, they took turns picking out their princess gowns and getting a dab of eye shadow and lip gloss. It was a long wait for some of the girls but they put on their best princess manners and waited patiently. I took a picture of each girl as they came out of the dressing room and after just one or two girls they started automatically coming up to me to pose for their pictures. Soooo cute! Here is Solana admiring her makeup.

26: Chloe joined in on the fun. She was even dressed for the party! | Afer they were all dolled up the red carpet came out and the disco ball lit up. They chose names like "Purple," "Cupcake," "Princess," and "Emerald." The hostess announced each one and they walked the red carpet striking a pose at the end of the carpet. The first few girls struck some amazing poses while the last few pretty much just ran to their seats. We cheered, "oooh-ed," and "aaaahh-ed" each one. | Then they filed downstairs for their craft. They each decorated a little purse with stickers and their name was drawn on by the hostesses. Finally, tea time! This place is decorated so pretty. I loved it. They had cheese, crackers, cucumber, and fruit, I believe. The hostesses went around serving them. "Rectangle or circle cracker?" "Circle, please." They poured water or lemonade into their china tea cups. As they ate they were read "Goldalicious." | The adults and Chloe hung out in the foyer during tea time. | Then Happy Birthday and cupcakes. Yum!

27: Finally, back upstairs for gifts. | Chloe got to crawl around upstairs. She loved it! | They played freeze dance while they went one by one into the dressing room to change back. I can't even tell you how cute these girls were doing their best ballerina/princess moves. The cool thing about this age is that they were ALL dancing and loving it. No self-consciousness what-so-ever. I loved it! They had a blast! Good birthday!

28: In April Dave and I attended the President's Leadership Award dinner. We dropped the girls off at my friend, Kim's, house and headed over to Flemmings at the Greene for the event. It was a very special honor and NG managers and HR personnel from Colorado flew in for the event. I don't fully understand the extent of this award but it was very clear that it was of the highest honor. Dave was very proud because he had a hand in and guided the team during almost every aspect of the job for which they're being rewarded. Considering the highly classified nature of their job and the fact that this event was held in a public place with spouses in attendance, they didn't say any detail about what they did. They did say, though, that the President of the United States recently made national security decisions using data from reports that came directly from their team. I don't know about you but I was very impressed.

30: TUESDAY, MAY 10, 2011 No Thank You Solana has pretty good manners for a 6 year-old. (Goodness! I can't believe I have a 6 year-old!) She usually says "please" and "thank you." "May I please" or "Will you please." We're still working on knowing when to speak (ie. not interrupting) but sometimes I feel bad for her because she'd have to wait for a really long time to speak if she waited for a pause. :-) The funny one that recently earned a spot amongst her most commonly used phrases is "No thank you." This phrase has brought her unanticipated power and she's starting to use it quite frequently. "Solana, go get your black shoes for that outfit. They'll match perfectly." "No thank you. I think I'll wear my pink ones." "Yes, those also match. That's fine." "Here Solana. Have some of these carrots." "No thank you. I'll just have an apple, instead." "Well, an apple is also healthy. I guess that's ok." "Will you please watch Chloe while I go get dressed?" "No thank you. I'm too busy playing." (I guess I did form it as a question...) "Alright." So far she's succesfully tightroped between personal choice and disobedience. You gotta give her credit. It's a fine line she walks and I'm impressed that she's navigated it so well. Clever one she is :-) I'm curious to know what will compel me to limit this power and exactly how I'll do it. I do admire her but she can't "no thank you" her way out of everything, you know. WEDNESDAY, MAY 11, 2011 Look Ma! No Blood! I found a great recipe for french toast and made it for the second time this morning. You have to cook it first in the frying pan and then in the oven. I'd never put my french toast in the oven before. It's a great recipe. If you're looking for a fantastic french toast recipe I highly recommend it. If you go to this website you can print out the recipe and watch the video demonstration by Alton Brown on Good Eats. Ingredients 1 cup half-and-half (I used whole milk one time) 3 large eggs 2 tablespoons honey, warmed in microwave for 20 seconds (I left this out once) 1/4 teaspoon salt 8 (1/2-inch) slices day-old or stale country loaf, brioche or challah bread (I used Italian and challah. Both were great!) 4 tablespoons butter Directions 1. In medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, eggs, honey, and salt. You may do this the night before. When ready to cook, pour custard mixture into a pie pan and set aside. 2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Dip bread into mixture, allow to soak for 30 seconds on each side, and then remove to a cooling rack that is sitting in a sheet pan, and allow to sit for 1 to 2 minutes. 3. Over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a 10-inch nonstick saute pan. Place 2 slices of bread at a time into the pan and cook until golden brown, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and place on rack in oven for 5 minutes. Repeat with all 8 slices. Serve immediately with maple syrup, whipped cream or fruit Solana was my helper this morning. She sliced the strawberries using our egg slicer. I decided that she was also big enough to cut the tops off the strawberries. What an exciting moment to be handed a paring knife for the first time!!! She told me over and over how careful she'd be. And after some instruction and a few closely monitored cuts I let her finish while I worked on the french toast. After a couple of minutes I asked, "How's it going?" She replied, "Great! And I'm not even bleeding! Not one little bit. Not even a single drop of blood!" We've decided to try something new. We had a second set of glasses made for Chloe to wear over her contact. This one has only a little bifocal in the left lens. Otherwise it's just clear glass. The right eye has her normal RX. If she wears her contact AND these new glasses then she'll have the best possible vision in both eyes. We hope to see her looking at things straight on. Today is the first day in her new glasses. Fingers crossed. Now I just need to stop her from ripping them off and feeding them to our 10 month-old Aussie puppy, Monty. And here's what our dogs look like when they're playing. Monty, the puppy, is the scary looking one. Still frame definitely makes him look more vicious than he really is...I agreed that this was a good thing. :-) | TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2011 Getting Used to New Eyes - updated with pictures Chloe has been doing really well the past few weeks since her Strabismus surgery. We had a visit from her Physical Therapist, Vision Therapist, and Early Intervention Specialist on Thursday. Chloe's PT, Lois, arrived first and Chloe showed off the way she walks behind her little car walker. Lois was impressed with Chloe's new skills and noted that her balance and posture seem better since her last visit (before surgery). She said to practice the little walker every once in a while and just let Chloe explore and have fun. Look at her go!

31: It's nice to see the therapists. They only see Chloe once or twice a month and are trained to notice changes. They get really excited when I tell them all the cool and new things Chloe is doing. Even if I don't feel like I have a lot to report, listing everything out at once reminds me that she really has made progress. Chloe's Vision Therapist, Linda, was blown away at how different Chloe looks after surgery. She noted -that Chloe is no longer tilting her head, -that she seems to move around better, -she's looking at pages in her black and white book that she previously ignored (because she couldn't see them well), -she notices the TV more and will even watch a cartoon with Solana, -she's eating better (grilled cheese and peanut butter sandwiches, scrambled egg, french toast, mashed vs. pureed foods), -she'll lay down and hold her bottle all by herself, | -she's kissing her dolls, | Although we've always worried about her left eye Linda mentioned to me that we need to pay close attention to how Chloe uses both eyes because sometimes kids can switch after surgery - meaning, the previous bad eye will become the dominant eye. This makes me nervous because, when Chloe is wearing her contact and no glasses she is definitely preferring her left eye. She no longer tilts her head but she will turn it to the side so that she looks at things with one eye. Sometimes people comment that she's looking at them suspiciously but really she's just using the left eye to look at them. I can think of three reasons for this turn of events: 1. Her right eye is slightly nearsighted. When wearing only a left contact there is no correction at all on her right eye. So maybe the vision in her left eye has gotten SO good that it's even better than her slightly nearsighted right eye. 2. We over-patched her right eye before the surgery and began suppressing its ability to work. 3. She's experiencing the post-strabismus surgery switch that Linda mentioned. Personally, I'd prefer the reason to be number 1. We also noticed that, when wearing just her glasses Chloe looks at things straight on. Meaning, she's using both eyes equally. This leads us to believe that #1 is really happening because her left eye sees better through her contact and her right eye sees better through her glasses. | Here are some pictures from Mother's Day. You can really see that Chloe's only using her left eye. | -she's imitating gestures/words more frequently Linda attributes all of these things to Chloe's improved vision. At first it seemed to me like a bit of a stretch but I now think there's something to that. Chloe would be taking these little steps eventually but she does seem to have made several of them in a short period of time. Chloe's left eye is her bad eye. ROP affected this eye the worst as a newborn and the laser surgery was most extensive on this eye. The heat from the laser caused a cataract. After her first cataract surgery the cataract returned so she had to have a second cataract surgery. She most recently had a muscle surgery to try and straighten the eye. | We've decided to try something new. We had a second set of glasses made for Chloe to wear over her contact. This one has only a little bifocal in the left lens. Otherwise it's just clear glass. The right eye has her normal RX. If she wears her contact AND these new glasses then she'll have the best possible vision in both eyes. We hope to see her looking at things straight on. Today is the first day in her new glasses. Fingers crossed. Now I just need to stop her from ripping them off and feeding them to our 10 month-old Aussie puppy, Monty. And here's what our dogs look like when they're playing. Monty, the puppy, is the scary looking one. Still frame definitely makes him look more vicious than he really is...

32: WEDNESDAY, MAY 18, 2011 She Wants To Walk! Chloe's napping right now. She definitely earned her nap today. Just a little while ago she crawled up to me as I was standing and pulled up on my legs. Then she somehow conveyed to me that she wanted my hands. I'm not sure how I understood what she wanted but next thing I knew I was walking backwards with her walking toward me. We went around the living room and dining room about five times! I kept trying to stop and give her a break but she insisted we keep going. She was wearing her sneakers and on her tippy toes for a lot of it but toward the end she was putting her whole foot down almost 50% of the time. This was ALL Chloe. I wasn't pushing her or showing her what to do or even encouraging her to do more. She was completely self-motivated and self-teaching. I LOVED IT! Raising Chloe has been SOOOO different from raising Solana. I joke sometimes that "you'd never guess we've done this before." It's like everything is new! The truth is that everything really is new. Solana developed almost exactly on track with all those recommended time tables. I would check the list of things she should be doing at 1 month, 6 months, 12 months, 24 months. And I'd always say to myself, "Yep. Yep. She's doing that. Yes. Yes." It was so easy! I never worried about her falling behind. It was a total non-issue. And I never tried really hard to teach her anything (well, except potty training - that was a pain). She knew what she needed to do and just sort of...did it. Sure, we put her in tummy time, cheered her on as she tried to crawl and walk, taught her signing and words. But it was all so natural and easy. I feel like we've struggled and worked so hard for every single little thing with Chloe and we've had to push and push her to do anything. To see her self-motivate such a big thing, like an attempt at walking, is like a special little gift. Totally made my day. 6 Year-Old Molars Solana is teething! A couple of days ago she complained that her teeth were hurting and she felt a hole in her back tooth. A hole in her back tooth?!? She didn't act like she was in real pain so Dave and I sort of blew off her complaint thinking she just didn't want to eat her dinner. We told her to chew on the other side of her mouth. (Great parenting, right?) When she complained again the next morning I took a look and saw a molar that appeared to be half covered up by gum tissue. Frantic, I called the dentist. The lovely lady who answers the phone (I can't remember her name but she's really sweet and always remembers us.) told me it sounds like she's getting her 6 year-old molars. DUH! I have a niece who's three months older than Solana. I have lots of friends with kids her age and slightly older. I read about dozens of fevers, colds, and other miscellaneous ailments on facebook every day. How is it that I've never heard of 6 year-old molars? Surely I was at one point aware of this apparently taboo phenomenon. Did I never notice, while brushing Solana's teeth, that she has fewer teeth than I? The knowledge that kids get new teeth after the age of two completely escaped my brain, though. I wonder exactly when that happened. So I was just as surprised as Solana to find out she's teething...right along with her baby sister. Craziness. FRIDAY, MAY 20, 2011 New Glasses Go The new glasses seem to be helping. Chloe is looking at everything straight on. We haven't seen the left-eyed suspicious look in a few days. We're pretty excited about this. I'd also like to point out that the new glasses+contact idea was Dave's brainchild (I think he sometimes feels left out when it comes to Chloe's medical stuff). So big props to the fantastic Daddy! :-) More and more hints that Chloe's vision is ever improving. Dave was reading the blog the other day on the netbook and was at the part with the picture of Chloe kissing her dog. She was sitting on his lap and the netbook was next to them on the couch. She looked over at the netbook and blew herself a kiss! Then, Chloe and I were crawling around the dining room floor together and Oprah was on in the living room (two rooms combined into one giant room - she was about 20 feet from the TV). Oprah was gesturing as she spoke in a way that could be mistaken for waving. Chloe turned toward the TV and started waving at Oprah! Very exciting. Very exciting, indeed! WEDNESDAY, MAY 25, 2011 Barrel Roll and Yard Work Two new beers currently grace the beer fridge in the Hendrickson garage. Dave, our friends, and I are all enjoying | Dave's currently buying recipe kits from Northern Brewer. The kit comes with all the ingredients he'll need to make a 5 gallon batch of beer. He wants to try all sorts of beers before he starts experimenting with ingredients and developing his own recipes. We're enjoying the variety of beers he's creating and the fact that they're all his. We haven't bought a store beer since his kit arrived at Christmas. His Petit Saison is described on Northern Brewer's website: This session-strength Saison of summer pours tawny-gold and perfumes the air with tangy yeast and pungent hop aromas. The flavor is lightly earthy with spicy, flowery hops and a grain-and-bread malt character; caramel malt dukes it out with Saaz and Styrian Goldings through the middle before a palate-cleansingly dry finish. It's really light and refreshing. One of my favorites. His second new creation is Dave's Barrel Roll. This one was kind of exciting to make because it took a pretty long time. It was fermenting for a week or two before he even started his Yard Work. And we'd already tasted Yard Work before this one was done! Plus, he got to use a new technique. He bought some Kentucky bourbon and soaked oak chips in it for a few days before adding them to the beer. They soaked in the beer for a while before bottling. Dave likes this one a lot. It's super dark and strong.

33: Here's the online description for his Bourbon Barrel: Mike Ward, NB alumnus and current expatriate, devised this recipe by adding bourbon-infused oak cubes (plus the bourbon) to a stronger-than-average robust porter. Cryptic tasting notes indicate that this may have been the best beer ever. You supply the bourbon; Mike recommends Maker's Mark. The intense aroma and flavor of toasted American oak and the sweet graininess of good bourbon meld with the bittersweet roastiness of porter to make for a very characterful beer. Not really my taste. But he did something fun and mixed Barrel Roll with Yard Work and....bada bing! Yum-a-licious! Dave's already talking about his second career. He wants to open a pub in Centerville and sell his beer creations. I'm glad he enjoys his new hobby :-) | THURSDAY, MAY 26, 2011 Piano We got a piano this weekend. It's old and full of character. Apparently, pianos are easy to come by on Craigslist, at least in the Dayton area. Dave was on piano watch for about two weeks before this one popped up. The gentleman who gave us his old piano just wanted it out of his house. All we had to do was bring a truck and move it. Well, when I say "we" I obviously mean Dave and three friends. The girls are really excited and so am I! I took piano lessons from about age 7 to 15 or 16 (I can't remember exactly when I quit). By then I had become more interested and competitive in flute so I quit the piano. I played flute all the way through college. I ordered some beginning piano books called My First Piano Adventures. They're geared specifically toward 5-6 year-olds and look ridiculously cute. Solana's lessons begin today! We can hardly wait! | It's fun having a child this age. We have no idea what her "thing" will be. I was into music and band. That was it. Solana's currently taking swim/cheerleading (tumbling) alternately and ballet. She (surprisingly) keeps asking to play soccer again in the fall, will definitely do cross-country in the summer, and now piano. I'll only let her do two things at a time (outside the house) but it's hard to choose because she's still dabbling. She likes a lot of things but hasn't shown a real passion for any of them. And I think that's perfectly fine at this age. There's just so much to choose from it's hard to narrow down her offerings. I suppose I'll be forced to do that at some point but we'll just enjoy dabble mode for now. | FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2011 Tonado Watch This has been quite the Spring for rain in the Dayton area. One of the reasons we love our house so much is because of the HUGE back yard. We have two dogs now and it's like they have an entire park back there to run and play in. They've been in the back yard a total of...count 'em...5 days since the snow began melting this winter. That's one day per month this year. Seriously, we can't even let them out there to pee because they come back covered in mud from toe to belly just from walking out. Turns out our gigantic yard tuns into a swamp every time it rains and it takes a good 3 or 4 sunny days to dry it out enough for the dogs to go out and play. We haven't had many sunny days this spring... We take them on the leash in the front to potty. The other drawback is the fact that Dave can't mow a swamp. The grass was knee high when he finally busted out the push-mower (the riding mower would have sunk). Needless to say, we've been slightly annoyed with the constant rain this year. Spring isn't nearly as fun when you can't enjoy your awesome backyard. Being human, we have definitely moaned and groaned a few times about the constant rain and how annoying it is. Then, earlier this week, Dave said, "You know, with all the natural disasters this year - tsunamis, tornados, flooding, etc - we should be happy that we just have rain and mud to complain about. There are worse problems than tall grass." "Yeah, you're so right. We should be thankful for the rain." I began saving milk containers and collecting rain for my vegetable garden. I think I have about 10 gallons sitting by my garden right now ready for the summer. It's funny how you can change your attitude so quickly. I'm hoping to get just a few more gallons before the rain stops. And potty breaks for the dogs are now quick training sessions.

34: No sooner had we changed our attitude than a major storm came to town bringing with it the threat of tornados. The girls and I were finishing up dinner. Solana was singing. Chloe was chattering. The dogs were close by wrestling. Suddenly, Dave yelled from the back room, "Turn on the news!" I recognized that urgent tone in his voice that means, "Don't ask questions...just do what I say." "OK!" I jumped up and turned on the TV. The local weather was on and they were tracking a storm and talking about tornados. How did he know? He hurried in and cracked the window. All motion and sound ceased when he came in. I think everyone else recognized that something important was happening. We immediately heard the tornado sirens. I'd never heard tornado sirens before. It was eerie. Creepy. My chest and throat tightened. My eyes got shiny. I was (very dramatically) inwardly suppressing my fear. For the next 15 minutes or so we watched the storm on the news as it came toward us. They told us that if tornados formed they would be along I75 near the Dayton mall. That's not too far from us but seemed far enough to be safe. We were in the path of a heavy hail storm, though. They mentioned Centerville Station Rd. and Solana recognized the name. "That's right near us!" She exclaimed. "Are we going to SURVIVE?!?!" She was scared and it was difficult to answer all her questions while listening to the weatherman but I think we did a fair job. We showed her on the news that IF there was a tornado it would be DOWN here and we live UP here. I thought that would comfort her but then she was immediately worried about all the people who live DOWN where the tornado might land. "Will those people survive?!?" She's such a sweet caring kid. Dave wanted to get his car in the garage but he didn't have time to move the riding mower, bikes, strollers, etc. He had to run and warn our neighbors - who he saw happily hanging out in their kitchen, the other riding along on his mower. I made him promise to run! (Dave doesn't normally run but I did not want him out there during a hailstorm and tornado.) At least the van was inside. We had a plan to get into Solana's bathtub if a tornado arrived. Dave would toss blankets and pillows over us and then toss the animals in the van. In the meantime, we moved away from the windows, sat on the couch, and watched the sky get dark. Rain drops started to fall. The trees started blowing around like crazy. And then the hail. Big hail. Scary loud hail. I was listening intently for the sound of a train - that's what I think a tornado is supposed to sound like. Solana snuggled against me and hid under a pillow as I held Chloe. Chloe stared out the window and seemed to think she was watching a show. The hail lasted just a few minutes. As soon as it ended Chloe clapped and cheered. Dave went out to bring Solana a hail stone. She loved it and declared, "I love hail!" "I don't," two voices replied in unison. Then we giggled with relief. Dave's car is completely dented - every single panel will need to be replaced. The roof of our older shed is completely demolished. One pane from our big lamp in the front yard is shattered, a few slats from our shutters are smashed, and some of the small lamps in our landscaping are broken. One hail stone hit a shingle in the perfect spot to bust right through a knot in the wood supporting our roof creating a small leak and we noticed a wet spot on the ceiling in our dining room. Our yard is coverd in branches and leaf debri. All in all, not too bad. I'm glad we had already changed our attitude about the rain. Now we can double our thankfulness. TUESDAY, MAY 31, 2011 That's What Solana Said - May 5/1/11 While watching the royal wedding (recorded) they panned the crowd of wedding guests Solana: Poor Lady! What's that on her head?!? Me: A hat. Solana: (relieved) Oh. I thought it was an ice pack. Then, during the ceremony they had a bit of trouble getting the wedding ring on Kate. Solana: Does it hurt a little bit...when you first get married...and put your wedding ring on for the first time? Good Lord child. You almost gave me a heart attack! 5/16/11 Solana's showing me a book she borrowed from the library called, The Gruffalo. "Doesn't he look funny, Mommy?" "Well, actually, I think he looks kind of scary. I guess we just have different opinions." Solana then proceeds to point out each of his funny features and concludes with, "So I guess now you have a different opinion." 5/17/11 Solana said, "I'm going to dream." She then went to her bean bag, laid down, and covered herself with a blanket. A few moments later she got up. Curious, I had to ask, "What did you just do?" "I just wanted to finish my daydream real quick." "Oh. ok. What was your daydream about." "Well, it was kind of private." WEDNESDAY, JUNE 1, 2011 Milestone Communication We just arrived home yesterday from a weekend camping trip with some friends (post to come) when Chloe told me something! We've been working on communication. She points to her tummy and my nose when asked. She blows kisses and gives hugs. When she cries for something she sees/wants I tell her to say "please" and she'll sign please to me. She pants at the dogs and says "Nana" for "Solana." She says' "Nigh Nigh" when it's time for bed. She's learning all kinds of fun and new words but she's never really used them to tell me anything. When we arrived home from camping we were a flurry of business. Quickly unload the food from the cooler to the fridge. Unload all the bags, dog stuff, camping gear. Eat lunch. Etc. Amidst all the hustle and bustle I completely spaced the fact that we were almost an hour past Chloe's nap time! Ater picking up Bluebell from the neighbor's house I walked into the living room with a big sigh. Whew! Time to take a breather. Chloe quickly crawled over and pulled up on my legs. I picked her up but she threw her torso back down so I put her down. She pulled up on the couch and started patting her hand on her Boppy pillow that was sitting on the couch - the one she lays in the drink her bottle. "What? You want your pillow?" I picked it up and she immediately began making her sign for "bottle." She was telling me she wanted to lay on her pillow and drink her bottl! This was so exciting! (Chloe has NEVER asked for food. I often joke that she could go all day without eating and never complain about it. Solana used to tell us she was hungry from day 1. She'd get terribly fussy and cry when she was little if we were 5 minutes late with her bottle. If she was fussy, one of our

35: questions was always, "could she be hungry?" Chloe doesn't get fussy. She's always content. She only cries when she SEES her bottle. Like she's suddenly starving and didn't realize it until the bottle appeared.) I quickly ran to the kitchen to make her bottle and I could hear her starting to cry already. She drained the bottle (also unusual) and then went down for her nap. SO COOL! FRIDAY, JUNE 3, 2011 Christina Marie Solis I grew up the oldest of 3. But I wasn't the first child born to my parents. They named their first daughter Christina Marie. She was a gorgeous little girl and graced their lives for 6 glorious years and 39 magnificent days. Sort of like Solana and Chloe, my sisters and I grew up with an angel sister watching over us. | I know only a little bit about her. I know her pretty little face from the portrait that was always displayed in our home. I know that my parents loved her very much and that my mother was always sad on April the 4th, the day she died. (She wasn't really obvious about it and I wasn't as sensitive to her sadness as my sister, Leticia. She's the one who pointed that out to me.) My Aunts called her "Tina" and my father once told me, with a smile, that she was kind of spoiled. What could you expect, though? She was the only grandchild of my Grandma and Grandpa. And they concurred with my dad's assessment. My Grandpa used to brag that Christina would arrive at their house and ask them to take her shopping. They loved it and often indulged her. | Christina was a fan of the Brady Bunch and wanted a baby sister named Cindy. Instead, my parents got her a cat that she named Cindy. They didn't plan on having any other children because they needed to focus all their attention on their precious daughter. The reason was that Christina had a congenital heart disease called Tetralogy of Fallot. Very simply, the heart is supposed to pump oxygenated blood throughout your body but in her case, the heart sometimes pumped non-oxygenated blood throughout her body. Babies born with this defect are often called Blue Babies because they turn blue as a result of the lack of oxygen in their blood. Christina couldn't walk very far, my Mom once told me. She sometimes started turning blue and had to be carried. She had multiple open-heart surgeries and was taken home to God while in recovery from her last. My Dad was in the military. They were quickly moved from Texas to Pensacola, Florida and then San Vito, Italy. Cindy, the cat, didn't want to move | and disappeared when it was time to go. I was born the year following Christina's passing. Although they lived in Italy at the time, my Mom was sent to the military hospital in Germany to await my arrival. Alone, in a foreign country, without even her husband for company, she went into labor early, and I arrived unexpectedly on February 24th. That was Christina's birthday - the first since her last. I always felt special for sharing Christina's birthday. (I also got her middle name and initials.) And the dimples I sport are proof of our special connection. You do know that dimples happen when an angel kisses you on your way down from heaven, right? I'm pretty sure she gave me a big hug and kiss on my way down to keep Mommy and Daddy company. But not until having my own daughter did I imagine what it might have felt like to lose a child. What emotions must my Mom have felt? When the doctor gave her the news and she banged on his chest crying. That day in the delivery room? Every year on my (our) birthday? On April 4th of my 6th year? Think about it. On the anniversary of her passing I was the exact same age - to the day - that she was. How difficult must that have been? I wonder how I acted that day. I hope I was a good little girl. But, I guess, part of the reason I never thought about the sadness was because my parents didn't dwell on the loss of their daughter. They didn't talk about her a ton growing up. But when they did they did it in a way that never upset us girls. We had an angel sister and we were lucky and special to have her watching over us. They had a daughter who would have been 16, would have been 21, would have been 30, would have been 43. I'm sure they miss her every day and feel sadness often but, from my perspective, they chose to hold tight to her joy. They chose to focus on and appreciate the three daughters that they got to raise to adulthood. Today Solana is 6 years and 39 days old. She was probably about 9 months old the first time I looked at her and thought of Christina and my parents' loss. I remember sitting on the floor with her in our Colorado house and talking to Dave about it. And I always knew that today would be a day of contemplation for me. Solana and Chloe are going to be sick of me hugging them so many times today. I am thankful for every day that I have them and will never forget how lucky I am. And I'll never forget my sister, Christina. Mommy and Daddy - you are amazing and wonderous parents and people for and to whom I am eternally thankful. You taught me the true meaning of unconditional love. You made my sisters and me the people we are today and I think we're pretty good people. And perhaps we owe Christina a debt of gratitude for showing you the depth of your love even before we arrived. Your loving and devoted daughter, Cynthia Marie.

36: THURSDAY, JUNE 9, 2011 First Camping Trip! We love camping. Dave and I did a bunch of tent camping before we were married but decided to buy a pop-up camper when Solana arrived. We went several times every year ages 1, 2, and 3. We even went on a couple of trips when I was pregnant with the twins but obviously quit camping when we were diagnosed with TTTS and went on bedrest. We ended up taking off most of the 2009 season and all of the 2010 season (after Chloe came home...camping with an oxygen tank and tubes just didn't seem appealing or smart). This is Chloe's second summer at home and now that she's off oxygen and doing really well we decided this is the summer for her to begin our family tradition of camping!!! Memorial Day weekend is traditionally our first camping trip. For our first trip with the baby we decided to get a cabin at one of the Ohio State Parks. Our good friends, the Maggards, joined us. We've added Chloe and Monty to our brood since our last camping trip and they're both a handful. So we thought we should leave one dog behind to make things just a bit easier. Of our two dogs, we only have one that would be welcome spending the weekend with friends so Bluebell got to stay behind. Our neighbors were great and offered to take her (even though they were taking their own trip to Cincinnatti!) But don't feel sorry for Bluebell missing camping. Our neighbors have a dog that she got to play with all weekend long! Our cabin was great! There was a living room, kitchen, two bedrooms, and a screened in porch. I even let Chloe crawl around on the floor! Gasp! (After I got on hands and knees and scrubbed the whole thing :-) And everyone was so cute taking off shoes before entering the cabin the whole rest of the weekend! Such great friends who cater to my anxiety! Hehehe :-D We spent a lot of time hanging out near the cabin and relaxing. The boys are checking out the ravine behind the cabin. (Or is Jas just taking a smoke break?) | I love this picture! I don't know what Kylie's saying but it seems incredibly interesting! Ari was admiring Dave's hat. She is toooo cute! | Chloe tasted her first marshmallow! Bah! All done! | Solana tasted her gazillionth smore. The best part about camping! Angela brought the biggest marshmallow I've EVER seen! I swear they're as big as Solana's fist! | Chloe had a seat by the fire... | The girls all love crafts. They set up their own nature craft center. I don't think they used the lighter fluid but I'm not sure... | We went to the Lake one afternoon. The girls had a BLAST! I don't know how they got in that freezing cold water, though. Fortunately, I had the excuse of watching Chloe so I only had to get in ankle deep. Ha! My buddy, Angela, and me.

37: The girls dug around in the sand forever. I remember when that used to be fun. I was so glad they had a good time! | Chloe walked about five miles that day. Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth. When I got tired...she recruited Dave and when Dave got tired...she recruited Angela. She's such a little stinker. And I'm crazy about Angela's swimsuit. So cute! | Our other outing was for a hike in the woods. Here's Chloe getting buckled into her cool hiking backpack. | Angela took this picture of the girls in a cave they found along the way. I LOVE THIS PICTURE! Kylie: Serene. Ari: Goofy. Solana: Crazy! Hahaha! The funniest part is that this does not necessarily represent their personalities. :-)

38: FRIDAY, JUNE 10, 2011 Solana Finishes Kindergarten It's no joke. Time flies. It seems like just yesterday I put Solana on the school bus for the first time and was surprised that I actually got a little choked up as the yellow bus drove off with my little girl. Since then Solana has grown and learned so much! I can't believe how well she reads and writes! I'm almost certain I wasn't reading like her when I was in Kindergarden. During conferences several weeks ago her teacher told me she's reading above grade level and said, "Solana's wonderful. You're very lucky." When I relayed this comment to Dave he jokingly asked if I told her, "No. You're very lucky." :-) She loves seeing her friends and teachers but still runs up to me and gives me a hug when she gets off the bus. (Ok, I sort of bribe her by spinning her when she jumps into my arms.) Solana is friendly (never met a stranger and says "bye" to every single person, addressing them by name, on the way out of school), thoughtful (upset when a classmate called the custodian names), well-liked (every single kid hangs out of the bus to wave to her after school), kind (happy to pour half her bubbles into the bottle of a boy who spilled his during the class party), and smart as all get out! We're very proud of you Solana! Our big first grader! | Last Kindergarden Bus Ride. Blowing kisses to her friends while exiting! | First bus ride. A little timid. | First Day of School | Last Day of School. Her face is ever so slightly longer. Her legs are definitely longer! | Chloe's First Fit Question: What could cause me to feel the following sequentially and simultaneously? amused---proud---surprised---confused---embarrassed---sweaty---flustered Answer: Chloe throwing her first in-store tantrum at Target! I let her walk through most of Target but picked her up when we got to the register so that I could get cash out of my pocket. She wanted to be down and let everyone around us know. I'm pretty sure that's never happened to me before. Ever! Not ever with Solana and certainly not with Chloe. By the way, the entire episode lasted the amount of time it took one person to check out in front of us. She gave up trying to get down right before it was our turn. And at that time she was covered in snot and tears. And I was drenched in sweat. This...is going to be interesting... | MONDAY, JUNE 13, 2011 Solana Ballerina Yesterday was Solana's ballet recital. They started in September and worked all year toward this event. I have to say that she did marvelously and really enjoyed it! About 3/4 of the way through the year she started complaining and didn't ever want to go to class. But we committed for the year so she had to finish. And then...they got their costumes. Thank goodness for that! Not a single other complain was to be heard. But I think we were all happy for the year to be over. Nine months was a long time for Solana to stick with ballet. I'd already decided that we'd do activities that were shorter or more flexible next year - like swimming/cheer leading that are month-to-month and we can do them as we please. But as soon as we got home from the recital Solana was already planning her next dance class...maybe jazz or tap...? We'll see... I would be remiss if I didn't include a side story about my mom-of-the-year moment. The recital started at 3pm. She was supposed to be dressed and ready to go on stage at a quarter 'till so I'd decided we should leave home 30 minutes before curtain (it's a 3 minute drive) and that would give us plenty of time to put on her dress and be ready (hair/makeup was done at home.) Chloe was still napping when it was time to go so Dave would wake her up and bring her just in time for curtain. A friend was saving us seats and Chloe could snack on cheerios during the recital. It was a perfect plan. Except for the fact that the recital actually started at 2pm. Ahem. The paper was sitting right out on our coffee table. But did I look at it? No. I changed the time in my head and never double-checked. We arrived 35 minutes into the recital and as soon as we entered the dressing room one of the moms saw the costume in my hand and said, "They just took those girls back. They're about to go on stage!" I completely lost all sense of cool. This was definitely not my brightest moment. The moms in the room quickly swarmed. They must have smelled panic on me the way dogs smell fear. One was unbuttoning the back of Solana's dress. Another grabbed her tights and started gathering them in her hands. And I began pleading with Solana to undress, which she flatly refused. There was no way in the world she was about to strip down to her panties in front of a bunch of strangers. We promised that nobody was looking and we're all girls, anyway. Nope. Not doing it. I could see the entire 9 months of rehearsal and Solana's big recital day going up in smoke. Poof! We would be 2 minutes late for her recital and it would be all my fault. Finally, the tights were on under her dress, she stepped into costume and simultaneously pulled her dress over her head (saving modesty). Someone put a clip in her hair while I got her ballet slippers on and she was ushered away by someone. I don't even know who. I raced to the auditorium and can't even remember if I thanked those moms. Ugh. Seriously. Like I said, not my brightest moment.

39: I sat down and there was one dance before Solana. I used it to think about all the horrible anxiety-filled energy I just fed to Solana (What would that do to her performance? She's never performed on a stage this big) and also to text Dave. My hands were shaking so badly I couldn't even fix the typos in my text. I felt soooo bad! I wanted to throw up and/or die. Either would have been fine at that moment. (But if I died NOBODY would be there to watch Solana's performance. Bad enough I already prevented Dave from watching it. I decided to live.) Sometimes my forgetfulness and absent-mindedness is endearing. Not today. Thankfully, Solana is unflappable. She performed brilliantly. And she didn't even ask for Dave after the show. I wonder if she just assumed he had to stay home to babysit Chloe and wasn't planning to come. She noticed her friends had flowers after the performance and asked for some. Dave ran errands when we got home and came back with flowers for her. She was thrilled. Thank goodness she wasn't affected by my mess! Oh my gosh what a day! | Flowers from Daddy after the show. | THURSDAY, JUNE 16, 2011 Chloe's First Steps. Sunday, June 12th Chloe took her first steps on Sunday. Five of them, to be precise. Her motivation. Daddy. And it was so weird because she walked to him as though she was already a seasoned walker. No shaking. No wobbling. No running to beat a crash landing. Just five perfectly controlled steps. Her audience included us and our friends, the Maggards, and their two little girls. Everyone erupted in cheers and screams when she completed her walk on the moon. Chloe LOVED it. She kept trying over and over. And regardless of her sucess she expected volcanic screams after every try. And if nobody else provided them she made sure to provide them herself. It was pretty hilarious. I think she cheered herself on with screams of joy for the next ten minutes straight. Chloe's been a walking fiend the past few weeks. All she wants to do is hold someone's hand and go go go. Completely obsessed. I'm glad we've at least graduated to the one-handed walk because I was beginning to feel (and sound) like an old lady complaining about my lower back pain. Her physical therapist came on Wednesday and didn't really have any advise. She said Chloe's progressing perfectly and right now she just needs a little time and practice. (That was really nice to hear, by the way.) Since Sunday Chloe has taken several 2-5 step free walks in the living room and back yard. I have a feeling she may become a true "walker" just in time for our trips to Texas and Mexico in a couple of weeks. Yikes!

40: SATURDAY, JUNE 18, 2011 Determined Daredevil Chloe is giving Dave and me little heart attacks. She's practicing walking constantly and will spontaneously let go and walk through the living room on her own. This is fine. Except that she insists on walking toward the coffee table, end table, piano bench, entertainment center....anything that would hurt really really badly if she fell face first into it. Our once innocent living room is now a danger zone and Dave and I find ourselves sprinting to and fro every time she unexpectedly decides to go on a little adventure! But not to worry. We can take comfort in the fact that, in just a couple of days, I'll whisk the girls away to Texas. We'll stay at my parents' house where they have all tile floors on the main level and a luxurious STONE coffee table. From there we'll fly to Mexico. Chloe can practice her fledgling toddling skills around the resort: at the pool...or in our suite... If I recall correctly, there's no rug or carpet to be seen anywhere in the place. Maybe she can catch herself on the pointy steps that lead up into the hot tub...? My friend, Megan, recently posted about some cute knee pads she bought for her son. I figured the knee pads would be great for Chloe since she'll be crawling around on tile for our entire week in Mexico. I was thrilled when they arrived in the mail but she's spent more time on her feet than her knees the past few days. Maybe we should buy her a helmet, instead... THURSDAY, JUNE 30, 2011 That's What Solana Said - June 6/5ish/11 I'm teasing Dave about something or other. Solana: Mommy, were you just joking with Daddy? Me: Oh yes. I was just joking. Solana: Sometimes I just don't get your grownup jokes. 6/10/11 We're sitting at the breakfast table finishing up our lunch and silently staring out the window at the humming bird feeder. In an unprecidented quiet voice (she usually has only one volume), "Mommy, those who are quiet get more out of nature because then nature won't be scared of you and maybe won't even know you're there." Chloe immediately feeds Monty her cracker and the whole room erupts in silliness and laughter. So much for quiet nature time! 6/11/11 "Mommy! I finished [my dinner] and you didn't even have to tell me five times!!!!! Only two! Mommy, how many times did you tell me to finish?" "Only two." "See!!!! I told you!!! You only had to tell me two times!!!" She then proceeds to happy dance her way out of the kitchen. 6/11/11 I'm talking to Dave about the fact that I keep forgetting to buy ribs when I go shopping. Solana asks, "What do you want ribs for?" "To cook them," I reply. "PEOPLE RIBS?!?!" she asks, horrified. 6/20/11 Solana and I are packing for our big trip to Texas and Mexico. First, we went though all of her things and she tried on lots of tops and dresses that she hasn't worn since last summer. We needed to see if they still fit. Then we moved on to my stuff. She had the option of going to watch TV or staying to help and she was feeling pretty important so she decided to help me. I tried on a pair of skinny shorts and wasn't sure if they would fit or not. "Solana, tell me what you think about these shorts. Do they fit or do they look too tight?" "Mommy, they look FINE. You look like a Top Model. They totally fit." "Ooooh! In that case, I'll definitely pack them!" | HAPPY FATHER'S DAY DADDY! WE LOVE YOU!!!

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  • By: Cynthia H.
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  • Title: La Familia Hendrickson 2011 Jan-Jun
  • January through June
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  • Published: almost 6 years ago