Five Favorites

Thursday, May 30, 2013

These 5 Favorites are a bit late, but I still wanted to join in the fun.
This girl. With all the time and attention Abby has needed lately, Hannah has taken a bit of a back seat. She's been shuffled around to different friends and relatives' houses, but  has been such a trooper through it all. We're so lucky she's so easy going. 

 A drawing of me by Hannah. Isn't the resemblance uncanny? It's the first "portrait" picture she's ever drawn and I'm pretty much in love with it.

This guy. (He's going to kill me if he finds out I put his picture on my blog. Oh well.) We just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary last week, which was the same day as Abby's eye surgery, so guess which event took a back seat. We've been through a lot in 5 short years, but he can still make me laugh. His birthday is this weekend and I'm planning a fun surprise for him. Stay tuned.

The weather. It finally feels like summer! We're wearing shorts, our pool is open and the grill is working. I'm loving it.

Our son! I still can't believe we're having a BOY! We're a little like, "what in the world are we going to do with a boy?" But we are so over the moon excited to be adding a little boy to the mix.

*For more Five Favorites, visit Moxie Wife.

We're Having A...


Do you see the resemblance? I totally think he looks like our other kids.
We are so thrilled! I can't believe it, a little boy! We're still a bit in shock. We both just assumed we would be having another girl. We had a cute little girl's name picked out and everything. 

I couldn't be happier to be having a boy. Now we just have to agree on a name for the little guy. Any suggestions?

Fight or Flight

Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Wyftini has a really beautiful (and funny!) post on her blog about her experience with her son's spina bifida. Read it, you'll like it: Fight or Flight (but mostly flight).  

I completely identified with a lot of what she said about just wanting to run away during the difficult moments of dealing with her son's condition. I can't really compare Spina Bifida with Craniosynostosis. Technically, they are both birth defects, but it's kinda like comparing cancer and a broken wrist. But many of the emotions she has dealt with, I did too following Abby's craniosynostosis diagnosis, mostly a lot of self-pity on my end.

When a doctor offhandedly mentioned a day after Abby was born that she might have craniosynostosis, I remember thinking, "nope, no she doesn't because there is no freakin' way I can handle that!" I told God in no uncertain terms that I absolutely wasn't going to deal with that possibility, so He'd better figure out how to clear up all this confusion. 

A few weeks later when the official diagnosis came through that yes, Abigail did have craniosynostosis and a rather severe version of it, this is pretty much how I felt.

That's it, I'm outta here.
Because even though as a  mother I was supposed to have all those nurturing instincts to protect and care for my child and endure whatever was necessary, deep down I was also just a girl who didn't want to have to face something hard.

But the funny thing about doing something hard is that when you're in it, you just do it and you don't think so much about the hard part. You just take things day by day and doctor's appointment by doctor's appointment and you just make it through. Because there's really no other way except through it. 

And two years later, we are almost through it. Almost. And this little love was completely worth every hard part.

Our Little Helen Keller

The day following her surgery, Abby was unable/refused to open her eyes. Her eyes were a tiny bit swollen, but not enough to keep her from opening them. It was very interesting, and a little, well, exactly like having a blind child in the house. She walked around with her arms outstretched trying to feel the walls. A bit concerned,  we called the doctor who said it wasn't typical behavior--for a child to purposely keep her eyes closed following the surgery, but it probably didn't mean anything was wrong. Of course our kid was going to be the weirdo.

Despite her self-imposed blindness, she was still able to enjoy her favorite treats- Trader Joe's Yogurt Stars as evident in the video below.

Fast forward a few days later and she is doing much, much better. She now voluntarily keeps her eyes open and she's mostly back to her normal self. 

She has a follow-up appointment and eye exam on Wednesday to see if further correction is needed on one of the eye muscles. If additional correction is needed, she will be schedule for surgery on Thursday and they'll go in and quickly adjust one of the sutures on the muscle. The doctor assures us it will be a very simple and very quick procedure. We are hoping an adjustment won't be necessary.

Despite the couple of bumps we experienced following Abby's most recent surgery, we consider ourselves very fortunate. We live in a country with excellent medical care and where conditions like craniosynostosis (and all its complications) are easily fixable. And other than her cranio, Abigail is perfectly healthy. 

There's nothing like being in a Children's Hospital to give you a little perspective. There were parents there whose children were undergoing very serious surgeries. One little girl was having a kidney transplant, another little girl was having work done on her spine. Watching other parents (and children) endure such challenges put all our own small hurdles into perspective.

We are blessed. Life is good.


Friday, May 24, 2013
We are home now and recuperating. Abby's eye surgery went well. We see the ophthalmologist on Wednesday to find out exactly how well the surgery went. There's a possibility she might have to have a minor adjustment surgery next Thursday, but we'll find that out Wednesday. We're crossing our fingers it won't be necessary, but we'll see.

This morning my poor baby woke up with her eyes swollen shut. Despite that, I can tell she's feeling much better than she was yesterday. Yesterday was pretty rough, she was uncomfortable and exhausted and unable to fall asleep. Fortunately, she had a good night's sleep (which means we did too) and was able to eat some pancakes this morning, so I think things are looking up.  

Thank you all for your prayers.

A random Abby picture from a month ago.

Arrested Development

Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Anyone else super excited for the return of Arrested Development on Sunday? Matthew and I have been looking forward to this for like a year, so I'm hoping it doesn't disappoint. 

We quote Arrested Development all the time. Lucille Bluth is by far my favorite character, but Gob is high on the list too.

Extended Breastfeeding

Never in a million years did I think I would be one of those mothers who breastfed her toddler. I was always a little weirded out by children who could walk right up to their mother and ask to breastfeed. No way would that be me.

Fast forward a couple of years and my dear second daughter, Abigail, is a few weeks shy of turning two and I am still nursing her. In my defense, I don't think nursing a two year old is quite the same as nursing a four year old, but I know some people are weirded out by the fact that she and I still have that nursing relationship. I do get a lot of questions from well meaning friends and family who ask "just how long do you plan to breastfeed her?" or "oh, that is still going on?" Their questions are more out of curiosity than disgust, fortunately.

The funny thing is that I am not a huge proponent of extended breastfeeding (breastfeeding past one year) or some lactation activist (yes, that is actually a phrase), it's just this is what has worked for Abby and me. Before she was born, I planned to try to nurse Abby for a year, that's always the goal with each of my babies. With Hannah I didn't even make it to a year. She self-weaned at 11 months when I was pregnant with Abby and it was no big thang. 

But Miss Abigail was an entirely different baby than Hannah. She could never take a pacifier or a bottle (I'm praying to God that Baby #3 can at least take a pacifier). A pacifier or a bottle would just make her gag or she would simply spit it out. Thus, the only way to feed, pacify, comfort, put her to sleep, etc. was to nurse her.

She nursed exclusively until she was eight months old. We tried and tried to introduce solid foods when she was 5 months and 6 months and then 7 months old. She wasn't having it. She knew what she wanted and she wasn't settling for less. 

So, our nursing continued.

Plus, with her additional medical needs--surgeries, helmet therapy, and such, our nursing relationship provided a lot of emotional comfort through some challenging times. I was especially happy that I could nurse her through her "big" surgery back in October when she was in the hospital for a week. Being able to comfort her in that way, especially when she couldn't see me because her eyes were swollen shut, meant a lot to me.

A year and a half ago, I made a promise to myself to nurse Abby through all her surgeries. Abby has one more surgery tomorrow morning. This time her eyes are being operated on to fix what is best described as a type of strabismus or "lazy eye." If you could remember to say a quick prayer for her tomorrow, I'd appreciate it. After tomorrow, the bulk of her serious surgeries are done. Alleluia! 

As difficult as it has been at times to continue with extended breastfeeding, I'm really glad we have. The benefits to nursing for so long far outweight the challenges. Dr. Sears, a well known pediatrician, writes a lot about the physical, emotional and social benefits to breastfeeding. He notes that children who are nursed in terms of years rather than months tend to exhibit a lot of similar traits, among them are: better lifelong health, high intelligence,greater independence (usually people think the opposite is true, but studies have shown...), easier to discipline (I don't know if this is true, not exactly our experience, but hey), empathetic, and the list goes on. This is not to say that if you don't breastfeed your child for an extended amount of time or even at all that your child won't have any of these traits, I don't believe that at all. He just notes what he has observed in his pediatric practice over 30 years. It may be anecdotal, but a lot of how he describes these kids fits with Abby.

These past few months, I've noticed Abby beginning to self-wean more and more. We are down to about one nursing session a day, sometimes two. Obviously, I think the fact that I'm pregnant and probably have like zero milk supply helps a ton. But I also think our relationship is changing too. She's not such a baby anymore and she doesn't depend on me in that way as much. Truth be told, that makes me a little sad. But I also know it's for the best and that I'll have another little one to nurse soon enough.

I don't know what our next child will be like, if he or she will be another nursing fiend or "high-needs" type baby, but if I've learned anything in these last few years of mothering it's that a lot of being a mom means "just going with it." For Abby, that meant nursing her in terms of years rather than months. For the next baby, I don't know, time will tell.

Abby's Perch

Monday, May 20, 2013
I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but Abigail loves to climb. One of her favorite climbing spots is the window sill in our bedroom. She loves to just gaze out the window. Sometimes she waves to people, most times she just watches the world go by. She's such an old soul sometimes, my Abigail. I love it.

I love this picture.

Happy (belated) Mother's Day

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Me and my babes.
Happy belated Mother's Day to all you moms out there!

Besides my own lovely mother, I have two grandmothers and a wonderful mother-in-law. I am quadruply blessed!

But rather than praise the many virtues of my own mom, grandmothers and mother-in-law (because I could go on and on about these ladies), I thought I might write briefly about my own kids and my own experience with motherhood.

This might sound like an annoying and braggy mom-type thing to say, but I seriously feel so lucky to have the kids that I do. They are such lovely, lovely little girls and Matthew and I are absolutely crazy about them. 

They are both so smart and funny and kind and pretty darn cute (if I do say so myself). We really like our kids, which is one reason why we want to have more of them! 
It's funny because before I ever became a mother and even before Matthew and I were married, I worried a little that I wouldn't like being a mom. I completely bought into the societal influences that like to pretend children ruin everything (marriage, finances, physical appearance, etc) In theory, I knew that children were a blessing, but I didn't really believe it. I just assumed that I would be disappointed each time I discovered myself pregnant.

I couldn't have been more wrong about myself. 

Being a mother has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. And I am thrilled each and every time we find out we are expecting another baby. How could I not feel anything but elation to learn there is a life (a life!) growing inside of me?

And all that fear surrounding kids is simply no longer there. Sure, there are certain stresses that come with having kids, but oh my goodness, there are infinitely more joys. 

Thank you Libby for taking these pictures! There are so few pictures that I have of myself with my kids.

Because It Was Time for My Blog to Get a Little More Interesting...

Thursday, May 16, 2013
...Baby #3 is on his or her way! 

I wish I had an ultrasound picture to share with you all! Hopefully in a couple of weeks when we find out the gender (which we're going to do this time around), I can upload the ultrasound then.

Anywho, we're thrilled and can't wait to meet the newest addition. We are blessed!

I'm Comin' Out!

Out of private blogland!

I've decided to make my blog public again. I've been thinking a lot about what I want to do with ye olde blog and have decided that I want to start writing again about a wider range of topics (other than my children, not that they're not great and all). 

Now my oh-so-deep thoughts can be shared with the entire internet and not just my mother (love you Mom!).

And now instead of two readers, I might get three. 

Here we go!

Aunt Beeya's Visit

We were so lucky to have my sister, Libby ("Beeya" in Hannah speak) come for visit a few weeks ago. The girls love Libby, so it was a treat for all of us having her here. We had so much fun! 

We took walks, ate ice cream, went swimming, painted nails, braided hair, took the MCATs (Libby), drank some margaritas (Libby again) and were even able to take a nice two day trip to Cape Cod. I love when people come to visit or when we visit family because it's always like a mini-vacation for me since there are other much more interesting people for the girls to play with. So, thank you, Libby!
Hannah loves her Beeya.
Libby after her test. Sorry, Lib. You probably hate me for putting this picture up.

So happy.

Super happy.

At the park. Look at those cute braids!
Me and Abigail.
Every time Hannah sees a plane in the sky, she thinks it's Beeya coming back to visit her. I have to remind her Beeya is in California with Bumpa and Zsa, which is kind of depressing for all of us. Come back and visit, Beeya!

We're Back!

Long overdue pictures from our trip to California. Unfortunately, I think they're all just pictures from my phone, and there's not that many. You know you had a good time on a trip when you don't have that many pictures. We were too busy enjoying ourselves! Anyways, you get the idea. We had a ball. Hannah didn't want to leave, none of us did!
Pretty awesome picture. Big sister vs. Little Sister. Of course, Abby's not terribly bothered by the whole thing. Whatevs.
Might just be my new favorite picture ever.

Zsa and Aunt Beeya braided Hannah's hair. She loved it. I loved it. I need to learn how to do this.
Making cupcakes with Aunt Sam. She's still talking about this (Hannah, that is, not Sam).

Easter Sunday. Cannot handle the pigtails. Ugh, I'm dying. I wish my girls would let me do their hair. That was all the aunts doing.
Easter baskets.

Hannah and Zsa. So cute!
Playing outside. Look at that sunshine! My pale New England babies weren't used to it.

Loving the beach.
At the airport. Going home.
Sad to leave California.
Suffice it to say, we had a wonderful time!

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