Thursday, January 29, 2009

The drum roll please...

Ok, Ok forget about the drum roll we have a baby roll.

Alayna surprised us all today when she rolled over from her tummy to back. I was trying to get in some tummy time with her this evening and she just kicked her chunky leg up and pushed herself over not once, not twice, yes folks THREE times in a row.

She has been working on rolling back to tummy since she came home from the hospital so we were super shocked when she pulled this one out of her trick bag.

It is so much fun to watch her experience everything and doing new things each week.

Her physical therapist, Erin was really impressed with how much Alayna had mastered skills that we were starting last week like pulling her arms underneath her to raise herself up without support, holding her head steadier (it's not steady yet but wow what a difference just a week makes), and reaching for toys while laying on her side without support.

Alayna definitely isn't going to lay around and let the world pass her by. This girl is a go getter. I am sure she gets that from her big brother.

We learned at school this week that we need to lift Alayna up from the hips for diaper changes (not at the feet as you do with a typical child), try doing that while changing a big poopie diaper...
lift her at the shoulders to give her extra support (not at the arms) and not carry her on our hip (or around a big tummies as some of the men in our lives forget. I won't mention ANY names) as these all stretch out her already loose hips, which would make crawling and walking more difficult later. Also, we are to carry her with her legs straight to help her get the idea that her knees must work in line with her hips (not froggy style).

Just in case you missed the swimsuit thighs last week and are concerned Alayna might not be getting enough to eat check out these chubby cheeks!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Family fun

Whoever thought a $1 clearance sale pool, 250 brightly colored balls, an outgoing 5 year old, and a 3 month old beauty would be so much fun?

As you can see we are having a terrific time watching the kids play together. Aidan is still smitten with his baby sister and she loves the attention. She makes sure she always knows where he is too.

It is really amazing to watch them together. If she fusses, he goes over and strokes her head gently and sings her favorite...Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and she immediately stops and watches him. He is a great baby whisperer.

Alayna is really interacting more with us and toys. She loves her kick & play bouncer seat that she has to move her feet to get the lights and sounds to go. She has also gotten really good at taking both her hands and grabbing my face or hair and pulling me to her mouth to give me BIG, WET kisses (ok they are really licks but, in my mommy book they count for kisses & I am loving every one of them).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Let's go swimming

Today was Alayna's first day as a little swimmer at IDC. She LOVED the pool and the water (go figure, she loves bath time).
She had to show off her swimming suit...
She still really enjoys music therapy time. She is staying awake through the whole 1 1/2 hours of therapy and is so worn out crashes in the car on the way home.

At home she loves listening to music, dancing around with her big brother and listening to us all sing to her (even if daddy can't remember all the words).

This past week she has enjoyed putting her thumb in her mouth not to suck on it but to chew on it. I guess she is getting ready for teeth!

She also has come leaps and bounds in holding up her head. She is able to lift herself up with her arms completely extended for half a minute or so. She loves doing tummy time when Aidan gets on the floor with her so she can lift herself up and see him.

She also had her first laugh this week for her cousin, Grace. Grace was tickling Alayna's feet and Alayna laughed and laughed. Very adorable.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A poem, and a thought for the day...

We have been given this poem several times by different people in our lives since Alayna's birth. The author is a parent of a child with down syndrome . We thought it would be a great thing to share with you. Enjoy.

Welcome to Holland by Emily Pearl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very, very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Our family is loving being in Holland, we hope if you haven't already met our wonderful daughter that you will put on your clogs, come smell the tulips and take in this blessing. She is one in a million and has blessed our lives in so many ways that I can't begin to describe on this blog. Her sweet smile lights up a room and melts your heart!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Music, Music, Music

I wish I had 2 sets of hands so I could take pictures of Alayna while we are in music therapy. She is ALL smiles and giggles the whole time we are there. As soon as Erin says, "we are all finished for today" Alayna makes her frowny face. Good thing music is the first 30 minutes of each Wednesday at IDC. I am glad that both our kids have my musical appreciation.
However, she is not as interested with the information the PT & OT talk about for the remaining time and usually drifts off to sleep. I am looking forward to next week when she has water therapy, as she loves bath time I think it will be a huge hit too.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Time flies when you are having fun....

Fun just doesn't describe
parenting Alayna well enough. She is a peach of a baby and has made our family complete. We know how blessed we are and are SO thankful for this gift.

She is doing extremely well. I wish I had a scale to weigh her on, she is getting so big. Let me tell you, she has come a long way from that 4# 14 oz, her cheeks are just as round and squishy as Aidan's were at this age. I must be doing something right with that milk I make. My kids come out looking like the Michelin man...with all their chins and rolls.

Her physical therapy went well yesterday. She was the best in the class!!! OK, OK it was individual therapy. They would never compare her to someone else and we don't want to either. We know each child is different and achieves things at their own pace.

They thought she was moving well, had good muscle tone and on track with where she should be at this age.
It was nice to have a professional who has worked with kids with down syndrome for 30 years confirm what we were thinking (you know as parents we always look at our own kids with rose colored glasses). We just wanted to make sure we weren't overlooking something.

Alayna is definitely observing people more now, smiling and cooing at them. Our neighbor, Liz came over and Alayna smiled SO much for her and her 3 year old daughter, Sarah. Of course, when I got the camera out she stopped (stinker).

We thank you for your continued checking in on our family. Please continue to lift our sweet baby up in prayer. Thanks.

Pyzam Glitter Text Maker

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

First day of school...

Today Alayna started school at the Lee Ann Britain Infant Development Center (IDC). She has infant class for an hour and a half and on Thursday afternoons she has an individual physical therapy for 30 minutes.

The class went really well and Alayna LOVED Music therapy. She sat attentively on my lap and held her head up really well and was truly intruigued by all the sounds. They sang songs, clapped their hands, played the shakers (yes, Alayna can grab and shake (with help from mom) a shaker, she gets her musical talent from her mother), they have lights on the ceiling that twinkle like stars that they kids all loved watching while we sang twinkle, twinkle. Finally, they played the big drum while the kids individually laid on it. When Erin the therapist said that was all of music therapy for today Alayna made a frowny face...

Then it was on to speech and physical therapy. The speech therapist talked about the importance of routines. The PT worked with the older kids on positioning, while Alayna drifted to sleep in daddy's arms. Finally, we went to Occupational therapy, in which they use their gym and have tons of objects for the kids to work/play on for example, a ball pit, stairs, slides, swings, etc. Jason put Alayna on the big swing and she woke up and enjoyed the moment.
She will also have water therapy every other week.

The therapist all thought Alayna was doing super well (as we already thought) but, it is nice to have professional confirmation of that.

Aidan was distraught that he had to go to kindergarten and miss Alayna's first day. (I think the idea of us swimming without him was the key).

Aidan and I started back to BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) today after our 3 month hiatus. Uncle Scott sweetly is coming to our house to watch Alayna so that we can attend. The children's ministry leaders made a HUGE fuss over Aidan being there and even made him the special helper for the day. He was beaming. My class made the same fuss so was truly good to be back. In another blessing from God, one of Aidan's teachers works with children who have down syndrome for the Shawnee Mission school district and she has all sorts of information and resources for us. It is amazing how God wondrously puts people in our lives.

We are blessed that God put you in our life and are glad you are keeping up with us through this blog.

Alayna is SO tired and to tell you the truth folks I am to...This parenting gig is one hard job.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Can't they stay longer?

Alayna is doing tummy time on Pop Pop (ok, it doesn't really count for tummy time as she was just sleeping on his shoulder but it sure was a great excuse Pop Pop used while he was here.)

We had to take Grandma and Pop Pop to the airport today for them to fly back to Brownsville. Alayna and Aidan are heartbroken. All the way home in the car Aidan kept repeating his mantra, "I miss Grandma and Pop Pop, couldn't they stay another day" while Alayna slept.

But, don't think for a minute that Alayna doesn't miss them. She was giving them the cold shoulder by not looking at them when they were trying to say good bye today and give her hugs and kisses (an old trick Aidan taught her so he doesn't cry).

Grandma thought for sure that Alayna would be so spoiled she wouldn't put herself to sleep anymore. However, for both naps today she has laid right down and drifted off to sleep on her own. (I am thanking God for that miracle) because let me tell you folks those grandparents got hold of our sweet baby and you had to pry their fingers apart to take her back.

In all seriousness, we had a wonderful 2 weeks with my parents enjoying the holidays and the kids. We were very thankful they flew up to be with us.
Aidan is really looking forward to going back to school tomorrow. He said it has been a really nice Christmas break but, even though he loves me he gets to see me everyday so without Grandma and Pop Pop here he thinks it will be good to go back to school. (Spoken like a true, independent 5 year old).
Alayna is SO big compared to just 2 months ago when we brought her home from the NICU, We haven't had her weighed in a while but our guess is over 10 pounds by now and well over 21 inches long. She is fitting into 0-3 month clothes with no problem and some of them she won't be wearing too is amazing how tiny she was and how fast she is growing.
We made clay imprints of her hands and feet the other day just to remember how tiny they are. We know to well (looking at Aidan's huge feet) that soon enough she will be big before we know it.
She starts school (Infant Development Center) on Wednesday. I will update you and let you know how it goes.
Please lift us in prayer for peace on Wednesdays as our schedule will be a bit crazy...Morning Bible study then I have one hour to get home get all 3 of us fed, get Aidan on the bus for afternoon kindergarten and drive Alayna to IDC for her afternoon therapy class. AHH...