Friday, October 26, 2007

Using Big Words That I Understand

Thought that some word association would be a fun way to update on Cara.

Audiologist: Cara will be having a hearing test in the middle of November to rule out any hearing impairment (we know she can hear just fine) as part of the thorough clinical evaluation from Child Find.

Staffing Process: This is what will happen after the hearing test results are complete and given to Cara's perspective therapists and service coordinator from Developmental Pathways. Simply put, this is the process where all of the therapists sit down with me and determine which services Cara would benefit from (PT/OT, speech/language), which ones the school district can provide (through it's Child Find early intervention program) and how often she will be receiving these services.

Home visits: Once the services get started with , the therapists will come to our home to do home therapy! One less place for us to run to every week.

Ophthalmologist: After getting through a lot of medical red tape, we were finally able to get all. of the ducks in a row to get Cara an appointment with a pediatric specialist He/she will be investigating the "dancing" in her eyes (especially, her left) when she attempts to focus on an object. I can almost see drops or a "pirate" patch in the future for her. Even if she has to wear glasses, they have such cute ones for little kiddos these days.

Orthopedics: At one of her last PT sessions, her therapist confirmed a concern that I've had about Cara's feet. They seem to turn/curve inward when she puts her weight on them. We are aggressively attacking the problem by doing exercises to hopefully straighten the ligaments and muscles in her calves and feet and encouraging her to stand. Right now, we are hoping that these exercises along with some new, supportive shoes, will do the trick. If not, we may be seeing an orthopedic specialist to have an orthopedic shoe insert or something similar made for Cara.

Therapeutic exercises: I always come from PT sessions with activities to do with Cara or toys/instruments that would be helpful for us to get for her. Currently, we are working on getting Cara's leg muscles strengthened so we are wanting her to sit, bearing weight on her feet, stand and support herself while reaching for objects on a low table at her height, etc. So, I'm having fun searching around our house looking for things that can be tables, benches, and the like. Have found that laundry soap containers, laundry baskets and packing boxes work well. Doing therapy with Cara does spark my creativity. We currently do therapy for at least 30 minutes 6 days a week. Seeing improvement always makes me smile and encourages me to continue.


I can't believe I forgot to post about this. About a week ago, the whole family was sitting on our couch, Ben holding Cara when she looked right at me & said..."Momma!" She had been babbling and saying, "Mmmmmoooommmmm" for awhile but never associated the name with me. We think she really knew what she was saying that day however. She has said it to me a few more times, so I think we've confirmed that Cara has said her first word! And how awesome that it wasn't the traditional "Dada" although she does say that now, just not to Ben...yet. I've been telling Ben that Cara is a "Mommy's girl" from just about day one (he has dibs on Caitlin), seems I might be right? No offense Ben, but the truth is the truth!

**Edited to add--I forgot to mention how moved I was by this one little word. I looked at Ben with a face of disbelieve. All he had to do was nod his head to confirm that he had heard the same thing. I was beaming with pride while tears were streaming down my face, unchecked.**

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The First Snow!

It snowed for the first time this season late last night and into the afternoon today. Colorado weather is so weird because yesterday I was walking around downtown Denver in a t-shirt!
Anyway, the snow was so beautiful as coated everything--like something out of a Thomas Kinkade painting. I was able to snap a few pictures of things around our place before Caitlin got up and demanded to go out and play in the first snow. Her excitement was contagious and soon, Cara & I had joined her. Cara seemed taken aback by the whole experience and just sat and took in the activity around her. Caitlin & I engaged in a snowball fight and then made a snowgirl. Not a snowman because she had a pink scarf on. Such a blast! This is what childhood should be about. Afterward, we came inside, made hot cocoa and Ben & I played a heated match of Scrabble. I'm currently working on making some chili and cornbread muffins for dinner. The perfect meal for the perfect snowy day!

Art & Architecture in Denver

Yesterday, as I was walking back from the Denver Public Library, I decided to snap some pictures of things that captured my attention in downtown Denver (also known as LoDo). To see the mini-set, click here.
I was downtown hoping to pick up Knuffle Bunny Too, which I had placed on hold a few days ago. However, the library decided to close early in preparation for the annual Booklover's Ball. Somehow, I managed to miss this little announcement while skimming the homepage earlier that day.
It was a beautiful fall day (even though snow was on the horizon), so I decided to make the most of my time, ALONE (gasp) downtown and took a little scenic tour while I waited for the next Light Rail train to come.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Glimpse @ the Craziness

I was challenged by Lauren to capture 24 hours of my life, in photographs. Well, I'm proud to say I did it! It was actually kind of fun, even toting my not-so-light Kodak DX 6490 around. We had a fun 24 hours, well, at least up until about 10 o'clock last night anyway. So, here is the my set--"A Glimpse Into My World".

(I wanted to upload a picture to go with this post, but Blogger is being dumb and keeps giving me an error. I will try again later.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

You Really Can...

...Get something for nothing!
The other day, as I was logging in to my Flickr account, I noticed an email from Flickr. Thinking it was so boring, not helpful newsletter or promotion, I was about to delete it. Then, I say the words, "Your account has been upgraded to pro"! Turns out that as a reward for downloading my old pictures for Yahoo! Photos (now defunct), Flickr gave me three months of free pro status for my account. I get to enjoy the perks of this status until January '08 and after that I'll have to pay to keep it. Still, I can finally see all of the pictures I've uploaded and not just the last 200. I can create sets of pictures and more. I'm not sure what the rest of the perks are right now, I'm just basking in the fact that I got something for doing absolutely nothing besides clicking on a mouse. Pretty sweet deal in my book.

Speaking of my Flickr is lonely. I haven't had a comment on there in ages. To make things easier, I will probably be making more of my pictures public soon. It seems that "people" (and I use that term loosely) are only interested in picture of my kids if they are wearing a bathing suit in a kiddie wading pool.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Does It Work For You?

I came across an interesting article in Parents about sibling spacing and it got me to thinking about the spontaneous, yet wonderful spacing between my own two girls.

Caitlin & Cara are exactly 2 years, 11 months and 3 weeks apart. Did we plan it this way? No, Cara was a big surprise, one in which we didn't discover until she had been growing inside of me for about 3 months! That said, over the past year, this age gap has proved to be just wonderful, most days. Here's my reasoning--

~Ben & I had been out of "baby mode" for a few years, so finding out that we were expecting again was a refreshing and welcomed change.

~Caitlin got just shy of 3 years of our undivided attention and she has blossomed into a wonderful kid because of it. I am so happy that we had that time together to develop her personality, interests and knowledge. She remembers this time and knows that we love her. She also cherishes "alone" time with each of us all the more.

~Caitlin was at an age in which she could understand about mommy having a baby in her tummy and that she was going to be a big sister. We were able to play up the concept and get her so very excited for Cara's birth that there was almost no jealousy.

~Most days, Caitlin is more than happy to share toys and my attention with Cara. The two sisters will play together for a long time, happily. The bond between them is so strong, they are the best of buddies. Caitlin told me the other day that she doesn't want to go to school next year because she's going to miss Cara and wonders who Cara will play with while she's gone. So very sweet.

~Caitlin can entertain herself independently for awhile. This has come in handy because I've been able to attend to Cara knowing that Caitlin is happy and not resentful.

~Caitlin was potty trained, fully, within a few months after Cara joined the family. So, I only have one kid in diapers at a time.

~I absolutely love that Caitlin loves to be a big helper and is proud that she can "help" with little tasks like fetching diapers, sippy cups and other things for Cara as well as doing little chores around the house. I'll take all the help that I can get.

~I love watching Cara try to copy Caitlin. I know that Caitlin is a great role model for Cara to look up to. I hope that Cara learns from Caitie so of the things that make her so dear to us.

~Caitlin is in pure "big sister mode" a lot with Cara and watches out for her, shows concern for her and advocates for her baby sister. I know it will be so comforting for Cara to know that Caitlin will be there to walk her to her Kindergarten class on the first day of school.

These are the reasons that I love the spacing that we happened to get between our girls. Is it the only way that it would've worked? Of course not, there are advantages to any and all age gaps, which is what the article talks about. I guess it just helps us find the positives in whatever arrangement we happen to have.

So, I'd like to hear from you, my blog readers. What is the spacing between your kids? Does it work for you? What are some of the positives that you can see? Did you plan it that way or did it just happen? I thought that this article might open up an interesting conversation.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Little Milestones...

It is becoming very obvious that Cara's physical therapy (both at the hospital and at home) is paying off with very big dividends. Every time she goes in for an appointment, I am just amazed at what she can do and how she is learning to move outside of her comfort zone.
In the past few days, Cara has learned how to stand from a sitting position while grabbing onto my hands; raise herself off of her bottom while holding onto the edge of the coffee table (totally unassisted); and sitting up from lying on her back using the sides of her changing table for support.
Before I know it, she will be crawling, cruising and walking! I just love seeing the baby steps of progress.

Cara, Mommy & Daddy so are very proud of you!

A Day @ Our Second Home

Yesterday was one of the longest lengths of time that we've spent at Children's Hospital without being admitted.

At 9 o'clock, we were in a PT session with our sweet therapist Karen. Cara continues to make progress and I always come away with new things to try with her at home.

We had a break from 10 o'clock until around noon, so we went to a local McDonald's to grab some lunch--Happy Meals for me & Caitlin--with the goal of Caitlin getting to play at the PlayPlace and for me to split my 6 piece chicken nuggets with Cara but she fell asleep. We decided to let her sleep and opted for home. We all ate lunch (Cara having woken up) and then ventured back to the hospital.

12:30 saw us filling out the necessary billing paperwork for Cara's CT scan and then breaking out the coloring book & markers while we waited for Cara to be called in.

1 o'clock rolls around and we are ushered back to the CT machine. They begin to swaddle Cara to keep her from moving, which promptly causes my toddler to scream. She just wanted to be able to suck her thumb! After trying a pacifier (which she's never taken) and puppets, it was finally my voice singing and a picture show on the ceiling that calmed her enough so that the images could be taken. Caitlin got the honor of watching the whole process at the computers with the technicians. Ten minutes later, it was all over.

Next, we went to the Creative Play Center (day care for siblings of children being seen in the hospital) to drop off a very reluctant Caitlin armed with a Sprite & cheese crackers (yes, I bribed my kid). The girl who didn't want to go play had vanished from my sight before I was able to complete the sign-in paperwork. Funny how quickly that fear went away.

Cara & I then went over to the in-house Pearberry Coffee stand to get a Chocolate-Banana Bear (heaven, let me tell you) and then found our way to her neurosurgeon's office for a consultation following the CT scan. All is well with her shunt, the incisions have completely healed (almost no visible scars) and her head circumference is down another little bit. He is pleased with her developmental progress and unless we see a need otherwise, he doesn't need to see her again until April! I did voice one concern with him about Cara's eyes. Ben & I have noticed some "dancing" in them, especially the left, when she concentrates on an object. Her neurosurgeon doesn't think it's neurological, but we are going to follow up with the Eye Clinic at the hospital to see if we can figure out what's going on. I am just waiting to hear from the neuro's assistant that the referral has been sent to the clinic before I can make an appointment.

Finally, at 2:15, we were all done with appointments and whatnot, went to pick up Caitlin, who by now, didn't want to leave and had to be coaxed out (armed with two neat spin-art pictures), and head home. What a long, but good, day!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The 4's...

I got tagged by Lauren to do this, so here goes...

Four Jobs I've had in my life:
1. Party coordinator for McDonald's--called a Ronald Ranger
2. Prison Librarian
3. Copy editor/proof reader
4. Circulation clerk

Four Movies I have watched over & over:
1. Sound of Music
2. Beaches
3. Sarah, Plain & Tall Trilogy
4. Mystic Pizza (or any Julia Roberts chick flick)

Four Places I have lived:
1. Ferndale, MI
2. Wixom, MI
3. Durango, CO
4. Aurora, CO

Four Shows I love to watch:
1. Extreme Makeover
2. Law & Order
3. Don't Forget the Lyrics
4. Food Network Challenge

Four Places I have been on vacation:
1. Orlando, FL
2. Yellowstone/Grand Tetons
3. NYC
4. Mexico

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Gyros
2. Just about anything Greek/Mediterranean
3. General Tso chicken (or just about anything Chinese)
4. Pasta--enough said

Four of my favorite drinks:
1. Iced sweet tea
2. Lemonade
3. Flavored water
4. Chocolate malts (chocolate milk or shakes will work too)

Four Places I'd rather be right now:
1. Buying myself a new wardrobe at a really ritzy mall
2. Curled up with a book at a chai latte at Tattered Cover
3. Sitting by a mountain lake contemplating life
4. Gathered around my mom's kitchen table with my family

Four People I will tag:
1. Sarah
2. Angela
3. Ben (Fat chance that he will read it and post)
4. Anyone else who reads my blog and is so inspired

Thursday, October 04, 2007

First PT session

Cara had her first official PT session at Children's Hospital yesterday. She did very well for almost the entire time. Her therapist, Karen, worked with her on reaching (using her neck & torso), rotating her body, putting weight on her legs and playing on all fours. She didn't seem to mind being in "crawling mode" as much as before, so we are making some progress! We left the therapy gym with a handout of things to do at home to keep her moving forward. Cara will be going one a week for awhile and then we will re-evaluate and see how she's doing...possibly cutting back to twice monthly. Cara really likes Karen and loves to play with her.

We also had a home visit from a service coordinator for Developmental Pathways. Cara's paperwork has been submitted so, within the next month, we should be able to start services for her there. She has a multi-disciplinary evaluation with them on the 25th to get a better idea of what they think she needs in the way of therapy. We're excited because it's 100% free!


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