Friday, February 29, 2008

Me, as a sports car

Just for fun--

I'm a Mazda RX-8!

You're sporty, yet practical, and you have a style of your own. You like to have fun, and you like to bring friends along for the ride, but when it comes time for everyday chores, you're willing to do your part.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Why I Blog...

Sarah tagged me to answer this question, though truthfully, I've never really thought about it until now.

I guess, I started this blog to attempt to keep my family & friends up-to-date on what was going on in our lives as we have loved ones scattered all over the place (and now all over the world). It was my intention was to post about happy milestones and memories in the life of Caitlin and then, when I found out I was pregnant again, Cara too.

When I started blogging, it was all the craze, so I thought, why not, it'll give me a creative outlet since I've loved to read and write from a young age. Now, my blogging helps me cope with the events of my life and in the lives of my children. I've found though, that blogging is great therapy. I'm saving a lot of money by blogging instead of seeing a counselor!

I have, through the course of blogging, made some wonderful friends, that I don't think I would've met otherwise and have enjoyed reading into their worlds. I have also learned from these friends, benefiting from their knowledge and experiences.

I guess, I blog to amuse myself, keep track of milestones and memories, and to connect with other parents who are experiencing what I am.

I would like to hear why the following people blog: Lauren, Judy, Angela & Kendra

Alike, except...

A recent conversation while out shoe-shopping at Target--

Me: Gee, Caitlin, you are just like your daddy. You look like him, have the same body type and now, you have big feet like your daddy. I think you're going to be tall like Daddy too.

Caitlin: We are the same, except for our private parts!

(Are you laughing yet?)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Neurology Clinc Results

Cara had her evaluation with the Neurology Clinic at Children's Hospital this morning.
We were referred by her physical therapist who was concerned that Cara was showing signs of both hemiplegia and hypotonic cerebral palsy.

After meeting with Mary Anne (one of the nurses) and then Dr. Reilly, a firm diagnosis was given to us. She does indeed have hypontic cerebral palsy coupled with developmental and intellectual delays.

While none of this came as a great shock to us, it was still a blow to realize that our hope for Cara to catch up and be a "normal" child were just not going to happen. Dr. Reilly explained that he thought that Cara would always be a bit slow, especially intellectually, for the rest of her life. Bottom line, we oficialy have a child with special needs. She will, most likely, always needs assistive services throughout her life and especially when she is of school age. There was talk of a IEP or Individualized Education Plan to ensure that Cara gets the help that she needs. School is still, at minimum, a year away yet, and a lot can happen in that time. We will just have to wait and see how well she does over the next year and go from there. Cara will, most likely, be a candidate for HeadStart when she's three which is wonderful as I know she will benefit from the social as well as educational aspects of the program.

Dr. Reilly also made us aware of a program through the Colorado Department of Education called PEP (Parents Encouraging Parents). It is a support program for parents of children with disabilities. Apparently, they have conferences every few months around the state to share resources, new information and allow parents to meet and talk with others like them and with professionals. Unfortunately, we cannot attend the next conference, but they seem to have them often, so hopefully, we will be able to go in the next few months. I would love to network with more parents who have children with cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus!

I am to go and speak with the financial counselors with the hospital next week to start the application process for getting Cara onto SSI Medicaid to help with her on-going medical expenses. We have to fill out a lengthly application and then also go through an interview with the Social Security office to determine our eligibility. We are keeping our fingers and toes crossed as this would be a blessing for Cara. She would be able to get the best care and whatever kind of services she needs without there being any financial constraints or concerns. If she were to get SSI, we would probably do all of her therapy through Children's Hospital as we believe the clinical setting has proved to be more beneficial for Cara over the in-home setting. The girl is just too comfortable in her own living room and doesn't want to buckle down and work like she does when she goes to the clinic!

Ben & I have taken the news in stride. We were hoping that with hard work and therapy, that Cara would catch up and be a normal child on the developmental and cognitive fronts. Of course, Cara could still amaze us and overcome her challenges but we feel that we have to accept her for who she is and who she will become. We still except great things from our little girl and know that she will be the best Cara that she can be. She has a great network of loving and caring people to make sure that she reaches her every potential and for that, we are SO grateful! We thank you all for sharing in Cara's journey so far--offering prayers, support, a shoulder to cry on, etc. We can't imagine going through this alone!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Mother-Daughter Time

I have often felt very guilty that Caitlin is getting shafted, in terms of having quality time with me, because of it seems that 90% of my time is devoted to Cara and her various therapy sessions and doctors appointments. Despite our crazy schedule, I still try so hard to carve out time for Cait & I--just the two of us. Usually, it's just simple things like coloring together, working on a lesson from her Kindergarten readiness workbook or reading. Sunday, however, I noticed that Caitlin was a bit "out of sorts"--whining and crying more than she normally does. I decided that the cure for her troubles was some "Mommy" time. She has been having to share me with not only her little sister but also my best friend's two children who have been staying with us since November. That gets tough on a kid after awhile.

The cure, you ask? A trip to the restaurant of her choice--TGIFriday's were we dined, colored and laughed. Caitlin devoured her ribs with mandarin oranges washed down with a blue raspberry slush. In between bites, we talked about what was going on her in world and about things at home. As I thought, Caitlin is eager to have our household return to normal again so that she can have more time with both of her parents. I loved having this heart-to-heart with Cait as it gave me a chance to tell her that I loved her, cherished the time that we spent together and that she has voice in our family affairs. We did, though, have a talk about how acting out doesn't get one the kind of attention one wants. Hopefully, in the future, she will feel that she can approach Ben or I when she's feeling sad or left out and work on a remedy for the problem.

We had such a great time that I want to do it again. This time, we are going to go for tea (scroll down to The Tea Box), like grown-up Victorian girls! I met a friend there once for a fresh mint tea latte that was wonderful! Not to mention the cranberry scone that we split. I think I'm going to enjoy Caitlin as a big girl, just as much as I have enjoyed her thus far. A whole new world of things to do together has opened up!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Caitlin the Rocker

Don't ask me why this video is upside-down, but it's cute, nonetheless. I took it while we were at my parents' house for New Years. Caitlin had the most fun with my brother & sister-in-law's Guitar Hero for the Wii.

Perfect Form, Perfect Form

I finally got Cara accomplishing her latest milestone on video! Check it out! Her orthopedic doctor said that Cara has perfect form, we agree.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

One Full Medicine Cabinet

Cara had her appointment with Dr. Hoontrakoon @ Premier Allergy & Asthma yesterday. They did a little test where they marked up her back with pink & purple marker numbering from 1-10. Then came the sample, concentrated allergens. The technician just dipped this plastic doodad in the samples and pressed it up against Cara's back. No pricks or surface scratches like I was fearing, this was totally painless for Cara. We were left for 15 minutes while the allergens did there job, watched some Shrek on the office computer and played with toys. Dr. Hoontrakoon came back in with the results...Cara does, indeed, have allergies. She is allergic to: Mountain (Western) cedar tree pollen, and Mugwort in addition to Russian thistle. Generally speaking, she is allergic to a lot of common trees, weeds and grasses here in Colorado. Her allergist also thinks that, down the road, Cara might develop childhood asthma. We will just have to wait and see as she learns to walk, run and becomes more active.

We left the office armed with samples--we love free--of Nasonex spray and Zyrtec syrup. We are going to try both drugs for a week to see if there's difference in Cara's nasal stuffiness and cough and if so, we will get an Rx for the Nasonex and also pick up more Zyrtec since it's now over-the-counter (and cheap, only about $13)! I just know that our local Target pharmacist is going to smile when she sees us coming. We are going to be frequent customers, no doubt. Good thing that we love our local Target pharmacy (I'm crazy about those color coding bands) and it is very convenient.

If the Nasonex & Zyrtec aren't doing the job, the allergist will see what else is out there that might work. If at first you're still miserable, try, try again.

I gave Cara her first dose of both drugs today. She took the Zyrtec like a champ but the Nasonex, an entirely different story, man oh man! Let me give the run down on the procedure for administering this dosage. First, one must pin down a very wiggly 18 month old in order to put in saline drops and use a bulb syringe to suction out nose goo. Next, one can release said child for a few minutes allowing the child's nose to dry out. Minutes later, child must be restrained again to allow for each nostril to receive one spray of Nasonex, at preferably, a 45% angle. Let me just say that this is easier said than done, but I think I've developed a technique were I can straddle Cara, hold her head with one hand, hold down her hand with a couple of fingers and activate the spray with two more fingers. I swear though, moms need at least 6 fingers on each hand! I'm hoping that this will get easier over time...please tell me it will! Even if this is my fate for the next several years, it will be worth it if Cara can breathe easier and sleep peacefully without waking herself up coughing. Oh my, could that mean that I just might get a full night of uninterrupted sleep? That would be pure bliss! Crud, I probably just jinxed myself by talking about it. Oh well...


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