Thursday, January 23, 2014

Snow Day!

I can't believe it - we actually got some snow in Williamsburg!  All day long on Tuesday I checked the weather on my phone anxiously to see when it would start.  And finally, when I was out running and feeling tired and chilly and wind-chafed the flakes starting sprinkling down.  At first there were so few I thought they were just bits of leaves or seeds blowing off the tufty swamp plants near the trail, but soon it was undeniable:  beautiful, quiet, gentle snowflakes were sifting down faster and faster and thicker and thicker.  When I got home, Sophie was beside herself with glee.

While I washed dishes Tuesday night, I turned on our backyard spotlights so I could see the tiny flakes swirl outside in the wind.  There is nothing more peaceful than watching snow fall from inside a warm, cozy house. 

On Wednesday, Sophie spent a lot of the day outside running around and reveling in the snow.  She particularly enjoyed making snow angels and trying out her new sled.  

Life is really good when you are sledding for the very first time.
Even Annabelle got in on the action for a few minutes, or at least as much as she could being tightly bundled in a snowsuit and Moby wrapped within an inch of her life.

That sun was bright!  
In the afternoon, Sophie and I spent a long time cracking ice along the edges of the swamp behind the house and throwing pieces to watch them break and slide over the frozen creek.  I really enjoyed that time with my oldest daughter.  I felt so happy that she has some wilderness behind the house, just like I did when I was growing up.  If I had let her, she would have explored that wilderness to the utmost.  Preferably by sliding recklessly on the ice the whole way.

Amazing ice-scape behind our house.

Hooray for snow days!  And hooray for preschool opening again tomorrow!

Sunday, January 12, 2014


A couple tidbits for those of you following:

Annabelle's next surgery, to correct her imperforate anus, has been scheduled for February 13.  Happy Valentine's Day, indeed!  The surgeons will move the opening where the poop comes out from just behind the vagina to the typical location, in the crack (is there a more polite term for that part of our anatomy?  Hmmm.), where there is already a ring of muscle waiting to do its job.  We will be in the hospital from the twelfth through the weekend at least.  I'm not looking forward to the time in the hospital, but it will be nice to have this surgery taken care of.

Last night was episode one of Hilarious G-Tube Hi-jinks, starring Ellen, Keegan, and Annabelle.  Annabelle's button popped out of her stomach with a bizarre squelching sound while we were eating dinner.  I sent Keegan upstairs with a smirk, thinking that the wet spot on Annabelle's onesie was a diaper blowout, only to be called upstairs myself a few minutes later by a nervous Keegan staring at the hole in Annabelle's belly in horror.  I ran around like a crazy person getting our emergency button and filling up the balloon that holds the button in place, and soon Annabelle was good as new.  The old button's balloon had a tiny leak, so it failed to keep the button in place.  Hope that doesn't happen again any time soon!

Speaking of hilarity, Annabelle found a new favorite toy at Grandma and Papa's house.  We couldn't figure out why she was giggling until Sophie started twisting and twisting a plastic key to make a rattly sound.  Annabelle just couldn't control herself.  I can't get enough of her laughter.  Hope you can't either, since this is the third version I've posted here.

You might notice that Grandma and Papa's house in this video looks different than the home you know and love.  That's because they moved to Williamsburg this week!  Hooray!  I can't begin to describe how much fun it's been to have them as neighbors so far.  And it will only get better as everyone gets settled in. 

Here's to another week with plenty more laughter and no more g-tube incidents!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Annabelle's Eight-month Update

Annabelle was eight months old on Christmas Day, so I am a bit behind.  I'm a bit behind on everything these days, it seems, but somehow the really vital stuff always gets done.

When I wrote about Annabelle at seven months, we were still unsure how the g-tube and Nissen fundoplication surgeries were going to affect her growth and development.  Well, she now weighs almost three pounds more than she did before the surgery, and she has continued to be a much happier, much stronger, much more interactive baby.  She also has a lot less hair, due to a miscommunication between Mommy and Daddy about how much to cut off.  Thankfully, though, a lot less matting, cradle cap, and hair in her eyes.

Now that she can lay flat on her back without spitting up, she enjoys lying on the floor to practice rolling (still not getting all the way over, but getting close) and to kick her ever-fattening legs and reach for toys.  Her legs are getting more and more active, which makes diaper changes and those darn pajama snaps more of a trick to accomplish.  She is delighted whenever her kicking legs make contact with something, as if she just can't believe that she can use her legs and feet for exploring, too, just like her arms and hands.  Just as she loves having her arms moved around, she has also gotten really into having her legs moved around.  She will put her weight on her legs very briefly if I hold her up, which is progress.

Sitting is still a ways away.  I think that she has the strength and balance to sit, but her hips and knees are still too stiff.  Annabelle was born with joint stiffness (arthrogryposis is the fancy term)
that has improved tremendously in her shoulders, elbows, and hands.  We are hoping that as she continues to move her legs and use them more and more she will loosen up and be able to get the foundation she needs to sit on her own.

Annabelle's vision continues to improve.  Her eyes scan a lot less than they used to, and she seems more focused and quicker at tracking objects and locating objects that are making a sound.  She will reach for toys that we hold up for her, but she seems to be having trouble with hand-eye coordination.  That's one of our physical therapy tasks these days.  Annabelle is smiling a lot more, especially in response to Keegan or Sophie or me being near, which is HUGE.  You have no idea what a difference it makes to feel even that small amount of recognition and appreciation after so long lacking that connection.  

Annabelle bonding with Grandpa.
Annabelle bonding with Sophie.
Annabelle bonding with Mommy.
Annabelle's oral feeding seems to be slowly improving.  We switched formulas for oral feeding in hopes that having something a little less bitter might help her to eat more.  Over the past couple months, she has slowly increased the amount of formula she takes by mouth, and over the past few days, she's been eating pretty voraciously.  I hope this trend will continue.  We are going very slowly with introducing solid foods.  Right now we are focusing on letting her smell new foods and taste them with her tongue without actually putting them into her mouth.  She has a very sensitive gag reflex, so we want to work gradually and keep eating a pleasant experience.  So far, sweet potatoes, which we tried for the first time tonight, seem to be a huge favorite.  Sophie also loved sweet potatoes the first time she tried them, but unfortunately, the sweet potatoes we could find in Korea at the time were so starchy as to be practically inedible, so she didn't get to enjoy them.  We'll let Annabelle have her fill!

I can't wait to see what the next month or so will bring.  I'm so encouraged by the progress we've made in the past six weeks.

I've got big things in store for all of you!