Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Paging Martha Stewart...

I am slowly transforming into one of those moms who does everything from scratch. Well, kinda. Yesterday I went & bought all the stuff needed to make Emma's halloween costume. She had decided a couple weeks ago that she wanted to be Strawberry Shortcake. Seeing as how the only exposure she's ever had to Strawberry Shortcake is a little plush doll that my grandmother gave her last Christmas, I was surprised she picked that. I was thinking she'd do something more along the lines of a Disney princess (i.e. Cinderella, since that is her favorite). But I was not opposed to the Shortcake chick. I loved her as a young child and since all things old are new again lately (Carebears, Rainbow Brite, even Transformers & Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), I figured, what the heck? I was preparing myself for weeks of making a dress with pantaloons and a pinafore, along with some funky look hat. But, I was pleasantly surprised upon finding the pattern at the fabric store that the modern Strawberry Shortcake has scaled down her wardrobe and is now in a pink, red, green & white striped shirt, with blue pants and her trademark hat. I'm thinking, I can do this. So, I bought some of the stuff yesterday & proceeded to curse at my dull scissors & realize that I really don't know how to sew very well. Case in point, in looking at the pattern for all the little brickabrack I needed for this costume it said "single fold bias tape, hook and eye". I asked the lady what that meant. I had found the bias tape, but I had no idea what kind of bias tape "hook and eye" was. She informed me that it was two separate things, bias tape AND a hook and eye closure. I felt like a dope. Reason #50 why I don't sew, I don't know the lingo.
But things went pretty well considering. I finished the pants this morning, after wrestling with a French cuff (the instructions just did NOT make sense). And Emma's now wearing the pants I just made. I haven't found any material for the shirt, and I still need to get some polyester fiberfill & batting for the hat. But I'm on my way, sort of.
Then this morning, I decided to make pancakes. From scratch. I've done this before but in combination with the costume thing, it looks a little suspicious.
Emma's preschool class is going on a field trip today. They're walking over to the big gym on campus & going on the climbing wall. I'm not exactly sure how this is going to go with 4 year olds, but it should be interesting to watch. I'll take my camera.

Monday, September 27, 2004

More hospital fun

Sarah had her EKG this morning. I'd never seen one done before, so I didn't know what to expect. But they put a few little nodes on her chest & belly and then used an ultrasound machine to look at her heart and take some pictures. Sarah did remarkably well, although she didn't like the cold jelly on her chest & being naked. And of course, Emma couldn't stand to not have all the attention on her, so she wanted to be right in the middle of the action. Thankfully it didn't take too long. But we have to wait until the end of this week or the beginning of next week before we get any results back. Apparently they have to send the info to Children's Hospital in Lansing & have their pediatric cardiologist look at it. I personally don't think she has anything wrong with her heart, but we wanted to completely rule it out and not just assume. Especially since while we were in the waiting area, I started reading thos article about a little girl who went into congestive heart failure at about 5 months old. Her mom said the only symptoms she had were being congested a lot & being clammy and sweaty after eating, both of which I've noticed about Sarah. But, with the DS, she's got a small nose, which could account for the constant boogers, and my MIL said she noticed that babies get really sweaty when they're about to fall asleep, which Sarah tends to do while she's eating, so I don't know.
Hopefully this will be the last trip to any hospital for us in a long time. I think the next we have to go is in early November for Emma's yearly physical. I'm thinking she needs shots then, yay.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Well so much for that plan...

I had been planning on all of us going to the Grand Rapids Buddy Walk this morning. But, it's 10:30 am and we're still at home. It's all my fault. I had the biggest headache last night & didn't get very much sleep. I would have been pretty much a wash this morning trying to get everyone out the door. So, I feel horrible that I asked everyone to donate money to the Buddy Walk when I'm not going to the one I asked for donations for! Thank goodness there's another one next week in Lansing, which is closer. I still feel like I let everyone down, especially Sarah, even though she had no clue what we were going to do today. But I have ALL intentions of going next week & hopefully my health will allow me to.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Can I just relax for a minute?

Ok, today has been pretty busy & it's not even 2 pm yet. For starters, Jeff woke up 40 minutes late this morning & we were rushing to get out of the house to get him to work. I know both Emma & Sarah had someplace to be at 9am, so I was in a hurry to get everyone clean, dressed & out the door by 8:45am. Emma had speech therapy from 9-11:30am, while Sarah had a team meeting for Early On. They decided that Sarah is doing so well developmentally that she doesn't need any therapies right now, although they did give me some suggestions to help her alone before our next meeting in November. Then they had the Early On playgroup at 10:30. It was in the school's gym, and they had all these toys & balls for the kids to play with. There was a little boy, about 11 months old, who has Down syndrome, as well. I'd heard about him from the Early On coordinator & had been trying to get in contact with him mom, but she works full-time and is getting her Master's degree, so time is a precious commodity. He was there with his sitter. I gave her my number to give to Joseph's mom to have her call me when she gets the time. No rush. I think Sarah had fun. Since she couldn't run around like the majority of the kids there, she just sat with me & played with little toys. She really liked this rubber square that squeaked. It was big, about 4 inches cubed so it was easy for her to hold on to. I'm thinking this will have to be a toy that we buy for her.
Meanwhile, Emma was still in speech, so she missed out on the big playgroup, but she had fun where she was. She might end up going to one-on-one therapy at the school, like they had originally wanted, but we'll see how she does next week.
Then we came home, only to have Jeff call & see if we were coming to the college to eat lunch with him. He had promised Emma she could do that. So off we went again. By the time lunch was over, it was time for Emma to go to preschool. I had anticipated that, and she didn't seem to might the fact that we'd been home less that an hour since 8am this morning. Sarah & I came home and you'd think we would be able to rest, but no. Now I have to sit around & wait for the satellite guy to come & install our DirecTv. All so Jeff can get his Sunday Ticket & watch every football game every week. Not that I might, I've been itching to see a 49ers game since last September. Even though they're not that great, hey, they're our team.
So, Sarah is asleep & I get to relax just a minute, until the satellite guy knocks on my door.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Four year olds & gum...

Not a good combination. Emma has had gum numerous times without incident. But, today we had the token "gum in the hair" moment. Fun fun. Good thing this didn't happen 15 minutes before we were due to leave for school, otherwise I might have screamed & cut her hair off. But, I was calm, relatively, and put peanut butter in her hair to try & get it out. Don't ask me where I got that tidbit of old wive's tale/homemade remedy. I think I vaguely remember hearing something about it helping with gum in the hair. To tell you the truth, I don't know if it really helped. Emma had fun with the idea that I put food in her hair to get food OUT of her hair. So, it took about 30 minutes, but I got 99% of it out. She then took a bath & her hair was fine. Chalk it up to one of those childhood moments. Thank goodness Sarah slept through the whole thing. If she'd been up & cranky, Emma might not have long hair anymore.
Speaking of Sarah, the poor little girl had to get 4 shots today. She had her 4 month check-up (yes, I know she's 5 months old now, we're a month behind) and that included shots. But she also got weighed & measured. She's 24 1/4 inches long & 13 lbs. 14 ounces. She was being such a good girl, not being fussy or anything. She was just looking up at me & smiling & then all of a sudden, BAM! Some evil woman in a white nurses outfit sticks her poor thighs with a needle. It actually took her until after the 2nd shot to realize what was happening to her. And then she just looked up at me, and her little face crumpled. I just had to laugh, it was so cute! But once I picked her up & soothed her, she stopped crying. I had to stay 20 minutes after the shots, to see if she had any immediate adverse reaction to them. I fed her & she fell asleep. Poor little thing.
Needless to say, by the time Emma went to preschool, I was beat.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Working for the weekend

It's been a busy week, and both Jeff & I are glad that the weekend is finally here. We can sleep in, well, ONE of us can, and we don't have to worry about work or school.
Emma started speech therapy again this week. She goes once a week, on Thursdays, from 9-11:30am. It's a group of kids, about 5 of them, that go all at once. That makes it a long day for her, because she's got preschool from 1-3:30pm that same day. But she didn't seem to mind it, and she didn't seem to be overly tired or cranky. The teacher, in fact, called us yesterday to ask if she had had any problems with the busy day. I tol her Emma kinda thrives on being busy. She loves school & pretty much just loves being around other kids, so having a lot of things to do don't really bother her too much.
We're going to a fall festival this afternoon. It's being put on by the preschool, so hopefully we should be able to meet some of the other families & maybe Emma will find a new friend!
I'm also looking into getting Emma in beginning ballet. It's not gymnastics, but maybe she'll enjoy it. My philosophy is, let the kids try out new & different things, and let them decide what they like & don't like. My dad & step-mom did that with my sister & brothers. They were in a LOT of sports & activities when they were Emma's age, and after a few years, they figured out which ones they wanted to focus on. I want to give Emma the same opportunity. She's got so much energy, that I know she'll love sports, especially soccer, but she's not old enough to do it just yet. She missed the cutoff date by 9 days, which is typical when your child has a December birthday. Jeff had to deal with the same thing when he was growing up.
Next Saturday is the Buddy Walk in Grand Rapids. It should be fun. I'm looking forward to meeting other parents who have children with Down syndrome. There's one other family in town, who has a little boy who's 10 1/2 months old. I haven't gotten in touch with them yet, but maybe this weekend.
Well, Sarah has officially discovered her feet. She's constantly grabbing at them & using them to move the toys that are hanging above her on her playgym. She's not to the point of putting she in her mouth yet, but I'm sure that'll be soon.
I'm putting some new pictures on the website today, so check 'em out!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Who needs sleep?

Little Sarah has become a night owl. Or, in the case of last night, a night HOWL. She decided, at midnight, that she was going to be up & about, regardless if Jeff & I wanted to sleep. She did the same thing the previous night, where I got about 3 1/2 hours of sleep. Last night, she woke up about 2:45am, after only being asleep for about an hour, screaming her head off. She wouldn't eat & she wouldn't be consoled for about 30 minutes. Even then it took me about another 30 minutes before she fell asleep again. Jeff thinks she must have had a nightmare. It definitely seems like that's what happened. So, again, I got about 3 1/2 hours of sleep. Coffee is the only reason I'm even still functioning. That and the lady who's coming to my house in about an hour. She's from the University of Michigan & is going to be conducting the study Sarah's involved in. I have to be conscious for her to be here.
Well we bought our tickets to Orlando, FL. Jeff's going there in a couple weeks for a conference and the girls & I are going to join him the last few days so we can go to DisneyWorld. It should be a fun trip. Jeff will fly out there on the 4th of October, with us meeting him there on the 7th, and then we'll all fly home together on the 9th. Short, but fun. Hopefully we'll be able to see our friends Jon & Jennifer while we're there.
Ok, this is written a few hours later:
The girls from the University of Michigan just left. They were here for about an hour, measuring Sarah, taking video of her movements & giving us toys & other paraphernalia to work with. Sarah's wearing an "Actiwatch" on her ankle & tummy that will measure her movements for the next 24 hours. I have to keep a log as to what she's doing during that time so they can accurately determine how much she's moving on her own. The toy is pretty cool. She can either lay on her tummy or back & reach for these stuffed animal looking things that make music. It also has a mirror on it, so Sarah should be getting to know her reflection pretty well. I was right, they had a "baby" treadmill. It was the cutest thing. She didn't really walk on it, but she moved her feet a little bit. They also took her height & weight. She's 23 3/4 in long & 13 lbs. 9 oz.
Emma isn't going to be able to do gymnastics this fall. Poo. I wasn't sent any information about it & by the time I called them to get her in, they were completely full in both the classes. Oh well, we're looking to get her into dance or soccer, so she can do something besides speech therapy & preschool.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Sarah Wilson-test subject

We got something in the mail the other day, inviting us to be a part of a research study with DS kids. It said that someone would com eout to our house & give us either a Kick & Play gym or a Tummy Time gym for Sarah to play with. We are to have her on it for a minimum specified amount of time per week and they would be coming back once a month for 4 months to see how she's. It's pretty cool! They also want to see how these toys affect Sarah's ability to walk (assisted) on a treadmill (I'm assuming they have a baby sized one & aren't using a full size one). So it should be interesting. Maybe we'll even be able to keep the toy!

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Homegrown goodness

While Emma was at preschool today, Sarah & I went to the Farmer's Market. It was nice to go around all the displays & see things that were grown within about a 20 mile radius of here. They had huge zucchini & tomatos, and lots of corn. They've had it every Thursday since the beginning of June, but this is the first time we've been able to go. Truth be told, this is the first time I've remembered to go. I had all these plans to go every week, but it never happened. Like going to the breastfeeding support group once a month, hasn't happened yet either. But now that school has started up again, & we're planning on having Emma do gymnastics, I'm sure there will be plenty of other things that I forget to go to.
Emma is starting Speech Therapy again. It's taken a year & a half to get her back into it. It's going to be in a playgroup setting, with a group of kids, and it's 2 1/2 hours long, ince a week. Thursday's look like they're going to be our busy day, because the speech is in the morning & then she has school for 2 1/2 hours in the afternoon. They had said that Emma wouldn't be able to go to the therapy outside her preschool, since they had a therapist go to the school twice a week. But I argued for her, saying I didn't want her to be taken out of school just for therapy. She loves it too much & I didn't think it was fair. So, they agreed with me.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

What was the point of that?

I drove all the way to Lansing, forcing Emma to miss school, all so we could be told things I already knew. You'd think that, since we had to make this appointment 4 months in advance, they'd have something new & interesting to tell me. All they did was give me information I already had & told me things that were obvious. I suppose it was nice to have a "expert" tell me that Sarah looks really good & doesn't have very many outward signs of Down syndrome, which I already knew. But they did set up a referral to have an EKG done on her, just to rule out any heart defects completely. They also set up a schedule to have other diagnostic tests done on her over the next year. Thyroid, vision, hearing, ect.
A word to the wise: young children & coffee tables don't mix. Jeff & Emma were rough-housing last night & Emma's nose came into abrupt contact with the side of the coffee table. She hit just below the bridge of her nose. We were freaking out, because I thought she had broken it. It was bleeding a little bit, not enough to get worried, but it started swelling up immediately. She has a little abrasion on it & it's going to be bruised, but I think she'll be ok. I don't see any signs of a black eye, but I'm sure it's coming. Poor kid. She was milking the attention though, got a big bowl of popcorn out of the ordeal.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Lansing, here we come

Today is Sarah's genetics counseling appointment at MSU. I'm not exacly sure what they're going to do at this appointment. Hopefully they'll be able to tell us what kind od Down syndrome Sarah has. We made this appointment back in May, so I don't know what to expect.
Poor Emma has to miss school in order for us to go to the appt. It's in Lansing, which is an hour away, and we need to leave here by 1:30pm. And since school is from 1-3:30pm, she can't go. I feel bad, but I think she'll get over it. Jeff can't go with us, since he has school, so I'm making this trek alone.
I started exercizing again today. Well, doing my Bodyflex tapes again, if that can be called exercize. I figure it's better than nothing & I need to lose some weight. It worked before, so I figure it can work again. I never seem to be able to do anything else. I'm also going to start walking with Sarah in the stroller while Emma's at school. I haven't done it so far, so we'll see.
I think we've changed our plans for going to Orlando, FL with Jeff next month. Because going to CA at Christmas is a little more important, we're going to instead probably visit our friends in Tennessee. They just had a baby, Justin, so it should be fun with 2 little ones. I wish we could see our friends in FL as well but sometimes things happen.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Yay for my techie husband!

We finally got our new hard drive on Monday & Jeff has spent the past two evenings, after a full day's work & school, getting our computer back up & running. We bought a program that automatically backs up the computer once a week if anything new has happened. So hopefully we won't have this problem again. We found out what the problem was, though. A faulty surge protector. Oh fun. Our video card also went kaput, so that's another thing we have to get. We have an older one that we're using now. I realize now why some people don't like computers & don't want to deal with them. They're expensive & are constantly needing to be tweeked, otherwise they throw a hissy fit & die on you, taking all of your digital pictures with it.
But the most important thing is now we have Final Fantasy XI back up & running. Yay! I played last night for the first time in almost a week & got myself killed 4 times in an hour. Two of them were my fault, two of them weren't. I wasn't happy.
Emma started school on Monday. She' s so excited! She loves it. In fact, she cried when her teacher told her it was time to go home the first day. They have playtime outside everyday the last half hour before school ends, and she about peed herself when she saw that they had swings. It was all she could talk about after Sarah & I picked her up that first day. And she keeps getting surprised every time I tell her that she goes to school everyday, rather than every other day. The only bad thing is they don't have a show & tell day for the kids, and Emma's upset about that. Things run a little differently at the school. They don't have a mandatory art time or a routine when it's time to go home, like they did at her other preschool. I especially think the routine they had, when they all lined up & sang the "goodbye" song helped Emma with her "transitional issues", where she has difficulty going from one thing to another without adequate time to adjust.
Jeff found out that he's on the Dean's list for the summer semesters! He got 3 A's and very high B+. I'm so proud of him! School started again for him on Monday & it looks like it's going to be a rough next couple of months. 13 units, including Pre-calc, so it should be fun! Looks like I'll be helping him with homework.