Friday, July 29, 2011

"You Must Be Good Parents"

So said the woman in the seat in front of us as we landed in Lihue this afternoon.

Ella was an amazing little traveler today! She played hard during our layover at LAX, crawling all over the place, then took a nearly three hour nap on my lap for the first half of our nearly six hour flight. She let out a couple of happy squeals when we pulled out her lunch, but they were obviously happy-sounding. We also brought along a new shape-sorter toy that kept her attention (I still can't believe my baby is big enough for shape-sorting toys!). I couldn't have been more proud of her for being so great on such a long flight!

Now she's sleeping peacefully as I wait to pick up my brothers, sister-in-law, and new niece. It's a lot more work to travel with a ten-month old...but she brings so much joy!

Today's blessing was that Ella took such a long nap! She usually takes a good nap at daycare...but rarely is it more than two hours. Praise God that she slept so well today...let's hope she does the same for the return trip!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Vacation Countdown

I'm happy to report that we survived the daycare bug!  Thank you for your well wishes and prayers for a speedy recovery.  It's funny how a 24 hour bug lasts for pretty much exactly 24 hours.  By Wednesday afternoon, I was feeling like my normal self again.

And thank God that we got it out of our systems before our vacation!  I made reference to our upcoming trip in my previous post, but didn't really share details.  We leave on Friday for 10 days with my family in Hawaii!

After my sister-in-law and I experienced our losses in Fall 2008, it gave my whole family a new appreciation for what we have and what we had lost and what matters to us.  That Christmas, instead of spending money on exchanging gifts, we all took a family vacation together.  And really--it was more of a "vacation adventure" since we tent the snow.  It was an amazing experience, but we all decided that we wanted to do something a little more tropical for the next family vacation two years down the road when it would again be my turn to celebrate Christmas with my family.  Well, by Christmas 2010 we were blessed with Ella and my brother and sister-in-law were expecting my niece in February, so our winter vacation became a summer vacation. 

It will be my whole immediate family--my parents, my brothers, my sister-in-law, my niece (who I will meet for the first time!), and of course my husband and Ella.  We will be on Kauai, and we look forward to visiting a lot of the places that we explored on our last family vacation to the island ten years ago when it was just the five of us, before the spouses and babies.  We leave early Friday let the vacation countdown begin!

Todays' blessing was the chance to visit the local farmers market with the mom of the other little girl at Ella's daycare.  The girls are just three days apart, started at daycare on the same day, and she also works at the University, so we have a lot in common.  We've had a couple of lunch dates with the girls, and she's turning into a really good friend.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sick Baby, Sick "Mama"

There's a bug going around Ella's daycare, and sure enough, she apparently caught it.  They sent her home early on Friday because her poops were a little on the loose side, but then she was totally fine all day Saturday, so I was hopeful that she just had a mild case.  But no, Sunday afternoon, she threw up her entire breakfast. 

Poor thing.  I think it scared or startled her more than anything.  I immediately picked her up and rushed to the bathroom, where I somehow managed to get both me and her undressed and into the shower...where she promptly threw up again.  After a light lunch and a "snack and snooze" feeding, followed by a long nap with Daddy, she was happy again.  She didn't have a temperature on Monday, and was as happy as ever, so I figured that we made it through her first stomach bug unscathed.

Until Tuesday.  Again, she had another loose poop, so daycare suggested that I take her home.  When I picked her up, she was super-duper happy, but since things are slow at work, I figured it wouldn't hurt to have her with me.  Little did I know that I would soon be the one hurting.  I made it through my 2:00 meeting while Ella napped on my floor, but then went!  Luckily, I made it off the freeway before I puked in a plastic bag while pulling into our community. 

I felt miserable, and I was a horrible mom yesterday afternoon.  I put on a Baby Signing Time video, made sure there wasn't anything unsafe for her to get into, and dozed on and off while she played.  Praise God she can entertain herself these days, but I feel so bad that I was so out of it.  I don't know how I made it through dinner or her bath--maybe she could sense that something wasn't right with me. 

I made it through the night, but I still feel really weak and achy, so I'm staying home today.  And I feel thin and frail--I guess it's one way to look good for our vacation to Hawaii next week, but it's not my ideal choice.

I'm definitely not cut out to be a single mom.  I cannot wait to have my husband back with us.  I made it through his month in Korea for work, and the first of his two-week Army Reserve commitment, but I'm so ready to have him home with us.  Aside from being sick, I just want my partner back.

The blessing in all of this sickness is that Ella said "Mama"...or at least what we think was "Mama".  On Sunday night at dinner, she said it a couple of times, and smiled sweetly when we repeated it back to her--as if it really was what she was trying to communicate.  She has said it a few more times here and there, so I'm really hopeful that this really is her genuine attempt to formulate words.  It totally warms my heart to hear her call me "Mama".

Monday, July 18, 2011

I Couldn't Care Less

Last week I got together with a friend and former colleague while she was in town and got to meet her little boy who is just over four months old.  She made a comment about how she recognized that she had become comfortable with not always looking perfect.  I couldn't agree more; and I couldn't care less. 

Just the day before, while I was getting Ella into her carseat to head to work, I realized that I had what was either spit-up or toothpaste on the front of my shirt.  In my pre-Ella days, I would have gone back into the house and figured out a whole new outfit to wear.  But now, I just shrugged my shoulders and said "oh well!". 

I could have easily brought her back inside with me and changed my shirt--it wasn't that it would have been too much of an effort to tote her into the house to change.  Rather, it's that my priorities and my outlook have changed.  Sure, I want to look presentable and practice good hygiene, but having a little spit-up or toothpaste on my shirt is so inconsequential in comparison to what is really important.  Who cares?!  My husband loves me, and Ella still thinks I'm the greatest person in the world (at least while I still supply the milk).

This isn't to say that I've totally let myself go (I've been diligent about doing a quick morning workout...though I admit that I haven't gotten back on the elliptical yet).  Rather, I'm just coming to grips with the reality that sometimes there are more important things in life than clean clothes.

I was blessed to be able to spend the weekend with my husband.  He was home for a week...then left for his two week commitment for the Army Reserves, but was allowed to work from home over the weekend.  I'm starting to realize just home much I love and appreciate him as we head into this last week apart.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


I took the day off on Thursday for Ella's 9-month check-up and a dermatologist check-up for myself (you can never be too safe in Arizona).  Ella's regular pediatrician wasn't available this time because she is currently working night for July (the pediatrician clinic is part of the university-affiliated teaching hospital--which, as an educator, I really enjoy and appreciate).  She was initially seen by just a medical student for the initial exam, and we were then joined by the attending physician...who asked if anyone had ever told us that Ella had a heart murmur.  What?!  No!  After I got over the immediate freak-out-but-try-to-look-calm moment, she kindly assured me that it's really mild and it's just something they'll note.  She helped the med student listen for it, and it was fascinating to see the light bulb go off in his head as he picked up the little variance in the pattern of Ella's heart (the educator coming out again).  I sent a text with the diagnosis--Peripheral Pulmonic Stenosis--to my very dear friend, who wrote back " means she has loud arteries...there's nothing wrong with her heart".  In layman's terms, Ella's arteries are on the narrow side, so they are a bit louder as blood rushes through--just like a thin hose compared to a fat hose. 

Other than that, Ella is doing great.  At 29 inches and 18 pounds, 2 ounces, she's a long, lean baby.  The didn't give me exact percentiles (nor do I feel like I need them), but she's at the top of the growth chart for height, and just below the average for head circumference and weight.  They were pleased that we're trying to read to her as much as possible (some days more than others) and that she's proficiently crawling.  She hasn't said any true words yet, but she'll repeat sounds back for us and babble away to herself, so I'm hoping it's just a matter of time before the words start coming out. 

She's so much fun and she's such an amazing blessing in our lives.  I took her 40 week picture the other morning, and it dawned on me that she has now been with us on the outside for just as long as she was with me on the inside.  As wonderful as it was to be pregnant with her, it's even better to hold her and kiss her and love her and watch her grow.

Today's blessing is seeing the desert come back to life after the big monsoon rains that we got this week.  All of a sudden, everything is bright green again!  It's absolutely beautiful!  God knows that our state needs the rain after the fires, and He's come through.