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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New pediatricians!

So we finally snagged an appointment at the pediatrician office we wanted to switch to--only for S at the moment but B and Iz will get in as soon as a new patient appointment opens up.  S and Iz and I drove up there yesterday morning--it is across the street from the Children's Hospital so it is a bit of a drive but I am hopeful that this will be a positive move for us and if so, the drive is worth it :)

We got there early and I was not looking forward to the wait but they took us back early and the wait was not bad at all.  And yet the Doctor apologized for our wait LOL  I can't remember the last time a Doctor apologized for a wait, especially when it was not a bad wait at all :p

She spent a lot of time talking to S, getting to know him, going over the little sheets they have you fill out, looking over the papers I brought from his evaluations when he was diagnosed ADHD and his IEP.  She noticed that his anxiety was mentioned several times and the little checklists we filled out (he had one to fill out, too--I think it is fantastic that they get the kid's input!) scored high for anxiety for him so she talked to him about how he felt and fears and things.  He told both me and her that he wanted to see the "special doctor" who helps people when they are scared.  He and I talk a lot about his anxieties and how to feel better about them but he is so obsessive about the things that worry him that he just returns to them over and over again.  So she referred him to the psychologist so he can get evaluated--she is thinking he may have an obsessive anxiety disorder and that, in her experience, that can often disrupt school and its possible the previous focus on ADHD is going in the wrong direction.  But the psych is the expert in that so we shall see.  At the very least, S will get a little professional help with his worries and anxieties and hopefully that will make a big difference for him!

One of the things I liked the most is the fact that the doc did not bat an eye at the fact that we were unmedicated.  S received OT and behavioral therapy at the school but it is just once a week for a short session.  We have seen improvements but I think he would benefit from more--his old pediatrician stated she just prescribed the meds and every thing else was the school.  This pediatrician says it is no problem to set him up with their OT and behavioral therapy.  No lectures on medications, no pressure to get a script.  I like it :p  Because we are not on medications, she referred us to the psychologist who works with the unmedicated kids--once that evaluation is done, we move forward with the other referrals (the psych also evaluates for ADHD and the doc wants their own ADHD eval instead of just going off the school evaluation).  By the way, I have no problems with medications for ADHD, I just don't think they should be the first step.  Since S has responded positively to a small amount of OT/behavioral therapy, chances are he will respond even better to additional therapies.  If he doesn't, the next step is medications.  But I will be happy if we can avoid them!

I am very hopeful we are moving in the right direction!  Our appointment with the psychologist is late May.  And over the summer, he will turn eight and can start the evaluations for learning difficulties (eight is the minimum age they do evaluations at this office)--hopefully we can find out why he has such trouble seeing/writing letters and numbers the "correct" way so we can help him.  I know it frustrates him to struggle so much with reading and math (his favorite subject). 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

My little pilots

And here you thought I was done with the Texas posts!  So did I :p  But S pointed out that I hadn't posted about his favorite moment of the trip so I promised I would write something up :p

On our very last flight, the flight attendant asked the boys if they had ever been in a cockpit.  Neither had so she told them that if it was okay with Mom and Dad, she would ask the pilot if they could go up to visit with him after we landed.  We were all the way at the back of the plane and so were one of the last ones off but the pilot waited patiently for us and invited the boys in to check things out :)  At first B didn't want to but once he saw S disappear through the door, he wanted in, too!  The pictures are mostly of the backs of their heads because I was standing behind them in the little hallway but they love them anyway!

B loved getting to press buttons!

The pilot gave them a quick "tour" of the cockpit and told them a little about flying and which buttons and levers were the most important.  They got to push some buttons and flip some levers and had a great time pretending to be his copilots :D  I think they would have stayed for hours LOL 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Wreck-It Ralph *spoilers ahead!*

A few years ago, we started S in the local public school for Kindergarten.  He was so very excited!  He couldn't wait to go to school and ride the bus and learn all sorts of things :)  We did the orientation and the bus tour and met his teacher and got a tour of the school and all those new-to-school things one does and his excitement just grew and grew and grew.  It was adorable!

That excitement was short lived.  To this day, I still do not know exactly what happened at that school--they circled the wagons and just would not talk to me.  I would get calls about behavior that was completely out of character for S and when I tried to find out what had happened, the principal would say they had nothing to do with it, S just acted that way.  According to him, there was never any provocation, no one was ever involved, it just happened.  I never tried to deny he had done something, even when it seemed highly unlikely (such as the time the principal said he beat up a group of third graders), I just wanted to understand the circumstances leading up to whatever they said he did. I couldn't work with him on proper behavior and responses if I didn't know what happened, you know?

On the day we pulled S out of that school, he came home in tears.  He had a "talk" with an adult at the school and she told him that his brain was bad and so he was bad and since it was his brain that was bad, there was nothing he could do about it and he would always be bad.  When I called the principal, I told him that I was giving his staff the benefit of the doubt because surely no adult would say such things to a child.  However, it is important that you verify the kid understands what you are trying to say because what a child hears is often NOT what you are trying to say.  S was so upset over this and all I wanted was for him to have another "talk" with whoever it was so she could clarify what she meant and help him.  No matter how many times I tried to tell him he was not bad and not doomed to be bad forever, it still came down to the fact that someone in authority, that he trusted, that was at his school where he knows he goes to learn, made him feel worthless and he needed to hear from her that he was not.  The principal's immediate response?  No one ever talked to him.  No investigating, no conferring with the teacher and aides, nothing.  Just an immediate, no one talked to him.  How the heck would he know that?  How can he with confidence say no one spoke to my son at all the entire day?

It was the last straw.  We pulled him and within a few days he was enrolled at a charter school in the small city about ten miles or so away.  There is no bus service so I drive him there and pick him up--it is a bit of a strain budgetwise because of the gas but it is such a better place for him.  If there is a problem, or even a potential problem, they talk to us.  We work together to come up with solutions.  They even helped him mostly get over the "talk" he had at his former school.  He still occasionally brings it up but he recognizes that while sometimes his behavior is bad, he himself is not--he is learning and trying and working at it.  But the fact that he still brings it up is heartbreaking :(  He still has that fear that maybe it is true and he is bad.

Last month during one of our family movie nights, the kids wanted to see Wreck-It Ralph.  I did not realize when we got it from redbox that it would become so important to S and would provide such an awesome platform to help him continue to work through the lingering issues he has from his first Kindergarten experience as well as issues with his ADHD & SPD.  S knows he is different from the other kids.  He has trouble sitting still, things are harder for him to learn, he has impulses other kids do not.  We talk about what ADHD and SPD are, try to show him he is not alone and many other people have it, too.  Try to show him that everyone has strengths and weaknesses and that even though he may be teased for being "different", he is still awesome.  Sometimes, though, it is rough because he is at the age where he just wants to fit in and doesn't realize that everyone has something different about them, everyone has struggles, everyone has things they need to work through.

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 Enter Wreck-It Ralph :)  S really identified with Ralph.  Ralph was a bad guy.  He did bad guy things.  The other characters of the game treated him differently.  The Bad Guy support group reinforced the idea that a bad guy is a bad guy and there isn't much you can do about it.  And yet Ralph is not a bad guy.  He doesn't want to be a bad guy.  He wants more.  And then there's Vanellope--she, too, is different and gets teased and picked on because of it.  S thought her "glitches" were kinda like him--she had some control over it but not enough to make it stop, it sometimes interfered with what she wanted/needed to do, and the other kids were mean to her about it.

And yet, those things did not define them.  Ralph's job may have been a bad guy, but he himself was more.  He was kind and smart and brave.  Vanellope wasn't just a glitch--she had dreams and talent and determination.  The characters get a happy ending and I think S really needed to see that.  It helped him articulate some of his fears about being different but also gave him hope. Other people saw Ralph as bad but in the end, he showed them he wasn't.  Like S, Ralph believed them for a long time but when he decided he was more than a bad guy, he worked hard until he was at a place he was happy with.  People saw Vanellope as just a glitch but she showed them she was so much more.  Vanellope always had confidence in herself--she always knew that she was special and could do much more than people thought.  I have been working with S since the day he had that "talk" at school on having more confidence in himself and seeing all the things that are special about him.  While we have made tons of progress, seeing Ralph and Vanellope really hit home with him.  I wonder if there will come a time years down the road where this movie will be in his "defining moments" category?  It may fade away in memory for him but I think it will always have a special little spot in my heart for the many many teachable moments and conversations it gave us. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

IEP, round two

A few days after B's IEP meeting, it was time for S's meeting.  Unfortunately, there were no toys for Iz there but she soon discovered the white board and markers LOL  The OT also had some cards she uses with the kids and let Iz look through those, too, so Iz was reasonably entertained so we could talk.

This year has been up and down.  Sometimes things would go well and sometimes they just weren't :\  Part of it was they had some staff turnover that affected S and things were lost in the transition.  It was frustrating that we had a plan in place to help him but lack of communication between old, new, and transitional staff meant it wasn't always working.  I dunno, perhaps starting off the meeting by stating how frustrated I was may not have been the best but on the plus side, I have seen an effort on several of the staff's part to communicate better and more clearly.

Over the last several months, we have gotten several "hints" that we need to be thinking about medications for S for his ADHD.  No one has come straight out and said it but reading between the lines, the implication is strong.  At this point, I'd rather see them fully carry out his IEP and see if we can get back the results we had at the end of last year!  And after the IEP meeting, I am not at all convinced we are at the point of medications since we didn't even talk about his ADHD affecting his learning and performance in school.  Everything was centered around his sensory processing disorder and his ability to learn.  I would really like to say learning disability but nothing is diagnosed and their evaluation says he does not have one.  However, the OT is at a loss because he should have outgrown seeing/writing letters and numbers backwards but he has not.  And she is in agreement that he doesn't seem to see a difference between a correct letter and a backwards one--put them next to each other and they look the same.  And letters that are similar, such as b and d or p and q all look the same to him so he has a fifty fifty shot of picking the correct one :\ She is working with him on writing them correctly but unless we can find a way to teach him to distinguish between backwards and forwards, he will still struggle to read because sounding out the wrong letter means he doesn't get the words :\  I see many of the same letters/numbers backwards as well but the similar ones look different to me so I can distinguish between them.  I'm not sure how to help him with this and frankly, the staff is at a loss as well.  The head of his IEP team is researching and hoping he can find someone out there who wrote about it and has some tips.  I am hopeful the new pediatrician (if we ever score a new patient appointment--how many hoops does one have to jump through?  And why can't the people who schedule appointments tell me everything I need to do the first time I call instead of giving me one more thing every single time I call :\  I know the office is busy and it is supposed to be one of the best in the area but can't you make your own appointments instead of outsourcing the hospital customer service staff who can't seem to make this easy?  :p) will have some insights and suggestions and give us a referral for services since reading difficulties are one of their "things".  Fingers crossed that when I call again today, all my Ts are crossed and my Is dotted and they give me an appointment LOL

Overall, though, I am pleased with how the meeting went.  We had a nice discussion of things that work with him and I brought up some things we do at home that are successful--those are now part of his IEP and with the improved communication I am seeing, I can see them implementing and having success with it :) 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

One year ago--April 2012

I was looking through some pictures from last year :)  She looks so tiny!
Here she is just ten days after surgery--we took the boys to the park and once she saw the swing, she wouldn't rest until she got a ride :)

The day we got home from the hospital--she was so happy to be home :)

One of my favorites :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

IEP, round one

The end of the school year is getting close and around here that means IEP time--both boys have their IEP reviews in March.  B was first up and one lovely thing about an IEP meeting at a preschool is the fact that there are toys and books everywhere so there was plenty to keep Izzy occupied while we talked :)

I think one of the more difficult things about putting together a plan for B is the fact that we don't know exactly what we are working with.  His evaluations through Early Intervention and the preschool show there is something going on but those evals don't give a diagnosis.  He has some delays but we need the pediatrician involved to get diagnostic to know exactly what is going on.  Things like high-functioning autism and OCD have been put on the table but without those evaluations, no one knows for sure.  We know that he is speech delayed but has been improving with therapy (although he is still too far behind).  We know that he is incredibly rigid and inflexible and that this interferes with his social development--he has a clear idea in his head how things should go and he does not handle deviations from that.  We know that he has little rituals he MUST do but we don't always understand the rules for those rituals and he seems confused that we don't understand.  Getting the proper evaluations is a fight every step of the way--so far, none of the local pediatricians have seen any cause for concern.  Even the one who thinks he is autistic :\  They want to wait and see if he grows out of these behaviors but the preschool teacher and social worker are in agreement that the sooner he gets specialized help, the better.  A diagnosis gives them a direction to move in.

At this point, my next move is to move him to the pediatricians at the Children's Hospital.  Its a drive but from all that I've read and heard, they can get him the evaluations he needs to find out what is going on with him.  So we are working on that and hopefully he will have a new patient appointment soon!  And maybe, just maybe, I will finally have a pediatrician I can work with instead of constantly fight against :p

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I was worried that with all the sickness going through our house that Easter would find us sick and at home but we all woke healthy!  So we got all dressed up and headed off to church :)  On Easter morning, there was also a breakfast and the kids enjoy that because it usually means there will be donuts ;)  B was so excited about his donut but once we were at the table, he would not touch it until he ate all his fruit.  Izzy did not have time for donuts because there were eggs to eat!  And cheese and turkey cubes.  This girl loves her eggs and cheese and I believe one of her brothers polished off the donut she had taken one bite of while waiting for her eggs.

After services, it was time for egg hunts!  The Littles had theirs first and I'm afraid I have no pictures :(  They were too excited to hold still and we spent the time chasing after them.  I didn't think Iz would really participate but after watching to see what was happening for a few moments, she was ready and had great fun hunting down those eggs :)

Once the Littles had their hunt, it was time for the bigger grades.  B wanted to come out and watch S hunt--we stood at the wooden rail fence that goes around the playground and watched.  B really wanted an egg so one of the volunteers told him he could have one.  Now, the Littles hunt was held on the patio and an area with decorative rocks so the recent rain really didn't affect their area.  But the playground is covered in mulch and so it was a bit wet and muddy and when the volunteer picked up an egg to hand to B, it was a little dirty.  He looked at the dirt and told her, UH-UH, IT DIRRY.  Ha!  Trust my kid to turn down a candy filled egg because it had a little dirt on it.  She was kind enough to wait until he couldn't see her to have a laugh over it.  S, however, did not mind a little dirt and had fun trying to find the well-hidden eggs (often walking right past the ones out in the open--he wanted a challenge!).

I tried to get some nice pictures of the kids once we got home but those boys of mine never hold still :p 

 I managed to get a few non-blurry photos of the boys.  Iz was all tuckered out and laid down on the sofa so it was easy to get a few shots of her :p

 Grandma asked if she could put together the Easter baskets this year so everything was a big surprise this time around!  The thing that had B the most excited was the lamb in his basket--he saw it and yelled SHEEP!!!!!!!!!! 

 Iz sat up to see what was going on and once she saw there were presents, she was ready to be awake ;)

 B, generous soul that he is, told me I could have his brother's Easter bunny ;)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Admitted :(

On Tuesday, March 19th we were supposed to get Miss Iz an antibiotic shot at her pediatrician's office but unfortunately, they don't do them so back to the Children's Hospital we went.  The ER was very busy again but Iz was much more stable so we waited and waited and waited and waited :p  She was very unhappy with us and the situation in general.  And she was still unable to keep anything down for longer than a few hours :(

They got us back in a curtained off bed and wanted to have a doctor come look her over before they administered the shot since she was still vomiting and a little feverish.  So we waited some more :p 

New surroundings perked her up a little but you could tell she still wasn't feeling well at all :(  The doctor wanted to get some more IV fluids in her because she was still dehydrated despite the fluids the night before in the ER.  Plus the diarrhea had started along with the vomiting but the quantities were little because she just couldn't keep anything down.  She was so mad at me because I only let her nurse for about 30 seconds at a time and then we took a break and then nursed for 30 seconds again.  It was keeping fluids in her longer but she wanted to fill her little belly!  Her tummy couldn't handle it, though, so we kept up little sips and rest.  The nurse brought her some apple juice but even little sips of that proved disastrous and she threw up everything we'd managed to keep down that morning *sigh*  Between the vomiting and the IV placement, she needed some quiet time. 
That didn't last longer, however, and soon she needed some Mommy cuddles and a nap.
The doctor was worried by how long she had been throwing up (almost 48 hours by this point) and sent her for an ultrasound to make sure it wasn't a problem with her intestines (I forget the name but they were checking to see if it had twisted and was blocked).  She looked OK, although some murkiness in her bladder suggested she might have a bladder infection but the urine test came back negative).  They tried giving her zofran but she was still vomiting so after a long long long day in the ER, they admitted her.  

Some more testing revealed she had rota virus.  Our nurse told me this year's strain has been really bad and they have had a lot of kids hospitalized with it.  She received a couple more rounds of IV antibiotics to clear up her ears but there wasn't much they could do for the rota virus other than give her IVs and wait for her to be well enough to go home.

Poor thing did not like being in the hospital at all!  I can't say I blame her--the last time she was hospitalized was for her surgery and that definitely was a traumatic experience.  She regressed quite a bit while we were there and she screamed her head off every time I had to run to the bathroom :\  I spent a lot of time holding her. 

Every time we tried a little food or juice, she started throwing up again.  The only thing she could keep down was breast milk so we gave her tummy a rest and she nursed and had her IV only until Friday the 22nd.  When she woke up, she demanded food :)  While we waited for breakfast, she played some games and listened to some stories. 
When her food arrived, she couldn't wait to dig in--french toast, a banana, and a smoothie.  She only ate about half but she sure did enjoy it!

The best part, though, is the fact that she kept it down and felt good enough to finally go home!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A visit to the ER

The day after we got back from Texas, Iz got sick.  She started throwing up Sunday night and threw up on and off the entire night.  I was taking B in to the pediatrician on Monday to get his staples out so I had her look Iz over at the same time.  At this point, poor Iz had been throwing up for over 12 hours and couldn't keep anything down longer than an hour or so.  The doc said it was just a virus, no big deal, wait it out, and watch for signs of dehydration.  B started throwing up when we got home, too, so I was busy caring for the both of them. Iz spent most of her day in her little "nest" resting.

B started feeling better within a few hours but poor Iz just kept getting worse.  When she spiked a fever above 104 and nothing I did brought it down more than a few fractions of a degree, we headed off to the Children's Hospital ER.  Poor B was ready for bed but instead was watching cartoons in Izzy's ER room.  Honestly, I don't think he minded all that much ;)

When we got there, they had us in triage pretty swiftly, despite the ER being really full.  They don't take a chance with heart babies!  Her fever was still high enough they had me strip her down to her diaper to try and cool her down.  Her heart rate was up in the 180s so we were back in a private ER room fairly quickly and they got her hooked up to the monitors.  Poor little bug was miserable and stretched out on the cool bed to nap.

A dose of Motrin and some IV fluids did wonders for her mood and energy levels! 
Although you can still see her cheeks are flushed from the fever.  But she played for a bit before getting all tuckered out and laying down to watch cartoons with Bryce.  
They got her heart rate stabilized and her fever under control.  Turns out that she had her first ear infection as well as the stomach bug and it was a doozy--massive double ear infection.  Her older brother S had his first ear infection at just under six months old and it was also a massive double ear infection caught by the ER.  He did not have another one for a few years, though, so fingers crossed she is the same way :)  She had some IV antibiotics to start working on those ears and we were free to go home with orders to take her to the pedi the next day to get her next round of antibiotics as a shot.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Tanglewood Park

One of the best parts of being in Texas was how warm it was!  Between the cold and the wet at home, trips to the park were few and far between so we were determined to do some playing while we had access to warmth and sunshine :)  After a visit with Grandpa, we headed to Tanglewood Park for a little playing.

Iz was quite proud of herself for climbing the steps all by herself:
And then it was time to do a little driving:
Every time she went near the slide, her hair stood up!
This is pretty much the view I had of B the majority of the time--kid was on the go!
S was loving that the swings went so high :p

 Iz decided that she was ready for some solo sliding--she was adamant she did NOT need help :p

The kids were starting to wind down about this time and we were looking forward to a picnic lunch at the park.  I was also looking forward to calling up a dear friend of mine that I have not seen in person in many years to see if she had time to meet up for a little while.  But before any of that happened, I heard one of those cries that tells you your child is seriously hurting--poor B was climbing the little curved bars that he has done a hundred times before and slipped and fell.  They say head wounds bleed a lot but the amount of blood pouring out of that boy was shocking :\  I was using my hands to apply pressure and slow the bleeding and he alternated between screaming, yelling for help, and begging me to let him go back to playing.  Yep, he wanted to go back to playing.  

We took him to the Dell Children's ER and spent the next several hours there getting him checked out and stapled up.
He was still so upset and fought anyone touching his head that they had to give him a sedative to calm him down.  The doctor said most kids do not fall asleep but they get drowsy and calm and it lets them clean the wound and staple it up without having to fight the kid over it.  Wanna guess how many adults it took to hold B down even with the sedative?  Four.  Four full grown strong adults.  Boy did not want those hands anywhere near his head :p  Once it was over, though, he was happy again and they let him keep some of the syringes used for cleaning and sedating (clean ones, not the ones they used on him :p).
By the time they were done, though, that shirt and overalls were goners--covered in blood and soaking wet from the cleaning (they tried to wrap him in a towel but he wasn't having it).  Too bad, too, since it was his T-Rex shirt and dump truck overalls, his favorites :(  Once the staples were in, it was safe to lift the shirt over his head and they got him some clean dry clothes to wear out of there.

Poor little buddy just wasn't feeling great the rest of our trip.  We didn't get to do many of the things we planned because he didn't feel up to them.  We visited with family and he napped at the hotel.  Hopefully next time we can visit with my friend and do museums and parks and hikes!

A few days after we got home, B went to his pediatrician to get the staples out and he went back to being himself :)  I've had staples before and they are uncomfortable so it isn't a surprise that he was cranky and mad and not feeling well until they came out!

His experience, however, has not dampened his enthusiasm for parks and playgrounds ;)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Dear Isabelle

Dear Isabelle,

One year ago today, you had open heart surgery.  You were seven months and ten days old and weighed in at exactly fourteen pounds, not quite double your birth weight yet.  You could not stand or sit up or crawl.  You had stopped rolling over and stopped doing your army crawl.  You were just too tired from congestive heart failure.  And yet you were a spunky little thing :)  You had sass and made it known!  You loved to cuddle and nurse and watch everyone and everything.  You were teething (but had no teeth yet) and loved to chew on anything you could get into your mouth!

We woke up very very early on the morning of April 19, 2012.  In fact, I can go look at my phone right now and the alarms are still set:  at 1:35 am I woke you up to nurse one last time before you had to fast for surgery, at 3:45 am we woke up to get ready to go to the Children's Hospital, at 6:00 am you had to report to pre-op.  You slept the whole way there but once we were at the hospital, you were wide awake and so interested in everything going on.  You moved from my lap to Daddy's and back to mine again, trying to see everything.

You loved it whenever someone came in our room to say hi.  You liked all the attention they were giving you :)  You even changed into your little yellow gown without too much fuss.  And when a nurse gave you a pacifier, you thought it was the best chew toy ever :p 

The anesthesiologist came to see us and spent almost an hour with us, just talking.  I wish I remembered her name but things were such a blur at times that day.  But the anesthesiologist got to know you, and us, and we got to know her and it made it easier to hand you over.  You weren't going with a bunch of strangers, you were going with your new friend and you smiled up at her as she took you through the double doors.  It would be many hours before I saw you again and the next day before you were awake enough to really know I was by your side.  When you are ready, if you want to, I have some pictures of you after surgery.  You were so still and small and silent and all the machines and wires and tubes and medicines were a little scary but you needed them and they helped you get better.  But today, one year later, they are still too much and so they remain tucked away, waiting, until you are ready for them.

What a difference a year makes!  Today, you are fearless.  You walk and run and climb and throw tantrums and hug and kiss and love life every single moment.  You show off your scars and eat more than your older brother.  You love to look at books and be read to.  You love to build towers with your toddler Legos
 but you are quick to let us know when you are mad they won't go together.  You have gotten so many bruises and bumps and scrapes because you are willing to try anything, including jumping off of things :p  You play hard, you love so big, and you can't wait for your next adventure.

Your brother S told me that a surgery anniversary is a much bigger deal than a birthday so we had a party today to celebrate :)  It wasn't big, just us and Grandma and Grandpa but you were just happy they were here and were so ready for the extra attention!  You ran around laughing and jumping and smiling :) When you noticed the camera, you stopped to give me your "cheese" grin, which is oh-so-adorable and shows off your teeth ;)

Your brothers had a lot of fun decorating for you and picking out little presents (a grasshopper gardening set was the biggest hit).  S chose a balloon theme and now, hours later, they are balloons roaming around the house, being blown here and there by the heater vents--we had some snow this evening so the heat is a must tonight! 

We ate some of your favorite things--pasta salad, broccoli salad, loaded potato cubes, and marinated steak.  You couldn't decide what to eat first :) 

We got you a cake from Monica's and they did such a nice job.  You had a heart shaped cake with a little heart "patch" sewn on, just as you have a patch sewn onto your heart :)  When you saw it, your eyes got big and round and you were ready to dive in and eat!

Once you got your first piece, you wasted no time in digging in--and let it be known you were so so happy to be eating CAKE!! :) 

You didn't want a single drop of that cake to go to waste!

When you had cleaned your plate, you held it out and demanded "MORE".  Of course we gave it to you and you polished off a second small slice :)  You asked for a third and we compromised by hustling you off to the bath while the last piece was put away in the fridge for you to eat tomorrow.

You are asleep now, sweet girl, and I can hear you breathe in the next room.  You are almost double the size you were this time last year and you are so active and happy and loving.  Sure, you have your moments of frustration and anger and sadness, just as all toddlers do, but we are so overjoyed to get to share those moments with you that they don't seem so bad.  I can't wait to see what you will be up to on this day next year.

With so much love,