Monday, August 31, 2009

It doesn't phase her.

With school starting back and cold and flu season right around the corner (well, I think it's pretty much here), we've buckled back down on Blair's public outings. After seeing her in pictures you probably wouldn't even think that we would have any problems, and Blair IS doing well, but she is still very fragile from a respiratory standpoint.


She sure is a sweet girl!

She's still on oxygen at night, and I don't have any idea when that might change. The faster she grows, the better her lungs will get. Although she gained good weight before her July appointment, she had not when she went last week. She's only 14 pounds 3 ounces. She's no road runner in the growth category. We just have to trust God's timing for her and his protection over her while she recovers. In the meantime, we're headed over to the GI Center to add another doctor to our list. Feeding tube was mentioned, but I sure hope it doesn't come to that. We'll see at the end of the month. Of course, don't all parents want their kids to stay little? Brad asked me tonight if we could only feed her once a day so that she would stop growing. She certainly seems to grow fast to me too!


But she's as tough as they come. Do you think she listens to anyone?!

Blair's just a normal baby for most of the day. She's busy as can be, can't sit still, and smiles more than anything else. however, she does deal with a few things that aren't so much fun. Every morning, every. single. morning., Blair wakes up coughing -- which leads to throwing up. Every morning. Since she's been asleep for 10 hours, there's usually nothing to throw up, and sometimes I think that's worse. The good thing is as soon as we give her a nebulizer treatment, she's fine. But before that, it's not fun. She usually has one other wheezing spell around mid afternoon, so we do another nebulizer treatment for that, and she's all better. Those two treatments would be in addition to the two steroid nebulizer treatments we do every day as well. So that's three to four nebulizer treatments each day. Blair loves her purple dragon, but I'm sure she'd rather play with it than wear it. Nebulizer treatments are a pain, but I'm so thankful they work.







All this sounds bad, but it's nothing to Blair. She takes each nebulizer treatment without batting an eye or dropping a toy. They don't even phase her. People who see her for the first time are amazed by her ignoring the mask, going about her business (within reach of the nebulizer) or sitting quietly in her mommy's lap. This baby is a good baby -- for many more reasons that this one!

Blair will most likely get four flu shots this year and will have RSV prevention shots again, but before then I'm nervous about this swine flu, since I understand that it can be respiratory. I'm not scared of the flu by itself, just the flu and Blair. We are certainly asking God to keep Blair healthy and continue to bless her growth and recovery. Please keep Blair in your prayers during the coming months. We are so thankful that she IS doing so well, but we have still have to be careful.


And here she is on a different day doing what she does best: unfold clothes!

I didn't used to be as germ conscious, but now I'm very aware. When I'm out, I see folks put their hands in their mouths like I used to spot gum chewers in my classroom. It's like a magnet to my eyes. Just take a look when you're out. You would not believe the number of people you will see who put their hands on their faces or in their mouths in public. When we first had Blair, even I had to be very mindful of not chewing on my fingers. It took practice, but a sick daughter was a good motivator. So, if you see us around (which is less likely these days) and happen to grab Blair's foot or hand, don't be offended if I slather her with hand sanitizer. I'm just doing the best I can.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

School Days... Again

Once again, I am a student. I've gone from student to business person back to student. Then I was a teacher (and studied for my masters in Spanish), and now I'm back to being a student again. I think I must just like school. I told my poor husband that this would be it for a while. He also likes school, so maybe he'll find something he'd like to study next. He can do his own homework though -- I'm already tired of mine!

So I'm in school taking in the preliminary classes for the accelerated BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program. Since I already have a degree, I'm just adding to it. I have conditional acceptance (that's how this program works) and have to pass this semester to be fully accepted into the program, and right now I'm nervous. I'm a good student, but I haven't had FIVE classes in a LONG time! I have a lot on my plate. Needless to say, my house is a wreck. But I'll get it clean... by um, December?

There are folks of all ages taking classes on campus. I was behind a lady buying textbooks in the bookstore the other day, and she looked like she could be my grandmother! That's wonderful if she's getting her first degree.
My cohort is filled with folks like me though, who are getting a second degree, so most of us are old(er). It's funny being in class with students who are the age of my former students. In fact, I've seen a few of my former students at school.

Kids have not changed in the year that I've been out of the classroom. The other day, on two different occasions I saw a young girl (two different girls) with her large handbag on her desk texting in her bag. Hello?! Do they think they're really fooling someone? Am I the only one that thinks that is rude? I can't imagine anything that is so darn important that they have to text in class. I bet you that they don't have a sick baby at home!

Times have certainly changed. I got my first hand held cellular phone when I was a senior in college (the first time). I probably had 200 minutes of talk time a month. Now, I talk more than that in half a day sometimes (of course, I don't use the house phone nearly as much as I used to); and when I walk around campus, 9 out of 10 people I meet are holding a phone, talking on a phone, or texting. How did we ever manage without cell phones? I hate to say that I would have some really boring school commutes if I didn't have one! Or maybe I ought to try to get in my me time....

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Big Time

Several weeks ago, Blair was photographed by an amazing photographer from San Francisco. We're not so special that she came all the way over here just to snap a few pictures of Blair, but we were fortunate enough to have her stop by when she was in the neighborhood. The photographer Mari is the younger sister of my best friend from college. She was doing a tour of the South and ended up stopping by our house for an early morning photo session. We had a great time. I'm so excited for Mari and for MAK Photography! She will have many pleased clients in the future, because she does beautiful work! Check out her stuff and a few of the shots of Blair and me!

Language

We've started going once a month to an early intervention specialist for Blair's Auditory Neuropathy. The specialist will monitor Blair's speech progress to make sure that she does not get behind and give us auditory activities to work on at home. If Blair does get behind on her speech due to AN, we will be able to act accordingly.

We went this past week and had a good time and came home with lots of homework! We've got homework for days in this house right now. With my five classes (who told me it was a good idea to go to nursing school?) and Blair's homework, I don't know
when I'll be homework free! Blair's teacher gave us some good ideas though, so I'm excited about working with Blair. Among other things, we'll be concentrating on "b" words, since she already says "b." She says other consonants too, but "b" is evidently a good one to start with because it's easy and many first words start with "b."

The teacher was pleased with Blair's hearing but is wondering about how she is hearing the mid tones. We know that she hears low and high tones well, but the mid tones are questionable. She called it a cookie bite audiogram, which means it dips in the middle, I guess. She's going to keep an eye on it, and Blair's hearing will be tested there as well as continuing with her regular ENT.

The good news is that there are several phrases to which Blair responds with no physical cues -- meaning that she does the appropriate action without being shown. This is wonderful, since we are not sure how much "static" she has from the Auditory Neuropathy that would impede her hearing clearly. It's a blessing that she is showing receptive language. We hope that the understanding of these phrases will be followed by some spoken language! Here are the phrases that we know that Blair knows:

Where's Gus?
Where's Da Da?
No, no.
Hey!
Bye bye!
Where's your paci?
Turn the page.
Dance!
Kiss the baby.
Where's the baby?
Patty cake, patty cake....
Love Gus.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Photoshoot

So Blair is getting bigger now, so each day it seems she's more active and more curious (and maybe a tad more hard headed). Although Blair is so sweet and happy most of the time, Mommy's taking her outside and putting her on the itchy grass and making her be still for a picture does not make for a very happy moment.

So this is what happens:

She plays with pine straw.



She eats pine straw.



She eats leaves.



She eats her bow.



She pulls up grass.



She tries to put leaves in her ear.



She gets Gus kisses.



She rides mommy's knees.



And she makes pretty pictures!






Sunday, August 9, 2009

Perfect 10

Lets see what all you're doing this days, Miss Blair! You are TEN MONTHS OLD!!

You are growing out of the 3 -6 months clothes in the length, so we've taken out some 6 - 9 months sized stuff -- you're movin' up in the world, girlfriend! We're still using size 1-2 or 2 diapers. You're 26 1/2 inches and somewhere over 14 pounds (hopefully close to 15!).

You are still a very happy baby and now flap your arms up and down when you're excited. You kiss yourself in the mirror and baby dolls, but you won't give me many kisses! You are just beginning to try to cruise by swapping from holding onto a chair to your musical table, but you don't take more than a step or two. You clearly state that you want something by reaching and saying "uh, uh, uh." You are sill the sweetest thing ever. When I get you out of the tub. You lean up against me. It's the stillest you are all day!

Eating is still a chore for the most part. We still give you breast milk in a bottle -- about 22 ounces a day, with a scoop of powdered formula and a little corn oil added to each 6 ounce bottle for extra calories. You love carrots. You'll eat most anything that has carrots as the first ingredient. All other things? Not so much. We're still having some issues with food. It's hit or miss on a daily basis. You even meet the old standby, cereal, with pursed lips and a head turn sometimes. The only finger foods you eat are dry ones, like puffs and yogurt melts. All of the wet, not-out-of-a-package, fresh stuff is just great for squishing. I put puffs, peas, and mandarin oranges on your tray, and you ate all the puffs and nothing else. You do seem to enjoy sand whether it's wet or dry.

You have an odd obsession with shoes -- any shoes really, but you are loving flip flops right now!

You love to take things out of boxes, bags, or drawers and to unfold clothes.

Your favorite toys include your musical table, superstar sing-along stage, and animal parade. You "dance" by bouncing up and down when you here music from toys or music on tv (commercials, tv shows, etc.). You also still love the small blue board book that has textures on each page. You have just started reaching your little finger out to touch them like mommy does.

You began doing a few new things while we were at the beach. You wave "hey" and "bye bye" now.

You also hold your own bottle -- finally!



You know to look for her paci when asked where it is. The funniest of all is your fast breathing and speed crawling when your daddy goes after you saying "I'm gonna get you!" It is precious!


(more pics to come -- i'm swamped with school and this post has been waiting for too long already!)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Beach Bums



Blair and I officially became beach bums and stayed a second week at the beach. I'd never spent two weeks at the beach, and I have to admit that it is more than plenty of time. I was ready to go home! We spent the first week with Brad, his parents, and sister; and we spent the last week with my mom and siblings. We've had lots of good food and fun on the beach and in the pool.


Bikini Blair

Blair is sort of undecided about the beach. She likes it sometimes and crawls around happy, and then other times she does nothing but whine. The whining and her temper have kicked up a notch in the last couple of weeks. She even laughed once when I told her "no" (Orr, I'll get some tips later!). I think she may be cutting a top tooth as well, so that's not really helping.



We did lots of walking on the beach to see birds. Blair walks soldier style.



She doesn't do too much food eating, but she seems to like sand just fine!



She does have a fascination with birds on the beach. My mom ran her down the beach after them, and Blair kicked her legs and flapped her arms. When you ask her about birds she flaps her arms and acts excited.



My mom's star on her necklace is another fascination. She grabs for it without even looking.



The pool is lots of fun, and Blair loves flying in the air!





She played with my brothers too. She stood in the big hole and messed up their work!




She checked out how her stroller works. Sounds just like her daddy to me!



Aunt Linnie let her play with shells!



She started waving "hey" and "bye" while we were there. She waved to everything!


Walking with her Aunt Molly

Blair does her scrunchy nose face on her own or after someone else does it.



John with sweet Blair all cuddled up to him. She also does this every time I take her out of the bathtub.





Daytona Beach 2009

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Last Days of the Taco Truck

Brad and I were sad to see the last days of the Taco Truck at the end of watermelon season. The Taco Truck only comes as long as the crew is there harvesting watermelons and loading into semis to send up north (usually). The last week of July was the last week of loading. We were sad to see the season end and the crews head to Delaware for their next watermelon season. In the spirit of the Taco Truck, I even ate cow tongue tacos from a new truck after the regular one quit coming the last week! Brad didn't tell me what they were before I tasted them. They were good, but I have to say that it was really hard to think about afterward. I didn't eat any after that either!


Brad and Alberto during lunch.


Brad and Blair getting a plate.


Beef and pork tacos

The last day of loading, we didn't know if there was going to be a Taco Truck, so Brad asked if I could make lunch for him and the crew leader Alberto. His special request was
a Mexican pork stew recipe that he loves. I found the recipe in Southern Living last fall, and I have made it quite regularly since.


Soup, pico de gallo, limes, and tortillas in the back of my car.

So I had my own personal taco truck. I ended up feeding several of the guys out there that day, and a Taco Truck came too, so we had lots of food!

Mexican Pork Stew (condensed version from Southern Living, Sept. 2008)
  • 6 green onions, trimmed
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • Kitchen string
  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder roast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 (10-oz.) can mild red enchilada sauce
  • 2 medium-size baking potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 10 (5 1/2-inch) soft taco-size corn tortillas
  • 2 (11-oz.) cans yellow corn with red and green bell peppers
  • Salt to taste
  • Toppings: lemon wedges (we use limes), diced radishes, diced onion, shredded cabbage

1. Tie green onions and cilantro together with kitchen string. Trim and discard fat from pork, and cut pork into 1/4-inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper.

Note: Kitchen string is not something I have, so I use the stretchy netting that comes on the roast and wrap it around the cilantro and onions (it gets cooked for plenty of time!). When the netting is removed, the pork roast is in two pieces. I freeze one piece of the roast with half of the netting for next time I want to make the soup.

2. Cook pork in a large Dutch oven until browned. Bring pork, garlic, and 6 cups water to a boil; skim fat, and discard. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes or until meat is tender. Stir in onion-and-cilantro bundle, enchilada sauce, and potatoes. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes or just until potatoes are tender.

3. Remove and discard onion-and-cilantro bundle. Increase heat to medium. Stir in corn, and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Season with salt to taste.

4. Stack 4 to 6 tortillas on a wet paper towel on a microwave plate and also cover with a wet paper towel. Microwave for 1 minute or until tortillas are warm. Serve tortillas and a lime wedge with soup.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Doubletime

Blair's first tooth broke through the day before she turned 9 months old, and the second one was through within 10 days after that. I've finally gotten a good picture of them both!


Beach Babes

This is beach post number one. I have so many cute pictures I want to share, so I thought I'd split it up. After all we were there for a really long time....

So we went to Ormond Beach with Brad's family and had a blast. Kim and I spent some good hours on the beach, where these days I prefer the shade of a tent. My skin is not happy about the days when I used to think I needed to be super dark to look good. I finally broke down and read the Twilight Saga. I tend not to read novels when I have things to do, because I'm such a dedicated reader that I ignore all other responsibilities. So when I go to the beach, I read read read! I read all four Twilight books while I was at the beach. Very good books.


One of the very first pictures I took is one of my favorites!


The rare picture with mommy who is always behind the camera!

Blair got in some good beach time as well. Once she gets sandy though, it's all over! I love the fact that she got to wear two bathing suits everyday! You can't wear the wet one from the morning when you go out in the afternoon! That's no fun! It worked out well, because for some reason Blair has tons of suits. Her grandmothers and aunts are mostly to blame, but I'm not complaining!

I already have a sand thrower!



The little blow up pool I found helped wash sand off, but she just wanted to put her face in the water.


We had some yummy food at places like High Tides, River Grille, and our favorite Betty's A1A Cafe. Betty's has the most delicious fried shrimp, which they use for their outstanding shrimp parmesan!


Food and fun at High Tides.


My toe-pointing, foot propping, big-eyed babe!


Blair and Kim with me outside Betty's.



Blair had lots of fun with Grandmom, Aunt Kimmie, and Andad...





And there's always fun with daddy!







On the beach...





...and in the pool. Of course daddy's hat is a favorite toy!



Blair spent a lot of her time in the condo playing with her little animal parade. She flapped her arms with excitement as it came towards her! Of course that means that someone had to make it do that, but that's ok! (Her pajamas don't match, so she must have had some sort of accident.)




She still loves that paci. It makes everything better!


Spot and grab...

...place and smile!
This girl's happy to be at the beach!