Friday, August 31, 2007

19 Months Old Today

Today is Beth's 19-month birthday. Yes, we are still celebrating every little milestone. No surprises in her development except that the jury (Gramma, Daddy, me, various friends and her brother) have decided that she definitely has more energy then her brother. It doesn't seem possible but it cannot be disputed that this little girl is into everything, all the time, and in the biggest way possible.

I can't tell you how many times I pull her off the chairs underneath the kitchen table. If they are pulled out, she climbs up and then balances precariously on the edge, nearly tipping them over backwards. If they are pushed in, she climbs up anyway and then screams like a banshee each time she tries to sit up and bumps her head. I have to hold her head down while gingerly sliding them out from under the table apron. If someone happens to be sitting on one, she climbs up the back or tries to sidle in behind you.

She absolutely cannot sit down, not even on your lap. She has to stand up and walk all over the tops of my thighs, squishing that nice sensitive fat that so unbecomingly graces my thighs. She walks up my body like a ladder until she is perched on my shoulders or nearly falling over the back.

Her favorite spot is on top of the playtable which is thankfully only two feet tall. I can't tell you how many tumbles she has taken off of that thing! Her second favorite spot is standing on top of the back of the couch, giggling as she sees my extreme concern and agitation that she has climbed up there AGAIN!

Her giggle at getting us frustrated is nearly enough to get her out of trouble but we're trying not to encourage her antics. Today she even had this deep little rumble that implied she had far too much intelligence for only 17 pounds!

Yes, she is driving me bananas! No, I can't believe I would ever say that. I am often transported back to those NICU days where I sat crying next to her isolette. One of the respiratory therapists, Gail, who knew a thing or two about babies (like all of the NICU nurses). She used to tell me "Just wait. On a year you'll be coming to the NICU begging us to take her back!" How right she was! ;-)

How wonderful it is to laugh at all this. When I'm not soaking my feet, that is...

Perhaps this photo of Elliott sums up how I feel by the end of the day...He can cause a few headaches, too but what a great little boy he has become. God has truly blessed us!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Just 17 Pounds at 18 Months

Beth's 18-month appointment found her healthy as a horse (albeit a super-miniature horse). She has actually lost 2 ounces in the last month but now measures 29 inches. Our doctor assures us that her size is of little concern because she is active, intelligent and in excellent health. She also continues to gain in a steady, slow rate.

We are so normalized that our trip to Tahoe didn't even register as something to be concerned about. We were initially warned to keep her away from high altitude because preemies can experience apnea in the lower O2 levels found above sea level. This didn't even register until I was driving to nearly 8,000 feet on my way up highway 88 two weeks ago. Beth had been sleeping so soundly in the car when suddently, I remembered the early cautions from our NICU doctors. I whipped my head around (thankfully keeping the car in its own lane) to find her "pink" and happily asleep in the car seat. ...I let her sleep in our bed the first night we stayed in Lake Tahoe...just to be sure.

I think this was the last concern we had about Beth's health. The books about preemies say that we still have other things to watch for but neither Dr. Arab (a complete pediatric genius in my opinion), Mike or I expect her life to be anything other than normal.
I am a member of a group of moms who blog about their premature babies. I feel guilty when I read their entries about the many scary health problems their babies have. How did we get so lucky? I'll never know the answer and I am reluctant to say that God chooses exactly how things will go for He doesn't want His children to suffer or be sad. I do believe in His power but also believe there are other forces on this Earth, including our own.

I have learned one lesson however. Prayer is a powerful tool if not only to sway God's decision that something should go the direction one advocates for, but also to help one focus on the positive outcome. Believing that everything will turn out alright is the first step to reaching that desired state.

I believe so strongly that envisioning a positive outcome is powerful that I have nearly completed writing a book about this idea. I'm not sure if the book will actually get published [or that I'll feel comfortable sharing it with the masses (hummm, why did I start this blog??)]. The process of writing it has helped me sort through the events leading up to Beth's birth (and fortunately culminates in a happy ending).

For now, I continue to read about other preemies and with each story, I thank God that Beth is alive and healthy. I don't have the concrete answer about how that outcome transpired. I'm just truly thankful that it happened this way. And I, for one, do believe in miracles.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Tahoe Vacation

Here is a collection of photos from our trip to Lake Tahoe. We spent nearly two weeks in a wonderful home in Meek's Bay and just returned home on Saturday. My mother rented the house from a friend and various family members stopped in for a few days or week.

Among these images are Uncle Mark and Gramma doing "Hip-Hip-Horrays" for Beth (she loved the enthusisam), Nicole, Chris and Elliott with goofy hair, Elliott lounging on the canoe and Beth sleeping on the beach.

More photos and stories tomorrow but I felt I had to get something up since I've been enjoying my vacation too much and getting little computer time.

Elliott and School

Elliott will start kindergarten tomorrow. I don't know if I am sad that he is growing up but perhaps I'll feel it tomorrow after I drop him at his first day of school. This photo was taken on July 24 in front of our house. We planted sunflowers, zinnias, coreopsis and alyssum in this little plot. Some of the flowers have special meaning to us. The sunflowers really took off and towered above Elliott's 45" frame. Perhaps they are metaphors for what is to come. He will grow quicker than we are ready for, shine his golden smile on all of us, and share his joy with all those who care to join him.