Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Driving Miss Katie

We have some friends who have boy/girl twins. We have passed Michael's clothes on to the boy and they pass the clothes on from the girl to Katie. We have also shared various baby gear, including carseats and exersaucers. The twins are a year older than Katie. They recently outgrew this toy and asked us if we wanted it for Katie. Todd brought it home yesterday.

After dinner last night, we decided to take the kids out for a walk. We put Katie in her new "car". She loved it!! Todd pushed her down to the bottom of the cul-de-sac and Katie was bouncing around in her seat. She cried when we stopped pushing it. When we got back to our house, we kept walking to the corner. We let Michael push Katie in the car and she thought this was so much fun. It was neat to watch the two of them playing together. Michael enjoyed making Katie laugh and was thrilled that she liked it.

Here is Katie in her new ride:

Michael pushing her down the street!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easter Egg Fun

Michael's school is having their Easter Egg Hunt for the students on Friday. The teacher requested that each student bring in 12 filled eggs. Last Friday, Michael and I went to the store to pick out the candy that we would put in the plastic eggs. I was going to get it while he was at school but he asked to go with me to pick it out.

The eggs need to be brought in to the class by tomorrow so we put them together today. Michael cut open the bags of candy and put several pieces in each egg. As we put each one together, he told me what friend it was for. I explained to him the concept of the egg hunt and that everyone may not get the egg that he made for them. When he was putting the candy in, I noticed that he grouped the candy eggs together by color and only wanted to put one color in each egg. It was funny to me because I always like to put one of each color in each egg!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Signs of Spring

With spring finally arriving here, we have been spending a lot more time outside. Todd has been working on the playhouse and we have been getting out in the yard. Michael has been playing with the neighbors' kids. It's been so nice (with the exception of yesterday morning).

Here is what spring looks like in our yard:

Flowers on a tree that used to be Susan's

Our cherry tree in bloom

Green leaves starting to fill in behind our house

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Playhouse in Progress - Part II

Todd and one of his friends worked on the playhouse for most of Saturday afternoon, framing the roof. Todd has also added some spindles for the railing on the porch.

Here is the progress in photos:

Monday, March 22, 2010

Katie's One Year Checkup

Today we went to see Katie's pediatrician for her one year well visit. It was another great checkup! She now weighs 20 lbs, 10 oz (50th %ile) and is 29 3/4 inches (75th %ile). The only bad part of the visit were the 3 shots that she had to get at the end. She cried but was calmed down by the time we got her dressed and picked her up.

Katie has hit all of the developmental milestones for a 1 year old. She is babbling away now. It sounds like she says "what's up?" sometimes, which is pretty funny. She has so much personality and tries to hold a conversation with her toys at times.

Since her first steps a few weeks ago, Katie has been working on standing up without holding on. She will take a step or two at a time. I think that she prefers to crawl because she is so fast! She reaches up for everything and even stands up on her tiptoes to reach things she wants to get.

Katie even looks like a toddler now. The baby of the first year seems to have gone away in the blink of an eye. Especially with her new haircut. We are cherishing every moment with her and enjoy looking forward to her second year as much as we have enjoyed the first!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Glimpse into Michael's Future

Yesterday we had some friends over with their daughters. They are a few years older than Michael but he loves playing with them. He gets so excited whenever we tell him they are coming over.

Michael has a Power Wheels Harley Davidson Motorcycle. He rides the motorcycle all over the yard, circling the house. Since it was such a nice day yesterday, we spent a good bit of the afternoon outside. My friend and I were sitting on the porch with Katie when the motorcycle drove by. Her daughters and Michael were taking turns riding the motorcycle, two kids at a time. One of her daughters was on the front of the motorcycle driving it and Michael was sitting behind her, holding on with his hands around her waist. We joked with each other and commented that what we were seeing could become a reality someday!

It's hard to imagine Michael as a teenager and even harder for me to imagine him riding a motorcycle with a girl. But it was so cute to watch them as kids! I only wish I would have thought to take a picture of them but we were having too much fun watching.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Great News!

Yesterday Katie had her follow-up cardiology appointment. When she was born, the doctor heard something in her heart. Katie had an echocardiogram done when she was only 1 day old. They found that she had two holes in her heart. At the time, we didn't yet have the results back for the genetic testing for Marfan syndrome (she did test positive for Marfan syndrome). The cardiologist scheduled a follow-up for 6 months.

At her 6 month checkup, one of the holes had closed up. The second hole, which was classified as an ASD, was a little larger than the cardiologist had hoped it would be. He told us that if the hole didn't close up or get smaller by the time Katie was 3 or 4, he would have to patch it. He wanted to follow up again in another 6 months, when Katie turned 1.

At her 1 year appointment, Katie had another echocardiogram. I was pretty nervous to see what the results would be. Well, it was great news. The ASD was 7mm at the 6 month checkup and it measured between 1 and 2 mm at the 1 year checkup. In fact, the cardiologist said that he wouldn't even classify it as an ASD anymore; it was now a PFO. Michael had a PFO but it closed by the time he was 3 years old. Katie will go back for a follow-up a year from now.

It's nice to get good news every once in a while, especially since we never know what to expect!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

One year ago today....

Katherine Marie was born! It's so hard to imagine that she is already one. It has gone so much faster than I remember it with Michael. I have been trying to soak up every moment with her.

She has developed quite the little personality. I look at her sometimes and wonder where her curiosity comes from. At times, she just sits there and takes everything in and other times, she can't stop laughing. Her laughter is so contagious.

I have loved watching her grow from a newborn baby to an infant to a toddler. When she was a newborn, I used to sit and hold her while she was sleeping. She was so warm, soft and agreeable. Katie is such an easygoing baby and I hope that continues into toddlerhood.

I remember when we found out that we were having a girl. I was nervous and excited all at the same time. I was worried that I couldn't possibly love another child as much as I loved Michael. As soon as Katie was born, I realized that was a ridiculous thought. She has captured my heart, especially when she looks in my eyes and gives me her adorable toothy grin.

Happy Birthday Katie! Mommy and Daddy love you so much....and so does Michael!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Katie's First Haircut

Katie's hair has been growing like crazy. Her hair has been in her eyes and she was always pushing it out of her way. For the past week or so, I have been giving her a little pigtail to get it out of her eyes.

On Saturday morning, we decided to trim her bangs before the party. She was already sitting in her highchair so I got the scissors and a comb. My mom held her head straight while I cut the bangs across. She was pretty good but it only took a minute or two. I got the keepsake first lock of hair for her baby memory box.

She looked so cute when it was done and more like a toddler than before. Here is a picture of the new hairdo:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Party Time

Yesterday we had Katie's first birthday party, even though her actual birthday isn't until Tuesday. After the party prep, everything went pretty well.

The party started at noon and we partied for the rest of the day. Katie was dressed in her birthday outfit, complete with pink tutu. When I showed her the tutu the night before, she got all excited and said "oooohhhh"! It was too cute. We ate lunch and mingled with the guests.

I finished decorating the cake by about 12:30, in my usual fashion. No matter how much prep I do, it seems like I am always doing something to the cake at the last minute. I definitely learned from this cake experience. I made a sheet cake and then baked the #1 cake to put on top. Here is a picture of the cake. Believe it or not, the cake is almost gone only 24 hours later.

Katie got her own little smash cake. I had been eagerly anticipating this moment. I hoped that she would just dig in to her cake since she loves to eat and hasn't turned down anything that we have given her yet. Michael was extremely tentative on his first birthday and I think he may have cried when icing got on his arm. Needless to say, Katie didn't disappoint. She was a bit unsure of what to do at first but as soon as she got the first taste, she dug in!



After we hung out a bit, then we opened presents. Katie got some very cute outfits, several baby dolls (which she loves!), Elmo block box, a baby ring, and some books. Mainly all Katie was interested in was the tissue paper and how many ways she could eat it!

It was a fun time and I look forward to seeing her dig in to another cake on Tuesday. Here are a few more pics from the party:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Party Prep

Katie's 1st birthday party is tomorrow, even though her actual birthday isn't until Tuesday. We are having family and friends over for a fun celebration. It will be food, drink, cake and good times.

In the days leading up to the party, I always have good intentions on getting stuff done ahead of time. But I am a procrastinator at heart and for some reason this prevents me from preparing in advance. Considering this, I have actually done pretty well this year. Maybe it's because I am not working or I just don't want to get stressed out. Our kitchen counter was actually clear at one point last night.

I already have the cake pans, mixes, food and decorations that we will be using. I have done some cleaning but still need to finish vacuuming downstairs and tidying up the millions of toys that seem to cover the floor in every room of our house.

This is my plan: make the sheet cake today and ice it tonight while the #1 cake is baking. Then I will ice the #1 cake tomorrow before the party at noon. I usually end up having some sort of decorating meltdown the morning of the party and I am hoping to avoid that this time. We'll see what happens as the party gets closer. One good thing is that Todd has off today, which helps since Michael is preoccupied.

On the other hand, Michael's birthday isn't until May but I already have the theme picked out, as well as the cake pan and candle. I feel good about that!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Playhouse in Progress

After our most recent home improvement project (a screened porch), we had some wood left over. So Todd decided that he would build a playhouse for Michael and Katie in the backyard.

The plans were made and the posts for the foundation were placed in the ground. Concrete was poured to cement the posts. The frame for the floor was completed and the floor boards were placed and nailed down. Then the work on the frame of the playhouse began. It is actually a lot taller and bigger than I had imagined in my head. It will have a front porch and openings for the windows and a door. The bottom will most likely become a "first floor". The frame went up on Sunday so it's really beginning to take shape.

Michael is so excited and every time he goes out in the backyard, he looks over at his playhouse. He so nicely posed for some pictures in what has already been constructed! I think this will bring lots of fun for Michael, as well as Katie. More posts to come as the construction continues.......

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Back to PT

Shortly after Michael turned 2, he was checked by an orthopedic doctor for a slight curvature in his spine. The doctor referred us to a pediatric physical therapist for an evaluation. The therapist found several areas, in addition to the spine, that could benefit from weekly therapy sessions.

One of the first things that the therapist recommended was orthotics for Michael's shoes. He has worn these since August 2008. They help with the pronation of his feet. We definitely noticed a difference in Michael's walking after he got the shoe inserts.

Michael continued to go to therapy once a week, as well as see the orthopedic doctor every 6 months for continued evaluations and spinal x-rays. At his last visit in May 2009, the doctor changed the visits to once a year.

Therapy was helpful but quite a fight at times. I mean, he was 2 when he started and turned 3 after he had been going for about a year. Up until I had Katie, it was almost a weekly fight to get him to cooperate and follow the therapist's directions. It didn't help that the sessions were at the end of a long day either.

In April 2009, he started seeing another therapist in the same office. What a difference that made! I truly believe that he just did not connect with the first therapist. The new therapist was younger and made the exercises that he had to do seem like a game, not a chore. I think this was a turning point in Michael's treatment. He still had weeks where everything didn't go well but for the most part, I saw a big attitude change.

Fast forward to November 2009, his therapist advised that she thought Michael could benefit from a break in therapy. At first, I was skeptical because I didn't want to lose the progress we had made. But at the same time, I knew he was getting burnt out on the same exercises and he had been going every week for the past year and a half. We left, armed with a list of exercises to do, promising to come back in 3 months.

Today was his first appointment back since the break. It was great. Michael was much more receptive to the exercises and she said that she could see a difference in his understanding and cooperation. She gave me the exercises that we should concentrate on and we will resume weekly sessions for right now. Next week, she is going to introduce some new exercises. I am hoping that goes as smoothly as today did.

I was so relieved that Michael adjusted well to the return to PT. I had been telling him about seeing Dottie, the therapist, and he remembered that he would get a treat if he listened and did the exercises. I knew that it had gone well when Michael walked through the door with a big smile on his face and a Reeses Peanut Butter cup in his hand!

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Day of Firsts

It started with me and ended with Katie. Today, during Katie's nap, I took the time to clean and get dinner started early. This is something that I would like to do more often but always seem to get sidetracked by other tasks. I was actually able to get the chicken defrosted, cut into pieces and into the marinade shortly after noon. Then I cleaned the bathroom and folded a load of laundry. I felt extremely productive.

We picked Michael up from school and came home. We were in the living room playing on the floor with some toys. Katie was doing her usual routine of using everything and anything to pull up to a standing position. She used me to stand up and then let go. She actually stood there for a minute, not wavering at all. Previously, she had only stood on her own for about a millisecond. I had backed up a little to see what she would do next. And that's when another first came....her first steps! She took 3 or 4 steps towards me before falling down.

Michael and I started clapping for her and I was so excited and happy. Katie realized the big deal that we were making because she started clapping for herself! This is something that she likes to do when she knows she has done something exciting. It's so cute!

Let the craziness begin because this girl is not one to sit back and watch the world go by. She wants to be right in the middle of everything and it's one of the reasons that I like to call her "Katie Tornado". I think it was only fitting that these things happened on the first of the month as well!