Saturday, October 27, 2012

Princess Lola

Predictably, Lola wanted to be a princess for Halloween.

We already play so much Rapunzel princess dress-up at home...

... that I wondered just how special Halloween would be for our mini Rapunzel.

But then Lola surprised me and said she wanted to be Sleeping Beauty. So, she got a new princess dress, which made her quite happy, and we dug around at home for some Aurora-ish jewelry.

Friday, we went to a Halloween party sponsored by the city. It's family-friendly so I was thinking the costumes wouldn't be overly terrifying (Lola is scared of masks) and Grandma and Grandpa Orie were in town, too, so I had a few helping hands.

It was super fun!

Lola opted against the games and more involved activities, but she had a good time just decorating the pumpkins and coloring. Millie, well, she was quite enthralled with the markers.

Trick or treat!

- Bethany :)

Friday, October 26, 2012


You never know what you're going to get when you pick Lola up from school.

Most days are like this:

Often, she is very proud of her daily creations and she just wants to talk about her day.

But, sometimes, you're greeted by the teacher who kindly tells you that Lola had a real "emotional" day and refused to try to stand on one foot or walk on the balance beam. Or, she had to be put in the nursery when the firefighters were there because she completely freaked out when they tried to do a fire drill.

So, I had no idea what to expect yesterday when I went in for my first parent-teacher conference. Admittedly, I was a bit nervous.

But it went great!

Basically, she is doing quite well academically and is continuing to come out of her shell a little more every day.

Each morning, the kids are asked to greet one another, shake hands and wish them a happy day. Lola has flat-out refused to do this every single day.

But this, week, on Monday and Wednesday, Lola kind of looked toward her teacher, who smiled encouragingly. Lola glanced at the kids on either side of her, and, in a barely audible whisper, she said, "Good morning."

The teacher said she was so excited for her that she wanted to jump and down and clap.

Me too. 

* smile *


Lola is a complete sweetheart. But she also is very, very stubborn (again, completely because of Ray, I have no doubt).

A couple of weeks ago I took the girls with my aunt to a nearby pumpkin patch. It was a lot of fun. Slides, rides, wagon rides.

She even loved the little kid-sized maze.

But then I made a very stupid decision...

I love corn mazes. Anything kind of fun and competitive-ish.

Lola? Yeah, NO.

Within about 5 minutes, she started crying and begged to get out. I had the stroller so I just figured she would sit next to Millie and chill out for a bit, have a snack. Yeah, not so much. She got worse the deeper we went. And, within about 15 minutes of entering, we realized we should probably leave, but we really couldn't. About 45 minutes later, we finally got out of the stupid maze with Lola positively shaking with fear.

To this day, she continues to tell everyone about the "super scary corn" that we couldn't get out of.

Fun times.

The thing is, though, no matter how intense Lola can be when she's scared or against doing something, she's just as intense when she loves doing something. Playing Barbies, dollies or dress-up, playing board games or painting. She is into it all at 110 percent.

And that goes for Lola cuddles, too.

And those tight, good-morning hugs each day are awesome.

- Bethany :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

an update...

Our amazing Amelia cleared her vision test last week, which was both expected and unexpected. Expected because we didn't really think there was anything wrong with her vision and unexpected because, well, she just doesn't seem to pass a lot of tests. (And I mean that in the most loving way possible.)

Actually, Millie is doing phenomenally well. She is CRAWLING! Like real, tradition crawling! She still seems to prefer to scoot around on her bottom, but is getting more comfortable with crawling every day.

She seems to especially thrive, crawling-wise, when there are other babies crawling around her, like at daycare. One problem with this, though, is she likes to watch the other kids, and the floor, instead of where she is going, so she rams into a few walls on occasion.

She also has begun pointing at things she wants. Or, more specifically, she points at my cell phone when she wants me to give it to her. And she points at Lucy (the cat) when she wants to pet (attack) her.

So very, very proud of her.

She does have another appoinment coming up. On Nov. 6, she and I will return to the Cities for a swallow study to gauge if there is a functional issue preventing her from eating solids.

Did you catch that date? Yeah, Nov. 6. Election Day, a.k.a the worst possible day for me to be away from work; I just might be the only newspaper reporter in the U.S. who asked for that date off. Fortunately, my boss has been understanding and supportive and is willing to let me come in late that night to do results stories.

As for the genetics test, we still don't know anything. I called the neurologist's office to make sure they were aware we were already going to be in town on Nov. 6. Kind of a "Hint, hint, maybe we should schedule an appointment that day to go over her blood test results" kind of call, but they didn't have any openings that day. The nurse seemed to suggest that we would just wait until our already scheduled neurology appointment on Dec. 11.

Yeah, I'm not thrilled with that idea. So I'm sure I will call again next week, before we head down  for the swallow study. If nothing else, to see if there were any cancellations on Nov. 6 and to check on the status of the genetic test. And, really, to just make sure they understand that we do not want to wait until December.

That said, the further we get from the MRI, the more convinced Ray and I are that there is nothing wrong with Millie. We think she's perhaps a little unmotivated and needs a little extra push, urging if you will, to simply try new things.

The not-eating-solids stuff is concerning, but I'm getting less and less worried about her having some rare syndrome or something. I mean, just spend 15-20 minutes with her and you see that she might not be "on track" for her age, but she is very alert, involved and interested in the world around her.

She's going to be just fine. And for once I don't think I'm just trying to convince myself of that; we really, honestly, believe that.

In other news, I had Lola's first parent-teacher conference today. I'll have to do a serarate post on Lola's school days sometime. She's such a delight, but she can be very, very stubborn! (Hmm, wonder where she gets that - RAY!)

Happy October.
- Bethany :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

the end of summer

It snowed here yesterday. Snowed. On Oct. 4.

So I'm in a reflective mood, I guess, about days with much warmer temperatures...

Years from now, when we think back to the summer of 2012, undoubtedly, we will recall everything we've gone through with Amelia.

But, that said, that really wasn't what our summer was all about.

It was about this:

And this:

And, yeah, a little bit of this as well:

This summer, we played. We worked on incorporating more healthful activities and foods into our lives. We focused on being stronger role models for our girls. We planned our super-fun-can't-get-here-fast-enough upcoming family vacation.

Sure, I caught myself feeling sad for us a few times, thinking about Millie, worrying about her because she wasn't runing after Lola or ambling throughout the yard.

But while Millie certainly has been the focus of our lives in recent weeks, her development did not consume us all summer long.

Our life consumed us. And we relished in that. We counted down to the weekends, when we'd head out to state parks. We'd take nightly walks to the playground, we wrestled and hugged and cuddled and laughed.

A lot.

 We marveled at Lola, who learned to spell and make letter sounds, who came out of her shell a little more every day, who truly became an attentive, caring big sister to Millie, sharing her toys and offering snacks and help. Lola became her own little person, demanding specific outfits every morning and cleaning up after herself without prompting. She began asking us hard-to-answer questions - "Why does the moon look different today?" or "How come people die?" - and took a real interest in learning about the world around her. Why is there grass? Why is it green? Why do birds fly? Why do airplanes fly? Why can't I fly? Why? Why? Why?

We stood by Millie as she learned to sit, roll, scoot, and, most recently, crawl. We held her waist as we worked to teach her that, yes, her legs can support her body weight, that we won't let her fall. We smiled as she took interest in Lucy and giggled as she reached for that first clump of kitty hair. We applauded when she figured out how to get from her tummy to sitting. We cheered when she began coming to meet us on her own, whether it be through scooting, crawling or a mixture of both.

We learned to better appreciate kids' music, watching Lola twirl and kick and jump along to her favorite songs. Millie began bopping to music as well, grinning wildly when a song came on with a strong beat.

We sang countless songs, read about 100,000 books.

We collected caterpillars.

We had fun.

- Bethany :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

still here...

I've tried writing several blogs in the last couple of weeks, but I gave up each time. I don't seem to have the words. I don't want to be dramatic - we still don't have any answers - but we seem to be compiling more and more questions.

Where we are officially at: We are waiting. Millie had her blood drawn last Monday (Sept. 24) for her genetic workup. The blood was drawn locally and sent to the U of M Twin Cities. We're told it can take 3-4 weeks or a month to get results.

(This is going to be the longest month of my life...)

Meanwhile, Millie's still going in for an array of tests. The neurologist ordered hearing and vision tests. The vision one is later this month. The hearing test, well, it was inconclusive. So we did another hearing test. Which was better - it confirmed that she does have hearing in both ears - but it couldn't rule out any kind of hearing loss completely. So, we are waiting until January, when she matures a bit more, to go in and have it re-evaluated.

We are also working to get her some additional early-intervention services through the school district. Every bit helps, or so we're told. But that process takes a while. We have been approved for the program - she's in - but it takes some evaluations and a lot of paperwork to actually make it happen. But we'll get there.

Speech is still a struggle... But she's still babbling lots and learning to mimic our inflections and tone.

She is struggling again with solids and eating. Not sure what is going on there... But we keep trying.

Meanwhile, she is scooting all over the place on her bottom, which is awesome. She is able to traverse the entire living room on her own. And she is learning to crawl! She can only do it for about a half a foot at a time. But she is still making progress, which is fantastic.

Meanwhile, life continues. Lola is adjusting to preschool. She still doesn't like going in the mornings but she says every afternoon that she had a lot of fun. She's not really making a lot of close friendships yet, but she is still getting used to new surroundings. More than once I've begun thinking about whether she will enter kindergarten in 2013 and what the best school for her might be. But I haven't gotten very far. Until we know more with Millie, we're all just kind of ... stuck.

Still, Lola is learning a lot at preschool. She is starting to finally become interested in learning her letters and the sounds they make. (Thanks, in large part, to her new LeadPad2, which apparently made learning a lot more fun than Mommy could. Whatever, I'll happily take it.)

Here's a word find, Lola-style. She wanted to write names on the chalkboard.

She knows how to write Lola, mom, and dad on her own. I had to help her some with Amelia. But not as much as you'd think.

So very proud of her.

And Millie, too, of course. You should see her cruise around the house now. It's so funny. She is constantly tracking the cat.

Anyhow, we're still here. We're still OK. We have bad days and we have good days. On good days, we're convinced that Millie is completely fine and will catch up. On bad days ... well ... let's just say that those are harder. The possibilities are so varied... And we try not to focus on that, we try so hard to be positive, but, yeah, sometimes, it gets overwhelming.

But, really, overall, we are doing all right. These two little girls are amazing, each in their own way.

- Bethany :)