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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mira's in dance class

You may recall that we have had Mira in gymnastics class for quite a while now.  Well, when she turned 3, the classes went from being Parent-and-tot classes to solo classes that she attends by herself.  At the same time, the place we are taking her has a variety of specialized classes for children starting at age 3.  One of the classes available is dance/gymnastics fusion.  Given Mira's love of dance and the dance talent of her aunts foretelling an innate ability, how could we not move her into the dance class the minute she was able?

Well, at first she was really nervous about it.  The day of her first class, she said she was feeling sick (nauseated) and that she didn't want to go.  But I told her, "Let's just go try it and see if it is fun.  We'll never know until we try."  So we went and the first class she spent just standing to the side and watching.  She didn't participate at all, just observed.  She also was not able to stay in the class the entire time; she made it for 30 minutes before she came out and "needed a break".  Somehow after 15 minutes of sitting with me, I convinced her to go back in for the last 15 minutes of class.  

The second class went only marginally better than the first.  She still said she didn't want to go, but I managed to talk her into it again.  She at least managed to stay in the class the entire time, but it was still pure observation, no participation at all.  

Don't they look cute, all lined up and turned out?

 I was starting to get discouraged, thinking that maybe she'd never warm up to it, but then, in the third class....

Have you ever seen so many pink tutus in your life?

My, my, that is some adorable dancing.

Also, by the third week, Mira had acquired an admirer.  I think this little girl may have been a big reason that Mira finally began participating, since the girl was practically dragging Mira into the action.  It was just the push (or pull) that Mira needed.  

They do ballet and creative movement, followed by tap, and then gymnastics.

Learning how to shuffle.  See the little tap shoes?  *swoon*
And then she also gets some time in each class to work on her gymnastics skills too.

Parallel bars

Forward rolls

Look how strong she is: she can hold her own weight on the bars!

After class, Ellowyn decided she'd better spruce up on her dance skills as well, if she was going to keep up with her sister.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Party with the fam

In addition to Mira's "Big Girl" party, we also had a birthday brunch with family and adult friends to celebrate both Mira and Ellowyn's birthdays.  I think birthday brunch is becoming a tradition; we've done it every year since Mira was born.

E unwrapping presents

M working a new puzzle with Gramma Laurie and Aunt KK

E loves books, so this gift was right up her alley.

I stuck a bow on E's tummy and she puffed her chest out and smiled, so proud of her decoration.

Aunt Lindsey showing M how to use her new cook book that we got from our friend Becky.

M always keeps her wrapping paper neat and tidy when unwrapping gifts.

This percussion instrument set from Gramma Laurie and Papa was a huge hit.  Literally.  

E loves the percussion set too.  (Her shirt says "High Maintenance", in case you were wondering.)

M got a dress up set, complete with high heels from my parents and sister.  Here she is trying the heels out.  

Singing the birthday song.  That number one on E's cupcake?  That was the same number one that we used for M's first birthday.  I told Brian that if I continue keeping all the candles, we'll have all the candles we ever need to buy by the time M is 11 years old.  Is this being thrifty or am I obsessively hoarding candles?  I'm not sure.  

Yay for my two beautiful girls!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mira's "Big Girl" Bowling Party

Imagine 13 adults, 11 toddlers, and 7 babies taking over the bowling alley and you'll have a good mental image of Mira's first "Big Girl" Birthday party.  

Mira had so much fun with all her little friends.  First, there was bowling...   

The bowling alley has gutter bumpers and then also these special ramps.  And we were using the lightweight balls, so the kids could carry the balls themselves.  They would take their ball over to the ramp, set it on top, and push it down the ramp.  The ramp gave the ball enough momentum to get all the way down the lane.  And because the bumpers were up, every ball would knock over pins.  It was great.  (I can't take credit for the idea of a bowling party; the only reason I knew it would be awesome is because we had attended the 2nd birthday of one of Mira's little friends at a bowling alley and Mira had a blast.)  

It was very much controlled chaos.  But because we were doing it on a weekday morning, we had the whole place to ourselves, which was nice because it didn't matter if the kids rolled their balls under the tables and took off running down the lanes.

You can see the edge of the chaos on the left side of this picture.  Notice that every kid is holding a ball...

After the bowling we went into a party room for pizza and cupcakes.

Everything went off without a hitch.  It was great!  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ellowyn is 1 year old!

I can't believe it's already been a year.  I'm excited and sad at the same time: excited because every day I see a little more of the person Ellowyn is growing into, sad because she's my last and so I know there are so many experiences that I'll never have again.  

I mean, who would want this face to grow up and change? Hmm?  

"Books are cool!  But I'm not so sure about this one..."

Ellowyn is showing herself to be a very different kind of person than Mira is.  Ellowyn is much more independent and adventurous.  She takes easily to new people and situations.

She sure loves her naked time after bath.
It's perhaps her happiest time of day.  Until the jammies come out.

She's still loving food as much as ever.  I swear she eats like a trucker.  And yet, still not much to show for it: she's still only about 17 pounds, putting her under the 5th percentile for weight.  (We'll get all her stats at her 1 yr well check next week.)  I guess she has a remarkably fast metabolism?
Perhaps a bit more practice with utensils is in order. 

And she's completely mastered the art of cruising.  She can cruise hanging on to virtually any surface.  We are working on getting her to walk while holding a hand, but she's not quite confident enough to try it yet.

On the day of her birthday, we did have a little celebration with just our family (there will be a bigger party with the extended family and friends coming up this weekend).  Mira picked out the strawberry cupcakes and helped me make them.  

Ellowyn was skeptical at first...

But then she realized there was cake.  

We had been saving sweet sugary treats till her first birthday, so this was her first experience with dessert.  She was hesitant at first, but quickly warmed up to the idea.

Mira, on the other hand, is an expert on the subject of cake.  

Cake face is not so cakey.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Christmas 2011 (er... sort of)

I say "sort of" because our Christmas wasn't in 2011.  We didn't really celebrate until over a week into 2012.  Better late than never?  

The reason for our delayed festivities?  We all felt like this:

Note the perpetual snot and glazed look.  

Well, ok that's not entirely true.  We did make a blundering effort to do SOMETHING on Christmas day.  We went over to Brian's dad's house and hung out with his family, exchanging gifts and spreading disease.  Looking back at my holiday photos, I can tell that I was really out of it on that day because I only managed to take 3 photos and all of them were blurry.

I guess it's true what they say about the photographer's mood coming through in their photos.  

When we all had finally surfaced from the haze of never ending nose blowing and coughing, we realized that Christmas and New Year's had passed in a rather depressing way.  Luckily we had still not celebrated Christmas with my parents, so we got a chance for a re-do.  Here are some photos from that:

There we go.  That's much better.  

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Goodbye Poofball

On Thursday, we said goodbye to our cat, Poofball.

You may remember that our other cat, Mimic, died about a year ago of advanced kidney failure.  Well Mimic was Poofball's brother from the same litter, so it really came as no surprise that Poofball's final days very closely resembled Mimic's.  She started losing a little weight and then took a very rapid and very dramatic turn for the worse.  It seemed like overnight she went from losing-wieght-but-ok to omg-she-looks-like-death.  And I knew when I laid eyes on her that morning.  I knew because she looked just like her brother did the day that he died.

So I took her to the vet and they wanted to do a ton of stuff, a whole battery of tests and probing and poking... I told them that I felt pretty certain about what was going on, so just do the blood work to see if it's kidney failure.  If it's not, then we'll address the rest of it, but don't bother her with the rest until we've ruled that out because I had a strong hunch.  And sure enough, blood tests confirmed very advanced kidney failure (results so far off the chart that they couldn't be quantified).  Additionally, her white blood cell count was also off the chart.  The vet said that usually indicates cancer.  Any one of those diagnoses would have been enough to call it, but with both together... there was clearly nothing to be done but say goodbye.

Brian came up from work to be with her as she passed.

Later that day, I explained what happened to Mira (she wasn't present for the vet appointment this time). I told her that Poofball was very old (she was 14 years old) and that her body had stopped working and there was nothing that the vet could do to help her feel better so she died.  Mira responded with "like Kronk and Big Daddy" (Kronk was our dog and Big Daddy was her great grandfather, both passed away within the last year).  I told her yes, like them.  And then I explained to her how all the tiny parts of her body would go back into the earth and the earth would use them to make something beautiful like grass or trees and also how we could still think about her and remember how much we love her and the things we liked to do with her and so she would always be with us in our memories.  (I've become very practiced at this speech, since I've given it to Mira following 5 different deaths now.)  And she got it.  She's coming to understand death very well.  A day later in the middle of play, she stopped what she was doing, looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, "we don't have a kitty any more".  And so we hugged and talked about Poofball some more.  She is showing a depth of understanding that amazes me, given that she is not even 3 years old yet.

Poofball was a sweet beautiful kitty who made our lives happier by her presence and she is missed every day.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Weigh in - 3 months

I've spent a vast majority of this month either being sick myself, or caring for one sick child or another.  As a result, I haven't been to the gym at all in over 3 weeks.  My priorities this month have simply been to keep everyone in the house breathing and trying not to let my asthma get too bad with this cough.  

So it's no surprise to me that I have not lost any weight this month.  I'm calling it a win that I haven't gained any weight either.

As of today, we are all very much better and my cough is under control enough that I feel like I could get back to working out.  I plan to go to the gym tomorrow and if that goes well, I'll be back to my 4-5 day per week regimen.  I anticipate much better numbers next month.

I lost 0 pounds this month. Since I started 3 months ago, I've lost 7 pounds, putting me 23 pounds away from my goal of losing 30 pounds.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

More sickies: RSV

Ellowyn has been sick since December 19th.  Thankfully she is finally really starting to get better.  She had RSV, which she shared with all the rest of the family (and then some).  But the problem was that it didn't stop there.  The disease progressed with Ellowyn and became bronchiolitis, which then developed into an ear infection.  For the whole thing to run its course, it has taken 17 days.

The bronchiolitis was by far the worst part.  The RSV was like a bad cold, the ear infection we knew to watch for so was caught early, but the bronchiolitis... she had it bad.  Wheezing cough, fatigue, struggling for breath, gasping, rapid breathing, blue lips... the works.  Hospitalization was considered multiple times (Brian somehow managed to talk me out of it, instead we had multiple emergency visits to the after hours clinic).  She was on breathing treatments every 4 hours for 6 days.  And those were not fun.  Sometimes she was too exhausted to fight it and then she'd just fall asleep and it was kind of nice.  But other times (especially once she started feeling better) she struggled and cried for the whole 15 minutes that it took to hold the mask over her face and administer the vasodilator.  I went to bed a couple nights scared to leave Ellowyn alone in her crib for fear that one time when she stopped breathing in her sleep (which she did regularly), she would fail to wake herself, and I would walk in to a dead baby in the morning.  It was terrifying.  I can say all this now because it is over.  At the time, I couldn't say how scared I was because of that superstition that if you say something then it will become true.

Ellowyn was also on a nursing strike.  That's typical for her when she gets sick, but this strike was the longest yet: 14 days.  Thankfully she's back to nursing today and seems to be making up for lost time.  I freely admit that prolactin withdrawal may have contributed to my state of total freak-outedness during this time.

Anyway, because everyone was sick, we pretty much missed Christmas and New Year's.  This holiday season was a bust.  Thankfully, we have a make-up Christmas celebration with my parents and sister coming up this weekend, so we are pretending that Christmas is coming 2 weeks late.  As such, I will have a Christmas post later, after we have had a chance to actually celebrate.