Monday, August 30, 2010

Just another manic monday...

“Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength.”- unknown

I took this quote from a Facebook friend who had posted it.  I feel like this quote is the best way to describe me and the last 6 months of my life. When I had Ella, I think everyone would have found it totally normal for me to go into my room, turn off the lights and not emerge for a month. I bet Mike and my mom would have brought me food at regular intervals and my dad would have sent me books to pass the time. Erin would have done all of my work for me and my sister in law would of brought me Chipolte and vodka whenever I asked for it.   No one would have thought it was odd that I was hiding from reality. They would have given me my time and said nice things to me and patted my head and secretly talked to one another about how to fix me.  As much as a months reprieve from reality would have been nice (I mean, no work, vodka and books on demand, what more could I want??) I stayed strong so those around me would know the game plan and would follow suit. I need strength from my inner circle, not only because of Ella but because we lead a crazy busy life and I need everyone to know that their leader is strong and they should be too.  We don't have time in this family for "poor me". We deal with the hand we are dealt and we wake up each morning knowing the day is what we make of it.  Sure, sometimes I feel sad, but I allow those feelings like I allow myself fattening desserts. Only on rare occasions and only if I have the time to truly experience the feeling. Not worth the time or the calories otherwise!

I don't really have anything else "insightful" to post. I am to tired to be insightful. We just wrapped up a crazy two weeks of moving our office to a new location (it rocks), taking a ton of new listings, starting homework routines and yelling at Reed for rolling the baby up in his carpet, so really, I have no mind capacity for insightfullness right now.

Oh, you were reading the last paragraph...  Yes, I did say yelling at Reed for rolling the baby up in his carpet.  Right.  The nanny called me on Friday at work. She was livid. I love when Roxie is livid. The accent just makes me think of Mary Poppins and well, I tend to lose focus on why she is mad and focus more on perfecting my own accent to use in such cases. Anyways, she was angry with Reed.  It seems that they were all playing in Reed's room and Roxie stepped out to take a phone call. When she came back Ella was rolled up in Reed's carpet like a burrito.  Now, normally, I would be angry with Reed for this, but Roxie caught me right in the middle of our office move, I hadn't slept all week, I was stressed, etc.. So, when I heard her say Reed rolled Ella up in the carpet, I started laughing. I couldn't stop. Dear Roxie thought I was crying and then tried to console me, which made me laugh more. She then put me on speaker phone and asked me to talk to Reed about his actions.  It went like this:  "Reed, you are NOT ALLOWED to roll your sister up in your carpet". I then stopped because I was crying it was so funny. Everyone in my office was laughing. Roxie wasn't.  (Disclaimer: Ella was totally fine and not fazed at all, wasn't even crying).  I then asked Reed why he did it.  His response: "Ella scratched me and I didn't want her to be able to use her arms to do it again.". I was really proud of Reed for using some form of cause and effect in the situation.  Normally Reed doesn't do a lot of thinking other than wondering what type of cereal he is having for breakfast or if his cheetah came in from outside for the night, so to hear him say something that took a little more thought, it made me happy. We did have a talk about not making his sister a baby burrito and that it could of hurt her to do that, but, in the end, Ella was OK, I got to let out a little stress and I gave everyone in the office a reason to laugh...

Did I mention Ella started OT? She did. The therapist was 20 minutes late. Not a good start. Even better, she didn't show the next week.  No call, nothing. I get a call from another OT who told me the therapist we had coming to the home shut down her business and isn't allowed to see patients anymore.  I don't know the details and I am just thankful Ella didn't bond with her and then this happened. I am pretty pissed though. This woman had to know that she was going to be shutting her business and could have given us a heads up.  Ella needs OT and deserves OT and now we have to start over in our search for a therapist.  It delays her right to have the therapy and her development and well, if I was to see this lady again, I am pretty sure I would tell her where she could stick her feathers.  The other thing that sucks... There is an OT shortage in the valley so I literally can't find a new one. I am on a waiting list for 2 OT's and still making emails and calls daily to find someone. I get that some people are flaky, but when your job involves helping special needs children and they depend on you to help them develop, grow up and do your job.  GRRRR. 

Despite not having OT, my Ella Bella is doing pretty awesome. She is interested in eating, chewing on her hands, blowing raspberries and yelling into her mirror.  She refuses to laugh. REFUSES. I have decided that it has nothing to do with her delays and has everything to do with her taking after me. It takes a lot to make me laugh, so naturally, Ella would be the same way, right?  I pretty much only laugh when I get to sing Karaoke or I watch the Golden Girls on TV (yes, I liked Betty White way before she was so hip), so she'll get there... Right???

She also has no interest in sitting up. I work with her every day and she just doesn't have the muscle tone yet. She is trying, trying, trying, but if she also takes after me in the muscle tone department, it could be a while before we see her abs toned enough to hold her up. I mean, I can't wave good bye without my arms continuing the wave for a good 3 minutes after I stop waving.  Poor girl, she is destined to never laugh and have floppy arms. At least when the boys do something I can blame it on Mike. Like when Reed throws like a girl or Ryan is scared of a spider, I totally know that is from their dad's side.  Makes me feel better.

There are so many other things going on, I could go on all night, but I wake up at 5:00 to work my floppy arms and I am tired. Ella is asleep and so is the rest of my family.  Till next time my friends....

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Raspberries, Payson and a birthday..

I have noticed a few new readers to my little blog.  Ella says hi to you all!

Ella has a new - pretty awesome - trick.  Blowing raspberries.  2 months ago her Dr. asked if she could do this yet and I was so sad that she couldn't.  I don't know what I was thinking, I kinda wish she still couldn't.  Why? Because it's embarrassing..  Imagine being in line at the grocery store, or shopping at Target and all of the sudden everyone around you hears "pfffff". It doesn't sound a thing like blowing a raspberry. It sounds like she is passing gas.  Totally cute if you know the truth, but not cute when the people around you look at you like your the one making the sound.  I find myself saying really loud "Oh Ella, you sound so cute when you blow raspberries" a lot these days.  I also find myself unable to tell if one of the boys is being gross or if it's Ella when we are driving around and all of them are in the back of the car.  Trust me, it isn't always Ella....

This weekend we went to Payson and I learned Ella is a wonderful travelling companion.  She doesn't fall down cliffs (Reed), she doesn't bite her own finger and make it bleed when eating french fries (Reed), she doesn't mistake the word Elk for Elf in a conversation and spend the next 30 minutes crying, covering her eyes, convinced there are creepy elves with antlers roaming around the woods (Reed). She also doesn't complain about not catching a fish (Ryan) or only eat pancakes that are fluffy (Ryan).  She is the perfect little traveler. She lets me tote her around in her Baby Bjorn, she eats where ever we are at the moment, she sleeps all night without stealing covers and she doesn't even want me to put a worm on a hook for her to fish. 

I know.. I am not supposed to play favorites, but hey, I need to remember these sweet, easy baby days and store them in my mind for when she is a toddler running around and getting into everything!

In all honesty though, the trip to Payson was a blast. The boys were on their best behavior and we had a lot of fun.  I do sometimes wonder what planet Reed comes from, but we had a good time..

We came home just in time to celebrate my grandma's 89th birthday. It was a nice night for her and the women who take care of her in her care home went way above and beyond decorating and making her day really special.  I don't know how many more birthdays we will get to celebrate with her, so it was nice to be able to capture pictures like this:

We all had a great time and it meant a lot to my grandma to have us all there eating cake with her.  Happy Birthday Grandma!

I wish I had something exciting or meaningful or insightful to post, but really, life has been out of control busy but also very calm.  No crying fits, no sentimental moods, nothing but work, kids, therapy sessions, vacuuming and laundry.

Tomorrow we start occupational therapy. The therapist is the one I like to call "feather lady". I am sure that will lead to a post of some sort. Till then, goodnight my friends!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Daughtry to the rescue again...

Last night I cried.. 

Why did I cry? Someone asked my nanny if Ella had Down syndrome. To be fair, the person that asked has a 4 year old with Down syndrome and may have been tipped off by the preschool teacher that one of the kids in the class (Reed) has a baby sister with Down syndrome, but nonetheless, her asking made me cry. I know, I am most likely over-reacting as this woman is probably tuned in to what Down syndrome babies look like because she has been there and done that and she was probably so excited to meet Ella and share her knowledge with us, but for some reason it made me sad that she walked right up to Roxie and asked if Ella had Down syndrome.

I think I have done a good job adapting to our new life. I get that Ella has Down syndrome, I get that she may live with us or live only semi-independently for the rest of her life, I get that she won't be President and she probably won't drive a car. I think what made me cry was thinking that other people might know all this about her already by just looking at her. I don't want people to look at her and because she looks a little different discount her, her feelings, her abilities. I want them to give her the same chance they would give anyone else and well, the truth is, this might not always happen.  I don't think that the woman at preschool falls into this category at all and I don't think this is what she was doing, but hearing Roxie tell the story made me think about what we will be dealing with for the rest of our lives. People who automatically assume Ella isn't as "good" as them because she doesn't look like them.

Writing about it now, it seems so silly, I took one comment about Ella's day from Roxie and made it into something so much bigger, but hey, I can't help my feelings and I was already tired last night and so... I cried..  The best part... as I was crying my song (Daughtry's Life After You for those of you new to the blog) came on. Like someone out there was slapping me in the face as I was crying telling me to get over it and get on with cooking dinner.

Enough with that, she has Down syndrome, She is adorable and she rocks at sitting in her high chair and eating solids so....

Let's move on... Yes, I said she rocks at eating solids. Tonight was the first night we tried it. We have been waiting as she is a wee bit behind in the sitting up thing and I didn't want to rush it until her head control was better, so we waited until now and well, she did wonderful!!! We gave her rice cereal and she ate the entire bowl. Let me tell you, this little girl had a blast. She would get so excited when the spoon was close to her mouth that she would shake.  I loved feeding her and I loved how into it the whole family was. Ryan was by her side the whole time encouraging her and wiping her face and Mike was taking pictures and Reed was talking about Cheetahs (4 out of 5 of us isn't bad...) and it just felt so awesome.  Everything she does is so much more important to me because I know she has to really work at it.  I was excited when the boys ate solids for the first time but it was more of a "oh, look how cute Ryan is when he has rice cereal all over him, and me and the floor". With Ella you are excited because you know it is hard for her little muscles and her tongue to all work together but she keeps trying and by the end, I swear she was a pro. I was a proud momma tonight.

We are working really hard on getting her to laugh and sit up and use her arms more.  She can laugh, I know she can, but she just chooses to show us her giggles with big smiles instead. The sitting up thing... Well, Ms. Ella needs some more strength in those ab muscles. She is a bit wobbly but we are working on it.  I know I talk about her therapists all the time, but honestly, Tess has been the biggest blessing to us. She knows how to work with Ella to really make her "work out" without angering her and she is positive but realistic. 3 months ago I really didn't get why you start therapies so early, but now, I get it.

OK, off to bed. Mike and I realized that we won't ever be skinny again by just sitting on the couch so we are waking up early to work out. I wish I could do the boot camp thing but there isn't time in the morning with Ella's therapies starting so early (we had to move them even earlier in the morning to make sure we could get Mr. Cheetah and Ryan to school on time) so I will be in front of my TV tomorrow at 5:00 AM watching Denise Austin tell me my buns are great but she can make them fabulous. Good night!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A blog about a little bit of everything...

My life has been so crazy busy lately that I am not always sure what side is up..  Between launching a new company (Welcome to the world RE/MAX Mosaic Properties!), raising 3 kids who have the longest Summer break ever, waking up at the crack of dawn to be ready for Ella's therapies, a new nanny and doing laundry, I don't even have time for a glass of wine or reading People these days!

Ella had her evaluation with the Occupational Therapist.  She was a little odd (and showed up 10 minutes late...). She asked me questions (and expected a serious answer) like: Does Ella like it when you rub her face with a feather? Now, I get the point of occupational therapy, it is for sensory integration, helping with tasks of daily living, etc, but Ella is 5 months old. Do you think I have plucked a feather out of a pigeon in the backyard and rubbed her face with it? I haven't.  She didn't seem pleased that I didn't know how Ella reacted to feathers. I asked her if she had one we could test out and she didn't.  If the feather test is so important, bring your own damn feather. She also wanted to know if Ella has issues with tags or seams.  She doesn't, but it got me realizing that the rest of my family might need some occupational therapy. Mike has  issues with tags and seams and has passed that down to the rest of the children (Ella takes after me so she is pretty much perfect). You should see Mike, Ryan and Reed putting on shoes and socks. It's like a 10 minute ordeal to line the seams up right so you don't feel them when the shoe is on. I told the therapist Ella was OK with seams, but if she had any tips for a 31 year old I would be happy to hear them.  She was not amused....  I guess the good thing is that Ella  needed OT so we add another therapist to the vacuuming rotation. Yes, I said it was a good thing she needs OT.  I know it sounds odd that it is a good thing to need therapy, but I want Ella to get all the extra help she can so as she gets older she might be able to master skills faster than if she didn't have extra help. I worried about her not getting OT for a month and I am so happy the eval is done and she qualifies! I will let you all know how she reacts to feathers.

Ella has a new trick. She learned how to click her tongue and she has started doing it at the most odd times. Like ALL night. I already don't sleep as I am terrified she will stop breathing (no medical issues, I'm just neurotic) so now on top of waking up to check her breathing, I am woken up to a sound that sounds like my 5 month old is chewing on something. Last night I jumped out of bed because I thought she was chewing. She was sound asleep clicking her tongue. I am a little annoyed by yet another reason not to sleep, but ecstatic that she is doing it.  This is a big step in language development and since that can come much slower for Down syndrome babies, the fact that she has the tongue strength to click it is awesome.  She is in her bassinet clicking away right now.

I have been fortunate to meet with a few moms of babies with Down syndrome in the past few weeks. Nothing makes my heart happier than seeing these adorable babies and sharing stories with their parents. I am really trying to figure out a way to make a network somehow to reach out to these parents on a more organized level. I don't know how yet, but I feel strongly about my want to be there for them and share and cry and laugh together. Not to knock what is in place, they are a great resource and have great support, but I dunno, I want a different vibe than what I have found so far.

We have had our new nanny for about a month now. This is her second week working on her own. She is awesome beyond words. She organized Ella's room so perfectly that I wanted to cry when she showed me. She just comes in and jumps into whatever the kids need and still finds time to do laundry for the kids, make them clean up, read to them, play 20 games a day. She is British and I secretly wish I had a British accent.  Makes you sound so much nicer when you are yelling at the kids (yes, I tried it out). When our last nanny quit (by text, no notice) I was a little crazy with trying to figure out what to do. It seems there was a master plan out there for us as now we have Roxie and it is going great.

What else is keeping me busy.. Oh, Mike's extreme reaction to an antibiotic..  I have no idea how you can make it to age 31 and not know you are allergic to a drug. I am sure it means you are a healthy person and all that, but hey, there is something to be said for knowing you will get some crazy blood vessel damaging disorder if you take 1 pill...  He didn't know. He also didn't pay attention to it for the first day. It wasn't until his face swelled up, he started to feel loopy and his body was covered in a red rash looking thing that he thought he should bring it to someones attention.  Men.... He stopped the antibiotic and it still didn't go away (the rash, thank god his faced stop swelling). He went to the Dr. yesterday and it wasn't a rash at all. It is Vasculitis which is an inflammation of the blood vessels. Only reversible by steroids. Poor guy. This morning he is starting to look a little better but has 4 more days of steroids to go.

I will be out of town for the boys first day of school.  I am not normally a sentimental person, but this is making me pretty sad. I have them all ready to go minus water bottles. For some reason the only type of water bottle I can find are the ones made out of stainless steel.  One of them would knock somebody out with their water bottle and it would be very embarrassing for us. Especially considering their Aunt is a teacher at the school and would probably be the one to have to face the principal first on our behalf. So, my quest for plastic water bottles continues. I get the point behind the steel ones, but they didn't come up with that idea with little boys in mind. I am a little nervous at the thought of Mike getting both boys ready, remembering to take their first day of school picture and then getting them to the right classes, but I have to be in Denver so as long as his steroid regimen doesn't turn him into the Incredible Hulk, he is on his own.

I mentioned I have been busy with work. I have. I hate to talk about work to much on this blog but I am SO excited that our big idea has finally come to life. We purchased a RE/MAX franchise and just yesterday had our "soft" launch. We are officially RE/MAX Mosaic Properties. There is a lot to do now to get us ready for agents and all the big plans we have, but I am ready and so thankful for my husband and business partners. We all share the same vision and goals to be the best and well, it makes it easier when we are all on the same page.

Well, off to make waffles for the boys and start day 2 of my only chicken and yogurt diet.