Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My daughter, the booger

One more example of how Tera may just be a thousand times smarter than we thought.  We've been trying to get her to feed herself.  Anything really, but mostly these little puff things that she likes that are easy for her to pick up.  Typically, as soon as we put her in her high chair, she grabs two fistfuls of these things and then just holds them in hands while she eats.  Usually by the time she's done eating, most of what she's picked up is on the floor or on her seat on either side of her.  I knew she could pick up other things and get them in her mouth, but she seemed not to be able to put actual food in there.  This morning I happened it mention it to her teacher and she said that she's seen Tera put the puffs in her own mouth. She said it doesn't happen every time, but that she can usually get a couple in there.  Then I went to pick her up from school and her afternoon teacher said the same thing.  So I get her home, she has physical therapy, and we put her in her high chair for some dinner before we went out to meet friends.  While sitting in there she sure enough puts a puff right in her mouth.  Followed by another one, and another one, and another one! She just kept putting them in there with decent accuracy.  So apparently she just wanted to wait until she got busted doing it at school before we could get her to do it at home.  My thinking is she figured I had found out her little game and knew she had been caught so she might as well start doing it at home also.  What a booger...

She's also been able to stay up later these past couple weeks which is kind of nice because I actually get to spend some time with her before we're rushing her to bed.  However, Tom and I are exhausted by the time she actually goes to bed.  I'm not sure how much longer I can stay awake just sitting here writing this.  Last night I was pretty proud of the fact that I actually went up to bed early instead of forcing myself to write my post.  But when I decided to do this I promised Tom and myself I wouldn't let it become another source of stress so I'm sticking to that.  The minute it becomes a chore is when I need to stop because then I've lost focus on why I do this.  Anyway, I'm going to bed. 



Sunday, January 29, 2012

Reflections...

Today while making some notes for Tera's birthday party, I read through some old journal entries and notes from when I was pregnant.  I read through all the lists I made while researching registry items and notes I made to myself.  I smiled because I'm actually glad I did all that I did and as of now, I don't regret the time I spent deciding on things for Tera.  I did have to laugh at the list of things I made to bring to the hospital because many of the items were things to keep us occupied while I was in labor.  These of course never actually got used because my labor was all of 10 minutes before I started pushing.  I never even got to use them afterwards while in the room because we had so many people visiting and we spent the rest of the time in the NICU with Tera. 

But the parts that I'm glad I read were the journal entries I made while home after Tera was born.  So many times I wrote about things I wasn't able to get done and how many times I worried about whether I would ever get things done again.  I of course know now that one, those things just have to be prioritized, and two, I do figure out ways to get things done.  Because it hasn't been all THAT long, I do remember that many of those things were important to me at the time because they were related to increasing my knowledge of DS and becoming more involved in things related to DS.  We finally have our involvement down to a manageable amount that makes us feel balanced and not over-committed. 

One of the reasons why I like journaling so much is because it allows me to go back and relive moments from my past and either appreciate how far I've come or remember why things happen.  I really believe this will be more important than ever in our journey with Tera.  I know that in another year, looking back at what we were going through now will be so helpful in knowing how far Tera will have come.  I know this to be true because I've seen how hard she works and I know my girl and she will never give up trying to get to that next milestone. 

This weekend alone she made pretty good progress with her straw cup, worked really hard on kneeling and playing instead of laying or sitting, and completely amazed Tom and I with her ability to intentionally put items into bowls and pick up the bowls along with stacking the bowls inside of one another.  While this may seem somewhat mundane, when you live in a world of therapies where everything is broken down into small tasks, this was very impressive to us. 

So I will try to continue journaling, along with blogging, because no matter how honest I try to be here, there are some things that I will only say to, well, myself. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

One of the reasons why I'm lucky


One of the things I’ve discovered since Tera’s been born is how completely amazing people can be.  I’ve talked many times already about how incredibly supportive, loving, and caring everyone in our families and group of friends has been.  To many, this wouldn’t seem surprising.  You might expect that these are the people that would surround you in your time of need.  However, I have read so many stories online about other families in the DS community that experienced the opposite of this.  Friends and family members that stopped calling or visiting because they just didn’t know how to handle the diagnosis.  People who didn’t understand  what DS meant and just shut out the new parents and baby.  This was so far from what we experienced.  In fact, I still have people, 11 months later, asking to be added to the email list for when I send out Tera updates.  The emails are a bit fewer between now that she’s a little older, but every time I send one out, I get so many responses thanking me for letting them know how she’s doing.   I sometimes hesitate to send out the mass emails because I feel like I’m bothering people and cluttering their inbox when so many people have problems and stresses of their own, but the positive feedback I receive reminds me once again what a tremendous support system we have.
Besides just our friends and families, and many coworkers, I have some truly inspirational students.  I have to say, my senior advisory last year was not terribly thrilled I was going to miss the second half of their senior year while I was on maternity leave.  But I promised them I would visit and would not miss graduation.  After Tera was born I was worried about how to tell them.  Not because of how they would react, but because I wouldn’t be there to reassure them that we were all relatively okay.  So I had two very good friends tell them so they wouldn’t find out on Facebook through older siblings and friends.  Most of them had my phone number and shortly after they found out I got text after text after text.  They all wanted pictures and wanted to know when they could come and see her.  But the support didn’t stop there.  They did in fact come to our house to visit, but it was more the regular questions about how she was doing and wanting to know what was going on that made me so proud to be a part of their lives.  I definitely did go to graduation and I definitely did cry; they had already made me so proud.  But again, it didn’t stop.  In June when we did the walk for Gigi’s, I had two of my former seniors that I was still very close with, join my family and I on our team.  They got up early on a Sunday morning and drove from Kenosha to Barrington just to be with us and I couldn’t have been happier. 

In September, many of my seniors went off to college and not too long after I got a text from one asking me for information on DS because he was going to do an informational speech on it and Tera for his public speaking class.  I think he did more research on this than on most of his assignments in all of high school.  He verified information with me, asked me for my side of what it was like to be the parent of a child with DS, and asked if he could use Tera in his speech.  How could I say no to that?  My only stipulation was that he make sure I could either read or see it when he was done, and he did a fabulous job. 

Then just a few days ago I sent out an email inviting our family and friends to join us for a fundraising night at the Chicago Express hockey team for Gigi’s.  I got a response back a day or two later from one of the kids that walked with us telling me that he and his partner would like to do a skate for Tera at their training facility to raise money for DS.  I swear I teared up. 

See I had lots of practice being a mom before Tera was born.  I’ve always made sure I was there for my kids at school and those relationships are ones I never forget and am so grateful for.  Just to know that these kids have turned out so well, makes me as proud as I could be without actually being their parents.  I have maintained close relationships with many of them and on my worst days at school, those are what I think about to remind me about why I chose to do this. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Oh sweet sleep filled bliss...

I don't know what my problem has been this week.  I wake up every morning with a headache, I feel like I could fall asleep right in the middle of class every day around 11:00, I have zero energy for my workouts and I never feel like I'm getting enough sleep.  I'm a very healthy eater so the midday crash really shouldn't be related to my diet, but that would be easier to fix than to just say get more sleep. 

I've never been what anybody would call a good sleeper.  I've been told by my mom, who I suppose was there to remember this, I slept through the night pretty early on, but then really didn't nap.  Ever.  Apparently even as a child I had things to get done.  This hasn't improved much over the years.  In fact now, I don't always sleep through the night and I still don't nap.  In the past 11 months, Tera's probably slept through more nights than I have.  My husband, who can sleep pretty much anywhere, anytime, usually just suggests that I'm being silly by not sleeping, and in his wise words, "Why don't you just sleep better?" But I come from a long line of bad sleepers.  My grandma, my mom, and my sister and I could pretty much pick at least one of us and we'd be up at any given hour.  I typically go through long periods of horrendous sleep, and then pretty good sleep. The longest bad stretch I had was probably around a year, several years ago, and that's way longer than I would ever care to experience again.  I can adapt pretty well with bad or poor sleep, but at some point it obviously catches up with me.  It's also a little harder to catch up on sleep when my beautiful daughter sleeps until 5:30, sometimes 6am at the latest on the weekends.  What's really unfortunate is that even when Tom gets up with her, I still end up waking up and laying in bed trying to will myself back to sleep.  I've tried yoga, sleep CD's, relaxing lotions, aromatherapy, deep breathing, and visualization; I just suck at sleeping.  Even as I'm writing this I'm yawning like crazy. 

It's hard to blame the weather lately as even as we approach February we've had few days below 30 degrees and only one really big snow.  But despite my very blah feeling this week, I have to acknowledge today as Tera's 11 month birthday! I really cannot believe she will be one year old in exactly one month.  I don't think I could have ever imagined this time could have gone by so quickly.

Ok, time to rest up.  I still have to make it through one more day... 


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Thoughts, thoughts, go away...


My commute to work is usually about 35 minutes.  I’ve found this time to be at times peaceful because I can just listen to music and either mentally prepare or unwind from the day.  But at other times, it’s downright torturous because I have 35 minutes to just think, and that can be a dangerous thing for me.  I can be thinking about something completely innocent and then all of a sudden my thoughts have snowballed into something that brings me to the verge of tears.  It wasn’t quite that dramatic this morning, but it wasn’t really a peaceful drive.  With Tera’s impending birthday, I’ve found my thoughts frequently drifting back to this time last year when I was blissfully unaware of how our lives were about to change and pretty much just focused on finding new, safe ways to try and induce labor thanks to an overactive kid continuously kicking me.  I remember everything about the days leading up to her delivery and I remember all the moments following that first contraction.  I also remember being in the hospital with her and the smell of the NICU and trying to patiently count the days until she could come home.  And I remember thinking I had 6 months where she was my only job. 

This morning, the particular thoughts that kept invading my mind were about the things I thought about in the hours and days after her diagnosis.  There weren’t many positive things that went through my mind at that time.  I didn’t consider myself lucky, I didn’t know how her health issues would turn out, I didn’t think about how she could still be “normal”.  I worried about things like, would she get married, what kind of school she would be in, would she live with us forever, and a whole host of other fears that raced through my mind constantly. 

I don’t like to admit these thoughts still waste any time in my consciousness, but if I could figure out how to control my thoughts, I’d probably be a lot calmer.  These things do still go through my head and I still have to come to grips with them.  I have bad days every once in a while and they are much farther apart than they used to be.  At only 11 months, we still have a very long journey ahead of us.  But when we have a therapy session like we did tonight and I am reassured that she will get to all of her milestones, in her own time, it makes those days easier.  I see how hard she works and how determined she is to do things and I know she will not stop fighting to reach every goal set for her.  And we will not stop fighting to increase those goals at every step, to keep our expectations high, and to support her in her fight. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Food for thought

One of the things I mentioned yesterday was that my current project with Tera is trying to get her to drink from a straw cup.  For those of you confused right now, I was where you are at one point.  I literally thought someone meant a cup made out of straw and I was thoroughly baffled.  I'll add here that it was still a very emotional time for me and I'll claim mental distress, but really it's just a cup with a straw (and if you got that and are wondering how I could have missed it, I'll mention again the mental distress).  Anyway, since Tera is kind of on a bottle strike, I'm determined to get her to be able to drink from something!

But a few of our other "Tera projects" right now are related to food.  One, we are trying like hell to get her to put food in her own mouth.  Honestly, this kid will put anything BUT food in her mouth.  In fact last night, much to our amazement, she actually put a piece of plastic play bread in her mouth and then rolled around while licking it! But put a handful of rice puffs in her hands and all she does is open her mouth and wait for somebody to put one in.  I'm thinking I may try pudding next week and see how her hands feel in that. 

On top of just trying to get her to put food in her own mouth, we're investigating what we can give her.  At her 9 month appointment her doctor gave us the green light to start trying table foods.  One of the problems was that she didn't, and still doesn't, have any teeth so we had to wait until she was a little more proficient with her gums.  Well now she's a gumming champ and she's liked pretty much everything we've given her.  The challenge has been trying to find foods that have some sort of nutritional value.  Tom and are very healthy eaters, we have our bad days like everyone else, but we're very conscious of what we choose for Tera.  We try to focus on baby foods that have only one or two ingredients (peas: peas and water) instead of a bunch of added stuff for color or preservation.  We also try and choose foods that are high in vitamins, antioxidants, and protein like peas and green beans, squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, bananas, apples, pears, blueberries, chicken, and turkey.  We try and stay away from foods that have corn and rice because they're really just filler.  Even meats like ham don't really offer much nutritionally compared to chicken, turkey, and fish (which is on the menu for tomorrow).  That's not to say she hasn't tasted some pieces of cookie, whip cream, ice cream, and recently, a cannoli, but we're talking about tastes, not whole servings.  I'm not about to become some kind of nazi food mom, but I want her to be able to make good choices.  I wasn't allowed to have a lot of different kinds of treats when I was kid, like pretty much anything from Little Debbie or Hostess, but when I was old enough to buy it on my own I discovered I really didn't like them. 

The way I see it is my little girl is going to have to fight for enough, I'm going to make sure she has a healthy diet to do it.  Now, will I say no if she asks for ice cream after dinner when she's old enough to want it? Probably not, but it won't happen every day and it won't be something that happens until she's finished everything else she is supposed to.  I'm not naive enough to think she won't ever eat fast food; we do.  But it won't be regular and she'll understand that it's a treat and there are better choices available. 

That's my stance on healthy eating.  I'm sure I'll have more to say about it at a later date...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Oh yeah, that parenting thing...

Oh Sunday nights how I loathe you.  Due to forces beyond my control, this week will be my first full week of work since before Christmas and I have to tell you, I'm not looking forward to it.  Ever since Tera was born, people in the Down Syndrome community, therapists, and Tom and I ourselves, have warned us not get caught up in the milestone race and just to enjoy our time with Tera.  I feel we've done a pretty good job of this, but I won't lie, there are many times when I realize we haven't worked on a particular skill to help her.  I feel that way more and more lately because there are so many more things we can be working on because every month the list of what she could be able to do, grows.  Truthfully, I'm still not at all concerned about her progress, though when I see other kids her age able to do things she can't, I do recognize the emotions that go through me.  Yes there are a lot of kids her age who may not be walking, or even crawling yet, but I won't ever know if it's something she wouldn't have done no matter what, or if it's because she's delayed.  Again, it's not something that I experience often, but it does happen. 

So back to one of the reasons it's difficult for me to deal with the fact that I'm working the whole five days this week.  There are all these things we can do to work with Tera and I feel like during the week, we don't get to any of them because there's just no time.  My big thing lately is trying to get her to drink from a straw, but we really can't practice that much during the week because her only two bottles at home are first thing in the morning and right before bed; neither of which are ideal times to practice.  Yes we could practice at other times with liquids other than formula, but even that's hard to find time to do between feeding her dinner, us eating, and just letting her play.  We're also supposed to be helping her kneel, to get the feel of what it's like to be on her knees, and that rarely happens.  She's becoming a really sturdy sitter, but she still can't get from sitting to laying or vice versa and I keep forgetting to help her transition when she moves from one to the other and instead I just move her.  It always comes down to time and there just never seems to be enough of it.  I don't often feel guilty for having her in daycare because I really think she gets a lot out of it and she really seems to enjoy it, but when I realize I don't have to the time to work with her on skills, that's when I feel guilty. 

She's also reaching the age where we actually have to "parent". Up until now our job has basically been to make sure she's fed, clean, and clothed.  But now we're entering the phase where we actually have to start thinking about how we handle situations and, gasp, wait for it, discipline...She's quickly becoming very determined (substitute word for borderline stubborn) and we need to make sure she doesn't become one of those irritating kids other adults don't like because they aren't well behaved (though it seems hard to believe that would even be possible when she smiles her sweet smile at you).  Yes I may be overreacting since she's only 11 months old, but bad habits start at some point and I would like to be responsible and curb those behaviors before they start, instead of trying to figure out how to fix them later. 

Basically what I'm thinking is this is about to get harder fast.  The one thing I know I can depend on to get me through this is that guy that Tera so affectionately refers to all the time: dadadadadadada.  I know he will keep me grounded and support me in making the right decisions for our girl.  I'm excited, and very, very, very, nervous about this next chapter...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My loves

Tonight I used a wonderful gift from some very special people to help me with my post.  This Christmas I received a few gifts to aid me in my blogging adventure and one was a daily journal with a theme everyday to help inspire/encourage me to write.  Anyways...

Today was another pretty wonderful Saturday.  Some errands this morning, time at home, and a fabulous dinner.  But one of the highlights of my weekends is always being able witness the relationship between Tom and Tera.  I really don't think Tera prefers one of us to the other (maybe me when she's upset), but she loves her Daddy.  She definitely has figured out that when she sees him, it's time to be silly.  They laugh, they smile, she flies up in the air, and a good time is had by both.  She smiles every time she sees him and you can just see the love between them when they're together.  They both inspire me to sit back and relax and enjoy my time with both of them.

They are the reason I find it hard to go back to work on Mondays and they are why I look forward to being home.  They are also the reason this is short and sweet, because I need to go to bed and get ready for my sweet baby girl to wake up...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Resolution check in

So I thought it might be time for a little resolution check in. My two main resolutions were very closely related.  Lose remaining baby weight before Tera's birthday and workout 4 hours a week.  I'm making some progress on the weight loss front but I've learned from experience (a lot of it) that results don't happen overnight and that stressing over lack of desired results too quickly leads to failure.  So, I'm getting there.  Now the second resolution is going very well.  We're in our 3rd week and on track to be successful again.  I won't lie and say it's easier than I thought it would be and I just had to get focused and it would happen. It's hard.  It's hard to juggle 1-2 therapies a week at home, numerous doctor appointments (even more so lately), taking care of a house, working, and then trying to workout.  The reason we weren't doing it before wasn't just because we didn't want to, it's hard to make it work.  But we've both made sure to help the other one with their goal and it's going well. 

The hardest part of the past two weeks or so for me has been food, which is ironic because that's usually the one thing I have the easiest time controlling.  But it's also been an "interesting" past few weeks.  We had the holidays for two weeks, then I was on strike for 2 days the following week, then on strike for another 2 days the week after that and on top of that Tera was sick so I was actually home for 4 days last week.  Then this week she had her surgery and two therapies.  It occurred to me during her speech therapy session today that maybe next week would be a normal week again and then I realized I don't know if I know what normal is anymore.  Or if there is a normal anymore.  Every week is something different and our meals are all over the place lately.  But I know I can get that back on track and then all I have to do is keep up the workouts and the pounds will just fall off...Right.  Actually I do know I can do this; I have and I will. 

And then there are a few resolutions I wrote to myself that I've been working on.  One was picking out both my clothes and Tera's clothes for the next day.  Our mornings tend to be a little hectic, and by our I mean mine.  This was one of those things I thought could free up some time before we had to be out the door and I've done pretty well with this.

One of my more important resolutions was reading more with Tera. We did this every night for a while when she was having her bedtime bottle, but somehow we stopped and I wanted to resume this and we have.  Tom likes reading actual books to her so we just finished Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and now we're starting the Chronicles of Narnia.  We've picked books neither one of us have read so it's entertaining to us too. 

I also wanted to start actually relaxing a little at night and reading before bed instead of watching tv.  This hasn't happened. End of story. 

So that's where I stand right now.  I'll check in another month or so and we'll see how it's going...
Really I'm happy when Tera is reading with anyone and this one happend to be with AC (with a fabulous book from her other AC-Auntie Cathy)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

And we're done!

Well Tera came through with flying colors today.  She charmed every nurse, doctor, and resident that came to see her and even some that were just walking by while we were in the pre-op area this morning.  She clapped and smiled for the nurses and was a perfect little girl sitting and waiting for the surgery to start.  This was especially impressive considering she hadn't eaten anything since 7:00 pm Tuesday night and it was 8:30 am when she was scheduled. The procedure took about 40 minutes and her doctor came out and told us everything had gone well and that they had only found some little white spots on one of the scopes.  He explained that all it meant was that it was indicative of a chronic cough, which she has, and some aspiration, which I suspected.  He also explained there was no need for treatment of it and that everything else looked good.  They did warn us that she would be cranky after coming out of the anesthesia, but all things considered she did pretty well. 

I'm so excited to see in the coming days if we notice any differences in her.  Even if the changes aren't that noticeable though, just knowing she can hear just makes me feel so much better. 

One of the things I have to admit I thought about today was how incredibly lucky we are.  Ten months ago I don't think I would have thought that, but as I sat at Children's Memorial Hospital today, knowing what so many other children are going through while there, the fact that we were just there for tubes really put things in perspective.  One of the things that made me think about this was when we were sitting in the post-op room with Tera waiting for her to keep down her liquids and be discharged.  After talking with the nurse a little about Gigi's Playhouse and how she had participated in the Gigi's Walk/Fun Run, she asked us if Tera was getting open heart surgery.  See, the interesting thing about the Down Syndrome community is when you meet a child and their family, one of the questions is usually not whether the child has a heart defect, but instead, what the defect is.  We told the nurse that despite the fact that she was born with two holes, she was only being monitored and she's never been in danger of needing surgery on her heart.  She then gave us the hospital bracelet from Tera's ankle and told us to hold onto it because it may be the only one she ever needs.  At that point, while I doubt she'll never need one again, I realized how lucky we are that open heart surgery hasn't been something we've had to worry about.  I realized how incredibly common it is in this new community we belong to for open heart surgery to be a part of a family and their experience.  So we left the hospital, with our little girl and her new holes in her ears, thankful once again for what we have.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Then and now

So tomorrow Tera gets her tubes.  I'm not nervous at all actually, I'm just anxious to see if we notice any differences in her after she gets them.  And really I'll just feel better knowing she can hear everything and it won't sound like someone's talking through a blanket.  I won't deny I'm sure I'll be slightly more emotional when they take her away from me.

The thing that keeps making me emotional is her impending birthday.  In a little more than a month my little girl will be one and I can't believe the wave of feelings that keep coming over me as it approaches.  Since she was such an easy baby I really do miss those early months, even the getting up in the middle of the night with her.  I miss when she would just lay in my arms and sleep.  I miss her being so tiny.  I really miss being home with her.  I miss those early days when the three of us were a brand new family.

However, it's really hard to not love who she is now.  I love her expressions, her laugh, and her smile.  I love what she's becoming capable of even though it makes me crazy that she can get into so much trouble in so little time.  I love that her therapists are so happy with her progress at each session.  I love that she seems to be so determined already and I can't wait to see how that drives her to meet and surpass every expectation out there.  I love that she knows I'm her mom and Tom is her dad.  I love that she loves the cat and the dog and literally squeals when she sees them.  I love that she can charm total strangers no matter how tired she is.  I love that she is comforted by me when she is sick.  I love that she has favorite toys and how involved she gets when she's playing.  But mostly I love the little personality that she is developing and how quickly she's turning into her own little person. 

I know when I see her for the first time on the morning of February 26th I will be a mess of emotions and I'm sure while most of them will be overwhelming joy, I also am prepared to relive a little of the shock and fear and sadness we experienced when we found out she had DS.  But then I will look back on the past year and how she's already blown so many of those fears out of the water and realize she has nothing but unlimited potential to reach.

The ironic part of her birthday is that we will spend the eve of her birthday at a dinner/gala/celebration for the organization that has made this year so much more bearable for us.  Unbeknownst to us last year, on the evening of the day she was born there was a big fundraising celebration for an organization called Gigi's Playhouse.  Also unbeknownst to us, a very good family friend and her son and his girlfriend were attending this event not yet knowing about Tera's diagnosis.  It would be another day or so before the news spread to the whole family and about ten different people told us about a place called Gigi's Playhouse and how they had heard fantastic things about it and its support for families of kids with DS.  So it will be quite the full circle attending this year knowing how important and dear this organization has become to us.  The only flaw in my planning was asking my mom to babysit Tera while Tom and I went thinking she would just spend the night.  And then I remembered that would mean she wouldn't be home with us on the morning of her birthday.  After thinking about that for about an hour I've already made the decision to pick her up on our way home.  I'm going to have to see that beautiful little face on her first birthday so her and I can talk about her plans for the next year...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Family time happiness

We just got home from Tom's first hockey career shutout! I am a proud hockey wife tonight.  I have to admit, there was some anxiety on my part about going to the game at 6:30 on a Sunday night because I knew we wouldn't be home until after 8 and not having that crucial downtime has led to anxiety ridden Sunday nights and unpleasant Monday mornings.  But as I sit here with my glass of wine, wrapped in my blanket, and writing this, I'm very calm. 

We had a great weekend.  Tom played hockey Friday night (and played well then too) and I was able to relax and write.  Saturday we got our coffee, ran our only errands early, I forced myself to workout, and we spent the rest of the day at home getting little things done, including a nap! We actually made dinner at home, got to spend time with our buddy and Tera's buddy, and watched some football (though definitely not my favorite part of the weekend when my Saints lost).  This morning I got to enjoy my coffee at home, my mom stopped by, we met some friends for dinner, and we headed off to Tom's game. 

It was some much needed, much deserved, and highly enjoyable relaxing family time for us.  These weekends don't happen nearly enough, but I suppose that makes them easier to appreciate when they do.  As we were in the car this afternoon I told Tom that while I think most people dread this time of the year because it's post-holidays and often dreary and cold, I don't mind it as much because it's a chance to hole up in my house with the love of my life and this year, for the first time, my beautiful little girl, and just be a family together. 

Last year at this time we spent many weekends actually almost bored because we were trying not to make plans since we didn't know when our little Stink would make her appearance.  I really enjoyed those weekends because we had time together, with no stress, and it was the last time it was just the two of us.  I love them now because we can forget about the doctors, the therapies, and all the other stresses that have encompassed us for the last 10 months (or at least we try to do this) and just focus on the three of us.   

This week Tera has her surgery to have her tubes put in and is getting two different scopes to rule out, or identify, any issues in her throat.  I'm anxious to see how this affects her development since we know right now she hears mostly muffled sounds.  I also want to know one way or the other if she has any other issues that could be contributing to her noisy breathing, snoring, resistance to bottles, and restless sleeping.  All things to be determined Wednesday. 

Right now I need to finish my wine and get to bed so I can be ready to face this week. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Yes Adam Sandler inspired me...

So while I was home with Tera on Wednesday, I happened to catch the movie Grownups on TV.  I've seen it a bunch of times and it seems to be one of the ten or so movies that's on at least four times a day on one of the movie channels, but if I'm just working around the house or playing with Tera, I tend to turn on something I don't necessarily need to pay attention to, but that amuses me in some way.  As I watched it this time, I realized how many more similarities there are to the movie and my life than say, oh about 10 months ago.  If you haven't seen it, it's an Adam Sandler movie (along with Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, David Spade, Kevin James, etc) where a bunch of childhood friends reunite at their summer vacation home to pay homage to their old basketball coach who has recently died.  Throughout the movie they try and do all the things they did as kids, but along with their own kids.  David Spade's character is still single (the only one of the group) and he still gets drunk, does shots, sleeps with random women, etc.  At one point when he's trying to get the whole group to do shots with him, Adam Sandler's character says they can't do that kind of thing anymore because they all have kids they have to get up with in the morning now.  I realized, not only how mine and Tom's lives have changed, but how our whole group of friends has changed, and not in a bad way at all, it's just that I'm realizing the changes and the movie kind of made me think about it more. 

We were never what you would call "party people".  We're not really club people, and we're only kind of bar people.  At large gatherings, we pretty much end up just hanging out with each other.  We're a unique group of friends, loyal like none other, and have a blast with each other.  We all pretty much love just hanging out at someone's house, having drinks, a bonfire is often involved, and being completely ridiculous.  A few of our friends had kids earlier than the rest of us, but for the most part, all of us just started and it managed to pretty much all happen at once.  So whereas a few years ago it might have been difficult to get together at times, it was usually because we all had other obligations or work or some other random responsibility.  But now, it's a little more difficult because we all have to find sitters and depending on who's watching the kids, there's not a lot of late nights because we all have little early risers. 

I've realized that when we schedule get- togethers, they're usually planned around bed times or nap times or some place that's convenient for them to sleep or eat or whatever the case may be.  We also all travel with a lot more crap.  Diapers, bottles, toys, food, playpens, strollers, car seats; it's exhausting!

But honestly, I wouldn't change it.  Yes there are times when it would be nice to have less responsibility, however, I don't feel like I missed out on anything in my 20's and as a group and as a couple, we had some really great times.  And we'll continue to have great times.  We both look forward to when we can get all of our families together and do a simple trip somewhere and all the kids can play together.  I look forward to when the babies are a little older and actually recognize each other and play.  I look forward to birthday parties and holidays. 

Because while one really fun and completely memorable chapter in our lives has kind of closed, an equally exciting one is opening. 


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why don't they just sleep when they're tired?

This will be short and sweet due to a long evening.

So today marks the last day of my unintended, longer than usual, vacation.  Up until about 1:45pm today I kept thinking how much I missed staying home with Tera when I was on leave.  I love having her home and being at home and once again knowing how her whole day was.  I say until about 1:45pm because that is when she began her strike against sleep leading to 45 minutes of crying while fighting a nap.  Which then led to a crabby hour or two.  Then she fell asleep on me for about a half hour which I thought would help, but alas, she woke up still crabby.  She actually did eat dinner which is an improvement over the past few days, but then pretty much stayed cranky for the rest of the night leading me wonder if I could even handle staying home with her all the time (this was short lived, I was just tired and frustrated).  After dinner I played with her for a while to distract her from falling asleep too early and then we tried to put her to bed.  Tried.  I've mentioned before how my kid is incredibly easy? Yeah, she decided to challenge that idea tonight.  But after about 40 minutes of trying to get her to sleep including both of us rocking her, walking with her, and changing her pajamas, she was out. 

And now I'm back to wishing I could be home with her again tomorrow.  But I suppose I can handle one day of work this week. 

It's really hard to look at this face and stay mad...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Another "moment"

Tera is still sick.  She's on that fine line of debating whether to keep her home or send her to school, but with her tube surgery scheduled for next week and the fact that it seems to take her longer to recuperate from things, I'm going to keep her home for one more day.  This comes at a somewhat awkward time seeing as how I was already off work for 4 days because of the strike, but as I've discovered, I have very little control over when she gets sick and how long it lasts.  It's also hard this week because my kids have finals next week and it's an inconvenient couple of days for Tom to miss.  So hopefully my students understand and enjoy a few extra days to work on their review packets.

This has definitely been a week of balancing my job as a teacher and that of a parent.  I felt a professional and collegial responsibility to join my fellow teachers on the picket line these past few days, but it was hard knowing that I won't have that time with Tera when we have to make up the days.  Then of course there's the fact that I missed today and will miss tomorrow and that next week I have miss a day for when she has her tubes put in.  But as a few close friends forewarned me, it's much easier to make the decision to stay home when it's for your kid and not yourself. 

I also experienced another moment of "understanding" I guess would be the best way to describe it.  I have these every once in a while when I realize that most other parents of 10 month olds aren't doing or experiencing a lot of the same things we do.  I won't deny that a lot of kids get sick.  There are lots that get sick even more than Tera, but as I stayed home with her today because she was sick, I had to schedule a cardiologist checkup, I tried to schedule another vision test, I had decide whether she was feeling well enough for her physical therapy appointment (I ended up cancelling), we missed her DDC (Down Syndrome Development Council) playgroup, and I had to decide whether or not to keep her home tomorrow so that she's healthy enough to have her tubes put in next week so that the fluid that's been sitting in her ears for the past 6 months can finally drain out and she can hear again. 

Please don't interpret this as a pity party.  Though I've had many of those in the past 10 months, this really was more of a realization again on my part.  For many years I've been accused of taking on too much and not knowing when to say no.  As a result I'm constantly busy at work, involved in lots of things, and usually a little frazzled.  I knew when Tera was born I'd probably have to slow down at work and that having a baby would be a lot of work.  I never quite anticipated her 47th chromosome being another seemingly full time job.  I don't have a "typical" first 10 months to compare anything to so I guess this is normal for us.  But it's during those moments when I realize it isn't normal for so many other people, that it kind of hits home.  Again.  And I begin to wonder yet again, will I ever get to that place of complete acceptance?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Diagnosis? Oh great, a virus...

I'm a little worn out and starting this a later than I usually do so I'm going to keep it brief.  My little munchkin is sick again.  As I said yesterday, it's a bit of a mixed emotion when she's sick because more than anything, I hate seeing her uncomfortable and knowing there's little I can do about it.  But there's that tiny little selfish part of me that loves that she wants to cuddle with me to feel better.  We watch movies and she plays in our bed and we stay in comfy clothes all day.  But at the end of it all, I just hate that she's sick.  I also know that I sound like every other decent parent out there so I won't drag on about how it sucks when your kid doesn't feel well. 

I did take her to the doctor to see if they could at least identify the cause of the fever, lethargy, and lack of appetite and it's the ever popular, nothing you can do about it, virus.  The worst part was that he wanted to eliminate a urinary tract infection because we've had some concern about that lately and the only way to get the sample was a catheter.  This was not comfortable for her and no fun for me.  I highly suggest that if you find yourself in this situation as a parent and your kid (most likely daughter) is not yet capable of peeing in a cup, you become very adept at taping a sample bag inside their diaper.  If it has to happen again, I may go so far as to practice on a doll just to get it right. 

And then there's the other exciting part of my life: the strike.  Well, it's over so not so exciting anymore, but I'm ok with less excitement.  Our union and board came to an agreement early this morning and the union ratified the contract this afternoon.  The board still has to approve it but as of tomorrow, the students and staff of ZBTHS are back to work! Well, most everyone.  I'll be home with my sick kid.
Had to recycle a picture because Blogger isn't letting me upload right now...

Monday, January 9, 2012

I'm a parent? When did that happen?

Day 3 of the strike and negotiations continue.  Word on the street (literally pretty much on the street as we picket there) is that progress is being made and everyone seems pretty positive.  One of the more stressful parts of the situation though, and there are many, is that I'm currently uninsured.  This was a daunting scenario for the first few days, made worse by the fact that Tera is scheduled to get her tubes put in on January 18.  We have a few different options, but because we don't know how long this can/will last, it's hard to make any decisions.  We thought we were maybe going to be free and clear, but then this morning Tera just wasn't herself and felt a little warm.  I took her to school, let her teacher know, and headed up to join the picket lines.  Sure enough I got a phone call a few hours later saying she was running a fever of 101. 

I picked her up, got her home and snuggled with her while she took her bottle.  She was definitely not herself and went down for what ended up being a two hour nap.  I'm still not sure what the problem is, but she's down for the night and we'll see what happens in the morning.

There are two seemingly positive aspects to all of this.  One, I know I can trust my instincts.  If you are reading this as a parent, do you remember the first time it occurred to you that you might actually know what you're doing? I knew yesterday when Tera didn't eat all of her dinner, that something wasn't quite right.  She woke up pretty normal, drank her whole bottle, and then played for a little bit in bed with me.  But she felt warm and then when I put her in her crib to play for a bit, she was a little whiney and just wanted to be held.  I knew when I brought her to school that something was up and sure enough, I was dead on.  This is not in any way meant to say I'm more in tune with my kid than any other parent, but it's reassuring to me to know that I can trust myself.  As a first time parent, and still fairly new parent, it's nice to know I'm somewhat qualified for this gig. 

The other positive part of today was that I got some snuggle time with my girl.  She is a pretty good snuggler, but many times she's just too wiggly to lay down with either me or Tom and so even though it's because she's sick, I can still enjoy some extra special time with my baby and know that she is comforted by me holding her. 

I think one of the things I've come to realize as my favorite parts of being a mom, is being needed by her.  I know there will be days when she'll just want to be with me all the time and possibly whiney and it won't be quite as enjoyable, but at this point in her life she knows that no matter who is holding her or watching her, that I'm her mom and that she's safe with me and that is one truly amazing feeling.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Inner turmoil

It's amazing how many emotions one can experience in one day.  When I woke up this morning I was able to enjoy the fact that despite the fact that Tera was awake at 4:40 am, she eventually fell back asleep and stayed asleep until 6:30.  After she had her bottle, we were able to spend some time that I look forward to the most together as a family.  The three of us in our room together just playing and being silly.  It is by far my favorite time of any weekend we get to do it. 

When Tera went down for her nap I was finally able to have some time to just sit with my coffee and read, something I NEVER have time for (unfortunately it was through some emails and not my book but it's still progress). 

We were able to visit with my aunt, uncle, and cousin for a few hours and then after they left, the stress of the strike situation hit me again.  I am currently uninsured, which with a daughter who is sick with something every other week, is a bit overwhelming to think about.  There's also the stress of the unknown with pretty much every aspect of this strike.  How long will it last? When will we make up the days? What will our contract actually be? How will it affect final exams? Way too many questions, no answers. 

But then I played with and fed my girl, and wondered again how I go back to work? At this time last year I was preparing to spend the next 6 months at home with a person I didn't know and now I'm wondering where my life will take me.  I feel stuck and completely free at the same time.  I'm trapped by the comfort and security of my current position, and yet the possibilities of where I can go from here seem so encouraging.  I can honestly say I really don't feel that the strike is the cause of these emotions.  While I do feel, along with many of colleagues, that our Board of Education doesn't seem to value my time and what I do, this is a feeling that started before any of this.  I may go into more detail about this in a future post (which I know I've said before) but I still need some time to sort through some things on my own.  But it all comes down to what is best for me and my family and I'm still trying to figure out what that is. 

So now I'm just left with a bunch of conflicting feelings.   I want to spend some time with my daughter, but I should be and need to be at work.  The fact that this little experience has left me with some unexpected free time is also hard to come to grips with.  Do I just enjoy the time because I know I'll have to make it up? Or do I picket and otherwise hole up in my house because I'd otherwise be at work? I'd love to say I'll wake up in the morning and know the answers to these questions, but I'm pretty sure that won't happen.  I guess I just go to bed and wait and see what happens...

Friday, January 6, 2012

And then wham! It hit me again...

I've been sitting here for probably almost 20 minutes trying to decide what to write about.  It's not that I'm lacking in ideas, it's just that I don't know what I have the most energy to write about. 

I just don't have it in me to write about the strike.  It's just that it consumes most of my day the past few days and it makes me sad and angry and proud and it's just too many emotions all at once.  But for anyone reading this, know that we have a truly amazing negotiation team working for us tirelessly and giving up time to sleep, eat, and be with their families and I am forever grateful to them.

So I'll share an unexpectedly emotional moment from last night.  I was watching a rerun of my favorite show, "Bones".  I had already watched an episode where two of the characters are waiting for test results to find out if their unborn child might be born blind.  That was emotional enough.  But then the next episode I watched was the one where Angela actually goes into labor and has the baby.  They tell the doctor they want to know right away if he's blind and after a moment, the doctor hands the baby over and says he's perfectly healthy and not blind.  It just sent me right back to when Tera was born and how amazing it was to know she was finally with us and hear her cry and actually hold her.  It was one of the most amazing moments of my life.  But then to find out an hour later that she was not in fact as perfect as we thought she was (turns out she's even more perfect!), made me feel like my heart was physically breaking inside me. 

This was just an experience that reminded me that I'm still susceptible to those little moments that take you by surprise in all the wrong ways.  But then when I walked into her room this morning and saw that beautiful smiling face, I forgot all about it again.  She is the happiest damn kid in the morning and it really kind of makes you forget that you're up that early and no matter how tired I am, I never get tired of seeing her face. 

She's made pretty big strides this week, working constantly on her army crawl and insanely determined to get to whatever it is her little eyes are set on.  She's so purposeful in her movements and highly motivated by whatever she's playing with.  We're also working on her being able to drink from a straw as her bottle experiences are taking years off Tom's and my lives.  She just has little to no interest in them much of the time and we still have 2 more months of her needing to take formula somehow.  Today instead of trying the bottle at all for her afternoon bottle, I only used her straw cup and she was able to get down 5 out of 6 oz! This will probably be our project for the weekend. 

I'm constantly encouraged by her progress and constantly amazed at her tenacity (some people would call it stubbornness).  She's determined, driven, and getting to be just a little feisty! I am loving watching her develop a personality and be able to mimic us.  I can't wait to see what she can do next week. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Regrets

Today I was on strike for the first time in my life.  I hope it doesn't last long and I hope I can say this is my only experience with it.  But I can't talk about that tonight, I'm all talked out about it and it's making me angry so time to check out of that situation for a few hours.

I want to talk about regret.  I think this somewhat goes along with making New Year's resolutions because so many people don't like them because they end up regretting that they didn't stick with them.  What I try and think of resolutions as, besides things I don't like to make, are things that you just aim to improve on.  There's no consequence to them, they're just ideas to make your life more what you think you want it to be. 

The other reason this comes up is because Tom sent me an email a few days ago as a silent reminder of what he always wants me to remember and what I always strive to do, successful or not, and it's called Don't Put Your Life on Hold.  It basically is from a person who says they were always dying to finish their current path and move on to the next one and at the end it says, "And now I'm dying and I realized I forgot to live" and I find myself doing this all the time and I recognize it, which I think is half the battle, but it's so hard to change.  Right now I'm in such an uncertain place in my career.  I feel like I could be doing something more, but I don't know what, and it's an awkward time in my life to take on a new challenge.  As a result, I find myself discouraged at work, for more than one reason, which leads me to just want the week to be over so I can enjoy the weekend and then that's over and I start all over again.  Meanwhile, I'm hoping for the weeks to go by quickly so I can get to the weekend, and at the end of the month I wonder how another month has gone by in Tera's life and I want it to slow down! What a time dilemma!

I made sure during my maternity leave to spend as much time enjoying Tera and not worrying about when the next milestone would be and what I had to get done in the meantime.  I truly had an amazing 6 months with her, and with Tom, as our new family developed and we all discovered our new roles.  But somehow I've lost that commitment as I've been back to work.  I am envious of people that enjoy their jobs because I just don't feel that a lot of the time anymore. 

So how do I change my predicament? The obvious answer seems to be to make some changes in my career, but as I said, I don't know what I'm looking for.  I feel like I have a lot of time and effort invested in my current school and I would love to find my solution there, but I just don't know if that's feasible. I could go on, but that's for another post.

The bottom line is I need to do something in the here and now to make me a happier person.  A mentor of Tom's had a saying about never having had a bad day.  What a delight! I'm not going to believe I can make it to that point just yet, but I'd love to wake up in the morning (on a Monday through Friday) and look forward to my day so that at the end of the week I don't look back and regret my decisions, my time, and my efforts.  I don't want to look back in another year and realize that I've missed time with Tera and Tom because I was wasting time being unhappy.  So maybe I just start with thinking of something each day to look forward to (at work, not just being done with work) and see how that goes.  I'll let you know in a week or so.  Or maybe a month, this next week could be a little dicey...
My two sources of inspiration...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A little too much

Oh my brain is a big jumbly mess right now.  I'm not sure I can even put together something coherent right now so bear with me. 

Number 1: I've refrained from saying anything at all on the topic of our strike.  I am a public school teacher and without going into all the details our Board of Education and Union negotiation team are currently meeting after no progress the past few months and if no agreement is reached tonight, I will officially be on strike tomorow.  I honestly can say, pretty much anytime I've heard about teachers striking, I've thought, "Wow, I'm glad that's not me." Guess I can't say that anymore.  This is an incredibly stressful situation for so many reasons, again, that I don't have the time or energy to explain, but basically it's a complete lack of knowing what's going to happen and what the aftermath will be.  It makes me question so many things about my life, my choices, and my options.  None of which I really have time to contemplate lately, but which constantly invade my thoughts and sleep.  I may elaborate on this later, but I'm running out of steam right now.

Number 2: As a result of Number 1 and the media, things get thrown around without the proper information and this experience should serve as a reminder to me always that the truth is most definitely not always what it seems to be and that I should always keep an open mind (easier said than done but I can add that to my list of resolutions that I don't like to make).  It bothers me to read things that insult my profession and ethics and values when a great majority of the time, the whole story is not seen.  I don't want this to sound cryptic but I'm trying to be general and still make my point.  I just spent a whole day fending off rumors from students that are based on things they've heard from other students, and sometimes even teachers, when no one really knows the answers yet.

And Number 3: That all of this is happening on the same day that we lost a student.  I didn't know the student but it doesn't matter.  Zion Benton is a big school, but it's not that big and a loss of anyone is felt everywhere.  It's really hard as a teacher to see your students struggling with loss and not being able to help them through it.  For some of them it's the first time someone close to them has died and for some of them it will be another in a long list of people they've lost.  We've unfortunately experienced this in our building too many times and there have definitely been past ones that I did know.  I can't imagine how the student body is coping with this all while losing the support structure some of them so dearly depend on. 

All right I'm done for now.  Here's a picture to hopefully bring some light to my post because right now I'm just a little overwhelmed.

This is from Easter if you're wondering why she looks so little, but it always makes me laugh...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

It's party time! (almost...)

And so it begins: Tera's first birthday.  We are not crazy party people obsessed with party perfection and we're not interviewing any party planners, but we do like to have a good time and we like to showcase our individuality, and in this case, the individuality that is forced upon our daughter.  We've recently discussed the guest list with the intent of making it smaller than her celebration mostly for the fact that it will be February and not June and we don't typically have tropical winters here in the northern Chicago suburbs. But it's hard to whittle down a list when so many people have been so incredibly supportive of her and kept up for 10 months with her updates and progress.  But again, not lots of space, usually very cold outside. 

The next obstacle is the invitation.  As you may have seen from our Christmas cards, we like to be unique and this is just another challenge for Tom.  So we started brainstorming and unfortunately we're going to have to think quickly because as I've discovered in the past 10 months, when you don't want it to, time moves ever so quickly. 

And on to other Tera news, we have her pre-op appointment with the pediatrician tomorrow and while I'm not expecting anything major, with her you just never know.  She is scheduled to have the tubes put in January 18th at which time they'll also scope her throat to rule out or identify any issues there.  And in the meantime, we just hope we can extend our stretch without illness for a while more here.  Despite the constantly runny nose (which yes I know can indicate teething but she's been chewing, drooling, and either congested or runny for about 6 months now and no teeth yet), she's been doing pretty well lately.  We're working on a very carefully balanced stomach regimen complete with probiotic, Miralax, and prune juice and hopefully we can start to see some regular results.  Otherwise I fear we'll be adding pediatric gastrointerologist sooner rather than later. 

So that's in birthday and Tera news.  I'll try to post any updates tomorrow night after her appointment. 
Our attempt at a family picture...

Monday, January 2, 2012

Resolutions? No thanks, oh wait...

So I believe I just stated yesterday that I don't really like New Year's resolutions.  And yet today I find myself making two (although they're very closely related).  And to make matters worse, they're both workout related, how cliche!!!!! Just to make myself sound like a total hypocrite, today is probably my least favorite day of the year at the gym because it's filled with a whole bunch of people who don't know gym etiquette, the machines are all taken, and the parking lot is totally filled.  This will last till roughly February when a good chunk of those people will stop coming.  I don't want to discourage anyone from making a healthy resolution, I believe most people can improve in some area, it's just that when you choose to walk around the gym talking on your cell phone while you occasionally sit on a machine or walk at 1 mph on the treadmill so as not to wind yourself while talking, you may be able to find something better to do with your time.  Ok, enough ranting about the gym.  Seeing as how I'm not quite the regular I used to be, I probably should back off a little. 

So what two resolutions did I make you ask? Well, the first is really more of a goal than a resolution.  I really want to shed the last of my pregnancy inches and my goal is to do this before Tera's first birthday (February 26th).  I figure I have a decent chance at accomplishing that goal because I'm only about 10 lbs away (well 10lbs this week, 2 weeks ago it was only 8 lbs) from that goal and that's without really working out at all; I've been able to lose most of it by eating really well.  I learned so much about what foods affect me and what foods work for me when I trained for my competition right before I got pregnant.  I thought I'd been eating healthy (and in comparison to the average person, I definitely was) but I still had room for improvement and I made some drastic changes that have definitely worked.  But on top of just losing weight, I really do enjoy my workouts, once I'm there.  It clears my head and gives me a chance to just focus on me.  Also, I just really like being strong.  It's not just about my weight, in fact, that's never really been my main motivation, I always try to base it on how I feel about myself and how my clothes fit.  I've always weighed more than people thought and for the most part it's because I've almost always worked out in some form or another and thanks to my dad's genes, I gain a lot of muscle mass for a female.  This has its advantages and disadvantages, but I worked really, really hard to train for my competition and I was proud of what I was able to do. 

The second "resolution" I made is really more of one that Tom and I made together and it should help with my other one.  Tom proposed a challenge to me this afternoon because as he says, I like challenges.  Our challenge is this: we each need to work out at least 4 hours a week.  If we do this, we get to go out/order dinner twice during the weekend instead of just the once that we try and limit ourselves to.  If we don't both do it, no extra meal out.  He also proposed a longer term goal of trying to do it for a month and at the end of the month rewarding each of us with something we want (in my case a good example would be more shoes!). I figure we start with the short term and work our way up.  This will definitely be a challenge for both us, but not because we don't want to do it.  Mostly in our case it's just a matter of efficiently scheduling and planning.  With a minimum of one therapy a week at home and usually a doctor's visit every other week, we just really have to try and make this a priority. 

So today's results? We've both logged our first hour of the week today.  My goal is to make it tomorrow also and then Wednesday and Thursday get trickier with a pre-op visit  to the pediatrician for her tubes on Wednesday and speech therapy on Thursday.  So we'll see at the end of the week if we're cooking or ordering. 

I have some other things I'd also like to change or do better at, but I'll save those for tomorrow and see if I still feel like adding anything.  So much for no resolutions...

This was about 2 months after my first big weight loss/training adventure and something I use to remind me that I can do this

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Day 31 (late again)

I've been thinking for 2 days about how I want to write this fairly important post.  I feel like it should be some deeply introspective piece about the closure of one year and the opening of another, but I also don't want to sound like a broken record.  I could talk about how this year was nowhere near what we thought it would be, or resolutions for the new year, or even about how I'm trying to prepare myself to go back to work tomorrow.  But I don't like resolutions and I'm trying not to dwell on tomorrow.  That leaves me with the past year and the coming year.  One of the things that I find so amazing is just how clueless I was one year ago as to what the year would bring us.  When 2011 began, I knew it would be exciting because we were expecting our first daughter.  I pretty much assumed that would turn our lives upside down and that we'd be sleep deprived and amazed at how much we could possibly spend on diapers.  Well, I won't lie, diapers are definitely expensive.  But what I didn't expect was the conversation that would take place an hour after Tera was born.  I didn't expect to spend much of the first two days following her birth crying.  I didn't expect to have to leave the hospital without my baby and that she would spend 6 days in the NICU.  I didn't expect to spend much of my maternity leave researching what Down Syndrome actually meant and having Tera evaluated by therapists and specialists.  I didn't expect to know so much about developmental milestones for babies and what to worry about and what not to worry about.  And I didn't expect that 10 months later many of these things would not be nearly as sad as I thought. 

I didn't know at this time last year that our best friend and his wife would also be expecting their first child.  And I didn't know that my brother in law would find out he had a mass in his jaw that would require more than 20 hours of surgery, 2 weeks in the hospital, and over a month of radiation. 

Currently, Tera has an adorably healthy little friend almost exactly 6 months younger than her.  My brother in law is healing nicely, finished with radiation, and returning to work in 2 days.  And then there's our girl.  Tom and I have had so many conversations about what we think our lives will be now.  We try to plan for all the possibilities. Maybe she'll live with us forever or maybe we'll have to bite the bullet and actually give her away one day to a very lucky man who will have gone through nothing less than a vetting process by her dad and uncles.  Maybe she'll find a job right out of high school or maybe we'll have to figure out how to say goodbye when she leaves for college. 

Tom and I are very practical people.  We don't get overly optimistic nor do we believe things just work out for us.  We've had lots of rough patches when it seemed everything was going wrong and we've had times when we wondered how we got so lucky.  Somehow, we've felt both with Tera.  But one of the most important conversations we've had is the one when we both of admitted to each other that we feel Tera will be capable of some truly amazing things.  In the past 10 months she's experienced little to no delays and while we know this is not necessarily indicative of the future, we both just feel that she will continue to beat the odds in every way.

So next year I hope to share that our year was truly uneventful.  In the meantime, it's back to the grind.  Happy New Year to all and thank you to every one of you who has told me that you read my posts.  It means the world to me and I hope to be able to continue to share with you our family progress, information about DS, and my life's lessons.  Here's to a fabulous year :)