Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day!



"Ack, Mama! It's snowing and I can't see!"

We've had snow all week. At times, though, the temps have been so low and the wind so fierce that we couldn't go out to play. We managed a couple of times and Eva and I had fun. I'm glad I can still feel the wonder of the snowfall as a child does. The way it transforms my otherwise ordinary yard, my street, my world. I'm glad I appreciate it when it's here, before it goes away and my world becomes ordinary again.

Eva was too busy uncovering her sandbox to look at the camera.

It's serious work. No distractions, please.

My snow fairy. I went first to show her how. She thought it was very silly!

She did a snow fairy, too. But she didn't want to lay on her back, so it's a reclined snow fairy.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Peacock Lady

Eva has been really enjoying "The Violin Show", as she calls it. It's a DVD of an Andre Rieu concert in Vienna with the symphony, opera singers, and ballet and folk dancers. It's a lot of fun. Eva's favorite piece is "the peacock lady". It's Carla Maffioletti singing "Mein Herr Marquis" from Strauss' Die Fledermaus. (You can search youtube for a clip of this). She tries to sing along, which is SO cute. She even calls the "peacock lady" on her play phone. They laugh. So this video is of Eva singing opera for a bit. She sings and dances along to the other performers, too, but this is clearly her favorite.


video

Friday, December 12, 2008

Perspective

First, a note: I know I haven't posted for awhile and it certainly isn't because there has been nothing to share. But now it's a month's worth of little things all smeared together. So back to today...

I picked Eva up a little early from school today so we could go to a dear friend's retirement party. Eva has been the Morale Booster/Therapeutic Hugger/Sweet Heart-Melting Charmer at my work since she first came when she was 3 weeks old. Everyone at my work has been incredibly loving and supportive of our family from, literally, the DAY she was born and our lives changed forever. Each coworker ("family friend" I should say because they are so much more than coworkers) has shown their love for and acceptance of us in their own way. It was wonderful today to see everyone together in one space, celebrating our dear Lynn and his new adventures as a retiree!

Back to school...we left the classroom and headed down the hallway. Eva was walking all by herself, carrying her backpack and a weep tried to escape from my throat. It was only last spring, when Eva started school, that she could walk only about halfway down the hall, holding my hand(s), before her legs would tire and I'd carry her the rest of the way. And that was a huge accomplishment. Today, I watched my little baby walk BY HERSELF the entire length of the hallway (it's about 100 feet, I guess?) No hands held; no falling; no brushing the wall for support. She was charging ahead on her own, taking a piece of my heart with her.

Another day, another reason for celebration. How lucky I am to get to celebrate so often.

HealthNewsDigest Article

New Tests for Down Syndrome Could Lead to More Abortions
By Mary Carmichael | NEWSWEEK
Dec 7, 2008 - 10:30:38 AM

Email this article
Printer friendly page
(HealthNewsDigest.com) - Beth Allard was recovering from labor, waiting for a hospital photographer to capture her newborn son's first day in the world, when a pediatrician walked into her room and told Allard her life was ruined. Allard might have expected as much from a doctor, given what she'd already heard from others in the previous few months: little Ben, who had tested positive in utero for Down syndrome, would be mute and illiterate, they said; he would spend his life hanging off her, drooling. The pediatrician was harsher: "You should consider putting him up for adoption," she said. "You're going to end up divorced. Don't even bother having any other children. Didn't you have the option to terminate?" Finally, the pediatrician left, and Allard resumed her wait for the photographer. He never came.

Ben Allard is now 9, and it's hard to understand why doctors were convinced he would be such a burden. He's a friendly, witty kid who's happily enrolled in third grade at a regular school. He does, says Beth, "all the things they told us he wouldn't be doing, and more." She shudders when she thinks about how wrong the doctors turned out to be: she almost took their advice and ended her pregnancy.

She would not have been alone in that decision. Life with Down syndrome can be very challenging for both parents and kids, and according to studies, 90 percent of women whose fetuses test positive choose to abort. Now, because of a technological advance, pro-life and disability advocates worry those numbers may rise even higher. Currently, Down syndrome is picked up with blood screens and ultrasounds, then confirmed with invasive tests such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling, which insert needles into the uterus and slightly increase the risk of miscarriage. Some women forgo the tests for that reason. Next year, though, new, noninvasive genetic screens that pose no harm to fetuses or mothers may start arriving in doctors' offices. If they become common, they could result in more diagnoses, more abortions, a dwindling Down population and a drop in support for families who carry to term—what Down activist Patricia Bauer has called "the elimination of an entire class of people." Even now, only 5,000 babies are born with the syndrome each year.

As technology has advanced, doctors' education about Down syndrome has lagged behind. Allard's tactless pediatrician gave her an outdated book that used the pejorative term "mongoloid." Many doctors seem unaware that early intervention with speech and occupational therapy, combined with medications or corrective heart surgery, has allowed some children to grow up relatively normally, graduating from high school and holding jobs. In a large 2005 survey, mothers of children with Down syndrome said they had received little or no information about the positive side of the condition. (Families often end up stronger. A 2003 study in the American Journal on Mental Retardation found that healthy siblings are highly empathetic; another study in the same journal this year showed that parents are less likely to divorce.) Doctors were also in the dark. "Even among obstetrics fellows, 45 percent said their training in how to deliver a diagnosis was barely adequate or nonexistent," says Dr. Brian Skotko, a pediatrics resident at Children's Hospital Boston who has studied how doctors tell patients about sensitive diagnoses. In a 2000 study published in Prenatal Testing and Disability Rights, 23 percent of doctors admitted trying to influence mothers' decisions, usually encouraging them to abort.

Until this fall, a bill based on Skotko's research—one calling for doctors to provide "accurate and up-to-date information" about Down syndrome to expectant parents—had been stalled in Congress. The new noninvasive tests "put it on the front burner and turned up the degrees," says Skotko. (So did Sarah Palin's rise; Sen. John McCain became a cosponsor shortly after naming Palin, who had a baby with Down syndrome in April, as his running mate.) The bill passed easily in September. "It was a rare political moment," says Skotko. "The pro-life people believed that women making informed decisions might be more apt to continue their pregnancies. And people who were pro-choice saw the bill as pro-information but not telling doctors what to do." There's no funding for the new law yet, but disability advocates hope it will go into effect around the same time the new genetic tests do.

The Allards are among those supporters. They testified on the bill's behalf, hoping to show lawmakers the kind of life they believed their doctors hadn't told them about. They have a strong marriage, a healthy second son and a great sense of relief that they have their first one. Ben has something good, too—a new pediatrician.

www.HealthNewsDigest.com © 2008

www.HealthNewsDigest.com

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Joyous Day

Two exciting things happened today. Two events that will change my life and the lives of many for the better. It is a day to be hopeful for the future and to claim a renewed sense of purpose, determination and honor.

1. Barack Obama was elected the next President of the United States by a WIDE margin; and

2. Eva has finally decided that she can successfully drink from a big girl cup (i.e., not a sippy cup with a lid).

It's a very big day in our home. Share the joy with us.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Costumes costumes!

Here are a few pics of Halloween over the years.

Eva (8 months old) as a Sustainable Forester. I made the suspenders and hatchet out of felt. Seen here with Chicken Lily.

Eva (1 1/2 years) as a furry monster. Seen here with Dorothy Lily.


Eva (2 1/2 years) as a purse that I made out of a graham cracker box, an old skirt, binder rings and a hot glue gun.

And this year as a baseball player.

Fall Festivities

Drawing my inspiration for a costume from Eva's interests, she dressed as a baseball player this year (shown here without her hat and mitt). This was Eva's first year trick-or-treating and first year WALKING. In years past, we've dressed her up, gone to parties and shown a few neighbors. She was a little confused over the whole process--knock, "trick or treat!", get candy, say "thank you" and leave. And since she doesn't eat candy, she wasn't that excited about her loot until a neighbor gave her a packet of microwave popcorn. Oh joy! She LOVES popcorn. (A note: I've tried to give her different kinds of candy, but she won't try it. A good side to oral-motor aversions, I guess!) BTW, Jerry is wearing a wig in this pic.

A couple weeks ago, Eva and Jerry went to the farmer's market and got three little pumpkins for us to decorate. She loved painting and applying glitter to the wet paint. LOTS of glitter. So fun!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dancing Dress

Thank you to Papa and Lala for the super cute ballet clothes. Eva can't get enough of her super cute self! Here is one of the many outfits. Watch the video at the bottom, too.





video

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Go, Eva, Go!

Check it out! Here is Eva walking all by herself--without the additional support of shoes/orthotics. She does this at home about 1/3 of the time but still prefers to scoot. She'll walk more if I remind her that she can. Yay, Eva!!

video

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Family Day




We took a drive out to Baker Lake today, had a picnic and enjoyed the humming quiet. It started off a little rainy, but after lunch, the sun came out a bit and it was quite lovely.
Eva spent A LOT of time throwing rocks into the lake. "Wooooo! Haha."




Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Food Triumphs

We're really riding a high in the food progress department here. As mentioned the other day, Eva is eating new things. Yesterday, I was eating a salad and she said, "Mommy? Eva try salad?" So I gave her a bite of lettuce and stuff on my fork. And SHE ATE IT! My god. Then, if that wasn't enough, she asked for more. She probably had 8 bites before she was done with it.

Tonight, she had a broth-y soup with curly pasta, beans and carrots. I've learned from a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) that this is the most complex texture to learn. Kids (babies and toddlers in most cases) learn to eat purees first, then solid finger foods. After they master that, they can combine the two, like a broth-y soup with chunks in it. It's liquid, but there are surprise non-uniform bits to chew.

I honestly felt some days that we'd never get to this point. Just like it felt like she'd never want to/be able to walk on her own. After working every day for three and a half years, it's easy to get discouraged. Think about it. Three and a half years. Every single day since the first day of her life, we have been struggling with feeding. She had a naso-gastric tube (feeding tube thru her nose to her stomach) for the first three months of her life until she was able to drink enough milk from a bottle to sustain her. Learning to eat, drink and tolerate textures is not something you can take a break from for a few days and come back to when you're not feeling frustrated, despondent, hopeless, worn out, at a loss, unable to see the goal, emotionally exhausted and tired of dealing with these struggles over and over and over and over. For Eva, the textures of foods have been the issue, plus the normal not-wanting-to-try-new-things that most little kids have. She's been able to manipulate a spoon/fork for some time now and has had a good chew, tongue movement and swallow technique for months.

So we keep at it. We remind ourselves regularly to not make mealtimes stressful, which is very VERY hard sometimes. We adhere to a mealtime routine and give her choices to feel more in control--which bib? which placemat? water or milk? what kind of cracker? We have her stand on her chair and help us cook, even if there isn't much she can do, just to keep her involved. We talk about our food: what it tastes like, the texture, the temperature, the sign(s) for it, where it comes from. I tell her everything that is in a meal, down to the spices and herbs. We give her some bit of what we're having but we don't make her try it or say she has to finish her plate. More recently, we started to talk about being hungry and full and what food does for our bodies. All of these things we've learned as we've gone along, after things have backfired and we've found ourselves struggling over every single bite.

This summer, our wonderful SLP gave us the idea to give Eva one new thing at meal time (we started with blueberries because we'd just gone blueberry picking with her) and she had to pick it up, kiss it goodbye and put it in a bowl. The idea being that she'll get a bit of the taste/texture/temperature on her lips, feel safe with it and eventually put it in her mouth. Some days she wouldn't even touch the new food, even though she knew the routine and would say it. After getting used to kissing it, we moved on to licking it and then putting it on her tongue before putting it in the bowl. It seems tedious because it is tedious but breaking things down into tiny steps is what she needed. And it worked. Things are coming together in her body and in her brain and she is making huge leaps. It makes me want to weep with joy and relief.

I am so grateful for the outstanding Speech Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Teachers, and other parents who have educated us on how to help our girl and listened to our frustrations and encouraged us to keep moving forward.

I hope that I can provide encouragement and hope to someone reading this who is struggling to get through one more day.

Our Trip to the ER


Well, I guess there's a first time for everything. Eva had her first trip to the ER for an injury yesterday. She's alright now but it was a traumatic experience for both of us.

She and I were leaving the PT waiting room yesterday morning after therapy. A helpful little kid was closing the waiting room door behind us. I had hold of one of Eva's hands and the other hand was in the hinge side of the door jamb, which I didn't realize until she started howling when the door was almost closed. Her ring finger was a mangled bloody mess from the last joint to the tip and she was screaming. I was panicking and crying and shaking, too. The CNP staff put a bandaid on her finger to hold things together and I calmed down enough to drive home. I called Jerry and had him call the doctor's office to see if we could get her in right away. They were unusually booked so we three headed to the ER.

After x-rays and too many people looking at her finger (in her loud opinion) it was determined that her finger was NOT broken; that the skin from her last joint to the nail bed was ripped off and a bit of the root of the nail was pushed up. She'll probably lose that nail and the new one will likely grow in with ridges in it. There wasn't much they could do to repair her finger so they wrapped it up with a lot of gauze and sent us home.

The ER staff were wonderful and we didn't have to spend a lot of time there, just over two hours. Eva's highlights were being helped by a dear family friend who works there and seeing the helicopter land. I hope that's what she remembers from the experience. And to not put her hand in the door jamb again.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

3 New Tricks

It's an energetic fun time in our house right now. Not only has Eva's speech skyrocketed since school started a few weeks ago (she sometimes speaks in short, complete sentences), but she has three pretty cool new tricks.

1. Suddenly, she likes to eat whole pasta and vegetables with some kind of saucy/buttery stuff to hold it together. This is a MAJOR accomplishment for a kid who didn't want to eat anything wet if it wasn't smushed. And she's eating it with a fork!! Chewing, swallowing, no choking and asking for more.

2. Eva's been arranging things (cups, crackers, blocks) into the shape of a face. "Nose...eye...eye...ear...ear..." What a huge thing to be able to visualize something in her head, and manipulate things to make that thing in front of her!! Genius!

3. Now, this one is HUGE HUGE...Eva is W-A-L-K-I-N-G!! She's been taking 4-6 steps between people for a few months, and now she's going all over the house. Like, from the bookcases, around the couch, steps over a toy and goes to the table! All on her own! Or down the hallway, thru her bedroom door, around some clutter and over to her bed! From the car, thru the garage to the door to the house! Sure, she still walks with her arms cocked out to the sides at odd angles and I try to not hold my breath watching her but I must say, I'm am beyond giddy. This is such a big deal. I'll post a video of it when I get one.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hope.

I heard this story on All Things Considered (NPR) this afternoon while I was waiting in the car during Eva's speech therapy session. Not only did the details this man expressed ring to familiar and true to me and our experience, but I thought: the more stories of families raising children with special needs that are out there in the mainstream media; the more citizens are educated and enlightened about the challenges we parents face and the many ways our lives are just like theirs--the less I feel alone.

I feel more understood as a parent, and more accepted as a family. This is what it means to be supportive of our family and those like us. We are all families--special needs or not--working as hard as we can to raise beautiful, compassionate and intelligent children.

Thank you for taking the time to educate yourself a little more and to share this with the people in your life.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

My Summer Vacation...by Eva (as told to Mommy)


Well, now that the weather has turned soggy and dark and I'm back in school again, it's time to reminisce about my summer vacation...

Mommy and I spent several days visiting Uncle Tommy at the beach. It was like a big sandbox and I loved to play in it and watch the waves...I helped Mommy tend to her roses...and rode my bike in the driveway... I took my very first sailboat ride. I liked it pretty well and want to go again...I was very busy helping Mommy cook in the kitchen with my "stand up" chair...We had our yearly visit with a lot of family from my Grandpa Moen's side. Mommy's cousin and kids came all the way from China! My Great Uncle Allen is a lot sillier than people think he is...Mommy and Daddy took me to watch a softball game. That was the greatest thing ever! I LOVE sports!! Oh! And the Olympics were on TV! I LOVED the Olympics--especially swimming and diving...Mommy bought me a new flower sprinkler so I conducted many physics experiments with it in my pool...Mommy and I had a picnic at Hovander Park...and she taught me how to use the camera. See? Daddy and I went with Mommy to get another tattoo...I figured out how to use my stool to reach the light switch!And I played at the park with my friends; visited my Papa, Lala, Grandma, Eric, Uncle Brent, Aunt Caasi, Cousin Porter; learned how to say my name and my Mom and Dad's names; and learned thousands of little things about the world. AND, most exciting, I am walking all by myself! My record is 13 steps, unassisted. I still prefer to scoot, but I can stand up from the ground and walk and can creep around furniture. I'm still a little nervous about it all, but everyone gets really excited when I do it, so I guess I'll keep doing it!

I'm a busy little girl and I had a busy, fun summer. Now I'm back in school and I'm a constant chatterbox and curious little girl. I hope you had a fun summer, too!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The "R" word

It DOES matter what you say

This was copied from a friend's blog. Please consider what you think about people with Down syndrome and educate yourself and others. Thank you.

In light of the new VP candidate for John McCain, the NDSS has submitted a Press Release about the proper etiquette and language for addressing Down syndrome. Mommy thought it was highly appropriate and wanted to share it with everyone....PS the myth about individuals with Down syndrome being happy all the time is a particular pet-peeve of Mommy's. HOORAY that they addressed that!


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sarah Schleider

212-763-4369/ 917 921 9889 (cell) sschleider@ndss.org

Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska has been selected as John McCain’s choice for Vice Presidential nominee of the Republican Party. Governor Sarah Palin recently gave birth to her son who has Down syndrome. The Palins knew before their son’s birth that he would have Down syndrome.

Below are tips for the proper use of language for ‘Down syndrome’. The National Down Syndrome Society and the National Down Syndrome Congress encourages all media to use the below language:

• Down vs. Down’s. NDSS and NDSC use the preferred spelling, Down syndrome, rather than Down’s syndrome. While Down syndrome is listed in many dictionaries with both popular spellings (with or without an apostrophe s), the preferred usage in the United States is Down syndrome. This is because an “apostrophe s” connotes ownership or possession. Down syndrome is named for the English physician John Langdon Down, who characterized the condition, but did not have it. The AP Stylebook recommends using “Down syndrome” as well.

• People with Down syndrome should always be referred to as people first. Instead of “a Down syndrome child,” it should be “a child with Down syndrome.” Also avoid “Down’s child” and describing the condition as “Down’s,” as in, “He has Down’s.”

• Down syndrome is a condition or a syndrome, not a disease.

• People “have” Down syndrome, they do not “suffer from” it and are not “afflicted by” it.

• It is clinically acceptable to say “mental retardation,” but you may want to use the more socially acceptable “cognitive disability” or “cognitive impairment.”

Down Syndrome Myths and Truths

Myth: Down syndrome is a rare genetic disorder.
Truth: Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring genetic condition. One in every 733 live births is a child with Down syndrome, representing approximately 5,000 births per year in the United States alone. Today, more than 400,000 people in the United States have Down syndrome.

Myth: People with Down syndrome have a short life span.
Truth: Life expectancy for individuals with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent years, with the average life expectancy approaching that of peers without Down syndrome.


Myth: Most children with Down syndrome are born to older parents.
Truth: Most children with Down syndrome are born to women younger than 35-years-old simply because younger women have more children. However, the incidence of births of children with Down syndrome increases with the age of the mother.

Myth: People with Down syndrome are severely “retarded.”
Truth: Most people with Down syndrome have IQs that fall in the mild to moderate range of intellectual disability (formerly known as “retardation”). Children with Down syndrome fully participate in public and private educational programs. Educators and researchers are still discovering the full educational potential of people with Down syndrome.

Myth: Most people with Down syndrome are institutionalized.
Truth: Today people with Down syndrome live at home with their families and are active participants in the educational, vocational, social, and recreational activities of the community. They are integrated into the regular education system and take part in sports, camping, music, art programs and all the other activities of their communities. People with Down syndrome are valued members of their families and their communities, contributing to society in a variety of ways.

Myth: Parents will not find community support in bringing up their child with Down syndrome.
Truth: In almost every community of the United States there are parent support groups and other community organizations directly involved in providing services to families of individuals with Down syndrome.

Myth: Children with Down syndrome must be placed in segregated special education programs.
Truth: Children with Down syndrome have been included in regular academic classrooms in schools across the country. In some instances they are integrated into specific courses, while in other situations students are fully included in the regular classroom for all subjects. The current trend in education is for full inclusion in the social and educational life of the community. Increasingly, individuals with Down syndrome graduate from high school with regular diplomas, participate in post-secondary academic and college experiences and, in some cases, receive college degrees.

Myth: Adults with Down syndrome are unemployable.
Truth: Businesses are seeking young adults with Down syndrome for a variety of positions. They are being employed in small- and medium-sized offices: by banks, corporations, nursing homes, hotels and restaurants. They work in the music and entertainment industry, in clerical positions, childcare, the sports field and in the computer industry. People with Down syndrome bring to their jobs enthusiasm, reliability and dedication.

Myth: People with Down syndrome are always happy.
Truth: People with Down syndrome have feelings just like everyone else in the population. They experience the full range of emotions. They respond to positive expressions of friendship and they are hurt and upset by inconsiderate behavior.

Myth: Adults with Down syndrome are unable to form close interpersonal relationships leading to marriage.
Truth: People with Down syndrome date, socialize, form ongoing relationships and marry.

Myth: Down syndrome can never be cured.
Truth: Research on Down syndrome is making great strides in identifying the genes on chromosome 21 that cause the characteristics of Down syndrome. Scientists now feel strongly that it will be possible to improve, correct or prevent many of the problems associated with Down syndrome in the future.

For more information visit: www.ndss.org or www.ndsccenter.org

Thursday, July 31, 2008

This Is How It's Done

I recently bought Eva a winter coat (on super clearance!) It has a zip-out puffy jacket--magenta--and a lighter weight rain coat with. She picked it out. She loves herself some pink and pink! Here, she demonstrates how to put on your coat, even if it is a little big just yet.
First, you put your arms in like this...

...then you try to get your hands out of the sleeves and purse your lips at Momma cuz the coat's too big...
...and then you flip the whole thing over your head and--ta da!--your coat is on and hood is up and you are so proud of yourself!

Eva's Art Show


A few weeks ago, we had a Summer BBQ and Art Show featuring Eva's artwork from school. Thanks to our many friends who joined us for a relaxing afternoon!
Eva's art from school


More art from school

The "Arteest"getting some love from Mommy.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mz. Independent

Eva and I were running errands today. She was feeling the need to continuously express her fervent opinions to me and I was thinking "OK, let's get thru this and get home!" At Fred Meyer, our last stop, nearing the finish line. I was gently but firmly dragging her (she insisted on walking but was stopping every couple feet to complain) from the bathroom toward the bank of shopping carts, sharing knowing smiles with other moms. In front of Playland (where you drop your kids to play with their toys for up to an hour) she stopped dead in her tracks, the soles of her shoes suddenly stuck to the primary-colored tiles. "C'mon, honey", I cajoled. "Play mommeeeee!"

I'd never taken her to Playland before and she'd never show any interest in going. So, OK. Let's do it. She went thru the door and was busily playing before I'd even signed my name. Walking away to get a shopping cart, I could hardly keep the smile from my lips. I was free to shop without a whining child--for the next 60 minutes. But I was also proud of my big brave girl and my heart swelled with love. I dawdled thru the store and picked her up 45 minutes later. She had a great time and was in much better spirits when we left.

Once we got home, I got the wagon out to put all our bags in and pull to the house. Usually, she sits in the wagon with the bags and we make only one trip from the car. Today, she wanted to help. "Push, mommy, push". I was going to have her walk holding my hand while I pulled the wagon, but she had a better idea. She cruised (holding on to the wagon and walking sideways) from the front to the back. "Push, mommy!" I pulled the wagon and she walked from behind, pushing all the way into the garage. Cruising and walking while pushing something are both skills we are practicing. I was so proud of her that a) she did it and b) she came up with the ideas all by herself. Then she helped unload the groceries in the kitchen, ate miniscule bits of raw broccoli and scooted away with the bag of chocolate chips.

Life is so good on the days when I can enjoy the little things like these.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Beach Babes


Eva and I took a last minute trip to Lincoln City, Oregon this week to visit my brother, Tom. Tom has a little place one block from a beach access and we were graced with gorgeous, sunny weather--warm, even! Eva and I had a lovely time traveling. She is great on adventures; keeps herself happy and busy in the car and loves to watch the scenery go by. Even though I was plagued by shivering fever and massive, raw, painful tonsils of tonsilitis the entire trip, (sorry for the cooties left behind, Tom!) the three of us enjoyed our time hanging out together as a family.
One of Eva's favorite games was to chase the waves out to sea. Thank god for Tom because I was in no condition to run back and forth on the beach over and over. And over. I took these pics from my spot in the sand at Pacific Beach.

And squeal and laugh as the waves chased her. She tried to turn and look at how close they were while she was running. And squealing and laughing.

A niece and an uncle chilling in the sand.

What to do when you have sand in everywhere and Uncle Tommy has only a stand-up shower? Improvise with a storage tub, of course!

Making fast motorcycle noises at a park a couple blocks from Tom's place. This was the day before we left--the first non-sunny day.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Little Steps


Eva took her first unassisted steps yesterday at Jayna Bean's seizure free celebration! It all starts with three staggering steps (and months and months and months of hard work). Yay, Eva!!

Pa-a-a-a-a-a-rk!!!


Thanks, Daddy!

Jerry built Eva a playground in the backyard. It's so fun and sturdy (we can sit in the fort and swing on the swings, too!!) Jerry did a great job completing this massive project in his "spare time" with minimal help from me. Of course, it's been raining almost constantly for more than a week, so she's been able to play on it only a little bit. Summer's coming, right? Thanks, Jerry! I've always wanted a swing in my back yard! I mean, Eva. Eva's always wanted a swing...

Here's the frame! Wow, that's gonna be big.

Laying the decking and putting up the rails.

YAY! Hi Mommy!!
(it will have a slide next to the stairs when we buy one)

And here is Eva checking out her completed playground for the first time. Oh, the joy!

video