Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Visit from Granny and Danpa

It's been so great to have my parents in town for a visit! Here are some pics of Calvin and Henry with their Granny and "Danpa." 







Though Granny and Danpa are saying 'bye to California, the party's not over quite yet! We're just moving it to their place! The boys and I are headed to Georgia for a couple of weeks starting tomorrow. Praying, hoping, and finger-crossing for a safe and happy flight! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Henry's Beary First Birthday!


We had an awesome Teddy Bear Picnic yesterday to celebrate Henry's beary first birthday! It was so nice to spend time with friends and family, especially those we don't often get to see. We picked a park down the peninsula a-ways to make sure we were out of the fog and into the sunshine. And though there was no grass to speak of (terrible drought over here in CA!), we spread out our blankets in the shade at the edge of the woods and it really was a nice picnic spot. The yellow jackets thought so too. 

To create the theme, we had bear ears for the kiddos (you know, because a Teddy Bear picnic is for bears only!), bear cupcakes, honey bear bottles for the drinks, and little bear lunches that had bear-shaped PBJ's and bags of Teddy Grahams :)






Calvin is getting ready to eat his "little bear lunch"
Since Henry can't really eat cake (not because we wouldn't let him, but because he's not quite there yet with the whole chewing-and-swallowing biz), we made him a birthday "cupfake" by filling a cupcake wrapper with whipped cream! He liked the first bite, he liked the second bite, and then he was over it. Big brother Calvin was ready to help him finish it ;) After we sang to the birthday boy and helped him blow out the candle on his cupfake, it was time to pass out the real cupcakes!



Why can't we have birthday picnics every weekend?? Oh yeah, because they are a lot of work! But thanks to lots of help from my parents, my cousins, and our friends, we pulled it off and I think everybody had a nice time. I sure did. And HALLELUJAH we had no potty accidents or tantrums or spit-ups of any kind! Happy birthday to Henry, happy birthing day to me ;) and happy picnicking to all of us!

Birthday boy! 1-year-old Henry!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Little Things


When I was pregnant with Henry, I made a playlist of songs from Sesame Street for Calvin. Songs that I remembered from my own childhood. And when I came across this one, it made me tear up. I felt touched by the sentiment. Seeing beauty, seeing importance in something easily taken for granted. I was also thinking of a baby as being both a little thing - a little squishy thing! - and also a big thing - a big, life-changing thing! And there I was with one baby on the outside, just learning to crawl, and one still on the inside on his way to join us. 

And the little one that came to join us was Henry. And tomorrow is Henry's first birthday! 



As the weeks have led up to Henry's birthday, part of me has been feeling sad... worried... even sorry or guilty... because I can see that Henry is not very much like a 1-year-old boy. He doesn't sit or crawl. He doesn't pull himself up to stand or cruise or walk around. He doesn't eat table foods or drink from a cup or even hold his own bottle. He doesn't talk or call me Mama. He doesn't bang toys together or fit toys together or clap his hands. He won't be able to eat birthday cake. 

He hasn't reached those big milestones yet. It doesn't mean he won't, of course, it just means that his timeline is stretched out. Developmental delay, they call it. He's hit some milestones. He rolls over and over. He holds himself up on his elbows and reaches for toys. He brings toys to his mouth. He eats early baby-foods like purees and soups. Those are big milestones. It's just that typically babies reach all those milestones by the time they're 6 or 7 months old. There are more milestones he was "supposed" to reach in this first 12 months of his life. I see other babies, younger babies, doing things Henry can't... and sometimes it's fine because I know Henry is Henry and Henry is free to do things in his own time. But sometimes it hurts. It hurts because it reminds me of what Henry could be like if only. If only he wasn't different. If only it wasn't so hard for him. 

But whenever I start to feel those flurries of worry and sadness and regret, the thing that snaps me out of it more than anything else is to look at Henry. To really see Henry. I see him smile his bright smile. I see him focus his eyes on me and know who I am. I watch him take interest in a toy and roll and pivot until he can reach it. I see him pass the toy from one hand to the other. Put it in his mouth. Bring his feet up and push on it. Teeny, tiny movements that are teeny, tiny milestones in and of themselves. 



It's okay if Henry's milestones are teeny tiny because the little things matter. The little things count. Those little things are his way of showing us that he is learning and growing and going to be okay. They are opportunities for us to cheer him on. Opportunities to feel gratitude. To appreciate him just as he is. 

So here's to Henry. Here's to every single one of the few seconds that he can sit up on his own. Here's to every bite of stale graham cracker that he managed to chew and swallow without gagging. Here's to every ounce he has gained and every inch he has grown. Here's to that one tiny tooth poking through in front. Here's to every light brown curl on his little pea-head. Here's to his breathy laugh, and of course, his incredible smile. Happy birthday to my sweet sweet boy. 

Tomorrow we'll take the 12 month pic! 



Thursday, July 10, 2014

7 Years Good Luck

Last Monday James and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary! The 7th isn't typically thought of as a major milestone, but for us it felt special because of our lucky 7 wedding date, 07-07-07 :)

My mom and my cousin Pam babysat for us on Saturday so that we could spend the day up in wine country. I love going wine tasting, but we never get to go anymore now that we have littles!


On the 7th, we went out to dinner on the Embarcadero in the city. Granny Anne and Hartley babysat. 

Goodnight babies! Mama and Daddy are going out!


In honor of our 7th anniversary, here's a #tbt  #jamesanddianaversary edition! 


 

It was a wonderful day. The cloudy skies saved us from the usual heat of Georgian summer. We were surrounded by family and friends, so many of whom helped us pull the whole thing off! For our honeymoon we borrowed a little Hobie catamaran from the GA Tech sailing club (James was a member) and towed it up to the outer banks of North Carolina where we spent a week relaxing and sailing. As soon as we got home from our honeymoon, we packed up our little apartment (again, with lots of help from friends and family!) and took a cross-country road trip in a moving van to our new home: California. 

It was a wonderful day, and it has been 7 wonderful years. A whirlwind, especially these last two years when Calvin and Henry blew into our lives and made us a family of four! These days we are often exhausted and covered in baby food and dirty laundry, but at our hearts we are happy and grateful because we know we are blessed.  We celebrate the 7 years gone by, knowing we are still just at the beginning of our journey together. Cheers! :)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Fourth of July

Henry celebrated his first Independence Day last week! Though he probably couldn't tell that it was different from any other day, since we had a very low-key celebration. I said, "Henry! It's your first 4th of July!" And James goes, "Yeah. And yesterday was his first 3rd of July. And tomorrow will be his first 5th of July. All the days are his first day until his birthday." #thankyoucaptainliteral

That morning, during Henry's early nap, Calvin did a little patriotic painting.



Calvin also helped me bake and decorate the cupcakes.


One sprinkle for the cupcake, one sprinkle for Calvin...

My cousins came over for a little party at our place. We had some red, white, and blue snacks and James grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.


It was a foggy day in our neighborhood, but Calvin still got to play outside a bit with his water toys and his sand sensory bin.

Calvin and Granny
Abbie, Calvin, Ramiro

Henry stayed in his PJ's all day. Because why not? Here he is playing with his daddy at our little work bench.

#nailingit
Happy 4th of July! Pamela, Diana, Granny Anne

Pamela, Granny Anne, Henry

After dark, we walked over to a nearby playground to watch the illegal fireworks our neighbors set off. Hee hee. We even let Calvin stay up late and come outside to see them. (Henry went to bed at his usual bedtime and did not get to see any fireworks. #sorryhenry) Calvin seemed fascinated and frightened at the same time. Every once in a while he would sign "scared" after a particularly big boom. But when we asked if he wanted to go inside, he said no, he wanted to see more.

It was a pretty chill 4th (literally chill too with all that fog!), but always fun to have an excuse to have our cousins come over and hang out, eat some yummy food :)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Mini Wellness Update: PT Pics

Saw Henry's gastro doc this morning and here's the latest: the erythromycin has decreased the vomiting, but he is still waking up in the middle of the night retching. So the doc recommends giving the last dose after bedtime, which means waking him up - but  maybe that's better than letting the poor kid wake up retching :( Not sure if it will work, but I will try it for a few nights. Henry's doc also wants to do another fluoroscopy, like the swallow study, but this one will look at food travelling all the way through his system past his stomach in order to check for any anatomical abnormalities. I don't think this procedure will be that big of a deal. Just Henry drinking barium and being x-rayed again.

Henry had a good PT (physical therapy) session today! His therapist noted that he seems to be gaining strength and stamina - not needing breaks as often and not getting fussy at the end of PT. I took a few pictures during his session today. Sorry for the blurriness! Moving subject!


Some practice kneeling... using his trunk to hold himself up so he can have his arms free to play.


Some practice sitting with a hand on his lower back to help him balance

Pushing with his legs for strength and sensory input

Baby elbow plank! Kind of like a wheelbarrow...


And all the way up! Baby plank! Using those arms and abs to support himself. It's hard!

Whew! It's hard work for my little guy. I'm always proud of him.



Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sensory Bin + Color Sorting


I've been trying to teach Calvin color words/signs for months. I'm not, like, drilling him or anything, just making a point to name the colors of objects, reading books with color words, showing him the signs, trying to get him to name colors or find certain colors... basically incorporating it into our usual play and activities. And he is just not picking up what I'm laying down!

Since Fall of last year he's been able to learn nouns really quickly, and lately he's also starting to use more signs for verbs - go, run, jump, bounce, splash, swim, etc. But it's like there's a color block on color words!

He is making progress. If I say the color, he can usually pick the right object for most colors. Ok, some colors. And he will mostly match objects of the same color correctly. If he feels like it. I kind of think he just doesn't get why the colors matter. It's not like naming an animal you're really excited about seeing. Dear colors: He's just not that into you.

So I'm like, Challenge Accepted. And my inner elementary school teacher started devising color sorting and naming games. Here's a little game I played with him as an extension of playing with his rice sensory bin. He likes digging around in the bin of rice, finding hidden dinosaurs and animals, and using scoops to scoop and pour the grains. So this time I pulled out a little color sorting tray that I'd made and I encouraged him to take the objects he found in the rice bin and sort them by color.


The color sorting tray is a plastic paint palette from the craft store. I colored each well with a Sharpie.

The rice bin, apart from being a totally cheap and easy source of entertainment, is a type of "sensory bin."  Playing with different textures can help kids with sensory integration. Here's an article that does a nice job explaining why sensory play is important.  Inside the rice, I buried little animal-shaped beads, buttons, pom poms and dinosaur erasers for Calvin to dig up. 



As he pulled out each toy, I encouraged him to place it on the sorting tray with the corresponding color. He did OK, but he wasn't really into the sorting part. I tried to show him that I was really enthused about it and I think he was humoring me :) Mostly he wanted to put the dinosaurs back into the rice and dig them up again! All right, kid. Dig up dinosaurs.


I don't see any major reason to push the color words right now, but I do think it's a worthwhile part of expanding his vocabulary. I also think that sorting activities like this are nice for general comparing/organizing/categorizing skills and also another form of sensory play. He'll learn those darn color words eventually! #nopressure #hesjustnotthatintoyou And I've got some more ideas for teaching colors up my sleeve. #teacheratheart #playtolearn

And even though Calvin wasn't excited about this sorting activity (just like he wasn't into the sensory balloons we made!), maybe your kid would dig it ;)