Thursday, July 30, 2009

So Awesome!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sunny Days, Everything's A-OK

We had Tess' appointment with the pediatric neurologist at Children's National Medical Center yesterday. I'll tell you, that's the place to hang out if you ever need to feel grateful for the blessings in your life! The doctor we saw, Dr. Bennett Lavenstein, is kind of a bigwig when it comes neurological movement disorders. Some of the kids there had such real problems, I almost felt bad for taking up his time.

Anyway, he said that it's clear that she's been delayed in meeting the gross motor markers. He did some tests on her that confirmed that she has slow reflexes when it comes to "parachuting" (catching herself when she falls) and her step reflexes are also slow. He said that if there is a neurological explanation for her delay, then it's in her central nervous system, and the only way to confirm that is to do an MRI on her.

But he said that even if we were to confirm that, the course of treatment for her wouldn't be any different--physical therapy. He said she still has time and development on her side, meaning that she's making progress and the benefits from doing an MRI wouldn't be that great. He did order some bloodwork on her, and we agreed to see him again in a month so he can gauge the rate of her progress. We'll reconsider the need for an MRI at that time.

This blog is certainly helpful when it comes to recordkeeping. I knew he'd want to know when she first rolled, crawled, sat up and walked. I just don't remember things like that. So it's nice to have a handy, searchable resource at my fingertips.

Relaxin' & maxin' with Elmo's World.

In other news, lately we've become quite the Sesame Street groupies at our house. Tess loved playing with all the Sesame Street toys at Aunt Laura's house, so we've been working on our collection. We're doing pretty well, though we still need the Count and Oscar. We can only dream of finding Snuffy, Slimy and Prairie Dawn (Laura has a sweet collection!).

Tess is a hardcore Elmo fan, but she's learned the names of other characters too. It cracks me up to hear her say them: "el-MO, "Eh-nee," "ah-BEE," "cookEE."

Sorry for the hyper-pixelation--I think my battery was low.

Personally, I'm a big Sesame Street fan. I've always loved the Muppets, and I'm happy to have an excuse to watch them daily. I think even Ry secretly doesn't hate it--at least not as much as some of the other kids' shows.

Tess grooving & making the "s-s-s" sound to the letter "C" song.

The world would be a happier place if everyone watched a little Sesame Street everyday. Here are a few of our favorite clips for your viewing pleasure:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Something New to Work Towards

Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children
Star Kid 8K Run/Walk
Saturday, October 10, 2009
George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
8:00 AM Start

To benefit the Pediatric Heart Program


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Party People

Kenzie Disclaimer: This post is not meant for viewing by Kenzie. I will not be held responsible for any of Kenzie's actions in response to this post.

The party action continued this weekend with 3 more parties! I went to a facial party Friday night (forgot the camera), Tess went to her first birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, and we went to our our ward Pioneer Day party.

The Chuck E. Cheese party was for Tess' Nursery friend, Julia (different than Spray Park Julia), who turned 2 years old. The party was on Saturday, and Chuck E. Cheese was nothing short of mass chaos. It was loud, wild and packed--and Tess absolutely loved it!

She was mesmerized by the creepy, singing animatronic puppets (which always terrified me as a kid--actually they still kind of creep me out). She was singing, clapping and dancing along with them.

She also thought Julia's birthday crown was pretty great. She somehow commandeered it and spent much of the time walking around pretending to be the birthday girl.

Umm,'s not about you.

So Chuck E. was a big hit. After loading up on pizza and birthday cake, we headed over to the ward Pioneer Day party. The church recently bought the vacant lot next to our ward building--it's rumored that they may turn it into either a parking lot or picnic pavilion. Anyway, we used it for a cookout and lots of Pioneer-themed activities.

3-Legged Races and Tug-of-War

Ry showing off with the hula hoop.
Who has the heart to tell him he's supposed to be rolling the hoop?

Tess was pretty good at this game.

Tess tickling birthday Julia's toes.
Julia was very cooperative.

Fun times with fun friends!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Splish Splash

Friday afternoon at the Spray Park. Everything is so much more fun now that Tess can walk! She still enjoys running her walker through the water, though. Julia from her nursery class was there too, so they had a good time together.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Snack Bucket

It's Tess' turn to bring the Snack Bucket to Nursery this week. I laughed when I saw her name on the Bucket assignment list. Not even two years old, and she already has church obligations! Nothing like starting them young!

She's been quite taken by the Bucket ever since we brought it home on Sunday. I don't think she understands what it is, other than being something new to carry around the house.

Snack at church on Sunday is nothing short of ingenious. Church is THREE hours long, for heavens sake! Why don't we all get a snack? When Ry & I taught Sunbeams, there was a favorite snack that I used to bring. It was some kind of Elmo snack mix and it was the perfect sweet & salty combination to satisfy Sunday after-church hunger! The kids would eat maybe 1/10 of the bag, and then Ry & I would scarf down the rest of the bag before we made it home.

I don't think they make the Elmo mix anymore, so I decided to come up with my own version. Tess was a willing helper. The secret recipe is as follows:

1. Gather your supplies.

2. Lick the spoon.

3. One more lick, for good measure.

4. Get a new spoon. Then stir in one part pretzel Goldfish.

5. One part Cheese Nips.
(NOT to be confused with Cheez-It's. Blech!)

6. One part Honey-Nut Cheerios.
Or Honey-Nut Toasted Oats. Come on, it's for Nursery.

7. Sample your work.

8. Get caught sneaking a taste.

9. Give a sign of approval.

10. Into the snack bucket it goes!

I hope there is some leftover after church on Sunday!

Summer Days

We have been enjoying the nicest summer here in recent memory! I keep waiting for the sweltering Virginia summer and unbearable humidity to set in, but it has just been so pleasant lately!

We took advantage of the beautiful weather this week and met Nana & Papa in Occoquan for an impromptu lunch. Tess was tickled to eat lunch outside on a picnic bench on the same level as everyone else.

Tess got in some good walking practice on the uneven, bricked sidewalks of Occoquan. And of course we had to spend some time terrorizing the ducks and geese from the boat docks.

FYI--Tess is continuing to progress with her walking. Her is video of her recent efforts:

So far this week has been one big party! I went out to dinner on Tuesday to celebrate my friend Annie's birthday (the big 30!). We went to Carlyle for dinner (my favorite) and had Cakelove for dessert (my favorite favorite!). When we walked into Carlyle, Natalie had a serious case of deja vu--she swears it looks exactly like the restaurant in the detective novel she's writing. We all got dressed up and were cursing our high heels by the end of the night. We had a blast together, as we always do.

Natalie, Jolene, Annie, Stephanie, Miriam

Not been a great week for the diet. I'm in desperate need of motivation or at least a swift kick in the rear end.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Family Vacation a la Vail

We just returned from a wild week in Colorado with the Higginbothams, Hoopes & Morleys! We all stayed at a beautiful resort outside of Vail. It was gorgeous and the weather was perfect.


This was the happiest Tess was in bed the whole trip!

We packed a lot into a few days: a family photo shoot (we'll see how those turn out); lots of swimming; morning walks along the Eagle river; massages at the spa; a lift ride to the top of the ski slopes; a whole lot of good food; and two family parties!

Girls' Spa Day.
I have post-massage hair. But don't I look RELAXED?!

Tess had the best time! She was thrilled to have so many fun people around! She spent lots of time playing with her cousins: Kate, Truman, Jake, Brooke & Andrew. They were so good to her--they were patient and tried to include her in their activities even though she is little.

Brooke "trying to make Tess laugh."

It's impossible to get a picture of them all being still!

Kate, in particular, looked out for Tess and made sure she was having a good time. Tess and Brookie had fun together, too. When it was time for us to leave, Brooke said, "I don't want Tess to go. I love her, and she will miss me and she will cry."

Brookie drew a portrait of herself with Tess.
As she explained, "I have straight hair and
Tess has curly hair in the back."

Tess & her cousin Kate.

Happy 40th, Keith & Wendy!

This family trip coincided with Keith & Wendy's 40th Wedding Anniversary, so we had an extra excuse to celebrate. One evening, we had a pizza party in our room and we all watched a slideshow tribute that Ry & I put together for their anniversary.

This slideshow was a labor of love, let me tell you. First, I had to get digital copies from their old photo albums. Pulling off the picture heist was not an easy feat. The week before our trip, Tess & I went to Vienna, under the guise that we needed to get Tess new shoes (well, we did). My plan was to get there in time for Tess' nap, put her down & tell Wendy I needed a nap too. Then I was going to swipe the picture albums and take pictures with my camera while I "napped" in Laura's room. The best laid plans...

So, Wendy was in her room, I put Tess down & sent Keith out to the garage for something. Then I RAN into the den, swiped a big stack of photo albums and RAN upstairs into Laura's room, while PRAYING Wendy wouldn't come out. I stashed them under the bed and ran to grab my camera. But of course, Tess wouldn't sleep. She screamed and screamed and screamed.

I finally gave up, got Tess up and we decided to go shopping. I took Tess down to Keith in the family room, Wendy went into her room to get ready, and I RAN upstairs to snatch the photo albums from under the bed. I hurriedly rushed the big stack down the stairs, PRAYING Wendy wouldn't come out of her room. I yelled to Keith that I need to get something in the car and slipped out the front door. I was sure Keith could see that for some reason I'm carrying a big stack of red books, but he didn't ask questions. I ran them out to the car and tried my best to cover them up.

I was petrified the rest of the week that I was going to get a frantic call from Wendy demanding to know what I'd done with her photo albums. But amazingly, they didn't notice the albums were gone.

Everything went smoothly until I tried to burn the finished slideshow to DVD the night before we flew out. The program crashed, and the file was corrupted. AARGGHH! We took the computer with us and managed to recreate the slideshow. It turned out really cute and it was a great tribute to all of the years Keith & Wendy have spent together.

We had a second party at Marc & Ann's room with yummy barbecue and a family program.
"Programs" are something of a Higginbotham tradition, and each of the kids put on a performance for us. I encouraged Tess to perform "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider," which resulted in her attempting to rip my shirt off in an effort to escape the limelight. The other performances went over better.

We had a lot of fun and only a little sleep. As it turns out, Tess has taken a firm stand against all playpens and cribs other than her own. We stayed the first night with the Hoopes and Tess was livid when we tried to put her down for the night. She cried hysterically and we got her up several times, only to cry harder each time we put her down again. Nana finally took sympathy on Tess and went in to rescue her, and Tess showed her thanks by vomiting all over her. Poor Nana. It's not really a family vacation until someone throws up on grandma.

The rest of the trip was a battle for sleep. Tess would only fall asleep late at night, once she was positively exhausted. She'd fall asleep if we let her sleep in our bed, with a bottle, and if we stayed with her until she conked out. Naps were out of the question, so if she ever fell asleep in the car, I'd just keep driving until she woke up.

Despite the lack of sleep, Tess stayed in relatively good spirits during the trip. I think she was afraid she'd miss out on something if she slept too long. Our hotel looked out onto the Eagle River, and Tess had a wonderful time throwing rocks and dipping her toes in the water. She could have spent hours sitting on that rock!

And some more documentation of our fun:

Whew! I think we need a vacation to recover from that wild time! Thanks, Keith & Wendy, for the great family get-together! We had a blast!