Monday, October 26, 2009

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

Olivia rolled over for the very first time on Oct. 20th! Apparently, there was an occurrence at school, which her teacher forgot to tell me about (sigh...). I discovered it later that night when I laid the Livster down for her nap. About 10 minutes in she started wailing, which is odd, so I checked on her. She was laying on her tummy with one leg sticking out the crib slats. Poor thing -- stuck! And obviously frustrated. I managed to get this video later in the evening. It takes her about 2 minutes to do it (note: about 5 seconds after I stopped filming, she fixed her hand and was completely upright). I was worried that the video would be long and boring... thank goodness we have cats.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Rose by Any Other Name

Jealous? I know you are. I made these. Out of icing. Leaves & stems are apparently next class. Now taking orders.







Wednesday, October 21, 2009

They're cakes; I bake them.

One of my fondest memories from my childhood is actually of a cake book my mom kept stashed in our dining room hutch (left-most drawer... is it sad that I know that?). I loved looking through the small little paperback book (magazine? leaflet?), reading the instructions on how to make all different kinds of novelty cakes and drooling over the pictures. (My love of sweets started at a young age.) Our birthdays were always a big deal (apparently, this is not the case in every household), full of decorations, presents, cake, and parties (yes, plural). I really want to be able to do this for Liv, so I decided to take a cake decorating course through a local adult school.

First, cake decorating is hard. Sometimes, I pretend I'm someone on the Food Network and just do it all fast...trust me, wishing really hard is not an effective way to hone a craft.

Second, I love it. Not only is it fun, but it's a nice break. It's one of the few places where I'm known as Alicia and not Alicia, the Mommy.

Third, my plan to not eat so much cake by inundating myself with cake is slowly working. I am almost sick of cake. Almost.

So, I've gone through 3 weeks (it's 2 different courses at 5 weeks each) and am posting the cakes I've made so far... don't be jealous, I'm obviously amazing at this. Whenever you are ready for an Alicia Original, shoot me a comment. One pretty awesome, one-tiered cake (we don't do tiers until course 2) with class buttercream icing coming up.

Week 2: Clowns (totally made of icing -- Frank was stoked)

Practice cake celebrating Liv's 6 month birthday. Can you tell that I learned stars, dots, and faces that week?

Week 3: Rainbow cake (except I didn't have the energy to use multiple colors) -- I'm getting TV show worthy. Start the wait list!

Check back often for future skill demonstrations!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Classic

I call this one "Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots..." Enjoy!


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Monday, October 19, 2009

Our Phanatic

Here are some new photos of our favorite Phillies fan showing off her new outfit (thank you, Grandma Jo!) and legwarmers (courtesy of Mommy's obsession with babysteals.com). We actually submitted the first one to 6abc.com so be on the lookout for a link to check her out! As you can see from the second, she has not yet mastered sitting... lol. Note: I personally love the third picture because she has the typical Phillies fan attitude! Now if only the boys would beat those Dodgers!!





Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Lesson in Shaping

B.F. Skinner would be so proud. (Note: Olivia was just 6 months and 4 days when we filmed this.)



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Friday, October 16, 2009

Daddy's Girl

Frank offered to take Olivia for a bit so I could have quiet time. It turns out there is a toy shop about 5 minutes from our house... she has him wrapped around her tiny fingers already. Despite the sourpuss, she actually gets really excited when she sees Big Bear. Of course, so did the cats. ;-)




Thursday, October 15, 2009

Flashdance

I took these pictures recently of the Livster as she discovered her legs and feet. She happened to be decked out in her Jimi Hendrix onesie with leg warmers (it was chilly!) making for the perfect homage to Flashdance!




Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Brace FREE!

We have much to celebrate in our household! As of about 10am this morning, Dr. B. deemed that Olivia does NOT NEED THE BUCKET BRACE! She is livin life sans any braces, harnesses, or casts. We are incredibly excited and a little nervous for our peanut's hips, but it's been an amazing and joyous day. We've done nothing but eat cake (look for an upcoming blog on cake soon) and other deliciously, unhealthy foods. Well, not nothing totally -- Olivia also had her motor eval with the county's early intervention program. She's qualified for physical therapy (PT) services, so we are on our way to motoring all over the place.

We'd also like to just say thank you to everyone out there for your continued support and prayers. God gave us an unexpected yet delightful surprise today. Here's what Livie had to say on the matter (you'll understand the picture even more when I post a video of this... probably this weekend sometime so check back!):

Phillies Phever


We took Liv to her first Phillies game on Oct. 4th, the last game of the regular season. It was also fan appreciation day, which we enjoy going to for the chance to win all sorts of things. Plus, you never know if the game will be the deciding factor for post-season baseball. Two years ago, it was at this game that the Phills clinched the NL East. Pretty exciting baseball... well, if you are older than 6 months... and LOVE the game. Olivia will get there someday. She was a peach the entire time, AND she made it onto Phan-O-Vision (on the jumbo-tron). BTW, the certificates are given out to anyone who is attending a game for the first time; just go to the guest services counter by section 125-ish (near the ticket windows).











Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Let's Make a Deal


I've been doing a lot of consignment and thrift store shopping to find some warmer, fall clothes. Recently, Frank, Olivia, and I checked out a ginormous consignment sale at a local church. I walked away with all the above PLUS 2 other pairs of shoes and a DVD for only $38. I totally take advantage of life on the Main Line where people donate or sell their old designer baby clothes. The above included the usual Carter's but also Osh Kosh and The Children's Place. Inspired, I checked out the Bryn Mawr Hospital Thrift Shop and found some other fantastic deals. Even more recently, I hit the sales rack at Baby Gap where they were taking an additional 25% off already reduced prices! Hint: Go online to shop Baby Gap and Old Navy Baby to save on both and shipping (thanks, Rebekah!). And let's not even talk about Baby Steals -- a website which posts one deal each day offering high quality baby items at 50% - 80% regular prices. Beware! They post the new deal at 9am MST (11am EST), and they often sell out fast! My recent purchase was a fantastic blanket with water-proof material on one side and ties to attach it to anything. We've kept Liv pretty dry and warm during recent wet, cold days. It's gotten quite a few comments, too. And just this past weekend, I found the perfect pumpkin Halloween costume for our Little Pumpkin -- $2!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hangin with the Fam

We got to hang out with Grandma Jo and Uncle Matt a couple of weekends ago when we met up at the Christiana Mall. Liv had a lot of fun showing off all that she could do. Uncle Matt requested that she wear the t-shirt he got her from AC, which is why she looks like an Oliver and not an Olivia. She's pretty cute either way, and truth be told, it's nice having something that isn't pink. In the last 2 photos, she is making some pretty priceless faces... a picture is worth a thousand words.











Sunday, October 11, 2009

Just Add Food

Here are two videos of Olivia taken during mealtimes. The first is her initial reaction to carrots. Despite the faces, she gobbled them down. The second video is all the "talking" she did -- just like Mom, a little chatterbox! And, yes, I forgot that when I shoot a video on my digital camera, it does not autocorrect the orientation (sorry!).

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C is for Cereal... and Carrots

On Oct 3rd, Olivia joined the world of solid-eating folks. She'd been doing great on rice cereal so we tried carrots this past Friday. The following are provided for your entertainment. Color commentary included. ;-)

This was our first go. I overestimated how much milk it would take to mix with the cereal. We also learned that when mixed with b-milk, the cereal becomes more soupy over time... so Olivia's first exposure to cereal was as soup. She loved it, even if most dribbled out of her mouth.


We got the consistency better this time around and we decided to offer a sippy cup, too. As you can see, she did a great job holding the cup. A better picture would have been the look on her face when I put the spout in her mouth. She kind of sat there as if to say, "What the heck is thing?!" When I talked to some fellow moms, they suggested finding sippy cups that are compatible with our bottles so we can use a nipple. I'm super excited because our bottle-maker (Avent) has just the product, so we will be trying those out this week.

This shot came out a little blurry, but I think her face says it all. And trust me when I say, she prefers cereal with breastmilk than cereal with formula... sigh, if only I had those faces on film!
By Wednesday we had it down. As you can see, she was totally digging the solid food. We are still mastering actually eating the solid food, but overall, we'll put it in the win column.
This was the first time she ate carrots. I'll post the video of this next. Priceless. Does anyone else think she looks like that baby from the e-trade commercials?
And this was the face she made when Daddy walked through the door. What a greeting!

Reflections

Six months ago today, the on-call pediatrician picked up on Olivia's hip dysplasia. When an ultrasound confirmed it, we were thrown into this crazy hip world. Since being diagnosed, Olivia has endured quite a bit -- a harness, a surgery, a spica cast and now this brace! She's handled everything with smiles, and whether or not it's related, she has become quite a mellow, happy-go-lucky kid. We are thankful every day for such a perfect being. This Wednesday, we will enter a new chapter in the book; the county is coming out to do a motor evaluation to determine if Olivia needs physical therapy. There is a pretty good chance she will since she has yet to reach any motor milestones. Frank and I are both okay with this. It's important for our sanity that we focus on the positive. Plus, seeing and hearing of all the children with far worse conditions does help put things in perspective. And, it will be pretty awesome when she finally does sit up or roll over without any help.

We've had to do a lot of self-education on developmental hip dysplasia (DDH). Unfortunately, most of this comes from other parents. Our orthopedic pediatrician, Dr. Richard Bowen at NeMour's Clinic (DuPont Hospital, DE) gave us an "informational" introduction to his book on DDH... the target audience was surgeons. I read the whole thing -- some parts twice. I googled a lot of words but now know what an acetabular is. As it turns out, Olivia's hip were pretty severely dislocated. On a scale of 1 - 5, they were a 4 according to Dr. B. The first course of treatment, the Pavlick Harness, works pretty well for most children, but not our Livie! To be fair, the right hip did great; the left, not so much. So, Dr. B. did an open-reduction surgical procedure where he clipped her tendon to make the hip more flexible in order to set it in place. She was then put in a spica cast. Over the next 11+ weeks, she went through 2 casts. We got pretty used to them, but honestly, who gets "used" to a baby in a cast. There was much rejoicing when the thing finally came off.

Through it all, we've met some pretty amazing people -- others whose children have DDH, some severe, some not. Our support system grows with each new encounter, which helps tremendously. Tell another mom you spent 20 minutes changing a poop diaper, and you get a look of shock or horror. Tell a mom of a kid with DDH in a spica cast the same thing, and you get a kindred spirit. We've learned so much from these people.

There is no medical advice I can give to parents with a new diagnosis. I am not a medical professional and can only tell our story in the hopes that it will help ease anxiety. I can, however, share what we've learned and what helped us along the road.

1. Ask questions. Lots of questions. You are your child's voice and advocate. Talk to doctors, nurses, other parents, everyone. We knew the county provided free early intervention services, but we never thought about our insurance company. We learned that through another mom.

2. See your child, not the diagnosis. This is very hard when your child just happens to be in a contraption (especially if your child is 5 days old), but I promise, when you stop seeing what is wrong, it gets easier. Don't let this define who your child is.

3. Make friends. Don't be afraid to start up conversations with other parents in the waiting area. These are the people that will laugh with you when your child smells like poop all the time. Promise.

4. Remember, treatment for DDH has fantastic success rates. We hear stories all the time from parents whose children needed treatment as infants and are now running and jumping sans problem with others their age.

5. Your child will never remember this but you will never forget it. Keep it light. The time passes faster when you do.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Very Merry Un-Birthday!

It's that time again! It went by so incredibly fast with me working. Our baby girl weighed in at 14 pounds 14 ounces during a BF Mom's Group weight check; this is slow going, but we just started solids so I'm sure she'll pork out soon. We'll know her length at the 6 month well-visit so no updates there. It's fun to see how she's grown since I've started doing the monthly photo shoot. And, yes, her brace is off (again, not allowed but so much cuter...).










At 6 months, I can now ...
make vowel-consonant sounds
say mama and dada indiscriminately
"sing" (very cute according to Mommy)
keep my head up when on my tummy for a good 15 minutes
try to roll over (ooo that brace!)
try to bear weight when Mommy holds me up (double ooo that brace)
reach for things and grab at them
eat cereal and carrots!
turn in the direction of voices
get mad when my favorite toys are taken away
smile at others
laugh at things I love (especially other babies and animals)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Welcome Fall!

I am incredibly backblogged but wanted to post this - a quick snapshot that I took before school one morning. Olivia looked adorable all bundled up for the chilly fall morning. Happy Fall!


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