Saturday, December 29, 2012

So many things to post but so little time these days. Finishing major home renovations, gone back to work, Elizabeth and Harrison's birthday and Christmas no wonder it has been busy. One of Elizabeth's Christmas wishes came true, we finally have snow. The past couple of years there has been very little of it to enjoy which is a bit odd seeing we live in Canada but now there is enough to enjoy tobogganing, fort building and even shovelling. Harrison has decided that the baby toboggan is for babies and that the GT snow racer is the way to go, he brumbrum's all the way down the hill and Elizabeth has all the snow to munch her way through.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Clarification is good and needed

Elizabeth is now reading everything she can get her eyes on and this is leading to a new type of censorship which I think is even harder to monitor. While in a public washroom Elizabeth feasted her eyes on a similar sign to the one above, I heard her read it out loud and thought nothing of it. A little while later during lunch Elizabeth asked me if I drank alcohol during my pregnancy with her. Elizabeth went on to question if that is why she has brain damage, did I drink with her? After almost choking on my french fry and recovering all the air that was sucked out of me I reminded her why she has brain damage. Times like this I wonder what goes on in her sweet little brain and I don't know whether to laugh or to cry. I should not have to have this conversation with my daughter, I should not have to be explaining brain injury to my daughter we should be talking about girl things not her brain damage.
I am thankful that she asked me for clarification as I would have been horrified if she asked about this at school. Of course she has not forgotten this new found knowledge and I have heard her mutter to herself more than once if she sees someone with a disability that 'their mother was drinking with them'. I am continuing to clarify this knowledge for her but she is a kid that may bring this up again and at a very inopportune moment.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The little man is now 10 mths (and a bit) and is a car driving, stair climbing, slithering little man. These past few days he is a terror getting into everything and trying new acrobatic feats by the minute. Elizabeth's quick thinking saved him from a huge tumble as I heard her yell and found her hanging onto Harrison's feet as he was ready to take a head first dive down our stairs.
He is signing more and finished and tries to use finished to get out of mealtimes which still are not his favorite time of the day. He is quite particular with his meals and has a pretty limited variety of foods that he likes and is not too open to trying new foods. That of course leads to his dislike for the bottle, I am back to work in 5 weeks and have not got too far with getting his nursing sessions reduced, I do offer a bottle/cup goats milk daily which he will have a sip or two. Dairy is still an issue with him so I continue to live dairy free and we have now added eggs to his list of allergies and are waiting to see the allergist.
It still amazes me to see how effortlessly he accomplishes gross motor skills; his car driving is amazing to see as Elizabeth was not able to propel herself until she was around 3 years. Those small progressive skills that Elizabeth completed with physiotherapy and repetition over months to years Harrison completes overnight. It is bittersweet to see Harrison do so much on his own and know how hard it is and still is for Elizabeth and that in no time he will surpass her and I hope that is something she will be okay with.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Another new Feat

I really did not think this day would ever come. I thought Elizabeth would need her tall AFO's forever, once her tall AFO's came off she had sea legs; she was unsteady and someone had to be by her at all times. Two years ago a colleague had thought of Elizabeth when she had a chance to order a new pair of short off the shelf AFO's for free. Originally these AFO's were only for short periods of time in the house or classroom but not for when she was walking distances because they did not provide enough support.
Fast forward to now and Elizabeth is wearing her short AFO's almost all the time. We are so excited to now see that she is developing calf muscles, her skinny lower legs are now getting some definition. Who knows one day she may be able to wear shoes without AFO's as we know the possibilities for Elizabeth are endless it just takes some time.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

1st Big Feat

Two remarkable things happened over the summer that we are so excited about. Elizabeth can now put on her own AFO's (big pair and short pair) and her sandals. Until you have a child who wears orthotics (or if you spend a day with Elizabeth) you can never fully appreciate how easy it is for your child to slip on their shoes and walk out the door. AFO's are big and cumbersome and jamming them into shoes is difficult for an adult to do. Rain boots for Elizabeth can only be worn if Daddy is home because there is no way I can get them on or off her AFO's, as it requires brute force. Add a wiggling baby to the mix now and getting out the door is a fine art, by the time I have helped Elizabeth get her AFO's and shoes on Harrison is screaming or has slithered away into trouble. Elizabeth is so proud now that she can put on her own AFO's and she is 'independant' and for her that means all the world to her. Way to go Elizabeth. Stay tuned for her second huge feat.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Grade 2 Look Out

Elizabeth is officially in grade 2 now. She was pretty excited to go back to school and see her friends. I was really happy to see our favourite assistant back this year to help her.  Her first day of school outfit coordinated well with her leopard print AFO's and her new animal print backpack. Animal prints are the new fashion trend for Elizabeth, she told me I was not fashionable as I have not yet conformed to her new trend myself.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Goodbye Summer

Our summer has officially ended which is bittersweet, we have had tons of fun but I am happy to get some things done when Elizabeth gets back to school. Considering a baby brother has been added to the mix we still got a lot accomplished. The 'tacky pool' has hung in there and we have had lots of pool days. Of course we spent as much time as we could at Grammy and Grampy's trailer as a family and with friends; we will never tire of s'mores by the campfire, fishing, frog catching and hanging out at the beach. To keep peace with Harrison we have gone for lots of walks with Harrison behind the wheel of his little car. Elizabeth had visiting Marineland on the top of her summer to do list so we spent a day there where Elizabeth saw dolphins, beluga's, killer whales and sea lions. Over the summer we have noticed Elizabeth physical abilities and endurance have improved, being able to walk through Marineland on her own is an amazing feat as it is a huge park. This was the first summer where we were not running back and forth to phsyiotherapy and yet she still made amazing gains.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Enjoying the summer

As you can see from the pictures we are busy enjoying the summer despite some very crazy hot humid days. From swimming in our 'tacky pool', Harrison enjoying his mini hot tub (Elizabeth's old water table), horseback riding, soccer, playdates and enjoying all the fruits that summer has to offer we have been busy. Harrison is enjoying having his sister home and loves swimming in our pool too. Soccer was a new endeavor this year and Elizabeth is doing better each week; she can now get to the other side of the field without tiring and is getting better with her kicking. She thought it was really cool that her soccer socks hid her AFO's so no one would notice. She is really hoping to score a goal and I hope that with some extra help she will be able to do it as well. After drinking a large portion of the pool she has now also mastered snorkeling.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Enjoying the 'norm'

Watching Harrison grow and thrive is quite an eye opener for me on how different things were for us with Elizabeth. All ready I see Harrison learning skills that Elizabeth was not able to master and I think how did I or others not notice these deficits earlier? The most notable is Harrison playing with his feet, at 6mths he could play for prolonged periods with his feet above his head and he chews on his toes all day. I love watching him do this but it saddens me as Elizabeth still cannot hold her feet up without falling over as her trunk is still so weak. Something as simple as picking up Harrison is a delight as with Elizabeth every part of our day was regimented; how to pick her up, how to play with her, how to talk to her, eliminating background noise to ensure she could hear and the endless lists of homework from her therapists. I would ensure every waking minute she had was planned to meet all her goals. The germaphobia that was instilled in the NICU is a distant memory, I don't methodically and routinely clean/disinfect his toys/stroller ect. and if someone happens to touch his chubby hand I will seldom wipe him down unlike Elizabeth who I would scrub if a stranger happened to get past the mommy block. The fear of my premature infant succumbing to RSV is gone a cold is now a cold and not a dreaded trip to the ER or worse. Thank goodness traveling is easier I can plop Harrison's car seat in the car(mind you I am close to dragging him as he is so heavy) and we are off, no extra person needed to sit with him and watch his color and no flammable oxygen tank or heart monitor to accompany him. Finally no barf. We cleaned buckets of barf up with Elizabeth for a multitude of reasons, we had aiming and clean up down to an art. When Harrison gags at a meal he just gags no upchucking of a days worth of feeds. I still have to remind myself I don't need to grab a bowl if he starts to gag. We are really enjoying this new norm and how much weight has been lifted off our shoulders. We can take a walk, run errands, sit in the stroller/car seat too long, visit friends, have the radio on or watch tv with ease; the constant mommy guilt no longer plays in my head we are enjoying our chubby little man with ease.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


The little fella is now 6mths old and is 17lbs of squishyness. He is rolling, sitting up, pulling his sisters hair and even is starting to get to a 4 point crawling position. He loves his bath and going for a walk in the baby carrier as soon as he sees me wearing it he giggles with glee. This past week he has been so sweet, he has not yelled at me once and has been a pretty happy little man. I still am following a strict no dairy diet and that seems to keep him happy.
Eating solids is a bit of a struggle and is bringing back glimpses of those dark days of feeding Elizabeth. I was so excited to feed him solids as I just wanted a baby who will happily eat and by the size of him I thought for sure he would love to eat. I am sure with Harrison it is just a maturity thing and over time he will find eating not so repulsive. He still adamantly refuses a bottle and his soother. I have given up even trying them now in hopes that him eating solids can give me more than 2hrs away from him. For now he continues to be his mama's boy the 'boob man'.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Elizabeth had her year end dance recital with her Adapted Dance Class. When she got on stage she began to cry but with her helpers through her tears she kept on dancing the steps she had practiced. It was a really sweet routine and the songs were perfect for her group, I don't think there were many dry eyes once the class was done. She really made us proud.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Things on the feeding/tummy front have settled for Harrison. As long as I stay away from dairy and some other offending foods the little man is fairly content (note fairly, he still can have quite a fiery temper). A dairy free diet is one way to lose copious amounts of weight and can really leave one feeling very unfulfilled but in the end we have a happy little man. His frequent meals have him topping the scales at over 16lbs at 5 1/2 months now which is a hoot as Elizabeth was 17lbs at a year. His voracious appetite has him eating at some very unconventional places at the drop of a dime. I hope he will outgrow these tummy issues/allergies in time as one Epi-Pen in the house is enough for me handle with Elizabeth.
I am thankful that Harrison does not have a full set of razor sharp teeth like Elizabeth's dinosaurs, she frequently yelps when she is 'nursing' her dino as they have bit her. 

Friday, April 27, 2012


A couple of months ago Elizabeth saw the movie Dolphin Tale. It is a true story about a dolphin who was injured and lost her tail. With some dedicated people they were able to make her a prosthetic tale to allow her to swim and survive. Elizabeth loved the movie and talked incessantly about it and Winter the dolphin. What really drew Elizabeth to Winter was the fact that Winter needed help just like her and that Winter had to see an Orthotist and have phsyiotherapy too. It was endearing to hear her talk about Winter being just like her as she lately has been having difficulties noting her differences from her peers.
On our vacation to Florida we were able to go to the Clearwater Marine Hospital where Winter now lives. This trip to visit Winter was looked forward to more than going to Disney. Elizabeth had fun seeing Winter, holding her prosthesis and seeing all the other marine animals that lived there. Her love for marine life now is greatly appreciated as it has almost replaced her loved for dinosaurs.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Following Grams and Gramps

My parents decided to have a well deserved month away in Florida and we decided to tag along for a week. The weather was perfect for the beach and swimming. Elizabeth harassed my sister Katy and had her on the move the entire time we were there (Auntie Katy really enjoys her tv routine, sleeping in and her afternoon nap). Grams, Auntie Katy, Daddy and Elizabeth spent a day at UniversalStudios where Grams and Auntie Katy accidentally experienced an upside down roller coaster and lived to recant it. Elizabeth is now a pro boogie boarder and loved riding the waves. She also lived in the pools and can now swim in the deep end with no floaties at all (we stay very close). Of course we had to have lunch at t-Rex cafe again and visit build a Dino for a girlfriend for her beloved Rexy. Harrison fared well through all the adventures he had a couple of dips in the pool and had his feet in the sand, I think he would have enjoyed it more if his poor tummy would stop ailing him so much.
Grams and Gramps were great hosts and I am sure are now enjoying the quiet now and Auntie Katy may need to sleep for a week from all the excitement she had.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hang Out

Elizabeth and Harrison's favorite past time is playing in the hangout. Harrison fusses in the morning until I put him down so he can play with Elizabeth. Most often he just gazes at her and rubs his slobbery fists' on her while she sings and occasionally there will be a yelp from Elizabeth as he has a handful of her hair.
Elizabeth who is learning how to spell has labelled their 'hainowt' and places the 'occupid' sign when they are at play.
This time also gives me a couple minutes to get dressed which I really appreciate.

Independent = Keeping out of Trouble

I have had some phone calls home from Elizabeth's school and Elizabeth herself will admit to some 'antics' she is doing at school. Her 'antics' have included meltdowns/tantrums, interrupting others, purposely yawning and saying how bored she is when her teacher is teaching a lesson. I am so horrified to hear what she has been doing and dread when I see her school's number on the phone. She knows these little 'antics' would not be okay at home yet she was doing these puzzling things at school.
As I have said we are so blessed to have such a great teacher and she knew this was not the typical Elizabeth and with her, the SERT and myself we problem solved why she was getting into trouble. I had thoughts that she was getting a bit smothered by her helpers and was telling them in her way to back off. So now as Elizabeth says is newly 'independent'; she is given more freedom at recess and is joining kids at tag (with her aid close by but not holding her hand), she can now have a bathroom buddy instead of her aide and her teacher has paired her with some of the advanced students for enriched work. The 1:1 time with her SERT to work on her fine motor skills now happens in the classroom with her peers as well.
With all these changes Elizabeth has had 3 weeks of great days. She has been happily earning stickers to trade in for Skylander creatures for her favourite videogame which may start to get expensive but is worth it.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Just like his sister

Harrison seems to have the same love for books that his sister has. When Elizabeth showed him her old book he squealed and happily looks at her books while on on his tummy.
Elizabeth is now reading chapter books and anything else she can find in print. She is boosting her knowledge with encyclopedia's on bugs, fish and any other living thing. I frequently find her in the middle of night reading her books and she will read in bed if she gets up too early (for that I am very thankful).


The little guy is now 3mths old. He topped the scale at 13.8lbs 2 weeks ago and is continuing to get rounder each day. He is working quite hard at sucking on his hand but just has not yet figured out how to get his thumb uncurled yet. As long as his tummy is not ailing him he is a pretty happy fella, he loves his baths, music and swatting at his toys on the play gym. He is only getting up 2-3 times a night to feed which is nice. I still have a limited diet to keep his tummy from discomfort, he still cannot tolerate any food containing dairy and weekly new foods are added to the list of what I cannot eat. I am hoping as he matures it will get better.
He had his first Daddy day as Elizabeth and I went to the movies together. He happily took a bottle of breastmilk from daddy which we will do more often, Harrison really loves to be around his Mama and won't look at anyone who may take him from me. He adores his sister despite the fact that she asked for him to be returned for a 'no wawa' version.

Monday, February 27, 2012


We have had another unuasully odd winter here in Canada with little snow. Unllike many people we love the snow and are quite sad that we have not had any impressive snowfalls. Elizabeth is so upset about no snow to play in and stated 'mother nature is fired'. Some of the neighbourhood kids and Elizabeth managed to find enough snow to make mudman who was a combination of mud, snow and carrots. We are still hopeful for a big snowfal and cold enough weather to keep it from melting but it doesn't look too good.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

True love

A belated Valentines post but worthy of mentioning Elizabeth's ongoing betrothal. Since preschool Elizabeth has been betrothed to her prince named Hayden and despite not seeing each other often she still professes her love for him. When I ask her what she she likes about her 'true love' her answer is simple 'because he is handsome and he wears AFO's.'
We were able to get the two together for a playdate and Elizabeth was given flowers and a hot wheel by her beau.
We will have to ensure supervision on their future playdates as she stated when she is older she is going to kiss him behind our shed. For now we can rest knowing that hot wheels is the hottest topic between them.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The string works (sometimes)

Elizabeth is now proudly showing the gap in her mouth from 2 missing teeth. She was getting quite perturbed that she had not lost any teeth like her friends. Despite the fact that I am a Nurse I cannot deal with wiggly teeth as it grosses me out. Daddy happily helped out to deal with her wigglers and Elizabeth bravely agreed. So with some string and a yank out came her first tooth but the second was a toughy and the string broke with each try. Her grilled cheese at lunch did the trick and now Elizabeth is $2 richer.

2 months

The little guy is now 2 months old. He developing some pretty large rolls of chub and has doubled his birth weight at over 12 lbs. The Pediatrician who we adore diagnosed him with reflux (no surprise to me but getting medical practitioners to believe a parent instead of inferring they are neurotic would be a whole different lengthy post) so with the help of Zantac and me completely avoiding dairy/caesin and whey products has made him into a much more comfortable baby. I would definitely have to say he still is not the happiest baby but it is nice to see him more relaxed. I do have to say I MISS/CRAVE chocolate and cheese.
I still need to hold him upright for 30 minutes after eating to avoid choking and heartburn this leaves for little time as he still eats every 2 hours so we can't get out too far or often.
It is amazing to see him with Elizabeth his eyes widen when he hears her voice and he will happily play if she is on the floor with him (this does not happen with his Dad or myself). She reads to him and sings to him and he coos at her, I just love it and it is so helpful to have someone entertain him while I am busy.

Finding her Niche

Elizabeth had jersey day at school the other day and I was unable to procure a jersey for her to wear. When I explained I could not get her a jersey she began to cry and I explained to her that other kids won't have jersey's either and that we are not a family who watch or play lots of sports so we don't have sports paraphanalia here, through tears Elizabeth stated "no we don't have a jersey because I can't play sports". So we made a plan that instead of a jersey she could wear her Sparkes shirt and sash because that is something she is proud of but at the of the day when I asked if she told her friends about her badges she replied ' no I didn't feel like it'.
Her comment is true in some sense she cannot keep up with others and we have never been able to find an active activity that she does not struggle with. This is something I have thought a lot about lately of what can she do that she is proud of and that she use as an outlet to 'disappear' in when things are not going well.
I knew this was to come that she sees herself as different but she is still so young for it to begin to sadden her. For now we will look into other opportunities for her and hopefully find something she loves and is proud of. Any ideas?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Our Little Man

Our little man came into this world yelling and he seems to still be doing so. He is a man who knows what he wants and he wants it NOW. Slowly he is calming down and beginning to trust me and believe that I really won't starve him or drop him and he can occasionally be seen flashing a smile and cooing now. Despite his ferocious yell Elizabeth adores him and wants to spend every second with him (except when he yells). She loves to make a play gym for him in her room and he really likes being in her room (which is good because he dislikes our room, the family room and his room he tolerates). He is calm with her and will often fall asleep in her arms and she was the only one he would take a soother from.
Already he/we have sorted out a schedule and he has specific times for naps, bedtime and playtime which is really nice.
This little man may not stay too little as he tipped the scales at 9.2 lbs on his 1 month visit. He is developing some very chubby rolls that are so sweet. He continues to nurse and the 2 of us often have disagreements about how often to eat and I have yet to win these battles as his hourly evening feelings can be tiresome.
He gave us a big scare on New Years day and did what his sister was so good at doing and turned a very scary shade of blue/gray thankfully Mommy was home as Daddy was a bit panicked and after some hard whacks his color returned. We will be seeing a Pediatrician tomorrow for this episode and also he has had a few vomiting out of nose/choking episodes if jostled too much and I now am wondering if some of his crying is not just temperament it is that he is uncomfortable. Holding him upright for 20-30 minutes after he eats keeps him comfortable and with limited spitting up but it is leaving me with not getting anything accomplished and very sore arms. I have been getting quite creative with the baby carrier in the mornings when I need to get Elizabeth to school I can do almost everything while wearing him after he has eaten or while he eats, as I have told Elizabeth sometimes there will be desperate times.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

She's 7

This post is a bit late as things are a bit busy here ( new baby, Christmas, Elizabeth home from school and getting all the gifts for babies in the NICU have kept me hopping) but somewhere in the madness Elizabeth turned 7 years old. It is pretty crazy as I still can remember her being born and being so tiny. Fast forward to 7 and she is quick witted, funny, a bit sassy and now great big sister. She is growing like a weed and at some point tipped the scales at 50lbs which now I am thinking the opposite from how to fatten her up but now how to maintain her weight to avoid her gaining too much. I think it will only be a short while before she is bigger than me.
She is doing so well at school this is such a better year; she loves science, religion and math. My worries of her finding math difficult are laid to rest as she completing small addition problems now and is counting by 2's, 10's etc. She is reading small chapter books and rarely has problems reading difficult words, her favorite books are Junie B Jones and of course any Dino book.
I can't say she has a true friend yet but she has lots of friends who she does play with. Social skills continue to be a challenge but the support needed is less now. She has started Sparkes and I hope that will be another place where she can socialize and meet other girls.
Her walking is not as good as it used to be; a huge growth spurt, not going to weekly PT as I was on bedrest and me not being able to do as many physical activities with her during my pregnancy I think has contributed to her falling more and tiring out. Now that I am on my feet we are back to walking and getting out.
In swimming class she is now jumping in the deep end and swimming back to the wall on her own with no floaties (I couldn'twatch when I was pregnant as I would have contractions) so that is amazing. I think by the summer she should not need her floaties.
We are working on her being more independent at home as I cannot always help her now and I think there are things she should be more active in; with lots of prompting she was able to put her snowsuit on and before her new AFO's could put on her smaller pair, in the morning she now gets dressed on her own, brushes her teeth and comes down for breakfast with less prompts and now even holds her brother while I gets dressed.
We are pretty proud of her and her determination is noticed by everyone who meets her.