Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Month 12, aka Her First Birthday

So. Here we are. THE day. My Piper, my last baby, turns 1. It's just so hard to believe that a year has passed since we were up and getting ready to head to the hospital for the c-section so we could see our Piper. This day, a year ago, is much different than today, but boy are we glad we walked through it.

Remember this? This was taken when my boy was just 3 (he seems so little here) and we were packing up to go home. Caleb loves his sister and they have, over the last year, reached a very comfortable point in their relationship. If Piper is grumpy and fussy, she will stop as soon as Caleb comes to her. All he has to do is talk to her and she smiles her sweet smile.
Caleb is also the one person who ilicits the most giggles from Piper. It seems that anything he does, she finds funny and amusing. It is very sweet to hear the laughs coming from the other room.

We have been told many, many times that Piper is just a sweet, happy, easy baby and nothing could be more true. This past week, Piper had her first experience at VBS and I was told, not only by her teachers, but also other teachers who happened to just see her that she was the only baby not crying or fussing about anything. She is just so content, well until she is hungry, but really who isn't upset when they are hungry. Piper loves to be on the go and while returning home is a joy for her, being out in public and looking at everything is her true joy. We have learned that we have to leave the house everyday so that Piper can get her fill. It seems that I have given birth to two kids who like to be out and about alot. No complaints here!

Piper started crawling last month, but she really perfected her skill this past one. During month 11, she would crawl on her hands and knees, but would revert back to her army crawl when she wanted to get somewhere fast. During the last 30 days, however, she has since decided that all 4 is the way to go and can go fast now. Sometimes, faster than I would like... I spend most of my days chasing her around, pulling things out of her mouth. Piper has the ability to spot the most minute speck on the floor and will promptly try to eat it. I know she'll stop doing this at some point, but until then we will battle over this little "habit" of hers!
Piper is also so close to walking. She will pull up on everything and will let go at times. She will stand there for just a second and then promptly falls on her backside. It's very cute, but she gets a little frustrated at times!

I can already tell that Piper is going to be my craftsy girl, thank goodness. I couldn't, and still can't, get Caleb to participate in crafts or art projects to save my life, so I was hoping that Piper would be the one. She seems to have taken an interest in coloring and drawing a lot younger than seems normal, well at least normal in our house. Here is a picture (of course) of Piper drawing for the first time.

This past Saturday, we had Piper's birthday party. This was nothing like Caleb's first birthday party, in that we just had a small, low key affair at my parent's house with just family. It really was so much fun and I would do it again this way, should I have the opportunity. A dear friend of mine made the tutu for Piper and she had to wear it. It's just precious, isn't it?

As you can see, we had so much fun with Piper and she had so much fun eating cake (well, icing really). Here she is just as the sugar rush started. I would almost (ALMOST!) like to give her more cake just to see this silly face again. However, the crash afterward is just not worth it!
Piper has always been very curious, but this past month she has earnestly started pointing at everything, wanting to know names of nearly every object she sees, whether she's seen it before or not. We are happy to oblige!

We have had such fun with Piper this past year and I really could never imagine how much joy she has brought to our lives. It was a difficult adjustment that was at times unbearably hard and unspeakably joyful all at the same time. However, we would do it again in a moment's notice. God knew exactly what he was doing by giving us Piper, a sweet, silly, pretty, prissy (at times), laid-back, baby girl who has completed our family and us.

Happy birthday baby girl! Your Mama and Daddy love you more that you (and we) could ever imagine. We can't wait to see all the exciting things that you will accomplish and fun we will have over the next years.

Monday, June 22, 2009

My Grandmother

So, I haven't posted about my grandmother in a good long time. It seems that the past few weeks have gone from bad to worse with regards to her health.
If you're not familiar with her history, here's the long and short of it. In September of 2007 she had a massive stroke where she ruptured a vessel on the right side of her brain, leaving her paralyzed on her left. We were told, that day, to call in our clergy and start making arrangements. She was not supposed to make it even to the end of the day. Defying all the odds, she completed a stay in the ICU and recovered more than we every expected to.
Shortly after, my grandmother was moved to an assisted living facility that we thought was top notch. We have since learned that no place is as good as they advertise themselves to be. In May of this year, my grandmother fell out of her wheelchair (fault of the facility for not having her strapped in and unattended) and broke her hip. Since her health is so poor, she was not a candidate for surgery and has had to live in constant severe pain ever since. Hospice was called in to help manage her pain medication, but we were warned that it (the meds) could lead to Congestive Heart Failure. And, it has. She has veen in and out of the hospital over and over again since then.
On Thursday of last week, my grandmother vomited and aspirated. She is now in the hospital with aspiration pneumonia, CHF, a blood clot from a PICC line, a massive UTI, all while in severe pain still. She is barely opening her eyes and is not communicating much, except to ask for someone to please help her and stop the pain. It's really a bad situation. We are all so tired of seeing her suffer and just tired. This stroke, the beginning of everything, has robbed her of her life and has trapped her inside a body that is slowly failing her. We are just praying that she'll be pain free and at peace. It's difficult beyond belief to watch a beloved family member suffer like this.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Where We've Been...

We've been quite busy around these parts with summer stuff and fun. Truth be told, I really haven't had much time nor the motivation. Here are a few pictures of the kids (what all of you really come here to see anyway) to hold everyone over until I get back in the swing of things.

Caleb and Piper are still the best of friends, playing together at every moment, even meal time.

Caleb also just started swim lessons with our friend, Ms. Jen. He is really doing quite well, putting his face in the water at his first lesson and has a killer kick. He loves going and if it weren't for VBS the week after next we might have a serious issue with not having somewhere to go in the morning like we have been.

Piper's taken up a new hobby now too: drawing. Here's her crafting her very first picture.
And this is Caleb's interpretation of me. I'm not too keen on the hair, but love the figure! :)

Here's Piper in her big floppy hat. We had a nice conversation about how good Southern girls wear their hats in the sun to protect their milky white skin, all in the effort to try to get her to keep it on so she doesn't get sunburned. It worked. For about 5 minutes.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Month 11

This month, Piper officially reached the 11 month mark. It seems that every month when I go to write these monthly update, in my mind she hasn't changed much, but as I go back and read about her the month before it becomes very clear that she's learning more everyday!

In my last monthly post, I talked a lot about Piper's hair. You will just have to excuse that, but I was SO excited about having some hair to work with and it just seems to keep coming. Neither one of our children has Jes's hair, very, very thick and very, very dark. Mine is quite fine, but there's lots of it and a medium color. Caleb is this way and Piper is turning out to be this way too. As you can see she's had more come in and I can now just stick a bow in and it will stay!
As always, Piper is still just the happiest baby ever! The nursery workers at church and MOPS always marvel at how easily she transitions into her classrooms, when most of her peers are crying. I know that my time is coming, but if she is anything like her brother, it will be short lived. Thankfully, Piper is just a laid back and easy going as her sibling.
Some of the biggest news in our household are those two little white things that you see in Piper's mouth. In my 10 month update, I mentioned that her first tooth had finally broken through, but at that point it was only one and we couldn't yet see it. Well, now she's got both of her front central incisors and she loves them, exercising them on anything that gets near them. She has already used them on yummy snacks, but also various fingers and, more recently, my nose. They work fine, friends.

In health news, Piper has had this chronic cough that I have been trying to convince her doctors is related to allergies. It seemed completely plausible to both myself and Jes that she would inherit our allergies, especially with her birth happening right before some of the worst pollen counts that our area has seen in recent years. However, each and every doctor kept telling me that she was just too young to have allergies, to which I always replied, "bull". This past month I finally conviced the kids' pulmonologist to give us a trial run of an allergy nose spray for Piper, before we had to go through a bunch of expensive imaging of her airways. Well, the verdict? It worked. No more cough, no more snot, no more sneezing. Seems I was right. Again. Doctors: LISTEN TO THE MOTHERS! Ok, enough.
Piper has also learned to clap and wave bye bye this month as well. If there is clapping going on, she will clap, but will also do it if you say, "yay, Piper" to her. She smiles the biggest smile and will clap! When she waves, she does so with both hands facing toward her. It's just about the cutest thing I've seen!

This past month, we were invited to my mom's new company's picnic. The weather was fabulous, the food was even better and the company was the best. Piper really likes being outdoors, which is perfectly fine with us, as we don't like being cooped up in the house so much either. It will get easier when she can walk, but for now her ride is the stroller,

or her doting Daddy.

So, I don't think that I have mentioned in the past about Piper's deep and abiding hatred for dolls. This began at a very, very early age when my mom and I gave her a basic doll and she began attacking it. Piper would scream, yell, bite, hit, poke, throw, and get so mad at the doll that we would have to take it away from her and physically restrain her to calm her down. She has not only done this with us, but also at church and at MOPS and everyone has commented on this. I have tried to introduce this doll in the picture to her little by little and now she plays with it more than she attacks it. Hopefully, by this time next month she won't be so aggressive toward the poor defenseless doll, but it sure is funny and a good giggle for her Mama!

This past month Piper has finally mastered the art of crawling. She will get on all fours and crawl when she is trying to get somewhere, but will revert back to the army crawl when she's in a real hurry. Here she has discovered another use for her ExerSaucer, climbing underneath it over and over. Thank you Graco for a dual use toy!
I took Piper for her first swim this month as well. We are so blessed to have a community pool in our subdivision and it's just down the street so we can well! As you can tell she feel so pretty in her new swimsuit. I hope that when she's my age she feels this good in one too!
I invited 2 of my best mom friends to come to the pool with us and both kiddos were SO excited! Between the 3 of us, we had 5 kids, totally manageable, and so much fun!
I went out and bought Piper this new float for her to ride in in the pool. I really wanted to have a float that had a shade attached to it and found this adorable turtle one at WalMart! If you look you can see that her hands are sitting in a little pool built into the front of the float. This is meant to hold a little bit of water for the kiddo to splash around in while floating. Well, our little girl decided to put her face in the water too. I predict that she'll be an easy one to teach to swim!

Swimming was so much fun, but wore Piper out so much! This is a picture of her passed out in her stroller. What I didn't get a photo of was her asleep in the float as she glided along on the water. It was so relaxing for her that we'll be sure to get back to the pool soon!

I had to get a picture of her pruney little feet... So cute!

Another huge thing that Piper is doing in our house is sleeping in her own bed! Now, she's never been like her brother, sleeping in our bed, but really just craves her own space, sleeping in a Pack 'n Play next to our bed. We decided to try her in her crib early in May, expecting a fight, as we had with her brother. However, Piper proved us wrong and has slept all night long ever since! Praise the Lord!

Lastly, Piper is officially pulling up on everything and is cruising around all the furniture. Now that she's able to get up and reach things that are higher than the floor, we are constantly chasing her around trying to get whatever she has grabbed and absconded with from her. Most often it's a piece of paper, a cell phone, or a remote that she doesn't want to give up. Sometimes I just let her have whatever it is she's after, because, really, who can resist that face?!