Princess

20120508-102740.jpg

Happy 2nd Birthday Izzy

Today our mermaid princess turned 2 years old.

It’s unbelievable that she is now officially in her terrible 2′s (she’s been there unofficially since she turned 1 :-)

What an amazing year this was for Izzy.  This was the year of language.  She is now talking in full 4-5 word sentences!  She has become so expressive and communicative.   My favorite is something she learned this week. She realized that if she says Pwwweeezzeeeeeeeeee she can get pretty much anything she wants.  So she spends half the day pweeezeeee’ing us.  She is so cute when she says it too.

Going to her Montessori preschool has also been amazing for her.  She has learned and grown up so much.  Her preschool has kids from ages 2-5 so she is hanging out with big kids that are great role models for her.

I don’t have words to communicate how amazing Izzy is.  She is a force of nature.  It was amazing to watch her will and determination unfold this year.  She became so independent, so capable.  She is an amazing sister and loves to take care of and play with both of her brothers.  She has a supremely strong connection with Nathan and loves being around him, and is always looking out for Gryffin and trying to make him laugh.

There are just no words to describe the amazingness of this little girl so I won’t even try.  I will just say – Happy Birthday Izzy! And may your 3rd year be even more amazing!

Swinging

Izzysms

* When I dropped Izzy off at her Montessori school today, the teacher commented to me, “That girl. She’s a big huge brain with legs. I’ve never met such a smart kid!”

* She’s talking in sentences now. Instead of saying “Water”, she now says, “I want water please.” When I have the baby and she wants my attention, she says, “Gryffin goes night night. Izzy’s turn.”

* The other night, I told her to go to bed. So she walks into my room, and climbs into our bed. She tucks herself in, and says, “Izzy’s bed.” She used to agree to go to sleep in her bed, then wake up in the middle of the night to sleep in our room, but as of a few days ago, she won’t even fall asleep in her bed. One night, I’m in a deep deep sleep and hear, “Mommy, HEEEEEEELPP, my FOOOOOOOOT!” Sure enough she had fallen off the bed and slid between the frame and the rail. What 20 month old has the presence of mind to ask for help at 2 in the morning, instead of just crying?!!!

* Owen was trying to put her down the other day, so he said, let’s go to bed Izzy, daddy’s tired. So Izzy says, “Ok daddy. Daddy night night. Bye!” She leaves him on her bed, and walks over to our room and asks me to play on the ipad.

* Guess what is Izzy’s favorite app on the ipad? NETFLIX. She knows how to turn it on, surf through the shows, she finds Dora, and turns it on – all by herself. One day I found her sitting down watching Dora on the Ipad, without any help at all from anyone. Did I mention she can app surf? She is able to play any game I have on the ipad. One of her favorites is Monkey Preschool Lunchbox. She has mastered that game.

* And did I mention she’s addicted to Dora? She now has a Dora quad, Dora shoes, shirt, pants, plate, spoon, cup, potty chair, stool, flashlight, and who knows what other Dora things we have floating around the house.

* A few weeks ago she decided she was old enough to pick out her clothes. So every morning she will go to her closet and select what she wants to wear. If you ever see her in a striped shirt, flowery pants, and bight green socks – don’t blame me, it’s not my fault! She has this thing about socks – no matter what she’s wearing, she will always pick the brightest, funkiest socks! She refuses to wear plain white socks and always demands the colorful ones. Oh, and a few days ago she decided she needed to dress me too. So whenever she can, she pulls out clothes and shoes for me, and if I don’t wear them, she gets very upset! So if you see ME all mismatched, now you know why!

She is such a character!

Sooo comfy

20120202-165013.jpg

Izzyisms

* It was 6 am when Izzy woke up wanting her Tete (bottle).  I was nursing Gryffin so I explained to her that she had to wait for Gryffin to finish his milk before I could get her Tete.  So she points to Gryffin’s crib and says, “Gryffin night night”, points at herself and says, “more Tete please.”  In other words, mommy, get rid of Gryffin so you can take care of me!

* We went to Disneyland on Sunday.  We were watching ” The world of color” at California adventure but after about 15 min’s she was bored of it.  So she grabbed my hand and walked me out of the viewing area, off to the left, and around the corner into the “Ariel” ride that we had ridden a couple of hours earlier.  She got in line, dragging me by the hand, and then dragged me right onto the ride, pulling the handle down after she sat down.  After we finished the ride, I stepped off, she ran to the edge of the cart, closed the door behind me, and ran to the other side, sat back down, and pulled the handle down.  They had to stop the ride to pull her off :-)

* I still love getting in the bath with the kids and I do it whenever I can.   The other day I was in the bath with all 3 of them.  Izzy has this thing about grabbing my breasts, and she knows she’s not allowed.  So instead, she took Nathan’s hand and used his hand to grab my boob, all the while looking at me with a glint in her eye, look, it’s not me, it’s Nathan that’s grabbing!

This little girl is a force of nature.

 

 

Meant to be

Today was supposed to be a big day. We’ve been eagerly awaiting this day for months, knowing it had tremendous meaning for Isabelle’s development. But the universe had different plans.

A few months ago we decided Isabelle needed more stimulation than we could offer her at home. She is hungry for more interaction with other children, instruction, to be challenged and taught. Between the boys and work, I don’t have enough time to teach her. So we started looking for preschools and found a wonderful program, but she had to be 18 months to start.

Late last week I went to the school to turn in the paperwork, only to discover they had given away her spot and the soonest she could start was February. As much as I would love to wait to have her start at that school, I decided that as a family we just couldn’t afford it as Isabelle is starting to become very difficult to control due to lack of stimulation. So today, the day she turns 18 months and should’ve started at PineCrest, I went on the search for a new preschool.

And I hit the JACKPOT. I found a local Montessori preschool that is AMAZING. We walked in during this:

They are teaching phonics through song and dance! I was AMAZED! I watched the children draw, play, and engage in tap dancing class. The teacher, who is also the owner, was so energetic and full of life and enthusiasm, and it showed in the energy of the school and the kids.

Izzy walked in and pulled up a chair where the kids were seating coloring, and asked for crayons and paper so she could color with them. I was amazed to watch how easily she integrated with the other children. After a while she played with blocks and a couple of other toys, while watching everything the other kids were doing. Finally, the kids got ready for Tap dancing class, and starting warming up. Izzy decided to join – as the center of the circle:

The teacher was so impressed with Isabelle. She told me that in 10 years she has never accepted a child before the age of 2 years old. But watching Isabelle, she was so smart and so advanced that she would allow her to start right away. She was so impressed by how coordinated she is, the words she said, how she was able to work on a puzzle, her grasp of a crayon, by her ability to join in right away with the other kids, by her vocabulary and ability to understand and follow instructions. I was glowing with pride :-) Also, she explained that through her phonics program, Isabelle will learn to read within months, so Izzy wil be reading by the time she is 2 years old. Oh, and as if all of this isn’t enough, they have Tap dancing and ballet class every week, and they teach them conversational French. Amazing!

It’s interesting to have a child on each end of the spectrum. On the one hand Izzy is way ahead of the curve and, on the other hand there’s Nathan who is severely disabled. I feel so fortunate, Nathan’s disability has allowed me to rejoice, appreciate, and feel gratitude for all of Izzy’s accomplishments. Izzy’s intense and brilliant personality has taught me to appreciate Nathan’s happy and mellow way of being. It’s like having the best of both worlds :-) They each teach me unconditional acceptance and endless patience. I am so fortunate.

I am learning that when we let go of control, things happen as they are meant to be. And usually the way they are meant to be is far better than what we could’ve created through control. Plus life is so much more joyful when you’re not trying to control things. Finding this preschool was meant to be, and I am sure we will enjoy watching Izzy fluorish.

A mad dash

It was a lovely afternoon, warm with a gentle breeze. Isabelle, Gryffin and I were lapping it up at the local Tea House, sharing a proper English tea with one of Izzy’s playmates and his mother. Isabelle sipped her tea, sat quietly in her booster chair, and gently made a mess out of the scones and cucumber sandwiches that she was eating for snack.

Until she was done. Mrs. Hyde took over and wild child would not stay seated any more, so I let her play in the gardens around the tea house. Gryffin started fussing so I pulled out the breastfeeding shield and nursed him, chatted, and watched as Isablle played.

Without even a hint or a moment’s notice, she started running. And when I say running, I mean, RUNNING – she was booking it out of the tea house gardens and out into the busy street beyond. She ran with abandon, without looking back to see if I was following, without a care in the world.

Weighted down by an infant suckling on my boobs, I tried to run after her, but was giving poor Gryffin quite a fright. So I power walked after her but couldn’t gain; she was just too fast. With all my might I walked after her, freaking out more and more as she neared the street. Finally, I whispered an apology to Gryffin under my breath and RAN, catching her by the shirt to slow her down.

There was no sign of Isabelle at that point, it was Mrs. Hyde all the way, a kicking screaming punching banshee that I couldn’t pick up or both Gryffin and I would get hurt. I had nowhere to put Gryffin down, and couldn’t let go or she would take off on me again. So I held on tight and rode out the storm.

Oh the joys of parenting a wild teenage toddler while nursing an itsy bitsy baby :-)

Ruminating

I’ve just put Isabelle and Nathan to bed. She’s decided that she wants to sleep with Nathan in his room every night. I marvel at the fact that he acts as her anchor. He settles her down, brings her peace, helps her to wind down. He looks at me with both panic and joy in his eyes. What will she do to me tonight, he wonders. I’ve gone to his room to find her literally asleep on top of him. I’ve found her with her feet in his face. I’ve found her with her head on his back. But there’s also joy in his eyes. He loves his sister, loves being with her, and he feels joy to have his sister with him while they sleep.

I look at them before kissing them good night and shutting the door, and I can’t help but marvel at how different they are. Nathan, my Buddha boy, always calm, always happy. Isabelle, intense, exuberant, always on edge, always on the verge of a meltdown. I never thought I’d worry more about my typical daughter, but it’s true. Around Nathan I feel calm, peaceful, settled. He is so patient, so easy going, so happy all the time. Izzy, on the other hand, is, well, the exact opposite. Impatient, demanding, loud, always needing attention, such huge demands and feelings in such a small package.

They balance each other out. And I’m grateful that he is in her life, to bring her that peace, that stability. And I’m grateful that she’s in his life, to bring him joy, excitement, entertainment. They are perfect together. And all I can do is wonder what Gryffin will bring to the mix.

Life with 3

I’m still in shock at the thought of having 3 children. How did this happen?

Somehow, don’t ask me how, it’s all working out. Baby G is a dream, very calm and peaceful. If he’s fed, he’s content and sleeps most of the day.

Izzy has been giving us a run for our money and has had a hard few weeks. She is very emotional, always on the verge of a meltdown. I didn’t think it had anything to do with the baby as she LOVES him. She kisses him all the time, can’t get enough of being around him, squeals with delight at the sight of him. But she’s been having lots of meltdowns, tantrums, is very angry, and cries a lot, so subconsciously she is struggling with this new person taking away some of her attention. Plus, since I am exclusively nursing, Baby G is always with me, making it harder for her.

Fortunately, Izzy’s RIE teacher (who is wonderful!!) has been incredibly supportive and gave me excellent advice to support her through the experience.

As Gryffin gets a bit older, less delicate, and more interactive, I am certain she will be happier and happier with this new addition to her family. She loves Nathan; he is her anchor. She revolves around him, takes amazing care of him, is incredibly gentle with and protective of him. Soon I am certain she will be the same with Gryffin.

Life with 3 is ….. busy, beautiful, perfect, hard, intense, and oh so rewarding!

Belle in the news!

And by the way, someone pointed out that she has a look-alike!

What do you think? Is Belle movie-star celeb baby cute?

Just the way

Nathan is fully back to himself, and has regained what he’d lost. His teacher is thrilled to see him “back”, as am I and everyone that knows him. Which is funny because a couple of months ago I felt that where he was, was not enough. I wanted him to be stronger, more head control, more trunk control. Right now, today…I’ll take it! I’m thrilled with exactly where he is right now. I’m thrilled that he is back to his happy giggly kicking wiggling noodly self. I’m thrilled that he is back to cruising in his pony, bossing us around with his dynavox, charming us with his cuteness.

Another “notch” on the belt of acceptance. One notch closer to full unconditional acceptance. One step closer to accepting him, and life, just the way it is. A few steps away from the constant worry of “am I doing enough” and a few steps closer to the knowledge that the most important thing, by far, is his happiness.

Funny how paradigm is everything, right? A shift in paradigm changes EVERYTHING about our reality!

Today we introduced a ton of new content on the Dynavox and he was SO EXCITED. We made it so he had a lot more “chatting” opportunities and he thought that was amazing. He couldn’t stop telling us about all of the places that he likes the most, like Disneyland, Tita’s house, and camping. I had so much fun watching the wonder in his eyes as he realized he could do more than play games and make choices…he could TALK to us! It was the perfect early day mother’s day gift.

And of course I can’t leave his sister out of this post…because Dorje and Belle always go together.

Today’s Belleism:

We gave Nathan a bit of chocolate as a reward during his speech therapy. I left some chocolate out that we didn’t give to Nathan. A little while later Belle came to me and gave me a big hug and I asked her where she got the brown stuff on her face. We figured out that she’d stolen the chocolate so I said, “Isabelle” (in a semi-stern voice). So she hugs me tight and then starts showering me with kisses. Of course I couldn’t help but burst into fits of laughter!

Where, oh where, does this kid get this stuff? How did she learn to use kisses to get her way??!! Who is teaching her this stuff? Cuz it sure ain’t me!

PS – I did get some great ideas for posts…for those who emailed suggestions – THANK YOU, I am working on a few different posts, just getting all the pics and content ready!

Wordless Wednesday

[simage=2321,max,n,center,][simage=2323,max,n,center,][simage=2324,max,n,center,][simage=2325,max,n,center,][simage=2326,max,n,center,][simage=2327,max,n,center,][simage=2328,max,n,center,][simage=2329,max,n,center,][simage=2322,max,n,center,][simage=2330,max,n,center,][simage=2331,max,n,center,][simage=2332,max,n,center,][simage=2333,max,n,center,][simage=2334,max,n,center,][simage=2335,max,n,center,][simage=2336,max,n,center,][simage=2337,max,n,center,][simage=2338,max,n,center,]

Happy 1st Birthday Belle

One year since you showed up smiling into our lives. “But newborns can’t smile,” we heard. But you did – you were born smiling and squealing with laughter.

It’s been One year since you made Nathan cry when you came home. One year since you illuminated our lives with excitement, joy, gratitude, intensity, and a lot of plain old fun.

I have watched you evolve into a strong, self-confident, funny, loving little girl. In this short year you learned to roll, crawl, walk, talk, run, get into everything, and share endless bits of joy. You wake up with a scream which quickly becomes loving hugs and kisses as you snuggle in bed with us. You help daddy get Nathan ready for school, lathering him up in the bath, choosing his clothes, walking him out to the bus. You decided to stop nursing one day and love eating all sorts of foods.

You learned how to fall asleep on your own, sleep through the night, go down the slide at the park all by yourself, climb up and you’re working on climbing down stairs, climb up on all sorts of things, and to assert your independence.

Your favorite word is “nonono” – and most of us love offering you things you don’t want just so we can watch you shake your head, arms, and whole body while you say “nonono”.

You’ve got grandma and grandpa wrapped around your little finger and have taught them how to do your bidding at ALL times (including at 3 am in the morning when you make grandpa rub your back while you sleep during your Friday night sleepovers).

You are a daddy’s girl and a mommy’s girl, but most of all you are Nathan’s girl. You love your brother to pieces and he loves you just as much back. You can’t get enough of him! You love hanging out with him in the morning while mommy and daddy squeeze a few more minutes of sleep in – just you and Nathan, chilling. We can often find you covering him in kisses and love bites. You bring him toys, make him laugh, caress his face, suck on his toes.

You’re an all-terrain type of baby – you’ve already been to Brazil, Colombia, New York, San Francisco, San Diego, Catalina Island – all with so much excitement. You love to travel, explore, experience new things – and you take everything in with your serious face and beautiful big brown eyes.

I am in love with your expressions – I haven’t been able to capture on camera even a quarter of them! So many expressions and faces from such a young little baby. A baby who is now 1 year old! Oh Izzy I can’t believe you are already ONE!

And it’s been the best ONE of my life. Thank you for everything you bring to our lives. Thank you for being the most amazing daughter and sister. When I was pregnant and dreamed of having you in my arms, I had all sorts of ideas of how I wanted you to be. You are so much more than I imagined, so much more than I could conceive, so much more than my wildest dreams.

Happy 1st Birthday my beautiful daughter!

Birthday Party slideshow:

31

Thank you so much for everyone who called, emailed, txt’ed, or Facebooked me Happy Birthday wishes. It meant a lot! You guys are awesome!

31 years, a wandering soul, a need for adventure, a will to fight.

My 31rd birthday gift was to find my ROAR. That ROAR that I had lost. That ROAR that defines me, that indomitable roaming dreamers nature that palpitates at my core.

Today I stand before you renewed. The fight is back in me. The will to suck the marrow. The energy to take life by the horns and ride the rainbow. Thanks to all of you who have stood by me, given me strength, support, lending an ear, whispering quiet encouragement.

I’M BACK.

[simage=2278,max,n,center,][simage=2279,max,n,center,][simage=2280,max,n,center,]
[simage=2281,max,n,center,][simage=2282,max,n,center,][simage=2283,max,n,center,][simage=2284,max,n,center,][simage=2285,max,n,center,][simage=2286,max,n,center,][simage=2287,max,n,center,][simage=2288,max,n,center,][simage=2289,max,n,center,][simage=2290,max,n,center,][simage=2291,max,n,center,][simage=2292,max,n,center,][simage=2293,max,n,center,][simage=2294,max,n,center,][simage=2295,max,n,center,][simage=2296,max,n,center,][simage=2297,max,n,center,][simage=2298,max,n,center,][simage=2299,max,n,center,][simage=2300,max,n,center,][simage=2301,max,n,center,][simage=2302,max,n,center,][simage=2303,max,n,center,][simage=2304,max,n,center,][simage=2305,max,n,center,][simage=2306,max,n,center,][simage=2307,max,n,center,][simage=2308,max,n,center,][simage=2309,max,n,center,][simage=2310,max,n,center,][simage=2311,max,n,center,][simage=2312,max,n,center,][simage=2313,max,n,center,][simage=2314,max,n,center,][simage=2315,max,n,center,][simage=2316,max,n,center,][simage=2317,max,n,center,][simage=2318,max,n,center,][simage=2319,max,n,center,][simage=2320,max,n,center,]

Bellebration – 11 months!

[simage=2229,max,n,center,][simage=2230,max,n,center,][simage=2231,max,n,center,][simage=2232,max,n,center,][simage=2213,max,n,center,][simage=2198,max,n,center,]
[simage=2247,max,n,center,][simage=2248,max,n,center,][simage=2249,max,n,center,][simage=2250,max,n,center,][simage=2251,max,n,center,][simage=2252,max,n,center,][simage=2253,max,n,center,][simage=2254,max,n,center,][simage=2255,max,n,center,][simage=2256,max,n,center,][simage=2257,max,n,center,][simage=2258,max,n,center,][simage=2259,max,n,center,][simage=2260,max,n,center,][simage=2261,max,n,center,][simage=2262,max,n,center,][simage=2263,max,n,center,][simage=2264,max,n,center,][simage=2265,max,n,center,][simage=2266,max,n,center,][simage=2267,max,n,center,][simage=2268,max,n,center,][simage=2269,max,n,center,]

Dear Belle,

Today you are 11 months old. What a glorious 10 months you’ve had! And in 1 month you will be 1 year old.

Your 10th month was all about walking. You walked, walked, walked everywhere! You walked at the mall, at stores, all over the house, at the park….you’ve discovered walking and you love it!

It’s been so amazing and fun watching you master this skill.

You learned so much more this month…you learned more words, new games, many other fine motor and cognitive skills, like putting blocks into a container. But I will label your 10th month as your “Walking Month” as this is a MAJOR accomplishment!

You are amazing Belle, you are like the cement in the foundation of our home, gluing us all together, bringing so much joy to ALL of us. We love you so much!

Belle Vs Lola

Who will win this tug’o’war – 18 lb Belle, or our 160 lb great dane Lola?

Random

Combining CME with Whole Body Vibration

Isabelle walking (sorry for the bad quality I’ve had a hard time catching her while having the camera etc)

Nathan during his home CME therapy

Belle cheerleads for Nathan during CME

Pictures of Isabelle walking (sorry they are not clear I still do not know how to catch motion without it blurring)

Bellebration – 10 months!

Dear Belle,

Today you turned 10 months old.

Something magical happened this month – you started walking! It started with a step here and there. Then one day you took 4 steps in a row. Another day you walked from mommy to daddy. And then another day, you took about 10 steps. We are so proud of you!

You are fearless. You fall, get back up, and try again. A fall here and there doesn’t stop you.

You still speed crawl when you want to get places fast, but more and more you are choosing to stay upright and walk to where you want to go.

You are now fully sleeping through the night, and falling asleep on your own. I can kiss you goodnight at about 8:30, you hug your Mickey or Minnie, and fall fast asleep. At around 6 am you wake up hungry for breastmilk, refreshed after a long nights’ sleep. Then at around 6:30 Nathan wakes up and you play with him for a while hour until daddy wakes up. You love having that time just with your brother.

This month you went to your baby play group every Friday and you are starting to get to know the other babies. You love your class and have so much fun playing with others.

You said your first clear word – GENTLE. We were at the RIE class, and you were trying to poke another babys’ eye. The teacher said, “Gentle Belle,”, so you repeated, Gentle. All of the moms heard you, gasped, and cheered for you. We were all amazed to hear you say such words at such a young age! You have many other words – mama, baba, dada, teta, tete, luca, nata, tata – and you love to make lots of other random sounds.

I love that you wake up so happy in the morning. You call me – MAMA – and you babble until I get you out of your crib and into bed with me. It’s the happiest way to wake up I’ve ever experienced.

You’ve also learned so many new games! Patty Cake, Tope Tope Tum, the raspberry game, the “I’m going to get you game”, and many more. I can teach you a game and you pick it up so quickly!

You love to feed yourself and are starting to get angry when I try to feed you with a spoon. If I cut up the food and put it on your tray you will eat all your food by yourself.

You are so much fun to spend time with. You are funny, determined, independent, yet LOVE being with people. I can watch you play and be mesmerized with how inventive and creative you are, how smart, you courageous.

I am so proud of you my Belle, you are one amazing little girl.

Bellebration – 9 months

Happy 9th Month Birthday, my Belle!

[simage=2080,max,n,center,]

18 months ago, when your journey into this world began, I knew you would be a special little person. But I could’ve never imagined just how special you would be. You are an amazing person!

[simage=2079,max,n,center,]

You are serious and funny, you are active and serene, you are loving and independent. I love getting to know you a little bit more every month, and even though it doesn’t seem possible, I love you more and more every passing minute.

[simage=2078,max,n,center,]

This month was a fun one! You had your first Christmas, and you were the star of the show. You danced, you walked in a baby walker, you learned to eat bread and all sorts of things on your own. You wore the cutest Christmas outfit in the whole wide world, thanks to Grandma Tita.

[simage=2089,max,n,center,]

You now eat EVERYTHING. Whatever we eat, you eat. And you LOVE eating. Except for avocados, which you’ve recently decided you don’t like, you’ll eat pretty much whatever we give you. As of now the only thing we don’t offer you is honey, nuts, sugar/candy, and milk. Everything else, you eat. And how you love eating! In that you are your momma’s girl!

[simage=2088,max,n,center,]

You loved watching the snow fall in your backyard. You made us run outside and play in the snow as you simply couldn’t believe what you were seeing.

[simage=2087,max,n,center,]

You went skiing with daddy, and loved it! You weren’t too happy with the lift part, because it was so very cold…but as soon as you got off the lift and started skiing down the mountain, you were as happy as could be!

[simage=2086,max,n,center,]

You continue to experiment with sounds. The flavor of the month is TATA. We hear you say tata, tete, teta, tita, tate, all sorts of T sounds. You love playing with your mouth and making saliva bubbles and saying all sorts of different things.

[simage=2085,max,n,center,]

You can now stand without holding on to anything! We’ve counted you standing alone for up to 15 seconds. If you have a tiny bit of support on one knee, you can stand for about a minute! Every day now you are experimenting with standing alone and it’s become one of your favorite games. Unfortunately I haven’t yet had the camera handy!

[simage=2084,max,n,center,]

You are now getting into everything. And when I say everything I mean EVERYTHING.

You started going to child development classes with a group of 7 or 8 other babies. You loved it!

[simage=2082,max,n,center,]

You learned to fall asleep in your crib on your own, and to stay asleep all night. This was a major accomplishment! Mommy and daddy were really struggling with lack of sleep. But after a few days of resisting the idea, you learned to go to sleep and stayed asleep longer and longer. Last night you slept a full 10 hours in your crib, all by yourself, without waking up!!!!

[simage=2081,max,n,center,]

Your favorite toy is still your brother. You love going up to him and putting your fingers in his mouth. You also love slapping him, and you love that it makes him laugh when you slap him around.

[simage=2091,max,n,center,]

You started offering us bites of your food. You’ll take one bite, then offer us a bite, then you’ll take another bit. It’s the cutest thing ever!

[simage=2083,max,n,center,]

You want everything your brother has and want to do everything your brother is doing. If he is playing the guitar, you have to play the guitar too!

[simage=2090,max,n,center,]

You continue having such a serious face at times… as if you were 120 years old…and then you will give us the biggest smile in the whole wide world!

[simage=2077,max,n,center,]

You spent a lot of time with one of your favorite people in the whole wide world…auntie anabelle. You even spent a whole night with her so mommy and daddy could go out on a date!

[simage=2076,max,n,center,]

You learned to blow perfect bubbles in the pool and love dipping your head underwater all by yourself.

[simage=2075,max,n,center,]

Thank you for giving us another wonderful month with you my baby Belle, we love you so much.

[simage=2074,max,n,center,]

[simage=2043,max,n,center,]

[simage=2013,max,n,center,]

[simage=2001,max,n,center,]

[simage=142,max,n,center,]

[simage=225,max,n,center,]

[simage=195,max,n,center,]

[simage=148,max,n,center,]

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall…

Humpty dumpty jumped out of her crib…and for all her troubles, all she got, was a big red round spot on her cheek! Cheeky cheeky! (PS the white stuff is Traumeel)

[simage=1999,max,n,center,]

And here she is working on standing, letting go, getting stronger and stronger! PS that was her favorite Xmas present!

[simage=2001,max,n,center,]

And this is the photo debut of those 2 top bunny teeth!

[simage=2000,max,n,center,]

Sleep training

Will tonight be the first full night of sleep I get in over a year? Will this be it?

Tonight I am bunking with Nathan and Owen and Belle are going to sleep together.

Meaning – Belle will wake up and cry, Owen won’t hear her and sleep right through it, and Belle will have to start learning to sleep through the night.

My heart is breaking but if this year is going to be any good, we all have to start getting some sleep.

I think she is old enough now and I am sure she will be okay. But it breaks my heart!

Bellebration – 8 months

Happy 8 month birthday my sweet Belle!

This month you saw the snow for the first time. You loved it!

In your usual laid back fashion you took it all in stride and enjoyed it. You went to Chicago and got to meet mommy and daddy’s friends. You even got to see Wrigley Field!

You continued torturing Lucas and learned to call him. CUCA! That’s your favorite word right now.

You also started enjoying stuffed animals and you fell in love with a Minnie. We couldn’t get it out of your hands! So of course we had to buy it for you. And the spoiling, begins!

You finally slowed down in your mad dash towards development. This month we saw consolidation. We saw you become more confident in your crawling. We saw you master new sounds. We saw you master climbing up the stairs..and anything climbable!

Just tonight we saw you stand up off the floor, let go, and balance yourself for a few seconds! I didn’t get to see you, but there was a whole room full of people that watched and cheered you on.

You are such a happy girl.

You had some rough moments this month with your first stomach bug, but even while you were sick and vomiting, you were still happy and playful.

You went to your first Christmas party and had a blast!

You are a great eater, and are now eating pretty much regular food. You still love nursing, and I saw breastmilk is still hands down your favorite food. But you will eat anything I give you, including mandarins, noodles, cheerios, and pretty much anything I put in front of you.

You continue to amaze us with your strength and joy and you continue to bring so much happiness to our family!

Here are more pictures:

Bellebration – 7 months

Dear Belle,

I’m a bit late for your 7 month Bellebration, but it’s been a busy month so I’m sure you can understand! Oh, and what a month it’s been!

This month you visited 2 countries and 6 cities: Sao Paulo, Bogota, Barranquilla, Santa Marta, New York and various cities in New Jersey. You can see pictures of those trips here:

You managed to worm your way into mommy and daddy’s bed. For 6 months you slept in your crib, but after cuddling in Brazil and Colombia with mommy, you got used to it and there was no getting you out of our bed! You also decided that night time is the best time to fill up on breast milk, so you sleep attached to mommy’s breast, nursing through the night. Yes, I know, poor mommy, huh.

This month your development exploded. You perfected crawling and you are now a speed crawler! You started off the month with a gimpy crawl, where you’d use your right knee but your left foot, but now you crawl absolutely perfect and very fast.

You learned how to wave bye bye and how to dance when we sing “Tin Ton, Tin Ton, Tin Ton el bailecito, Tin Ton Tin Ton Tin Ton”. You started playing games with us, including “PeekaBoo” and “A Dormir!”. You started calling food “Ba-ba” and whenever you are hungry you slap the table with the palm of your hands and demand BABA very loudly. You even stole your brother’s food a few times by demanding BABA! Oh, and you stole a few licks of daddy’s sorbet and convinced him to let you try a strawberry sorbet. Oh, and half of your games are in Spanish, so we think you understand both languages very well.

You started saying PAPA and have had an explosion of sounds and have even said a few words! We heard you say “agua” and “more” and “caca” and have all sorts of new sounds you’re playing with. MAMA is old school by now.

You have decided crawling is boring and all you want to do is stand and practice walking. Crawling is simply a means to get to the next place for you to pull up and practice walking. Your balance has gotten so much better this month, and we’ve even seen you let go of both hands and stand up by yourself for a few seconds!

You terrorized your poor friend Maxx, who asks that you please not come back to see him until you’re all grown up and can play nice.

You have become the queen of the mall playground. You love going and love being admired by all of the parents there who are amazed to see such a little baby doing so much. You even had your first fight. A little boy pushed you when you were in the tunnel, and you got mad at him and started babbling angrily in his face. And you went back to the tunnel and when he tried to go through it, you blocked his way and wouldn’t let him through, while letting all the other kids through. Yes, you got your mommy’s temper :-)

You went to your first MyGym class and to your first music class! And loved it! You LOVED all the instruments and songs at music class, and were amazed that you had so much space to crawl and explore at the MyGym.

You wrapped daddy around your finger a few more times and have fallen recklessly in love with him. You cry if he leaves the room and want him to hold you all the time. Mommy is old news now. Snif sniff.

You went swimming in the ocean for the first time.

You drank coconut milk straight from the coconut. You started eating so many new things, including rice, sweet potatoes, peas, turkey, beef, fish, potatoes, yams, oatmeal, and pretty much everything we gave you, you ate.

You love swinging.

You overcame stranger anxiety. You don’t like being alone anywhere. The other day you were in your play area and everyone was busy, so you started screaming. We brought Nathan down and put him in the play area with you, and all of a sudden you were perfectly happy. Having your brother with you brings you a lot of joy and comfort. He is such a great big brother!

Changing your diaper and clothes is a DRAMA. You scream and whirl and twirl and we ended up chasing you all over the changing table. I think you would be happy being naked all the time!

And sitting you in your car seat…wooof! It’s quite a feat! You hate it and get so rigid it’s almost impossible to have you sit down so we can buckle you in! But once you’re in, you’re happy.

You have your two bottom teeth fully out, and the two top ones are working their way out.

You can grab anything and are pretty good about passing things from hand to hand. You’re still working on the pincer grasp.

Oh and have I mentioned that you are still not sitting? You seemed to skip that developmental stage. Why sit when you can move move move??!!

You are such a strong-willed, determined, active little girl. You bring so much joy to all of our hearts. You complete us. And your brother loves you so much.

It’s time…

…to put Belle to work…she’s been freeloading long enough. Introducing our baby mop:

So yesterday we found out both kids have walking pneumonia, and I ended up in ER with a stomach flu. It can only get better, right!

Relax

And after the storm, came bliss…

After 5 days in Brazil, we spent 6 days in Colombia at our cousin’s beach cottage. It was glorious!

We drank coconut milk from fresh coconuts, napped in the hammock, swam in the ocean and pool, saw and heard the ocean from our bed while we slept at night, ate fresh fish and coconut rice every day, ate lots of sand, and loved spending time with family.

Pray

Our adventure in Brazil was wonderful. We got to eat vegetarian food for a week, meditate, find balance, play together, hang out with wonderful friends, and simply got to enjoy a simple life for a few days.

Our time was peaceful, joyful, & stormy.

One night Belle and I went to bed early while everybody was in the temple meditating. All of a sudden a massive storm started. Belle was already asleep so I cuddled up to her in the middle of the tent, trying to keep her warm and safe. There was thunder and lightning and more wind than I’ve ever experienced before. The tent felt like it was going to fly away, taking us with it, far far away. After a few minutes I felt raindrops on my forehead. The tent wasn’t keeping us dry any more. So we ran out looking for help. We broke into one of the tents on the property to get out of the wet rain. We soon realized that spending the night in our tent was not viable, since we were camped right next to a tree and the lightning was ominous. But the marquee tent that we found for shelter was also banging and crashing so we still needed to find shelter for the night. Sarah came to our rescue and spent a couple of hours running around in the thunderstorm looking for a solution for us. Finally one of my teachers offered us a place in his cottage. When we returned to our tent to get our stuff, it had completely collapsed in the storm. It was surely a night to remember.

What did I learn?

That trying to control life and situations leads to nothing but pain. From the moment we got to Brazil in the bristling, shelterless heat, I wondered how I’d get through the week with a baby. The more I wanted to figure things out, the more out of control everything felt. Until I resolved to relax and go with the flow and even though situations were still hard, stuff happened to make everything better.

What a paradox for someone raising a disabled child. What a gigantic lesson for me. One I hope to remember for a long long time.

6 Month Bellebration

Happy 6th month birthday princess Belle! We celebrated your 6 month birthday at Disney today (with your friends Annabelle and Mathew).  

When I think of your 5th month of life, the words that come to mind are, up up and away!

This month was all about moving.  You learned to crawl.  You can get anywhere you want to go in 5 seconds flat.  Sometimes you crawl.  Sometimes you roll.  Sometimes you scoot.  Sometimes you dive.  But you can always get to where you want to go.

And you discovered UP.  You started tentatively using stuff to pull yourself up to standing.  Before we knew it, standing was all you wanted to do.  Forget sitting.  Forget crawling.  You want to be UP!  You crawl to any available surface and pull up.  And once you’re up you scream because you don’t know what to do!  Mommy come save me!

You’ve fallen a few times as you get gutsier with your experimentation.  But then you only cry for a few seconds and move on.  Who has time for crying when there’s a whole world to explore?

This month you wrapped your daddy a few more times around your finger.  You’ve become quite the daddy’s girl.   He finds you irresistible.  You’re starting to look forward to your afternoons with daddy.  He plays with you, you crawl all over him, and laugh and flirt with him.  And let’s not forget you made him shave his chest this month because you couldn’t resist pulling his chest hair (sometimes I love that he doesn’t read this blog hehehe!!!).

Did I tell you that you seem to have ignored the “sitting” stage?  If we place you in sitting you can stay there for a bit, but who wants to sit still when you can MOVE?  So although typical development includes sitting then crawling…you seem to have completely ignored the sitting stage and are working on walking.

Today I saw you start to let go while you were standing against the family room center table.  First one hand….then the other…oh baby I can’t believe how fast you are growing up!

You are saying all sorts of sounds now…mama…dada…baba…papa…grglgrlg…you are experimenting and all sorts of things come out of your mouth…you sing yourself to sleep when you are tired…and you screech as loud as you can to get attention.

I am treasuring those gorgeous toothless grins of yours…because your first tooth has already poked out!  I can already fill it when I touch your gum.  You are taking it like a champ and it doesn’t seem to be bothering you very much.

Except maybe at night.  You know, that time of day when mommy and daddy want to sleep?  Except that’s when you decide you need lots of attention.   At least once an hour attention.  Every night, every hour on the hour.

You’ve decided that sitting still is for dummies so going out to eat with you is like walking into the circle of a tornado.  You grab everything, jump, screech, grab, pull, bite, throw, grab again…you can’t be still!  You don’t like sitting in a high chair and if I look away for one second I will find you with something in your mouth.

You learned to drink from a straw, to hold your bottle, and to drink from a regular cup.

And how can I forget to mention that you’ve started eating solids!  So far you haven’t said no to ANYTHING.  Whatever we put in your mouth, you eat.  So far you’ve had avocados, bananas, carrots, sweet potatoes, a little bit of ground beef, a little bit of rice (great distraction at restaurants!), and almond milk.   You LOVE eating!

You can grab anything, transfer things from hand to hand, can activate any toy, play the piano, play the drum, … you’ve mastered so many of your toys already!  But your favorite toy of them all…is Nathan’s ABR ball.  You can’t see that little blue ball because you’re all over it!  Especially when we are working on Nathan!

Oh and can I tell you how much you love your brother.  The two of you are like peanut and butter.  One day you were inconsolable while mommy and daddy were out on a date…nothing calmed you down…until grandma had you sit on top of your brother and that was all you needed.  You love to bite him, chew on him, pull his hair, sit on him, drool on him, suck on his tummy and toes…you just love being with him!

Oh sweet Belle, watching you grow is such a delight.  We are so blessed to have you in our lives.

Happy 6 month birthday, my beautiful Belle.

Just Because

Belle’s favorite toy…

…her brother!

Bellebration – 5 months old

Dear Belle,

Today you are 5 months old (going on 25).

And today, September 20th , you said your first word: MAMA!!! What a 5th month birthday gift you’ve given me!!!!

Oh and what a glorious 5 months it’s been! Everywhere we go, you stop traffic…you captivate people with your smile and the alertness of your eyes.

This month you finally captured your brother’s heart. We can now put both of you together on the floor and you entertain and play with each other. You reach over and grab his face, pull his hair, and crawl all over him. A couple of times you made the mistake of putting your hands in his mouth and he bit you…but you graciously forgave him. You love it when he sticks his finger in your mouth so you can suck on it..and it blisses him out just as much.

You are doing so many new things already:

- You are learning how to swim. You can already kick underwater by yourself and go from one person to another.

- How to hold on to the edge of the pool, fall into the water, turn and grab the edge

You make the cutest of sounds with your mouth and can sometimes entertain yourself for a long time by repeating the sound over and over again.

You can be very serious and make me work hard to make you smile!

You are trying to learn how to crawl.

- You love your hands with undending passion.

- Instead of delicately sucking on your finger or thumb, it is not rare for me to find both your fists in your mouth.

- You can already drink from a regular cup

- You enjoy watching TV and have already seen 4 movies at the movie theater

- You love being out and about and get antsy if you don’t get to go out every day

- Today you drank formula for the first time (your brother’s hypoallergenic formula). You’ve also had a little bit of avocado, banana, apple, and whatever you manage to steal when we’re not looking.

- You are on the fence about whether you are a mama’s or a daddy’s girl. You get just as excited with each one of us.

- You already found your feet and love to play with them

- You are Ms Grabby and grab EVERYTHING in your path

- You scoot and roll all over the place…I never find you where I left you.

- You already reach for me when someone else is holding you and will lift your arms and hips to be picked up.

- You don’t have a favorite toy…you’ll play with anything and everything!

- You used to sleep really well but now decided you like mommy’s bed and wake every two hours to try and get back in bed with mommy and daddy

- You are a natural born yogi and LOVE moving and playing with your body

- You are sooo interested in Lucas and Lola and love to pull their tail and ears and to stick your fingers in their mouth…they are already terrified of you!

- You love being on your belly and will play for a long time while on your belly..

- You are trying to crawl out of your crib already…lately when I wake up I see you on all fours trying to reach for the edge of the crib…how long will it be until you’re pulling to stand by yourself??

- Your favorite part of the day is anything to do with water…

- You are your mother’s daughter…through and through.

My dear Belle, words can’t express how grateful we are to have you in our lives, how complete you’ve made us, how much much happiness you make us feel. I have no idea how I have survived 30 years without you. Happy 5th month baby, my dearest Belle, we all love you so very much.

Just because again

Her first time sleeping cuddled with a Teddy bear!!

Just because

Wordless Tuesday

Amazing new therapy

It’s called “Hold your kids tight and squeeze them with love while swinging in the hammock” therapy.

And my other favorite new therapy…it’s called

Dress up, watch, and play with your baby until your heart bursts with joy” therapy:

Girls night out

I Heart Faces

Missing my boy…enjoying my girl…

Belle’s new babysitter

Of life

Nathan working with Tom, his rolfing therapist

Chubby chubby cheeks!

Greatgrandma is soo interesting!

I won’t smile…I won’t smile…I won’t smile…

Learning to play on his back by himself

I like this pillow…

But this one’s even better!

Hanging together

Sometimes you just need a hand.

Fairy Dust

Life in the Andrew house is different these days… it has a fairy dust sprinkled all around it… our little tinkerbelle has flittered into our lives to bring much joy, much closure, much happiness, much peace.

But now she’s over a month old..no longer an infant… in just 4 weeks she’s become a baby…I look at her in wonder and all of a sudden I understand when people say, it goes by so fast….Nathan is our time-defyer, time passes, days, weeks, months, years..and he doesn’t change…he is the same Nathan today that he was almost 4 years ago….and then I look at the chubby cheeks of my little tinker and watch as day by day, hour by hour her body strengthens, her neck tonifies, her brain awakes with wonder. At first I thought, it’s not fair….but today I know it all is as it was meant to be.

We pulled out this hidden treasure that has been collecting dust in the garage and, voila…I witnessed him moving on his own for the FIRST TIME IN HIS LIFE.

No arms yet..but we’re inchstoning forward!

Owen’s new toy (yes, I meant Owen, not Nathan ;-)


Just because

Belle’s new swing ;-) She melts whenever she’s on the hammock..it must remind her of her wings…

Giving “eating out” a whole new meaning

Spreading fairy dust

Finally that little ball of nuisance is out of mommy’s arms…hooray, she’s mine!

After an appointment with her personal stylist aka grandma

Bits

* I just came back from Nathan’s room. I put him down to nap, on his belly, the way he has slept since he was little. 30 min’s later I heard him crying so I rushed to his room. Guess where I found him – on his back! He hasn’t rolled from belly to back in a LONG LONG time. Hooray!

* Today was a fluke, as we took away Nathan’s nap last week. He’s been doing great without his nap! But he went out to a play last night and got home late so I let him rest for a little bit. My little boy is growing up and not napping any more!

* Removing the nap has allowed us to do so much more with him. He is doing great with his new routine. He spends time on his back “integrating” what he learned during his ABM intensive last week. He spends time in the stander playing with toys, coloring, reading books. He spends time in the walker and in the merry muscles bouncer. Nanny McPhee Marta gives him massages and does reiki on him. He rides his tricycle and if the weather is good, he gets in the pool and works on exercising, head and trunk control. We are sooo happy that we’re finally getting a good routine down with him!

* Nathan’s Nanny McPhees Mary and Marta are AWESOME and both doing amazing with him. Mary does ABR on him every day, and Marta is doing the laser and stander and massage and reiki. Ask and you shall receive!

* We are on our 5th day of using the cold laser and I think it’s working! We are seeing a ton of little movements that we hadn’t seen before. As well as big movements like rolling! I think the combo of cold laser, ABM, ABR, G-therapy, nutritional supplements, GFCF diet, and exercise (pool or trycicle) is a really good one!

* Belle is doing great. She has gained 2.5 pounds already! She eats well, sleeps well, and demands to be held all the time. She is a love kitten and literally purrs when you hold her. She is a fabulous baby…but she is already spoiled and doesn’t like sleeping in her crib. So our days consist of nursing, burping, diapering, bathing, napping together, then it all repeats all over again. And…I love it!

* I am so grateful to have these 2 perfect beings in my life. I feel super fortunate!

* Please pray for a couple of my friends who are going through difficult times – K & E. I don’t want to write out their names, just please pray for 2 wonderful women who could use some prayers and blessings right now!

*

Dorje and Belle

A couple of years ago, Owen and I had picked out the name “Serenity” if we had a daughter. So when I became pregnant the deal was that if it was a boy, his name was Max, if it was a girl, her name was Serenity. And then, the day I went for my first level II ultrasound and found out the gender, poor Owen logs on to the internet to find out that his daughter’s name was no longer Serenity but was now Isabelle Tara!

While I was at the hospital in Chile doing the ultrasound, and found out she was a girl, the name Isabelle Tara popped into my head, and it was like I knew that’s what she wanted to be named. I don’t know how to describe it, I just knew this was her name and I didn’t have a choice!

Here’s what’s really cool. Nathan’s middle name is Dorje. And then there’s Belle.

Symbolically a dorje represents the ‘thunderbolt of enlightenment,’ that abrupt change in human consciousness which is recognised by all the great religions as a pivotal episode in the lives of mystics and saints.

The Bell and Dorje, or thunderbolt, are inseparable ritual objects in Tibetan Buddhism. They are always used in combination during religious ceremonies.

The Bell held in the left hand, representing the female aspect as wisdom; the Dorje, or male held in the right hand, aspect as method. Together, they represent union of wisdom and method, or the attainment of Enlightenment.

Souce: Crystalinks Buddhism

Belle’s middle name, Tara, means Goddess of Peace and Protection.

Together, Dorje and Belle symbolize the union of great bliss and wisdom. Apart, they are a bolt of enlightenment and a goddess of peace. Meet my children :-)

Wordless

I’m too tired to write…


This is Nathan when he was 3 weeks old…a little similar maybe???

Isabelle Tara’s Birth

Today is Belle’s due date. If everything had gone according to plan, she would’ve been born today. I can’t believe she’s already 16 days old!

Many people have asked me why I had her early. Some people (whose name I won’t name but you know who you are ;-) believe I pulled her out early so she could be an Aries. Even I wouldn’t be quite so crazy!

It all started with my prenatal checkup on Thursday, April 15th. The doctor told me I was GBS positive – I had strep bacteria in my birth canal. I ran home and did the research and learned that there was a chance that, if my water broke, she could become infected and this bacteria can lead to meningitis and brain damage.

Having already gone through meningitis with one child, and knowing all of the things that CAN go wrong, I started feeling insecure with keeping Belle inside my body. Belle and I have already gone through enough:

First, I was told that Belle never developed, that she was a blighted ovum and I’d had a miscarriage: A Rough Patch. It turns out the doctor was on crack and it was way too early to hear the heartbeat.

Then I went to Chile and got ecoli infection and ended up hospitalized for 4 days. Of course I was terrified that she had acquired some form of damage from this experience.

Then I had terrible contractions when I missed my flight from Chile to Colombia in December. Another terrible trauma.

When I finally got home to LA and went to see the high risk doctor, I was told she had a defect in her heart and that this was a possible indicator for Down Syndrome. Having gone through what I’ve been through with Nathan, I know I would warmly welcome a baby with any condition, so I didn’t suffer from this news. However, it was a source of worry and tough to think about.

So having gone through all of these issues with Belle’s pregnancy, when I heard I was GBS positive, a part of me felt afraid to continue to keep her in my body. I spent that whole night awake, praying, wondering what the right course of action was. I felt ready for her to come. I felt terrible fear that something would go wrong with the delivery. All of a sudden I didn’t have confidence in my body’s ability to protect her – my body felt like her greatest threat. Every ounce of intuition told me that it was time for her to come.

My night of prayer confirmed that it was the right choice. I was ready to go on Friday, but decided to wait until Saturday to give myself time to feel secure in my decision. Friday I prayed and prayed, and still felt ready.

Saturday we woke up early and made our way to the hospital at 7 am. I hadn’t talked to the doctor so he had no idea what I was planning. I simply showed up at the hospital and told them I was ready to have my daughter. The nurses almost laughed and me and told me it was almost certain the doctor would send me home. At that point I offered it up to God – if it was the right time for Belle, I knew he would make it happen. And if it wasn’t, I would be okay going home and waiting.

At 9 am the nurses called the doctor. At 9:30 they came to tell me the doctor had agreed to do the C-section that day, and that he would do it sometime after 10 am. At that point it was just me at the hospital, Owen and Nathan were having breakfast and my family hadn’t arrived.

Owen and Nathan showed up at 10:30 am. At 10:45 the nurses popped in and said, “are you ready to have your baby??!!”. I couldn’t believe it was happening so fast!!! I thought I would have hours and hours of waiting!

I called my mom and she hadn’t even left her house at that point. Which meant I would have to go in for surgery alone so Owen could stay with Nathan. At that point I started shaking. What have I done, I’m not ready for this, what have I done, oh my god oh my god oh my god. But there was no turning back.

At 11am on the DOT the doctor showed up at the surgery room. I was already prepped for surgery. At 11:15 the started the anesthesia. And at 11:20 one of the nurses saw me there, shaking and crying, and decided to go outside and watch Nathan so Owen could come inside the operating room. Owen came in and I grabbed on to his hands for dear life, and oh, the comfort I felt from his presence! The moment he walked in I knew everything would be okay. Within 5 minutes I heard Owen say, they’re reaching in! And 3 minutes after that I heard a very angry howl. Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! At 11:28 am Isabelle was born with a roar.

The anesthesiologist, who knew about the risk of Down Syndrome, immediately came to me and said, I see no markers for DS, your baby looks perfectly healthy. They took her away to examine her, and all the while I was laying there, gutted, asking them to bring my baby. They took several minutes before they finally brought her to me and I absolutely melted the moment I saw her and touched her little face. Love at first sight X 3.

My mother arrived at that moment so she took care of Nathan while Owen cut the baby’s cord and while they put me back together. And the rest is history. I went to the recovery room and they wanted to keep her in the nursing station for a few hours. I demanded they bring her to me instantly and we’ve been inseparable since ;-)

After an eventful pregnancy, I finally got to meet and glorify in my little princess’ presence. Was it right for me to pull her out early? It was right for me. I don’t regret it. And I am thrilled to have had 2 weeks with her already.

Belle is thriving. She is eating well. She is growing. She could smile from the first day she was born. She has already chuckled several times – I have witnesses. She smiles if you oogle at her and no, it’s not gas – she smiles appropriately. When she’s hungry, she just gives us ONE very high pitched shrill scream. She’s only cried a few times since her birth – she’s a very content baby. She eats well, sleeps well, and is a total cuddle bag – she loves sleeping in mommy and daddy’s arms. She’s already a daddy’s girl – the moment she hears his voice she starts looking for him and will wake right up so they can hang out. Owen holds her in his arms and walks around and shows her everything. She loves her time with him. Even though she’s so young, I already know so much about Belle – she is sassy, sweet, peaceful, and very happy!

The beautiful photos of Belle were taken by Nathalie Seguin. As you can see, she’s an absolutely FABULOUS photographer. If anyone lives in the LA area and is looking for a great photographer – look no further!

Stream of consciousness

Today Belle is 11 days old. She is alseep on my chest in the ergo baby with the infant insert. I love hearing her breathing softly and feeling the warm baby breath against my heart. I love that I can move around with her tightly cuddled against me.

Talking about moving around. This has been a hard recovery. This C-section HURT. I recovered miraculously fast from my C-section with Nathan. I thought it’d be the same with Belle. Instead I’ve found myself hurting and hurting. I didn’t want to take Vicodin because I am breastfeeding so it’s been super painful. I stopped taking it about a week ago except for one dose before I go to bed – it’s the only way I can sleep, or the pain is just too much. During the day I am using traumeel tabs and traumeel cream. Thank GOD for traumeel. It offers instant relief from the pain.

And talking about pain. A few days ago I took off my bandage..to find a STAPLE still stuck to my skin! The nurse at the hospital forgot one! Can you believe this. She took all the other staples off except for this one that’s been driving me crazy. It’s pretty ridiculous. I have to go in tomorrow to see the doc and have the staple removed.

And talking about pain again…today I was breastfeeding Belle and thinking about how it’s already been 10 days…and found myself remembering the whole birth….and found myself bawling. This C-section sure was painful and traumatic…believe it or not it was far far worse than my surgery with Nathan. Even though I didn’t know if Nathan would survive birth and was told his chance of survival was only 3%, I had prayed so much for so long that my heart was at peace. The actual surgery and experience was peaceful and beautiful – especially when Nathan was born alive and screaming. With Belle everything was so fast and so painful and I wasn’t really ready. I’ll write about the actual birth in another post. The point of this is…it was a traumatic experience…with the most amazing reward…but I sure do need some therapy to get over it.

Now that we’re starting to get into a “groove”…my thoughts are starting to wander back to Nathan’s welfare. There is so much I want to be doing with him…but there is no time! Even if I didn’t have the baby…by the time he gets home from school, has lunch, and naps…he only has a couple of hours to do his therapies and appointments. I am having such a hard time trying to figure out how to set up his schedule. And once again I am wondering about the benefits of school. Is it a waste of time? What is he gaining vs time he is losing? Decisions decisions.

These are the things I’ve got in the works with him:

How do I integrate all of this into his life? Especially when I am mostly taking care of Belle?

I wish I could find nanny McPhee to come and integrate everything I want into Nathan’s life. If only I could find the right person to work with Nathan every day. To implement all of these things, without me having to beg, remind, plead. Is it too much to want? To ask for?

I keep thinking that if I could find a consistent program with Nathan, and repeat stuff over and over and over again, he would be much further along. We’ve started so many things with him, none with consistency. I feel this is the time for consistency. I feel that now we have all of the tools – we’ve explored so much and uncovered the best of the best – now we just need to implement it day after day after day. But how???? Nanny McPhee, are you out there? I am desperate. Please come to me.

These are the times I wish I could open a school/therapy center that incorporates all of these things into the routine. Wouldn’t that be to die for? If I could send Nathan to this “dream center”, and they work all of this into his day… I would be deliriously happy. How to make this happen??!!!

Belle is breathing deeply against my chest. She is the most peaceful, sweet, easy going baby. She squeaks and purrs like a little kitty. The only times she cries is if she’s hungry or if she’s been away from mommy for too long. How can one person fall so deeply and recklessly and so quickly in love…THRICE? Owen…Nathan…now Belle.

This is like my 3rd time on the computer since we got home. Life sure is busy now. I owe a lot of you emails. Please forgive me, I will write when I can .. I am catching up with life..slowly but surely!

Time for sleep…good night.

Nathan and Belle Week 1

Sorry it’s been quiet in Nathan and Belle land. I’ve been absorbed by and absorbing life with two gorgeous perfect angels. Not much to say other than GRATITUDE! I’m overwhelmed by it. Without further ado, here are some pictures of Nathan and Belle’s first week together:

Presenting…Isabelle Tara Andrew De Vivo

Belle was born on Saturday, April 17th, at 11:28 am.

She was 6 pounds 4 ounces

And 19 inches long

She came out with a fierce loud wail

And didn’t need any help from the doctors

After everything we went through in this pregnancy..

It turned out that she is absolutely healthy!

Her heart is perfect and her chromosomes are perfect

In just 4 days she has brought indescribable joy to this little family

She is absolutely perfect.

And very attached to her mommy!

She’s got a fiery temperament, just like her mother

But is sweet as candy, just like her brother

Her daddy can’t deny her – she looks so much like him!

And is a replica of Nathan when he was born

So far she’s been a super easy-going baby

Very alert and aware

Looooves her breast milk but hates having her diaper changed.

We are so thankful for this new gift from God

And if you were wondering what Nathan thinks about this whole thing…

He doesn’t know quite what to do with her

Fortunately he has good friends giving him good advice

And now for some action videos taken by grandma:

You can see more videos on Grandma’s Youtube Page

WELCOME HOME BELLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Meet The Belly

PS. That dark line on my belly that looks like a scar? Not a scar. That’s a burn mark from where I burnt myself during my first cooking lesson/attempt. Ooops.

Let me tell you about…

…my shopping experience at Babies-R-Us yesterday.

I went to pick up one of the last things I needed for Belle – crib bedding. I picked this one up:

I got a couple of accessories to go with it:

Then, when I was checking out, the lady asked me if I wanted a Rewards card, so I said, sure, why not.

Then I got my total and was super excited – it was a lot less than I thought I would have to pay – but I figured it was due to the rewards card. But then I made the mistake?? of checking the receipt and noticed – OMG she forgot to charge the actual bedding set.

I told my mom and she was like, you have to go back and pay for it! But I have to admit… I soooo badly wanted to just turn the car on and drive away very very fast. Hehehehehe… I debated for a minute and then my conscience won and I went back and told the lady she’d almost given away a bedding set. She was amazed that I’d gone back. From the look on her face I don’t think she would’ve done the same thing if she was in my place!

What would you have done?

I’m glad I went back … but man oh man … I wish I didn’t have a conscience sometimes!

Belle’s Baby Shower

Here are some photos from Belle’s baby shower that we had last week (I forgot the sd card in my camera so couldn’t take photos, was waiting for them to be emailed)! It was shared with Jackson’s baby shower, who is due 2 weeks after Belle!

We had a wonderful wonderful time. At one point I looked around at all those precious kids and was like, wow, what a lucky little girl, not yet born and she already has 8 little friends waiting for her (9 if you include Nathan)!

So if you were wondering what all the stuff was on the chair from this photo

Now you know where it all came from!

Oh and a couple of people were asking me where I got some of the stuff for Belle…it’s called SECONDHAND baby! All of the furniture was Nathan’s – the crib, dresser, night stand, glider and bassinet. The stroller and car seat I got for a fraction of the price from craigslist. And most of the clothes you see have been gifts! From my mom, grandma, friends…I have really only bought her a couple of outfits! It’s funny how things change…with Nathan everything had to be new and perfect. With Belle…well…I know she will be okay even if she’s not the first to ride her snazzy stroller!!!

Going back to the original topic… Belle’s shower was an absolute blast. As I keep saying..now all I need is a baby to put into all these things!

PS Thanks Michal for organizing this!!!