Sunday, October 31, 2010

Emeline's very favorite accessory... this hat that her friend Abby-from-Indiana's Grandma made for her. Isn't it cute?! I think so, and I know Emmie does, too. She wears it almost daily. :)
(Thank you again, Abby's Grandma Cathy!)

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No Words Needed

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Another Mystery Solved!

Baby Wipes are a hot commodity in this house. For a family withOUT any babies, we should probably NOT be going through a package every week. But lately, we have been. Tonight, I solved the mystery as to why that is.

I came upon this sight:
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But instead of doing what my initial reaction was--telling Emeline, "No! We don't use wipes as blankets for the baby!" I watched from a distance.
And my patience paid off.

No sooner than she had covered her baby with 6 of her handy little "blankets" (aka wipes), she picked them all up, and promptly disposed of them in the garbage. Then, she went straight back, and got the baby 6 NEW "blankets." (aka wipes) YIKES! No wonder I can't keep them on hand!

You Know You're In Trouble When It's Quiet For Too Long

Daddy has been sick with the flu today, and because of that, I have tried to keep Emeline away from him---for BOTH of their sakes. He has spent most of the day in the living room (yes, it's nearest to the bathroom), so I have kept Emmie in our bedroom.

While I was in the kitchen making supper, I noticed she had not come in to check on me like she usually does. (Generally, about every 15 minutes of every day, ALL day long, if we are not in the same room, she will come and find me, and say, "Hi, Momma!" I say, "Hi, Em!", and then she usually heads back to whatever she had just left doing.) So it was unusual when I didn't hear from her. In fact, I remember taking Bill some Sprite and saying, "Have you heard from Emma?" When he replied, "No," I told him that was probably NOT a good thing. So I headed off to find her.

It didn't take long; she was right where I had left her, watching her favorite dvd, the LeapFrog Talking Words Factory, in our bedroom. I said, "Hey, girlie! I was wondering what happened to you! But you're just watching your movie, aren't you?" And, as the final words exited my mouth, I knew the answer to that was a resounding NO. Watching the movie was not what had kept her in the bedroom for such a long stretch; decorating my tv table was! Oops!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Great Idea That Really Wasn't Such a Great Idea After All

We were watching a movie tonight, and, as I usually do, before the movie started, I popped a bag of microwave kettle corn to enjoy while watching the movie. I was happily munching away on my tasty white pieces of yummy goodness when Emmie decided I should share my bounty. It was a big bowl, and I didn't mind sharing, so I told her she could have some, and she eagerly reached in with both hands. She picked up as many pieces as her pudgy fingers could hold, and began walking back to where she had been sitting on the floor. After one or two steps, though, pieces of popcorn started escaping from her hands, and falling to the floor. She looked down, and growled, quite exasparated. She bent over to try and pick up the pieces that she'd dropped, which resulted in even more pieces falling from her hands. "AHHH!" she exclaimed in frustration. Then, she had an epiphany.

She sat down on the floor and began executing her newly hatched plan. She pulled her sock away from her ankle, and began picking up the pieces of popcorn that had fallen onto the floor. She happily stuffed them down into her sock, grinning the entire time, until all of the popcorn that she'd dropped was safely tucked down her sock. I thought she would head back to where she had been sitting, to eat her rescued treat, but apparently she had decided that her plan had worked so well, she could come back for two more handfuls of popcorn. And so she did.

The same thing happened on her second trip, and she again sat down to put the fallen pieces of popcorn in her socks. To her great frustration, she discovered that all of the pieces she had stuffed in there from the first trip, had broken into tiny pieces, and there were no "whole" pieces left.

Apparently, at that point she came to the conclusion that maybe stuffing the popcorn down her socks wasn't such a great solution after all, because she gave up trying. Instead, she just sat down and dropped the two handfuls she still had in her hands, onto her dress, and began eating that popcorn piece by piece. When she had finished that, she took off her shoes, and then her socks, shaking little bits of popcorn all over the floor. She turned around, looked and me, and pointed to the floor, saying, "Mom! Mosh!" (Mom! Mess!) I just shook my head, trying not to laugh.

And then I picked up another piece of kettle corn, popped it into my mouth, and said, "That's okay. No big deal."

Sometimes a little mess is a small price to pay for a good giggle. :)





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Thanks, Amy, for letting me steal your idea! :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Apparently, Baby was bad. Either that, or Em is playing "Hide and Seek" again.

The blue plastic lid was on the pot when I found it, but I removed it for the pic.

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I am ALWAYS finding babies stashed in the most unusual places, so this (above) is nothing new. Just last week, I opened the refrigerator door one morning to find a baby sleeping in there next to Em's "chocca-mook."
Maybe she had been there to guard the chocolate milk?!? I don't know. But one thing is sure: Life is never boring with this girlie around! :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I thought I was done, but this is one of those stories that is definitely a Moment Worth Remembering...

Emeline is FUNNY. Really, she is. She cracks me up. She even cracks Bill up, and this man of mine is not the easiest to amuse, let me tell you. But really, Emmie is a silly, fun-loving little girl.

The following is one example of her silliness.

First of all, let me preface this by saying that I have *NO* earthly idea where she gets some of her crazy ideas, but clearly, they occur in abundance. And if you are reading this, and you are either related to me, or knew me growing up, this would NOT be the appropriate time or place to share any incriminating tales of crazy ideas that you have knowledge of, from my own childhood. Pretty please.

One silly little quirk in particular that I want to be sure NOT to forget is her latest "prep routine." I call it her "prep routine" because any time you *ask* her to do something, she does this little montage of movements. (If you don't ask her to do something, and she just does it on her own, then she doesn't do the whole "prep routine." But if you ask her to do ANYTHING, she has apparently decided that if her performing an action is preceded by a request, that the "prep routine" is required. At least I think so, anyway...)

How, why, when, or where she learned or came up with any of "the moves," I have NO idea. If I had a video camera that would actually load the video onto my computer, I would download it for your viewing pleasure, but for now, I can only enjoy it on my camera, and try to describe the scenario for you as best I can. So on to the description...

First, she rubs her hands together, like she's trying to warm her hands in the winter.
Next, she rubs her second and third fingertips with her thumbs on each hand respectively.
Then, she blows on those fingers as if they were candles she was blowing out.
Finally, she licks her index finger of her right hand, and then swipes that finger ALL the way across her forehead.

And THAT, my friends, is "the prep routine."

While I have seen it many, MANY times, tonight was the first time Bill observed it. He said, "Barbie, you have GOT to see what Emma just did."
I said, "Did you ask her to do something?"
He said, "Yes, but before she did it, she did this whole weird routine with her hands."
I just laughed.
He said, "Did you teach her that?"
I stopped laughing.
"What do you think?"
"Well, she didn't come up with that on her own, did she?"
"Actually, she did."
"Why does she do it?"
"I have no idea."

And so the story goes. The wonderful, crazy, silly story of our life with a girl named Emeline. A life filled with so many wonderful moments worth remembering. We are so blessed. And often, amused. :)

Independence Day, Or, The Day She Told Mom "I Will Do It Myself!"

Since May of 2008, when Emeline had a seizure that resulted in her being diagnosed with hypoparathyroidism, routine bloodwork (aka labs) have been a part of Emeline's new "normal." Initially, she was going for labs twice a week, then once a week, then once every two weeks, and there we have remained, for the past two and a half years, pretty much.
When she was diagnosed with Addison's Disease last year, we went through a time of more frequent labs again, but that tapered off, and we are back to our every-other-week regularly scheduled programming.

Last week, Emeline took one step toward declaring her independence (at just 4 days shy of being 5 years old). For the past 2.5 years, I have gone into the room with her, climbed up into the chair, taken her on my lap, held her arm down, and (for a VERY long time) used my legs to keep her legs locked in, so she couldn't hurt the phlebotomists, when Emmie did her usual routine of kicking, screaming, wiggling, and fighting for all she was worth, trying to avoid the inevitable dreaded "poke." EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. she did this. Without fail. No matter who the phlebotomist was. No matter how kindly they spoke to her. No matter how many times I spoke with her on the drive to the hospital, telling her that it would only hurt for a minute, and then it would be over, reminding her that she would get 2 stickers when they were done. And yes, occasionally struggling to hold back my own tears as I sat there in the chair, holding my sweet girl down, hating more than she did, that she was having to endure it. But endure it she (we?) did, because there was no choice.

I have no idea what changed last week. But something clicked in Em's mind, and for the first time EVER, she took charge when we crossed the threshhold of the lab. Michelle, the phlebotomist came out, and greeted us both by name. (This momma has paid attention to the work schedules of certain people who do well with Emmie, and you'd better believe that I make a POINT of going when I know one of our "preferred providers" will be working! LOL) She told us to come on back, and so we both rose from our seats and followed her through the door. When we entered the little room, Emmie immediately turned to me and said, "No, Mom. Don't get up in the chair to hold me on your lap. I can do it myself. I don't need you to hold me down today while I fight you with everything that is in me. I can handle this on my own today, thankyouverymuch."

Now, if you know Emeline, you know that she really didn't say that. What she ACTUALLY said was, "No, Mom. ME. No Mom. BACK." (Luckily for you, I happen to be quite fluent in Emma-ese, and I am able to translate for you.) ;)

Michelle's jaw dropped open, and I'm certain mine must have hit the floor. I looked at Michelle a bit hesitantly, and she said, "I think she wants to do it herself today." I said, "That is EXACTLY what she wants." I looked and Em and said, "If you want to do it yourself, go ahead. Get on up there."

And that's just what she did. Without the slightest hesitation, she climbed up in the chair, pulled her sleeve up, and put the arm rest pad down. With not so much as a whimper or even one attempt at withdrawing her hand, she held it there through the poke, and long enough to fill the needed 2 vials. In her own words, she had told me, "I can do it myself." And that's exactly what she did.




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Some weeks, Em's labs can be done with what we call "the finger slicer."
Other weeks, it's the needle-in-the-arm routine. This week, it was a "finger slicer" week. :) It just depends on how many vials they need to collect. Finger slicer weeks are just 2 vials; needle-in-the-arm weeks are usually 4 or 5.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Emeline's (Quiet) 5th Birthday

Today was Emeline's birthday. In the past, we have always had a big birthday party at Grandma and Grandpa's house in Illinois, with family and friends from church, but we weren't able to do it this weekend. (We will be having a party; it just wasn't going to work to do it this weekend.)

We did quietly celebrate Emmie's big day here at home in Iowa, though--just the 3 of us. We had spaghetti for supper, which is usually one of her favorite meals, but for some reason, she just wasn't loving it tonight. Huh. That's weird for her. Really weird. And, while she *WAS* excited about blowing out the candles on her (admittedly very plain and boring) cake, she wasn't interested in *EATING* any of the cake, and she said "no" to the ice cream, too. Huh, again. That is just NOT normal for her. Really!

So, Em's quiet birthday celebration was mainly having her favorite meal for supper, and a simple chocolate cake with ice cream. Simple is nice, isn't it? :) (Except that it does NOT make for a very exciting blog post!)LOL

Before I close, I will share yet another one of Em's latest stunts--this one is from today, actually.

I got up early and baked Em's birthday cake, so it was done (as in, baked) this morning. It hadn't cooled before we left for church, so I left frosting it to be done later. After church and lunch, we went home. I realized after we got home, that I needed to go to the store, so I told Bill I was heading out, and I asked him to keep an eye on Emmie while I was gone. I called him from the store, to ask him a question, and he said, "Did you have something chocolate in the kitchen?"
Me: "Yeah, why?"
Him: "Well, Em just came in here [in the living room], and she has chocolate all over her face and in her hair."
Me: "Well, does it look like chocolate cake?"
Him: "Well, maybe. Yeah, I guess it could be."
Me: "Well, it sounds like she has discovered her birthday cake, and decided to help herself."
Him: "Oh." (long silence) "Whoops."
Me: "Yeah. Whoops."

So, (insert LOL here), after just typing the story above, I feel better knowing that I have probably solved the mystery as to why Em wasn't that interested in eating supper OR cake. She had already had hers! ROFL

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A Family Fun Day!

On Saturday, we had a Family Fun Day! We went to a pumpkin farm, where I took the pics of Emmie that you will see below. But, being the goofy (and stubborn!) girl that she is, Em would have NOTHING to do with ANYTHING even remotely associated with....the PUMPKINS! LOL Fortunately, the pumpkin farm had a really neat play area with a "Corn Pool," which Emmie loved, as well as a few different slides, a tricycle track, and several other little fun areas (the names and themes of which all seem to have already slipped my mind). There was also a blacksmith and a rope-maker there, each demonstrating his trade, and a HUGE barn shop where you could find about any fall-themed decorating items your heart could ever desire. We spent about an hour and a half there at the pumpkin farm, and Em played the ENTIRE time, but that didn't stop her from crying her little eyes out when we said it was time to go. I predict that Em and I will be making another trip one day this month, and maybe Grandma and Aunt Joy will meet us there, since it's only about an hour from them, too!

After leaving the pumpkin patch, we made our way to the Villages of Van Buren Scenic Drive. This is a yearly event that involves several small villages in southeast Iowa having open-air markets with food vendors, flea markets, yard sales, quaint little shop sales and/or demonstrators, bargains, and did I mention the food vendors? ;) Sadly, this year, we only made one food purchase--and that was before we even made it to the first village! We stopped at a little family farm/dairy, and sampled several of their hand-made cheeses. While none of us in our family are serious cheese-lovers, we all enjoyed this little excursion. Why? Free Samples! Emeline was in HEAVEN! Free samples of not only cheese, but also yummy ice-cold apple cider! Oh wow. If they would have been selling the cider, we would have left there with a gallon or two of that, too. As it was, we left with 3 blocks of cheese (and 1 of them was gone before we even got home that afternoon!)

The cheese ended up being the only food purchase of our entire day, until we were headed home that afternoon. I still can't believe that we did not buy any food from any food vendors in any of the villages. Sigh. I would have *LIKED* to, BUT...a certain 4-almost-5 year old made standing in a line of 25+ people just not worth the food we would have enjoyed. So instead of eating yummy "fair fare," we stopped at Casey's on the way home, and shared 2 slices of pizza and a pop. I guess that's what you get when you wait to eat lunch until after 2:30 on the day of a big event in very small towns. Oh well.

Finally, after we were all tired of scenic-driving it, we agreed it was time to head for home. We met a friend and former co-worker of Bill's at his family's farm, and picked up some more chickens for our flock. The guys visited and Em decided it was a good time for a nap. I got out a pen and jotted a few reminder notes to myself in my notebook I carry in my purse for moments such as those.

It wasn't a typical Saturday, but it was a day we all enjoyed. It was fun to get out as a family and enjoy the beautiful fall weather and the beautiful colors of the autumn foliage. Days like that are too few and far between, so I am very thankful for it.




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She is FIVE today! Looking Back: Emeline's Birth and First Year Video

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Just another Tuesday...

We stayed home today and did our usual Tuesday "stay-at-home stuff." I snapped a couple of pictures of Em this morning, simple glimpses into our normal day-to-day life.

One of Emeline's favorite things to do is go outside and draw with chalk on the concrete in front of the front door. Visitors--if we ever had any--would be greeted by her bright chalk drawings, right now most of what appear to be suns. (Or, as she calls them, "wound an wound" (translation: round and round, aka how to draw a circle!) :)



Something else Emeline really enjoys is feeding the dogs. Almost without fail, as soon as she wakes up in the morning, she wants to give milk to the cat, and feed the dogs. (And some days, she must feel especially generous, because she is even willing and wanting to give the cat some of her most-treasured "chocca-mook" (translation: chocolate milk). While I appreciate her willingness to take care of the pets, I usually encourage her to wait until a little later in the day--at least until the sun has come up. (And no, we don't ever give the cat chocolate milk, much to Em's disappointment. LOL)

When she starts in on saying "Wuff-wuff" (translation: Dog) and "Food!" first thing in the morning, I usually tell her the dogs and cats are still sleeping, which generally appeases her....until the dogs start barking, and then it's a lost cause. Let's just say the girl is VERY persistent when she feels something needs to be done! LOL And rest assured, our dogs will NEVER go hungry, as long as Emmie is around!


We really did do more today than *just* color with chalk and feed the dogs, but the camera batteries died after we fed the dogs, so that's the end of the pictures from today, and since I am tired, I think we'll call it good and leave it at that for today! :)

Good night!
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End of Summer Backyard Photo Shoot

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-Sunday afternoon, 10/3/2010

Mondays: School, Somersaults, and Swim Lessons

Monday is Em's "busy day" of the week.  She goes to school in the morning, and I pick her up at noon. We go home, eat lunch, take meds, and then head off on one of our two trips of the week going into "the big town." (As compared to "the small town" where Em goes to school. LOL)

On Monday afternoons we do most of the week's shopping, and go to the Y; on Wednesdays we may or may not shop again (depending on how urgently we need anything! LOL) and Em has Speech Therapy and bloodwork (well, bloodwork is only every other week).  So Monday and Wednesday are the only two days of the week where we have access to several department stores, fast food, Walgreens, several grocery stores, and the occasional Redbox movie.

We usually head into town around 1:00.  I get most of my grocery shopping done, and then we head to the YMCA for Tumbling.  I have really noticed growth in Emeline's coordination and balance since she started Tumbling, so I definitely think it has been a beneficial activity for Em, not to mention that she LOVES it! 

Emeline started doing Tumbling last spring, when Em's Physical Therapist suggested that Em no longer required PT, but that she would benefit from some on-going regimen that included regular exercise. Em is walking very well now, and running, too, and is beginning to jump. (She's still working on getting both feet off the ground at the same time.) The only two goals that our PT said she could continue working with Em on, were jumping and riding a tricycle, but she said neither of those were really "necessary" life skills, so on her suggestion, we quit PT and signed Em up at the Y.  That's how we got into Tumbling (because I'm sure the "not knowing" was killing you! LOL).

Tumbling is from 3:30 to 4:00. I am more than a little proud of what Em has learned in Tumbling. Not because anything she learns there is a critical life skill, but because it is challenging her and pushing her to try new things. And she is DOING them. When she started, she coudn't do a somersault.  Now she can.  She also enjoys walking on the balance beam, and doing the spider-walk, where she puts her hands on the floor, with her back facing the wall, and then "walks" up the wall.  (I'm guessing this is the precursor to doing a back-bend or walkover, or something like that, but don't quote me on that; I never did Tumbling, myself! LOL) Regardless, she really enjoys it.

She has had the same Instructor the past 2 sessions, and I am so happy with Miss Tamara.  I was a little apprehensive (okay, it was more than a little) when I first signed Emmie up, because I just didn't know how Em would do--if she would like it, if she would be willing to take turns, if she would be able to do whatever it is they were going to do.  But Miss Tamara just went with it.  She didn't even blink when we walked in; she just treated Em like the other 2 girls in the class, which was exactly what I was hoping for! Yay!  She has made Tumbling a fun and challenging learning experience for Emeline, and I know that Em truly does enjoy it for two reasons:  1) She is frequently doing her tumbling "tricks" at home, and 2) She loves to carry around a picture of  her that I took at Tumbling; she pulls out the picture, and always says just one word:  "Fun!" :)
So yes, I am fairly certain that Tumbling will continue to be in Em's future, or at least the near future.



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For the record, Emmie usually wears more suitable clothes for Tumbling, but yesterday she had a little accident and had to change after we got there, hence, the not-so-appropriate-for-Tumbling attire. When will I learn to always bring along a spare set of clothes?! I had to dig those out of a bag of clothes that we were taking to Goodwill! Oops!

After Tumbling, we have an hour-long break.  During the break, we usually head over to Walgreens and pick up prescriptions or just browse the aisles, before heading back to the Y again for swim lessons. Yesterday we found two puzzles in the clearance aisle; Emmie was thrilled because they were SpongeBob.

After paying for our puzzles, we headed back over to YMCA for swim lessons. Em loves swim lessons.  She loves being in the water.  Absolutely LOVES it.  While she is still not swimming independently, she has made progress. She will jump in, and she has no problem with going under water or getting her face wet.  She's got the kicking piece down well, but the necessary arm motions are still a little iffy.  She really enjoys holding the float-board-thingie-with-handles (I'm sure there's a name for those things, but at the moment, nothing is coming to me!?) and kicking and swimming the length of the pool that way.  She is beginning to doggie paddle a little, but has never done so without the floatation belt on, so I'm not too certain as to whether or not she could hold herself up, or not.  But regardless, she loves, loves, LOVES swimming lessons.  Even more than Tumbling.  She talks about the pool EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.  Well, she doesn't really talk about it, but I know she is thinking about it, because she will come up at random times throughout the day and spontaneously say, "Mom, Pool!" and I tell her (repeatedly!) No, today is not swimming lessons.  About half the time she cries; the other half, she gets mad.  But yeah, she loves swimming, and nothing would make her happier than be able to swim every day, I'm sure.  For now, though, she'll have to settle for swim lessons once a week.

Thankfully, our Monday schedule only happens once a week.  This may not be a lot for some folks, but being on-the-go from 7:45 a.m. until 5:45 p.m. is not my idea of the ideal day!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Shhhh! Quiet time will be over soon enough!

I love my "all's quiet in the house" time, rare though it is.  I tend to be the early riser of the family (unless it's hunting season, and then, for some reason beyond my comprehension, Bill is ALWAYS able to wake before the crack of dawn, without an alarm, even! LOL). Most days I get up at least a half hour to an hour before the other two, and I like it that way.  I have my quiet time, and then I write my list of "To Do's" for the day. After those two things are done, I usually head to the basement to start some laundry, and then back upstairs to the kitchen. The dishwasher often needs to be unloaded after being started at bedtime the night before, and I'm pretty sure that Bill and Em are usually awakened by the sound of the clean glass plates being stacked on top of the other plates.  (At least that's when they usually decide to rise and shine!) ;)  Depending on what day it is, I may or may not make breakfast.  We usually have a big breakfast on one of the two weekend days; the rest of the week, it's either eggs or cereal, with the occasional oatmeal thrown in for good measure. Yesterday was not the "big breakfast day" for this weekend, so today is it!  Eggs, hash browns, and cinnamon rolls.  (Sorry, honey, I forgot to buy some bacon yesterday! Oops!  He will miss the bacon. Definitely.)

I hear little feet coming down the hallway, so yes, quiet time is now over. (Already?!) It's time to get breakfast made, and then get ready for church. I hope you have a great Sunday, and I hope you have some time just to enjoy "the quiet" today!

Friday, October 1, 2010

So here we are...

I can't believe it's October. The leaves are falling from the trees, it's getting dark sooner, and Em is actually choosing sweatshirts and pants over t-shirts and shorts these days. It was only a few weeks ago that we were sweltering in the heat; a few more short weeks, and we'll be shivering in the snow. Time passes. It passes much too quickly for me to remember things that I do not want to forget. Silly things a soon-to-be-5 year old little girl does. Hiding keys, chasing ducks, putting on Mommy's lipstick, scribbling all over Daddy's "very important paper for work," stashing Oreos under her bed, and coordinating some of the most amazing fashion ideas EVER dreamt up, I'm very certain!

This blog is about my family's life, experiences, and challenges. I have no doubt it will be full of silliness, as that seems to be found in abundance at this address. No doubt there will be moments of seriousness, too. Because I have not blogged in the past, I have many stories that I want to salvage from being lost to time, so I will be finding old photos and telling the stories behind them, so they are saved for the future, and not doomed to never being seen or heard of again. So feel free to come along if you're so inclined, and share in our journey and our Moments Worth Remembering.