Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy Holidays from our neck of the woods...

Since the last posting...

We had a lovely, four day, relaxing Thanksgiving with Mac and Margery in sunny Bend, Oregon. It was such a treat to spend so many quiet days with them, enjoying good food, conversation, watching football (well, Margery and I were not as involved in the latter). A few days earlier, we had a fun turkey day celebration with Leslie, Herb, GG Mimi, Jen, Megan, Mary, Steve, Kathryn, Kevin and Lillian on Bainbridge Island.

Owen came down with his first major virus just before we left for Bend. He probably picked this up at Holly Ridge when he had his oral/motor feeding evaluation. He had a temperature of 103 and ended up with congestion and a cough. Kelsey and I both caught the bug and it hung around our house for three weeks, ushering us into our busy holiday season at GFC. With repeated coughing bouts lasting 1-2 hours, Kelsey spent a few nights on the couch as his hacking was so severe that it would shake the bed like a major earthquake. As is the case with kids like Owen, although he defied the odds and handled the cough/congestion just fine, the virus caused a substantial spike in his seizure activity and for the first two weeks of December, we struggled to get these back under control. Our saving grace ended up being the addition of MCT oil to his diet, nightly doses of Melatonin and a strict nap/sleep schedule. It was a rough few weeks, but by Christmas he was back to his (mostly) cheery self.

O actually has pudgy cheeks, legs and arms! I love that there is so much more of him to hold and cuddle. He loves to look at his high contrast board books by Peter Linenethal (Look Look! and Look at the Animals) that cousin Jen got for him a couple of months ago. They are perfect for where he is at in his visual development. We sit him on our lap, open these up and he gets wide-eyed, scanning the pages, devouring the high contrast images. We also now have a fun game that we play called "spiderhand." With O on his side or back, we wiggle our fingers a couple of feet above his head, moving our hand from side to side as he tracks it, slowly bringing it closer to his face while saying, "Here comes spiderhand." He loves it and smiles repeatedly in anticipation - a new development for him. We then bop the tip of his nose as spiderhand reaches his face. This usually produces a BIG smile. This might seem very basic for an 18 month old, and it is on the "typically developing child" charts, but for Owen, it is a wonderful achievement.

Kelsey very successfully managed another busy - fortunately, given the economy, even busier than last year - holiday season at Grounds for Change. Our staff was amazing and it was so nice for me to be able to have the flexibility to help out for a couple of weeks during our busiest time. We've been spending much of our vacation (during the annual GFC closure from the 24th through the 4th), sleeping in late, lounging in bed with O and spending time with family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We did get an opportunity to have an adult overnight (DATE!) in the city on Sunday/Monday. Janet and Coop (Grandma and Grandpa Chalupa) did a practice run for when O's brother is born and took Owen overnight while Kelsey and I treated ourselves to a stay at the Inn at the Market and dinner with our friends, Sara and Joe.

We woke up early Monday morning to our water view of ferries coming into Seattle and the lit "Public Market" sign ready to greet the few who ventured out into the city between these two major holidays. We were scheduled to be at our ultrasound appointment at 9:00 am to peek in on O's brother at 34 weeks with a f/u OB appointment at 10 am. Although I've only gained 20 pounds, I've been telling everyone that I feel like I am growing a giant. Well, indeed... the radiologist had to come in afterwards to confirm the technician's measurements. We were a bit nervous at first, not knowing why he was doing this, and so asked what was going on. He proceeded to tell us that the baby's numbers were well above average, telling us that the measurements coincided with a 37 to 38 week old baby versus a 34 week baby. The head circumference, abdominal measurements, etc put this guy in at the 87th percentile. I laughed and said that I didn't know if this was a blessing or a curse. The radiologist and our OB doctor said that they only thing this indicates is that this little one is growing well. Our OB doctor said to plan on keeping the 8th of February (versus the 13th) as the due date. Based on this, I've only got 5 weeks left to go - thank goodness. All other measurements - blood flow through the cord/placenta, amniotic fluid levels - looked great as well.

I've posted some photos from the last month on Smugmug. These include some photos of the beautiful snow we had just in time for Christmas.

We love to hear from all of you and have appreciated the holiday cards and letters. Leave us a comment or send an email (srm@tiny-giant.com).

We hope that your holidays are great and that all of you have been able to cuddle your babies and enjoy your families.

Peace and love in the New Year,

Stacy, Kelsey and Owen