Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Favorite Things...

These are a few of Danielle's favorite things!

Each new week at therapy brings something new for Danielle to play. A new choice to make, a new activity to play and each week she stuns us with her ability to fully comprehend what task/choice her therapists are giving her. It is truly amazing!
She loves to paint pictures...we start by choosing a color...
 And then we dip the brush...
 And then we paint a masterpiece!
And display it on the fridge!

 She loves to color pretty pictures...We help hold her hand up and she moves it wherever she wants it to go!
She LOVES to play dress up with pretty jewelery! Last week they gave her the choice of 4 different colors of jewelery to choose from. They wanted to see if she would color coordinate, she picked purple all 4 times! Today she picked pink all 4 times. She is very smart & quite the princess, complete with the crown!
 Danielle loves to go down the slide and even stays sitting upright like a big girl. At the bottom she pushes the button that says, 'more slide please'!
 Danielle loves to crawl up and down the wedge to her musical caterpillar...

 And what could be more fun than a bubble machine!!! She sits and pushes the yellow button to make it go and releases her hand to make them stop!
 All done bubbles! But I love sitting on my own like a big girl!!!
 She loves to touch and feel objects...here she is playing with shaving cream to make some art!

 It is messy but sure is a TON of fun and it feels really funny too!
 She is beginning to self feed. She loves to put the special spoon in her mouth and taste yummy flavors of food. It's kinda messy but fun to self feed like a big girl!
 And there is NO doubt that Danielle's most favorite activity is playing with her baby. She loves to wash the baby and give the baby a bath...
 And crawl to the baby....
 and to get the baby all dressed and feed her when she is done. Danielle LOVES her baby!
Over the past 2 ish months we have learned so much more about Danielle's learning ability and her most favorite things to do and pretend play. She fully and I mean fully understands what you ask of her, shaking her head yes and no to agree or disagree and pointing to what she wants to do. Yesterday she was walking the halls at Witwer in her walker and delivering cookies to the other therapists, it was the cutest thing ever!!! She more or less stopped walking after a bit and was more concerned about picking up cookies and handing them out than she was walking. She is very much a little girly girl and we love this more than ever! We are so blessed with 3 of the most fantastic therapists who help us and challenge our little girl. She gets a little bit sassy with them when they ask her if she wants to do things they know she doesn't like....for example playing with cars, every week they purposly ask Danielle if she wants to play with cars, and every week she shakes her head, no no NO!  Every single week we learn something new about our daughter and her will to fight and learn and show us that she knows what she is doing, even tho she may not communicate much with her mouth, she shows us with her eyes, hands and head movements. We are having so much fun with her and could not be more proud! We love you punkin!~

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Growing Stronger!

Happy Spring and almost Summer! We have been enjoying these warmer days, seeing fresh green grass and leaves everywhere and beautiful flowers blooming! Just as nature grows stronger this time of the year, Danielle is growing stronger as well!
We continue therapy anywhere from 2-4 days a week depending on the week and Danielle is doing great. They have some new 'switch' toys that Danielle just loves and this is one of them. It is so much fun watching her control the switch fully knowing when to start and when to stop.
Her most favorite OT Lisa is holding her and Andrea is her Speech Therapist!

I love getting surprise visits at work from the kiddo's!
Our swing set use is in full force now! It is wonderful to come home and have some swing time after a long hard day. Some fresh air we all enjoy!
We constantly giggle whether it may be nice or not, sometimes it breaks my heart, at how so very ultra sensitive Danielle. is. She is getting a lot better about not startling at so many noises, but her feelings get hurt rather easily. She still knows how to maneuver herself over to Dylan's toys and every now and then that causes a little bit of a sibling battle. He will take something away from her and the lip will pucker until she gets the toy back. If we feed into her pucker lip then it turns into a full fledged cry, if we sit back and let it casually go away, then she turns that frown upside down in a matter of minutes! That little 2 1/2 year old attitude is in there and I know it's hard to believe but we do see it come out occasionally of this super sweet girl!
Danielle's therapy sessions are full of 100% fun play time. While Danielle is really pushed to work very hard it is all in good, fun activity time. We have been working more on vision strengthening recently during co-treats. It had been a long time since vision therapy was regular in our weekly therapy. With her not being as strong looking to the left recently, they have been working it back in. Within a matter of days already her vision has strengthened right back up.
 This is a co-treat with Lisa our OT, Barb our PT and then a student in training who is following with Lisa and a couple other therapists for 12 weeks. Danielle is a great learning tool for him.
Crawling towards the lights is so much fun!
Big girl crawling all on her own! So much fun to see! 
While we still use the walker and continue to love watching her in it, we have recently been trying her on the treadmill. It is more of a workout for her, forcing her to stay upright and to have her legs continuously moving. She does get tired of holding her head up easily after a few steps because she is not able to support herself like she does in the walker, on the treadmill she is holding up her body weight all on her own, which is very exciting! She is continuing to do very, very well. Stationed in front of the treadmill is a mirror that she loves to look in while walking. Big girl loving to see herself in motion, we love it too! 
Nutrition is still high on the list of important daily items for Danielle. We have found this wonderful food that she LOVES! It comes in so many varieties and is the perfect 'applesauce' like consistency that Danielle does very well with. The best thing is that it does not contain any water additive and every single bite is 100% Organic Nutrition! The combinations are awesome and full of not only fruit and veggies but fruit and veggie combinations! Yummy! We still puree some of our own foods that are more chunky for her to get use to chewing, but these pouches have been a wonderful addition to Danielle's diet, especially at daycare!
The Ella's Kitchen brand is her very favorite. And her most favorite that is not pictured here is Carrots, Pumpkin and Parsnips! It actually smells a little like cinnamon, yummy!
Neither Brad nor I can never deny our munchkins some snuggle time and Danielle is ALWAYS up for it! Recently I have not been able to have only one kiddo on my lap but they both must be there. If I am sitting with Dylan on the couch and I am within an eye sight of Danielle, the lip comes out and she wants to be included. And if I am snuggling up with her, in a matter of minutes Dylan finds himself coming up to join in. One of the best parts of being a mommy, being able to cuddle, soothe and comfort any time of day!
And in just under a month this little bright eyed beauty will Celebrate her 3rd Birthday! Where in the world has time gone?! A pause button would be very nice every now and then ;)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Checkin' In....

Danielle is off to a great start for the New Year. We have been hibernating with hopes of staying healthy because there are a pile of germs and sickness going around right now. She is battling a bit of a cough right now, but after a couple trips to the doctor, just a virus her blood counts say. We have ventured out for walks when the weather has been warm and we have been teased with small tastes of Spring, but other days we have been relaxing and snuggling up!

We have struggled with ouchy ears tho for the past month or so. Danielle is such a tough cookie that she doesn't fuss much when her ears are ouchy but we notice by certain symptoms and can't help but know that they must be bothering. We have done ear drops on and off since the end of December / beginning of January. Drops we got from her Odo doc in IC, use them if you feel she is in discomfort, if they don't do the trick then take her in. Well they were working, we would do them for 5 days, ears would clear up so we would stop, sure enough 4 days later the ear icky's would be back. So Mom finally had enough. After a visit into her local Ped doc they suggested once again to do the drops and we would revisit the situation in 2 weeks. No way that is what we had already been doing!

So two Sunday's ago I e-mailed her most fabulous doc in IC, Dr. Smith. Fully not expecting a response until Monday, I still wanted to type while it was fresh in my mind. Low and behold by 4pm I had a response and he wanted to see Danielle the very next day. We got in Monday afternoon and the results made us sad. Her left ear that still had the tube was clogged badly with ear gunk and the tube was so surrounded that it was not functioning. My Aunt sat with us while Daddy and the nurse held Danielle and Dr. Smith suctioned what seemed like a huge amount of stuff out of the way back of her ear, but it wasn't enough. She screamed and cried, it was so sad but we knew that it had to be done :( The tube was also surrounded with granulated tissue and a lot of gunk, so the drops I had been doing had probably not even been getting to the spot. He scheduled tubes the very next day.

Keeping a watchful eye on her nurses and doctors before surgery.
Sound asleep on the Boppy during play time :)
It was a long beginning to the week but we got thru it and anything to help our baby girl get on the mend. We awoke Tuesday morning and at 6am headed off to IC. Surgery was to be at 9am but by 8:30 they were ready for her. We had been thru this routine before but it doesn't make the situation any easier on Mom or Dad. We both looked at each other with big sad eyes as the Anesthesiologist carried Danielle off to the OR and we took a right turn to the waiting room. 15 minutes later Dr. Smith came in, surgery went good. Her left ear was to be pretty ouchy for a few days, he had a hard time getting the tube out but he did and got the ear cleaned out and new tubes places in each ear. Great news! Thank you Dr. Smith!
We were home by 11am and on the couch snuggling with our baby girl. The next day Daddy stayed home and cuddled her some more to make sure she was feeling okay. Her ears were pretty sore for about 4 days, now we think they are a lot better. Instantly she started holding her head up a LOT better and she is talking even more. What a great thing! And the most comforting thing is having a doctor we love, as we left that day Dr. Smith says to us, 'thank you for letting me help your daughter.' Those words I have heard from him before but they get me every time. It is amazing to have someone so special caring for our children.
One of the reasons we are so very fortunate to have incredible Specialists so close to us at the University! We will be forever grateful to them for saving our children!

Today we ventured back to IC for her 6 month MRI and re-check with our Neurosurgeon. Danielle did great! We even got a visit from the Continuity of Care person for the NICU, Anne, who wanted to followup and see Danielle! That was a great surprise!
The MRI was the usual, quick 5 minute one, she fussed a little bit but I held her hands the whole time. They did the series 3 times to ensure we got more than one good picture. Before long we headed up to the clinic.
The doctor was pleased with this visit. Nothing had really changed since last time which is good news. Her setting is set to drain the most that it can. He is happy with how things are and we got the okay to not come back for another 6 months! We talked about Danielle's therapy and how vital it is for her to keep continuing weekly therapy sessions to help her get stronger, keep her body loose and her mind growing to explore new things! And the best therapy Dr. Menezes said, even better than the therapy she gets at her sessions.....her big brother! He is vital to her, getting her to want to interact, watch him from across the room and hear his language, all of those things continue to be extremely important. We have talked about all of these things before but he just reconfirmed that we are doing a great job at doing what we can for our daughter. We got his blessing to continue on for the next 6 months!

So our pace continues, slow and steady. We don't have to venture back to the U until June when Danielle will have her 1 year re-check for her eyes. It seems a little crazy to think that we hopefully won't even have to see Neurosurgery until August which will be the end of summer! It seems so close, yet so far away!
We continue to be blessed with our baby girl. We are blessed with the team of professionals in our life that help us help her in every way possible. We are thankful for such a wonderful place within a short drive, a place that we owe much gratitude in the health of our children. We look forward to seeing Danielle grow and get even stronger over these next months, so we can show off her and her new tricks on our next visit! This week we are meeting with our team to talk about pre-school for Danielle. She can't possibly be growing up that fast....well yes she is! We are looking forward to exploring the opportunity's that are available and choosing what is best for our baby girl. ~

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Wish for you....

Happy New Year sweet baby girl! What an amazing 2010 you had.....but we know that Twenty Eleven is going to be even better!

We are SO extremely proud of you and your ambition. You never give up, you fight for everything you want and every move you make. Your mind is going faster than many even know, but we know sweetie! You are starting to communicate so much, nodding 'yes', shaking your head 'no', communicating with your eyes, signing to us and your first precious words, 'hi' and 'mama'.

We truly believe that we have found some of the best people to help you get stronger, and get to where you want to be. A full year with those amazing people is going to help you grow in strides sweetie and we are right along with you for the ride! Now that we have your very own walker at home it is amazing how much you show us your strength every single day. Now to just get that Benik in and we will be set, set, set!
Never give up sweetie. Never forget how much we love you and believe in you! You are our precious daughter, heaven sent and we are SO lucky to be your Mom & Dad!
Here is to you darling and a great 2011 full of new adventures....cheers & smooches!~