April 29, 2010

April 28, 2010

I LOVE watching her play

She has such great concentration and focus

Oops, she caught me taking pictures

Oh those eye - so full of love and happiness!

April 28th

April 26, 2010

Daddy's Girl

April 24th

Relaxing at a birthday party

April 25th

Enjoying the music at Downtown Disney

She sure loves her Daddy!

April 19, 2010

SB Clinic tomorrow

Spina Bifida Clinic tomorrow.

What they will say? Who knows, The anticipation of clinic is really, really hard for me. I was a big ball of stress today. Sadly, I didn't even realize why until the day was almost over and I had been a big grump :-(. Thankfully, our life is good, so good that Annabelle's Spina Bifida dose not consume my every thought. However, preparing for clinic is tiresome and stressful. It probably doesn't have to be, but when you are a worrier like me it is.

Annabelle will be meeting with Dr. Cunningham, her Orthopedist and Dr. Cassedy, her Physiatrist (Rehab). I assume there will be a few others but those are the two main doctors she will be seeing. I'm nervous about approaching the subject of a stander with the Orthopedist. I'm not sure how he will respond. Some reports I've read indicate it's time, others say she's too small and not ready. We just want what's best for her and don't want to passive in our approach to her care. I also want to talk with them about her getting Aqua therapy and possibly seeing a chiropractor. I'm also going to request that we get to see a dietitian soon to see if we can get help with Annabelle's chronic constipation. I am attempting to manage it WITHOUT the use of medicine or laxatives. We aren't however having much success. There is so much on my mind right now and I want to be prepared with my questions.

I was looking back over Annabelle's blog recently and I noticed that I tend to mostly blog about Annabelle when I'm in a good mood or am excited about something new and exciting happening. I also noticed that several times I would mention that something was going on, or that we would be going to clinic the following day or how horrible her VCUG was and that I would write more details about it later. For some reason I never seem to get back to those posts. I guess that's fine, but it doesn't really give a clear picture of all that is happening with her. I do know that after each of our past 4 clinic visits I have gone to bed super early. I think the stress of the day just beats me down and I finally crash once the kids do.

Since this is her book I feel like I should try to actually document as much of the ups and downs not as I can, not just fun pictures from physical therapy and her cute little face. Please know that I am by no means looking for sympathy or "I'm so sorry" e-mails as that is not necessary at all. Anabelle is an absolute joy and we feel so very blessed to be her parents. We openly accept all of the challenges that may come along with raising her but the fact is sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed by it all and I think I should be more open about expressing it. I think it's only fair (what's fair, I hate that word) to myself and to anyone else out there reading this who might be in a similar situation. The fact is our life is really great BUT that doesn't mean it's not hard, scary and overwhelming at times. I know being Annabelle's mom is making me a stronger, better person and I am so thankful for that.

I will do my very best to document what happens at clinic tomorrow. I'm sure it will go great, but I know I won't relax until it's over. Any extra positive thoughts you feel like sending our way tomorrow are greatly appreciated.

Thanks friends!

April 17, 2010


Annabelle loves being outdoors. I just can't share enough about how happy she is. She truly is that ray of sunshine in our lives. Her smile and laughter fills our hearts with joy.

Peek-A-Boo. I see ME!

Do you see me?

These three were deep in conversation when I came over to check on them. I can't even get over how much love there is between them. What a blessing they are to one another.

Benjamin took this picture of Annabelle and I

Benjamin thought he was taking a picture but it was actually a very short video. It's short and sweet. I love you my precious Annabelle.

I love you Benjamin, my photographer/videographer in the making

April 16th

April 16, 2010

April 13, 2010

Ok, so I'm obsessed with PT pictures

No, not really. It's just that she's so darn cute and it's hard not to take a picture of her AND it's the only time of the week that I have free hands.

I love to see her kneeling. She looks like such a big girl.

She has such great focus

Watch Annabelle go down the slide for the first time. Not so sure she liked it.

APRIL 13, 2010

April 12, 2010

She's on the move!

Some how my little girl scooted herself off her blanket and around the front room on the hard wood floors. She was lying on her blanket with some toys and the boys were watching a movie and I was around the corner making dinner.

Benjamin started yelling "mommy, mommy Annabelle is crawling and she's going to hit her head". He was so concerned that she was going to bonk her head on the wood part of the couch that he tried to shield her head with his hands. It was very sweet of him.

So she wasn't really crawling, but she was moving and scooching all around.

APRIL 12, 2010

April 10, 2010

Crazy for each other

That's what these two are.

Benjamin loves her SO much

and she thinks anything he does is SO funny!

Yikes, off the bed they almost went - yes, they were both laughing and no one got hurt.

APRIL 10, 2010

April 8, 2010

kick those legs

I will never forget how devastated we were when literally minutes after Annabelle's birth the doctor was telling Branden how there was no movement in her legs and that she was paralyzed from the hips down. It was like being hit over the head when you had already been kicked in the stomach. This was such a huge shock for us. We had expected some paralysis but no movement at all had never entered our thoughts before.

Thankfully, many of my new mommy friends from all over the country quickly reached out and shared their stories with Branden and I. Their little ones had also shown little to no leg movement and were given the same diagnosis in the hospital. However, all now have some movement and have continued to increase their leg movement and strength as they got older. It was so reassuring to hear this from them at such a scary time in our lives - thank you guys for caring and supporting us since Annabelle's birth. What a blessing to have you all in our life.

Well, I'm happy to report that our Annabelle is doing just what the other little ones did. She is moving her legs more and more and she is getting stronger each week. What that will mean for her future mobility, we don't know. All I know is that we want the best for her. We can't predict what her future will look like so we will just continue to hope for the best, whatever that may be.

Here she is again working so hard at PT. This day she had fill in therapist because Emi, her regular therapist at the MTU was out of town. I couldn't believe how well Annabelle did with her.

Watch me kick my legs

APRIL 8, 2010

April 6, 2010

Working hard or hardly working?

Annabelle and Stacey makes PT look so easy!

Oh yeah, that's me sitting up so straight at the table!

Digging in the piggy bank

Drop the money in

Stop for a snack

I want to crawl SO bad!! Check me out.

I'm to tired now...I think I'll sleep instead

APRIL 6, 2010

April 5, 2010

Party Girl

On Saturday, April 3rd Annabelle and I attended a relaxing baby shower for my good friend Laura. It was a nice afternoon of celebrating a special friend and the arrival of her newest baby, visiting with friends and eating good food. The shower was themed Henna, Homemade and Hand me downs - very fitting for Laura, my vegan eating, Waldorf teaching momma of soon-to-be three good friend.

As I was getting myself and Annabelle ready for the shower it hit me AGAIN how super fun it is to have a daughter, how fun it is to do "girl things" together. It was fun putting on dresses - yes, we both wore purple and figuring out our accessories together. I'm not really the fashion/hair and make up kind of gal, but I have to admit that thinking about experiencing these things with Annabelle gets me a little excited.

As always, Annabelle was sweet as pie - smiling and cooing for all of our friends. It's nice hanging out with my little party girl.