On Saturday we decided to head over to the El Dorado Nature Center for some much needed family time. We've been there many times before, but not since Annabelle has been walking more independently with her walker. She was so fascinated with the turtles that I wondered if we would actually get past the first bridge to see anything else.
She loved exploring in the indoor center as well and we were so pleased with how open the space was. Most areas were accessible to her all by herself or with little assistance from myself, Branden or Benjamin. Jack was head down in the computer learning about all kinds of bugs and such so we rarely saw him. Ben on the other hand wanted to show Annabelle EVERYTHING! She followed him around the whole place - at least twice.
I have found that it can be a real struggle finding fun places to go as a
family where everyone's needs can be met. I'm excited to share that we
had a really great time exploring, learning and walking around
together. Although, the boys would have preferred to have been on the
other (non-paved) tail they knew that this was the only one that
Annabelle could maneuver on her own so they didn't complain (too much) and they were actually
super great about encouraging her along trail. I'm pretty confident
that this was the farthest she has ever walked in one stretch. We were
all so very proud of her. Here's a quick little video of her walking and talking along the trail.
Days like this are just wonderful. If only every day could be this great.
We decided to buy the annual pass so we could return anytime we want to.
We finally decided to turn Annabelle's crib into a big girl bed. We've wanted to do it for a while now but because she has her night feeding (through her g-tube) we were worried about her safety. If she was to try and climb out of bed while connected to her pump she could pull her g-tube right out of her belly and that would super bad. But, we knew we couldn't keep her in a crib forever - although, she is my last baby (boo hoo). Thankfully, we still had the bed rail we used with the boys which is adjustable so we were able to make it so she can't get out without climbing OVER the rail. Honestly, if she was really that eager AND strong enough to crawl over and out I would probably be just as excited for her as I would be worried that she got hurt or pulled her button out. We don't expect that will be happening so we went with it.
So here's WAY too may pictures of our girl in her new big girl bed.
We spent some time last night at the Long Beach Towne Center and oh my goodness Annabelle acted like she owned the place. She was walking everywhere! It was so great being in a public place and having her so confidently maneuver her walker wherever she wanted to go. She was moving around so much I could barely snap a picture of her.
Of course she was willing to take a picture with her big brothers - her hero's!
Tonight just proved how far she has come. Annabelle truly is unstoppable! I know that if she puts her mind toward a goal she will surely accomplish it. She is one determined little girl and with these awesome boys by her side she is destined for greatness.
After 11 long days of recovery I'm happy to report that Annabelle bounced back and soon was her happy, playful self again. We are very pleased with what seems to be some positive side effects of Annabelle's surgery. She is breathing noticeably better and seems to be swallowing better. She isn't necessarily eating more but she is managing different textures and bigger bites much better than before. These two positives improvements are definitely worth the rough days following her surgery. Thank you for all of the prayers during her recovery.
Since I think every post should have pictures, here's a few from our Memorial Day weekend ~
We flew kites together at the park
We spent lots of time together swimming
There's truly nothing better than when we can all be together having fun. I love family fun days! Nothing brings me greater joy than when everyone is happy and healthy.
My name is Annabelle and I was born on July 29, 2009 into a loving family. I am very lucky to have two older brothers (Jack and Benjamin) who LOVE me very much. I was born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. I had two major surgeries during my first week of life. My back closure surgery was the day I was born and I had a shunt inserted into my head 5 days later. I have since had 4 shunt revisions.
If you have questions about Spina Bifida or my condition, please feel free to e-mail my parents at: firstname.lastname@example.org.