Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Check out my August thru November updates!!

I got so preoccupied with everyday life that I was horrible at keeping up with my blog...so I decided to play some catch up!!!

Scroll down and start with the August update first if you want to go in order of events :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

November News

I have finally caught up to the current month!!! I need to work on keeping this blog updated...I tend to do better with facebook...so if you are not on facebook, you should join :)

I'll start with an update on the pregnancy...as I am typing this I am 33 weeks pregnant with a "mover n shaker" baby girl in my now huge belly!! Just as with my other two pregnancies I am on my way to my 40 lb weight gain, all of which seems to be in my belly!!! I get the "any day now" comments from complete strangers already... still just over 6 weeks to go until my planned c-section on Jan 6th (since both Michael and Sofia were c-sections). Even though I wouldn't be completely surprised if this baby girl decided to make an earlier appearance just to make Christmas more interesting...I wasn't early with either Michael or Sofia, but Michael did make things interesting in that he arrived on our anniversary!! I feel this baby moving around SO much!! It makes me think that I didn't feel Sofia move as much as I thought I did...but then again I am not on my feet all day working like I was with Sofia. My OB has also questioned if I feel this baby more, knowing about Sofia's delays and hypotonia...

I am definitely more worried about the last couple weeks of this pregnancy and my recovery from the c-section because of all the care and lifting that is required with Sofia...Tom has worked it out where he is off most of January, so that is a huge relief!! This time around I am going to take full advantage of the time I am allowed to stay at the hospital and ask for more help from the nurses!!

I am working on trying to get all my "nesting" done...it involves a lot of trying to move things around our 2 bedroom apartment and down to our garage to make room for a new baby. Because of the small space our bedroom is going to have to also be baby's room until we move next June. It makes me think that we are going to try to add too many new toys at Christmas time since we are already tight on space!!!

Oh, I can't wait to have space again!!! And we have decided that space will be in a new home in Jacksonville, Florida!! Tom will be joining an Allergy practice based in Jacksonville when he is done with fellowship in June 2010. We were torn between two options...but our long term plans is what made the final decision for us. We are excited that we will be living close to Tom's family and our several of our close friends and their families. The potential for me go back to work is really good in Jacksonville (already have a potential lead...and they contacted me!! It makes me feel great that even though on hold, my professional career is still alive!!) We are hoping to be able to travel down to Jacksonville sometime in the late spring for house hunting...I am excited about being able to participate in the house hunt this time!! (I was away for a conference when Tom looked at our first house and put in an offer). Location will be a big priority for us...for many reasons!!

Michael is becoming quite the swimmer now!! After all our issues we had with swimming lessons the first 6 months (he did not like them and was often being yelled at and crying a lot!!), he is doing great and loves to go!! He is swimming longer distances and doing pretty go with swimming on his back. When we visited friends in Florida in September, he constantly wanted to go in their pool!! It is a great way for him to let out some energy...seriously making us consider a pool when we move to Florida!! Tom and I took him this month to see a plastic surgeon about getting his ears done...a bilateral otoplasty. One of Tom's collegues recommended a surgeon at the Children's Hospital he works at, so we thought we would at least inquire. The surgery itself doesn't worry me, it is the recovery...he will need to wear the bandaging they put on in the OR for ten days!! Then wear a headband for three weeks over his ears. It seems a bit challenging for a 4 year old!! But we also learned that typically there is no problem getting insurance to pay for it :) We are seriously considering doing this while still in Kansas....

Helping daddy bottle homemade wine

Now to update on just how great Sofia is doing right now!! She is crawling more and more everyday to get around instead of rolling...it is hard to imagine that just a few months ago she wasn't even able to get in and out of sitting!! She is pulling up to stand on all kinds of furniture and enjoys taking some steps with support. We have a gait trainer that she is slowly getting the hang of...lots of two footed pushing it it!! She loves to make a game out of giving hugs...and I just love now how she will crawl over to me when I am sitting in my rocker chair and just hold those arms up and squeal until I pick her up and hug her!! She is also finding it fun to give me kisses...it involves a lot of slober :) She makes it very known when she wants attention...especially if Michael is getting a chance to play with Daddy and she is not involved. But then she is great at going on her own to play...she loves to pull the books off their shelf and check them out and just explore the many bins of toys we have. She has just learned to open the cabinets in the kitchen...we'll see what kind of trouble that brings :)

See how tall I am!!

Feeding is going well...she is pretty willing to try many different foods as long as it is provided in bite size pieces. It will depend on her mood if she is willing to feed herself or if I have to feed her. If I could get her to self feed most of the time before new baby arrives that would be great!! I haven't worked too much on letting her try to spoon feed herself she she still tends to just throw the spoon. I would also love to get her off the bottle...she is just so stubborn about trying a sippy cup or straw...she physically can do, it is just a sensory issue at this point.

Yummy cookies!!

We still have a long way too go and lots of hard work...our current therapy schedule involves water therapy once a week, physical therapy once or twice a week, speech therapy once or twice a week, occupational therapy every other week...the schedule will end up getting adjusted a bit because of the arrival of the new baby, but we are going to try to keep up as much as we can!!

I'm cool in mommy's glasses!!

Well, a happy thanksgiving to everyone!! We are having a fairly subdued stretch of holidays this year since I can not travel and family is waiting until new baby arrives to come visit. But since we love food of course we are going to make all the trimmings and make sure we have leftovers!!

Enjoying an evening by the fireplace!!


Natalie

October...the month of germs!!

October brought us back into what I was hoping would be a month of a regular schedule to get us back on track with school and therapy...well it wasn't to be that way at all!!! Michael started us out with getting sick with the flu (pretty darn sure it was H1N1 since that what was going around). Poor kid was a mess!! He had a croupy cough, fever off and on for a week, barely ate (he still wanted his instant carnation breakfast though!!!), and slept a lot!! Then Sofia had a fever for a couple of days, but never had it quite as bad as her brother. I also had a low grade fever and overall felt exhausted, but not sure how much of it was from being sick or from being pregnant taking care of two sick kids while Tom was busy working a lot and also was gone back to Florida for more future job related matters. Then as we all seemed to be getting better, Michael came down with an upper respiratory infection that he passed along to the rest of us...lots of congestion, snotty noses, sore throats, etc. Luckily both kids were pretty good for Halloween so we could get out and do some trick or treating. Michael wanted to be Luke Skywalker this year, so we appropriately had Sofia be Princess Leia!!! Sofia wasn't to happy to be in her costume...it was tough to keep the "hair" on!!




Michael was finally healthy at Halloween time, but Sofia seemed to follow-up her cold with a stomach bug and fever (puked all over herself in the car, not a pretty sight) and what we think was an ear infection...she became so irritable and inconsolable for several days!!! It put a big dent into the therapy schedule and made me completely exhausted!! When she is upset or hurts she doesn't have a way to properly communicate it, so she tends to things like throw herself backwards with no regard for what she may hit her head on. She had a hard time falling asleep that required driving her around in the car and I brought out the new baby's swing...she was a bit big for it, but it did the trick!!! Typically Sofia is a happy child with no problems sleeping, so it was quite a change. Fortunately some antibiotics did the trick and she was more cooperative just in time for Tom to head out of town once again to a conference for a week in Miami.

Even with the illness that traveled among us, Sofia had another great month developmentally!! We started out the month with a follow-up appointment with the Developmental physicians...Sofia was on her game that day and showed some of her true colors and skills!! So the physician was happy with her progress and just how much we are doing for her in terms of therapy. No new discussion of an official diagnosis on their end...and no tears for me during this appointment!!

We also had a follow-up appointment with Rehab Medicine this month...nothing new to report from them either. They just reconfirmed that the hip x-ray taken after her last appt was normal. They feel her current sure step foot orthotics are the most appropriate for her. Of course they noted just how flexible she is (which is felt to be from her hypotonia) and that is part of what requires the extra support needed in her feet and hips during therapy until she can build her tone and strength in her muscles. There was talk about getting Sofia a gait trainer (a walker with built in seat/hip/torso support). This was a discussion I already had with her aquatic therapy therapist and that she has some we can borrow to try out. Sofia was feeling great for this appt as well, and spent about a third of it trying to escape by army crawling out into the hallway!! At least she was showing off some of her skills!!

This month we also saw Sofia improve upon her gross motors skills by continuing to pull up to stand on her own at the couch, a little bit of cruising on the couch if you helped her with some foot movement, and short little stretches of real crawling on her hands and knees!! Her feeding skills have grown by leaps and bounds during Sept and Oct...lots of new foods and lots of feeding herself different finger foods. The girl who once hated sweets now loves them... marshmallows have become quite the motivational tool during therapy and she loves when I bring out the pudding!! She has learned to sign "eat" and I think in part it is because she is starting to enjoy food!! She gets very vocal (which means screaming at me) when I am taking to long to prepare her food!! And she can really pack away the food when she wants!! She eats much more than her brother at times, yet she still stays so skinny!!

We were able to get outside and do some apple picking at the beginning of the month (or maybe it was the end of Sept...I don't remember for sure)...but it was a beautiful day and Michael loved walking around the apple orchard!!



Keep on reading the other posts!!

Natalie

September Happenings

A busy month September was!!! Michael started back with preschool for the 2009-2010 school year. He is attending 3 regular classes a week along with an extra afternoon and extra morning class that really help to arrange Sofia's therapies so I don't have to drag Michael along....plus he loves school and being with friends!!

The big event of September was our trip to Florida. It was a 10 day trip that involved us putting 4,000 miles on our minivan!!! The kids once again showed us how well they can do on a long drive (of course there are always some moments of frustration)...it was me that was the most uncomfortable for the long drive because of my expanding belly!! The original purpose of the trip was because Tom was a groomsman in a friend's wedding....a beautiful wedding in St. Augustine!!! It was wonderful to see such a close friend take that next step in his life and marry a wonderful woman!!

Since we were traveling all the way to Florida, the trip also become a whirl wind of job interviews for Tom...and yes, Tom is not done with fellowship until June 2010, but you can't start planning too soon when it comes to your future :) So we were able to go to Tampa and stay with some dear friends, I got to visit with my former employer, we threw in a couple of dinner/office interviews (I was involved in some of the interviews as well). Then we traveled on to Jacksonville to stay with Tom's family and visit friends while mixing in more job interviews/dinners and the wedding. All went really well, and it got also very confusing at times trying to figure out what would be best for Tom and the family when it came down to the job offers and the area we want to live. We are hoping this decision is what will become the anchoring point of where we decide to live and work for far into the future. Big decisions ahead!!

It was a surprisingly great month for Sofia...we worried the trip to Florida might set her back a bit, but instead she surprised us instead by all of sudden one day while in Florida she pulled up stand in her pack n play!!! She was oh so proud of herself!! And she also became much more willing to eat table foods!! That makes going out to eat a lot easier...she kept grabbing at the food one day while we were out to eat and bringing it to her mouth...none of it made it into her mouth at that point, but it was a step forward!!

We enjoyed a great beach day while visiting friends in Tampa!!



Natalie

August 2009 Events

To do a bit of catch up I am just going to recap the highlights...

August is always a busy month because both kids have a birthday and it is our wedding anniversary. Six years Tom and I have been married!! And it is amazing just how much has happened in the past six years, including graduation from med school, surviving residency, buying and selling our first house, having two children with a third on the way, and another big out of state move that has us in the final year of Tom's fellowship.

Michael turned four on August 16th (happens to be the same date as our wedding anniversary) and Sofia turned two on August 23rd. We had a party at the large church next door to us that has this huge indoor play area...the kids loved it!!! It was a combination of Michael's preschool friends, playgroup and mom's group friends, and Sofia's therapists and their kids. It was the first time several of Sofia's therapists had met and for quite a bit of the time several of them had whisked Sofia away to "play" with her!! I had been worried that Sofia would be overwelmed by all the activity, but she did great and she even decided that eating birthday cake was a good thing...much to the delight of her feeding therapists!! A big adventure for the girl who disliked sweets until this point. We want to express a great thanks to all that attended the party!!



The month of August also included a Neurology appointment for Sofia...the neurologist feels Sofia is progressing (not regressing, which is good) and she is going along her own path that is quite a bit below the typical child and seems stable, but is not catching up. And the question is if she will ever catch up? Hard to say at this age. He believes whatever is going on with Sofia is brain-based. He doesn't feel any additional testing is needed on his end, except for perhaps repeating the brain MRI she had at 10 months old. It is Tom and I's decision to weigh the risk of anesthesia to do a test that will probably show no changes from the first but will perhaps provide some reassurance. We decided that we will most likely do the MRI at some point before we leave Kansas and the access we have to a great Children's Hospital.


Sofia also received her stander after a few phone calls to the durable medical equipment company who was holding it hostage while waiting on insurance...I basicly told them that Sofia might not need it anymore if we have to wait for insurance!!! So it was provided as a loaner until insurance came through (which luckily it did...a bit worrisome when a $3,000 piece of equipment is delivered).
Sofia also started aquatic therapy!! It is physical therapy in the water...but to Sofia it is mostly just a lot of fun!!

Kids also had their well check visits with the pediatrician....Sofia continues to be my skinny, tall girl at about 21 lbs (3rd %tile) and 35 inches (85th %tile) and Michael is my average boy at the 50th %tile for both height and weight. Not quite sure how that boy grows since eating can be such a struggle some days...he just doesn't like to take the time to eat!! (unless it is candy or cookies). We have had thoughts on potentially getting surgery done this year for Michael's very prominent ears...the pediatrician is on board with the idea because of the social impact this very well will have in the future (Michael has already had a few comments from preschoolers who we know have no malicious meaning to what they say, but what will happen in the future?)



I completely forgot to mention how back at the end of July\first of August we drove the family to Aspen, CO for an Allergy conference/mini vacation. The kids did great in the car for the long drive (about 12 hours total). Part of the drive was a bit scary b/c the GPS took across Independence Pass (I am not a lover of heights and in many areas the side of the road just dropped off) It was great to get away from all the appointments and just relax and enjoy the outdoors!! We did some outdoor, sightseeing, hiking (as much as you can do with to young kids and a pregnant mommy), and rode the gondola in between the time Tom had to attend the conference.




video
Gondola Ride in Aspen, CO


And August was also the month we learned we were having another baby girl during my 20 week ultrasound that showed a happy, healthy baby!!

Natalie

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summer Time!!

I can't believe July is close to being over!!! It has been a busy month for us here at the Lupoli's. We had a great July 4th with my husband's cousin coming for a visit and a great fireworks show literally right in our backyard! (the church next door had a huge display!) This past weekend a very good friend and his son came to visit us from Tampa...those two almost 4 year old boys sure kept the daddy's busy!!! They just wanted play 24-7!!

We have been keeping busy everyday with all the usual...therapy appointments just about everyday for Sofia...we don't always get a good days everyday with therapy as Sofia does not always like to cooperate...and even though she has low muscle tone, she is one strong little girl!!
Hippotherapy (horse) is over for the summer...she seemed to overall do very well with it, so we may consider doing it again in the fall. I am going to try to keep going with Sofia's hetic schedule, knowing that come next winter with a new baby arriving it won't be as easy to get out to therapy appts. We are really happy with how Sofia is doing right now...she is a champ at getting into sitting now and it is so great to see her get into sitting by her toys or by her brother to play. She likes to interact so much more during playtime. She loves to make a game out of giving hugs...it is so sweet. However she has learned to almost choke mommy when she doesn't want me to put her down...she has entered into bit of a clingy stage!! She loves to get up on her hands and knees, and I really think she could probably crawl, but she is in such a habit of rolling as her means of mobility that whenever it looks like she just might crawl, she drops to the floor to roll.

We are still waiting on Sofia's stander...there were some insurance issues since Tom's insurance changed on July 1st...so now we are waiting on a new preauthorization so the stander can be delivered. If it wasn't such an expensive piece of equipment we would just pay for it, but it is unbelievable how much medical equipment can cost!!!

Michael is really enjoying his summer preschool program...he is happy to go and very happy when I pick him up!!! This is his last week :( Now we have to wait until September for preschool to start up again. He has become quite a little swimmer this summer!! His confidence is really building and he loves to swim with his goggles and without his "bubble"!!

We leave next week for a week long trip to Aspen, CO. Tom has an Allergy conference to attend, so we thought we would turn it into a vacation. We are going to drive so it will put the new minivan to good use!! It will be nice to have a week away from all the appointments and time to just relax (well, relax as much as you can with a almost 4 year old and almost 2 year old with special needs!!!)

I am now into my 15th week of pregnancy...I have started to get that 2nd semester renewal of energy I lost during the first trimester. I was just nauseated and exhausted all the time!! And a new thing for me this pregnancy is heartburn...never had it with Michael or Sofia (and they has lots of hair as newborns!!) And the pregnant belly is appearing much faster the 3rd time around...my poor tummy muscles just have no chance!!! So far all is well, I have only been to a couple of OB appointments so far. I will have my ultrasound August 24th to check if a boy or girl!!

So now onto the pictures!!!



Michael and his friend Alex from Florida - at a Tampa Bay vs Royals game
They like to hug a lot!

Michael getting ready to test his running speed!!

Cotton candy was a favorite at the baseball game


Michael digging for dinosaur bones at Science City

Michael happy to see his friend!!

One of Michael's self portraits

More of Michael's picture taking skills!!

A day at Deanna Rose Farmstead

Michael feeding the baby goats

Sofia decided she wanted to help feed the goats too!!


Fishing is another favorite activity at Deanna Rose

I think Michael enjoyed playing with the worms more than fishing

Don't squeeze the fish too hard Michael!

My happy girl Sofia!!!