Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Week Back Home

Christmas was wonderful. Joel did an amazing job this year, he was truly my Santa. I arrived home from Florida sick and miserable feeling, and if it wasn’t for Joel having gotten the Christmas tree a week earlier we may not have had one. By Wednesday I was well enough to decorate the tree, but I had done no shopping. I really didn’t “get” much for Joel, He got some Screenwriting Software and a book both ordered online that he knew about, but no surprises.

While we were in Florida Holly picked out a Wall-e Figurine for Joel, so that was the only thing he got that he didn’t already know about, and since I had two huge boxes of toys coming from Florida for Holly I didn’t buy her anything extra either. But before we got home Joel got presents for Holly and Me. Here is my post about Holly opening her present:

In addition to the pop up animal game she got the 6 rolling ball vehicles which she seemed to like. Joel got me some Yummy Dark Chocolate Covered Walnuts (which I have been eating all week) and a cool Snow Globe where you can put any picture you want into it. He also got me this really pretty necklace. It has a silver chain and it was a black pendant with intricate silver lace around it and in the middle was a white tree with roots. It was very antique looking.

A co-worker of his had a friend who made it. I also got a necklace from Joel’s mom. It was very pretty two layered a brown wooden type pendant with metal work on top. I also got from her some gift cards to Borders and Micheal's, so I am looking forward to picking out some books or art projects to start in the new year. She got for Holly a Babies-r-us gift card which will be fun to use.

My big present however, totally unexpected was Rock band 2 for the WII. I was so excited… I mean I did say like 5 times in the last few months that we should get it and that I wanted it, but it was totally impractical, and I never bought it, so I didn’t expect to have it under the tree, but I tell you, or well Joel would tel you my face was so excited and surprised when I opened and saw it.

It was all I could do to contain myself and get Joel to open it up and set it up right away, but alas we ate breakfast first, yummy eggs, tofu bacon with cheese and salami, and hot cocoa, and it was late in the afternoon before he got around to it. Holly decided that she was going to be my #1 groupie, and immediately found her very own use for the cool drum kit.

That night we played many a song and I created two awesome singers and sang “on tour” in many venues. Holly sang with me, she would chew on the microphone and I would hold her and be able to sing into it while she was holding it. We had fun but after a while she got a bit overwhelmed and we turned it off, it is of course loud rock and roll music and all.

Earlier in the week, on Monday Holly had a session with Sally. It was pretty awful. She was still on Florida time, and hadn’t been home more then 24 hours, so was still getting adjusted. Plus she hadn’t seen Sally in like 2ish weeks, so most of the appointment was a getting to know you again session. Sally did get to see a few of Holly’s new tricks from Florida, but didn’t get to work with her too much. She had a red horse with her which Holly bounced on a bit and that was fun.

The following day we watched Bolt, one of the free screeners from the VES. We really enjoyed Bolt. It was much better then I expected it to be and I highly recommend it.

On Christmas Day evening we watched Miracle on 34th Street, the original 1946 version. I had set my Tivo to record a bunch of Christmasy stuff the night before, including all three versions of this movie (I have only watched the original so far) also a Oakland Children’s Christmas Parade, the Disney Christmas Parade, and a Mickey’s Christmas Story, Frosty and Rudolf, and even a Scooby Doo Christmas, ooh and the Simpson’s Christmas Episode.

We obviously didn’t watch all of these on Christmas, but we have been watching them since during the Christmas break. Oh I also recorded some cool music shows, choir’s singing, and one with Christmas lights from around the country. Those were fun to watch too. Later in the week we watched a Mickey’s Christmas Carol, its only 40 minutes and its not my Favorite Christmas Story, but the 40 minutes was perfect compared to an entire 2 hour live action version, so I was happy to see it.

After Christmas we had our friend Donna and her new boyfriend Dan over. We have known Donna for like 3 years now I think, but it had been months since we had seen her, so we were excited for the get together. She brought over a board game called Race for the Galaxy, really more of an elaborate card game that plays like a board game. We decided to play it when Holly went down for a nap, but it took us a really long time to learn it and get started so we were only half way through when she woke up.

Joel had made some yummy Christmas Sugar Cookies with the Green Christmas trees on them and Coffee for everyone, so I took a break to feed Holly and then she actually sat and played with her toys while we finished the game. We were right at the table, so I was able to keep an eye on her and if she wondered off too much I could get her before she got into any trouble. I put on a Baby Einstein Video for her to watch and that also distracted her some, at least long enough for us to finish the game.

I ended up coming in 3rd, but it was only my first time playing a very complex game. Once we finished we Played some more Rock Band which was nice to have more people to play with. Dan did Guitar and Drums and Joel tried out the drums. I mostly watched and played with Holly and Donna sang, but I got in a few songs myself which was fun too.

Now that I was feeling better and Holly was more settled in I decided it was time to start feeding her again. We started with some Apple Cherry which she ate and enjoyed. Joel was giving me a little orange for a snack so I gave Holly a slice and she actually really liked it, she gnawed on and sucked it, and then Joel decided to cut a slice in half so it would be more juicy for her.

The next morning we gave her some YoBaby, the kind I have is Yogurt with Fruit and Cereal. It was Raspberry pear fruit and after eating half of the container I added 3 spoons of her oatmeal on top and mixed it in to make it thicker and stickier and she ate all of that too. Yesterday she ate an entire large container of String Beans in one sitting, I was amazed. And this morning she had another entire container of YoBaby.

I gave her some carrot flavored wagon wheels from graduates to chew on, but she ended up gagging and threw up, she liked them, but doesn’t have the whole chewing thing quite down yet. I gave her some Saffron rice that she gummed a few nights ago and she was able to eat that without choking, so I will just have to keep trying bit by bit. My new plan is to give her the finger foods before a bottle or baby food so when she gags on it there isn’t anything for her to barf up.

This week we also watched Madagascar 2 which was a fun movie. I think though that it barely has a plot at all, and is sort of completely over the top ridiculous at times. Don’t get me wrong it was fun and had a good story and a moral but the narrative was sort of wild and not very cohesive. I guess its an animated movie for kids, but that really shouldn’t be an excuse.

That night for dinner Joel tried out the new grill he got for Christmas from his mom. The food was delicious. We had Turkey burgers grilled and buns toasted with cheese and rice a roni. We used the grill the next night also to make some chicken which was super tasty.

This Monday I finally left the house for the first time since I got home 8 days prior. It had been nice to have been holed up in here hidden away from the world for a spell, but I also enjoyed getting out. We went shopping for some after Christmas sales, we went out to lunch, and to the bookstore and to Target to get Joel’s some new jeans and we stopped at the supermarket on the way home.

Holly got cranky about half way through our adventure and was super ready for a nap that she wasn’t taking but then I finally got her to fall asleep, and she stayed that way for about an hour and was in a much better mood after she woke up. We also this week watched Sound of Music, which I think it my all time favorite movie, I know the entire thing by heart, and so we watched it in 2 halves with Holly and I sung every song to her. I hope to make it a family ritual, so as she gets older she too will love it and know it by heart.

Katie came over on Monday and was so excited to see Holly after nearly 3 weeks. She said she changed so much and was thrilled by all of her new skills. They had a ton of fun playing. We have two sessions with Sally this week to make up for the ones we missed earlier in the month. Today was one, and she came just as Holly was waking up from a nap. She asked us, is she always this active.. HAHA yes, she is. She wouldn’t sit still the entire time, but it was great, they had a wonderful session and she practiced all of her stretches and standing and kneeling and pulling up and bouncing. It was a good session.

Mostly we have just been playing and enjoying the time off together.. I wish Joel never had to go back to work, this has been the best holiday ever.

(Holly Drinking Cocoa)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holly Makes a Christmas Video

This is super short like 17 Seconds, but the sound it particularly funny.

My Week In Florida

I had a wonderful week in Florida last week. On Monday Holly woke up late at 10:45 and my mom took her so that I could sleep in. She played in office with my parents in the Exercauser and my mom tried to feed her a few more bites of food, but didn’t get very far. She took a nap and I was able to sleep until 1:00. It was the first time since I had arrived in Florida that I actually felt completely rested.

We Hung out and played and we fed her again, She ate some pear blueberry. My parents were waiting for a shipment, so we got to relax at the house, play with Pyro and all of Holly’s new toys, and once it arrived we met up with my Uncle Bobby and Janelle at Costco’s. I have a membership and wanted to let them see all of the cool things there, we didn’t buy much, but my mom found some cheap 4 gig USB Drives, and my uncle found some sale items. We also found a yummy Pecan Pie.

After Costco’s we went out to Dinner. Holly was such a good girl. She sat up in the car seat and played while we were eating, she got so many complements from the other patrons and the waiters. There was another baby in the booth next to ours, littler, and Holly was very intrigued. My dad is a really fast eater, so he was finished by the time Holly got Fussy, and she sat on his lap while we finished up.

After Dinner we went to visit my Uncle so he could show us his new house. They have Beautiful rose Wood Furniture that they got in UAE. The amount of work they have done fixing up the house is amazing. They tiled all of the floors and tore done like 3 walls and painted. I couldn’t believe all the changes.

We drove around the neighborhood and Bob knew where all of the good Christmas Lights were. I was very excited, there are some houses in California near our neighborhood that have Christmas lights, but I haven’t seen any quite like the ones I have seen in Florida, all of the houses have blown up characters of snowmen and penguins and Santa and they have light sculptures and tones of lights on the walls, roof, and trees, it is quite amazing.

Holly had fallen asleep in the car while we were at bobs and I hoped she would be done for the night, it was like 9:00PM but when we got home and were ready to transfer her she woke up. I guess she was still on California time, and it was her 6:00 o’clock nap time. So she was up really late, till after midnight.

On Tuesday she slept until 10:30 and we had a relaxing morning. We had to be ready to head out by 1:00 because Mommy and Holly were getting a massage. We stopped at the bank and the girls there were so excited to meet Holly. My mom goes in there several times each week so they all know her personally and she has been talking about holly for a year, and once she was born, she has been bringing in pictures. One of the girls was four months pregnant, so she was particularly taken by Holly. We planned on opening a savings account for Holly but ran out of time, and had to rush over to the massage appointment.

Since Holly was awake and in a happy mood she went first. She was a teeny bit fussy but much better then Janice. Kathie’s touch is very light and Holly laid on her side looking at me and let her work gently on her neck and shoulders. She did some moves that she showed me how to do. She spread her fingers from center out to open up her vertebrae and then another move that would push her shoulder down and spread out the space between her neck and brought her neck higher up. She mixed up a special massage oil for her which smelled really good and helped to relax her as well.

She was only able to work on her for about 10 minutes, and recommended not to work on a baby for much longer than that. I also spoke with her about Janice’s recommendations. She did agree that it might be muscular skeletal thing but she did not feel that there should be an x-ray until she was at least a year old if not older than that. She also knew a little about the cranial sacral work, but felt that that is also usually done on a baby about a year old.

This week when Holly saw her PT I asked her about it and she said she knows the best person in the Bay Area for it and recommended her and gave me her contact information, so Joel and I have not really discussed any of this yet, but we have a lot of options to think about. Holly sees the pediatrician on the 7th so we will talk with her about it too. One other thing, Kathie my mom’s massage therapist is sensitive to Auras. She says Holly’s is very strong and full of energy and it was yellow. So it will be interesting to find out what that might mean or represent.

After the massage we went to visit my Oma, Holly’s Uroma. It was sad for me, it had been several years since I had seen her, that last time she actually looked so young and happy, her face was soft and wrinkle free from being relaxed, which was not the norm for her, and though she had very little memory it seemed it had allowed her to let go of things that made her anxious, and she was the better for it. Yet now she is 91 and the age shows on her face, instead of a sparkle her eyes seemed emptier, there was some recognition, but she wasn’t able to complete her thoughts and unlike last time I sensed some frustration there, as there was more lost then her memory but her ability to do and even say little things.
When I saw her last she would have trouble remembering what she wanted to say, but then could say it in German, so there was no frustration she could communicate.. this time, communication was harder, she tried to do it with her eyes, but it wasn’t always clear, at one point she wanted to tell us that Holly took after someone, but before the sentence came out she forgot or could not complete it. She did however like Holly, she lit up and wanted to hold and hug her, but the second thing that made me sad was Holly seemed slightly afraid of her, she didn’t trust her and didn’t want to go to her as she did with most people. My mom thought it had to do with her unsteadiness, she shook some and was not very stable, so she couldn’t actually hold her and have holly feel secure, So Holly was nervous and stand offish. Holly did however warm up to her and eventually she wanted to touch her face and even bite her nose, which is always a sign of much love.

After the visit we went home and played with the snowman outside and played on the lawn, she likes the grass and it tickles her. We also spent some time playing on her swing which she loved. She would giggle and light and it always made her seem relaxed.

My dad also set up the Bubble machine and she played with those. I want to have this for her Birthday Party; I think it will be fun for all the kids and parents too. She likes the bubbles, she watches them fall, and she tries to reach out for them and grab and hold onto them. When they popped on her arm or face she would giggle as it tickled her.

Later in the afternoon Karel (Karma’s Mom), Suzanne (Karel’s Mom), and Bertha (My Dad’s Mom, Holly’s Great Grandmother) visited. Holly had been out all day so she was feeling a little confined and she wanted to be on the floor crawling around and playing, so Karel got down to her level and said hello. The grandma’s watched her play and had some tea and pecan pie.

That night we watched a Charlie Brown Christmas and Holly bumped her head. I am not even sure how it happened, I think she was tired, and she always gets a little clumsy when she is tired. She was sitting and playing perfectly still (well as still as she can be) and then suddenly she had fallen backwards and bop. She screamed and I walked her around and she settled after about 2-3 minutes, my mom wanted to put ice on her but I couldn’t tell she where she bumped herself, I thought it was in the back of her head but the next day she had a bump and red mark near her hair line on her forehead. It lasted a few days and my mom was mad I wouldn’t ice it, but I didn’t want to upset her more with ice after she was already calmed down. And she was fine.

On Wednesday morning my dad and Pyro took Holly for a walk, and then they let Pyro babysit her while I was sleeping in. Later Holly helped Opa in the office, he then decided to pay her salary in Bubbles, but she was happy with that.

Once I got up we ran errands in the morning stopped again at the bank and then went to “the best pizza place in the world” or at least outside of New York. It is a place that was owned by two New Yorkers and well the pizza was amazing. We went to some toy stores to see if there was anything good for Holly, she played with a few things but nothing we wanted to take home.

After lunch we went back to Bobby’s house to see Bobby’s back yard. I wasn’t able to see it before in the dark. It is huge, he is in an “inside” corner lot, and his backyard is shaped like a trapezoid, like 2/3’s of a pie, his yard actually borders 8 separate “neighbors” and was gynormous. They had done so much work, including taking out 3 separate sections of bamboo, several trees, planted a garden, and that day painted part of the patio around the pool.
Late afternoon Ruth stopped by for a visit and to meet Holly and introduce us to her new baby, Onyx. She stayed and chatted with my mom while Holly and I took a nap, and then for Dinner.

That evening was our playdate with my best friend from High school heather, and her new daughter Dolcy. Also invited was Dolcy’s other mommy Ashley, and Heather’s older son Evyan and her Dad Myron. I was so excited to see everyone. I had just left for College the year Evyan was born and the last time I saw him he was about 10, he is like 13 or maybe even 14 (8th grade) now. So it had been a while.
It was wonderful to see Ashley and Heather also, and meet Dolcy who was just a charmer. She was beautiful, running around toddling; she did this awesome squat, and had an amazing laugh. My mom has a digital photo frame near the front door with pictures of Holly and Dolcy found it and would look at the pictures and point and smile. Holly was finishing up a nap when they first arrived, so they didn’t get to meet her right away, but that worked out ok, as it gave me a chance to meet Dolcy and say hello to everyone, as Holly can be rather possessive.
My mom had made Stuffed Shells, which was in the oven, and we all played and talked and Holly woke up and crawled around and was intrigued with Dolcy, then we all ate and had a wonderful time. Myron took Evyan home early because he had an exam the next morning and had to study. I was really passed Dolcy’s bedtime also, but Heather and Ashley wanted to visit with us a little bit longer, and she was still walking around and playing with Holly, so they stayed about an hour longer. We had such a wonderful visit.
It was really the only chance we had to get together, but Heather has been doing some “nanny” work and has been getting out of the house at like 7am and working until like 6 or 7 PM. Watching Dolcy and a little girl 5 months older, so she was exhausted by the end of the day. Ashley has a management position at Verizon now and does the 9 to 5, but she is also tired when she gets home, so they only have the weekends to really spend time together. It seems like they are doing well, and heather looks very happy.

Thursday was a laid back day, we rested from our busy week. Holly’s Great Aunt Marilyn came over to visit with her, and she had a lot of fun playing with her. After that her Great Grandma Bertha and a family friend Helen stopped by for a visit.

Then later in the evening when my dad was done with all of the work for the day we all went out to the mall to visit with Santa Claus. Before we left we played dress up to see what we would wear to meet Santa, but in the end decided to not wear something too fancy.

First we made a stop at the Carousel. Holly LOVED this. It had been my Dad’s idea to take her on it and he had been waiting and waiting. We found a “Sea Horse” and she sat right up on its back and we strapped her on. I still had to hold onto her a little to keep her steady and centered and then around and around we went. The horse went up and down and we spun and my mom took pictures, Holly laughed with glee as we circled around and each time the horse went up and down. She had such a fun time.

She enjoyed being out in the stroller and walking around the mall looking at all the people and the lights, and then we stopped at “the Picture Place” to get Holly’s Christmas Pictures. They had this thing where you get one free 8X10 and then if you bring a unwrapped toy for Charity you get 2 free 8X10’s so the sitting fee and 3 8X10 pictures were free. So it was a bit of a wait, but they estimated how long it would be, so we could leave and look around the mall and shop. We went to the Disney Store and Holly picked out a Christmas gift for her Daddy (a Wall-E Desk Figurine) and we got a gift for toys for tots. Then we got back and were ready to take pictures with Santa. Holly did not want to sit still s I was quite amazed at all of the good shots they got.
The photo session was about 10 minutes and we were not allowed to take any of our own pictures, but I snuck one with the camera. Then they went into the back and we had to wait some more and the pictures came up on a monitor and we got to pick which ones we wanted if any. There were three different shots with Santa and it was hard to decide which to get. There was one where both her and Santa were looking forward that I sorta liked, but my mom said that they didn’t have personality and really liked the one that I got. The idea was that Holly was looking at Santa for the first time and not sure what to make of him… Which was actually exactly what she was doing.. a sort of, do I need to know you kind of look. Joel loved the one we ended up picking.

After the mall we went to Olive Garden for Dinner. Holly was again a very good girl and played in the car seat and rested and entertained herself while we ate, and then got out and played when my dad finished his food, cuz he eats so much faster than the rest of us. After Dinner we looked at some Christmas lights.

On Friday we finally got around to going to the bank again, this time with enough time to open up a Money Market, Savings account for Holly. Holly became the official cookie monster for Pyro, giving him his cookie daily. The day was nice so we spent some more time swinging, But in General by the end of the week, Holly was tired and cranky and she was getting ready to be home, she was tired of being away from Daddy. After the Bank we stopped by Ruth’s house and mommy did a little Christmas Shopping.

She actually ended up falling asleep super early at like 7ish and was eager to just go home. That night Bobby came over with the kids and we played cards. Janelle and I were on a team and my dad and bob were on a team. We played Spades, and it was such a close match, but I lost, both teams got over 500 points but they were over by 12 points more than us.

Saturday we were packing and super busy getting ready to leave. We wanted to go and see Bertha but couldn’t get out of the house, then Bertha came over to hang out with us. It was great. She watched Holly play and kept an eye on her while I was finishing up all of the packing. Then she headed home and we left for the airport.

Our trip was amazing. We had so much fun. We loved the swing, and we had fun in the train room, and we liked playing on the play mat and Pyro kept us company and Holly adored him. I think Oma and Opa had a great time with Holly, they let mom sleep in, in the morning and they watched her for me she had a great time, but as the week wore on she was missing Daddy and her crib and familiar surroundings and was ready to head home. Holly had fun during our delayed lay over in Denver looking out the window at the airplanes but mostly our trip home was a nightmare, but we made it safely into Daddy’s loving arms.