Christmas Morning!


Kasey and I had to decide for the first time how we wanted Santa Claus to drop off toys for our first Christmas at home as a family. Having opened up our camcorder present from Grandma (thanks Granny!) we set out to put together some Christmas fun. We decided to mostly go with Kasey's version of Santa, mainly because we didn't want to spend all of today building and we built all the toys that needed to be constructed and didn't wrap them but them set them out in front of the tree.

Following our daycare provider's advice we also chose special Santa papers to wrap the Santa presents in.

We worked our little elvin butts off during nap time yesterday, but all was constructed. At 12:30 a.m. last night, Santa struck the house and left the following goods:

We also have the girls starting to open presents.  We have two more but because it takes long to post, we will have to get to those tomorrow.  It's like Christmas in two parts.  Enjoy!

All right going to go out on a limb and go ahead and post the other two tonight because neither girl is ready for bed and I have been able to let these upload while we were chasing kids...Number 3 is ready...

And, hold on, you know you are curious enough to need to see four and finale if you've still been watching thus far!

Have a Happy Christmas everyone!

Christmas Eve Blizzard

So it is worth adding these pictures, although I am sure we will be adding more as the days go by. Yesterday, as we watched the weather pile up, we used the Christmas tree lights as a measure of how high the snow was banking.

Thus, the start of the snow and the end of the ice at about 12:00 p.m. 12/24/09

After about two hours, the Christmas presents you see the back of in the front yard end up under the snow. This is about 2:00 p.m. 12/24/09

This is the last picture I took before nightfall where the snow had risen even more, about 4:00 p.m. 12/24/09

We were stuck in the house all night without any way for Grandma to get home. She reluctantly stayed the night and as we get outside today, we will get some more pictures.


The "It's Been Too Long" Update and Pics

I know, I know. I haven't been keeping much up, so if we haven't talked lately, here is what is going on.

Emilie has had three doctor visits since 8/19 surgery. Her eyes are doing well. The last doctor's visit that I took Em in for was because her left eye came up with a massive red spot. When I called, they told me to bring her in right away. Turns out, she busted a blood vessel in her eye, but it was "no big deal," which only means that it was no big deal to them. We were freaked.

That was on September 29th.

On September 30th, Grace decided she didn't appreciate Emilie getting all of the attention and decided to have herself a seizure.

I only say this in a light hearted manner now, after it has been 3 weeks without a repeat. Saving some grueling emotions and a BUNCH of tears from this household, I will suffice it to say that the Doc essentially told us that kids have seizures, often unexplained, and that we have to keep watching her. Grace had started a new allergy medication, one which we immediately stopped. She seems to be doing great.

The last medical update is that Emilie was just observed on Friday under anesthesia and her eyes are actually doing great! Her pressures in her right eye are at 17 and pressures in the left are at 14, both of which fall in the normal/high normal category. She has officially been given the prescription for glasses, so look for newer and even cuter pictures to be coming from Emilie soon...

I even think our surgeon and doctor might somehow be reading this blog, because he even made the comment that he didn't have to sign her eyes since we were looking at both. He must know we are collecting pictures from Emilie's medical adventures.

We have now been attempting to get finished with Kasey's musicals and also just been looking for some kind of free time to get to Kansas to visit our family there.

We are pleased with our picking of Halloween costumes, as Kasey seems to think the girls look extremely scary wearing, which are OSU cheerleader outfits.
The one thing I will say is that we have not anticipated how hard it is to get two girls to look at a camera at the same time. And while we have tried on many occasions to get this to happen, we still have better pics of the two sperately than we do together. You will also notice some of Kasey's new mastery in the background, as he seems to think he is a master pumpkin carver. Such a master of the live botanics, that he (okay and I) left the pumpkin outside, to which is was rained on and molded within two days. He re-carved a headless horsemen into a new pumpkin that he have. Upon completion, Grace informed him that it was too scary and made him turn on the lights and blow out the candle. So much for jack-o-lanterns in this house.

Those pics are to follow and you should be getting some in the mail soon (although soon most likely means after Halloween!)

The girls otherwise are doing well, Grace is close to completing her potty training, we just have to go two weeks accident free and we will leave behind the pull-ups and Emilie is now crawling and saying "mama" and "dada." She also seems to have cheered up more since becoming more mobile. (Video coming soon)

We are blessed to have the little ones in our lives and look forward to hearing from you all as well.


Home Improvement and a Little Game of "Where's Emmie?"

Kasey hounded me about posting about home improvement. He is already annoyed by how I have asked him to "ooo" and "ahhh" over every $3.00 change made in the house, but we really needed to be able to get some things done before debate season starts.
So. We made some changes to the rooms in the house, took the girls both to the doctor who both were diagnosed with ear infections and both were given allergy medicine and I spent a good 40 minutes chasing a wild baby bird through our house. Aaaand, I think that about covers labor day weekend. While you look at the pictures, it was Kas' suggestion to "hide" Emilie in each of the photos for visual stimulation. See if you can find her in each of our home improvements.
We started in the back bathroom. There happens to be a before and after photo because when I started this, I didn't anticipate doing anything else to the house. We pulled wallpaper, added some new pretties, installed shower shelves, and built some storage which looked silly, so we unbuilt the storage and opted to cover some light fixtures and bought new lights instead.

And you know how these things tend to go, you start in one place and it spills to the other. So we replaced the light cover in the bedroom and added some cubes that had been given to us from Grams and Pops. (Not pictured) I don't know how this managed to spill into the kitchen, but it did. New rugs there, got the fall stuff out from storage which turned into re-organizing a few of the drawers as well.
That's when the bird started to play. We heard a familiar thumping in the fire place. Unfortunately, I say familiar because at least four times in my life there has been a bird in the fire place. My mom reminded me that we chased a bird through the house when she was living in the house, and then I know that David and I also once previously chased a bird out of the fireplace while Kasey waited in the bedroom "protecting Grace." Don't worry, he stayed in the bedroom with both girls this time while I chased the scared bird through the rooms, off of my head and hair, to the back and front of the fire place, through the kitchen, behind the couch and back to the outside of the fireplace before I finally got the sheet over him to set him free outside. Thanks for watching the kids, husband, well done. Once finished with the bird fiasco, we pulled some stuff from the living room, moved the furninture and added the corner lamp.
Finally, we cleaned up the clustered mess by getting rid of the baby bathtub (another milestone in this house), replacing it with a pink duckie bathtub which hangs up inside the tub, buying some better storage for toys and getting some stackable shelving for some shampoos as well. It gave us back some floor space and it became the center of the evening's attention as the girls fought over who got to bathe in the pink duck. Even Grace's new turtle toy holder didn't hold a candle to the red-tinted quacker.


Emilie's surgery yesterday

Well, in the tradition of collecting surgical signatures, Emilie had both of her eyes signed yesterday by Dr. S. about an hour before going into surgery. Right before she went in, the nurse read her onsie p.j. which said, "I heart my auntie." The nurse said Emilie must have a pretty big fan, I told her that I know our little girl has lots of fans, but Aunt B certainly is one of the biggest ones.

Both eyes were checked to see which was worse and which needed to be operated on.

The left eye won that contest with a pressure of 35, which is how high her eye pressures were when she was born. The right eye is still registering at high normal which was 19. Dr. S. said today in Emilies post-op visit that if the pressure goes up in the right eye, then we would consider surgery for it, but that he is satisfied with how it is doing right now, so he prefers to leave it alone.

Emilie now has a shunt in her left eye. It took about 15 minutes to go in. The shunt makes her eye look like she's been in some type of horrible fight, and the doc said that we will always see a little white bubble when she looks down or over that is where the tube is. He did see that the tube was placed and laying correctly today, all of which is good news. They did also go ahead and check her left eye pressures and they were registering in at 16 even while she was screaming. Doc said that he expects that they are close to 5 when she isn't screaming, which is good.

As Emilie heals, she will gain some scar tissue that will make pressures go back up in the left eye. It was his expectation that she will have to re-start some type of eye drop again in around a month. The last conversation that I had with the doctor this morning was hopeful that Emilie would re-gain some vision in her left eye, but that her vision would probably not completely restore for the left eye. We keep guarded optimism that this is the case. We continue to be thankful that her right eye stays the way it does, this is good news that things are under control in her right eye and that is what we do want to hear.

Emilie will undergo anesthesia again in a month to check her pressures while she is asleep (which is when it is most accurate). Emilie immediately following surgery was pulling her patches off. She may not get perfect vision from that left eye, but she sure knows when it is covered up. Other than dealing with some pain, she has been a happy happy baby today. She smiled every minute of the last hour just before she drifted off for nap.

We are thankful to have another surgery down and to be one step closer to a better seeing child.


Happy Anniversary To Us!

At this moment four years ago, I was arriving at the church to discover that the groom's cake was missing strawberries. It was the worst part of my day, so we frantically sent Elanna to scrounge the metro for chocolate dipped strawberries to put around the outside of the cake. Sometime around this time is when Blake, Jake, and Nick were convincing Kasey that he could escape out the back of the church. A joke that I can only laugh about now, because even when Kasey told me about it back then I was fuming, even after the wedding. I remember having to be ready by 1:00 p.m. to be ready to take the pictures with the Asian guy and "Becca" whom we later, upon reflection, realized wasn't "Becca" at all, but rather "Backup" as she was the one taking the second set of pictures. Either way, Impressions Photography did a great job.

And, as is customary, I have to use our anniversary to reflect on how much Kasey and I have changed. We thought about what we are doing tonight, which consists of going to Red Lobster and maybe going for a movie. We already sound like we are celebrating our silver or pewter or we-are-old-as-dust anniversary, but the truth is that Kasey and I are reality tv hacks and we want to go taste Jeffrey's dish (who is the guy who should have won Food Network's "Next Food Network Star") which is currently on their menu. We could go somewhere nicer, or quieter, or even more local or authentic, but on a night where we are celebrating why we work so well together, it seems only fitting that we would spend tonight chasing down some probably OK dish that reality tv created. Oh, and we'll love it. Even if it is an awful experience, we'll love it.

And is it just me, or does four years not seem to do justice to how long it feels like it has really been? Not long as in "this has been torturous" long, but it seems crazy that four years has brought two kids and two job changes and two high school reunions for each of us. We are still proud of what we have achieved and we are just thankful for each other, thankful for our families, and thankful for our health.


This week's new developments

Well the girls have both hit new milestones this week, and we thought we would share both.

First, Grace has started potty training. (Pictures, for the sake of her dignity not included) She has pee peed 4 times in the potty, recieving M&Ms as well as suckers for her prize. She is doing okay with the progress, though sometimes she cries when we have to take her to the Restroom for the 6th or 7th time. We have gone through more Pull-Ups than I can describe, and today resorted to just putting her in panties so that we can wash the panties if they get dirty. We are on day 2 and I am exhausted. The worst part is that every time I go with Grace to the bathroom, my Pavlovian brain tells me that I too must use the restroom, so I have been pottying much more than Grace has these past few days. And no, don't even wonder about any possibilities, I swear I am only going because we have to sit in the bathroom and think about pee all day long. But enough of the urethra functioning of the household.

Emilie is currently working on two new tricks. She has almost mastered the art of sitting up. She can go about 5 seconds without assistance, so she should have the sitting thing mastered before the end of the month. Also, she got a new jumper gym toy that helps her strengthen those legs. Grace is dangerously excited about it and I would post that video, but we haven't pulled it off of the phone just yet. Here are the pictures in the mean time.

Kasey and I start school soon. I go back on the 13th and Kasey goes back on the 17th. Until then we are captives of the house until Grace gets her confidence up with potty training! Talk to you all again soon!


Emilie's Latest Visit to the Doctor 7-24-09

We went to see the surgeon and Emilie's medical doctor yesterday.

The good news about Emilie is that she is a tough girl, and she wasn't going to have anyone touching her. The bad news is that this made it impossible to determine what her eye pressures were. The surgeon did agree that Emilie's left eye does look worse again, or at least not as good as it did right after surgery. The left eye continually looks like it is struggling. The did a preliminary eye test and Em's left eye just acts like it can't see at all. Her right eye is doing well, it can follow objects and is not very cloudy at all. Most days you can see her iris and pupil, it seems to be doing great.

The tentative plan for now is to put Emilie under anesthesia on the 19th of August and then check the pressures on the right eye. If the right eye has normal pressures, then the surgeon will operate on the left. The left eye has already had a trabeculotomy on both sides of the eyes, so it looks like now that we are headed for shunts-ville. A shunt will be placed in her left eye when ever it is operated on. (If not in August, then soon after.)

Either way, we have two surgeries remaining: the interior trabeculotomy of the right eye, and the shunt in the left eye. I hesitate to really discuss what the medical doctor discusses if that left eye doesn't respond, but needless to say words like "transplant" were thrown around. Kasey and I will just keep praying for better results so we don't have to reach that point.

Lastly, what I consider some good peices of news. The doctor gave us the number of the developmental agency that will help us make our home better equipped for Emilie so that when she walks and reads and plays that we have all the toys and equippment necessary that will adjust to her needs. We will call them after we get through this August surgery. Emilie will also be measured for glasses, and will start wearing them soon after, which is kind of nice for us, because if the doc can locate glasses for her, then we can surely locate sunglasses (which she desperately needs). That and I think the little one will look pretty darn adorable in a pair.

Keep the prayers coming if you will. And we will let you know in 3 weeks how the surgery goes...


Grace's New Talent???

So, we are getting more and more convinced that Grace is going to grow up to do what Grace wants to do. A while back Grace told Grams that she loved the cheerleaders at a basketball game and now last night she picks up a tent pole and decides to start "twirling" it. That's her words. Now, I know that Grandma was a baton twirler for a time, but absent Granny doing some secret training sessions, I have no idea where this comes from.

Crap, here comes cheerleading camp...Kasey seems to think that if we let her near anything that has to do with Cheer, she'll never grow up to be a debater. Nevermind that one of his best students that got a ton of awards was in POM. Who knows, either way, it's worth 19 seconds to check it out!


Happy Birthday Kasey!

Okay, so technically Kasey's birthday isn't until Monday, but I couldn't resist posting this because we are actually celebrating his birthday today.

Soooo. Grace got her first Barbie Doll today, on Dad's birthday! Ha! Ariel Barbie at least gets us AWAY from the t.v. and away from that flippin' Little Mermaid DVD...


I can roll over onto my tummy now!

At four months, a full month before my sister, I have mastered the art of rolling over. Don't tell Grace, she may not like the competition!

Emilie Harrison, 4 months


Trouble with Audio

Well, I guess I can't get the audio working that was given to us for Emilie's baptism. I have the CD, so I guess if anyone wants a copy, I can burn it, otherwise I have the pictures and will be posting them momentarily.