Saturday, March 26, 2011

Poor, Poor Neglected Blog...

Oh my poor neglected little blog...
I've had good intentions. Really.
I've written so many updates, in my head. I just never had a chance to sit down at the computer and type them up.
Life has just been crazy.
I have been thinking a lot lately about the past year. So many positive things have happened. The best and most life changing was bringing Elaina home. She has had such a positive impact on our little family! She is such a sweet happy little girl. It is so weird to think that one year ago she was still at South Davis and we were doing our weekend transitions home. On April 2nd she will have been home for exactly one year! It has been an amazing year too!
Hmmm.... Let me update on all my kids.

Elaina is doing so many things now that she wasn't doing before. She can crawl like a madwoman! In fact, I have to keep her "confined" to the living room or she gets herself into trouble, lol. She can sit all by herself and pull herself into kneeling positions. She likes to sit with both of her legs under her behind so that it's easier to kneel up. She is "investigating" the whole climbing thing. I have a Wii Fit Balance board that is on a platform, making it 4 inches taller. She started putting 1 knee up on the balance board, but couldn't quite figure out how to climb. Well the other night she did it. She climbed up on the board all by herself! Of course once she was up there she didn't quite know how to get down. She hasn't tried to climb again, but I think it won't be long until she's regularly climbing up onto things. Her physical therapist is very pleased with her progress. She told me that Elaina is getting a lot stronger and is actually standing (with assistance only) much better. Elaina has a cute pair of pink Dafo's (foot/ankle braces) that she wears to help her support her weight. She does not like them. At all. In fact she cries the whole time they are on, but I keep putting them on her for small periods of time to help her get stronger. Hopefully some day she'll be able to walk! My little miracle baby turned 3 in January. Unbelievable! She was extraordinarily cute that day. She knew it was her day and she got spoiled rotten. Her favorite gift was the balloon bouquet that Ben gave her. I put her on the floor with the balloons and she was the happiest girl in the world. Elaina still loves her Disney movies. She goes through phases with which movie is her favorite. At the moment it's The Little Mermaid again. But this is new. For the last 3 months it's been Cinderella. Before that it was Monster's Inc. If her movie is not on, Elaina is crying. Not just whimpering, mind you. Full blown temper tantrum. She gets herself so worked up that she's gasping for breath and choking on the mucus that she's created with her tears. So, Mommy spoils her and lets her watch her movies all day long. :) It just breaks my heart when my normally happy little Princess cries... (I know I'm a big softie, but you pick your battles right?) So yeah, she's learning the fine art of manipulation and I'm loving every minute of it! She's started pre-school, but because she's so medically fragile, I'm having her home schooled for the remainder of this school year. So we get lots of visits from lots of new friends every month. She'll most likely go to the classroom in the fall. Very exciting!
Medically? We see Cardiology in June, but her sats are great. Still in the high 80's on the 1 liter of oxygen. She had an MRI in November, it showed that the swelling in her brain from the aspiration episode she had when she was 3 months old has completely healed! So I've been able to wean her completely off her seizure medication. It caused several weeks of sleepless nights as her body adjusted to less and less medication, but I'm so glad that she no longer needs the med. We see her Neurologist next week for a follow up, but I just know that she's fine in that area. I also took her for an Ophthalmology consult in December. She's been diagnosed with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia, which just means that her optic nerves are very small. It makes her legally blind, but he told me that she still has a lot of useful vision. She's farsighted because of it, but he didn't think that glasses would help her at all. She has one "lazy" eye, but he doesn't want to do surgery quite yet. So as of right now, we're just watching to see how she progresses. She's had a couple of ear infections, but otherwise she's managed to stay healthy and out of the hospital (knock on wood!) since last May!

Ben turned 8 last fall and is in the 2nd grade. His newest passion is Cub Scouts. He just earned his Bobcat and looks forward to Scouts every week. He's also a video game junkie. We got a Wii for Christmas (I really, really, really love my Wii Fit and that was the main reason for getting the Wii) and Ben loves to play as often as possible. He's still head over heels in love with his sister and is in awe of how much she loves him. :) He is very excited for spring and summer and can't wait to spend as much time as possible outside. His reading is improving and he's a pretty happy little dude these days! I just got him a bunk bed, and he is thrilled to have claimed the top bunk. I can't believe how grown up he is.

Why did I need a bunk bed? Well, that's because my step-son Chance came home! I don't know that I've talked about him on my blog before. Chance and Ben are brothers, and share the same Dad. When my husband, their Dad, died in 2003, it was really rough on Chance. He came to live with me and his Dad when his Mom died in 1997 and with his Dad gone, he was having a really tough time coping. Can you blame him? I can't. He did the best he could with the circumstances at the time. Unfortunately, he made some bad choices at the age of 14 which necessitated him being placed in a Foster Home. It broke my heart to do it, but ultimately, I know that it was what was best for him as well as for our family. Well, there is a happy ending! He worked really hard in therapy and in his placements, and last November the Judge decided that he could come HOME! SO, that means that TWO of my three children got to come home to me in 2010. It was awesome. Chance just turned 19, and is joining the Army. He is staying with me until he leaves for basic training. While it scares me to think of him being in harms way, I know that he's doing what is right. He has some really amazing goals and ambitions, and joining the Army is really going to help him. He wants to work in Law Enforcement, and feels that time spent in the Army is only going to benefit him in his long term goals. Amazing. I am SO proud of him and the choices he is making. He is a good big brother and Ben just loves having him home!

What about me? Well, I just run around crazy. Nothing new there! Being a single Mom, working and taking care of my house as well as 3 kids is exhausting, but worth every moment of it. The rewards are there. No wonder I have a hard time finding the energy to blog! If I get 5 hours of sleep I feel like I've won the lottery. :) About a month ago I got the "Spring Cleaning" bug and completely re-organized my little apartment. I moved all the furniture and completely re-arranged every room in the place. The best move was taking the computer out of my bedroom and putting it in the living area. My kitchen is very small, and I honestly didn't think a kitchen set would fit in there, but I found one that works perfectly. So, I turned my dining room into an office and now I can have Elaina in the living room playing while I work instead of having her in her crib, which I hated doing. Hopefully this will also allow me a little more flexibility with my computer time and I can start blogging more frequently. I've really missed blogging and want to get back into the swing of things!

Well, I wish I had time to post tons of pictures, but I have a feeling that if I don't post this now, it will just sit in my drafts. It's already taken me 2 days to get it written up this far! I will try to put some pics up soon.

Thanks for checking in!


Jake & Stephanie Ellinger said...

Its great to hear an update from you guys! I am so impressed with the progress that Elaina is making!

One of these weekends in April or May I'd like to come up and have a little lunch with you or something to catch up.

Becca Jane said...

Great update Hollie! I think about you and your family often, glad to hear things are going well! Love you!

Hollie said...

Stephanie it would be great to get together to catch up! I've got some major cabin fever so that will give me something to look forward to!

wendy said...

welcome back - so glad to see your latest update - sounds like things are going well - i would check for updates about once a month and was worried about you'all- all sounds good

Nanna said...

So happy to see an updated post on the blog and that Elaina is doing well. I check it often as I do the other heart children and was praying Elaina was doing well. Happy to see she is. She has certainly made great progress and staying out of the hospital is great. Looking forward to more pictures of Elaina and Ben.
Pat (Angel Colin's Nanna)

Emily@Little Forever Family said...

Welcome back to blog land! You have been missed!