Christmas Memories

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Its been a week since the last post...and Christmas. Its taken almost that long to recoup and reorganize (seriously, Santa may need to bring us a bigger house for Christmas next year...or less presents for Kaylee).

The week of Christmas was a whirlwind of travel, family, fun, and lots of memories. We started the week with a trip to Peoria to check in with Kaylee's neurosurgeon and orthotist (helmet doctor). We were literally in her neurosurgeon's office for no longer than 15 minutes. For those that are not aware of the geography of Illinois, Peoria is an hour and a half from Champaign. Kaylee's doctor was happy with the progress that the helmet appeared to having with her plagiocephaly. He would like to see her wear the helmet another two months. While didn't expect him to say "that's all, folks", we were a little bummed nonetheless. After a quick call to Plattner's to see if we could move our appointment up in hopes to avoid the snow/freezing rain that was supposed to be moving in. As luck would have it, they fit us right in....and we left with great news.

A new scan confirmed that Kaylee's head was begin to round out. That made us feel a little better about another 2 months of helmet therapy. After some adjustments to the helmet, we were homeward bound.

We tied things up at work the following two days and headed north for Christmas with the Cooks, turned around on Christmas day and headed back to Champaign for the Estes Christmas. In between those trips, almost 8 inches of snow was dumped in Morrison and almost 6 inches in Champaign. I love snow! And it was perfect for a white Christmas.

We couldn't have asked for a better first Christmas for Kaylee. Lots of time with family and fun all around. I can't wait for next year!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Remember when we talked about the great deal from Shutterfly?  These were the wonderful Christmas cards we were able to create. Well, actually one of two - I can't help it, we send out A LOT of Christmas cards. And there were so many to choose from! We had two favorites, so we also ordered another set too. They were GREAT -everyone loved them!

More than Santa

Friday, December 24, 2010

Love of the Sugar Cookie

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

9 Month Rundown

Friday, December 17, 2010

Who knows? Maybe by 10 months there actually may be running (probably not)! A lot of accomplishments to keep track of this month. Waving -check, So big! - check, high fives - check, and of course, pointing. While the first ones are cute and a lot of fun, I'm pretty excited about the last. From what I've read (I'm a reading kind of mom), this is the beginning to letting us know what she wants. Awesome! Kaylee is a crawling machine that is into everything. I can only imagine what walking is going to have in store for us.
Her 9 month well check went...well. She's about 30" tall and weighs 21 lbs. Kaylee also survived her flu shot and I'm happy to report dad survived it as well. We head to Peoria on Monday for a recheck with her neurosurgeon, followed by a visit with the orthotist. The stop at Plattners will involve a head scan and reshaping of the inside of the helmet. It will definitely be interesting to see how her head has changed over the past couple of weeks.

Special Visitor

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I'm not sure if you were aware of this, but the big guy from up north was in town yesterday. He made a special stop at Kaylee's daycare. Much like the first time Kaylee met Santa, she did well with no tears. I'm sure she let him know exactly what she wanted for Christmas this year.

Mobile Upload

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What can I say...she gets pretty excited sometimes.

Number 1

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Just ask Kaylee who's mommy's number one girl...


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Things got a little quiet last night while I was making supper and switching some laundry around. Then I saw why....someone physically moved my barricade in front of the Christmas tree, pulled out a present, then proceeded to start unwrapping it. I must say she was getting the hang of it before I put the present back. Needless to say, I had to step up my efforts in protecting the rest of the presents. 

Major Cheeser

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Any questions about who this little girl looks like in this particular photo would be laid quickly to rest if I had my hands on some of Ron's baby pictures...but this one will have to do.

I need to work with both of them on keeping their eyes open when they smile :)

Helping Put the Tree Up

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

After spending a almost a week in Kansas City, mom was more than ready to spend some quality time with her baby. She's still a little young, but it was snowing outside and dad was busy working on his research paper, so we put up the tree this weekend.

For the most part Kaylee was pretty disinterested in what I was doing. She held a few ornament boxes and checked out the tree, but I am happy to report she doesn't bother the tree at all. The presents underneath are a different story. She just loves the sparkly bows!

First Snow

Monday, December 6, 2010

On Friday and Saturday we received almost 9 inches of snow...not the 3 inches as predicted. It was the first significant snow of season.


A Journey
We're well into Kaylee's journey of wearing a helmet and she's still doing great. We headed to Peoria the week of Thanksgiving to get it adjusted and since then, everything seems to be going well. She continues to amaze us with her tolerance, especially when things weren't fitting exactly right. There's a little wiggly room in the helmet; after all, the point is to let the side of the head that had some flattening round out. We don't want to jinx anything, but both Ron and I think we can already see changes in her head shape. We'll keep our fingers crossed when we go for her next appointment. 

My Favorite Time of Year...and a Great Deal!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Wow...its that time of year already. My favorite time of year: Christmas. The decorations, twinkling lights, snow, cookies and treats, picking out gifts for the special people in your lives...I don't think there is anything I don't like about this time or year.

One of my favorites...sending Christmas cards.  I love getting the traditional bi-fold cards and sorting through boxes at the store to find the perfect one.  The past couple of years we've sent photos cards. It's a growing trend that I also love. You get to create your own card and personalize it with one or more photo memories. Now that Kaylee is here...I know this trend will continue for us.

We've used Shutterfly many times before - to order photos, photo books, and cards. They are offering an AMAZING offer for bloggers. Share your Shutterfly experience and receive 50 free photos cards. Consider it done! We've been nothing but happy with our previous Shutterfly experiences. The photos have turned out perfectly and the products always arrive in a timely manner.

In a time where everyone is making every dollar count, this offer from Shutterfly is incredible. Thanks Shutterfly! And remember, they do more than just Christmas cards...mother's day cards, new year's cards, birthday invitations, the possibilities are endless!

Pride and Laughter

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I know time and time again our daughter will not only continue to amaze us, but make us proud. We've seen it countless times before - her first smile, sitting up by herself, the list goes on and on. The past couple of months have been absolutely a joy. Watching her figure things out for herself invokes an enormous amount of pride in a parent. Like I've said before, its incredible to visually see the "light bulb" click. After they figure things out, there is no stopping them.She loves to clap and smile at you...and most of the time will lift her arms up when you ask her how big she is. Last night we had to laugh when we saw her practice with her toys.

Kaylee has been working hard at learning to crawl. And she almost has it. We caught her working her way across the kitchen floor to get her empty ice cream bucket. Yep, I let her play with the makes an excellent drum and she loves to hold onto the handle. Isn't it typical that kids ignore all the fancy toys and play with those random objects around the house? You can't even imagine the fun she had with newspaper :)

Camo Cutie

Friday, November 19, 2010

For those you that aren't aware...shotgun season started today. Its generally a little hard to tell around Champaign as there are people in Illini orange all of the time. But, I guarantee if you are out driving down the rural highways, you'll meet plenty of people in orange and camo.Luckily, it will be awhile before we have to explain to Kaylee why Papa, Daddy, or Uncle Erik shot Bambi.

I have to laugh, because where I grew up, you'd hear this song several times a day during deer season. Unfortunately, people around these parts don't think its near as funny as us northerners.

She's a Trooper

Thursday, November 18, 2010

We hit the mark of Kaylee wearing her helmet 23 hours a day yesterday. And I just have to say she's a real trooper. No crying when we put it on and she doesn't seem to mind at all. She wore it all night Monday night and slept like a dream. Tuesday night was a little rough, but we think her having trouble sleeping may have been a combination of things - a nasty little cough she has and not being able to find a comfortable spot to sleep. But, then last night, even after a full day of wearing the helmet, we were back to a a normal sleeping night -- where everyone sleeps through the night!

Its been a little adjustment to our normal routine. She has a little more hair than the average child her age and the poor thing sweats quite a bit. Thanks goodness we're going to be doing this in the middle of winter and not summer! We get to take it off for one hour each day. During that time, she gets her bath and the helmet gets cleaned too. We check for any areas on her head where the helmet could be rubbing and put lotion on to prevent chaffing. Otherwise, eating, playing, and sleeping aren't really affected at all. We can take the helmet off briefly to change clothes or if she's not feeling well. We take the opportunity in the morning when I get her dressed to clean the helmet again and get her hair dry before we head out the door to daycare.

One of the concerns of this experience has focused less on how she's doing, but how other people are perceiving her. Cranial remolding helmets are becoming more common in their usage. And I'm sure most people have seen children wearing them. Our first experience out and about (for a significant amount of time) was last night when we went grocery shopping. First, a disclaimer - our little girl is a ham. She's a happy kid that is smiling about 85% of the time - and wearing the helmet there is no difference. We went through the store with her smiling and occasionally waving to many of the shoppers. The general response is usually something like "What a sweetie!" and "How cute!".

Since it is a big concern of mine, I couldn't help myself last night thinking whether or not these people were paying more attention to her because she has a helmet on. There were only a couple of people that specifically mentioned her helmet when they stopped and I know I need to not let things like that consume my mind. Like we've said before she's our sweet, little, perfect girl regardless if she has a helmet or a paper bag on her head. She responds to people no differently so I need to do the same. I think we will all be learning some life lessons over the next couple of months.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Look at all that hair!" is something we commonly hear when out and about. Kaylee has had a lot of dark hair since she was born, and its been growing ever since. Little Rachel may have a little more, but I'm sure both of their mommies will be investing in Johnson's No Tangles somewhere down the road.

Eight months

Monday, November 15, 2010

Yikes! We can mark another month off on the calendar. Our little tyke is growing up so fast. This was taken a week ago today on her 8 month birthday - when waving hi, bye, and at random times in between was just beginning. In the last 7 days, she's perfected her heart tugging wave - throwing up a wave to anyone that looks her way. That's right, our little girl knows how to work a crowd! While in Peoria on Friday, we made a couple of stops before getting fitted for her helmet. At each location, Kaylee would put on her brightest smile and wave to passerby's and restaurant customers. There was even one time where she was waving with both hands. The people were eating...out....of.....her....hands.

We survived day 2 of helmet wearing. Yesterdays schedule called for 2 hours on and 1 hour off, and keeping it off for naps and bedtime. We're so glad we're approaching cooler weather. Other than a sweaty head, Kaylee is adapting well to her hat (as we call it) and so are mom and dad.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mommy and Kaylee have been working diligently on waving, "so-big", high fives, and clapping. We've got waving under our belt pretty good (more to come on this later). So-big and high fives are pretty sporadic. Now, clapping was pretty much nonexistent until today. Kaylee has been putting her hands together and will very excitedly smile and shake them. We can almost say we saw the lightbulb go off during the Illini game. When something good would happen, we'd turn to her and say "yay!" and clap. She's been clapping all afternoon!

Helmet Day 1
So far, so good. Little Miss Kaylee is adapting well to her new helmet. She doesn't seem to mind it at all. We have a wear schedule for the first few days to allow her to adjust to wearing it as well as letting her skin adjust to incidental rubbing. All appears to be okay. We're keeping an eye on her right cheek; its been a little red when we've taken off the helmet. Its hard to tell if the helmet may be a little more snug on the front right side or not. Tony, our orthotist from Plattners, has instructed us to be alert for areas on her head and face that are red and irritated. Any area that remains red for longer than an hour may be indication that a place on the helmet may need to be altered.

Today's schedule calls for one hour on, then one hour off. No napping or sleeping in the helmet. Luckily, we don't have to worry about sleeping in the helmet until day 3. I think that will be the true test.


Friday, November 12, 2010

We’ve talked with some of you recently and you’re up to speed with the latest Kaylee news.  For those of you that don't know, Kaylee has dealt with having torticollis since birth as a result of being breech. She started physical therapy several months ago to help with stretching her neck muscles and improving her head rotation. Great news – she’s been doing awesome! Rotation is good and there is still a little bit of a tilt, but we’re still working on it and notice it less and less all of the time.

We have however, been dealing with some flattening of her head-positional plagiocephaly - due to the torticollis and her wanting to put her head in the same position all of the time (especially while sleeping). Her increased mobility has certainly helped - sitting up, sleeping on her tummy, and working on learning to crawl are all going to help her head “round out”. After talking with her therapist we went to a neurosurgeon to get a second opinion. He diagnosed her plagio as moderate to severe, and recommended we look into the use of a cranial remolding helmet. Most of you won’t notice some of the symptoms of plagio (the flattening on one side, a rounding on the other, her ears are a little offset, and one cheek a little chubbier than the other) in the pictures you’ve seen of Kaylee or even when you're face to face with her. We can’t blame you, that smile is pretty captivating!

After talking with the people from Starband and using their cranial scanning machine, we were able to see specific areas of Kaylee’s head that were misshapen. We also were also able to see the calculations of the measurements taken and how those numbers compared to what is considered “normal”. It's crazy that we are only talking of differences of 6 mm…but Ron and I talked things over, weighed out different possibilities/consequences and decided we would go ahead with the helmet.

Kaylee was fitted for her helmet today. After the initial adjustment period, they are recommending she wear it for 23 hours per day for the next 3-4 months, but depending on how fast she grows, it could be less. In the grand scheme of life, this is pretty minor. We’re lucky that we don’t have anything more serious to worry about concerning her health. We share this not to make a big deal of this, but so you wouldn’t be taken by surprise the next time you see us or if you see pictures of Kaylee in her helmet. The blog has been our place to share our stories and photos, particularly for family we don't see as often as we'd like, so you'll probably be hearing some helmet stories over the next few months too.

She’ll still be the sweet, smiley girl who steals your heart, especially now that she has the waving-thing down.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A first attempt at mobile blogging...I end up taking a lot of pictures with my phone. Here's one from a couple of weeks ago. I've got a great helper with the laundry!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

She's a Natural!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halloween Cuties

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mav, Maddy, and Kaylee at Aunt Stacy's house

Mav (6 months) and Kaylee (7 months)

Ball-playing princess

Our cute little lamb

Kayla, Kaylee, Leslie, and Kyle

Carving Pumpkins
Last week we carved pumpkins and Papa and Grandma's house. In addition to the regular pumpkins, Papa and Ron carved a couple of the giant pumpkins from the pumpkin path too. Too bad I forgot to get a picture when they were all done....
One down....

Do you need help, Uncle Ron?

Kaylee wasn't too impressed.

Have you thanked a farmer today?

Monday, November 1, 2010

We've been up north...and Ron's been spending a lot of time in the combine. Pictures and posts to come, but until then, Have You Thanked A Farmer Today?

Wordless Wednesday - Daddy's Girl

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Baby Talk

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Our little girl is a jabbering machine. Especially in the morning. I love that when you go in to wake her up with "It's time to get up Kaylee", a little head pops up and you are greeted with a smile.

From then on, our little motormouth is chattering away. While getting her dressed we practice "da-da", "ma-ma", "pa-pa", "la-la" and so forth. She readily spits some form of baby talk back at me.

In this morning's chat I couldn't help but laugh.I'm just gibbering to away to her. She's gibbering back and I thought to myself -"I wonder if she thinks she's repeating to me exactly what I'm saying to her"...and I thought instantly of the Friends episode when Joey speaks French.

Wordless Wednesday - It's Fall Y'All

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Houston, We Have Teeth

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I had been trying for a couple of weeks to get a picture of Kaylee's first tooth. Then within the next couple of days, out came the second. She'll be eating steak in no time!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Quote from Daddy - "We could have a blanket full of tags, but unless it says 'Made In China' she's not interested"

Hanging Out
Kaylee loves hanging out with the cousins...and chewing on camera too ;)

Trip to the Zoo

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Two weeks ago, we took a day off for some family time. After getting Kaylee's 6 month photos done, we headed to Bloomington to visit Miller Park Zoo. Its a small little zoo and Kaylee loves spending time outdoors.Given her short attention span, we thought it would be a nice little trip.

Out of all the animals there - monkeys, tiger, pandas - she loved the goats in the children's petting zoo. Go figure.

We also stopped by and saw baby Caroline on our way home. What a doll!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The family has been singing a new tune for the past week.

Welcome Baby Caroline!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Someone really likes her sippy cup. I can already hear "I can do it myself".

September Stats

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The monthly photo with her monthly "stats" and milestones. Our 6 month check up went well with the lil miss. And she sure surprised us....we knew she'd grown, but we weren't expecting 3 inches! Kaylee is measuring 29 inches long - time to get a bigger carseat! She weighs 18.5 lbs and is right where her doctor thinks she should be.

Lots of new things this last month. Kaylee can sit by herself for short periods of time and she much prefers sitting up to laying down. She's rolling in both directions from her back to her tummy and has even made it from her tummy to her back once. It won't be long before and she'll be mobile.

Teething is in full swing -- two bottom teeth appear to be quite close. We also survived our first cold and are now in the middle of her second. Ahhh, the joys of daycare.

She loves her fruits and veggies and takes quite an interest in what we're eating too. Our big girl also loves trying her sippy cup. Not great at it, but she definitely understands what its for.

Its just amazing how much she is changing and accomplishing everyday. There's so many little things that she figures out. I can only imagine what will happen in the next month.

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I got a chance to snag a few photos this weekend of the next big milestone for the lil miss. She's been working at sitting by herself for awhile. And, she now can sit unassisted for a small amount of time. She still does the occasional face plant, but is usually not fazed by it. Something else we're working on? Teeth...The amount of drool that is coming out of her mouth is astounding. The strength that she can bite down on your finger is astounding. The high pitched screams -- you can only imagine.