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?