Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Riley's View - First Upload

We have a budding photographer on our hands!  

For over a year, Riley has found so much joy stealing my phone from me and taking very "flattering" pictures of me.  Recently however, her subject interest has been changing.  She loves capturing her surroundings, people's funny expressions, and small details.  I never paid any attention to these pictures and sadly (and habitually) deleted most of them as I upload pictures from my phone.  

Not any more.  This little lady actually has quite the eye for photographic beauty!  My parents bought her a camera (don't worry, just a $35 digital camera for toddlers) and she has been able to capture her world.  

Here are some favorites from her first few weeks as a "photographina (I couldn't come up with any other word for little photographer)."

This one cracks me up... as I was trying my best to read the manual for the camera to tell Riley how to work it, she was already using it! Kid's technological savvy scares me...

 She loves taking pictures of her feet...

  The two men I love most in the world.  Glad she loves them too :)

 Her snack cup.  She chose to do black and white for this one.  I asked her why, and she said, "Because it is very important Mom" with an exasperated tone

  Uh-Beeka, her favorite subject of the day

 Nana and Grandma!

 She snuck into Nora's crib to take this one.  I think that is sunlight shining in, or perhaps it is the ghost that she always says she sees!

 We all appreciate this view from my parents house.  In fact, it pops into my mind as my "Happy place." I didn't realize that the little one appreciates it too

Riley secretly loves battle wounds.  Although she tells us that she hates boo-boos and that it hurts, I overheard her say, "I love this boo boo so much" as she took a selfie of it

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

18 Months (plus+)

It just hit me last weekend that Nora blew through her half birthday and it wasn't even a blip on my radar.  Also,I usually have my kids in the doctor for their well visit within days of their monthly schedule or birthdays, but Nora had been in and out of the doctor and hospital so much that I completely forgot about hers!   

So yesterday she went in for her 18 month appointment as she is weeks short of her 20 month date.  Parent fail.

At her appointment Nora was way off the charts for height... seriously, the doctor said she is well beyond the 100th percentile. She is 36 inches!  Future basketball player? And she is 98% in weight...  She is exceeding all developmental, cognitive and language markers too! 

But talk about proud parent!  We have never, and I mean never, left the doctor without something to follow up with in terms of her health.  Not this time! I actually gave her pediatrician a tearful hug before I left... and Nora and Riley both gave her a running hug before leaving. We were all feeling the joy and relief on some level. :)

And a little shout out to her biggest fan, Riley.  The first words out of both of their mouths in the morning are, "Where is Nora?" and "Where Diley?" Couldn't love these sisters any more.  Not possible. 

And lastly, a few songs for my girls...  

For Nora, who is as fiery, fearless and passionate as ever (and never let a little health hiccup get in her way)

Girl on Fire - Alicia Keys
She's just a girl, and she's on fire
Hotter than a fantasy, longer like a highway
She's living in a world, and it's on fire
Feeling the catastrophe, but she knows she can fly away
Oh, she got both feet on the ground
And she's burning it down
Oh, she got her head in the clouds
And she's not backing down
This girl is on fire
This girl is on fire
She's walking on fire
This girl is on fire
Looks like a girl, but she's a flame
So bright, she can burn your eyes
Better look the other way
You can try but you'll never forget her name
She's on top of the world
Hottest of the hottest girls say
Oh, we got our feet on the ground
And we're burning it down
Oh, got our head in the clouds
And we're not coming down
This girl is on fire
This girl is on fire
She's walking on fire
This girl is on fire
Everybody stands, as she goes by
Cause they can see the flame that's in her eyes
Watch her when she's lighting up the night
Nobody knows that she's a lonely girl
And it's a lonely world
But she gon' let it burn, baby, burn, baby
This girl is on fire
This girl is on fire
She's walking on fire
This girl is on fire
Oh, oh, oh,
She's just a girl, and she's on fire

For Riley, who needs to see just how perfect and special she is, no matter how much she may doubt it... make your own kind of music little one!

Make Your Own Kind of Music - Mama Cass
Nobody can tell you
There's only one song worth singing
They may try and sell ya
Cause it hangs them up
To see someone like you
But you gotta make your own kind of music
Sing your own special song
Make your own kind of music
Even if nobody else sings along
You're gonna be nowhere
The loneliest kind of lonely
It may be rough going
Just to do your thing's the hardest thing to do
But you've gotta make your own kind of music
Sing your own special song
Make your own kind of music
Even if nobody else sings along
You gotta make your own kind of music
Sing your own special song
Make your own kind of music
Even if nobody else sings along
You gotta make your own kind of music
Sing your own special song
Make your own kind music
Even if nobody else sings along

Monday, March 7, 2016

A much needed update

I can't believe how much time has gone by since my last update.  Because of this, I am going to do my absolute best to summarize life for the Poole girls/Poole Family! And maybe even add a few pictures...

I will start with my dear little Riley.  She is the most unique little girl and I can't wait until the day when she and I can go to lunch and talk about life (we try this, but the conversations are pretty disjointed).  The two words I would use to describe her are sensitive and serious.  Life is a very serious matter for her, and nothing is taken lightly.  She listens and absorbs every word said to her, which makes for some intense ups and downs.  If she wants to give a friend a hug and they are too busy playing to make time for her, she will sob crocodile tears into my chest until we find an adequate distraction. If someone says they like her or are proud of her, she will smile like you've never seen and tell me about it for days. I love this about her, but as a mom, it is very painful sometimes.  Her sweet heart is broken several times a day, and I already see her building walls up to keep herself from being hurt.  I know it is part of life, but I wish she were bullet proof sometimes.  I pray that  the (many) times her feelings are bruised will help shape her, strengthen her and give her perspective.... not break her.  But how do I do that? I really wish there were a Riley Guidebook. 

To say she loves school is an understatement.  It is her happy place (just ask her what her favorite place in the world is!).  Charley and I feel so wonderful knowing that we found the right school for her.  Montessori is 100% her stride.  She is the most focused three year old I've ever met, so we know the individual, student driven "work" (that is what they call it) that she does is meaningful and impactful for her.  In fact she loves school so much that we decided to send her for a few more hours each day next year! She doesn't nap anymore, and never wants to leave school, so we are thrilled to give her the opportunity to be there more.

Quick side note... the school she goes to is also very unique.  This is their version of the itsy bits spider...

The itsy bitys spider climbed up the water spout
To ask all the universe, "What is life about?"
The stars and the moon said "Life is great!"
So the itsy bitsy spider went home to mediate...

The other day she and I were talking about what I love about her and what makes her special.  She said she isn't special (which shattered my soul), so we thought about her "magic talent" that sets her apart from everyone.  It took some serious coaxing, but she said her talent is cooking for friends.  I found that interesting (I was expecting something simple like drawing or dancing).  It is true though... this girl loves to cook.  She is on a stool next to me at least once a day.  I'm excited to see where this goes...

She started ballet classes, and adores it.  I tried putting her in a sports sampler class which was a complete bust.  She silently cried her way through basketball and soccer (but never gave up!)... and it to a point where she randomly told me that she was scared of spiders, the dark and sports!  Dance is a different story though... and it is so incredibly cute to watch.

Her favorite stories right now are the Berenstein Bears books.  My mom gave me all of the ones they used to read to my brother and I, and that is all Riley wants to read before bed.  They are hilarious to read though... I've noticed they are not quite PC which is incredibly entertaining for us.

So all in all, Riley is doing amazingly.  She is growing up so fast.  Her tantrums are down, she sleeps in her big girl bed all night every night... she follows directions for the most part.  I'm one proud mama.

And then there is little Nora.  She could not be any more opposite from her sister!  A few phrases come to mind... Bull in a china shop. Brute. Fire cracker. Fresh. Feisty. Tough. Unshakable. Stubborn. HAPPY.

She is SO happy.  She thinks this world couldn't be any more wonderful and she is taking it by the horns.  She loves to tease and provoke... she finds everything funny and entertaining.  She dances like I've never seen when ANY song with a beat comes on (although she has a thing for Sorry by Justin Beiber right now).  She is always smiling with a twinkle in her eye.  She gives running hugs.  She bites (ugh).

Her favorite things right now are books, shoes and her sister.  At nap time, I read a few books to her and then give her some to "read" in her crib.  It is so cute to listen to as she mumbles through the pages until she falls asleep.  Her favorite book is called It's Time to Sleep by Nancy Tillman.  It is such a sweet book.

Yes, this is Nora with underwear on her head and pen on her nose...

Nora has had a pretty tough go health wise, but I think we are on the up and up!  Since August, this poor kid has had seven ear infections.  Her hearing was tested and we found out that she had hearing loss, and the fluid in her ears just wouldn't go away.  Her speech was getting blurry, and we had to speak VERY loudly for her to acknowledge we were talking to her. We were running out of antibiotic options, patience and sleep, so we decided to finally put tubes in.  And it has been incredible.  The surgeon came out after they were put in and said he had to use an extra strong vacuum to get the fluid out - it was the consistency of Elmer's Glue!  The change in her was instantaneous.  On the car ride home from the hospital, Charley and I were melting because after any word we said to her (whether it was "hi" or "look at that bird") she would crack up.  It was as if she had never heard those sounds before and found them to be joyful to listen to.  She was thrown off by random noises she had never heard before (like the neighbors above us or garbage trucks).  But now it is her new normal, and her speech is become clearer every day. And the actual surgery went amazingly.  She was unshaken by the hospital environment (she enjoyed it actually)... the nurses said that usually when kids come out of anesthesia, they will be pretty unhappy and tired for a few hours afterwards.  Nora woke up without a tear, and proceeded to run like a madwoman around the hospital.  So much for dedicating the afternoon to recovery!

We were also able to do an echocardiogram of her heart while she was under anesthesia, and she is great!  They found a few small defects (two small holes... a PFO and a PDA... ??), but the doctor is confident that they will not need to intervene.  We will do another echo when she is three just to be certain they are closing.

Her eyes seem to be better, so I think we are over the hump with her Brown's syndrome.  Her hips are firmly in place so we are in the clear with her dysplasia.  She is exceeding cognitive and gross motor milestones. 

Charley and I are resting a little easier these days knowing that Nora is healthy, and that we have answers to so many of the uncertainties in the past.  

Things are very crazy around here though because we are remodeling our house!  We moved out in January to an apartment in a more urban area about 15 minutes from our old house while the construction is underway.  It is very stressful to manage the project, but we are actually very happy with our living situation.  It is so refreshing to be within walking distance of shops, restaurants and parks again.  The apartment is smaller and contained, which is wonderful!  We joke that we may never move back!  It will be so nice once the house is done though.  We will  have a new addition off the back, and the rest of the house will have been updated (it hadn't been touched with the 50's). 

 So all in all, life is good. Time is melting away though! I wish someone had told me that when you have kids your heart swells with pride and breaks with nostalgia every.. single.. day.