Friday, September 30, 2011

31 for 21... Can I Do It?

Since October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, I have committed to an effort to blog daily throughout the month.  31 posts to raise awareness for Trisomy 21. Many of my blogging friends will be doing the same.  (Check out the button on the sidebar and feel free to grab it and spread the word!)  I admit it, I'm feeling like I may be in a little over my head, but if there's a cause I'm willing to support it's definitely this one.  So, starting tomorrow I will be carving time out of my days of part-time working and full-time mommy-ing to make this happen.

Good thing I have such a cute little Beanie to write about!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Our First Buddy Walk

Cora's first ever Buddy Walk wasn't quite what I expected.  Hot and sunny (I know, most people would be thrilled), it was a little challenging for me and Beanie, as sun-shy as we are.  With all the buzzing commotion and new people, Cora was a little nervous and spent the whole time clinging to our sides or zoning out and napping in the stroller.

Team Cora Bean did manage to raise $1275.00 for the Northwest Down Syndrome Association.  We are very thankful to all who donated and walked to support us.

We were surrounded by friends from up north, family from out of town and a handful of local friends.  We got to have glimpses and brief conversations with some of our wonderful new friends in the Ds community, as well as a handful of other folks we've met out and about at local events.  But with all the buzz it was hard to spend much time with any one person.  In the end, I feel like it happened in high speed and was over before I knew it.

Instead of creating a team banner we wore silly hats.  Little Cora bunny included.

Grammie and Grandpa with their favorite granddaughter.

Walking around the Rose Quarter in our silly hats.  Cora likes to walk.

Many people came out to support the NWDSA.

The rest of the weekend was fun with the family.  I actually had my first real night out without Cora, when we went out to celebrate my sister Mira's birthday with a movie at a local McMenamin's movie house, the Bagdad.

Then on rainy Sunday we lounged around the house, made a great breakfast and hit some food carts (yes, again!) to give the out-of-towners a taste of Portland style eats.  The clouds broke for a bit and gave us some time to sit and enjoy our tacos, macaroni and cheese, venezuelan street food, and homemade pies.  Cora happily enjoyed her people watching and kept us all entertained.

All in all, a great weekend.  Now we're picking up the pieces, putting away the hats, and playing with the new great toys that Grammie brought for her favorite baby girl.

Cora of many colors with her Favorite Aunt Mira.

Getting some good snuggles with Grammie.
Lucky girlie gets love from Grammie and Grandpa.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sleep Training... Hmm

Well the weekend is over. I promise I will post on the Buddy Walk we did on Saturday, but on this dreary Monday morning I am working on again trying to put in a couple hours of work. Always challenging with a baby in tow.  I am also trying to work on sleep training our dear Cora. We have allowed some habits that are probably not ideal at this point for several reasons. While I know that this will take time and effort, here is a description of the results of my efforts so far today.

Here is where Cora is at the moment.

Here is where she should be.

Yes, her first morning nap was a full 1 minute long, folks.  I suspect that we'll get a second try fairly soon, judging by the frustrated sounds I hear as she attempts to whip her toys into submission.  In the meantime, I guess a little flexibility is in order.

Happy Monday.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Team Cora Bean! Getting Ready for the Buddy Walk!

We've been getting excited for the Buddy Walk around here.  We've got grandparents coming into town, aunts and uncles, and even an old classmate of mine from Junior High who's coming down with her little girl (a veteran Buddy Walker) to support our little Cora for her first ever walk.  And we've got some great local peeps who will be joining us too.

It seems like this week is going by ever so slowly.

Cora is gonna put on her walking shoes (um... socks and her favorite baby sling, I mean).  We'll be ready!

If you are interested in joining Team Cora Bean on Saturday, let us know, or sign up here!. Donations are still accepted too!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

8 Months Old- State of the Bean

It's hard to believe that 8 months have passed since Cora came into our lives.  Partly because it seems so long ago and feels like she's been part of our world forever.  And partly too because at the same time it's gone by in the blink of an eye.

I keep wondering when I will start to feel the loss of my baby with the realization that she's growing up.  But each stage and new development and new day seems to bring its own wonder and its own joys.  And she is still a baby. 

This weekend we packed up a lot of baby gear and clothes.  Some we are keeping for the next baby that arrives in the family, but some were given away.  As I folded her newborn clothes it was hard to believe that at one time they were too big for her skinny little body. We've packed up the infant swing, her snuggle nest, and her bouncy seat.  All things that are a little bittersweet to pack away.

But it's also exciting to reflect on the things that we've already packed away, memories of stages that we're only too happy to have passed:  the apnea monitor with its belts, probes and wires, with memories of the sounds that would wake us often shrieking false alarms; the feeding tubes, syringes, and stethoscope used to administer NG tube feedings; the hospital grade breast pump and then my own personal breast pump, the bottles, formula, pump supplies, and freezer bags from her pre-breastfeeding days; the bottles of diuretics, heart medication, reflux medication and pain medication along with tiny little syringe feeders; the myriad of burp rags that we'd wash daily by the load, often using 3 or more for just one feed.  Those are the things that I am happy to have packed away.

And now we're looking to get new things.  We've got a date to go toy shopping at a consignment sale in a week or so to pick up some gently used toys to help encourage Cora along in her development, as well as a few new basics for her fall wardrobe.

The Girlie is wowing us on a regular basis with her personality and accomplishments.  She's turning into quite the little Sassy Pants and has discovered how to shout.  I'm realizing that it is time to start working on discouraging undesirable behaviors with her, shocked that we're "there" already.

She's still working hard to sit up unassisted, but can go for longer stretches as a time, sometimes tripoding, sometimes balancing on her own for longer and longer stretches before she topples over.  She'll sit indefinitely with a little support on her hips.  She's using her hands for play constantly, grabbing for toys that she didn't reach for a week ago.  She wants to hold onto everything all the time. She's holding her mesh feeder and putting it into her mouth to enjoy her breastmilk and fruit puree popsicles, although she'd prefer that I hold them for her.

She's rolling over consistently from back to tummy, but still hasn't remembered that for a couple of months she could roll the other way.  We're waiting for the light to go on that this could be a way to move her own body around.  So until then, we move her around frequently.

She's continuing to enjoy eating fruit and occasionally squash, but we have to hide vegetables like zucchini and brocolli in pears or applesauce to get her to eat them.  She's happiest in the big-girl swing and really needs to get out of the house daily for her own little dose of sanity. (how like her Mother!)  Despite our efforts, she really wants to watch television, and will turn her head to look at it whether it's off or on, (hello, object permanence!)  although she's still not quite sure if she likes playing Peekaboo or not.  Patty-cake, on the other hand, brings ridiculously big grins and giggles.  She's actually starting to smile for the cameras and not just for us.

She's 15 pounds, 5 ounces of chubby little squishy love, fitting perfectly into 6 month size clothes, growing up every day.  Happy 8 month day to my little love!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Preparing for Your Baby's Open Heart Surgery- A Resource for Parents

I've already posted today, along with fun weekend pics (see earlier post), but I wanted to also announce my newest page, Preparing for Your Baby's Open Heart Surgery.

All the support we received preparing for Cora's surgery, along with all the great blogs I have found have inspired me to create a place to compile resources for other parents.

So, if you have any recommendations for resources, or know of other great blogs that talk about their child's surgery, please let me know.  I am hoping it will be a work in progress, and that just maybe, it can help other parents in the future.

Monday Morning

I feel a little wistful on this Monday morning.  During one of Cora's several middle of the night wakings, I caught myself planning things for our day today, completely forgetting that it was Monday and that Nick would be at work.

But this morning feels good nevertheless. Cup of half-caf in hand at the computer, Cora in her highchair next to me chewing on Pepe le petit-chien and growling "da da da da" to him...  The heat of the weekend has abated a bit, and it's a cool 58 degrees and overcast outside, although it'll heat up in a bit.  Hoping not so much that we can't go play outside. Both Cora and I are afflicted with an almost total lack of pigment, leaving us prone to sunburn and heat stroke.  My left ankle, sprained about a week ago, is still healing pretty well.  It's a little sore, but I can walk on it now.

So, here we go into Monday.   The weekend was nice.  Not super eventful, but one of those at-home weekends that slip pleasantly by.  After our weekly Saturday morning trip to Kettleman's Bagels, we did a little yard-saling.  And scored some great new things for Cora:  her very own outdoor swing, a Kelty baby backpack, a chair that hooks onto tables, and a food mill.  Yay for yard sales!  We're pretty minimalist in general and have a very small house.  So far it's amazingly not overrun with baby gear. While we do want to provide Cora with toys and gear that have purpose, we're trying not to go crazy and spend a fortune on things that'll be used for a short time.  But those few scores were had for a total of $17.00.  My kind of shopping, indeed.

And we got to have some food fun too.  Food for Cora consisted of blueberry mess, adding peaches, which she enjoyed as popsicles, and a chunk of brocolli stalk to chew on.   Yum. 

For us, food consisted of grilled chicken teriyaki with veggies, quick huevos rancheros (always a favorite), Nick's favorite take-out pizza, and our Sunday excitement:  Vietnamese Bun.  Bun has always been my favorite Vietnamese food.  I love pho, to be sure, but a good bun can be pretty spectacular.  Back in my pre-Cora days, creating food, trying recipes, and basically thinking and obsessing about food was my constant pasttime.  I had a food blog with my lovely Twinnie that has gone entirely neglected since my pregnancy.  I guess food stopped being my focus back then, and with Cora's arrival, the time and energy to focus on it has dwindled a bit.  At least the time to write about it has dwindled.  But I still find it necessary to carve out the time for it in my life.  So enter my first attempt at this dish.  And it was amazing. Sure, I'd tweak a couple minor details, but the marinated pork was to-die-for and the end result was very impressive.  So I thought I'd post the photos and recipes here too.  Why not?  Nick thinks this isn't the forum; that I should write on the food blog again. Oh well.  Mixing things up a bit can't hurt. Here is the recipe:  Vietnamese Grilled Pork Bun.

Time to wrap up.  Miss Cora's telescoping arms are requiring too much interference.  I think it may be nap time.  So I'll leave you with a few of my favorite weekend pics of our Beanie Girl in the tub. Happy Monday!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

If A Bean Babbles in the Woods...

We had yet another wonderful camping trip this weekend with our favorite little outdoor enthusiast.  Although Cora stuck to a rather limited diet of milk punctuated by a teaspoon or two of squash, the rest of us enjoyed much more varied fare cooked over the fire, including fresh blackberry crisp baked in a dutch oven, great Mexican food, and an incredible sweet potato, bacon and vegetable hash brown.  Some good beer, relaxing time reading in the shade, and visiting with our friends Christine and Shane.  Oh what fun.

Cora getting loved by her Teenie...

And we were excited to witness our Beanie learn how to babble this weekend.  She's been vocalizing for a while now, making lots of vowel sounds and even adding a consonant here and there for good measure.  But she hadn't started actually babbling consonant-vowel combinations repeatedly yet.  We've been waiting for this milestone.  Over the past couple of weeks she has discovered the joy of making sounds while we move her lips.  What would you call that?  Hmm. Like an assisted motorboat, maybe?  Anyway, it seems to have opened the way for her to start trying to imitate the sound on her own.  Which results in repeated "Da, da, da, ya, ya, da" sounds.

You'd think she said her first actual words considering how excited we are.  But it is great to be able to add this to her growing list of accomplishments.  She seems pretty happy about it too, since she's been doing it non-stop all day today.

And for your (and my own) viewing pleasure, some other cute snapshots of her most recent camping expedition:

Having a little down time in her travel bed.  In her bunny suit.
More relaxing as a bunny.  With the cutest face ever.

Cora's favorite thing to do:  Playing with Daddy.

Even better... playing with Daddy and her favorite right foot.

"Daddy always puts his hats on me, doesn't he?"

And last, but one of my own favorites, Cora enjoying a moment sucking on her toes.  Mmm, good!

And I guess I will leave you with a little motion picture of Cora learning to make her new sounds.  Forgive the obnoxious mommy voice.  She also happens to also be combining them with a little ready-for-bed whining... but you get the picture.