Monday, March 31, 2014

Throwback photo circa 1991

I've been seeing a lot of my brother James in baby Christina. They both have/had Trisomy 2q13 so I assume there must be shared features with this diagnosis but since they are the only two in the world with this exact diagnosis it's hard to know for sure! 

Here's a throwback picture of me and my brothers. (Sorry Jenny, you weren't born yet!) You can see how my James and I share a lot of similarities and baby Christina and my brother James look very similar (He's on the bottom right for those didn't know James.) And we love to keep things really confusing with the names Christina and James!

And the pose evolved to James smothering his sister! Sometimes he just won't leave her alone!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Christina Lately

We got a couple smiles out of her!

Christina looks so much like my brother James in the picture below, I can hardly believe it how much! Just a girly, feminine version!

Baby Christina is now 7 months old. She seems to have advanced in a lot of things over the last couple of months! 

When she's in the mood she's able to lift her head and look around. She is starting to use her abs and back muscles in an attempt to sit up. She isn't doing it on her own but she is at least utilizing and developing those muscle groups now. 

Just this week she decided she longer likes to sleep on her back and she will immediately turn over to her belly for Zzzs. At first this made me really nervous because she plants her face into her crib and I was worried about SIDS or suffocating. The first night she flipped to her tummy, I tried to keep her on her back but she would just return to her belly. So I've given up because she clearly has an opinion about it and it seems to be a losing battle! And she seems to be liking it quite a bit and she now sleeps for longer stretches. She tends to do about one 5 hour stretch in the night.

She has basically just become very opinionated about things in general! She is particular about how she is held, who holds her, when she's held and so on! 

It has also been interesting to see who Christina takes a liking to. It seems like some people just have the right touch, like a baby whisperer and she just melts in their arms, while other people she wiggles and fights to get out of their arms. And there is no telling which one a person will be! She always seems to surprise me. For instance, she has a physical therapist that comes to the house to work with her and on occasions two therapists will come. There is one therapist in particular that sometimes comes, a handsome African American man that baby girl just fawns over. Whenever he talks she looks to him, whenever he moves around the room she gazes at him. What a little flirt she is! It is just so funny!

And for baby girls not so good news. Firstly, she only gained one ounce in a month! Not good at all! She weighs 9lbs., 6oz. But she did grow half an inch in length! So we are working (as we have been since her birth) on her weight gain. And secondly, she is having emergency eye surgery this week because her ophthalmologist now believes her left eye is looking larger and may also have glaucoma. The doctors and us are a bit nervous about her having surgery because she failed to initially wake up from anesthesia back in December. So we are praying she will do much better this time around!

Overall she is doing quite well and is surprisingly healthy and happy!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Afternoon at the Bellagio

One of the great things about living in Las Vegas is that we can go see the fun tourist sites on a moment's notice. And the warm weather doesn't hurt either! So the kids and I went to hang out at my favorite hotel/casino -- which is the Bellagio. Unfortunately, the fountains were off because of high winds, so now we have an excuse to go back!

And who doesn't love to see some very high end shops!

James loved the gardens inside and we walked around them for over an hour!

Baby Christina is always so good on outings, she just hangs out in the Bjourn as happy as a clam.

James was walking around like such a little man, with his hands in his pockets. So cute and handsome!

Monday, March 24, 2014

First scripture in primary

On Sunday, James gave his very first scripture over the pulpit in primary school. The whole week before he was so excited about picking out a scripture to read and he did a great job and not an ounce of shyness! And he chose dad to be his helper! 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Best of friends

James and Christina really are the best of friends. James is so loving and sweet to her and is always touching and kissing her. You'd think it would bother her being mauled by her big brother, but she never seems to mind! She seems to love all the attention and tactile stimulation!

I'm so grateful for their brother and sister bond and that Christina has such a protective big brother! What little sweethearts they are!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Integrating Christina into our lives

As you can imagine and from reading our blog, caring for baby Christina is very time consuming and could easily consume our lives. Knowing this was a likely outcome, soon after Christina was born Brian and I discussed if that was avoidable. We have since come to learn that some of her care is needed and required, but daily we make conscious efforts to think of our marriage and the family as a whole. We choose to integrate Christina into our lives, rather than have her take ours over. This in no way means that we love our little Christina any less, but rather we truly value our entire family as a whole and every member has a voice. I think even families without a handicapped child still need to consciously protect their family and continually work on their marriages, we are just very aware of the dangers of not being proactive in this manner with a child with special needs. So if I'm going to Target and lunch with friends, baby Christina comes along as would any other baby with her mom on errands. Our whole family still goes to church together every Sunday, even though it would be a lot easier to stay home and avoid having to feed her with her feeding tube during services. And Brian and I still go on weekly date nights and ditch the kids with a babysitter. Life goes on as usual and we try not to make a big deal about Christina's issues, even if we are getting funny looks at our baby in the line at Costco.

So all of this to say, I took baby Christina with me to visit my family in their new beautiful home in Oklahoma. My family wanted me to come visit and so baby girl came along with me. Her pediatrician was a little nervous at first, but as I explained that I wanted our lives to be as normal as possible and she is a member of our family, he was okay with her to fly and go out of town. 

We had a wonderful time and we are already planning our next visit! 

Brian had no fun and stayed in Las Vegas because, well, he had to go to work! So James went to visit Brian's parents in California and had such a blast! He didn't even get homesick the entire week. Grandma Peggy said he asked about us a few times, but didn't seem to mind being away on his own vacation! 

So cute with Grandpa Hal!