Wednesday, November 25, 2009

BABBA DADDA.... YAY!! :)

Emmie has started babbling..."Babba, Dadda." It s the sweetest sound. She doesn't do it very often, but when she does, I can't get enough. She has a quiet, girly voice. I feel like this is a victory for Em. I have been working so hard with her......imitating sounds, talking & singing to her, encouraging her to make sounds & waiting for her to do something back, other than grunting & groaning. It is harder for her because her muscles are weaker due to the low muscle tone. Emmie is teaching me that it will all come in time. It's ok if things come slower & later to her. She will get there.

FYI...Emmie has learned how to take her socks off. She plays with her feet/toes, we call them "piggies" & takes her socks off, then plays with her feet. In 2 days, we have lost 2 socks!! I think we lost one in the mall today. :)

I want to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! I am feeling a little under the weather, not sure what it is, but I am managing. We will be traveling to my parents' cabin for the long weekend. We will see my family & Eric's family as well. Aidan is all excited. He will be bringing a "centerpiece." A turkey made from a paper lunchbag that will decorate the dinner table. :) I love my boy! What am I grateful for this Thanksgiving? My husband & our beautiful children, our health, a cozy home, supportive & loving parents, money in the bank, hugs, kisses & sweet words from Aidan, Emmie's gentle smile & the progress she has made. So much to be grateful for! Count your blessings!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

WHAT'S EMMIE UP TO?

Emmie is now 7 & 1/2 months old & she is doing so well. She rolls over from back to belly & belly to back. Lately she tries so hard to scoot herself forward on her belly. This girl wants to crawl!! She puts her tushy up in the air & tries to push forward with her legs. She gets tired & then drops her upper body to the ground. It seems as though her upper body is weaker than her lower body.


Emmie is sitting up for the most part. She loses her balance pretty easily & falls over. She prefers to be sitting up rather than laying down. I get the feeling she thinks she is missing out on something! Emmie is still very quiet. She barely makes any noise & I hardly ever hear her cry. Sometimes I want her to make noise like a typical baby so badly, but then I step back & tell myself that it will all come in time. She will coo & giggle & talk eventually, it will just take her a little bit longer. That is fine with me. Emmie has definitely mastered the art of raspberries!! :)
Once in a while she will make grunting & groaning noises & usually makes noises with her mouth closed. She loves having her hands together in the praying position. I feel like we need alot of prayers these days!! This is a great position for her, bringing her arms to midline, her therapists call it. This positon helps Emmie increase her muscle tone.

Feedings are going so much better. So far Emmie has tried: peaches, pears, applesauce, bananas, green beans, avocado, peas, sweet potatoes, squash....it's all homemade by me & Aidan. He loves that job! For a while, it seemed like we were moving forward with eating solids & then moving backwards, but lately she seems to be doing ok. Her tongue thrust isn't so bad & it seems like positioning is key for her. I also use feeding time as time to do some speech exercises & oral stimulation: making different sounds, sticking my tongue in & out,rubbing her cheeks, using a bristle brush to play with her tongue & lips...anything to get her muscles going.


Emmie lights up when she sees Aidan. They are best buddies! As Aidan puts it, "We are best friends!" Emmie looks right at Aidan & gives the biggest smile. She loves her big brother! She is a lucky girl to have such a good big brother. He will "keep her safe" & give her so much love. We have started a nightly tradition. Every night we all do story time together. We read 3 or 4 books & Emmie is very interested. She looks at the pictures & touches the pages. Then Aidan gets in his bed & I put Emmie right next to him. He wants snuggle time with her & she seems to love the attention. He kisses her goodnight & tells her that he loves her. t is very sweet. I bought Aidan a mini Christmas tree the other day ($1at Target) & I have to make sure that is plugged in before I take Emmie out of his bed. It is these moments that make me so proud to be Aidan & Emmie's Mommy.

Emmie's bottle is ready. After she eats, I am taking the kids swimming....Am I out of my mind?!?!?!?! The weekends are the hardest....trying to keep us all occupied & make the time go faster. I am looking forward to bedtime.



Eric will be home in 1 week!! YAY!! :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

CONNECTIONS...A MOMENT

Wanted to share this story....Emmie's speech therapist, Roberta attended the Buddy Walk with her son, Kevin. Kevin is getting ready to make his Bar Mitzvah & is doing a special project at his temple. Kevin was so touched by the children he saw at the Walk that he decided to make Down syndrome a part of his project. He came up with the idea to organize bottle & can drives at his school & temple. The money raised will go to the Down Syndrome Aim High Resource Center in Albany, NY. This organization puts on the Albany Buddy Walk & has been our saving grace....well after our Emmie Grace! :) Kevin decided to also use this as an opportunity to educate others about Down syndrome. He is going to create a flyer with facts about Down syndrome. He will also include a picture of Emily. :) Emily has already had her photoshoot with Kevin. Roberta told me today that Kevin made a Tshirt with a picture of Emily on it. He will wear it when he talks to his classmates about the project.

Kevin's father, Mike owns a bottle/can redemption center. If you are in the Albany area, you can drop off your bottles/cans & you can tell Mike that you want the money to go to Aim High. Aim High is also collecting bottles/cans.

This is a full circle moment for me. We have come so far on this journey. Emily is 7 months old & so much has happened. It is amazing!! We have accepted her diagnosis & have fully embraced her & our new life. Life is better because of Emmie. I feel like Emily is helping us reach out to others to make a difference & we are giving back. We are touching lives, getting the word out about Down syndrome & educating. That's part of Emily's purpose I think & she is giving me a purpose. My girl.......

Time to snuggle Em & wait for Aidan to get off the bus. We are headed to the park for a playdate. Getting through another day....with joy!!! :)




Tuesday, November 10, 2009

UPDATE

Yesterday my mom & I took Emily to the opthamologist for a check up. I have been noticing her left eye turning in & I wanted to get it checked out & have some peace of mind. My mom came up to go with me, since Eric is away & I was grateful to have her with me. Emmie's eye is fine. It appears as though the eye is turning in, but it's not. The technical term for it is "Pseudostrabismus," false appearance of crossed eyes. This often occurs in infants whose facial features are not fully developed. The bridge of Emmie's nose is wide & flat. As Emmie gets older, the bridge will narrow & the folds in the corner of the eye will go away. This will cause the eye to appear wider & not have the appearance of a crossed eye. Emmie will go back in 6 months for another check up. The dr. did say she appears to be more farsighted that a typical child at her age.It is amazing to me that the dr. was able to figure that out when Emmie is only 7 months old. Because of the Down syndrome & family history of eye problems, Emmie will most likely need glasses. I had a crossed eye when I was younger & wore a patch over one eye. I am also severely farsighted. My mother had a crossed eye also & had surgery to correct the problem. This is all very minor. Whatever happens, we will deal with it & get Emmie the help she needs. I am so happy the appointment went well. The dr. was very helpful & gave us alot of good information.

Yesterday Eric got word that he will definitely be deployed in early December. Currently, he is Alabama for training. He will return a few days before Thanksgiving & leave for Washington state in early December for more training. Then he will head to Kuwait for a year. Part of his duty will require him to do work at the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. The news hit us both very hard. There was a slight possibility that the unit would not be deployed. We were holding onto that. Right now, we are doing our best to support each other. We have alot to get in place before Eric leaves. I am nervous, scared, sad, angry...the emotions keep coming. My heart breaks for Aidan. This will be Aidan's 2nd year without his Daddy. Aidan is so attached to Eric. Aidan & Emmie are so lucky to have a father that is so loving & involved, but that will make it so much harder.

I could go on & on about this, but there is no point. The situation is what it is & now we have to deal with it the best we can. Deep down, I do believe that there will be good from this situation, I just can't see it yet. I am asking you all to pray for our family.....our health, Eric's safety, Aidan & Emmie, my strength...we are going to need it. Hold on tight to your families, appreciate every moment. Also, please remember the veterans & their families tomorrow on Veteran's Day.

Thank you all for your thoughts & prayers. I am finding the joy every day! :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

OUR LIFE

I apologize for not blogging in a while. Life has been very crazy, it's hard to keep up sometimes. Eric was away for 2 months. He came back, then left again for 2 weeks. He got back last week & he is leaving this weekend for 2 more weeks!! This is all very unexpected. It is mentally draining. It is hard to adjust...first he's here, then gone, then here, then gone....it's alot for me.
While Eric is away he will get the final word on his deployment. If his unit is deployed, they will leave in early December. We were originally told they would leave at the end of January.

Many of you ask, "Lacey, how do you do it?" The only answer I have is, "I just do." I am not happy about it, but this is my family & I will do everything I can to keep it together. I do my best to understand Eric's passion for the military & support him. It is not easy!! It is hard being alone, taking care of 2 special needs children, taking care of the house, paying bills, etc. I think the loneliness is the worst. Some days I get stuck in the sadness & it's hard to move out of it, but I try to find a little piece of joy every day. I don't have to look very far. A very special boy & a very special girl remind me of the happiness & love I have in my life.

So, that's the latest from the Lautenschlagers! :) Crazy, chaotic, emotional, stressful, joyful & loving...that's our life!!


Find the joy......